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.

Pages

Canadian Border
4:55 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Cross-Border Traffic From Canada Surges In Early 2013

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 3:09 pm

Fresh statistics from the U.S and Canadian governments show cross-border traffic between British Columbia and the American Northwest surged in the first quarter of 2013. Canadian visitors account for nearly all of the increase, despite a mild slowdown in economic growth there.

Read more
Honey Bees
5:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Washington State Pressed To Save Honey Bees By Restricting Pesticides

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:10 pm

For about seven years, many Western beekeepers have been plagued by unexplained die-offs in their hives. It happened recently to Mark Emrich.

"I was doing great until about five weeks ago," he says. "Then I came down and opened up the hives and I had five dead boxes of bees. That was a huge hit."

He lost one third of his production on his small farm near Olympia.

Read more
Air Traffic Controllers
3:54 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Control Towers At Smaller Northwest Airports Likely To Get Reprieve

Beth Redfield

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:18 pm

The White House says President Obama will sign a fast-tracked Congressional bill to end the furloughs of air traffic controllers. Operators of smaller Northwest airports hope the measure also stops the planned closure of their control towers.

As of now, more than a dozen of the less busy airport control towers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho remain on a list to be deactivated in early June. They're potential casualties of across-the-board federal budget cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Read more
Algae Blooms
6:08 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Lake Managers Get New Tool To Combat Algae

A crew from AquaTechnex applies Phoslock to Lake Lorene on Monday.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Nothing spoils a summer swim in your favorite lake like an algae bloom. These become more common as the weather warms up. Earlier this week, aquatic biologists treated a lake near Seattle with a new product to prevent toxic blooms.

Read more
Canadian Border
3:54 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

U.S. To Experiment With Cross-Border Cargo Truck Pre-Inspection In Canada

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 2:54 pm

The federal government announced a pilot project Wednesday to pre-inspect some trucks before they cross into the U.S. from Canada. That will have U.S. officers working on Canadian soil.

The ultimate goal is to reduce congestion and wait times at busy border crossings. Michelle James, U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director in Seattle, says Canada has agreed to allow U.S. officers to staff a new inspection booth amongst the cargo trucks queuing at the Pacific Highway crossing near Blaine, Washington.

Read more
Washington Unemployment
4:04 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Washington's Jobless Rate Dips To Four Year Low

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:51 pm

The unemployment rate in the state of Washington is falling again after being stuck in holding pattern for three months. The state Employment Security Department Wednesday pegged the jobless rate at 7.3 percent. That number for March is down .2 percent from February's rate.

State labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman says Washington's unemployment rate is at its lowest point in more than four years.

Read more
White Pages Delivery
4:53 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Washington Hangs Up On Mandatory Delivery Of White Pages

edkohler Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 4:28 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Utility regulators Tuesday ordered an end to the automatic delivery of White Pages phone books to Washington households. Legislation to do the same in Oregon hasn't gone anywhere.

For decades, Western states commonly required their local phone companies to deliver a phone book to each landline customer. But telecom companies contend most consumers no longer want a printed copy of the White Pages dropped on their doorsteps. So the three-member Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission voted unanimously to strike a blow against waste.

Read more
Columbia River Crossing
4:39 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Costly New Bridge Over Columbia River Spawns Ultimatum, Brinkmanship

Columbia River Crossing

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:39 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A costly new interstate highway bridge over the Columbia River is spurring brinkmanship in Olympia. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Democratic Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday to press state lawmakers to commit hundreds of millions dollars to the proposed new toll bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

Read more
Japanese War Flag
4:22 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Collector To Return Japanese War Flag Nearly 70 Years After Capture

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:14 pm


A collector of World War II memorabilia has succeeded in a daunting quest thanks to help from the Japanese government. The veteran from Clarkston, Washington has found the right person to receive a Japanese war flag taken in battle nearly 70 years ago.


Years ago, memorabilia collector George Koller bought an inscribed "good luck flag." It originally belonged to a Japanese fighter pilot killed in combat. Last year, Koller asked the Japanese consulate in Seattle for help to give the flag back.

Read more
Airport Control Towers
4:29 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Some Northwest Cities Explore Ways To Keep Airport Control Towers Open

Control towers at 13 small to medium sized airports across the Northwest are slated for closure by mid-June.
Credit Beth Redfield

Some Northwest cities and counties are exploring whether to use local or private money to keep their airport control towers open. By mid-June, the federal government plans to close the control towers at 13 small to medium sized airports across the region.

Read more

Pages