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Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn.

Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products – even though they still don't think it's a good idea.

Oliver Spitzer

This week Sound Effect brings you tales of childhood dreams, and people who have actually managed to live them out.

Claire Buss grew up bathed in the glow of daytime TV, and she dreamed of someday having her own game show. Then, in her 20s, Buss figured out that she could have one – she just needed to make one up and start doing it in her living room. She talks with Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson about how she created “The Future Is Zero,” and why contestants keep coming back.

Courtesy of Diane Whalen

As a young girl in Catholic school, Diane Whalen always wanted to be close to God. She set her sights on becoming a nun, until puberty hit and her interest in boys forced her to make a course correction.

It wasn't until Whalen was in her 20s that she started hearing people advocate for women’s ordination into priesthood. The Church never did come around to this idea, but an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests began ordaining women outside of the Church institutions. In 2010, Whalen became the first female ordained priest in Washington.

A Child Seeks A Confidante In 'Hillery'

Mar 26, 2016
Arwen Nicks

Back in the early '90s, Sound Effect contributor Arwen Nicks was just 10 years old. But as it turns out, she might have been far too grown up for her own good. While a lot of 10-year-olds might be writing letters to movie stars or musicians or athletes that they admire, 10-year-old Arwen was writing letters to Hillary Clinton.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Most of us abandon our childhood dreams, and Kevin Wood was no different. As a boy he’d been enchanted by ships and he wanted desperately to sail the seven seas. Then he did the sensible thing and went to college on a normal career path.

But one summer on a visit to Key West, he encountered a docked tall ship. The next thing he knew he was training to sail, dropping out of college, and beginning a life at sea.

Kenneth Piekarski

A lot of kids grow up wanting to make it in show business and Seattle filmmaker Claire Buss was no different. Buss says she was practically raised by TV and she loved every second of it. She especially loved those morning game shows. As a kid, Buss even made up elaborate games for her sisters to play inspired by shows like "The Price is Right" and "Figure It Out."

Courtesy of Forrest Fenn

Many children dream of buried treasure and fantastical adventures in search of gold and jewels. Some adventurous adults are following through on those dreams, scouring the western United States for the treasure of Forrest Fenn. 

Courtesy of Robert Hood / Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Vice President Joe Biden used his visit to Seattle Monday to call for breaking down barriers that keep scientists from cooperating to fight cancer.

 

So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What's your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?

The question of who gets to cook other people's food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people's stories. (See: the whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)

Our Richland Correspondent Anna King has won two Gracie Awards, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced Monday. Anna has won the Gracie for outstanding correspondent and the Gracie for crisis coverage in the award's public radio division.

used with permission of Jason Padgett / struckbygenius.com

This week on "Sound Effect," we listen back to stories of survivors.

used with permission of Jason Padgett / struckbygenius.com

KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer talks with Tacoma resident Jason Padgett about the night he was mugged outside a Tacoma karaoke bar, and how that incident changed the trajectory of his life.

Padgett suffered a concussion in the attack, as well as internal injuries. He also developed post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Courtesy of Linda Dahlstron Anderson

Linda Dahlstrom decided she wouldn't take her husband Michael’s last name when they married. “Mrs. Michael Anderson” ​seemed like a fictional character to her: well groomed, a good cook, ​the classic ​June Cleaver. Dahlstrom did not feel like June Cleaver.  In fact, she felt like the same person she was before she was married. So she decided to keep things as they were. 

Courtesy of Autumn Rusch

Autumn Rusch was born with holes in her heart – so many, that her cardiologist described it as looking like it had been shot with a BB gun. As she grew up, her condition worsened. She was hospitalized for weeks on end, and her heart would at times reach an unimaginable 300 beats per minute. At the age of 14, she was given a new heart that would prove a great match. She recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary with it.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

To live in the Northwest is, to some extent, to roll the dice. If you lived through the 1965 Seattle earthquake, or the Nisqually quake in 2001, or if you just read the New Yorker article about the “really big one” destined to hit our region, you know this well: There are forces under our feet that could just shrug our cities off into the abyss.

The push and pull of continental plates is so huge compared with a puny little human. And yet, for a man named Kelcy Allen, the act of a child shielded him from the seismic forces. He’s spent decades feeling grateful to the boy who died saving his life.

If you're planning to hoist a pint of Irish dry stout for St. Patrick's Day, the folks at Guinness have a polite request: Don't slurp the foamy head off their beer. It's essentially a nitrogen cap, they say, that's protecting the flavors underneath from being oxidized.

St. Patrick's is a huge day for the legendary brewer – of the 70 million people who are estimated to be celebrating today, around 13 million will also drink a glass of Guinness.

