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.

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Spring Weather
4:17 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Spring Outlook Looks Warm For Coastal Northwest, 'Normal' Spring Inland

The National Weather Service's outlook calls for above-normal temperatures along the West Coast.
Credit NOAA Climate Prediction Center

On this first day of spring, we get a seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service. It calls for a warmer-than-average spring west of the Cascades and normal temperatures and rainfall across the inland Northwest. There's also no let-up seen for drought conditions in California, and parts of Oregon and southwest Idaho. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

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Jobless Rate
4:52 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Unemployment Holds Steady In Washington In Feb., Dips In Oregon

Credit Washington Employment Security Department

    

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.4 percent. The Employment Department Wednesday released fresh monthly stats covering February. State labor economist Paul Turek says an economy in growth mode is luring discouraged job seekers off the sidelines and swelling the labor pool.

"The labor market was able to sufficiently absorb the new numbers that entered into the labor force in terms of providing some jobs for them. So it is positive even though the unemployment rate did not drop and stayed constant," said Turek.

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Grand Coulee Salmon
6:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Credit Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, there at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.  Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. 

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Seattle Olympian
5:58 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Persevering Olympian Finds 'Life Changing' Welcome In Peru

Peruvians surround Olympian Roberto Carcelen at the national soccer stadium in Lima after he delivered a pep talk.
Roberto Carcelen

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Despite finishing dead last in his race in Sochi, a Peruvian-American Olympic cross country skier is looking forward to a big welcome when he returns home to Seattle this weekend.

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Tsunami Debris
4:49 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Three Years Later, Where Did Japanese Tsunami Debris Go?

File photo of a fishing skiff found on the Washington coast in May 2013.
Eyewitness photo Wash. Marine Debris Task Force

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:26 pm

It's been exactly three years since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea.

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Paralympics
3:58 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Five Athletes With Northwest Ties In Sochi For Paralympic Winter Games

Paralyzed veteran Sean Halsted trained for Sochi in Sun Valley last winter.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 8:57 pm

American and European politicians are boycotting the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to protest Russian moves in Ukraine. But athletes with physical disabilities from Idaho, Oregon and Washington plan to compete in the Olympic host city as scheduled starting this weekend.

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Sochi Games
6:40 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Northwest Athletes' Medal Haul In Sochi: Three Gold, Two Silver

Northwest athletes won medals in snowboarding, women's hockey, and short track speedskating.
Tom Banse

Athletes with ties to the Northwest won three gold and two silver medals at the Winter Olympics that just wrapped up in Sochi, Russia. If Idaho, Oregon and Washington were a separate country, we'd be right behind Poland and tied with Finland on the medal table.

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2014 Winter Olympics
5:16 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

How They Fared: Northwest Olympians Bring Home Silver & Gold

Fans watch Olympic alpine skiing action at the Rosa Khutor venue.
Sarah Brunson U.S. Ski Team

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 3:34 pm

Short track speedskater J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Wash., led Team USA to a silver medal in the men's 5000-meter relay Friday, ending a medal drought in the discipline for the Americans. Russia took the gold.

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2014 Winter Olympics
4:48 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Northwest Claims Another Medal, But It Comes In Heartbreaking Hockey Loss

Hilary Knight of Sun Valley
SaraMelikian Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 3:50 pm

More Olympic hardware is coming home to the Northwest, but it comes via a heartbreaking loss. 

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Evel Knievel Reenactment
6:51 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Evel Knievel Jump Reenactment Raises Questions

Replica of the one-person, steam-powered “Skycycle X-2” Evel Knievel used in 1974.

A proposal to re-enact and complete a failed jump by legendary stuntman Evel Knievel prompted lots of sticky questions at an open house near Twin Falls, Idaho Wednesday night. Neighboring property owners and local police and fire officials peppered the event promoter with concerns during a packed public meeting.

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