Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

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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Disasters and Accidents
8:17 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.
Credit Alaska Airlines

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

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Government and Politics
4:49 pm
Thu September 18, 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.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

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

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Disasters and Accidents
2:57 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Alaska Airlines Launching Rescue Flights To Mexico

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

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

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
3:11 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In August In Washington State

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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Health and Medicine
3:37 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Suspected Enterovirus Outbreak Widens In Northwest

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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
5:09 pm
Fri September 12, 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
Credit Kevin Mooney / Northwest News Network

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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Science and Technology
4:02 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

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

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Crime, Law and Justice
7:44 am
Mon September 8, 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.
Credit King Mountain Tobacco

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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Military and Defense
2:48 pm
Thu September 4, 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.
Credit John Brooks / U.S. Army

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

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Crime, Law and Justice
7:37 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Five Hospitals In Washington And Oregon Among Victims Of Computer Hack

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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