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. 

To see more of Isolde's KUOW portfolio, visit our current site.

Ways to Connect

Bellaniy Baltazar, 13, rubs her eyes while swimming on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, at Lakeside Park in Chelan.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The sky is ash gray; the lake is too.

Wenatchee and Chelan, popular summer destinations for middle class Seattleites, look like the end of the world right now. Like sets from the movie “Mad Max,” as smoke from nearby wildfires engulfs the area.

A screenshot of the Bombardier Q400 turbojet before crashing from a video by Skylar Jacobson.
Skylar Jacobson via KOMO twitter

“Hope this isn’t going to ruin your day.”

FILE: A Horizon Air Bombardier DHC8-Q400 at Sea-Tac Airport.
Flickr Photo/Kentaro IEMOTO (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/843PGn

At 8:30 Friday night, one of our reporters, Anna Boiko-Weyrauch wrote an ominous tweet:

Southern Resident killer whale J50 and her mother, J16, off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, B.C., on August 7.
Brian Gisborne, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

J50 is alive.

The emaciated, 3 1/2-year-old orca had seemingly gone missing over the weekend, leading some biologists to worry that she may have died.

Plans were underway to feed the young whale with live salmon – possibly laced with medicine – or to inject her with antibiotics, in the hopes of saving the youngest orca in this endangered group.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for NOAA, confirmed that the young orca was found west of Vancouver at the Port Renfrew near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

A national shortage of anesthesia and pain medications have put providers in a tough spot, including in obstetrics. Collage
KUOW Illustration/Isolde Raftery

The supply room for drugs at Wenatchee LifeLine, a rural ambulance service, is bare. Morphine is scant. Bags of saline are precious.

Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a University District church where she sleeps just after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Nostalgia thrives on the Ave.

That’s University Way Northeast to cartographers, a street that pounds with construction and smells of $6.99 Thai lunch specials and bus exhaust.

FILE: Then-Deputy Chief Carmen Best smiles during a press conference on Monday, December 4, 2017, at Seattle City Hall. Best will be interim Seattle Police Chief.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Carmen Best, Seattle’s interim police chief, will be considered for the top job, after all.

Since the dawn of the #metoo movement, I have had conversations with men close to me who are reflecting on past sexual experiences.

One man told me that he wished he had asked before feeling up a girl in middle school. Someone else regretted kissing a date when her body language said no thanks.  

Some of this is society evolving — a therapist I spoke to for guidance on this told me, "When I was young, it was called a panty raid; now it's felony theft with sexual motivation." 

But it's also understanding the definition of consent. A friend said no one ever defined that for him until he was in his mid-20s. "I was raised in this hunter-conquerer society; no one had that conversation with me," he said. Consider the well-worn metaphor of making first base, second base, third base with the person you're with, he said. 

My hope is to present your experiences as vignettes to further the discussion about consent, specifically how people have evolved in their understanding of what it means to them and others.   

Join this conversation by sharing your experience in the form below. My question to you is this: Have you realized that a past sexual experience made the person you were with feel badly or uncomfortable? Please share that experience and tell us, if you can, what this means for you today.

We are asking for your name to verify your identity but I will not share your name in or outside of the station. In fact, this Google form is tied to my personal account to maximize that anonymity. My feeling is that identifying you could reveal the person you are referring to, and they may not be into that.  

Thank you for bravely joining this conversation. If you have questions, email me: iraftery@kuow.org.

Children from the Children's Aid Society. The Children's Aid Society was founded to find homes for poor children of big Eastern cities. Its critics say that Catholic children were forcibly removed and sent to perform slave labor on Midwestern farms.
Library of Congress Photo Archives

Un-American: A word being used to describe the separations of children from their parents at the Mexican border.

History, however, suggests this is very American.

The stars-and-bars of the Confederate flag painted onto a Juanita senior's face in 1999. Two years earlier, Juanita students shouted racial slurs at the mostly black Garfield High School football team. They sent an apology banner and students had to atten
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

The Rebel remains.

Students at Juanita High School, in Kirkland, have voted overwhelmingly to keep their controversial mascot.

Ericka Frodsham 2018
Mike Kane for KUOW

In 2015, photographer Mike Kane met Ericka, a sex worker on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle. Ericka was selling sex to support her heroin and meth addiction, and she was so weak she believed she could be dead within a year. She was estranged from her three young daughters and spent many nights on the street. 


Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a single night in January, more than 12,000 people were counted as homeless throughout Seattle and King County.


