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Other News

Updated 9 days ago

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Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

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Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

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iTunes Ratings

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Average Ratings
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Cover image of Other News

Other News

Updated 9 days ago

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Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

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Playing Defense: Sound Effect, Episode 198

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This week on Sound Effect, the theme is “Playing Defense” — stories of protecting our turf. First, we travel to Whidbey Island to learn about massive forts that were built in the 1890s to protect Puget Sound from invading ships. Then, we hear the story of a gifted Thurston County boxer with a magnetic personality — and a weakness. We learn what it takes for students of color to thrive at a mostly white university. An evolutionary biology researcher helps us understand that, sometimes, viruses are on our side. And we look back at one of the greatest middleweight boxers of a generation.

Dec 07 2019

48mins

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'He just wanted to be remembered.' Friends, family share memories of magnetic local boxer

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Eloy Perez was a professional boxer, and in the early 2000s, he was a rising star. He had a contract with Oscar De La Hoya's promotion company. He boxed at the Playboy Mansion and at the MGM Grand. He fought live on HBO. At one point, it looked like he would be a world champion. But that didn't happen. In October 2019, Eloy was found dead in Tijuana. He'd been deported there a few years prior. Tony Overman, a photojournalist for The Olympian who followed Eloy's career, can't make sense of it. "How does someone who seems to have everything going for him end up dead by the side of the road in Tijuana?" This is that story.

Dec 07 2019

12mins

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Why didn’t we hatch from eggs? Thank viruses, says biologist

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Whether you know it or not, you’ve already gone viral — hundreds of thousands of times, in fact. Viruses are part of who we are in a very concrete way. Fully 8 percent of our genetic code comes not from human ancestors, but from viruses, according to Harmit Malik. “Things we consider bonafide human genes and human biological processes actually owe their roots to something that came from a virus,” says Malik, a faculty member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center . Malik is especially interested in a type of virus called a retrovirus — the virus that causes HIV is a famous one. A retrovirus enters a host cell, copies its own genetic material, and inserts that copy into the host’s DNA. If that host cell happens to form a sperm or egg, the viral-origin DNA gets passed on to the next generations. Multiply that a few hundred thousand times (at least — Malik says that’s an underestimate), and you wind up with a human genome full of viral relics. BIOLOGICAL JIU JITSU Malik says that

Dec 07 2019

9mins

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Historic defense system built to protect Puget Sound becomes instant white elephant

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In the late 1800s, the U.S. government constructed three state-of-the-art defense systems: Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island and Fort Worden in nearby Port Townsend. They were built to thwart possible intruders from entering Puget Sound. “The three of them in combination form this triangle, which has come to be called the triangle of fire,” said Sam Wotipka, who works for Washington State Parks. If you are in a boat on the water and you pass by these forts, you will not see any signs of artillery. The 600-pound metal shells were out of view, as were the guns that sent them through the air at over 1,500 mph. Everything was stored in concrete bunkers. The side of the fortifications that faces the water is covered in earth and grass. From a distance, it looks like any other green hillside. But when these structures were built, some amazing things were happening in other parts of the world. The Wright Brothers were testing their new flying invention, and more

Dec 07 2019

4mins

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‘People are going to ask to touch your hair, a lot’: advice for students of color going to college

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Going into his freshman year at the University of Washington back 2001, Lull Mengesha felt like he was prepared. Mengesha went to Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle. He was an honors student, he was on the cross country team and he was part of a student leadership group. “I was really involved and ambitious,” Mengesha said. Mengesha’s family is from Ethiopia. At Rainier Beach, there were a lot of students who looked like him. But his confidence took a huge hit after taking UW’s math placement test. “Everybody has to take that placement test going into UW and it places you into, you know, pre-calculus or calculus or algebra, whatever,” Megesha said. When Megesha took the test, he didn’t do well. He was placed in a remedial, no credit math class. The test results were proof that the good grades he got in high school didn’t actually prepare him for UW. “That was like the first blow in college. Realizing that now, even though everybody kinda knew I was smart in high school, that

