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. 

Ways to Connect

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Bill Kristol, the founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, visited the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College today to speak at the traditional "Politics & Eggs" event. The conservative leader does have his sights set on 2020—he just wants someone else, someone formidable, to take on President Trump. 

Kristol joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to further discuss this administration, the mid-term elections, and the next presidential election. 

(The transcript below as lightly edited for clarity.)  

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The Manchester VA Medical Center and the Nashua YMCA are partnering to expand yoga, tai chi, nutrition, reiki meditation and other whole health programs to veterans.

The partnership is funded by a $360,000 grant from the VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.

Dr. Romy Valdez is a VA Clinical Psychologist. He says it's part of an effort to change the way doctors think bout treating the whole veteran, "not just the parts of them that are diseased and in pain, but looking at how we can service the veteran so that they can feel self-empowered."

NHPR File Photo

 

Last week, the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire released a report that accused staff at the Sununu Youth Services Center of using unlawful restraint against residents multiple times over the past few years.

A new documentary explores what it means to be a female veteran of the military through the lens of a pageant known as Miss Veteran America.

The participants are veterans, and they help raise awareness of homelessness among female veterans. The film is called "Served Like a Girl," and tomorrow at Red River Theatres in Concord, a screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion of the issues women veterans face.

Patricia McLaughlin for NHPR

New York Times best-selling author and Peterborough resident Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is out with a new book. It's called, "The Hidden Life of Life," and it traces the history of life on this planet from its microscopic beginnings through mass extinctions and dinosaurs to the present day.

This is a special edition of The Bookshelf. It's an excerpt of the live-recorded event at the Toadstool Bookshop last month in Peterborough. NHPR's Peter Biello interviewed the author about her latest work. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

On a recent morning at Londonderry Senior High School, students filed into Corrine Murphy's mass media class. 

"Good morning, Ms. Murphy."

"What," she laughed, "Ms. Murphy?"

These seniors are showing off a little bit for the microphone. They usually call her something less formal, like Murph. She's friendly with her students in part because she regularly talks to them about something close to their hearts: Social media.

Peter Biello/NHPR

When the military and its contractors need to get rid of old or obsolete bullets and bombs, they sometimes burn them. This releases chemicals like lead and mercury into the environment, and people living nearby could be exposed to them and get sick.

Now, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, New Hampshire Representative Carol Shea-Porter has added a provision ordering a study of the practice, which is known as open burning and open detonation of munitions.

Members of the House are taking a serious look at that provision today.  Congresswoman Shea-Porter joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss the measure. 

In a new report, the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire says staff at the Sununu Youth Center used excessive force on a 14-year-old boy with emotional and behavioral disabilities in December of 2016. The DRC's investigation found probable cause to suspect the Sununu Center used, and continues to use, unlawful restraint.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello interviewed Andrew Milne, staff attorney for the DRC, to discuss the new report. (SCROLL to the bottom of this post to read the report as well as the response from DHHS.)

Peter Biello / NHPR

When he was a kid, Dan Walker lived in a house on Cottage Street, not far from downtown Littleton. Three doors up the hill from his house, in an old Victorian, was Bishop's Homemade Ice Cream. To young Dan, this seemed normal.

"I thought everyone had an ice cream shop a few houses away," he says, laughing.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Author Mario Puzo is best-known as the author of The Godfather, the novel that cemented the mafia's place in popular culture. Publication of The Godfather was a turning point in Puzo's career, and The Godfather and its film adaptations inspired and influenced stories about organized crime for years to come, from Goodfellas to The Sopranos.

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Gretchen and the Pickpockets formed about six years ago while front-woman Gretchen Klempa was a student at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Since then the band has been performing in and around the Granite State, pleasing crowds with mostly upbeat funky tunes enriched with lively horn hooks.

If you hike up Mount Kearsarge you are likely to see several names carved into the granite. One carving is a square with seven names and the initials USCS and the date 1872. That carving was done by a team known as the United States coastal survey and it's meant to memorialize the work they were doing, which was to build an early modern map of New Hampshire.

For more on this we turn to Granite geek David Brooks who has been writing about this for the Concord Monitor.

NHPR

Intravenous drug users who share needles run the risk of catching deadly diseases.

Some organizations offer clean needles as well as safe ways to dispose of used ones.

Recently, Nashua's Division of Public Health and Community Services launched the Syringe Services Alliance of Nashua Area, which aims to bring this service to parts of Southern New Hampshire, and officials say it's making an impact.

Charles Tasnadi / AP

Former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92, traveled to New Hampshire often to support her husband's presidential campaigns—and those of her sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. She was more than just the matriarch of a political dynasty, former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu recalls. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state of New Hampshire sets aside money in its budget for hospitals that treat patients who are uninsured or on Medicaid.  Thanks to a court decision last month, the state now owes much more to hospitals than it had planned to owe.

