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Category Archives: Columns


Capturing Grays Harbor history

This man, thought to be radio DJ Stan Spiegle, appears in the the newsreel footage that sheds a light on Grays Harbor County history.

This man, thought to be radio DJ Stan Spiegle, appears in the the newsreel footage that sheds a light on Grays Harbor County history.

We ran an article in the latest issue of Columns about a UW-produced documentary centering around newsreel footage that peeled back the curtain on life in 1920s Grays Harbor County.

“Grays Harbor Happenings” looks at life before the Great Depression in this bustling coastal town. The 45-minutes of film that inspired the documentary keeps the past alive on the Libraries Special Collections website, offering short clips of events big and small. Browse the collection for a few minutes, and you’ll see footage of a shipwreck, log-rolling contests, baseball games, an ice cream social, picnics and more.

The newsreel footage, originally shown before full-length feature films, depicts a sense of time and place that resonates nearly a century later, said Hannah Palin, film archives specialist with Libraries Special Collections. “You capture people, behavior, customs, and the environment, and it’s actually moving,” she said. “It helps our current experience if we can see how we were in the past.”

Each of the roughly 50 clips contains its own back story, and some of those stories are still being uncovered today.

Here are a few of the clips with unusual histories or notable stars, along with some background information, courtesy of Palin.

This unidentified man is thought to be local radio DJ Stan Spiegle

Palin believes that the stoic man on-screen from :24-:35 is Stan Spiegle, a  DJ with KXRO Radio in Grays Harbor County.

The radio station was owned at the time by Roy Olmstead, a famous Seattle-based bootlegger during Prohibition. Olmstead would play certain songs with the station’s radio broadcasts to signal boats that it was safe to smuggle bootlegged booze into Grays Harbor. “I don’t know how much Stan knew about this,” Palin admits. “There’s this funny tie with this little 20-second clip to a whole history of Prohibition.”

James M. Phillips, mayor of Aberdeen, address a crowd at what appears to be Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds

American Indian James M. Phillips moved from Pennsylvania to Aberdeen after college, where he launched an improbably successful political career. He began practicing law in 1907, was later elected mayor of Aberdeen, and went onto serve as a Superior Court Judge from 1929 to 1950. Phillips is thought to be the first American Indian to serve as a judge in the Washington state court system. “It obviously didn’t hinder his politics at all,” Palin said.

Mel Ingram and the Aberdeen Black Cats win the Timber League Pennant

Mel Ingram was a baseball player in the late 1920s with the Aberdeen Black Cats, part of the semi-professional Timber League. The team took its logo from a good luck charm posted at logging camps throughout the region, a nod to the town’s labor-friendly policies under Mayor James M. Phillips. Palin said that Ingram might have once shared the field with Babe Ruth when the legendary slugger played an exhibition game in Tacoma.

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New – Watch videos on the Columns website

Seattle Camera Club photo by Frank Asakichi Kunishige Betti, ca. 1924. Like Columns magazine? Like UWTV? How about the Seattle Camera Club story that ran in Columns in December and on UW 360 this month?

Then, we hope you’ll love this: Readers can now enjoy our Camera Club story, then watch UW 360’s fantastic episode on the club, all from the Columns website. Click here to watch the video and see the new feature!

This is just another look at how we storytellers are beginning to work together across the UW campus. I’m excited to see how this evolves.

Until then, check out the entire UW 360 February episode :

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Michelle Obama invites UW alum Zach Davis to sit with her at State of the Union address

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How’s this for a domino effect?

UW alum Zachary Davis and his business partner, Kendra Baker, opened The Penny Ice Creamery in the summer of 2010 after working alongside the local office of the Small Business Administration in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Thanks to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funding), which increased the guarantee of a small business loan from 75 to 90 percent, Zach and Kendra were able to get the funds they needed to open their dream, an ice cream shop “done right.”

The Penny Ice Creamery, which opened in August, has been so well received that it continues to grow. Zach and Kendra are working 90 hours a week and are still hiring additional help. After the creamery opened, Zach, Kendra and crew put together a thank-you video to the government using Zach’s iPhone and the iMovie software. They did it all on a Monday, the only day the creamery is closed.

