Check It Out!

May 11 2020

A podcast from Sno-Isle Libraries for lifelong learners with inquiring minds. Check It Out! introduces the amazing people who work at, use and collaborate with the library district – and all of the services it offers to residents of Washington State’s Snohomish and Island counties.





Episode 63: Podcast creator Jason Becker will change your mind about umpires
Sep 25 2020 55 mins  
Let’s meet the baseball nut who sticks up for the guys behind the plate that every baseball fan loves to hate. Yes, we’re talking about umpires. In this episode of the Check It Out! podcast, host Ken Harvey talks to his friend Jason Becker, creator of the Umpire Inspire podcast. “In my book, he’s a genius, and he’s producing a fascinating podcast for the officials behind America’s favorite round-ball sport. That’s baseball, and those are umpires,” Harvey said in introducing Becker. “Fans and players often disagree with what the umpire says and what the umpire does, which can make it a lonely job even when there are two of them on the field.” Becker humanizes umpires. He explains why they love what they do, even when they don’t get paid to call balls and strikes and outs. They’re inspired to do it for the love of the game. Becker’s podcast invites listeners to come in and hear a captivating conversation with an enthusiastic umpire who may be from anywhere on the planet. “Baseball isn’t just American, it’s global, and these umpires consider their jobs to be a lot more than just calling balls and strikes,” Harvey said. Becker said baseball has been his passion “for practically my entire life.” He started playing when he was 5 and continues to play today in a senior adult league. “I've played since I was a kid, like a lot of people. Coached my boy all the way through Little League, and my girls for a couple years while they were playing,” he said. About eight years ago, he grabbed a mask and tried umpiring. “It was a need that I felt I could do some good with in our local Little League here in Mukilteo, and it turned out to be a really great fit,” Becker said. “Being out on a baseball field makes more sense to me than being just about anywhere else, so I've really enjoyed umpiring.” He takes it seriously. He umpires Little League baseball and softball around Washington and umpires high school baseball in Snohomish County. It took Becker a couple of years of umpiring before he could see the connection between his love for umpiring and his love for fascinating podcasts. “There’s a lot of folks out there for whom umpiring means an awful lot, and they put a lot of their heart and their time into it, and it’s often not paid. Little League is an all-volunteer organization, for instance,” Becker said. “I found that umpires were generally just a really great group of people to hang around with because of their giving spirit, their commitment to public service... how umpiring is a public service for many of the friends that I have in the umpiring community.” That’s when the “two worlds” came together in Becker’s mind, and the idea of the Umpire Inspire podcast was born. In late 2019, he decided it was time to make it happen. “Now’s the time,” Becker said. “We’re going to take a swing. Hopefully, I’ll connect. Maybe I’ll miss, but it’s going to be an interesting journey, and it has definitely been such a joy and such a privilege, as I have completed this first go-around, and I’m just on the doorstep of getting my own season two underway, so it’s been great.” The first episode of Umpire Inspire debuted on March 17, 2020, with minor league umpire Bobby Tassone, who works the Carolina League. Interviews with seven more umpires followed. Season 2 started on Aug. 11. Among Becker’s interviews so far are umpires who work in Venezuela and the Czech Republic, and two women who call the game. Some are professionals. Some are amateurs. They come in all shapes and sizes and range in age from 16 to 76. All have interesting stories to share. “You’ve had an opportunity to have some conversations with some remarkable guests already,” Harvey said. Harvey asked Becker when he, as a young player, first became aware of an umpire on the field. “I don’t think anybody has asked me that question before,” Becker said. “I’m not sure I do remember, if I’m being honest. As a kid, you’re out there, you’re doing what you do with your buddies, and you’re playing the game and you’re having fun. I can’t recall a time where I do remember the umpire, but it does put a point on what the best volunteer umpires, or paid umpires... one of their best characteristics is they’re doing it for the game.” Umpires don’t care who wins or loses the game, Becker explained. “We are what we call the third team on the field,” he said. “In every baseball and softball game, there are three teams: there’s the home team, there’s the away team, and there’s the third team, the umpires, who, just like the players, are out there giving their best effort and trying to make every call correct. They want to do their best job, just like the players do. And maybe it makes a point that I don’t remember my umpires when I was a kid, but it doesn’t change the fact that they were out there giving their time away from their families, away from their work lives, so that I could play ball. Without an umpire, it’s just a scrimmage.” Harvey recalled his time playing baseball as a youngster and coming to terms with the stranger behind the plate. “I think that probably any of us who have stood on the field and gone to the home plate and swung, at some point in our lifetime, whatever age, we start to recognize that an umpire has a significant amount of power, but also a significant amount of knowledge about the game, and maybe even more than my coach does,” Harvey said. He said he appreciated Becker’s ability to bring out the humanity and service that umpires bring to the sport and wanted to know, “At what point did you start to really recognize that about these umpires?” It took Becker a while behind the plate to see the other stories in his umpire colleagues. “My show is not about rules or field mechanics or instruction,” he said. “There are a thousand great websites and podcasts and sources that do a much better job with things like that than I do. My show is about the stories and the journeys and the heart of why we umpires do what we do. There is nothing an umpire loves more than to just get together with his or her partner after a game, share their experiences and their wins and their losses, and what they’ve learned; swap stories; tell tall tales; that is something that is common with every umpire at every level, all around the world.” Harvey asked for an example. “One of my favorite guests during this season one was Dale Scott,” Becker said. “He was a Major League umpire for 30-plus years until his retirement in 2017. There was so much good stuff there. He did point out ... if you went to your job every day not having any idea of what was going to happen that day, it might make you get up out of bed in the morning a little differently. It could light a little bit of a fire. That’s what it’s like every game for a baseball or a softball umpire. Some things are going to be consistent, but just about every game you see something and have to rule on something that you may never have seen before.” That got Becker to tell the story of his own personal umpire hero. “One thing that’s really interesting, Ken, is that a lot of the stories start exactly the same,” Becker said. “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with everyone from teenage youth umpires here in Snohomish County, all the way up to Major League Baseball umpires, and oftentimes, they have very similar stories. In fact, I was just re-listening the other day to one of my episodes, a conversation I had with a Major League umpire ... really, an umpire hero of mine named Tripp Gibson, who is one of many Major League umpires that live here in the Puget Sound area. “He was telling us about his first game. Coach gets a little fired up, and in his very first game ever as an umpire, he has to toss the coach. The way Tripp described it, he says, ‘Yeah, so the gentleman, Pat, who brought me out, he met me after the game and gave me my check for 25 bucks and said, “Well, good try, kid.” Tripp said, ‘Good try? That was awesome! I’m coming back tomorrow!’” While most players get to take a field break every half inning and between plate appearances, umpires never leave the field. “I would love for listeners of this show to maybe start thinking about umpires in a little different way,” Becker said. “The home team and the away team, they get to go in the dugout and relax every half inning. But the umpires stay out there every pitch, every inning, every game, and for the Major League guys, six to eight months in a row.” “That’s got to be really tough,” Harvey said. “Especially when the weather conditions aren’t prime for something like that.” Despite the difficult working conditions and tension that comes from making calls, umpires just want to do their job right and enhance the game, Becker said. “One thing that umpires like to hang their hat on is, if they can get through a game and nobody notices that they were even there, they had a pretty good game, right?” he said. “Because it’s not our job to get in the way. It’s not our game. We are there to serve. We’re there to go to work and enable and enhance that game that we’re working at, and if we get that done, it’s been a pretty good day at the office.” Part 2: Self-Help Shelf “This is Sarri Gilman with the Self-Help Shelf for Sno-Isle Libraries. The book I have for you today is ‘Eight Dates,’ by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. Oh yes, they’re married, and they once ran the famous Love Lab where they researched couples and communication. Together, they now have the Gottman Institute in Seattle, where they share years of research on how to make marriage work and what predicts divorce. “During COVID-19, not too many couples were having romantic dates, and your closeness and intimacy may feel like it was just lost in the pandemic, or maybe it was lost even before that. If you’re married or dating, ‘Eight Dates’ is for you. The book gives you a guide on things to think about before each date, and you literally make a plan to go on eight dates together, and each date, you’re given a different topic with a whole different set of questions to ask each other. You practice listening and learning about each other, and even if you’ve been together for decades, I think you’re going to get a lot out of this book, especially if you feel like your relationship needs attention and you wish you were closer. “Since we're in a pandemic, you’re going to need to bring a little bit of creativity to your dates with your partner. Maybe it’s a beach picnic or a date at home; it really doesn't matter where you are, because each date is a full discussion on a topic picked by the Gottmans, with a guide to support you. “I do recommend that you each read a copy of the book so that you have some of the background material to think about before your date, or you could even read out loud to each other to prepare for your date. “One of my favorite lines from the book is this one: ‘The goal of conflict is not to win or convince the other person that you’re right. In creating compromise, we have to understand each other’s core needs on the issues we are discussing, as well as each other’s areas of flexibility. The goal is not to become identical; the goal is to understand each other.’ “This book is also going to help you get a better understanding of each other's core needs. By going on the eight dates, you will have a much deeper understanding of each other, and you’re going to get tips that you can practice for each date, and my hope is that you just continue going on these deeper dive discussion dates in the future. “’Eight Dates,’ by Doctors John and Julie Gottman, is available digitally from the Sno-Isle Libraries. Take good care of you, and remember, some books are almost as good as therapy.”


Episode 62: Professor's academic research on racial strife leads to his first novel
Aug 26 2020 73 mins  
In Episode 62 of Sno-Isle Libraries Check It Out podcast, co-hosts Ken Harvey and Tricia Lee talk to local author Stewart Tolnay and learn how he has used his study of American racial history to create interesting fiction and nonfiction. Tolnay is a Ph.D. professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Washington. His first fiction novel, “Less Than Righteous,” features a Black Vietnam War veteran, his white girlfriend and the struggles they face as an interracial couple in Everett in 1969. Tolnay is also the author or co-author of nonfiction works that include “The Bottom Rung: An African-American Family Life on Southern Farms”; “A Festival of Violence,” which analyzes Southern lynchings from 1882 to 1930; and “Lynched,” which studies the victims of Southern mob violence. Tolnay’s work resonated with Harvey, the Director of Communications for Sno-Isle Libraries. Harvey is Black. He grew up in Mississippi at the dawn of the civil rights movement when white supremacists killed Black people with near impunity. Lee, the Director of Inclusion, Equity and Development for Sno-Isle Libraries, wanted to know more about Tolnay’s work and research and how it dovetails with the library district’s goals and objectives. Tolnay said it took him years of his own academic work and encouragement from his wife before he could sit down and “write a novel.” “Actually, it had been brewing in my mind for years as I was doing my academic research and realized there are some really important stories, interesting stories here, that might take us into dark corners of the American past that many people aren't familiar with,” Tolnay said. “That’s what got me motivated to try my hand at fiction.” Harvey wanted to know which writing was harder: creative fiction or academic nonfiction? Academic writing is “kind of formulaic almost, a template of here’s the research question, here’s the evidence, here’s my interpretation of the evidence, here’s my conclusion,” Tolnay said. It’s nothing like writing fiction. “You start with a blank slate,” he said. “You have ideas about plot and characters in your head, but you somehow have to bring order to that chaos. I understand some authors begin with a very detailed outline of their novels. That didn’t work for me, so I had to kind of search and find my way along this story as I went from chapter to chapter.” Lee wanted to know how Tolnay translated “some very heavy topics” on racial violence into fiction. “Are there things that you found you couldn't express fully in nonfiction that you can express at a whole different level in fiction?” she asked. “The academics, especially those like me who typically do highly statistical, quantitative work can be sometimes accused of, ‘Well, you’re leaving the people out of this.’ We’re talking about patterns and trends and data, and where are the people? Where are the personal emotional experiences behind this?” Tolnay said. “That’s what writing ‘Less Than Righteous’ allowed me to do, is to take those conclusions that I had drawn from my nonfiction writing and research and bring it down to a personal level, to try to highlight it in a way that is really more accessible to most readers I think.” Tolnay knew he had to tread carefully as he wrote the novel. He’s white and privileged, and he didn’t want to be accused of cultural appropriation by telling a story of an oppressed social group. That happened to “American Dirt” author Jeanine Cummins earlier this year. “I will admit, I’d be a fool not to, that I don't know intimately the African American culture. I don’t know what it’s like to experience the fears, concerns and discrimination and prejudice of the African American population. That’s just a deficit,” he said. “But I spent 36 years trying to familiarize myself with the African American historical experience in my non-fiction books and my journal articles. I don’t know how else I could compensate for that deficit other than by what I’ve tried to do over the last 36 years.” “Less Than Righteous” also has stories of working-class whites based on his own family experience, and white supremacists that are not his experience. “I think it is acceptable to write about social groups to which you don’t belong, with two important caveats,” Tolnay said. “The first is that you recognize the potential risks and limitations of your work because of that deficit, and I do. The second would be that you’d make a serious, intense effort to educate yourself about the group’s experience, which I have.” Tolnay’s fictional story of the Booker family’s move from rural Georgia to the Pacific Northwest has historical roots in the second Great Migration of Black Americans from the South after World War II. Tolnay set the Bookers in Everett, where he was born and graduated from high school and community college during the height of the Vietnam War protests. “I wanted to include an experience from the Great Migration in the story, and so (Booker patriarch) Mose had to go somewhere from Oconee County, Georgia. And the most likely place for him to go, based on my own experience, was the Pacific Northwest,” Tolnay said. “You often hear that writers should write about what they know. I think that's very true of ‘Less Than Righteous’ with the setting in Everett. It’s also true with respect to the content of the story, and as (Lee) mentioned, this is a dark story. The disturbing scenes, many of them, are drawn from actual events.” While the South has struggled with racial equality for centuries, the Pacific Northwest isn't innocent, Tolnay said. “The original Oregon State Constitution written in 1851 actually prohibited ‘Blacks and mulattoes’ from moving into the state,” he said. “But it wasn't actually repealed until 1926. In 2002, when the words were removed from the Constitution of Oregon, 30 percent of Oregon voters chose to retain the language. We can try to sit on our high horse and be very judgmental about the ignorant, racist Southerners, but it’s important to look closer to home as well.” Tolnay has seen that kind of discrimination here. In 2014, he moved to a Shoreline neighborhood that was developed by William Boeing in the 1940s. In 2005, the homeowners’ association rejected an amendment to the original covenant that prevented “people of the non-Caucasian races and Jews” from living there. The racial restriction was removed in 2006 because it was unenforceable. “Now, that's not that all that uncommon,” Tolnay said. “There were racial restrictive covenants for many, many neighborhoods in Seattle and elsewhere. So, it’s something that strikes very close to home and something that I think it behooves Pacific Northwesterners to be aware of.” Lee concurred. “It doesn’t surprise me, and I think it is a nice reminder that these things, they’re still things today,” she said. “I think a lot of the things that we’re hearing today in the news and elsewhere, it’s a direct correlation to the history. It’s a deep wound that's a hard one to fill and a hard one for us to reconcile our history as a nation and the impacts it has long term on the communities that were targeted with these policies. We sometimes forget about that. Or it wasn’t in history books. I think it wasn’t until I went to college and spent some time in the African American studies department that I was like, ‘Whoa! There’s this whole history that we were never taught and didn't realize.’” Part 2: Self-Help Shelf “This is Sarri Gilman with the Self-Help Shelf for Sno-Isle Libraries. The book I have for you today is a children's book for ages 4-7 years old, “Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch. “The illustrations in this book are timeless. And though the book was written more than 25 years ago, the words and pictures are completely relevant today as many of us are having conversations about racism. This is a book to bring your child into those conversations. “The book is about a girl named Grace who likes to dress up and play different parts from movie and book characters. Grace is in costumes on several of the pages, and your children are going to recognize many of these costumes. “She tries out for the school play and is told by another child that she can't play Peter Pan in the school play because she’s a girl and because she’s Black. I recommend this book for boys and girls and for children of all colors. I think all children will be challenged by the questions raised in this book, and it’ll allow for a really good conversation. “I love the illustrations in this book. They are large and they’re focused on Grace and her creativity. You can see Grace’s imagination and genius in these illustrations. Grace could be friends with any child. “ ‘Amazing Grace’ is available digitally from Sno-Isle Libraries. Take good care of you and remember: Some books are almost as good as therapy.”



