Todd Bookman

Reporter

Todd started at NHPR in 2009 as an intern, and in 2011, took over the health beat. He spent two years at WHYY in Philadelphia covering health and science, before returning to NHPR in 2016 as a general assignment reporter with a focus on business and economics. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Ways to Connect

Robert Garrova/NHPR

After a “long and arduous journey,” negotiators with the four unions representing public employees have reached tentative contract agreements with the state of New Hampshire. 

Courtesy of Chad Witko

Back in January, NHPR ran a story about Kevin, a sandhill crane who was melting hearts in the town of Rollinsford. Despite a leg injury and freezing temperatures, the bird was living its best life in this small town.

With the warmer weather and longer days, Kevin now appears to have flown the coop, leaving behind many a brokenhearted resident.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is denying allegations made by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky that the state-run agency is engaging in questionable business practices surrounding all-cash transactions and possible money laundering.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case with huge potential impact on New Hampshire businesses, as well as anyone who shops online.

The case essentially pits the 45 states that impose a sales tax against the handful that don’t, including the Granite State.

Jennifer Mei/Creative Commons

There are new details in the strange story of a former Franklin Pierce University art professor and her son who stand accused of selling forged paintings to a millionaire collector.

Hundreds of pages of court paperwork were recently released as the two sides prepare for a trail this summer, including an expert analysis of the paintings' authenticity.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Surrounded by family and friends, Robert Lynn was sworn in as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Monday.

After being tapped for the job by Governor Chris Sununu, the Windham resident sailed through his confirmation hearing in the New Hampshire Executive Council. He becomes the 36th Chief Justice in the state’s history, taking over for Linda Dalianis, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Lynn, who is 68, will serve less than two years in the role.

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

A week after requesting information about possible contacts between the New Hampshire Liquor Commission and a New York man charged with bootlegging, the IRS is now withdrawing its summons, according to the Commission.

On Thursday, the State of New Hampshire filed a legal brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair, which is scheduled for oral arguments later this month.

The case could have huge ramifications for how businesses collect sales taxes when selling goods to customers across state lines.

Courtesy of Hitchiner Manufacturing

A Milford-based manufacturer says it will break ground on a new 85,000-square foot plant this summer.

Hitchiner Manufacturing casts parts for the aerospace, defense and automotive industries. It announced Thursday it will build a new $50 million facility on its Elm Street campus.

Company officials say the expansion wouldn’t have been possible without the support of local and state officials.

NHPR File Photo

Opponents of a bill that seeks to increase regulation of commercial dog breeders say the measure will do little to prevent cases of animal cruelty.

During a public hearing on Wednesday, Jane Barlow Roy with the New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association told a House Environment and Agriculture Committee that while she believes Senate Bill 569 is well intentioned, its new regulations won’t protect animals from harm and doesn’t stop people from hoarding pets.

N.Y. Tax Department of Taxation

Internal Revenue Service agents want to review communications between New Hampshire state liquor store employees and two New York residents, one of whom was arrested in that state in December on charges of bootlegging.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Agents from the Internal Revenue Service made unannounced visits to New Hampshire liquor stores last week, according to multiple sources. The action comes in the wake of allegations made by an elected official that the state-run stores aren’t doing enough to stop potentially illegal all-cash transactions, exposing the state and liquor store employees to possible lawsuits and harm.

Wikimedia Commons

Owners of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway told a Superior Court judge on Monday that a 1989 agreement prohibiting them from holding music concerts doesn’t apply to land acquired since that contract was signed.

Courtesy of IAFF Local 856

Manchester firefighters will again take to the picket lines next Tuesday, a second show of force in as many weeks.

More than 100 members staged what they called an “informational picket” earlier this week in Manchester, according to Manchester Professional Firefighters Association president Jeff Duval. He says they are planning a second picket next Tuesday before a city Board of Aldermen meeting, as contract negotiations between the unions and city continue.

Courtesy of U.S. Navy

The second ship to have the name U.S.S. Manchester will officially get that title during a commissioning ceremony on May 26th in Portsmouth.

The U.S. Navy, along with the ship’s official sponsor Senator Jeanne Shaheen, made the announcement on Thursday at an event inside the Manchester Millyard Museum.

“We could not be more excited to have this addition to our longstanding tradition of contributing here in New Hampshire to our national defense,” said Shaheen.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A group of residents in the town of Gorham is suing to shut down a popular ATV trailhead.

