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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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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Undecided on Syria
4:12 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Wash. Lawmakers Mostly Holding Their Fire on Syria Vote

Members of Congress from Washington state are mostly undecided ahead of an expected vote next week to authorize military force against Syria.

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startup spotlight
7:01 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Startup with New Business Model Pitches Cheaper Sewage Treatment

Blue Array co-owners James Reilly and Victoria Jelderks at the Vader sewage treatment plant.
Tom Banse

A startup company based in Vancouver, Washington is looking to upend the sewage treatment business.

There are literally dozens of small Northwest cities wringing their hands, trying to figure out how to add treatment capacity for growth, or simply update aging and failing infrastructure. This startup, named Blue Array, proposes to give interested cities and their ratepayers a treatment system for free with a service contract.

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one for all
1:04 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Beacon Food Forest: Edible Public Forest Takes Root in Seattle

A public food forest is taking root in Seattle. Over the past year, volunteers have been clearing grass next to a city park and planting all manner of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and vegetables for the Beacon Food Forest.

What's different here is that the eventual bounty will be open for anyone to forage. It's a social experiment. Can respect and sharing triumph over hunger and greed in the edible arboretum?

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threatened species
11:42 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Feds Delay Controversial Decision on Pocket Gopher Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is postponing a controversial decision on whether to list the Mazama pocket gopher as a threatened species in the South Puget Sound area.

Washington State manager Ken Berg says his agency wants six additional months to consider input from upset landowners and affected counties. Berg says farmers and ranchers in Thurston County claim there are more pocket gophers than the government realizes and that they can co-exist with human activity.

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Cascadia fault zone
5:11 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Research Cruise Reveals New Findings about Megaquake Fault

Launching the ROV Jason, the unmanned minisub which deployed heat flow sensors and probes on the seafloor.
Courtesy of Cascadia Advective Conductive Heat Expedition (CACHE)

It's been a busy summer on the high seas for researchers trying to figure out the inner workings of an ominous earthquake fault.

The Cascadia subduction zone runs offshore from Vancouver Island to Northern California. When it rips, we could have a magnitude-9.0 catastrophe. 

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sequester
2:59 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Forest Maintenance Projects Cut Back Due to Budget Clawback

Olympic National Forest
GD Taber Flickr

Remember the sequester? The dust is finally settling and the consequences becoming real for a program in the U.S. Forest Service that sends money to timber counties.

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