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.  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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In a surprise move, sportswear giant Nike has withdrawn a contract enforcement lawsuit against U.S. track and field star Boris Berian.

The madcap flotilla of engineless boats entered in the Race to Alaska is safely moored in Victoria. Stage one of the 750-mile adventure race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan is in the books.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Forty-three teams will cast off from Port Townsend, Washington, Thursday for the second running of an epic marine adventure contest. The 750-mile Race to Alaska has just a few rules: no motors, for one. And no chase boats or support crews. Last year, race co-founder Jake Beattie made the comparison to another great race.

Routine operation of small drones for commercial or civilian purposes have clearance for takeoff. The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday finalized rules to replace the previous case-by-case assessment of drone uses.

Professional runners from the Northwest say the expulsion of the Russian track and field team from this summer’s Olympic Games sends a strong message about fair play.

Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee will further review Russia’s participation. Late last week, track and field’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, barred Russia from the 2016 Olympics based on allegations of systematic doping.

You may have heard about "rails-to-trails" conversions. Thanks to some entrepreneurial bicycle enthusiasts, you don't need to wait for the rails to come out in two Oregon counties. Friday, a company begins offering scenic tours along Tillamook Bay using pedal-powered contraptions that ride on the rails.

Traffic accident fatalities are rising at a faster rate in Northwest states than anywhere else in the country according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drug-impaired drivers and distracted drivers appear to be factors involved in the increase.

An inventory by public radio of Northwest geography found more than 200 places with names some people might consider ethnically or racially offensive. For instance, there's Negro Ben Mountain in southwest Oregon, Chinamans Hat in western Idaho, Jew Valley in southern Oregon and Redman Creek in north central Washington.

The statewide unemployment rate in Washington is not budging despite steady hiring by employers. It's stuck at 5.8 percent in the latest monthly jobs report released Wednesday by the Washington Employment Security Department.

Boats have to stay 200 yards away from the Northwest’s endangered resident killer whales. But what if one of those boaters launches an aerial drone to take better pictures from closer up?

It's not a theoretical question. And the answer is not as clear as law enforcement would like.

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