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

Rethinking Frankenstein

Mar 26, 2012

 Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, Frankenstein has long been read as a cautionary tale about the limits of technology, and a warning against scientific hubris. The monster is a man-made creation run amok, seeking revenge on the scientist that harnessed electricity and brought him to life…a horror recreated many times on film.

Along party lines, the New Hampshire Senate today passed a second, more restrictive voter ID measure. Earlier this month, a bill requiring voters to show valid photo identification or sign an affidavit was approved with the backing of Town Clerks and the Secretary of State.

This new Republican-backed legislation would require those seeking to vote in New Hampshire to also register their vehicles in the State and apply for a New Hampshire driver’s license.

Marcia Blackman outside the Statehouse

The House is expected to vote this afternoon on a measure that would repeal the State’s 2009 law that legalized same-sex marriage. 

There is a decidedly quiet mood outside the Statehouse today, as both opponents and supporters of gay marriage await an anticipated vote on a repeal.  The Republican-sponsored measure attempts to re-define marriage as between a man and a woman. The bill would allow for civil unions.

Statehouse observers expect a close vote, in part because of a strong libertarian streak that runs through many House Republicans.

Photo by 'Images of Money' via Flickr Creative Commons

New data from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority paints a mixed picture of the State’s housing market. 

288 New Hampshire homes slipped into foreclosure in January. That’s a 22-percent decrease from the prior month, but still well above pre-recession levels.

“It is not a case of 'bam', we wake up one morning and the foreclosure issue is gone,” said Jane Law with NH Housing. She said the market is showing signs of a slow recovery. 

Photo by John Lam via Flickr Creative Commons

"Mesh networks" are set up the way the original internet was envisioned to work – users hosting and transmitting as individuals, rather than using centralized networks. Back then, users also communicated differently with each other – on platforms with funky names like IRC and NNTP. Those systems live on today.

A select few are choosing to bypass Facebook and go old-school, with an online forum that lacks pop-up ads and animated banners, where there’s no double-clicking, no need for a mouse, and no graphics…

In case you forgot what a New England winter is supposed to be like, Mother Nature decided to drop in with a reminder. Snow impacts everything from checkbooks to yardwork in New Hampshire, but has gone missing for most of this winter. 

While I was busy shoveling my car out, a neighbor of mine was tackling a completely different winter chore.

Recovering alcoholics can usually pinpoint their rock-bottom. For Michael Hagar, it was the night of July 28, 2009. That evening, he met up with some friends to drink behind the Hannaford’s supermarket in Keene. 

“And that is where the whole incident took off from,” said Hagar.

Behind the grocery story, Hagar believes he drank about 18 beers. Then someone jumped him, hitting him in the face with a log. His pants and wallet were stolen. Gushing blood and enraged, he staggered into the store's parking lot.

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill giving lawmakers final say on collective bargaining agreements with the State. The legislation is just the latest effort by Republicans in Concord to rein in the costs of public employee contracts.

"This gives the legislature the ability to look at an entire contract and say whether it is fair, and whether we should fund it," says Republican Neil Kurk of Weare.

Flickr Creative Commons/Just Some Dust

A bill requiring New Hampshire students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance passed a house committee today.

"Standing is a sign of national patriotism," says Republican Representative Lawrence Kappler.

Current law permits students to remain seated, as long as they are silent and respectful. The constitutionality of the bill is in question, however. Representative Gary Richardson believes that requiring someone to stand is clearly an issue of free speech. 

The New Hampshire House today voted to eliminate the Chancellor’s Office within the University System. The bill calls for many of the responsibilities of the Office to be shifted to the Board of Trustees and to school presidents. Created in 1974, the Chancellor’s duties include government relations, purchasing and audits.

50 Yard Line Seats, for the Homeless?

Feb 2, 2012
Photo by Ammar Abd Rabbo via Flickr Creative Commons

If you don’t like the thought of taxpayer money financing sports stadiums, you’ll like this story out of Florida. An obscure law passed 23-years ago says that professional sports facilities built with the help of government funds must serve as homeless shelters on the nights when no events are taking place. Florida lawmakers are now attempting to use this statute to recoup huge sums of money. Is this a Hail Mary?  

Schwinners on Pursuit of Losers

Jan 30, 2012

When thieves stole Patrick Symmes’ commuter bicycle in broad daylight, it’s not a stretch to say that he snapped. Late at night, he’d watch the surveillance tape again and again… plotting sweet revenge against the two men who’d methodically and nonchalantly pilfered his blue Novara Metro hybrid. Seven bikes and three cities later, Patrick has finally gotten his revenge…sort of.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Richard Lowrance isn't surprised that Gingrich is only pulling 10-percent of the vote here in New Hampshire. "There was a huge undecided factor right up until today," says Lowrance. "It was really difficult to predict how this would go." 

As a volunteer for the campaign, Lowrance, a Nashua resident, has seen crowds grow at recent events. "I think South Carolina is going to go much better for us. This is still a very open race."

Todd Bookman for NHPR

With Romney being declared the winner, the race now turns to the rest. With less than 20% of the polling stations reporting, Newt is grabbing 10-percent of the votes. The mood here at his HQ remains upbeat, with the crowd starting to file into the ballroom in anticipation of the former Speaker's speech.

 

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Greg Carson, secretary of the N.H. Republican Party, is running out of steam. After a week of non-stop events, Carson said he is looking forward to tomorrow morning.

"I can't wait." 

The secretary isn't endorsing any candidate, but believes that having a large pool of choices is good for New Hampshire voters.

"The only bad thing is that the current mix of candidates is going to lead to some internal fighting," he says. 

Carson's wife, State Sen. Sharon Carson, has endorsed Mitt Romney.

 

 

Media Crush

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

With less than an hour to go before polls close in New Hampshire, a huge crowd of reporters swarm Camp Gingrich. Flashbulbs and headphones are in the majority, as supporters are slowly starting to trickle in. 

Ready To Swing

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

Strike up the band! Team Gingrich has hired Boston-based Tuxedo Junction to entertain the former Speaker's fans here in Manchester. The six-piece band will be playing a broad mix of tunes. Expect a few swing songs if polls look good...a dirge or two if Newt doesn't finish in the top three.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Polls will be closing soon here in Manchester. Outside of the Gingrich Camp, NH House Representative Laurie Pettengill (R, Carroll 1) is hoping to sway a few more voters over to Newt Gingrich. After volunteering for Romney four years ago, the first-term Representative is attracted to Newt's ideas for balancing the budget. "The conservative party is important to me," she says. "He's the right mix that we need." 

 

 

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