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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Unmanned Aircraft
5:55 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Civilian Drones Preparing For Takeoff Regionally With Sheriffs

Prioria business development executive David Wright demonstrates the Maveric UAS.
Photo Credit: Tom Banse Northwest News Network

TACOMA, Wash. - Get ready to spot a new kind of "bird" in the sky. Within the next month, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to green light the use of small unmanned aircraft by emergency services. Some sheriffs' departments in the Northwest are showing interest in these aircraft.

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Washingtonian Hunts for Earhardt
4:43 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Wash. Forensic Analyst Aids Search For Amelia Earhart

A forensic imaging specialist from Woodinville, Washington is lending his analytic skills to the latest search for the pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart. This analyst discovered a possible upturned landing gear in a historic photo of a tropical atoll. A two million dollar expedition to that South Pacific location takes place this summer.

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Olympic Track&Field Trials
4:21 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Olympic Track And Field Trials In Eugene Expected To Sell Out

Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Photo credit: Wolfram Burner/ Flickr Northwest News Network

PORTLAND – Organizers of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials say they’re on track for a sellout for the eight day event in Eugene. Single day event tickets go on sale Friday morning. University of Oregon associate athletic director Vin Lananna predicts they’ll disappear fast.

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Wolf Poaching
5:38 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Wash. Hunter Pleads Guilty To Wolf Poaching Conspiracy

Yearling wolf from the Lookout Pack in Okanogan County
Photo courtesy of Conservation Northwest

TWISP, Wash. -- A Twisp, Washington man has changed his plea to guilty in a high-profile federal wolf poaching case. As part of a plea agreement, the 62-year-old man will not go to prison. The lack of jail time greatly disappoints a conservation group. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on the story.

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Unemployment Benefits Shortened
5:09 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Extended Unemployment Benefits Ending In Wash. & Oregon

Federal Unemployment Rate 2002-2012
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Thousands of long-term unemployed workers in Washington and Oregon will no longer receive unemployment checks soon. The federal government won't pay for extended benefits anymore because the jobless rates have improved in both states.

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Small Fish
4:52 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Panel Recommends Harvest Cutbacks On Small, Schooling Fish

An international research panel recommends cutting in half the global harvest of small, schooling fish like sardines, anchovy and herring.

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Washington State Budget
4:07 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Gregoire Hopes For Wash. Budget Deal By Tuesday

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has put a compromise budget balancing proposal on the table in hopes of breaking the stalemate.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she has put a compromise budget balancing proposal on the table in hopes of breaking the stalemate at the state capital. Speaking to reporters Friday, she indicated bipartisan negotiations are making some progress, but calls the talks "tenuous." Gregoire declined to reveal any details about what is included in her spending blueprint.

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All Tech Considered
12:41 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Digital Technologies Give Dying Languages New Life

In an undated photo, members of the Siletz tribe gather for the Siletz Feather Dance in Newport, Ore. The tribe is using digital tools to help preserve its native language.
Courtesy of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 5:45 pm

There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.

Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.

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Rising Sea Levels
4:57 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Study: 17,500 NW Homes In Harm's Way From Rising Seas

Hey, where'd the beach go? "King tide" in Victoria, BC dramatizes a possible future.
Photo Credit: elaen_anit, Flickr Northwest News Network

Seventeen and a half thousand. That's how many Oregon and Washington homes could be inundated by rising seas caused by global warming over the next century. The number comes out a study by the research non-profit Climate Central and the University of Arizona.

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Sea Lion Killing
4:27 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Death Penalty Returns For Bonneville Sea Lions

California sea lion feasts on a salmon.
Photo courtesy of CRITFC Northwest News Network

The federal government has reauthorized the death penalty for the most troublesome California sea lions which congregate at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

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