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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2014 Winter Olympics
5:09 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Bend Ski Coach Guides Caribbean Island To First Winter Games

Gary and Angelica Morrone di Silvestri will be skiing for Dominica in Sochi.
Gay Di Silvestri

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:25 am

The Northwest contribution to the U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound too.

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Washington Unemployment
4:19 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Unemployment Rate In Washington Lowest In More Than 5 Years

The unemployment rate in Washington state has fallen to the lowest level in five years.

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:58 pm

New numbers for December from the Washington state employment department peg the current jobless rate at 6.6 percent. The last time it was lower was in November 2008.

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2014 Winter Olympics
7:01 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Want To Know How To Make Snow? Ask This Guy

Wenatchee's Jon Wax climbs a snow making tower to perform maintenance ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. In the background is the finish line for downhill ski racing at the Rosa Khutor venue.
Credit Sam Morrison

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there. This Wenatchee man arrived at the Russian resort zone nearly two months ago to help ensure a snow-covered Olympics.

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Natural Gas Filling Station
5:42 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Portland Utility To Install Natural Gas Truck Filling Stations

One of the few public CNG fueling stations now in operation in the Northwest is near SeaTac Airport.
Tom Banse

Oregon regulators moved this week to make it easier for truck fleet owners to convert from gasoline or diesel to natural gas. Portland-based Northwest Natural became the first utility in the region to get clearance to build compressed natural gas filling stations.

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Fish Research
4:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Researchers Detect and 'Count' Fish From Just A Glass Of Water

Study co-author Kevan Yamahara collects a water sample at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Jesse Port Center for Ocean Solutions

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:55 pm

It's not something we often think about, but as we go about daily life, we're constantly shedding little flakes of skin. So are animals and fish.

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Winter Olympics
4:15 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Northwest Ski Towns Stock Olympic Teams Well Beyond USA

Both Olympic hopefuls racing for the U.S. Virgin Islands have Sun Valley ties. Jasmine Campbell (on left) is most likely to receive the one slot in Sochi allocated to the U.S territory. Sun Valley Ski Academy graduate (2013) Veronica Gaspar on right.
John Campbell

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:32 am

Next month, Sochi, Russia will host athletes from more than 85 nations at the Winter Olympics. Some of those countries might surprise you. They get no snow or have no mountains.

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Green Cards
4:07 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Immigrant Investors Could Finance Green Trucks For Green Cards

Paul Jerry Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:46 am

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved an unusual way for prospective immigrants to earn a U.S. green card and permanent residency.

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Sports
2:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Skiing Siblings Hope To Make It To Sochi, Together

Sadie Bjornsen in the 2013 Nordic World Championships at Val di Fiemme, Italy. She is on the U.S. Olympic team.
Sarah Brunson U.S. Ski Team

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:03 pm

As snowboarders, skiers and skaters finish their qualifying events to get to the Winter Olympics next month, cross-country skiing siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen are waiting to find out if their special edge — each other — will get them both to the games.

Sadie has secured a spot on the Nordic team based on her good season; for Erik, the next two weeks will be the clincher.

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2014 Olympics
4:15 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

January Full Of Excitement, Stress For Northwest Olympic Hopefuls

Slalom specialist Hailey Duke of Sun Valley
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:15 pm

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest.

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Washington Unemployment
4:51 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Washington Unemployment Drops, But Economic Weaknesses Remain

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:45 pm

The unemployment rate in Washington dropped a notch in November.

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