Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp joined the staff of KPLU as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and covered the business and labor beat for more than a decade. She now covers the environment beat. She was raised in Seattle, but spent 8 years in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. She holds a Bachelors degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006.

Bellamy's most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Seeing the INS open a shipping container at the Port of Seattle that contained stowaways from China, three of whom died en route of seasickness. Harrowing stuff, with global economics and inequity at its root.”

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Rising Sea Levels
6:23 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Seattle planners predict bigger flood zones due to climate change

Department Manager Paul Fleming and Meteorologist James Rufo-Hill, of Seattle Public Utility's Climate and Sustainability Group, created the new map showing areas that are at risk for flooding during high tides and storms.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

It’s data that’s been collected and analyzed for several years now.

But predictions on how high tides and extreme storm events might combine to cause flooding in Seattle are seeming less and less like science fiction.

The City has unveiled a new map, showing huge areas that are much more likely to end up waterlogged during storms. And it says the estimates are no longer considered extreme. 

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Environment
8:34 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Climate change report shows major impacts for Northwest

Huge areas of Seattle's Port could be inundated when higher tides combine with more extreme storm surges, accdording to the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change
Bjørn Giesenbauer photo Flickr

Imagine a future in which major areas of Seattle’s waterfront are flooded because of rising tides.

Businesses that front on Elliot Bay, including the famous Edgewater Hotel, or parks such as Myrtle Edwards or Golden Gardens, would have to adjust to storm surges more than six feet higher than we’re used to.

According to a new federal report on climate change, that future is just a few decades away. 

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Other News
10:11 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Mudslides continue to plague rail traffic north of Seattle

"With the steep slopes on one side and water on the other, we know that debris is going to roll downhill," says BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas of the rail corridor between Seattle and Everett. "And unfortunately, we're caught at the bottom with the shovel."
Zargoman photo Flickr

Mudslides continue to shut down train tracks, and halt passenger rail traffic north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says tracks between Seattle and Everett have been shut down for passenger trains 95 percent of the time since Thanksgiving. 

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Gun Control
11:31 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Seattle gun buyback plan: Turn in your gun, get a $100 giftcard

sadaton Flickr

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine say there’s not much they can do about gun laws. Past efforts to ban firearms in parks have failed because they’re preempted by state laws. But they say they can revive an idea last tried in Seattle twenty years ago: a gun buyback program.

They hope to get hundreds of weapons off the streets with a privately-funded effort.

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Other News
4:54 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Who pays when a daredevil needs rescue?

The search for a skydiver who went missing near Mount Si last week has been called off for now.

The King County Sheriff’s office says they’ve scoured every angle of the area where he might have landed that they could get to on foot. Foggy weather is preventing their next move: taking a helicopter into the cliffs and ravines where the missing man could have taken shelter if he survived.

But who pays for such rescues?

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Environment
10:08 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Backers say I-522 on GMO labeling would protect state economy

Wheat fields somewhere in the Palouse. Concern over the prospect of genetically-modified crops spoiling this picture and possibly preventing wheat exports has spurred some farmers to join the I-522 campaign, for labeling of GMO foods and seed.
djniks photo Flickr

Washington voters are in the avant-garde when it comes to policies on recreational marijuana and same-sex marriage. And now a grassroots campaign wants us to lead the country on food labeling.

Backers of legislative initiative 522 say they submitted 100,000 more signatures than needed for a measure that would require companies to clearly mark products containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:31 am
Fri January 4, 2013

A record dark December - and now the coldest week of the year

Despite the record dark December, crispy cold days can make for great visibility at times in Seattle.
1yen photo Flickr

If you feel like last month was dark and dreary, you're not imagining things. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says December 2012 was one of the darkest on record.

"We've had a terrible period. It was one of the darkest Decembers we've had. Certainly we were in the top five of the last 50 years."

He says in records kept for the last 13 years, we tied with December 2007 for the worst wet, damp and dreary skies.

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Environment
5:01 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Seattle councilman wants you to eat more locally-grown food

More senes like this one, of chidren harvesting kale, would help the Northwest sustain itself into the future, says Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin.
woodleywonderworks photo Flickr

Locally grown foods are better for the environment; it takes fewer resources and produces fewer greenhouse gases to get them from farm to table.

And a new report indicates that people in western Washington could pretty easily more than double their consumption of local foods.

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Environment
10:12 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

"Plastics Unwrapped" puts eyes on everyday objects at Burke Museum

Bales of hundreds of disposable plastic bags show the rate at which we use them: 3,000 per every quarter of a second in the United States, say the Burke museum curators who created several of these "statistical sculptures" for their new traveling show.
courtesy Burke Museum

The  University of Washington’s 113 year-old Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is debuting a new look and feel. Curators there say they want people to think more about everyday objects and how they evoke our place in the world.

“The Life Before You” is the new tag line encouraging visitors to discover and explore the Burke’s collections. First up, as the rebranding rolls out, is a new temporary exhibition called Plastics Unwrapped.

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Environment
12:50 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Rent a living X-mas tree

You can avoid this scene and help a non-profit restore the riparian zone along local streams by renting a living tree.
Photo by by Sappymoosetree Flickr

What’s the best way to have a Christmas tree…and not feel like you’re killing it?

The Adopt-a-Stream Foundation in Everett says if you don’t mind something that looks a bit scrappy, you can have your tree and plant it too.

The foundation says it rented out 100 trees over this past weekend…and they have about 100 more available. They’ll be open 9-5 through Friday.

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Coal Exports
9:24 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Coal opponents outnumber proponents at Seattle hearing

Concern about air pollution and ocean health inspired hundreds to rally in Seattle against the proposed coal terminal near Bellingham.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

It was one of the biggest outpourings of environmental activism that Seattle has seen since the WTO protests more than a decade ago.

At Freeway Park, a giant balloon shaped like an asthma inhaler floated above a sea of red shirts and banners from the Sierra Club. There was also a giant salmon puppet accompanied by schools of ailing herring and a sad-looking polar bear. And a white-haired lady dressed like Santa held a sign that said, "SAVE MY NORTH POLE." 

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Coal Exports
5:00 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Crowds gearing up for Seattle hearing on Bellingham terminal

Should more long coal trains like this one from Wyoming be allowed to run through western Washington?
railsr4me flickr

Seattle is bracing for a big hearing.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out Thursday for a chance to testify about the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Cashless trade between small businesses brightens giving season

One of the newest members of BizXchange's bartering network is a gift shop owner who has two storefronts near Pike place Market. Clare Fisher of Pacific Rain Gift Company was selling excess inventory including Ikebana supplies at the BizX Holiday expo.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

It’s giving season, so there are loads of parties going on this time of year.

But a recent holiday bazaar in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood is the work of a unique entrepreneur, with a special spin on networking.

He has helped thousands of small companies to survive and even grow during the Great Recession.

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Air travel
2:14 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

FAA approves commerical flights for Paine Field

Vacationers wanting to fly from the Seattle area to destinations such as Hawaii and Phoenix may soon have another option. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved commercial flights out of Paine Field, near Everett. It’s a proposal that’s been in the works for years.

Despite concern from some neighbors about noise and other environmental factors, the FAA issued a “finding of no significant impacts” for the proposal to allow commercial flights from Snohomish County airport.

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Environment
4:26 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

FAA approves commericial flights for Paine Field

Vacationers wanting to fly from the Seattle area to destinations such as Hawaii and Phoenix may soon have another option. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved commercial flights out of Paine Field, near Everett. It’s a proposal that’s been in the works for years.

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