Dec 07 2019

10mins

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The best boxer you’ve never heard of came out of Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood

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You did what you could to make money during the Depression, and for a Seattle teenager like Al Hostak, that meant fighting men with nicknames that didn’t point toward a happy ending. Case in point, Al's first real boxing opponent: “Somebody called the Northwest Woodchopper, or something like that,” said John Ochs, a local boxing historian and author who has talked with Al over the years. Al could barely grow facial hair. This guy had a carpet on his chest. The match didn’t last long, and its end would repeat itself like an echo throughout Al’s boxing career — Al standing, his opponent laying dazed on the ground. Al Hostak would go on to become one of the best middleweight fighters of his generation. He won world championships, knocked out dozens of opponents, and fought in one of the largest boxing matches ever to take place in Seattle. And it all began as an escape from a childhood affliction that played as much a part in Al’s legacy as any one of his fights.

Dec 06 2019

9mins

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Music, Volume 5: Sound Effect, Episode 197

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This week on Sound Effect, it is our yearly Thanksgiving week tradition of sharing our favorite music stories from the past year.

Nov 30 2019

48mins

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Jon Boy reunites with his 'kitchen mom,' the inspiration for his heartfelt country song

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This story originally aired on June 22, 2019. Jon McCollum (AKA Jon Boy) and Penny Reagan (AKA Momma Penny) have the kind of unlikely friendship that only a hectic kitchen job could foster. They worked together for food services at the University of Washington, and they hit it off right away. At the time Jon Boy had just moved from Texas, and he impressed Penny with his knowledge of country music — particularly the old stuff she loves, such as Glen Campbell and Buck Owens. Jon came to think of Penny as his “kitchen mom;” he’d come to her for advice, she’d come to him for a good laugh. He liked to tell her about being in country bands back in Texas, and she liked to talk about her kids and her late husband, Ricky. And that’s how it went for about two years. But then, Jon Boy needed a change. He put in his notice and took the last of his vacation days. Without meaning to, he missed his last shift with Penny and they didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. Penny was used to that by now,

Nov 30 2019

9mins

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Fantasy A's fantasy is a stable home in Seattle: Sound Effect, Episode 159.5

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This story originally aired on Nov. 14, 2018. If you’ve spent any time walking around Seattle neighborhoods, you’ve probably spotted a “Fantasy A” poster bearing the name and image of a young African-American man. His handmade fliers promote performances at local clubs and bars where he shares details about his life through rap music. He spends about six hours each day putting up posters. “I’m a musician with autism and I write songs about my personal struggles,” Fantasy A said.

Nov 30 2019

16mins

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For this musician with autism, music is their first language

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This story originally aired on March 30, 2019. Xolie Morra Cogley is a musician in Seattle, and leader of the band Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind. “I’ve always been into music since I was very little," Cogley says. "And so music, I think, really helped to move me in a more social direction, because I didn’t really do a lot of talking when I was little. But I developed a communication skill using music that helped me fit into certain groups. So I didn’t have to have conversations. I was just playing music.” Using music as a sort of language is helpful to Xolie, because they have autism. Xolie didn’t always know that -- in fact, they weren’t diagnosed until age 30. In this conversation, Xolie sat down with Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt to talk about growing up undiagnosed, how musicians have helped Xolie communicate and dealing with what they call “off-stage fright.” Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind will be performing at a benefit concert called “In the Spectrum - The Concert

Nov 30 2019

17mins

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For Seattle violinist, perfect pitch is handy in the symphony and at parties

