Isolde Raftery | KUOW News and Information

Isolde Raftery

Online Editor

Year started with KUOW: 2013

Isolde Raftery became the online editor at KUOW in October 2013. Previously, she worked for NBCNews.com and the Columbian and Skagit Valley Herald newspapers here in Washington state. She has also written extensively for The New York Times, where she was a fellow on the Metro desk in 2010, The Chicago Tribune, Seattlepi.com and Seattle Business magazine.

Born in Ireland to an Irish dad and a French mom, Isolde grew up mostly in Seattle, where she attended James A. Garfield High School. She later graduated from Barnard College in New York City and received a master's degree in literary nonfiction from the University of Oregon. 

Ways to Connect

Seattle City Council position 8 candidates Jon Grant and Tim Burgess.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Standing outside the KUOW station, we asked Seattle City Council candidate Jon Grant what he would do if he lost.

He would pay off his debt, he said. Then he paused.

Did we know that 54 percent of the city voted against his opponent in the primary? (Grant got 31 percent in the primary.)

Deborah Zech Artis, left, and Sally Bagshaw drove off in a car2go together. Bagshaw was driving Zech Artis to her car up the street.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The candidates in District 7 are both dog people.

Sally Bagshaw, the incumbent, used to have golden retrievers. Deborah Zech Artis has a blind bichon frise named Thomas Jefferson.

Seattle City Council position 9 candidates Lorena Gonzalez and Bill Bradburd.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Cringey.

That was the feeling inside the tiny booth off the studio during a recent Seattle City Council candidate debate.

Seattle City Council District 6 candidates Mike O'Brien and Catherine Weatbrook.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The candidates for Seattle’s District 6 could not be more Seattle.

Catherine Weatbrook – she used to be a Tubs girl.

Tubs was a shady, windowless establishment in the University District that rented out hot tubs by the hour. It was rumored to be the best place in town to get a urinary tract infection.

Seattle City Council District 1 candidates Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Ten minutes before West Seattle candidates Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock arrived at the KUOW studios, host David Hyde paced around his desk.

A Seattle hospital employee works too far from the official lactation rooms, so she must find private spaces to pump. Often, that means she ends up sitting on the floor of a bathroom.
Courtesy of Anonymous

The lactation room wasn’t a room at all.

It was a corner of the lunch room in an old King County building in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

A shoji screen was set up for privacy, although cracks allowed people to see through. A vent blew in cold air.

The White House sent out this pool report by Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner.
White House local pool report

Our radio friends at KEXP and KNDD got some love from the Obama press corps when the president was in town last week.

Jim Brunner, a government reporter at the Seattle Times, was taking notes for local reporters. At 6:39 p.m., Brunner filed a brief report that was later shared by the White House press office. The motorcade had just left the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle, where Obama was fundraising for Sen. Patty Murray.

Bertha K. Landes served as mayor of Seattle from 1926 to 1928. She was Seattle's first and only female mayor -- also Seattle's first female police chief, according to journalist Emmett Watson.
University of Washington Digital Archives

Before Bertha was a boring machine stuck under Seattle, she was Seattle’s first female mayor.

In 1926, her campaign motto was “municipal housekeeping.”

Bertha K. Landes was her full name and “she was wonderful,” according to columnist Emmett Watson.

An injured person is taken from the scene of the Aurora Bridge bus crash on Sept. 24, 2015
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The Duck vehicle had a fatal flaw.

As investigators picked through the wreckage that killed five students and left dozens badly injured, they saw the front left axle had been sheared off.

The tall ship Monogahela passes under the uncompleted Aurora Bridge circa 1931.
Library of Congress

When Mike Warren of Queen Anne turned on his TV Thursday, his gut tightened.

Four people had died in a collision on the Aurora Bridge beneath his house. Another 50 or so had been injured. They were international students enrolled at North Seattle College.

“I was going back through the craziness from when Jonathan died,” Warren said.

teacher salary education
KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

Standing outside Roosevelt High School on Thursday, a Seattle teacher held up the gold standard.