Reporter Ethan DeWitt of the Concord Monitor broke the story and he spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

(This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

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This weekend, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is celebrating 20 years of building community around poetry. It's considered one of the oldest municipal laureate programs in the country that provides a stipend and support for the laureate. Each laureate launches a project that's meant to bring poetry into the community. Bill Burtis is the co-chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Board of Trustees. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

How did the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program come to be?

Molly Kelly

Former state Senator Molly Kelly of Harrisville announced that she is running for governor. She will face former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand in the Democratic Party primary and possibly face Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu in November. 

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Kelly about her campaign.

So why did you decide to enter the race now?

Peter Biello/NHPR

Allegations of substandard care at the Manchester VA have largely gone unchallenged, at least publicly, since whistleblowers came forward last summer. And now we are learning why. 

Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith was the leader of the VA new England Health Care System until last month, when he abruptly retired. He says the VA chose to take a no-response approach and wait for public interest in the allegations to wane. Now that he's retired, he's able to speak publicly about what happened behind the scenes from his perspective.

The Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH will be cutting four programs from its curriculum.

Two-year degrees in horticulture technology, culinary arts and nutrition, civil technology, and integrated agriculture management will not be offered after the 2018-2019 academic year.

All Things Considered Host Peter Biello interviewed UNH horticulture technology student Brooke Wilson about the changes.

(This transcript has been lightly edited.)  

Brooke thank you very much for speaking with me.

PSNH

The first law of thermodynamics says that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change from one form to another. One of those forms is heat. And now an entrepreneur in New Hampshire says he has found a way to make use of the heat given off at power plants to increase the efficiency of those power plants and generate more electricity.

Granite Geek David Brooks, a reporter at the Concord Monitor, joins All Things Considered host Peter Biello to explain how this works.

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf from NHPR​, poet Liz Ahl of Holderness. Ahl's new collection of poetry, Beating the Bounds, is a proclamation that says: I live here now.

"Here" in this case is rural New Hampshire. In poems that feature town moderators, transfer stations, and the perambulation of town boundaries, Ahl explores what it means for her to have finally set down roots in this place. I spoke with Ahl in her office at Plymouth State, where she teaches poetry.

Peter Biello / NHPR

On April 20th, 1999, Andy McDonald was 17 years old, taking a math test at Columbine High School in Colorado, when he and his fellow students heard gunshots. He says they were so loud the walls seemed to vibrate. Then the fire alarm went off and he and some of his classmates left the school.

Peter Biello / NHPR

President Donald Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin Wednesday. Shulkin had paid a visit to the Manchester VA last August after whistleblowers came forward with allegations of substandard facilities and mismanaged care, and since his visit, he'd kept in touch with whistleblowers about how things were going.Dr. Ed Kois is one of the whistleblowers who kept in contact with Secretary Shulkin. Kois spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 

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The ACLU of New Hampshire is asking a federal judge to declare a state law unconstitutional. The state's signature-matching law allows absentee ballots to be rejected if officials believe the signatures on the ballot and envelope don't match.

The ACLU says the law permits hundreds of ballots to be thrown out, even though they are valid.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU New Hampshire.


Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello/NHPR

The Islamic Society of Concord has moved into its very own mosque, after 15 years of renting space.

In their new home, congregants now have a private space to meet with the Imam. Men and women can now pray on the same floor, which they couldn't do in the rented space. All Things Considered host Peter Biello recently spoke with Imam Mustafa Akaya about the significance of being able to move into a permanent space. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

In some countries in Europe, red wine is part of daily life. Not so in the US. And as a result, Americans may be missing out on the health benefit of a particular antioxidant found in the skins of grapes. Now a chemist at UNH is trying to get more of this antixodiant, resveratrol, into the American diet through coffee. 

Glen Miller is chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, and a few years ago, he first got the idea of putting resveratrol into spring water. But when he did, he saw a huge problem. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

The director of the New England VA Healthcare system announced his retirement Wednesday.

Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith's departure comes a day after New Hampshire's two congresswomen, Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, called for his removal.

Allegations of mismangement at New England VA facilities have dogged Mayo-Smith over much of the past year. Last summer, a dozen whistleblowers at the Manchester VA came forward with allegations of substandard care that caused some patients lasting harm. They were vocal opponents of Mayo-Smith and called for his removal then.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is calling for the removal of a high-ranking VA official who she says needs to be held accountable for problems at New England's VA medical centers.

In a letter sent last month to VA Secretary David Shulkin, Kuster requests that Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith be removed from his position as director of the New England VA Healthcare System.

VA whistleblowers have been calling for his removal for months, saying that he knew about deficiencies at the Manchester VA but didn't do enough to help. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

This weekend, the Concord Chorale kicks off its fiftieth season with the music of Mozart. They'll be performing along with the Philips Exeter Concert Choir and Chamber orchestra as well as professional soloists from New Hampshire and the Boston area. NHPR's Peter Biello dropped by a rehearsal and has this report. 

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