Jason Moon

Seacoast Reporter

Jason is NHPR's Seacoast reporter, and he also covers education. 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.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that would reorganize the Department of Education got the approval of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

The bill would rename the department’s divisions and reshuffle some of the responsibilities between them.

It would also give the commissioner more power to make changes in the future, provided the changes are approved by legislators.

Mike Ross, UNH

A new scholarship program will help some New Hampshire high schoolers major in STEM fields at UNH.

The program will provide mentorship, scholarship money, and even help finding a job after graduation for 30 high schoolers in Manchester and Dover with academic talent and financial need.

It’s a joint effort by UNH and the National Science Foundation to meet the demand for a skilled workforce in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has approved a controversial school choice bill by a vote of 184-162.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

In an email sent to legislative leaders last week, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office wrote that Senate Bill 193 is constitutional.

That opinion comes days before the bill is to be voted on by the House of Representatives.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill would increase the level of oversight over homeschool students in the state.

Each year, homeschool students in New Hampshire are required to demonstrate their educational progress. They can do that in a lot of different ways, including with a standardized test or an evaluation by a teacher.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation is hosting free, guided hikes on New Year’s Day as part of a national event called First Day Hikes.

The department is offering five different hikes, from Silver Lake State Park in the southern tier, to Milan State Park in the North Country.

Each is free, family–friendly, and guided by either park staff or volunteers from conservation groups.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Some lawmakers in New Hampshire want the state to celebrate Indigenous People's Day, instead of Columbus Day, next year.

The bill was introduced by Democratic State Rep Wayne Burton.

He says he hopes people would use the new holiday to reflect on the history of people who lived here for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

flickr/bcgrote

A new bill aims to give public sector workers more protections when it comes to workplace accidents or deaths.

David Fernandez via Flickr

Some state lawmakers are looking to reduce the number of requirements needed to become a school nurse.

A new bill in the statehouse would roll back a set of requirements for school nurses that went into effect in 2016. Those requirements include having a bachelor’s degree and at least 3 years of experience in pediatric nursing.

Under the new bill, the only requirements would be that the applicant is a registered nurse in the state and is approved by the local school board.

Republican state representative Carol McGuire is one of the sponsors of the bill.

Marty Watts / Aira

It’s a Saturday night in at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth. Hundreds of people are here to experience some vintage Christmas charm at the annual Candlelight Stroll.

Gene Lavoie, dressed in her puffy white coat, is eager to join them. But first, she puts on a pair of futuristic looking glasses.

Lavoie is visually impaired. She has some sight, but not enough to get around on her own. She’s hoping the new glasses she just put on will help that.

***This story has lots of sound -- we highly recommend listening.***

A former Portsmouth police officer and the city of Portsmouth have agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding an alleged violation of whistleblower rights.

In 2014, Portsmouth police officer Jon Connors gave an interview to the Portsmouth Herald. He told them he often saw fellow officer Aaron Goodwin at the home of his wealthy neighbor, Geraldine Webber.

A judge would later rule that former-Officer Goodwin exerted undue influence over Webber to get her to change her will to benefit him.

Mount Washington Auto Road

New research from UNH says the effects of climate change on New Hampshire could start to accelerate by the middle of the century.

File Photo

People exposed to the chemicals known as PFCs at the former Pease Air Force base could soon be taking part in a new national health study.

A defense spending bill signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday included an amendment on PFCs backed by New Hampshire’s congressional delegation.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Last weekend, as the first snowflakes of winter fell on New Hampshire, a local icon on the Seacoast was setting out for an afternoon swim. "Creekman," as he’s known to some, has been making long distance cold-water swims for charity for a decade now. But as NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, those swims are more than displays of physical prowess – they’re a chance for a beloved character to come alive.

A new report on the environmental health of Great Bay and surrounding waterways says those ecosystems continue to decline.

The report comes from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, or PREP. The group is funded by the EPA and administered by UNH. Every five years, they rate the health of the Seacoast’s estuaries using 23 indicators.

Reaching Higher NH

A new analysis of a controversial school voucher bill says it could cost the state millions of dollars over the next several years.

The bill in question would allow parents to take the state money that normally follows a child to public school, and spend it on other forms of education -- including private schools or home schooling.

Two recent incidents have brought the number of work related deaths in New Hampshire this year to at least ten.

Last Sunday, a 35 year old Epsom man was killed when a tree he was harvesting fell on him. On Monday, a 23 year old from Loudon died in a work-related incident at a wood-burning energy plant. Both cases are being investigated by OSHA.

