Michael Brindley

Morning Edition producer

Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor. Michael started his career in journalism working as a reporter for the Derry News. Michael is a New Hampshire native, born and raised in Nashua. He studied journalism at Keene State College.

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The three Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage at Saint Anselm College Saturday night for their next debate.

This will be New Hampshire’s first debate of the primary season.

And while polls show a tight Democratic race here in the Granite State, the numbers nationally tell a different story.

NHPR/Michael Brindley

If you’re hosting a party, what kind of music would you play? What kind of food would you serve?

Those are the types of questions Ohio Gov. John Kasich faced recently at one of the more unique series of campaign events during this New Hampshire presidential primary season.

“So what’s your question – who would I invite?” said Kasich, seemingly puzzled by the question of who he would invite to a party he was hosting.

“Who would you invite? What would a party look like if you hosted a party?”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s top Republican elected official, says she disagrees with GOP candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country.

“I do not believe that there should be a religious test in terms of how we decide who’s coming to our country," Ayotte said. "There needs to be a factual, risk-based assessment. We’ve not had a religious test for this and that certainly seems inconsistent with the First Amendment to me.”

But when asked whether she would support Trump if he wins the Republican nomination, Ayotte didn't rule it out.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As more details come out about the shooting in San Bernardino, terrorism threats and measures to restrict guns have become part of the debate surrounding national security.

NHPR spoke with both of New Hampshire’s Senators this morning about one of President Obama’s proposals: banning the sale of guns to those on the government’s no-fly list.

On the night of President Obama’s address, Republican Kelly Ayotte tweeted that the country needs to prevent those on the no-fly list from accessing guns.

iStockPhoto

Sticking to the facts doesn’t seem to be a top priority in the race for the White House.

Fact-checking groups have been busy debunking the claims of candidates on both the left and right.

But what happens when candidates refuse to budge from assertions that have been deemed false?

For example, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has been sticking to his claim he saw thousands of people in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte says those on the no-fly list should be banned from purchasing guns.

Ayotte made her position known Sunday on Twitter, saying that those on the watch list should not be able to purchase firearms.

She also called for due process for Americans who are wrongfully on the list.  

Allegra Boverman

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster bristled when asked about her support last month of a bill that would put a pause on the U.S. accepting Syrian and Iraqi refugees while a new, more stringent vetting process was established.

"The bill would not prohibit Syrian refugees from entering the nation. I think there's been a lot of misinformation frankly about the bill," Kuster said during an interview with NHPR's Morning Edition. "It doesn't pause the program. It doesn't apply a religious test. It's a certification that the person does not pose a threat to the security of the United States."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Two members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation have come out in opposition to Northeast Energy Direct—the controversial natural gas pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan.

NHPR/Sean Hurley

Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia is set to be auctioned off Wednesday, after its owner had chained himself to a water slide in an effort to bring attention to the park's financial woes.

The auction is scheduled for 11 a.m. and is being run by James R. St. Jean Auctioneers. The auction will be held at the park.

Dumont had chained himself to a water slide last month to save the park from being auctioned, but came down two weeks later after failing to reach a deal.

www.brookscullison.com

Almost all the big names have walked through the halls of the New Hampshire Statehouse, strolled into the Secretary of State's Office, and plunked down the $1,000 needed to file for the New Hampshire presidential primary.

  Only Republican Ben Carson is left to file, and he's set to take care of that on Friday, the last day to do so.

www.gofundme.com/w3zr3bd5

The death of an 11-month-old Alexandria boy has been ruled a homicide.

That was the determination announced Friday morning by law enforcement officials after an autopsy conducted earlier this week on Shawn Sylvester.

He died Sunday after sustaining serious injuries last Friday.

No arrests directly connected to the incident have been made and the state attorney general's office says the investigation into his death is ongoing.

Jeopardy

Manchester resident Kerry Greene is one step away from winning the "Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions."

Greene is one of three contestants remaining in the tournament. The winner walks away with $250,000.

Greene won her semi-final match Monday, and Thursday will compete in the first round of a two-night finale. The winner will be crowned Friday night.

This spring, Greene won $146,000 during a six-game winning streak on the popular quiz show.

Courtesy the NH House of Representatives

Executive Councilors chose not to reconsider the nomination of a judicial appointee whose rejection drew scrutiny from New Hampshire’s legal community.

Councilors had voted 3-2 at a meeting earlier this month to reject the nomination of long-time public defender Dorothy Graham to the Superior Court bench.

All three Republican councilors voted against confirming Graham. Councilor Joe Kenney said he couldn’t confirm an attorney who defended child sex offenders.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Lawmakers will gather at the State House in Concord Wednesday for a special session devoted solely to tackling the issue of substance abuse.

The state saw a record number of drug overdoses last year – more than 300 – and opioid, heroin, and prescription drug abuse continues to plague communities across the Granite State.

