Hannah McCarthy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Hannah McCarthy

Producer

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire. 

Hannah comes to NHPR from Braintree, Massachusetts by way of Vermont, where she studied theater, and New York, where she studied journalism. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine and the Vineyard Gazette. 

 

We take it for granted that the voting age is 18 in the United States, but it hasn’t always been this way. We lowered that age from 21 in the seventies — so does that mean we could lower it again? Who gets to make that decision?

The constitution, that original document ratified in 1789, doesn’t say anything about how old someone had to be to vote, as it granted all powers to set voting requirements to the states.

Feeling anxious about the upcoming general election? Got questions about what happens after? About peaceful transitions of power, Inauguration Day, appointments and more? Great. That's what we thought. Now's your chance to ask them! Starting November 4th (the day after Election Day), we'll be answering as many of your questions as we can, on the air, in podcast form and right here on nhpr.org. What're you waiting for? Submit your question through the form below. Having trouble seeing or using the form?

 It's the highest court in the land. An entity with so much influence over federal law that the appointment of a new justice can cause an almost existential reaction among lawmakers and the public alike. How is it possible, then, that Alexander Hamilton thought of the Supreme Court as "beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power"?

 

 

In the United States, campaign season begins long before primaries and caucuses, and ages before the general election. In the past few presidential elections, some people announced their candidacy nearly two years before election day.

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It's an oft-lobbed claim. "We're not a democracy, we're a republic." And it's half true! We are a republic. But we're also a democracy.

What does that actually mean, and why is the question important? For our first-ever Ask Civics 101, we're answering a question that listeners have been asking since the show's inception: what are we?

Columbia University Archives

Barbara Follett became an overnight success when she wrote The House Without Windows in 1927, with one review calling it “almost unbearably beautiful.” Barbara was a star... at just 12 years old.  

Barbara Follett was Stefan Cooke's mother’s half-sister. Stefan says he hadn’t heard much about Barbara as a child. When he started a genealogy project a few years ago, the plan was to research the whole family. But it was Barbara’s story that really grabbed him. And then found her papers archived at Columbia University.

Unsung: Ona Judge

Apr 3, 2019

Ona Judge isn’t a household name. Perhaps, in part, because she exemplifies our nation’s shameful past. Judge was Martha Washington’s slave -- her personal handmaid. For most of the 1790s, the President and his family lived in the nation’s capital of Philadelphia. Ona Judge occupied a room over the kitchen. 

That is, until dinnertime on May 21st, 1796, when she stepped outside and never looked back. Two days later, an ad appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette offering a ten dollar reward for her return.  

 

For the latest in our Only in New Hampshire series, we’re taking on a question from listener Meg Miles. She asks: Why is New Hampshire the only state in the region without a bottle deposit

What does that list of state abbreviations on your beer bottle mean? And why didn't New Hampshire make the cut?

On today's show, we dig into the decades-long fight for, and against, bottle deposit laws -- in New Hampshire, and across the country. 

For nearly two decades, the Furniture Masters of New Hampshire have been leading a program at the state men's prison in Concord. They teach a woodworking skill to inmates in the hobby shop, and return a month later to check on the progress.

For some inmates, these workshops have opened the door to mastering the craft of furniture making; and to a changed perspective on the world.

On this week's episode, we hear from these inmates, and from a UNH professor and woodworker wants to bring the same skills to incarcerated women.

Laurie Shaull, courtsey Flickr CC: https://bit.ly/2lrvtMI

Bloody footprints. A rifle thrown to the floor. Bodies splayed across the bedroom. It's a gruesome scene. Still, you might have to squint to make it all out. Because this murder is in miniature... Today on the show, a profile of Frances Glessner Lee, called "the Mother of Forensic Science," and her famous crime-scene dioramas. Plus, a visit to a Juneteenth Day event in Nashua and the next installment in our NH license plate culture.  It's a Word of Mouth smorgasbord!

Barbara Follett had done more by the age of 25 than many will do in their lifetime. Including vanishing. Today on the show, the disappearance of an American prodigy... and how we forgot her. Plus, the rediscovery of the first known published African American in the country -- a woman from New Hampshire -- and how one woman figured out how to bring LGBTQ pride back to Concord year after year.

tupperware party
State Library and Archives of Florida

In the early 1940s, an inventor from Berlin, New Hampshire, created a container made of refined polyethylene, an odorless, non-toxic plastic. He called the material “Poly-T.” A few years later, he designed an airtight lid.

NHPR and The Music Hall Present Writers on a New England Stage with Katy Tur. Tur's memoir, Unbelievable, recalls the relentless pace of reporting on the unprecedented Trump presidential campaign for NBC and MSNBC. Tur became a fixation for Trump as he ratcheted up hostility against the media. Tur stood up to Trump's taunting on Twitter and his calling her out at rallies.

