Brian Wallstin

Digital Journalist

Brian has more than 20 years of experience in journalism.  He has done in-depth investigative reporting for a variety of publications, including The Houston Press where he was a staff writer for more than eight years.  As Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, he taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Journalism.  He has held several editorial positions, including four and a half years as City Editor for  the Columbia Missourian, and has been a contributor to NHPR.org, notably during the 2012 elections.    Brian has a B.J. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  

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Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr CC

A powerful synthetic opioid manufactured in illicit labs was the main driver of the record 325 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire last year. Fentanyl is used to manage severe chronic and post-surgical pain. As a pharmaceutical, prescribed in lozenges or transdermal patches, it is 10 to 50 times more potent than morphine. But, increasingly, a powdered form of the drug that is 200 to 2,000 times more potent is being mixed with heroin or passed off as heroin to unwitting users. “If the heroin...

Isaias via Flickr CC

In 2000, a committee of researchers compiled nearly a century of knowledge on how children develop from birth to age five. The findings, published in a 600-page book titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development , covered everything from the long-standing debate over “nature vs. nurture” to the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience. If the massive effort could be summarized in one sentence, it would be this: What happens during the first months and years of a...

Getty Images

The rate of young adults in New Hampshire with substance-abuse problems is the highest in the country, even as the Granite State is the worst at providing treatment when they need it. Research suggests that 7.4 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds in the Granite State abuse or are dependent on illicit drugs, more than in any other state. At the same time, no state spends less on substance-abuse programs, with nearly nine percent of young adults who seek out addiction treatment forced to wait for it....

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A panel that included the step-mother of a woman who died of a heroin overdose told a House committee Thursday that proposed cuts in substance-abuse programs will exacerbate the state’s alarming rise in drug-related deaths. “Last year, it was 321,” said Tym Rourke, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. “Next year it could be 600 and the year after that, 800.” Rourke said New Hampshire now has the country’s highest per-capita rate of addiction and the second...

File photos / NHPR


Update: The Republican-led House has rejected a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security , increasing the likelihood of partial shutdown of U.S. anti-terror operations at midnight. In a statement, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen urged House Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on a Senate bill that passed earlier today. "We cannot afford the consequences of an agency shutdown,” Shaheen said. According to the Associated Press, if funding for DHS expired at midnight, an...

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Is Gov. Maggie Hassan preparing to take on U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016? Hassan hasn’t said yet, but two national political groups that back Republicans seem convinced she is. Crossroads GPS, a conservative non-profit founded by GOP operative and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, released a radio ad Thursday attacking Hassan’s proposed budget. The 60-second spot comes a day after the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a web ad that ridicules Hassan’s proposal to hire a...

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The owner of the state’s largest chain of pain clinics would be forced to forfeit his financial interest in the practice if legislation pending in the House becomes law. House Bill 517 would require physicians who lose their licenses to practice to cut their ownership ties to any health-care facilities. The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Leeman of Rochester, said the bill is aimed at one of the state’s most visible medical practices: Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc. “Why would you...

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a House bill to bring keno to New Hampshire bars and restaurants. Sponsors say the electronic game could raise some $8.5 million annually for education, while Gov. Maggie Hassan’s two-year budget projects $26 million in keno revenue. NHPR’s digital journalist Brian Wallstin reported on keno legislation a year ago that died in the Senate, and he joins us now to give us an update on this year’s proposal. For those who may not know, remind us exactly what...

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Lawmakers took testimony Tuesday on a senate bill to change workers compensation payments. It's an issue that's come up before. New Hampshire has high workers comp costs, twice the national average according to the Insurance Department, and making the system less expensive is a priority for lawmakers and the Governor. More than half the state senate has signed on to a bill that would cap payment for medical services at 150% of what Medicare pays. Republican Gary Daniels of Milford is the lead...

