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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Real Estate
9:35 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Relief for strapped borrowers: "Foreclosure Fairness" is now law

Emergency measures in a new law go into effect immediately, creating the infrastructure needed to get more housing counselors working with banks and preventing people from losing their homes.

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Washington State Legislature
8:11 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Feds put brakes on controversial medical-pot dispensaries law

A new law that would legalize medical-marijuana dispensaries and growers in Washington has already passed both chambers of the legislature in Olympia.  But it looks like it won't ever take effect.

That's because the state's top federal prosecutors have threatened to crack down if it goes forward.

In a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, U.S. Attorneys Jenny Durkan of Seattle and Michael Ormsby of Spokane write that the bill would undermine drug enforcement

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Aerospace History
3:40 pm
Tue April 12, 2011

Seattle's Museum of Flight says no shuttle is sad, but they're getting the next-best thing

Former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar signs her autograph for 6-year-old Taylor Colville, who came to hear about the shuttle announcement with her father, Eric. Like many in attendance, they are trying to look on the bright side of Seattle's lost bid.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It's a day of disappointment in the northwest for fans of US space exploration. 

Seattle's Museum of Flight got official word this morning that it will not be home to one of the three space shuttles NASA is retiring.  And it won't get the prototype Enterprise (which was only used for test flights and never reached space) either.

The shuttles are going to:

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Aerospace History
6:04 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Museum of Flight a hopeful contender for Tuesday's space shuttle decision

An artist's rendering of the new gallery plan at Seattle's Museum of Flight, a gallery intended to permanently lure a NASA Space Shuttle. The agency will announce the winners of the competition to host the retiring spacecraft Tuesday at 10am PST.
Graphic courtesy of Museum of Flight.

The odds are about one in seven.  That's the skinny on Seattle's bid to become a host site for one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. 

Seattle Times writer Jack Broom sums up the situation nicely in that paper's latest story on the question. Broom notes the Museum of Flight's chances were diminished slightly last week:

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Law Enforcement
7:49 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Police target Seattle's empty "Citadel" warehouse, now notorious for raves

A still from a video shot March 4, 2011 at Citadel, in South Seattle. Seattle police are cracking down on scenes such as this one.
Still image courtesy of Anzamarch (Junko) YouTube

Clean it up or close it down – that's the choice for the new owner of a vacant property in South Seattle that's become notorious for noisy raves. 

Police have declared The Citadel a chronic nuisance. The boxy warehouse building was turned into a music venue by owner Steve Rauf, who says the dance parties have brought in much-needed revenue. 

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Education Reform
6:12 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Despite data, state supe Dorn says new evaluation system needed for teachers and principals

State Superintendent Dorn and Principal Kelly Aramaki. Dorn says Washington's primary schools need new evaluation systems to improve teaching and leadership.
Courtesy Washington OSPI

If you listen to the numbers, there's no need for any change in the way teachers and principals are evaluated in public schools here in Washington State. 

Data is in from a first-ever statewide survey about their performance. It says very few teachers are a problem: not even 500 were rated unsatisfactory in all of Washington.

That's less than three quarters of one percent (.75%) of the state's public school teachers.  And even fewer principals – only 41 of nearly 3,000 – got a bad write up.

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Economic Indicators
4:37 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

March sales at Costco, Nordstrom bode well for large retail

A happy shopper at a pre-Opening event in March of a new Nordstrom's Rack, part of the upscale retailer's expansion strategy in the down economy.
Flickr, @photo

A surprisingly solid March – that's the consensus about last month's retail sales.  Despite cold weather and climbing gas prices, shoppers spent a lot more money last month than they did in March a year ago.

Costco and Nordstrom are among the local companies that are benefiting.

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Community Culture
4:29 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Kurt Cobain sculpture commemorates death of a native son in Aberdeen

Kurt Cobain fans explore the underside of the Young Street Bridge in Aberdeen Tuesday. The spot is one of the few places fans can go to pay their respects to the musician, who died 17 years ago Tuesday.
Photo by MACLEOD PAPPIDAS THE DAILY WORLD

Seventeen years after his death, legendary Pacific Northwest grunge guitarist Kurt Cobain is finally being fully embraced by his former home town. 

