News

NH Division of Forests and Lands

New Hampshire fire officials say humans -- not a meteorite -- caused the 75-acre forest fire in the White Mountains this fall. 

ALLEGRA BOVERMAN FOR NHPR

The state will see its first major snowstorm of the winter season Saturday. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: December 8, 2017

Dec 8, 2017

New Hampshire becomes the first state to opt out of FirstNet, a federal program designed to help first responders better communicate across the country.  Hillary Clinton returns to New Hampshire to sign copies of her book, and attracts protests and ponies as well as fans.  Eversource prepares to switch on its first major new power line in New Hampshire in 20 years.  And the Rockingham County attorney’s office releases more than 900 pages of the state’s investigation into Phillips Exeter Academy. 

So the thing about “nature shows” - even this one - is that we tend to talk about plant and animal species in pretty independent terms. "The red-tailed hawk eats this, sounds like that, does this in the winter…" But as we’ve tried to explain over the years (here at Something Wild) the hawk is just one resident in a complex ecological puzzle; she interacts with other animals and plants in the neighborhood. 

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/accoster/2264295876/">adam coster</a> / flickr

Last month, members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas experienced the deadliest church shooting in recent history. Twenty-six people were killed.

Now the New Hampshire Council of Churches is sponsoring a training event tomorrow in Nashua on how congregations should respond to an active shooter.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Rev. Jason Wells, the executive director of the council.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

dingopup / Flickr Creative Commons

The stench of bat feces has forced a New Hampshire elementary school to close eight classrooms and work on repairs.

Nashua's The Telegraph newspaper reports a teacher first noticed the odor around Nov. 21 at the James Mastricola Upper Elementary School in Merrimack.

Maintenance crews thought it was a dead mouse and called in a company that found bat feces in a cavity between an exterior brick wall and an inside block. Crews have tented off the outside wall, removed bricks and sealed off affected areas.

Liberty Mutual has announced it is cutting about 620 positions in New Hampshire.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports the insurance company announced the decision earlier this week. Liberty Mutual says many workers affected by the shift will either be retrained or transferred to different departments. The company didn't say how many employees in the Dover and Portsmouth campuses will be affected.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A new report from a federal housing agency singled out New Hampshire as one of the states that saw the largest increase in homelessness among families with children. 

NHPR Staff

Claremont Schools Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin presented what he described as a compromise budget to the city’s school board Wednesday.

His plan would cut the district’s budget for the coming fiscal year, but less drastically than the board has requested.

The school board is looking to budget cuts as a mechanism to keep Claremont’s property taxes in check. The city has the highest tax rate in the state, while about one in seven Claremont residents live in poverty.

Residents packed the school board’s meeting Wednesday, speaking on both sides of the issue.

Lawyer: Man Accused in Murder-for-Hire Plot Was Set Up

Dec 7, 2017
Plainfield Police

The attorney for a New Hampshire man accused of participating in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his ex-wife says he was set up by a prosecution witness.

The trial started Wednesday for 63-year-old Maurice Temple. He's charged with criminal solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempt to commit murder.

He and his mother, 83-year-old Pauline Chase, were arrested in July after the witness, Mark Horne, agreed to secretly record police-authorized phone and video conversations.

FIRSTNET.GOV

New Hampshire has become the first state to opt out of FirstNet - a federal program designed to help first responders better communicate across the country.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new study from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire shows people living in rural northern New Hampshire and adjacent counties in Maine and Vermont hold increasingly positive views of life there, though they also agree that the lack of job opportunities, drug abuse, and population decline are important problems.  (Scroll down to read the full research report.)

For more on the study of life in rural northern New England we turn to Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior fellow at the Carsey School. He's one of the authors of the study.

Toppazzini / Flickr Creative Commons

A Portsmouth-based conservation group is getting a $25,000 grant to help clean up the New England coastline.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's Executive Council approved the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation for the grant Wednesday. The federal grant is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to state officials, the grant supports debris collection, pollution prevention and public awareness efforts.

Credit Doug Kerr/Flickr

New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials made another pitch to Executive Councilors Wednesday on a proposed statewide toll increase. 

