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.

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Andrea Booher / FEMA News Photo

Fewer than one in five homeowners in the West carry earthquake insurance, according to an insurance industry survey. That would set back our region's recovery if the Big One were to hit tomorrow.

Now both Oregon and Washington state are looking to California for a possible solution to get their numbers up.

Phyllis Fletcher / Northwest News Network

For the first time since 1983, there will be no statewide initiatives on the November ballot in Washington state. More than 30 initiatives to the people had been filed in Washington since January.

Friday was the deadline to turn in qualifying signatures.

Amazon.com

Online shoppers in Washington state may soon have to pay sales tax on out-of-state e-commerce purchases. Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday is expected to sign a package of tax increases just approved by the state legislature to balance the next two-year budget.

But the internet sales tax seems likely to be challenged in court.

SYFY

As campaign slogans go, it was a good one: "Keep Zombies in Washington."

And it worked in the end. The Washington Legislature late Friday voted to renew the state's film production tax breaks.

Joan Lopez / ECHO

If you think trying to carry on a conversation in a noisy restaurant or bar is difficult, imagine how whales in the noisy waters of the Salish Sea feel.

Courtesy Race to Alaska / Liv von Oelreich

An Orcas Island, Washington, man has become the first person to complete the Race to Alaska on a standup paddleboard. Karl Kruger stroked 750 miles solo from Port Townsend up the Inside Passage, crossing the finish line in Ketchikan Sunday evening. 

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Evergreen State College President George Bridges said he'll be seeking state assistance to add more training, equipment and staff for campus security. Student unrest and outside threats caused repeated disruptions during the recently ended spring term on the Olympia campus.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Law enforcement prepared for protesters and counterprotesters on the Evergreen State College campus in Olympia, Washington, Thursday afternoon—the day before this year's graduation ceremony.

Adrian Cable / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/y6wrdo6j

Now that it's legal in Washington state, a handful of farmers and the Colville tribe have submitted applications to grow industrial hemp. On Tuesday, Moses Lake will be the scene of a "first planting" demonstration of the non-drug cousin of marijuana.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

If you give blood, usually it goes into a plastic bag in a fridge until someone needs it. But when you’re deep in the countryside or tundra or out at sea, there’s no hospital—and no blood bank.

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