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

Courtesy of RR Auction

Update: The diary sold at auction Wednesday, April 26, for $718,750. R.R. Auction, based in Amherst, New Hampshire, coordinated the sale. The buyer is a Massachusetts-based collector.

In the summer of 1945, between his military service and first campaign for Congress, John F. Kennedy traveled across Europe working as a journalist.

JFK kept a diary during those months on the road. The historical document reveals a future President trying to make sense of a rapidly changing post-war world--and it’s now being put up for bid by a New Hampshire auction house.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Public health officials announced Tuesday that for the first time in New Hampshire, the synthetic opioid carfentanil was found in the blood of three residents who died from overdoses. The drug is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, and is commonly used as a tranquilizer for large animals, including elephants.

Speaking at a press conference, Governor Chris Sununu said the state’s forensic lab  confirmed the presence of the drug earlier in the day.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate went up slightly to 2.8% in March, up from 2.7% in February. New data from the state’s Employment Security office shows modest job losses in education, retail and finance, while construction and manufacturing were basically flat.

NH DRED

The Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism is hoping out-of-state experts can help in-state businesses attract more visitors.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Englanders, broadly speaking, are a thrifty bunch. Between garage sales, dump malls and Market Basket, we understand the value of a dollar. That makes the launch of a new Repair Café in Peterborough a natural fit.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Hampshire’s United States Senators are criticizing proposed cuts to a federally funded grant program.

Both Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan spoke in Concord Wednesday about the importance of the Community Development Finance Authority. As former governors, the Democrats say they saw first-hand the results of the CDFA’s grant program, which funds projects including substance abuse treatment facilities, soup kitchens and municipal infrastructure.

Matthew Roth/Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire continues to add high-paying tech jobs to the state’s economy--just not fast enough to meet the sector’s growing demand.

Lakes Region Realty Group

A program that distributes grants to New Hampshire communities says it's delaying some awards due to congressional inaction in Washington.

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority uses a mix of state and federal money to support local projects, which range from new municipal septic systems in the town of Derry to substance abuse recovery centers in Manchester. A key source of funds for this program is the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, which in years past has contributed between $8-9 million to the program.

Mark Warner/Flickr

The parent company of Stonyfield Farm is putting the New Hampshire yogurt maker up for sale.

The French food giant Danone announced its plans today as it seeks to complete an acquisition of Denver-based WhiteWave Foods. U.S. antitrust regulators expressed concerns about Danone controlling a dairy monopoly, prompting the firm to sell off Stonyfield.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The factory floor inside of Graphicast, a manufacturing company in Jaffrey, feels like a throwback to another era. Workers stand around waist-high crucibles, plucking casts out of the pots filled with bubbling liquid metal.

“We’re melting at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Val Zanchuck, the company’s CEO, over the din. 

National Grid

Utility company National Grid says it wants to build a new transmission line that would bring 1,200 megawatts of renewable power from Canada into New England. The major new project would take a different route than the controversial Northern Pass proposal put forward by Eversource.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

This week, NHPR is digging into New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector: what’s been lost, and what could be regained in the years ahead. Today, we’re going to look at how one company, a toy maker in Keene, has navigated 60-years of change in that industry.   

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.

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