NEXTOur laboratory is all of New England — one of America's oldest places — at a time of change. The show is about how we power our society, how we move around, and how we adapt. It's about trends that provide us challenges and present us with new opportunities. New England has old rules and customs, with well-worn pathways forged centuries ago, and its population is aging fast. Through original reporting and interviews, we ask important questions about the issues we explore: where are we now? How did we get here? And what's next?
Our laboratory is all of New England — one of America's oldest places — at a time of change. The show is about how we power our society, how we move around, and how we adapt. It's about trends that provide us challenges and present us with new opportunities. New England has old rules and customs, with well-worn pathways forged centuries ago, and its population is aging fast. Through original reporting and interviews, we ask important questions about the issues we explore: where are we now? How did we get here? And what's next?More from NEXT »
This week, we get an update the flow of migrants leaving the US to go to Quebec, and meet Puerto Ricans deciding whether to stay on the island or come back to New England. We'll talk about housing for a rapidly aging population in Vermont, and learn how a the settlement dollars from a Volkswagen lawsuit could help spur electric vehicle use in Maine. Finally, we get a taste of what's new about New England food. Flight Fearing the Trump administration's stricter immigration policies, thousands have been fleeing the United States for Canada. One policy change is the end of a temporary residency program for 59,000 Haitians allowed to legally enter the United States following an earthquake in 2010. The Haitians will have to leave the country by July 2019, or face deportation. That program has also ended for two thousand Nicaraguans. It's unclear if other groups including 300,000 Salvadorans will be allowed to remain. A man from Congo speaks with Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers after illegally entering Canada. The man from Congo was then frisked before being processed in the white trailer. Photo by Lorne Matalon for VPR The net result is a continued flow of people crossing the border into Canada by foot. They take advantage of a Canadian law that says those who cross by foot won't be turned back until their case is heard. Reporter Lorne Matalon takes us back to the site of earlier reporting: the illegal boarder crossing at Roxham Road north of Champlain, New York. Puerto Ricans have been facing similar questions about whether to relocate following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Of course, Puerto Ricans who choose to leave the island to come to New England aren't immigrants, they're US citizens. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports on the lack of power and water across much of the island is causing a growing number of people to make hard choices. A Few Years Down the Road... Jan Belville decided to sell her large house in Brandon, Vt. to move into a senior affordable apartment. Bellville was on a a waiting list for almost five years. Photo by Howard Weiss-Tisman for VPR In the 18 years after World War II, birth rates across America hit unprecedented levels. Demographers named that sizable generation the Baby Boom. Today's baby boomers make up about 25 percent of the United States population. As boomers head into retirement they're rewriting the expectations we have about where and how senior citizens want to live. As we've reported previously, New England's population is older than most of the country. Given that Vermont is expected to have the oldest population in the nation by 2030, many baby boomers there are facing tough decisions about housing. Vermont Public Radio's Howard Weiss-Tisman reports. For more, check out "Aging Well," a special VPR series exploring how the Baby Boom generation is viewing retirement and changing the future makeup of Vermont. ReVision Energy's Barry Woods charges up his company car in Brunswick, Maine. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public Electric vehicles make up a fraction of the cars sold in New England. But new state policies – and a cash infusion from the settlement of Volkswagen's pollution scandal – could speed the build-out of electric vehicle charging stations, and jump-start the region's EV market. Maine Public Radio's Fred Bever reports. The Best Food of New England "Local" has become the most important word in the world of New England food. "Local" grass-fed beef, locally-made sheep's milk cheese, or restaurants that proudly list the names of local farmers that grow their food are all a growing part of this movement. Amy Traverso is senior food editor for Yankee Magazine and NewEngland.com, and she's been watching these trends. She's an expert in New England food, and an advocate for it. She says chefs and food producers are challenging the notion that New England's traditional foods are stodgy and boring. Think dishes like lobster on black rice with brown butter aioli, or baked beans with pomegranate molasses. Traverso is also in charge of giving out Yankee Magazine's annual Editor's Choice Food Awards – now five years in the running. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Ian Fox at the PRX Podcast Garage and John Dillon of VPR. Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon, bagpipe music by Eric Bean Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, story leads, and acorns to email@example.com.
