Associated Press

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  Employees of a nearly 150-year-old fair in New Hampshire have voted to give up their salaries to keep the fair going, but it's unclear if it will be enough.

The Rochester Fair has run continuously in the fall since 1874, but low attendance and mounting costs have jeopardized its future.

Mark Perry, the fair's general manager, tells WMUR-TV that the whole staff voted to give up their salaries for a year to help cut costs.

Jim Cole/AP

  The official portrait of former New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson is going up at the Statehouse, a dozen years after he left office.

Benson, a Republican, served one term as governor from 2003 to 2005. The former CEO of a company called Cabletron, he promised to run the state like a business, but ended up being the first governor in 78 years to be denied a second term.

The portrait being unveiled Thursday was painted by Richard Whitney, who has painted five other New Hampshire governors.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

  A new report says that outdoor recreation accounts for $51.5 billion in consumer spending in New England, 432,000 jobs and $3.1 billion in state and local tax revenues.

The report reporting on all sectors of the country was released Tuesday by the Outdoor Industry Association.

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says the report underscores the need for the federal government to measure the outdoor recreation economy like other major sectors.

 

  The city of Manchester has lifted voluntary water restrictions put in place last fall during a drought because water levels are back at normal levels.

WMUR-TV reports Mayor Ted Gatsas said Monday that the city would be lifting any restrictions on water use, allowing people to freely water their lawns or fill their pools.

Officials announced that Lake Massabesic in Manchester and Tower Hill Pond in Auburn are finally at full capacity.

  New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has another key commissioner post to fill, with the head of the department that handles the state's accounting leaving her post.

Vicki Quiram, commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, is stepping down May 12 for a job in another state. Sununu shared Quiram's resignation letter Monday.

  New Hampshire's law granting certain immunity to people who report drug overdoses is poised to stay in place for the indefinite future.

A law signed last session would've repealed the immunity law, sometimes known as a "Good Samaritan" law, in 2018. But lawmakers are moving to repeal the repeal, meaning the law will stay on the books.

Senators say the legislation is saving lives as New Hampshire continues to deal with an opioid crisis. Nearly 500 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, a record high for the state.

Money that Congress approved last year to help states combat the opioid epidemic is headed to New Hampshire.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says $485 million in grants will soon be administered to states. The money is part of the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

About 1,000 New Hampshire students who apply to Keene State College and Plymouth State University are not offered admission — and now, those two institutions are offering them alternative pathways through future enrollment.

The Public Promise initiative provides paths including associate degree programs, Dual Admission options and targeted coursework. Once completed, the options would allow students to transfer into the institution of their choice.

Public Promise will start in May with outreach to applicants wanting to attend college in fall 2017.

Patrick Mansell / flickr Creative Commons

 

  A New Hampshire school district has agreed to pay the family of a former student $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

The Manchester School District and school officials were sued last year, accused of denying the student his "constitutional and statutory rights" to equal access to public education.

The eighth-grader was expelled in 2014 for allegedly assaulting another student. His family, which immigrated from South Sudan, filed a complaint with the federal Office of Civil Rights saying hearings were conducted in English, without a translator.

Fantasy sports companies estimate more than 200,000 people in New Hampshire are participating in their games. Now, lawmakers want to get in on the cash.

A bill before the Senate on Thursday would make New Hampshire the latest state to legalize, regulate and tax fantasy sports run by companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Companies running fantasy games for the general public would have to register with the state, pay an annual fee of up to $5,000 and face a 5 percent tax.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  A group of House Republicans plans to start a political action committee to push back against New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper in the next election, the latest chapter in a growing GOP feud.

The New Hampshire House Freedom Caucus, which models its name after a group of conservative Republicans in Congress, announced the PAC's creation Wednesday. Members say they'll use the money to support candidates who believe in "limited government and personal liberty."

AP

  Massachusetts prison officials say former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has hanged himself in his cell and pronounced dead at a hospital. He was 27.

An official with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections says Hernandez was found hanged in his cell just after 3 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities tried to revive the former New England Patriots tight end, and he was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial - HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster at 4:07 a.m.

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A New Hampshire tourism official says international growth is outpacing domestic growth in New England.

Victoria Cimino, the director of New Hampshire's Division of Travel and Tourism Development, says New England received an estimated 2.1 million international visitors in 2015 who spent about $2.1 billion.

