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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The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would create a state Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.

The goal of the bill is to bring all the state's resources for veterans and military personnel under one roof. Right now veterans' resources for education, housing and homelessness, benefits, and medical care are handled by separate entities.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Author Paul Durham has a short commute. His writing studio is in the backyard of his home in Exeter.

“I call it an abandoned chicken coop,” Durham says, “because chickens used to live here. It's really an eight by twelve-foot shed with barn-style doors on the front. I have it decorated with a Christmas wreath. There’s my doorknocker and the coop sign. And then—go ahead and step in if you want."

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  Helen Hanks began her first four-year term as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections in November. She'd served as assistant commissioner previously and she comes into this new role at a time when the department is struggling to retain staff. It's a problem that some say is exacerbated by comparatively low pay for corrections officers. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. Commissioner Hanks joins me now to talk about the state of the department.

 

 Welcome to All Things Considered.

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Recently the New York Times reported the story of a former Navy pilot from Windham, New Hampshire who, while on a routine training mission, saw something strange that he could not identify.

It was an aircraft he thought was a 40 foot-long oval - it was a UFO. But was it a being from another planet? Granite Geek David Brooks says, "Probably not."

He joined NHPR's Peter Biello to talk about why.

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Robert Siegel has been a familiar voice on NPR since 1976 and the host of NPR's All Things Considered since 1987. At the end of this week, and to the dismay of many listeners including myself, Siegel will end his run as host of All Things Considered. Robert Siegel joined me to talk about wrapping up his storied career. 

Two subcontractors have sued the company fired by the New Hampshire National Guard for what it called substandard work on hangars at Pease Air National Guard Base.

In separate filings, B.L. Mechanical of Uxbridge, Mass., and Piquette & Howard Electrical Service of Plaistow, N.H., have sued Cutter Enterprises of Connecticut and its insurance company, claiming that they owe money for work performed in 2015 and 2016.

Cutter was fired in December 2016 for what National Guard officials say was slow progress and poor quality work on two aircraft hangars.

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With only a few days remaining in this tax year, New Hampshire taxpayers are searching for ways to maximize their refunds or minimize their tax bills under new 2018 tax rules.

Chris Sullivan is a tax attorney with Rath, Young and Pignatelli. He joined NHPR's All Considered to answer some pressing tax questions.


www.nhbedbugs.org

Update: The Urgent care clinic was reopened Thursday afternoon, following the closure Wednesday, the VA reports.

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The Manchester VA's urgent care clinic was closed Wednesday after the discovery of bed bugs.

Patients were sent away after the bugs were found in the waiting room and in one exam room.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs is asking military veterans from New Hampshire to provide feedback on the future of VA health care in the state.

The survey asks veterans about how they would prefer to receive VA services. It also asks about the impact of combining existing VA clinics in Somersworth and Portsmouth into a larger clinic in Dover.

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.

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Governor Sununu's Advisory Commission on Transportation will vote Dec. 20 on whether to increase tolls statewide.

Peter Biello / NHPR

A group studying the future of healthcare for New Hampshire's veterans meets Monday, and one key figure will not attend.

Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith, director of the New England VA system, is voluntarily stepping away from the task force.

This comes months after he was removed as its co-chair. He's been an informal advisor since then.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Gov. Chris Sununu just made two announcements on equity issues at the state level. The state Department of Justice is launching a new civil rights unit. And the governor is forming a new advisory council on diversity and inclusion.

 

Peter Biello, host of All Things Considered, speaks with Andrew Smith, who will be involved in the new state efforts. Smith works in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. He works with groups in New Hampshire after racial incidents occur.

 

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Manchester VA has partnered with Rochester's Frisbie Memorial Hospital to provide gastrointestinal procedures to veterans on New Hampshire's seacoast.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter made the announcement Thursday, calling it an important step toward making sure veterans can get the care they need locally.

Appointments will still be handled through the Manchester VA.

Peter Biello / NHPR

And now it’s time for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in the Granite State.

A new beer on tap at Portsmouth Brewery does more than give you a buzz. It aims to ease the symptoms of menopause. It’s called Libeeration, and several years ago, when Joanne Francis pitched the idea to her colleagues at the brewery, the men didn’t get it.

"It was met with nothing short of disdain and horror," she says. "And I'm not exaggerating when I say that."

Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Last summer, US Customs and Border Patrol Agents set up an immigration checkpoint on I-93 in Woodstock, New Hampshire. 

Agents detained undocumented immigrants, and they also turned over evidence of illegal drug possession by eighteen American citizens to the Woodstock Police Department and the State Police for prosecution at the state level.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new study from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire shows people living in rural northern New Hampshire and adjacent counties in Maine and Vermont hold increasingly positive views of life there, though they also agree that the lack of job opportunities, drug abuse, and population decline are important problems.  (Scroll down to read the full research report.)