What does a state owe to people serving time in prison? And what does it owe those who should never have been locked up in the first place? We speak with a man who went to prison in Massachusetts for 32 years for a crime he didn't commit. And we travel back over 300 years to a war on New England soil where women leaders played a major role. Plus, elm trees make a comeback, and a New Hampshire bagpipe business bumps up against global trade rules. Victor Rosario, right, with wife Beverly following a hearing in which he was formerly exonerated. Rosario spend 32 years in a Massachusetts prison after being convicted for homicide and arson. Photo by Deborah Becker for WBUR. Behind Bars Imagine that you've been convicted and locked up for a crime you didn't commit. After years appealing your case, you finally prove your innocence and are set free. Would you expect the government to compensate you for that time behind bars? 37 states have laws that allow the wrongfully convicted to file for compensation, including every New England state except Rhode Island. The amount of that compensation ranges widely from state to state. For example, Vermont awards exonerees between $30,000 and $60,000 for each year in prison, while New Hampshire caps the total lifetime award at $20,000. And it can be difficult to get any money at all from the state. Advocates say that's the case in Massachusetts, where they're pushing for a rewrite of the state's wrongful conviction compensation law. Our guest Jenifer McKim is a senior investigative reporter at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), where she's been covering wrongful convictions and the legislative push. We're also joined by Victor Rosario, an outreach pastor at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, where runs a program to help former prisoners readjust to society. Rosario was convicted for starting a fatal apartment fire in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1982 – but his sentence was overturned in 2014. A 2010 report from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting pointed to his innocence. Rosario was formally exonerated on September 8, 2017. Further reading: "Should state change compensation law for wrongfully convicted?" – recent reporting from the NECIR and WGBH about efforts to amend the Massachusetts law governing compensation for the wrongfully convicted "Reasonable Doubts" – NECIR investigation into the case of Darrell Jones, a Massachusetts man who has spent 30 years in prison on a questionable murder charge "Wrongful incarceration. Moral debt?" – Jenifer McKim tells the story of Kevin O'Loughlin, a man falsley convicted for child rape, who is struggling to obtain compensation from Massachusetts Roger Brown's prison diary mentions repeated trips to pick up medications that weren't in stock. There have been rumors and allegations coming out of Vermont's prison system for years about inmates requesting medical care, and not getting the help they needed. But getting the full story can be challenging: the inmates involved are behind bars, or dead, and officials are bound from giving their account by privacy rules. But Roger Brown, an inmate at a prison in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, kept a diary. Brown was one of more than 200 Vermont inmates sent to state prison in Pennsylvania due to a shortage of beds in Vermont. Taylor Dobbs reported this story for Vermont Public Radio. Revisiting King Philip's War Here on NEXT, we've shared the stories of refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq- people who escaped war to start over in a peaceful New England. But during the early years of European colonization, New England was a war zone too – where colonists fought indigenous people over land, resources, and the rights to self-government. Native homelands of the Northeast, highlighting places mentioned in Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip's War. Courtesy Yale University Press King Philip's War, fought from 1675 to 1678, was perhaps the most devastating of those conflicts for both sides. The Wampanoag leader Metacom, known by the the colonists as King Philip, organized attacks on 12 settlements before the colonists gained control of Southern New England. Native and colonial settlements it what is now Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts at the time of King Philip's War. Courtesy Yale University Press Since then, as it often happens, the colonial perspective has dominated the historical narrative. In her upcoming book Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip's War, historian Lisa Brooks flips the script, focusing on the stories of Native American leaders. Lisa Brooks is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College. Our Beloved Kin is out from Yale University Press on January 9, 2018. At the same time, Brooks will also be launching ourbelovedkin.com, a website with maps, historical documents, and images from her journeys through New England's indigenous geography. Acorns, Elm Trees and Bagpipes It's peak mating time for deer in our region. And, depending on the state, it's also deer hunting season. If you're not a hunter this time of year, a more likely encounter with a deer would be on the road, with a bad outcome for both you and the animal. New England states rank right around the national average for likelihood of a car strike, but the danger increases in rural areas during mating season. WNPR's science reporter Patrick Skahill spoke with a biologist to find out more. And he uncovered an interesting connection... between roadkills and acorns. An American elm tree in 2012 at Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut. Photo via Wikimedia Commons As we ponder the tiny nut that grows into a mighty oak, let's consider another iconic tree in our region. No matter where you live in New England, you probably know of an Elm Street; but if you go there, you probably won't find many surviving elm trees. In the mid 20th century Dutch Elm disease killed off millions of the species. Towns and forests were notably changed. , decades later, new invasive pests and disease are attacking other species of trees. Watching this, ecologists have been engineering a comeback for the American elm, as New England Public Radio's Jill Kaufman reports. Richard Spaulding runs Gibson Bagpipes in Nashua, Nh. Photo by Todd Bookman for NHPR Newly made bagpipe parts await assembly inside Gibson's Nashua factory. Photo by Todd Bookman for NHPR Think bagpipes, and you likely think Scotland. But one of the world's largest bagpipe manufacturers happens to call Nashua, New Hampshire home. That company, however, is facing an unexpected wrinkle in its international supply chain. New Hampshire Public Radio's Todd Bookman reports. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Taylor Dobbs, Patrick Skahill, Jill Kaufman, Todd Bookman Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon, bagpipe music by Eric Bean Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, story leads, and acorns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this Thanksgiving week, we're presenting a few favorite segments from our archives. We dig into our energy series "The Big Switch" with stories about solar power on homes and farms, and profile a new large-scale passive housing movement. And singer-songwriter Dar Williams tells us what she's learned about making a vibrant community while writing a new book. Plus, the craft beer industry is exploding in New England, but another time-honored trade is in danger of disappearing. A pedestrian street in the Old Port in Portland, Maine, a neighborhood popular with tourists. Musician and author Dar Williams says towns thrive when they achieve a balance between places of interest to visitors and those of interest to residents. Photo by PhilipC via Flickr Building More, to Burn Less New England is at a time of big change in the way we get our energy. Aggressive goals to cut carbon emissions have meant a move toward more renewable sources of power. But the shift from burning fossil fuels to harvesting sun and wind power