Sam Evans-Brown

Environment and Education Reporter

 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for  New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. His work has won several local broadcast journalism awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

Follow Sam's tweets about the environment, education news, and everything else he's tracking.

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Environment
5:43 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Fish And Game Contemplates An End To The Moose Hunt

Credit northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Fish and Game is working on a new plan for how many deer, turkey, bear and moose hunters will be allowed to shoot between now and 2025. For moose-hunters in some parts of the state, that number may soon be zero.

Fish and Game is considering regional population thresholds, where if moose herd continues to decline it will call a moratorium on the moose hunt.

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NH News
6:46 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Northern Pass Gives $3 Million To Conservation Projects

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Eversource Energy and the Northern Pass Transmission project have announced a large donation to support conservation projects in New Hampshire. The $3 million donated by Eversource will be given to local conservation projects through grants administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

“That’s a huge donation. It represents our largest New England corporate donation in the history of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,” said David O’Neil, vice president of NFWF.

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All Things Considered
4:42 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Why Human Feeding Can Hurt Deer

Deer have "adapted to survive these severe winters," says Dan Bergeron of New Hampshire Fish and Game. The state advises residents not to leave food out for deer because of the dangers it poses for them.
Credit Ben Hudson via Society for Protection of NH Forests

Last week, 12 deer were found dead in South Hampton. On Tuesday New Hampshire Fish and Game announced the cause of those deaths: feeding by humans.

Dan Bergeron is a deer project leader with New Hampshire Fish and Game. He joined All Things Considered with more on what happened.

 What were these deer fed, and why was that bad for them?

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Education
4:58 am
Tue March 24, 2015

'Smarter Balanced' Test Rolls On Despite 'Opt-Out' Controversy

Last week, New Hampshire's third through eighth graders and one high school grade began taking a new standardized test: the Smarter Balanced.

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NH News
5:15 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Liberty Utilities Summer Electric Rates May Drop By 55%

Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

The first New Hampshire electric utility to file its summer rate change has asked for a 55 percent decrease. The request reflects low demand for natural gas during the summer months.

Months ago, Liberty was the first New Hampshire utility to seek a dramatically higher winter rate: jumping from 7.7 cents per kilowatt hour to more than 15 cents.

Now, as swiftly as electricity prices spiked in the fall, they are set to plummet even more this spring, down to 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour.

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NH News
4:14 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

N.H. Unemployment Falls Below 4 Percent In February

Credit NH Employment Security

Unemployment in New Hamsphire fell to below 4 percent last month. According to New Hampshire Employment security, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 3.9 percent.

This brings the number of New Hampshire residents who have a job to 714,840, while only 29,270 are unemployed.

The unemployment rate has been declining steadily since 2010, when it peaked at 6.7 percent.

In a statement governor Maggie Hassan praised the news, calling the announcement “another encouraging sign that our economy continues to strengthen.”

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Education
4:09 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

At Least Three N.H. Schools Gave Students Wrong Version Of 'Smarter Balanced' Test

Central High School in Manchester
Via Central High School Community on Facebook

Students attending at least three New Hampshire Schools took the wrong version of the new Smarter Balanced standardized test, due to a labeling error in the vendor’s software.

On Monday, students at three Manchester schools – Central High School, Beech Street School, and McDonough Elementary School – gave a practice test instead of the real thing. The tests administered were for the proper grade level.

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Education
5:43 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

First N.H. Students Begin Taking 'Smarter Balanced' Test

Credit NYC Department of Technology / Flicker CC

Schools in New Hampshire started to administer a brand new standardized test Monday.

Ever since 2005, students all over New England have taken a standardized-test called the NECAP in 3rd through 8th grade and once more in high school, but this year the pencil-and-paper NECAP was replaced with an online test, the Smarter Balanced.

The Smarter Balanced is “adaptive,” meaning the questions get harder or easier depending on which questions the student gets correct.

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NH News
6:00 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Eversource Energy Reaches Deal With State To Sell Its Power Plants

PSNH's Merrimack Station
Flkr Creative Commons / PSNH

In a deal that is being called historic, Eversource Energy, formerly Public Service of New Hampshire, has agreed to sell its power plants. The agreement is part of what’s been called a “global settlement,” which resolves a variety of issues facing the utility all in one neat package.

The parties to the settlement say it is a win-win for the state and the company.

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Environment
1:39 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Icicles...But Were Too Cold To Ask

Sam and Taylor talking about icicles.
Logan Shannon NHPR

Think about the shape of an icicle: it’s pointy at the end and wider at the base. But why are they that shape? The key thing to remember when talking about icicles is that icicles are long and skinny because the tip is growing faster than the base. And there are 3 reasons for why that is:

Every drip, as it travels down the icicle, carries heat away. This is because water is an incredible vehicle for conducting heat. It has the highest specific heat of any material we know of. 

