Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The recent rain doesn't mean the wildfire danger is over. That's the message heading into Labor Day weekend from fire managers in the Northwest.

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost lays down the well-worn quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In this year’s dramatic Northwest wildfires, ranchers and neighbors are cutting down “good fences” of all kinds.

North America's highest mountain has a new name. Or rather, an old one. President Obama has announced that Alaska's Mount McKinley will now be called Denali, which is what natives call the peak.

Multiple times this summer, the sighting of a wayward hobbyist drone has grounded aerial firefighting aircraft at Western wildfires. But unmanned aircraft have the potential to be useful at wildfires too.

Jason Brisch / Flickr

The city of Seattle will be back before a judge Tuesday over its minimum wage law, as the professional organization representing franchise businesses appeals an earlier court loss.

Seattle’s law lets small businesses raise their minimum wage more slowly, but it treats most franchises like big businesses: A chain restaurant that is independently owned has to hike its wage just as fast as one owned by corporate.

AP Images

There's always interesting stuff in the news that gets overshadowed by the big stories. On Sound Effect we invite a panel a journalists to talk over their nominees for under-covered story of the week.   

Joining KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer at this week's roundtable are Hannah Brooks Olsen of Seattlish, Josh Feit news editor of Seattle Met magazine and Emily Parkhurst Digital Managing Editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Theft: Sound Effect, Episode 34

Aug 29, 2015
NPR

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we're delving into tales of thievery. 

This has been one of the worst — and most expensive — wildfire seasons ever in the Northwest, where climate change and a history of suppressing wildfires have created a dangerous buildup of fuels.

With fires burning hotter and more intense, there are renewed calls to change how the federal government pays to fight the biggest fires.

"These large and intense fires are a natural disaster in much the same way a hurricane or a tornado or a flood is," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. "And they ought to be funded as such through the emergency funding of FEMA."

Brieana Ripley, KPLU

Not so long ago, before there were self-driving cars, microprocessors or even abundant electricity, the state-of-the-art technology was clockwork. Through cams and springs and gears, craftspeople were able to create precise tools, rudimentary robots and exquisite pieces of art.

Brittany Nicole Cox is one of a handful of antiquarian horologists trained to preserve and restore those objects. She does that from her Seattle workshop where, in gloves and a white lab coat, Cox gingerly removes a box from one of her vintage hardwood cabinets. It’s her specialty-within-a-specialty: A Victorian-era automaton.

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

Firewise is the name of a long-running campaign to get homeowners in wildfire country to take steps to reduce risk. Outside Omak, Wash., John Belles didn't just do the simple things. He built a futuristic, thin-shelled concrete dome house. It's now an unscathed beacon amid acres of hillside blackened by the Okanogan fire, the largest in state history.

Doctors' practices are increasingly trying to reach their patients online. But don't expect your doctor to "friend" you on Facebook – at least, not just yet.

Ticking Clock: Sound Effect, Episode 33

Aug 22, 2015
Brie Ripley / KPLU

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we ponder the relentless passing of time; the ticking clock.  

After Dark: Sound Effect, Episode 32

Aug 15, 2015
Matthew Streib, KPLU

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week, we shed some light on things that happen after dark. 

Sound Effect Senior Producer, Arwen Nicks learns about the world of after hours public defenders and what it means for them to be on call. 

KPLU's Community Advisory Council will be meeting on Monday, August 31 at 2 p.m. PST.

If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the General Manager's office at (253) 535-8732 for more information.

Slaven's Recommended Reads

Aug 8, 2015

 

Seeing isn’t always believing. In this segment, on Sound Effect, we discuss three books whose stories are propelled by what goes unseen. King County Supervising Librarian Amber Slaven highlights the work of three regional authors who, in their own ways, explore invisibility.

First on her list is Ann Pancake’s most recent book of short stories, “Me and Daddy Listen to Bob Marley.” Pancake, a teacher at Pacific Lutheran University, pens layered stories, evoking narratives of people who are intensely connecting to their land. She addresses the environmental toll of fracking, and how it affects the mental well-being of those who do the work.  Her stories include mention of ghosts, bones, drug addiction, mental illness – all of which are invisible to the naked eye.

Next is Elissa Washuta’s coming of age memoir, “My Body is a Book of Rules.” The reader is strapped to a rollercoaster narrative that parallels her bipolar disorder as the author navigates college in Maryland, then heads off to graduate school in Seattle. As a member of the Cowlitz tribe, who plays up digestible Native stereotypes to appease white adults, Washuta tries to manage her expected identity and her own shaky sense of self. Her perceived white privilege, mental health, ethnic identity, gender, and sexual trauma coalesce and reflect intersecting nature of invisibility.

Invisible: Sound Effect, Episode 31

Aug 8, 2015

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week, our out-of-sight team of producers talk invisibility. 

To begin our show, we hear from Danny Dover, a Seattle author and tech entrepreneur. To combat a bout of depression, Dover created a bucket list. One of the experiences he tacked onto that list required him to become completely invisible. He wanted to become a pickpocket, and so he did. 

Then, KPLU's Jennifer Wing visits Camp Oasis on the Key Peninsula. The goal of the camp is to unite children who battle the same invisible illnesses: Crohn's and colitis. Because illnesses such as these often go undiscussed, young people can have a hard time connecting with others facing similar challenges. But for one week out of every year, Camp Oasis offers campers an opportunity to lift the veil and meet others like themselves. 

