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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Budget Number Crunching
5:09 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

No cuts to services in proposed King County budget

There's relatively good news on King County’s budget for 2012: In a big change from recent years, Executive Dow Constantine is proposing no cuts to services. 

Constantine says though it is “surrounded by seas of red ink,” King County is “an island of relative stability” after several years of budget cuts and streamlining.

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Pacific Raceways
4:30 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Racetrack’s expansion plans have enviros, neighbors worried

View of the plan to refurbish Pacific Raceways near Kent.

Plans to upgrade a dilapidated old race track near Kent are sparking an environmental debate. The owners of Pacific Raceways say that to stay afloat, they badly need an expansion that would bring thousands of new jobs to the area. 

Neighbors are worried about impacts on surrounding wetlands and fish habitat, especially because they say special legislation King County is considering to facilitate the expansion may set a bad precedent.

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Tacoma teacher strike
7:16 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

District says it has no plans to replace striking Tacoma teachers

Teachers will remain off the job for the sixth day (with schools closed as well) on Tuesday in Tacoma, where a strike has idled about 28,000 public school students. Negotiations have been continuing late into the night since the strike began.

However, despite the comments of a judge involved in the strike, the Tacoma school district says there is no plan afoot to hire replacement workers for the teachers who remain on strike.

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Obituary
1:01 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

City mourns popular barista, questions bike path's safety

For 22 years, Brian Fairbrother served coffee and pastries at Vivace Espresso. He worked his way into becoming general manager of all three locations, eventually becoming a co-owner of the Capitol Hill business.
Christopher Nicely Abel Alameda

The morning routine has irrevocably changed for thousands of Seattle coffee drinkers. A popular barista at Espresso Vivaci, Brian Fairbrother, died yesterday from head injuries sustained in a bicycle accident last month. He was 50.  

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Protected Lands
10:52 am
Fri September 9, 2011

New refuge preserves underwater landscapes in Puget Sound

A management plan for the proposed Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve is to be signed at a ceremony today near Olympia. It will be the seventh area to receive this designation as part of the state's efforts to clean up and protect Puget Sound.
Courtesy Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The state is adding 15,000 acres of protected land around the Nisqually Reach Wildlife Refuge, exempting it from commercial development of any kind.

All the land is under water. It’s the seventh and southern-most area in Puget Sound to be designated as an Aquatic Reserve. Signing of a new management plan takes place today at 1:30 p.m.

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Fisheries meeting
7:00 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Eat more sardines and herring to help fisheries, experts advise

Sardines are plentiful and tasty, suggest scientists at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle.
bikehikedive Flickr

Responsible fishing and fish consumption were among the agenda items at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle. The conference (in its 141st year) has brought thousands of scientists, wildlife managers and other experts together for five days of wide-ranging discussions.

One of the more intriguing messages: Eating more sardines may be one of the best things you can do to help keep the planet healthy.

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Alternative Energy
11:23 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Snohomish PUD drilling for geothermal energy in Cascades

Graphic from the Snohomish County PUD brochure on its geothermal projects.

The same forces of nature that create natural hot springs and volcanoes may soon become a source of electricity in Snohomish County. The county’s Public Utility District has broken ground on a deep geothermic well, just north of the town of Skykomish.

The exploratory well is the first of its kind in Washington. 

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Environment
11:24 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Electric vehicles becoming more mainstream

With these new all-electric plug-in Nissan Leaf hatchbacks added to its fleet, King County "raises the bar" for van pool programs, says Executive Dow Constantine. Children's Hospital installed the first 4 of 20 at their campus in Seattle.
Photo courtesy Children's Hospital

It’s been eight months since Nissan made its first delivery of its all-electric Leaf car to a customer in the pacific Northwest.

Now, driving an all-electric vehicle is well on its way to becoming mainstream reality. A pilot program is installing thousands of electric car charging stations in the Puget Sound region and making them more available to regular folks.

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Other News
1:30 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Update: Expert weighs in on glass falling from Seattle hotel

Why a particular panel of tempered glass breaks can often be hard to determine since the damage itself hides the cause, said Darrell Aldrich is General Manager of Northwest Industries.
Kevin Prichard Flickr

One of Seattle’s most exclusive addresses is fixing an alarming problem: tempered glass panels from luxury balconies at the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences have been crumbling and raining down from the sky. 

It’s happened three times since July. 

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Construction Woes
9:45 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Glass panels falling from Seattle hotel

Spontaneous glass breakage is a phenomenon by which tempered glass may suddenly break without any apparent reason.Tempered glass has been raining down from the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences near Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Photo by Kevin Prichard Flickr

One of Seattle’s most exclusive addresses is fixing an alarming problem: tempered glass panels from the luxury balconies of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences have been crumbling and raining down from the sky.

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Commercial Real Estate
8:58 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Another major retailer leaving Pioneer Square: Masins

Another landmark retailer is leaving Seattle’s Pioneer Square. 

Masins Fine Furnishing and Interior Design has put its building up for lease and started looking for another Seattle location where its customers won’t get so many parking tickets.

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Traffic News
3:45 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Update: Viaduct to close for 9 days to put up detour connections

Construction of the new southbound SR 99 roadway underway just west of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.
WSDOT

It’s the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Demolition work will shut down the double-decker highway for 9 days about two months from now, from October 21 – 31. According the state Department of Transportation, it’s the longest full closure of a Seattle area highway the city’s ever dealt with.

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Business
11:55 am
Fri August 26, 2011

Washington wheat crops way above average

Wheat on the Palouse.
Nikky Stephen Flickr

Cooler temperatures this year have given Washington’s wheat famers a boost. The cool wet spring combined with good ripening conditions in July and August have increased yields here. At the same time, severe drought has diminished the harvest in the nation’s Plain states. 

As a result, Washington is expected to surpass Texas and Oklahoma in winter-wheat production this year, making it second only to Kansas.   

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Transportation Funding
3:36 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

It's (finally) official: Tolls on SR-520 Bridge start in December

An example of the signs that will be installed to let drivers know the SR 520 bridge is a toll bridge - starting in December. A trip during rush hour will cost $3.50 each way.
WSDOT photo

Get ready to pay if you drive on the floating bridge across Lake Washington. The state Department of Transportation has announced the much-delayed tolls on the 520 bridge will start in December.

Tolling on the bridge was originally set to begin this spring, then that was bumped to this summer. Now, the state says the all-electronic system will be up and running four months from now. 

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Environment
6:02 pm
Sun August 21, 2011

Enviro groups say Clean Water Act is under attack

Joost Nelissen Flickr

Nearly 40 years ago, the U.S. government began setting federal standards to clean up water pollution with the passage of the landmark Clean Water Act. Now, many environmental groups say that law is under attack and they’re worried about consequences.

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