NHPR Blogs

NHPR's blogs include:

The Sidebar, NHPR's news blog 

News Primers, The stories behind the headlines. 

Ad Audit, Examining political messages and money.

Foodstuffs, New Hampshire's food and food culture.

Next Gen NHPR, NHPR's intern blog.

From The Archives, Looking back at our coverage of news and culture. 

Inside NHPR, featuring news and events from the station. 

The Audio Orchard, Playlists and performances of hand-picked music.

Live From Studio D, Musicians perform in NHPR's studio for Word of Mouth.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The headquarters of the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter on Quincy Street has three stories and 14,000 square feet aimed at feeding people in need. But executive director Lisa Christie thought there was one part of the property that could do even more for the organization’s mission.

American author Erskine Caldwell was born in Georgia in 1903. His most famous novel, 1932’s Tobacco Road, boldly addressed the South’s inequalities during the Great Depression.

“He was writing about racial relations when one did not write about racial relations," said Phillip Cronenwett of Dartmouth College in 1989. "He was writing about the difference between the rural wealthy and the rural poor when one did not talk about that sort of thing.”

This week, we’re taking a fresh look at Caldwell, whose writing depicted what he saw as the realities of society – however unpleasant those realities might be.

ABC Quilts was founded in 1988, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, with the mission to lend comfort to babies born with AIDS. Now, its volunteers also make and deliver handmade quilts to abandoned babies and those affected by their mother’s drug or alcohol abuse.

Ellen Ahlgren of Northwood, New Hampshire began ABC Quilts, delivering six baby quilts to Boston City Hospital, each carrying the inscription “with love and comfort to you.” Soon after, ABC Quilts began to grow rapidly, and has since delivered more than half a million quilts worldwide.

From the archives this week, the story of Ellen Ahlgren and ABC Quilts, from reporter Leslie Bennett. 


Chris Jensen for NHPR

NHPR's Chris Jensen recently profiled the North Country's Frances Glessner Lee, whom many refer to as "The Mother of CSI."

Lee recreated tiny crime scenes that resembled meticulous, macabre dollhouses. She called them "nutshells," as in finding truth "in a nutshell."

Of Lee's twenty original nutshells, eighteen are in still in use as teaching tools and aren't available to the public. One was destroyed. But the final one is on display in Bethlehem, N.H.

Predicting the future of technology is never easy. The incredible capabilities of the smartphone in my pocket today were nearly inconceivable in 1989.

That’s when NHPR’s Leslie Bennett made this fateful comment:

“It seems like telephones have gotten as complicated as they’re ever going to get. I may regret saying that.” 

Ouch – sorry, Leslie. She was speaking from Datatech ’89, a business technology trade show in Manchester. The vendors she spoke with shared their visions for office technology in the ‘90s and beyond:

“These fax machines can talk back and forth to each other. And we do have some that are live, actually hooked up to live telephone lines … We can talk to Japan if we want to, or Russia, or anywhere else.” 

That’s right … fax machines were a hot item in 1989. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What exciting gadget from today will be a fossil tomorrow?

From The Archives this week, we revisit Leslie Bennett’s story from Datatech ’89.


NHPR / Brady Carlson

Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Jacob Carozza /NHPR

In New Hampshire, it’s not easy to find a package of JG Coconut Mushrooms, or a jar of clotted cream, or a can of mushy peas.

“Any dinner you would have with a pie you have mushy peas on the side,” says Stephanie Pressinger, president of The British Aisles in Greenland.

“Someone who hasn’t been to England or doesn’t know the culture would say, ‘Why would you want mushed peas?’”

From the archives this week, former NHPR arts producer Phillip Bragdon caught up​ with Karl Drerup after he won the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award in 1989.

When Karl Drerup and his wife Gertrude first came to their little house in Thornton in 1946, it was the end of a very long journey – one that started in 1930 when Drerup left his native Germany to study in Italy. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, a return to Germany was impossible. Gertrude was Jewish, and Karl had designed anti-government posters. The Drerups took refuge first for several years in the Canary Islands, and finally settled in New York City in 1937.


Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Here is the most dramatic, exciting news I could find about Market Basket in June 2015: the grocery chain is going to open a new store in Rochester next spring.

Most New Englanders have likely heard of the Salem Witch Trials – a particularly notorious episode in colonial Massachusetts that resulted in the executions of 20 people for suspected witchcraft in 1692 and 1693. Less widely known is that over three decades earlier, Portsmouth, N.H. had its own witch hunt chapter. From the archives this week, we dig into reporter Robbie Honig's June 1988 story.


  Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

In 2002, an historic marker was erected on the site to commemorate the event.

Presidential candidates have always sought New Hampshire audiences. But once in office, the chief executive hasn't often returned. Twenty years ago in 1995, President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to visit N.H. since Calvin Coolidge swung through in the 1920s. 

  Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

With all of this warm weather, it definitely feels like summer. But it isn’t yet.  And for local farmers, it’s still too early to produce local crops. And that means restaurant owners using locally sourced food are still looking for new solutions to get through the trickiest time of year: the long, cold winters. But now Farm to Table Restaurants are getting farmers to consider new methods for supplying produce in the lean months.

