Todd Bookman

Reporter

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Ways to Connect

Lewis Hine, via Wikimedia Commons

A century ago, Manchester, New Hampshire was known for just one thing: the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.

“Amoskeag at one time, at its peak, around World War I, was more than 17,000 employees,” says John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association and a longtime New Hampshire journalist.

  “So if you consider the scale of the city, at least half of the people who lived in this community worked for Amoskeag.”

The State Employees Association, the largest public sector union in the state, is filing an unfair labor practice complaint against the Governor’s office for what it calls a “refusal” to negotiate.

NH Division of Resource and Economic Development

During a previously unannounced trade mission to Montreal, Governor Chris Sununu spoke warmly on Monday about hundreds of years of economic ties between Quebec and New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After 20 years of racing, Loudon is losing one of its biggest economic engines.

Track owners announced this week that the annual September NASCAR event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be relocated to Las Vegas. The town will still host a mid-summer race, but local businesses are bracing for the impact.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Following the introduction of new prescribing guidelines, surgeons at Dartmouth-Hitchcock are reducing the number of opioids they give patients after undergoing certain minor procedures.

Doctors say the initiative is an important step in reducing the number of painkillers available as the state reels from an ongoing opioid epidemic.

Courtesy

The best weather in all of New England right now is inside LEF Farms new $10 million greenhouse. It’s 75-degrees, August-level humid, with fans pushing out a soft breeze.

Operations manager Bob LaDue points out the beneficiaries of this artificial climate.

“That’s mezuna and cress,” he says, naming two of LEF Farms seven varieties of baby greens. “This is part of our spice mix.”

Alex Proimos via Flickr CC

During his speech to Congress Tuesday night, President Donald Trump reiterated his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, calling the health care law a “disaster.”  

"Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans. Action is not a choice, it is a necessity," said Trump.

Creative Commons

A former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son appeared in U.S. Federal Court in Concord on Monday, accused of selling forged paintings by artist Leon Golub to a wealthy Florida-based art collector, Andrew Hall.

[Read background of the case by clicking here.]

During a pretrial conference, the parties expressed doubt over the ability to reach a settlement. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone scheduled a jury trial for March, 2018.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

While angry protesters have been flooding town hall-style events across the country being held by Republican congressmen, the scene at today’s meeting in Concord felt more like a therapy session for beleaguered New Hampshire Democrats.

Hundreds hoping to hear Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan piled into an auditorium on the campus of the New Hampshire Technical Institute. They bore signs, pink "Pussyhats" and their fears about the next four years.

UNH Survey Center

Republicans pleased with the 2016 election results are pushing consumer confidence in New Hampshire to a 15-year high.

NH1

WBIN-TV announced Friday it will cease operations in the coming months after selling its broadcasting rights to the FCC. The network, which was purchased five years ago by former U.S. Senate candidate and New Hampshire businessman Bill Binnie, says proceeds from the sale approach $100 million.

“I am incredibly proud of the people in our television, radio and digital media businesses,” says Binnie in a statement posted to the NH1 website.  

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to kill a controversial Right-to-Work bill, as divisions within the Republican party ultimately sank the measure.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Dartmouth College is joining other Ivy League schools in opposing President Trump’s immigration order.

The Hanover-based school, along with 16 other elite institutions, filed a legal brief in a New York federal court on Monday. The colleges and universities argue that the travel ban, which is currently on hold following a federal appeals court ruling, would harm their ability to attract and educate the world’s best scholars.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A New Hampshire House Committee is recommending against passage of Right-to- Work legislation, which would prohibit unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

Members of the House Labor Committee voted 14-7, with many Republicans joining Democrats in opposition to the often partisan issue.

The bill next heads to the full House, which will take up the measure next week.

Hundreds of opponents filled Representatives Hall in Concord Wednesday, many wearing red t-shirts, to voice their concerns to lawmakers.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

To an outsider, Newington is strip malls and the Pease Tradeport. A dark patch opposite all the glowing neon that straddles the Spaulding Turnpike. The small residential section of town sits protected by the brackish waters of Little Bay, seemingly doing its best not to be noticed.

