Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KPLU Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She holds a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006 mid-career during her stint on KPLU’s Business and Labor Beat from 2000-2012.

From 1989-98 she lived in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a bi-lingual producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 for a project on theater studies and communist history. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. (Yes, she is fluent in German.)

She strives to tell memorable stories about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Character-driven narratives of exploration and innovation excite her. 

Outside work, she practices and instructs yoga, walks half marathons with friends, backpacks with her husband and extended family, reads and watches fiction with nieces, enjoys tasting new foods and admiring all kinds of animals -- especially her two house cats, who often remind her she should spend more time sitting on the couch with them.

Ways to Connect


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.  


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

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? 


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.

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.


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.