The Exchange

N.H.'s Efforts to Improve Mental Health System Stymied by Low Pay, High Stress, and Licensing Logjams.

Five positions filled, about 15 more to go, before Manchester gets its mobile mental health unit up and running. Meanwhile, the July deadline for doing so has come and gone.

Jessica Lachance, the unit’s director, admits it’s been a struggle to attract applicants. And Manchester is far from alone in this dilemma.  


Even as the state moves forward with plans for meeting the mental health needs of Granite Staters, workers in this field, from psychiatrists to specially trained nurses, are scarce. The factors are many, ranging from inadequate salaries to licensing boards that make it difficult for job seekers to cross state lines. 

Government of Alberta via Flickr/CC

Public Health officials say the flu has arrived in New Hampshire and will be here through April or May.

Every year, scientists create a new flu vaccine to try to outwit the highly mutable influenza virus.   

Credit: NHPR

Read All About It: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Hassan recently joined NHPR's Laura Knoy and Josh Rogers for an hour-long discussion -- part of our Conversations with the Candidates series. 

Sustainable or Green-washing?

Sep 23, 2016

Many companies these days take pride in reducing their environmental impact, from composting to using lighter packaging.  And it's a selling point, as more consumers favor environmentally conscious firms. Some businesses, however, are accused of green-washing -- promoting an image that has little to do with reality.

Pet Economics: The Dollars & Cents of Pet Ownership

Sep 21, 2016
FLICKR/CC Army Medicine

We're closer to our domesticated creatures than at any point in human history -- even considering them family members. Yet the cost of owning pets can be daunting, as veterinary medicine has advanced to include expensive specialties and treatment.  And then there's doggy day care and all manner of niceties for animals, including dog-carrying backpacks and music specially composed for cats.  So, how far should we go to take care of our pets? 

The Mowry Family

It was decades ago that adoption became a more open arrangement.  Rather than no contact whatsoever and a secretive approach, birth and adoptive parents began communicating both before and after the adoption. Now there are all sorts of variations -- from exchanging occasional letters and pictures to more frequent contact. Still, it can be a difficult decision that raises boundary issues, among others. In New Hampshire, the tendency has been toward more minimal involvement. We'll look at this and other recent trends in adoption, including the rise of single parenting.  

  This program was originally broadcast on July 26, 2016.

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The state's therapeutic cannabis program is up and running, with the opening of its fourth and final dispensary, but debate continues over who should access the drug . For example, some argue it's a good alternative to opioids for chronic pain sufferers, but others warn of unintended consequences and inadequate research. 

In New Hampshire, there does not have to be any formal education for the people that recommend cannabis at the dispensaries. And this has been a little bit of a stumbling block for a lot of physicians sending patients to a dispensary because physicians in general don’t know very much about medical marijuana;  they don’t know about  the different strains, the different routes of administration. So they’re a little bit concerned that the people that are making recommendations and dispensing drugs to their patients don’t really have any formal training. -- Dr. Gil Fanciullo

Why We Do (Or Don't) Love To Go Camping

Aug 22, 2016
Molly McKean

Today, we pull the tent flaps back on camping. 

Every summer, thousands of Americans load up the car and head into the wilderness on outdoor excursions.

Now, a new book traces the origins and evolution of this tradition, examines a few unorthodox camping methods, and ponders the joys of subjecting ourselves to the buggy, lumpy, and unpredictable great outdoors. 

Do You Know Who's Running For N.H. State Senate?

Aug 17, 2016
Mark Goebel via Flickr/Creative Commons

One third of New Hampshire's state senators are retiring this year, leaving eight seats vacant. That's a lot by recent standards, but the races have received little attention in comparison to the Presidential contest. Yet it is the state senate that has settled policy matters most directly affecting the daily lives of Granite Staters. Dean Spiliotes of SNHU is guest host.

Frank Camp via Flickr/Creative Commons

The presidency has grown more influential over time. Some view this as an inevitable response to war and economic emergency.  Yet others see it as a sign of government dysfunction. We take a step back from the current electoral fray, and explore how and why the office has changed over time, right up through the Obama Administration.

Our guest host for this program is Dean Spiliotes, Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Science at Southern New Hampshire University and author of


“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”    (Article II, Section 1, the United States Constitution).

openDemocracy via Flickr/Creative Commons

In his new book, Needless Suffering: How Society Fails Those With Chronic Pain, Dr. David Nagel says that when the medical system can't cure patients' pain, it often blames them instead.  Nagel proposes what he calls a more effective and compassionate approach. 

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr/Creative Commons

New Hampshire now has almost one hundred of these natural areas, from wild places like Pisgah to the crowded sands of Hampton Beach. But their unique self-funding system has long been controversial.  Still, last year, the parks had a banner year,  and this year also seems on target.  We'll look at the health of our state parks and ideas for innovation.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup - August 5, 2016

Aug 5, 2016

Senator Kelly Ayotte finds herself the target of Donald Trump's wrath after she defends the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier.  

Homelessness is down among the veteran population, nationally, and in New Hampshire. And the EPA accuses one of N.H.'s most prominent real estate developers of breaking two federal lead paint laws. 

Eric Norris via Flickr/Creative Concerns


The Granite State is experiencing its worst drought in years, with southeastern New Hampshire most affected.  And despite a little rain lately, dry conditions are expected to continue, affecting farms, fish, private wells, plus increasing fire danger.  We'll get the latest, including response from the state's drought task force.


