Peter Biello

Host, All Things Considered

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer and host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Peter has won several AP awards for his journalism, which has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life. He’s also a fiction writer whose work appears or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Lowestoft Chronicle, Green Writers Press, and South85 Journal. He’s also the founder of Burlington Writers Workshop, a nonprofit writing workshop based in Burlington, Vermont, and co-founder of Mud Season Review, a literary journal featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art that publishes in print annually and online monthly.

Peter lives in Concord, New Hampshire. 

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Peter Biello / NHPR

President Donald Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin Wednesday. Shulkin had paid a visit to the Manchester VA last August after whistleblowers came forward with allegations of substandard facilities and mismanaged care, and since his visit, he'd kept in touch with whistleblowers about how things were going.Dr. Ed Kois is one of the whistleblowers who kept in contact with Secretary Shulkin. Kois spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 

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The ACLU of New Hampshire is asking a federal judge to declare a state law unconstitutional. The state's signature-matching law allows absentee ballots to be rejected if officials believe the signatures on the ballot and envelope don't match.

The ACLU says the law permits hundreds of ballots to be thrown out, even though they are valid.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU New Hampshire.


Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello/NHPR

The Islamic Society of Concord has moved into its very own mosque, after 15 years of renting space.

In their new home, congregants now have a private space to meet with the Imam. Men and women can now pray on the same floor, which they couldn't do in the rented space. All Things Considered host Peter Biello recently spoke with Imam Mustafa Akaya about the significance of being able to move into a permanent space. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

In some countries in Europe, red wine is part of daily life. Not so in the US. And as a result, Americans may be missing out on the health benefit of a particular antioxidant found in the skins of grapes. Now a chemist at UNH is trying to get more of this antixodiant, resveratrol, into the American diet through coffee. 

Glen Miller is chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, and a few years ago, he first got the idea of putting resveratrol into spring water. But when he did, he saw a huge problem. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

The director of the New England VA Healthcare system announced his retirement Wednesday.

Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith's departure comes a day after New Hampshire's two congresswomen, Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, called for his removal.

Allegations of mismangement at New England VA facilities have dogged Mayo-Smith over much of the past year. Last summer, a dozen whistleblowers at the Manchester VA came forward with allegations of substandard care that caused some patients lasting harm. They were vocal opponents of Mayo-Smith and called for his removal then.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is calling for the removal of a high-ranking VA official who she says needs to be held accountable for problems at New England's VA medical centers.

In a letter sent last month to VA Secretary David Shulkin, Kuster requests that Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith be removed from his position as director of the New England VA Healthcare System.

VA whistleblowers have been calling for his removal for months, saying that he knew about deficiencies at the Manchester VA but didn't do enough to help. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

This weekend, the Concord Chorale kicks off its fiftieth season with the music of Mozart. They'll be performing along with the Philips Exeter Concert Choir and Chamber orchestra as well as professional soloists from New Hampshire and the Boston area. NHPR's Peter Biello dropped by a rehearsal and has this report. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

By taking the job of permanent director of the Manchester VA, Al Montoya also received a nearly nine percent pay raise.

In his new role, Montoya will earn an annual salary of $174,500. That's more than $14,000 more than he made as director of White River Junction, Vermont VA Medical Center, which is a larger and more complex facility. There he made $160,147.99 per year.

Spokesperson for the regional VA network Maureen Heard says a director's pay is based on several factors, including medical center complexity, the director's experience, and local circumstances.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Engineers, doctors and officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrated Thursday how new prosthetic arm technology is working for one New Hampshire veteran. The hope is that what works for this veteran will work for others. 

Ron Currier, 63, describes himself as a country boy. He likes to hunt and fish, and he says on a perfect day, he'll walk into the woods, "and just spend the day out there with my dogs, maybe build a fire, cook up some kielbasa, whatever," Currier says. "We'll both have something to eat or drink and just roam the woods."

Peter Biello/NHPR

Truth seems especially hard to get to these days. "Fake news" articles on social media tend to look like they come from legitimate news outlets, and even the most well-researched story can be derided as "fake news."

Under these conditions political reporters push forward with their work. For a look at how that work has changed we turn to NPR's Domenico Montanaro. He's lead editor for politics and digital audience at NPR and he's here in New Hampshire to discuss leaks, fake news, and a free press at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

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Following his State of the State speech this morning, Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order that aims to streamline services for New Hampshire's military veterans and their families.

The executive order would create a single point of contact for veterans seeking state services. It also gives the state's Adjutant General more authority to coordinate the efforts of the state's existing resources.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says VA Secretary David Shulkin must immediately address allegations related to official travel.

In an audit by the VA Office of Inspector General, Shulkin is found to have improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and gone on an 11-day European trip with his wife that mixed business and sightseeing at taxpayer expense.

