The Record | KUOW News and Information

The Record

Monday - Thursday, noon - 1:00 p.m.

Daily conversations about the ideas that matter most to Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Hosted by Bill Radke.

Have a story that we should be talking about? Tell us! Our email address is record@kuow.org.

Ways to Connect

Flickr Photo/Chris Martino

Salmonella is not just in poultry anymore; it's in our spices. In a recent study of more than 20,000 food shipments, the United States Food and Drug Administration found that nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with salmonella. That's twice the average of all other imported foods. Oregano, basil, cumin and black pepper are just some of the spices where salmonella contamination was found.

Marcie Sillman talks with FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess about the study. Burgess recommends adding spices to your food during the cooking process which will kill the salmonella bacteria and to follow basic food safety procedures.

The Pierce County jail is facing a hefty 8 percent budget shortfall. So far, 30 jobs are slated to be lost and two jail units, which can house more than 160 inmates, are set to close. Officials say even with these reductions, the budget crises will not be fixed.

Ross Reynolds talks with Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor about how these cuts will affect the jail and public safety.

Jamie Ford's book "Songs of Willow Frost."

Jamie Ford’s debut novel was a sensation: "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” was the story of a Chinese-American boy who falls for a Japanese-American girl.  Unfortunately, their love affair was stymied by World War II and the girl’s internment in Minidoka, Idaho.

Ford follows his bestselling novel with another book that comes out of Asian-American history.  “Songs of Willow Frost” is the story of a Chinese-American girl forced to give up her young son to an orphanage when the Depression hits. Ford says the book was inspired by his own family history. He spoke with Marcie Sillman today.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

A Seattle open-water swimmer is questioning whether Diana Nyad really swam to Florida on her own.

Flickr Photo/Wojtek Ogrodowczyk

Congress reconvenes today, and at the top of their agenda is deciding whether to sanction President Obama’s proposal to launch military attacks on Syria. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is denying the use of chemical weapons on civilians by his government. The situation in Syria has changed significantly since 2011 when protesters took to the streets of Damascus. Over one million children are living in refugee camps outside of the country and two million are internally displaced.

Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the author of the book “Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy.” He talked with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman about the Syrian government, its relationship to the United States and its position in the Middle East.

Flickr Photo/Jonathon Colman

Congress is back in session this week, and Syria is at the top of the agenda. That means other business like immigration reform and the debt ceiling moves to the back burner. Why can’t Congress do two things at once? Marcie Sillman and Ross Reynolds talk with Andrea Seabrook of DecodeDC.

The Army That's Running Hotels

Sep 9, 2013
Flickr Photo/James Gordon

In 2009, the Sri Lankan Army brutally crushed a separatist group known as the Tamil Tigers. That same army is now in the hospitality business. Without a separatist group to fight anymore, the Sri Lankan Army is converting some of their assets into hotels and resorts. Journalist Brendan Brady stayed in one of the hotels. Ross Reynolds talks with Brady about the Sri Lankan Army's surprising new venture. 

Flickr Photo/OregonDOT

Studies upon studies have exposed the dangers of texting and driving. Some go so far as to say texting is worse than drinking and driving. Renowned director Werner Herzog even made a film about it.

Yet a new University of Washington study shows that one in 12 drivers in Washington state are still using cellphones or other electronic devices on the road, and half of those using their devices are texting.

Ross Reynolds talks with Beth Ebel, the study's principal investigator and trauma doctor in the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Harborview, about her findings.

Congress returned to Washington, D.C., today with Syria at the forefront of its agenda. Lawmakers will debate a resolution on military intervention against Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons.

To take a step back, Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Raymond Zilinskas, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies about chemical weapons — what they are and why they are considered a different class than conventional weapons. 

The new documentary Muscle Shoals recalls how interracial harmony in tumultuous times made possible a new kind of music. Leading African-American artists traveled to North Alabama — not exactly a place they thought they'd be welcome in the civil rights era — to jam with an all-white crew of session players. In little rooms near the wide Tennessee River, they perfected soul and anticipated Southern rock.

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle is a city full of icons. Visitors stop to gawk at the Space Needle. They marvel as Pike Place Market fishmongers blithely toss a fresh salmon to one another as the crowd cheers them on. And they trek to a dead end street in the Fremont neighborhood to pay homage to a homely gray cement sculpture.