The cougar who killed SJ Brooks while they were mountain biking over the weekend.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Isaac Sederbaum, badly bloodied, finally connected with 911 on the fourth call.

“I got attacked by a mountain lion,” he said. He was breathless. “My friend did too.”

From left, peanuts, hog maw and chitterlings. These three dishes, as chef Edouardo Jordan explains, come from West Africa, and evolved during slavery in the Deep South.
JuneBaby Instagram/@junebabysea

Chef Edouardo Jordan brought major gold home to Seattle this week by winning two James Beard Awards. One for Best Northwest Chef, a recognition of his talent at his flagship restaurant Salare, and another for Best New Restaurant nationwide for the Ravenna eatery two blocks away, JuneBaby.

Edouardo Jordan, right, works in the kitchen at JuneBaby on Wednesday December 6, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Chef Edouardo Jordan kept one item off his menu when he opened Salare in 2015.

“I didn’t want to put fried chicken on the menu,” Jordan said in the Netflix documentary series, “Ugly Delicious.”

Tents are shown as people gathered to protest the sweeps of homeless camps in November, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Let May 2, 2018, be known as the day that Seattle Nice died.

Oscar Pulkkinen, the author's son, was asked to make Alexa fart for the good of journalism. Instead, he asked the device to make 'an elephant sneeze noise.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

I debated whether to share this fart story with you, because farts are – unfairly, in my opinion – maligned as juvenile and bad manners. But I decided in favor, because farts are one of life’s daily inevitabilities, and also because farts are hilarious.

Oscar Pulkkinen, 4, the writer's son, asks Alexa to make an elephant sneeze. She obliged. Alexa is an artificial intelligence device from Amazon. It is voice controlled; users can turn on lights, play songs and make purchases by saying, 'Hey, Alexa.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

I debated whether to share this fart story with you, because farts are – unfairly, in my opinion – maligned as juvenile and bad manners. But I decided in favor, because farts are one of life’s daily inevitabilities, and also because farts are hilarious.

KUOW/Isolde Raftery

Benton Strong, the spokesman who stood by embattled Mayor Ed Murray to the end, has been revealed to have a checkered past of his own.

This photo was posted to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office Facebook page earlier in the week.
Pierce County Sheriff's Office Facebook page

In the photo above — posted by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook and Twitter this week – a man sits on the ground after being Tased by police. He wears nothing but black underwear briefs and a rosary around his neck. His small dog looks up at the camera.

Brettler Family Place, part of the complex at Sand Point Housing.
Solid Ground

“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” Gunshots, no doubt, J.C. thought. 

These cyclists did not forget (or 'forget') their bikes on the ferry.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

This may be the most Seattle of problems: people abandoning their bike share rentals on the ferry. 


Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell signs an executive order on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bruce Harrell, president of the Seattle City Council, has been mayor for two days. 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Amnesty International has asked Northern Ireland's police force to investigate whether former Mayor Ed Murray abused children when he lived there in the mid-1970s, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell is sworn into office by city clerk Monica Simmons, right, becoming the mayor of Seattle, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has a new mayor.


See that car in the middle lane zipping to the front of the line? You hate that driver, but they're actually doing the right thing, known as the zipper merge.
WSDOT

Three years ago, we ran a story about a little-known traffic tip known as the "zipper merge." 

In short: Drivers should use all lanes leading up to a merge point, rather than clog up one lane. Arrived at the front of the line, drivers in all lanes take turns merging. This is not cheating! (See image above for why the seemingly polite way gunks up traffic.) 

Ayush Jakhotia, 7, left, watches the solar eclipse with his grandmother, Radha Jakhotia, right, on Monday, August 21, 2017, from Gas Works Park, in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Even the cynical couldn't resist the eclipse on Monday morning. 

The temperature dropped precipitously here in Seattle, and the light turned the colors rich and dark — like an Instagram filter IRL. 

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

The Seattle Human Rights Commission issued a terse statement on Tuesday afternoon, urging Mayor Ed Murray to resign.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

The first time Ed Murray noticed him — really noticed him — he was 8.

Kanwalpreet steps out of a white limo. He and Madhuri were married at the Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington in Renton.
Victor Zerga Photography

Victor Zerga is a Seattle wedding photographer who specializes in "cultural weddings." He started taking photos with a point-and-shoot camera as a guest at his family's big Ukranian weddings, and eight years ago, his hobby became a career. 

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