Gov. Maggie Hassan issued the following the statement Sunday evening: " As we continue our response to last week’s winter storm and another one approaches, state emergency management officials are working with utilities and local communities to make preparations and take every precaution to support local communities. The Emergency Operations Center will open tomorrow morning at eight a.m., and closely monitor the storm and provide updates as needed. I encourage all Granite Staters to plan...

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Today, Governor Maggie Hassan begins her second term facing a far different political landscape than she faced two years ago. Scroll down for real-time updates from the Statehouse featuring news, tweets from NHPR reporters and photos by Allegra Boverman. Click through additional photos in the gallery above. Visit the official inaugural committee website here. Listen to our full special inauguration broadcast: Listen to Governor Hassan's speech only: Listen to Rep. Gene Chandler's Republican...

StopnLook via Flickr CC

A commission studying ways to reduce workers compensation costs in New Hampshire released its final report Friday, but did not go so far as to recommend a cap how much health providers can charge for the care of injured workers. Instead, in the 38-page report, a majority of commission members recommends the panel continue its work for another year. The majority also endorsed creation of a database of workers compensation claims, as well as allowing employers and insurers to more closely...

Marc Nozell via Flickr CC

Former state Rep. Kevin Avard upset Democrat incumbent Sen. Peggy Gilmour on Tuesday, adding at least one seat to the Republican’s majority in the New Hampshire Senate. Avard took 50.8 percent of the 21,335 ballots cast in the District 12 contest to beat Gilmour by 323 votes. The narrow margin gives Republicans a 14-10 majority in the Senate, with at least one race that was too close to call. In District 7, Democratic incumbent Andrew Hosmer had a lead of about 100 votes over Republican...

Marc Nozell via Flickr CC

Hoping to retain the GOP’s slim majority in the state Senate, if not build on it, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars on an advertising push over the final weeks of the campaign. The party has focused its spending on a handful of races that could determine who takes control of the state’s upper chamber, which Republicans now control 13-11. The NHGOP has poured a total of roughly $72,000 into two rematches from 2012 that Republicans won by the...

Sara Plourde

Spending on the New Hampshire Senate race cracked the $46 million mark this week to become the most expensive election campaign in Granite State history. And to the surprise of no one, outside groups have far outspent the candidates: party organizations, political action committees, super PACS and other non-candidate groups have poured $28.7 million into the race, one of a handful of closely watched contests that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. The campaigns of incumbent...

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in New Hampshire Wednesday pushing for stronger gun laws. Giffords was shot in the head during a campaign event in 2011, and is in the midst of a nine-state tour. She says strengthening gun laws would protect victims of domestic violence. She made stops in Manchester and Concord on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions. Executive director Pia Carusone says keeping the state’s Congressional Democrats in office is critical to the...

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Scott Brown has tried to make the New Hampshire Senate race about national security, illegal immigration and incumbent Jeanne Shaheen’s political fidelity to an unpopular president. But the Republican candidate has spent a lot of time the past two weeks defending his somewhat ambiguous record on abortion rights. The issue boiled over Tuesday at a hastily organized “media availability” in Derry, where Brown was set to talk foreign policy with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla). A frustrated Brown...

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

10:27 p.m. For the third time, former Congressman Frank Guinta will face Carol Shea-Porter for New Hampshire's District 1 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Guinta won the Republican nomination in Tuesday's primary, taking 49 percent of the vote. Dan Innis, former dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire and co-owner of Portsmouth’s Ale House Inn, received 41 percent, while libertarian Brendan Kelly won 8 percent. At the hotel he owns...

Scott Brown wasn't even an official candidate when he declined to agree to a "people's pledge" to limit the amount of outside spending in the New Hampshire Senate race. Six months later, with Brown expected to win the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary, more than half of the $19.1 million spent on the New Hampshire race has come from outside groups. Of the roughly $9.9 million in independent expenditures so far, groups that do not disclose their donors have accounted for more than $5...

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Five days before the primary, more than $3.1 million has been spent on behalf of Republican candidates seeking to advance to the general election against New Hampshire’s Congressional incumbents.
In District 2, a seat held by Democratic Rep. Anne Kuster, Gary Lambert has outspent state Rep. Marilinda Garcia by a slight margin, $277,000 to $239,860, according to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

But, thanks to a conservative political action...