comes with challenges in a region where it's not always easy to find space for big energy projects. The New England News Collaborative is covering these changes in a project we call The Big Switch. Randolph-based Catamount Solar is installing an 8.7 kilowatt system in a homeowner's yard in East Montpelier, Vermont. Kestrel Marcel is connecting the optimizers, which are a converter technology that helps maximize the energy harvested from the panels. Photo by Kathleen Masterson for VPR Farmer Kevin Sullivan rents a portion of his Suffield, Connecticut farmland to a solar company. "The money that comes off that acreage exceeds anything else I could do out there," he says. Photo by Patrick Skahill for WNPR Vermont has been leading the way on solar energy for years. It's got a small population, but big goals for renewable energy. That's meant more competition in the solar installation field — with big national companies coming in to fight local companies for customers. As VPR's Kathleen Masterson reports, that competition comes at a tricky time. While Vermont has been pushing more residential solar, other states see the promise of solar panels helping to preserve dwindling farmland. As WNPR's Patrick Skahill reports, solar energy is providing many farmers – particularly in southern New England – with new opportunities, and questions. Bayside Anchor is an affordable passive housing development in Portland, Maine. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public And there's innovation on the other side of the power equation, too. A new type of energy-efficient construction is drawing attention in the U.S. So-called "passive housing" residences are built to achieve ultra-low energy use. In fact, passive housing is so efficient that developers can eliminate central heating systems altogether. Imported from Germany, it's been a boutique building style until recently, with eco-minded home owners making costly upfront investments to downsize their carbon footprints. But now, New England is joining a surge in large-scale passive housing development. Maine Public Radio's Fred Bever reports. Fred Gordon opens a panel in the wall of his unit at the Distillery North Apartments in Boston to show the heat recovery ventilator. It provides fresh air, transferring 95 percent of the heat collected from the apartment and recirculating it with cold air from outside. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR. Building a Better Place to Call Home Have you ever revisited a town you hadn't seen in years and thought "This place has really changed!"? Suddenly, there's a new row of restaurants; or a boarded-up mill building has come back to life. Maybe you've witnessed the opposite: a hollowed-out shell of a once-busy main street. As a touring musician, singer-songwriter Dar Williams has a front seat to the changes happening in American towns large and small. Her new book is What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician's Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities – One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, & Open-Mike Night at a Time. In her writing, Williams theorizes about why some towns thrive, and others can't seem to get out of their post-industrial slump. The book is peppered with references to New England towns, and Williams has personal history here. She lived and worked in Boston, and Western Massachusetts, and spent her undergrad years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in the 1980s. All About Craft Selection of beers on tap at Grey Sail Brewing, Westerly, RI. Photo by Tom Verde for NENC. The craft beer industry in New England has plenty to raise a glass to. Craft beer is growing faster here than anywhere in the country. But is growing too fast? Is it possible to have too much craft beer? Tom Verde went to find out. In the mid-1800s, New England was a global center for the clockmaking industry. Today, the region is filled with antique, often centuries-old clocks — in church steeples, libraries, courthouses, and homes. That industry, of course, is long gone. And slowly, the people who preserve its artifacts are disappearing, too. Dan Richards reports. Master clockmaker James Roberts examines a churchtower clock in Redding, Mass. The timepiece in the center connects to four transparent glass dials, one on each wall. View of the clocktower room from above. Photo by Dan Richards for NEXT. David Roberts with a clock face and dial that he and his brother James restored. Photo by Dan Richards for NEXT. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Kathleen Masterson, Patrick Skahill, Fred Bever, Tom Verde, and Dan Richards Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, story leads, and raves about your favorite brewery to email@example.com.
This week, we're talking ballot questions. Why are more of them showing up in voting booths in states like Maine and Massachusetts, and how much power do elected officials have to tinker with citizen-passed laws? Plus, a Puerto Rican family is reunited in Holyoke, Mass., and a Vermont veteran with PTSD finds a way to heal, through farming. Listen to the end, and we'll take you to the most peaceful place in the universe. Marijuana plants are harvested and hung in a processing facility in Franklin, Mass. Currently only medical cannabis sales are legal in Massachusetts. A referendum passed in 2016 set the date for legal recreational sales to begin at January 1, 2018. But a law passed this summer by the state legislature pushed the date to July 1, 2018. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR Power to the People? Mainer Kathleen Phelps speaks in favor of expanding Medicaid at a news conference in Portland. Me. on Oct. 13, 2016. Photo by Patti Wight for Maine Public Maine voters earlier this month approved a ballot measure that would expand the Medicaid program, making it available to more than 70,000 Mainers. But Governor Paul LePage — who used his veto power to block past legislative attempts to expand Medicaid — has said he won't implement Medicaid expansion until the statehouse appropriates funds to pay for the state's share of the program. Last year, Maine and Massachusetts voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana through a referendum — but in both states, lawmakers have altered the legislation, raising taxes and pushing back the start date for legal weed sales. Looking forward to 2018, Boston public radio station WBUR recently polled Massachusetts residents on three questions proposed for next year's election. Respondents showed overwhelming support for initiatives to institute paid family leave, raise taxes on millionaires, and lower the sales tax. All this left us thinking: how powerful are ballot questions when the will of the people is later overhauled by their legislators? And why are they showing up more frequently in states like Maine and Massachusetts in recent years? Joining us to help answer those questions are Steve Mistler, chief political corespondent for Maine Public Radio, and Colin A. Young, Massachusetts statehouse reporter for the Statehouse News Service. Trying to Find Stability Kristin, an active drug user, finds a syringe and a mirror from the tent she once lived in that other drug users took over. She says methamphetamine users use the mirror as an aid to inject themselves in their neck. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR According to Massachusetts Department of Health data, homeless individuals who use heroin or fentanyl experience an overdose-related death rate 30 times higher than people with stable housing. The finding is no surprise to drug users who live on the streets or in the woods, as WBUR's Martha Bebinger discovered on a visit to an urban tent community in Greater Boston. Solimari Alicea hands baby Yedriel to German Santini to hold. