Tom Banse

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.

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Foodies
7:48 am
Mon September 22, 2014

What's For Dinner? How 'Bout Nutria, Bullfrog Legs, Sorrel And Carp

Chef Hamid Serdani serves a feral pig chop on a bed of mashed potatoes and sauteed dandelion greens with a blackberry balsamic curry sauce at the 2013 edition of the invasive species cook-off.
Cassandra Profita OPB

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:13 am

On September 28, several hundred people are expected to gather at a vineyard near Salem, Oregon, to chew on the problem of invasive species.

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Aerospace
11:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Alaska Airlines Schedules More Rescue Flights From Mexico

Passengers board an Alaska Airlines jet on the hurricane-hit Baja Peninsula.

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:17 am

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines plans to launch five more jets Friday to evacuate American vacationers from Los Cabos, Mexico.

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Pot News
11:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Marijuana Tax Collections Starting To Roll In, Millions More Expected

The first year of legal pot sales in Washington state is expected to generate about $25 million in fees and taxes.

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:49 pm

In a manner of speaking, millions of dollars of "drug money" is starting to flow into Washington state coffers.

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NPR Story
11:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Alaska Airlines Launching Rescue Flights To Mexico

Vacationers eager to get out of Los Cabos, Mexico, lined up on the tarmac Wednesday.

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 2:58 pm

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is dispatching jets Thursday to evacuate American vacationers from Los Cabos, Mexico.

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Improving Economy
7:10 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In August In Washington State

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 3:11 pm

The latest reading on unemployment in Washington state shows the rate holding steady in August at 5.6 percent. That's half a percentage point below the national rate according to a report from Washington's employment department Wednesday.

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D68
8:05 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Suspected Enterovirus Outbreak Widens In Northwest

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:37 pm

Public health authorities in Washington and Idaho are now investigating at least 79 cases of a serious respiratory illness that affects children.

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Sports
9:11 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Hockey Inquiry Turns On Whether Players Are 'Student Athletes' Or Workers

This map shows the five U.S.-based teams in the Western Hockey League

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 5:09 pm

The Western Hockey League opens its regular season next weekend. The players you'll see on the ice are mostly teenagers. That fact has state labor investigators asking if the four Washington teams are breaking child labor laws.

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Mountaintop Sites
4:20 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Remotely Monitored Video Cameras Replace Some Human Fire Lookouts

These remotely-monitored cameras scan for forest fires from a historic fire lookout in Douglas County, Oregon.
Douglas Forest Protective Association

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 4:02 pm

Remotely monitored video cameras are replacing some human fire lookouts on mountaintops around the Northwest.

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Business
7:05 am
Tue September 9, 2014

$58 Million Judgment Adds To Woes Of Cigarette Maker On Yakama Reservation

King Mountain Tobacco grows a portion of the tobacco it manufactures into cigarettes on the Yakama reservation.

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 10:24 pm

A federal judge in Eastern Washington has ruled a cigarette maker on the Yakama Indian Reservation owes $58 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

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JBLM
8:18 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Army Suspends Brig. Gen. In Charge of Western Region Medical Care

File photo of Brig. Gen. John Cho speaking at an Army town hall meeting in March 2014.

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 2:48 pm

The Army Surgeon General Thursday suspended the commander in charge of Army hospitals in 20 western states.

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Heartbleed
10:13 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Five Hospitals In Washington And Oregon Among Victims Of Computer Hack

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 9:56 am

A national hospital chain says it suspects Chinese hackers breached its computer system earlier this year. Patients whose doctors work with any of five hospitals in the Northwest might have had financial data stolen.

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Translation Services
11:41 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What Happens When 911 Callers Don't Speak English?

Dispatch supervisor Brenda Faxon and director Mark Buchholz in the Willamette Valley 911 Communications Center in Salem.

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 8:04 pm

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English.

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Distressed Birds
8:17 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Triple Rescue And Rehab Ends Well For Lucky Ospreys

Rehabbed osprey flies away after its release Wednesday in Finley, Washington.
Andrea Berglin

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 5:23 pm

Three young ospreys and a parent are flying free along the Columbia River today after surviving close calls with litter.

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Wildlife
7:28 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Feds Decide Wolverine Does Not Merit Threatened Species Status

File photo

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 3:36 pm

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list after all. Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

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2,660 Mile Race
9:12 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Seattle Runner Smashes Speed Record For Full Length Of Pacific Crest Trail

Seattle native Joe McConaughy reached the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail in record time Sunday.

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 10:23 am

A 23-year-old Seattle man has smashed the speed record for hiking the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Recent college grad Joe McConaughy crossed into Canada on Sunday, exactly 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes after leaving the Mexican border on the storied trail.

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