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Much of the state is officially in a drought.

WMUR reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture places central and southern New Hampshire in a moderate drought.

Northern areas of the state are in abnormally dry conditions.

Concord is running 5 inches below the average precipitation, going back to March 1.

River levels are also running lower than average.

Dry conditions have led to high fire risk across the state.

Ryan Lessard

 

The annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial gathering is scheduled to take place in Concord.

Speakers at Friday's ceremony include Gov. Maggie Hassan and Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin, who is expected to read the names of New Hampshire's 46 fallen police officers.

The New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drum Band will play.

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Jury deliberations are expected to begin Friday in the case of an ex-Seabrook police officer accused of slamming a drunken driving suspect head-first into a concrete wall.

The Union Leader reports Mark Richardson took the stand in his own defense Thursday, saying he was trying to subdue the 19-year-old Michael Bergeron.

Richardson says Bergeron was being belligerent and resistant.

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Memorial Day weekend is upon us, marking the unofficial start of summer.

With the warm weather, farmers markets are opening for the season across the Granite State, but there aren't as many here as there used to be.

(Click here for the Department of Agriculture's directory of farmers markets for 2015, with times and dates)

Jane Lang is president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. She joined Morning Edition to explain why.

Courtesy of brewbooks via Flickr/Creative Commons (https://flic.kr/p/sqY5Yp).

Biologists like to talk about crocodiles, cassowaries, even chickens as being descendants of the dinosaurs. But in your back yard is likely something that can trace its ancestry to before the dinosaurs, some 360 million years ago. We’re talking about Ferns!

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Brady Carlson / NHPR

Years ago, the members of the community at Canterbury Shaker Village grew their own food, and sold some of the surplus to residents in the area. There hasn’t been farming on the site for a number of years. That’s why farm manager Stacey Cooper was pleasantly surprised to find the soil in such good shape.

"I was a bit surprised that the nutrient analysis was as balanced as it was," Cooper said, as she looked over the roughly 3/4ths of an acre that make up her farmland. "It didn't need much at all - a testament to how well they took care of their land."

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The Senate Capital Budget Committee voted along party lines on Thursday to not spend $4 million to study building a commuter rail from Boston to New Hampshire.

Democrats proposed the measure, which Governor Maggie Hassan included the money in her state budget, saying a rail would boost the state’s economy.

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For many kids, youth  sports is a time to learn things like teamwork, goal setting, time management-skills that often prove valuable off the field and in work settings later in life. But for kids who can’t afford the fees associated with team sports or the equipment or the uniforms or the transportation to away games, these learning opportunities are few and far between. As we look this week at the growing opportunity gap between rich and poor kids in their first decade of life, we turn to Daniel Gould.

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All week long, we've has been looking at how disparities in early childhood can shape a child’s chances for later in life.

Issues surrounding what some call the opportunity gap and others call inequality of opportunity, are common concerns of politicians in both parties these days, starting at the very top.

NHPR Staff

 

In her second visit to New Hampshire since announcing her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to visit the Seacoast area Friday for campaign events focused on small businesses.

Her campaign says she will visit Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton for a discussion with community members focused on business regulations, taxes and growing a small business. In the afternoon, Clinton will attend an organizing meeting with campaign supporters in Exeter. The campaign has not released details on the location of the Exeter event.

Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Whether or not to spend $4 million to study the impact of bringing commuter rail service from Boston to New Hampshire is coming up for debate before a key Senate committee

The Senate Capital Budget committee will meet Thursday afternoon as it finalizes a proposal for capital spending projects in the next 2-year state budget. The capital budget also includes spending on projects such as a new courthouse and a new women's prison in Concord.

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Research shows that participation in organized activities, like sports or music lessons, plays a big role in closing the opportunity gap in school, and in life. 

But with the rise of "pay to play" sports in school, and the virtual disappearance of affordable neighborhood piano lessons, there's an increasing gap in the ability of kids from poor families to participate in organized enrichment.

So, how does New Hampshire's gap look?

Jens Schott Knudsen/Flickr

 

New Hampshire health officials have released a report suggesting there's a decrease in occupational injury and illness rates in the state over the years.

The report finds that from 2000 to 2012, there were 160 work-related fatalities in New Hampshire. There were over 171,000 work-related emergency department hospital discharges for people age 16 and older for the same time period.

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Republican Jeb Bush is back in New Hampshire.

The likely presidential candidate told an audience in Bedford that the GOP field has a lot of talkers but he’s delivered results.

At the Bedford home of BAE Systems executive and former Republican Congressional candidate Rich Ashooh, Bush stressed his efforts to bring greater choice and accountability to Florida’s education system as that state’s governor, telling voters it was emblematic of his approach to leadership.

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As part of our series, "The First Decade," Gov. Maggie Hassan sat down with NHPR's Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about what role she sees state government playing in helping to close the opportunity gap.

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On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee restored millions of dollars for elderly services, the developmentally disabled and substance abuse treatment that was cut by the House.

This includes $23 million for developmental services, $2.9 million for substance abuse treatment and $4 million for emergency shelters. However, these numbers are less than what the Governor proposed in her version. 

