Jason Moon

Seacoast Reporter

Before joining NHPR in February of 2015, Jason held internships with a variety of public radio organizations including StoryCorps, Transom.org, and WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied philosophy, political science, and audio documentaries at Bennington College in Vermont.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

Officials with the state University System are registering their disappointment with Governor Chris Sununu’s proposal not to increase state funding for New Hampshire’s public universities.

The University System of New Hampshire requested an increase of about 12 million dollars over the next two fiscal years. They said the increase would allow them to keep tuition flat for in-state students.

  Residents in Durham debated whether to declare the community a sanctuary city at a town council meeting Monday night.

Several residents attended the meeting to speak on both sides of the issue.

Those in favor said declaring sanctuary city status would show the town’s support for immigrants in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on refugees.

But others, including Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig, said it would be a largely symbolic act with potentially dramatic consequences.

NHPR Digital via CartoDB

The state Department of Environmental Services says a residential drinking well in Rochester has tested above the state limit for PFCs, a chemical contaminant.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees garners strong reaction from around the country, officials in Durham and Portsmouth have begun discussions about potentially declaring themselves sanctuary cities.

Officials in both communities say they’ve heard from residents about the idea, possibly as part of a coordinated campaign.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

It’s been a busy year for Frank Edelblut. First, he rose from political unknown to near-upset in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, he’s poised to become the state’s next education commissioner. 

Edelblut’s background and philosophy would mark a significant break from his recent predecessors in that job.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office has identified the man they think was behind two decades-old New Hampshire cold-cases.

Prosecutors believe Bob Evans, who went by at least four other aliases, was behind the disappearance of Denise Beaudin from Manchester in 1981. They also believe he was the murderer of four people whose bodies were found in Allenstown. One of those victims was a child who shares Evans' DNA.

At a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning, the Attorney General says state and local law enforcement officials will discuss an apparent connection between two New Hampshire cold cases and a California murder.

A pair of bills aimed at addressing concerns over drinking water contamination went before lawmakers today.

The proposals come as several communities around the state grapple with emerging contaminants found in their water supplies.

profilestrategygroup.com

Michael Sununu, brother to Gov. Chris Sununu, is criticizing the science behind a recent bipartisan state report on the impact of climate change on the Seacoast.

In a 25 page critique, Michael Sununu calls the Coastal Risks and Hazard Report “alarmist hand wringing” that would lead to wasteful spending of public money.

playground
Brady Carlson / NHPR

Results from a new survey of public schools in New Hampshire shows that most elementary students aren’t receiving as much physical education as they should.

The survey of public school P.E. teachers was conducted by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

It found that none of the elementary school students in the schools who responded to the survey received the recommended average of at least 150 minutes of physical education each week.

Governor Chris Sununu has nominated former political rival Frank Edelblut as commissioner of the state Department of Education.

The announcement was a brief, unceremonious item on the Executive Council’s agenda Wednesday morning as Governor Chris Sununu read off a list of nominations.

“For the Commissioner of the state of the New Hampshire Department of Education I nominate Frank Edelblut of Wilton New Hampshire.”

But the choice signals a big shift in priorities for the state agency.

Some call it the toughest job in the state of New Hampshire: superintendent of the Manchester School District. To know why, it helps to understand just how different the district is from most in the state.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that would require towns to sign off on new electric transmission lines is before lawmakers in Concord.

The bill would require power companies to win approval from a town’s governing body or via referendum before building high voltage transmission lines through a community.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Parents, teachers, and city officials met in Manchester last night to discuss a projected six million dollar budget gap for the Manchester school district.

In recent years the Manchester school district, the state’s largest, has been beset by declining enrollment, reduced aid from the state, and rising pension costs. Those trends have now added up to a projected budget gap for next year of six million dollars. That’s out of a total operating budget of around 180 million dollars.

New research from the University of New Hampshire suggests some bat species have developed a resistance to a devastating fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.

Dartmouth College and the town of Hanover are in a stand-off over a new $18 million athletic facility the college wants to build.

Last month, the Hanover Planning Board denied Dartmouth a permit for the proposed 70,000 square foot building. The structure would house training facilities for student-athletes to practice their sports during the winter.

The decision was a victory for neighbors who oppose the project for its size and proximity to a residential area.