Brian Mitchell is with the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. He says that while the total number of workplace deaths in the state is down from recent years, the number isn’t low enough.

University of New Hampshire

Last May, the atmosphere on campus at UNH was tense.

A video showing a confrontation between students about racist stereotypes on Cinco de Mayo went viral. So did images of students wearing blackface. Swastikas and racial slurs started showing up graffitied on campus. Then, sculptures installed to show solidarity for minority students in the midst of all this were vandalized.

The Manchester school board has extended the contract of superintendent Bolgen Vargas.

Vargas took over the leadership of the state’s largest school district just over a year ago, at a time when Manchester schools were facing a budget shortfall and a long term decline in enrollment.

But School Board member Leslie Want says so far he’s handled the challenges well.

“He has a tremendous sense of urgency that we’ve not had in the district for a long time. He’s just not satisfied with the status quo or with putting out the daily fires.”

Jason Moon for NHPR

Democratic Executive Councilor Chris Pappas kicked off his congressional campaign with an event in Manchester Tuesday night.

Pappas spoke to supporters at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant, which his family owns and operates.

The former state representative told the crowd he’s willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

School officials in Keene are hosting a public forum Wednesday night to discuss later start times for students.

The event is part of a months-long effort by school officials to study the option of starting the school day later in the morning in Keene.

Research has shown benefits for adolescent students in both safety and academic performance.

Robert Malay is superintendent of SAU 29, which includes Keene.

City officials in Portsmouth have upheld a decision to prohibit a couple from renting out a second home through AirBnB.

Portsmouth couple Matthew Beebe and Barbara Jenny bought the house next door with the intention that one day their daughter will live in it.

In the meantime, they planned to rent out the house through AirBnB. But before they got the chance, the city served them with a cease-and-desist letter.

The city says the home, which is in a residentially zoned area, can’t be used for short-term rentals without a special exemption.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The New Hampshire Attorney General says a Belmont police officer was justified in using deadly force during an altercation with a man in September.

The AG says the incident began when Belmont police officer Evan Boulanger approached Joseph Mazzitelli at a gas station. At the time, there was an active warrant for Mazzitelli’s arrest.

Surveillance footage from the gas station shows Mazzitelli, after speaking briefly with the officer, lunging into his car and emerging with a pistol pointed at his own head.

Jason Moon for NHPR

State and federal environmental officials held a meeting in North Hampton Wednesday night to update residents on efforts to address contamination at the former Coakley landfill site.

For three hours, scientists with the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Services laid out the work that has been done and that will be done to monitor and address contaminated water at a former landfill on the Seacoast.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Two state representatives from the Seacoast are raising concerns about Eversource’s plan to buy a water utility company.

Eversource, New England’s largest energy company, announced back in June that it had plans to buy Aquarion, the region’s largest private water company.

The deal spans three states and is valued at about $1.7 billion.

Democratic Representatives Mindi Messmer of Rye and Renny Cushing of Hampton say it’s a bad deal for New Hampshire rate payers, and they've been working to stop it.

Mike Ross, UNH

Local chapters of the ACLU and the NAACP are asking the University of New Hampshire to emphasize issues of racial diversity and equity in the search for the university’s next president.

Democratic State Rep. Mindi Messmer has announced she’s running for Congress.

Messmer is a first-term legislator from Rye who has made a name for herself through her work on drinking water contamination in the state.

Messmer is a scientist who runs her own environmental consulting firm.

She says she wants to bring that scientific background to Washington to defend environmental regulations that are being rolled back by the Trump administration.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill cleared a major hurdle in the State House Tuesday, receiving a positive recommendation from the House Education Committee on Tuesday by a 10-9 vote.

The bill would allow parents of some children to spend tax dollars to educate their children with non-public school options like private school or home school. But the bill looks considerably different than when it was originally introduced several months ago.

evmaiden via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill that would allow New Hampshire parents to use state funding to send their children to private schools faces a key vote Tuesday.

The House Education Committee will vote on the controversial bill that’s been the subject of debate among lawmakers and school reform advocates.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Former White House chief strategist and head of Breitbart News Steve Bannon spoke to New Hampshire Republicans last night at an event in Manchester.

As people arrived at the Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester to hear Bannon speak, many of them were greeted by "boos" from across the street.

Dozens of people like Hassan Essa, who recently ran for alderman in Manchester, stood in a line with glowing signs that read "no hate in Granite State."

Essa said he just couldn’t understand why some people would pay as much $750 to hear Bannon speak.

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