Most Recent Episodes

Online Retailers Branch Out Into The Real World

Part of the convenience of shopping online is having your spoils delivered to your door, but online retailers are opening more and more physical stores. Consider the bookstore Amazon opened in Seattle's University Village last year. Now the retail giant is beginning to build drive-up grocery stores where customers can pick up online orders. Plans for the stores are already underway in California, and GeekWire reported this week that one may be coming to the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle. Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst who follows online retail, said the physical stores are part of a trend of online retailers branching out into into the real world. She said most retail still happens in person, so companies like Amazon are trying to experiment with how to do business both ways. The physical stores help them learn more about their customers and might actually cut costs for grocery delivery. "That I think is the bigger trend here is recognizing that physical real estate

Rental Cottages? One Group Says, 'Not In My Backyard'

A proposed Seattle law that aims to ease the city's housing crisis by encouraging homeowners to build cottages in their backyards has run into resistance. The Queen Anne Community Council is trying to force the city to conduct an environmental review of the law. The nonprofit has brought a case before the city's hearing examiner and says it has raised $25,000 for legal fees.

Why Are Seattle's Land Use Signs Hard to Understand?

They're flat, they're white and they're popping up all over Seattle. No, they aren't the latest coffee drink. They're "Notice of Proposed Land Use Action" signs, posted to notify the public of coming changes. But for the average person, the notices aren't always easy to decipher. No matter where you stand on growth and development, the wording on these signs can seem cryptic. Abbreviations abound, and it helps if you know a thing or two about zoning. Alice Poggi has spent years as a community organizer in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, and coaches neighbors on how to read the signs. "The normal person who sees a sign and says I want to check this out – it would be very difficult," said Poggi. But the city maintains the signs aren't meant to shut the public out of the process. "What we try to do is give a broad brush of this is what's being proposed out here and hopefully get people to look further into it," said Sue Putnam, Public Resource Manager at Seattle's Department of

Jazz Across The Generations This Week

We like examining the continuum of jazz (thank you, John Gilbreath!) on Jazz Northwest. The students become the rising stars, and the rising stars become the teachers of the next generation and so it goes. Don Lanphere and Larry Coryell were major figures in Seattle jazz, and Roxy Coss was one of Don's students and played in the Garfield Jazz Band under Clarence Acox. Today, Roxy is active on the New York Jazz Scene. We'll sample her newest CD and also one by pianist Ariel Pocock who was a product of Newport High School and has also gone on to national prominence. Also on this week's show are recent releases from The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, Victoria-based singer Miranda Sage, Seattle singer Dina Blade's new CD recorded in Brazil, and a bi-coastal meet-up with Seattle's Jay Thomas and New York-based Gary Smulyan and more. Jazz Northwest airs every Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 and streams at The program is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke and is available for

Get Lost: Sound Effect, Episode 77

This week on Sound Effect, we get lost. We bring you stories from people told to move on and from folks who are actually disorientated. Goodbye, Gabe We say, "See you later" to Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer, who is heading down to California for a year-long journalism fellowship. KPLU's Jennifer Wing will take the reins as Sound Effect's interim host while Gabe is away. Welcome Home; Now Leave In the 1950s, Ray and Marion West bought a house in Seattle's University District to rent to students of color, many of whom were barred from apartments in the area. Marion and her daughter Kathleen reminisce on the haven the Wests created for the UW's multiethnic community and what it was like when the neighborhood decided they were no longer welcome. Her Personal Bermuda Triangle KPLU's Dick Stein is someone who could get lost on a treadmill. His wife, however, can pretty much find her way out of anything. Stein shares an essay about how this human GPS is afraid of getting lost in only one,

A 1950s Couple Fought For Civil Rights By Renting Out Rooms In Their Home

Editor's Note: In this post, which contains recollections of the civil rights movement, uses a particular racial slur that some might find upsetting. Just a heads up. We've all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being told to move on. Maybe it was a school bully, or perhaps it was a job you really wanted but didn't get. For Marion West and her husband, Ray West, it was when they bought a house. The year was 1952. Marion and Ray met when they were students at the University of Washington. Ray, an African-American born and raised in Mississippi, and Marion, a white woman raised on a farm in Sumas, Washington, were an unlikely pair. Students of color had a difficult time finding housing close to the university. So, the Wests decided to meet this need. They bought an old 16-room mansion right in the middle of Fraternity Row, just steps from UW's main campus; a place where students, no matter the color of their skin, could rent a room. Marion had to be the one to make the purchase.