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Governor Maggie Hassan is questioning whether Congressman Frank Guinta can still do his job after settling with the Federal Elections Commission over illegal campaign donations. 

Last week Guinta agreed to pay back the more than $355,000 he used from his parents to fund his 2010 campaign. He must also pay a $15,000 fine.

Hassan joins  House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Senate President Chuck Morse and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte in questioning Guinta’s ability to legislate.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan has signed into law a bill that allows the state to back $28 million in bonds to help pay for the redevelopment of the Balsams.

The resort closed in 2011.  And Hassan says re-opening it is worth the state’s investment.

“It is so important that we find a way to redevelop the Balsams it has been such an anchor for the economy up there, and that of course has a ripple effect for the whole state."

The state-backed bond will help Maine businessman Les Otten fund the $143 million he estimates is needed to reopen the Dixville Notch resort.

Jack Rodolico

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center will close its doors. This follows months of scrutiny after documented cases of abuse and neglect.

Lakeview CEO Chris Slover says if the state won’t allow the facility’s special education school to remain open, then he will not be able to keep the entire facility open – that includes an 88-bed treatment facility for people with brain injuries and other disabilities.

"I don’t have a choice. What they’re asking us to do is unrealistic," Slover says.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate ticked down in April to 3.8 percent, after seeing no change the month before. 

The unemployment rate can go down when fewer people are looking for work. But in April New Hampshire’s total labor force increased. 

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The incomes of wealthy and poor American families have diverged over the past three decades, so too have the educational outcomes of the children in these families. For more on why money matters when it comes to early childhood education and success later in life, we turn to Greg Duncan. He, along with Richard J. Murnane, is the author of Whither Opportunity?, which looks at the consequences of rising inequality for America’s education. Duncan spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.
 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Senate budget writers are trying to make good on a promise to fully restore dedicated funds aimed to promote renewable energy.

Last week Senate budget writers fully restored the $50 million the House raided from the renewable energy fund but Wednesday voted to redirect $1.5 million towards homeland security.

Democrat Hosmer of Laconia said the move contradicts the Senate’s stated position on dedicated funds.  

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Research shows students who attend preschool are more likely to have stability and success as they go through school and through life, yet New Hampshire is behind the national curve when it comes to investing in these programs.

The National Institute for Early Education Research has released its annual report, The State of Preschool, which profiles state-funded programs and tracks national trends around preschool quality and access.

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The City Council in Portsmouth has voted to approve a $90.1 million plan to upgrade the existing Peirce Island wastewater plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports it will be the most expensive public project in the city's history.

The vote came despite the continued assertion by City Manager John Bohenko that the cost has been inflated as much as $40 million because of the Environmental Protection Agency's belief that nitrogen discharge from the plant is hurting Great Bay. He said there's "no impairment" on the bay.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

House Speaker John Boehner has given an indirect answer to whether embattled New Hampshire Republican congressman Frank Guinta should remain in Congress.

Boehner says lawmakers must meet the highest ethical standards. The Ohio Republican says he hasn’t reviewed all the details of Guinta’s case yet but plans to do that soon.

The Federal Election Commission says Guinta illegally accepted campaign contributions from his parents and has been fined $15,000.

 

Some police departments such as Manchester are taking part in the "Join the New Hampshire Clique Seatbelt Campaign" this month to promote safety among teen drivers and young passengers.

Officers are working patrols that focus on occupants of motor vehicles not in compliance with state seatbelt law. The law requires drivers and passengers under the age of 18 to be properly restrained with a seat or safety belt.

 

A growing concern in one New Hampshire community over rival biker groups has put police on alert.

Authorities tell WCAX-TV that they learned one motorcycle group may have wanted to "deal with" another rival biker faction having a fundraiser at an Applebee's in Lebanon Tuesday evening.

Police notified the restaurant and it closed Tuesday afternoon.

Police say biker gangs haven't been a problem for them. But they are posting a detail near the Applebee's as a precaution.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Yvonne Dean-Bailey defeated Democrat Maureen Mann yesterday in a special election for the state House of Representatives.

The seat is in Rockingham District 32, which represents Candia, Deerfield, Northwood and Nottingham.

Dean-Bailey will fill the seat left vacant by Republican Brian Dobson. He resigned to become director of veterans affairs for Congressman Frank Guinta. 

Both Dean-Bailey and Mann, a former state representative, received support from potential presidential candidates in the weeks leading up to the election.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan is going to sign a bill opening the way for a Maine businessman's plan to restore a historic resort in the economically distressed North Country.

Hassan is scheduled to sign the bill Wednesday that creates a special taxing district allowing the state to back $28 million in bonds toward redeveloping the Balsams, which closed in 2011.

Les Otten is seeking the state-backed bond to help finance the $143 million project that would reopen the Dixville Notch resort where the first presidential ballots are traditionally cast.

thisweekinraymond.com

The city of Manchester could soon have a new police chief.

The Union Leader reports Mayor Ted Gatsas has nominated Assistant Police Chief Nick Willard to lead the department.

If aldermen approve the nomination, Willard would replace Chief David Mara, who announced earlier this month that he will retire at the end of June.

If he gets the job, Willard has already agreed to move to the city within 180 days.

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