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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Coal Terminal
6:10 pm
Tue January 4, 2011

Montana governor presses state to okay coal shipments

The coal export terminal would utilize the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter property in Longview, WA
Tom Banse N3

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is trying to clear the way for coal exports through the Pacific Northwest. He’s worried Washington state will block a proposed Columbia River shipping terminal for Montana and Wyoming coal. Schweitzer is making a hastily scheduled trip to southwest Washington Wednesday.

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Law
6:38 pm
Wed December 29, 2010

Tax hikes take effect in Washington January 1st

In the new year, Washington state is raising taxes. But you'll need sharp eyes to notice where.  Lawmakers have hiked and expanded a telephone tax to support 911 service.

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Climate Research
2:47 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Coastal fog not following climate change script

A fog shrouds a Washington coast highway in 2008.
Flickr/Ravenelle

Ever had a summer beach vacation chilled by dense fog? Then you might be interested in new research at the University of Washington. A scientist there is looking at how fogginess along the coast has changed over time. 

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Nuclear Energy
5:22 am
Thu December 23, 2010

Rezone plans for commercial nuke plant halted

Proposed future site of AEHI's nuclear reactor
AEHI

Rezone plans for a commercial nuclear plant near the Oregon-Idaho border are on hold. Payette County, Idaho Commissioners took the action after the plant’s developer was accused of running a stock scam.

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Winter Sports
7:42 am
Wed December 22, 2010

Homeowners resurrect ski season at Northwest resort

Skiiers enjoy opening day at Tamarack Resort.
Tom Banse N3

Idaho’s Tamarack Resort is once again alive with skiers and snowboarders. But the happy scene didn’t come easy.

Tamarack is one of the most glaring casualties in the region from the bursting of the real estate bubble. Homeowners at the bankrupt resort are bootstrapping the once heralded ski area back into business.

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Politics
5:58 am
Wed December 22, 2010

Cheers erupt in Olympia with news of new Congress seat

Washington picked up a new House seat as a result of the 2010 Census.
US Census

There were celebrations in Olympia when news broke Tuesday that Washington state will get an additional member of Congress as a result of the 2010 Census. 

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Politics
6:15 am
Mon December 20, 2010

Washington may gain Congressional seat with unveiling of census data

The state's current congressional district alignment of nine seats. Will Washington add a tenth? Census data coming Tuesday will tell.
Courtesy Washington Secretary of State's Office

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census releases the first numbers from the 2010 population count. The first round of data will be used to reallocate Congressional seats among the states.

Top line numbers will be released tomorrow for the nation as a whole and for individual states. That’s all the info you need to redistribute proportionally the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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Nissan Leaf arrives in the Northwest
4:07 pm
Fri December 17, 2010

First Nissan electric car delivered in Pacific Northwest

Nissan Leaf
Nissanusa.com

The debating and waiting can now take a back seat.  Here comes the real world test whether Northwest drivers will embrace electric vehicles.  Carmaker Nissan has made the first customer delivery in the region of its fully-electric Nissan Leaf model.

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Satsop Nuclear Plant
3:44 pm
Fri December 17, 2010

Acoustic lab is right at home in a former nuclear reactor

Satsop Development Park took over the abandoned Satsop nuclear plant near Elma, WA.
Tom Banse N3

Most drivers passing by the twin cooling towers looming over the forest near Elma, Washington probably don’t think to themselves, when can I move in?  But that was exactly the thought audio engineer Ron Sauro had.

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Northwest Entrepreneurs
9:12 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Slow Money: Pairing investors with food businesses

Liquid investment dividends? Investors are making connections that benefit local farmers.
Tom Banse N3

Forget Wall Street. One way some well-off Northwesterners avoided steep losses in the stock market in recent years was by making unusual alternative investments: in small farms and food businesses. These “angel investors” are organizing loose networks to match their money with cash-hungry local producers. Think of it as slow-food meets slow money.

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Arts & Culture
7:10 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Festival preserves legacy of Washington native Bing Crosby

Tacoma-born Bing Crosby was raised in Spokane. Crosby was the state's most famous export for decades. He's pictured here in a 1958 recording session.
AP

There are certain songs and films that are so ubiquitous they just scream the holidays are here. Some feature a legendary Washington native, Bing Crosby. The Christmases he used to know were in Spokane. This weekend the city hosts the Bing Crosby Film Festival, featuring “White Christmas” and “Road to Morocco.” But an equally strong draw is the promise of long-lost footage showing other dimensions of the Hollywood star.

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Forest-To-Table
8:26 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Forest-to-Table is latest twist on “Eat Local” movement

Carol Wick contemplates the possibilities for her woodlot near Enumclaw
Tom Banse N3

One of the catch phrases of the local food movement is “farm-to-table” -- eating food grown nearby. Now small forest owners want to join the local food party. And no, they’re not talking about feeding you sawdust. Instead, local forest products include edible mushrooms, berries, and a salad green called miner’s lettuce. 

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State Budget Crisis
7:28 am
Thu December 2, 2010

Candy, soda and bottled water tax goes away today

Chris Shook, a driver with Harbor Pacific Bottling Inc., makes a delivery of soda and water in Elma, Wash.
Ted Warren AP Photo

Washington’s sales tax on candy, soda and bottled water goes away today. Some candy and chocolate stores are bracing for a surge in business from corporate gift purchases that have been delayed until now to avoid the tax.

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Budget Cuts
9:12 am
Tue November 30, 2010

Governor anxious to whack state budget further

Governor Chris Gregoire wants an agreement from Republican and Democratic lawmakers on a package of immediate cuts to the state's budget by the end of this week.

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Honoring the Fallen
4:55 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Hundreds attend dedication for fallen Lakewood officers memorial

Lakewood Police Officer Scott Novasky, left, and others stand on Monday at a memorial in Lakewood.
Ted S. Warren AP

Hundreds of people attended today's dedication of a memorial to four Lakewood, police officers who were shot to death.


An Arkansas parolee, Maurice Clemmons, gunned down the officers at a local coffee shop one year ago today.  Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar told the crowd that community support has sustained his department over this past difficult year.

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