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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Ryan Lessard for NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire college graduates are – once again – burdened with the most student debt.

According to the annual report from the nonprofit Project on Student Debt, students who graduated from Granite State colleges and universities in 2013 had an average debt of nearly $33,000, the highest in the nation.

This marks the third time in four years New Hampshire has had the highest average debt, after ranking second highest last year.

State health officials hope a forum next week will help ease concerns of residents worried about a local doctor's return from working in an Ebola-stricken country in West Africa.

The panel discussion Monday evening at Kearsarge Regional High School will include state Public Health Director Jose Montero. Residents will also have a chance to ask questions about the disease.

Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, a Dartmouth professor who lives in New London, has been working in Liberia, training doctors treating Ebola patients.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Open enrollment begins Saturday for those looking to sign up for health care plans on the state’s marketplace through the Affordable Care Act.

This will be the second chance for Granite Staters to enroll, after more than 40,000 residents signed up for plans during the first enrollment period.

In preparation for this weekend’s rollout, roughly 80 navigators and marketplace assistors gathered in Concord Thursday to learn about changes to the state’s marketplace.

The biggest difference this time? More choice.

Kim Carpenter via Flickr CC

Officials at the state attorney general office say they’re receiving phone calls from concerned Fred Fuller customers after the company filed for bankruptcy Monday.

The Hudson-based oil company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving it protection from creditors as it reorganizes.

Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti says customers calling are still receiving their oil, but are worried about what happens moving forward.

Via UNHWildcats.com

The Dover-based Foster’s Daily Democrat newspaper has been sold to Seacoast Media Group, owner of the Portsmouth Herald.

President and publisher Patty Foster announced the sale in a letter to employees Wednesday morning.

In the letter, Foster said all employees of the newspaper would be offered positions by its new owner.

Foster’s was founded in 1873 and has a circulation of about 12,500 readers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With her re-election now behind her, Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan’s second term comes with the challenge of working with a Republican-led Legislature and Executive Council.

During her campaign with Republican Walt Havenstein, Hassan often said her opponent’s fiscal policies would take the state back to the "devastating Bill O’Brien era."

With Republicans taking control of the House Tuesday, the governor may now have to work with the former House speaker, should he reclaim the post.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

With a Maine nurse threatening not to comply with a state-mandated quarantine, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says officials here are prepared to take action should a similar situation occur.

Related: listen to NHPR's full interview with Dr. Jose Montero on quarantine enforcement here. See CDC Guidance for states here.

Allegra Boverman

In an interview at the UNH School of Law Monday night, 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate Marilinda Garcia defended her record on hot-button social issues.

During the discussion with NHPR’s Laura Knoy, Garcia reiterated her opposition to gay marriage.

“I don’t think the state and the government should be there to be forcing religious denominations and institutions to redefine what is a sacrament.”

And on abortion, she says her record has been mischaracterized.

New Hampshire’s deputy state epidemiologist is traveling to Liberia to help in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

Dr. Elizabeth Talbot will train clinical teams in protecting against infection from the virus.

She also works an infectious disease doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Governor Maggie Hassan says the Division of Public Health Services will manage Talbot’s reentry with three weeks of follow up upon returning to the Granite State.

cnn.com

In their second televised debate, U.S. Senate candidates Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Scott Brown clashed on how to best handle the threat of ISIS.

Brown repeatedly tried to link Shaheen to President Obama, including on the fight against the Islamic State.

“Senator, with respect, the Kurds are hanging on for dear life, they’re in trouble. The Iraqi government is in trouble. ISIS is the size of New England right now, and you and the president have taken ground troops off the table, which is the worst thing you can do.”

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Keene police say they may pursue subpoenas as they work to identify those responsible for the mayhem that occurred during last weekend’s Pumpkin Festival.

Police say the subpoenas will be used to identify account subscriber information for phone numbers and social media accounts.

Officials say social media played a significant role in the riots that occurred in Keene Saturday and into Sunday morning.

And that’s where they’re now looking for evidence.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The 2014 election marks Republican Frank Guinta's third try at the 1st Congressional District seat.

The former mayor of Manchester won in 2010, riding a wave of anti-government, Tea Party sentiment to a resounding 54-42 defeat of Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter.

Two years later, in a big year for Democrats, Shea-Porter returned the favor.

The two are now locked in a tight rematch.

At a house party in Rochester, Frank Guinta works the room, shaking hands with roughly 20 people gathered in the kitchen.

New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation has suspended the installation of a potentially faulty guardrail end unit, but officials say they’re waiting for more information before removing the 1,300 units already installed.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the state has been installing the Trinity ET-Plus pieces for nearly a decade.

“These are devices that are meant to absorb energy and basically give and have the guard rail attached it to collapse and veer away from it if the end unit is hit.”

Keene Police Department

Keene police have released two dozen photos from this weekend's riots and are asking the public to help identify the suspects.

"These subjects can be seen engaging in criminal acts, if identified, will be arrested and charged accordingly," the department said. 

Police said earlier this week they've already made 84 arrests connected to the riots, which took place Saturday afternoon and escalated again later that night and into Sunday morning.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

There have already been 84 arrests made in connection with the riots in Keene over the weekend, as police continue to scour video and photos on social media for additional culprits.

At a press conference in Keene City Hall, Police Chief Ken Meola said there’s been trouble at Pumpkin Festival in the past, but nothing like what the city saw this weekend.

