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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Education
3:11 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Hassan Supports Lower Court Decision Striking Down Ed Tax Credit

The administration of Governor Maggie Hassan has submitted brief in support of a Superior Court ruling that crippled a controversial Education tax credit program. The program gives tax breaks to businesses that donate to scholarship funds. The scholarships are then used to help students switch to a private school or homeschooling.

Last spring a judge ruled it was unconstitutional to use those funds to give scholarships to students going to religious schools. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is set to review that decision this spring.

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Business and Economy
2:11 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Two New Oyster Farms Proposed

Credit minwoo / Flickr CC

Two new Oyster Farms could sprout up in Little Bay next year. If approved, it would make ten farms in operation in the estuary.

The max size for an oyster farm in New Hampshire is four acres, but the two proposed farms are both considerably smaller. One, from a UNH Masters student would be 2.5 acres, and the other would be just an acre in size.

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Environment
5:25 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Push To Ramp Up Energy Efficiency Faces Hurdles Of Trust

Credit Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, many in New Hampshire’s clean energy sector are worried the state is falling behind the rest of the region. A recent national report seems to bear that out. It ranks New Hampshire last in New England for efficiency policies. But efforts to ramp up the least controversial energy policy – using less – could have a hard time getting the support of the state’s business community.

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NH News
5:09 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Community Group Saves Whaleback Ski Area

Credit adamjackson1984 / Flickr Creative Commons

Whaleback Mountain, a one lift ski area in Enfield will open this weekend. A community fund-raising blitz helped secure the money to buy the mountain after its owners went bankrupt last year.

Whaleback was saved after a community group cobbled together $300,000 from fund-raising and a grant from the Byrne Foundation to buy the defunct ski area from the bank.

“We are wishing the weatherman was slightly more cooperative,” says John Schiffman a retired accountant in Lebanon who spearheaded the effort.

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Newscast
3:55 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Poor Air Quality For Keene Area Friday and Saturday

The Department of Environmental Services blames cold temperatures and low winds for poor air quality in the valleys of Southwestern New Hampshire, including Keene.

Education
5:08 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

N.H. Misses Out On $37.5 Million Early Ed Grant

Credit plums_deify / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire has missed out on another round funding in the federal education grant program Race to the Top. The state was hoping for $37.5 million dollars to improve pre-k and early childhood education programs.

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Environment
5:50 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

NH Group Ranks Companies On Emissions Reduction Progress

Companies scoring lower than a 1 were considered to be "sustainable" by the Climate Counts Metric
Credit Sam Evans-Brown; Data: Climate Counts / NHPR

A UNH backed project has come out with its latest ranking of which corporations are doing the most to combat climate change. The UNH spin-off Climate Counts finds only about half of the corporations ranked are on a sustainable track.

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Environment
12:09 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Unitil Is Latest Utility To Fold Renewable Power Option

Credit Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

  Starting tomorrow Unitil customers will no longer be able to buy renewable energy from the utility.  Only 25 of the company’s 75,000 customers in the state opt to pay extra for renewable power, and the utility says the cost of running the program don’t justify continuing it.

Unitil’s Green Neighbor program has been around for three years, which is when the legislature required utilities to create such programs. But only .03 percent of their customers signed on, and so the law allows them to ask regulators for permission to shutter the renewable option.

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Environment
2:42 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Wild Meadows Wind Farm Submits Application For Construction

The Spanish-owned Iberdrola also operates a wind-farm in Groton (pictured here) and Lempster.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

After a year of redesigns, the Wild Meadows Wind Farm has submitted its state application to be built in the towns of Alexandria and Danbury. But in the past 18 months, the ground has shifted dramatically beneath the feet of the industry in New Hampshire, these days uncertain winds swirl around the proposal.

On a recent fall day, Ed Cherian with the Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola gave a tour of his company’s Groton wind farm to a group of students from the New Hampton School. One of the blades whistles as it spins a sign that a condensation flap is stuck open.

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Environment
5:27 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

New Hampshire Osprey Face Many Hazards On Trip To Amazon

Credit Sergey Yeliseev / Flickr Creative Commons

  Ospreys, also called sea hawk or fish eagle, are found all over the world including here in New Hampshire, But wherever they live, when the temperature drops the birds head for the tropics. For juveniles that first migration is a crucible that only 25 to 40 percent survive.

A project in New Hampshire is tracking Granite State birds and learning about the many misadventures they have between their departure in the fall and return in the spring.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Electric Co-Op Installing Electric Chargers In Underserved Towns

Credit boboroshi / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is working to install more electric car chargers in underserved parts of the state. The pilot has helped hotels in Jackson, Woodstock, Plymouth, North Conway and Lincoln put in chargers customers to use.

The coop is making the move because they believe there are indications that electric vehicles are beginning to gain a foothold.

“The growth of electric vehicles, if you follow the national trends, are growing twice as fast as regular hybrids grew,” says Gary Lemay, renewable energy engineer for the coop.

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Environment
3:11 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

New Site In Farmington Declared Eligible For Superfund Cleanup

The site of the former Davidson Rubber Company Plant was taken over by Collins & Aikman Interiors Inc. which also went bankrupt.
Credit Google

New Hampshire has a new Superfund site in the town of Farmington. The 123-acre parcel once hosted Davidson Rubber Company, a plant that manufactured car parts like dashboards, trim pieces and bumpers. It’s taken seven years to get a contaminated former industrial site included into the federal clean-up program.

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Environment
5:50 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

PSNH Scrubber Investigation Set To Forge Ahead

Credit PSNH / Flickr Creative Commons

  A legislative committee got an update Tuesday on the investigation into the cost of a scrubber that cleans emissions from the state’s largest coal plant. Public Service of New Hampshire’s Merrimack station.

This spring the Public utilities commission will ultimately decide if PSNH spent a reasonable amount on its scrubber.

PSNH says it did, and tried to appeal to the Supreme Court saying it was legally mandated to install the scrubber, so it didn’t matter that the scrubbers cost nearly doubled from estimates

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Education
5:38 am
Tue December 10, 2013

'Standards Based Grading' Takes Root In N.H., Around The Country

Center Woods Elementary School used to give S-, S, or S as grades. Administrators there say these grades were too vague to be of much use.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Most of today’s students and their parents are used to report cards based on the letters A through F. But a new grading system is taking root in schools across the country that seeks to give parents a lot more information. Standards based grading breaks classes down to specific skills students have mastered.

A is good, F is bad. But what about E, M, IP, and LP?

Those are the grades that kids in Sanborn High School in Kingston get. They stand for exceeding, meeting, in-progress, and limited progress.

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Environment
5:41 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Hassan Signs On To Cross-Border Air Pollution Petition

The New England governors have asked that the EPA include nine additional states into a compact that works together - and is held to the same standards - on air quality issues.
Credit NHPR

On Monday Governor Hassan joined Democratic governors from seven other Northeastern states in asking the EPA to clamp down on emissions drifting over their borders from other states. The petition targets states upwind from the Northeast, which Governor Hassan says produce the vast majority of ozone-causing pollution in New Hampshire, wafts across our borders from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic

“If we took every single car off our roadways, we still could only reduce ozone by three percent,” Hassan told reporters during a conference call.

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