Thomas Fearon

Governor Maggie Hassan says a cyber-security consultant will evaluate the Department of Health and Human Services’ computer network following a data breach that compromised personal information for as many as 15,000 DHHS clients.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Disputes between utility companies and local residents over new power lines are a familiar story. But on New Hampshire's Seacoast, a version of that story is playing out with a few twists. For one, the power lines would go underwater. And two, they would go through a town that prides itself on its history of opposing energy projects.

A new master plan for Portsmouth’s Prescott Park will be presented to the city council on Monday.

The plan comes from a blue ribbon committee on Prescott Park formed by the city council last year. It calls for over 14 million dollars in upgrades to the park, including a new entrance, a new performance area, and improvements to prepare the park for the effects of climate change.

City Councilor Chris Dwyer is chair of the committee that authored the plan.

The governor’s task force investigating cancer clusters on the Seacoast issued a set of recommendations Wednesday.

The task force was charged with investigating potential causes for unusually high rates of two cancers among children living in a region of the Seacoast.

Today the task force issued a set of recommendations, including one to extend municipal water to homes near the Coakley Landfill – a superfund site that was investigated as a potential cause of the high cancer rates.

Stefany Shaheen is a member of the task force.

Southern New Hampshire University has announced it will freeze tuition for the next academic year.

The freeze applies to SNHU’s online degree program as well as its on-campus undergraduate program.

The current sticker price for an undergraduate student living on campus at SNHU is currently around $44,000.

This marks the fifth year without a tuition increase at the private university.

Typical annual increases at other private universities have been around three percent in recent years.

Next school year, some high school students on the Seacoast will be able to hit the snooze button a few more times. The Oyster River and Portsmouth School Districts recently voted to move the start of their school days to 8:15 and 8:30, respectively. Research shows the change can help students get more sleep, but the decision was not without controversy.

“Get your clothes on, ok? Get dressed. Then come on down and meet me for breakfast.”

It’s 6:30 a.m. at the MacManes household in Durham, and that means it’s time to get ready for school.

Authorities have identified a father and son in a deadly shooting in Dover on Saturday.

According to the state Attorney General’s office, 55 year-old Brenton Davis was killed by his 76 year-old father John Davis after the two exchanged gunfire on Saturday morning in their Dover home.

Authorities say it appears Brenton Davis shot his father several times before John Davis returned fire.

The father was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

Authorities say Brenton Davis had a history of mental illness.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

A bipartisan bill designed to improve cross-border travel between Canada and the U.S. has passed Congress and is headed to the president's desk.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the town of Durham can tax parking spaces rented for profit by a religious institution.

At issue were 24 parking spots that the St. George’s Episcopal Church in Durham rents to UNH students for 300 dollars a semester.

Churches are generally tax-exempt, but New Hampshire’s highest court ruled the parking spaces are taxable because they were rented to students for “their own private and secular purpose.”

Jason Moon for NHPR

Thirty-five projects for land conservation and historic preservation have been awarded grants by the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. LCHIP was created by the legislature in 2000 to provide matching grants for conservation and preservation projects across New Hampshire.

This year, a total of 3.5 million dollars went to fund projects that range from the conservation of Nashua’s last working farm to the restoration of Laconia’s Colonial Theatre.

Governor Maggie Hassan addressed the recipients, touting her support of state funding for the program.

Jason Moon for NHPR

New Hampshire has long lagged behind other states when it comes to the availability of full-day kindergarten. Legislators are likely to take up the issue this year, as they have in years past. But the ideas being debated in Concord this year likely won’t change the situation for school districts who can’t already afford to offer a full-day kindergarten program.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Yesterday, a new report was released with suggestions for how Seacoast communities should prepare for the effects of climate change. The document could influence town planning and development in the region for years.

The report came from the Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission, which was created by the legislature back in 2013. It had 37-members representing Seacoast towns, state agencies, and private-sector interests.

The Portsmouth School Board voted Tuesday night to make the start of the school day about an hour later for middle and high school students.

Next year, middle and high schoolers in Portsmouth will start the school day at about 8:30. The current start time is 7:30.

Research shows the extra time can make a big difference for students in everything from emotional well-being to academic performance.

Board member Patrick Ellis voted in favor of the change.

unh.edu

Last week, students, faculty and staff at the University of New Hampshire received an email from UNH president Mark Huddleston condemning a recent spike in incidents of hate speech on campus. NHPR’s Jason Moon visited campus to see how the school community was responding to the letter.

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