NHPR News Features

By Rebecca Lavoie

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Episode Date
Defense Attorneys and AG Dispute Breath Tests' Validity
Police and defense attorneys now have a second list of officers who – for more than two years- may not have been properly certified to give breath tests.
Jul 05, 2015
Many Kids Lack Access To Afterschool Programs, Shown To Close Achievement Gap
It was just over a year ago, at Keene area School District’s annual board retreat, and Deputy Superintendent Reuben Duncan was expecting the usual conversations about curriculum and finances. The teachers, he says, had something else in mind. In five or ten years, Duncan says, elementary school students were coming in without the skills they used to have. “They were coming in without vocabulary, without being able to interact appropriately with other kids, with hygiene issues, not being able to use the bathroom,” he recalls. “And then, there’s the aggressive behaviors.” Duncan isn’t a psychologist, or an economist, but he says, what’s changed is no mystery. “I see a lot of families working multiple jobs, working longer hours.” At a time of stagnant wages, in a region where almost half of students are on free or reduced school lunch, Duncan says he knows financial stress affects children. Often, he says, “they are not getting the stimulation that children need from their parents or
May 19, 2015
Portsmouth City Council Approves $23.2M Second Downtown Parking Garage
For over ten years, the city of Portsmouth has been trying to decide whether and where to build a second downtown parking garage. On Monday night, city councilors voted unanimously to bond a $23 million new garage. Of the 150 o r so people who packed City Hall, more than 50 testified in favor of the garage; four testified against it. Pressure was on for the three city councilors who had indicated uncertainty over the project. Garage Enthusiasts People have called this the most civically engaged city in the country’s most civically engaged state. Suffice it to say: people here care about Portsmouth’s buildings, its views, its growth. But for many including 26 year-old Jeff Kisiel, “parking is the biggest issue in this town.” Like Kisiel, forty-year Portsmouth resident Dixie McLean Tarbell beseeched city councilors to approve the bond. She was already organizing her thoughts days before the hearing. “I’ve just given up on driving downtown,” says McLean Tarbell. “If it’s bad weather I’ll
May 05, 2015
Defense Attorneys Push Back Against Court Efficiency Effort
For more than a decade leaders in New Hampshire’s courts have been trying to modernize the state’s judicial system. In 2001 they began a major effort to digitized files. More recently, they’ve consolidated the lower courts. On Thursday, the House begins hearings on an effort to speed up felony prosecutions. Although the bill would create a trial phase in just two counties, debate over the proposed change is rippling through the state’s criminal justice community. How It Works Now Today, felony arrests begin in the lower Circuit court, with an arraignment and bail hearing. Later, police, defendants, attorneys and judges all show up for a probable cause hearing, although Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau calculates defense attorneys waive these 83 percent of the time. Then, to be prosecuted, the cases get sent over to the Superior Court “where we start all over again,” says Judge Nadeau. “There’s another arraignment, another bail hearing, and then a judge who has the authority to
Apr 15, 2015
Foodstuffs: 'Mount Suna-peep' And The World Of New Hampshire-Themed Peeps Dioramas
There's a spring tradition that's been building over the last few years: Peeps diorama contests. Participants use those marshmallow birds and bunnies to put together all kinds of wacky and creative displays. We have Peeps diorama builders in New Hampshire. The Library Arts Center in Newport is holding its 4th annual Peeps Diorama Contest . The Center's Fran Huot joined All Things Considered to talk about the many joys of Peeps. I first heard about this tradition because of the Washington Post's annual Peeps competition . What made the Library Arts Center want to do a contest as well? We started the contest back in the spring of 2012, after one of our members brought the idea to us after seeing a similar arts organization in another state host a contest the previous year. We had seen the incredible contests hosted by the big urban newspapers such as the Washington Post and the Denver Post around the country. We were really intrigued with the idea and we wanted to bring it to our
Apr 02, 2015
A Dartmouth Professor's Deep Dive Into How Galaxies Form Stars
A Dartmouth astrophysicist is part of a team that’s been looking billions of years into the universe’s past – and they’ve found some clues that may explain why galaxies form the way they do . Ryan Hickox is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. The findings of his team were published in the journal Nature . Ryan Hickox joined All Things Considered with more on the findings. Five billion light years away. That's almost half of all time in the universe. You're looking at what was at a time before there was even an Earth. Could you describe what you use to look out that far away and that far into the past, so to speak? Sure. To see an object that far away we need to use a range of powerful telescopes, to observe this particular galaxy at a range of wavelengths, not just in visible light that you can see, but also in infrared light, which is longer wavelength light more like heat, and also in ultraviolent light and even x-ray light, which is very energetic radiation. The
Mar 27, 2015
Former UNH Student Goes It Alone In Criminal Court, Wins 'Not Guilty' Verdict
Last year, 29 year old Robert Wilson was accused of a felony-level crime and faced the possibility of three and a half to seven years in prison. On Monday, after representing himself “pro se," the jury found him not guilty. Generally speaking, this doesn’t happen. Litigants represent themselves frequently in civil court, but rarely do criminal defendants argue by themselves before a jury. Wilson had even refused stand-by council. Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway prosecuted the case. She says after 18 years as a prosecutor, “this is the second time I’ve had a jury trial with a pro se individual.” The first time, she won. Three attorneys from Conway’s office sat in the gallery as the trial began. They were there purely there out of curiosity, they said. The state doesn’t keep data on self-representing defendants. However, Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau says, from her experience, “they’re not likely to be successful.” Rob Wilson talks in paragraphs. He’s 29, grew up
Mar 25, 2015