SoundQs | KUOW News and Information

SoundQs

SoundQs is a series of stories based on listener questions (formerly known as Local Wonder).

At KUOW, stories start with your curiosity. So, what do you want our reporters to investigate? Do you have questions about what’s happening in the news? Is there something you’ve always wondered about our region? We’re listening. Send us your SoundQs, and a KUOW journalist may follow up.

How to Submit a Question

Use the form below, email it to us at soundqs@KUOW.org, or share it on social media and tag @KUOW / #SoundQs.

 

Linus Sticklin, age 7, wowed the crowd with his knowledge of natural disasters.
KUOW Photo/Kristin Leong

A catastrophe-focused crowd turned out last night for KUOW’s Disaster Night! — a quiz show about natural disasters (and disaster movies), at the Royal Room in Columbia City. 

More Hall on the University of Washington campus, left, and Damage of 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, September 2017.
University of Washington/http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/image/745/ & Credit Courtesy of Miyamoto International

When the next major earthquake roils our region, University of Washington’s civil engineers and seismic experts will not be safe.


Staying cool in the International Fountain at Seattle Center is one way to beat the heat.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

If you don’t have air conditioning like most of Seattle, what’s the best way to cool your home? 

How risky is it to swim in Washington lakes?

Jul 10, 2018
Jackson Ludwig loves to swim in Washington lakes.
KUOW-Earthfix Photo/Eilis O'Neill

Jackson Ludwig loves lakes.

“Where I was from — Moscow, Idaho — there’s not a lot of lakes to swim. And so being here was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s all these lakes I can swim in!’” Ludwig said. “Once you have that, going back to an indoor pool is like, ‘Hm, I don’t really like this as much.’”


An LED street light in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Seattle street lights are, it appears, bad for spiders.

And you and me and other wildlife — the intense white-blue light can disrupt the circadian rhythms of anyone beneath its glare.

A stroller was used to hold up a sign during the Solidarity Day protest outside of the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Question: “I’m a new mom to a six-month-old baby, and hearing how desperately these women missed their children, and vice versa, made me feel heartbroken and ashamed of our country,” listener Kari Blankenship wrote.  

She and other KUOW listeners have been asking what they can do to help locally detained parents. 

Passengers make their way through security at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Want to cut the long lines at the Seattle-Tacoma airport this summer?  All you have to do is hand over scans of your face, eyes and fingerprints to a private company called CLEAR. 

Oh, and $179.


KUOW listener Audrey Farmer was curious about why escalators on her commute seem to break down so often.
KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

If it feels to you like certain light rail escalators tend to break down often, you’re not wrong. Some escalators break so frequently, in fact, that Sound Transit is paying more than half of what it originally spent on those escalators in order to fix them.


Seattle has three times the number of households in the top 1 percent as the national average according to Mark Long, a professor in the Evans School at the University of Washington
KUOW Graphic/Teodora Popescu

Seattle got richer in the last decade. You know that.

But how many of those in the top 1 percent income bracket live here?

Hikers at Rattlesnake Ledge. The number of visitors to this trail have been increasing over the last years.
Flickr Photo/Matt Kowalczyk (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6unaK9

At 2 o’clock on a recent Friday afternoon, the parking lot at the Mailbox Peak trailhead was almost full. This much was to be expected: Mailbox is a popular hike in the Middle Fork Valley, just outside of North Bend.


Courtesy of Jacob Wesley Sutton

In the wake of school shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida this year, parents are asking: "How do I talk to my child about mass shootings?"

KUOW helped answer that question with a story we did in March.


Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

State Trooper Rick Johnson has heard some curious excuses from people driving in the HOV lane.

"I forgot I didn’t have my kids in the car.”

“I consider my dog/golden retriever a person.”

Others are more brazen: “We’ve confiscated a number of mannequins,” he said.


Carol Duescher currently lives in her car.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

The number of chronically homeless people in King County is up 28 percent this year, according to the latest look at the homeless population, which was released today.  

Compare that to the experience in Utah, which slashed chronic homelessness over a 10-year period. "I think Seattle could do the same thing, if that was a priority," said Joe Camacho, who lives in a shelter near the Space Needle.


Seattle traffic was ranked 9th worst in the country in 2017, according to INRIX
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

It was 8:30 a.m., and I was crawling south on Interstate 5 in gummy Seattle commuter traffic. 


The newly constructed Arbora Court Apartments, with 133 units, is shown on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Seattle. Forty of the apartments have been set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Three years ago, the city told developers: You can either pay into a fund or build affordable housing units yourselves.

