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.

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Newscast
8:06 am
Tue July 22, 2014

N.H. Drops From First To Fourth In Kids Count Ranking

New Hampshire has slid to fourth place on a national ranking of places to raise children.

After decades in first place, the Granite State slid to fourth in the Kids Count Index, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa now holding the top spots.

The drop was attributed to an increase in child poverty, up from 9 percent to 16 percent between 2005 and 2012.

Increases in homes with single parents and where the parents lack secure employment also factored into the decline.

NH News
4:16 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Market Baskets Protest Pinches Supplies At N.H. Stores

Credit Facebook: Save Market Basket

Shelves are a little barer than usual in Market Basket stores around New Hampshire. An employee strike in support of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas held up at least some food distribution.

Employees at the Market Basket in downtown Concord say no trucks came in on Friday, and the produce cooler was already virtually empty by mid-day. 

“I shop here all the time so I did notice that the produce section was definitely lower,” says Heather D’Angelis, “and they did make a comment that they weren’t certain what trucks were running.”

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NH News
4:36 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

PSNH Customers Again Trickling To Competitors During Spring Months

After dipping to 49% of total kWh sold over PSNH power lines in February, the percent of power from competitors rose again over the spring months to 56%.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown Data: NH PUC

According to new numbers filed with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, a little less than 56 percent of the electricity sold to consumers in the service territory of the state’s largest utility, Public Service of New Hampshire, came from competitive suppliers. That number peaked at 58 percent last October before dropping to 49 percent in February thanks to soaring winter electric market prices.

“This could be a plateau, we did see some leveling off of the migration numbers in late 2013, and then we saw a big reversal,” says Martin Murray, PSNH spokesman.

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NH News
12:28 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Not Much For "Kremlin Watchers" At Meeting Between N.E. Governors And Canadian Premiers

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Governors of New England and the premiers of the Eastern Canadian Provinces have just wrapped up a meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The conference was focused on the issues of energy and trade, though dueling protests outside the conference meant energy stole the spotlight for much of the event. But the speakers and resolutions of the conference barely touched on the most pressing energy issues facing New England, and this careful side-stepping of the issues  is a reflection of a tumultuous energy landscape.

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NH News
7:12 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Eastern Canadian Premiers And New England Governors Meet Amid Energy Protests

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire is hosting the latest summit between the governors of the New England states and the Premiers of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The conference takes place Monday at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, and follows a similar meeting held in Quebec last September

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Environment
6:48 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Star Island Seeks To Go Solar, Serve As Energy Example

Star Island lies more than 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, very close to the border with maine
Sara Plourde NHPR

Star Island – a 43 acre spit of land in the isles of shoals, more than 6 miles off the New Hampshire coast – is installing enough solar panels to power roughly 30 homes and a battery array to back them up.

The island is home to a hotel and conference center run by a non-profit with close ties to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Its efforts to go solar are actually culmination of years of work that some think are a model for how the future of energy could look on the mainland.

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NH News
4:59 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Construction At Hooksett Rest Area Is 'Months' Ahead Of Schedule

Credit Michael Brindley / NHPR

  Visitors coming to New Hampshire this Fourth of July weekend via interstate 93 likely noticed the redevelopment of the new rest-stop facilities in Hooksett is moving quickly. According to the Department of Transportation, construction at the rest-area is about three to four months ahead of schedule.

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NH News
1:59 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Rain Can't Dampen Fourth Of July Spirits

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Festivities are underway across New Hampshire despite rainy conditions.

At  well-attended 4th of july parade in Amherst, the announcer told crowds, “We might see a steady, light drizzle this morning, but after about 12 noon it’s going to get quite wet.”

While it wasn’t classic Fourth of July weather, that was just fine with some in the crowd.

“No this is fine,” said Ginger Simond.

“This is beautiful, not too hot at all,” agreed her husband Woody.

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Environment
5:06 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Implementation Of State Energy Plan Will Depend On Politics

The baseline forecast for New Hampshire's energy mix does not imagine a whole-sale shift in where power comes from over the next ten years, though it does presume that the amount of energy coming from coal will shrink.
Credit NH OEP

New Hampshire officials are working on a new state energy strategy, which is supposed to be a roadmap to a new energy future, but politics may ultimately decide whether the strategy becomes reality.

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New England News
11:38 am
Tue July 1, 2014

State Officials Field Tough Questions From Energy Insiders

NH PUC Commissioner Robert Scott presents to a conference hosted by the New England Council.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

At a forum on New England’s energy challenges at St. Anselm College, a panel of supporters of an energy proposal by the six New England Governors fielded tough questions. The plan is to pay for natural gas pipelines and transmission lines through a new charge on the electric bills of customers throughout the region.

The panel of state energy officials from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island defended the governors’ plan, while some in the audience suggested the plan amounted to picking winners and losers.

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Timber-Frame Architect Wins Competition With Wooden Sky-Scraper Column

Tim Olson's "Coopered Column," on display at the Boston Society of Architects consists of 118 timber peices and over 250 screws
Courtesy: Tim Olson

Architect Tim Olson, from Bensonwood homes in Walpole, has a problem.

He and a friend have screwed together the first few pieces of a design project, called the Coopered Column, backwards.

“We’re looking at the plan upside down and assembling it, so we swapped the pieces,” he says laughing.

It’s understandable: there are 118 pieces – each one a big, meaty timber – and 250 screws to hold it all together.

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Environment
6:20 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Environmental Group: Governors' Natural Gas Proposal Too Expensive, Rushed

Credit natural gas drilling / Flickr CC

An Environmental Group says regional energy policy makers and the natural gas industry have too cozy a relationship. To prove their case the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released a series of documents obtained by right to know requests. Those indicated therein say the claim is overblown.

The release highlights a growing unease in the environmental community toward bringing new natural gas pipeline into New England.

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Arsenic Is Prevalent In Well Water, But Treatment Is Readily Available

The "filter train" on display at Secondwind Water Treatment
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This is the second of two stories about arsenic in well-water.

Almost twenty years ago, Joe Ayotte got a well drilled at his house in Concord.

“As you can see it’s a bit of a mud-pit, and it’s very red,” says Ayotte surveying the site of his artesian well, which has since been retired from service, but continues to leach iron-stained water onto his lawn.

Ayotte had some bad luck. The well must have hit what he calls “rotten rock” and brought up massive amounts of minerals in the water, including so much iron that it destroyed his fixtures.

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News Primer
1:26 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

News Primer: Worried About Your Water? How To Get Your Well Tested

Credit Dave G / Flickr CC

There are basically two options: the state lab and private well testers.

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Environment
5:30 am
Thu June 19, 2014

50,000 N.H. Wells At Risk Of High Arsenic, Negative Health Impacts

A rig for Cushing and Sons rills a new well on a property in Stoddard
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

At a house in Stoddard, a Cushing and Sons truck mounted rig pounds a drill bit into bedrock 90 feet below.

“What we’re hearing now is a pneumatic hammer,” says Bart Cushing, who together with his brother runs this family owned well-drilling business, “That’s a flat-based bit with carbide buttons. And it’s literally pounding the rock.”

These artesian groundwater wells are the norm these days: something on the order of 95 percent of new wells are drilled into the bedrock.

And there’s a reason for that.

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