This is the Fremont Troll, and he's been a hulking presence under Highway 99 for the past 23 years. Co-creator Steve Badanes, a University of Washington architecture professor, and two of his students submitted the idea for the troll in 1990. The Fremont Arts Council was holding a contest to create an artwork for this street end. A panel of judges would pick three finalists, then the public would vote at a booth at that year's Fremont Solstice Festival.

Flickr Photo/sunshine.patchoulli

The 2013 NFL season kicked off on Thursday night. The Seattle Seahawks hope to pick up where they left off last year with a road game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. And if you believe the hype, they have a chance to go all the way to the Super Bowl this year. Sportswriter Seth Kolloen gives us a preview.

Should Seattle Provide Universal Preschool?

Sep 6, 2013
The city of Seattle is scaling back plans for its subsidized preschool program.
Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-SA)/http://bit.ly/1LQhs3d

On Wednesday, the Seattle City Council held its first committee meeting to consider a plan for providing universal preschool for three and four year olds. The effort is being led by Councilmember Tim Burgess.

Burgess told KUOW that "we know from all of the academic research that preschool for three and four year olds is a key step to prepare them to enter kindergarten, so they can learn and thrive throughout their education process."

Not everyone finds that research so convincing. Liv Finne of the Washington Policy's Education Center said, "the research has been exaggerated," and if Seattle moves forward with a plan to provide universal preschool, "we're not going to get the results that are being promised."

The Seattle City Council will continue to meet in the coming months. 

Ben Zimmer On Having And Eating Cake

Sep 6, 2013
Flickr Photo/Jeff Anderson

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but how are you supposed to eat cake you don’t have? Language guru Ben Zimmer is back today and he explains the whole having, eating and not having cake thing. And what that has to do with how the Unabomber was captured. Really.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

There are nearly 2,000 people living completely without shelter in King County, sleeping in doorways or in parks, and because of the high concentration of services in Pioneer Square many of them find themselves sleeping on the streets in this neighborhood.  

The Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square started more than 80 years ago, serving out soup during the Great Depression. It is only one of the locations that the mission has now, and it is only one of a few missions in Pioneer Square. One of the services provided by the Union Gospel mission, in addition to housing, food and addiction services, is a program called Morning Watch. Ross Reynolds talks with the lead intern running the Morning Watch program, Jason Bennett. 

KUOW's News Quiz

Sep 6, 2013
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

It's time for KUOW's News Quiz. Today we're playing live in Pioneer Square where one lucky person on the street will get the chance to demonstrate his or her news knowledge. This week's quiz covers everything from local business to reality television. Tune in to hear our winner.

KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Jay Boone owns Emerald City Guitars in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. If Jimmy Paige or Keith Richards come through Seattle and are on the hunt for a new guitar to shred on, it is not out of the question to find them at Jay's guitar shop.

Ross Reynolds ventured down to Pioneer Square to talk to Jay Boone about the neighborhood he has been running his business from for the last 18 years.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

In 2009 people were asking, can Pioneer Square be saved? Businesses shut down and moved out of the neighborhood, the iconic Elliott Bay Book Company packed up and left for higher ground on Capitol Hill. But in the last few years the neighborhood has undergone a boom of sorts.

Restaurants Bar Sajor, Rain Shadow Meats, Gaba Sishi, Little Uncle and more have decided to make a home in Pioneer Square. The neighborhood has added to its bevy of galleries and retail shops. So what has changed? Ross Reynolds talks with Leslie Smith, executive director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square about the neighborhood business economy.

KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Charles Royer served as Seattle's mayor from 1978 to 1990. During his tenure, Royer saw the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square surge with violence as Seattle handled the crack epidemic. More than two decades after finishing his fourth term, Royer now lives and works in Pioneer Square. He told KUOW's Arwen Nicks his thoughts on the challenges currently facing the neighborhood and why he thinks the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Downtown Seattle Association are good candidates to manage Occidental park, but not without help from the city.

Real Change vendor Mike Hall has been living in Pioneer Square for 15 years, and for the last 13 years he has stood at the corner of First and Main. Ross Reynolds spoke with Mike Hall about his experiences in Seattle's first neighborhood. 

