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.

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.

You've probably heard this phrase before when discussing a messy relationship: "It's complicated." Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines.

Even though we have had clear skies this week, chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live.

An eco-saboteur charged in a fire-bombing spree that spanned the American West changed her plea in federal court on Thursday.  Rebecca Rubin pled guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. 

Rubin is now 40 years old. When she was in her twenties, she joined a cell of radical environmentalists loosely affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Federal investigators blame the shadowy cell for around 20 arsons spanning five Western states. The attacks happened between 1996 and 2001.

  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 National Park Service Thursday tried to sort out confusion among motorists about the extent of the partial government shutdown: State highways crossing federal land remain open to thru traffic.

The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.

Wildfire season is not over yet, despite the widespread rains of the last couple weeks.

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