The Exchange

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." 

N.H. Mulls Over Marijuana Legalization

Nov 15, 2017
Seattle City Council via Flickr/CC

The cause of marijuana legalization in New Hampshire hit a road block this week -- but not a dead end. A House committee has voted against legalizing marijuana but a special commission will continue to explore the idea, weighing various aspects of legalization through December of 2018, when it presents a final report.

Read our story on this show:  Debate Continues Over Marijuana Legalization in New Hampshire

Getty Images | NPR

After mass shootings, mental health professionals find themselves at pains to explain that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than aggressors.

And they’re more likely to die by suicide than to harm others.

That’s again been part of the conversation after the Texas church shooting in which 26 people died, and the shooter, by several accounts, dealt with some form of mental illness or instability, including erratic, violent behavior.

Via pixabay

With explosive stories coming out of Hollywood and other industries, we look at this issue in New Hampshire: how workplace harassment is defined, in what settings it occurs, why it continues despite widespread awareness, and what role the legal system and human resource departments play.   


Art Gallery ErgsArt via Flickr/CC

500 years ago this month, the German monk Martin Luther delivered his 95 theses to an Archbishop of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Reformation was born.  Among Luther's complaints about the Catholic Church: the practice of granting indulgences in exchange for good works or acts of piety.  Although he didn't intend to cause a religious revolution, Luther  would become a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, inspiring a schism in Christianity that resonates to this day. 


Michael Saechang via Flickr/CC

After the Las Vegas massacre, the debate over guns is back, in Congress and in the Granite State. At one point soon after the shooting, it seemed there might be a narrow area of agreement:  banning or regulating a device called a "bump-stock" that accelerated gunfire in the most recent mass shooting.  Still, as our conversation made plain, vast differences of opinion remain, and common ground may be fast disappearing. 


U.S. Army Europe

A month after the attacks on Sept. 11, President Bush authorized strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.  Those limited attacks have since grown into an enormous commitment, amounting to thousands of American lives and billions of dollars. Meanwhile, President Trump recently renewed American involvement there, vowing victory. 

Doctors Increasingly Seek a Cure for Burnout

Sep 5, 2017
Wall Boat via Flickr/CC

While the role of a physician has always been demanding - there's a spike now in doctors who say they're overwhelmed, and spending more time in front of computers than tending to patients. That's contributing to a burnout epidemic, leading to high turnover, early retirement, and greater malpractice risk. We'll find out how doctors in New Hampshire are coping. 


N.H. Lakes Association

Our Week of Summer Favorites starts with 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.

This show originally aired on June 20, 2017.   

Tom Hart via flickr/CC

With efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act set aside, states have been struggling to stabilize their Obamacare insurance markets, likely to see double-digit rate increases.  In New Hampshire, officials have been debating how to proceed -- while keeping an eye on what Congress or the President  might do next. 


NHPR’S Rewind: Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Aug 1, 2017
mariordo via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sybjF

Last month, NHPR’s Laura Knoy hosted an Exchange discussion on electric cars and their challenges. Interestingly, the worries and obstacles of alternative fuel cars discussed in this episode were also present in previous Exchange shows aired some 20 years ago.

NHPR’s Rewind: How Mental Health is Treated

Jul 24, 2017

Medical scholars have long researched and debated the best methods to treat people with mental health problems. A recent Exchange episode explored how the philosophy of wilderness therapy – the idea that camping in a natural setting can be a treatment for patients struggling with mental health problems. But when gauging the benefits of wilderness therapy, it may be useful to examine the success of more common methods used to treat mental health: medication and talk therapy.

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 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.

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