What's Your Local Wonder Question?

Local Wonder is an experiment in a new method of storytelling at KUOW. It begins with your questions.

For a previous Local Wonder assignment, KUOW reporter Deborah Wang asked Washingtonians if they believe they have an accent.
Credit KUOW photo/Isolde Raftery

Submit any question* about Seattle, the Puget Sound region, or its people via the form below. Every other month, KUOW editors pick three questions and ask our listeners to vote on their favorite. Whichever question gets the most votes is then investigated by a KUOW reporter.


Read more about how Local Wonder works

Still have questions about the project? Contact localwonder@kuow.org.

A Norway rat shot with a pellet gun in the alley behind University Book Store in Seattle. There are more rats in Seattle, and warmer climate means a longer breeding period -- and therefore more rats.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Seattle has a rat problem. Households here reported signs of rats at twice the national average, according to the 2013 American Housing survey. 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.

Douglass Brown was walking down Titlow Beach in Tacoma with a girl he liked when he saw a giant thing – that looked like an octopus tentacle – emerge from the water. He ran, screaming.
Illustration by Tom Dougherty

Douglass Brown was 15 when he saw a giant tentacle emerge from Puget Sound.

He was in Tacoma, walking down the beach with a girl he liked. Then he looked out at the water.

A classic Craftsman in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century when architecture was in its heyday.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Look around almost any Seattle neighborhood and you’ll see them: Modest one-story homes, with large, covered porches and eaves that shield wooden siding from the rain.

They’re Craftsman-style bungalows, and you’ll find hundreds of them here, from Wallingford and Ravenna to Mount Baker and over the bridge in West Seattle.

Tony Johnson of the Chinook Tribe is fluent in Chinook Wawa. He stands at Chinook Point near the mouth of the Columbia, a key spot for the fur trade 200 years ago where strangers met and needed a common language.
KUOW Photo/Dwight Caswell

Chinook Jargon was a trade language that once ruled the Northwest. But when was it used, and how many people spoke it? Listener Michelle LeSourd of Seattle asked KUOW's Local Wonder. 

chocolate lw
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Listener Beth Ann Johnson asked Local Wonder about Seattle's chocolate industry, and reporter Ruby de Luna agreed to report. (We know. Tough assignment.)

Ericka Frodsham, 36, stands outside a motel on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle. She is homeless, living out of motel rooms.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Earlier this month, when photographer Mike Kane went looking for a Seattle woman to share her story of being a prostitute on Aurora Avenue North, he heard about Ericka Frodsham.

Ericka Frodsham is one of 50 to 60 prostitutes who work on Aurora Avenue North, known as a track. This is one of two tracks where prostitutes work in the Seattle area. Photographer Mike Kane followed her one evening, separately from the story below.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Why is there so much prostitution on Aurora Avenue in North Seattle? Beth Quintana, who lives in North Seattle near Aurora, asked KUOW’s Local Wonder project, so we sent reporter Posey Gruener to find out.

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.”