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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Governor Wentworth School District

A snow day isn’t what it used to be for some students in the Granite State. Many New Hampshire schools are adopting what are known as blizzard bag days.

The concept has been popular among the schools that use it, but the program has yet to take off statewide.

You're 8 years old, and you're excited that there's a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Then you get a phone message.

“Due to inclement weather and treacherous road conditions, school is canceled for all Governor Wentworth Schools.”

You start thinking snow day. But then...

President Obama has granted New Hampshire’s request for a major disaster declaration for the blizzard that hit the state last month.

The state estimates it cost nearly 5 million dollars to respond to the storm that struck the second weekend of February.

The declaration covers the counties of Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan.

One eligibility requirement for disaster aid is whether counties received record or near-record snowfall. Carroll County got 30.5 inches of snow. Its previous record was 19 inches.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

A former state representative and a union president face off Tuesday in a special election to fill a vacant House seat in Manchester.

Republican Win Hutchinson is looking to reclaim the seat he lost representing Manchester in the November election.

His opponent is Democrat Bill O’Neil, who is president of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The seat became vacant just after the November election.

Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

Home sale prices in New Hampshire rose sharply last month, marking the largest one-year increase in the six years the data has been tracked by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

The median price of single family homes sold in New Hampshire last month was $199,000.

That’s a 12.2 percent increase in median price compared to February of last year.

New Hampshire Association of Realtors President Bill Weidacher says the spike is a result of simple supply and demand economics.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

Red River Theatres in Concord is going through a transformation this week. Technicians put the finishing touches on installing digital projection equipment at the nonprofit theatre.

For Barry Steelman, going digital presents an internal conflict.

Steelman is the facilities manager at Red River Theatres. He knows the upgrade will make for a better movie-watching experience.

“They should notice a much brighter and clearer image here. Not that there was anything wrong with what was being presented here before, but this is an improvement upon that.”

Photo: Sheryl Rich-Kern

The Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is urging federal officials to reconsider plans to shut down the air traffic control tower at the Nashua airport.

In a letter to the director of the Federal Aviation Administration, Commissioner Chris Clement says closing the tower at Boire Field would have an impact on safety.

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, file

The Diocese of Manchester will hold a special mass at 6 this evening to celebrate the election of a new pope.

Bishop Peter Libasci will lead the mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Manchester.

Diocese Spokesman Kevin Donovan says the announcement of a new pope comes very early, compared to previous elections.

“The earliest that a pope has been elected in 100s of years was on the first day, and this is the second day, so still fairly early, which means there was consensus early on among the electors, the cardinals, electing the pope.”

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is bordered by states all in varying stages of implementing their own medical marijuana programs.

As the Granite State moves forward with its own proposal, we look at those neighboring states to see how their programs compare and what issues they have that we could see here.

We meet Lori and Dave Labreck at the Salmon Falls Café in Lebanon, Maine. We’re here because they’re concerned about security. Both are patients under the state’s medical marijuana program and are able to grow the plant at their southern Maine home. They’ve asked me not to name the town.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

Journalism is in a state of transition, as all forms of media continue to adapt to an online model of storytelling.

The Boston Globe made headlines last month, when after 20 years, its owner the New York Times announced the newspaper was for sale.

Three years ago, the Times threatened to shut down the Globe because it was losing money.

But you wouldn’t know any of this talking with Rebecca Marsh.

“I think I want to work for the Boston Globe. I think that would be really cool, covering probably politics or something in arts and entertainment.”

An effort to repeal the next phase of the state's voter ID law is moving onto the full House with a favorable recommendation to pass.

The action taken by the House Election Law committee this week takes a middle-ground approach on the state’s voter ID law.

The committee voted 11-7 to recommend passage of the bill that would roll back the next phase of the law set to take effect in September.

The New Hampshire State Troopers Association criticized former Speaker Bill O’Brien for proposing additional revenue raised by increasing the gas tax be used only for infrastructure.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, the association says the state constitution allows for funding the supervision of traffic on state highways through the gas tax.

“It is extremely unfortunate to see Representative Bill O’Brien and his colleagues continuing to undermine the safety of our communities,” the association says.

N.H. Department of Education

Governor Maggie Hassan plans to nominate Virginia Barry for a second term as the state’s commissioner of education.

Hassan will present Barry’s nomination to the Executive Council on Wednesday. The reappointment to a second four-year term is subject to the council’s approval.

Barry took over as the state’s education chief in 2009. Prior to that, she was a professor at Plymouth State University. She is also a former elementary school teacher and principal.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

9:59: Gov. Hassan will be discussing her budget tonight at the the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. 7 p.m., Shelburne Room, Town & Country Motor Inn, 20 State Route 2, Gorham.

Cigarette
SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

Several health advocacy groups object to legislation that would allow health insurance plans for small businesses to charge smokers higher premiums.

Michael Rollo with the American Cancer Society told members of the House Commerce Committee on Thursday that the bill could double health insurance premiums for many tobacco users.

New Hampshire has the fourth-lowest percentage of young people in jail.

That’s according to a study released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The study released Wednesday uses Census data and finds that nationwide, incarceration of people under 21 years old reached a 35-year low in 2010.