Episode 61: Peek inside the childlike mind of Chris Ballew and meet Caspar Babypants
Jun 01 2020 44 mins  
Part 1: You Don’t Wanna Be a Rock-and-Roll Star Chris Ballew lived the rock-and-roll life. As frontman for the late, great Presidents of the United States of America, he wrote infectious, goofy, catchy hits about “Peaches” and a “Dune Buggy” when heavy grunge dominated Seattle’s FM radio waves. He toured all over the world. He played to packed arenas and stadiums. He even won a Grammy award. But that’s the old Chris Ballew. Today, Ballew is a genial, funny everyman who now can laugh about his discomfort with his “Presidents” fame. He’s still well-known and beloved in the Seattle music scene. He still makes infectious, goofy, catchy music that his fans love. And those are fans of Caspar Babypants. Yes, Chris Ballew has become a children’s musician. He loves it. Little kids love it. And the kids’ parents, who grew up listening to the Presidents of the Unites States of America, they love it, too. We told a friend about our Check It Out! podcast interview with Ballew. “Caspar Babypants, you mean the guy from The Presidents of the USA? COOL!!” Yes, Check It Out! podcast hosts Kurt Batdorf and Paul Pitkin found it very cool to talk about music and creativity with the one and only Caspar Babypants. When Ballew decided he’d had enough of rock-and-roll and hopped off the “pony that was (making) gold bricks,” it wasn’t a big musical leap for him to change things up. It’s easy to hear similarities between “Peaches” of 25 years ago and the current “Noodles and Butter,” or between “Dune Buggy” and “Butterfly Driving a Truck.” They’re all goofy and funny and infectious. And as Ballew says, “That’s just the sound I make, and I’ve been making that sound my whole life, really.” When the Presidents became a thing in Seattle music in the early 1990s, it was a matter of good timing, Ballew said. “The music scene at the time was ‘heavy,’ and not bad, but it just had a very visceral, kind of heavy, grungy vibe,” he said. “And I think people were really enjoying it, but they also wanted just some candy, you know, something really fun and bouncy.” The Presidents satisfied that craving at the right time. And now, Caspar Babypants satisfies Ballew’s innate “childlike” nature. “As Caspar Babypants, people ask me like, ‘How do you make this music for children?’ and I tell them, ‘I really don’t make it for children, I make it for myself, number one,’” Ballew said. “And I am just childlike. I live my life like a child. It happens to resonate with kids, but it’s really pleasing me. So, I think that’s how it kind of works. So, yeah. I was just pleasing myself, and it turned out to please a whole bunch of other people too.” The Presidents of the United States of America released three studio recordings, but Caspar Babypants has been much more prolific: 18 albums released between 2009 and 2019. Ballew has “thousands and thousands of little recordings” constantly running through his head as part of his creative process. He’ll play something for a few minutes and sing a little melody. “You never know what it might grow into,” he said. “So, I record it. In that sense, I’m always kind of allowing myself to just make a little mess, and not try to make sense of it. And then, maybe later, I’ll figure out what it is, after forgetting about the initial, sort of moment of creation. I’m constantly recording tiny little bits.” It means Ballew has a lot of material to draw from, and a lot of songs ready to go. His laptop is full of songs in various states of the recording process. “When it’s time to make a record, I listen to all of them, and I just cherry-pick the most developed, the clearest, the most successful 20, and make it into an album," he said. “I’m always working on a giant amount. And then, as a record comes due, I focus on the ones that just need the extra push, to kind of be perfect.” It also means some of Ballew’s songs don’t see the light of day for a long time. “I have this new song that I’m very excited about. I don’t think it will come out until 2022,” he said. “I’ve got three records almost ready for the next three years. It’s called ‘Live Like a Baby.’ And it's about how I, as an adult, just want to live like a baby.” Not with the downsides of being a baby though. “I mean, the freedom, and the way of experiencing the world as a purely energetic playpen. That's kind of my attitude,” Ballew said. He usually plays a three-string acoustic guitar as Caspar Babypants, similar to the stripped-down two-string bass he usually played with the Presidents. “It creates a really interesting sound,” Pitkin said. “It’s unusual, it makes its own sound.” Ballew said it makes him play guitar more like a bass player. “It sounds more rhythmic and chunky,” he said. “I kind of think about early Johnny Cash when I’m playing a lot.” The simpler, rhythmic sound is easier for Ballew to play by himself. “And kids respond to that,” he said. “They respond to the rhythm. And they want to get up, and dance, and move around.” That feeds his soul now, and Caspar Babypants has brought Ballew full circle. “When the President' started out, we were this goofy little band of dorks that were trying to rock. And in trying to rock, I think we endeared ourselves to our audience. They were like, ‘Oh, those poor little guys on stage. Look at them trying to play a Led Zeppelin song,’” Ballew said. “I love it, because I’m back to being a dorky little guy, trying to rock. Because I’m by myself, I think the empathetic reaction from the crowd is even more intense. If I ask for call and response, I definitely get it. Because I’m this tiny little guy on stage, trying to pull something off. And the crowd’s like, ‘Yes, we want to help.’” Part 2: Help with grief from the Self-Help Shelf If you’re dealing with grief, Sarri Gilman recommends “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief” by David Kessler for the Self-Help Shelf. “David is considered one of the world's leading experts on grief,” Gilman said of Kessler. “He’s written several books on the subject. And this book, ‘Finding Meaning,’ is my favorite of his books.” In this book, Kessler focuses on the traumatic loss of a loved one. Losing loved ones is a journey through many feelings. “Traumatic grief has some layers of feelings that can be hard to navigate, because we may not have experienced them before,” Gilman said. “And traumatic grief is particularly hard to do alone. This book is truly a helpful companion. It feels like David is in the room with you, reviewing stories of traumatic grief, and how people have carried those losses.” Kessler’s words and pacing are careful and thoughtful, which makes it easily readable in the grieving process. He writes about his own traumatic grief sensitively, the same way he writes about other people’s traumatic losses. He talks about the feelings we carry when we’re grieving, and it is coupled with a trauma. “I think if you have experienced this kind of loss, you’re going to feel understood,” Gilman said. “You’ll realize that you are not alone.” During the coronavirus pandemic, you may feel even more loss and grief unrelated to a death. “Although this book was written to support people who experienced a death, I think it applies to many losses,” Gilman said.” Traumatic grief can also come up from other kinds of losses like a divorce where there was abuse, loss of a child to addiction. I think this book is actually going to be very helpful, if you have traumatic grief for other kinds of reasons.” It doesn't have to be a recent loss. Often with traumatic grief, it could take a few years to process feelings. “During COVID-19, other losses that you had previously may be brought to the surface,” Gilman said. “And you may be feeling the trauma and grief, all over again, because COVID-19 has brought up a lot of loss and grief.” If this is your experience, “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief” will be very helpful. It’s available digitally from Sno-Isle Libraries.


Episode 60: Thanks to the internet and copious amounts of data, the future is now
May 18 2020 34 mins  
Rodney Clark helps deliver the future. As the vice president of the Microsoft Azure Worldwide Internet of Things and Mixed Reality Team, Clark and his crew work with more than 8,000 partners and clients to connect billions of everyday devices to the cloud. Sensors on stop lights, cash registers, automobiles, home appliances, exercise monitors, video doorbells. They all generate information and data that allows organizations to take action on that data and insights. “It’s a wave, it’s a reality,” Clark said. It’s no longer “the future.” “The job that I have and the privilege that I have is working with companies who want to participate in this new reality and new opportunity of building solutions that connect everyday devices and experiences to cloud and data,” Clark said. Microsoft calls it “edge to cloud,” and Clark said the company believes that cloud computing is “the here and now.” He acknowledges it’s a lot to process. As a real-world example, consider a Fitbit exercise monitor. “When I think of Fitbit, I think of personal cloud,” Clark told Check It Out! podcast host Ken Harvey, Director of Communications for Sno-Isle Libraries. “So I always ask the question, ‘How many personal clouds, Ken, do you have, or do you think you have?’ Do you think you have zero, or do you think you have 10?” Harvey thought he might have as many as 25 personal clouds. Clark said that’s probably right. He explained how personal clouds work, with Fitbit, SimpliSafe alarms and Ring video doorbells as examples. Fitbit tracks your steps, heartbeat, pulse and more, and stores that data in the cloud. It’s powerful information for your health provider, Clark said. The SimpliSafe alarm and Ring doorbell camera in his home send notifications directly to his smartphone, so he knows if his son is trying to get in the house because he forgot his key, or if it’s something bigger. “I can control my home from the other side of the state,” Clark said. SimpliSafe and Ring devices collect household and neighborhood data and images. The companies can share that data with consumers, potentially to improve neighborhood security. “All of those are just real practical examples of the Internet of Things at work,” Clark said. “We don’t realize it every single day but it is the reality that I mentioned.” During the interview, episode co-host Lynne Varner, Associate Vice Chancellor at WSU Everett, said she got a phone notification about her dogwalker’s location in her house. As a self-described technologist, Clark thinks constantly about the internet of things and the insights its data provides to numerous industries. “You name it, there’s an industry at play for the internet of things,” he said. Clark has been fascinated by the possibilities in scientific solutions since he was a student, but he’s no engineer. He worked for IBM for nine years in sales and marketing. He came to Microsoft 21 years ago so he could answer all of his “What if?” questions. "I saw an opportunity about six years ago for these devices that were embedded and fixed, and at the time we were building our cloud business,” Clark said. “I asked, ‘What if we were actually talking about cloud for those things that are traditionally fixed-purpose devices?’ It wasn’t the birth of our internet of things business. But it was for me the continuation of this fascination of technology.” “But it all started with you being curious and asking, ‘What if?’” Varner said. Clark agreed. Now he tells STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students and young professionals to focus less on what they want to be when they grow up. It’s more important to be flexible. “You have to allow yourself to experience different things,” Clark said. “If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here in this podcast and I wouldn’t have the role that I have today.” Varner says WSU emphasizes that kind of flexibility with the use of interdisciplinary instruction and broad communication skills. “I tell our students to prepare yourself to be flexible and to be nimble,” Varner said. “What you get your degree in may not necessarily be what you work in.” That’s good advice for workers today and tomorrow, Harvey said. To remain relevant, they'll need to keep adapting to new jobs as emergent technologies alter the traditional workplace. In an increasingly digital workplace, Clark said, “you have to have some minimum level of digital competency in order to stay relevant.” It applies to all positions, all the way up to chief executive officer. “Because tomorrow’s CEOs are today’s technologists, it’s ever so important that we accelerate STEM programs, that we have our females, our students of color, even that mid-career person thinking about, ‘What impact do I want to make in the business?’” Clark said. “Not every person mid-career or every student has an ambition to be in C-suite, the point is to stay relevant and in the game.” Varner agreed. “We think every student needs to have comfort with technology, whether you’re going into retail, whether you plan to be a writer,” she said. “You need to be able to explain ideas that are technical in nature. You need to be able to communicate with software engineers, software designers. So, everyone has to have some capacity in STEM, no matter where you happen to end up in your career. We try to encourage our students that way. “Not everyone wants to major in engineering, but you do want to understand how engineers think and how to convey possibilities to them so they can actually create it for you.”


Episode 59: If coronavirus has you worried, this good doctor reminds you you're not alone
May 11 2020 38 mins  
If you’re anxious about the global coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19, you’re not alone. In this episode of Sno-Isle Libraries Check It Out! podcast, you’ll hear how a globe-trotting disaster-relief doctor loses sleep about the deadly virus that has upended our sense of “normal.” Dr. Dan Diamond is a clinical assistant professor at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine after spending 33 years at the University of Washington School of Medicine in a similar role. In 1994, he and his wife, Debbie, founded CMRT, the nation’s first state-affiliated medical disaster response team, and it has sent them around the world. Former TEDxSeattle and TEDxRainier co-curator Phil Klein shared his interview with Diamond with Sno-Isle Libraries. “We thought it would be something really timely for the audience to listen to,” said Check It Out! podcast host Ken Harvey. Diamond and his team have been to natural disasters in Haiti, the Philippines and Mexico. They went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Today, Dr. Diamond is using insights he gained there to cope with the uncertainties of coronavirus. “These are some weird days we're living in for sure,” Diamond said about the aftermath of coronavirus. "Katrina was crazy,” Diamond said. “The medical triage unit at the convention center was the wildest thing I've ever done, but this one's different. This one's overwhelming. When we deploy to disasters around the world, I know I can always come home and it's all good, but now there's nowhere to hide. This is a global pandemic that's affecting everybody on the planet, and it's important to remember that. We are not going through this alone. We're going through it with everybody.” And like almost everybody, Diamond said he feels the tension and worries and uncertainties that coronavirus has raised. “Let me just tell you a personal story,” he said. “Two weeks ago, probably three o'clock in the morning, I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed going, ‘What in the world am I going to do?’ Then I had this interesting conversation like, ‘Am I going to die? This isn't going to be good. This is horrible. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to mankind.’ Then I got into this conversation with myself of, ‘Diamond, jiminy. You're a disaster, doc. You need to buck up, be tougher.’” Before he could clear his head and get back to sleep, Diamond had to remind himself that he needed to take care of himself with three steps of self-compassion. “First is to realize that you're suffering or that you're afraid,” he said. “So, I sat there and I thought, ‘Wow, man. You are really struggling with this one, aren't you?’ I thought, ‘Yeah, yeah.’” The second thing is to show up with kindness. “So, I’m sitting there saying, ‘Well yeah, this is a tough one. I can understand why you’d be afraid,’” Diamond said. “Then the third thing is to realize that you're not alone, that we're going through this with lots of people. So, I sat there and I thought, ‘I wonder how many thousands of people are sitting here on the edge of their bed going, “What in the world am I going to do?”’ I thought, ‘We’re in this together. We’re going to get through this. It is scary, but I’m going to be kind to myself and go back to sleep.’” Taking a break from television news for a few days also helped him sleep better. “I decided to quit watching the news for three or four days and just focus on taking care of myself and getting my focus back in the right spot and being positive,” Diamond said. Still, as the uncertainty of coronavirus wears on everyone, Diamond said the anxiety weighs on him, too. He tries to remember the lesson he brought back from New Orleans in 2004, when so many people lost all everything. He noticed that some people coped better than others. “I came back from Katrina asking myself a question that changed my life and it's a great question for us to ponder,” he said. “That is, why is it that some of these people don't become victims?” Diamond said he vacillates between optimism that coronavirus can be tamed and pessimism that he could lose people close to him. “So, you kind of go back and forth, but realizing that we get to choose which direction we face,” he said. “When I came back from Katrina asking this question of why is it that some of these people don't become victims, what I found is that some of these people, even though they lost their homes, they lost their cars, they lost all their clothes … and some of them had lost their family members, and they still did not become victims.” The experience gave Diamond the idea to compare personal power and purpose in a quadrant. The vertical line contains powerful people and powerless people. The horizontal line for purpose shows takers and givers. “This is not four different types of people,” he said. “This model is not a tool so you can point at people. This is a model for taking a look inside on where you are.” Diamond admits he’ll slide into the powerless victim or bystander mode when he feels under pressure, but he knows he can make the most difference when he’s in the upper right quadrant, using his power to give help. “My goal is I want to live in that upper right quadrant to say, ‘I have the power to make a difference. It’s not about me and I don’t care who gets the credit,’” Diamond said. “That’s a fulfilling mindset. I continually ask myself two questions. Am I going to be powerful or powerless? Am I going to be a giver or a taker? How am I going to show up? Then pay attention to the internal conversation that's going on until I learn to recognize these differences that I use.” Coronavirus is making many people confront grief, whether they want to or not. Check It Out! contributor Sarri Gilman suggests “It’s OK That You’re Not OK” by Megan Devine for her Self-Help Shelf. “I've read lots of books on grief, but I highly recommend this book if you're only going to read one book on grief,” Gilman said. Devine talks about early grief, something that very few authors do. “Most authors do not write about that because people find it really hard to read a book in early grief, but she starts with early grief because that's where we all start with our grief and there's so much that you may have felt or may be feeling that goes unacknowledged,” Gilman said. In the midst of COVID-19, all of us have experienced losses, she said. “Many of you may be experiencing grief,” Gilman said. “This book is a great companion through some of our most difficult challenging feelings that we're all experiencing.”


Episode 58: Claudia Samano-Losada loves libraries as much as she loves her communities
May 04 2020 46 mins  
Claudia Samano Losado has many talents. Early-childhood educator. World traveler. Life coach. Recreation-center owner. Dance-movement instructor. But maybe most importantly, Losado is a fervent Oak Harbor Library supporter. “I think I’m very passionate about a lot of things, and one of my passions is to share with others and to take and give in the same way,” said Losado, a member of the library’s board. “Since I have had so much from the library I’ve wanted to give back to, and this is a very good way to give back, but not just that, to know more about the library.” What she gets from the Oak Harbor Library, she returns to the Oak Harbor community. “It’s a way of connecting the community and the people with the same interests, so I’m connecting businesses, connecting families, connecting families with little kids, connecting families with teenagers,” she said. “So we are all in the same boat and it’s awesome for me to be able to share one thing from another.” Losado grew up in Mexico City, where her future husband was visiting when they met and started dating. She has lived in the United States since 2002 and her husband’s military career sent them to California, Florida and Oak Harbor. She used the library in every community she lived in. “I’ve been involved in every single place with libraries. What the libraries offer to the community in each state is amazing. Not everybody everywhere has the opportunity to have a library that offers free books to check out, free programs, help for the parents, so many things,” she said. “When I moved to Washington state and I discovered this library system, I just fell in love. It’s the best experience I have had with libraries. The community needs to know. Because the community sometimes are not fully aware of everything the library can offer. It has been kind of like my job lately.” Losado makes it a point to spread the word about all the services and programs the Oak Harbor Library and Sno-Isle Libraries offers to its customers. “I think it’s important for us, for the leaders in the community, to spread the word of what things are happening, and good things are happening since I took advantage of that,” she said. “I want everybody to know what is happening at the library.” When Losado says “community,” she sees a big picture. It’s the people who use the Oak Harbor Library. It’s the customers in her In Motion recreation center. It’s the island’s Navy population. It’s the people who live in Oak Harbor and the surrounding North Whidbey Island area. They all connect. “I see it this way,” Losado said. “We have our own interests and our own little communities in Oak Harbor. We have a military community. We have people who go to the library every single Tuesday, every single Wednesday, and it’s the library community. My people, my families ... it’s a small family that knows In Motion, that advocates movement, advocates physical activities. I see that some stuff connects us, however we need more connection. We need more connection between us, between all these little communities, between military, library, In Motion and all the places that are of course part of this community.” Losado’s upbringing in Mexico, a year of study in Great Britain followed by time in Spain, plus her 18 years in the U.S. gives her an open mind about immigration issues and diversity. As a child, she said she always looked for and saw the similarities in people, not differences. Now she notices how many people focus on differences instead of similarities. She believes it complicates how we live as a society, “and how we express our interest as a community.” “I think since I moved to the United States, I recognize something that I didn’t know before,” Losado said. “I recognize that some people look at you in different ways, and some people see differences you didn’t even know you had.” While some have different opinions about diversity, Losado appreciates those who “take it as an amazing way to be in the same society, growing together.” America is a diverse, multicultural nation, she said, but it’s becoming less cross-cultural. That only magnifies the perceived differences. “I think diversity is (something) to celebrate,” she said. “If we all have a goal as a country, as a community, as a society, we need to embrace our similarities.” She tries to instill that message to her movement and art students with the motto, “Our differences will divide us more, our similarities will make us one.” “I also try to unite,” Losado said. “I try to give the message, it’s OK to be different, it’s OK to speak a second language, it’s OK to be in a multicultural family. It is OK. That will actually make us a better community, a better society, and it will unite us.”


