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

Prescription drug abuse experts unveiled a new tool today to help lower opioid misuse in the state.

That new tool is a website containing information for doctors describing safe prescribing techniques and standards for pain management.

Dr. Seddon Savage, a chronic pain and addiction specialist at Dartmouth, says the cycle of abuse can start with a well-intentioned prescription.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

On Edward Epsen’s farm in Salisbury, New Hampshire, around 40 pigs are doing what lucky pigs get to do: forage for acorns and graze in pastures high with Timothy grass.

“So we are going to be killing this pig here, and the other one that was walking around on this side of the electric net," says Epsen. “It slipped out of sight for the moment…oh, there he is.”

The two that will die in a few minutes are American Mulefoots, a rare breed known for its lard.

When Epsen approaches, the 250-pound pigs roll onto their backs.

istock photo

Back in June, the state legislature passed a law prohibiting the state from creating its own health exchange. Instead, New Hampshire will let the Federal government set it up.

But with big Democratic gains in last week’s election, the state is likely to play a bigger role in shaping the exchange.

In case you don’t remember, exchanges are those on-line marketplaces where people will shop for health insurance beginning in 2014.

A civilian worker at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has pled guilty to two counts of arson. The Portland, Maine US Attorneys office says 24-year old Casey Fury set fire to the USS Miami on May 23rd, causing extensive damage to the attack submarine.

Five first responders were injured fighting the first blaze.

Fury was hired as a sandblaster and painter at the shipyard.

The parties have agreed to recommend a federal prison sentence of between 15 and 19 years.

New data from NH Housing Finance Authority shows 263 New Hampshire homes fell into foreclosure in September. That’s a 13% decline from 2011 levels.

The report says the numbers are a sign that the worst of the housing crisis could be behind us.  

But, cautious optimism aside, there is some tangible good news here: total foreclosures are on track to be their lowest since 2009. Foreclosure auction notices are also way down.

Democrats have unseated incumbent Republicans to win New Hampshire’s two congressional seats.

After losing in 2010 by about 3,500 votes, Hopkinton Democrat Ann McLane Kuster easily beat Republican Charlie Bass in the second district.  She promised common sense and compromise in Washington.

"I will work with anybody from any party on any issue if I believe it is in the interested of this great state…and I will always stand up for what I believe in."

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A rainbow of political signs await voters outside of Peterborough Town Hall.

Inside, it’s a white Voter ID sign, explaining what forms will be accepted.

This is the first election that voters in New Hampshire will be asked to show an I.D. Those without one can sign an affidavit.

In nearby Hancock, Dick Ray says the new law isn’t slowing things down.

"In and out in 5 minutes. Took me longer to figure out who I was going to vote for than to go through the process, so it was fine."

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Rick Christie is every candidate’s dream volunteer. He sports buttons, he speaks with passion, and he puts in his time.

"Hello, David. My name is Rick. I’m working for the Romney campaign. How are ya?" 

Christie is in Manchester, going door to door for Mitt Romney. He estimates he’s knocked on about 2000 doors since June. Of course, not all go well.

Polls still show a near dead heat between Romney and President Obama in New Hampshire.

Dan Gorenstein / NHPR

A joke about being New Hampshire Speaker of the House is that you get a parking spot, $125 annual salary, and the chance to bang a gavel.

But when Bill O’Brien took the position in 2010, he took an important but largely under the radar position into the spotlight.

"It’s been all about O’Brien," says Dante Scala, a political scientist at UNH. "For better or worse, O’Brien became the center of gravity in the New Hampshire legislature, and the face of the New Hampshire legislature, in a way that past Speakers rarely are."

A judge has ruled that State health officials can access private health records at Exeter Hospital, as it continues to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis C.

In August, the Hospital went to court seeking a protective order, arguing that the Division of Public Health’s request for patient records violated privacy laws.

But Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara has denied that request, saying that patient privacy must give way to the state’s interest in investigating a public health threat.

At the end of September, Judge Steven McAuliffe did something unique: he invited U.S Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to come to Concord and weigh in on the suit.

The Judge is looking for help in deciding whether or not the State’s slashing of Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals followed proper guidelines.

Well, the Secretary didn’t show. But an attorney for her agency did phone into the hearing, and informed the judge that Sebelius isn’t quite ready to give her opinion.

New Hampton School

Herman Hassinger made his mark in New Hampshire on the campus of the 190-year old New Hampton School.

Spread over the 50 acres is evidence of his architectural ability and understanding of how to mix old with new.

Pilalas

There are some buildings that are well over a hundred years old, and there are some that are one or two years old. But they all fit together wonderfully, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t agree with me.

Jason Pilalas is on the Board of Trustees, and was friends with Hassinger.

