Sam Evans-Brown

Host, Outside/In

 

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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A house committee heard public testimony on a bill that would withdraw the state from the federal education requirements under No Child Left Behind.

But pulling out would mean the state would forfeit more than $60 million in federal money.

The sponsor of the bill, twenty-year-old representative Weeden from Dover,  says that No-Child-Left-Behind, or NCLB, has created a culture of teaching to the test that has reduced the quality of education overall.

NHPR Staff Photo

 

The House judiciary committee heard testimony today about three bills that would make it more difficult for a private utility to use eminent domain to acquire land. 

Opponents of the Northern Pass project sponsor the bills, saying the planned electric transmission lines would not benefit to the state.

Republican representative Baldasaro from Londonderry gave testimony in favor of tightening up eminent domain rules.

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

 

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation signed a letter asking federal regulators not to lower the catch limit on Atlantic Cod.

The federal lawmakers say that fishermen in the Granite State already have their backs against the wall.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen says lowering the catch limit on Cod could lead to the loss of 90% of the fishermen’s revenue.

Shaheen: it has potential to almost wipe out our fishing industry in New Hampshire because so much of their revenue comes from cod and inshore ground fishing.

Marc Nozell

 

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wants to put New Hampshire in the rear view mirror.

His followers are already looking forward to South Carolina.

Gingrich supporter Warren Kindler from Epping isn’t surprised that Gingrich didn’t fare well in New Hampshire. 

Kindler: Mitt’s had a long time to campaign in New Hampshire he’s very well known, he’s fairly well liked he’s a neighboring ex-governor, former governor

Todd Bookman

The ballroom here at the Radisson hotel has yet to get really crowded, but Newt supporters in attendance remain enthusiastic. One supporter, Glenn Fiscus,  is unsurprised with Newt's poor showing in New Hampshire saying, "Romney did a hatchet job on him in Iowa," referring to the attack ads run by a pro-Romney group in that state. When asked how he liked Newt's chances going forward, Fiscus nods knowingly and says, "We'll see in South Carolina." A pro-Newt group in South Carolina has spent $3.2 million on a negative ad campaign in South Carolina.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

The entire nation is watching as voting begins in today’s Republican Primary.

Meanwhile democrat voters are quietly turning out for that other primary.

SFX: Phone bank sounds

The night before primary day, volunteers are hard at work calling potential voters.

Kuster: Hi, is this Mrs. Singer? How are you this is Annie Kuster, calling from the Obama headquarters.

Ann Mclane Kuster, a democratic candidate for congress in 2012, was out working the phones.

Republican Presidential Candidates Make Last Push

Jan 9, 2012

 

Mitt Romney spent his Monday focusing vote-rich southern New Hampshire. He started at a chamber of commerce breakfast Nashua, where a comment he made about choice in health care,

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,”

became a late-breaking flashpoint.  Democrats and republicans rivals Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman all piled on. So much so that at Romney’s next stop in Hudson he called a press conference, his first since the Iowa caucuses, to defuse the matter.

 

The number of fatal crashes on New Hampshire roads dropped in 2011 by nearly a third.

The coordinator of the Highway Safety Agency, Peter Thomson, says that the state police are targeting factors that cause fatal crashes: speed, distracted driving, and drugs and alcohol.

He says so far this year, eighty-seven people have died in crashes, which is the lowest number in fifty years.

He credits, among other things, the safe commute program which the state police instituted this year.

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

 

 

A Portsmouth bookstore that was saved from closing by local investors will be shutting its doors for the month of January.

Tom Holbrook, one of the owners of RiverRun Books, had hoped that the store would only be closed for a week or so when it moved to a new space.

But renovations on the new store weren’t completed in time and the lease on the old one was up, so for the month of January RiverRun will only be selling books online.

iagoarchangel / Flikr Creative Commons

 

A winter that has begun with warm nights and balmy days, has given the ski season a rocky start.

According to SkiNH revenues at New Hampshire ski areas are behind the same point last year.

Most of New Hampshire’s Ski areas were finally able to open this past week, but with a rain storm in the forecast, prospects for a profitable holiday season are dim.

