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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NH News
4:13 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Flooded N.H. Roads Slowly Begin To Reopen

Credit VTDarkStar / Flickr Creative Commons

Some roads damaged by floods last week and early this week have reopened, but the clean-up will continue for some time.

The havoc wreaked by flooding was concentrated along the Connecticut River Valley. Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says Rt. 12A, which runs along western edge of the state from White River Junction to Keene, remains closed in Plainfield and Alstead. As does Rt. 120 in Lebanon.

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Sports
5:42 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

N.H. Cyclist - Ted King - Out Of Tour De France

King is a 'domestique' meaning it's his job to help his team leader - Slovakian sprinting phenom Peter Sagan - win stages. But even so, riding in the Tour de France is every cyclist's dream.
Credit Roxanne King / Flickr Creative Commons

Brentwood, New Hampshire native Ted King is officially out of his first Tour de France.

After suffering a separated shoulder in the first day of the race, yesterday King missed by seven seconds the time cut-off that allows racers to continue. Now, Ted King is getting ready to head home.

    

The trouble in 30-year-old Ted King’s very first Tour de France started early.

When the pack was only about three and a half miles from the finish on the first day, a team bus got stuck on a banner over the top of the finish line of the race.

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Education
8:09 am
Wed July 3, 2013

'No Child' Waiver Will Increase Flexibility

Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Kawwsu29

  Last week New Hampshire at long last was granted a waiver from the Bush-era education reform law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The federal government first announced the waivers in 2011 because of congressional inaction to reform No Child Left Behind. New Hampshire was the 39th state to be granted one.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

President Obama's Climate Action Plan Comes Home To N.H.

Credit Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s newly announced climate action plan could have impacts down the line for New Hampshire. The big headline for New Hampshire is that over the next two years the EPA will develop restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants.

“Power plants can still dump unlimited amount of carbon pollution into the air for free.” Obama told students assembled at Georgetown University, “That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

That raises questions for the state’s coal plants.

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Education
6:14 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Ed Tax Program In Holding Pattern Pending Supreme Court Action

Credit Principia School / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s new Education Tax Credit Program has been around for all of six months, and so far, it’s had a rough time.

Last week a superior court ruled the program can’t give scholarships to religious schools But this is just the latest difficulty for the program.

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Education
12:25 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

N.H. NCLB Waiver Passed Over By Feds; State Says Acceptance Is Imminent

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The US department of education announced another round of waivers from the controversial federal education policy, No Child Left Behind, and once again New Hampshire’s application for a waiver has been passed over.

New Hampshire Education officials say that they believe the waiver will be granted imminently.   

It has been ten months since New Hampshire applied for flexibility from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, and several rounds of waivers for other states have been approved since the application was submitted.

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Environment
5:57 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Budget Deal Funds LCHIP, Raids Renewable Energy Fund

A big priority for environmental groups – The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP – has survived through budget negotiations. But that win comes at the expense of a raid on funds set aside for renewable energy development.

Under the budget deal struck today LCHIP was allotted the full $8 million dollars that it’s expected to raise. The program uses funds raised from fees tacked on certain real-estate transactions to pay for land conservation grants.

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Politics
5:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

'Obamacare' And Green Energy Bill Bound Together By Poison Pill Tactic

Credit Land Rover Our Planet / Alex E. Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is one of only three states with a split legislature: Republicans control the Senate, Democrats the House of Representatives. The two bodies have shown an ability to work together on some issues this session, including business tax credits and limits on lead fishing tackle.

But with the end of the legislative year fast approaching, inter-chamber gamesmanship is on the rise. It can start simple enough. A routine legislative procedure on the House floor.

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Business and Economy
5:31 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

PSNH Asks Regulators For Lower Rate

Public Service of New Hampshire is asking regulators if it can lower its rates by nearly 10 percent, or .92 (point-nine-two) cents per kilowatt hour. The rate reduction comes as the state’s largest utility is increasingly under scrutiny for its high rates.

If regulators approve the reduction, PSNH customers will pay 8.62 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate is still more than PSNH’s biggest competitors, two of which offer six month fixed contracts at under 8 cents a kilowatt hour. However, the more competitive price could take some pressure off the utility.

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Environment
5:39 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Maine Town Wants EPA To Stop Border-Crossing Pollution

Credit Jim.Richmond / Flickr Creative Commons

Residents in the border town of Elliot, Maine have voted to ask the EPA to test air quality downwind of a Portsmouth power plant. Eliot is just across the river from Schiller Station, a three-boiler plant run by Public Service of New Hampshire. Two of its boilers burn mostly coal, and a third burns primarily wood chips.

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Environment
5:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Gulf Of Maine At High Risk From Ocean Acidification

Commercial oyster cultivation has become the poster child of the impacts of Ocean acidification. Juvenile oysters melt away in just slightly acidic water, and on the west coast farmers have been struggling as climate change has resulted in more and more acidic oceans.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Saturday was World Ocean Day. Coastal and Marine scientists used the occasion to highlight their growing concern over Ocean Acidification, and it’s impacts on New Hampshire.

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that as CO2 increases in the atmosphere, the ocean will absorb more CO2 as well. As that happens, the acidity of the ocean slowly begins to rise, which can start to dissolve the shells of young plankton, the foundation of the ocean’s food chain. 

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Business and Economy
6:55 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

PUC Report: Current Electric Market Conditions "Unsustainable" for PSNH

PSNH's rates have trended above the market rate since mid 2009, with a notable spike this year. This has spurred exponential growth in the number of competitors entering the residential market to court rate-payers away from the last N.H. utility to own power plants.
Credit NH Public Utilities Commission

Staff for the agency that regulate electric utilities have released a strongly worded investigation into the effects of cheap natural gas on Public Service of New Hampshire’s electric rates. The report on market conditions suggests the current situation is unsustainable.

The Public Utilities Commission’s report offers several alternatives to the status quo, including PSNH selling all or some of its power plants, or retiring some of them.

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Environment
4:57 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

With Lower Caps Announced, RGGI Carbon Prices Climb

Credit Captain Kimo / Smokestacks

The price of carbon under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI is on the rise. For some time the cost that a New England Power plant has paid for the right to emit a ton of carbon dioxide was bumping along near the floor price of $1.98.

That price has jumped ever since the RGGI states announced that they would lower the cap on carbon dioxide, bringing it in line with the lower emissions that have resulted from the region’s switch to natural gas. In the last two auctions, carbon has gone for $2.80 and $3.21 a ton.

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Education
5:30 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Pulling Back The Camera, What Can We Expect From The Common Core

Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown has spent this week digging into the Common Core Standards, which will roll out in New Hampshire schools next year.  He joins us now to pull the camera back a bit, and talk about what the Common Core means in the big picture. 

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Education
5:30 am
Thu June 6, 2013

New 'Smarter Balanced' Test Will Ask More Of Students

26 states are signed on the Smarter Balanced Test, which was created with funds from federal Race to the Top Grants. New Hampshire is a "governing member" meaning it has a say in policy decisions made on the tests.
Credit Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

With the new Common Core State Standards comes a new standardized test, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. New Hampshire schools will take it for the first time in the spring of 2015, and in many ways, it’s the new test that will determine how the Common Core is taught.

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