Neighbors of the trail say they are fed up with the dust, noise and fumes from the four-wheelers. In their court filing, they cite an escalating number of police complaints lodged in Gorham in recent years involving ATV and OHRV riders. 

Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s Attorney General is joining 37 other states in requesting more information from Facebook about how it handles its users’ data.

Gordon MacDonald signed on to a letter sent on Monday to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It comes in response to reports that data for at least 50 million Facebook accounts may have been misused by third-party companies.

Officials will gather on Monday in Concord for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the long-delayed new women’s prison.

The opening of the 224-bed facility has been pushed back several times, a result of funding battles and, more recently, an inability to hire enough staff. The $48-million facility is located on the same grounds as the men’s prison.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad responded to a suspicious package on Main Street in downtown Concord on Friday afternoon.

The brown package was found perched on a window sill outside the Merrimack County Savings Bank branch, just a block from the New Hampshire State House.

Bomb squad members in full gear first used a portable x-ray tool to examine the box, which was smaller than a loaf of bread.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would give a tax exemption to businesses that focus on generating human organs. The measure comes after Manchester was chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense for an $80-million grant focused on manufacturing tissues and organs.

The project, which is called the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, or ARMI, is led by inventor Dean Kamen.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

It may not be every New Hampshire reveler’s go-to drink order, but Hennessy cognac was the top selling spirit by volume at state-run liquor stores in 2017, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total sales that year.

 

Hennessy also happens to be the liquor at the center of bootlegging allegations made last month by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who is calling for an investigation into how the New Hampshire Liquor Commission handles large all-cash sales made by out-of-state residents.

Courtesy of NH Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has fired a retail employee who it says violated policies by improperly completing a large all-cash sale at a state liquor store last month.

That transaction, involving $24,000 worth of Hennessy cognac, is at the heart of allegations being made Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky into wrongdoing by the Liquor Commission.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

It look just a few hours for a jury to find Christina Fay guilty on all 17 counts, a fast ending to one of the highest profile animal abuse cases in recent history.

During a two-week trial in Carroll County Superior Court, jurors heard testimony from law enforcement and veterinarians who described the squalid conditions inside Fay’s 13,000 square foot Wolfeboro estate last June, when police seized 75 Great Danes. Some of the dogs were in need of immediate medical care, suffering from both skin and gastrointestinal issues.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Closing arguments wrapped up Friday in the case of a Wolfeboro, New Hampshire dog breeder facing 17 counts of animal cruelty.

Christina Fay was found guilty in a lower court last year and sentenced to roughly $800,000 in fines and the forfeiture of all but one of her 75 Great Danes. The dogs were removed from her home during a raid last June, and remain in the care of the Humane Society.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate passed a bill on Thursday that backers say would better protect animals from cruelty and neglect.

The legislation comes on the heels of several high profile cases, including the removal of 75 Great Danes from a home in Wolfeboro. Under current law, that breeder didn’t qualify as running a commercial kennel, and therefore wasn’t subject to inspection.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

It’s Town Meeting time, and in Rye, a long-simmering controversy is back on the ballot. On Tuesday, voters there will decide the fate of the old Town Hall.

For many in town, the 180-year old building raises civic pride. Others are simply ready to raze it.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Representatives for the New Hampshire woman who won a half-billion dollar Powerball jackpot will claim the prize on Wednesday.

The winner, however, won’t be present.

Identified only as Jane Doe in court paperwork, she’s asking a judge to let her remain anonymous despite having already signed the back of the $559 million Powerball jackpot ticket. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The case of Christina Fay made international headlines last summer, in part, because of where the high-end dog breeder lived with her European Great Danes: a 13,000 square foot home set on 53 secluded acres with a gated entrance and view of Lake Winnipesaukee.

In short, it's not the typical setting for an animal cruelty case.

Courtesy NH State Police

On October 3rd, 2016, around 7:45 at night, a New Hampshire State Trooper pulled over a red Hyundai with Massachusetts plates heading northbound on I-95.

According to the police report, the car was going 66-mph in a 65-mph zone, and was tailgating behind a pickup truck. The driver of the car, a man named Alexander Temple, appeared nervous. The trooper noticed his hands were shaking.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Democrat Phil Spagnuolo has defeated his Republican challenger in a special election to fill a Laconia seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Spagnuolo, who is a substance misuse recovery coach, beat Les Cartier with 53 percent of the vote. He won five of the Laconia's six voting wards.

He fills a seat left vacant following the death of Republican Donald Flanders last September.

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