News

Jason Moon for NHPr

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas officially kicked-off his reelection campaign Tuesday night. The event was held just as news of how city officials handled a rape at a Manchester high school in 2015 is creating controversy.

In a short speech at the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester, Ted Gatsas struck an upbeat tone to start his campaign.

“I hope everybody has the ‘I love Manchester’ patch on," said Gatsas, "because that’s what were going to run on this time. About I love Manchester and the great things that are happening in this city.”

Wikipedia

If you pass through the northern New Hampshire town of Stewartstown and Clarksville, you may notice signs informing you that you are standing on the 45th parallel, the halfway point between the North Pole and the equator.

Such signs appear in quite a few places along the 45th parallel, but some are farther north and some farther south than others.

The 45th parallel, in other words, is a fuzzy line, and in this week’s Granite Geek column for the Concord Monitor, David Brooks explains why the line is so difficult to nail down—and why so many people insist upon trying.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The New Hampshire parole board plays a key role in the state’s criminal justice system. Its nine members decide which inmates get out on parole, and which parolees return to prison. Although parole hearings are open to the public, they take place with little oversight or public scrutiny. And, unlike most legal proceedings, they can be surprisingly unrefined affairs.

Utility regulators in Vermont have signed off in the $1.5 billion purchase of Fairpoint Communications by Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.

Regulators in Maine and New Hampshire have already approved the merger.

Governor Chris Sununu says he remains committed to reforming Obamacare but opposes the plan proposed by Senate Republican leaders.

The governor's opposition comes as the Senate's top Republican says he is pushing off a scheduled vote on the Senate's version of the bill.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Last week, the Supreme Court said it will hear a case later this year on partisan gerrymandering—a questionably constitutional practice in which legislators draw lines of voting districts in a way that gives their party a built-in electoral advantage. The Supreme Court has never ruled on partisan gerrymandering, and its decision could have a dramatic impact on the way districts are drawn after the 2020 census.

Last week, lawmakers in Concord signed off on a plan to provide state support for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The new law will use revenue from the electronic gambling game keno to give school districts more money for full-day kindergarten.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently sat down with NHPR host Sally Hirsch-Dickinson to talk about what this mean for schools and town across New Hampshire. Listen to their conversation here.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The sexual assault trial of a former student from an elite New Hampshire prep school who was encouraged to bake bread for his accuser as an act of weekly "penance" has been called off by the prosecutor.

The Portsmouth Herald reports jury selection was scheduled Monday in the misdemeanor case of 19-year-old Chukwudi Ikpeazu, of Parkland, Florida. A Phillips Exeter Academy classmate alleged that he fondled her against her will in 2015.

New Hampshire state police say shooting ranges at Sig Sauer Academy facing Route 101 have been shut down for now following their investigation of the origin of a bullet that went through a driver's windshield in Epping in April.

Kristen Burke, of Hampton, was driving on Route 101 between exits 7 and 8 when something struck and shattered her windshield on April 11. Workers replacing her windshield said they found .45-caliber bullet lodged in the dashboard. No one was hurt.

Keene State College

The president of Keene State College is stepping down after four years in that role.

Anne Huot said her departure was for "personal and professional reasons." She will spend the next year on unpaid leave before returning to a faculty position in biology at the college.

Huot saw Keene State through a number of challenges including the pumpkin festival riots in 2014 and a unionization vote by college employees last year.

She will officially leave her position July 31st.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

A recent ruling by state utility regulators removes the limits on how much electricity owners of solar panels can sell back to the grid.

In a decision announced last Friday, the Public Utilities Commission says it’s doing away with the current 100-megawatt limit on solar net-metering. That’s when owners of solar panels sell any unused energy they generate back to the public grid.

The decision settles a long running debate between advocates for the state’s growing solar industry, and utility companies.

USGS website

Cyanobacteria advisories are in place at Elm Brook Park beach in Hopkinton and Silver Lake State Park Beach in Hollis. 

State officials are urging visitors to stay out of the water if they observe blue-green scum or clumps suspended in the water column. Cyanobacteria can be toxic to both humans and dogs. 

The Grafton Superior Court will hear a motion to dismiss a much-publicized case involving a swastika-printed flour sack in an antiques store in Littleton, New Hampshire Tuesday. 

In November, Katherine Ferrier took a picture of the flour sack and posted it to Facebook, writing as part of a long post, "How do you think it’s okay to hang this thing here, front and center, given everything it stands for?"

NHPR Flickr

It's been two years this week since New Hampshire's hands-free driving law banning the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel went into effect.

Major Matt Shapiro of the New Hampshire State Police was one of the leaders behind this law, aimed at getting drivers's eyes away from their phones and on the road.  Speaking on The Exchange, Shapiro says there is clear evidence it's working. 