Avital Pinnick / Flicker CC

During Passover, it's best to stock up on matzah early, especially in a state like New Hampshire.

"Jews don't move to New Hampshire for the Jewish community, we move here for other reasons," says rabbi Robin Nafshi of the Temple Beth Jacob in Concord, "the Jewish population of New Hampshire is fairly small."

There was a Stop and Shop in Bedford that used to accommodate kosher shoppers, "It was unbelievable, there was almost two aisles of food for passover," says Katy Gibny from Goffstown. But that store has closed, which has turned Gibni's family to "hunter gatherers."

Brandon Anderson via Flickr CC

In recent decades, the nation’s overall homicide rate has dropped. 2013 - the most recent year for which statistics are available - had the lowest homicide rate, 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people, since 1957.

But as NPR reported earlier this week, about one-third of murder cases go unsolved.

Steve Richardson via Flickr CC

Looking for something  Grade A to do this weekend? After an especially long winter, New Hampshire residents can finally taste the sweet stuff that's become an annual rite of spring: local maple syrup produced in a roadside shack.

NHPR Staff

Do you like the music you hear between segments on Word of Mouth? You can listen to it again on Spotify. Check out and add Word of Mouth's playlist, which we update each week with the latest music we're using on the program.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/4878972642/in/photostream/" target="blank">CC Chapman</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

The New England Patriots are getting ready for the Superbowl on Sunday, they’ll be playing the Seattle Seahawks for the championship. Eleven years ago they were in a similar position, gearing up for the match against the Carolina Panthers.

From the Archives this week we found this 2004 interview from NHPR’s The Front Porch. Host John Walters spoke with then (and current) State Senator from Manchester, Lou D’Allessandro. John spoke with D’Allessandro about his football career at UNH as well as his 1961 tryout for a new football franchise in Boston.

This week saw the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s "Citizens United" decision. And with the anniversary of “Granny D” day (1/25/12) tomorrow, it seems an appropriate time to take stock.

Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? What was left out of the song was Rudolph's New Hampshire connection.

When severe weather knocks out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, utility crews work around the clock to restore service. But somebody is always going to be the last one to get plugged back in...and it could be you.

If you’re already waiting around for the power to come back on, it’s too late to do prep like charging batteries or buying a generator. But there are some things you can do right now to protect your home and family…and maybe even reclaim some creature comforts.

Rhett Sutphin via Flickr CC

Your dad made it look easy...maybe. But carving a turkey is a bit more complicated than you might think. It's a big bird, after all, and not every knife is created equal. (Nor is every bird, thanks to the "spatchcock" craze!)

But never fear, humble home-chef, there's somewhere to turn if you're confounded by the prospect of carving: YouTube. 

Listed below are some of the most informative and easy-to-follow turkey carving how-to videos on the site.

Pro Tip: Watch them in advance of the family arriving and you'll look like a turkey carving ninja come dinner time.

PumpkinRot

So this week's feature wasn't exactly buried under an inch of dust and parchment mites, but it speaks to the best part of this time of year: telling scary stories. Back in January, Word of Mouth looked into how these stories have made the jump from summer camp and slumber parties to the web.

Paul via Flickr CC

Where I grew up in Connecticut, children trick or treat on Halloween night, after dark, for as long as they possibly can.   I called my hometown’s clerk to double check: municipal government has nothing to do with it.

Yet in my current home of Portsmouth, the city website declares “the date and time for 'Trick-or-Treat' activities in Portsmouth this year will be Thursday, October 30th, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.”

As Kansas City finds itself in its first World Series since 1985, its easy to think upon our own championship drought, which ended in 2004.  

It’s been a decade since Boston's boys of summer willed their way out of the American League Championship Series in unlikely fashion and finally put to bed the ghosts of Ruth, Dent, Buckner, Boone (and countless others).

Anyone who’s been paying attention the last few months knows who and what will be appearing on the ballot in a few weeks. (And if you haven’t been paying attention, get off the sidelines already!) 

But how that information gets on the ballots is a process we don’t think much about.

In the run up to the 2004 election, NHPR's Lisa Peakes visited Captial Offset Printing, the company that had printed ballots for the state for decades.

Here's her story from the NHPR archives:

We’re back in school again, and back at the polls. Seemed like a good time to listen back to this conversation on the Exchange from 2009. Laura spoke with a few members of a newly appointed task force to examine the state of civics education in NH.

Children's Museum of NH

Hippo Editor Amy Diaz is back for a look at New Hampshire events this weekend; It's Fest-A-Palooza Two, the Sequel!

For foodies, there's  Greekfest in Manchester, Fire on the Mountain Henniker Rotary Chili Fest, and the Jakarta Fair in Somersworth.

Michael Samuels

Basil has been one of the big draws all summer at Dimond Hill Farm in Concord. 

“We give a sprig away for every customer who buys something,” says Yianna Coliandris, who works at the farmstand.

“Everyone was enjoying that, and it was absolutely thriving. It was beautiful, beautiful basil, and it tasted and smelled absolutely wonderful.”

But now customers will have to find basil elsewhere.

“This was the basil,” says Jane Presby, surveying a tenth of an acre of empty soil.

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