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," "Weekday," 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.


4:39 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Why The Unemployment Rate Rises When Companies Are Adding Jobs

The unemployment rate in Washington state ticked up 0.3 percent in October.
Credit Washington Employment Security Department

Employers added more than 5,600 jobs in Washington state last month. But the statewide unemployment rate as reported by the state Wednesday rose by 0.3 points to 6 percent.

The rise in the unemployment rate is not necessarily bad news, according to state labor economist Paul Turek. He said the economic recovery has encouraged people on the sidelines to begin job searches in greater numbers than the labor market can absorb right now.

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5:09 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Delta Air Lines Resets Bar Higher For Pacific Northwest Hub

Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are partners and rivals at Sea-Tac Airport.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said his company wants to nearly double its footprint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. That implies an even stronger challenge than was already in the works to hometown carrier Alaska Airlines.

Anderson visited Seattle last week to discuss expansion plans with airport officials and corporate customers. Afterwards, he recorded a message for his employees. Anderson said he wants to acquire 30 gates to operate a global hub. Delta currently uses about 16 airport gates at Sea-Tac.

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Drone Regulations
5:23 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

State Drone Regulations Not Cleared For Liftoff In Olympia

In conjunction with his April veto, Governor Inslee declared a 15-month moratorium on state agency purchases of drones and asked local police to follow suit.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

The Washington governor's office unveiled draft rules for government use of drones Monday. This would replace drone legislation that Democrat Jay Inslee vetoed earlier this year. 

The state's chief information officer presented the draft bill to a task force convened by Washington's governor. Michael Cockrill said the Inslee Administration's preferred approach is "to be permissive, not restrictive."

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West Coast Radiation
6:47 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Traces Of Fukushima Radioactivity Detected In West Coast Waters

In this illustration of ocean currents, white dots indicate where no cesium-134 was detected. Blue dots indicate locations were low levels of cesium-134 were detected farther offshore.
Credit WHOI

An oceanography institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Fukushima have been detected off the West Coast. This stems from the 2011 nuclear plant accident in Japan. Radiation experts say the very low levels of radioactivity measured do not pose a health threat here.

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Timber Salvage
6:13 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Timber Salvage After 2014 Wildfires Begins In Fits And Starts

A small amount of salvage logging took place in 2014 along roads and around a campground in the Mount Adams Ranger District after the 2012 Cascade Creek wildfire.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Wildfires scorched nearly 1.5 million acres in Oregon, Washington and Idaho this year. And with increased demand for timber from lumber mills, there is a growing market for scorched trees.

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Wild Horses
7:41 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Northwest Tribes Take Steps To Corral Growing Wild Horse Population

Horses in the road are a real danger on the Warm Springs reservation.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Growing populations of wild horses in the inland Northwest are creating headaches for federal land managers. Wild and feral horse herds overrun tribal lands in our region too. Tribal range managers have one option that federal agencies don't, which is to send unwanted horses to foreign slaughterhouses. That's helping several Northwest tribes make headway to reduce populations of free-roaming horses, but not without creating some dismay.

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Marysville Shooting
5:57 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Marysville Student and Stepmom Recall Chaos Of School Shooting

A student opened fire in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle Friday morning. One female classmate is dead and four other students are seriously injured. Police in Marysville, Washington, say the shooter turned the gun on himself and is also dead.

Freshman Tanner Ratynski walked toward the main cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School when the gunfire erupted.

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Marysville Shooting
5:48 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Students Describe “Terrifying” Wait After Shooting In Marysville High School Cafeteria

Friday shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington has two students dead with four others severely injured .
Credit HighSchoolWatch / Wikimedia

One student was killed and four others are being treated at area hospitals after a school shooting north of Seattle. Police in Marysville, Washington, confirmed the gunman was a student. He died at the scene from a self inflicted gunshot.

Emmanuel Chavez de la Cruz attends Marysville-Pilchuck High School. He said the shooting happened in the school cafeteria near his world history classroom. The sophomore said an alarm went off. His teacher locked the door and darkened the classroom while the students hid.

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Tripe Recipe
8:36 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Oregon Chef Asks If You Have The Guts To Celebrate World Tripe Day

Chef Bennett's Cowboy Calamari.
Credit Sybaris Bistro / Northwest News Network

An Oregon chef is asking if you have the guts to celebrate World Tripe Day on Friday. What is tripe? It's the lining of the cow's stomach.

Matt Bennett is the owner of Sybaris Bistro in Albany. He volunteered to promote consumption of beef stomach on behalf of the British-based Tripe Marketing Board.

"They had good luck with calling it Lancashire calamari, Bennett said. "It is very similar in texture. So they said, 'Well, maybe you could do a Portland calamari or Tillamook,' which was funny because they were apparently just looking at a map."

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Hockey Player Wages
6:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Northwest Hockey Teams Targeted By Lawsuit Over Player Wages

This map shows the five U.S. based teams in the Western Hockey League.
Credit Kevin Mooney / Northwest News Network

The pay and treatment of top Northwest hockey players is the subject of a new class action lawsuit. It commenced earlier this week in Canada against the Western Hockey League and its sister leagues. 

Affected teams include the Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, and Everett Silvertips. 

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