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Articles written by Tom Banse

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  • Regulating tires on state legislative list

    Tom Banse|Dec 27, 2023

    By Tom Banse Washington State Standard The next time you go shopping for replacement tires, the state of Washington could have greater sway over what’s on the rack. That’s provided the Legislature agrees to a request from the state Department of Commerce for the authority to regulate tire efficiency. Auto owners may want to pay attention because the low rolling resistance tires that regulators want to promote typically cost more than budget tires. But over the lifetime of those tires, the average driver could save hundreds of dollars on gas... Full story

  • Portland and Redmond going electric with first e-fire trucks in northwest

    Tom Banse, Northwest News Network|Mar 1, 2023

    You probably no longer bat an eye when an electric car passes by on the road. More novel battery-powered vehicles are soon joining the parade to help operators achieve their sustainability goals. Electric ferries are coming to Puget Sound and hybrid electric airplanes are being tested in Washington. Now, several Pacific Northwest fire departments have ordered their first electric fire trucks. Portland Fire and Rescue is scheduled to take delivery next month of the first electric fire engine in...

  • Planning hydrogen clean energy future in Centralia

    Tom Banse|Jun 15, 2022

    NW News Network An Australian company is eying property next to the soon-to-close coal power plant in Centralia, Washington, to build a big hydrogen fuel production facility. Fortescue Future Industries went public with its plans during a hydrogen symposium hosted by the Economic Alliance of Lewis County in May. Fortescue Future Industries is a clean energy subsidiary of an iron ore mining giant, Fortescue Metals Group, based in Australia. The firm has made a string of announcements recently that paint a picture of big ambitions to produce...

  • In timely but unexpected vote, U.S. Senate goes for permanent daylight saving time

    Tom Banse|Mar 23, 2022

    NW News Network An abrupt awakening in Congress is raising hopes on the West Coast that last weekend’s switch from standard time to daylight time might be the next to last time we go through the annoying clock change ritual. After sitting on the sidelines for years, the U.S. Senate Tuesday found the time to approve year-round daylight saving time beginning in 2023. The measure now goes to the House for further consideration. The Washington and Oregon legislatures voted three years ago to “ditch the switch” and stick with daylight saving time...

  • Lawmakers propose year-round standard time

    Tom Banse|Jan 19, 2022

    NW News Network OLYMPIA — Washington state senators are trying a new gambit to stop the twice-yearly ritual of changing our clocks from standard time to daylight time and back again. A previous effort to move the whole West Coast onto permanent daylight saving time failed to win requisite congressional support. So now, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers is pushing for Pacific Standard Time to be observed year-round. Ending the practice of springing forward and falling back by sticking to standard time would mean less light in the...

  • ‘Welcome Back Loonies:’ U.S. reopens border to Canadian leisure travelers

    Tom Banse|Nov 10, 2021

    There was cheering, celebration and emotional reunions along the northern border on Monday as the U.S. reopened its land and sea crossings to Canadian leisure travelers for the first time in 19 months. The international ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria began sailing again with all of its initial southbound trips sold out. Some border restrictions remain that could temper the rebound in tourism. As the M/V Coho ferry docked at midday in Port Angeles, a crowd of townspeople and local business owners gathered at the Black Ball ferry dock to...

  • Proposed statue swap of Billy Frank for Marcus Whitman signals changing of the guard

    Tom Banse|Feb 17, 2021

    Northwest News Network Originally published Feb. 2, 2021 by Northwest News Network Leaders of seven Pacific Northwest tribes testified in January in favor of replacing a statue of Oregon Trail pioneer and missionary Marcus Whitman in the U.S. Capitol. A proposal pending in the Washington Legislature would install a statue of the late Native rights activist Billy Frank Jr. in Whitman’s place of honor. Every U.S. state gets to choose two prominent figures to put in the National Statuary Hall Collection. In the early 1950s, Washington state d...

  • Migration to booming ‘Zoom towns’ sends home prices sky high

    Tom Banse|Dec 9, 2020

    You can add a new term to your lexicon: “Zoom towns.” These are scenic places experiencing a surge of house hunters. Booming demand comes from workers freed by the pandemic to work from home long term. One such place where the pandemic has super-charged an already hot real estate market is Bend, Oregon. “I think ‘Zoom town’ very accurately captures the experience that we’re having right now,” said Brian Ladd, a principal broker with Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty in Bend. “For anyone that had interest in moving to a town like ours, t...

  • Skagit deputies and crisis clinicians reimagine policing

    Tom Banse|Oct 7, 2020

    SEATTLE — In a newly launched pilot project, civilian mental health crisis responders are riding alongside Skagit County sheriff’s deputies on 911 calls. It is the latest example of reimagining policing in the Pacific Northwest. Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Detective Anne Weed broached the idea for a partnership months before the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police ignited the national debate about reform. Weed said two existing mental health clinicians from Compass Health are now being “embedded” with regular patrol deputie...