“These were gatherings that occurred on public property, disrupting traffic, disrupting people’s lives, disrupting the quality of life, putting people in potential for some serious harm.”

In a debate Thursday morning on WGIR, Governor Maggie Hassan repeatedly went after Republican Walt Havenstein for a pledge he signed earlier this year with the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

“By singing that Koch brothers pledge, he is pledging to undo our Medicaid expansion, he’s pledging no matter what to do what the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity tell him to do.”

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in New Hampshire Wednesday pushing for stronger gun laws.

Giffords was shot in the head during a campaign event in 2011, and is in the midst of a nine-state tour. She says strengthening gun laws would protect victims of domestic violence.

She made stops in Manchester and Concord on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Executive director Pia Carusone says keeping the state’s Congressional Democrats in office is critical to the organization’s cause.

Manchester Police Department

The state Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of attempting to murder a Manchester police officer in 2012.

In an appeal to the state’s highest court, attorneys for 25-year-old Myles Webster argued eyewitness identifications were tainted when police released his booking photo five hours before he was arraigned.

Webster was found guilty of attempting to kill Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty, after shooting him seven times at point-blank range.

Webster was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was in New Hampshire Tuesday to endorse Republican Scott Brown in the race for U.S. Senate.

Speaking with Brown at an event in Derry that focused on foreign policy, Rubio says re-electing Democrat Jeanne Shaheen would be disastrous.

“Your current United State Senator, if she’s reelected, God forbid, the first vote she will take is to re-elect Harry Reid as the majority leader, someone who uses the United States Senate as a platform to run interference for the failed foreign policy of this president.”

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Republican Scott Brown called on opponent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen to pull an ad he says misrepresents the so-called Women’s Right to Know bill he co-sponsored as a Massachusetts state senator.

The ad was controversial from the moment it began running.

For the Shaheen campaign, this ad is the sharpest effort yet in the race for U.S. Senate to undercut Scott Brown’s record on abortion rights.

bytemarks / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s unemployment tax rate went down by .5 percent at the beginning of the month.

State officials say the new rate is a result of the health of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund, which ran a balance greater than $250 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The state’s unemployment compensation law triggers an automatic reduction to the tax rate when the trust fund maintains certain levels.

New Hampshire Employment Security Deputy Commissioner Richard Lavers says that positive trend is expected to continue into next year.

Via Lakeview's website

Officials at a brain injury rehabilitation center in Effingham are disputing allegations that residents at its facility have been subject to abuse and neglect, including a death in 2012.

Governor Maggie Hassan has ordered that no further patients be admitted as the state reviews the charges.

A pair of reports issued Monday by the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire detail problems at Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center in Effingham.

Classes were canceled Wednesday at Bedford High School and Lurgio Middle School after officials say they received a credible bomb threat.

"Police are conducting a search of the building," according to a post from the school district this morning.

Police determined no device was ever present.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen says U.S. air strikes against ISIS in Syria were a necessary step toward defeating the terrorist group.

Senator Shaheen acknowledged the quandary of working with a Syrian government that just a year ago was forced to hand over chemical weapons it allegedly used on its own people.

But in an interview Tuesday night with NHPR’s Laura Knoy at the UNH School of Law, Shaheen, a member of the foreign relations committee, said there were no other options.

NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says the state finished the last fiscal year with a $19.5 million surplus.

It was the first year of the state’s two-year, $10.7 billion budget.

Hassan says meals and rooms and real estate transfer tax remained strong, though cautioned revenue shortfalls from business taxes and the interest and dividends tax have put a strain on the state’s budget.

In addition, Hassan says the state Department of Health and Human Services has seen caseload growth larger than anticipated.

Sunset Power Lines
Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

The state’s Public Utilities Commission has approved a 47 percent rate hike for Liberty Utilities customers.

Company spokesman John Shore acknowledged the increase is significant.

“When the rates go up like this, it’s not something we like to see, obviously. Our customers don’t like to see it. But unfortunately, it’s what the market is.”

Shore says the average customer will be paying about $50 more each month.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Supreme Court has ruled against a retired police officer who argued he had the right to work part-time for several towns while collecting a pension.

After retiring as a Plaistow police officer in November of 2011, Scott Anderson continued to work in a part-time capacity for Plaistow, Atkinson and Hampstead.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

On the campaign trail Monday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown continued to rail against the Affordable Care Act, taking aim specifically at the employer mandate.

During an event at North Country Tractor in Pembroke, Brown highlighted a part of the health law yet to kick in: a requirement that businesses with 50 or more full-time employees offer health insurance benefits.

The store’s owner says that’s why he’s stopped hiring at 47 employees.

Brown says it’s an example of how so-called Obamacare is hurting New Hampshire businesses.

CNN

The mother of slain journalist and New Hampshire native James Foley says the U.S. government threatened prosecution if the family attempted to raise ransom.

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Diane Foley said she was “embarrassed and appalled” by the way the American government dealt with her son’s case.

James Foley, a Rochester native, was killed by the militant group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS. A video of his murder was released in August.

www.shaheen.senate.gov

New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators are among 16 female, bipartisan Senators who are urging the commissioner of the NFL to take a zero-tolerance stance toward domestic violence.

Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen signed the letter sent to Commissioner Roger Goodell, responding to the recent controversy over former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

In the letter, the Senators raise concerns about whether NFL officials knew the severity of Rice’s assault against his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.

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