Peter Biello/NHPR

The task force looking at the future of the Manchester VA met again Wednesday and will meet all day Thursday. Members are trying to come up with a tentative set of recommendations on how to best provide VA health care to New Hampshire's veterans.

The task force itself was created as a response to whistleblower allegations of substandard care that harmed some VA patients. Earlier today, in between sessions, NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with the task force co-chair, Dr. Jennifer MacDonald.

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

Peter Biello/NHPR

This is the Bookshelf from NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. This Super Bowl Sunday, people all over the country turned on their televisions to watch the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles. Among those watching: New Hampshire author Joseph Monninger. He's a Pats fan, but he says he can't believe he still watches football.

Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

When it comes to trees, New Hampshire is rich and with such abundance you might imagine that the logging and milling industries in the state are flourishing. But that is not the case. The industries that used to buy these trees and the products made from them are in decline.

But new uses for the wood are out there, and in his column in the Concord Monitor this week, Granite Geek David Brooks writes about how these new uses could provide a boost to the timber industry. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

 

This is All Things Considered on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. A bill under consideration at the New Hampshire State House would require certain law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy regarding eyewitness identification procedures. 

 

Peter Biello/NHPR

 

A new report says the Department of Veterans Affairs has been reluctant to acknowledge fault with how some patients were treated by the VA facility in Manchester. 

 

The report comes from the US Office of Special Counsel (or OSC), the agency in charge of reviewing the VA's response to recent whistleblower allegations.

 

Peter Biello / NHPR

Making your own liquor at home is illegal under federal law. A bill in the New Hampshire House right now would legalize the distilling of a limited amount of alcohol in the same way the state regulates in-home production of wine and beer. One local entrepreneur who sells stills is hoping the bill will provide a boost to his business.

In a workshop off Depot Street in Manchester, foreman Jeremy Burrows rolls a beautifully-shined sheet of copper through a machine to emboss it.

Wikipedia

Fifteen years ago this week our regular guest David Brooks discovered Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Back then it had a mere fraction of the articles that it has now. But one of the early entries was for the city of Concord, New Hampshire. David recently tried to track down the person who created that page for Concord and his search led him to someone who prompted what's considered the biggest controversy in Wikipedia's early history.

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Facing a dire financial situation, Serenity Place in Manchester will close its doors after four decades. Services provided by the addiction treatment center will now be divided up among a variety of providers in New Hampshire, including Granite Pathways, the Farnum Center, and Elliot Hospital.

Tom Donovan is the director of charitable trusts for the Attorney General's office. He started the receivership process for the Serenity Place investigation. He spoke to NHPR's Peter Biello.

Friday was the last day of work at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for Jennifer Frizzell. 

 

She's been serving as the organization's Vice President of Public Policy for New Hampshire since 2011. 

Frizzell is leaving to spend more time with her children.  She says she's had many legislative and political victories over her 15 years with the organization. 

She says that support for Planned Parenthood is strong. The organization says it will announcing the incoming Vice President for Public Policy later this month. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

The Manchester VA Medical Center is celebrating the reopening of its women’s clinic today.

A tour of the reconstructed space on the sixth floor will take place as part of the open house scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The reconstructed women's clinic will have its own waiting room and restroom.

It has been closed since July, when a pipe burst and flooded it and several floors below. Interim Manchester VA Medical Center Director Al Montoya says about 85 percent of the space that was flooded has since been reopened.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When an elementary or middle school student can't pay for lunch, that student will run up lunch debt. Students with debt are sometimes given an "alternative meal" instead of a hot lunch, and that could lead to shame and embarrassment. Recently a man in North Haverhill launched an effort to wipe out kids' lunch debt in his local schools...and is now promoting what he calls "lunch equality." 

Peter Biello / NHPR

It’s been nearly six months since problems at the Manchester VA made national headlines.

Whistleblowers came forward with accusations of dangerous delays in care and unsanitary conditions. A task force formed in the wake of those accusations has been meeting to figure out the best way to deliver care for New Hampshire veterans.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello who attended a meeting of the task force yesterday.


Peter Biello / NHPR

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would create a state Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.

The goal of the bill is to bring all the state's resources for veterans and military personnel under one roof. Right now veterans' resources for education, housing and homelessness, benefits, and medical care are handled by separate entities.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Author Paul Durham has a short commute. His writing studio is in the backyard of his home in Exeter.

“I call it an abandoned chicken coop,” Durham says, “because chickens used to live here. It's really an eight by twelve-foot shed with barn-style doors on the front. I have it decorated with a Christmas wreath. There’s my doorknocker and the coop sign. And then—go ahead and step in if you want."

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