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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  University System of New Hampshire officials are making their pitch to restore cuts made in the last state budget that reduced support for public higher education nearly in half.

State university system Chancellor Ed MacKay relied on a timely economic catch phrase to describe the impact budget cuts have had on public higher education.

“You talk about a fiscal cliff; I think there’s no better depiction of a fiscal cliff than what we experienced in the current biennium.”

MacKay was speaking to members of the House Finance committee on Thursday.

Ryan Lessard, NHPR

A large turnout to a gun show in Manchester last weekend led to the state setting another high for background checks for handgun sales in a single day.

New Hampshire State Police conducted 611 background checks for handgun sales on Saturday.

Sgt. Sean Haggerty says that’s the most ever for a single day in New Hampshire. Saturday was the first day of a weekend gun show in Manchester.

On Sunday, state police responded to 233 requests for background checks.

At the same gun show last year, there were only 283 background checks on the first day.

A University of New Hampshire study finds that while poverty rates stabilized after the recession, recipients of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, continued to rise.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Carsey Institute.

In 2011, 13 percent of American households relied on SNAP, a program formerly known as food stamps. That’s compared to roughly 8 percent in 2007.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

  U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen wants to lift the Congressional ban on earmarks, imposed under Republican leadership in 2010.

Shaheen says earmarks, often criticized as so-called pork spending, were a useful way for lawmakers to target money to projects in their home states.

When they were in effect, Shaheen says taxpayers could find information online about who was requesting the money and where it was going. Now, she says under the ban those decisions about spending are left to the administration.

  The head of the New Hampshire Community College System says schools could lower tuition if lawmakers can boost funding in the next two-year budget.

Chancellor Ross Gittell says if the state provides another $3 million beyond restoring cuts made in the last budget, that money would be used to reduce tuition by an average of 5 percent.

At a minimum, Gittell is urging lawmakers to restore the 20 percent cut in funding to the community college system.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

 At the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester, inventory is high and spirits are up. Just ask volunteer Bob Lodico.

Sam Evans-Brown

  A Democratic state lawmaker wants to repeal New Hampshire’s so-called Stand Your Ground law.

State Representative Stephen Shurtleff says the law goes too far in giving individuals the right to use deadly force in a public place.

Shurtleff has filed legislation to repeal Stand Your Ground in New Hampshire. The law allows people to use deadly force anywhere they have a right to be if they feel their lives are in danger.

Flikr Creative Commons / velkr0

There has been a national debate over gun control since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. nearly a month ago.

President Barack Obama has backed a proposal to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons.

The Exchange tackled the gun control debate on Friday morning's show. It was the final installment of a three-day series looking at possible lessons from Newtown.

State Rep. J.R. Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican and State Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat, took part in the discussion.

If you’re a Comcast cable subscriber, expect to see an increase in your next bill.

Comcast subscribers will see an average increase of 1.6 percent in their bills, starting with their next billing period.

The higher rates go into effect January 22.

Different services will see different rates of increases.

Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman says investments in new technology and infrastructure required the increase.

A State Senator is withdrawing plans for legislation that would amend the constitution to alter New Hampshire’s education funding formula.

State Senator Nancy Stiles says lawmakers already have enough on their plates this session, starting with crafting a two-year budget.

That’s part of the reason she is postponing for a year a proposal to change the state constitution to allow for targeted aid to needy school districts.

Stiles says putting the issue off until the 2014 session also gives lawmakers time to craft the right amendment.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte says Congress needs to act now to cut spending or it will face another last-minute decision at the end of February.

“We want to fund our priorities, but there’s some things we can’t afford, programs that have been going on that maybe don’t work anymore. We really have to go through line by line and get that done.”

The deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff pushed the deadline for across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to March 1.

AP PHOTO/NICOLE TUNG, FREEJAMESFOLEY.ORG

Family members of a freelance journalist from New Hampshire kidnapped in Syria say they are concerned about the lack of information from his captors.

During an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show on Tuesday, Diane Foley, journalist James Foley’s mother, says unlike the last time her son was kidnapped, the family has few details.

Foley, who is from Rochester, was held captive for more than a month in Libya in 2011.

New Hampshire’s two Senators have differing reactions to President Obama’s nomination of Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

While praising Senator Hagel’s service in Vietnam, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte says she has concerns about positions he has taken during his time in Congress.

In a statement, Ayotte pledged to "vigorously question" Hagel on his long-standing opposition to increased sanctions against Iran.

Ayotte says she will also ask Hagel about his views regarding Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Israel.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

If you’re one of the approximately 5,500 voters who didn’t show an ID at the polls in November, you’ve got mail.

You’ve likely already received a letter from Secretary of State Bill Gardner explaining that someone using your name cast a ballot on Nov. 6. Along with the letter is a small postcard, with postage already paid, that you must sign and send back confirming it was you who voted.

All of this is required by the state’s new voter ID law.

And Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan says his office estimates each mailing cost roughly $3.

New Hampshire isn’t seeing the same kind of economic growth following the recent recession as it has in the past.  And as the governor and lawmakers begin to debate the next two year budget, those forecasted numbers become especially important. 

Lawmakers are beginning this week with an overlook of the state’s economy.  A big part of that economic picture comes from last month’s report by the New England Economic Partnership. 