A concrete sculpture replicating one of his guitars is now installed in a city park in Aberdeen.  Steven Friederich, a news reporter with the Aberdeen Daily World, who has a story on the unveiling on the site today, says for years, Aberdeen rejected Cobain as a drug addict. 

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John T. Williams Shooting
6:08 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Wood carver's killing subject of federal review

Tribal members gather at the Chief Seattle Club in Pioneer Square last September to call for accountability in the police shooting death of native carver John T. Williams.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

"We have nothing to hide" – those were the words of Seattle's chief of police yesterday.  The department is under fire. 

The questions stem from a federal review of the fatal shooting of a first nation's wood carver last August, as well as what many people perceive as a prior pattern of  abusive violence against minority groups.

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Economics and recovery
2:15 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Housing prices falling around the nation, including the Seattle area

A sign advertises a new price on a home for sale in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009.
Ted S. Warren AP

A "...boatload of loans, sitting in foreclosure," or on the verge of being taken back by the banks. Those are the words of one economist, talking about what's happening in the real estate markets of major cities, nation-wide. The greater Seattle area is no exception.

The numbers come from the Case-Schiller index and they're not pretty.

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Transportation Policy
11:30 am
Mon March 28, 2011

Restaurateur Tom Douglas vs. Mayor Mike McGinn on changes to Seattle parking rates

Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas says changes in transportation policy are making it hard for him and others in the business community to know what to expect.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Seattle's downtown restaurant owners are still grumbling about rate hikes for metered street parking.

The city's new scheme has been in place for a little over a month. But the controversy hasn't gone away. One of the city's most famous restaurant owners is going public with his concerns.

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Coffee Culture
10:38 am
Fri March 25, 2011

Still no IPO, but another new CEO for Seattle's second largest coffee enterprise

Tully's Coffee prides itself on providing the feel of "a family room - not a living room" says a spokesman about Starbucks biggest rival's approach to coffeehouse culture.
Flickr photo courtesy dontthink.feel

Tully's Coffee has lost yet another CEO. Seattle's second biggest coffee enterprise has announced that Carl Pennington will retire at the end of this month. 

According to the Seattle Times, he is the seventh CEO to cycle through the company since founder Tom O'Keefe stepped down from the post a decade ago. 

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Coffee Culture
5:39 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

Stock price surges as Starbucks annual meeting presents another starstruck affair

Starbucks baristas who the company calls "partners" dole out coffee and memoires at the 2011 Annual Meeting, outside Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU

Starbucks stocks have surged. That's thanks in part to the German financial company Deutsche Bank, which has resumed its coverage of the Seattle coffee giant and is saying investors should buy the stock. 

It's just one sign of confidence in the rebound of the company, as its executives outlined its latest growth strategies.

An annual love affair with coffee and other addictive treats

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Economic Development
5:00 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Seattle celebrates Amazon.com's new headquarters in South Lake Union neighborhood

Ada Healey, Vice President of Real Estate for Vulcan Inc., thanking Amazon.com for bringing jobs to the new neighborhood her company is building on the south shore of Lake Union, west of I-5 in Seattle.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU

One of Seattle's most famous employers is moving. City leaders are celebrating…because online-retailing giant Amazon.com is only moving a few miles across town. 

The new headquarters complex is large enough to house several thousand employees.

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Earthquake Preparedness
5:22 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Viaduct closure; Emergency system triggered by seismic sensors

A map showing where automated traffic control gates will go on State Route 99 in Seattle. The automated viaduct closure gates system improves safety by preventing people from driving onto the viaduct after a moderate to severe earthquake.
WSDOT

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has been calling for a closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as soon as possible.  That's because it's an earthquake hazard.  Other leaders think that's an over-reaction, since a new tunnel is already in the works. 

But the Viaduct will close this weekend for its semi-annual inspection.  Drivers will have to re-route their travel for two days.  Routine maintenance on the old structure was scheduled long before the earthquake in Japan. 

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