Peter Biello

Host, All Things Considered

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer and host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Peter has won several AP awards for his journalism, which has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life. He’s also a fiction writer whose work appears or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Lowestoft Chronicle, Green Writers Press, and South85 Journal. He’s also the founder of Burlington Writers Workshop, a nonprofit writing workshop based in Burlington, Vermont, and co-founder of Mud Season Review, a literary journal featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art that publishes in print annually and online monthly.

Peter lives in Concord, New Hampshire. 

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Peter Biello / NHPR

The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of our judicial system. You are innocent until proven guilty. But in Concord native Meredith Tate's new novel for young adults, accused criminals have the presumption of guilt. At a time when our nation is gripped by conversations about due process and the court of public opinion, a young adult novel about what it means to be accused of and punished for a crime feels particularly relevant. The novel is called The Freedom Trials. NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Meredith Tate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

First Congressional District candidates Eddie Edwards and Chris Pappas faced off at New Hampshire Public Radio today for their first, live debate of the general election. Edwards, a Republican from Dover, is a former chief of law enforcement for the state Liquor Commission. Pappas, a Democrat from Manchester, is a restaurateur and current Executive Councilor for District 4.

NHPR's Lauren Chooljian, one of the debate moderators, joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss how the debate went.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Earlier today, NHPR announced the retirement of Betsy Gardella, the station's president and CEO, effective at the end of this year. Gardella has led the station for 13 years and in a statement the board of trustees praised her for her contributions. NHPR's Todd Bookman is reporting on this as part of an independent reporting team at NHPR. And he joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss the news.

Speculative fiction is all about the world that could be. It takes cues from science fiction and fantasy. From H.G. Wells to Margaret Atwood, authors have been following the trajectory of technology and cultural trends, turning their fictions into predictions and in some cases warnings.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs says the quality of service at the Manchester VA Medical Center has improved in the past year.

In a report released Thursday, the VA's internal annual rating system shows that the Manchester VA now has three stars out of five.

Leila Goldstein/NHPR

On display right now at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord is a series of 12 murals. Each tells a story of a perfect day with mom or dad, and they were painted during a special summer camp for families dealing with incarceration. NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Kristina Toth, the program administrator for the Department of Corrections’ Family Connection Center.

[This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.]

Tell us about the summer camp portion, because it's different from what we normally imagine a summer camp to be. What makes it different?

Today is the first day of the Radically Rural Summit in Keene, which will bring together hundreds of people working on a variety of issues in rural communities. The two-day summit will take place in venues throughout downtown Keene. One focus of the conference is the impact of "fake news" on rural America, with three sessions on local journalism. The Keene Sentinel is co-hosting the event.

Photo by Cheryl Senter, courtesy of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

In all of Northern New Hampshire, there are two people working on behalf of New Hampshire Legal Assistance to provide legal help to those in need. One of them is retiring this week.

Dona Larsen has served as a paralegal in the Berlin Office for over 35 years. A native Berliner, she’s witnessed changes in the region over the course of her career. Friday is her last day in the office.

This your last week in the office and as you wrap up your work. Are there any cases left on your desk? 

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

A new bail reform law designed to prevent poor people from sitting in jail for not being able to post bail is now being implemented in New Hampshire courts.

Some county attorneys and others in law enforcement were skeptical of the new law, Senate Bill 556, and now some are saying the roll-out has been rocky.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway about how the bill is affecting her office. Listen to the interview here.

Peter Biello

Complaints lodged by a dozen whistleblowers last year about the quality of care at the Manchester VA had consequences. At least four VA leaders lost their jobs and the government poured millions of dollars into improvements at the medical center.

But in an internal draft VA report obtained by NHPR, investigators say nearly all of those complaints were unfounded. (Scroll down to read the draft report.)

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  We are a week into the general election and if one policy issue can be said to be at the center of the governor’s race, it may be paid family leave. Paid family leave has been a subject of longstanding debate in Concord, but until this year and this election – it’s never been what anyone would consider a political flashpoint. NHPR's Josh Rogers joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss why the matchup between Molly Kelly and Chris Sununu may make it one.  

Peter Biello/NHPR

This week, the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is welcoming art-lovers to its gallery for a new show. Boston-based artist and Tufts Professor Ethan Murrow has created wall drawings and a sculpture honoring Manchester's working class roots. Last week, ahead of the show's opening, he and a team of art students put the finishing touches on the drawings.

[Editor’s note: We highly recommend listening to this story.]

Peter Biello / NHPR

Concord-resident Virginia MacGregor's latest novel, Before I Was Yours, is the story of a young Kenyan boy, Jonah, who is brought to England under mysterious circumstances by a friend of his mother's. He's abandoned at the airport and, after a stint in foster care, starts living with two would-be adoptive parents who are desperate for a child. But Jonah, as polite and well-behaved as he is, comes with his own set of complications, prompting the adoptive parents to question their ability to be parents at all. MacGregor spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello about her book.