Zach, who earned a B.A. in comparative religion from the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies in 2000, says the video “is our story,” and that “we wanted to show how the ARRA helped one small business.” The video (above) got 97,000 hits on YouTube and ultimately made its way to the White House. That led to a call from Vice President Joe Biden, who thanked Zach and Kendra for their video (below).

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That’s not the end of it, either.

On Jan. 18, Zach and Kendra received a call from Michelle Obama’s office, inviting he and Kendra to attend a reception and the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. They flew to the nation’s capital on a Monday, sat in the First Lady’s box on Tuesday, and returned home to Santa Cruz on Wednesday “to scoop ice cream.”

While in D.C., they met the president as well as the director of the Small Business Administration. “I don’t believe a lot of people understand how stimulus money is spent,” Zach says. “I don’t understand all of it. But in this case, the ARRA allowed us a loan guarantee we needed. We believe in our commitment to the banks that loaned us the money, and to the taxpayers that we won’t fail.”

Dr. Peter Rhee, also a UW alum, was invited to the State of the Union address by President Obama. Rhee is the surgeon who treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and directed care for 10 other victims following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson. Read our post on Dr. Rhee here.

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Columns archives: Honoring our veterans

A very special thank you to all of the men and women who have served our country with honors. Today is Veterans Day, and I am reminded of the poem “Freedom is not Free” by Ashley Persyn:

There is a price we pay for freedom
For it is not truly free
But rather paid for by the contributions of veterans
To buy our liberty.

The photo above is of Blake Miller. It is one of the most famous pictures from the Iraq War and was taken by 1982 UW alum Luis Sinco. Watch this video from the Los Angeles Times on what came to be known as the “The Marlboro Marine.”

I ran a quick search of UWalum.com for “veterans” and am excited to share a few stories from our Columns archives. Thank you, veterans.

  • Healing wounds, March 2008: A UW alum tells his tale from the Vietnam War. He served as a dentist with a mobile construction battalion attached to the 3rd Marine Division. He says, “My dental training did not necessarily prepare me for treating the wounded in a helicopter; but you did what you could and quickly learned.”
  • Pappy Boyington—Our Black Sheep Hero, Dec. 1998: There aren’t many UW alums who win the Medal of Honor, write a best-selling book and have Robert Conrad portray them in a TV series. But that’s World War II Fighter Pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a 1934 engineering graduate who shot down 28 enemy planes as a Marine pilot.
  • The Caretaker, Dec. 2009: Days after 24-year-old Army Lt. Robert Leisy wrote a letter home to his parents, he used his body to shield his fellow soldiers from a North Vietnamese grenade. They survived. Leisy did not. A look at the UW alum who made the ultimate sacrifice—in his own words.

Read more…

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Columns: In Praise of Interns

I had an internship when I was in college. Actually, I had many. There was the time I helped produce video for a golf tournament in Arizona (and interviewed Jack Nicklaus along the way.) There was the radio station internship I held when the O.J. Simpson chase went down. Then, there was the semester I spent working for a literary magazine, perusing submissions from everyone from fledgling writers to well-published ones. I also spent time reading the sometimes violent, sometimes erratic, sometimes eloquent poems and stories that came postmarked “state penitentiary.” I learned a lot about generosity in that internship and, though it was more than 20 years ago, it still has an impact on my career. That internship taught me to read more carefully; to respond to writers with kindness.

Interns are the lifeblood for many an organization, large or small, and especially magazines. Gone are the days of fetching coffee: Kids these days are fact checking copy and making sure everything we print is true and accurate. They’re teaching the staff how to better use social media, hitting the streets and interviewing restaurant patrons and voters in line, and blogging stories that may not make the print version of a magazine. And, they write. Lindsey, our most recent intern, received a nod of the head for the work she did this summer, but the truth is she touched every page of the magazine and wrote most of the Hub section.

Then, there’s the amazing Journalism Foreign Intrigue Scholarship which Communication Chair David Domke told me about the other day. Every summer, a handful of UW Communication undergrads are cast off to the far corners of the globe—this past year to Phnom Penh Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Chile and Kenya—where each works as an intern reporter at a foreign newspaper. (Perhaps a Columns story from next summer’s students in the future?) Oh, to be 20 again…

Intern season has begun again and magazines across this city—including Columns—are scrambling to attract the best and brightest. We can’t wait to see what we, and they learn.

