Hey Area: You ask, we answer. | KALW

Hey Area: You ask, we answer.

Hey Area is a collaborative reporting project of KALW News. Using a tool developed by Hearken, audience members submit questions about the Bay Area. If your question is selected, you will partner with a reporter to find the answer. Read more about the project here

What have you always wondered?

Are there actually any walnuts in Walnut Creek?

Jul 25, 2018
Laura Wenus

One KALW listener was curious to know, does Walnut Creek actually have any walnuts there? As it turns out, walnuts were a very important crop to the area for years. 

KALW's Laura Wenus traveled there to learn more about the walnut's local history. 

This question came to KALW through Hey Area, a crowdsourced, collaborative reporting project. Got a question for Hey Area? Ask it below.

Bo Walsh


If you’ve ever attended a professional sporting event, there’s a good chance at some point you have found yourself rising to your feet with hands raised in rhythm with thousands of other fans. It’s a phenomenon known simply as “the Wave. ”

Hey Area: What is the Emergency Alert System testing?

Jul 17, 2018
Christine Nguyen / KALW News

You ask, we answer.

One listener wanted to know, “What is this ‘test of the emergency system we hear now and then on the air?” Reporter Christine Nguyen has the answer.

Hey Area: Why doesn't BART go to Marin?

Jul 17, 2018
Wikimedia user Utilizer, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 / resized and cropped

KALW listener Lori from El Cerrito wrote in to ask why BART doesn’t go to Marin.

Tobias Kleinlercher / Wikipedia, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 / cropped

San Francisco’s Bush and Pine Streets efficiently get drivers from Point A to B. Or as some like to say, “From Bush to the Bay, Pine to the Pacific.” KALW listener Steve Greenberg wanted to know when these two streets became one-way. But more importantly, why?

Chan Rodgers

KALW listener, Chan Rodgers was curious about one of San Francisco’s most distinctive buildings, and the provocative shadow it sometimes casts. So, he posed this question to our Hey Area project:

Cinque Mubarak

 

Nehanda Imara wrote to Hey Area, KALW’s community-journalism project, and asked:  "What is the oldest black business still existing on East 14th Street?"

Eli Wirtschafter

 

Oakland resident Shaniesa Williams wrote to Hey Area — KALW’s community-journalism project — to ask why there are so few traffic signals on International Boulevard.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW News

 

A massive, multi-year transit project is transforming International Boulevard in Oakland — and financial aid for local businesses affected by the project is tangled up in red tape.

 

Jeremy Dalmas

This story originally aired in May of 2017.

San Francisco has the strongest economy of any city in the United States. And with business booming, a lot of eyes are on local corporations to see if they are giving back to the local community by paying their fair share in taxes.

Jenee Darden

If you’ve ever been to Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, chances are that you’ve seen Cesar Chavez’s name somewhere.

Cinque Mubarak

 

Ivan Garcia is only 15 years old, but he’s already working with Oakland city officials, and was appointed by Mayor Libby Schaaf to the city’s Youth Advisory Commission.

COURTESY OF JOSE ARTIGA

It's been over a year since President Donald Trump issued an executive order promising to halt federal funding for cities that limit cooperation with immigration agents. After the order was made, mayors from across the country vowed to remain so called “sanctuary cities” anyway. 

The Guardian

One of our listeners, Consuelo Faust, recently asked us a question through our Hey Area project: “Is it fact or urban legend that other cities or even States send their homeless people to San Francisco?”

DonMcCullough / Flickr / Creative Commons

 

It’s 7:45 AM and I’m in the car with Albany resident Steve Shea. We’re headed from the East Bay to his office in Novato.

 

“Yeah I’ve been commuting to this job ten years now,” he says, his hands on the wheel, eyes fixed on traffic ahead.

 

Wikimedia Commons

 

Listener Mark Eastman from East Palo Alto contacted KALW’s collaborative reporting project, Hey Area. He wants to know, “What happens to cars that get donated to charitable organizations?”

Why are BART announcements so hard to understand?

Nov 8, 2017
Andy Bosselman / KALW

When you ride BART, there’s usually a moment where you look up from your phone and wonder: "Where am I?" That’s when announcements are supposed to help.

SFPL History Center Photo Collection / cropped and resized

In 1976, there was a classified ad in the San Francisco Chronicle. It read, “SIGN Mr. PEANUT for sale. 20ft. tall as see [sic] from Bayshore Fwy. Eves. 364-5005.” That’s the last record of the huge Mr. Peanut sign that once marked the spot of the Planters Peanut factory.

How was the San Francisco Bay formed?

Nov 5, 2017
State of California Department of Conservation / cropped and resized

KALW listener Claudia Zeiler wanted to know how and when the San Francisco Bay was formed. 

Joe Parks / cropped and resized

One KALW listener wanted to know why there are no sound walls along either Highway 24 or Highway 980.

Who is Karl the Fog?

Nov 2, 2017
phoca2004 / cropped and resized

KALW listener Janet Basu wanted to know; just who is this Karl the Fog, anyway? 

What happens to the plastic bags we recycle?

Nov 2, 2017
Victor Andronache / cropped and resized

KALW listener Mimi Manning wanted to know what happens to the plastic bags that are dropped off to be recycled at grocery stores. 

Is the San Francisco Zoo ready for a tsunami?

Oct 5, 2017
Jeneé Darden

Hurricanes don’t occur in the Bay Area, but after seeing so many animals rescued after the recent devastating storms in the Caribbean, one KALW listener asks about San Francisco Zoo's disaster plans.

Was there ever an exotic zoo in Glen Canyon?

Sep 7, 2017
From the San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, 1897. Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library, Articles and Databases.

KALW listener Richard Goldman wanted to know if there was ever an exotic zoo in Glen Canyon, and whether there was a railroad that connected the canyon to downtown San Francisco. 

In the Bay Area, summer weather usually begins in the fall. Why is that? In this short-answer segment, San Francisco State meteorology professor Oswaldo Garcia explains our "peculiar" climate.

Why do so many Bay Area highways have similar names? We've got Interstate 280, 580, 680 and 880 — what gives? That's the question that listener Jennifer Paulus submitted to Hey Area, KALW's collaborative reporting project. Click the player above for the answer. 

 

Almost everyone who flies into San Francisco or San Jose airport has seen it -- a vibrant patchwork quilt of colorful water. There, on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, you can see bright pinks, pumpkin oranges, neon greens and deep magentas, contrasted against the dark blues of the natural bay water. The last time KALW listener Donna Staton peered out an airplane window, she saw it, too.

 

The blocky Vaillancourt Fountain near San Francisco's Ferry Building has been controversial since its installation in the 1970s. One issue that's dogged the fountain for decades? It's often dry. Listener Ingrid Roseborough wrote to Hey Area wondering why. Click the player above the hear the answer. 

A regal statue keeps watch of San Francisco Main Library's Fulton Street entrance. Who is he and why is he there? 

In 1925, Redwood City's real estate board offered a $10 prize for the best slogan for the growing city. The winning submission? "Climate Best by Government Test." In this Hey Area short-answer segment, reporter Jürgen Klemm digs into whether the claim is true. Click the player above to hear the answer.

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