New census data released today show that New Hampshire continues to gain population from domestic migration, or people moving from other states to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is also gaining immigrants from other countries. All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Ken Johnson, Senior Demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School focused more on protecting its reputation than on protecting the children entrusted to its care. That was the message from New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald today as he announced the end of his criminal investigation into the elite Concord boarding school.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On Tuesday, Granite Staters went to the polls for New Hampshire’s primary. NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Dante Scala, professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, about what to notice about the results, from voter turnout to geographic indicators for the upcoming state elections.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicted 180,000 ballots split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. To the best of your knowledge, is that how it worked out? 

NHPR File Photo

Primary Day can simply be the day when voters choose who will represent their parties during the general elections.

But primaries can also shape - or reshape - a party, and sometimes in lasting ways. This year could be one of those times for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Joining All Things Considered host Peter Biello to talk about these particular primary politics is Josh Rogers.

Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity

Peter Biello / NHPR

All this summer we've been hearing from Granite State musicians about their signature sounds. Today we'll hear from singer/songwriter Chelsea Paolini. The Brentwood native has been playing in bands since the age of 14. You may have heard her as the frontwoman for the band People Skills. Most recently she's been experimenting with her solo sound. Chelsea Paolini spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 

Via audio-luci | Flickr Creative Commons

In the 1990s, a string of New Hampshire Supreme Court cases established the state's responsibility to fund an "adequate" education. These days, however, an adequate education is funded primarily by local property taxes, and rates vary from town to town. John Tobin is part of the team leading a charge to pressure the state to pay more of that bill. He is former executive director of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and he represented the plaintiffs in the Claremont Supreme Court cases. Now he is leading education funding forums around the state. NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Tobin about his efforts.

Peter Biello / NHPR

In the western New Hampshire town of Canaan, there's a plot of land where Noyes Academy once stood.

Incorporated in 1834, Noyes Academy was the first school in the country to admit both black and white men and women for education above the grammar school level. But it wasn't open for long. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

On a recent morning, in the hazy heat, poet Mark DeCarteret opened up Water Street Books in Exeter, where he works, as what he calls "book clerk extraordinare."

"Alice who works here has got quite the skill with the sign-making," he says, pointing to a sandwich board on which someone has drawn a bird. "So she came up with that for the book launch."

Joe Lentini

In January of 1982, Joe Lentini was woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call. Two young climbers were stranded on Mount Washington in dangerous weather conditions. He and his team gathered at 5 a.m. to find and save them. 

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All summer long on All Things Considered, we've been telling stories of the music and musicians here in New Hampshire. Next, we'll listen to a band that takes inspiration from artists like Stevie Wonder and Prince.

The Concord-based group goes by the name of Trade, and they've just released their first album, "Puzzle."

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with the drummer and vocalist George Laliotis and guitarist and vocalist Scott Solsky.
 

Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative via Pinterest

According to U.S. census data, New Hampshire has the second-oldest population in terms of median age. Over the past month and a half, 10 New Hampshire towns have been accepted into the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. As part of the network, these towns are making a commitment to making their communities more age-friendly.

M. Sharkey

In his first novel, Edinburgh, Dartmouth college professor Alexander Chee wrote about a difficult subject: child sexual abuse.

"Part of the reason why I wrote it was because I hadn't seen anything that really dealt with the rage that people feel afterwards, and I wanted to show that in some way," he says.

The novel's protagonist was a Korean American boy who, like Chee, was sexually abused. The novel was well-reviewed, but Chee says the most meaningful response to his novel came from a man serving time in prison for pedophilia.

In the past few years the American Civil Liberties Union has been at the forefront in the fight to protect the rights of immigrant detainees.

Now the ACLU is expanding its Immigrants' Rights Project in New Hampshire, which the organization says is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combatting public and private discrimination against them. For this effort, the New Hampshire ACLU has hired its first immigration legal fellow.

SangYeob Kim spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello about his new position.

Via audio-luci | Flickr Creative Commons

Last August the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill that would allow schools to be reimbursed for part of the costs associated with things like speech therapy, mental health counseling and nursing for all students who qualify for Medicaid.

Previously that reimbursement was only available for some students who qualify for Medicaid. But schools are not yet taking advantage of this additional federal money. 

Via Pixabay Creative Commons

A hike in the White Mountains might be your antidote to a life dominated by screens, buzzes and dings. But a cell phone can be lifesaving if you've lost your way on the trail. In fact, the Civil Air Patrol uses cell phones to help find lost hikers. NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Granite Geek David Brooks, a reporter for the Concord Monitor, about this technology.

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

First, what is the Civil Air Patrol?

Nashua schools are struggling with a major shortage of instructors for students for whom English is not their first language. The school district serves nearly 1,300 of these students, but only has 24 ELL, or English Language Learner, teachers.

Among the reasons why there are so many students in need of these teachers is the test used to determine eligibility. Recent changes to the exam have resulted in more students showing a need for specialized ELL instruction. Robert Cioppa is the Director of Student Services and ELL for the Nashua School District. 

Via Wikimedia Commons

  

Thursday was the court-ordered deadline for border authorities to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. A Keene woman whose sister-in-law and nephew were separated says they've now been reunited, but the reunification comes without answers to key questions.

Why were they cleared for reunification while others still wait in detention centers? Why were they not deported back to Honduras? And how long can they stay? 

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