Listener Andrew Chinnici heard about that on KUOW and wanted to know: How is it working out?

Well, Andrew, so far there are permits for just 19 units through this fund.

Henry lives in Belltown, where he likes to cuddle, go for walks, and poop.
KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Everybody poops, especially your pooch.

Seattle pets generate over 80,000 pounds of poop a day, according to Seattle Public Utilities. That’s 40 poop tons — the weight of a fire truck.

MV Puyallup is one of the biggest ferries in the fleet
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ferries have been running a few minutes behind, and listener Nick Wilson wanted to know what was up.

Turns out ferries can reduce CO2 emissions significantly by laying off the throttle just a bit. Like, equivalent to taking more than 1,200 cars off the road.


3 reasons we're farming Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound

Apr 30, 2018
Nathan Cultee dumps 16 farm-raised Atlantic salmon into a container on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at Home Port Seafood in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Every time I report on the Great Atlantic Salmon Escape of 2017, someone asks me the same question: Why don’t we just farm Pacific salmon species in Puget Sound?

Listener Michael Hrankowski wrote in recently with that exact question. Well, here’s why not.

Seattle Sounders fans burn a Portland Timbers scarf during the 'March to the Match' before an MLS soccer match, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The unofficial chants of Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders fans can sometimes get a little, shall we say, impolite? 

Bike share bikes in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Frederick Rivara about whether the increasing popularity of bike sharing has led to more head injuries. Dr. Rivara is professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

This interview was inspired by a question from KUOW listener Patricia Boiko.

Fifth grader Nina Perry at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Eleven-year-old Nina Parry noticed a man sitting outside her neighborhood QFC. She and her mom brought him food. But there were others.

“Ever since I can remember, I've been seeing homeless people asking for money or just sitting in the streets being cold,” she said.


An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Last spring, an Uber heading north in Seattle hit another car so hard it was cut in half

That brings us to today's KUOW listener question: Who has more insurance coverage to handle your medical bills in case of a crash — an Uber driver or a taxi driver? 


Recology employee Zakarya Sales works at the final quality control station, removing any visibly obvious contaminants from sorted bales, at the Recology Materials Recovery Facility on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, on S. Idaho St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Have you wondered where your recycling goes once it's picked up? A KUOW listener was curious about that, so we asked Hans Van Dusen, the solid waste contracts manager at Seattle Public Utilities.

He tells Kim Malcolm about the journey our cans and paper takes. 


Gabino Abarca was able to attend the University of Washington thanks to state lottery funds.
KUOW Photos/Megan Farmer

Retired school teacher Michael Hobson is displeased by how much his property tax is increasing, even though lawmakers did it to fully fund public schools.

A Red-tailed hawk
Flickr photo/Tom Murray (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/245dfsx

Gaby Spadafora of Edmonds was curious about something recently:

“What species of bird sits on the light posts above our highways? And why does this one type of bird hang out up there?”

The state first made a plan to add carpool lanes in Tacoma in 1993.
Flickr Photo/Greg Nissen https://flic.kr/p/7L519V(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Forget the aroma of Tacoma. Traffic on the freeway there STINKS.

“It feels like it has never not been a construction zone,” one listener told us.

Tyler Pederson, head stillman at Westland Distillery, climbs onto the still to check to see if the spirits were condensing on the still's plates on Monday, March 19, 2018, at Westland Distillery in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

You may want to think twice before you start a business making whiskey in Washington state. That’s because Washington’s liquor taxes are the highest in the country, according to a new report out today by the nonprofit Tax Foundation.


Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/22ZC4Jx

Last week, KUOW listener Carole Glickfeld reached out to us with a story.

She had come down with walking pneumonia. “I was very weak, feverish, I felt like it was the end of the world,” Glickfeld said.

Art in the halls at Marysville-Pilchuck High School following the mass shooting in October 2014.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last month a teen stormed into his former high school in Florida and killed 17 people. Teenagers from the school are demanding that the federal government ban assault-style guns like the one used there. 

The incident prompted a question to KUOW about counseling for school-age children. So we talked to David Bilides. He's the head counselor at Jane Addams Middle School in Seattle.

Bilides is worried about how students there are handling this latest news.

From left, Damian Bogas, Evan Potter and Keegan Obrien work on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

KUOW listener Derek Hanson wanted to know, in a city with a $15 per hour minimum wage, "do I still need to tip?"

The short answer is a full-throated yes. At least, that’s what nearly every server told KUOW.

But the long answer is more complicated. 


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