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This story originally aired on Oct. 27, 2018. If you are a musician in the Seattle Symphony, you already have a certain mastery of your craft. Andy Liang is in the second violin section with the Symphony, and despite being an incredible talent, he would probably be the first to tell you that he is not perfect. But he does possess at least one type of perfection: perfect pitch. Perfect pitch, sometimes called absolute pitch, is defined as a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. So basically, Andy can hear a note and tell you what that note is without any point of reference. And Andy has had this ability his whole life. "I started playing violin at the age of 5, and, yeah, I think it was always something I remember having." For Andy, this is very helpful as a musician. When a piece of music requires Andy to play a very fast or very high run of notes, he is able to hear and

Nov 30 2019

6mins

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How living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle led this man to help save musicians

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This story originally aired on Sept. 8, 2018. Growing up on Mercer Island, Mark Rose was captivated by rock n’ roll. And like most kids, he wanted to be a part of it. But unlike most kids, Mark did end up in the music business. He didn’t make it as a musician, but instead worked on the business side of things. But because of his close association with the musicians, he ended up living a lifestyle very much befitting a rockstar: drugs, alcohol, incessant partying. And like a lot of rock n’ roll stories, Mark’s had a burn-out ending that left him picking up the pieces of his life. Mark eventually left the music business, but didn’t end up leaving the musicians. Instead, he found a way to help musicians who are battling addiction the same way he did.

Nov 30 2019

9mins

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LISTEN: ‘Best moment of my life.’ Some locals share why they’re thankful this year

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In honor of Thanksgiving, KNKX's Grace Harmon went to Capitol Hill earlier this week to ask people about something they're grateful for this year. She talked with Colum Brummet, Wendy Ogaard and Gemma O’Neil. Listen to what they had to say above.

Nov 28 2019

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Hidden Talents: Sound Effect, Episode 196

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The theme for this week’s Sound Effect is “Hidden Talents.” First, we hear how a summer job at a theme park launched one woman’s career at NASA and Microsoft. Then, a young man leaves his Mormon faith for a new religion: stand-up comedy . A country star shares how being bullied motivated him to excel on stage and in sports. We meet a man who fled El Salvador’s civil war — and may have changed the course of the country . Finally, how one performance of “I’m a Little Teapot” changed the summer, and maybe even the lives, of a bunch of Boy Scouts.

Nov 25 2019

48mins

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He almost died in El Salvador's civil war. He also may have changed the course of the country.

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Al Saade was in middle school when El Salvador’s civil war came knocking on his classroom door. It was the military. They suspected Al’s teacher was sympathetic to the guerrilla forces, which more or less amounted to a death sentence. “The first thing that they did was shoot my teacher,” Saade said. “The kids they were screaming. There were guns shooting. I believe 12 kids were killed in my classroom that day.” The scene was just one bloody sequence in El Salvador’s long-standing civil war — a war in which the smallest misstep could lead to death, one that set the stage for the crime and corruption that plagued the country for decades after. Al said he had given up on El Salvador altogether by the time he fled for the United States and ended up in Seattle. Politicians were always offering change that never came. For years, his home country struggled. Then came a young mayor who promised to fix everything. He was running for El Salvador's president, and for once, Al said he felt hopeful

Nov 25 2019

9mins

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How a dead-end summer job launched this woman’s career at NASA, Microsoft

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Growing up in Southern California, Cindy Healy wasn’t thinking much about her career. “The expectations for me, a girl growing up in the 1970s, they were really low,” she said. “The career advice I got was you’d better get in that kitchen and learn how to cook, 'cause you’re going to be someone’s wife someday.” The summer after she graduated high school, she did what a lot of Orange County teens did: she got a summer job at a theme park. In this case, Knott’s Berry Farm. “I didn’t really think I was Disneyland material,” she said. Cindy was deployed to the Buffalo Nickel arcade, which at that time featured such cutting-edge gaming experiences as Pac-Man and Space Invaders. And within the arcade, Cindy began to draw a plum assignment: manning the change booth. “That was the primo shift to pull down, because you got to sit down all day, got to make announcements over the loudspeaker. It was kind of like a queen-bee type situation,” she said. One day during her shift, Cindy got a visit