In New Hampshire, the rate of incarceration dropped 37 percent from 1995 to 2010.

With across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester set to go into effect Friday, hundreds of the state’s low-income families and children could lose access to federal programs.

The federal Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program would be cut by roughly 5 percent through sequestration.

Ellen Fineberg of the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire says that would mean 1,100 low-income mothers and young children in the Granite State would lose access to the program.

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering legislation that would lift a ban on a state-based health care exchange.

A law passed last year by the Republican-led Legislature bars New Hampshire from implementing its own state-based health care exchange.

Representative Edward Butler of Harts Location is the prime sponsor of a bill to lift that ban.

At a House committee hearing on the bill Tuesday, Butler says it does not advocate for a state-based exchange.

Courtesy New Hampshire National Guard

If a series of automatic cuts known as the sequester go into effect at the end of this week, the New Hampshire National Guard will be one of many local agencies impacted.

Major Greg Heilshorn says if the sequester happens, roughly 450 National Guard employees will be furloughed beginning in late April.

For the employees, it would mean the loss of one day a week, or 20 percent of their pay, through September.

“From an economic point of view, you’re looking at a potential impact of about $4 million in lost wages.”

A bill requiring New Hampshire health care workers undergo random drug testing went before a House committee on Tuesday.

The bill comes after a former Exeter Hospital medical technician was accused of infecting more than 30 patients with Hepatitis C. Officials say David Kwiatkowski injected himself and then reused the needles.

Opponents of the bill say going after other innocent employees is not the answer.

Gary Cahoon operates Friendship Manor, a retirement home in New Ipswich.

Courtesy of geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/koop/cek/

Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died at his home in Hanover today. He was 96.

Koop served as surgeon general of the United States from November 1981 to October 1989.

It was during that time when he became known as “America’s Family Doctor.”

Shortly after his tenure as surgeon general was over, he returned to his alma mater. In 1992, he established the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College.

Friend and Dartmouth colleague Joseph O’Donnell describes Koop as the founder of the field of pediatric surgery.

A New Hampshire man is up for a national service award.

Paul Moore of Bedford is one of 23 finalists for the Congressional Medal of Honor’s Citizen Service Before Self Honors. The finalists were announced Monday.

A Democratic lawmaker wants to ease financial pressure on the state retirement system by cracking down on the practice known as double dipping.

Representative Daniel Sullivan says his bill is meant to curb the practice of public employees retiring, then coming back to work in part-time positions while collecting a pension.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

  The Free State Project is holding its annual Liberty Forum at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua this weekend. 

At the forum, you see a lot of people expressing their passion for freedom.

Some open carry firearms in holsters. Others proudly wear t-shirts bearing the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Jillian Batty? She makes sweets.

"I make everything in kitchen at home. I make brittles, and caramels, and fudge," she says.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

Gun owners came out to the capitol in force Thursday to object to a bill that would make it illegal to open carry a pistol or revolver in a public building without a permit.

Holding up a copy of the New Hampshire constitution, Steven Stefanik of Manchester told lawmakers their oath required them to reject the bill.

“You can make laws, but you can’t go against the Constitution, and I just read you article 2A: we all have the right to keep and bear arms, any place, anytime we want to protect ourselves, our state, our families and our property.”

A bill that would give New Hampshire cities and towns the option of allowing licensed school employees to carry concealed firearms in schools went before a House committee Thursday.

Supporters say creating gun-free zones at schools make children and teachers vulnerable.

Angela Joy of Dover is a parent of two.

“I want my children protected. If I feel that in their school and in their community that they need an armed person, then I want that option.”

New Hampshire lawmakers will no longer be hitting the slopes of state-owned Cannon Mountain for free.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday killed legislation that would have exempted the free ski passes lawmakers received in the past from the definition of a gift.

House Minority Leader Gene Chandler says the intent of the long-held practice was for lawmakers to experience first-hand a park they oversee in the budget.

“But now I think it’s gone past having an explanation about how it might be a good idea and it’s just flat out gonna look bad if we do it.”

Flickr - Images of Money

  Several bills being considered by the House would boost the state’s minimum wage.

One would make it $9.25 an hour. Another would set it at $8 an hour and tie annual recalculations to the rate of inflation.

The U.S. Army vis Flickr Creative Commons

The House passed legislation last week that would limit the awarding of the state’s Medal of Honor to those killed in action.

The bill holds special meaning for one member of the House.

Representative Skip Rollins says he kept the promises he made to his son before he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.

He made sure his son, Specialist Justin Rollins, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He welcomed his girlfriend into the family and watched over his dog.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen says delaying former senator Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of Defense has real national security implications.

Shaheen believes Hagel will ultimately be confirmed as the next defense secretary, but not until after the Senate returns from its break a week from Monday.

But she says delays to the process by her Republican colleagues do not serve the country well.

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced legislation this week that would extend military benefits to same-sex military families.

Shaheen says the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013 is named after the New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer who died Sunday.

“As she was dying of breast cancer, she knew her wife and her daughter were not going to be able to get the benefits that she had earned on her active duty and guard service and that’s not right. It needs to change and this legislation is designed to do that.”

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