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

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

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'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.


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.