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

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.

Jonathan Taylor via Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s members of the Electoral College are requesting an intelligence briefing on Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

In a letter to James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, the electors say they should be provided more details on the scope of investigations into Russian government interference in support of Donald Trump before their scheduled vote on December 19th.  

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Appalachian Mountain Club is withdrawing its proposal for a new overnight hut in Crawford Notch State Park.

The AMC notified the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development of its decision after more than a year of what the non-profit called ‘careful consideration.’

NHPR

The CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock says he will step down when his contract expires next June.

A spine surgeon by training, James Weinstein has led the state’s largest health care system since 2011. During that time, he’s had to navigate both local and national challenges, including the arrival of the Affordable Care Act.

You’d be forgiven for not being able to draw Laconia’s official city flag from memory.

It doesn’t actually fly anywhere, so even most residents have never seen it. But an effort to redesign and reinvigorate the city flag is underway, and not everyone is happy about it.

 

Todd Bookman, NHPR

The machinery inside Conner Bottling Works doesn’t sparkle like it used to. In fact, everything and everybody in here look like they could use a break.

“We are the last family-owned independent bottler in the state of New Hampshire,” says Dan Conner, the fifth generation to work here. “153 years, from start to today. Never shut down, never stopped.”

Launched in 1863, the first Conners only bottled beer, but in the 1890s, the company branched out into sodas. During prohibition, harder drinks were made out back, a friendly sheriff reportedly looking the other way.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Theater groups around the world are honoring the Bard’s work with traditional and updated stagings of his plays.

That includes a new performance of "Macbeth" at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston. There, students are re-imagining the centuries-old tragedy, setting the work in the one of today’s most pressing humanitarian disasters — Syria.

New unemployment figures came out Tuesday and at 2.8%, New Hampshire's rate remains the lowest in the nation. On paper, that may sound like a very good thing: nearly everyone who wants a job has one. But if you are an employer trying to fill a vacancy or a company trying to expand, these can be frustrating times.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After this week’s elections, Newfields, New Hampshire is entitled to a little bit of bragging. Two of the town’s 1,700 or so residents now hold some of the highest titles in the state.

Both Senator-Elect Maggie Hassan and Governor-Elect Chris Sununu call the Seacoast community home.

Kate Harper for NHPR

After a long, well-financed, neck-and-neck campaign, the race for United States Senate in New Hampshire could be headed for a recount.

Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan finished Election Day separated by 1,023 votes out of more than 738,420 cast, with Hassan holding the slight lead.

Despite the razor thin margin, the two-term governor rallied her supporters outside the State House Wednesday morning.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Democrat Maggie Hassan has won the race for U.S. Senate.

Hassan notched a narrow victory: just 716 votes over incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, out of more than 720,000 ballots cast. 

Related: You can see real-time election results right here.

Speaking outside the State House Wednesday morning, Hassan pledged to heal any divisions in Washington.

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