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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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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Gas Thefts
8:19 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Gasoline thefts plague some fleet owners

In Olympia, Sergey Kazanchev, manager of the Budget Truck Rental agency, examines the repair on a fuel line sliced by a thief.
Tom Banse N3

Yet, some rental companies and fleet owners say they’re being persistently and repeatedly hit by gas thieves. Some of the victims believe a syndicate must be at work, but police are not so sure.

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The Cascades
10:36 pm
Wed November 24, 2010

Wildlife sightings wanted from I-90 drivers

The I-90 Wildlife Watch website offers a way to report any wildlife you see while crossing the Cascades over Snoqualmie Pass. It's a multi-agency, multi-state effort that asks you keep your eyes open for animals along the road.
I-90WildlifeWatch.org

Wildlife researchers are asking holiday travelers to keep an eye out for something more than grandmother’s house. The request is specifically for people driving over the hills and through the woods on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, the Northwest’s busiest mountain pass.

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Ski Season
11:02 am
Tue November 23, 2010

Early snow means timely ski season opener

Opening day of ski season at Mount Baker
Courtesy of Mt. Baker Ski Area.

For the region’s ski areas, this week’s snowfall may be too much of a good thing. More ski lifts are starting up soon, but lowland snow (in Portland, the Seattle area, etc.) could keep urban skiers at home. 

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Clean Energy
3:53 pm
Fri November 19, 2010

Ocean energy ideas proliferate

Rendering of a floating offshore wind farm.
Courtesy of Principle Power, Inc.

Ideas for harnessing the power of the Pacific Ocean to create clean energy are proliferating.  The rush of creativity is creating a flood of visits by electric engineers to coastal communities.

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Coal Exports
7:40 am
Wed November 17, 2010

Coal export terminal plan draws fire

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

Plans for a coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Longview are coming under fire from environmental groups. Many of them showed up at a Cowlitz County commission hearing  on Tuesday.


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State Ferry System
11:22 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Newest state ferry in service today

The Chetzemoka at her official first voyage on Sunday. It's the state's newest ferry, carrying 64 cars.
Beth Redfield photo.

The first new car ferry in Washington State in more than a decade enters scheduled service in Port Townsend this morning.  The Chetzemoka (pronounced CHET-za-MOCH-ah) was christened Sunday.

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Northwest Salmon
8:57 am
Fri November 12, 2010

Task Force: Kill more Columbia River sea lions

This May 2010 photo shows a sea lion tossing a partially eaten salmon in the Columbia River near the Bonneville Dam. Should more sea lions be killed to protect salmon runs? A new study says that's what should happen.
AP

A task force convened by the federal government is recommending that wildlife agents get more aggressive about trapping and killing sea lions in the Columbia River.

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Washington State Legislature
5:13 pm
Fri November 5, 2010

Liquor privatization defeated? Not so, says lawmaker

The latest count of election ballots show both propositions to get Washington state out of the liquor business have failed. But the issue is not going away. A new privatization proposal has surfaced in Olympia on the heels of those defeats.

A state senator from Mason County says he wants to take another run at ending Washington state's monopoly on liquor distribution and sales. Democrat Tim Sheldon claims the election defeat of both liquor initiatives was not a vote for the status quo.
 

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