Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth explores the nooks and crannies of New Hampshire.

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Curious about things you've seen, heard, or experienced in our state? Send us your "Only In New Hampshire" questions here!

Two years ago, VA employees blew the whistle on what they called bad care for veterans at the Manchester VA, kicking off a scandal that made national news. 

This week, we’re taking a look at what happened in New Hampshire’s only VA Medical Center after the scandal.

 

During our reporting, some conversations don't make the final cut because they don't quite fit the subject at hand – but it's often the meandering moment and quiet stories that bring a place to life. Here's a few too good not to share: we're calling them "Tiny Stories from the North Country."

This week on Word of Mouth, we're continuing our series on the North Country by answering a listener's question about access to high-speed internet. 

You can send us your questions about New Hampshire by emailing us or submitting a question online

What's nearly triangular, fiercely litigated, and often just rivers? The state border, of course. This week, we look at how New Hampshire fought for its borders. And how the borders inside the state determine how we are represented.

 

North Country: The Big Nansen

Jul 11, 2019
Rachel Cohen

The dream of waking "the sleeping giant." 

 

 This audio postcard is part of Word of Mouth's series on the North Country. 

 

Is the North Country moving towards an ATV-based economy? And if it is, what does that mean for residents who aren't sold on the idea? 

Justine Paradis

Is the North Country ready, willing, and able to shift from a timber-based economy to a tourism-based economy?

When you think of ghost towns… you might picture something from a western. A dusty town abandoned after a gold rush; no obvious signs of life, a random tumbleweed. But ghost towns are all over… including in New Hampshire.

This week, answers to three questions about the North Country that all involve a mystery of sorts.

Forest and the Trees

Jun 14, 2019

Running for office in NH is more than kissing babies and shaking hands. There are qualifications to meet, paperwork to be filed, yard signs to be placed… and town dumps to visit.  Then, we'll head into the woods to discover the department that manages the state's forests.

Over the last few months, here at Word of Mouth, we've asked listeners to send us their questions about northern New Hampshire.

In the first episode of our North Country Series answering those questions, we cover the basics: Where exactly does the north country begin, how has the economy adjusted to the decline of paper mills, and what makes this part of New Hampshire so unique? 

When you think about civics and government, you probably think about voting and politicians, but the government touches every part of your life from birth to death. Today, we look at birth. What does it take to be born an American citizen? And then, once you are, how do you prove it?

Then, the story of how tourism on Mount Washington became a model for mountain tourism nationally.

The Executive Council is a peculiar New Hampshire institution made up of five “citizen” councilors that, together with the governor, make up the executive branch. Why do we have one? And how does it work?

 

Then, overpopulation was one of the biggest environmental issues of the 60s and 70s, arguably bigger than saving the whales, planting trees, and acid rain. But then it seemed to disappear from the conversation.

What's That Sound?

May 17, 2019

When workers at the American embassy Cuba claimed to have been attacked by a mysterious weapon that left no trace, it led to a major shift in American diplomacy toward the Caribbean socialist state. But the story has also led to a split in journalism, stemming from the sources different kinds of journalists rely on. Today, a story of weapons, nature, and truth from Outside/In.

Honor or Omen?

May 10, 2019

Over 100 years ago, in 1909, Edwin Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post, had an idea for a publicity stunt. He would send out an ebony cane with a gold top, complete with inscription, to 700 New England towns. The cane was to be given out to the town's oldest male resident (the tradition has since included women). And after that resident passed, it would find its way into the hands of the next oldest resident. 

Who Needs Counties

May 3, 2019
Library of Congress; New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station

Counties are the "forgotten" part of government, but why do they matter?

NYPL

Here begins the story of a flower, a tale of identity, pride, and hubris.  

New Hampshire like every other state has its own Supreme Court. It’s not the all-powerful arbiter of justice that the name would imply. A primer on the New Hampshire Surpreme Court from Civics 101: NH. Then, the controversial start to our Constitution.

Conversations About Guns

Apr 12, 2019

This week for our ongoing series Only in New Hampshire, we answer a listener's question about gun laws in New Hampshire. 

Plastic Parties

Apr 5, 2019

In the early 1940s, an inventor from Berlin created a container made of refined polyethylene, an odorless, non-toxic plastic that would revolutionize food storage. Then, a mystery in the woods involving a beloved New Hampshire product from Outside/In.

  

Justine Paradis

Word of Mouth explores New Hampshire through deep-dive series reported around a central theme.

Our next theme: the North Country, or the Great North Woods. Here's your chance to shape our reporting.

This is the fourth and final episode of “The Rules Are Different Here,” a four-part series on mass incarceration in New Hampshire. Listen to the full series here.

Annie Wrenn is middle-aged with blond hair she wears with bangs. She’s a little over 5 feet tall. And on first sight, you’d never guess she’s a prison guard.

Before any bill can become a law in New Hampshire, it has to have at least one public hearing, where anyone can show up and talk to their lawmakers face to face. You can tell them what you think about the bill. A lot of people have never testified at a public hearing—it’s confusing to figure when they happen and where and how to participate. So, to demystify the whole thing, Civics 101: New Hampshire is breaking down how they work. 

Town Meeting Explained

Mar 15, 2019

Town meetings are a New Hampshire institution. It’s where all the year’s business is voted on by citizens in town halls, gyms, and community centers around the state. But for the uninitiated, town meeting can be confusing. Civics 101: New Hampshire helps break it down.

Then, Sam Evans-Brown introduces us to pirate trails.

Justine Paradis

Three years ago, Samuel and Rachel purchased a wooden crate manufactured by inmates at the New Hampshire State Prison, but they wondered: was it ethically made? 

This is the third episode in our four-part series on mass incarceration in New Hampshire. Explore the full series here. 

Lobbying All The Way

Mar 1, 2019

When you visit the State House in Concord, you might notice some well-dressed people sporting bright orange name tags: lobbyists. What do lobbyists do and how does lobbying work?

Then we’re going inside drug court, a program designed to divert people with substance use disorders from prison.

Part 2: One Month Out

Feb 22, 2019

This is the second episode of “The Rules Are Different Here,” a four-part series on mass incarceration in New Hampshire. Listen to the first installment, or explore the full series.

Casey Bisson

Every town seems to have one. A obelisk. A cannon. A guy on a horse. But one New Hampshire town has something a little different.

Producer Asher Brown brings us the story of the missile in Warren as part of our Only in New Hampshire series. 

Listen to the story:

History of Concord NH From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-Five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century

Bill Blanchard was just a kid when he first came into contact with law enforcement.

"Going Inside" is the first installment of a four-part series,"The Rules Are Different Here: A Series on New Hampshire's Prisons and Jails." The full series is available here.

Civics 101: New Hampshire, our local look at how state government works, brings us a look at the governor. Not our current governor specifically, but the office of the governor itself. What does the NH state governor do? And what makes our governor position different than in other states?

Then, a thought experiment: How fast could people go before the combustion engine and other technologies drastically increased the speed of the human race? And how did they pull it off?

flickr cc

Nashua is the most diverse city in New Hampshire, with the state’s largest population of foreign-born residents.  Today on Word of Mouth, we’re exploring how immigrants decide to build a life in Nashua… and what that has meant for them and for the city.

 

Then, we’re going way back in time to look at how Magna Carta shaped the American democratic project.

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