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What should be the next UW president’s No. 1 priority?

From the September issue of Columns comes the popular Alumni Vote:

With Mark Emmert stepping down as UW president to head the NCAA, the university has formed a search committee to conduct a national search with the goal of having a new president in place for the 2011-2012 academic year.

What should be the next UW president’s No. 1 priority?

Visit the Alumni Vote to share your opinion, and check out these replies from your fellow Huskies:

  • Preserving tuition affordability is the top priority. The higher that public university tuition increases, the tighter the door to the middle class closes on a generation of young people. Husky Promise is a good start, but is not nearly enough.
  • We need the new president to make academics the priority. Obviously, the budget is constrained, but attracting the best professors and instructors means offering higher salaries. I agree with the above observer that a new stadium and an emphasis on sports is not in the best interest of this university. An academic university does not make the media as often as sports, but it does make a reputation in the right circles.
  • All professional salaries and staff salaries need to be revisited and most reduced, and examined from the standpoint of supply and demand. Then future raises should be based on fixed dollar amounts, not percentage raises which favor those with salaries at the upper half.

Photo by Ken Lambert, The Seattle Times

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Now you can comment on Columns stories

Jake Locker graces the cover of the September issue of Columns

One of the things that makes a magazine so special, I think, is that you never see the sausage being made. The magazine arrives in your box all plump, glossy, tantalizing. Inside, it’s full of evocative images, pretty pictures, interesting stories. And never do you, dear reader, see what goes on behind the scenes.

For us editors, that’s the goal. As exciting as the moments of failed lighting on photo shoots and writers exasperated by our demands for yet one more revision may be, they add little to the actual story. We want you to see a great magazine. Never mind what it took us to get there.

Usually, I don’t share the inside scoop; don’t reveal the man behind the curtain, but I’ll tell you this: The September issue of Columns didn’t come without some excitement, and one serious Hail Mary pass, this month in the form of a cover shoot. Our photo of Jake Locker was shot in about 20 minutes (we often take an hour or more for a portrait like this) on a hot, August evening when the quarterback made time for us between practice and dinner, before he headed back to the field again. (Good practice for our Heisman hopeful, as we’re sure Jake is going to have to get used to the media hounding him during work.)

That’s just a hint at the great things that happened behind the scenes on Columns recently. The fall issue is out now and, I believe, full of some fantastic stories. I hope you enjoy learning about everything from what makes Locker tick to what life is like as a Buddhist monk.

A lot of new and exciting things are happening at Columns—this editors blog being one of them—and we’ll share more with you in the weeks to come. Until then, please check out the fall issue of Columns. And, let us know what you think: as of this issue, you can now comment on any of our stories.

Julie H. Case

Managing Editor of Content

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10 things you didn’t know about UW history (Part 2)

Drum roll, please.

Here are the remaining five things you probably didn’t know about UW history. See the first five here. Remember, the UW Alumni Association’s interactive timeline launches Sept. 23. Enjoy!

5) Hook ‘em, Dawgs
From 1908-1916, the Huskies were a football juggernaut, going 58-0-3 under head coach Gil Dobie. Everywhere they went, UW fans brought with them an item that symbolized the might of Husky football: the hook. Introduced by yell leader Bill Horsley in 1911, the 10-foot-tall oak hook was carried to each UW football game as a symbol of the Huskies’ dominance. Eventually, the hook (pictured above) was fitted for chains and guarded by members of the “W” club. But no one knows what became of it.

4) Banned from campus
The UW Alumni Association was banned from campus in 1928. When Regents appointed by Governor Roland Hartley fired UW President Henry Suzzallo in October 1926, tempers flared across campus and students called for a strike. The UWAA and others tried to oust Hartley through a recall initiative, but the effort failed to get the required number of signatures and two years later UW officials told the association to leave campus. The ban lasted six years until 1934.

3) Logging on
Long before the Tyee, the UW’s student yearbook was called “The Log” because it was carved out of, you guessed it, a log from an alder tree. The year was 1894 and students were invited to write their names on the log’s pages, which were small rectangular pieces of wood housed inside the carved-out center of the log. This was used for only one year, as the yearbook became a traditional volume that could be carried around, autographed and kept on a bookshelf. “The Log” is housed in the Special Collections Department in the basement of Allen Library.

Read more…

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