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has given permission for a 192-mile high-voltage transmission line to cross 61 parcels, finding it would be safe and wouldn't infringe on the public's use.

The Northern Pass project cleared the hurdle this month when the PUC granted permission to developer Eversource for 57 overhead land and four underground water crossings that are mostly on property controlled by the developer and licensed for power lines.

apasciuto via Flickr cc

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the Trump Administration to slow its push for offshore oil and gas developments on the East Coast. 

An Executive Order signed in April urges oil exploration in the mid and south Atlantic. Currently, five companies are seeking permits to conduct what are called seismic surveys in these areas. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

U.S. Senate Republican leaders unveiled their new health care bill Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it next week, but they don’t plan to hold any public hearings on the proposal. 

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators say that’s why they decided to have their own public hearing Friday in Concord.

Peter Biello

Governor Chris Sununu recently signed a bill into law that would eliminate the requirement that hair braiders obtain a license to do their work. These licenses were often expensive to obtain and, some argued, unnecessary, in part because no potentially dangerous chemicals are involved.

This could open the door to employment for workers, many of whom are African American, who learned this skill at a young age from family members.

Minuteman Health, Inc. announced that it will no longer sell insurance policies in New Hampshire as of January 1, 2018.

The Massachusetts-based non-profit, created as a co-op through the Affordable Care Act, has sold policies in each of the last three years through the health insurance exchange, and earlier this spring, submitted an application to New Hampshire regulators to again do so in 2018.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Sununu says his staff is reviewing the US Senate’s version of the health care reform bill, made public Thursday.

As the Senate released the bill, Sununu published a letter to Congressional leadership along with New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Chuck Morse and House Speaker Shawn Jasper.  

Peter Biello

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

File Photo

About 30 airmen from the New Hampshire Air National Guard are schedule to be deployed to the Middle East next month.

The airmen will provide security for six air bases in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which refers to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.

The deployment ceremony held this Sunday will be attended by Governor Chris Sununu, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

Captain Michael Petrin, with the Air National Guard, says having the dignitaries on hand can be important to the airmen.

Seuss Hawkeye Métivier via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/757M

Changes are coming to the streets in Walpole Saturday, including new traffic patterns, bikeways and walkways. It's all temporary - part of an effort to show how relatively small design changes can create a safer space for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages.

"I grew up riding my bike pretty much everywhere," said Cheryl Mayberry, who sits on the town's select board. "These days, there's not a lot of safe places for parents and kids to get out and ride around or walk comfortably."

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: June 23, 2017

Jun 23, 2017

Catch up on this week's stop N.H. stories:  The New Hampshire House and Senate pass an $11.7 billion budget. Despite a Republican majority, GOP leaders had to work hard to pass this spending plan, but it's now on its way to the Governor's desk.  Another fraught issue for both sides of the aisle: a bill funding full-day kindergarten.  And more than 80 Great Dane dogs were rescued from a puppy mill operating out of a mansion in Wolfeboro.

Evans-Brown/NHPR.

Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown, joined us in the field this week at Something Wild. We were in Sutton, NH tracking some turkey vulture chicks, because Dave discovered some vultures living among the rocks in a nearby cliff-face.

State legislator and Manchester alderman Thomas Katsiantonis was indicted Thursday by a grand jury on charges of theft, tax evasion, and falsifying evidence.

Katsiantonis is a 44-year-old six-term Democrat in the New Hampshire House.

The state attorney general says Katsiantois stole $423,000 in meal and rental tax payments through two restaurants he owns in Manchester.

He was also formally charged with evading business profits taxes over four years. A CPA from Claremont also was indicted for conspiring to commit tax evasion.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan are holding what they're calling an emergency field hearing on the Republican health care bill.

That hearing is slated for Friday at 2 p.m. at the UNH School of Law in Concord.

The Democratic Senators say they want to hear from Granite Staters about the legislation, the details of which were released earlier today.

According to the Associated Press, the bill would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance, and eliminate several tax increases.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

A large section of downtown Portsmouth has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dozens of individual sites around Portsmouth are already on the national register, but the announcement made earlier this week adds over 1200 historic resources to the list in one fell swoop. Those resources include historic buildings, cemeteries, and archaeological sites.

Reagan Ruedig is a historic preservationist and sits on the board of the Portsmouth Historical Society. She says the benefits of being on the register include more than just prestige.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s 400 plus state lawmakers had their last session day Thursday and they had one major item left on the agenda to get through – passing the state’s next two-year budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A contentious debate Thursday at the Statehouse revolved around pregnant women being allowed to murder people. This strange line of debate had to do with a possible mistake in a proposal that was passed earlier this month.

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