Isolde Raftery | KUOW News and Information

Isolde Raftery

Online Managing 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.

Isolde was promoted to Online Managing Editor in 2018.

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. 

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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.”

Seattle decreased the amount of fluoride it puts in drinking water in 2011.
Flickr photo/Vicki Timman (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Fluoride levels in water should be reduced, a federal agency said this week – but don’t expect a decrease from taps in Seattle anytime soon.

Until the state changes its fluoride standard, cities and counties that fluoridate their water can't immediately follow the recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lisa Pauley was a volunteer at an Adventist hospital in Hong Kong. Joyce Wertz Harrington, a fellow nurse, photographed their 30-hour journey.
Courtesy of Joyce Wertz Harrington

The scene was chaos.

The mood was tense.

The Viet Cong approached.

Mothers cried as they dropped off their babies to be loaded onto a Boeing 747 in Saigon, final destination Seattle.

Karen Shiveley, 67, waits to meet the pastor of a Baptist church in Everett. Shiveley has been checking out several churches around the Seattle area, hoping to find the right fit.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

 At Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Everett, Karen Shiveley sat alone in a pew, waiting to meet the pastor. The 67-year-old was smartly dressed, with orange-framed glasses, and she wondered if this could be her church home.

Jaylen Fryberg, the 15-year-old who shot five friends in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October.. Jaylen and four of the friends died.
Facebook

The father of a Tulalip Tribes teenager was charged Tuesday with illegally possessing the gun his son used to kill four classmates at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

The FBI said in found that the father, Raymond Fryberg, lied on federal documents when he purchased five guns from a Marysville gun dealer – including the pistol used in the school shooting on Oct. 25, 2014.

Amanda Knox waits on a television set for an interview, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

It's over.

Italy's highest court on Friday overturned Amanda Knox's murder conviction, ending the Seattle resident's long legal battle for exoneration.

The Court of Cassation also overturned the conviction of Knox's former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

Amanda Knox waits on a television set for an interview, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

If Italy’s highest court upholds Amanda Knox's murder conviction Friday, Italian cops aren’t going to descend on Seattle and whisk her off – at least not right away.

On Monday night KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy received a frantic call from her sister in New Jersey: “YOU’RE ON THE F*&%ING DAILY SHOW!” she said.

And sure enough, Trish’s low, distinctive voice was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a segment titled, “Doctor When.” The story was about the Choice program, a Veterans Affairs initiative to curb wait times and travel times for veterans in remote areas.

Watch the clip:

In this 2012 file photo, Troy Kelley, the Democratic candidate for state auditor at the time, takes questions at a debate.
Flickr Photo/Daniel Brunell (CC-BY-NC-ND)

If you're confused by the headlines about the investigation into Troy Kelley, Washington state's auditor, you're not alone. Below, we unpack the news and put it in context. 

Michael Stephens, founder of the Macefield Music Festival, looks at Edith Macefield's house on a recent afternoon. The house is now owned by the bank and could be put on the open market.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

If Edith Macefield had been standing outside the King County courthouse, she might have rolled her eyes.

An auctioneer stood behind a white plastic table. Men in black zip-up jackets sidled up to sign up to bid on her tiny Ballard house. Elbowing reporters jostled for space.

Street view of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, where gunfire damaged a school bus on Thursday afternoon.
Google Maps

Shots suspected of coming from a BB gun hit a school bus outside Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in South Seattle on Thursday afternoon, according to Seattle police.

No students were on the bus at the time, and the driver was not injured, Seattle Public Schools said.

KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

In 2002, when the Bush administration started pushing cities to adopt 10-year plans to reduce homelessness, Seattle/King County was already on board.

The feds suggested targeting chronic homelessness – typically the most visibly homeless people. But Seattle was ambitious and promised to end all homelessness by 2015.  

It’s been 10 years since the Seattle plan was launched, and the number of homeless people here has surged. This isn’t a national trend – across the county, homelessness has dropped by nearly a quarter.

Four workers were injured in an accident at the north end of the 99 tunnel project near Seattle Center on Thursday afternoon.

Three of those workers walked out on their own; firefighters had to walk in half a mile to free a fourth worker who had been trapped 25 feet down from where he fell. 

According to Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore, the men were working on a wall project when it broke beneath them, sending them hurtling 25 feet to the ground below. The men were 23, 29, 31 and 36.

Heather Weinert Owain Weinert cancer vaccines
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Owain Weinert, at age 8, hadn’t been eating breakfast and was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a night. For months, mysterious fevers came and went.

His mother took him to the pediatrician, who in turn sent them to a lab for a blood test. They then went to lunch, which Owain didn’t eat.

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, around 1962. The sequel to her book is due out in July.
Wikimedia Commons

Harper Lee’s second book will be out in July – will librarian Nancy Pearl grab the first available copy?

“You know, I don’t want to be disappointed,” Pearl said when we asked her on Tuesday. “I will definitely hold it in my hands and start reading it. But there’s always a chance that maybe there was a reason it wasn’t published.”

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