In this week's roundtable to discuss under-reported stories, host Gabriel Spitzer was joined by Peter Robison, Seattle bureau chief for Bloomberg News, Phyllis Fletcher, managing editor for Northwest News Network and Justin Carter, publisher of the Capitol Hill Seattle blog

For Robison, the story that deserved more attention last week was the uprooting of a small, longtime community of RV campers and auto-homeless who lived on Northlake Way near Lake Union. The city dismantled the community last week.

"It was families. It was people with children," Robison said. The larger issue speaks to income inequality and Seattle's growing  and persistent problem with affordable housing for low-income residents, he added.

The Wallingford near-lake area, over time, grew expensive around the encampment.

"Across the street (from the former encampment) is Westward, which is one of Bon Appetite's top new restaurants," he said.

Capitol Hill Muggles Seek The Snitch At Quidditch

Aug 7, 2015
Brieana Ripley, KPLU

In 2010, a friend of Eric Andres told him that some Northern Arizona University classmates regularly got together for real-life Quidditch games. The fact that Quidditch was a fictional game played by made-up characters in Harry Potter novels wasn't lost on the college junior. 

Andres said his first thought was, "That sounds stupid-awesome." So he went to check it out. 

Ed Ronco, KPLU

Mama's Mexican kitchen in Seattle is going to be closing soon after 40 years in business. For its patrons, this means farewell to cheap, late-night burritos in Belltown, cozy booths and the Elvis Room.

But for Bella Biagio it's more than a loss of a business, a job or a building; She's worked there 18 years. So for her, it's the loss of family -- albeit an odd one she refers to as, "The island of misfit toys."

"We are the train with the square wheels. And the gun that shoots jelly and the Charlie in the Box," she said. "It's so dysfunctional but it works."

A lot of older Seattle is disappearing under the ceaseless march of urban development, she said. And the town is lesser for it.  There are not as many none corporate, "genuine" places in Seattle anymore, she said. Certainly not many like Mama's, a popular, divey Mexican eatery on the corner of 2nd Avenue. and Bell Street.

Déjà Vu: Sound Effect, Episode 30

Aug 1, 2015

 Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week, our ragtag radio team has curated another "best of" episode. 

Before things become a bit uncanny, we discuss the elusiveness of déjà vu with 50 First Dates Screenwriter, George Wing. 

From Episode 12: Lost and Found, KPLU’s Jennifer Wing unspools the story of Snowball, a frequently lost cat who was eventually found

From Episode 17: Coming Out, KPLU's Arwen Nicks interviews teacher and activist, Yaara Zaslow, about why she decided to come out as a rape survivor.

From Episode 3: Rain, we retreat to the forest to reflect on cooler weather with Ranger John Preston in the Hoh Rain Forest

From Episode 11: Flight, Korean astronaut and engineer Yi So-yeon tells KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer about her long journey from the International Space Station to Puyallup.

Aaron D'Errico

Aaron D'Errico had one dream as a child: To be a soccer star in the same manner as his father, David D'Errico, an original Seattle Sounder and former U.S. Men's National Team captain. 

But where Aaron's dreams went, his body couldn't follow. Born with cerebral palsy Aaron was never going to be a much of a soccer player, much less a professional. That wasn't about to stop him, however.

The Friday Harbor man put pen to paper and created Ammon Walker, a comic book superhero and super-spy who uses his status as a professional soccer star as his cover. Like Aaron, Ammon has cerebral palsy. But unlike his creator, Ammon has developed technology that allows his body to overcome it.

Teamwork: Sound Effect, Episode 29

Jul 25, 2015
mamas.com

 Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week our mötley crüe has produced stories for you about teamwork. 

Gabriel Spitzer talks with racer, Rachel Scdoris, about how she worked with a teammate to navigate and finish the Iditarod race even though she is legally blind.

Austin Jenkins

Washington state regulators are tightening their grip on medical marijuana this week by targeting dubious patient authorizations. But some clinics say the changes, which begin Friday, will put them out of business.

The new Cannabis Patient Protection Act requires any health care provider who authorizes more than 30 medical cannabis patients in a month to report to the Department of Health.

Someone Saved My Life: Sound Effect, Episode 28

Jul 18, 2015
Tacoma Public Library

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week is dedicated to stories about lives saved. 

Sound Effect, Episode 27: Origin Stories

Jul 11, 2015
Ammon Walker

  "Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. This week's show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we crack open origin stories.

To start off the show, KPLU's Arwen Nicks speaks with Roger Fernandez — a native storyteller, artist and educator. He shares with us part of a traditional Wampanoag creation myth.

Then, Gabriel Spitzer talks about the origin of the UFO phenomenon, spoiler alert — it started here in Washington state. 

You’ve probably enjoyed one yourself. The infamous “Seattle-dog” is an iconic entrée best enjoyed after traipsing around the city after dark. But where did this cream cheese laden hotdog come from? KPLU’s Matthew Streib tracks down the food cart vendor who spearheaded the local trend.

AP Images

From discrimination to density to wood, Gabriel Spitzer gets the underreported stories of the week from Jessica PartnowBryan Cohen and Joanne Lisosky

There's always interesting stuff in the news that gets overshadowed by the big stories. On Sound Effect we invite a panel a journalists to talk over their nominees for under-covered story of the week. 

This week Alex Hudson of the news and politics blog Seattlish noted that even though the heat wave is all anyone can talk about, there are dimensions of it that haven't gotten the attention they deserve, such as the outsize hazard heat poses for homeless people. 

"The city of Seattle has extreme weather plans that relate to cold weather, and there are no real plans that relate to hot weather," she says. 

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