Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

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.

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History and Culture
8:53 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Aging U.S. Veterans Seek To Return Captured WWII Flags To Japan

Obon 2015 co-founder Rex Ziak at Monday's Returning Ceremony in Astoria, Oregon.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Some aging veterans of World War II are embarking on one more mission. The object is to return Japanese flags taken as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields.

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Government and Politics
5:04 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Washington Lawmakers Consider Banning Powdered Alcohol

Palcohol creator Mark Phillips pours the powdered alcohol equivalent of one shot of vodka into a glass in a promotional video on the company's website.
Palcohol

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers in the Washington legislature launched a move Tuesday to ban powdered alcohol.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
4:21 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Washington Unemployment Rate Flat, Now Lags National Rate

Washington Employment Security Department

According to the monthly update released Wednesday by Washington's Employment Security Department, the state’s unemployment rate stayed flat in February.

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Sports
8:44 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Cracks In The Ice Under Proposed Labor Law Exemption For Hockey

Are the 16 to 20 year old players in the Western Hockey League amateurs or professional athletes?
Scott Butner Flickr

Some legislators in Olympia say they're having second thoughts about exempting Western Hockey League teams from state labor laws.

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Transportation
9:11 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Will Lawmakers Green Light Bicyclists, Mopeds Running Reds?

Should bicyclists be able to run red lights under certain circumstances?
Coolcaesar Wikimedia

If you ride a bicycle or motorcycle, this has no doubt happened to you: You stop at a red light controlled by a sensor in the pavement and you wait... and wait.

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Energy
3:46 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Tentative Refinery Strike Settlement Should Help With Gas Prices

A tentative contract settlement should end a six-week strike at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

The United Steelworkers union and major oil refiners have reached a tentative contract settlement.

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Weather and Climate
4:19 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Unseasonable Warmth Waking Black Bears Up Early

Unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.
WDFW

The daffodils and tulips are up and so are hungry black bears. Our unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.

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Health and Medicine
5:32 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Oregon, Washington Lawmakers Balk At Tougher Vaccination Mandate

NIAID Flickr

Oregon and Washington lawmakers flinched within hours of each other Wednesday when it came to toughening mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

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Disasters and Accidents
5:27 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Nearly One In Three 911 Calls Are Accidental

File photo of call takers at work at the Willamette Valley 911 Center.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

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Lifestyle, Leisure, and Sport
8:09 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Adventurers Complete First-Ever Winter Thru-Hike Of Pacific Crest Trail

Shawn Forry (left) and Justin Lichter arrived at the southern end of the Pacific Crest Trail on Sunday. The rain reminded them of the trek's first day at the Canadian border last October.
Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter

Two experienced hikers arrived safe and sound at the Mexican border Sunday, four-and-a-half months after beginning their trek in the North Cascades.

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