Sara Lerner

Reporter

In her role as reporter and afternoon news anchor, Sara responds to events as they unfold: from an approaching tsunami to unbearable gridlock during the Alaskan Way viaduct closure. Sara's reporting has covered a range of subjects including the Dalai Lama's Seattle visit, local controversies about racy coffee shops, and the ups and downs of real estate in the Puget Sound region.

In 2009, Sara was awarded a KUOW Program Venture Fund grant which supported her four–part documentary on human trafficking in Washington state. In 2008, her piece, "No More Lemon Bars For Voters," brought Sara a national award from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Sara continues to produce stories for NPR and radio shows like Studio 360 and Voice Of America. She joined the station in 2005.

Prior to her radio career, Sara researched cacao in the Costa Rican rainforest, worked for a Palestinian/Israeli co–existence group in Tel Aviv and visited nearly every country in Latin America. Her interest in travel stems from the same place as her passion for reporting: an intense curiosity about the world around us and the people who inhabit it. She says her motivation as a journalist is to continue asking questions and telling stories, truthfully.

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Property Law
1:24 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Methow Valley 'View-Killing' Cabin Must Go, Judge Rules

The controversial Methow Valley cabin in a photo taken earlier this year by the group Move the Hut, which protested the cabin’s location.
Courtesy of the group Move the Hut

Last week a superior court judge ruled that a so-called “view-killing” cabin in the Methow Valley must go.  UW Law Professor Robert Anderson says this is an unusual case for property law in Washington state and it affects all of us.

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Human Trafficking
3:29 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

On The Border: Man Deported For Smuggling Women Into Washington

U.S. Immigration and Customs released this photo of Sung Hoon Ha, a 30-year-old South Korean national found guilty of smuggling women into Washington state from Canada.
Credit Photo Credit ICE

On Monday, Sung Hoon Ha, 30, was deported to South Korea after living in the U.S. for eight years. He had been caught operating a human smuggling ring in Washington state.

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Art and Tech
3:25 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Flight Path: Bees, A Hackathon And Sea-Tac Airport

Beekeepers manage hives at Sea-Tac airport as a plane flies overhead.
Rod Hatfield

Did you know there are bees at Sea-Tac Airport? Twenty beehives are already in place in green space around the airport. And tonight, a two-day hackathon gets going that’s centered around the idea of bees and flight. It’s connected to a new art installment that’s going in at Sea-Tac: “Flight Path.”

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Crime & Courts
11:56 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Some Charges Dropped Against Accused Massage Parlor Rapist

Danford Grant

Prosecutors have dropped four of nine charges against a Seattle attorney accused of raping five women in Asian massage parlors.

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Fatal Mudslide
12:31 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Active Search Efforts End In Oso Mudslide

Messages of support hang inside the Oso Fire Department.
Flickr Photo/Snohomish County (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This morning, Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary announced the end of active search operations at the site of the March 22 mudslide near Oso, Wash.

Trenary said it was a difficult decision to make and relied on “a little bit of soul searching and a lot of information from the scene.”

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Transportation Crisis
9:37 am
Fri April 18, 2014

No Access To Route 530 Is Next ‘Emergency’ For Darrington Residents

A State Patrol post blocks cars from traveling west on state Route 530 out of Darrington, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Sara Lerner

A month after the devastating mudslide near Oso, Wash., a mile of state Route 530 still sits under landslide debris.

As the people from this tiny community and the neighboring towns try to move on, they’re battling a major transportation issue with their daily commute to work.  Many of them are adding hours to their drive time to go around the mudslide.

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Oso Mudslide
3:04 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Survivor Describes Harrowing Landslide Moment

Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, left, talks to the media with her partner Ty Suddarth at Harborview Medical Center, April 9, 2014, in Seattle. On March 22, Skorjanic said she was trapped in a pocket formed by her broken couch and pieces of her roof with her infant son.
Credit AP Photo/The Herald, Dan Bates, Pool

Oso landslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc spoke from her hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Wednesday. She and her 5-month-old baby Duke Suddarth are among the few who survived the landslide.

As Skorjanc’s partner Ty Suddarth sits next to her, she describes that moment when the landslide hit.

It carried her and her son 600 feet from where their home once stood.

Transcript: Amanda Skorjanc Recalls March 22 Oso Mudslide 

Ty had just given us a big family hug and he was going into Darrington to the hardware store.

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Rescue And Recovery
11:52 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Search Crews Struggle To Define Success In Mudslide Debris

Lieutenant Richard Burke of the Bellevue Fire Department has been out searching in the mudslide debris near Oso, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

As of Wednesday morning, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed that 29 people have died in the Oso landslide. Hopes of finding survivors are dwindling.

That’s taking a toll on the families and the search crews, some who have been out there since the very beginning, doing intense physical and emotional work. Rescue operations managers are very conscious about giving those crews a break, letting them rotate in and out so they can rest and recharge.

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Oso Devastation
6:52 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Gov. Inslee: 'We're Providing Every Opportunity To Find That Miracle'

A young boy attends a Sunday church service at the First Baptist Church in Darrington, Wash., a week after the devastating Oso mudslide.
Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

As the local community held Sunday church services a week after the devastating Oso mudslide, searchers continued their work in the sodden destruction zone.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner confirmed on Sunday evening that 21 people have died in the mudslide. Of these, only 15 have been officially identified.

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Oso Tragedy
8:38 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Landslide Death Toll Rises, Number Of Missing Drops

Dog rescued from mudslide debris on March 25, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Snohomish County

The death toll has risen to 18 following the devastating landslide near Oso, Washington. One bright spot: The number of people missing has fallen dramatically. It's now down to 30. 

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Human Trafficking
9:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Study: Spending On Sex Trade Way Up In Seattle

Flickr Photo/Michael Scheltgen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new study finds spending on the underground sex trade in Seattle has gone way up. Of the cities studied, Seattle is one of only two where spending increased, and it’s not pennies: $50 million in 2003 to $112 million in 2007.

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Prostitution Charges
10:32 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Washington Legislature Passes Bill To Allow Human Trafficking Victims To Clear Record

Flickr Photo/publik16 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new human trafficking bill passed the state Legislature Monday that will allow victims who were forced into prostitution to clear their records of prostitution charges.

Removing one conviction has already been the law for a couple years. But now, a victim is able to get more than one charge vacated.

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Closure Averted
12:48 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Harborview Clinics To Stay Open

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Harborview Medical Center said Wednesday it will not be closing its primary care clinics after all.

Last December, the hospital had announced its intent to relocate those services into the community. But the prospect of shutting down the clinics located at Harborview's main hospital disturbed many staff and patients.

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Sex Trafficking
9:31 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Moving Past 'The Life': New Bill Would Allow Erasing Prostitution Convictions From Record

Flickr Photo/Brian

Those caught up in it call it "the life." It usually involves a pimp, coercion and prostitution.

For young victims of sex trafficking, getting out of that life and building a new one can be a monumental task. Having a rap sheet for prostitution makes it  incredibly difficult to apply for jobs, or housing, or school — the things it takes to start over.

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Unemployment
3:30 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Two Years Later: A Layoff Survivor Describes The New Atmosphere

Flickr Photo/Thomas Hawk (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Back in May 2011, Laura was in the habit of whispering at work – even when talking about the weather. She was a manager at T-Mobile at a time when the company was suffering deep layoffs.

She was a “layoff survivor” – her colleagues were losing their jobs, workloads were shifting, and she was in fear of her own position. She declined to release her full name.

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