Todd Bookman

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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Robert Frese’s police file is as thick as the Bible, but it contains a very different collection of stories.

Take the time he hit a traffic flagger and drove off.

It was August 2017, and Frese, unhappy with a road closure in Portsmouth, bumped his car into Fred Chase before fleeing the scene.

Rouven74/Wikimedia Commons

SIG Sauer is asking a federal court judge in Texas to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that centers on the safety of its popular P320 pistol, arguing that the weapon is safe.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Dante Gordon of Katy, Texas, claims SIG Sauer knowingly sold hundreds of thousands of pistols that could fire when dropped. In court papers filed Tuesday, the Newington-based gunmaker denies that “there is a drop fire defect,” and argues that the suit should be denied class action status because it is “improperly overbroad.”

Twitter/Sen. Shaheen

As the United States prepares for another round of peace talks with the Taliban, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says Afghan women are prepared to play a larger role.

Shaheen, who is visiting both Iraq and Afghanistan this week as part of a congressional delegation, told reporters Monday that she met with a number of women leaders during stops in Kabul and Kandahar Province, and that she’s advocating for an “inclusive process” when talks resume later this week in Qatar.

The Taliban says its delegation, for the first time, will include women.

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A federal judge has turned down a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit brought the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

Thursday’s ruling comes in a case that centers on a surprise opinion released by the DOJ in November 2018 that could have broad implications for all lottery games.

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A Manchester auto mechanic with a criminal record appeared before Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council on Wednesday seeking a pardon to avoid deportation.

Alain Ata, now 34, burglarized a Salem house in December 2004. A week later, he helped two accomplices break into a second home that was owned by his ex-girlfriend’s parents. After being found guilty, Ata served a lengthy prison sentence, but the conviction also meant eventual deportation to Lebanon, the country he and his family fled from when he was 10 years old.

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A final report from state health officials concludes that an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in Hampton sickened up to 49 people last year, and was linked to two deaths.

State epidemiologists traced the outbreak to a hot tub at The Sands Hotel in Hampton. After the hot tub was ordered closed in late August, there were no new additional cases reported.

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One problem with being a good minor league baseball team is that your best players aren’t around for long.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, who kick off their 2019 season on Thursday in Manchester, won last year’s Eastern League title with the help of three sons of famous major leaguers:  Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and "born to hit" slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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Earlier this year, Newington-based SIG Sauer announced the latest in a string of sizeable contracts: the Indian Army agreed to pay the gun maker a reported $72 million for 72,400 rifles for its infantry soldiers.

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Court officials in Germany announced Wednesday that Ron Cohen, CEO of Newington-based gun maker SIG Sauer, will avoid jail time for his role in an illegal shipment of 38,000 pistols sent to Colombia.

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Tobias Tarr spent the afternoon of June 17, 2017 tending to the garden at a homeless shelter in Keene.

That evening, still covered in dirt, Tarr found himself in an awkward situation: a resident of the facility had arrived home drunk and agitated.

“I sat with him on the couch and just calmed him down. He had it in his head that he wanted to beat somebody up upstairs,” says Tarr.

NHPR Staff

A paid family medical leave program cleared the New Hampshire House on Wednesday, setting up a possible veto from Gov. Chris Sununu.

Senate Bill 1, a top priority for Democrats this session, calls for up to twelve weeks of paid leave at up to 60 percent of a worker’s salary. Employees could use the benefit after the birth or adoption of a child, or take care of a sick family member.

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Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand was in Portsmouth Friday for a roundtable discussion on safe drinking water.

New Hampshire’s Seacoast region recently has been at the forefront of issues surrounding contaminated drinking water, a result of a class of chemicals known as PFAS that were widely used in firefighting foams, as well as other consumer products.

Inside the Portsmouth Library, Gillibrand told the audience that communities in her home state of New York are also dealing with the fallout of PFAS contamination.

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Students from the Seacoast area participated in Friday’s worldwide Youth Climate Strike, a coordinated event demanding immediate action on climate change.

In Portsmouth’s Market Square, a thick crowd of students from local high schools held up signs, passed around a bullhorn, and called for the end of fossil fuels.

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Former State Police Director Bob Quinn has been tapped to be the state’s next Commissioner of the Department of Safety.