And Karl Stone of SkiNH says that the holidays are crucial.

jcbwalsh / flikr Creative Commons

 

Flakes will start to fly tonight after an unseasonably warm December.

NHPR talked to a National Weather Service forecaster about the probability of a white Christmas.

According to weather data, on any given year there’s at least at 75% chance there will be snow on the ground in New Hampshire Christmas day.

Michael Esker – a forecaster in Gray, Maine – thinks that probability isn’t going to change this year.

A storm will shoot through tonight, leaving just enough snow to frost the state and make things look festive.

 

In an attempt to save $400,000 in Medicaid spending, State health officials are planning major funding cuts to child and family health programs. 

 

Lisabritt Solsky, the deputy director of Medicaid, said state health officials had no choice but to make the cuts.

Solsky: The legislature acted and reduced our budget, the funding is gone for this, it is not something we asked for and it is not something we promoted

Sam Evans-Brown

 

The redistricting of New Hampshire’s House of Representatives is proving to be very tricky.

The Republican leadership proposed a new map this week, and critiques are rolling in.

Redistricting is never particularly easy; representatives tend to like the districts that elected them.

And considering that the right to re-draw the political map is a spoil that goes to the victors of the last election cycle, partisan friction is inevitable.

But this time around, redistricting has gotten very complicated.

Staff photo

 

Refugees in the state will receive almost a half million dollars of federal funding for health and social services.

The executive council had put that money on hold last month at the request of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Councilor Ray Wieczorek says that he still has reservations about the number of refugees being resettled in Manchester.

Wieczorek: we ought to try to spread it out a little bit so that the responsibility is spread amongst at least eleven cities.

Flikr Creative Commons / Ben McLeod

Today New Hampshire lawmakers got an update on the economic outlook from a series of forecasters

The Ways and Means Committees from both the House and Senate heard in a day’s worth of presentations that while the economy is improving, it’s doing so very slowly, and the recovery is fragile.

A rebound in the housing market is especially far off, as home sales in New Hampshire have been essentially flat for the past two years.

Key Lime Pie yumyum / Flikr Creative Commons

 

 

Concord City council has approved a pilot program to allow chickens on urban lots that are less than 1 acre in size.

For the next 21 months Concord residents will be able to keep five hens, but no roosters due to noise concerns.

After 21 months the ordinance will be reevaluated to determine if issues raised at the hearing are worth worrying about.

Ben Leubsdorf covered the vote for the Concord Monitor.

Courtesy Photo

 

The New Hampshire Community College System has appointed Economist Ross Gittell as its new Chancellor.

The new chancellor is already a heavy-hitter in policy circles.

Gittell’s nineteen-year career at the Whittemore school of Business has followed an impressive arc.

He has won numerous awards and fellowships, and is considered one of the foremost experts on the New Hampshire economy

Gittell hopes to use that pedigree to make sure that the Community College system is staying relevant.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

Two men who had threatened to bring guns onto Plymouth State University’s campus triggered strong reactions from members of the campus community.

The anti-gun-law protesters who accompanied the men sang songs, and engaged onlookers in conversations about the right to bear arms.

Student Alex Cabeceiras says that he thinks no-one on campus took part in the protest.

Cabeceiras: I think it’s pretty stupid, I mean, I’m all for you know, being against the state infringing on our rights but something about fire-arms and education don’t seem to mesh well.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

Two men who had been threatening to bring guns to Plymouth State University’s campus directed a protest today against the school’s no-firearm policy.

Former cop, Bradley Jardis and Veteran Tommy Mozingo arrived at PSU with an entourage of activists from the Free State Project, who sang Libertarian Christmas Carols.

SFX: Carolling

They came to say that the University does not have the right to ban firearms on campus.

When asked if anyone was carrying weapon as they had said they would, Jardis responded it would be up to the state to prove that.

 

The orange-clad opponents of the Northern pass project came out in force to today’s judiciary committee hearing. 

Their disgust with the committee’s decision to recommend an amendment that would tighten eminent domain laws was palpable.

Opponents are hoping for a bill makes it impossible to use eminent domain to take land for the Northern Pass project.

