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.

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.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is hosting a job fair next week.

The shipyard is hoping the fair will help them fill about 160 open positions.

The positions range from chemists and electricians to painters and pipefitters.

In a statement, shipyard commander Captain Dave Hunt says their workload is increasing and they need the extra help to keep up.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard repairs and refits nuclear-powered submarines.

The facility already employs more than 5,500 civilian employees. The fair will run Nov. 14 from noon to 8 p.m. in Eliot, Maine.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Local crack shots Kylie and Ryan Hodsdon won big at this year’s Big Buck Hunter World Championship in Las Vegas.

As we reported earlier this year, the Hodsdons are the “king and queen” of a Dover-based Big Buck Hunter league.

In Big Buck Hunter, players use plastic shotguns to shoot deer that gallop across a TV screen.

Jason Moon for NHPR

As New Hampshire’s coastline prepares for a world with rising seas and stronger storms, communities and homeowners have different options, none of them simple: seawalls, raised structures, a retreat from the shoreline.

But some scientists in New Hampshire are pitching a more natural approach. All it takes is a little grass and some time.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A key legislative vote on a controversial school choice bill was postponed today.

For weeks, Republican lawmakers have been working to revamp a sweeping school choice bill that was first proposed last year in the State House.

The bill would allow some families to take their children out of public school and then spend tax dollars that would have gone to that public school on other educational purposes.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill faces an important vote before lawmakers tomorrow.

The bill would create a type of school voucher system in the state, where parents could take their children out of their local public school and then spend the tax dollars that would have gone to that public school on other educational purposes, like private school tuition or home school supplies.

The proposal was hotly debated last legislative session and ultimately tabled by lawmakers.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Early this week, coastal communities in New Hampshire will experience an event known as King Tide. A King Tide occurs when the sun and moon align and their combined gravitational pull creates an especially high high-tide.

A federal judge has ordered the release of an Indonesian immigrant living on the Seacoast and detained by ICE.

Terry Rombot was one of about two-dozen Indonesians who were told by officials back in August that they had 30 days to buy plane tickets and leave the country.

They have been living in New Hampshire for decades after fleeing religious persecution, but they never received any official status.

Instead they had been living under an informal agreement with ICE, where they agreed to stay out of trouble and check in each month.

Former New Hampshire AFL-CIO president and current state Rep. Mark MacKenzie is the latest Democrat to enter the race for the state’s 1st Congressional District.

MacKenzie worked as a Manchester firefighter for 25 years after signing up as a 21 year old.

He also served as president of the New Hampshire chapter of the country's largest labor union for 25 years. He lost reelection to that post in 2015 after a controversy over voting process.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Manchester School District is planning to dramatically redesign the student experience at one of its high schools.

The details are yet to be worked out, but key concepts of West High's makeover include breaking up the normal school schedule so that students can do more learning outside the classroom, like through internships with local businesses. The plan also calls for every student to receive a personalized learning plan that's tailored to his or her particular needs.

Bolgen Vargas is the Manchester Superintendent of Schools.

evmaiden via Flickr Creative Commons

Debate about a controversial school voucher bill is again heating up.

The bill would create a type of universal school voucher system in the state, where parents could take their children out of public school and then spend the tax dollars that would’ve gone to that public school on other educational purposes. Things like private school tuition or home school supplies.

youtube.com

Last week, police in Bristol arrested a man in connection with two explosions that rocked the town earlier this month. Those blasts were caused by something called binary explosives, designed for use in target practice.

Bristol Police Lieutenant Kris Bean says on the evening of October 7th, not long after sunset, his department was suddenly flooded with 911 calls.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Last night in Durham, parents, teachers, and students from the Oyster River School District met for a conversation about diversity and discrimination.

The event comes several weeks after allegations of racist bullying in the school district.

As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, the event last night was a time for people to share their stories and to chart where to go from here.  

Parents, teachers, and school administrators will gather in Durham tonight for a forum on diversity.

The event is being organized by the Oyster River School District.  It's in response to a pair of alleged racist bullying incidents from early in September.

College Board

New national data on the price of college shows once again New Hampshire’s public universities have the highest sticker prices for in-state students anywhere in the country.

maurafornh.com

Maura Sullivan is the latest Democrat to enter the contest to replace Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.

Standardized tests scores for New Hampshire students are down slightly from last year.

According to the results for the Smarter Balanced tests released today, there was a 3 percent drop in the number of students in grades 3 - 8 proficient in English Language Arts compared to last year. In math, there was 2 percent drop.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire 11th graders taking the SAT showed a slight improvement in math scores.

Pages