A scheduled vote on the change was postponed by Gov. Chris Sununu in order to get more public input.

Analysis Points to 2 Conflicts of Interest in N.H.

Dec 6, 2017

 An analysis of financial disclosure forms and legislative records highlights two possible conflicts of interest in New Hampshire.

The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press analyzed disclosure reports filed nationwide in 2015 and found numerous examples of lawmakers who introduced and supported legislation that helped their own businesses, employers or personal finances.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Eversource capped construction of a new high-voltage transmission line from Londonderry to Tewksbury, Mass., Wednesday.

The Merrimack Valley Reliability Project aims to make service more reliable and a little cheaper for customers in both states.

The 345-kilovolt line stretches 25 miles along state right-of-ways. Eversource says it will power up to 400,000 homes at peak demand.

Eversource paid less than a third of the project's cost of $129 million, with National Grid covering the rest in Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire.

Reaching Higher NH

A new analysis of a controversial school voucher bill says it could cost the state millions of dollars over the next several years.

The bill in question would allow parents to take the state money that normally follows a child to public school, and spend it on other forms of education -- including private schools or home schooling.

Nashua Fire Department

The city of Nashua will soon have a new fire chief.

 New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan is joining other female Democratic lawmakers in calling on Senator Al Franken to resign. The Minnesota Democrat has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

“It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women, and he should resign,” Hassan says in a statement today.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults in New Hampshire, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Exeter Hospital recently endorsed an initiative for suicide prevention as a part of a five-year strategy to address the on-going issue in the state.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Debra Vasapolli, director of community relations for the hospital, about the Zero Suicide initiative.

  (Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that elevated PFCs were found in the Franklin Fire Department's drinking water. The chemicals were actually detected in a monitoring well at the department.

At least four New Hampshire fire departments have found an elevated level of toxic chemicals known as PFCs, either in their drinking water or in nearby monitoring wells.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For Linda Saunders Paquette and her staff at New Futures, a nearly all-female lobbying team, learning to navigate uncomfortable interactions with legislators in a regular workday at the New Hampshire State House has become almost second nature.

“If we're having a meeting with a particular legislator or even going to a particular event, we use the buddy system,” Saunders Paquette said. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Twelve years ago, a sexual harassment scandal at the New Hampshire State House ended with the institution being forced to pay $85,000 in public funds toward a settlement. It also prompted a broader reckoning about how the Legislature handled misconduct within its ranks.

Related Story: Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping With Harassment At N.H. State House

A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

Keene resident and white nationalist Christopher Cantwell has been granted bail in Virginia.

Cantwell has been in the Charlottesville area since the Unite the Right rally in August that turned violent. He was featured in a viral documentary about the unrest, and has been held in a local jail on charges relating to his use of teargas in the crowds.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

More intense storms are making it harder for freshwater streams and rivers to act as filters for nitrogen pollution, according to a new UNH study.

The research suggests larger storms could cause more harmful runoff to reach coasts and lakes.

Nitrogen comes from lots of things people put in the land – like fertilizer and sewage. Rain and snow wash that pollution into streams and rivers.

But UNH researcher Wil Wollheim says those waterways can usually clean out the nitrogen before it reaches the coast.

PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

If you've been tuned into New Hampshire politics for the past few presidential elections, then you've probably heard the name Vermin Supreme.

He's been on the primary ballot for the past three presidential elections and he tends to stand out. He's the only candidate who consistently wears a boot on his head and declares "free ponies for all," as his major campaign platform. 

PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

Hundreds of Hillary Clinton supporters lined up for hours Tuesday outside Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord to get signed copies of Clinton’s new book.

State University System Chancellor Todd Leach cites several factors behind cost-cutting measures at Keene State College.

Besides declining enrollment and competition, he says there was a perception that Keene State was in fiscal trouble due to a cut in state funding in 2010.

“We can look and see the numbers drop there,” he said on The Exchange.

AP/Jim Cole/Pool

Democratic political giant Mary Louise Hancock has died at 97.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Several dozen people attended a public hearing Monday evening in Portsmouth to weigh in on a proposed increase in the state’s highway tolls.

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