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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hiring scandal
5:21 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Fixing Bonneville Power Hiring Mess a 'Monumental' Task

A final report by the inspector general released Tuesday condemns the Bonneville Power Administration for discriminating against veterans and other applicants during jobs hires. 

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government shutdown
4:24 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Federal Shutdown Could Foul Up Duck-Hunting Season

File image
Danny Johnston AP Photo

The partial government shutdown is highlighting all the different ways our lives intersect with the federal government. One category of affected people you might not think of is hunters. The shutdown has closed off some prime hunting grounds on the eve of duck season.

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government shutdown
11:15 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Sows Confusion among Drivers, Workers

Mount Rainier
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The partial government shutdown has some in Washington wondering what's open, and what's not.  The National Park Service is working to sort out confusion among drivers as state officials are advising workers seeking unemployment benefits.

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government shutdown
10:28 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutting National Parks No Fun for Rangers or Visitors

Tom Banse

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are rippling across the Northwest. About 1,000 federally-funded Oregon National Guard members received furlough notices Tuesday, as did 850 Washington National Guardsmen and another 850 from Idaho.

Meanwhile, guests at hotels and campgrounds inside national parks have been told to leave by Thursday.

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Pet safety
4:37 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Bumper Salmon Runs Pose Danger for Dogs

File image
Jim Cole AP Photo

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. But as fish move upstream to spawn, danger lurks for dogs.

Dr. Scott Capsey had his first encounter with "salmon poisoning" years before he became a vet. His family's normally exuberant golden retriever mysteriously turned lethargic, had diarrhea and lots of vomiting.

"They didn't know if she was going to make it. I remember that conversation,” Capsey said.

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oil transportation
2:08 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Officials: More Spill Response Capacity for Oil Trains Needed

The rapid rise in crude oil shipping by rail means Northwest states need to bulk up their oil spill response capacity. That's according to members of a task force of Pacific states and British Columbia which met in Seattle Wednesday.

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Telemedicine
2:51 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Virtual Urgent Care: The Doctor Will Skype You Now

Colehour and Cohen

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:04 pm

Telemedicine is rising to new levels of accessibility thanks to the increasing prevalence of smartphones, tablets and webcam equipped computers.

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lahar danger
5:59 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Colombians Urge Northwesterners to Appreciate Lahar Danger

Armero, Colombia was destroyed by a lahar on November 13, 1985.
USGS photo by R.J. Janda

Visiting scientists from the country of Colombia have a warning for people living in the valleys below our Northwest volcanoes: Get educated about a rare but dangerous phenomenon called a "lahar.”

That’s the advice delivered to an attentive crowd in Puyallup Thursday night.

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state unemployment
7:30 am
Thu September 19, 2013

State Jobless Rate Hews Closest to National Trend During Recovery

The unemployment rate in Washington state edged up slightly in August to an even 7 percent as hiring slowed, according to new numbers released Wednesday from the state Employment Department.

The latest figures follow a surprising trend: Washington's jobless numbers hew closer to the national rate than any other state over recent years.

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washington state ferries
6:56 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Ferry Captain and Second Mate Placed on Leave after Collision

The MV Hyak in Upright Channel, in between Lopez Island and Shaw Island.
Compdude123 Wikimedia Commons

Washington State Ferries has relieved a captain and a second mate of their duties following an accident in the San Juan Islands. Last Friday, a large ferry collided with a sailboat, sinking that much smaller craft.

A spokeswoman for the state ferry system says the captain and second mate of the ferry Hyak have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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foreign investors
1:08 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Investor Visa Proves Popular with Lawmakers, but Outside Control

American Life, Inc. President Greg Steinhauer testifies to the Washington State Legislative Committee on Economic Development & International Relations.
Tom Banse

Legislators in Washington state are showing enthusiasm for a federal immigration program that gives green cards to wealthy foreign investors. But state officials discovered during a workshop on Friday that the options for expanding foreign investment in this way are largely outside their control. 

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Environment
4:41 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ouch! Yellow Jackets Having 'Banner Year' in Northwest

GeorgiaOnMyMind Flickr

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? You're not alone. It has been a banner year for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

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rent-a-driveway
4:31 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Websites Help You Rent Out Your Driveway

This screen grab was taken from parkatmyhouse.com.

First there was Craigslist. Then more specialized websites arrived to make it easier to rent out your spare bedroom, vacation home, or even your car.

Now, a new category catching on the Northwest allows drivers to reserve a parking spot in someone else's driveway.

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port of tacoma
5:16 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Planned Crude-by-Rail Terminal in Tacoma Scrapped

Port of Tacoma
vidaarctique Flickr

A fuel terminal developer has unexpectedly scrapped a project at the Port of Tacoma. It was intended to receive crude oil by rail. The reasons for the cancellation are murky.

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path less paddled
1:03 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Port Townsend Wooden Kayak Company a Profile of Perseverance

Pygmy Boats owner John Lockwood with his newest creation, a model named "The Freya" after his daughter.
Tom Banse

One of the biggest festivals in the nation celebrating wooden boats is taking place in Port Townsend, Washington this weekend.

Amidst the sea of gleaming decks and varnished wood, you can find of flotilla of sprightly wooden kayaks. The local business that produces the wooden boat kits is paddling against a tide of fiberglass and plastic.

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