It was the tentative contract for Everett schools, which promises veteran teachers with a master’s degree and the maximum education credits nearly $100,000 by 2017.

A DC-10 flies over Chelan within hours of a wildfire starting on Aug. 14. Sunbathers on holiday watched as the fire effort took hold.
Flickr Photo/Ben Brooks (CC BY-SA 2.0) http://bit.ly/1KSv09n

It was a hot Friday morning when a bolt of lightning stretched out three fingers and hit Chelan Butte.

Then a deafening clap of thunder. Then several rings of fire appeared. They would morph into huge wildfires threatening Chelan, a tourist destination in central Washington state.

Ben Brooks, a digital media manager from Fife, Washington, started taking photos. His images are striking and remarkable because of the sunbathers in the corners of his images. 

A juvenile inmate crew from Naselle Youth Camp in Southwest Washington. There were 30 kids part of the fire effort until last week, when a 16-year-old broke free, assaulted one of his supervisors and stole a gun.
Courtesy of Juvenile Rehabilitation Adminstration

Crews of juvenile inmates have been sent to fight wildfires in Washington state since the 1960s.

Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

Firefighters from Salem, Oregon, mop up hotspots on Judy Doran McBride's ranch near Twisp this weekend.
Courtesy Judy Doran McBride

Wildfire was roaring toward their 640-acre ranch near Twisp, but Judy Doran McBride and her husband stood their ground.

“If the fire comes our way, we’re going to stay and defend our home,” McBride told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman.

Tom Zbyszewski is seen in a family photo. His father, Richard, called it one of his favorite photos of his son.
Courtesy of Zbyszewski family

The three firefighters who were killed Wednesday in the Okanagon Complex fire in north-central Washington have been identified.

They are Tom Zbyszewski, a 20-year-old student at Whitman College; Andrew Zajac, a 26-year-old Forest Service worker stationed in Winthrop; and Richard Wheeler, 31. The three men were part of a five-person engine crew that got into a collision.

This photo from Aug. 16, 2015 shows several of the wildfires being fought in Washington and Oregon.
Courtesy of NASA

From space, the West looks like it’s on fire.

In Washington state, brown smoke obscures the Cascades in these photos taken by a NASA  satellite.

Most of the fires across the West have been triggered by lightning strikes, but years of drought have turned the forests bone dry.

Former NAACP chairman Julian Bond takes part in the "Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement" panel during the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett)
AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

Julian Bond, a leading civil rights activist and anti-war campaigner who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later served as chairman of the NAACP, has died at age 75.

In 2008, Bond spoke with Steve Scher, then host of the KUOW program Weekday. He told Scher that nonviolence was an “overwhelmingly effective weapon.”

On a recent evening, KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld froze a tray of wild blackberries. When she pulled out the tray, she saw that tiny worms had crawled out of each berry.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

You know those blackberries you just picked?

There are worms in them.

Tiny white worms, almost transparent, that will ultimately blossom into fruit flies -- unless you eat them first. Scientists know them as Drosophila suzukii.

Outside Edith Macefield's former house, also known as the 'Up' house. People have associated the house with the Pixar movie 'Up,' which follows a similar narrative of an elderly man who refuses to sell his house to developers.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Edith Macefield’s tiny house will soon float to Orcas Island – but not by balloon.

The property owner – a bank that won’t disclose its identity – has gifted the legendary house to a nonprofit on Orcas Island. The nonprofit, in turn, promises to barge the house up Puget Sound to the island, where it will be hauled onto land and turned into a home for lower-income people.

Kathy Parrish, a polio survivor, gets a check-up at Seattle Children's Hospital. Health officials are puzzled at why vaccination rates have declined in the last 17 years.
Courtesy of Kathy Parrish

After an outbreak of measles last fall, Washington state health officials hoped that a small subset of parents would change their minds about getting their kids immunized.

But those parents weren’t moved.

