The Exchange

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In the first of our four-day In-Depth series, The Exchange explored whether mental health care in New Hampshire has improved since the state agreed to invest more in the system  — part of a 2014 legal settlement. All agreed there's been progress. There's more help for people in crisis and more transitional housing.

But there's still plenty of room for improvement, including on permanent-housing arrrangements and reimbursement rates for struggling community mental health centers.  

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This smoking alternative is sweeping schools nationwide and causing concern.  JUULs are small and easy to hide; they look like a flash drive and come in delicious-smelling flavors.  But manufacturers say their product is squarely aimed at adult smokers, to help them quit.  We look at the arguments. 

Jessica Hunt / NHPR

Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner of the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, says his agency is beefing up oversight of substance use disorder treatment centers that have been struggling to stay afloat or that have closed altogether after financial struggles – a situation the state can ill afford in the midst of the opioid crisis.  

Speaking on The Exchange, Meyers said the state is auditing these organizations regularly.

NHPR

Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner of the Dept. of Health and Human Services oversees some of the state's most challenging issues: the opioid crisis and a struggling treatment network, a child protection system with high caseloads and under scrutiny, and a Medicaid expansion program under review.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We talk with Republican and Democratic lawmakers about some major votes coming up at the Statehouse this session, including Medicaid expansion, now in the House;  a family and medical leave bill, under scrutiny in the senate; and a proposed Constitutional amendment on victims' rights, called Marsy's Law.

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Relief and Reconstruction in the Caribbean. A Catholic archbishop and bishop are visiting the state from Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands, a region hard hit by last September's hurricanes, to raise awareness about the suffering that continues there. Recovery has been slow, with thousands still lacking power and living in makeshift dwellings.  The bishops are here at the invitation of Bishop Peter A. Libasci, of Manchester, for an initiative called Through the Storm: Helping Our Brothers and Sisters in the Caribbean. For more information on the event, visit here

The Latest Thinking on Substance Abuse Prevention

Mar 23, 2018
Randy Robertson via flickr/CC

Scare tactics and catchy slogans don't work, many experts now say.  But if that's the case, then how best to keep people from becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol?  We find out what works, what doesn't, and where most efforts take place: While many look to schools, our guests say it requires a much broader approach.

This program is part of NHPR's Crossroad project, a station-wide look at the addiction crisis and its impact on the state. 

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There have long been complaints that the state's extensive training and certification requirements for some fields have led to workforce shortages, and the House recently passed a bill for a less restrictive approach. But opponents say caution is warranted - to protect the public and professional integrity.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 16, 2018

Mar 16, 2018

New Hampshire students join thousands around the country in walking out of their classrooms to protest school shootings and NRA influence. The New Hampshire Attorney General finds that a state trooper was justified in shooting and killing an unarmed Enfield man.  And Secretary of State Bill Gardner, with 42 years on the job, faces a rare re-election challenge -- this time, from former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 2, 2018

Mar 1, 2018

A former St. Paul's teacher who has taught at the Derryfield School since 2009 is arrested and charged in connection with the AG's investigation of St. Paul's  handling of allegations of sexual misconduct. A Democrat wins a special election in Laconia, the fifth House seat to flip from Republican to Democrat since President's Trump's election.   And the CD1 race gets a bit more crowded, with Democrat Levi Sanders, son of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, announcing he's running.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In his State of the State address last week, Governor Sununu declared: Life is better in New Hampshire than it was a year ago. On his list of achievements: fewer regulations, lower taxes, and school choice.  On his to-do list: A ten-year plan for the state's mental health system and a revamped Medicaid expansion program.  

N.H. Mayors On The State of Their Cities

Feb 14, 2018
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In advance of Governor Sununu's State of the State address, we check in with four mayors on how their communities are faring: on education, the local economy, and the addiction crisis. And we ask what they'd like to hear from the Governor.

Ellen Grimm for NHPR

  Marsy's Law is a nationwide effort to bolster the rights of crime victims.  Now, a New Hampshire bill to put these rights into the state Constitution has bipartisan support and the Governor's endorsement.  But there are concerns about possible unintended consequences and some hesitation over constitutional change. 

A Check-Up On Medical Marijuana In New Hampshire

Feb 6, 2018
VIA UFLEDU

New Hampshire's program has been in place for several years now and appears to be gaining acceptance among patients and providers.  We find out who's using the system, who's providing the drug, and what questions remain -- including medical concerns, bureaucratic hurdles, and the possibility of federal intervention.  

President Trump's First State of the Union Address

Jan 30, 2018
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We take a look at the speech itself  -- the tone and the major topics, such as infrastructure, immigration, and national security.  

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It's been a year since an investigation of the state's Division of Children Youth And Families revealed an agency in crisis. At the time, officials and lawmakers promised a major overhaul, with new leadership, policies and funding. We check in on what progress has been made in protecting New Hampshire's children.


N.H. Debates: How Young Is Too Young To Get Married?

Jan 24, 2018
Robert Chealb via Flickr

How young is too young to get married and who decides?  The current legal age in New Hampshire is thirteen for girls and fourteen for boys.  Now, as the legislature debates several bills to change this, we examine the legal, cultural, and political issues involved. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 19, 2018

Jan 18, 2018

Governor Chris Sununu appears to open the door to commuter rail, supporting a study to explore whether it could work in New Hampshire.  A  bill to strengthen victims' rights makes its way through the legislature with bipartisan support.  And enthusiasm over a snowy owl ruffles feathers on the Seacoast.