To talk about the special session, Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem joined NHPR's Morning Edition.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is among the political leaders here in the Granite State pushing back against President Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

"Well, we’re certainly a compassionate nation, but national security has to come first," Ayotte told NHPR's Morning Edition.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

It’s been a busy few days for John Tousignant.

He’s executive director of the Franco-American Centre in Manchester, which promotes French language, culture and heritage.

Since Friday’s attack in Paris, he’s been fielding calls from people offering words of support.

He’s also been out speaking with those in the French community here in the Granite State about the reaction here in the region.

On Monday, NHPR’s Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with Tousignant.

Getty Images

By all accounts, New Hampshire in the throes of a drug addiction crisis; more than 300 people died from drug overdoses last year, the most in state history.

But while there’s the human toll, there’s also an impact on businesses and the state’s overall economy.

To talk more about that, Jeff Feingold, editor of the New Hampshire Business Review, joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about NHBR's reporting on the issue.

www.audio-luci-store.it on Flickr Creative Commons

A new state law limiting when schools can record in classrooms is having unintended consequences for some New Hampshire school districts.

The law was aimed at protecting the privacy of teachers and students, but school officials say the added regulations have made it more difficult to film classrooms for legitimate reasons.

Priscilla Morrill is a reporter for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas had his victory in last week’s election confirmed Monday, after a recount showed he defeated challenger Joyce Craig by 64 votes.

The new tally was even closer than the initial 85-vote margin that prompted Craig to request the recount last week.

It took roughly 10 hours for city election workers to hand count the 20,000 ballots Monday.

Each candidate picked up additional votes, but Gatsas remained victorious, earning his fourth term as mayor.

joycecraig.org

Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig has filed for a recount, after losing to incumbent Ted Gatsas by just 85 votes.

Craig filed paperwork for the recount yesterday and announced her decision on Twitter, telling supporters that it's important to ensure every vote is counted.

More than 20,000 ballots were cast in Tuesday's election.

City charter requires the Board of Recount must set a date for a recount no later than seven days after the request is filed.

Dave Delay/flickr

Projects in eight New Hampshire communities have been awarded federal Land and Water Conservation grants totaling $930,000.

The projects being funded are aimed at promoting outdoor recreation and conservation.

The town of Nelson of will use $150,000 to acquire 588 acres of land for a town forest.

And the city of Concord will use its $100,000 grant to develop trails and a boardwalk at Terrill Park.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte says she’s backing a new federal regulation aimed at cutting back significantly on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Ayotte is the first Republican Senator to back President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan.

Flickr user: schoolchoiceweek

The national charter school movement is growing - 2.5 million students are attending roughly 6,000 charter schools.

Another 1 million students are on wait lists.

Still, there are issues: charter schools overall receive less funding than traditional public schools and are located primarily in urban areas, limiting access to students in rural communities.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Having spent 12 years working in the private sector, Academy for Science and Design math teacher Jay O'Connell says he has no problem with his salary being based on performance.

“I always think merit first,” he said. “If I do well, I know the staff will support me. I have no problem with that being based on how I perform. That’s how it is out in the real world, so no union here, it doesn’t bother me.”

As is common in public charter schools, ASD in Nashua has no teacher's union.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

For Dakota Benedetto, trying to get a charter school approved hasn't been an easy task.

They ask for a five-year projected budget. Since the first year is kind of pre-opening, but you’re still at least a year out from when you’re writing it, you’re looking six or seven years in advance, so how much money are you going to be spending on copy paper seven years from now? That whole process of trying to juggle the numbers and get the budget to work was challenging. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Two new charter schools that opened this fall each have a unique philosophy toward education.

But the first few weeks for these new additions to the state’s school choice roster show just how bumpy the road to opening a charter school can be.

www.nec.edu

Tom Raffio, chair of the New Hampshire Board of Education, says with declining enrollment across the state, the continued growth of charter schools need to be looked at from a public policy perspective.

"Public schools, regular public schools are starting to lay off teachers because of the fact that there are fewer pupils. If students also go to charter schools, there will be a further diffusion of resources. So we want to look at it from an overarching perspective."

Michael Brindley for NHPR

North of the notches, the only charter school choice for students is the North Country Charter Academy, which serves high school-aged students in Littleton and Lancaster who have struggled in a traditional school setting.

Avion Erceg is one of those students.

She’s 16 years old and lives in Lincoln, and is one of about 20 students sitting at their computers in a classroom at the Littleton campus on a recent morning.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

A federal review of New Hampshire’s charter school program raised concerns about gaps in state oversight when it comes to how public money is being spent.

A monitoring report of New Hampshire’s charter school program released in February found several charter schools were misusing their federal start-up grant money.

One example was a school that rented a “party bus” limousine to transport students to a symposium.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

At the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, National Science Bowl championship banners hang on the cafeteria.

Test scores here are some of the highest in the state; 96 percent of the school’s eighth-graders are proficient in math.

Compare that to just 64 percent statewide.

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