Sara Lerner

Reporter

In her role as reporter and afternoon news anchor, Sara responds to events as they unfold: from an approaching tsunami to unbearable gridlock during the Alaskan Way viaduct closure. Sara's reporting has covered a range of subjects including the Dalai Lama's Seattle visit, local controversies about racy coffee shops, and the ups and downs of real estate in the Puget Sound region.

In 2009, Sara was awarded a KUOW Program Venture Fund grant which supported her four–part documentary on human trafficking in Washington state. In 2008, her piece, "No More Lemon Bars For Voters," brought Sara a national award from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Sara continues to produce stories for NPR and radio shows like Studio 360 and Voice Of America. She joined the station in 2005.

Prior to her radio career, Sara researched cacao in the Costa Rican rainforest, worked for a Palestinian/Israeli co–existence group in Tel Aviv and visited nearly every country in Latin America. Her interest in travel stems from the same place as her passion for reporting: an intense curiosity about the world around us and the people who inhabit it. She says her motivation as a journalist is to continue asking questions and telling stories, truthfully.

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'Another Man's Come Up'
4:05 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Anonymous Donor Drops Off $11K In African Artifacts At Goodwill

Jazlan Grigsby, the online appraiser, holds up a Kuba Artifact.
Photo courtesy of Goodwill

A Salvador Dali etching. A $10,000 dollar painting from American realist John Englehart. And earlier this month, antique artifacts from tribal ceremonies throughout Africa, worth $11,000.

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Commuter Tracking
10:33 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Not So Fast, Cyclists. State Is Counting You For Annual Bike Count

Fred Strong and Laura LeBlanc volunteer for Washington's annual bike and pedestrian count at a corner on Capitol Hill.
Tom Hajduk

Every year in January, volunteers fan out across King County to count the number of people who are homeless. In February, the great backyard bird count tracks birds and species all over the world.

On Thursday, it was Washington state’s bicycle count, when hundreds of people across the state stood on corners and counted cyclists, pedestrians and others using non-motorized method of transportation like in-line skates and skateboards.

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Local Nonprofit
5:41 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Seattle Businesswoman Helps Syrian Refugees

Rita Zawaideh brings help to Syrian refugees in Jordan.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

There are now more than two million Syrian refugees and some local nonprofits are working to help them. Rita Zawaideh is a Seattle businesswoman who travels to Jordan every other month to bring refugees medical supplies. She started the nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle in 1996.

She recently returned from one of those trips. She and other volunteers saw thousands of patients and handed out hundreds of pounds of medicine.

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Industry And Tourism
1:00 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Anacortes: One Town Debates Its Future

Tesoro's oil refinery near Anacortes backdropped by Mount Baker.
Flickr Photo/Scott Butner

From Anacortes, Wash., you get the classic, gorgeous views of the San Juan Islands.  But tourists mostly breeze by this city, thinking of it as just the gateway to greater places. Anacortes does have its own thing going, though. It’s an unusual mix of a real working city with super lovely landscape.

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Aaron Alexis
7:39 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Deceased Navy Yard Suspect Arrested In Seattle In 2004

Credit FBI

The man law enforcement have identified as the deceased gunman who opened fire at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Monday was arrested in Seattle in May of 2004 for shooting up a car.   

According to police reports, Aaron Alexis was living with his grandmother in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood that year. A construction crew was building a house next door, and one of the workers told police that Alexis stared at them every morning for a month leading up to the incident.

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Company Halts Efforts
9:44 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Plug Pulled On Plans For Controversial Anacortes Bottling Plant

Water resevoir that could have been used to supply water for bottling plant.
Sara Lerner KUOW

Plans to build an enormous beverage bottling plant in Skagit County, Wash., have been halted. The company behind a proposed facility has backed out of the project.

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Health Exchange
11:43 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Abortions Not Covered By Group Health, But Not Charged Either

Mike Kreidler, Washington state insurance commissioner.

Seattle’s nonprofit health care system, Group Health, has said they won’t be offering abortion coverage in the new health care exchange.

But they also said women will be able to get an abortion without paying more.

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FBI Crackdown
4:34 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Nicole: A Portrait Of A Seattle Sex Trafficking Survivor

Flickr Photo/Tom Woodward

Two and a half weeks ago the FBI, in partnership with local law enforcement, conducted a cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. They recovered dozens of under-age victims who have been forced into prostitution, and they arrested their pimps. Three child victims were found in Washington state, and nine people were arrested here.

On Tuesday,  something very different happened at FBI offices in downtown Seattle.

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Changing Media Landscape
5:58 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Jeff Bezos Brings Entrepreneurial Mindset To Washington Post Purchase

Jeff Bezos is illuminated by a display screen at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite in Santa Monica, Calif., Sept. 6, 2012.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post for $250 million, and that has a lot of people wondering what's next for the legacy media company.

Brad Stone, senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, has written a book about the mega-entrepreneur. It's called, "The Everything Store,” due out in October. He said the sale was a surprise for many, but in keeping with the way Bezos thinks.

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Human Trafficking
1:06 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

FBI Sweep Includes Victims And Pimps In Seattle Area

Over the last several days the FBI, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, conducted its seventh cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. The FBI worked with local police agencies, helped recover victims who have been forced into prostitution, and made arrests. About 50 different task forces participated.

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Viaduct Replacement
12:09 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Bertha To Get Send-Off Before Burrowing Below Seattle

Credit Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Very soon, a massive piece of machinery will start to burrow two miles out from Seattle. It’s building the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan way viaduct.

Tomorrow, WSDOT is hosting a big sendoff for the biggest tunneling machine in the world, affectionately named Bertha. The public is invited to check it out Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., provided closed-toed shoes are worn.

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Sex Trafficking
8:35 am
Mon June 10, 2013

How Seattle Pimps Groom Girls For The Street

In a recent radio piece, WGBH’s Phillip Martin explored forced prostitution in East Asia. That’s a problem in the Puget Sound region, too.

Pimps here often prey on young girls who’ve run away from home. Detective Todd Novisedlak of the Seattle Police Department says that in some ways it’s similar to cases in Vietnam. He said traffickers here, too, prey on young girls’ susceptibility to fall in love.

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Battling Prostitution
6:20 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Seattle "John School" Educates Men Who Pay For Sex

People take long flights to pay low prices for sex. In a radio story from WGBH, Phillip Martin explores the international sex tourism industry. Here in the Seattle area, Highway 99 hosts one main corridor where prostitution is easy to see. Hot spots dot the roadway, from Northgate to Sea-Tac. 

Some of those prostitutes are also underage girls, forced by pimps to walk the streets. That's called child sex trafficking.

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Cafe Racer Anniversary
5:39 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Mental Health Services Still Difficult To Get In King County

One year ago, Ian Stawicki killed four people at Cafe Racer, a popular and eclectic coffee shop and bar in Seattle's University District. Later that day he killed another woman, and then himself. Like other mass shootings without apparent motive, the case galvanized discussion about mental illness and violence.

KUOW's Sara Lerner spoke with Amnon Shoenfeld, director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division about why it's so difficult for many families to get help for loved ones who have mental illnesses.

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Apparel Humor
8:37 am
Tue May 28, 2013

T-Shirts Poke Fun At Bridge Collapse

Credit Slow Loris Shirts

An I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River last week after a truck hit an overhead support beam. Once it was clear that no one was seriously injured, a local t-shirt company decided to have a little fun. Slow Loris Shirts founder Jessica Lynch says she laughed when she heard the state got a C- grade on its bridges.

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