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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Global Health Innovation
5:01 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Extreme makeover: toilet edition (courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates)

Civil engineers from California (the Safe Sludge UC Berkeley Team) are one of the more than 35 design teams taking part in the "Reinventing the Toilet" fair at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News.

When you flush the toilet every day, you probably aren’t thinking much about where your waste goes. But Seattle’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting that question on the international agenda.

They’re donating more than three and a half million dollars in grants and prize money to help developing countries take advantage of new waste treatment technologies. A “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” fair kicked off yesterday.

KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to check it out. (Click "Play" above to hear the elements of her story.)

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:35 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Forecast - best is still to come (though it's great already)

Great weekend weather will make the Perseid meteor shower a delight. The annual event is expected to peak Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The Associated Press

Today’s going to be a great summer day, especially as some low clouds burn off later – but that’s not the best part of the forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“Today is the worst day of the weekend, believe it or not. And temperatures are going to get up into the mid- to upper-70s even near 80 in a couple places. So, it’s just an absolute wonderful day. But it’s going to get even better,” he says.

The skies will stay clear and temperatures will warm as we get into the weekend, with many places away from the water seeing 80-plus degrees. 

garbage strike aftermath
6:12 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Waste management and its customers to face off at hearing

Were rural and unincorporated areas in King and Snohomish counties worse off than cities during the recent garbage strike?

A state commission is investigating Waste Management’s handling of service during the walk-out. There’s a public hearing tomorrow in Woodinville, looking at how replacement drivers were deployed.

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Alternative energy
5:06 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Funding for an untapped renewable resource: woody biomass on public lands

You could call it power that’s growing on trees, but doesn’t get put to good use.

The US Forest service recently announced $4-million in grants to support projects that convert wood to energy. It's part of a program that's meant to support small businesses that create jobs while encouraging alternatives to fossil fuels.

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Primary Election
5:00 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Seattle voters love libraries…would Prop 1 take advantage of them?

Seattle's Central Public Library was built with money from a 1998 voter-approved bond measure. Now the city is asking voters to fund a levy for operations as well.
janmikeuy photo Flickr

Seattle is renowned for its public libraries – and for people who love them.

Twelve years ago, the city's voters approved the “Libraries for All” levy and pumped nearly $200-million dollars into the system, to upgrade branches and build a new central library downtown. At the time, it was the largest bond measure ever passed for a library levy, anywhere in the country.

Now, Seattle is going back to voters with Proposition 1 on the August ballot. And it might be the first time some library-lovers are saying ‘not so fast.’

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Coal Exports
5:00 am
Wed August 1, 2012

New voices in debate over Northwest coal export terminals

A portion of a map of the proposed coal export terminals from National Wildlife Federation's new report, "The True Cost of Coal." (See the entire map inside)
Courtesy NWF

More voices are chiming in on the debate over proposed coal terminals in the Northwest. A new report adds sports fishermen and tribes to the opposition. It comes less than a week after proponents launched a campaign touting the benefits coal exports could bring.

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Environment
7:40 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Rising rate of plastics ingested by birds off the coast of Washington

An example of non-food items and plastics found in the stomach of a Northern Fulmar collected off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Stephanie Avery-Gomm

A new study suggests there’s been a dramatic increase in plastic pollution off the coast of the Pacific Northwest over the past 40 years.

That’s after analysis of trash ingested by seabirds in Washington and British Columbia.

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Fighting Urban Sprawl
12:10 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Seattle deal would trade iconic views to preserve farmland and forests

King County's transfer of development rights program would be used to preserve rural farmland and forests while allowing taller buildings in South Lake Union.
courtesy King County

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proposed new development incentives for Seattle's bustling South Lake Union neighborhood.

The program would allow dramatically taller buildings in exchange for extra funds from developers to preserve farmland and forests in rural King County.

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Energy Conservation
11:02 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Bainbridge Island in national spotlight with RePower campaign

Bainbridge Island provides an inspiring example in a new report about how small cities are charting the future of energy innovation.

Faced with the prospect of building an expensive new power station, the community came together instead and conserved enough energy to avoid it.

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Fighting crime
3:56 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Seattle Police tackling neighborhood hotspots with ‘directed patrols’

Seattle Police are getting out on foot more this summer in an effort to reduce crime in hot spots.
SPD Photo Lab.

With 20 fatal shootings so far, just over half way into the year, Seattle’s murder toll has already topped the number of homicides for all of last year.

The city is stepping up police patrols in crime hot spots they’ve identified and getting officers out of their cars more to increase visibility. 

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NBA back to Seattle
5:43 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Seattle Council member worries arena deal could set bad precedent

The proposed site for Seattle's new NBA arena.

More questions are being asked about the proposal for a new arena in Seattle to lure back the NBA. A public hearing on the deal takes place Thursday evening and Seattle’s City Hall is expected to be packed with people giving testimony for and against it.

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Global Warming
11:25 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Climate change is real for Northwest tribes in DC this week

Coastal tribes including Washington's Quileute, with headquarters in La Push, are among those hosting the inaugural First Nations symposium on climate change.
Sam Beebe, Ecotrust Flickr

Extreme weather patterns on the east coast have become evidence for many people lately that global warming is actually happening.

Here in the Northwest, coastal tribes have been dealing with the realities of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and ocean acidification for years.

Many are headed to Washington DC this week for what’s being billed as an inaugural First Stewards symposium on climate change. The idea comes from coastal tribal leaders in this Washington.

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Artscape
5:03 am
Sun July 15, 2012

John Cage: a great of the musical avant-garde, with Seattle roots

The prepared piano in the lobby of the Cologne Philharmonic - an installation honoring John Cage's centennial as part of the Acht Bruecken festival of new music. Cage invented the prepared piano while in Seattle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Many experts call him the greatest iconoclast of 20th-century music.

The avant-garde composer John Cage is perhaps best known for his pioneering use of silence in music. He also broke ground with the use of everyday objects as instruments, electronics and chance in composition.

He was born in California and died in New York. But some of his most formative years took place in Seattle.

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Endangered species
5:56 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

5 Washington critters among species group would have feds protect

The Cascades Frog is among the 53 amphibians and reptiles in a petition for federal protection by the Center for Biological Diversity. Washington is considered one of its strongholds. It has declined by 50% in California.
Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service

They’re slimy and cold-blooded.

But conservationists say amphibians and reptiles are important indicator species – and some of the most endangered.

Five of these sensitive creatures that call Washington home are among more than 50 included in a petition for federal protection.

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Pollution
9:09 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Asian fires clouding Seattle's sunny skies

A MODIS satellite image that shows the smoke yesterday very clearly.
Cliff Mass KPLU

The smoky skies over Seattle are likely from Asia and not Western fires, says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather forecaster and University of Washington professor.

In his blog post on the smoke, he said the air over us can be traced back to Asia at low levels.

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