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Education
1:05 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Charter School Advocates Push For More State Dollars

Sam Evans-Brown NHPR

Charter school advocates are hopeful this could be the year the legislature passes a bill aimed at increasing their funding.

Dozens of charter school students packed the halls of the New Hampshire State House, Wednesday, to push for a bill that would increase state funding for charters by more than $2 million dollars per year.

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Environment
10:33 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Several Southern N.H. Towns Vote To Oppose Natural Gas Pipeline

Selectman Charles Moser in his office with a "Stop the Pipeline" bumper sticker
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Many towns across the Southern border of the state took votes in opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that would be built through 17 towns.

At least 8 of those towns were considering Non-binding resolutions against the pipeline, which serve to signal to state energy regulators that residents don’t want a project come through their town. Others, like Ringe and Winchester opted to deny representatives of Pipeline Developer Kinder-Morgan the right to survey town property. 

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NH News
1:05 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Claremont Bacon Maker Sold To Canadian Pork Company

Adam Gessaman via Flickr CC

A Canadian company has purchased a New Hampshire pork products producer, but the company says the sale shouldn’t affect the 35 jobs at its facility in Claremont.

Bacon makes up 80 percent of North Country Smokehouse’s business, but it also puts out some sausage, ham, and smoked cheeses. According to the company’s president, Mike Satzow, it gets much of their pork from a Canadian company that’s buying them, Les Spécialités Prodal.

“They are the largest producers of organic and natural pork on the continent,” says Satzow.

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Education
11:17 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Gilmanton Once Again Grappling With Library Funding

The Gilmanton Year Round Library is in a refurbished timber-frame barn.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Every community has an issue which an outsider might look at and say, ‘That? You’re fighting about that?’

In Gilmanton, that’s the Year-Round Library.

The library is a private non-profit, but is open to the public. It’s in a gorgeous refurbished timber-frame barn; two stories tall with old rough-hewn beams surrounded by a modern shell. It was built through private fundraising, and fundraising helps pay operating costs too.  

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NH News
9:20 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Newfound Voters Again Weighing Wind Restrictions

Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

EDP renewables, a company based in Portugal that operates 3,600 Megawatts of wind power in the US, has proposed a 29-turbine wind farm for five towns in the Newfound region. So for many in that area town meeting season is an opportunity to express their opposition to wind farms.

But how? Strategies vary. While some in those towns are sticking to more traditional forms of opposition, others are using town meeting to declare themselves ready to employ civil disobedience to stop the project.

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Word of Mouth
4:40 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Kale Poland: The Life Of An Ultramarathoner

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Kale Poland does ultra-marathons, the name is a little misleading, as it now encompasses a lot of really long races of every sort, including triathlons. You may have heard of the Ironman competition: 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon. 

But not for Kale Poland. He has done many 50-mile running races, of course, also a few double-ironman races, even triple and quintuple ironman distance events. But in 2012, he was the seventh American ever to complete what he calls a “deca”. That’s ten times the distance of an Ironman.

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Education
6:12 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Four N.H. School Districts Allowed To Cut Back On Statewide Standardized Tests

usdagov via Flickr CC

New Hampshire students will take a new standardized test this spring, called the Smarter Balanced. Early indications are the test will be substantially more difficult, and school teachers and administrators are anxious, and some – like Manchester – have been looking for an out, only to find there is not much wiggle room.

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Environment
9:54 am
Wed March 4, 2015

N.H. Lawmakers To Chew On Meat, Dairy Composting Proposal

Credit Mickki via Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers today will hear a proposal to allow the commercial composting of meat and dairy. The bill began with a group headed by a former UNH student.

The Post Landfill Action Network, or PLAN, got its start as a sort of student-run rummage sale, where students were encouraged to sell furniture and other items, rather than throw them out when they leave campus each year.

PLANs founder, Alex Fried, has since gone professional with his advocacy, starting a small non-profit.

One of their current projects is pushing to make UNH’s football stadium a zero-waste facility.

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NH News
6:56 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Power Plant Owners Argue Energy 'Crisis' Is Overblown

Electricity and natural gas prices are up this winter, but are nowhere near the peaks seen in the previous two winters.
Credit ISO New England

  This fall, energy industry watchers were predicting that a cold-winter in New England would lead to high natural gas and electricity prices.

But despite record-breaking cold, energy prices have – thus far – remained in check this winter.

Last winter, the whole-sale price for electricity – that’s the price utilities and electricity supply companies pay – spiked to unprecedented heights.

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NH News
4:55 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Keene State Will Chip In For Pumpkin Fest Police Bill

Credit Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Keene State College will reimburse the city of Keene for police over-time incurred during last fall’s Pumpkin Fest riots.

The bill for the police response to rioters during the Pumpkin fest was $90,000 dollars. The festival’s organizers, Let It Shine Inc, has already paid $59,000, but said that it should not be responsible for the whole bill. Keene State announced Let It Shine will make another payment and then the college will cover whatever remains.

