Local Wonder

Local Wonder solicits questions from our community and then listeners vote on the question that they want KUOW to cover. Reporters will investigate the story and present it on air and online. Local Wonder is guided by listeners and their curiosity about Seattle, our region and the people who live here. What do you wonder about Seattle, the Puget Sound region or its people?

Crows fly from all over the Seattle region to reach their nighttime destination, where thousands upon thousands of them spend the night together.
KCTS9 Photo/Ken Christensen

Listener Lauren Linscheid of Seattle sees crows flying every day toward Lake City Way. “I want to know where they’re going and why,” Lauren told KUOW’s Local Wonder team. We sent reporter Ashley Ahearn to investigate.

In 1933, Washington state had an income tax. So what happened?
Illustration by Drew Christie

What is the history of Washington state's political allergy to an income tax? Steven Thomson of Olympia posed this question to KUOW's Local Wonder.

We had an income tax once in Washington state.

It was during the Great Depression, and a lot of people were down and out.

People were so excited about the income tax that they voted twice. First, they changed the state constitution to allow the tax. Then voters approved the tax – 70 percent in favor.

Hey Bridge Tender! Why Do You Keep Raising The Bridge?

Sep 22, 2015
Bridge tender David Leask has worked in the control tower at the Ballard Bridge for 18 years.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

“What is a day in the life of a Seattle bridge tender?”

Laura Osterbrock of Magnolia asked that question as part of KUOW’s Local Wonder project.

Part of the answer: Sometimes they watch drivers throw fits as the bridge starts to rise.

“Some drivers do interact, with their hand signals,” said Ballard Bridge tender David Leask with a bit of a shrug. “You hear them screaming sometimes.”

Why Have Seattle's Urban Forests Dodged Development?

Apr 26, 2015
Lisa and Jim Crisera were embroiled in a bureaucratic quagmire over this one small corner of their house, which they found out was on Seattle Parks land.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

“With so much building going on in Seattle, why haven’t urban forests like Interlaken and Ravenna been developed?”

Adam Goch of Greenwood asked that question as part of KUOW’s Local Wonder project.

Seattle gets more clouds than blue sky, so do we really buy that many sunglasses?
Flickr Photo/Phil Buckley

Do Seattleites buy more sunglasses than residents of other cities?

Was there really a dead horse in Ballard’s water supply in the early 1900s?

And did prostitutes start the Seattle School District?

Listener Kristie Fisher of Belltown asked about Seattle’s urban myths as part of our Local Wonder project. So we asked our Facebook friends to share their favorites and chose a few for KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel to investigate.

KUOW reporter Deborah Wang asked native Washingtonians if they believe they have an accent. They said no. But they also pronounced "caught" and "cot" the same way -- one of the subtle distinctions of this region's accent.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Do Pacific Northwesterners have an accent and what does it sound like? Listener Molly in Tacoma asked that question as part of KUOW's Local Wonder series. 

Molly never thought she had an accent until she moved to Virginia and was told she had one.

Some regional accents are obvious. But many in the Pacific Northwest describe themselves as speaking “standard,” “normal,” or “plain” English. But is that really the case? What do the experts say?

Who Are The Descendants Of Seattle's Early Families?

Oct 19, 2014
KUOW/Joshua McNichols

What are the descendants of Seattle's pioneers up to? KUOW Listener Ben Lee wanted to know.

For KUOW's Local Wonder project, I escaped into Seattle's past in hopes of turning up the present. Turned out that finding Seattle's dead pioneers was the easy part. 

They’re all in one spot: Lakeview Cemetery on Capitol Hill.

KUOW Photo/Jake Warga

What’s on the bottom of Lake Washington? Listener Merry McCreery wanted to know.

For KUOW Public Radio’s Local Wonder project, I embarked on a strange journey that took me to the heart of this vast lake that separates Seattle from the Eastside. What I learned was astonishing, often gross and, on occasion, heartbreaking.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

KUOW listener Nancy Beaudet had a question: Why are there so few mosquitos in Seattle?

As part of our Local Wonder series, we sent our environmental reporter, Ashley Ahearn, onto the muddy trails of the Washington Park Arboretum to find out why skeeters don’t plague Seattle summers.

KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

When John Reese moved from northern Illinois to Seattle last year he kept hearing people talking about the Seattle Freeze. So far he hasn’t seen any sign of it. In fact, he says people are nicer here than they are back home.