Episode 57: For food critic Nancy Leson, deadlines got in the way of a good time
Apr 28 2020 73 mins  
Chapter 1: Meet the writer who’s not fond of writing Nancy Leson loves books, she loves libraries, she loves to talk and she loves food. That makes the Edmonds resident an ideal guest for Sno-Isle Libraries Check It Out! podcast. Libraries figured large in Leson’s childhood in Philadelphia. Her family had little disposable income, so off to the library they went to borrow books and glean information from encyclopedias. These days, Leson says, the Friends of the Edmonds Library book sale is her favorite book event every year. Books and learning followed Leson into adulthood. She’d always wanted to own a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica, so she filled out a postcard to get more information. It was a particularly cold winter night in Anchorage, Alaska, when Leson heard a fateful knock on her apartment door. She opened the door and exclaimed, “Are you the encyclopedia salesman?” The man was flustered. “The guy looks and me and asks, ‘How did you know that?’” In his many years of sales calls, no one had ever asked if he was the encyclopedia salesman, he explained. “Damned if that night did I not buy, a poor nursing student in my 20s in Anchorage, Alaska, a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica, a gorgeous leather set, that this man came into my house and did nothing more than sell me a set of encyclopedias. I was a very brave young woman.” Leson still has those encyclopedias, and she mourned the day when Encyclopedia Brittanica announced it would stop printing them. “Now ask me when the last time I opened them was,” she said. Funny thing about Leson. Much as she loves words, she hates writing. She wanted to be a children’s librarian, then a writer, then tried nursing school, but ended up waiting tables. She finally got into writing courtesy of the University of Washington’s journalism program. But to earn her degree, she had to create “clips” by writing stories for local newspapers, and had to write about state government in Olympia. She resisted. “I had no interest in that at all,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be a features writer.” Leson finished her journalism degree, but was broke. She went back to waiting tables at an Italian restaurant (now called Nell’s) on Green Lake. “I knew every single one of the editors and publishers in town because they all used to eat in there, even Frank Blethen, my eventual boss,” Leson said. “I said, ‘One day, I’m gonna work for you.’ And I wasn’t lying.” Leson was still waiting tables a year later when she saw an ad in the back of the Seattle Weekly. They sought an unpaid intern in the food department. She applied. “I lied a little,” she said. “I said, ‘My mother always wanted me to be a doctor. Maybe now at least I can tell her I’m an intern. Hire me, I’m your girl!’ And they did. That was the first and last (writing) job I looked for.” She wrote a “gossip column-ish" called “As the Tables Turn” about her views of the Seattle restaurant scene, much of it based on her own waitressing experience. She earned $5 an hour. Sno-Isle Libraries podcast co-host Paul Pitkin wanted to know how Leson managed to write so much when she hates writing. “Writing is painful. I mean, I loved reporting. I loved going out. I loved interviewing people and finding out things. But I was the person who would sit down and write and could not do what they call – and you’ll excuse me – the ‘vomit draft,’ where you just throw it on out there and then you fix it later,” she said. “Until I got the lead on any story, I was writing, I couldn’t go on. And I fussed with it and fussed with it until I got it right. So it took me a long time to write. And as a result of that, I like to think that much of my work did not need much editing. And I was told that all along. It was good for my editors, but not so good for me.” Leson went on to edit the “Best Places” series for Sasquatch Books and was restaurant critic for the Seattle Weekly. That led to an offer from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a freelance restaurant reviewer for a few months before the Seattle Times gave her a call: “Hey, could you come talk to us?” It was her dream job, but daily deadlines got in the way of a good time. “It’s real fun to write something if you have all the time in the world,” Leson said. “I always liken journalism and deadline writing to when you’re in high school or college and you have a paper due and you’re writing the paper, or you have a final and you're studying and studying. And then you write the paper and you get done, or you finish the final, and you're like, ‘Oh, oh, yay, thank god that’s over.’ And then you wake up the next day and – augh! – I’ve gotta do it again.” Leson made a connection at KPLU-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate that’s now known as KNKX. The station wanted her to write and produce a weekly, 3-minute essay about fun, cool things. She was at the “worst time” of her mother-work life, so she offered a compromise. “I could do it once a month for six months,” Leson said. “And they agreed.” Then the station paired Leson up with one of their on-air hosts, Dick Stein. “It was initially a show about him interviewing me,” Leson said. “But it became the show it is today, which is the two of us having an absolutely fabulous time talking about the thing we love to do most, which is cooking.” They call it Food for Thought. Leson and Stein have been chewing the fat since 2006 about food, cooking utensils, cookbooks, secret ingredients, restaurants, likes and dislikes, you name it. Now Food for Thought generally sticks to cooking and food themes. To get a sense of how Leson and Stein work together, listen to them recollect their earliest food memories from childhood. You’ll learn why Leson felt compelled to eat a stick of butter. Her revelation inspired Check It Out! podcast co-hosts Paul Pitkin, Justine Easley, Kurt Batdorf and Julie Thompson to share some of their childhood food memories. Some are more horrifying than others, but you’ll have to listen to find out. Chapter 2: Get acquainted with Sarri Gilman’s Self-Help Shelf We live in trying times and licensed mental health therapist Sarri Gilman wants to help. That’s even more important now that coronavirus precautions make face-to-face interactions with family and friends difficult at best. In this episode of the Check It Out! podcast, Gilman debuts her Self-Help Shelf segment. She is also posting self-help book recommendations on the Sno-Isle Libraries blog, BiblioFiles. “I want to call out the books that are literally as good as therapy,” Gilman said. “Books that really help. Books that really make a difference. And some of these (titles) you aren’t even going to find in the library in the self-help section, because some of these are for children and they’re going to be in the children’s section.” All of the titles Gilman recommends are available in digital formats at sno-isle.org. Gilman recommends titles that she believes will help children navigate through emotions, help adults navigate through feelings and difficult challenges, help couples, and help families and caregivers. “I think there’s a wide range of books to pick from, but I’d like to call out the best, the things that help the most.” Adult self-help books are all about learning, Gilman said. For children, she looks for writing that encourages emotional literacy. “There are books out there that can help us through every stage of life, through every age, through every feeling, every experience. They’re all out there,” Gilman said. “I’ll call out books that make a difference. Which of these books can help you now.” Gilman's recommended title for adults this week is “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind“ by Kristin Neff. It will help you soothe yourself when you’re hurting, and bolster your morale when you’re feeling down. For children ages 9-11, Gilman recommends “The Nest” by Kenneth Oppel. The 12-year-old main character, Steve, worries about his young brother’s health problems. Through Steve, Oppel shows it’s possible to be both brave, afraid and faithful. It’s a great book for parents to read with their children, Gilman said.


Episode 56: A Rich Frishman picture isn't just a thousand words. It's a story unto itself.
Apr 20 2020 58 mins  
If a picture is worth a thousand words, some of Rich Frishman’s photographs could be novels. Frishman was a news photographer for The Daily Herald in Everett and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize before he left to pursue freelance work. He knows how to tell a story with a photograph, and he still sees and tells the stories of America through his camera lens. Frishman has criss-crossed the country to chronicle its beauty and everyday life in his collections, American Splendor and This Land, and the guarded secrets in Ghosts of Segregation. The difference between Frishman and the rest of us who think we take good pictures is how Frishman considers his subjects. He doesn’t just pull over on the side of the road when he sees something interesting, snap a picture and move on. Before Frishman leaves on a trip, he takes a deep dive online into the surrounding area for other photo opportunities. “I get on Google Maps, ultimately get in the Google car – not the auto-driving one, but the one you take on the internet – and I see what is there now in this location, and is it something that hearkens back,” he said. “And then that’ll lead me to something else.” Frishman was working on his Ghosts of Segregation photos when a planned trip to Houston led him to research sites in and around Jackson, Miss., about 440 miles northeast of Houston. “The Negro Motorist Green Book” helped him cross-check his hunches on historically significant sites and showed him many more. In Jackson he found the modest home where a white supremacist assassinated black civil rights activist Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963. Near Philadelphia, Miss., he found the remote site where Ku Klux Klan members killed young civil rights activists James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman on June 21, 1964. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam. “The Negro Motorist Green Book” was essentially a AAA guide for people of color, Frishman said. “Back In those dark days, it was what you had to use to be safe if you were black," he said. “Often I will use the term ‘colored,’ because in a lot of (white) communities it didn’t matter if you were African-American or Asian or Hispanic or Native American. Now it continues that way with Muslim, LGBTQ, maybe even Democrat. I have been in many places where I have felt like I was the outsider. It’s not a good feeling.” Frishman’s images in Ghosts of Segregation touched a nerve with Sno-lsle Libraries Communications Director Ken Harvey, who lived in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s and early 1970s. “The work that (Frishman) had done on the Ghosts of Segregation and the images that he had selected really spoke to me, because in some way, they reawakened some memories of places and things that I had seen and experienced,” Harvey said. Harvey was taken by the power of the images and the power of the places in his own memories. “I often think of myself as an archaeologist, collecting data about our civilization because someday it’ll be past,” Frishman said. Frishman certainly collects a lot of data when he’s working. Each one of his pictures is composed of dozens or hundreds of individual images that he shoots over several hours or days, sometimes even longer. The multiple images allow him to capture far more detail and light variations than a single image could ever convey. Frishman assembles the digital images into one masterpiece. The results are astonishing. There's no pixelation, no blur, no sign that the picture is stitched together from multiple images. Even when the picture is up to 12 feet wide. The photographs are so good they hang in museums in Texas and Louisiana. Some of Frishman’s earlier work on American Splendor and This land does look like well­ composed snapshots of roadside attractions, such as funky motels in California and New Mexico on old Route 66, or the curious Big Fish Restaurant on U.S. 2 in Bena, Minn. “Yeah, I was more sanguine then. Those were fun, but I realized I lost a lot of the love for doing that when, and this is my own outlook, but I’m troubled by our politics,” Frishman said. “I’m troubled by the continuation of segregation, whether it’s the economic issues or the educational issues. So many different groups continue to live with the burden of being considered ‘the other.’ “That’s what I’m trying to eliminate. I want to spark a conversation with people I may never meet directly. These problems didn’t end with the passage of any of the Civil Rights Acts. It certainly didn’t end with the end of the Civil War or Reconstruction or the emptying of internment camps or the rescinding of the Chinese Exclusion Act. I mean, we just continue to lay this on everybody who is ‘the other.’ ” The motivation for equality comes from Frishman’s upbringing. While the Frishman family lived comfortably in Chicago’s predominantly white suburbs, his parents were “unabashed liberals” who wanted their three children to value social justice. “I was born in 1951,” Frishman said. “My parents made it a point to familiarize us with people who were struggling … It was the early era of the modern civil rights movement. That ingrained in all three of us kids a sense of responsibility.” Frishman credits his father for instilling his sense of curiosity and an appreciation of architecture. “He told us the stories of the people who made these places,” Frishman said. That continues to frame his photography. “I’m quite driven by our relationships as human beings,” Frishman said. “My fascination with these places I’m now photographing really gets back to the people who populated these places and experienced so much, and for Ghosts of Segregation, the suffering and courage and struggle that people endured. Those are the aspects that compel me to photograph these places.”


Episode 55: Sometimes, a guest's gift can be hard for hosts to swallow
Apr 13 2020 49 mins  
David George Gordon admits he was a bookworm as a child. Is that why the prolific author loves insects, and loves to eat them? Sno-Isle Libraries Check It Out! podcast hosts Ken Harvey, Jim Hills and Jessica Russell sat down with Gordon and chewed the fat about his reputation as “the bug chef.” And they graciously accepted the guest’s gifts, as polite hosts do. Yes. Harvey, Hills and Russell ate bugs. The Seattle-based author of “The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook” and 19 other titles covering slugs and snails, oyster history and Sasquatch research has appeared on many TV shows and headlined national festivals. When Gordon visited Sno-Isle Libraries and laid out plates of edible bugs, the hosts were understandably skeptical. Gordon is used to tough crowds. “In so many ways, this is the food of the future,” Gordon said about insects as ingredients or cuisine. “It’s really good for you. It’s easy to raise. It doesn’t require the gallons of water that go into raising a steak and so on. But our dislike of insects in our culture is so strong, even at insect festivals it’s hard to get people to eat this stuff.” Harvey, Hills and Russell mostly overcame their cultural instincts. They ate kosher, farm-reared locusts, “the official Bible food of John the Baptist,” Gordon said. They ate seasoned chapulines, wild grasshoppers harvested from cornfields in Oaxaca, Mexico. They ate the caterpillars of a sphynx moth, which lays its eggs on blue agave plants, which is where tequila starts. The caterpillar is “the proverbial worm in the bottom of the tequila bottle,” Gordon explained. And they ate protein-rich energy bars. “If I didn’t tell you there were crickets in there, you would never know. You’d be eating the blueberries,” Gordon said. That’s because the crickets are dried and ground into flour, “so we’re not talking about a bunch of goo.” Some of Gordon’s samples went down easier than others. First, the locusts. The legs are removed but not the wings. Each locust is a couple of inches long, so it’s mostly abdomen and head and it looks dramatic. It looks exactly like a big bug. Russell hedged. “There’s something about the way they’re looking at me,” she said. “Hold them by the wings, they’re great handles,” Gordon explained. “Eat the body.” He said to expect the taste of Shredded Wheat cereal. Hills was just as dubious as Russell. “This is gonna be a one-bite thing,” he said before he audibly crunched one down. While Russell and Hills were busy overcoming their nerves, Harvey had already eaten a locust. “I’m taking the wings home to prove that I ate it,” he said. “I have a reputation as a very picky eater. It has a nice taste.” “It tastes like the smell of freshly harvested hay,” Russell said. Next, the chapulines. The three test subjects gave the crunchy critters enthusiastic thumbs up. “Oh, I like that!” Hills said. “I could actually sit around and eat those.” Russell and Harvey liked the caterpillar. Russell described a crispy, salty first blast on the tongue and a perfumy flavor that lingered pleasantly on her palate. “My family will be shocked when they hear that this picky eater did that,” Harvey said. But for Hills, the caterpillar was a bridge too far. “Yeah, I couldn’t do that,” he said. “They look like the big version of the grubs you find in your yard.” The good-natured Gordon wasn’t offended. He knows food that wiggles is not often on the menu. “I didn’t want to eat the locusts,” Russell said. “I feel like they’re looking at me and I’m not quite OK with that. I grew up in Louisiana where we eat some really interesting, quirky things that are not eaten in other places that have become really normal to me.”


