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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One of America's most prominent living poets is coming to Seattle. Dr. Maya Angelou is the author of a groundbreaking memoire published in 1970, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It describes how she overcame racism and trauma growing up in the South. 

Dr. Angelou is now 83, and recently received the highest civilian honor in the land, the Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama. 

KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp spoke with her and asked, first of all, how she came to write her first work of prose. (Click on the audio "play" arrow at the top of this post to hear KPLU's interview).

Dr. Angelou will speak at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Monday, March 14th, in an appearance at 7:30 p.m.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Foreclosures and uncertainty are clogging up the real estate market, and one local expert says prices won't go up again before next year.

The median price of a home in King County  is down nearly 7% compared to a year ago.  That's one of many tidbits in the mass of numbers released this month by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Sales data for February show the median sales price in Washington's most populous county down 7 percent compared to last year. The median price of a home in King County has dropped to $320-thousand dollars. That's about $23,000 dollars less than in February of last year. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It looks like the Seattle Center Food Court will soon be run by a concessionaire that has current contracts with Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo. 

The Seattle Center has announced a letter-of-intent with Lancer Hospitality. 

The space was built originally as an armory, completed in 1939.  Located at the base of the Space Needle, it was famous in the 1970s for the Bubbleator amusement ride (now in Burien) and for at that time newfangled food attractions, such as Orange Julius smoothies. 

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

Ben Margot / AP Photo

Aerospace workers in the Puget Sound region are celebrating.  So is the state's congressional delegation, which has fought for 10 years to win a lucrative contract to build a refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The Pentagon's Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, says Boeing was "a clear winner" in the competition to build a multi-billion-dollar refueling tanker.  This means unless rival bidder EADS contests the decision, a newly revamped 767 line at Boeing's Everett factory will likely be busy for decades. 

Courtesy of Walter Friesen

Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Seattle couple who were killed as they sailed around the world.  They were captured by Somali pirates, along with another couple from California. 

Walter Friesen  knew them.  He's a member of the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, where the deceased couple met. 

Photo by Craig Schwartz. / Courtesy 5th Avenue Theatre.

Bipolar disorder has been the inspiration for many artists and many works of art…from the movie A Beautiful Mind to Sylvia Plath's autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar

Now it's showing up in a musical, called "Next to Normal." 

Ten years ago, the production had its genesis at The Village Theater in Issaquah.  Now, after numerous revisions, it's back in the Seattle area at the 5th Avenue Theatre.  For the latest in our series ARTSCAPE, KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp caught up with Bryan Yorkey, the writer of the show, who together with the composer, Tom Kitt, was the surprise winner of last year's Pulitzer Prize for drama.

A new TV ad created by the Washington Federation of state Employees claims that violence has increased at Western State Hospital – because of budget cuts by the state. 

The Seattle Times "Truthneedle" picked that ad apart and says it's misleading and "mostly false."

Aeter / Flickr

While it's a good idea to be prepared, sometimes it's good not to move too fast. 

Apparently there are glitches in the state's new "Good to Go" tolling system.  The State Department of Transportation says it will revamp the sign-up process after complaints by frustrated motorists trying to buy transponders online.  As Mike Lindblom reports in The Seattle Times:

Image courtesy of Boeing

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood

AP

Like so many of us, I am on the edge of my seat as I watch the news unfold in Egypt. Dramatic moments such as these are the stuff a news journalist's dreams are made of. But there's so much more at stake for people who have friends and families in Cairo. Microsoft software salesman Alaa Badr is one of them. I reached him this afternoon right after Mubarak's speech.

"I'm just extremely upset and frustrated and resentful about Mubarek -- even more so now than ever before," Badr says. 

Badr and his compatriots have been calling for Mubarak's resignation for more than two weeks. 

Photo courtesy of the author.

The Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University is all smiles this week. His book, The New Arab Journalist is coming out at the same time as the mass protests going on in Egypt. You couldn't ask for better timing.

Another peer review of Seattle's handling of the John T. Williams shooting has found the police department conducted a fair and thorough investigation. 

Photo by taberandrew / Flickr

A state law that went into effect early last year limited the number of payday loans borrowers could get per year to eight. It aims to protect people from falling into an endless spiral of debt.

