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The 1941 Seattle 'insult' that still stings

A little bottle played a huge role in shaping Seattle’s artistic life. This is how a 19th century cure for constipation left its mark on Seattle’s culture and how Sir Thomas Beecham came to conduct the Seattle Symphony and uttered a sentence that has never been forgotten.

Tragedy and terror in 1919 Centralia

A century ago, violence of a brutal nature broke out in southwest Washington when two ideologies clashed: the anti-Bolshevik American Legion and the radical organizers of the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW—better known as the Wobblies. The violence left its scars on the streets of Centralia in Lewis County in November 1919, and the legacy of that date is still debated.

The tiny oyster that made Washington

The Pacific Coast’s only indigenous oyster, the Olympia, was eaten into near-extinction. It could be making a comeback.

Tiny compared to other oysters, the Olympia was for decades raked out of Washington's beds by the ton. A local delicacy that once fueled gold diggers in California and loggers in Washington, the Olympia oyster became a major industry, yet was so tiny you could hold it between your fingertips. Invasive Japanese oysters took over its habitat, but the might Olympia might be making a comeback, thanks to interested shellfish farmers.

When your lab becomes a center of hope in a pandemic

Molecular virologist Dr. Jesse Erasmus is part of a team at UW Medicine aiding the global effort to find a COVID-19 vaccine. The team works around the clock in the race to produce an effective vaccine at record speed, trying to do in under a year what normally can take an average of 10 to 20 years. For Erasmus, focusing on a solution is a way of coping as the world shifts around him.

Separated during Ramadan, united in celebration

Farhiya Mohamed usually spends Ramadan at her sister’s house. When the sun sets, rice dishes and dates cover the table and upwards of 50 guests crowd together. But this year is different, COVID-19 has placed limits on gatherings for the Seattle-area Muslim community and the pandemic keeps family and friends apart. Mohamed and other families are struggling to stay connected while they must stay apart. As the executive director of the Somali Family Safety Task Force, Mohamed and her organization are finding ways to spread joy and help others celebrate during their time of need in the holiest month by bringing meals, supplies and joy to people’s homes.

Delivering hope to elders in isolation

Equipped with emojis, volunteers and Sunny the dog, Henry Liu delivers groceries to seniors in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

Before the pandemic, Liu organized Mahjong games and sent pictures of his dog, Sunny, over WeChat to help make seniors feel young and engaged with their community. When the pandemic hit, Liu, a program manager with a nonprofit that serves primarily Chinese elders, was faced with a new set of challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, anti-Chinese sentiment and elderly people who were too afraid to leave their homes. Liu started organizing volunteers to deliver groceries and connect isolated seniors to essential needs.

 

When checkout lines become the front lines

Erin Simmons is a front-end manager at Central Market in Mill Creek, Snohomish County. Daily life at the store has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to having new safety measures such as plexiglass at checkout stands and employees sanitizing carts, Simmons says the store's atmosphere feels tenser than before. 

Local supermarkets aren't typically thought of as dangerous places. However, during a pandemic, stores become front lines. Customers continue to shop and people need to eat, casting everyday essential workers like Simmons into cornerstones of society.

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