All Things Considered

Patricia McLaughlin for NHPR

New York Times best-selling author and Peterborough resident Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is out with a new book. It's called, "The Hidden Life of Life," and it traces the history of life on this planet from its microscopic beginnings through mass extinctions and dinosaurs to the present day.

This is a special edition of The Bookshelf. It's an excerpt of the live-recorded event at the Toadstool Bookshop last month in Peterborough. NHPR's Peter Biello interviewed the author about her latest work. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

On a recent morning at Londonderry Senior High School, students filed into Corrine Murphy's mass media class. 

"Good morning, Ms. Murphy."

"What," she laughed, "Ms. Murphy?"

These seniors are showing off a little bit for the microphone. They usually call her something less formal, like Murph. She's friendly with her students in part because she regularly talks to them about something close to their hearts: Social media.

Peter Biello/NHPR

When the military and its contractors need to get rid of old or obsolete bullets and bombs, they sometimes burn them. This releases chemicals like lead and mercury into the environment, and people living nearby could be exposed to them and get sick.

Now, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, New Hampshire Representative Carol Shea-Porter has added a provision ordering a study of the practice, which is known as open burning and open detonation of munitions.

Members of the House are taking a serious look at that provision today.  Congresswoman Shea-Porter joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss the measure. 

In a new report, the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire says staff at the Sununu Youth Center used excessive force on a 14-year-old boy with emotional and behavioral disabilities in December of 2016. The DRC's investigation found probable cause to suspect the Sununu Center used, and continues to use, unlawful restraint.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello interviewed Andrew Milne, staff attorney for the DRC, to discuss the new report. (SCROLL to the bottom of this post to read the report as well as the response from DHHS.)

If you hike up Mount Kearsarge you are likely to see several names carved into the granite. One carving is a square with seven names and the initials USCS and the date 1872. That carving was done by a team known as the United States coastal survey and it's meant to memorialize the work they were doing, which was to build an early modern map of New Hampshire.

For more on this we turn to Granite geek David Brooks who has been writing about this for the Concord Monitor.

Charles Tasnadi / AP

Former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92, traveled to New Hampshire often to support her husband's presidential campaigns—and those of her sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. She was more than just the matriarch of a political dynasty, former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu recalls. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state of New Hampshire sets aside money in its budget for hospitals that treat patients who are uninsured or on Medicaid.  Thanks to a court decision last month, the state now owes much more to hospitals than it had planned to owe.

Reporter Ethan DeWitt of the Concord Monitor broke the story and he spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

(This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

Molly Kelly

Former state Senator Molly Kelly of Harrisville announced that she is running for governor. She will face former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand in the Democratic Party primary and possibly face Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu in November. 

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Kelly about her campaign.

So why did you decide to enter the race now?

Peter Biello/NHPR

Allegations of substandard care at the Manchester VA have largely gone unchallenged, at least publicly, since whistleblowers came forward last summer. And now we are learning why. 

Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith was the leader of the VA new England Health Care System until last month, when he abruptly retired. He says the VA chose to take a no-response approach and wait for public interest in the allegations to wane. Now that he's retired, he's able to speak publicly about what happened behind the scenes from his perspective.

The Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH will be cutting four programs from its curriculum.

Two-year degrees in horticulture technology, culinary arts and nutrition, civil technology, and integrated agriculture management will not be offered after the 2018-2019 academic year.

All Things Considered Host Peter Biello interviewed UNH horticulture technology student Brooke Wilson about the changes.

(This transcript has been lightly edited.)  

Brooke thank you very much for speaking with me.

PSNH

The first law of thermodynamics says that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change from one form to another. One of those forms is heat. And now an entrepreneur in New Hampshire says he has found a way to make use of the heat given off at power plants to increase the efficiency of those power plants and generate more electricity.

Granite Geek David Brooks, a reporter at the Concord Monitor, joins All Things Considered host Peter Biello to explain how this works.

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

New Hampshire Courts Launch Bail Reform Initiative

Mar 19, 2018
N.H. Superior Court

New Hampshire's judicial branch announced today that it’s going to be taking a serious look at bail reform.

To avoid incarcerating people for too long simply because they can’t afford bail, court officials will begin working with the Pretrial Justice Institute to find ways to improve bail practices.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau about the initiative.


Peter Biello/NHPR

The Islamic Society of Concord has moved into its very own mosque, after 15 years of renting space.

In their new home, congregants now have a private space to meet with the Imam. Men and women can now pray on the same floor, which they couldn't do in the rented space. All Things Considered host Peter Biello recently spoke with Imam Mustafa Akaya about the significance of being able to move into a permanent space. 

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. 

 

Wikipedia

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?

 

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