For more on the study of life in rural northern New England we turn to Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior fellow at the Carsey School. He's one of the authors of the study.

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The task force looking at the future of VA health care for New Hampshire veterans wrapped up two days of meetings Thursday. For the most part, these meetings are calm deliberations. Task force members listen to presentations, ask questions, and discuss VA issues.

But a heated exchange at yesterday's meeting highlights the simmering tensions between VA whistleblowers, who went public with their concerns, and VA leadership.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan says she's still working toward bipartisanship, even as the Senate GOP tax reform bill gets closer to a vote.

She says much of the process has been happening behind closed doors.  But she and other Democrats have been reaching out to Republicans and advocating for a return to regular order and hearings on the floor.

Peter Biello / NHPR

 

A top regional official at the Department of Veterans Affairs remains involved with a task force looking at the future of the Manchester VA - despite having been removed from his role as co-chair and member of that task force.

Regional VA director Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith was removed because of concerns raised by the state's congressional delegation and VA whistleblowers, who say he bears some responsibility for what they're calling harmful delays in care to veterans.

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Now that the Senate Budget Committee has passed the Republican tax plan, GOP leaders hope the full Senate will take it up this week.

While the fate of the bill is unclear, Democrats seem to be united against it, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined NHPR's Peter Biello to discuss the legislation.

After being halted for nearly a year, construction of two aircraft hangars at the Pease Air National Guard Base is set to resume next month.

Work on the hangars stopped in December 2016 when the New Hampshire National Guard terminated the nearly $32 million contract with Cutter Enterprises, LLC of Connecticut for what officials say were problems with the quality of the work and failure to make sufficient progress.

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  House Speaker Shawn Jasper spent some time this afternoon in his office on the third floor of the Statehouse filling a box with stuff. All Things Considered host Peter Biello caught up with Jasper as he packed up.

NHPR: What's in the box? What are you taking home?

Jasper: Papers. Cards. You know, a Gavel in there. Just a lot of personal stuff that I'm taking home that I'll sort through later. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

Ernest Hebert is best known for his novels. His first book, The Dogs of March, was published in 1979 and cited for excellence by the Hemingway Foundation. It was the first of seven novels in his Darby Chronicles series, which painted a vivid portrait of working class life in rural New Hampshire. 

(Scroll down to the end to read Ernest Hebert's top five reading recommendations.)

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Southern New Hampshire University continues to reinvent itself. At the beginning of the decade it had 2,000 students and shaky finances. Today, it serves more than 80,000 students online and 3,000 on campus, making it one of the country's fastest-growing universities.

This week it continues that expansion with the announcement of a major infrastructure project in Manchester.

Some members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party are forming a caucus for military veterans and their families. 

About fifty people have expressed interest in joining, says Amelia Keane. She's a Democratic representative from Nashua and a combat medic in the Army Reserves.

Keane is also a member of the caucus, and she says its goal is to advocate for legislation that would improve the lives of veterans and their family members. She says right now the caucus is just getting started.

Peter Biello / NHPR

How do you get serious about baking bread? French bread, in particular, which takes hours to make and years to master.

For Manchester resident Benge Ambrogi, the path to becoming a serious baker began in the late 1980s, with a bad loaf made by someone else—the man who would become his father-in-law.

"It was terrible. Typical first loaf. Very heavy and monochromatic. Not a very interesting loaf."

"What did you tell him about his first loaf?" I asked.

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Electricity generated for New England - whether from clean or not-so-clean sources - all gets dumped in to the same pool of electrons. So when we draw from that pool, how can we be sure we're getting power from a clean source?

Granite Geek David Brooks will be discussing this as part of the NH Science Cafe taking place tonight at the Draft Sports Bar in Concord, and he joins NHPR's Peter Biello with more. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

All this week, we're honoring military veterans by sharing their stories of service. Today, we hear from Army Veteran Michael F. Richmond of Claremont, New Hampshire. When he was in the Army in the 1980s, he witnessed history in the making in Berlin. But the Army wasn't his plan "A" or even plan "B."  

Peter Biello / NHPR

In the late 1880s, rail was creeping across western America, connecting towns and changing lives. The west was still relatively wild in those days, and that Wild West is the setting of the new young adult novel by Erin Bowman. Retribution Rails is the story of a young man caught up with a band of cold-hearted killers and thieves and the young woman who aspires to write for a newspaper, any paper, and prove that she can write just as well, if not better, than any man out there. Erin Bowman spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

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