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR WBUR reporter Simón Rios has been charting the influx of Puerto Ricans into Massachusetts since Hurricane Maria left much of the island without power, water, or infrastructure. He went to Holyoke, and introduces us to two young parents who are trying to get their feet on the ground. Next we travel a bit further west on the Mass. Pike to the bucolic Berkshires. Those hills are alive with art — museums, galleries, theater and dance companies, and the summer home of the Boston Pops, Tanglewood. "La Fete," by Raoul Dufy, is one of the works slated for sale by the Berkshire Museum. Image courtesy of Sotheby's But the arts community has been in turmoil over a plan by the Berkshire Museum to sell off some of its artwork — including two Norman Rockwell paintings — to fund an expansion. The plan angered many in the art world, and got the attention of the state's Attorney General, who's working to stop the sale. Our guest Adam Frenier, Berkshire County reporter for New England Public Radio, has been following the story closely. Finally at Peace Pigs grub for food on a veteran-owned farm in Norwich, Vt. Photo by Peter Hirschfeld for VPR Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many are still dealing with the invisible wounds of the nation's longest-running war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming. Vermont Public Radio's Peter Hirschfeld brings us the story of Brett, an army vet who says learning to raise livestock saved his life. Read and listen to more stories of veterans-turned-farmers in Vermont. Life on a farm may sound peaceful enough to you. But New Hampshire Public Radio's Sean Hurley says he's found the most peaceful place in the universe. It's a spot he calls Moose Painting Pond. Sean Hurley looks out over "Moose Painting Pond." Photo by Sean Hurley for NHPR Do you have a question about New England you'd like NEXT to investigate? Tell us about it here. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Martha Bebinger, Simón Rios, Peter Hirschfeld, Sean Hurley Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon, "Hotline Bling" by Drake, "Unsquare Dance" by David Brubeck, "Shameless" by Ani DiFranco Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and sound recordings of the most peaceful place in your personal universe to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've got lots for you this week. Fishermen clash with offshore wind developers, once-depleted bluefin tuna experience a resurgence, and 3D printing helps bring manufacturing back to Massachusetts. Meanwhile, off-road vehicles bring money and grumbles to White Mountain towns. Plus, the fascinating story of when "Live Free or Die" bumped heads with the First Amendment — and why it could prove relevant in an upcoming Supreme Court case. Last, an appreciation of the sticky sweet snack of many a New England childhood. ATVs have become a frequent sight in New Hampshire's Coos county. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR Up and Down the Coast The bluefin tuna can reach lengths of almost 10 feet. They can swim from the Bahamas to Norway in 54 days. Photo credit: NOAA Fishermen say it's been decades since they've been able to catch so many Atlantic bluefin tuna so fast. Once severely depleted, populations of the prized sushi fish appear to be rebuilding. Now the industry and some scientists say the international commission that regulates the fishery can allow a much bigger catch. But some conservation groups disagree. From Portland, Maine Public Radio's Fred Bever reports. Crew members sort through scallops and discard bycatch on a fishing boat in the Atlantic 14 miles from Long Island's Montauk Point. Photo by Jon Kalish for NENC On the easternmost tip of Long Island, Montauk is the largest commercial fishing port in New York State. The nation's first offshore wind farm is only a few miles away, off of Block Island, and many more such wind farms are in the works along the eastern seaboard. These plans have Montauk fisherman worried about the impact on their livelihoods. Independent producer Jon Kalish reports. Mike Twombly uses a sophisticated tool to precisely measure the diameter of a part that has been recently fabricated at Custom Machine Group in Woburn, Mass. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR Alexander Gomenik, Professor of Engineering at Indiana University plays a plastic fiddle produced from a 3D printer at the Digital Factory Conference at the MIT Media Lab . (Photo by Bruce Gellerman for WBUR) You don't often see the label "Made in Massachusetts," but manufacturing plays an outsized role in the economy of the Bay State. WBUR's Bruce Gellerman takes us to factories on the front line of a new industrial revolution. It's one that promises to transform how things are made, and the roles of workers. Read and listen to more from WBUR's Future of Work series. Living Free Three year-old Everly Lavertu enjoys riding ATV trails with her parents. But leading health and safety groups say young children should not be riding in ATVs. Photo by Casey McDermott for NHPR These days in New Hampshire's North Country, it's not unusual to see caravans of all-terrain vehicles — or ATVs — all over. This region of the state has long been defined by the loss of its paper mill industry and high unemployment rate. But the surge in ATVs may be changing the North Country's image. While some see promise in this growing group of tourists, others worry that the region might be losing something else along the way. Others raise safety concerns. Reporters Casey McDermott and Todd Bookman looked into the ATV phenomenon in a three-part series for New Hampshire Public Radio. Casey McDermott joins us to talk about what they learned. Below: take a virtual ride on an ATV trail in New Hampshire's Jericho Mountain State Park. The adventurous off-road spirit is certainly in step with New Hampshire's celebrated motto: "Live Free or Die." Image via Plateshack.com The slogan, taken from a 1809 toast given by Granite State Revolutionary War general John Stark, has been a part of the New Hampshire license plate since 1971. But not long after it became standard, a man made the case that the requirement to display the motto on his car violated his freedoms. And his case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Next month, the court will hear arguments in a controversial free speech case out of Colorado, where a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The baker's attorneys say they're resting their arguments on a precedent set during the decades-old legal battle over "Live Free or Die." NHPR's Lauren Chooljian tells the story of one determined New Hampshire couple, and how their battle with state's famous motto continues to have an impact. Creepy and Sweet Left: A daguerreotype portrait of brain-injury survivor Phineas P. Gage, holding the tamping iron which injured him. Right: Gage's skull on display at Harvard Medical School. Photos courtst of Jack and Beverly Wilgus/Wikimedia Commons A grisly construction accident in New England in 1848 left railroad worker Phineas Gage with severe brain damage — but gave scientists valuable clues about how the brain functions. Gage survived the metal spike that went clear through his head, and has since become an icon of both science and pop culture. His skull is on display at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. WSHU's David Dunavin brings us the story from his new podcast Off the Path from New York to Boston. Festival founder Mimi Graney sells copies of her book "What the Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon" Autumn in New England is festival season. You can find fairs celebrating chrysanthemums, pumpkins, cranberries, or oysters. But the "What the Fluff" Festival in Somerville, Massachusetts is unique. Freelance reporter Carol Vassar paid a visit this year, and brings us an appreciation of a signature New England confection: Marshmallow Fluff. Do you have a question about New England you'd like NEXT to investigate? Tell us about it here. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Fred Bever, John Kalish, Bruce Gellerman, Casey McDermott, Todd Bookman, Lauren Chooljian, David Dunavin, Carol Vassar Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon. Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and photos of your own medical anomalies to email@example.com.