Episode 54: From "J.P. Patches" to elusive gorillas, this Edmonds pair has seen plenty
Apr 06 2020 51 mins  
If you’re old enough to remember when Seattle television was limited to a handful of broadcast channels and you remember J.P. Patches, you’ve seen the work of Sharon Howard and Mike Rosen. Howard got her start in broadcast TV in 1977 with KIRO-TV as a floor director for newscasts and “The J.P. Patches Show.” It was performed and broadcast live, six mornings a week. Without any rehearsal to speak of. “Well, everybody thinks that we had a script and it was planned, but our plans were to meet in the cafeteria 15 minutes before the show,” Howard said. “And we just played it by ear. Somebody would say, ‘Well, let’s do a “Star Wars” thing. I need an R2D2.’ As a floor director, I think, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do?’ Well, I go and get the shop vac. That’s the kind of thinking it was.” Rosen arrived in Seattle in the late 1970s and joined KIRO’s news unit as a photographer and Howard caught his eye. They worked together on a few promotional commercials before they started dating. Meanwhile, Howard moved to KOMO-TV to work on “Frontrunners,” the highly rated weekly show that profiled local high achievers. It was kind of a “golden era” for quality television, when the locally owned Seattle stations didn’t have to answer to remote corporate owners. “My partner (Ken Morrison) and I used to say, ‘You know, this is the best of television that we’re going through right now,’” Howard said. “We were not told what to do, we did any story we wanted, we had complete freedom.” Rosen concurred. “Whatever the general manager would spend his weekend thinking about is usually what my assignment was,” Rosen said. “Once I spent an hour on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which he oddly had not crafted to fit into a 47-minute show with commercials.” In 1980, Mount St. Helens started rumbling and was in the news every day for weeks. After the volcano’s first eruption, Rosen hopped into the KIRO News helicopter, Chopper 7, to report the damage around the mountain. The pilot had just cleared the new crater when Mount St. Helens erupted seconds later with a plume of steam and ash. It was Chopper 7’s first live transmission of an eruption. Rosen knew he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, but Howard was watching and she was scared. Howard and Rosen loved the freedom and creativity of working with wildlife and out in nature. And since he no longer worked at competitor KIRO, Howard convinced her boss at KOMO that if she hired Rosen, KOMO would only have to pay for one hotel room on remote assignments. “We got to go all over the world together,” Howard said. “But we did these documentaries on our own time” because they both still had their full-time jobs. The shared passion for documenting wildlife kept them going, she said. They worked in very remote locations in Alaska and Africa. They had to pack in all of their supplies and equipment. And this was long before you could shoot a movie with little more than your smartphone and a couple of apps. On a shoot in Rwanda to document silver back gorillas, Howard and Rosen had to hire 30 porters to carry their food, fuel, gear and supplies through brush so dense their feet never touched the ground. “At one point we looked at each other, because you can see the gorillas, and you can smell the gorillas,” Rosen said. “We decided we’re going to have to call this show ‘Butts of Nature,’ because that’s all we were getting.” During a rest break, a silver-back gorilla broke through the brush. “It walks right up to me, climbs on my lap and puts its head in the lens and sits there for four and a half minutes,” Rosen said. “All the things they tell you (not to do with gorillas) — never make eye contact, don’t get within 15 feet, certainly don’t touch them. And he’s sitting on top of me.” He looked to Howard for guidance. “When you look at your producer who is also your spouse, the first words out of her mouth should be, ‘Are you OK?’ but they weren’t,” Rosen said. “Instead they were, ‘Are you rolling?’” “I’ve never heard the end of that, trust me,” Howard said. Of course Rosen was rolling. He got incredible footage and Howard wrote an incredible story. It’s not easy to write a script for an unscripted nature story, Howard said. She gets her best results “writing to the pictures, and a lot of writers don’t in television. They just write what they want and leave it to the poor editors to have to cover it.” Rosen, more than any of the other photographers Howard worked with, always gave her more than she expected. “Sometimes when you work with a photographer and you think you’ve communicated and he didn’t get what you wanted, then you have to rewrite,” Howard said. “But with Mike, and I’m not saying this just because he’s my spouse … I’ve always gotten more than I set out to get. So I have to rewrite it anyway because I’ve got better stuff than I thought I was going to have.” That could explain how Howard and Rosen’s fruitful collaboration racked up 28 regional Emmy Awards and a national Peabody Award for their features, documentaries and filmmaking.



Episode 53: Scouting clean tech with Tom Ranken
Mar 30 2020 56 mins  
As the outgoing president and CEO of Washington CleanTech Alliance, Tom Ranken has been close to many of the biggest and some of the smallest businesses in the region. What they all have in common, Ranken says, is a goal to change the world. Ranken had plenty of business expertise - Immunex, VizX Labs, Axio Research - on his resume before joining the Alliance in 2010 as its first full-time president & CEO. At that time, the clean-tech industry trade association had 35 members. Under Ranken’s leadership, the Alliance now represents more than 400 member organizations spanning 10 states and three Canadian provinces. “You may get into a controversy over climate change but you never get into a controversy over jobs,” Ranken says. “Everybody is interested in finding ways to get people jobs.” The definition of what qualifies as a clean-tech job has changed over the years. “We figure there are about 80,000 (clean-tech) jobs in the state, but the definition is important,” Ranken says. “With some of our members you see their job title or company name and you know it’s clean-tech, like a solar installer." According to Ranken, a lot of the CleanTech Alliance members are bigger companies with a mission of being clean and green. They also find that being green makes good business and environmental sense. Another common thread through Ranken’s career has been the Boy Scouts. Beginning as a Cub Scout in Oak Harbor, Ranken’s Navy family meant he took scouting with him around the world. He eventually became an Eagle Scout in Virginia. “My experience has led me to believe that the two most important lessons learned in Scouting are leadership and persistence,” Ranken says. “Most Scouts have spent more than half their lives in the program when they become Eagles, and each has persevered over personal challenges.” As he steps away from the CleanTech Alliance, Ranken says he hopes to have more time to play music in his band named, what else, The Ranken File. “We have three guitars, bass and drums,” Ranken says. “We are developing our own songs, but mostly we play classic rock.” Episode length: 56:10 Episode Links Tom Ranken LinkedIn profile CleanTech Alliance Soundview Innovation Campus Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator Snohomish County Economic Development Initiative Nuclear fusion/University of Washington Nuclear fusion/Forbes University of Washington MBA program The Ranken File band Tom Ranken on the value of Boy Scouts Boy Scouts of America “Range” by David Epstein


Episode 52: Discovering seasonal secrets and looking ahead
Dec 24 2019 37 mins  
In this final episode of the second season of Check It Out!, hosts Ken Harvey, Jessica Russell, Paul Pitkin and Jim Hills relate their personal holiday dreams and nightmares and dive into library resources that may just help set a tasty dinner table. Hills, not beset by the piled-plate, food-touching phobia, shares that a holiday meal is best perceived as a single entity, the sum of its parts as measured both horizontally and vertically. The description, however, takes Russell back to a time in her life when space between menu items was required and the queasy realization that she may not have moved as far past those days as thought. Russell describes her southern roots by painting the mental picture of deep frying turkey in a Louisiana front yard. “Deep-fried turkey is the best,” Russell proclaims with no dissenters. The pot, she goes on to say, is the same one used for the crawfish boil. “In Mississippi, that (pot) is called a washtub,” Harvey says. Pitkin allows that as a child his family finally rebelled at his mother’s cooking to the point that they chose to have the holiday dinner delivered. From Nordstrom. The Sno-Isle Libraries collection, Russell points out, has thousands of cookbooks and other resources available to help make any holiday celebration memorable. Pitkin, executive director for the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, points out that there is more to the holiday season than eating. “I encourage everyone to make a year-end donation to the foundation,” Pitkin says, adding that foundation donations support a variety of programs at the Sno-Isle Libraries. “The third-grade reading challenge is coming up,” Pitkin says of the program that includes thousands of students across Snohomish and Island counties. “The reading challenge helps third-graders improve literacy at a time that very important to their development level.” The foundation is also the primary sponsor of TEDxSnoIsleLibraries, which is returning after a hiatus on May 9, 2020 at Edmonds Center for the Arts, Pitkin says. Speaker videos from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 events have been viewed more than 3.5 million times, Harvey says. “The foundation has always been the main sponsor and we could not be more excited that it’s coming back,” Pitkin says. Finally, Harvey offers a peek at what’s coming in Season 3 for the podcast. “We working on getting Everett Community College President Daria J. Willis,” Harvey says. “And, the head of IBM’s Watson project is going to talk to us about artificial intelligence and quantum computing.” And books? What about books? “We are working on a slew of authors, some nationally acclaimed, some just getting started,” Harvey says. Episode length 37:26 Episode links Holiday and winter resourcesTEDxSnoIsleLibraries Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation EvCC President Daria J. Willis IBM Watson Deep-fried turkey recipes Paula Deen Alton Brown John Lovick


Episode 51: The music of community service with Dave Earling
Dec 20 2019 65 mins  
Dave Earling has worn the mantles of many different roles. Student. Musician. Husband. Father. Grandfather. Teacher. Business owner. City council member. Volunteer. And perhaps most recently and visibly, Mayor of Edmonds. Earling speaks in this episode of the Check It Out! podcast as he brings that role as city executive to close. “I jokingly say that I have a checkered past,” Earling says. “But, if you are truly interested in what you are doing, you’ll be successful and that’s how I’ve worked.” Earling’s service as mayor ends Dec. 31, 2019, but his eight years at the helm is hardly the extent of his involvement and support for Edmonds. Earling is well-known for his unabashed boosterism phrase, “It is always sunny and 82 in Edmonds.” The actual weather at the moment never matters to Earling’s outlook. As a 23-year-old sporting a freshly minted graduate music degree from Washington State University, Earling says his first job at Shoreline Community College in some ways set the tone for what was to follow. “I taught at Shoreline for 11 years,” Earling says. “I was interested in preparing people for performance. As a conductor, you put out a sheet of music, rehearse and then have a performance. “It’s exhilarating to see people go through the process, to share the pleasure of the performance and realize that accomplishment.” Earling says that when he arrived at Shoreline, there were 32 performance students and by the time he left, there were more than 200. “Always leave it better than you arrived,” Earling says of one of his guiding principles. That experience of bringing disparate individuals together for a commonly identified goal became Earlring’s go-to approach as he moved into business and politics. An intense schedule promoted Earling to take a break from teaching and he went to work at Edmonds Realty. “I worked there for a number of years until I had an opportunity to buy the company,” he says. “We watched it grow, watched the success of the various agents we hired.” During that time, Earling became involved with the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and eventually serving as president and growing the organization. A desire to become more involved led to a successful run for city council. “I was on (the council) for 12 years through a variety of leadership styles,” Earling says. “When you are in an elected position, you don’t choose friends, they just show up and you have to make it work.” From his time as mayor, Earling cites many accomplishments, but says he is particularly proud of the city’s designation by the state of Washington as a “Creative District,” the first in the state. “We have a great base of things in Edmonds around the arts and we are focused on trying to expand that,” he says. While Earling says he’s not exactly sure what lies ahead for himself beyond a bit of relaxing, he does feel good about where the city is headed. “This will sound corny,” Earling says. “Edmonds is a rare gem. How many cities can you drive to and have a small-town experience? Edmonds is a daytime destination, just 14 miles from downtown Seattle. My philosophy is you go where you find success and we need to continue to build on what we have.” Episode length: 1:05:53 Episode links WSU School of Music Shoreline Community College Music Department Edmonds Realty Edmonds Chamber of Commerce City of Edmonds Edmonds Creative District Growth Management Hearing Board


Episode 50: How to become robot-proof with Amit Singh
Dec 13 2019 56 mins  
The key to long term success is becoming “robot-proof,” says Amit Singh. Singh, the president at Edmond Community College, says students need two things to compete in today’s economy and into the future. “They need technical skills and they need higher-level mental skills,” Singh says in this episode. “We normally call those mental skills ‘soft skills’ such as problem-solving. “Those skills are making you robot-proof. A robot cannot take those jobs.” Singh says that technical skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas are important, but it takes more. “Sometimes we hear the need for technical skills,” Singh says. “Yes, for the short term, but to survive long term you need more. That comes from a liberal arts education and then n top of that you have the technical skills.” Singh, who grew up in India before coming to the U.S. for college, likens the approach to that of immigrants to a new land “They know everything will be new and different,” Singh says. “They have to adapt. That’s the adaptive mindset we need.” In a time when knowledge is as close as a YouTube video, Singh, who holds a Ph.D. in Economics and three master’s degrees, says Edmonds Community College and higher education, in general, are facing a similar challenge to adapt. “Take the example of Blockbuster (video stores),” he says. “These are middlemen in the content transfer. They didn’t produce the content, the transferred it to (customers). What technology did was bypass the middleman and go direct to the customer.” Singh says colleges are in a similar business of knowledge transfer and to adapt, they must take a page from what they are teaching their students. “We cannot be outsourced if we do things right,” Singh says. “They ways we teach in the classroom and the wraparound services we provide for students are key. We have to be mindful to keep adding value.” Episode length: 56:29 Episode links Edmonds Community College Entrepreneurship program Mariner Community Campus


Episode 49: Building the people's palace with Eric Klinenberg
Dec 05 2019 46 mins  
It may not come as a surprise that Eric Klinenberg gets a warm welcome when he speaks to librarians and supporters of public libraries. Klinenberg is the author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life that was published in 2018. The book makes the case that shared “social infrastructure,” such as libraries, is critical for the future of democracies and the literal survival of their citizens. He spoke to the American Library Association’s meeting in Seattle this past January, then to Sno-Isle Libraries employees this fall. The next day, his conversation with Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson at a breakfast meeting for community members was captured for this podcast episode. “Palaces” isn’t the first time Klinenberg has posited the common-good perspective. In 2002, he wrote Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. A sociologist as well as author, Klinenberg examined the data from a 1995 heatwave that killed more than 700 people. Klinenberg found that who died depended in large part on where they lived in the city. Other books by Klinenberg include Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012) and Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007). He is also the editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age, co-editor of Antidemocracy in America (Columbia University Press, 2019), and co-author, with Aziz Ansari, of the New York Times #1 bestseller Modern Romance (The Penguin Press, 2015). Klinenberg is the Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. His scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and This American Life. Episode length: 46:19


Episode 48: Keeping government open and transparent with Toby Nixon
Nov 22 2019 69 mins  
Some children dream of being a firefighter or star athlete. After an early civics lesson in school, Toby Nixon knew he was interested in government. That early interest has turned into a life focused on public service and protecting the processes of government. Nixon was re-elected to the city council in Kirkland, Wash., in the fall of 2019, a position he’s held since 2012. Among the many current and former public-service roles Nixon has taken on, he has been a fire commissioner and a member of the Washington State House of Representatives from 2002-2006 where he was ranking member of the committee which has responsibility for overseeing Washington’s open government and election laws. And his day job with Microsoft includes serving as chairman of the board of directors of Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the Kirkland-based international organization that develops standards for Bluetooth technology. But of all his efforts, defending and watch-dogging open government holds a special place in Nixon’s heart. He is the 2012 inductee to “Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame” by the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2006, he received the “Freedom’s Light Award” from Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in recognition of his work to protect and advance First Amendment interests in Washington and he’s a member of the Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board. And, Nixon is president of the board of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, a group that advocates for the people’s right to access government information. The independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization works through the courts and the Legislature to defend and strengthen Washington’s open government laws. “Washington’s public records act, Initiative 276, came into existence, by public initiative, in 1972,” Nixon says. “It got a 72 percent favorable vote, one of the highest ever for an initiative in the state.” The new law went into effect in 1973 and it was immediately attacked, Nixon says. “The original group that sponsored the initiative was called the Coalition for Open Government,” Nixon says, adding that after a few years, “That organization kind of shut down.” The original law included ten exemptions, but by 2002, there were more than 300 exemptions. “A group of folks got together and decided we needed to defend the law against the courts and the Legislature. So, the Washington Coalition for Open Government was formed,” Nixon says. “I joined the board in 2005, three years in.” Nixon says Initiative 276 came forward during the Watergate era when the public was focused on the need to ensure transparency in government. The mission of the coalition, Nixon says, is a group of people who may not have very much else in common, but they all recognize the importance of government transparency and the preservation of democracy. “People assume we are a conservative organization,” Nixon says. “It’s really just a watchdog group, no matter who is in charge. We are really very much a non-partisan group. We don’t agree on much besides transparency is important.” As busy as he is, Nixon says he’s still looking for ways to learn and grow. “I like to read about how to make government better,” Nixon says. “You have to be passionate about learning new things.” Episode length: 1:09:27 Episode links Initiative 276 voters pamphlet from 1972 Washington Public Records Act (state law) Washington Public Records Act (overview) Washington Public Disclosure Commission Washington Coalition for Open Government Toby Nixon city council campaign website Kirkland City Council Heroes of the Fifty States Award Washington Newspapers Publishers Association


Episode 47: From the Bookmobile to regency romance, discovering the library
Nov 15 2019 34 mins  
Even for the folks whose jobs are to know things about the library, Sno-Isle Libraries continues to amaze and surprise. In this episode, co-hosts Ken Harvey, Jim Hills, Jessica Russell and Paul Pitkin, “Go over the highlights of what we don’t know.” Service Center Hills points out the oddity that while the library district’s Service Center in Marysville serves all 23 community libraries, Library on Wheels and online services, it is not itself a library. Jessica Russell, Assistant Director of Technical Services - Collection Services, says that, yes, all the materials that are in community libraries flow through the Service Center, those items aren’t there for very long. “Our job is to get them out into the libraries and the hands of our customers,” Russell says. Pitkin adds the fact that for visitors and employees alike, the Service Center building can be a confusing place. “You see people wandering around looking lost because the building has been added on to three times. People walking around lost, but trying to not look like they’re lost.” Special days With everything from Peanut Butter Fudge Day (a Pitkin favorite) to special days for vegans, clams and craft jerky, November is more than just Thanksgiving. “Craft jerky?” Russell asks. “You mean, like craft beer?” With the “fall back” to standard time in November, Hills takes an informal poll of the co-hosts for their preferences: Harvey – “Daylight Savings Time all the time.” Pitkin – “Never. I like the darkness. In the summer it just gets ridiculous.” Russell (a recent Texas transplant)– “But, it’s such beautiful light here, so soft. If you ever want to know what it’s like to be a bug under a magnifying glass, go to Texas.” Hills – “I’d keep both. I love summer nights when it’s light until 9:30 maybe 10 p.m.” Harvey (again) – “And if our listeners have an opinion, let us know at [email protected] Title talk “One of the most clicked on things on our website is the ‘new items’ link,” Hills says. “And Jessica is responsible for getting the stuff that’s new in the collection.” Russell says it is actually the work of “the amazing, wonderful, collection development staff.” For a person who sees the world of what’s published, Russell says her personal reading list is currently focused on “regency romance” novels. “There are tons and tons of regency romances,” she says. For Russell, that means downloading from Overdrive to her iPad. “I have become an almost exclusively digital reader,” she says. Still, Pitkin wondered about “regency.” “Is that a publisher?” he asks. The phrase, regency romance” refers to a time period of dukes and other royalty, Russell says. “If you’ve ever watched ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ you’ll love regency romances,” she says. Bookmobile As executive director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, Pitkin says he is always looking for great stories of how library services supported by donations to the foundation are helping customers. “The Bookmobile is just an amazing service,” Pitkin says of the mobile service that is part of the larger Library on Wheels department. Russell said a recent ride-along was inspiring to her. “The depth of knowledge our staff members have of their customers and how they know what customers are looking for is amazing,” she says. Episode length: 34:45


