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Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

Episode 146: Rising Seas And A Re-imagined Provincetown; Purdue Pharma’s Political Power

Architecture student Adam Sherman's designs for a future Provincetown, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Adam Sherman

This week on NEXT:

How the Sackler family has impacted Massachusetts politics, and why their role in a ski resort is causing controversy in a small town in Vermont. And a new program helps Vermont seniors outside of nursing homes. 

Plus, an architecture course imagines a future for Provincetown, Massachusetts as rising sea levels threaten the town.

We’ll also discuss why breweries have become a destination for candidates campaigning in New Hampshire. And we’ll go to a gravel bike race in Vermont. Finally, we’ll remember a poet who lived in New Hampshire.

It’s NEXT.

Photo at the top of the page: Architecture student Adam Sherman’s designs for a future Provincetown, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Adam Sherman

Connecticut Leads Lawsuit About Drug Prices

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said that the generic drug industry is profiting "in a highly illegal way" from Americans and he's at the forefront of a lawsuit that could hold defendants accountable for it. Photo by Frankie Graziano for Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said that the generic drug industry is profiting “in a highly illegal way” from Americans and he’s at the forefront of a lawsuit that could hold defendants accountable for it. Photo by Frankie Graziano for Connecticut Public Radio

Attorneys general in New England are taking the lead in lawsuits that are going after big pharma. The state of Connecticut is leading a suit which includes 44 states, including Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, to hold generic drug manufacturers responsible for the rising costs associated with pharmaceuticals.

The suit alleges that the conspiracy fixed prices on more than 100 generic drugs – driving up prices as much as 2,000 percent.

For more on this, check out reporting from Connecticut Public Radio’s Frankie Graziano

The Sackler Family and Massachusetts Politics

In the corridors of the Massachusetts State House. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

In the corridors of the Massachusetts State House. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

In Massachusetts, it’s not the cost of the drugs that Attorney General Maura Healey is looking at, it’s the role of one company in the opioid epidemic.  

Purdue Pharma, and the family that owns it, The Sacklers, are being sued for profiting from the harm being caused by the company’s opioid, oxycontin. The suit also gives us a window into how Purdue Pharma allegedly manipulated legislation at the Massachusetts statehouse. The company believed Beacon Hill lawmakers could make or break their profits, and Healey alleges the Sacklers and Purdue bragged about killing bills — and writing a law to increase sales.

WBUR’s Christine Willmsen has been examining the company’s influence and power on Beacon Hill.

For more on the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, listen back to our interview with ProPublica’s David Armstrong.

The Sackler Family’s Controversial Role in a Ski Resort

A 1980's postcard depicts Mt. Snow in Vermont. Photo credit of Dutch Simba, Flickr, Creative Commons

A 1980’s postcard depicts Mt. Snow in Vermont. Photo credit of Dutch Simba, Flickr, Creative Commons

The lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and the family that owns the company, the Sacklers, is bringing more scrutiny to their investments, and the affiliation they have with art institutions and universities.

Another example of the family’s wide reach in New England? Their stake in a company that owns ski mountains across our region. And the Sackler name is now causing controversy.

The Boston Globe’s Andy Rosen reported on the impact this is having in one ski community, and he joined us to discuss what he found. 

Adult Family Care Helps Vermont’s Elderly

David Beauregard lives at Nadia Marin's home in Hyde Park. Photo by Emily Corwin for VPR

David Beauregard lives at Nadia Marin’s home in Hyde Park. Photo by Emily Corwin for VPR

There are fears in this country that as baby boomers age and the workforce shrinks there may not be enough people or money to care for all our elders. In many ways, in Vermont, that reality has already arrived. Now a small but growing number of families are opening their homes to strangers. Elderly strangers, who need a lot of care. VPR’s Emily Corwin reports on how this works, and why.

The Future of Provincetown, Massachusetts

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Rising seas are a frightening reality for coastal communities, including many historic towns that have been built right to the water’s edge over the last few centuries. Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod, is a perfect example of this kind of community. But what happens to the character of the place when sea level rise forces it to adapt?

Architecture students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design took this as a challenge in a course called: “The Future of Provincetown.” It’s led by Preston Scott Cohen,  a professor of architecture at Harvard University’s graduate school of design. We had Scott join us in the studio, along with one of his students, Adam Sherman, who is also a Master of Architecture Candidate at Harvard University’s graduate school of design.

Candidates Stop at New Hampshire’s Breweries

Photo by Allegra Boverman. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic candidate for President, visited To Share Brewing Company in Manchester on Friday evening. There was a drink there named for her on tap, Kirstenweizen, which she sampled. Photo by Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic candidate for President, visited To Share Brewing Company in Manchester on Friday evening. There was a drink there named for her on tap, Kirstenweizen, which she sampled. Photo by Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It’s one of the oldest cliché questions in politics… what candidate would you want to have a beer with? In the past few years, there’s been a national explosion of craft brewing – and New England is right at the center.

In New Hampshire, there are more than 90 craft breweries, and they’ve joined diners, living rooms and town halls as go-to venues for face-time with the Democrats running for president. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik reports.

Vermont’s Gravel Roads Lure Bikers 

Gravel bicycle races, like the Rasputitsa Gravel Race in Burke, are increasingly drawing people from around the world to ride Vermont's unpaved roads. Photo by Will Freihofer

Gravel bicycle races, like the Rasputitsa Gravel Race in Burke, are increasingly drawing people from around the world to ride Vermont’s unpaved roads. Photo by Will Freihofer

A few months ago, NHPR’s Sam Evans Brown gave us a history of the complex maze of mountain biking trails that wind through northern New England.

In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the mountain bike trail network has been expanded as a way to boost tourism. But now, there’s a growing trend in cycling, that’s using the already-existing infrastructure of our rural woodlands: gravel roads.

VPR’s Bayla Metzger takes us to the first big gravel bike race of the season.

Here is a list of upcoming gravel races around New England:

You can even more gravel races around the region here.

Remembering Poet Donald Hall

An estate sale at Hall's former home drew hundreds of people to Wilmot, New Hampshire last weekend. Photo by Britta Greene for New Hampshire Public Radio

An estate sale at Hall’s former home drew hundreds of people to Wilmot, New Hampshire last weekend. Photo by Britta Greene for New Hampshire Public Radio

We’re going to leave you with a short story about an estate sale, the kind you’d find in just about every small town on a spring weekend.  This one, though, was different. It drew a big crowd to Wilmot, New Hampshire, the home of Former Poet Laureate of the United States, Donald Hall, who died in June 2018.

Hall grew up in Connecticut, studied at Philips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, and later lived most of his life in New Hampshire,

NHPR’s Britta Greene went to the estate sale and found some people waiting in line, who gave us a reading of one of Hall’s poems.

The poet’s home was purchased by a New Hampshire couple who intend to preserve it.

Voices reading Hall’s “The Things” include Liz Kirby, Lynn Beach, Carolyn Demers, Kimberly, Tara McGee, Tom Morgan, Jack Kirk, and Mandy Tirrell.

New England Music Featured on NEXT

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Lily Tyson
Digital Producer: Carlos Mejia
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Christine Willmsen, Emily Corwin, Annie Ropeik, Bayla Metzger, Britta Greene
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Haunted Hole” by Wren Kitz, “Slow Warm Weight” by Wooden Dinosaur, “Got a Way” by The NEKTones

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