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with Pioneer Square resident and neighborhood blogger, Jen Kelly, about her experience living in Pioneer Square. 

KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

The Record on KUOW will broadcast live from the Washington Shoe Building on Occidental Square (410 Occidental Way South), Friday, from noon to 2 p.m. If you live or work in Pioneer Square, come by and tell us about your neighborhood. We’ll explore its demographics, history and how it’s changed in the past 20 years.

Highlights From The KUOW Booth


Poet Rebecca Hoogs
Rebecca Hoogs

Local poet Rebecca Hoogs' new collection, "Self-Storage" (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013), is full of witty and surprising verbal self-portraits. "Honeymoon" turns the mirror outward, looking at two friends' relationship. Hoogs says the poem was prompted by the fact that she knew one very important fact about the couple before they wed.

Hoogs is the curator of the Seattle Arts and Lectures Poetry Series, SAL U and the Literary Arts Series. She's the author of the chapbook "Grenade" and has been awarded fellowships from ArtistTrust and the MacDowell Colony. 

Read more of Hoogs' poems online at The Monarch Review.

Flickr Photo/Wizetux

We take for granted the fact that we can predict long-term weather forecasts. Now scientists at the University of Washington are working on ways to forecast the changing conditions of the ocean. They hope these forecasts can help them better understand how those conditions affect Northwest fisheries. 

Samantha Siedlecki is a research scientist at the University of Washington Joint Institute of the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean; she helped develop the forecasting tools and explains the way they work.

Facebook Photo/Greg Kucera

If you want the long view on Seattle's Pioneer Square, Greg Kucera is your man. Kucera has run his eponymous art gallery in the neighborhood for 30 years, first in a rented storefront on Second Avenue, and now in a space he owns a few blocks east. 

His front door is just across the street from one of the Union Gospel Mission shelters, and on a quiet Saturday morning, several men sit on the curb outside the Mission, drinking from paper cups.

Last year’s violent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, put school safety at the forefront. As the new school year begins, we take a look at two approaches to school safety in Washington state. David Hyde speaks with Rainier School District Superintendent Tim Garchow and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick.

AP Photo/AP Pool

President Obama arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, today for the G-20 summit. He’s expected to make his case for launching a military strike on Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is publicly opposed to military action in Syria – a longtime Russian ally. Yesterday, Putin accused Secretary of State John Kerry of lying to the US Congress about Al Qaeda’s presence in Syria.

Relations between the two countries have been increasingly tense recently. Just last month Obama canceled a one-on-one meeting with Putin, after Russia granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum.

What other factors are pushing the two countries apart? And how will tensions influence the discussions between the United States and Russia over a potential military strike in Syria? Dr. Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian history and politics at New York University and Princeton University. He talked with David Hyde.

Jonathan Raban's book "Driving Home."

Writer Jonathan Raban came to Seattle from his native England in 1991. Microsoft and Starbucks were in their toddler years and Seattle’s music scene had just become an international sensation. What was once a workingman’s town was evolving, and Raban was here to chronicle that change. "Driving Home," a collection of Raban’s essays written over 20 years, is out now in paperback. He talks with Marcie Sillman about the Seattle he first met.

Flickr Photo/Jesus V

Did you know that the phrase "the whole 9 yards" used to be "the whole 6 yards?" It’s true. And cloud nine, that fantastic place to be, used to be cloud seven, then cloud eight. So how did we get to nine yards and cloud nine? Ben Zimmer is back today to talk about phrase inflation as we consider our series on strange language.

Flickr Photo/Adam Russell

This January, changes in federal law made it illegal to unlock cell phones. This was great news for phone companies that like people to be locked into one carrier but bad news for the environment. Ross Reynolds talked with Kiera Butler, senior editor at Mother Jones, about locked phones and e-waste. 

Flickr Photo/Andy Withers

Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to approve a resolution authorizing US military action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Congress returns to the Capitol next week where they will debate at length the possibility of military intervention.

One question we haven't heard much about yet is how much money an intervention might cost. Marcie Sillman talks with economist Dean Baker, founder of The Center For Economic and Policy Research, about the costs of war.

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