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 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.”

Ms. Marvel designs by Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel, described by writer G. Willow Wilson as "kind of a hipster," is the second from the left.
Marvel Comics

G. Willow Wilson’s origin story, in a matter of speaking, started in New Jersey on about 3 acres of land surrounded by old-growth woods, where her parents raised rabbits and chickens and grew corn, blackberries and sweet potatoes.

Elysian Brewery on Capitol Hill, Seattle, has a new owner.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf

Elysian Brewing of Seattle – and of deliciously hoppy IPAs – is being sold to Anheuser-Busch, the big beer company headquartered in St. Louis.

"Throughout our journey we've been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry," Dick Cantwell, Elysian co-founder and head brewer told The Associated Press.

"By joining with Anheuser-Busch we'll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience."

The Kalakala on the day she was to be scrapped. The unlucky vessel had shone on Puget Sound waters as a ferry from 1935 to 1967.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It was before dawn on Thursday, and the cold air off the Blair Waterway in Tacoma was damp and penetrating.

Karl Anderson, a mustachioed man in his 70s, stood on his company’s graving dock, waiting for the Kalakala.

Jessica Cote picks up her daughter, Anna Cote, at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline after students were moved to that location for reunification Wednesday morning, Jan.7.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Updated at 4:11 p.m., 1/7/2015:

Reports of an armed male on school grounds sent Shoreline schools into lockdown on Wednesday morning, said Sergeant DB Gates of the King County Sheriff's Office.

Lockdown was lifted at 10:15 a.m., and students were sent home. Police stayed at schools until all students were safely released.

An armed male was reportedly seen at Meridian Park Elementary at Meridian Avenue North and North 175th. Police released a limited description of the man on Twitter: "Only suspect is a male, camo pants, dark hoodie. Unknown race, unknown age. Had a firearm."

A food service employee spotted the man; staff at the elementary school called 911 at 7:50 a.m. Children had been at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. for child care.

A frequent sight in our newsroom: Business reporter Carolyn Adolph arguing with Siri, the iPhone personal assistant.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Dear KUOW listeners,

We apologize for the inconvenience several of you experienced recently when listening to a story about distracted driving and Siri, the personal assistant who lives inside the iPhone.

marysville shooting
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

It’s been an incredible year for KUOW reporters.

Liz Jones traveled to India to report on the emerging tech world, John Ryan challenged politicians, Bill Radke discovered Seattle politeness is literally holding up traffic and Jeannie Yandel met a local surgeon who was the first to operate on a gorilla’s sinuses.

It was also a year of heartbreak: After a landslide thundered down on Oso, Washington, we set up a bureau in a nearby motel and returned six months later to see how survivors were coping in the aftermath. 

Flickr Photo/Forest History Society

Duff. Fish wheel. Skid Road.

Long butt.

Few of us here know the Northwest words listed in the Dictionary of American Regional English because they harken to a time when fishing and logging reigned in Washington state – when skookum described a tough, hardworking guy and Skid Road was a street in downtown Seattle where logs were sledded down to the waterfront.

ballot drop box ballot box
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

These are the election results as of Wednesday, 4:35 p.m.

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

Jaylen Fryberg had texted the five friends he shot on Friday to lunch, Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said on Monday.

At 10:40 a.m. on Friday, those friends – two boys who were cousins and three girls – were at the lunch table with Fryberg, Trenary said, when he shot them each in the head.

Facebook

Within hours of the school shooting in Marysville that left two students dead – including the shooter – Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer posted a link to a story about the shooting with this caption: “We need more school shootings!!! Vote yes on Initiative 591.”

Flickr Photo/Dan Hatton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Instead of vaccinating her children for chickenpox, Kimberly Christensen chose the old fashioned way to immunize them – sending her kids to hang out with infected children. 

Guns line the walls of the firearms reference collection at the Washington Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

When we talk about guns, rarely do we speak with reluctant gun owners, particularly parents who have decided that owning a firearm is safer than not and who struggle with how to discuss gun safety with their kids.

KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

The stories from the labor and delivery ward at UW Medical Center in Seattle are often told breathlessly.

A nurse tells of a pregnant woman who arrived at the hospital brain dead after being airlifted from Eastern Washington. She was kept alive as nurses pumped her breasts to feed her baby, who had been delivered by cesarean section.

Emily Cameron, left, her husband and their five children. Her first-born was delivered by C-section at 37 weeks, which she believes was unnecessary.
Courtesy Emily Cameron

Public health officials across the U.S. say the number of cesarean sections being performed has gotten way out of hand. It's a life-saving surgery for complicated births, but today nearly a third of pregnancies end up as a C-section.

Family photo

It’s 7 p.m. on a Thursday at Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane, and Dr. Nathan Meltzer has already had a very long day.

He has one mother in labor. She’s been there for more than 12 hours.

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More moms are breastfeeding than ever before, which is great. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is proud of you, breastfeeding moms.

And Washington mamas and providers have reason to be even more proud: About 92 percent of babies born here in 2011 were breastfed at birth, according to an annual CDC Breastfeeding Report Card. (Nationwide, 79 percent of infants are breastfed at birth.)

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