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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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.

NorthwestMilitary.com

When 17-thousand troops returned from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan this past fall, Joint Base Lewis McChord became the 3rd largest employer in the state. 

That's according to the City of Lakewood, which has released a plan to accommodate the rapid population growth in the communities around the base. 

Boeing 777
Courtesy of Boeing

Boeing is still struggling to iron out kinks in the production of its new 787 Dreamliner.  The company is expected to announce the latest delay for that program this week. 

Meantime, it says demand is so great for its tried and true 777 that it will be increasing output of that jet.

Courtesy City of Seattle

A controversial proposal that would allow major employers in Seattle to put signs at the tops of their skyscrapers will be decided in March.  City Council President Richard Conlin says he delayed the vote to give the city time to respond to a number of concerns.

Russell Investments requested the change, to help them re-brand their tower, which is the former home of Washington Mutual Bank.  The company moved to their new 2nd Avenue address from Tacoma this fall.

© Edgar Turner

Three books by Pacific Northwest authors have come to my attention this season that would please airplane aficionados of many persuasions. 

The conflict continues over an upcoming pay raise for sheriff's deputies in King County.  Executive Dow Constantine has rejected a proposal from the Police Officers Guild to cut their pay temporarily.  He says their offer would have cost more than it saved. 

Flickr/Life As Art

The decision about what will replace the Fun Forest at Seattle Center is still up in the air. This fall, a review panel recommended converting it into an exhibition space celebrating local glass artist Dale Chihuly.

That proposal promises millions in much-needed revenue. But the backers of several other ideas haven’t given up hope.

AP

A futuristic Ferris Wheel is causing a flap in Seattle. 

The Seattle Center has announced  it is planning to install an extra-tall "observation wheel" reminiscent of the British capital's London Eye.  It will go up in April and remain for 18 months on the site of the Fun Forest for the Center's 50th anniversary, commemorating the 1962 World's Fair. 

Courtesy WSDOT

State transportation officials have announced the likely winner in the competition to build a tunnel to replace Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The proposal comes from a consortium known as Seattle Tunnel Partners.  It has a slightly higher price, but offers other benefits. 

Washington's Employment Security Department is sending out 2011's tax-rate notices this week to more than 170,000 businesses.

The agency says next year's average rate will increase by nearly a full percentage point.  Most employers' rates are going up for the second year in a row.  It's the highest average rate in more than two decades. 

Photo by Huasheng Wang

China's aerospace sector is taking off.  Washington state has hundreds of suppliers - and many want in to that growing market.  The state's Department of Commerce is more than a year in to a new push to promote them.  

U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Perry Solomon

A leading defense analyst who had previously predicted a Boeing win in the competition to build the US Air Force's next generation of refueling tankers now says Airbus parent EADS will likely get the $40-billion contract. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Unionized grocery workers in the region say they're glad they didn't have to go on strike.  But they say the threat of a massive walk out was what helped them get a new contract they could accept.  Votes tallied over the weekend show a resounding 95% approval.   

Jason Ganwich /

It's a strong year for independent films – and for indie movies from the Pacific Northwest.  Four feature films that were shot in the Seattle area have been selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival in January. 

"The Details" is a dark comedy  shot in Kirkland with a cast including star actors Laura Linney, Elizabeth Banks and Tobey McGuire.  It's in the line-up for the high-profile "Premieres" series. 

Gary Davis / KPLU

Unionized grocery store workers are voting this week on a tentative agreement with their employers at the region's four big chains.  Ratification of a new three-year contract looks likely.

About twenty five thousand grocery workers in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and North Mason counties are covered in the contract.  Most work for QFC, Fred Meyer, Albertsons and Safeway stores.

Flickr/Chris Guillebeau

How should we measure societal progress and success?  What is the economy really for?  Is the measure of Gross National Happiness, championed by the tiny south Asian nation of Bhutan, superior to our Gross Domestic Product?  How has Seattle become one of the centers in the U. S. pursuing such alternative measures?

Flickr, by aflcio/ Bernard Pollack

Organized labor flexed its muscles recently in our region, showing their influence behind the scenes. There won’t be any protests on the evening news.  But the threat of large-scale demonstrations this week by the Machinists Union and its supporters culminated in the cancellation of a conference meant to lure aerospace manufacturing to Mexico. It was scheduled to take place tomorrow in Seattle.  

Flickr, by khalilshah

Nearly 100,000 people in Washington will get letters this week, letting them know how soon their unemployment benefits will run out.  Emergency assistance for the long-term jobless has expired.  

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
AP

Boeing's damaged Dreamliner No. 2 is back in the air – but not for test flights.  It's not clear when the new jet's test flight program will resume or how long the latest 787 delay will end up being. 

But Boeing says the Dreamliner that was badly damaged by an in-flight fire in Texas three weeks ago took off from Laredo at 12:06 p.m. Pacific Time and was expected to land at Boeing Field at 4:18 this afternoon.  

Exterior of a small independent business in Port Townsend, Forest Gems Gallery
Courtesy of Forest Gems Gallery

You’ve heard of Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day and Cyber Monday. Now there’s another post-Thanksgiving shopping event.  Small Business Saturday is a new initiative, meant to give independent shops a boost.  

Gary Davis/KPLU

 Grocery workers and their employers have reached a tentative agreement after lengthy contract talks over the weekend.  This means shoppers no longer have to worry about a pre-Thanksgiving strike at the four big chains: QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons.

Seattle.gov

Seattle's Magnuson Park has one of the city's largest spaces to host large events, and it's well used, but it may face closure plans.

Puget  Sound grocery workers gathered for a strike authorization vote
Courtesy UFCW 21

With just a week to go before Thanksgiving, there's new hope in the grocery workers contract dispute.  Negotiators are back at the table today  after a resounding majority of union members threatened to go on strike.

AP

A full slate of public testimony is expected at tonight's  school board meeting in Seattle.  The board is voting on a controversial proposal to allow new recruits from a national organization called Teach for America into Seattle's public schools.  The program places top college grads – who don't have traditional teaching certificates - in underperforming schools. 

Boeing has cut the ribbon on a new production facility in south Seattle.  It's where a version of its best-selling 737 aircraft will be transformed into one of the US navy's most advanced surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. 

 

Photo by Gary Davis/KPLU

Just two years ago, Starbucks was laying off staff and closing hundreds of US stores in its efforts to slash costs and restore the chain to profitability. Now it's reporting record earnings for the fourth quarter, with profits up 86% compared to a year ago.

Starbucks says its turnaround has ushered in a new phase of growth. Sales in the US and abroad increased by 8% during the quarter.

Russell Investments

What was once the WaMu Tower is now the Russell Investment Center. The financial services company that was downtown Tacoma's largest employer has now formally opened its new headquarters in downtown Seattle.

Seattle's civic leaders turned out in full force to welcome the company famous for its stock market indexes. 900 well-paid employees now occupy five floors of the skyscraper at 2nd and Union, next door to the Seattle Art Museum.

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