Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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.  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.

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.

Ways to Connect

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Lewis Somers looked a bit like a prospector with his sun hat tipped back, eyes glued to the ground and tools strapped to his belt. Last week, you could have found him in the eastern Oregon town of John Day, pulling a ground-penetrating radar on a small sled back and forth across a gravel parking lot. Somers was prospecting, but not anything like the gold miners of old whose trail he followed.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Construction begins soon in eastern Oregon for the first commercial-scale "torrefaction" facility in the country. If you don't know what that word means, you're in good company. 

But the process itself isn't all that exotic. 

Tom Banse / NW News Network

You're forgiven if you missed the fact that Congress failed to renew the federal Farm Bill before the September 30 deadline. But people in farm country around the Pacific Northwest noticed.

Amanda Lafferty

A Western Washington chapter of the Boy Scouts is preparing to welcome girls to scouting with a "boot camp" just for teenage girls this coming weekend.

The idea behind the two-night campout is to familiarize girls with scouting skills and prepare them for leadership. As of next year, the Boy Scouts will establish separate all-female and all-male troops.

Olympic National Park video

The eye-catching scenes of mountain goats flying through the air under helicopters, riding in refrigerated trucks and taking ferries to new homes are done for the year. Roundups and relocations of non-native Olympic National Park goats will resume next year.

Northwest Cherry Growers

Retaliatory tariffs levied by China on U.S. goods are taking a toll on Pacific Northwest farm exports. Details about cancelled orders came out Wednesday at a state Senate committee hearing in Seattle.

WSDOT

Deer have already begun using an unfinished wildlife bridge over Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass. The Washington State Department of Transportation on Monday celebrated the opening of a section of widened freeway there. The new overcrossing is expected to reduce frightening animal-vehicle collisions.

Andrew Choy / Wikimedia Commons

Hackers are using various forms of digital skullduggery to steal frequent flyer miles from customers of Delta, Alaska and other airlines. The thieves then resell the miles on the dark web.

Wikimedia

In the last few years, rock-bottom electricity rates have attracted bitcoin miners and other virtual currency entrepreneurs to central Washington state. But in Chelan and Grant counties, that lure may be on the wane because of looming power price hikes.


Tom Banse / NW News Network

The Chinese government announced on Tuesday that it would impose tariffs on $60 billion more of U.S. exports. This widens the range of Pacific Northwest companies caught in the trade crossfire.

Pages