For months, Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s relationship with “big oil” has been the key that opened the wallets of donors to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s re-election campaign. Now, with a recent poll showing Brown within striking distance of the incumbent, Shaheen is taking the message to the airwaves. A new 30-second television commercial, titled “Profitable,” began airing Wednesday. It repeats a theme well-known to anyone who has received one of the scores of fundraising emails Shaheen...

Chris Jensen/Ryan Lessard for NHPR

Alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance rules are once again front and center in the New Hampshire governor’s race, with the top candidates on the receiving end of accusations that they accepted illegal donations. The New Hampshire Democratic Party was first out of the gate Tuesday, asking Attorney General Joe Foster to investigate Republican candidate Walt Havenstein for “multiple violations,” including allegedly taking money from political action committees that failed to...

Thanks to nearly $1.5 million from his own pocket, Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein is keeping pace in the race for campaign money with Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan. According to reports filed today with the Secretary of State, Havenstein reports a campaign war chest of $1,989,876. That includes $1,474,000 in personal loans and another $17,000 from other family members. Hassan has raised $2,097,392, the most reported by a candidate for governor at this stage of an...

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

A New Hampshire judge has struck down a law requiring out-of-state students to establish legal residency before being allowed to vote. The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of four out-of-state college students two years ago, shortly after lawmakers overrode a veto by then-Gov. John Lynch and passed Senate Bill 318. The bill added language to New Hampshire's voter registration form that required those registering to vote to sign an affidavit stating they are...

The attack ads with the cartoon sheep began airing in May, followed by the negative mailers. Paid for by a conservative nonprofit called Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, they targeted Republican state senators who supported Medicaid expansion and a four-cent hike in the state gas tax. According to a spokesman, it was just the beginning of the group’s efforts to “fight” for a more fiscally conservative senate. Based on the statement, if not the ads themselves, some people might conclude...

Update: Thursday afternoon an attorney for the Hassan campaign asked New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster to expedite a review of the Republican party’s allegations. New Hampshire Republicans have accused Gov. Maggie Hassan of accepting illegal campaign contributions from organized labor and have asked the Attorney General to investigate. At issue is a total of $45,000 in donations to the governor’s re-election campaign from three labor unions. NHPR’s Brian Wallstin talks with host Brady...

Sara Plourde

A Christian legal group has asked a federal judge to block a New Hampshire law that bars demonstrators from coming within 25 feet of facilities that offer or perform abortions. New Hampshire’s so-called buffer zone rule is set to take effect Thursday. But in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Massachusetts, Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to delay implementation of the new restrictions. Matt Bowman, senior legal...

As expected, Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen and Republican candidate Scott Brown have shown they will have very little trouble raising money in their race for the U.S. Senate. Shaheen's campaign announced Monday she raised more than $2.8 million for her re-election campaign between April 1 and June 30 of this year, more than double the amount she collected from supporters in the previous two quarters combined. Shaheen has raised more than $10 million overall since 2009, according to the...

Steve Smith via Flickr CC

New Hampshire doctors are among the nation’s most prolific prescribers of Oxycontin and other opioids, according to a government report released Tuesday that analyzed the state-by-state use of highly addictive painkillers. The study by the Centers for Disease Control ranked the Granite State third, behind Maine and Delaware, for per-capita prescriptions of Oxycontin, fentanyl and other long-acting opioids in 2012, even as the state ranked relatively low – 39th – for overall opioid prescribing...

Jim Cole / AP Photo POOL

A jury has found a Dover man guilty of the murder of 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott. Jurors in Strafford Superior Court deliberated for less than two days before finding 31-year-old Seth Mazzaglia, a community theater actor and karate instructor, guilty of first-degree murder by strangulation. The jury found Mazzaglia guilty of additional charges related to Marriott's death – murder in the commission of felony sexual assault and two counts of...

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