Episode 46: Books and book'n'em with Alan Hardwick
Nov 01 2019 67 mins  
What do police officer, adopted son, milkman, cheese cutter, fur trapper and international terrorism have in common? They have all been part of Alan Hardwick’s life. Hardwick is author of “Never Been This Close to Crazy,” the Edmonds Police sergeant’s first novel, which was published in June this year. Hardwick’s 28-year law-enforcement career has touched a number of important areas. Hardwick started in Idaho and founded the Boise Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. He’s now a member of the FBI’s North Sound Counterterrorism Working Group and was a founding member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force the Everett Resident agency. Hardwick has served as lead case agent for dozens of international terrorism investigations. “The book a picture of a man, a police officer and his sudden thrust into the life of a single father,” Hardwick says. While the character is raising five children while being a police officer doing counterterrorism, Hardwick says the plot is not autobiographical. “The story bleeds far beyond my own experience,” Hardwick says. “But I do have a lot of raw data to work from.” Despite just publishing a novel, Hardwick says his first passion is music. He studied music theory, composition and education before moving toward his career in law enforcement. Hardwick is one-third of the group One Love Bridge, which includes Ricardo Valenzuela and Mark Pendolino. The group performs original music and rock covers in the Edmonds area, including at Taste Edmonds! “I became a musician, at least partly, when my mother bought me my first instrument for my second birthday which was a cymbal,” Hardwick says of his adoptive mother. As for his father, Hardwick says, “My dad was a milkman for Darigold.” Eventually, the company offered his father a job in Chehalis at the cheese factory. “I got to say my dad cut cheese for living,” he says. “He never really liked that job,” Hardwick says, which prompted a career switch to being a fur trapper in rural Lewis County. “I was the only kid in my school that had to float the river in the morning to check the trap line before going to school.” Episode length: 1:07:54



Episode 45: Serving community with Nate Nehring and Sue Norman
Oct 25 2019 57 mins  
Chapter 1 – Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring Nate Nehring may look young for a Snohomish County Council member, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot of experience. Born and raised in Marysville, Nehring was appointed to an open seat on the county council in 2017 at age 21. He is also the son of Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring. “I remember going out and doorbelling for him,” Nehring says of his father, who was first elected mayor in 2010. Before that, Jon Nehring served as a Marysville City Council member for eight years so service to the community through local politics has swirled around Nate Nehring for most of his life. Before his appointment, Nate Nehring says, “I was asked if I’d follow in his footsteps. I said, ‘No don’t think so because of divisiveness.’” If not through politics, Nehring says his father’s lesson of service was not lost on him: “I got into education.” A graduate of Western Washington University, Nehring came back home for a job as a middle school teacher with the Marysville School District. But local governance continued to be a draw. Nehring married and he and his wife moved to Stanwood where he was appointed to the city’s planning commission. “I highly encourage anyone with an interest to look at the opportunities in their community,” Nehring says. “They are always looking for people to volunteer.” Nehring says the issues he saw on the Stanwood Planning Commission are similar to the one he’s seeing representing the residents of county council District 1, which includes most of north Snohomish County. “The general issues are around growth,” Nehring says. “We will be looking at those for the foreseeable future.” He says one of the main themes for the north part of the county is jobs. “We’ve been lacking is job opportunities and a lot of people are traveling for jobs,” Nehring says. “We need more jobs in north Snohomish County so people can live and work there.” The other big issues, he says, revolve around the opioid crisis, homelessness and mental health. He points to a collaborative program with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that pairs a deputy and a social worker as an innovative approach that is making a difference. “We started with a goal of getting 25 people in the program and so far we’ve had 70 people go through treatment,” he says. Chapter links Nate Nehring State of the County message Snohomish County Council Snohomish County Council District 1 Stanwood Planning Commission Opioid crisis, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Ending Homelessness Program Community mental health North Snohomish County employment efforts Chapter length: 46:33 Chapter 2 – Spotlight on Sue Norman If you like libraries and live on Whidbey Island, there’s a decent chance you’ve run into Sue Norman. Or something she has helped make happen. “I’ve lived on the island for 29 years and been active with the Friends of the Oak Harbor Library for 25 years,” Norman says. Norman says her connection to libraries began at an early age. “Mom was a school teacher and my father was a newspaper reporter and then editor,” she says. “I’m proud to say we were the last family on our block to have a TV.” After moving to Oak Harbor to open a business, Norman says she kept thinking she wanted to get involved with the library in some way. “I went to a Friends meeting and got roped in pretty quickly,” she says. Norman hasn’t limited her volunteer time to the Oak Harbor Library friends group. “There’s the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture series and Whidbey Reads,” Norman says. Norman says she’s been asked why the focus on libraries. “I guess because I have such a reading habit, I could never afford to buy them all,” Norman says. Chapter Links Friends of the Oak Harbor Library Oak Harbor Library Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series Whidbey Reads Chapter length: 3:46 Episode length: 57:41


Episode 44: Engineering a writing career with Bernadette Pajer
Oct 19 2019 51 mins  
Bernadette Pajer had returned to the University of Washington, intent on completing a degree in engineering. And then the life story of the soon-to-be mystery/crime writer took its own plot twist. Pajer turned her focus toward culture, literature and the arts and completed a Creative Writing Certificate at the UW. From there, Pajer began building on what she knew, which spawned the Profesor Bradshaw Mysteries series. "I don't even remember when I started that (first) book)," Bradshaw says. The series focuses on a UW professor of electrical engineering named Prof. Bradshaw. Through the course of four books to date. Bradshaw is drawn through intrigue, mystery and crimes, all on a foundation of science and engineering. "I just dove in and a funny thing ... when I received the letter from Poisoned Pen Press that they wanted to publish A Spark of Death, I was both elated and terrified," Pajer says. "I'm not an electrical engineer." While Pajer had done extensive research, she contacted William Beaty, a research engineer at the UW. "He vetted the book," Pajer says. "Fortunately, I'd essentially got it right, although Bill made a few tweaks." The other interesting thing about Pajer's series, she set it in the early 2oth Century. "I've always been fascinated with this time period," Pajer says. "We went from horse and buggy, and within one generation, to astronauts in space." Pajer shares that her interest in science has, perhaps counterintuitively, put the Professor Bradshaw series on hold for the time being. Pajer is a board member of the group Informed Choice of Washington, which is taking up most of her free time. According to their website, the group advocates for "vaccine policy reform based on scientific integrity and individual health needs, to promote education about healthy immunity, and to protect informed consent and medical freedom in Washington State." Episode length: 51:58 Episode links Bernadette Pajer books William Beaty Informed Choice Washington


Episode 43: Newspapers and journalism with The Herald's Phillip O'Connor
Oct 11 2019 62 mins  
There is no doubt that newspapers and journalism are undergoing changes. Phillip O'Connor should know, he has worked through many of those changes and continues to chart a course into the future for the Fourth Estate in his new role as executive editor of The Herald newspaper in Everett, Wash. Until arriving at The Herald in the summer of 2019, O'Connor was a committed midwesterner by birth and then choice. O'Connor started as a "15-er" (sports department clerk working for three hours at $5 an hour) , taking scores over the phone for his hometown paper, the venerable Kansas City Star (which also launched the career of Ernest Hemingway). After rising through the reporter ranks and various news beats, he moved a few hundred miles east across Missouri to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It was at St. Louis where O'Connor says his mileage reports went from cross-town to round the globe. "After Sept. 11, 2001, it was around Thanksgiving and my parents were in town," O'Connor says. "I got a call from my boss; would you be willing to go to Afghanistan? "And I say, 'Absolutely.' So I walk back to the living room where parents are and I say, 'I guess I'm going to Afghanistan. "And my mom says, 'I raised an idiot.'" After Afghanistan came reporting trips to Iraq, Bosnia, Israel and then Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. The common thread, O'Connor says, is local news. "When I went to Afghanistan the first time, we traveled with a doctor from St. Louis and that was how we got across the border," O'Connor says. "We told her story." After St. Louis, O'Connor went to The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City and the next phase of his career. "At Oklahoma, I wanted to change my role," O'Connor says, adding that he eventually oversaw breaking news, enterprise reporting and other areas of news coverage. "(And) instilling the digital culture in our newsroom, looking at the strategies and tools and storytelling methods. We were able to do amazing work that I'm very, very proud of." All of that experience has a bearing on O'Connor's view of journalism, newspapers and his role at The Herald. "Local content is what our readers are interested in," he says. "I try to direct as much of our resources as we can toward local content. And, we need to have a digital experience that people are going to enjoy." As for the future, O'Connor shares his own thoughts on the current state of journalism: "I don't think the public understands how dedicated hardworking committed the majority of people in this profession are. Todays' journalists are more skilled than any generation we've ever had. The talent we demand from our reporters is pretty amazing." Episode length: 1:02:45 Episode links The Herald Kansas City Star St. Louis Post Dispatch The Oklahoman Fourth Estate


Episode 42: Library card is the ultimate back-to-school supply
Oct 04 2019 41 mins  
In this episode, Sno-Isle Libraries free-lance reporter Abe Martinez takes a look at four areas related to how the library district interacts with and supports the notion of student success. First, Martinez speaks with Jen Sullivan, a librarian who works out the central Service Center in Marysville and helps coordinate programs and services for students. Sullivan says those start at preschool-age with storytimes, move on to elementary students with programs such as the thitrd-grade reading challenge, middle-schoolers can look forward to things like the Tween STEAM Club programs and high school get help with classes, but also assistance in applying for college or trade schools and practicing entrance tests. In the second segment, Martinez speaks with Sheena Fisher and her daughter, Scarlet. Scarlet is an eighth-grader at Cedarcrest Middle School in Marysville and using the Help Now online tutoring service available through Sno-Isle Libraries. "They are on the chat with you," Scarlet says. "A real person on the line with you." In the third segment, Martinez speaks with Shannon Horrocks, the children's librarian and the Snohomish Library, and Shaelynn Charvet Bates, the school librarian at Riverview Elementary. Over the summer, Horrocks meets with Bates and school librarians from three other schools in the Snohomish School District. Together, they pick books that will be used in afterschool books clubs at the schools. The clubs meet at their schools, but also gather once a year at the Snohomish Library. Finally, Martinez speaks with Rickey Barnett, teen and adult services librarian at the Edmonds Library, and Leighanne Law, teacher librarian at Scriber Lake High School in the Edmonds School District. Barnett says he spends much of his time in schools making in-class presentations. It's a service that Law says she and her students appreciate. "We have LEAD, Library Equity and Diversity in the Edmonds School District and Rickey is involved in that," Law says.


Episode 41: Around the world with Mill Creek librarian Darlene Weber
Sep 27 2019 39 mins  
They say that reading a book can take you around the world. For Darlene Weber, manager of the Mill Creek Library, that is literally true. Weber is a world-class hiker, including numerous hiking vacations and even a hut-to-hut excursion in the Spanish Pyrenees mountains. And how does she plan those trips? "Well, I work at a public library and we have many guidebooks," Weber says. "(My) trips are mostly self-guided." Weber is a 20-year veteran of the Sno-Isle Libraries district that covers most of Snohomish and all of Island counties. "I started as a substitute, which was great, moving around and learning about different libraries," Weber says. "Then, I was the children's librarian at Stanwood and I've been at Mill Creek for 11 years." The Mill Creek Library is one of the busiest out of the 23 community libraries in the district. "Our children's collection circulates more than any other community library," she says. Weber's introduction to reading came at an early age. "I was born in Yakima, the eighth of 11 children," Weber says. "We were farmworkers, growing up in the fields." Weber says that as soon as she could reach them, she was picking apples. And potatoes. And onions. And beets. And working in the warehouses. "We were not migrant workers. We had a home and stayed in the same place," Weber says. In 1965, then-President Lyndon Johnson had launched his "War on Poverty" legislation that included Head Start. "My parents enrolled me," Weber says. "Without Head Start, I would not have had the kindergarten readiness that I did. I am the first in my family to graduate from college." Today, the Sno-Isle Libraries Wheels program visits every Head Start program and every Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program in the library district. "It does my heart good," Weber says.


Episode 40: On the path to higher education with Paul Pitre
Sep 20 2019 69 mins  
WSU Everett Chancellor Paul Pitre’s career path wasn’t always taking him toward higher-education administration. But once he got there, it all made sense. With a bachelor’s degree in communications studies from Western Washington University in hand, Pitre started working in Seattle-area media jobs. “I worked at (Seattle-based TV station) KOMO for a while,” Pitre says “They had me in reception, then running the Telepromoters and taking the mail around.” Pitre was with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce managing community relations and working on public-education partnerships when he took an opportunity to work in the University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs as coordinator of admissions/recruitment. “When I was in media, I was thinking I’d go into sales,” Pitre says. “By chance, I got this job chance as a recruiter for Brand X. Pitre says he developed a passion for the work. “I had a decision to make. I just decided it meant more to me to wake up and make a difference in someone’s life,” he says. He moved to a position with Washington State University and while he was setting others on their own journeys to higher education, Pitre was doing the same for himself. After the degree from Western, Pitre earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from New York University and then a doctorate in education policy and leadership at the University of Maryland. He was also a graduate teaching assistant at Maryland and an assistant professor of educational leadership and sport management at Auburn University in Alabama. “I didn’t really know I was going to do all the education when I made the (career) switch,” Pitre says. “Eventually I did, but it suited me.” Pitre says his mother was a teacher and her father was a physician. Pitre's father grew up on a farm in Louisiana and couldn’t get a high-school diploma. “The nearest high school was 10 miles away (from where his father grew up). It might as well have been 10,000 miles away,” Pitre says, adding that his father completed high school while in the military. “I remember when he got his bachelor’s degree from Seattle University when I was 7 or 8.” Pitre says he knows that while growing up in Seattle, some of his peers didn’t have his advantages. “That has fueled my passion for creating access to higher education,” he says. Episode length: 1:09:39 Episode links WSU Everett Paul Pitre’s blog “The Petre Dish” Paul Pitre’s LinkedIn profile Western Washington University Communications Studies University of Maryland Education Policy and Leadership New York University Higher Education Administration Auburn University Educational Leadership and Sport Management


Episode 39: The art of writing in the rain with Garth Stein
Sep 13 2019 59 mins  
Even Garth Stein cries over his books. “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is well-known to readers and movie-goers as a tearjerker. Stein says he rented space at a Seattle pizza restaurant when he was writing the book. “I’d get to an emotional part and be crying,” Stein says. “People would be like, ‘What’s wrong with that guy?’ Although published in 2008, Stein says the recent release of the movie with Kevin Costner giving voice to the dog character, Enzo, catapulted the book to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. “When that happened, I told my kids they had to call me ‘Dad, Numero Uno,’” Stein says, adding that his demand was summarily ignored. Co-hosts Kurt Batdorf and Jim Hills get behind the wheel in this episode for a drive with Stein through his experiences with cars, racing and writing novels with strong Pacific Northwest and Alaskan settings. Stein also talks a bit about two upcoming releases, a new novel titled, “A Couple of Old Birds” and a graphic novel involving mutant goat people titled, “The Cloven.” While not autobiographical, Stein says all of his novels include some of himself. Stein says he began with screenwriting as a career target, but found he had a “bizarre allergic reaction to it.” Stein then spent nearly 10 years making documentary films. The foray into documentaries helped, Stein says, because his feeling was, “At age 25, I’m not really, as a writer or a person, mature enough to have anything to say.” He eventually came back to books with his first novel “Raven Stole the Moon,” at age 32. An early love for theater also prompted him to write a play for his high school alma mater, Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Wash., just north of Seattle. So where did the car racing in “The Art of Racing in the Rain” come in? Stein and his family had been living in New York for years when they decided to move back to Seattle. He got involved in racing Mazda Miata cars (something Stein and Batdorf have in common). Stein says it was fun, but became a pull away from his family. He had decided to quit racing, would sell his car, but entered one last race. That race ended for him, he says, “Going backward, 100 miles an hour into a Jersey barrier. “We don’t necessarily recognize our own situation when we’re in it,” Stein says. “If I’d had clarity, I probably would’ve said, ‘You know, today’s not a good day to race.’” Episode length: 59:39 Episode links Garth’s official bio The Art of Racing in the Rain A Sudden Light How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets Raven Stole the Moon Sports Car Club of America Spec Miata Granite Curling Club


