It's been said that Seattle's not an umbrella town. While that may or may not be true, this morning downtown was no place for umbrellas.
It can be difficult to enter situations like this house fire. We never know the mood of people or how they’ll welcome our cameras. But experience has taught me that quite often, people WANT to talk. This was the case with Gina Axe. She agreed to wear my microphone as she watched her home burn. It’s a powerful thing when folks let me into their lives like that, and even after the interview was over, she kept me updated on things.
There is a competitive side as well. My interview with Gina was under the nose of a photojournalist from a competing station, one whom I have immense respect for. That I was able to beat him to Gina's story in such a chaotic scene was immensely gratifying.
First and Union may be the brightest spot downtown thanks to a new permanent exhibit adorning the northwest corner of the Seattle Art Museum.
For MIRROR, artist Doug Aitken took hundreds of hours of footage from all around the Northwest, then programmed giant screens to play different video depending on different inputs, such as the weather and traffic.
Especially at night, MIRROR is stunning. The large monitors are topped with ribbon thin screens that draw your eye upwards into the night. It's nearly impossible to not stop and be transfixed. The piece will be unveiled Sunday, March 24th. First Avenue will be shut down and the Seattle Symphony will perform a piece choreographed with the first video. The event is sold out.
MIRROR was commissioned by the late philanthropist Bagley Wright.
Ballard First Lutheran church held it's 85th annual blessing of the fleet service today at Fisherman's Terminal. Pastor Erik R. Wilson Weiberg presided.
The hardened Seattleite may cringe when you bring up going to the downtown waterfront. There are too many tourists, there is nothing interesting to see or do. I would even be guilty of that some days, but not on Valentine’s Day. The Seattle Aquarium cleverly disguises a hot, passionate, and tentacle-filled interlude as an educational experience. At noon they arrange a blind date between two giant Pacific octopuses, in hopes they will fall madly in love and, well you know, do what octopuses do.
This is the second year in row I have been able to cover this event, and I am so glad that I did. The crowd this year was amazing, most were school kids on field trips. And what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at dinner tables across Seattle that night. I can only imagine how kids answered the question of, “what did you learn at school today?’
The hot couple this year was a lovely female named Squirt. And Rain, a rugged, but bashful hunk of tentacles. After some encouragement by the aquarium’s biologists, the octopuses found each other irresistible and showed all of us there how lovely an under-water romance can be. It is definitely one of the most unique events to cover living in Seattle, and it’s pretty amazing that we all have access to such a great aquarium. Hopefully love will find its way under water again next year!
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The geoduck is big business in Washington State. The large clam can fetch $100-$150 per pound on a plate in Asia, which is where most of the clams are exported to. Here is some of our raw video shot off the shore of Langley on Whidbey Island. Our full story here.
Friday was the last day of business for Easy Street Records at their Lower Queen Anne location. For the final in-store show, Yo La Tengo came to town and played a nearly hour-long set.
Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan bid a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported the store over the last dozen years:
"I'd just like to thank the Queen Anne neighborhood, they've been very supportive of us. I wish we could have stayed longer, we're coming off a pretty good year, but there's some things out of my control. Hopefully we didn't let anyone down, made up for it tonight. Go west young man, we'll see you in West Seattle" (Easy Street's West Seattle location is still open.)
The big surprise of the night was the marriage proposal from long time Easy Street employee and KEXP DJ Troy Nelson to his girlfriend Mackenzie Mercer. (the proposal happens at about the 4 minute mark)
Tucker, a 5-year-old chocolate lab, was raised in the country, far from big bodies of water. So when he and his owner Robyn Nelson moved to Seattle, Tucker was fascinated with big waves. And Monday's storm and high tide were almost too much excitement for him to take.
First United Methodist Church of Seattle read the names of each one of the Sandy Hook victims this Sunday morning. For each name read, a candle was lit and a bell tolled. Much of the service centered around the shooting and the larger issue of gun violence in this country.
In my 28 years of telling stories, there are two tales of guts and character that shook me to my very foundation, moved me like no others. And they tear at my heart still.
One is the story of our beloved Kathi Goertzen. The other is Marin Morrison.
When I met Marin, she was swimming the breast stroke at a junior varsity swim meet for Eastlake High School. She was swimming with one arm and one leg. Her other limbs were paralyzed. She finished dead last by a mile, but you should have seen the place go wild!
I learned that she had, just two years earlier, been one of the best swimmers for her age in all of America. She had dreamed --and planned -- to swim in the Beijing Olympics.
Aggressive brain cancer changed all that. But Marin kept swimming, kept living, and she set her sights on the Paralympcs, which were also in Beijing.
The fight to get to Beijing was an epic one, and the performance she turned in once she got there is, in my mind, one of the great sports stories of my generation.
I couldn't shake the spell that Marin had cast upon me, and so, along with KOMO-TV editor/producer Darrin Tegman, and photographer Doug Pigsley, we set about making a documentary about Marin's life and triumph. Four years later, I haven't shaken her spell yet, and I want her story to be heard.
These words can be heard during the movie. They sum up the way I feel about Marin and her struggle:
"At every pool where dreams and potential are measured by the hundredth of a second, the name should be whispered in wonder and awe: Marin Morrison, the girl who loved swimming so much, she put off death itself for one last race.
"This is the story of a dream that would not die, and a dreamer who will live forever."
It's called "Touch the Wall." It airs on KOMO-TV, Sunday at noon.
Watch the trailer:
After 104 years of worship in their church, Tacoma's First Congregational Church held their final service this Sunday. The massive, Gothic style building is in need of significant repairs, and the small congregation has had difficulty supporting it. Mars Hill Church has agreed to buy the building, and the money from the sale will help the congregation find a smaller, more appropriate facility.
When you work on Sunday mornings, you end up covering stories in many different churches and places of worship. Yesterday's final service was one of the most poignant and emotional services I've been to, and the final prayer was one I won't forget.