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Episode 65: Border Battle

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.

A scene from the film “Forrest Gump” was shot at Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine. The lighthouse is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy, who was 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

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