Episode 38: The world's top librarian at the greatest library
Sep 06 2019 43 mins  
Carla Hayden, Ph.D, says the Library of Congress is the biggest - the greatest - library in the world. Hayden should know, she’s the Librarian of Congress. And that would make her the world’s top librarian. Hayden visited the Marysville Library on Aug. 1, 2019, along with Congressman Rick Larsen, and then recently joined podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey and Jim Hills for a conversation by phone from her office in Washington, D.C. “I really enjoyed my time at the Marysville Library with Congressman Larsen,” Hayden says. While there, Hayden took a turn at reading a book to a group of nearly 100 children. Hayden began her career as a children’s librarian in Chicago. Larsen followed her, reading another book to the children and impressed Hayden with his skills. “He’s very good," she says. Hayden touched on the evolving roles of public libraries. Before being appointed to her role at the Library of Congress, Hayden spent 23 years at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, the nation’s first library system. Hayden helped “The Pratt” explore new ways to serve the city’s residents, even bringing pop-up libraries to neighborhood laundromats. “Convening is a good word to think about libraries and their meaning to the community,” she says. In many ways, Hayden says her leadership at the Library of Congress mirrors the work she has done in Baltimore and Chicago. “The vision was to let everyone know the Library of Congress is for them,” Hayden says. “That would include a student in a remote area, as well as teacher who needs a lesson plan on Thomas Jefferson, and people interested in things like baseball; we have the world’s largest collection of baseball cards as well as the world’s largest collection of bibles.” Carla Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress and nominated to the position by President Barack Obama. Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library. She is also the first professional librarian appointed to the post in more than 60 years. Prior to her appointment, she was CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979. Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003-04. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an master’s degree and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. Episode length: 43:16



Episode 37: How to collect a collection with Jessica Russell
Aug 30 2019 29 mins  
Jessica Russel is a collector who is looking to the future. As Assistant Director of Technical Services - Collection Services for Sno-Isle Libraries, Russell oversees the process that makes 1.5 million books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, digital and other items available to customers at 23 community libraries and online. The Louisiana native and Texas transplant says developing a library collection is not just deciding what goes in, but also what goes out. “It’s a lot like your closet at home,” Russell says. “There’s maintenance to be done and sometimes you have to let things go.” Russell’s department does have librarians who sift through what she calls a “fire hose” of published materials: “We try to winnow it down to a manageable garden hose.” In addition, library customers get to suggest items for the collection. “It’s called a ‘request for item not in collection’ and we get hundreds of RINC request each week,” Russell says. Change in the collection is fine with Russell, who says she embraces change. “It’s incredibly exciting to be in a profession that is changing so rapidly right now,” Russell says. “I realize that’s not uncommon, yet there is something special about the way we can also guide our community through change.” Episode length: 29:30 Episode links Harris County Public Library Montgomery County Memorial Library System Request Item Not in Catalog (RINC)


Episode 36: Happy podcast anniversary!
Aug 23 2019 44 mins  
On July 31, 2018, the first Check It Out! podcast aired was posted. In this episode, co-hosts Ken Harvey and Jim Hills, along with podcast producer Debie Murchie, take a look in the rear-view mirror. Together, they share how the podcast came about, remind each other of the growing pains along the way and reminisce about their favorite moments over more than 30 episodes. “Some of our guests are really community heroes,” Harvey says adding that some are celebrities in their communities, some are community leaders and regional leaders. “Coming in, everyone thinks that no one will be interested in me as a person. Maybe what I do or have done, but not me.” Murchie shares that one of her favorite episodes was with Sarri Gilman. “It was about finding your boundaries,” Murchie says. “Being able to say ‘No,’ and knowing when to put yourself first. Yes, help when you can, but sometime need to take a step back.” Hills notes that while in some ways the podcast is an extension of the idea behind the well-received TEDxSnoIsleLibraries series which focused on interesting and accomplished individuals from the community. “I wondered how deep the well would be (for podcast guests),” Hills says. “Now that we’ve done this for a year, I see that the well will never run dry.” Episode length - 43:59 Episode links Episode 34: Following passions for news and education with Lynne Varner Episode 12: The art of breaking glass with Jack Archibald Episode 13: How to talk about depression with Bill Bernat Episode 25: Young adults serving their future and ours Episode 11: Awakening the strength of community with Kathy Coffey Episode 19: Uniting the way with Allison Warren-Barbour Episode 14: Finding boundaries, balance with Sarri Gilman Abe Martinez’ stories: Episode 18, Episode 20, Episode 21, Episode 28 and Episode 30 Episode 2: Can Amazon really replace public libraries? Episode 15: ‘Finding Fixes’ comes to Sno-Isle Libraries


Episode 35: Singing the praises of opera and libraries with Lorraine Burdick
Aug 16 2019 41 mins  
Lorraine Burdick says she came late to her love for both her vocation and avocation. By day, Burdick is a librarian at Sno-Isle Libraries working in collection development. Away from the library, Burdick can often be found on the Seattle Opera stage as a member of the regular chorus. “I've been working in the library since I was in high school. I started as a page putting books away,” Burdick says. “And I've worked in all the different levels of being a staff member at the library. I put myself through college, my undergraduate degree by working in the library.” After graduation, Burdick was working full time in a library. “… but I was not a librarian,” she says. “A few years and went and, ‘Boy, I really like this work. I want to be a librarian.’ So I've been in the library since I was very young, and decided when I was about 28 to become a librarian.” Similarly, Burdick says her early musical tastes ran toward musical theater, Harry Belafonte and the Kingston Trio, not opera. After happening upon a role with the Long Beach Opera in California, Burdick has been focused on the classic form. That opportunity turned out to be a gold-medal choice. Burdick decided to enter the solo category as a mezzo-soprano in the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales. “(The) choir that I was singing with was going and I thought, ‘Well, I'm a singer, I will go and audition; I will go and participate in the solo competition,’” she says “I'd never done anything like that before. “… I won first place.” For the past 11 years, Burdick has been singing as a member of Seattle Opera’s regular chorus. “Whenever there is a show that has a full chorus, I'm in it, unless I'm not available but I usually I'm because I love it,” she says. Burdick says her interest and expertise in music pays off while performing her duties as a collection development librarian focusing on children’s materials, which she has been doing since about 1985. When reviewing additions to the library’s musical collection, she casts a critical eye. “I listen to see if it sounds like it's well-produced because a lot of these are self-published,” Burdick says. “I listen to how it's orchestrated, meaning what kind of instrumentation it has. I listen to how the person sounds, I listen to several of the songs on it to make sure they don't all sound exactly the same. And I look and see what they're singing about, and such.” Combining both vocation and avocation makes Burdick smile. “One of my favorite points is when I finish singing and there's this moment of silence before the audience starts to applaud, that is just, I just feed on that,” Burdick says. “That's just a joy.” And the library? “I really believe that the library provides many, many, many tools for people to live fully,” Burdick says. “Collection development gets to choose all the books, audiobooks, eBooks, DVDs; all the materials people can check out.” And she loves that, too. Chapter length: 47:05 Episode links Seattle Opera Long Beach Opera Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Cal State Long Beach music University of Washington music Seattle Opera Il Trovatore Seattle Opera Chorus 2013 – The Daughter of the Regiment Vashon Opera Baroque dance Seattle Symphony Lorraine’s favorite genres Romance Science Fiction Lorraine’s favorite authors Lois McMaster Bujold Connie Willis




Episode 33: Oso to opioids with Shari Ireton and the Sheriff’s Office
Jul 26 2019 53 mins  
Usually, the phrase is, “Baptism by fire.” For Shari Ireton, Director of Communications for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, her introduction to emergency management was baptism by mud. It was March 22, 2014, a Saturday, and Ireton was out with the family shopping for science fair supplies when she got a message about a slide that had closed Highway 530. “I didn’t think much of it because slides happen all the time,” Ireton said. What was unusual is that she heard nothing else for the next several hours. “Usually, there’s a flurry of activity, but this was completely silent,” Ireton said. “A couple of hours later, I called.” Starting that afternoon and for the next five days straight, Ireton was the on-site public information officer for the massive Oso landslide that claimed the lives of 43 people. And Ireton, still relatively new to her job, had not yet been through the training provided by the Federal Emergency Management Administration that virtually all public agencies use manage responses to such events. “I was on the waiting list,” Ireton said. “There were lots of others helping,” she said. “And, I have to give a shout-out to the Everett Herald … those reporters; we walked through it together from day one.” Ireton notes that she is not a commissioned officer, doesn’t carry a gun and can’t arrest people. What she can and does do is interact with the media and public and tell the stories of the Sheriff’s Office. “The role is changing,” Ireton said. “Deputies are doing more social work, mental health work that we’ve ever done before.” Ireton made note of effort that started in 2015, pairing a deputy with a social worker. Together, they visit homeless camps and make other contacts with the goal of addressing underlying causes. Ireton said that almost always they find a combination of untreated mental health and addiction issues. The approach, she says, “has been really successful.” Episode length: 47:20 Links Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff’s Office on the opioid crisis Sheriff’s Office on Twitter Oso landslide resources at Sno-Isle Libraries Sno-Isle Libraries support during Oso event Linda McPherson dedication event Oso landslide wiki “Check It Out!” podcast on “Finding Fixes” “Finding Fixes” podcast University of Idaho Gonzaga University


Episode 32: Summer fun and Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation
Jul 20 2019 50 mins  
Chapter 1 Did you know that July 17 is Yellow Pig’s Day? Podcast co-host Paul Pitkin didn’t know either when he brought it up, but you will now. According to a not-quite exhaustive online search, two Princeton math students - David C. Kelly and Michael Spivak – began in the early 1960s celebrating July 17 as Yellow Pig’s Day in honor of mathematics and the number 17, a prime number. The day continues to be celebrated at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, which is headed by Kelly. Why a yellow pig? Even Google isn’t sure, but rumors say Kelly had a collection of yellow pigs. The mascot of the holiday, a yellow pig, has 17 toes, 17 eyelashes and 17 teeth. Closer to home, other fun things happening in July include the literally hundreds of Explore Summer events at all 23 community libraries in the Sno-Isle Libraries district, plenty of community events and summer-fun resources listed online at “A Sno-Isle Summer” and two Hogwarts summer day-camp events at the Granite Falls and Snohomish libraries. And, co-host Jim Hills confesses that he didn't know what he was talking about in podcast Episode 27. Hills said that Spokane’s Bloomsday celebration (which happens in May) is related to all the other Bloomsday celebrations around the world. The non-Spokane, non-May events happen on June 16, which is the day depicted in James Joyce's novel “Ulysses.” The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in the book. Spokane’s Bloomsday Run is not about the book and also not affiliated with the area’s Lilac Festival, but both happen around the same time in May. Links Explore Summer with Sno-Isle Libraries Harry Potter-themed events at Sno-Isle Libraries A Sno-Isle Summer: Adventure Awaits Events calendar for all community libraries Prime number-related materials in the library collection Ulysses by James Joyce Spokane’s Bloomsday Run Hampshire College summer math program Didgeridoo in the library collection Chapter length: 23:24 Chapter 2 Paul Pitkin is here to have an impact. And, having an impact requires money. Which makes it really fortunate that Pitkin is Executive Director for the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation and in charge of raising money for library programs that have positive impacts on lives and in communities across Snohomish and Island counties. Paul talks about the opportunities that are available through the foundation to build communities. The foundation funds a variety of programs and services that the tax-supported library district cannot, including things such as: Third-Grade Reading Challenge TedXSnoIsleLibraries Bookmobile services Issues That Matter The Nysether Family Collection Children's Services Expanding science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) initiatives through programming, training for both staff and caregivers and community library space enhancements. Videos showing parents how to prepare their children to read early and establish a lifetime of reading and knowledge. Helping improve overall childcare and education by providing STARS training to child caregivers and educators. Providing opportunities with Structured Play kits for children to enhance language and literacy skills. Presenting the Every Child Ready to Rock and Read Concert Series. Other ongoing programs Ready Readers Cultural and literacy programs Leadership development Teen programs Summer learning programs. Links Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation website Issues That Matter TEDxSnoIsleLibraries Third-Grade Reading Challenge Ready Readers STARS training Nysether Family Collection Sno-Isle Libraries Library on Wheels Paul Pitkin LinkedIn profile Chapter length: 23:45


Episode 31: Behind the business and communications of Sno-Isle Libraries
Jul 13 2019 56 mins  
First thoughts of a library likely evoke mental images of librarians and shelves full of books. This episode of “Check It Out!” looks at two positions that might not spring to mind when imagining libraries, but play critical roles in managing the business aspects and communications needs of a large public agency Gary Sitzman is Administrative Services Director and Communications Director Ken Harvey both sit on the leadership team for Sno-Isle Libraries. Each of them has extensive professional experiences outside of public libraries and bring those skills to the opportunities to serve communities and customers. Together, they share their thoughts on leadership, tips on success in the business world and what’s next for public libraries. Sitzman joined the library district five years ago following a career primarily in the wood-fiber products industry. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the avowed “cheesehead” who unabashedly wears a Packers jersey during the football season, Sitzman started at Scott Paper in Wisconsin. He moved to Snohomish County and a position at the former Scott Paper mill in Everett. His career came full circle when he helped oversee the closure of that plant after it transitioned to Kimberly-Clark ownership. Harvey came to Sno-Isle Libraries in 2011 following stints at Community Transit and Sound Transit. With additional prior experience in TV, radio and emergency management, Harvey can look through many lenses at the needs and ways to communicate library district information to customers as well as non-customers. Sitzman shares that the lessons learned about adapting as a child growing in a military family that was often on the move have helped him in the business world. “I think there is an element of (adaptability) in leadership,” Sitzman says. “Leaders have a sense of where they want to go and some enthusiasm for how to get there, but also not being afraid to step out and be adaptable to the outcomes.” Harvey agrees that growing up with a family with military service brings such benefits along with a sense of something greater than the individual and sense of service. Away from the job, the pair say that it’s important to have a way to leave the pressures of the day behind. For Sitzman, that includes mountain biking at the moment and Harvey says he enjoys a variety of activities including relearning to play the viola and dabbling in arts and crafts projects. As for the future of where they work, both say libraries always have and will continue to evolve to serve customers. “(Some) ask do we need brick-and-mortar libraries anymore?” Sitzman says “That’s a myopic view for what a library brings to a community.” Harvey says the definition is continuing to transform. “The physical space is an important gathering place and giving access to materials, while at the same time, libraries are also serving outside those four walls.” Episode length: 55:18 Links Library funding and budget Sno-Isle Libraries news Library strategic priorities Issues That Matter community discussions Ken Harvey LinkedIn profile Gary Sitzman LinkedIn profile “Military families” in the library catalog “Organizational change” in the library catalog “Work/life balance” in the library catalog “Naming and Taming Overwhelm” by Sarri Gilman Sarri Gilman’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk Duthie Hill bike trails


Episode 30: Third-graders Part 2, a community hero and book notes
Jul 05 2019 15 mins  
Chapter 1 – Third-Grade Reading Challenge, Part 2 There is so much going on with the "Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third-Grade Reading Challenge" that it takes two segments to get it all in. This literary trivia program for students enrolled in public schools throughout Snohomish and Island counties. Part 1 explores the origins of the reading challenge and the important academic and development reasons it is aimed at third-graders. In Part 2, Sno-Isle Libraries reporter Abe Martinez continues his conversation with Joy Feldman, Lead Librarian for Early Literacy, and Jane Lopez-Santillana, Children’s Librarian at the Oak Harbor Library. They explore the origins of the reading challenge and the important academic and development reasons it is aimed at third-graders. Feldman points out that while the program is focused on reading, introducing students to teamwork is a significant part of the reading challenge. “Teamwork very important,” Feldman says. “Teams with that do have a mix of abilities tend to do better.” There can be benefits to the families of the participating students, too, Lopez-Santillana says. “Many (school staff members) mention that the third-grade reading challenge brings parents in who they don’t otherwise see,” Lopez-Santillana says. “Parents mention they are having more interactions with their children. Students have said, ‘This is the first time reading in English in my house’ and ‘I’m reading to my little brother and he likes it so much he’s making me read every night.’” The third-grade reading challenge encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading while honing their literacy and teamwork skills. After reading six books, children participate in in-school, semifinal and final Reading Challenge events. These competitive events are styled like a knowledge quiz bowl, testing the teams' knowledge of the books. In 2018-19, 1,334 third-graders participated on 193 teams from 51 schools across Snohomish and Island counties. Links Reading challenge Part 1 segment Third-grade reading challenge website 2019 Reading Challenge video Understanding the reading challenge video 2019 Reading Challenge photo gallery Chapter length: 5:51 Chapter 2 – Spotlight on a Community Hero: Shaelyn Charvet Bates Libraries have long been part of Shaelynn Charvet Bates’ life. Growing up in Snohomish, Bates says her parents would let her go by herself to the library, then housed in the Carnegie building, knowing she would be safe and entertained. “I spent a lot of time there in high school,” says Bates, now a Lake Stevens resident. “I read a lot of stuff. I read a lot of science fiction, I read a lot of historical fiction.” Bates adds that books, and the library, first caught her attention as a student at Cathcart Elementary where she discovered choose-your-own-adventure books. “You could read 15 different endings in one book and I just thought it was so clever,” she says. At college to get a teaching degree, Bates says an “off-hand comment” by a professor put her on a path back to the elementary-school library and Snohomish where she is now, serving as school librarian at Riverview Elementary. Bates says familiarity with library resources paid off on a recent cross-country family vacation by car, even though they were far from home. “We downloaded audiobooks from OverDrive,” Bates says. The result was family-time listening to and then discussing the stories. Links OverDrive at Sno-Isle Libraries Choose-your-own-adventure books Lake Stevens Library Board Snohomish Carnegie Foundation City of Snohomish Carnegie Project Chapter length: 5:29 Chapter 3 - Book Notes with Marie Byars Oak Harbor Library staff member Marie Byars offers two recommendations: “Something in the Water” by Catherine Steadman, is a “fast-paced, twisty thriller,” Byars says. “Our House” by Louise Candlish is the story of divorced parents take turns coming back to the family home to raise their children until one day the mother finds a moving van at the house and a new family moving in. Chapter length: 1:38



