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.

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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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he will veto a death penalty repeal bill if it reaches his desk.

The Republican released a statement on Wednesday saying that a top priority for his administration has been strengthening laws for crime victims and their families, and that “the most heinous crimes warrant the death penalty.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are backing a measure, SB 593, which would do away with capital punishment in New Hampshire. The bill has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, enough votes to pass the chamber where similar bills have stalled in recent years.

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies announced on Friday that it is closing its doors after 22 years, citing a lack of funding.

The Concord-based non-profit produced in-depth reports on a wide range of issues impacting life in the state, from casinos and the corrections system, to health care, pension funds and school-dropout rates.

Lauren Chooljian/NHPR

Large all-cash transactions. Out-of-state customers going store to store to buy enormous quantities of Hennessy cognac. Employees unsure about how to handle potentially illegal liquor sales.

Courtesy NH State Police

Law enforcement officials say a massive drug sweep on Thursday resulted in 151 arrests and the seizure of more than 550 grams of heroin and fentanyl.

The Granite Shield operation involved dozens of partner agencies who fanned out across the state, targeting opioid and other drug dealers.

After receiving allegations about potential money laundering taking place at state-run New Hampshire liquor stores, Gov. Chris Sununu says the source of the allegations--an elected official--may have acted improperly in gathering information.

Andru Volinsky, Letter to Governor and Attorney General

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is calling for an investigation into the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, alleging that the state’s liquor stores are engaging in business practices that could “unquestionably facilitate money laundering related to criminal activities.”

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Lawyers representing the New Hampshire woman who won $560 million playing Powerball were in court on Tuesday, asking a Superior Court judge to let her name be kept secret, despite her having already signed the back of the ticket.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

On Tuesday, a  New Hampshire woman will ask a Superior Court judge to let her cross her name off the back of a $560-million winning lottery ticket. It’s not that she doesn’t want the money. It’s what comes with the sudden wealth that she’s trying to avoid.

The single winning Powerball ticket for the January 6th drawing—the seventh largest prize in U.S. history—was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack. But rather than come forward and claim her prize, the winner instead has filed a lawsuit requesting that she get to stay out of the spotlight.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The state Attorney General’s office says disclosing the name of lottery winners in New Hampshire “is not something done for the sake of curiosity or sales promotion,” but instead is a crucial step to ensure the Lottery Commission operates with integrity and accountability.

nh.gov

The New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton is suspending outside visitors due to an outbreak of a norovirus.

The suspension was announced Friday after multiple residents became sick with a highly contagious intestinal virus. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and headaches.

Veterans Home officials say they consulted with the state Division of Public Health about the temporary halt, which is in place to protect residents from acquiring new infections, as well as spreading the virus outside of the facility. 

A Superior Court judge will hear argument next Tuesday in the case of a New Hampshire woman who wishes to remain anonymous after winning a $560 million lottery jackpot.

[You can read NHPR’s previous coverage of this story here.]

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