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

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate, which ticked down to 2.7 percent in August, remains one of the lowest in the nation.

If you are a glass-half-full person, 2.7 percent is cause for celebration, especially when you compare it to where the state was in 2009, when the recession shot the unemployment rate up to 6.6 percent.

John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons

After giving the go-ahead earlier this summer to a scaled down Pumpkin Festival, the Keene City Council is now putting a permit on hold.

Organizers are planning for a smaller, tamer festival this year; one that would include more involvement from area school children. However, City Councilors are expressing concern that they could see a repeat of the riots that broke out in 2014.

Courtesy of Francestown Village Store

Earlier this summer, news broke that the Francestown Village Store, a 203-year old institution in that small Monadnock town, would be closing. The story made headlines in New Hampshire, but also caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal.

It turns out all that publicity may help save the store.

Courtesy of Meredith Lee/Humane Society of the U.S.

A Wolfeboro woman is facing 12 additional charges of animal cruelty following the removal of dozens of Great Dane dogs from her mansion in Wolfeboro.

In a story that grabbed national headlines in June, police raided a 13,000-square-foot mansion owned by Christina Fay. Inside, they found 75 European Great Dane dogs, many of which were alleged to be in poor physical condition.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is weighing in on the Trump Administration’s decision to repeal DACA, or the so-called “dreamers” program.

He says his hope is that undocumented children living here can continue to contribute to society.

“I think the president sent a clear initiative, told Congress to get to work, find a solution here. Something that I’ve always said is, children shouldn’t be accountable for actions of their parents. They’re here, and I think Congress has to get to work and find a real solution.”

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Starting an after-school robotics club isn’t cheap. Students need tools and robot kits, and if they want to compete against other schools, they need to pay travel and entry fees.

Lawmakers, however, are of the opinion these kinds of clubs are a smart investment in the state’s future workforce, and they are ready to chip in. The Robotics Education Fund, which was initially created in 2014 but failed to get off the ground, has been rebooted and is now accepting applications for schools looking to get seed money to start a team.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The iconic Weirs Drive-in Theatre will played its movies Monday night, ending a remarkable run for this slice of Americana in Laconia, N.H.

Opening with a single screen in 1949, the Drive-in, after being purchased by the Baldi family in 1974, added three more screens. Today, its 13 acres look a little tired, but every night through the Lakes Region summer, cars and vans and pickup trucks piled with mattresses and blankets fill its parking lot.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Exeter UFO Festival is again drawing in experts in extraterrestrial sightings, abductions, as well those just curious about what may be out there.

This weekend marks the 8th edition of the Festival, which features two days of speakers, along with vendors and UFO tours.

In 1965, two Exeter policemen, along with others, had a famous encounter with a red orb just across the town’s border in Kensington. After that sighting drew national attention, Exeter became known as the ‘Roswell of the East,’ at least in certain circles.

Courtesy of Doug Flamino

Each August, the town of Hancock, N.H., does what every good town should do: it celebrates itself. Hancock’s Old Home Days are a chance for residents to relish the quaintness of their community.

Along with a parade, talent show, 5K race and ice cream social, there is also a high-spirited water ballet performance by a group of local women. They’re called the Synchro Sisters...and they have a secret.

(Editor’s note: we highly recommend listening to this story.)

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Loudon Zoning Board heard more than four hours of arguments Thursday both for and against a variance request made by the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The track is hoping to host a three-day country music festival next summer.

The event would draw an estimated 20,000 music fans per day, with an estimated 5,000 attendees camping out on the Speedway grounds.

“Our team is geared specifically for these types of events, and have honed our skills over the years, and to not be boastful, but we are pretty good at it,” said David McGrath, the Speedway’s general manager.

NH DOJ's Charitable Trust Unit

An Upper Valley non-profit that serves veterans is being shut down after an investigation by the Attorney General’s office found evidence of fraud.

Project VetCare provides housing and support to military veterans, as well as a meeting place for students at Dartmouth College who are veterans. The non-profit, which was formed in 2012, owns two houses in Hanover.

Library of Congress

Islands can be calm, quiet, isolated places where you can remove yourself from the stress of mainland life. Or, they can serve a more transactional purpose: a place to put people you don’t want to have around. Think Alcatraz, or Elba, where Napoleon was exiled.

Well, off the coast of Portsmouth, there are islands that were also used to remove and isolate certain individuals. Individuals who sometimes figured out novel ways to entertain themselves. 

Courtesy of Stay Work Play

Will Stewart arrived in New Hampshire, sight unseen, as a twenty-something in 2004. Now 38, he’s married, bought a home and is raising a child here.

In short, it’s exactly the scenario his new employer Stay Work Play wants to duplicate around the state.

Stewart will take over as executive director of the non-profit early next month.