But with its hometown company Sig Sauer winning a $580-million, 10-year contract with the United States Army last month, Newington may find itself with a slightly higher profile.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Senator Jeb Bradley says New Hampshire’s approach to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has been a success, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved.

One consequence of Republican gains in the 2016 elections is playing out at the state level where organized labor appears likely to face big setbacks in the coming months.

Within days of convening this month, Kentucky lawmakers passed "right-to-work" legislation that prohibit labor unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to the union.

It's the 27th state with such laws. State legislatures in Missouri and New Hampshire are also actively debating similar bills that could become law by February.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Following promises made during the campaign, Republicans are taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What will replace the health care law, and which provisions will be spared, is still very much a question in Washington. In New Hampshire, that’s causing unease for many in the substance abuse treatment community.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate fell one-tenth to 2.6 percent in December, capping off a strong year for most sectors of the state’s economy.

The final jobs report of 2016 from New Hampshire Employment Security finds that nearly 16,000 more residents had jobs than at the start of the year, and that those jobs came in a variety of sectors.

Current Population Survey, © 2016 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson

New Hampshire lawmakers are again debating Right-to-Work laws, with bills currently moving through both the House and Senate. With Republican majorities in both chambers, and a newly-elected governor who favors Right-to-Work, the policy stands its best chance of passing in more than a decade.

But Right-to-Work isn’t exactly a kitchen-table kind of issue. If you aren’t in a union, or a large business owner, you may not know much about its history, what Right-to-Work does, or why it matters.

Jennifer Mei/Creative Commons

Between 2009 and 2011, a local art history professor sold two dozen paintings from her personal collection. The works were all by a major American artist she claimed to know personally. The purchaser was a wealthy Wall Street commodities trader.

Now, it appears these paintings--valued at nearly $700,000--may have been forgeries. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation drew hundreds of people to the statehouse, with public comments lasting more than four hours.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen says she is still undecided over a confirmation vote for Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State.

Shaheen, a second-term Democrat, met earlier this week with the former ExxonMobil CEO, calling her conversation with Tillerson broad. Speaking in Rochester Friday, the Democrat again raised concerns about Tillerson’s business dealings with Russia.

NHPR Staff

A Republican leader in the state legislature wants New Hampshire to bar unions from charging non-members for representing them. With Governor-elect Chris Sununu also backing so-called right-to-work, the issue will be prominent when lawmakers return to Concord next year.

Divisions in the GOP and Democratic governors have stymied efforts to enact right-to-work in the past.

The bill’s lead sponsor this time around, House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, says the idea behind the measure is to give workers more freedom.

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

Among the slate of economic measures state lawmakers will consider next session is a bill to impose an income tax. The sponsor is well aware of what he’s up against.

Thomas Fearon

 

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services says personal information for as many as 15,000 clients has been breached.

 

Names, addresses, social security numbers and Medicaid ID numbers were stolen, with some information posted on social media sites.

 

The agency says a patient at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Concord accessed the information in October, 2015 through a computer in the facility’s library.

 

NHPR Staff

During the campaign, Governor-elect Chris Sununu said he would make attracting companies to the state a top priority. He also promised to meet with 100 business leaders in his first 100 days in office. 

In a speech this week, Sununu says the current administration hasn’t worked hard enough to attract firms, and criticized officials for failing to land a big one, General Electric.

The Republican’s comments on the year-old General Electric decision seemed to come out of the blue.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The term “apprentice” may conjure up thoughts of reality television and a certain President-elect, but actual apprenticeships--where workers learn skills on the job--are on the rise nationally. And in New Hampshire's health care industry, apprentices are being used as a way to fill a gap in the workforce.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Cruise along just about any back road in New Hampshire and you’re likely to come across an old wooden barn. The state is home to more than 15,000 of them, each one an iconic reminder of New Hampshire’s agricultural roots.

But after decades of neglect, there’s no shortage of run-down eyesores out there, seemingly one good wind gust away from collapsing.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

The state’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation, dipping to 2.7% in November.

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security show the state lost 380 jobs last month, but that was offset by a shrinking labor force.

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