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.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has pulled the plug on a scheduled speaking engagement at a GOP event this weekend.

Nicholas Erwin / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has reached a settlement with New England Dragway in Epping over violations of state environmental laws.

At issue were alterations the company made to about three and a half acres of wetlands during an upgrade of their facilities in 2012.

According to the attorney general’s office, the company later realized they made the alterations without the required permits and self-reported the violation to the state.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

UNH President Mark Huddleston addressed a growing string of racially charged incidents at the school’s Durham campus in recent weeks.

File Photo

Commercial fishermen in New Hampshire will be able to get free job safety training this week.

Commercial fishing is regularly cited as one of the most world’s most dangerous professions.

The day-long safety training event will be held Wednesday in New Castle and will cover topics like man-overboard procedures, emergency communications, and how to put on a survival suit.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A State Representative from Hampton is asking the governor to fire the state’s top tourism and state park officials over the management of Hampton Beach State Park.

Republican State Representative and Hampton Selectman Philip Bean is calling the state’s management of Hampton Beach ‘tyrannical’.

plymouth.edu

A new scholarship program at Plymouth State University will focus on reaching students in the North Country.

A now-deceased descendant of one of the school’s original funders donated $1.5 million to the university. The gift provides for a scholarship fund that will help up to 20 students with financial need each year. Priority will be given to students from Coos, Grafton, and Carroll Counties.

Paula Lee Hobson with Plymouth State says the donor, Ann Haggart, had a special connection with the North Country.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is asking lawmakers to up state spending on STEM education and career technical education.

In a request to the Senate Finance Committee, Commissioner Edelblut is requesting $17 million for the renovation of two career technical centers in Rochester and Plymouth, $4 million to expand broadband internet to more schools in the state, and about $900,000 to establish a grant program for robotics education.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Tuesday lawmakers heard testimony on a bill that would regulate and tax fantasy sports in New Hampshire.

The bill would require fantasy sports companies to register with the state’s lottery commission, pay a registration fee, and then fork over 5% of the gross revenue from their operations each year.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Gary Azarian, argued the regulations would create legal certainty for the relatively new industry.

In Manchester, the city School Board has approved a plan by the superintendent to lay off 14 school district employees.

The positions to be eliminated all come from Manchester high schools and include an English teacher, a Latin teacher, and a P.E. teacher.

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says the layoffs are a direct result of declining enrollment in the Manchester School District – that trend has been steady over the last decade.

With fewer students, the district gets less money from the state. Vargas says stopping that decline is one of his major priorities.

A new report from the state Department of Health and Human Services found no common links in a string of rare cancer cases on the Seacoast.

The findings are based on survey data collected by DHHS after a so-called cancer cluster was identified on the Seacoast last year. Two rare forms of pediatric cancers had been diagnosed in that area at significantly higher rates than normal.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Once upon a time it was easy to spot a great athlete. They wore jerseys and stood on a field or a court somewhere. Now, the world’s best digital athletes, who play their games on a screen, hide in plain sight, including on New Hampshire's Seacoast.

Courtesy University of New Hampshire

A mobile, half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is currently on display at UNH.

The wall was escorted to campus this week by state and local police along with several Vietnam veteran motorcycle groups.

It’s currently parked on a campus lawn, visible from Main Street in Durham.

The wall has toured the country since 1984 to bring the memorial to people who may not be able to travel to Washington, D.C.

The tour is coordinated by a veterans group.

The wall will be on display at UNH until 8 am on Monday.

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

Lawmakers in the state senate heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would force the state to lower the safe drinking standards for perfluorochemicals, a water contaminant.

Right now the state Department of Environmental Services uses a threshold of 70 parts per trillion when testing drinking water for PFCS, an industrial chemical used in non-stick pans and other products. That limit is based on the federal standard established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jason Moon / NHPR

Beginning Tuesday, Portsmouth residents and visitors can participate in the city’s new bike sharing program.

Riders will be able to rent bicycles from five stations around downtown Portsmouth for trips of up to two hours.

The three-year pilot program is operated by a company called Zagster, which runs about 150 bike shares around the country.

Juliet Walker is a Planning Director with the city of Portsmouth. She says the program is just one part of a larger strategy to help alleviate parking and traffic congestion downtown.

www.ci.durham.nh.us

State and federal officials plan to release dye into the Oyster River this week in an effort to study how water flows from a sewage plant along the river.