New England is recovering this week after a big storm knocked out power for days in some places. How do we keep the power on today, and make our communities more resilient in the long term? We also ruminate lyrically on fickle New England weather with writer Will Dowd. A story from Texas puts the idea of "sanctuary hospitals" in the spotlight. How are New England's hospitals responding? And, our friends from Brave Little State separate myth from fact when it comes to the Underground Railroad in Vermont. Workers in Stowe, Vermont tend to damage from a fallen tree Tuesday. Photo by Amy Kolb Noyes for VPR Hard Rains In late October, 2011 there were still multi-colored leaves clinging to New England's trees when a freak Nor'easter hit, dumping record snow, snapping trees, and cutting off power to millions. One year later, Super Storm Sandy battered the shoreline and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. And then this week, a prolonged rainstorm, with winds up to 70 miles an hour, knocked out power for days in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, with more than 400,000 outages in Maine. Damage to Route 302 in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. Photo by Chris Jensen Our first guest is David Littell, principal with the Regulatory Assistance Project, based in Montpelier, Vermont, and a former commissioner with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Littell has been looking at the response from utility companies. With climate change bringing more frequent, bigger storms to our region, how do we plan for these new weather realities? We're joined by Alexander Felson, an urban ecologist, architect and assistant professor at Yale University; and David Korris, Director of the National Disaster Resilience program for the State of Connecticut. Shelter from the Storm For immigrants in the country illegally, the fear of running into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents has made some public places appear threatening. In the current environment, that can include a visit to the emergency room. A recent opinion piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association called for the establishment of so-called 'sanctuary hospital' policies. But some New England health care providers say they only have so much power. WBUR reporter Shannon Dooling has our story. In Brandon, Vt., the 1853 Marsh House mansion is rumored to have had a tunnel entrance in its basement. The owner of the house, Rodney Marsh, was a high-profile abolitionist in Vermont, but there's no hard evidence of Underground Railroad activity at this site. Photo by Angela Evancie for VPR Historian Ray Zirbllis conducted an exhaustive study of Underground Railroad activity in Vermont. He found hard evidence of activity at the 25 sites marked on this map. Courtesy Vermont Division for Historic Preservation The idea of providing "sanctuary" is part of the New England mindset. Yankees are proud of New Englanders' participation in the Underground Railroad, providing aid and shelter to runaway slaves en route to Canada. But like a lot of history we think we know, there are parts of the story that turn out to be a bit more complicated. Vermonter Carlie Krolick wanted to know more, so she asked Vermont Public radio's people-powered podcast Brave Little State. "Was there an Underground Railroad in Vermont? What do we know about the existence of a system to help slaves escape toward Canada? And were escaped slaves able to settle and live here openly?" – Carlie Krolick, Charlotte, Vt. Host Angela Evancie went in search of answers. Weather We Like it or Not The nights were cold this week, and so were the days; the sun, when it appeared, flashed like a coin at the bottom of a well, and the rain fell whenever it felt like it. It was really and truly November, though I couldn't quite accept it. Those lines open the essay "Paper Allegories" in a new collection of essays by Boston area writer William Dowd, entitled Areas of Fog. Dowd wrote the collection over the course of a year in the tradition of Thoreau's Walden. Each essay opens with a weather report. Many pay homage to great New England writers like Thoreau, Frost, and Dickinson – writers who helped shape our spiritual understanding of a region where the weather can feel like the work of a fickle god. Areas of Fog is out on November 14 from Etruscan Press. Will Dowd will be reading and signing books at the Thayer Public Library in Braintree, Mass., on November 30, and at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass. on Dec 7. Do you have a question about New England you'd like NEXT to investigate? Tell us about it here. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Shannon Dooling and Angela Evancie Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon. Music for Brave Little State by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and complaints about the weather to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we talk Amazon HQ2: whether Boston has a good shot at becoming the home of the corporation's second headquarters, and why New Hampshire slings so much dirt at Beantown in its bid. We'll also get an update on how Puerto Ricans with Connecticut connections are coping with hurricane recovery on the island. Plus, we'll learn how Massachusetts volunteers help keep wild sea turtles alive when the seas turn cold. And in time for Halloween, we visit a haunted tavern to hear tales from New England's spookiest places. A rendering of the primary site Boston is proposing in its bid for Amazon to create its second headquarters in the city. The site straddles Boston and Revere (Courtesy City of Boston) From Over the Sea We've been tracking the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The island is about four hours away by plane from Hartford and Boston. Yet in many ways, it's the island next door for New England's more than 600,000 Puerto Rican residents. Below: Boston community organizer and former Hartford City Councilman Luis Cotto has been distributing water filters and solar lamps in Puerto Rico. Video by Ryan Caron King. We speak with WNPR news director Jeff Cohen, who returned this week from a reporting trip to the island. He met with Connecticut residents who were providing supplies, fresh water, and hope — and in some cases, bringing people back to New England to escape tough conditions. Explore Puerto Rico coverage by Jeff Cohen and Ryan Caron King. Below: volunteers from Connecticut and Puerto Rico bring water purification systems to remote towns. Video by Ryan Caron King. Menhaden, also called bunker, spill across the deck of a boat in Long Island Sound. This vital fish is now the subject of a new fisheries management decision. Photo by Patrick Skahill for WNPR Oily and smelly, Atlantic menhaden are one of the least sexy fish imaginable. But this humble fish, also called "bunker" or "pogie," has deep roots off the coast of New England. It's believed Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops with the fish. And for decades, millions of tons of menhaden were pulled out of the ocean. Now, there's a movement to preserve this vital