Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

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Episode 107

Campers from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe search for bugs in the cedar swamp. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

This week: we explore eviction rates in Maine. Plus, New Hampshire is the only state in the country where the secure psychiatric unit is located inside of a prison. We discuss what that means for individuals in the unit. And, we learn how controlled burns can actually help keep some forests healthy. We also visit a summer camp held by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod that combines culture and science. In addition, we discuss the legacy of the Salem Witch Trials with an author and a historian, and we visit Yale University’s bell tower, where we listen to music from a unique instrument: the carillon. NHPR’s Peter Biello guest hosts for John Dankosky.

It’s NEXT.

Evictions in Maine Reflect National Trends

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Evictions take a heavy toll. For chronically poor tenants, getting evicted often leads to homelessness.  And neighborhoods with high eviction rates often see an increase in crime.   

Data from 2016 compiled by Princeton’s Eviction Lab shows about 900,000 families a year are evicted across the country — an estimated 2.3 million people. The national eviction rate, based on the number of evictions per 100 rental homes, stands at 2.34 percent.

Only two New England states have rates higher than that national average: Connecticut and Rhode Island. Both are densely populated states with high concentrations of low-income rental housing. But, in the state of Maine, the eviction rate has been steadily rising over the last two decades, and now hovers around the national average. 

As Maine Public Radio’s Susan Sharon reports, some 4,000 Mainers were evicted from their homes in 2016. She brings us the story of how eviction affected one woman and her four kids.

You can find all of the pieces in Maine Public’s series, “Evictions: Life Unpacked” here.

New Hampshire’s Secure Psychiatric Unit is Located in a Prison

Andrew Butler, who needed psychiatric care, was transferred from a hospital to a prison last year in New Hampshire. Photo by Wyatt Farwell. Photo courtesy of Doug Butler

Andrew Butler, who needed psychiatric care, was transferred from a hospital to a prison last year in New Hampshire. Photo by Wyatt Farwell. Photo courtesy of Doug Butler

If someone is sent to a psychiatric hospital and deemed to be a threat to themselves or others, they’re placed in what’s called a “secure psychiatric unit.” Usually, that unit is part of a psychiatric hospital. But in New Hampshire, the state’s only secure unit is inside a prison.

Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge, an investigative fellow at The Marshall Project, wrote about this unit in her recent article, “Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in a Prison.” She joins us to discuss what this means for patients.

“Outside/In:” The Effect of Fires on Our Region’s Forests

A controlled burn in a Pine Barren in northern New Hampshire. Photo by Taylor Quimby for New Hampshire Public Radio

A controlled burn in a Pine Barren in northern New Hampshire. Photo by Taylor Quimby for New Hampshire Public Radio

The fire season continues to get worse each year. Large parts of the American West have been engulfed in flames all summer long. But forest fires don’t happen only in the west, they’re an important part of New England, too. Sam Evans Brown, the host of NHPR’s “Outside/In” podcast, explores how fire shapes ecosystems. Sam’s theory about why the fire season has been so bad this year is interesting: he thinks it has to do with there not being enough fire.

You can listen to the full episode, “10×10 – Pine Barren” here. 

Mashpee Tribe’s Summer Camp Combines Culture and Science

Ron Mack fields questions from campers of the Mashpee Wampanoag science camp while he presents cases filled with different types of butterflies. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

Ron Mack fields questions from campers of the Mashpee Wampanoag science camp while he presents cases filled with different types of butterflies. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

In the rest of that episode, you can hear about the history of Native Americans conducting “controlled burns.” It’s a practice that is reflective of the connection native populations have with the land. This summer, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe on Cape Cod looked to carry on that tradition by holding a science camp for its middle schoolers. The kids dove into subjects like water quality, climate change, and sea turtle biology. 

WBUR’s Carrie Jung got to sit in on one of the camp excursions, which was infused with tribal history.

Exploring the Legacy of the Salem Witch Trials

A graveyard in Salem, MA. Photo by Cat Craig, Flickr

A graveyard in Salem, MA. Photo by Cat Craig, Flickr

If you’ve ever been to Salem, Massachusetts, you know that the history of the Salem Witch Trials is still very much alive today. It’s a history that New Englanders aren’t proud of, one that is very much based in our region’s puritanical roots. But it’s also one that continues to fascinate artists and historians alike.

In fact, those witch trials and their legacy are explored in Alice Hoffman’s newest book The Rules of Magic, a prequel to her bestselling Practical Magic. Alice Hoffman joined us along with historian Margo Burns to discuss the region’s ties to this history.

Guild of Carillonneurs Plays a Unique Instrument in New Haven

If you live, work, or study anywhere near the Old Campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, you get used to the sound of bells.

They’re coming from Harkness Tower–a campus landmark–and they’re actually an instrument called the carillon, which is played by a student-run guild of skilled Carillonneurs.

Connecticut Public Radio’s Ray Hardman takes us 200 feet above the Yale University campus for this report.

Photo at top of the page: Campers from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe search for bugs in the cedar swamp. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Guest Host: Peter Biello
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Lily Tyson
Digital Producer: Carlos Mejia
Executive Producer: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Susan Sharon, Sam Evans-Brown, Carrie Jung, Ray Hardman
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Lightning on a Blue Sky” by Twin Musicom, “Adrift” by Tycho, “Bittersweet Reel” by Chris Thile

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