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 where there are no radios.

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Oso Mudflow
8:43 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Ongoing Slide Movement Hampers Search For Victims In Snohomish County

Aerial photo of the mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash.
Office of the Governor Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:22 pm

Ongoing movement of the huge landslide that crashed down on a rural Northwest Washington neighborhood on Saturday is hampering the search for more victims.

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Tobacco Sales
4:10 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho A Big Supplier

Tax Foundation/Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state according to an estimate from a new study by two think tanks.

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Weather
5:05 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Spring Outlook Looks Warm For Coastal Northwest, 'Normal' Spring Inland

The National Weather Service's outlook calls for above-normal temperatures along the West Coast.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 3:47 pm

The spring seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service calls for a warmer-than-average spring west of the Cascades and normal temperatures and rainfall across the inland Northwest.

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Economy
4:10 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In Washington, Dips In Oregon

Washington Employment Security Department

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:31 pm

Washington state's unemployment rate held steady in February at 6.4 percent according to fresh numbers from the state Employment Security Department.

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Grand Coulee Dam
9:46 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:00 pm

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

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Public Utilities
5:13 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Canada, U.S. Disagree Over Value of Columbia River Treaty Benefits

File photo of the Columbia River's Chief Joseph Dam near Bridgeport, Washington. The dam is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:12 pm

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest.

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Government
8:10 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Some States Working To Negate Federal Food Stamp Cutbacks

File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore., to purchase food.
Brian Duss Bread for the World

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:47 pm

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

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Sochi Olympics
8:47 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Persevering Olympian Finds 'Life Changing' Welcome In Peru

Peruvians surround Olympian Roberto Carcelen at the national soccer stadium in Lima after he delivered a pep talk.
Roberto Carcelen

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Despite finishing dead last in his race in Sochi, a Peruvian-American Olympic cross country skier is looking forward to a big welcome when he returns home to Seattle this weekend.

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Disaster Debris
8:34 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Three Years Later, Where Did Japanese Tsunami Debris Go?

File photo of a fishing skiff found on the Washington coast in May 2013.
Eyewitness photo Wash. Marine Debris Task Force

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:26 pm

It's been exactly three years since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea.

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Sports
3:51 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Five Athletes With Northwest Ties In Sochi For Paralympic Winter Games

Paralyzed veteran Sean Halsted trained for Sochi in Sun Valley last winter.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 8:57 pm

American and European politicians are boycotting the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to protest Russian moves in Ukraine. But athletes with physical disabilities from Idaho, Oregon and Washington plan to compete in the Olympic host city as scheduled starting this weekend.

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Sochi Olympics
8:32 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Northwest Claims Another Medal, But It Comes In Heartbreaking Hockey Loss

Hilary Knight of Sun Valley
SaraMelikian Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 3:50 pm

More Olympic hardware is coming home to the Northwest, but it comes via a heartbreaking loss. 

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Daredevils
9:17 am
Thu February 20, 2014

One Anniversary, Two Teams Trying To Recreate Evel Knievel Canyon Jump

The rocket that Scott Record, left, and Scott Truax plan to use to recreate Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump is about 60 percent complete.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:21 am

Two teams want to re-enact Evel Knievel's famous jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

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Sochi Olympics
8:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Northwest Snowboarder Races For Russia At Olympic Games

Vic Wild
Russian Federation

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:05 am

A Pacific Northwest snowboarder is predicted to be a medal contender when snowboard giant slalom racing begins Wednesday at the Winter Olympics.

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Local Edge
8:52 am
Tue February 18, 2014

From Inline Skates To Ice Skates To The Olympics

Youth inline skaters line up to practice sprint starts at Pattison's West in Federal Way, Wash.
Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:33 am

At the winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result. The Americans' best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men's relay team.

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Sochi Olympics
9:15 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Sun Valley's Farrington Says Gold Medal 'Opens A Lot Of Doors'

Kaitlyn Farrington (middle) won the goal medal in the snowboard halfpipe on Wednesday.
Sarah Brunson U.S. Snowboarding

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:31 pm

Sun Valley, Idaho native Kaitlyn Farrington maintained her composure as the Star Spangled Banner played in front of a big, cheering crowd at the medals ceremony.

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