species, not just for the fishermen who catch it, but for animals that eat it. WNPR's Patrick Skahill reports. Menhaden may suffer from not being very loveable, but there's another creature in our waters that everyone loves: the sea turtle. And for sea turtles in New England, fall is a dangerous time. Rhode Island Public Radio's environmental reporter Avory Brookins went to the New England Aquarium's Hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts to find out why hundreds of sea turtles end up there once ocean temperatures drop. It's a Jungle Out There A screengrab from the front page of New Hampshire's Amazon proposal. The state is proposing the site of a former orchard in Londonderry, a Manchester suburb. October 19th was the deadline for states and cities to submit their bids to online giant Amazon. The company says it's received 238 proposals from places hoping to become home to its second North American headquarters, or HQ2. Amazon promises to employ up to 50,000 full-time workers at this future campus, with average salaries upwards of $100,000. Bids have come in from 44 states, including every New England state except for Vermont. New Hampshire's proposal is as much about what the state has to offer as what it doesn't have, while throwing shade on its conspicuous neighbor to the south. Governor Chris Sununu took the same tone at a press conference announcing the bid last week. Mr. Sununu said New Hampshire "has all the benefits of Boston, without the traffic, without the taxes, without the bureaucracy, but still being able to draw off the most talented workforce pool in the world." Boston has of course thrown its hat in the ring, along with 25 other sites in Massachusetts. Below: a video from Boston's Amazon proposal asserts "We are that shining city on a hill." Joining us to discuss this cross-border kerfuffle and the politics behind the bids in both states is Asma Khalid, Bostonomix reporter at WBUR. We're also joined by Todd Bookman, who covers business and economics for New Hampshire Public Radio. Into the Woods C.J. Fusco, pictured at Abigail's Grille in Simsbury, Conn., is the author of Old Ghosts of New England: A Traveler's Guide to the Spookiest Sites in the Northeast. Photo by Andrea Muraskin for NEXT. New England this time of year is a leaf-peeper's paradise, but it's also a great place to get a good scare. If you know where to look, it's not hard to find haunted houses, haunted cemeteries, and even haunted restaurants. NEXT producer Andrea Muraskin found an old Connecticut tavern that's been the subject of ghost stories all the way back to the American Revolution. She sat down there with the author of Old Ghosts of New England: A Traveler's Guide to the Spookiest Sites in the Northeast. Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine, is the location of scene from the film "Forrest Gump." It's also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy, murdered by bootleggers. Photo by Gianina Lindsey via Flickr Do you have a question about New England you'd like NEXT to investigate? Tell us about it here. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Jeff Cohen, Patrick Skahill, Avory Brookins, Asma Khalid, Todd Bookman Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and tales of the undead to email@example.com.
Utility companies face allegations that they drove up the cost of electricity in New England, and they're pushing back. A rural doctor is told by the state she has to quit – in part because of her prescribing practices. Her patients ask, "who will help me with my pain?" We have the story of a wildfire that ravaged Maine 70 years ago. And we find out what the deal is with wild turkeys that are bugging residents around Boston. Dr. Anna Konopka of New London used only paper records and did not accept take insurance, but patients raved about her care. She closed her practice this month to settle allegations from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. Photo by Britta Greene for NHPR Gaslighted A new academic report, released in conjunction with the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund, says that New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period. The reason? Large utility companies created artificial gas shortages, according to the report. One of the big utilities named called the report a fabrication, but it's drawn concern from state officials. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she is "reviewing" the report, and public utility regulators in Connecticut have opened an investigation. Maine Public Radio's Fred Bever has the story. Mellanie Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez's 10-year-old daughter, goes shopping for school supplies with her grandmother, Jesus Rodriguez. Photo by Hadley Green for WBUR We've been following the story of a Chelsea, Massachusetts, man who remains behind bars after being arrested by federal immigration officials during a scheduled office visit. Francisco Rodriguez is awaiting potential deportation back to El Salvador, the country he fled more than ten years ago. But as WBUR's Shannon Dooling reports, life carries on for his family. There are homework assignments, meals to cook and loads of laundry to be done. Greg Gibson, of Gloucester, Mass, with a photo of his son's killer, Wayne Lo, on a computer screen. Gibson has kept up a correspondence with Lo for years, and the two men met in person for the first time this week. Photo by Anthony Brooks for WBUR It's been a little more than two weeks since a gunman opened fire on crowd of concert-goers in Las Vegas, leaving 58 people dead and 489 injured. While investigators search for a motive, the family members of those who were murdered are just beginning a long and painful period of grief. WBUR's Anthony Brooks has the story of two New England fathers who experienced this kind of grief firsthand, and who turned their losses into action. Not Your Typical Doctors Anna Konopka, M.D. Photo by Britta Greene for NENC Dr. Anna Konopka of New London, New Hampshire ended her decades -long practice this month. She's nearly 85, but her retirement is not voluntary. She says she was forced to shut her practice down by a system that no longer values her brand of patient-centered medicine. However, the New Hampshire Board of Medicine has a different opinion. The board challenged her medical decision making and other aspects of her work. While the details of the allegations against Konopka are confidential, it's likely that her practice of prescribing opioid painkillers to many of her patients is under scrutiny. New Hampshire Public Radio's Britta Greene reports. An empty marijuana jar at the Canna Care Docs clinic in Burlington. The company opened its first location in Vermont last month, and offers patients a new avenue to medical marijuana. Photo by Emily Corwin for VPR Two weeks ago, a new health clinic opened its doors in Burlington to do in Vermont what it has already done in several other states: bring thousands of new patients into the state's medical cannabis program. Canna Care Docs bills itself as a "medical marijuana evaluation and education center," and in