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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Killer whales
4:32 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Survival of male orcas depends on older females, study shows

A baby orca, sex unknown, was seen swimming between its mother and grandmother in Puget Sound in August.
James Maya Maya's Westside Charters

Researchers in the San Juan Islands say the survival of older female Orcas, after they go through menopause, helps younger males stay alive longer.

That might not surprise many humans, but scientists well-versed in the behavior of Orca whales say it’s a relatively new conclusion. And, in many species, females don’t live long after the end of their reproductive life.

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Environment
4:40 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

People for Puget Sound shutting down this fall

A major environmental group, People for Puget Sound, has been shut down by its board because of finances. The organization is being absorbed by two other environmental groups.

People for Puget Sound was founded in 1991 by a charismatic woman named Kathy Fletcher.

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Medical marijuana
3:06 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Seattle seeks to close medical pot loophole with zoning rules

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

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Diversions
4:23 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Do you want Seattle to beat the record for days without rain?

Seattle and environs seen yesterday afternoon. We're closing in on the all-time record for sunny/dry days.
Jake Ellison KPLU

Hard to know what to root for – a record dry spell or the return of rain.

Our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass says the race is on, and it’ll be close.

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Greening pro Sports
11:08 am
Wed September 5, 2012

M’s out to improve (enviro) average, change peanut packaging

Will this packaging help the Mariners reach a goal of 90 percent recycling at Safeco Field? The team's operations manager says plastic films that enclose snacks are a missing link in their strategy for responsibly disposing of fans' trash.
Courtesy of the Mariners

The Mariners might not be topping their league for play this season. But when it comes to sustainability, they say they’ve got a winning team.

Right at the top of the lineup for dealing with trash is a chemical company that has a new formula for packaging the peanuts you buy at the ballpark. It's BASF. Remember the cassette tapes they used to make? The German chemicals giant is a big sponsor now of the Mariners. Local compost producer Cedar Grove is also in on the deal.

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Gardens and Technology
1:00 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

'Cropswap' website takes barter between home gardeners online

A budding friendship between happy traders. Connie Parsons, co-founder of the Cropswap website, and Scott Shaffer expect they'll trade gardening tips via the site as well as continue trading for home-grown goods.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

What do you do when you’ve got a bumper crop of zucchini or lettuce? Or flower bulbs that have multiplied like rabbits? Many people give their extras away. And in the down economy, more and more hobby gardeners are trading their bounty at swap meets. 

A new website from a team in Seattle and Tacoma makes those transactions easier.

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Water Quality
4:09 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Washington beaches mostly safe, but 3 get failing grades

Larrabee State Park, near Bellingham, gets an F in Heal the Bay's report Card. Dangerous levels of bacteria that can make people sick have been showing up since 2007.
Courtesy Washington BEACH program Wa State dept of ecology

Thinking of heading for the beach this weekend?  You’re mostly safe.

A California non-profit has just issued its 3rd annual end-of-summer report card on water quality, including beaches in Washington and Oregon. It shows almost all As and Bs in the northwest…but also 3 “F” grades.

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Environment
12:21 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Shell can start drilling preparations in Alaska's Chukchi Sea

One of two drilling platforms the oil company plans to use in the Arctic.
The Associated Press

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says Royal Dutch Shell will be allowed to begin preparation work at exploratory drilling sites in the Chukchi.

Salazar says the company has been authorized to dig what are called mud-line cellars in the ocean floor to protect blowout preventers that would be installed later below the sea floor level.

The company also will be allowed to drill small pilot holes down to about 1,400 feet.

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Changing Seasons
5:01 am
Thu August 30, 2012

End of summer blues, already?

Late summer brings the delight of blooming Dahlias in the northwest...but they'll be gone in just a few weeks. Are you counting the days till school starts? Or dreading the lack of light in winter?
jikido-san Flickr

The Labor Day weekend coming up marks the unofficial end of summer -- time to put away those white pants and get ready for fall.

KPLU asked folks on the streets of downtown Seattle how they feel about the days getting shorter and autumn right around the corner?

It's not a scientific poll, but there's no question that some people love the crisp fall air that heralds in the start of school...while others dread the stress of more work and less play.

[Listen to our audio collage, by clicking on the "play" icon above.] 

Environment
3:01 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Why King County held a party for a property tax

In 1984, the county used revenue from the tax to purchase the first 2,000 acres of the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlands Park, a bit of which is shown above.
King County

Celebrating taxes is a pretty uncommon event, but the King County Council did just that yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of a property tax and the more than 100,000 acres of public lands it has paid to preserve.

The council also made its praise of the Conservation Futures Tax official with a resolution honoring those who created the program to spend the money.

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Business
5:00 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Amazon trying out lockers for delivering your purchases

If you place an order with Amazon in Seattle, New York, Washington, D.C., or London, the lockers will show up as a shipping option.
Matt Jones Flickr

If you’ve bought something recently on Amazon.com, you may have noticed it’s testing a new way to deliver packages. The Internet retailer has quietly installed non-descript lockers where you can pick up an order, rather than having it sent to a personal address.

The pilot program is available in four cities including Seattle.

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Health Research
5:01 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Understanding infertility in cows could shed light on humans' too

One of the herd at Washington State University's Beef Center. Is understanding its fertility the key to knowing ours?
Courtesy of Washington State University

It turns out humans and cattle have some of the same fertility issues.

Researchers at Washington State University have received more than a million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to look into what causes lost pregnancies in beef cattle - and also what that can teach us about miscarriages in humans.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:05 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Forecast - hot but getting cooler

Today’s going to be hot again, but it's already cooler than expected this morning, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We had some marine air that pushed up the coast, clouds have inundated the coastal areas. So if you're on the coast it's going to be cooler," he says. "And here in the interior we're starting cooler: five to ten degrees in some places. But the trouble is this cool marine air is very thin."

He says that cool marine layer will burn off fast, yielding to hot temps aloft. So today he expects highs of high 80s to 90 closer to the coast. And away from the water, perhaps the low 90s.

"So one more warm day. Then tomorrow a step down. Today's the hottest day."

There's a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, which could have a big impact on the wildfires in Cle Elum and Thorp. The danger is the chance of lighting without rain.

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Global Health Innovation
5:01 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Extreme makeover: toilet edition (courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates)

Civil engineers from California (the Safe Sludge UC Berkeley Team) are one of the more than 35 design teams taking part in the "Reinventing the Toilet" fair at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News.

When you flush the toilet every day, you probably aren’t thinking much about where your waste goes. But Seattle’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting that question on the international agenda.

They’re donating more than three and a half million dollars in grants and prize money to help developing countries take advantage of new waste treatment technologies. A “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” fair kicked off yesterday.

KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to check it out. (Click "Play" above to hear the elements of her story.)

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:35 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Forecast - best is still to come (though it's great already)

Great weekend weather will make the Perseid meteor shower a delight. The annual event is expected to peak Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The Associated Press

Today’s going to be a great summer day, especially as some low clouds burn off later – but that’s not the best part of the forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“Today is the worst day of the weekend, believe it or not. And temperatures are going to get up into the mid- to upper-70s even near 80 in a couple places. So, it’s just an absolute wonderful day. But it’s going to get even better,” he says.

The skies will stay clear and temperatures will warm as we get into the weekend, with many places away from the water seeing 80-plus degrees. 

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