Tom Banse

Regional Reporter

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.

There's a process in place now for Indian tribes and the state of Washington to jointly regulate marijuana should any tribes choose to legalize and sell it.

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel.

Pouches of alcohol in granular or powder form will not appear in Washington stores, nor at this rate in Oregon either.

Of all the things you're considering for your next meal today, bugs are probably not on the menu.

Hut-to-hut or village-to-village trekking is a popular vacation pursuit in regions as diverse as Europe, New Zealand, the Himalayas and Vietnam.

Spring planting season is coming early this year for a lot of home gardeners. And this year some Pacific Northwest nurseries are getting familiar with the flavors of the Caribbean.

Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

You know the beautiful, mass-produced tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store? You can drop one and it'll bounce back unharmed, but doesn't taste like much.

Now in greenhouses, small farms and research plots across the Pacific Northwest there's a flavor renaissance afoot. Conventional breeding is being used to create tastier and more colorful veggies.

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered statewide mandatory water saving measures Wednesday. Water managers are preparing for drought in Oregon and Washington state as well.

Some aging veterans of World War II are embarking on one more mission. The object is to return Japanese flags taken as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields.

The daffodils and tulips are up and so are hungry black bears. Our unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.

Oregon and Washington lawmakers flinched within hours of each other Wednesday when it came to toughening mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

Have electric cars been on the market long enough to stand on their own without public subsidies?

Some Oregon and Washington legislators want to end the yearly practice of springing forward and falling back.

It's been a tough winter so far for many Cascade Mountains ski resorts. Five in Oregon and Washington have suspended operations until they get more snow.

Workers at the Summit at Snoqualmie are even gathering snow from parking lots and building edges and moving it uphill to keep a few runs open.

Nationally, the Pacific Northwest stands out for its low reliance on snowmaking, but that may change.

A ‘lifesaver’ for the resort

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

On the original "Star Trek" series, landing parties from the starship Enterprise used a versatile device they called the Tricorder to instantly read out what was in their surroundings.

Hemp advocates have launched a renewed bid to make hemp farming lawful in Washington state.

A pair of experienced long distance hikers are more than halfway through a full traverse of the Pacific Crest Trail - in the dead of winter.

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