In the mid-19th century, the country was in the throes of a widespread religious revival. It was called the Second Great Awakening, and it fostered the founding of new denominations and inspired millions of converts. This movement laid the groundwork for Methodists and Baptists to exponentially in number, and for Joseph Smith to establish his church of Latter Day Saints.

NHPR Photo

Robert Frost is often praised for the colloquialism of his poetry. His work is accessible, exploring complex ideas through scenes and images of rural life. Though he came to typify the region, Frost was not born in New England. 

His first years were spent in San Francisco, and his adolescence in Lawrence, Mass. In fact, frost didn’t discover rural life until his short-lived attendance at Dartmouth College. But New Hampshire stuck.

In the months since #MeToo went viral on social media, millions of people across the globe have broken the silence on their stories of sexual assault and harassment. But where do we stand in New Hampshire? How has the Granite State responded to the Me Too movement? What conversations are we having? What actions are we taking?

NHPR File

In New Hampshire, it can be a balmy 52 and sunny one day and a "bomb cyclone" of snow and wind the next. It's what you grow to expect as a New Englander. But we still depend on the forecast to make our plans -- and rush to the grocery stores.

So how does that work in a state without its own weather service office?

For many, the mention of contra dance conjures images of tradition and wholesomeness -- a thoroughly American, and old-fashioned, past time. But in New Hampshire, contra dance has shifted over the decades. From turn-of-the-century stiffness to hippy ease to Millennial intensity, contra accommodates whatever community chooses to adopt it.

Brian Mitchell’s pretty busy this time of year. He’s got a full time job as a grocer in Windsor, Vermont, and his nights are spent monitoring the 50,000 music-synchronized lights that cover his property.

The day I caught him on the phone, he’d already been working on it for months.

"About April or May I’ll start dabbling with it again, and if I have any projects in mind I’ll start working on those. So it’s a full-year hobby. And then all the programming of the songs, which takes a lot of time."

via Giphy / https://giphy.com/gifs/leaves-PcZ5BONQbgZO0

We may have traded our rakes for snow shovels here in New Hampshire, but before that snow began piling up, many residents spent hours (or days) raking and bagging leaves to cart off to the transfer station, or to leave curbside for the city to pick up.

But what happened to all those leaves? That's the basis of this week's story for Only in New Hampshire, the series in which we tackle questions posed by listeners about their communities.


Years ago, in the very early days of Youtube, a video was posted that mesmerized audiences and inspired thousands of imitators across the country. But there's someone in New Hampshire who says he's been doing it just as long: syncing sound and light in an all-consuming holiday spectacular on his front lawn.

On this episode, we find out what it takes to produce the kind of Christmas display that stops traffic.

Also: what exactly happens to your leaves after you rake them up and send them off?

For generations, the little red house at the end of Via Tranquilla has been home to a legend. The kind that makes your heart pound and your hair raise. A ghost story... a murder mystery... a curse. 

On this episode, the keepers of this myth share the grisly story of Via Tranquilla. And then, the truth comes out. 

Joyce Maynard longed for a great romance. A passionate partner -- and one who wouldn't interfere with the fierce independence she'd cultivated over decades as a writer.

She found that romance, later in life, but her marriage ended up teaching her the true meaning of partnership and self-sacrifice. Virginia Prescott speaks with Maynard about her newest book, "The Best of Us," where she chronicles her marriage to Jim Barringer, and their fight against the cancer that took his life.

mwms1916 via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/T2RUKY

As part of our continuing series Only in NH, in which listeners ask questions about the state and their communities, we sometimes hear from people much closer to our newsroom.

In this case, we got a question from NHPR's own Digital Director, Rebecca Lavoie. (And we should note, Rebecca's also a true crime author, so that may have influenced her curiosity!) 

She asked:

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

In our continuing Only in New Hampshire series, we answer your questions and explore your state. Today, producer Hannah McCarthy find an explanation for what may be the state's most perplexing intersection.

Via NH DOT Facebook page

As part of our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we're answering questions posed by Granite Staters about their communities. Producer Hannah McCarthy answered this one:

Samer asks: "Why is there no exit 21 on I-93 North?"

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Ever walk past a private driveway with no end in sight and wonder... what's down there? Or glimpse a building through some trees and wish you could get up close?

Well, one listener wrote in about a place that she'd never seen... only heard of in passing. A place tucked into the trees in the Great North Woods. A New Hampshire institution. And chances are, you've never seen it either. 

NHPR/Sara Plourde

The woods of New Hampshire are scattered with signs of civilization: crumbling foundations, railroad spikes, scraps of unidentifiable metal.

Find enough of these in one place, and you're probably looking at a ghost town - a place people once called home, and have long-since abandoned. 

From Investment Banker to Head Baker

May 18, 2017
Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

As head baker at King Arthur Flour, Martin Phillip makes hundreds of loaves of bread a week. But just over a decade ago, Martin was working in the frenzied world of investment banking in New York City. Virginia and producer Hannah McCarthy visited Martin to get the story behind his rise to head baker.

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