1 I suspected Seattle-area traffic reporter Sprince Arbogast was Jewish because I assumed “Sprince” was a variant of the Yiddish name Shprintze. Then one really messy traffic night this winter I heard her mutter on KPLU, “Oy vey, the traffic,” and I was sure.
Sprince, it turns out, is a childhood nickname based on her maiden surname that’s stuck with her into adulthood. Born and raised on Seattle’s Eastside, she went to Sammamish High School and the University of Washington. She became a Bat Mitzvah at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, where her grandparents and parents were married.
She became a professional dancer and arts promoter, first in New York and then employed by a modern dance company in Grenoble, France for a few years. Hired by a performing arts center to increase attendance, she contacted local radio stations, she recalls. One station hired her, first to produce an arts show, and eventually to be a reporter and translator for the news department.
“I was there at the right time,” she says.
When she stopped dancing and returned to the States, she was ready for a second career in broadcasting. Back in Seattle, she started as a producer at KING Broadcasting and has done a variety of work in the Seattle area, including reporting for public radio station KUOW and running her own media and communications company.
“I knew I wanted to be an at-home mom, but keep my feet wet,” she says. So when pregnant with the oldest of her three children, she “knocked on the door” of Metro Traffic (now Total Traffic, part of Clear Channel) and they hired her.
While she reports under her own name now, “back in the day I [had] three different names,” says Sprince, and multiple on-air personas. “On a rock and roll station I had to banter with the DJ,” she says, and a news station required “a news delivery…[and] you had to remember who you were on which station.”
The challenge of traffic reporting is getting information out quickly.
“Traffic is reactive,” she says, but new technology is speeding up reporting and response time.
Still freelancing as a producer and reporter, she is thrilled that KUOW submitted one of her recent pieces for an Edward R. Murrow award.
Sprince occasionally appears on TV, substituting for Adam Gehrke on Q13 in the morning.
“It’s fun,” she says, but “TV means waking up at 3:50 [a.m.]…and hair and makeup have to be perfect.”
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Lauren Simonds became executive director of Rosehedge/Multifaith Works this past January, ready, she says, to return to a leadership role and drawn to “the human services, direct services” that the organization provides. The former local director of NCJW (National Council of Jewish Women) and NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), and program director for StandWithUs Northwest says she’s “honored that this organization chose me [to follow] in the footsteps of such great leaders” as previous director Rabbi Anson Laytner and founder Rev. Gwen Beighle.
Rosehedge/Multifaith Works provides housing, compassionate health care and psycho-social support services for people living with HIV/AIDS who are homeless and struggling with chemical dependency and mental health issues. It began in 1988 as two separate organizations, Rosehedge AIDS Housing and Multifaith AIDS Project of Seattle (which later changed its name to Multifaith Works).
When those organizations were founded, patients were dying quickly, “often ostracized and alone,” explains Lauren. “What we hear now…in the news is very little, except that [patients] are living.”
She feels like AIDS is on the back burner, but people need to be reminded that “the safety net is being cut due to the economy.” Her role is to help lead “the agency forward in a strategic planning process” that will determine “where we will go over the next three to five years.” Understanding insurance changes brought by the Affordable Care Act is part of that job.
The south Florida native graduated from Boston University and decided to move to Seattle after seeing local scenery in the movie “Immediate Family.” She has a master’s degree in social work from the UW. Lauren, her husband and son attend Congregation Kol HaNeshemah in West Seattle.
Before NCJW, Lauren worked at Temple B’nai Torah and helped their social action committee form a “CareTeam,” which worked with Multifaith Works.
“Currently there are no synagogue-based CareTeams, and I’m excited to reconnect the Jewish community with our work,” she says.
A CareTeam training is scheduled for April 27, and June 2 is the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration and fundraiser at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. Find information at the website, www.rosehedge.org.