Dan Tuohy

Digital Engagement Producer

Dan is a long-time New Hampshire journalist who has written for outlets including Foster's Daily Democrat, The Citizen of Laconia, The Boston Globe, and The Eagle-Tribune. He comes to NHPR from the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he reported on state, local, and national politics.

He is a native Granite Stater and a graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vt.

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Dan Tuohy / NHPR

  When it comes to marijuana policy, New Hampshire legislators continue to comb through a slew of what-if scenarios.

The review, and debate, comes on a couple of fronts:

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A bill to allow for annulment of criminal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire has received a favorable recommendation from a House committee.

The legislation was drafted after Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, signed into law a measure to decriminalize possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of pot. The law took effect Sept. 16, 2017. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A proposal to enshrine victims' rights in the New Hampshire Constitution has notable backers, including Gov. Chris Sununu, but some say it's too broad and vague.

Buzz Scherr, chairman of International Criminal Law and Justice Programs at UNH School of Law, is in this camp.

He also contends supporters are distorting the rights currently provided by state law.

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The president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce says he's encouraged by Gov. Chris Sununu's support for studying commuter rail expansion.

Michael Skelton now hopes state lawmakers follow suit. He will not be alone.

A new business coalition, “New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion,” was unveiled Tuesday to advocate for restoring passenger train service from Boston to Manchester. Skelton first mentioned it while speaking on The Exchange on Tuesday.

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A leader of the state agency dedicated to the welfare of children supports the intent of a proposed foster parent bill of rights in New Hampshire.

 

Christine Tappan, associate commissioner of Human Services and Behavioral Health for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said on The Exchange on Thursday that she was surprised that the state had not already enacted something similar because of past review by stakeholders, including a foster adoptive parents association.

 

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Flu season in New Hampshire is not as bad as in other parts of the country, but doctors are starting to see an uptick in cases. 

Dr. Pamela Hofley, medical director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester-Bedford, says New Hampshire is just starting to head into peak flu season, which lasts through April.

“The New Hampshire flu activity level is certainly widespread in the state but still we’re considered low-level activity throughout the country, although we’re just starting to see an uptick,” she says.

The one-year milestone for Donald Trump’s presidency on Saturday feels a bit like inauguration day.

Some Trump supporters in New Hampshire plan to attend a reunion-like reception Friday night hosted by a conservative group and the state Republican Party.

On the other side, critics are organizing rallies. Among other events, there are Saturday women’s marches, including ones in Lancaster and Wilton, and in Portsmouth, where an estimated 3,500 turned out a year ago to protest the President’s inauguration.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As New Hampshire supporters of President Trump celebrate his first year in office, they pay little heed to controversies that have contributed to a historically low approval rating.

 

Asked about it, Lou Gargiulo responds by pointing to a stock market rally that led to a historic Dow high this week.

 

Gargiulo, a Rockingham County chairman for Trump in 2016, says he still revels in Trump's ability to beat the odds -- and confound his critics. 

 

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Tuesday morning in favor of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

N.H. Banking Examiner Todd Wells says financial institutions may be even less likely to work with marijuana businesses after the federal government signaled a tougher stand on legalization.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled an Obama-era memo last week that federal authorities would not pursue states that legalize pot for recreational or medical purposes.

The move comes as a New Hampshire commission is studying marijuana legalization. Wells referenced the AG's action during a commission meeting today.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Senate President Chuck Morse says work on Medicaid expansion in 2018 will be a balancing act that weighs federal requirements, fiscal impact on the state, and critical services.

“In any case we have to make sure that we protect the New Hampshire taxpayers,” he says.

It's clear that Medicaid remains a top priority for both Republicans and Democrats on the opening day of the legislative session Wednesday.

The common ground is agreement that Medicaid expansion is playing a role in helping the state combat the opioid crisis.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

 

A commission studying marijuana legalization will be seeking data on youth pot use to establish a New Hampshire baseline.

The move comes after the panel heard testimony Monday from Andrew Freedman, the former director of marijuana coordination for Colorado, which has legalized marijuana.

"The problem is that baseline data doesn't exist in a lot of the metrics that we're looking at. He gave us some good ideas," Rep. Patrick Abrami, chairman of the commission, said after the hour-long presentation.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Stories of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct are not just relegated to Washington or New York. They ricocheted from Congress to Concord, as Casey McDermott reported this week. Her story, "Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping with Harassment at N.H. Statehouse," pulled the curtain back on serious complaints. 

State University System Chancellor Todd Leach cites several factors behind cost-cutting measures at Keene State College.

Besides declining enrollment and competition, he says there was a perception that Keene State was in fiscal trouble due to a cut in state funding in 2010.

“We can look and see the numbers drop there,” he said on The Exchange.

When it comes to marijuana legalization, the conflict between state and federal laws appears to be cause for concern for New Hampshire banks.