places like Maine and Massachusetts, it has created an efficient new avenue for patients to gain legal access to medical marijuana. But some in Vermont worry that the Canna Care model sidesteps the important doctor-patient relationship. Vermont Public Radio's Peter Hirschfeld has more. Wild Fires, Wild Turkeys Fast-moving wildfires in northern California have destroyed thousands of homes and taken more than forty lives. Seventy years ago, this same time of year, wildfires burned over hundreds of miles in Maine. These fires wiped out towns and forever changed the landscape. New England Public Radio's Jill Kaufman reports. On Columbus Day, a Cranston, Rhode Island orthodontist stopped in to check on his office, only to find the double pane glass of his waiting room window shattered. And then he found the culprit– a fully-grown wild turkey – still alive. While smashing through a window is rare, human encounters with wild turkeys are becoming increasingly common in the Boston metro and other cities and suburbs around the country. Some residents complain that the animals are attacking humans and cars. Others are bemused or fascinated by the birds, like the Boston man who tweeted this cell phone video of a group of turkeys circling a dead cat, causing a stir online earlier this year. We talk with David Scarpitti, the wild turkey and upload game biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife about why we're seeing this influx of wild turkeys in urban and suburban areas – and what makes some of them so aggressive. Do you have a question about New England you'd like NEXT to investigate? Tell us about it here. About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Fred Bever, Shannon Dooling, Anthony Brooks, Britta Greene, Peter Hirschfeld, and Jill Kaufman Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon, "Gold Dayz" by Ultraista Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and turkey tales to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We check in with New Englanders and their loved ones in Puerto Rico. And with everything we now know about opioid addiction, are doctors still over- prescribing painkillers? Also, after Las Vegas, one gun shop owner says the industry should self-regulate. Plus, we chat with singer-songwriter Dar Williams about her new book on rebuilding America's towns. All that and more this week on NEXT. A pedestrian street in the Old Port in Portland, Maine, a neighborhood popular with tourists. Musician and author Dar Williams says towns thrive when they achieve a balance between places of interest to visitors and those of interest to residents. Photo by PhilipC via Flickr Aftermath Katie Herzog takes a walk with her dog, Pippen. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR Katie Herzog, a business consultant and grandmother from Newton, Massachusetts had back surgery at one of Boston's teaching hospitals last spring. The doctor sent her home with a powerful opiod, which she took as prescribed. Four weeks later, she was in withdrawal. Herzog's experience reveals the many ways doctors, nurses, and hospitals are still fueling the opioid epidemic, and helps to explain an emerging call to hold hospitals accountable. From WBUR's CommonHealth, Martha Bebinger reports. Connecticut native Veronica Montalvo (not pictured) has spent time delivering food, water, and toiletries to Puerto Ricans outside of San Juan. Photo by Veronica Montalvo via Facebook Veronica Montalvo was born in Willimantic, Connecticut and has lived in Hartford, Middletown, and Waterbury. She moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier this year, and she weathered Hurricane Maria in her 300-year-old apartment building. She says the hours of howling winds were unbearable. The walls of her apartment were so wet they looked like they were crying. Part of her ceiling caved in. But many others had it worse. So Montalvo set out to help. WNPR's Jeff Cohen has her story. Ben Beauchemin owns Wicked Weaponry in Hooksett, Nh. Photo by Casey McDermott for NHPR After the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, people on both sides of the debate over firearms started to come together toward a possible ban of "bump stocks," the device that the shooter used to increase the firing capacity of his rifle. Despite this small patch of middle ground, a gulf remains between gun advocates and those who want stricter gun control. New Hampshire Public Radio's Casey McDermott spoke with a gun store owner in Hookset, New Hampshire who says his outlook differs from others in the gun industry. More on the gun debate in New England: Wednesday's episode of The Exchange from NHPR. Vermont Public Radio's multimedia in-depth reporting project "Gunshots," which digs into six years of data on firearm deaths. NEXT's conversation with Harvard gun violence researcher Matthew Miller and VPR reporter Taylor Dobbs. A Better Place Have you ever revisited a town you hadn't seen in years and thought "Boy, this place has changed"? Suddenly, there's a new row of restaurants, or a boarded-up mill building has come back to life. Maybe you've witnessed the opposite: a hollowed-out shell of a once-busy main street. As a touring musician, singer-songwriter Dar Williams has a front seat to the changes happening in American towns large and small. Her new book is What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician's Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities – One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, & Open-Mike Night at a Time. In her writing, she theorizes about why some towns thrive, and others can't seem to get out of their post-industrial slump. The book is peppered with references to New England towns, and Williams has personal history here. She lived and worked in Boston, and Western Massachusetts, and went to college at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in the 1980s. And she visits the region often. You can see her perform at several venues this fall. Destructive Bugs, Healing Plants The yellow blobs are a sign of infestation by southern pine beetle. When attacked, the tree releases resin in attempt to push out the beetles. Photo courtesy of CT DEEP. Pine forests in New England could soon be at the mercy of an incredibly destructive insect. As WNPR's Patrick Skahill reports, the southern pine beetle is making its way north. And a new study says climate change could speed its migration. To prevent their collective cultural knowledge about medicinal plants from disappearing, some Vermont tribal nations are sharing their expertise with those outside the native communities. On a recent sunny morning, Vermont Public Radio's Kathleen Masterson went along on an educational plant walk. Usnea is a genus of lichen that's sometimes referred to as old man's beard. Photo by Kathleen Masterson for VPR About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Jeff Cohen, Martha Bebinger, Casey McDermott, Patrick Skahill, Kathleen Masterson Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon, "Johnny Appleseed" by Dar Williams Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and story leads email@example.com.