 Kelly Monahan is the register of deeds for Grafton County.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

Senate lawmakers met today to discuss a bill that would change the rules of eminent domain.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports, the debate is spurred by people concerned that they will lose their land to the Northern Pass Project

The judiciary committee considered more than a half dozen amendments that all sought to clarify when and how utilities can use eminent domain.  

In the end, the committee recommended Republican Senator Sharon Carson’s proposal.

Sam Evans-Brown

The American Lung Association announced a project that will pay individuals in Southern New Hampshire to swap out their old woodstoves.

The money for the program comes from a company’s settlement with the EPA.

The project provides consumers from Merrimack, Hillsborough, and Rockinghman counties vouchers  to replace old, inefficient wood stoves, with new clean burning ones.

The vouchers are worth anywhere from one to three thousand dollars, and can be used for pellet stoves, or wood-burning stoves.

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

The push to support local businesses – Buy Local campaigns – are gaining steam, and Invest-Local is no exception.

In Portsmouth, so called “Locavestors” have come together to save a community book store.

RiverRun bookstore sits near the center of downtown Portsmouth.

It’s a bright shop, with big windows looking out onto historic Congress Street.

Customers Nancy Pollard and Elria Ewing are in browsing for replicas of old maps of downtown.

They love their local bookseller.

, Treating mental illness can take many forms. There are drugs, group therapy, and art therapy and the list goes on.

A new program in the Concord area is getting promising results by taking clients to a typical New England farm.

Mental health care doesn’t just take place in sterile offices or on therapists’ couches.

Some of the real breakthroughs happen out in the real world.

A new program in the Concord area is getting clients out to a local farm.

dougtone / Flikr Creative Commons

In this era of belt-tightening small towns are increasingly using partnerships to trim their budgets.

A pair of surveys conducted by the New Hampshire Municipal Association finds that a trend of sharing services is growing.

Over half of New Hampshire municipalities participated, and 40 percent of respondents share ambulance and EMT services.

Not unexpectedly many small towns share things like transfer stations and parks and recreation departments.

New Hampshire conservation groups and agricultural interests are holding their breath, watching Washington this week.

The Farm Bill – which pays for crop subsidies, conservation grants, and nutrition programs like food-stamps – is up for reauthorization.

But, as NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports, this time around, the rules of the game have changed.

The Farm Bill is a big bill.

According the Congressional Budget Office, by itself it accounts for 2% of all government spending.

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A forecast released today warns that the New Hampshire economy is skating on thin ice.

The report from the New England Economic Partnership says that acceleration from private-sector job creation has been partially offset by a shrinking public sector.

Economist Dennis Delay also says that employment and the housing market have not rebounded as quickly as expected.

He says that if growth had continued at the same pace as in 2008, there would be fifty-thousand more jobs in the state than there are today.

Deanna Couture

Between 2000 and 2009 New Hampshire’s Latino population grew by 79 percent.

These changes have created new challenges for some New Hampshire schools.

SFX: announcements, and hall noises

Walking through the halls of Nashua South High school, it’s clear where everyone stands. Literally.

Students Talking: This is the Spanish corner, yeah basically yeah this is the Spanish corner, like Dominican, Puerto Rican, right there is the Mexican corner, for real. (Spanish chat fades away, hall SFX continues)

Courtesy Photo, MCC

With today’s unemployment levels, it’s hard to imagine that New Hampshire companies are still hiring guest workers from abroad.

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports that even in a flooded labor market, skilled immigrants continue to plug a gaping hole in the New Hampshire economy.

Universal Software is an IT consulting firm with branches all around the world.

SFX: Office Ambiance

Its Nashua offices are quiet, with plenty of empty cubicles waiting to be filled.

The ballots have been tallied from yesterday’s municipal elections, and New Hampshire voters have by-and-large chosen to hang on to their incumbents.

Mayors in Concord, Manchester, Rochester all defeated challengers by wide margins, while those in Nashua, Laconia, and Berlin had uncontested elections.

The one exception was in Claremont where Republican challenger James Nielson unseated incumbent Democrat Deborah Cutts by fewer than forty votes.

Dan Tuohy (TWO-ee) a reporter with New Hampshire Patch, spent the evening watching the votes being counted in Concord.

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