Todd Wells, Chief Bank Examiner for the New Hampshire Banking Department, says it's a matter of "reputation risk" for state-chartered banks and credit unions hesitant to establish direct relationships with marijuana-related businesses.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

When Lorraine Stuart Merrill was nominated as Agriculture Commissioner in 2007, the first reporter to get her on the phone asked her how it felt to take the job when farming was all but disappearing in the state.

That wasn't the case then - and it isn't now. There's something of a boomlet going on, she says. But for Merrill it showed that she had her work cut out for her in terms of public perception.

NHPR File

With New Hampshire still in opioid crisis mode, Chris Hickey says part of the challenge continues to be fighting the stigma around drug addiction.

Hickey is the firefighter behind the Manchester Fire Department's "Safe Station," a program that welcomes addicts and directs them to available drug and substance abuse treatment and recovery services.

The Trump administration is ending temporary protected status for some 60,000 Haitians living in the U.S. after an earthquake devastated their country in 2010.

This affects between 80 and 150 Haitians in New Hampshire, according to Samson DuClair, president of the Haitian Community Center of N.H. He says these people are worried about being sent back, and many don’t have a home to return to.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A House committee this week recommended against  a bill to legalize pot in the state - but advocates on both sides are continuing the debate.

Speaking today on NHPR's The Exchange, Kate Frey, vice president of advocacy for New Futures, compares the marijuana industry to the big tobacco and big alcohol industries. 

“It’s a profit-driven industry,” Frey says. “And once ‘Big Marijuana’ moves in, just like ‘Big Alcohol,’ then you have pot shops in your neighborhood, you have highly potent edible products targeted toward kids."  

NHPR File

Don't expect school bus passengers in New Hampshire to be required to buckle up anytime soon.

A committee of state lawmakers studying a school bus seat belt requirement is not recommending any such legislation. The committee was formed in compliance with a House Bill that was signed into law in April.

“There’s just not a lot of data to support that an effort this massive is really going to help,” says Rep. Steven Smith, the committee's chairman.

    

The late October storm that roared into New Hampshire with hurricane-force winds Sunday and Monday caused the fourth-largest power outage in state history. The top five outages all occurred in the past decade, according to the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

NHPR File

In the final Manchester mayoral debate, challenger Joyce Craig accused incumbent Ted Gatsas of failing to follow protocol when a 14-year-old student was raped at a high school in 2015.

The rape was not made public until earlier this year when the county prosecutor announced that Bryan Wilson, who was 17 at the time, was found guilty and sentenced to 10- to- 20 years for aggravated felonious sexual assault at West High School.

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The Maura Murray missing person case has not been "reopened," as an Oxygen Network show called "The Disappearance of Maura Murray" reported earlier this week, because according to New Hampshire officials, the case was never closed.

Voters in Manchester will see two ballot questions on Tuesday. One is something on the ballot in ten other cities this Election Day, a variation of: Shall the city allow the operation of Keno games within the city?

But the other one is a little different. It's a non-binding informational question about the city flag. It reads:

"Which flag would you like to see as the official flag of the city of Manchester?"

Six percent of babies born in New Hampshire have been exposed to opioids.

And the actual number may be higher at this point.

“We are one of the hardest hit areas,” says Dr. Alison Holmes, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

AP

A week of New Hampshire headlines included yet another big one about the opioid epidemic. 

Elected leaders continue to call attention to the opioid, heroin, and fentanyl epidemic, which President Trump officially labeled a national public health emergency. He singled out Manchester's "Safe Station" program, and Fire Chief Dan Goonan, in his speech.

There was a certain admiration for a century-old supermarket chain as it bucked trends and refused to go online.

Even when Market Basket launched its official website this week, it did so on its on terms. The site is more informational than transactional, like an online brochure rather than a retail outlet.

“They seem to be twenty minutes late to the party launching a website, but they weren’t going to do it until it was strategic and right for them,” says Jay Childs.

KEN WATSON / KENWATSON.NET

An isolated forest fire in North Woodstock is so stubborn that even this rainy weather is not fully putting it out.

Woodstock Fire Chief John MacKay says the Dilly Cliff fire that was first reported Oct. 3 is contained, but some spots are still smoldering.

"With this rain the last two days I’d say it’s probably 90 percent put out," MacKay said today on NHPR's The Exchange.

In a video that's gone viral, Betsey Andrews Parker shows off some dance and lip sync moves for a good cause: the 4th Annual Strafford County Lip Sync Battle.

Andrews Parker is CEO of the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County. The private, non-profit organization seeks to end poverty and funds programs focused on food, education, child care, housing, and utilities assistance.

There may be inertia among some New Hampshire employers when it comes to hiring people with disabilities.

Andrew Houtenville is director of research at the Institute on Disability at UNH. He spoke on NHPR's The Exchange about the challenges those with disabilities face when searching for work.

“I think there’s a lot of inertia,” he says, in terms of employers reaching out to new networks.

The labor market may magnify the issue. New Hampshire's employment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, at 2.7 percent.

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