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.

Last week, lawmakers in Concord signed off on a plan to provide state support for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The new law will use revenue from the electronic gambling game keno to give school districts more money for full-day kindergarten.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently sat down with NHPR host Sally Hirsch-Dickinson to talk about what this mean for schools and town across New Hampshire. Listen to their conversation here.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

A recent ruling by state utility regulators removes the limits on how much electricity owners of solar panels can sell back to the grid.

In a decision announced last Friday, the Public Utilities Commission says it’s doing away with the current 100-megawatt limit on solar net-metering. That’s when owners of solar panels sell any unused energy they generate back to the public grid.

The decision settles a long running debate between advocates for the state’s growing solar industry, and utility companies.

File Photo

About 30 airmen from the New Hampshire Air National Guard are schedule to be deployed to the Middle East next month.

The airmen will provide security for six air bases in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which refers to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.

The deployment ceremony held this Sunday will be attended by Governor Chris Sununu, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

Captain Michael Petrin, with the Air National Guard, says having the dignitaries on hand can be important to the airmen.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

A large section of downtown Portsmouth has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dozens of individual sites around Portsmouth are already on the national register, but the announcement made earlier this week adds over 1200 historic resources to the list in one fell swoop. Those resources include historic buildings, cemeteries, and archaeological sites.

Reagan Ruedig is a historic preservationist and sits on the board of the Portsmouth Historical Society. She says the benefits of being on the register include more than just prestige.

C. Hanchey via Flickr CC.

The city of Nashua will now offer full-day kindergarten at all of its elementary schools. That decision comes as lawmakers in Concord decide whether to support full-day kindergarten state-wide.

Nashua joins the roughly three quarters of school districts around the state that offer full-day kindergarten programs.

Districts who offer full-day programs, do so without support from the state.

But interim superintendent of Nashua Schools Connie Brown says with an overall decline in enrollment, they will be able to implement the program at no cost.

On Thursday, a proposal to spend state money on full-day kindergarten heads to a final vote.

The bill, which pays for additional state spending on kindergarten by taxing keno, is making for tough decisions on both sides of the aisle.

New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

A new report shows disparities in school funding in New Hampshire persist, two decades after a landmark lawsuit targeted the state’s education funding system.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

The SAT scores of 11th graders in New Hampshire are up slightly from last year.

Preliminary data released this week shows New Hampshire’s high school juniors improved their scores in both the math and English portions of the College Board SAT.

Two-thirds met the state’s proficiency benchmark in English, while 44 percent met the benchmark in math.

This is the second year that the SAT has been used as the statewide assessment for 11th graders.

Jason Moon for NHPR

House and Senate lawmakers have settled on the final language for a bill to fund full day kindergarten in New Hampshire. But the bipartisan cooperation around the bill may be faltering.

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

A bill that advocates say would have improved water quality standards in the state will not become law this session.

The bill would have directed the Department of Environmental Services to conduct a review of the safe drinking water standards for perfluorochemicals.

These industrial chemicals have been found in communities across the state – including near the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack and the former Pease Airforce Base in Portsmouth.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Republicans took full control in Concord this year, they wasted no time outlining an ambitious policy agenda on a number of fronts, including education.

While Republicans were able to accomplish much of that agenda, they weren’t able to get everything they wanted. Here’s a rundown of some major developments in education policy so far this year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Updated 6/14:

The Attorney General's office says an autopsy of the man who died after an altercation with state police on Tuesday shows he was shot three times, twice in the torso and once in his left shoulder. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth and the town of Greenland are asking the state to help pay for public water at homes whose private wells may be at risk of water contamination.

Residents living near the Coakley Landfill in Greenland fear their private wells are drawing contaminated water from the superfund site which received municipal and industrial waste in the 70s and 80s.

Officials in Greenland had previously asked Portsmouth, which operates the only public well in Greenland, to extend water lines to about 300 homes near the landfill.

Inmates at the Strafford County Jail will no longer be able to receive personal letters in the mail. The policy change comes just days after multiple inmates overdosed inside the jail.

Hong Seung Hui via Flickr CC

Operators of child care centers are expressing concern over proposed rule changes in how they are licensed by the state.

