Tom Banse | KUOW News and Information

Tom Banse

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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.  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.

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.

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest.

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants.

The unemployment rate in Washington dropped a notch in November.

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

The American negotiating position became clearer Friday in what promises to be difficult bargaining to update a water treaty with Canada.

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

Washington and other Pacific Coast states set up tsunami debris reporting hotlines in the wake of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

Trucking fleet operators in the Northwest are showing growing interest in filling up with natural gas instead of diesel.

Timber industry and environmental groups will make a stab at collaboration to boost both logging and habitat restoration in the Olympic National Forest.

A young man from the Northwest with a famous last name hopes to make his Olympic debut in a new medal event at the 2014 Games in Sochi - freestyle skiing in the halfpipe.

The nation's biggest ferry system is aiming to convert some of its fleet from diesel to natural gas propulsion.

A passel of daredevils aim to succeed where the king of stunt performers once famously failed. They want to attempt Evel Knievel's jump over the Snake River Canyon.

Washington state hit a 'soft patch' in hiring and is looking at slow overall growth. That news comes from two new data points on the Washington economy out Wednesday.

NASA Photo/Aaron Kingery

If you wake up early and the skies are clear this week, a comet named ISON should be visible through binoculars over the southeastern horizon.

If you wake up early and the skies are clear this week, a comet named ISON should be visible through binoculars over the southeastern horizon.

Hotline calls and emails to report suspected Japanese tsunami debris have gone way down this year. But West Coast states are still keeping their guard up in case another wave of flotsam from the 2011 disaster washes up on our shores.

In 1989, the organizers of the Washington State Centennial Time Capsule took measures to guard against it being forgotten -- and lost.

 The Boeing Company and its Machinists union have reached a tentative deal that clears the way to build Boeing's next big jet in Washington state.

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

An Army Reservist will collect back pay from an Everett, Wash. company accused of violating his reemployment rights.

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers there will get to keep whatever they received.

An eco-saboteur charged in a fire-bombing spree that spanned the American West changed her plea in federal court on Thursday.  Rebecca Rubin pled guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. 

Rubin is now 40 years old. When she was in her twenties, she joined a cell of radical environmentalists loosely affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Federal investigators blame the shadowy cell for around 20 arsons spanning five Western states. The attacks happened between 1996 and 2001.

Beginning this Friday, an aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., will let paying visitors dive in a shark-infested tank. That's right. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has built a dive cage in a tank that is home to 17 sharks. Experienced scuba divers can even swim out into the center of the pool. We sent correspondent Tom Banse to get to the bottom of this story.

Ah, the things you might question there's high demand for. Well, more than four hundred people have already made reservations to take a dip in a tank full of sharks. 

A final inspector general's report released Tuesday condemns the Bonneville Power Administration for discriminating against veterans and other applicants during jobs hires.

Bonneville is this region's biggest wholesale electricity and transmission provider. 

BPA issued a contrite response to the scathing report from the U.S. Energy Department's inspector general.

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are rippling across the Northwest.

Closed national parks will be one of the first visible effects of the partial government shutdown expected to begin Tuesday. National forest and BLM campgrounds will also close.

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Telemedicine is rising to new levels of accessibility thanks to the increasing prevalence of smartphones, tablets and webcam equipped computers.

Name the volcano that geologists consider the most dangerous in the Northwest.

According to fresh numbers out Wednesday from the state employment department, the unemployment rate in Washington state edged up slightly in August to an even 7 percent as hiring slowed.

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