Brandon Kernan, manager of hydrology and conservation  with the N.H. Department of Environmental Services.

Third-Party Presidential Politics: The 2016 Edition

Aug 2, 2016
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Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson are gaining attention --boosted by the current penchant for outsiders, as well as dismal popularity ratings for the two major Presidential candidates. But whether this will translate into votes in November remains a question.

Allegra Boverman / Courtesy Photo

We pick up our recent conversation on race, policing and guns. Deadly encounters this summer between police and African Americans and the targeting of law enforcement by lone attackers have set many communities on edge.  We get a Granite State perspective on this turmoil, as well as on efforts to repair a rift that many say has been long in the making.   

Casey McDermott for NHPR

Hillary Clinton makes history at the Democratic National Convention as the first female Presidential nominee of a major party.  We get the Granite State perspective on party unity, disunity, and notable events.  We examine what themes are emerging from the convention and how they resonate with New Hampshire delegates and voters.  We'll also preview Clinton's acceptance speech and the road forward to the general election.

National Archives UK

We're reviewing and previewing summer movies, including sequels such as Star Trek Beyond and reboots of old favorites such as Ben-Hur and Ghostbusters, with an all-female team.  If you're in an apocalyptic mood, there's Independence Day: Resurgence, or, if whimsy is more your cup of tea,  The Secret Life of Pets.   We'll look, too, at how  movie theaters are working hard to attract viewers in an age of home screens and binge watching. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup - July 22

Jul 22, 2016
Sara Plourde, NHPR

We review  notable N.H. - related moments of the RNC convention, including an unsuccessful attempt by a group of "Never Trump" Republicans to derail the nomination process. Back in New Hampshire,  U.S. House candidates Rich Ashooh and incumbent Congressman Frank Guinta spar over Guinta's campaign finance violations.  And resolution on two police matters:  the N.H. AG rules that a fatal officer-involved shooting of a 19-year old Michigan man last month was legally justified, and a N.H. state trooper is arrested on misdemeanor assault charges for his use of force after a high-speed chase last May. 

FLICKR/CC Csilla Jaray Benn

A roundup of Granite State economic headlines: It's all about the labor force, according to a midyear economic review -- businesses have plenty of job openings  but there aren't enough workers to fill them.   Commercial real estate gets a makeover, with old shopping malls and a race-track finding new life.  And reaction to a national study on manufacturing, which says a strong education system is the key to success. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Laura Knoy took NHPR's flagship show on the road for a special live edition of The Exchange, featuring a conversation on business and sustainability. The forum took place on Tuesday, June 28th at Labelle Winery in Amherst, and tackled the tough questions facing many in New Hampshire around what's real and what's "greenwashing," and what policies and economic factors stand in the way of more businesses embracing sustainable practices.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We ask a question NPR member stations around the country are exploring this week as part of the series, A Nation Engaged: Does My Vote Matter?  We get a Granite State perspective, including on our First in the Nation status and a recent proposal to possibly pair our primary with Massachusetts.  We'll also look at presidential politics in the wake of the Orlando shootings and a visit to New Hampshire by Republican Donald Trump. 

This program was hosted by Dean Spiliotes, Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University.

Michael Samuels for NHPR

You might have heard about the Food Modernization Safety Act, a large-scale overhaul of food safety rules aimed at reducing food-borne illnesses.

Here in New Hampshire, home to an estimated 4,200 commercial farms, those in the agriculture industry are bracing for potentially big changes in their operations.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup - May 27, 2016

May 26, 2016

We'll be discussing the recent class action lawsuits by residents with private wells near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack.  Saint-Gobain is the likely source of water contamination in the area, according to state officials.  With  bipartisan fanfare, New Hampshire launches the first statewide initiative of a national campaign called Change Direction, promoting more open discussion of mental illness.   Plus, the legislature winds up it's session with negotiation on issues from police body cameras to mandatory minimum sentences to short-term rentals like AirBNB.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik /

In recent weeks, confusion and unease have increased in several New Hampshire towns where contamination with the chemical PFOA has been detected in private wells.

Though the EPA has yet to determine a safe level of PFOA in drinking water, Sarah Pillsbury, the administrator for public drinking water with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, is hoping that's about to change. 

How does University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston explain the size of the school's top salaries, including his own, to students and families struggling to pay tuition?

The leader of New Hampshire’s flagship university, speaking on NHPR's The Exchange Monday, said the school needs to offer competitive rates to attract the best talent — but Huddleston maintained that the school isn’t “overpaying” in the process.

Getty Images

The battle lines on the fight over the future of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion are well-defined as the issue comes up for a vote in the state Senate tomorrow.

On Wednesday’s episode of The Exchange, State Sens. Jeb Bradley and Andy Sanborn — a vocal proponent and opponent of the expansion, respectively — sparred over a number of elements of the program, including its effects on the state's drug crisis.

Bobcat Debate: Should Hunting Resume in N.H.?

Feb 16, 2016
National Park Service via flickr/CC

While most states allow bobcat hunting, New Hampshire has not since 1989, when the animal's population had dwindled to dangerously low levels. Now this week, the Fish and Game Commission will vote whether to allow a limited annual hunt of 50 bobcats. We examine what's driving the support and the opposition, which has been fierce, and how this debate exposes broader cultural divides.