Darwin is an Airedale Terrier from West Seattle. This photo was taken at Rock Away Beach in Oregon. There are 96 other licensed Airedale terriers in Seattle and 22 dogs named Darwin.
Courtesy of Kylie Della

There is a cat in Seattle named Schrodinger. We don't know if it is alive or dead, but the point is that Seattleites get creative when naming their pets.

Nerdy creative.

Smoke from several warehouses on fire, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, fills the sky Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fire came floating out of the sky into Wenatchee.

“Some of the embers we gathered and posted on social media, I mean, they're the size of a loaf of bread or bigger,” Wenatchee World editor Cal FitzSimmons told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman, describing the scene this week as a wildfire roared down from the northwest.

Gabby Turner, 19, and Eva Rozelle, 16, said they haven't experienced homophobia growing up in Seattle. In fact, they said coming out wasn't really necessary for their generation.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

On Sunday morning, ahead of Seattle Pride 2015, marchers gathered in a parking lot under the freeway. They blew balloons, lathered on sunscreen and told what Pride means to them.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that same-sex marriage was legal across the United States. The four opposing justices submitted individual dissents.
Wikimedia Commons

Not everyone was waving the rainbow flag on Friday morning. Certainly not the four dissenting justices who opposed same-sex marriage.

The justices -- John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – wrote four separate dissents, which is unusual for the high court. They took different approaches but ended up in the same place: the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, because those give way to babies.

Marchers in the 2014 Pride Parade through downtown Seattle.
Flickr photo/Rob Wynne (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Members of the Seattle Mariners franchise – including the moose! – will march in the Pride Parade for the first time on Sunday.

About 30 staffers will march, although no players will as they'll be on the road in Los Angeles. 

The Storm (women's basketball) and Reign (women's soccer) are active participants. And the bands for the Seahawks and Sounders will march. But the Mariners will be the first pro-sports organization -- with male team members -- to join in.

What Being American Means In Seattle

Jun 15, 2015
New American citizens take the oath at Seattle City Hall on Flag Day on Sunday.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

"I wanted to feel I belong."

On Sunday, KUOW partnered with CityClub, Citizen University and One America to celebrate citizenship and civic life at City Hall on Flag Day. The day started with a naturalization ceremony and ended with food, live music and an offering of resources for new citizens, including library cards, voter registration and "Civic Action Toolkits" to take home. 

Joseph McEnroe was found guilty in the 2007 murders of his ex-girlfriend's family -- four adults and two children.
AP Pool Photo/Ellen Banner

A King County jury has sentenced Joseph McEnroe, who killed his ex-girlfriend's family in Carnation, Washington, to life in prison.

McEnroe had previously been found guilty of murdering six members of the Anderson family in 2007 -- four adults and two children. The jury had two choices: the death penalty or life in prison without parole. 

The original title screen from the "ABC Afterschool Special" anthology series that debuted in 1972.
Wikimedia Commons

You were probably a free-range kid.

You rode your bike around the neighborhood and walked to school alone. Your parents warned of the dangers – which you knew because you watched those creepy after-school specials on ABC. 

At the 1936 Olympic Games, the University of Washington eight-oar boat crossed the finish line ahead of Italy. They were featured in The Boys in the Boat by Seattle-area author Daniel James Brown.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collection

We’re always looking for good book recommendations, which is why you often hear librarian Nancy Pearl on KUOW. That's why, ahead of summer reading season, we found out the most-checked-out and downloaded titles in 2014 from the Seattle Public Library.

Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, who lives in the Seattle area, has summited Everest 15 times. He holds the official record for speed in climbing the world's tallest peak -- 10 hours, 56 minutes and 46 seconds.
Flickr Photo/Christopher Michel (CC BY 2.0)

Months after Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa’s oldest brother died climbing in the Himalayas, Lhakpa Gelu determined that he would summit a Himalayan peak.

His mother protested.

“We just lost your brother a couple months ago, you shouldn’t go,’” she told him. “Don’t go there.”

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