All Things Considered

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We’ve heard a lot of stories this election cycle about political newcomers who have been inspired to run for office. But there are often many obstacles between making that big personal decision and actually running a campaign.

A Boston-based group called New Politics is trying to help veterans and other public servants break into politics. This election cycle, they’re working with Maura Sullivan, a New Hampshire congressional candidate and a Marine veteran.

Peter Biello / NHPR

  Sean Carrier is an Army veteran. He's 44 years old, and while serving in Iraq he survived seven IED blasts.

"And then I was in a hard landing in a C-130."

Peter Biello/NHPR

The task force looking at the future of health care for New Hampshire's veterans has drafted some suggestions for improvements at the Manchester VA, and those suggestions do not include the construction of a new full-service VA hospital.

This task force was put together last year after whistleblowers came forward with allegations of mismanagement at the VA. Dr. Erik Funk was the sole whistleblower to be named to the task force. He joins NHPR's Peter Biello to talk about these preliminary findings.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Reports of sexual abuse at several top prep schools have surfaced in recent years. A group of Phillips Exeter Academy alumni have now launched an independent reporting website for sexual assault survivors from that school. 

Susannah Morrison Curtis is part of that group and she’s on the line with me now. 

(This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.)   

I’d like to get into what you’re trying to accomplish with this website, but first tell us a little bit about your experience at Phillips Exeter, whatever you are comfortable sharing.

NHPR File Photo

Late last year, a 34-year-old man died alone in his cell at the state prison for men in Concord. He was in the prison's residential treatment unit, which houses inmates with a mental illness who are unable to function in the general inmate population. Now the Disability Rights Center New Hampshire has filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to get access to Phillip Borcuk's records and documents related to the investigation into his death. 

DRC staff attorney Andrew Milne joins Peter Biello to talk about the case. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

Truth seems especially hard to get to these days. "Fake news" articles on social media tend to look like they come from legitimate news outlets, and even the most well-researched story can be derided as "fake news."

Under these conditions political reporters push forward with their work. For a look at how that work has changed we turn to NPR's Domenico Montanaro. He's lead editor for politics and digital audience at NPR and he's here in New Hampshire to discuss leaks, fake news, and a free press at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 


Peter Biello/NHPR

This is the Bookshelf from NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. This Super Bowl Sunday, people all over the country turned on their televisions to watch the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles. Among those watching: New Hampshire author Joseph Monninger. He's a Pats fan, but he says he can't believe he still watches football.

Peter Biello/NHPR


This is All Things Considered on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. A bill under consideration at the New Hampshire State House would require certain law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy regarding eyewitness identification procedures. 



Fifteen years ago this week our regular guest David Brooks discovered Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Back then it had a mere fraction of the articles that it has now. But one of the early entries was for the city of Concord, New Hampshire. David recently tried to track down the person who created that page for Concord and his search led him to someone who prompted what's considered the biggest controversy in Wikipedia's early history.

NHPR File Photo

  Helen Hanks began her first four-year term as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections in November. She'd served as assistant commissioner previously and she comes into this new role at a time when the department is struggling to retain staff. It's a problem that some say is exacerbated by comparatively low pay for corrections officers. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. Commissioner Hanks joins me now to talk about the state of the department.


 Welcome to All Things Considered.

Kim Carpenter via FLICKR CC

  This is All Things Considered on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. In this extremely cold weather, home heating systems are working hard to keep people and pipes from freezing. New Hampshire's Emergency Management Director Perry Plummer has been urging residents to be patient but persistent with their service providers, as extremely cold weather drives demand for fuel deliveries. Mr. Plummer is on the line with me now.


Thank you very much for speaking with me. 

My pleasure.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Gov. Chris Sununu just made two announcements on equity issues at the state level. The state Department of Justice is launching a new civil rights unit. And the governor is forming a new advisory council on diversity and inclusion.


Peter Biello, host of All Things Considered, speaks with Andrew Smith, who will be involved in the new state efforts. Smith works in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. He works with groups in New Hampshire after racial incidents occur.


Flickr CC

At least 19 schools in New Hampshire get some of their energy from solar panels. And the panels in operation at Hopkinton Middle High School may be the oldest. 

Installed in 1999, these panels at the school don't work as well as they used to but they still work.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello speaks with Granite Geek David Brooks, who has been reporting on old solar panels in New Hampshire.

So what prompted you to try to find some of those old solar panels and schools in the state.

Peter Biello/NHPR

  House Speaker Shawn Jasper spent some time this afternoon in his office on the third floor of the Statehouse filling a box with stuff. All Things Considered host Peter Biello caught up with Jasper as he packed up.

