The Exchange

Ben Henry for NHPR

The Manchester VA Medical Center is under federal investigation after a report by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team  revealed allegations by medical staff of seriously substandard care at the facility. Among the conditions described in the report: an operating room infested with flies, veterans with crippling spinal damage that might have been prevented, and obsolete surgical instruments.   

After top officials there were removed, Alfred Montoya was named interim director. Montoya is also director of the White River Junction VA. We talked with him four days after he landed in Manchester and a day after a pipe failure flooded five floors of the hospital. 

NHPR’s Rewind: New Hampshire Town Life and History

Jul 11, 2017

On July 3, The Exchange took a closer look at town life in New Hampshire. Granite State towns are recurring themes for The Exchange. Three stories in particular caught our collective eye at Rewind as revelatory of our state’s diverse history.

“Our Nig: Sketches from the life of a Free Black”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Exchange, Governor Chris Sununu addressed the uproar over the White House request for voter information and defended his decision not to join an alliance set up by states pledging to uphold the Paris Accord on climate change. He reaffirmed his support for the Northern Pass project and called for a "smart portfolio of renewables," including geothermal.  As for the political dimension of these and other debates,  Sununu had this to say: "I do my best to throw politics out." 

Gov. Chris Sununu says turning over the state’s voter information (or, at least, what’s included in public voter checklists) to a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is a step toward restoring confidence in the nation’s elections.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As N.H. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan explained on The Exchange, the voter information requested by the Commission on Election Integrity is already publicly available and has been for about ten years -- though there are laws governing who gets access to that voter information, as well as how it is accessed and used.  For election-law attorney Paul Twomey, the Commission's request, in addition to being politically suspect,  does not fall within that legal framework and could lead to major security risks.  

Both Scanlan and N.H. Secretary of State Bill Gardner have seemed somewhat taken aback by the uproar over the Commission's request. Scanlan places some of the blame on a polarized political climate.  Since our conversation, as NHPR's Casey McDermott reports here, the ACLU has joined with two N.H. lawmakers in suing Gardner over his plans to comply with the Trump Administration's request for voter information.

Incirlik Air Base

For Dr. Gary Sobelson who practices family medicine in Concord a recent study suggesting that people with mental illness consume a disproportionate share of prescription painkillers was concerning but not necessarily surprising.

Incirlik Air Base

A new Dartmouth study finds people with mental illness are much more likely to use opioids, despite the risks these drugs pose especially for these patients. Possible explanations, according to the study: People suffering from depression may feel pain more acutely, prompting empathetic doctors to write more prescriptions.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

N.H. lawmakers Republican Senator Jeb Bradley and Democratic Representative Cindy Rosenwald have worked long and hard, in bipartisan fashion, on health care issues, including Medicaid expansion -- which is why they've been closely watching the national debate surrounding the U.S. Senate's health care bill.

The Humane Society of the United States

Animal cruelty has been in the public eye this year.  About 80 Great Danes were recently rescued at a mansion in Wolfeboro - living in filthy conditions.  Just last week, four horses were taken from a Deering farm, ill and neglected. And in February,  more than 30 Persian cats were found in a Barnstead home, in squalid conditions.  These cases raise questions -- about whether our state laws on breeding and animal cruelty should be tougher, about when neighbors and town officials should step in, and about the psychology of animal hoarding.

NHPR's Rewind: Malice on the Internet - Then and Now

Jun 22, 2017
jacobfg via Flickr Creative Commons

Since the inception of the internet and the computer, society has been challenged with balancing technologies’ benefits and demerits.

On June 12, 2017, The Exchange held a discussion on cyberethics. This session discussed crimes captured on video and posted online. The program examined viewers’ and digital platforms’ responsibilities when coming across online crime videos; and how the excitement and potential celebrity status is an incentive for people to perform malicious acts.

N.H. Lakes Association

We take a dive into New Hampshire's lakes.  It's hard to overstate the importance of the state's lakes and ponds -- for recreation, tourism, the environment.  But with several water bodies already posted for cyanobacteria, we look at policies and practices  aimed at keeping lakes healthy -- and why they aren't always followed.


iStock Photo

Child care in the U.S. is expensive. For a typical family, child care can take up to a third of the household income. For years, Democrats and Republicans have debated tax deductions, subsidies, and how to provide quality and reliable childcare for families of all income. With these problems and questions, it is useful to study child care models in other countries. NHPR’s The Exchange did just that on November 8, 1995 when it explored Italian methods of child care.

Molggl Interactive via Flickr/CC

In the wake of a bear family’s relocation after two cubs entered a Hanover household, New Hampshire communities are reconsidering their responsibilities as environmental stewards and asking the question, “What does it take to live with bears?”

Mark Moz via Flickr

New Hampshire's housing market is fiercely competitive and expensive these days. Available homes are few and far between --  a situation otherwise known as "low inventory."  That means it's  a good time to sell --  but buying a home is another story. 

Here's how quickly houses are selling, according to Russ Thibeault, president of Applied Economic Research, an economic and real estate consulting firm in Laconia: "If the paint’s dry, the unit’s filled."