Episode 29: Actually live with Bill Stainton of ‘Almost Live!’
Jun 28 2019 76 mins  
For some longtime Puget Sounders, it’s a treasured memory, an anchor point of local TV culture. For those with, shall we say, shallower roots? It’s the stuff of legend, lore and YouTube. And for Bill Stainton, “Almost Live!” on Seattle’s KING-TV was all of that and more, it was his job. The Snohomish County resident joins Check It Out! podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey and Jim Hills in this episode. Stainton brings stories about just how rare the show was and his role as executive producer and cast member. Stainton recalls that “Almost Live!” had such a loyal following that for 10 years, Seattle was the only market in the U.S. that delayed airing “Saturday Night Live” to give the local show top billing. Today, the 29-time Emmy winner is translating the lessons learned from producing laughs every week for 15 years to lessons on how to produce results in the business world. Stainton brought his message to the TEDxStanleyPark stage in 2017 and served as an emcee at the 2017 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event. Stainton notes that creativity is often about combining existing ideas in new ways, a process that can be planned for and cultivated. And in the process, maybe get a few laughs. Episode length: 1:16:03 Links Bill’s website Bill’s presentation at TEDxStanleyPark 2017 KING-TV interview with Bill “Almost Live!” on YouTube “Almost Live! The Show That Wouldn't Die” book Presidents of the United States of America in the library collection Caspar Babypants website


Episode 28: Short stories on bestsellers, book notes and third-graders
Jun 21 2019 14 mins  
Chapter 1 – Library Surprise: Beyond Bestsellers Rilee Louangphakdy says that “bookworm” might not be a great description for him and that his favorite library resource is graphic novels. Even though he’s a fan of the form, Rilee admits he doesn’t always know how or where to find the next graphic novel that will capture his attention and imagination. Then, Rilee says, he found Beyond Bestsellers. It’s a “digital bring-your-own-book club” led by Jackie Parker, Lead Librarian for Readers’ Services. Each month, Parker and her team of librarians take a deeper look at a genre, book title or author. The goal is to uncover “read-alikes,” titles and authors that are similar and may also appeal to readers. In addition, Rilee says, Beyond Bestsellers encourages library customers to use the features in the Sno-Isle Libraries catalog to connect and share their favorites with other readers. Links Beyond Bestsellers Bibliofiles blog “We Suggest” reading suggestions Rilee’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk Rilee and friends podcast episode Chapter length: 2:51 Chapter 2 – Book Notes with Kristi Sheeler A member of the Sno-Isle Libraries Readers’ Services team, Kristi Sheeler is most often found traveling around Snohomish and Island counties on the Bookmobile. At those stops, Sheeler brings suggestions for her customers and she has two for listeners in this chapter. “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan is a dystopian novel that fits some of the political discussions of today. Kristi says that readers who liked “A Handsmaid Tale” might like this book. “When She Woke” is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD, audiobook download and in large print. Kristi’s favorite book from 2017 is her next suggestion. “Everyone Knows You Go Home” by Natalia Sylvester is a story about a woman who marries into an immigrant family and meets the ghost of her father-in-law on her wedding day. Kristi says “Everyone Knows You Go Home” is about how the immigrant experience can affect individuals as well as entire communities. Links “When She Woke” “Everyone Knows You Go Home” Sno-Isle Libraries Bookmobile services Chapter length: 4:19 Chapter 3 – Spotlight: Third-Grade Reading Challenge The "Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third-Grade Reading Challenge" is a literary trivia program for students enrolled in public schools throughout Snohomish and Island counties. In this chapter, Sno-Isle Libraries reporter Abe Martinez speaks with Joy Feldman, Lead Librarian for Early Literacy, and Jane Lopez-Santillana, Children’s Librarian at the Oak Harbor Library. They explore the origins of the reading challenge and the important academic and development reasons it is aimed at third-graders. The program encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading while honing their literacy and teamwork skills. After reading six books, children participate in in-school, semi-final and final Reading Challenge events. These competitive events are styled like a knowledge quiz bowl, testing the teams' knowledge of the books. In 2018-19, 1,334 third-graders participated on 193 teams from 51 schools across Snohomish and Island counties. Links Third-grade reading challenge website 2019 Reading Challenge video Understanding the reading challenge video 2019 Reading Challenge photo gallery Chapter length: 6:31


Episode 27: What's new at the libraries, reading with children, summer events and Kurt Batdorf
Jun 13 2019 61 mins  
Chapter 1 – Hmmm, I didn’t know that about … June and July Once they decide who gets to speak first, podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey, Jim Hills, Cindy Tingley and Paul Pitkin have a bunch of fun chatting about what happens during June and July in the Pacific Northwest and what's new at Sno-Isle Libraries. Two new videos posted on YouTube focus on early literacy tips and how to find great books to read. And June and July have official days for lots of things such as dairy, turkey, candy, flip-a-coin, hug your cat, yo-yo’s, doughnuts, chocolate ice cream, VCRs, Juneteenth and lots more including … Bloomsday! In the interest of full disclosure and righting an ill-informed wrong, one of the hosts (shhh, its Jim) noted that June 16 is called Bloomsday in commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce. The date is observed annually in Dublin and elsewhere around the world as the day in Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” of protagonist Leopold Bloom’s first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. However, the Bloomsday Run in Spokane is traditionally the first Sunday in May, part of Spokane’s Lilac Festival and not tied to Joyce’s book. At all. Ever. But wait, there’s more! Chapter 2 – Hmmm, I didn’t know that about … Kurt Batdorf Kurt Batdorf is a recent addition to the Communications Dept. at Sno-Isle Libraries. Kurt brings 25 years of journalism experience covering communities within the library district across Snohomish and Island counties. Kurt recalls what it takes to sit through a school board meeting where even the school board members are falling asleep. Kurt even acknowledges that, on occasion, a source may have given him “the stink-eye” after a story was published. Kurt’s experience includes being the editor of a local business publication and started his tenure during the recession that affected many local businesses. Kurt also opines on the difficulties facing journalists today working to bring forth facts that inform communities. And some of the things that Kurt didn't know about Sno-Isle Libraries include the Snohomish Library's Hobbitt painting and just how dedicated library employees are to helping others. Episode length: 1:01:33


Episode 26: How poetry chose an immigrant, Claudia Castro Luna
Jun 07 2019 48 mins  
Claudia Castro Luna was a teenager when she came to the U.S. with her family fleeing war in El Salvador. In just two years, her growing English language skills earned Castro Luna the top English student award as she graduated from high school. Now decades later, Castro Luna was named this past February as Washington State Poet Laureate and in April received an Academy of American Poets Laureate fellowship! “It’s a huge honor to be granted this chance to serve in this capacity at a statewide level,” Castro Luna tells Check It Out! podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey and Cindy Tingley. “I thought long and hard about applying … I decided this historic juncture we’re in, it made sense for me to apply because if selected; I’d be the first immigrant selected. “(This is) an opportunity to lead by example to both inspire other immigrants … and also as a way of dismantling stereotypes of what immigrants do or can do.” Castro Luna says she came to poetry relatively late, after her children were born, and started by taking community college poetry classes. “For me, it was always, poetry,” she says. “I say (poetry) chose me.” Castro Luna has written two books, “Killing Marias” and “This City.” Castro Luna also served as Seattle’s Civic Poet and started a drop-in poetry writing program called, “The Poet Is In,” taking place in Seattle’s public libraries. “Libraries are these wonderful civic spaces,” she says. “Libraries are hubs of life.” Castro Luna will serve a two-year term as poet laureate. She succeeds Tod Marshall. Prior to Marshall, Elizabeth Austen (2014-16), Kathleen Flenniken (2012-14), and Sam Green (2007-9) were in the position. The Washington State Poet Laureate program is jointly sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). Links Claudia Castro Luna’s website Claudia Castro Luna work at Sno-Isle Libraries Media reports on Academy of American Poets fellowship Crosscut The Spokesman-Review Seattle Times The New York Times KCTS documentary Episode length: 48:01


Episode 25: Youth serving their future and ours
Jun 01 2019 51 mins  
This is a special episode of the Check It Out! podcast. It brings four special young people together for a conversation between themselves and moderator by one of their own: Rilee Louangphakdy. Each of these young adults presented themselves and their thoughts at a previous TEDxSnoIsleLibraries. In this episode, they talk about their experiences on the TEDx stage, how it shaped them and what they are doing now. See the photo gallery of their conversation at the Edmonds Community College Black Box Theater. Rilee Louangphakdy Rilee is committed to helping and motivating others to emerge from their teen years transformed by their experiences. He has shared his stories of personal loss and gain in a commencement speech, at the 2015 YMCA Minority Achievers Program banquet, and to students at the Marysville Getchell High School International School of Communications. Rilee is a graduate of Marysville Getchell 2015 graduate and Everett Community College, He is attending Washington State University, working toward a degree in Integrated Strategic Communications. LinkedIn Mark Perez Mark is living his childhood dream to be a motivational speaker. A graduate of Henry M. Jackson High School, mark attended Cascadia College and is now a student at the University of Washington. In addition to his studies, Mark is work with Houston Kraft, another young and inspiring motivational speaker. Mark says his goal is to be a speaker who inspires people to make their mark on the world. Facebook Twitter Instagram Mark’s website Sargun “Sargi” Handa Sargi says being a TEDx speaker not only helped giver her voice, but it also helped start her career in public speaking. Just six months later, she spoke at WE Day Seattle at KeyArena in front of 16,000 people. Sargi transferred her skills in speaking to writing and co-authored, "20 Beautiful Women" Volume 6, which is on its way to becoming a film documentary. A graduate of Kamiak High School, Sargi also attended Western Washington University. Facebook LinkedIn Dhruvik Parikh Like many seven-year-olds, Dhruvik like dinosaurs. Dhruvik, however, translated that into a conviction that he would grow up to be a paleontologist. That may still happen, but now attending Stanford University, Dhruvik has many more experiences. He was valedictorian and earning a perfect 4.0 at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek. He is lead software engineer for a firm developing a solar micro-grid solution for unelectrified communities in Zimbabwe. He did computational biology research at the University of Washington. And, he interned at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the summer after high school. When he’s not learning in school, Dhruvik is learning on his own in subjects such as organic chemistry and machine learning. Facebook LinkedIn Sriharshita "Harshu" Musunuri Harshu is studying at Stanford University, which is an accomplishment in itself. But there’s more. As a student at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek, Harshu was already earning national recognition for her research in thermoelectrics. She interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was a curriculum director of the non-profit Girls Rock in Science and Math. She was also a 2016 Davidson Fellow Laureate and student researcher in a University of Washington chemical engineering lab. LinkedIn Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 24: Spotlight on Brian Rush and facilities stewardship
May 24 2019 23 mins  
Chapters 1 & 2 Managing the variety and number of facilities in Sno-Isle Libraries is a big and multi-faceted job. To Facilities Manager Brian Rush, facilities management is also an opportunity to show good stewardship of the environment and taxpayer dollars. “I’m really into this stuff,” Rush says in this two-part discussion. “The goal is to reduce cost and provide the best service and support whatever we need to do.” Rush’s says the approach is working. In the custodial area, service has been added to buildings while the cost is going down by about $100,000 a year and the environmental impact lessened. Sno-Isle Libraries has implemented green cleaning practices and is the first library system in the state to be LEED and GS-42 certified, Rush says. All libraries are now recycling and composting, he adds. And then there’s energy use. Using what he calls a “synergistic approach,” Sno-Isle Libraries is consuming less energy in its buildings and paying less for it. “We reduced natural gas consumption at (the Snohomish Library) by 90 percent,” Rush says. And at the Service Center in Marysville, electricity use has dropped over th past seven years from about 900,000 kwH to a little over 400,000 KwH a year, he says. The efforts, he says, can “save the public a tremendous amount of money.” Chapter length: 08:59 Chapter links GS-42 standards LEED standards Cedar Grove Sno-Isle Libraries locations Chapter 3 – Book Notes Like Jane Austen films like “Pride and Prejudice?” Looking for bit more grit? Librarian Michelle Callihan suggests watching “North & South,” a miniseries available on DVD. “North & South also has a healthy dose of ‘smoldering,’” Callihan says. An audiobook suggestion from Callihan is “The Wall of Winnipeg and me” by Mariana Zapata, the New York Times bestselling author of “Kulti” and “Under Locke.” Callihan says this contemporary romance novel combines football and secret inappropriate hand salutes into a slow-burn romance where hatred gradually changes to understanding and liking. Chapter length: 04:21


Episode 23: Business and education align to build communities
May 17 2019 56 mins  
Economic Alliance Snohomish County (EASC) is a catalyst for economic vitality resulting in stronger communities, increased job creation, expanded educational opportunities, and improved infrastructure. Snohomish STEM Network works to foster a learning pipeline for skills in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) to supply business with local talent and drive opportunity and prosperity. Sounds like a good match, one that was intentionally brought together a few years ago. This episode of Check It Out! brings EASC President and CEO Patrick Pierce and Snohomish STEM Network Director Angie Sievers into the studio to talk about how business and education can work together to support and build communities across Snohomish County. “Economic Alliance Snohomish County is about creating jobs and keeping jobs in Snohomish County,” Pierce says in this episode. “If we can focus on what people need, we can achieve economically vital, robust places in which people want to live.” Sievers leads the effort to connect communities with industries and create pathways to employment in Snohomish County through STEM. “You might hear STEAM or STREAM,” Sievers says, adding that the “A” is for art and the “R” is for reading. “Traditionally, STEM has been just about science, technology and math, but in today’s education and workforce world, it’s really about learning.” Episode length: 56:42 Episode links Patrick Pierce Patrick Pierce LinkedIn profile Economic Alliance Snohomish County Puget Sound Regional Council Seattle University, public administration University of Washington, political science Angie Sievers Angie Sievers LinkedIn profile Snohomish STEM Washington STEM Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties Washington State University Resources Sno-Isle Libraries business Sno-Isle Libraries find a job Stanford Graduate School of Business articles







Episode 20: Strings, Selma and seeing the future
Apr 26 2019 29 mins  
Chapter 1 Introduction Check It Out! reporter Abe Martinez chats with podcast co-hosts Ken Harvey and Jim Hills about the experience of interviewing Andre Feriante. Length: 06:41 Chapter 1 – Andre Feriante Italian-born and trained in classic flamenco guitar, Andre Feriante talks about his artistic and personal journey. Now a Whidbey Island resident, Feriante is exploring poetry and other creative outlets that are coming together in a fusion of many influences. The process is also opening an awareness of the healing aspects of music. For Feriante, it’s all connected in a profound way that he feels compelled to share with others. Chapter 1 links andreferiante.com Flamenco wiki Andres Segovia music Andres Segovia wiki Henry Rivas (YouTube) Chapter length: 05:38 Chapter 2 Introduction Check It Out! reporter Abe Martinez, co-hosts Ken Harvey and Jim Hills talk about their experiences and connections with Selma Bonham. Length: 06:21 Chapter 2 – Selma Bonham This is a reprise, but well worth a listen. At 93, Selma Bonham has seen a few things. Majoring in geology, she graduated from Penn State University and then earned a Master’s from Stanford in 1949. After 20 successful years in a male-dominated profession, Bonham retired and moved from the East Coast to Mill Creek and became involved with the Friends of the Mill Creek Library. Bonham says her awareness of civil rights began early when her father began hiring persons of color for skilled jobs in the department store where he worked. Later, at Mill Creek, Bonham organized a flash mob at the library to sing in honor of African American Month. Chapter 2 links MLK Day sing-along news item “We shall overcome” sing-along video Northshore Senior Center Selma’s LinkedIn profile Stanford Geological Sciences USGS Geological Survey Penn State University Chapter 2 length: 04:33 Chapter 3 – Book Notes with Brian Haight Brian Haight is a librarian at the Coupeville Library and member of the Sno-Isle Libraries Readers’ Services Team. Haight and other team members create a variety of book lists as suggestions for library customers. In this Book Notes, Haight talks about “The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future,” by Vivek Wadwha. Haight describes a future that may see car drivers becoming car riders. He points out that the book is about far more than driverless cars and delves into other implications of new technology. Haight also points out that he found this book on the “new books” shelf at the Coupeville Library, but anyone can go to the online catalog and search for titles published in 2019 and new to the Sno-Isle Libraries collection in the past week, 30 days or more. Chapter length: 04:27


