Todd Bookman | New Hampshire Public Radio

Todd Bookman

Senior Reporter

Todd started at NHPR in 2009 as an intern, and in 2011, took over the health beat. He spent two years at WHYY in Philadelphia covering health and science, before returning to NHPR in 2016 as a general assignment reporter with a focus on business and economics. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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Photo of Sununu speaking at microphone
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is ordering a review of the state’s system for treating people in severe mental health crises, after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled this week the state was violating the statutory rights of those held against their will.

A sign outside of the Fisher Cats stadium reads: "If you feel you are at high risk please communicate any needs or concerns to a Fisher Cats staff member."
NHPR

After baseball canceled the minor league season last year due to COVID-19, the Fisher Cats are back in action in Manchester this week. Tyler Murray is the broadcast voice of the Fisher Cats. He’s been looking forward to calling the play-by-play, for the first time, again.

In a major victory for mental health advocates, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion Tuesday that found the government is violating the due process rights of people in mental health crises as they await treatment in the state.

The case involved a woman identified only as Jane Doe, who argued the state failed to provide her with a court hearing to challenge her confinement within three days, as required by law. 

photo of sign saying please wear a mask
Daniel Barrick / NHPR

For the past year, businesses and organizations in the state have been required to follow a series of regulations aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.      

As of Friday at 11:59pm, those restrictions are being lifted, with a single voluntary set of guidelines coming into effect.

Cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook, N.H., around 10 a.m. most mornings.

Well-intended patrons are here with truckloads full of treasures.

"We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate," explains Heather Steeves, spokesperson for the 30 Goodwill locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

She holds up "a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart."

photo of people inside community center
Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Brentwood Newsletter was founded in 1977 to fix a problem: people in town weren’t getting along.

“Town meetings were kind of well known for being a bit of shouting affairs,” remembers Linda Rousseau. 

Photo of Sununu speaking at microphone
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Beginning May 7, the state will lift all restrictions on businesses and organizations aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, and will instead encourage facilities to follow a slate of recommendations.

photo of employee reaching into donation bin
Todd Bookman/NHPR

Just before 10 o'clock most mornings, cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook. 

They’re offering trunks full of treasures, yes, but also perhaps some unsellable, un-recyclable wares that also make it into the bins -- and strain Goodwill's trash bill. 

N.H. Employment Security office in Manchester.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

After a pause of more than one year, New Hampshire’s work-search requirement for people receiving unemployment benefits will resume next month.

New Hampshire Employment Security had suspended, since the start of the pandemic, the policy that requires recipients of benefits to be actively searching for work while receiving benefits.

photo of building from outside
Youth Services Center

Four more former employees of a state-run youth detention facility in Manchester have been arrested on sexual assault charges, bringing the total number arrested to 11 as the state continues to investigate decades of alleged abuse. 

Until she was kicked off Twitter, Savanah Hernandez had amassed more than 120,000 followers. 

“I guess you could say I'm more conservative-leaning in my rhetoric, and I mostly focus on politics and daily news,” said Hernandez, a commentator and journalist based in Texas.

picture of huddleston hall exterior
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The University of New Hampshire is ending a partnership with the Confucius Institute, a controversial educational group funded by the Chinese government.

Confucius Institutes operate at colleges and universities in the U.S., providing Chinese language classes as well as cultural and exchange programs, often at little or no cost to the universities. 

photo of checkpoint
Courtesy of CBP.gov

A lawsuit brought by multiple chapters of the ACLU that challenges the constitutionality of Border Patrol checkpoints on Interstate 93 in Woodstock, N.H., will proceed, following a federal judge’s order Thursday that declines the government’s motion to dismiss the case.

Photo of Pay Conway
Courtesy

Pat Conway appeared before the Executive Council Wednesday during a public hearing as she seeks to serve as a superior court justice.

Conway, a Salem Republican in her fourth term as Rockingham County Attorney, was nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Youth Services Center
Youth Services Center

(Updated Thursday at 2pm)

Seven men are facing criminal charges for allegedly sexually abusing minors at the state’s youth detention facility between 1994 and 2005.