Coast Guard Compass

Decades after President Nixon declared drugs "public enemy number one,"  the criminal justice system is still grappling with the problem.  In recent years, we've seen bipartisan calls for an end to so-called mass incarceration for drug crimes and a shift away from the so-called "war on drugs" toward greater emphasis on treatment for addiction.

As Acting U.S. Attorney John Farley sees it, the phrase "war on drugs" is a bit of a buzz term that oversimplifies a battle now being waged on two fronts.   

NuLawLab; Vimeo

Where are we - in The War on Drugs? Decades after President Nixon declared drugs "public enemy number one,"  the criminal justice system is still grappling with this.  In recent years, we've seen bipartisan calls for an end to so-called mass incarceration for drug crimes.  But now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking a tougher stance on sentencing. 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu has called the GOP's American Health Care Act a "huge win" --  for moving the conversation forward on repealing and replacing Obamacare. As for the content of that House bill, Sununu said on The Exchange: "I don't think anything in this bill is a huge win. I have reservations. I wouldn’t have voted for it myself."

What's Next With North Korea?

May 9, 2017
(Stephan) via Flickr/CC

The Trump Administration says the "era of strategic patience" is over as the secretive country's regime increasingly threatens the region with both actions and words.  We examine the tensions today, their roots going back decades, and the huge importance of North Korea's neighbors, including China and South Korea.


Smithsonian Institute Magazine

With North Korea flexing its nuclear muscles and the U.S. calling for an end to the "era of strategic patience,"  it's a good time to re-examine where we are as a world when it comes to nuclear weapons -- and where we've been.  Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says giving one person the power to launch a nuclear strike has long been a dangerous proposition.  She joined The Exchange recently to discuss her ideas for reducing the risk of nuclear conflict.  

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

When news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked last June, NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly, who was in Russia at the time, says she told her editors she didn’t think it was a big deal, that she didn't need to file a story. 

“The reason I said that is that it’s not a surprise that Russia would be crawling around inside U.S. political databases and trying to get in there, and that the U.S. would be doing the same," Kelly said.

But that DNC hack would turn out to be no ordinary hacking.  

Uncertainty Over Undocumented Immigrants

May 3, 2017
Emily Corwin

Across the country, communities are grappling with how to handle people who are here illegally. Some cities and towns have declared themselves sanctuaries, in defiance of President Trump’s demands for close cooperation with federal immigration authorities. That’s a battle now in the courts. We look at how this debate is playing out in New England and nationally.


A Balancing Act: Congress and the Presidency. These two branches of government have ways of checking each other’s power and influence – including through the power of the purse, special investigations, the veto, and the bully pulpit. As part of the NPR series, A Nation Engaged, we’ll look at how these have been used in notable ways throughout  American history -- up to the present. 


Wynan Smith via Flickr/CC

The Division of Children, Youth, and Families has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, after two toddlers who had been involved with the agency were killed by their mothers in a span of just ten months.

The fallout has included legal battles, the director's ouster, and an independent investigation that revealed an agency beset by high turnover, an overworked staff, limited funding, and restrictive policies.

N.H. Public Radio

The uproar over Senate Bill 3 shows no signs of abating.

The bill's lead sponsor, Republican state senator Regina Birdsell,  insists it simply ensures that each vote cast in New Hampshire is valid and that voters meet certain requirements. She says she removed elements that were especially objectionable to opponents, including involvement of local police in helping to confirm voters' addresses. 

NHPR

For all the discord between Democrats and President Trump, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen sounded a few cautious notes of agreement during an interview on The Exchange.   

On Trump's missile attacks in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, Shaheen affirmed her support.

A Conversation With U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Apr 12, 2017
N.H. Public Radio

Given her position on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, we get U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen's take on the recent air strikes against Syria.  We also cover G.O.P. health care reform efforts, New Hampshire's opioid crisis, and rising political rancor in the U.S. Senate. 


Andrew Filer via Flickr/CC

When it comes to Senate Bill 7, which lowers the income threshold for food-stamp  eligibility, among other changes, Democratic state senator Dan Feltes has some choice words:  "One of the worst bills I've ever seen."  And, also, "horrible." 

Feltes joined The Exchange this week, along with Republican state senator Jeb Bradley, co-sponsor of SB7, who  sees things vastly differently.

After more than 1,600 drug-overdose deaths over the last five years, Timothy Rourke, longtime advocate for expanded treatment and recovery services, says the state may be reaching a turning point.  Maybe.

Allegra Boverman via Flickr/Creative Commons

During an interview on NHPR's The Exchange Tuesday, Governor Sununu insisted that a GOP-led effort to require voters to provide proof they are connected to the community where they vote is not meant to exclude anyone but simply to ensure the integrity of the state's voting process.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It's been about a month since N.H. Governor Chris Sununu delivered his budget address, which included $18 million for full-day kindergarten.  The House meanwhile appears to have somewhat different priorities  -- eliminating that funding in its version of the budget.

Scroll down to watch our Facebook Live video stream of Governor Sununu on The Exchange.

We'll get the Governor's take on this development, as well as his views on last week's collapse of the GOP health care bill. And we'll find out how far along he is on achieving his goal of talking with 100 companies in 100 days in hopes of convincing them to come to the Granite State.


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