Episode 19: Uniting the way with Allison Warren-Barbour
Apr 19 2019 65 mins  
She comes from a small town in Ohio known for the lack of a discernible accent by its residents. Allison Warren-Barbour is finding other ways to stand out as she leads United Way of Snohomish County on a new path to help families escape the traps of poverty. Now in her third year as President & Chief Executive Officer, Warren-Barbour brings experience, education and personal commitment to her role. She earned a Business Management degree from Miami University, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton and worked for United Way in Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. before coming to Snohomish County. Warren-Barbour says she is seeing United Way organizations across the country evolve away from the traditional “community chest” model as the needs of communities are changing. “In Atlanta and Greater Triangle (in Raleigh-Durham), we were having these conversations,” Warren-Barbour says. In Snohomish County, former CEO Dennis Smith was also leading the organization and community in similar ways. Warren-Barbour says her role is to continue the transition to targeting resources at specific populations and measuring outcomes. To get there, United Way of Snohomish County has adopted the CORE model, which stands for “creating open roads to equity.” “We’re trying to utilize the funding in a way that can really produce a different type of change,” Warren-Barbour says. “If we want different results, we can’t act in the same way.” Episode links United Way of Snohomish County Miami University Princeton Theological Seminary Piqua, Ohio Ohio accent

















Episode 11: Awakening the strength of community with Kathy Coffey
Dec 14 2018 51 mins  
Chapter 1: Kathy Coffey and community leadership Kathy Coffey, Executive Director of Leadership Snohomish County (LSC), has more than a little experience in supporting communities and fostering leadership growth. Besides leading LSC, Kathy serves as a member of the city of Lynnwood’s Human Services Commission. She’s a South Everett–Mukilteo Rotarian and board member of Leadership Launch, which focuses on developing student leaders. Kathy also worked for the Edmonds Community College Foundation and was development relations coordinator at Bastyr University. Kathy was also a speaker at the 2017 TEDxSno-IsleLibraries. Her subject? Communities and leadership, of course. Chapter length: 47:17 Chapter 1 links Leadership Snohomish County LinkedIn profile TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk Women in leadership Step Up 2018 Leadership Launch South Everett–Mukilteo Rotary Lynnwood Human Services Commission Edmonds Community College Foundation Bastyr University lynda.com Libby Body Chapter 2: Book Notes with Grant Perrigo Librarian Grant Perrigo, a member of the Sno-Isle Libraries Readers’ Services team, shares a couple of suggestions for our podcast listeners. Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer Martin is just a regular computer programmer who stumbles across a computer text file that controls all human existence. Height, weight, wealth, position on the planet, or in time can be changed with a simple keystroke. Presented with this ethical and moral quandary, Martin finds himself on the wrong side of the law and does what any self-respecting nerd would do. He travels back in time to England in the middle ages, to try is trade at being a real wizard. Descender by Jeff Lemire This graphic novel by the author of Sweet Tooth and Animal Man is a fantastic example of sci-fi world building. Robots and Humans (and Aliens) are locked in a war, and the key to solving it might be a small boy android. With elements of the film AI and parts of the graphic novel Saga by Brian K Vaughan, this recently completed series will appeal to fans of both. Chapter length: 2:59 Episode hosts Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev. and several positions in radio and TV. Paul Pitkin is Director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. He also plays guitar, along with several other instruments, sings and writes music. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 10: Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory and 33 years of Sno-Isle Libraries
Nov 22 2018 68 mins  
Chapter 1: Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory retires at the end of November 2018 after 33 years of service and the past 16 years leading the organization. Jonalyn discusses her early years in Deming, Wash., as the daughter of the local postmaster as well as some of her most gratifying moments as library executive director. Jonalyn will be missed but is excited about her successor, Lois Langer Thompson, who will assume leadership beginning in December. The library executive director reports to an appointed seven-member board of trustees. This board provides policy oversight for the two-county library district. Sno-Isle Libraries delivers library services and resources to a population of approximately 750,000 residents across Snohomish and Island counties. Chapter links Jonalyn’s hometown, Deming, Wash. American FactFinder on Deming Deming history, courtesy of Whatcom County Library System Livability News Sno-Isle Libraries executive director retiring after 33 years Board and commissions Compass Health Board of Directors Economic Alliance Snohomish County Leadership Snohomish County Recent awards, honors and recognitions Jonalyn honored with the 2018 Elson S. Floyd Award by the Economic Alliance Snohomish County for her commitment to communities and the region. Sno-Isle Libraries received 2018 Verdant Award for Issues That Matter forum series. The Issues That Matter community forums convene audiences for civil discussions on tough topics. In 2017, Washington State Auditor’s Office issued its 30th clean annual audit in a row to Sno-Isle Libraries. Washington Association of School Administrators Region 109 bestowed its 2017 Community Leadership Award on Sno-Isle Libraries. Humanities Washington honored Sno-Isle Libraries with the 2016 Humanities Washington Award. Sno-Isle Libraries garners 2016 “Top Innovator” award for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries from the Urban Libraries Council. Green Seal certification received in 2014 by Sno-Isle Libraries in recognition of healthy and sustainable cleaning practices. Videos Jonalyn says … Children at storytime are starting a library adventure video, 56 sec. Serving You: Sno-Isle Libraries, 7 min. 32 sec. Why early literacy matters video by Reach Out and Read, 2 min. 36 sec. Why we should all be reading aloud to children, Rebecca Bellingham , [email protected], 9 min. 29 sec. Library Events Intrigue, Inspire, Educate, 1 min. 31 sec. Third Grade Reading Challenge Finals 2018, 2 min. 25 sec. Values Sno-Isle Libraries Strategic Priorities Early learning through Sno-Isle Libraries What is Early Literacy? How to Cradle Early Literacy: A Guide for Parents Leadership Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees Library funding Library services and events Bringing the library to the children and others with Library on wheels Issues That Matter forums Living with Brain Injuries forum Dec. 3, 2017, audio, 1 hour, 35 minutes, 39 sec. Issues That Matter: Let’s Talk Mental Health Issues That Matter: Age-related Mental Health Issues That Matter: Caregiving and Self-care Issues That Matter: Depression and Suicide Issues That Matter: Substance Abuse Issues That Matter: Trauma Issues That Matter: Youth Mental Health TEDxSnoIsleLibraries Future library brick-and-mortar needs: 2016-2025 Capital Facilities Plan Library Volunteers and Service Award Winners Library volunteer opportunities Library volunteer service award winners Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Washington State University Cougar gold (cheese) Cougar Gold Cheese in a Can is Something You Should Try Education Washington State University University of Washington, Masters in Information Library and Information Sciences Chapter 2: Romancing the genre of romance Check It Out! reporter Abe Martinez interviews Sno-Isle Libraries librarian Jackie Parker to get the scoop on why romance is so popular. Jackie is the Lead Librarian for Readers’ Services. 11 Romance Readers Reveal Why They Love The Genre – Bustle What Makes Romance Novels So Appealing To Women? Why American Culture Is So Obsessed With Romantic Love Why Amish Romance Novels Are So Popular | Intellectual Takeout Why Can’t Romance Novels Get Any Love? | Arts & Culture Romance Writers of America Library Staff Blog, Picks, Suggestions and a few comments Episode host Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 9: Kenn Dickinson and teaching the transition game to executives
Nov 15 2018 46 mins  
Chapter 1: Kenn Dickinson and the transition game Kenn Dickinson is a former NCAA and European professional basketball player. Kenn is the president of Fast Break Executive Business Coaching, a Mukilteo-based firm that coaches managers and executives to help transform their businesses and careers. In 2015, Kenn delivered a talk for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries about how to apply the mindset of elite athletes to achieve success in business and the corporate world. Chapter length: 39:11 Chapter 1 links The Secret of Elite Athletes (Kenn’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk) Five Must-Have Principles of Servant Leadership What is Servant Leadership? Kenn’s LinkedIn profile Chapter 2: Shaelynn Charvet Bates on reading, children and commitment to community Shaelynn Charvet Bates and her family are passionate customers of the Lake Stevens Library. She is also an active member of the community serving as chair of the library advisory board, volunteering with the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library and working as a school librarian for the Snohomish School District. Chapter length: 5:20 Chapter 2 links Riverview Elementary contact Lake Stevens Library Board Lake Stevens needs a new library, board tells city council Episode hosts Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV. Cindy Tingley is an instructional developer with Sno-Isle Libraries. Through experience as a radio DJ, a police officer in Key West, Fla., certified technology instructor and Usui Reiki trainer, the common thread is Cindy loves teaching new skills. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 8: Evolving through adversity with Seconde Nimenya
Nov 08 2018 55 mins  
Chapter 1 Award-winning author, diversity trainer and naturalized U.S. citizen Seconde Nimenya joins hosts Cindy Tingley and Ken Harvey for a wide-ranging discussion about her 2016 TEDx talk, journey from her birthplace in Burundi, Africa to the Pacific Northwest of the United States, life lessons on resilience and tolerance to her discovery of libraries when she entered university. Chapter length: 51:31 Chapter 2 – Library Surprise with Rilee Louangphakdy Rilee explores the Book-a-Librarian service available through Sno-Isle Libraries and how it can help with everything from homework to how to use your phone to access library materials. Chapter length: 3:32 Chapter 1 links Seconde Nimenya, MBA Award-winning author and diversity speaker Check out free copies of Seconde’s books at Sno-Isle Libraries: Evolving Through Adversity: How to Overcome Obstacles, Discover your Passion, and Honor your True Self (Nonfiction, available in print and audiobook) How do you discover who you are and honor your true self when faced with adversity? How do you use it to evolve and achieve your life purpose? Told with wit and charisma, this book is a story about breaking free and being resilient by accepting and honoring who you are. Readers will find the opportunity to reflect on how childhood and family patterns may have impacted their lives, and how to break or change the negative patterns of the cycle. Hand to Hold (Fiction, available in print and audiobook) This is the tale of a young Ethiopian orphan, adopted at five years old and brought to the United States of America. Under her new parents’ love and care, she blooms and tries to assimilate to her new home, but she also finds herself longing to know her biological parents, and what happened to them! “Hand to Hold” Workbook The companion leadership workbook is available for purchase on her website. TEDxSnoIsleLibraries Talk Join the thousands of viewers who have checked out Seconde’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk on YouTube. 2017 Seeds of Hope Award Seconde was awarded the 2017 Seeds of Hope award by the Snohomish County RESULTS group. RESULTS is a non-profit organization that uses community voices to bring an end to poverty. There are more than 100 chapter locations across the nation. Check out the YouTube video to see why she received the award. Edmonds Center of the Arts ECA presents an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, provides space, production management, technical expertise for a variety of community partners and rental clients and serves more than 75,000 patrons a year. Seconde’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk was one of many hosted at the Edmonds Center of the Arts in November 2016. University of Burundi While Seconde attended the University of Burundi, she discovered the world of libraries. If you aren’t fluent in French, we recommend hitting the translate button when you visit the university’s website! University of Phoenix Seconde attended the University of Phoenix to earn her Master of Business Administration degree. Self-help books Self-help books are one of Seconde’s favorite genres; we enjoy them too, which is why we have more than 1,000 books in this genre. Please help yourself to our catalog and look for the right self-help book for you! Burundi Civil War Learn more about the civil war that Seconde mentioned when moving out of her native country. RRU model RRU is a transformational model that Seconde has developed and uses in her books, talks and It stands for Reflect, Rectify and Unite. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out her books through our catalog or purchase them through her website! Seconde Nimenya’s website Aside from her books, Seconde’s website also has loads of other content for you to explore, including a blog and her own podcast series! Go check out her website, and prepare yourself for the digital journal to evolving yourself! Episode hosts Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV. Cindy Tingley is an instructional developer with Sno-Isle Libraries. Through experience as a radio DJ, a police officer in Key West, Fla., certified technology instructor and Usui Reiki trainer, the common thread is Cindy loves teaching new skills. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.







Episode 5: From roots to rockets with Rob Branigin
Sep 11 2018 56 mins  
Librarian Rob Branigin’s interests range from family roots to outer space. Branigin, along with co-hosts Ken Harvey and Cindy Tingley, delves into genealogy, Star Trek and more. The Indiana native discusses his own discovery of the library’s rich resources that can help satisfy that need for finding one’s familial connections. An avowed Trekkie, Branigin also boldly goes into his assessment of the original series, “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager.” Episode links Franklin, Ind. Dekalb hybrid corn hat Indiana University School of Library and Information Science Franklin College La Porte County Public Library Rob Branigin email Holiday Road Sno-Isle Ancestry library edition Star Trek The Next Generation Deep Space Nine Voyager The Beatles Forever Episode hosts Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV. Cindy Tingley is an instructional developer with Sno-Isle Libraries. Through experience as a radio DJ, a police officer in Key West, Fla., certified technology instructor and Usui Reiki trainer, the common thread is Cindy loves teaching new skills. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 4: Strategically planning the library district
Aug 31 2018 59 mins  
As Deputy Director of Sno-Isle Libraries, does she get to wear a badge shaped like a star? Kendra Trachta shares the answer to that question and what it’s like to oversee the people and operations at 23 community libraries spread across two counties. The Texas transplant also talks about the library district’s strategic priorities, the positive impacts libraries have on customers and communities and … the family dog. Episode links Sno-Isle Libraries Strategic Priorities Sno-Isle Libraries locations University of Texas-Austin Institute of Texan Cultures San Antonio Library Scottish terrier Book-a-Librarian Punxsutawney Storytime Issues That Matter WorkSource Rapid Response Small Business Administration Mod Podge Episode hosts Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, the city of Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV. Cindy Tingley is an instructional developer with Sno-Isle Libraries. Through experience as a radio DJ, a police officer in Key West, Fla., certified technology instructor and Usui Reiki trainer, the common thread is Cindy loves teaching new skills. Episode sponsors The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Edmonds Center for the Arts provides an array of outstanding performing artists from around the world, hosts events and serves more than 75,000 patrons annually.


Episode 3: Achieving breakthrough growth with Andrew Ballard
Aug 20 2018 59 mins  
Andrew Ballard knows a thing or two about business success. He does it. He teaches it. He wrote a book about it. He gives talks on it, including one at TEDxSnoIsleLibraries. But it took near-death health issue for Ballard to realize – and then incorporate – the most important component of success and achieving breakthrough growth. On this episode of Check It Out!, Ballard discusses how balancing family and business can make for healthier outcomes in both areas. There were plenty of references to books, events and people; hope we got all of ’em here: Six Sigma reading list Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter Marketing Solutions website Andrew Ballard’s LinkedIn profile Blue Ocean Strategy Voice of the customer Business Pros events What is dyslexia? Brain tumors A to Z business databases and others Dave Lee Howard Band Hurricane Ridge band Teasing & bullying Also … In our Book Notes segment, Jackie Parker, Sno-Isle Libraries Lead Librarian for Readers’ Services, offers up three very different titles that she enjoyed. Her recommendations are: Vox, a novel by Christina Dalcher that Parker says is “clearly a descendant of The Handmaid’s Tale.” Dalcher imagines a society where the rights of women have been pared away until they are restricted to speaking just 100 words a day. The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman is about how gardening not only helps plants grow, but also helps the young widow and mother who takes on the unfamiliar task. Tougher in Texas is part of Kari Lynn Dell’s series set with Texas rodeo as the backdrop. The lead character, who has Asperger Syndrome, copes with the challenges of life and the rodeo circuit. The entire “Texas” series is available as an eBook and audiobook. Proudly brought to you by Sno-Isle Libraries, serving residents of Snohomish and Island counties in the great state of Washington, and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.


Episode 2: Can Amazon really replace public libraries?
Aug 08 2018 34 mins  
Top: The Twitter post from July 21 by Panos Mourdoukoutas announcing his Forbes article. Below: An Amazon kiosk store at Westfield Southcenter Mall, south of Seattle. Early Saturday morning, July 21, Panos Mourdoukoutas posted on Twitter a link to his latest opinion item just published online by Forbes magazine. And Twitter came unglued. By Monday morning, the post titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money” had received more than 200,000 views. Twitter was awash in comments that took Mourdoukoutas, an economics professor at Long Island University, to task. Forbes quickly pulled the article from their site and issued a statement: “Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view. Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed.” This episode of Check It Out! takes a look at the issue and uproar. Join Sno-Isle Libraries Communications Director Ken Harvey and Jim Hills, public information manager at the library district and a former newspaper reporter, editor and publisher, in a discussion of the differences between Amazon and public libraries and the motivations for publishing – and retracting – such provocative opinions. Also … Book Notes with Denise Douglas-Baird! Who knew there was a niche for “alternative-history vintage glam spy thrillers?” Looks like author Lara Elena Donnelly really gets into her characters! Denise does and she’ll tell you all about it! Amberlough and Armistice are the first two volumes in The Amberlough Dossier trilogy by Lara Elena Donnelly. A colorfully seedy and vibrantly freewheeling city on the eve of the election. A haunted spy, his cabaret-star lover, and a sassy red-haired dancer. Submerge yourself in intoxicating settings reminiscent of 1930s Europe and Asia. Rendezvous with intriguingly flawed and unforgettable characters. Ponder the unthinkable queries of living in a polity gone wrong: What will you sacrifice for love? Who will you betray for revolution? There’s plenty of time to read these first two installments and then join Denise, a librarian with Library on Wheels, in anxiously awaiting the final volume, “Amnesty” out next April. – – – Proudly brought to you by Sno-Isle Libraries, serving residents of Snohomish and Island counties in the great state of Washington, and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.




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