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.

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.

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.

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