Local Wonder | KUOW News and Information

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?

On Sunday, the Seattle Sounders were officially welcomed back to their home field for the first time after winning the championship last year.

The team may play under one championship banner now, but when they stand for the national anthem many players face a flag that is not their own.


Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier, circa 1920s, probably when more people said Warshington.
Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives https://flic.kr/p/cydqbs (CC BY 2.0)

We’re a quirky bunch out here in Washington state. We eat cream cheese on our hotdogs. The western part of the state freaks out when it snows. We don’t pay income tax.

A construction crane at the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Kiewic (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/MLM8np

Yellow and orange cranes loom over Seattle’s landscape like an army of gentle dinosaurs.  

The bridge at Deception Pass, between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Islands. It got its name from Captain George Vancouver, who felt deceived by the width of the waterway.
Flickr Photo/gemteck1 https://flic.kr/p/6aoQAH (CC BY 2.0)

Anyone who has road-tripped around Washington state might have noticed a depressing trend: Cape Disappointment. Point No Point. Deception Pass. Foulweather Bluff. Useless Bay. Point Defiance. Obstruction Island. Massacre Bay. Destruction Island. Dismal Nitch.

Violet and Norward Brooks in front of a house they struggled to buy due to discrimination.
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

The results of the recent presidential election has revealed stark divisions in this country.

This is especially clear in Seattle, where we’re notorious for being one of the most progressive cities in the country.


A Seattle tour map from 1965, two years after the U.S. Postal Service introduced ZIP codes. The ZIP codes were based on mail flow at that time.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives: https://flic.kr/p/8k5eCd

If you’ve ever had a reason to look up Seattle’s ZIP codes — and yes, being bored at work is a valid reason — you might have noticed some super-tiny codes downtown.

The pink bacteria clinging to this Seattle bathmat is Serratia marcescens, which loves damp, soapy environments. It's mostly harmless.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

You see them when you slack on cleaning — mysterious pink rings and streaks that form in your toilets, sinks and bathtubs.

Excavation equipment has just begun digging for the next phase of Amazon's headquarters.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As a general contractor who does small house remodels in Seattle, Chris Spott knows how to get rid of a pickup truck load of dirt. 

The King County ballot has a stub at the top you must tear off.
KUOW Photo/Jim Gates

Voting is hard. Your ballot is packed with decisions – some tougher than others. You have to parse the wonk, find the right-colored pen and sweat over whether you actually need a postage stamp.

For King and Snohomish county voters, there’s one more step: You’re asked to tear a stub off the top of your ballot before placing it in the security envelope. Or else … what?

Flickr Photo/Javacolleen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Seattle has a rat problem. Rat sightings in Seattle are double the national average. Population growth is part of the problem; so is the weather.

That’s meant good business for Adam Truitt, owner of Pest Fighter.

Adrienne Bailey, 62, recalls when black people in Seattle had to buy or rent homes with the help of benevolent whites, who were known as shields.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

When you drive to north Seattle from south Seattle, you may notice that the city becomes a lot more white. That’s because north Seattle is 69 percent white, according to Census data. South Seattle is just 28 percent white. Of non-whites in the south end, Asians make up the majority at 36 percent.

Listener David Newman asked the Local Wonder team to look into why Seattle seems so segregated. Our first stop was the Ship Canal, that skinny waterway near Husky Stadium that connects Lake Washington with Puget Sound.

Sylvia and Ernie would have made a prettier pie, but this one, made by a crust novice, was amazingly delicious.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

My parents almost always have a pie in the cupboard: apple in the fall, pumpkin in the winter, rhubarb in the spring and blackberry in the summer. My mom makes the crust. My dad makes the filling. I’ve never had a pie approaching the quality of theirs.

Growing up in Seattle I spent summer evenings like this picking blackberries.

These days I spend more time trying to fend off blackberry vines in my garden.

If you’ve tried to do that, you’ve probably found that following one long blackberry vine to the source leads to another heading a different direction.

Matthew Streib, who lives in the University District, makes his way around Green Lake on his old roller derby skates. He says it's frustrating when people walk into the "wheels" lane.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

“What’s the right way to go around Green Lake?” Isaac Chirino of Shoreline asked KUOW’s Local Wonder.

Boy, people REALLY care about this one.

People like Carolyn Frost.                                                             


Mt. Rainier peeks between two houses in Orting, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When geologist Carolyn Driedger talks about Mount Rainier, she feels like she’s trash-talking.


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