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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Environment
10:51 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Settlement on Seattle sewage overflows heads to council

Combined sewer overflows still threaten some Seattle beaches after heavy rains, closing them to recreation and violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

A more efficient way to fix one of Seattle’s most embarrassing environmental problems – that’s the promise of a proposed agreement on meeting federal standards for clean water.

The problem is untreated sewage that flows into our lakes and other waterways after big storms.

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Seattle Center
1:01 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Chihuly Garden and Glass opens to the public

Dale Chihuly's new Glass House with Persian Glass framing the Seattle Space Needle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Less than two years after the idea was pitched to the public, a new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition opens today (Monday 11am) at Seattle Center.

It’s located at the foot of the Space Needle, where the kiddy rides and arcade games of the old Fun Forest once drew crowds.

Now, people are standing on tiptoes to peer in through the fence around the outdoor displays, which beckon with flashes of color.  

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Environment
10:12 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Proposed dam puts Skykomish on list of ten most-endangered rivers

The proposed site for a new dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River
Photo courtesy of Jeff Smith Save the Skykomish River

It’s designated as a State Scenic Waterway and recommended for federal protection. Yet the south fork of the Skykomish River has just been named one of the ten most endangered rivers in the country by the national environmental group, American Rivers.

It’s because of a controversial proposal to build a new dam.

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Job Market
6:13 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

High demand for women in trades

"They're actually paying you to come learn something," says Rayna Lorraine, an ironworker apprentice who earns $36/hour plus benefits after 3 years of training. A new apprentice can start at $25/ hour.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

If the skyrocketing cost of a college degree seems intimidating, you might want to consider the skilled trades as an alternative – especially if you’re female.

That was the message at the Washington Women in Trades annual career fair at Seattle Center, where dozens of employers aimed to recruit young women, enticing them with the chance to try their hand as a carpenter, painter or steelworker.

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Politics
8:54 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Obama supporters cheer his stance on same-sex marriage during Seattle visit

Teri McClain, (r) says she's neither gay nor married, but grateful for the President's support of same-sex marriage rights. She was part of a demonstration of support outside Mr. Obama's fundraiser at the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

President Barack Obama was in Seattle yesterday on a fundraising swing. It was his first trip since the big announcement Wednesday that he now supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, a stance that was celebrated by supporters both inside and outside his speech at the Paramount theater downtown.

At 8th and Pine, a colorful band of demonstrators gathered for a rally near the barricades to say thank you to the President, even though they couldn’t afford the thousand-dollar ticket to see him speak.

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Power prices
5:33 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

McGinn defends City Light plan to raise utility's rates

Power lines on Seattle's Beacon Hill still carry some of the cheapest electricity in the country, but rate hikes are likely over the next 6 years, as proposed in a new strategic plan.
Photo by Andrew Imanaka flickr

The tendency for politicians to put off rate increases has meant decades of instability for customers of Seattle City Light. That’s according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who has unveiled a new strategic plan, which would raise electricity rates a total of 28 percent over the next six years.

Businesses want stability

Though raising rates is unpopular, McGinn says the plan will create more predictability for customers – something that’s especially important for businesses.

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520 Bridge replacement
5:06 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Pontoons taking shape, creating jobs in Aberdeen

An engineer checks his calculations inside the pontoon pit in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Washington State is the floating bridge capital of the world. We have four of the most famous ones, including the longest: State Route 520, which is about to be replaced.

What holds them all up? Giant floats made of concrete, called pontoons. The first and largest of them are being manufactured in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.

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Business
11:02 am
Thu April 12, 2012

U.S. letter carriers rally to 'save America's postal service'

Curtis Gregory Perry Photo Flickr

U.S. postage rates went up again at the start of this year. But the service is still in financial crisis.

And letter carriers say the latest legislative fix about to come before the U.S. Senate could devastate the mail service as we know it.

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Seattle Police Dept
10:19 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Living room conversations invite cops in to communities

A living room conversation with Seattle police, taking place in a residential home.
Courtesy Seattle Police Dept.

Small talk isn’t usually encouraged between police officers and the public.

But, the Seattle Police Department is trying to change that, with a program that encourages people to invite the cops in for “living room conversations. ”

For most people, seeing a police officer in uniform is intimidating. You don’t usually get up close and personal with a cop unless something bad is happening. Seattle Lieutenant Carmen Best says inviting police in for a living room conversation helps build trust.

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Environment
10:20 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Climate change could cost Wash. $10 billion a year; state crafting response

A visualization of Washington's future water supply, based on assumptions about population growth and climate change.
courtesy Wa Dept of Ecology

Climate change is happening, and not preparing for it could cost the state $10 billion a year by 2020.

That’s according to the Department of Ecology, which has just released a response strategy to changing climate conditions.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Seattle celebrates composting with 'big dig' for treasure

A good example of wonderful compost!
normanack Flickr

Food and yard waste make up more than a third of Seattle’s waste stream. Much of that used to go into the trash, but now it’s being composted.

Since 2009, the city has been providing weekly pick up of organic waste. Last year it dramatically increased the kinds of things allowed in municipal compost bins, to include meats and dairy products. Seattle residents composted 125,000 tons of food and yard waste last year. That represents a big shift over the past decade or so.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Why did Bigfoot grow up in the Northwest?

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s one of the most enduring legends of the Northwest – hundreds of people report sightings of Bigfoot every year. Native American stories also call it Sasquatch or “the Hairy Man.” The idea of a giant, ape-like creature that hides in the woods and might be related to humans has been around for centuries.

Why has this “myth” endured in the Northwest? Is it because Bigfoot is really here? Or, is it because it’s the kind of wild alter ego Northwesterners love to imagine for themselves?

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Environment
3:43 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Senate holds hearing on protection for San Juans' public lands

Shorelines and lighthouses such as this one, at Lime Kiln Point on San Juan Island, would be permanently protected as part of a National Conservation Area under leglislation moving through Congress.
Photo by KenBungay Flickr

A bill to establish a National Conservation Area that would give permanent protection 1,000 acres of unique landscapes in the San Juan Islands is wending its way through Congress. A key committee took up the legislation this afternoon. Senator Maria Cantwell told a panel, the bill would stave off the threat of future development.

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Environment
6:06 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Controversy continues over proposed coal export terminals

On September 14, 2011, activists projected anti-coal light banners on iconic Seattle locations, such as Kerry Park, to elevate the profile of controversial proposed coal ports in the Pacific Northwest.
Photo by Marcus Donner Rainforest Action Network / Flickr

Trainloads of coal from Montana and Wyoming will soon be shipped through Northwest ports to Asia, if Seattle’s SSA Marine gets its way.

The company has filed several permit applications with Whatcom County.

At the same time, the County held a meeting in Bellingham, aimed at helping anti-coal activists most effectively register their concerns. 

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Environment
11:18 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Ban on cruise ship discharges proposed for Washington waters

Cruise ships such as the Norwegian Star are cabable of holding their sewage for the 24 hours or less that they typically berth in Seattle. The Department of Ecology and several non profits are asking for a ban on all discharges in Washington waters.
Photo by Drewski2112 Flickr

Cruise ships are big business for the Port of Seattle.

Last season, about 200 calls brought nearly 900,000 passengers and their wallets though the city. Projections for this season are about the same. Each call equates to about $1.9 million in local spending.

But that economic benefit comes with ecological risk.

Now the state’s Department of Ecology is backing a proposed ban on cruise ship discharges while the vessels are in Washington waters.

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