This week, we walk the US-Canada border with Border Patrol agents, and hear the concerns of civil rights lawyers who worry about their ability to stop people they suspect of living in the country without documentation. We'll also hear the story of an unusual experiment proposed for Martha's Vineyard, one that asks residents to trust a scientist who's trying to stop the spread of Lyme disease. We meet a man who's become a Boston institution while playing music in a bear suit. And we go to church on an uninhabited island. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brad Brant on the U.S. -Canada border in Highgate, Vt. Photo by Ryan Caron King for NENC South of the Border United States Border Patrol agents are dedicated to protecting the border 24 hours a day, monitoring for things like drug smuggling and human trafficking. Their jurisdiction also extends significantly inland. Within 100 miles of the border and the coastline they have broad authority to stop cars for immigration questions. Civil rights advocates say recent stops in New Hampshire and Vermont are concerning. Vermont Public Radio's Kathleen Masterson reports. Carlos Rafael's fleet, nearly one fifth of the fishing fleet in New Bedford, Massachusetts, photographed on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. Photo by Tristan Spinksi for Mother Jones/FERN. Earlier this year we brought you the intriguing true crime story of Carlos Rafael, also know as "The Codfather." Back in March, the New Bedford Massachusetts – based fishing magnate plead guilty to 28 counts of fraud. The Codfather grossly under-reported his catch – at the expense of smaller fishermen who lacked the permits to bring in more valuable fish. Last week, Rafael was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, plus a $200,000 fine. Because of his outsized influence, Rafael's imprisonment has the potential to reshape New England's groundfishing business. To learn more, we invited back Ben Goldfarb, a freelance journalist who's covered the case of the Codfather for Mother Jones Magazine and the Food and Environment Reporting Network. Veteran Cindy McGuirk speaks up for women veterans at a town hall meeting addressing concerns about the Manchester VA on July 31, 2017. Photo by Peter Biello for NHPR NEXT has also been keeping an eye on problems at the VA medical center in Manchester, New Hampshire. This past July, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team published an investigative report detaining unsanitary conditions and patient neglect at the VA – a facility that was given a four-star rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The next day, two top officials were removed. Two days after that, a pipe burst, flooding five floors at the hospital. One of those spaces was dedicated to women's health. Now, as the Manchester VA rebuilds itself, some see an opportunity to improve the experience for women veterans. New Hampshire Public Radio's Peter Biello reports. Surrounded by Water Not only was Lyme Disease discovered here in New England, it's had a pretty profound effect. As we've reported, the Northeast has the biggest concentration of Lyme cases, and the problem seems to be getting worse. Public health officials have tried all sorts of efforts to cut down on the transmission of the disease, which is spread by deer ticks – after they are infected by rodent hosts. Geneticist Kevin Esvelt (right) takes questions from a Martha's Vineyard audience. in July 2016. Photo by Annie Minoff for Science Friday One of the places with the highest concentrations of Lyme cases is also one of New England's most famous vacation destinations: Martha's Vineyard. That's where the podcast Undiscovered went to track a geneticist who's proposing a novel solution – releasing genetically modified mice on the island. Undiscovered co-host Annie Minoff joins us to talk about a science experiment that has as much to do with people and politics as mice and ticks. Margie Howe Emmons sits in the outdoor chapel on Chocurua Island on New Hampshire's Squam Like. Photo by Sean Hurley for NHPR Every Sunday morning through the summer, a bell rings out three times from an island in the middle of Squam Lake. It's a signal that boaters, kayakers, and even swimmers, should begin to make their way to the island – because church is about to start. With a granite boulder serving as an altar and music from a hand cranked organ, Chocurua Island has hosted religious services of all kinds for more than a hundred years. New Hampshire Public Radio's Sean Hurley visited the island with one of its most devoted caretakers. Net Zero The all-concrete "Home Run House" in Warren, VT. Photo by Jon Kalish for NENC We've been bringing you stories of super-energy-efficient housing as part of our series, The Big Switch. Most of these dwellings use a combination of traditional building materials, some high tech advancements, and renewable energy sources like solar and geothermal to get to what's called "net zero" – meaning NO fossil fuels. Reporter Jon Kalish found another such building in the small town of Warren, Vermont. But the key to this house is its unconventional building material. Renderings show the "Home Run House" when complete. Image courtesy of Dave Sellers. Bostonians are not exactly known for the warm fuzzies, but in recent years a fuzzy, costumed street performer has won the affection of many in New England's largest city. The busker dresses in a bear suit, plays the keytar, and is known as Keytar Bear. Freelance reporter Carol Vassar wanted to know more about the bear, and the man inside the costume. She brings us this report. A post on the "We Love Keytar Bear" Facebook page after the performer was attacked by teenagers this June. Keytar Bear is not the hero we deserve but the hero we need. @KeytarBear pic.twitter.com/8wwLlbISit — Roomba (@TheRoomba) September 18, 2017 About NEXT NEXT is produced at WNPR. Host: John Dankosky Producer: Andrea Muraskin Executive Producer: Catie Talarski Contributors to this episode: Kathleen Masterson, Ben Goldfarb, Peter Biello, Annie Minoff, Sean Hurley, Jon Kalish, and Carol Vassar Music: Todd Merrell, "New England" by Goodnight Blue Moon Get all the NEXT episodes. We appreciate your feedback! Send praise, critique, suggestions, questions, and story leads firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet your Keytar Bear photos to us @NEXTNewEngland.