NHPR: What's in the box? What are you taking home?

Jasper: Papers. Cards. You know, a Gavel in there. Just a lot of personal stuff that I'm taking home that I'll sort through later. 

Fifteen years ago, former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick was attacked by his son, who had an undiagnosed mental illness. Now, Broderick  is on a mission to increase awareness of the signs of mental illness that he missed in his son.

Last year he began speaking to high school and college students as part of the Change Direction New Hampshire campaign and he continues that effort tomorrow in Canaan, N.H., in a joint appearance with state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

Before President Trump, candidates for the highest office in the country have disclosed some of their tax returns. There's currently no federal law requiring them to do so. Now one state lawmaker is considering crafting legislation that would require candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to be on the ballot in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

That lawmaker is Democratic Representative Suzanne Smith. She spoke earlier today with NHPR's Peter Biello.

When did you get the idea for this?



The eclipse is coming, and eclipse enthusiasts have been planning their viewing parties for months now, but they recieved troubling news over the weekend. Eclipse viewing glasses that don't meet safety guidelines are said to be flooding the market.

Concord Monitor columnist David Brooks has been keeping track of these sun-gazing safety hazards, and he spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit this week against Purdue Pharma, maker of the popular opioid OxyContin. According to the Attorney General, Purdue peddled its drugs to prescribers using deceptive marketing techniques that understated the risks of addiction and overstated the drug’s benefits.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When President Donald Trump threatened North Korea this week with “fire and fury,” should the country continue to threaten military action against the United States, some reacted with alarm at his escalation of rhetoric.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Author Tim Weed has spent many years putting together his latest short story collection, which finds inspiration in a variety of settings: Rome, Nantucket, Cuba, Venezuela, and of course New Hampshire.

The collection is called A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing. Tim Weed joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss the work. Scrool down to read a top five reading list from Tim Weed and a transcript of his conversation with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Tim Weed’s Top Five Reading Recommendations:

Public Domain Pictures

A New Hampshire software developer is working on a way to protect household devices that are connected to the internet, the latest in a broader, nationwide push to keep the devices in our homes safe from hackers.

David Brooks, who writes the Granite Geek column at the Concord Monitor, has been keeping a close eye on this topic—and he’s pretty worried. Brooks spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

This is all about the Internet of Things (IoT), so bring us up to speed: What is that?

Ben Henry for NHPR

For someone struggling to feed themselves or their family, it can be hard to eat healthy. Fresh produce is expensive. The offerings from food pantries or soup kitchens are often canned meals or bread items.

An incentive program in New Hampshire is working to change that, by helping low income individuals get their hands on fresh food at farmers markets.

Baby (2016)

Director Trevor Clark Thalin turned to his native New Hampshire for inspiration in his new film, “Baby” (2016). The film is based on the novel of that name by New Hampshire author Joseph Monninger. It was filmed in Warren, and has a cast of entirely New Hampshire residents.

“Baby” won Best Feature Film at the SoCal Film Festival, and was recently nominated in the categories of Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best New Talented Director at the Madrid International Film Festival.

Thalin joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss how this film came together.

New Futures

Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill yesterday that decriminalizes possession of three quarters of an ounce of marijuana or less. Instead of jail time, a person caught with a small amount of pot will now face up to 100 dollars in fines for a first offense.

St. Paul's School

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office announced Thursday it’s launching a criminal investigation into St. Paul’s School.

Peter Biello

Heather Mulgrew is a young woman with a plan. She’s going to work at Bank of America, make good money, and live in New York City. But first, she’s off to Europe for a last hurrah with her girlfriends before real life begins.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Last week, the Supreme Court said it will hear a case later this year on partisan gerrymandering—a questionably constitutional practice in which legislators draw lines of voting districts in a way that gives their party a built-in electoral advantage. The Supreme Court has never ruled on partisan gerrymandering, and its decision could have a dramatic impact on the way districts are drawn after the 2020 census.

Peter Biello

Governor Chris Sununu recently signed a bill into law that would eliminate the requirement that hair braiders obtain a license to do their work. These licenses were often expensive to obtain and, some argued, unnecessary, in part because no potentially dangerous chemicals are involved.

This could open the door to employment for workers, many of whom are African American, who learned this skill at a young age from family members.

Ben Henry

An assessment of the quality of care provided to military veterans at the VA hospital in White River Junction, Vermont, has found that management and staff failed on numerous occasions to follow best practices to keep patients safe.