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 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

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.

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.

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. 

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