Today is the day that the Guinness flows freely, tough brisket is transformed into tender corned beef, and we celebrate the Emerald Isle with humble cabbage. This holy trinity of meat, veg and stout is the communion of St. Patrick's Day.

But the history of that meal is relatively short, going back mainly to trade and immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Want to feast like St. Patrick would have celebrated more than 1,600 years ago? Let's party like it's 399.

Psychologists disagree on whether expecting your marriage to be a deeply fulfilling relationship makes it more likely that the union will thrive, or that it will doom you to disappointment.

So, psychologists, should we just go ahead and expect the worst after the honeymoon?

Want to mark this St. Patrick's Day with something beyond the usual corned beef and cabbage (which aren't so traditionally Irish anyway)? Why not mix up your menu with a tasty tray of blaas?

Editor's note: Last fall, NPR's Maanvi Singh embarked on a months-long quest to find her ideal pumpkin pie recipe. As she discovered, there's a lot of science involved in getting the crust and filling just the way you like it. To celebrate Pi Day, we reprise this story, first published last December.

It was the best of pies, it was the worst of pies. I have baked many, many, many pies.

And when I first began making pumpkin pies this autumn, my results were at best inconsistent and, at worst, disastrous.

When most people want to play a game, the first thing they reach for is likely a smartphone or tablet. Actual pinball machines have become quaint curiosities, but a father-son duo in California is keeping these old-school games alive in a museum.

The Museum of Pinball is hidden away in an old industrial building, just off Interstate 10 and about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in Banning, Calif. It's pretty quiet when the rows upon rows of pinball machines are not turned on. But once the switch is flipped, it gets loud.

Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives

In the early 1900s, Seattle was a major stop for the vaudeville circuit, with the performances held in the city's finest downtown theaters. If you were an African-American during that time, your best chance of seeing one of these shows was from up in the balcony (an area then often referred to as the peanut gallery), if you were allowed to buy a ticket at all. And if you were a black musician who wanted to perform at a club in Seattle, you were entirely out of luck. The local music union at the time only allowed white performers to take the stage. 

Credit Steven Depolo via Flickr

Editor's note: this audio contains a few censored choice words.

We all have our weaknesses. And we all have those moments where we just lose it. For former "Sound Effect" senior producer Arwen Nicks, one of her weaknesses was the need for an affordable and promptly delivered sandwich, and she lost it when the establishment she wanted it from told her no. 

Nate Stevens

What happens when you confront the gulf between life and death and, somewhat to your surprise, you choose life?

That’s what Nate Stevens faced one day on a stretch of road in Indonesia. Stevens was not the world-traveler type, but the Seattleite made the trip in part to get out of his comfort zone. That included summoning the courage to climb aboard what was the main mode of transportation in the area he was visiting: an electric scooter.

Andrew Becraft / Flickr

The South has its Civil War battlefields. The Northeast has colonial-era sites. But what do history nerds in the Northwest have? We have Lewis and Clark.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out in 1804 to chart their way across a great divide, the unmapped North American continent.

Carol Guzy / Washington Post

This week on "Sound Effect," we bring you stories of crossing the divide.

First, a look at the divide between secular and Christian artists in Seattle's alternative music scene. Music writer Kathleen Tarrant explains how mega-church Mars Hill blurred that divide by opening a popular all-ages venue in Seattle. But she says the crossover culture didn't last for long.

Mars Hill Church Seattle / Flickr

When music writer Kathleen Tarrant moved to Seattle, she noticed a divide between two groups in the Northwest. On the one hand, you had secular alternative kids who grew up rebelling against the church and other establishments, all set to grunge and indie music. On the other hand, there were young Christians who grew up drawn to the same alternative music, but also to religious faith. In the 1990s, these two groups began to commingle with artists like Dave Bazan and Damien Jurado, faithful Christians who also played alternative music.

Our resumes are grounded in assumptions. Want a job? Assume it's best to exaggerate your leadership experience. Assume you should build up your image as a self-starter and team-player. And, unless you want to be a chef, assume that your kitchen-prep experience is as irrelevant to your success as your summer camp counselor gig when you were 16.

I don't buy it. There's plenty to be learned from the kitchen (and also your summer camp counselor gig).

Bluefin tuna have been severely depleted by fishermen, and the fish have become a globally recognized poster child for the impacts of overfishing. Many chefs refuse to serve its rich, buttery flesh; many retailers no longer carry it; and consumers have become increasingly aware of the environmental costs associated with the bluefin fishery.

Cecil Stoughton White House Photographs / National Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

We get all tangled up in family dynamics on this edition “Sound Effect,” with stories of “Family Business.”

We begin in Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington, where Dave Marsh is the third generation to run this roadside attraction. His grandfather founded the store, which now contains taxidermy, vintage carny memorabilia, a (purportedly) real human tapeworm in a jar and, of course, Jake the Alligator Man.

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