A 1950s Couple Fought For Civil Rights By Renting Out Rooms In Their Home

The Mystery Of How One Quiet City Became One Woman's Bermuda Triangle

KPLU jazz host Dick Stein is someone who could get lost on a treadmill. His wife, the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot, on the other hand, can pretty much find her way out of anything. Stein credits her with being a human GPS — always following her directions. Which is why after 30 years of being together, Stein is always amazed at the fear and terror DeGroot expresses when nearing one peaceful little city: Normandy Park, Washington. The first time they were nearing the Normandy Park exit and DeGroot practically grabbed the wheel to make sure they didn't take it, Stein thought that perhaps it was just some fear of getting lost in an unfamiliar town. But after dozens of trips with the same reaction, Stein started wondering. Did she have a warrant out for her there? Had she been abducted by aliens in this city that many people have their dream wedding at? Overdue library books? While DeGroot claims it's as simple as not wanting to get lost, Stein isn't taking any chances, and he

The Mystery Of How One Quiet City Became One Woman's Bermuda Triangle

Why Do We Get Lost?

We've all probably experienced that unsettling feeling of not knowing where you are —that moment when you make a wrong turn, go down an unfamiliar street and then you are officially lost. It turns out there are millions of specific cells in our brain that control how we navigate to a new place.Dr. Sheri Mizumori, a professor of Psychology at the University of Washington, studies these cells that determine why we sometimes get lost. Mizumori says they're all connected within your hippocampus, the part of your brain right behind your ears. Some cells attach meaning and memories to places while others organize information on a grid in your brain.These networks of cells grow as you get older, strengthening your ability to navigate the world. However, Mizumori says it takes practice. Sound Effect's Jennifer Wing talks with Mizumori about how these cells work and why some people get lost more than others.

Getting A Little Lost In The Art

For people living with dementia and Alzheimer's, there is a lot of loss. As memory begins to fade, and reliance on others for daily needs increases, a person loses a sense of self and independence. There is a program at Frye Art Museum in Seattle where people with dementia and Alzheimer's can get lost, in a good way. Twice a month, the Frye leads tours specifically designed to give this population a break from their disease. It's called the Here-Now program. Care partners, spouses, kids and hired help who look out for people living with dementia also take part in these sessions. Roger Stocker and his wife of 45 years, Laura Stocker, are regulars at Here-Now tours. These events give them a chance to revisit how they were as a couple, before Alzheimer's entered their relationship. "When I come into here, I really feel wonderful," says Roger. For Laura Stocker, when she is here with her her husband, she doesn't have to worry. "As the care partner, this can become the haven that is safe."

Melanie McFarland Shares A Story Of Friends Lost And Found

A while back, Seattle writer Melanie McFarland reached a point where when she logged on to Facebook and realized that most of the people she was "friends" with, she wasn't all that close to. So she poured a glass of wine, turned on some quiet music, and one by one, "unfriended" the people that she couldn't tell you what was going on in their life, and they couldn't tell you what was going on in hers. She wanted to narrow it down to friends she could talk to and rely on, and who could rely on her. Some time later, one of her closest friends found herself being held captive in the Middle East, and Facebook quickly became a tool that was used in an effort to get her released. All of a sudden the social network became a way to communicate to strangers who might also be able to get the word out. McFarland shared the story at Sound Effect's live show "A Friend In Need" at Town Hall in Seattle.

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