U.S. Foreign Policy In Tumultuous Times

Jan 15, 2018
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The headlines involving North Korea, Russia and Iran have been alarming, including even the threat of nuclear war.  But fraught relations involving these countries go back decades. We examine that geopolitical history -- and try to untangle recent developments. 

 

GUEST: 

Wayne Lesperance - Professor of political science and Dean of undergraduate programs at New England College.

 

 

 

 

RUSSIA

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Weekly N.H. News Roundup on The Exchange hit the road this week and recorded before a live audience at The Barley House in Concord. The show airs at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m Friday.

Click here to see photos from the event

Host Peter Biello also fielded questions from the audience, including two about marijuana legislation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Both New Hampshire’s U.S. senators said Monday they will not hold up a budget deal as leverage for immigration reform.

 

President Donald Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - or DACA - last year.  The program protected tens of thousands of kids who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump gave Congress until March to find a fix, but so far, it hasn’t been resolved.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We sit down with New Hampshire's two U.S. Senators, Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen in front of a live, studio audience Monday morning.

We'll be discussing such issues as the federal response to the opioid crisis; escalating nuclear tensions with North Korea; and a looming showdown over immigration issues and a long-term government spending bill.

 

A Granite State Take On The New Tax Law

Jan 2, 2018
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Untangling the new tax law -- and what it means for individuals of various incomes, charities, universities, and businesses, both large and small.  Although the doubling of the standard deduction has gotten lots of attention, there's plenty more in the law worth focusing on, including the personal and dependency exemption, and a deduction for owners of "pass-through" businesses. 

Meanwhile, although the earned-income tax credit remains largely unchanged under the new law and is widely considered to have lifted more people out of poverty than any other federal measure, according to the IRS, as many as 20% of low-income workers in New Hampshire do not claim the credit.    


More than 70 families with children are living outside in the Manchester area this winter. They're sleeping in tents or cars, according to Cathy Kuhn, director of the N.H. Coalition to End Homelessness.  

Deb Cram/Fosters.com and Seacoastonline

Two new reports say more people are without permanent shelter this year. Among the top contributing factors: lack of affordable housing and the opioid crisis. The greatest increase is among families with children, some of whom are living in cars and tents this winter.  We'll get a statewide and regional picture. 

GUESTS:

Courtney Bodge -  She lives in Manchester in transitional housing after spending some time homeless in the city. She has three children and is in recovery from addiction.

Cathy Kuhn -  Director of the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness and vice president of Research and Training for Families In Transition, a non-profit organization that provides housing and social services to homeless individuals and families. 

Ryan Lawliss -  Emergency housing coordinator with  Southwestern Community Services. He manages homeless shelters in Keene.  

Kyle Stucker - Rochester reporter with Foster's Daily Democrat. He has done extensive coverage of homelessness in the seacoast area.   

Amendment Renews Debate over N.H. Voting Laws

Dec 18, 2017
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

More wrangling over voting requirements. A new proposal would raise the bar for voter eligibility in New Hampshire -- the latest in an ongoing dispute over who can cast a ballot. Supporters say this would ensure people who participate in state elections are residents, but opponents say these changes will disenfranchise many, including college students. 


What's Next for NAFTA?

Dec 12, 2017
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The Trump Administration has been critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement, at times even threatening to pull out.  Now, with re-negotiations underway more than 20 years after NAFTA came into effect,  we check in on what its impact has been, including on New Hampshire.  

Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America

American consumers are used to being part of a vast high-tech credit world that tracks financial identities and creditworthiness using sophisticated algorithms.  The roots of this system reach back to the 19th century, when credit clerks kept detailed handwritten notes and "correspondents" reported on the character of local business owners to try to help lenders determine who was more likely to repay debts.  

In his new book, Creditworthy, Josh Lauer, UNH associate professor of media studies, tells the story of how personal identity became financial identity and how credit management companies with relatively modest ambitions evolved into today's huge consumer data industry, which tracks all manner of personal information, with little oversight.  


Ben Stephenson via Flickr/CC

Small New England colleges are competing for a shrinking number of students in the area. Some have prepared for this slowdown, which primarily has affected the Northeast and Midwest, but many have not. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 40 percent of small private colleges missed their enrollment or tuition revenue goals in 2016.  

In New Hampshire,  Keene State College recently announced it will offer buyouts to faculty and staff to deal with declining enrollment and a tuition shortfall.  Last year, Colby-Sawyer College announced plans to drop its English and Philosophy programs to help address a budget gap and focus on more popular programs, such as nursing and business.    

We talk with top college officials about how their institutions are faring and what steps they've taken -- or plan to take -- to address some of these challenges. 


Bryan via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/5JZsiV

The Exchange spoke with New Hampshire teachers and administrators about competency-based education (CBE), which was adopted by the state board of education more than ten years ago.  Some districts have fully embraced the approach; others are just getting started.  

As our discussion revealed, some parents still have plenty of questions about a system that dispenses with many of the traditional ways of measuring progress and achievement and encourages students to pursue what Superintendent John Freeman of Pittsfield calls "personal pathways." 

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