Nov 23 2019

7mins

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Walking away from his family’s faith allowed Bengt Washburn to pursue a career in comedy

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As a child, Bengt Washburn had two passions: art and comedy. Everything he drew made it to a child’s first art gallery — the refrigerator. His early comedic taste was formed by the records his dad brought home. Washburn’s dad got Steve Martin’s "A Wild and Crazy Guy" record. “My parents had a really good sense of humor," Washburn said. "They were funny people." Washburn’s dad loved Steve Martin on television, but didn’t listen to "A Wild and Crazy Guy" before giving it to his young son. “They just assumed he was a clean comedian, because that’s what he was on TV, and I was too young to know that these were dirty jokes,” Washburn recalled. When his father heard Martin exclaim in one of his bits, “Grandpa bought a rubber!” the record was tossed, Steve Martin was declared off limits and the only comic deemed appropriate to listen to was Bill Cosby. Washburn’s Mormon faith stayed strong throughout childhood. But, when he was a young adult, doing his mission work in Seattle, doubts started

Nov 23 2019

11mins

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How a performance of ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ changed this man’s life

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Once upon a time, there was a kid who discovered he had a flair for the stage. And that kid gave a performance (in his best Axl Rose mode) that would change the summer, and maybe even the lives, of a bunch of Boy Scouts. That kid was not Wolfe Maykut. But Wolfe was profoundly affected by the events in this story. It began for him when his parents, hoping to link him up with some of the good kids, enrolled him in Scout Troop 120. “I’m convinced to this day that it was a dumping ground for unwanted children,” Maykut says. The kids at summer scout camp quickly sorted themselves into bullies and victims. Among the former were the ones who were nominally in charge — the teenage assistant scoutmasters who lorded their petty power over the younger kids. Wolfe was an introverted, chubby kid, prone to dodging his more assertive peers. But one day, to his surprise, a bully became the hero of his story. Wolfe shared the tale at Sound Effect’s live storytelling event in June — click “listen” above

Nov 23 2019

9mins

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Bullying motivated this country star to excel on the field and on the stage

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At first glance, “hidden” is not the word you’d use for Chance McKinney’s talents. As an athlete in high school and college, he got plenty of recognition. “I got a track scholarship to throw (javelin), and went to a Pac-12 school...I mean I kept qualifying for the Olympic trials,” said McKinney. But this very capable guy has a whole other set of gifts that weren’t so obvious. They emerged years later, when he was teaching high school math in Mukilteo. On a whim, he’d submitted an original song to a music contest. And somehow, to his shock, McKinney’s country song blew up. “I’m sitting there, in a math class, with ABC television, and radio stations, and newspapers and everybody...and my kids from that class, finding out that I had a No. 1 on CMT," he said. "I had no band, no nothing. It was just 'here I am, Chance McKinney, number one unsigned singer songwriter.'” Chance is now a successful, full-time country musician. But his motivation to achieve, both in sports and in music, comes

Nov 22 2019

8mins

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‘I would not be sorry to die’: A bittersweet friendship built around an Olympia printing press

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Up a narrow wooded driveway on Olympia Westside, a small cottage sits beneath a canopy of trees. Inside, light from the south pours in through a large window as Jami Heinricher operates a Heidelberg printing press. It looks like something from Rube Goldberg’s imagination. We’re at The Sherwood Press. How Jami came to own this business is a story that she’s told many times, but it can still move her to tears. It was 1989. Jami was working at a coffee shop. She did calligraphy on the side for weddings and such, using ink on paper. Maybe that’s why a friend kept bugging her to check out this little print shop on the west side. Jami kept putting it off, but her friend insisted. So, finally, she made an appointment, knocked on the door, and it opened. “And here's this crackling fire, and here's Jocelyn with her apron and her little bolo tie and all this printing equipment and clutter, and I just was instantly enchanted. We probably talked for like two hours. And she just was the person that

Nov 16 2019

9mins

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