Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse, KPLU’s and N3’s Regional Correspondent, roves the Northwest to report on broad themes and telling details. His topics run the gamut from business to the environment and human interest. Home base is in Olympia, a legacy of a previously held state government beat from 1991-2003. Although he grew up in Seattle, Tom's radio career began by chance in Minnesota at Carleton College’s student radio station. Tom's memorable moment in public radio: "I am indebted to many people for tips and tutelage, but certainly some of the bluntest -- at times unprintable -- guidance came from NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg. I interned at NPR in 1989 and was privileged to keep Nina's chair warm at the U-S Supreme Court or at the high-octane Iran-Contra trial of Oliver North, wherever she wasn't at the time. Heady stuff for a tenderfoot reporter."

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The Fish patrol
12:04 pm
Mon October 24, 2011

Fish fraud police: Are you getting what you pay for?

WDFW Officer Erik Olson inspects a seafood market for mislabeled fish.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

SEATTLE – Some seafood sold in the Northwest isn't what it seems.

Mislabeled fish is more common than you might think according to the few cops trying to make sure you get the species you paid for. Now those who are on patrol are looking for higher penalties to deter fish cheaters.

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Tsunami debris
2:59 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Japanese tsunami debris tracked, drifting very slowly our way

SEATTLE – The Japanese tsunami back in March washed millions of tons of debris out to sea, and winds and currents are pushing it very slowly across the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists tracking the flotsam have new evidence that it does not pose a radiological threat despite the Japanese nuclear disaster that followed the tsunami.

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Sockeye Salmon
1:27 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Update: Senator Cantwell calls for investigation into salmon virus

Sockeye salmon populations are facing a new challenge.
Flickr

Federal fisheries scientists plan to survey Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waters to determine if a harmful European fish virus has spread here.

And now, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and two senators from Alaska are calling for an investigation into the spread of the virus striking Canadian salmon.

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Homeland Security
9:32 am
Wed October 12, 2011

Feds try to tamp down fears of fence on northern border

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The U.S. government is considering whether to build short segments of fencing along the northern border with Canada. But the fences won’t stretch very far.

That’s what a U.S. Customs and Border Protection planner told a small audience gathered in Bellingham Tuesday night.

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Union unrest
4:54 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Longshore union to appeal judge’s $250,000 fine

TACOMA, Wash. – A Longshore union says it plans to appeal a federal judge's quarter-million dollar fine for its tactics in a Longview labor dispute.

Friday, lawyers on various sides of the case argued first about that punishment for a clash in early September. Later, the judge took up the heart of the matter. .

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton found the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in contempt of court for blocking a train and storming a grain terminal about three weeks ago. He's now fined the union $250,000.

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Italy trial
3:13 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Seattle vigil for Amanda Knox supporters ends ecstatically

Supporters of Amanda Knox react as they watch a television news broadcast about her appeal verdict as they sit in a hotel suite in downtown Seattle on Monday.
Associated Press

SEATTLE – Hometown friends and supporters of Amanda Knox kept an early morning vigil at a Seattle hotel while awaiting the verdict from Italy. The group of about a dozen burst into applause and cheers when they got word that the murder charge against Knox was overturned.

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Columbia River Dams
10:06 am
Thu September 29, 2011

U.S., Canada ponder new terms for shared Columbia River

Mica Dam was completed north of Revelstoke, B.C., in 1973 to store spring and summer runoff on the Columbia River. It also generates power for BC Hydro.
DAR56 Wikimedia commons

Your power bill could be cheaper if the U.S. didn't send so much electricity north of the border every year. Canada lays claim to around $300 million worth of hydropower annually under the terms of a 50-year-old treaty.

In return, the Canadians manage the upper Columbia River to prevent downstream flooding and to optimize power production. The Columbia River Treaty can be renegotiated soon and there are voices on both sides of the border clamoring for a better deal.

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Demographics
9:10 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Census: Thousands of same-sex married couples in NW

Population distribution in 2010.
U.S. Census Bureau

About 5,500 same-sex couples in the Northwest checked the box to be counted as married in the 2010 Census. Neither Washington, Oregon nor Idaho recognizes same-sex marriages.

A new Census Bureau report says the number of same-sex couples who identify themselves as married greatly exceeds the number of marriage licenses issued by states that legalized such unions.

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Rail safety
9:04 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Main rail line south of Chehalis examined for tampering

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Sheriff's deputies and BNSF railroad police are investigating what they say are about a dozen instances of possible tampering with the tracks in southwest Washington. BNSF officials declined to make any connection with an ongoing labor dispute in Longview.

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Sins of the explorer
3:32 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Capt. Clark's descendants make amends for stolen canoe

It took a dozen men to lift the Chinook canoe at the boat builder's shop earlier this year. The canoe will replace the one stolen by William Clark during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Laura McCallum

It's never too late to make amends. That could be the moral of a story unfolding Saturday near the mouth of the Columbia River. Descendants of explorer William Clark will replace a canoe stolen by the Lewis and Clark Expedition from a local tribe more than two centuries ago.

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Budget crisis
5:32 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Washington state agencies propose more 'painful' program cuts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state agencies are putting entire programs on the chopping block – including $65 million from UW and WSU – to satisfy a request by the governor for more budget savings.

On Thursday, Governor Chris Gregoire notified state lawmakers that she will call them back to Olympia on November 28th for a special budget cutting session to make the cuts.

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Flu shots
10:09 am
Thu September 22, 2011

Needle-free flu shots available for needle phobes

Autumn officially starts on Friday and that means flu season is close behind. The CDC recommends everyone get a flu shot. This year, a suburban Portland company is promoting a needle-free vaccine for people with needle phobia.

Tualatin, Oregon-based Bioject Medical Technologies makes a vaccine injector powered by a CO2 cartridge. Bioject president Ralph Makar says the way it works is a burst of pressure creates a tiny opening in the skin.

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Crime
4:13 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

FBI: Violent crime continues to decline in Northwest

Alan Cleaver Flickr

The FBI says violent crime dropped 6 percent nationwide in 2010. Northwest states are following that same trend, but see less improvement when it comes to property crime rates.

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Quileute Indian Reservation
10:19 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Tribe renews plea for land to move kids out of tsunami zone

All of La Push’s lower village is in the tsunami inundation zone.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

An Indian tribe on the Washington Coast on Thursday renewed its plea to Congress to expand its tiny reservation onto higher ground. Quileute tribal leaders previously traveled to the nation's capital after the devastating Japanese tsunami in March.

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Business
2:07 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Wash. unemployment unchanged in August

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The unemployment rate held steady at 9-point-3 percent in Washington state in August. The state Employment Department released fresh jobs numbers Wednesday, a day after Oregon reported a slight uptick in its unemployment rate. Now it's at 9-point-6 percent.

In Washington, Employment Department chief economist Dave Wallace says the private sector statewide has added jobs for twelve months in a row now. But he says jobs need to be added at a faster pace to chip away at the unemployment rate.

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