Stay Work Play is dedicated to retaining and attracting young professionals to the state, doing so through events, partnerships and advocacy.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is backing stricter commercial breeding regulations. The move follows the rescue of 84 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill in Wolfeboro earlier this year.

Under current state law, anyone who sells more than ten litters of puppies each year, or 50 individual dogs, must register as a commercial breeder. Animal rights activists say that threshold is too high, pointing to Vermont, which requires a license for the sale of just three litters.

Gov. Sununu says tightening the rules would ensure greater safety.

Sean Hurley/NHPR

A New Hampshire man who once chained himself to a giant water slide stands accused of securities fraud.

Kevin Dumont opened the Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia in 2008. Since then, New Hampshire’s Bureau of Securities Regulation says he unlawfully sold unsecured promissory notes to investors, raising $1.5 million to fund the park’s operations.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

If you find yourself in downtown Berlin, New Hampshire, take a glance at the Androscoggin River. There, in the middle of the water, you’ll notice a long, straight line of small rocky islands poking through the surface.

Courtesy of Emily Wilson/Beam Center

Deep in the woods of Strafford, New Hampshire, kids are playing with power tools. They’re climbing on jagged structures, and learning to weld from adults dotted with fresh tattoos.

Don’t sweat it: it’s just another summer at Beam Camp, a makerspace for youth in the outdoors .

(Editor’s note: we recommend listening to this story)

You ever come across something in the woods that doesn’t quite make sense? Like a rusting-out old Buick or something?

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Emergency personnel from around the Seacoast responded to Exeter Hospital Friday, where employee complaints of nausea and dizziness resulted in a partial evacuation. At this time, the cause is unknown.

A Manchester man has been fined $40,000 for filing false visa applications.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Rohit Saksena, 42, runs a staffing company that specializes in connecting American companies with skilled foreign IT workers through the H-1B visa program.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Time moves differently—and is counted differently—on Three Mile Island.

The summer camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, which is owned and operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, hasn’t changed much since its opening in 1900. And many of the campers, some of whom have been returning annually for more than half-a-century, are more likely to tell you when they first started coming to Three Mile, rather than admit their age.

Richard McNeil/Wikimedia Commons

Several high profile energy transmission projects submitted their applications Thursday, as the deadline passed for the next round of Massachusetts's clean energy program.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Connecticut River springs to life in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, just a few hundred yards from the Canadian border. From there, it snakes 400 or miles southward, where it discharges into the Long Island Sound. This month, a group of river-lovers are paddling the length of the Connecticut to highlight its history, importance and beauty.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan met with health care leaders in Exeter Monday to talk about the need for a bipartisan plan forward in Washington--and to criticize President Trump for his handling of the health care issue.

Standing in the glass atrium of Exeter Hospital, the first-term Democrat did not mince words about what she sees as the flaws in the Republican approach to health policy. 

istock photo

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is seeking a federal waiver aimed at lowering the price of health insurance for next year’s Obamacare plans, but Governor Chris Sununu opposes part of the Department’s idea for how to do it.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

An unassuming brick building in Concord now carries the name of one of the most tireless promoters of the state’s arts and cultural assets.

On Tuesday afternoon, friends, relatives and lawmakers gathered in the shade of a large tree for a bill signing and dedication ceremony of the Van McLeod Building, the new formal name for the offices of the state’s Department of Cultural Resources on Pillsbury Street. McLeod, who died last summer at the age of 70, served as Commissioner of the Department for 24 years.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Residents of Webster and nearby communities gathered Tuesday night to learn more about National Grid’s recently proposed energy transmission project.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Due to record demand, the Public Utilities Commission is putting a state-managed rebate program for renewable energy investments on hold.

According to a letter issued by the PUC on Friday, both the Commercial and Industrial Solar Rebate Program, as well as the Residential Solar and Wind Rebate Program, are closed to new applicants until at least September 1st. The PUC points to high demand, as well as an application wait list valued at $1.5 million.

National Grid is holding a series of ‘community meetings’ to gather input and discuss details of its proposed Granite State Power Link project, which would bring hydropower from Canada through New Hampshire on its way to southern New England.

After meeting with residents in Littleton last week, National Grid is holding public sessions in Monroe on Monday at 6:30 pm inside the Town Hall. On Tuesday, representatives will be in Webster’s Town Hall, starting at 6:30 pm.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Since 1847, the Exeter Brass Band has been filling the air with horns and cymbal crashes.

The New Hampshire ensemble is one of the oldest continuously performing bands in the country. This summer, they’re back at it, doing the usual Monday night run of free concerts from the Exeter bandstand, also known as the Swasey Pavilion.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Grover Norquist is occasionally referred to as the ‘dark wizard’ of conservative politics. His Washington-based organization, Americans for Tax Reform, is perhaps best known for its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which calls on politicians to oppose any increase in taxes.

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