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.

The Northwest contribution to the U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound too.

It's looking more and more like Northwest athletes will be unusually well represented at the Winter Olympics in Russia next month. The U.S. Olympic Nordic team was named Wednesday.

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there.

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start mere days later.

Oregon regulators moved this week to make it easier for truck fleet owners to convert from gasoline or diesel to natural gas. 

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved an unusual way for prospective immigrants to earn a U.S. green card and permanent residency.

A young man from the Northwest with a famous last name hopes to make his Olympic debut in a new medal event at the 2014 Games in Sochi - freestyle skiing in the halfpipe.

As snowboarders, skiers and skaters finish their qualifying events to get to the Winter Olympics next month, cross-country skiing siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen are waiting to find out if their special edge — each other — will get them both to the games.

Sadie has secured a spot on the Nordic team based on her good season; for Erik, the next two weeks will be the clincher.

Athletes headed to next month's Winter Olympics in Russia can be expected to leverage any advantage that nature or nurture provides: Experience, a bigger body, or a higher tolerance for pain.

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest.

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

Washington and other Pacific Coast states set up tsunami debris reporting hotlines in the wake of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

Trucking fleet operators in the Northwest are showing growing interest in filling up with natural gas instead of diesel.

Timber industry and environmental groups will make a stab at collaboration to boost both logging and habitat restoration in the Olympic National Forest.

Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

  A passel of daredevils aims to succeed where the king of stunt performers once famously failed.  They want to attempt Evel Knievel's jump over the Snake River Canyon.  But first, one of the modern stuntmen has to secure the rights to both a launch and a landing spot on opposite sides of the canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. That has the potential for another wreck in the making... a bureaucratic one.  

Hotline calls and emails to report suspected Japanese tsunami debris have gone way down this year. But West Coast states are still keeping their guard up in case another wave of flotsam from the 2011 disaster washes up on our shores.

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

An Army Reservist will collect back pay from an Everett, Wash. company accused of violating his reemployment rights.