NHPR

Revenues have fallen millions of dollars short of what lawmakers projected when they lowered the tax on cigarettes by 10 cents two years ago. The theory was lowering the tax would boost sales.

Assuming revenues continue to miss the mark, a sunset provision will kick in and the tax will automatically be reinstated on July 1.

Appearing on NHPR’s The Exchange on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says Republicans in the Senate are not likely to fight that measure.

Image courtesy of Twitter

An opinion from Attorney General Michael Delaney issued Monday concludes a Nashua woman is ineligible to run for office because of her criminal history.

As a result of the opinion, Stacie Laughton says she plans to withdraw her candidacy for special election to fill the vacant seat representing Hillsborough County District 31.

Voters elected Laughton to the seat in November, but she stepped down after reports surfaced about past felony convictions.

Laughton later reconsidered and filed paperwork last week to run as a candidate in the special election.

Jason Meserve, NHPR

Representative Frank Guinta was the only member of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to vote against the last-minute deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

Starting  Jan. 1, driving under the influence of prescription drugs, over the counter medications or any other chemical substances is a crime in New Hampshire.

Law enforcement officials say the change will help them prosecute drivers impaired by drugs not previously covered under state law.  Lawmakers expanded the state’s driving under the influence law in 2012 and Gov. Lynch signed it into law last June.

A New Hampshire lawmaker wants to make it a requirement for those purchasing firearms to have to go through safety training first.

State representative Cynthia Sweeney filed her request for the legislation prior to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

But Sweeney, a Charlestown Democrat, says the tragedy makes the need for training those who own firearms more pressing.

Sweeney’s legislation would make it a requirement for anyone purchasing or acquiring a firearm to attend a gun safety course.

A fish and game refuge has been one of the few places in the state where carrying a firearm remained illegal.

But on Jan. 1, 2013, that changes.

Legislation passed earlier this year and signed into law by Governor John Lynch in June legalizes the carrying of a firearm, concealed or exposed, in a fish and game refuge.

But there’s a provision making it a misdemeanor to discharge the firearm for the purposes of hunting.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

One of the first items on the agenda for Governor-elect Maggie Hassan will be to appoint a new commissioner for the Department of Resources and Economic Development.

Hassan says that while she has some names in mind, she's still seeking ideas for potential candidates and job criteria.

“I am open to suggestions. I have some ideas. It’s early and I’m talking to a lot of people," she says.

Hassan was in Manchester Thursday morning, talking about the process for appointing a new DRED commissioner.

Representative Rick Ladd says a law requiring high schools to be more vigilant in dealing with concussions needs to be broadened to include younger student athletes.

Ladd, a Haverhill Republican, says the law passed last year only applies to sports in grades 9 through 12.

The law requires high school student athletes be removed from games if they are suspected of having a concussion. Students cannot return to the field until they get clearance from a doctor and a parent’s permission.

A group of Democratic lawmakers want to repeal the voter ID requirements implemented under Republican leadership.

Current law requires that voters be asked for photo identification at the polls, but does not require they have one to cast a ballot.

In elections this year, people who wanted to vote but did not have ID had to sign an affidavit.

Proponents argue the measure helps to prevent voter fraud, but Tim Horrigan, a Durham Democrat, says there is no evidence that a problem exists.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

When convincing a child on the other end of a phone line you’re Santa Claus, having the right voice goes a long way.

“Ho ho ho! How are you today Peyton?” says Merrimack police officer Greg Walters. "Good. Have you been a good boy? You have? Are you helping out mom and dad around the house?"

Walters is one of the officers in the department who makes calls to unsuspecting and, at times, speechless children as part of the town’s Santa Calling program.

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney is warning against scams seeking donations for families and victims of the Connecticut school shooting.

Delaney says there have been no complaints in New Hampshire of fraudulent phone calls seeking money for victims.

But there have been reports of phone scams in Connecticut.

Delaney urges people to be wary of phone calls seeking money and says you should always ask for solicitation materials in writing.

Illegal tobacco sales to New Hampshire youth increased over the past year.

The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday released the results of compliance checks of tobacco sales from across the state.

During those checks, sales to minors increased from nearly 8 percent last year to more than 13 percent this year. Nearly 300 tobacco retailers were surveyed in this year’s check.

Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services Director Joe Harding says while this year’s figure is well below the federal requirement of 20 percent, the increase is concerning.

New Hampshire’s homeless population is down by 4 percent this year.

The data is included in a report released Thursday by the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness.

Director Cathy Kuhn says the slight drop is good news, particularly after an 11 percent increase from 2010 to 2011.

But big picture, Kuhn says the issues isn’t going away.

Over the past two years, the number of homeless people increased in seven of the state’s 10 counties.

If there was any question whether gun sales spiked in New Hampshire following the school shooting in Connecticut last week, State Police answered it Wednesday.

Sgt. Sean Haggerty said there 468 requests for background checks for handgun sales Saturday. Haggerty said that is by far the highest single-day number of requests in state history.

The figure from the day following the Newtown school massacre shattered the state’s previous high mark of 303 requests in a single day.

Chris Jenson

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is the only member of the state’s Congressional delegation who has not pledged support for an assault weapons ban this week.

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