Jobs and the economy continue to dominate on the campaign trail, from the national to the local level. But  government run health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare are also getting their fair share of attention. Major changes to both programs are potentially on the horizon.

With just over a week to go until the election, NHPR’s health reporter Todd Bookman has this overview of what’s at stake for Granite State voters. 

Hospital officials from around the state gathered in Concord on Thursday to learn how to prevent drug theft and misuse by employees.

Residential properties in New Hampshire continue to move at a strong pace. 

More than 1,100 homes sold in September. That’s a 7.5% jump from 2011 levels, fueled in part by very low mortgage rates.

Prices, though, remain flat. The average sale price last month was just under $200,000, a slight dip from August.

Ned Redpath with Redpath Realty in Hanover says buyers still control the market

The State Attorney General released new data today on domestic violence-related deaths. 

From 2001 through 2010, 79 people in New Hampshire died as a result of domestic violence. Two-thirds of the victims were women.

And the data shows a disproportionate share of the deaths were in rural counties, including Sullivan, which had the state’s highest rate.

Attorney General Michael Delaney says that while New Hampshire remains a safe state, domestic violence is occurring at an unacceptably high rate.

Peterborough Town Hall was the sight of John McCain’s final town hall meeting in the 2008 election.

Four years later, he told a small crowd that being back in town was a special feeling.

The Arizona Senator questioned President Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East, citing the embassy attack in Libya.

We lost four brave Americans. There was ample warnings about the security deterioration. The President can say all the things he wants to, but facts are stubborn things.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gadgetdude/804190044/">gadgetdude </a> / flickr

New data released today shows New Hampshire students graduating with the highest debt loads in the nation. 

According to a report from the Institute for College Access and Success, the Class of 2011 averaged $32,440 in debt.

It’s the second year in a row New Hampshire has had the highest average load. 

Tara Payne with the NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation says the numbers send a signal to students and parents.

CDC Social Media / Flickr

A judge heard arguments today in a case involving patient medical records at Exeter Hospital. At issue is just how much access the state needs to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis C.

Back in August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order arguing the state’s broad request for patient records violates both state and federal privacy laws.

In Merrimack Superior court, lawyers for the State countered, saying they have a duty to investigate exactly what happened inside the hospital, and that means they need complete access.

hitthatswitch / Flickr/Creative Commons

The number of cases of fungal meningitis in New Hampshire now stands at six. Public health officials today announced two more cases of the infection.

The patients all received tainted steroid injections manufactured by New England Compounding Company. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer has since recalled all of its products.

The State Attorney General’s office announced today that more than 43,000 TD Bank customers in New Hampshire are at risk of identity theft. The bank can’t locate two tapes containing sensitive data shipped between locations back in March.

TD Bank is offering new accounts free of charge and a year of credit monitoring to affected customers.

In total, the bank is notifying more than 250,000 customers on the east coast about the breach.

Any parent can tell you that sweet foods are an easier sell to kids than, say, sprouts or salad. But with more than a quarter of New Hampshire struggling with obesity, researchers at Keene State College are working on innovative ways to get children as young as three years old hooked on vegetables.

No patients in New Hampshire have tested positive for fungal meningitis as the national outbreak continues to grow.

simminch / Flickr/Creative Commons

2010 was a great year for Republicans, as they secured veto-proof majorities in Concord. The energy of the Tea Party was one reason why.

If you show up to vote on November 6th, election officials will, for the first time in New Hampshire, ask for identification. Voters can show a driver’s license, military ID, student ID or a passport.

For those without an ID, the state is now ready to distribute a free voter ID card, says David Scanlan, Deputy Secretary of State.

Speaker of the House John Boehner is the latest high profile Republican to stump in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney is joining 40 other state attorneys general in urging congress to crackdown on predatory lending practices.

Delaney today signed a joint letter urging Federal lawmakers to oppose the Consumer Credit Access, Innovation and Modernization Act.

A day after the presidential debate in Colorado, pundits and politicians are giving their views on the showdown. To get a sense of what New Hampshire voters thought of the debate, we visited Main Street in Keene, and present this audio postcard.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/4526014600/">SSkennel</a> / Flickr

In a press conference at Exeter Hospital today, lawyers called the state’s request for broad access to medical records a government overreach. The state continues to investigate the Hepatitis C outbreak.

In August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order in Merrimack Superior Court. It’s seeking to block the state’s request for broad access to patient medical records.

State officials investigating the outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital continue pressing for access to patient medical records.

In August, the hospital went to court seeking a protective order, arguing that the Division of Public Health Services’ broad request for records violates both state and federal privacy laws.

Today, the state filed its response in Merrimack Superior Court. It says that healthcare providers are required to share information during a public health investigation.

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