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As you may have noticed, it’s been unusually dry here in the Granite State for the past few months.

Thunderstorms Thursday afternoon provided some much-needed rain, but federal officials recently classified most of central and southern New Hampshire as being in a moderate drought.

David Miskus specializes in drought monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He joined Morning Edition to talk about what this all means.

Qualsiasi/flickr

 

A strong storm has taken down trees and power lines in southern New Hampshire and a lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a house fire in Peterborough.

WMUR-TV reports police had to block off a neighborhood in Salem after trees fell on roofs, lawns and cars. Branches and power lines were in the streets Thursday.

No injuries were reported.

The fire in Peterborough started in a basement Thursday afternoon and was put out quickly. No one was hurt.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

The Coast Guard and other agencies are finished cleaning up oily water that discharged into the Piscataqua River earlier this week.

The Coast Guard says the discharge came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ferdinand R. Hassler ship on Tuesday. The Coast Guard says clean-up concluded on Thursday with assistance from NOAA, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Enpro. Assessments of the shoreline found no impacts to wildlife.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

 

Former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter says she is ready to win back the seat she lost to Republican Frank Guinta now that the Federal Election Commission has found that he accepted illegal campaign donations from his parents.

The case involves $355,000 that Guinta reported lending himself in 2010. He ran ads calling Shea-Porter a liar and denied the money came from his parents, but the FEC said recently it did.

Dave Anderson

The patter of rain. Fingers of wind comb the canopy of tender leaves. These are exotic sounds of the new tree canopy in late May. New Hampshire forests are adapted to withstand rigors of wind and weather. Leaf structures reflect inner tree plumbing we rarely consider.

Tubes of the water-moving "xylem" are coiled like springs that stretch and recoil to some degree and not break the tension of water in these drinking straws.  Stem fibers of differing lengths break at different stress points

Throwback Brewery

Throwback Brewery in North Hampton has a new beer on tap: Carrie On. It's named in memory of a friend and customer of Throwback Brewery who died of breast cancer. Her name was Carolyn “Carrie” Hunter. For more on Carrie and her memorial beer, NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Nicole Carrier, one of the co-founders of the brewery. 
 

ronmerk / Morguefile

A program designed to teach doctors, police officers, and other caregivers about military culture is set to launch in New Hampshire this summer.

The Portsmouth-based Dare Mighty Things will run the courses. They've been running similar courses for years in other states. 

A survey of New Hampshire veterans last year found that veterans often report feeling misunderstood by civilian doctors, police officers, and school officials—and that creates a barrier to care and services.

Jacqueline Bessette of Dare Mighty Things says these courses attempt to change that.

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved along party lines its $11.3 billion state spending plan. The 2-year budget now heads to the Senate floor next Thursday.

The Senate proposal is a $99 million increase over the House budget but $66 million less than what the Governor proposed.

The plan increases funding cut in the House version for social services including substance abuse treatment, elderly care and developmental services.

With all of this warm weather, it definitely feels like summer. But it isn’t yet.  And for local farmers, it’s still too early to produce local crops. And that means restaurant owners using locally sourced food are still looking for new solutions to get through the trickiest time of year: the long, cold winters. But now Farm to Table Restaurants are getting farmers to consider new methods for supplying produce in the lean months.

Manchester Monarchs

For the first time in franchise history, the Manchester Monarchs are headed to the Calder Cup Finals.

The Monarchs finished off a sweep of the Hartford Wolf Pack with a 3-1 win Wednesday night, capturing the team’s first American Hockey League Eastern Conference title.

Manchester will take on the winner of the Western Conference finals. The Utica Comets and the Grand Rapids Griffins are tied at a game apiece.

Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals will be June 6 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Balsams resort developer Les Otten said Wednesday night that he is more confident that the ambitious project portrayed as providing a huge economic boost to the North Country will move forward...

And, he said he hopes construction will begin before the end of the year.

Otten appeared in Colebrook to update the Coos County Planning Board on the project and answer questions from about five dozen people in the audience.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is in New Hampshire for the first time since kicking off his presidential campaign Tuesday in Burlington. And despite the heat, dozens of people came out to show their support.

New Hampshire voters packed the small space of the New England College campus in Concord – waving Bernie Sanders signs in an attempt to stay cool while they waited for the Senator to arrive.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

 

The US Coast guard says so far it seems that a small oil spill near the mouth of the Piscataqua River has been totally cleaned up before it could reach the shore.

The spill came from oily water held in a tank aboard the research catamaran Ferdinand R. Hassler, after it had been used on the ship.

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr CC

A powerful synthetic opioid manufactured in illicit labs was the main driver of the record 325 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire last year.

Fentanyl is used to manage severe chronic and post-surgical pain. As a pharmaceutical, prescribed in lozenges or transdermal patches, it is 10 to 50 times more potent than morphine.

But, increasingly, a powdered form of the drug that is 200 to 2,000 times more potent is being mixed with heroin or passed off as heroin to unwitting users.

NH DHHS

As of this week, the state has tested the blood of 260 adults and children who were exposed to contaminated well water at the Pease Tradeport.  But some parents are questioning why their children are asked to sign a consent form before being tested. 