Beginning Tuesday night, officials with state and federal environmental agencies will inject a reddish dye into the town of Durham’s wastewater treatment plant for about 12 hours.

The experiment is designed to shed light on how wastewater flows from the plant. It could lead to new boundaries for where shellfish harvesting is allowed.

Chris Nash is with the state Department of Environmental Services.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden joined New Hampshire Democrats Sunday night at the party’s annual 100 Club Dinner in Manchester. The event offered the party a chance to focus its energy in the wake of a bruising political year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

At a town hall style event on Friday, State Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut declined to take a position on whether the state should fund full day kindergarten programs.

Speaking to a crowd of about 75 at New England College, Commissioner Edelblut was asked by audience members about several ongoing education policy debates.

On state funding for full day kindergarten, which has the support of Governor Chris Sununu, Edelblut declined to offer an opinion. He stressed that the department doesn’t take positions on pending legislation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The state Senate has signed off on a plan to create a commission to investigate a string of rare pediatric cancer cases on the Seacoast.

In early 2016, state officials discovered a so-called cancer cluster in a five-town area of the Seacoast. Two rare forms of pediatric cancer had been diagnosed in that area at significantly higher rates than normal.

Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

The Republican-controlled House Education Committee voted 15 to 4 today to offer state support for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire for the first time.

Under the current state education funding system, kindergartners are counted at half the rate as other grades, so districts get just half the money to educate kindergartners as they do for students in other grades.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Lawmakers in the House put the brakes on a sweeping school choice bill that would have allowed parents to use public money for private school and homeschool expenses.

The House Education Committee voted to retain the bill, which means it is effectively dead for the current session.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers will debate a controversial education bill Tuesday that would allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for private school tuition and homeschool expenses.

The bill is testing how far and how fast school choice advocates are willing to go in implementing their agenda.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Last night, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski addressed Republicans at a fundraising dinner on the Seacoast. The event offered the New Hampshire GOP a chance to revel in recent victories and to look toward the future.

The Manchester School Board has approved a new plan for how students will progress from one school to the next. It’s the first step in a broader school redistricting effort in the state’s largest city.

For nearly a decade, city officials in Manchester have been trying to overhaul the system that determines which kids go to which schools.

Last night, the School Board took its first step. It approved a change to the feeder pattern - which determines the path students follow as they move from elementary to middle to high school.

Wednesday night, the Manchester school board will vote on proposals that would change how students move from one school to another.

This overhaul of what's known as the feeder pattern is just one part of a larger redistricting process that the city has been struggling to accomplish for nearly a decade.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon spoke with All Things Considered host Peter Biello about the process, and why it's been so fraught for so long.

Via LinkedIn

Governor Chris Sununu has tapped Drew Cline, a former editorial page editor at the Union Leader newspaper, to join the state board of education.  Cline will replace Tom Raffio, who has been on the board since 2007.

Raffio’s official term has been up since January, but he continued to serve while the governor decided whether to keep or replace him.

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

Federal regulators have approved a plan by the owners of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant to temporarily take a backup water cooling tower offline for cleaning.

Seabrook Station is in the midst of a maintenance and refueling period. During this time, the station generates no electricity and employees conduct routine maintenance.

One of those maintenance projects requires taking a water cooling tower offline so that divers can clean out accumulated sediment.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is dismissing claims that he’s seeking more power for his new position.

Earlier this week, Republican State Senator John Reagan introduced an amendment to a bill that would consolidate some authorities in DOE under the commissioner’s office.

Edelblut says he asked for the changes, but he disputes charges from Democrats and the state’s largest teachers union that this is a power grab.

A proposal to reorganize the state department of education is attracting some controversy.

Republican State Senator John Reagan proposed the change in an amendment to an unrelated education bill.

Via PortsmouthWastewater.com

-- Updated 4/13 to include statement from ATSDR --

People exposed to high levels of PFCs at the former Pease Air Force Base are expressing frustration over how long it’s taking a federal agency to investigate the health impacts of the contamination.

After the chemicals were found in a well that supplied drinking water at Pease in 2014, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, was told to investigate.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Employees of businesses damaged by a major fire in Portsmouth will have a chance to connect with unemployment benefits on Wednesday.

The state Department of Resources and Economic Development is hosting what it calls a ‘rapid response jobs event’ after a major fire damaged businesses in downtown Portsmouth earlier this week.

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