Tom Banse

Regional Reporter

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" 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 beyond the reach of email.

The Idaho Transportation Department has suspended advertising for bids for future highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same.

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to rewrite the rules for when a native tribe is officially a tribe in the eyes of the federal government. This again raises hopes for status and federal benefits among some unrecognized tribes in the West, but they still face a bumpy road.

Imagine looking out your window to see a drone hovering outside. That happened in June to a partially-dressed Seattle woman who was startled and outraged.

Can two airlines be partners and rivals at the same time? Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are long-term contractual allies. But now the relationship is being tested.

"The Blob" was the title of a 1958 sci-fi horror movie. It's also the nickname Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond has given to a large patch of warmer-than-normal seawater off the Pacific Northwest coast.

The FBI is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of people who have aimed laser pointers at aircraft. Deliberate targeting of aircraft in flight has increased significantly in the last couple of years in the Northwest.

For centuries, Native Americans from Boise to Wenatchee to the southern Oregon coast have harvested Pacific lamprey, colloquially called eels. The ugly-looking critter resembles an eel, but it is actually a primitive fish with a distinctive, toothy suction cup mouth.

An engineering company based in Salem, Oregon, says it is close to deploying the first submerged wave power generator on the West Coast. M3 Wave Energy Systems plans a temporary deployment late this summer in shallow water off the northern Oregon Coast.

A new wave of suspected debris from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan is washing up on Northwest shores. The latest noteworthy object to arrive, a large skiff coated with sea life, was found Thursday near Moclips, Washington.

The supercomputers at the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures.

A 70-year-old Ilwaco, Washington, woman has been criminally charged for allegedly feeding bears at her house on Washington's Long Beach peninsula. It is believed to be the first time someone has been prosecuted under a relatively new law against feeding large wild carnivores.

It started with the discovery of long-forgotten gravestones in a thicket of bramble and alder. That set one author on the faint trail of a feisty Native American woman and oyster farmer who lived in 19th century western Washington.

Washington state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark repeated Monday that "It's still too early to tell" if there is a connection between logging and this spring's deadly landslide near Oso, Washington.

 Billy Frank Jr., a legendary champion of tribal treaty rights and Northwest salmon restoration, died Monday. He was 83 years old.

Scientists monitoring Mount St. Helens confirmed Wednesday that magma is on the rise and "re-pressurizing" the volcano in southwest Washington.

After 180 years, it is not too late to say thank you. That is what a Japanese delegation did last week as it retraced the history-making path of three  castaways to the Makah Indian Reservation on the Washington coast.

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

State wildlife officers trapped and killed six salmon-chomping sea lions at Bonneville Dam earlier this week.

Here's a surprising fact: the largest bitcoin "mine" in North America is located on the outskirts of Wenatchee, Wash.

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

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