Outside/In: Stake Your Claim

May 20, 2016

There used to be a time when you could strike out into the vast unexplored wilderness and stake your claim – but not anymore.  Today, the story of one seaside town where one homeowner is facing a brutal property dispute against an undefeatable opponent: the Atlantic Ocean.  

Plus, a group of 19th century pioneers lay claim to one of the world’s most inhospitable mountains and turn it into a premiere tourist destination. 

And, Sam goes on a hunt for Earth’s last unexplored places, so he can plant a flag and stake his claim.

Courtesy Brendan Clifford, via NH Fish & Game

There are few sounds in nature that command your attention as effectively as the rattle of a rattlesnake. And though these snakes are not aggressive, that sound does elicit a hard-wired, innate fear response. Roughly translating to “Watch Your Step, Mister!” the rattle is an alarm designed to stop trouble before it starts.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The EPA has announced a lifetime health advisory level for two chemicals that have contaminated water in Southern New Hampshire and at the former Pease Air Force Base.

A bill that would allow landowners to sue for treble damages and legal fees for damage caused by off-road vehicles or dumping is heading to Governor Hassan’s desk.

The New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association asked for the legislation, saying  illegal dumping or damage from off-highway vehicles has become a serious problem, says executive director Jasen Stock.

“The way the laws are written much of the duty for cleanup and restoration point to an agency of one type or another," he said.

A bill that would give the Border Patrol in Coos County the same arrest powers as police is headed to Gov. Hassan’s desk.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn proposed the idea, saying police can be few and far between in Coos and often the Border Patrol is the first to arrive when there is a call for help, such as a violent, domestic dispute. But without police powers Border Patrol agents risk being sued for intervening.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to spend nearly $2 million on body scanners for state prisons and county jails is heading to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's desk. Senators approved the legislation Thursday on a party line vote.

Republicans, like Andy Sanborn of Bedford, told colleagues that making anyone who sets foot in a jail or prison prison pass though scanners is a way to deal with an obvious problem.

kconnors / Morguefile

The United States Supreme Court has rejected ExxonMobil’s appeal of a $236 million verdict in a case brought against the oil company by the state of New Hampshire.

The legal battle began more than a decade ago when the state Attorney General sued 22 oil companies for using a chemical called MtBE, which can contaminate soil and drinking water.

Richard Head was an Associate Attorney General at the time and now works for SL Environmental Law Group, which worked with the state on the suit. He spoke with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Wednesday night the Coos Planning Board concluded that the Balsams developers provided all the information needed to begin an in-depth consideration of a plan to renovate the Dix and Hampshire Houses.

Those buildings are the familiar centerpiece of the old resort and developer Les Otten’s plan is for condominium units that could also be used as hotel rooms.

A new White Mountain unit of the New Hampshire Civil Air Patrol is being formed in the North Country.

The Caledonian Record reports an open house is scheduled at the Mt. Washington Regional Airport in Whitefield on Saturday.

CAP is the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

The new unit comes amid a renewed interest among adults and youth in the region. Squadrons have dissolved in recent years in areas including Littleton and Whitefield.

The committee to create the unit is recruiting adult leaders, and currently has 10.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire will spend $100,000 to hire a law firm to investigate whether drug makers have marketed opioids in a deceptive fashion. New Hampshire's Executive Council voted unanimously to allow the Attorney General's office to hire the Washington law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll.

NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says last week's shooting of two Manchester police officers by a suspect who with mental health problems illustrates the need for New Hampshire to do a better job of keeping guns away from people who shouldn't have them.

"I think this issue needs to be looked at by a broad coalition of stakeholders and that is certainly one of the questions that they should address. I think we should work together to take steps forward to improve public safety and public heath of New Hampshire," Hassan said.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The state plans to streamline its mental health and substance abuse programs for children. 

NHPR Staff

A new WBUR poll of likely New Hampshire voters shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Republican Donald Trump. In the state's U.S. Senate race, the poll also found Democrat Maggie Hassan with a small lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. For more on this poll, we turn to Steve Koszela, president of the MassINC polling group, which conducted the survey. He spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Jason Moon for NHPR

If you’re on the road, looking for a place to stop and get a cup of coffee in New Hampshire, you’ve got plenty of options: Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, every single gas station.