But a Tacoma legislator, who originally backed the law, says it's driving people into the clutches of far worse lenders, on the Internet. 

Ben Curtis / AP

A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.  

One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.

"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.  

WSDOT / Flickr

Tolls on the 520 bridge are set to start this spring and they could be as high as $3.50 each way. 

Frustrated?  There's an app for that. 

An Irish company called Avego created a new smart phone app for "real-time ride sharing." Company leaders say it encourages more carpooling. 

PRNewsFoto / Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft handily beat Wall Street's expectations, posting record revenue: nearly $20 billion in its second quarter.

The company says the strong financial report was fuelled by rebounding business demand, as well as swift sales of the Kinect motion controller for its Xbox 360 video games. 

Xbox sales booming

Microsoft says it sold 8 million Kinect motion controllers in just 60 days this past holiday season, far exceeding the company’s expectations, as well as Wall Street's.  

AP

Washington's Senior US Senator, Patty Murray, has become the first woman ever appointed as chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Murray replaces Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii as the new committee chair.  According to Rob Hotakainen, Staff writer at the Olympian, Akaka is an 86-year-old veteran of World War II and has headed the committee for the last four years.

Seattle parking rates are going up in 4 neighborhoods, down in 11 neighborhoods and will stay the same in 7 others. Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan says the upshot is that 73% of the city’s paid parking spaces will either stay the same or get a rate reduction. But several areas still face big hikes and community leaders are worried.

Photo by Gary Davis / KPLU

Starbucks has done it again. The coffee giant says its global revenues reached a record: $3 billion in the first quarter. Profits were up 44 percent compared to a year ago, thanks in part to the chain's growing popularity with coffee drinkers around the world.

A law that went into effect at the start of last year puts new limits on payday lenders.  It created a registry of borrowers and restricts them from taking out more than eight of the high-interest loans in a year. 

Some state lawmakers are proposing major changes to Washington's voter-approved medical marijuana system. 

Associated Press reporter Curt Woodward describes a packed meeting yesterday of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, which was discussing Senate Bill 5073, proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. It would give medical marijuana users more protections against arrest than they currently have. 

MJDArv via YouTube.com

A jury trial has begun in Tacoma, detailing another case of alleged police brutality in Seattle.

The lawsuit was filed against King County by the wife and a court-appointed guardian of 31-year-old Christopher Sean Harris, who a deputy shoved against a concrete wall a year and a half ago outside the Cinerama movie theater in Belltown. A surveillance camera outside the movie theater captured footage of the incident.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) says the US Air Force contract for the next generation of refueling tankers should not be awarded until questions are answered about the military's latest snafu. 

A decision on who wins the $35-billion contract is expected as early as next month. 

In November, the Air Force admitted that it had inadvertently mixed up two packages of information.  It sent details of Boeing's bid to Airbus-parent EADS and of EADS's bid to Boeing. 

Despite opposition from the local teachers' union and a lawsuit from parents and community groups, Teach for America has announced it will return to public schools in the Seattle area in the 2011-12 academic year.

Photo courtesy of Women's Funding Alliance.

Two years ago, the city of Seattle got the results of a harrowing study: it estimated as many as 500 children in King County are involved in prostitution

More recently, FBI sweeps have found more girls victimized here than anywhere else in the country. Seattle is identified by the FBI as one of the top ten human trafficking centers in the country - due in part, perhaps, to more effective law enforcement.  

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are rejecting Governor Gregoire's proposal to fix the state ferry system's chronic deficit by making it into an independent taxing district. 

At a House Transportation Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers nixed the idea, saying they don't think it has the votes to pass.  And as John Stang of the Kitsap Sun reports, the Chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee says she won't even give the proposal a hearing

courtesy League of Education Voters

What would you do if you faced the tough choices state lawmakers are up against as they attempt to balance the budget?  You can give it a try yourself with a new online tool created by the League of Education Voters. 

queen of subtle/via Flickr

As 2010 comes to an end, many people are looking at a pile of requests for year-end donations.  We know it's wise to set a budget for personal giving to worthy causes – but how much is the right amount? 

AP

Most of the Boeing Company is taking a break  for the holidays.  But, not crews involved in test flight activities for the 787 Dreamliner.  The new jet is resuming test flights after a six-week grounding because of an electrical fire.

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