Pool Photo/Deb Cram

A 43-year old man accused of being married to multiple women across multiple states will be released pending trial.

Michael Middleton, who appeared in Strafford County Superior Court on Friday, was ordered to pay $1,000 cash bail, wear an ankle bracelet with GPS tracking ability, and have no contact with any of his wives.

Middleton made headlines across the country last month when the man dubbed the “Cupid of Chaos” was arrested in Ohio on charges of bigamy.

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A gun owner is alleging that New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer, one of the country’s largest gun makers, sold hundreds of thousands of faulty pistols that could fire without pulling the trigger. 

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The state’s highest court is giving the New Hampshire Motor Speedway the green light to host a three-day country music festival. The decision comes after more than a year of court challenges brought by neighbors concerned about noise.

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It’s a Saturday in February. Four hours of the town’s deliberative session have come and gone. Still, those inside a half-empty high school auditorium are primed for extra innings in this annual part of town meeting season.

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Ron Cohen, the CEO of New Hampshire gun manufacturer Sig Sauer, has reportedly struck a plea deal with German prosecutors over an illegal arms shipment.

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The CEO of Sig Sauer, one of the country’s largest gun makers with U.S. headquarters in New Hampshire, was in a German courtroom Tuesday for the start of a trial over his role in an alleged illegal international arms sale.

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The state’s highest court is giving the New Hampshire Motor Speedway the green light to host a three-day country music festival. The decision comes after more than a year of court challenges brought by neighbors concerned about noise.

The legal dispute centered on a contract signed in 1989 by the previous owner of the racetrack in Loudon, in which the track agreed it wouldn’t host stand-alone concerts.

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Marianne Williamson, a best-selling spiritual author and lecturer, continued her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination with a stop in Exeter on Wednesday evening.

The Texas-born candidate spoke in front of a standing room-only crowd inside Water Street Books, where her own works are stocked in the “Inspiration” section of the shop.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrats began their push this session to raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage during hearings at the Statehouse on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are considering three different bills that would each take a different approach to increasing the state’s rate, which currently stands at $7.25 an hour.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission is suing the Trump Administration over its ability to sell lottery tickets online.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opion clearing  the way for online sale of tickets.

Since then, eight states have launched online sales, including New Hampshire, which did so last September. The Lottery Commission says it expects to sell as much as $6 million worth of scratch off and “draw games” such as Mega Millions during the current fiscal year over the internet.

NHPR Staff

Democrats in the New Hampshire Senate passed one of their  key priorities on Thursday, as a paid family medical leave insurance program cleared the chamber on a party line vote.

The measure, symbolically titled Senate Bill 1, creates a mandatory program that would let workers take up to 12 weeks of paid time off to take care of a loved one, or after the birth or adoption of a child. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Valerie Sununu has kept a relatively low-profile during her husband’s time in office. She rarely speaks to the press or promotes any appearances. Most of what the public gets of the First Lady comes from Gov. Chris Sununu’s speeches, where he constantly praises her.

“And it goes without saying, the one who really makes this all happen, my amazing wife, Valerie,” said Sununu during the opening of his inaugural speech at the Statehouse last month.

U.S. Northern Command/Sgt. Asia J. Sorenson

Earlier this week, the newly elected governor of New Mexico ordered the majority of National Guard troops stationed at the southern border in her state to withdraw. Among those soldiers is a single guardsman from New Hampshire.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the withdrawal on Tuesday, and criticized President Trump’s decision to send active duty troops to the region.

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A seemingly routine request for a pay raise led to a tense meeting on Wednesday at the State House in Concord, as high ranking employees from the Liquor Commission faced blunt questioning about their performance, and whether they deserved a 5 percent increase in salary.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission will pay an armored car company more than $3 million to collect cash from state-run retail liquor stores. The contract with Loomis Armored, which runs through 2024, also includes the placement of safes at each of the approximately 80 liquor stores statewide.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

Democrats began their legislative push for a state-wide paid family leave program on Tuesday, calling the proposal a workforce development tool that will attract young families to New Hampshire.

“This is a paid family and medical leave insurance plan that is a real plan, that’s available, accessible, and affordable,” said Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes during testimony in a crowded Finance Committee hearing.

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