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Education
5:38 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

N.H. Colleges Have Near Best In Nation Graduation Rates - As Long As You're A Traditional Student

Credit Jim Graham / Flicker CC

The headline of this year’s graduation report from the National Student Clearinghouse is that 78 percent of students who start out in traditional 4-year public institutions in New Hampshire wind up graduating within six years.

That’s higher than any state in the country except for Iowa.

Private schools do nearly as well, with 75 percent graduating.

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NH News
3:15 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

N.H. House GOP Leader Pens Opposition to Gas Pipeline

Credit Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

The Republican Majority Leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives has asked federal regulators to reject a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire.

Jack Flanagan – who represents two towns on the proposed pipeline’s route – says he prefers a competing project in Massachusetts that would widen existing pipelines.

“It made sense to me that if you have an existing pipeline, why would you need a new one? Let’s just make the existing one a little bit larger to handle the demand,” Flanagan said in a phone interview.

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NH News
2:48 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

New England Electric Ratepayers Eyed To Fund Gas Pipeline

While the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline proposed for the Southern tier of the state has gotten a lot of attention of late it’s not the only project proposed for the region. There’s another pipeline build-out on the table in Massachusetts, and people in New Hampshire – even those who don’t buy any natural gas – could wind up both paying for it, and benefiting from it.

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Education
5:12 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

UNH President: 'We Can Move The Needle' On Higher Ed Budget

Credit Courtesy The University Of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston used his annual state of the university speech largely as a pitch for additional state funding.

In his address, Huddleston reiterated his pledge to again freeze tuition if the state boosts its funding, saying “in fact all it will take is for our lawmakers to return funding to 2009 levels. How heavy of a lift can that be?”

That would be an increase of almost $40 million dollars over two years.  In her budget, Governor Maggie Hassan proposed a more modest, $13 million dollar increase.

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Education
9:46 am
Tue February 10, 2015

USNH Puts Off Deciding On In-State Tuition Hike

Credit Jim Graham / Flicker CC

In-state students in the University of New Hampshire system may have to wait until June to know how much tuition will cost this coming school year. The University System’s Board of Trustees announced today they would not set rates for in-state students until they learn how much state funding they will receive during this budget cycle.

That could make it tricky for some families to decide what they can afford to attend.

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Environment
3:08 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Bald Eagles Seen In Record Numbers In Annual Count

Credit Dan Arndt / Flicker CC

  The Audubon Society says it has observed 90 bald eagles in New Hampshire this winter. That’s the second year in a row that the count has documented a record number of the once-endangered birds in the Granite State..

When bird enthusiasts did the first winter count of Bald Eagles in New Hampshire in 1981, they saw fewer than ten. The population stayed low through the 1980s, but then began to rise.

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Environment
6:29 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Pipeline Public Outreach Campaign Brings Voices 'For' And 'Against' To The Forefront

The Laborers International Union of North America brought this truck-mounted sign to the open house in Winchester
Credit Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

A public outreach campaign for a major natural gas pipeline kicked off at an open house Wednesday in Winchester, New Hampshire. 

The proposed project, by Texas-based pipeline developer Kinder Morgan, was moved North to New Hampshire late last year, in part to ease concerns of critics along the original route in Northern Massachusetts. Despite the company’s efforts to minimize the line’s impact, resistance along the new route has been just as strong.

The scene outside a presentation of any major energy infrastructure project tends to feature two crowds: unions…

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NH News
6:48 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Winchester To Host First Open House On Proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline Project

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Natural gas pipeline developer Kinder Morgan will hold the first in a series of public forums tonight on its proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.

There's already a great deal of organized opposition to the project in New Hampshire, after the proposed route was shifted into the state late last year.

It encountered similar resistance in Massachusetts.

The pipeline would bring natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania.

Developers say it would help alleviate winter price spikes in natural gas and electricity prices in New England.

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Politics
6:14 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

N.H. Lawmakers Grapple Anew Over An Old Issue: Funding Education

Credit Christopher Sessums via Flickr CC

The fraught topic of education funding is again before lawmakers as two bills seek to eliminate a cap aid to local schools that was imposed in 2011. The bills hope to head off a possible lawsuit from school districts that have missed out on millions of dollars because of that cap. 

The push for change has bipartisan support, even though it could result in less funding for many schools.

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri January 30, 2015

As Kearsarge Solar Campaign Nears Deadline, Limit On Incentives Causes Uncertainty

Credit Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Coop will soon be the first utility in the state to fulfill a state-mandated requirement on how many customers are allowed to sell their solar energy back onto the grid. This has led some potential solar customers concerned about whether they will recoup their investment to bring their complaints to the Coop’s Board of Directors.

To get what this brouhaha is all about, you first have to know what net-metering is.

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