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.

Ways To Connect

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler.

Seattle’s nonprofit health care system, Group Health, has said they won’t be offering abortion coverage in the new health care exchange.

But they also said women will be able to get an abortion without paying more.

Flickr Photo/Tom Woodward

Two and a half weeks ago the FBI, in partnership with local law enforcement, conducted a cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. They recovered dozens of under-age victims who have been forced into prostitution, and they arrested their pimps. Three child victims were found in Washington state, and nine people were arrested here.

On Tuesday,  something very different happened at FBI offices in downtown Seattle.

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post for $250 million, and that has a lot of people wondering what's next for the legacy media company.

Brad Stone, senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, has written a book about the mega-entrepreneur. It's called, "The Everything Store,” due out in October. He said the sale was a surprise for many, but in keeping with the way Bezos thinks.

Over the last several days the FBI, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, conducted its seventh cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. The FBI worked with local police agencies, helped recover victims who have been forced into prostitution, and made arrests. About 50 different task forces participated.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Very soon, a massive piece of machinery will start to burrow two miles out from Seattle. It’s building the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan way viaduct.

Tomorrow, WSDOT is hosting a big sendoff for the biggest tunneling machine in the world, affectionately named Bertha. The public is invited to check it out Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., provided closed-toed shoes are worn.

In a recent radio piece, WGBH’s Phillip Martin explored forced prostitution in East Asia. That’s a problem in the Puget Sound region, too.

Pimps here often prey on young girls who’ve run away from home. Detective Todd Novisedlak of the Seattle Police Department says that in some ways it’s similar to cases in Vietnam. He said traffickers here, too, prey on young girls’ susceptibility to fall in love.

People take long flights to pay low prices for sex. In a radio story from WGBH, Phillip Martin explores the international sex tourism industry. Here in the Seattle area, Highway 99 hosts one main corridor where prostitution is easy to see. Hot spots dot the roadway, from Northgate to Sea-Tac. 

Some of those prostitutes are also underage girls, forced by pimps to walk the streets. That's called child sex trafficking.

One year ago, Ian Stawicki killed four people at Cafe Racer, a popular and eclectic coffee shop and bar in Seattle's University District. Later that day he killed another woman, and then himself. Like other mass shootings without apparent motive, the case galvanized discussion about mental illness and violence.

KUOW's Sara Lerner spoke with Amnon Shoenfeld, director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division about why it's so difficult for many families to get help for loved ones who have mental illnesses.

Slow Loris Shirts

An I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River last week after a truck hit an overhead support beam. Once it was clear that no one was seriously injured, a local t-shirt company decided to have a little fun. Slow Loris Shirts founder Jessica Lynch says she laughed when she heard the state got a C- grade on its bridges.

Correction 5/15/2013: A previous version on this story stated that Jolie had a one in 87 chance of getting breast cancer when in fact she had an 87 percent chance.

Now, the public knows about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy. She wrote in the New York Times that, thanks to genetic testing, she believed there was an 87 percent chance she’d get breast cancer, so she went for it.

Tuesday, Dr. Julie Gralow, director of breast medical oncology at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance spoke with KUOW's Sara Lerner.  Dr. Gralow says, “The majority of breast cancer in the United States is not gene-mutation cancer.”

KUOW Photo/Sara Lerner

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night. The release of the Seattle duo’s song “Thrift Shop” in August catapulted them to the top of the charts, right up there with celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. The song has more than 240 million views on YouTube and their music is being used in commercials now, too.

The tune has created a thrift shopping buzz around the world. In this audio portrait, KUOW’s Sara Lerner takes a look at the song's impact on the Seattle thrift scene. 

Sara Lerner

The weekly newspaper Real Change provides an outlet for hundreds of people who are low-income and homeless to make money and hold a steady job. On Wednesday, the paper doubled its price from $1 to $2.  

There's a trend in the startup world toward combining business and smartphone apps with altruistic goals.

At a recent hackathon, where tech developers get together to create new apps and programs in a short amount of time, about a dozen University of Washington computer science students work diligently on their projects.

Sacramento Kings
Flickr Photo/Lisa Nottingham

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson still says his city is keeping their NBA basketball team, the Kings. That's despite a deal already in the works to sell the team to a Seattle group.

Johnson announced that new investors are stepping in with a last-ditch effort to keep the team on Thursday night.

Mark Mastrov is a Sacramento local and the founder of 24 Hour Fitness, and will make a bid for the team. Pittsburg Penguins owner Ron Burkle will solve the city's other problem and lead a group to build a new downtown arena.

Sara Lerner / KUOW Photo

The cities of Mukilteo and Edmonds filed an appeal this week to the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to allow commercial flights out of Paine Field in Everett.  The appeal is the latest move in a debate that stretches back more than two decades.

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