New England

The 2016 presidential election is a big birthday for the New Hampshire primary, as it turns 100.

The state’s first presidential primary was held in 1916, when old-school Yankee Republicans dominated New England. Since then, the GOP has shifted South. And modern New Hampshire Republicans are far more socially progressive than their fellow Republican kin across the country.

Saying that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady "was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs" below required levels, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the punishment.

In doing so, Goodell also faulted Brady for not cooperating with the investigation, citing his "destruction of potentially relevant evidence" — a reference to Brady's cellphone and SIM card, which he gave to an assistant to be destroyed, according to Goodell's findings.

The state of Vermont and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission don't always see eye to eye. The state and the feds disagreed over the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when the Vernon reactor was operating. And now that the plant is shut down, the state has challenged the federal agency over emergency planning and decommissioning.

Michael Pennay / Creative Commons

Researchers at UMass-Amherst are working to develop a device to help protect bats from wind turbine blades that could kill them.

Bill Coppersmith, a fisherman in Maine, might want to buy a lottery ticket. He's gotten pretty lucky lately. This week he caught a rare orange lobster while fishing with his sternman Brian Skillings, writes the Portland Press Herald.

The paper talked to Robert Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, who said that the actual odds of catching an orange lobster would just be a guess. But "it's one in several million, there's no doubt about that," he said.

John Roman/iStock

With 2015 half over, Hartford is at the top of the list when it comes to the number of murders in New England cities, with Springfield just behind.

When you hear the words "green brewery," you might picture gleaming solar panels or aerodynamic wind turbines. But the most valuable piece of technology at the $24 million headquarters of Smuttynose Brewing Co. on the seacoast of New Hampshire isn't quite as sexy.

"The place you have to start is the building envelope," says Smuttynose founder Peter Egelston.

From May 30 into June 1, more than a million gallons of sewage and stormwater from the Vergennes sewer system flowed untreated from a pump station into Otter Creek.

Authorities investigating the escape of two convicted murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. this weekend believe the men might have planned to flee to Vermont.

Vermont will have a new governor in 2017.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Monday afternoon that he won’t seek a fourth term in office. The Democrat says he’ll leave the state in far better shape than he found it. But his Republican critics argue otherwise, and the open seat for governor has made for an early start to the 2016 campaign. 

With Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains behind him, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign Tuesday afternoon at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

Two men are sliding nine pine coffins into a vault in the ground on Chestnut Street in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. The remains were disinterred in 2003, part of a long-forgotten burial ground for African slaves discovered during routine road work. Now, they are being reburied among 200 other long forgotten men and women as part of Portsmouth's new African Burying Ground Memorial Park.

The future of Vermont’s health insurance exchange depends on the Shumlin administration’s ability to meet a looming deadline. Still unanswered, though, is the question of how to proceed if the milestone goes unmet. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and top lawmakers think the solution might be in Connecticut.

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

Sport may be dismissed as inconsequential child's play, but there is, in counterpoint, the ideal that sport is our best model for human fairness and equality — a Garden of Eden with competition. But, of course, there are snakes in this athletic garden. Rules will be broken.

To my mind there are, in ascending order, three kinds of transgressions. The first is the most simple: transgressions committed in the heat of the action, instinctively, because of frustration, failure or anger. There are referees to tend to that misconduct.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team will accept the punishment handed to it by the NFL in connection with the "Deflategate" scandal.

Days after a lengthy report found it was "more probable than not" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of rule-breaking, the NFL has issued its punishment: a four-game suspension for Brady and a $1 million fine for the Patriots.

Brady will sit out the first four games of the 2015 regular season without pay, the NFL says, citing "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."

Update, 8:17 p.m. ET

During a live interview at an Patriots-fan-filled event in Salem, Mass., New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady refused to comment on the NFL's report, saying he hadn't had time to digest it yet.

Brady did tell the audience that the controversy hadn't detracted from his enjoyment of the Patriots' Super Bowl win this past February, and that the team fairly earned "everything we got this year."

Original Post:

Two members of the New England Patriots' staff probably violated the NFL's playing rules by tampering with game balls, according to a lengthy review of the scandal that's come to be known as "Deflategate."

The report names two Patriots workers who had access to footballs before a pivotal game; it also states, "it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The chairmen of the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots made overtures to the Hartford-area business community on Monday, taking questions on their plans for a third Connecticut casino. 

VPR News has learned from several sources that Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

Creative Commons

Several governors from New England visited Connecticut on Thursday to talk about regional energy infrastructure challenges. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Five of New England's governors met in Hartford on Thursday to speak about energy issues facing the region. At the top of the agenda was the price of electricity.

Courtesy of Tom Gray

The remains of a sailor killed at Pearl Harbor are coming home to New England.

Laura Hubers
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

When you think about plants, you probably picture individual trees or your favorite type of flower, but you probably don't think of them in a bigger way: as habitat.

The New England Council

New England can reclaim its title as a manufacturing hub by working together to nurture the development of the advanced manufacturing industry. That's the conclusion of a new report being released Wednesday by the nonpartisan New England Council

Tom Barnes / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hike through any forest in Connecticut and you're bound to encounter a relic of the state's agricultural past: stone walls. Decades ago, the walls enclosed large tracts of open pasture and farmland, which was ideal habitat for animals like the New England cottontail rabbit.

But as farms were abandoned and that open space turned into mature forest, those rabbits disappeared. Now, federal efforts are underway to recreate some of that open space, and bring the New England cottontail back.

Ep Huj / Flickr

Massachusetts doctors have seen an increase in the number of pregnant women addicted to opiates. Dr. Rachana Singh from Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield has said the number of babies withdrawing from opioids in their NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) has tripled since 2012. 

Backers of a renewable energy bill making its way through the Vermont Legislature say a draft ruling from regulators in Connecticut effectively endorses the Vermont legislation.

Around Christmastime, Vermont resident Erin Wagg had a problem. Her family had received a card from a friend in Italy — someone from an old exchange program — and it was written in Italian. "I don't read Italian at all," says Wagg. So she posted about it on a network called the Front Porch Forum, asking if anyone could read and translate the card for her. From her town of Richmond, Vt. (population 4,000), she received more than 20 offers of help.

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