For this week’s Foodstuffs, we visit a tiny, drive-thru coffee shop in Newmarket that's managed to carve out a niche despite this crowded field.

This year’s relatively warm and dry winter probably didn’t do New Hampshire any favors when it comes to curbing its tick population — so people should continue to be vigilant in screening for the invasive insects.

“Evidence suggests that they kind of survived the winter pretty well,” UNH Cooperative Extension Entomologist and Integrated Pest Management Specialist Alan Eaton said on Wednesday’s edition of The Exchange

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons


New Hampshire health officials say the state's oral health is improving but geographic and socioeconomic disparities still exist.

The Department of Health and Human Services this week released a report on oral health in the state and the existing capacity to meet the state's needs. It found that between the 2001 and 2014 school years, the rate of untreated cavities among third graders dropped by 62 percent, and the proportion of students with sealants to prevent bacteria-causing cavities increased by a third.

JonJon2k8 via Flickr Creative Commons


New Hampshire will remain a single-area code state for a bit longer.

The state Public Utilities Commission says the North American Numbering Plan Administrator indicates New Hampshire's 603 area code has enough available numbers until 2032.

In November 1998, the commission was notified that the 603 area code would run out of numbers by the fourth quarter of 2000. But it adopted several number conservation measures to delay the implementation of a second area code.


New Hampshire officials say they've found a potentially cancer-causing chemical in Merrimack's former landfill but cannot say whether it has contaminated nearby private wells.

The announcement Tuesday is the latest evidence the chemical PFOA is more widespread in New Hampshire than initially thought. The chemical was first found in more than 50 wells in towns surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack and has since been found in 11 private wells near a former manufacturing site in Amherst.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

While Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she won’t endorse Donald Trump, she would welcome a change in tone heading into November’s election.

“I would certainly like him to speak in ways that are more inclusive. I believe that’s important,” Ayotte told NHPR’s Morning Edition, referring to the GOP’s apparent presidential nominee.

“And I hope that he will surround himself with knowledgeable people on important issues, like foreign policy,” she added. “To me, that’s important for any candidate for president.”

Jim Cole/AP

After nearly two months behind bars, the St. Paul’s School graduate convicted of having sex with a minor will be released from jail within the week.

On Monday Judge Larry Smukler restored bail for Owen Labrie, 21, after he revoked it in March because of broken curfews.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester wants New Hampshire to step up efforts to recruit businesses to move here, and she wants to reward businesses that expand with tax relief.

As Forrester sees it, New Hampshire has been held back for years because Concord, under a string of Democratic governors, has become set in its ways.


Lois Hurley

You hear their voices and you listen to their stories – but you might not know what happens behind the scenes – what goes into producing an audio story for public radio.  You could probably guess that there’s some research – phone calls, emails leading to interviews – recording the interviews and cutting up the audio – writing, editing, etc.  But every once in a while, a radio journalist will run into a particular “radio journalist” sort of problem.  A little hazard or difficulty that he or she must try to overcome.  Word of Mouth's Sean Hurley tells us about a particular sound issue he’s b

Jim Cole/AP

The 32-year-old Manchester man charged with shooting two police officers Friday on the city's west side pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of attempted capital murder. 

Defendant Ian MacPherson is being held without bail at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester.


NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Editing on Mondays to discuss the latest in New Hampshire politics and the news that's likely to shape the conversation among the state's lawmakers. 

Northeast Naturalist via Flickr CC

 In the battle between ticks and moose, the blood-sucking insects seem to have the upper hand.

Preliminary numbers from a project earlier this year in New Hampshire that put tracking collars on at least 36 calves are not encouraging. They show nearly 75 percent of the calves have died from ticks.

Moose biologist Kristine Rines says a few adult moose have died, too, although not all of those deaths were tick-related.

The state begins several bridge repair projects this week. 

Credit Nick McPhee via flickr Creative Commons

 A coalition in the Monadnock Region is pushing for more local businesses to pay workers at least $15 an hour.

SNHU webstream

  Southern New Hampshire University has just concluded two days of commencement ceremonies. 

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

  The state is set to release new unemployment figures this week. 

NEC webstream

  Commencement season continues in New Hampshire.