The charges against six of the defendants were announced Wednesday by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, and are part of an ongoing investigation in decades of alleged abuse at what is now called the Sununu Youth Services Center, in Manchester.

photo of woman dwarfed by huge tree
Todd Bookman/NHPR

When Janet Buxton, her parents and her 11 siblings moved into a Kensington farmhouse in 1954, the sugar maple out front was already massive.

Sixty-seven years later, it’s an institution, a national record-holder, and, as of Monday, now becoming a leafy memory.

“I call her the Old Lady,” said Buxton.

photo of NH supreme court
Todd Bookman/NHPR

In 2003, the last time the New Hampshire Supreme Court took up a case that centered on the interpretation of adultery, the justices ruled it consisted only of out-of-marriage intercourse between people of the opposite sex.

This week, in a unanimous ruling, the court set a new precedent, siding with a man whose ex-wife allegedly had an intimate relationship with another woman.

A photo of sign reading Hang on America We Can Endure
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

There were more deaths recorded in New Hampshire in 2020 than in any year in recent history, a bleak result of a pandemic that has upended how residents of the state live and die since COVID-19 first emerged locally last March. 

The sharp rise in fatalities is due in large part to the hundreds of people who died from the coronavirus. But it's also fueled, statisticians and public health experts say, by residents likely delaying necessary health care or lifesaving medical attention. 

A $374,848 payout to New Hampshire Public Radio’s former executive director is mislabeled on the public broadcaster’s recently released tax forms.

The station’s Board of Trustees said the payments to Betsy Gardella, who is described as a consultant on the station’s 990 tax form, were incorrectly disclosed.

generic clip art
Creative Commons/QuoteInspector.com

For the second time in a month, federal regulators are cracking down on a New Hampshire-based company involved with cryptocurrency that also has ties to the libertarian movement. 

Betsy Gardella

Betsy Gardella, who led New Hampshire Public Radio for more than a dozen years before a sudden retirement in 2018, was paid $374,784 in the year following her departure, according to recently released tax forms.

The payouts were made in 2019. Gardella is classified as a consultant on the tax forms, performing an average of two hours of work per week.

A COVID-19 vaccine site in Concord, New Hampshire.
Christina Phillips / NHPR

By the end of next week, all New Hampshire residents aged 16 and up will be eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccines, according to an announcement Thursday by Gov. Chris Sununu.

photo of pistol
NH Attorney General

The New Hampshire Department of Justice is clearing a state trooper of any wrongdoing after a traffic stop led to a fatal shootout last December in Dalton.

photo of NH supreme court
Todd Bookman/NHPR

A dispute centering on the legal rights of those held against their will because of alleged psychiatric concerns will go before the justices of New Hampshire Supreme Court Thursday.

New Hampshire’s new COVID-19 vaccination scheduling website struggled under heavy demand Monday as residents aged 50 to 64 in the state attempted to schedule their vaccines.

photo of Pat in her kitchen
Courtesy

The latest round of stimulus checks from the federal government are on their way to many Americans. It's the third round of direct payments since the pandemic began, and for many people, they couldn’t arrive soon enough.

We asked NHPR listeners how they plan to use the money, and received a variety of responses.

Photo of courthouse
Ken Gallager / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to deny bail to libertarian activist Ian Freeman of Keene after his arrest Tuesday, calling him a “sophisticated criminal” with hidden assets who should be considered a flight risk.

photo of rolling farm
Aaron Eidman

A farm consultant from Antrim accused of defrauding a wealthy philanthropist out of $3 million is asking a judge to dismiss the case.

image of syringe
Todd Bookman/NHPR

A new state-managed COVID-19 vaccine scheduling website that went live Wednesday appears to be handling demand with no reported technical issues.

The Vaccine & Immunization Network Interface, or VINI, processed more than 6,700 scheduling requests as of 4pm, according to state officials. Eligible residents can access the system at vaccines.nh.gov, or call 2-1-1 for assistance.

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