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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Environment
5:25 am
Sat October 26, 2013

UNH Research: Bees Nearly Went The Way Of The Dinosaurs

Credit BSC Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

According to new research out of UNH, the same event that spelled the end of the dinosaurs nearly did in bees as well. An investigation into the genome of the small carpenter bee shows bee evolution ground to nearly a halt right around the time dinosaurs died out.

UNH professor Sandra Rehan was busy mapping out the ancestral trees of the four tribes of carpenter bees she studies when she noticed something funny: around 65 million years ago evolution paused.

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NH News
5:53 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

LGC Spin-Off Granted Reprieve By Court

The Supreme Court has decided that Property Liability Trust does not yet have to pay $17.1 million dollars to members of the former Local Government Center.

The PLT is liability, workers’ compensation and unemployment coverage group, was split from the LGC.

That happened after a hearings officer determined it was using money from health insurance premiums to subsidize worker’s compensation for about a decade.

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Business and Economy
3:42 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

N.H. Housing Market Posts Another Strong Month In September

Credit NH Association of Realtors

The New Hampshire housing market had yet another strong month in September. Sales of single-family homes were up by 15 percent over the same month last year, and sales for all properties rose by more than 16 percent.

“Well we’re on almost a two year trend of positive numbers every month,” says Jim Therrien, who in 2014 will become president-elect of the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

Compared to last September, days on market and total supply were down (-14.2% and -12.2%) new listings and sale prices were up (16.8% and 12.%).

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Education
8:44 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

High-Profile Critic Of Education Reform Comes To N.H.

Credit tbfurman / Flickr Creative Commons

Diane Ravitch, one of the nation's loudest voices against efforts by recent presidents to reform American education, says teachers should be able to make changes to the new Common Core State Standards that New Hampshire schools are implementing now.

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Environment
5:17 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

EPA: Low Air Quality Days On The Decline In New England

Even though New Hampshire did not have the worst air quality in New England in the 1980s, it never-the-less has seen improvement over the decades.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown; Data: EPA New England / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency says in 2013 New Hampshire experienced only three days with poor air quality due to ground-level ozone – or smog. This fits into the overall trend of declining smog over the last three decades.

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Smog primarily is formed when pollution out of car tailpipes and power plant emissions interacts with light, and it forms more quickly (and so is worse) on hot summer days.

But in New Hampshire, smoggy days peaked in the summer of 1988, with 36 poor air quality days, and has been declining slowly ever since.

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NH News
3:10 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Flood Watch Issued As North Country Dam Drawn Down For Repairs

State officials say Brookfield Renewable Energy is drawing down water and initiating an emergency action plan after a failed attempt to fix a minor structural issue with a dam in the North Country.

The dam in question is a 5 megawatt hydro power facility on the Androscoggin River, just south of Berlin in the town of Gorham.

This is a smaller, low-hazard dam, meaning even if it were to breach, the water backed up behind it wouldn’t even overflow out of the river banks.

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Education
1:17 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

In Response To Pressure, Manchester Votes To Strengthen Common Core Standards

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  The Manchester School Board has voted to modify a new set of state-wide education standards to make them more rigorous.

The vote was in response to pressure from critics of the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted in 45 states.

The Manchester School District will create something called the “Manchester Academic Standards.” However, the Common Core standards will still form the foundation for the district’s new goalposts.

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Environment
6:22 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Lawmakers Look To Keep The Door Open To PSNH Action

The scrubber on Merrimack Station drives much of the difference in PSNH's rates vs. those of competitors.
Credit Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

Since June New Hampshire lawmakers have been grappling with what to do about the persistently above market cost of electricity at the state’s largest utility, Public Service of New Hampshire. Now the legislative committee wants advice from regulators to see if selling PSNH’s power plants is the solution, but that advice may be slow in coming.

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Environment
6:48 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Staying Warm In The Granite State: A Guide To Home Heating Fuels

Heating oil dominates New Hampshire's home heating landscape, and propane takes up a much higher share of what's left over than in other states. Conversely, the number one fuel nationally -- natural gas -- heats only 1 in 5 NH homes.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown; Data: American Community Survey / NHPR

The frost advisories are beginning to pile up and boilers in basements are cycling on to take the edge off of the autumn chill: heating season is upon us.

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Environment
5:24 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Wind Developer Iberdrola Will Sell Energy To Mass. Utilities

Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

Wind power developer Iberdrola Renewables has signed a contract to sell power to four Massachusetts utilities, and has included in that contract a proposed wind farm in New Hampshire that has yet to submit its application for construction.

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Environment
4:50 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

As Water Cleanup Commences, Beede Story Shows Superfund Law's Flaws

The Beede Waste Oil site encompasses 40 acres in Plaistow, and abuts Kelley Brook. It is closely surrounded by residential development. The site was closed in 1994, and its former owner was sentenced to 37 months in prison for contaminating it.
Credit The Beede Group

Later this month a water treatment plant will switch on in Plaistow to clean ground water at a notorious former oil dump. The total bill for the cleanup of what’s now known as the Beede Superfund site could reach nearly $70 million dollars. This site is now on its way converting from brownfield to greenfield, but illustrates how the law governing the cleanup of superfund sites can also be messy.

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NH News
5:14 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Could Strain Seacoast Economics

While for many the government shutdown is just another artifact in the news cycle, many thousands are facing losing some paychecks.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The government shut-down hit home for more than 1,700 civilian employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and that could deal a serious blow to the economy of the seacoast region.

The scene outside of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Tuesday painted a picture of what thousands of furloughed federal workers looks like you’ll see a long steady stream of cars leaving the base, but just a trickle headed the other way.

That’s because while most at the shipyard were told to report to work, many were pulled one-by-one into the office of their supervisors and handed a letter.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Outlines Of Plan For PSNH Power-Plants Begin To Emerge

New Hampshire lawmakers say new leadership at Public Service of New Hampshire has brought a change of tone. For policy-makers this as a welcome development as they seek a solution to the steady bleed of customers from the state’s largest utility.

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Environment
12:30 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

As Seacoast Development Booms, Water Quality Could Bust

While development trends vary slightly from town to town, in general development is on the rise, and in many communities speeding up
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Meanwhile, many of the stresses that threaten water quality – more waste-water, increased runoff from pavement, and fewer forests to naturally filter water – increase hand-in-hand with development. Those in the conservation community say the cheapest route is to keep water clean by putting land into conservation, instead of trying to clean it up after it’s already a mess. No-where is the tension between environmental quality and more acute, than on the seacoast, in the communities of the Great Bay.

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Environment
5:42 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

PSNH Asks Supreme Court To Weigh In On Scrubber Costs

Public Service of New Hampshire, the state’s largest electric utility, has filed an appeal with the state supreme court. PSNH is trying to head off regulators’ attempts to question whether the company should have installed a mercury scrubber on its largest coal-fired power plant.

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