About a year ago, water tests revealed that a potentially harmful contaminant had been leaching into well water on the former Pease Airforce Base.  It was from old firefighting foam that was used as early as 1970.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

One day after Planet Fitness announced it was going public, the New Hampshire-based gym tells legislators it might not be able to afford to stay in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley introduced a measure Wednesday hoping to keep the company here, by exempting businesses from being taxed on the share they sell to a corporate partner once they go public.

Currently 200 corporate jobs would be lost if the company moved headquarters. The company, which began in Dover in 1992, has more than 950 locations nationwide.

NHPR Staff

 

A plan to open the New Hampshire State House to the public on weekends has the green light from a key Senate committee.

The plan calls for the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce to begin a program next summer to keep the State House open for guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.

Kelly Ayotte in Portsmouth
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

Sen. Kelly Ayotte continues to call for 1st District Congressman Frank Guinta to resign.

In an interview with NHPR's Morning Edition, Ayotte said if Guinta stays in office, the attention will continue to be on the Federal Election Commission's finding that he accepted more than $300,000 in illegal campaign donations from his parents in 2010. 

 

Rescuers have come to the aid of a hiker who became stranded along a steep Mount Washington trail.

The U.S. Forest Service says Frank Tonioli of Halifax, Massachusetts, decided to leave a marked trail and climb some rocky terrain in the Huntington Ravine when he became stranded Monday. A partner dialed 911 and the Forest Service received word that afternoon.

youtube.com

 

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former Seabrook police officer accused of assaulting a suspect by slamming him into a wall.

WMUR-TV that jurors could not reach a verdict against Mark Richardson. He was charged with assault after video surfaced showing him pushing Michael Bergeron into a wall at the Seabrook Police Station in 2009.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The Senate Finance Committee is finalizing its version of the budget this week.

So far the Senate budget plan spends roughly $65 million dollars less than what the Governor proposed but $93 million more than what passed in the House last month.

That is after the Ways and Means Committee estimated $118 million more revenue over the next biennium than what the House had to work with.

The current plan restores funding cut in the House version including money for developmental disability services, elderly care and substance abuse treatment.

New Hampshire Senate budget writers have voted along party lines to cut business taxes starting in 2017. 

Currently the state’s Business Profit Tax (BPT) stands at 8.5 % and the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) at .75 %. Together the two taxes make up the largest source of state revenues.

Under this measure those would drop every year until 2019 when the BPT would be 7.9 % and the BET would be .675 %. These cuts were originally intended to take effect starting in 2016.

Flicker CC

The state has won a federal grant to fund a major land conservation deal near Cardigan Mountain.  

The Forest Legacy Grant program gave the state $3.8 million dollars to put a conservation easement on the forest near Cardigan Mountain. 5,100 acres in the towns north of Newfound Lake will still be harvested for timber, but can now never be developed.  The landowner – Green Acre Woodlands, which also owns anabutting property where Iberdrola developed the Groton Wind farm – will continue to hold the property, while the state will hold the conservation easement.

Jim Gathany / PD-USGOV

Tick season is upon us. It’s time to take precautions against these little potential carriers of Lyme Disease. And while you’re tucking your pant-legs into your socks, one little robot is waiting to comb through your backyard and capture and kill these little critters. For more on this, we turn to David Brooks. He’s the author of the weekly Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and many a geeky blog-post at Granite Geek.org.

Senate budget writers have rejected a $250,000 annual boost in funding for Crotched Mountain,  a rehab center in Greenfield, N.H.

The Governor included the funding in her budget. Currently, 40 people are being treated at Crotched Mountain. 

Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester told her colleagues Tuesday the state’s Health and Human Commissioner did not support the additional funding, adding that it would be cheaper for the state if residents accessed these services elsewhere.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

As lawmakers in Concord continue to work through the budget process, funding for the Meals on Wheels program has been in the middle of the House and Senate’s differences.

The House budget included a 50 percent reduction to payments that in part fund the program.  Last week the Senate’s fiscal committee restored $10 million in funding for in-home services, including Meals on Wheels.  But it’s far from a done deal—the full Senate has yet to vote on it and lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a budget.

Muffet / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is beginning an inspection of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge that connects Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.

The New Hampshire DOT is warning motorists to expect delays due to lane closures when the inspection begins June 1.

The inspection is slated to last all week and could carry into the following Monday.

The U.S. 1 bridge, which is rated structurally deficient, is being replaced by a new, $160 million bridge, but the new bridge won't be finished in 2017.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

 

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen are inviting New Hampshire veterans to attend a forum at Saint Anselm College to discuss the Veterans Choice Card program.

The card provides "backup" care if a veteran cannot be seen by a Veterans Affairs facility in 30 days or if the VA's closest medical facility is challenging to access. In situations like this, Veterans are eligible to receive care outside of the VA.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Former technology executive Carly Fiorina is returning to New Hampshire as she campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination.

Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., is speaking at the President's Circle Leadership Forum at Rivier University on Tuesday. Following that event in Nashua, she'll head to a luncheon hosted by the Derry GOP and a house party in Bedford.

www.shaheen.senate.gov

  A report on bipartisanship in Congress finds Senators from New Hampshire and Maine among the most likely to work with members of the other party. 

The only two Republican Senators from New England scored high on the Bipartisan Index put out by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University

Maine's Susan Collins was ranked most likely to reach across the aisle, with New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte seventh.

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