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to tighten some regulations for childcare workers, including requiring additional professional development and a $50 dollar card that would verify a worker has passed a background check.

Johanna Booth-Miner runs the Live and Learn Early Learning Center in Lee. She says she wants high standards for childcare workers, but she says these regulations will add costs to an already expensive business.

Portsmouth’s Market Square Day takes place Saturday. It’s the annual event’s 40th year.

The festival kicks off with a 10k road race at 9am and continues with street vendors and live music until 4pm.

It’s hosted by the non-profit group Pro Portsmouth. Barbara Massar is Executive Director.

“Altogether we probably accepted 170 vendors this year. So if you stand in Market Square and look in four directions, you’re going to see –beyond a sea of people—you’re going to see rows and rows of tents.”

David Fernandez via Flickr

New rules on the certification of school nurses are causing a stir.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that tightens the requirements for who can work as a school nurse in New Hampshire. Among other things, it requires a bachelor’s degree and certification from the state Board of Education – just like a teacher.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Dozens of people showed up to the State Board of Education meeting Thursday morning. They came to weigh in on a proposal to reevaluate the state standards on math and English.

Board members heard from parents, teachers, and business leaders on a request made by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to reevaluate the state standards in math and English. These standards define what students should know, and help shape what actually gets taught in the classroom.

John DePetro was among those in favor of a review.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

Nashua and Portsmouth have joined a growing number of cities around the country committing to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

In the days since President Donald Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the global climate accord, over 270 mayors across the country have signed on to a plan to stay in.

Now the cities of Portsmouth and Nashua have added their names to the list. Jack Blalock is mayor of Portsmouth.

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

The federal agency that regulates the Seabrook Nuclear power plant is hosting a public meeting to discuss the plant’s 2016 record in safety.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will host the public meeting Wednesday night in Hampton.

File photo

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has settled a dispute between towns and electric companies in the state over how to appraise the value of land used by utilities.

Last Friday, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of 60 towns across New Hampshire that argued they should be the ones to appraise the land used by utilities in their towns.

Power companies Eversource and New Hampshire Electric Coop argued that a different appraisal of the property, done by the state, is more accurate.

That state appraisal would result in a lower tax burden for the companies.

Reuters

Union employees and the Westinghouse Electric Company have reached an agreement to end a two-week long lockout at the company’s Newington facility.

Last month, members of the International Brother of Boilermakers and Westinghouse Electric found themselves at odds over renewal of a labor contract.

When negotiations broke down, the company locked the employees out of their Newington factory which manufactures parts for nuclear power plants.

Now, Miguel Fonseca with the Boilermakers says the union and the company have reached a compromise.

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, officials in the town of Durham are looking for ways to stay involved locally.

Jason Moon for NHPR

With 14,000 students from a huge variety of backgrounds, the Manchester School District is both the largest and most diverse in the state.

But those distinctions come with challenges that sometimes result in stark disparities between schools just a few miles apart.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has unveiled a draft of its plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, was passed in 2015 as a replacement for No Child Left Behind.

Reuters

The Westinghouse Electric Company has locked out 172 union employees at its Newington plant following a breakdown in contract negotiations.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers were notified of the lockout Sunday night after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new employment contract.

iStock Photo

The state senate has passed a bill that would require the Department of Environmental Services to re-evaluate its standards for perfluorochemicals, a water contaminant.

Mike Ross, UNH

In recent weeks the University of New Hampshire has seen a string of racially charged incidents play out on campus. The events are forcing a difficult conversation just days before graduation.

UNH Police

University of New Hampshire police have arrested a student who they say damaged artwork that was meant to show support for students targeted by hate speech in recent days.

Shaan William DeJong, 19, of Hooksett was arrested on a charge of criminal mischief and later released on personal recognizance bail.

Police say DeJong damaged sculpted fists outside of Stoke Hall designed by students in support of those impacted by recent racially-charged incidents on campus.

The man poised to be the new chief of police in Portsmouth is accused of assault in a pending civil suit.

Robert Merner stands accused of assault while on duty as a Boston police officer in 2013.

Merner denies the allegations, which were the basis of an earlier lawsuit dismissed by a judge in Massachusetts.

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