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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Hot Summer
8:23 am
Mon June 9, 2014

The Blob: Not The Horror Movie, The Summer Weather Influencer

Sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees C drawn from NOAA/ESRL database.

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 4:30 pm

"The Blob" was the title of a 1958 sci-fi horror movie. It's also the nickname Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond has given to a large patch of warmer-than-normal seawater off the Pacific Northwest coast.

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$10,000 Reward
11:12 am
Fri June 6, 2014

FBI Offers Big Reward To Rat Out People Who Aim Lasers At Aircraft

The FBI is expanding a campaign aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft.

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 3:34 pm

The FBI is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of people who have aimed laser pointers at aircraft. Deliberate targeting of aircraft in flight has increased significantly in the last couple of years in the Northwest.

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Environment
12:54 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Lamprey Fishing Blessing Ceremony Has Tribal Sovereignty Undertone

Lamprey pieces (center) sizzle between salmon in a traditional preparation, which was served to attendees at the "blessing ceremony."

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:13 am

For centuries, Native Americans from Boise to Wenatchee to the southern Oregon coast have harvested Pacific lamprey, colloquially called eels. The ugly-looking critter resembles an eel, but it is actually a primitive fish with a distinctive, toothy suction cup mouth.

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Science
6:34 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Submerged Wave Energy Generator On Track For Deployment Near Astoria

Computer rendition of the wave energy generator to be placed on the Clatsop County, Oregon, sea floor late this summer.

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 11:58 am

An engineering company based in Salem, Oregon, says it is close to deploying the first submerged wave power generator on the West Coast. M3 Wave Energy Systems plans a temporary deployment late this summer in shallow water off the northern Oregon Coast.

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Northwest
6:33 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Six Climbers Presumed Dead On Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 11:05 am

Six climbers who were descending from near the top of Mount Rainier have perished in the worst accident on the snow-capped volcano in decades. 

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Flotsam
8:14 am
Fri May 30, 2014

New Wave of Suspected Tsunami Debris Washes Ashore

This skiff - suspected Japanese tsunami debris - was found Thursday near Moclips, Washington.

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:16 pm

A new wave of suspected debris from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan is washing up on Northwest shores. The latest noteworthy object to arrive, a large skiff coated with sea life, was found Thursday near Moclips, Washington.

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Courts
8:12 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Lawsuit Leaves Wounds In Seniors-Only Retirement Haven

Ryderwood's place in history is noted as you enter the town, population 400.

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 8:05 am

Ryderwood started as a timber company town. When the loggers pulled out in the early 1950s, an enterprising developer converted the entire six-block by six-block village in southwest Washington into a retirement haven. Now Ryderwood could serve as a social science Petri dish to study bitterness, division and healing.

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Original Birth Certificate
8:06 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Washington State Expects Rush When Adoption Records Open

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 6:45 pm

Washington's state Department of Health is expecting a rush when an adoption law change takes effect on July 1.

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Summer Forecast
9:35 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Long, Warm Summer On Tap According To Weather Service Outlook

National Weather Service is forecasting a strong probability of above-normal temperatures in June, July and August for most of the Northwest.

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:28 pm

The supercomputers at the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures.

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'Gentle Giants'
10:08 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Bear-Feeding Case Will Go To Court In A First For Washington

Accused bear feeder Doris Parks created a nine-acre wildlife reserve by buying undeveloped land across the street from her house in Ilwaco, Washington.

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:21 pm

A 70-year-old Ilwaco, Washington, woman has been criminally charged for allegedly feeding bears at her house on Washington's Long Beach peninsula. It is believed to be the first time someone has been prosecuted under a relatively new law against feeding large wild carnivores.

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Emergency
8:18 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Text-to-911 Coming, But Dispatchers Much Prefer Voice Calls

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 8:13 pm

This week, the four biggest mobile carriers met a voluntary deadline to be ready to allow consumers to text to 911. But don't try that in an emergency just yet.

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Don't Feed The Animals
7:37 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Ilwaco Retiree Could Be First Charged Under New Law Banning Feeding Of Bears

File photo of an American black bear

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 9:38 am

The bears have woken up and once more that’s creating conflicts around the region. Washington Fish and Wildlife police are recommending that an Ilwaco woman face charges for allegedly feeding wild bears.

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Gains In Seattle Jobs
10:20 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Steady Job Gains Chip Away At Jobless Rate in Washington State

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 3:44 pm

Steady job gains are chipping away at the unemployment rate in Washington state.

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NPR Story
7:40 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Landslide Tragedy Prompts Board To 'Take Stock' Of Logging Rules Around Unstable Slopes

The Washington Forest Practices Board heard presentations on the Oso landslide and landslide risk more generally from geologists and Oso survivors Monday.

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 6:04 pm

Washington state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark repeated Monday that "It's still too early to tell" if there is a connection between logging and this spring's deadly landslide near Oso, Washington.

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Astoria, Port Angeles, Nanaimo
8:20 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Large Cruise Ships Call On Small Northwest Ports To Fill Out Itineraries

The Norwegian Pearl at port in Astoria, Oregon in May 2013.

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 5:17 pm

Cruise season has begun in the Pacific Northwest with the arrival of gleaming cruise ships. They'll be steaming back-and-forth to Alaska all summer from Vancouver and Seattle.

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