She spoke Tuesday in Concord at the New Hampshire Travel Council's annual Governor's Conference on Tourism.

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  An appeals court has found in favor of the federal government in a challenge by a New England fishermen's group over the cost of at-sea monitoring.

The monitors are workers who collect data that help the government craft fishing regulations. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen last year.

A group led by New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel sued the government over the rule change. The fishermen lost in federal district court and appealed. A 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Boston agreed with the lower court Friday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Gov. Chris Sununu has signed legislation requiring schools to give parents two weeks’ notice before teaching sex education.

Sununu says the bill is consistent with his “longtime support” for measures that “empower” parents’ involvement in their kids’ education.

At least 22 states require parental notification before teaching sex or HIV education. New Hampshire’s bill will not require parental consent, but parents can opt their children out of certain lessons.

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  With Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on board, advocates for marijuana decriminalization hope this is the year New Hampshire joins its New England neighbors in removing criminal penalties for possessing pot.

But the measure is facing challenges in the Senate, where lawmakers aligned with police chiefs are working to water it down. Lawmakers, police and advocates agree some form of decriminalization will likely reach Sununu's desk. Up for debate, though, is what amount of weed will be decriminalized and how much discretion cops should have to make arrests.

Allegra Boverman

 

  New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster is joining a teen who was sexually assaulted at a prestigious prep school in 2014 for a discussion on how to address sexual violence.

Kuster, a Democrat, also is launching a congressional Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. The events are taking place at the University of New Hampshire School of Law on Monday night.

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  The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission has approved 51 moose hunt lottery permits this year, the lowest number since the state started its current system in 1988.

Permits have declined in recent years, partly because of the impact of parasites, both winter tick and brainworm, on the moose population. Last year, 71 lottery permits were issued.

The proposal would need to be approved by the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.

US DOE

  A seven-year battle over the Northern Pass transmission project takes a critical step forward Thursday when a hearing begins on the $1.6 billion plan to bring power from Canada to markets mostly in southern New England.

New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee will determine whether it can be built. The hearing, which could last for months, is expected to draw supporters and opponents of the controversial project. One of the first people to testify will be an executive from Eversource, which is proposing the project.

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

Last year's drought in New Hampshire was tough on farmers and towns. But it turns out to have been good for moose.

Preliminary numbers from a project that puts tracking collars on moose show that only one of the calves — the most vulnerable group — died from winter ticks this year. A year ago, nearly 75 percent of the calves tracked died.

Moose biologist Kristine Rines says many of the blood-sucking ticks died because they were deprived of moisture. But the ticks still have a long-term advantage, with shorter winters and moose density on their side.

Sean Hurley

The Waterville Valley Resort is now a training site for the U.S. Ski Team and will host two annual competitions.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association recently announced that it is expanding low-cost regional training opportunities for young elite athletes through formal partnerships with ski clubs, resorts and performance facilities around the country.

Many of the multi-year partnerships are a way of formally recognizing relationships between the association and clubs for decades.

The average number of people waiting to gain access to a mental health bed in New Hampshire is now 46, up from nine in 2013.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he gets daily reports on the issue which he calls a crisis.

The governor has a meeting scheduled for Monday to develop plans to tackle the problem.

The executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness says the problem is exacerbated by hospitals closing their psychiatric units to focus on more profitable endeavors.

  The New Hampshire Senate has approved a bill to ratify the results of town elections that were postponed due to the March 14 snowstorm.

Nearly 80 towns rescheduled their elections due to the powerful nor'easter that brought blizzard-like conditions and more than a foot snow to much of the state.

The Senate on Thursday passed an amendment that will allow towns who moved their elections to ratify the results after a public hearing and vote of the governing body.

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  A measure providing up to $2 million in emergency funding for New Hampshire dairy farmers strained by last year's drought is ready for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's signature.

The Senate on Thursday concurred with changes made by the House last month to the measure. The bill originated in the Senate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire is sponsoring legislation aimed at helping ease the student debt burden for young entrepreneurs.

Hassan on Wednesday introduced a bill that will allow the founders and full-time employees of some small business startups to have their federal student loan payments and interest accrual deferred for up to three years while launching their business. Those who start businesses in economically distressed areas could be eligible for cancellation of up to $20,000 in student loans after making 24 monthly payments.

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New Hampshire's child protection agency is responding to the state's drug crisis with new policies requiring greater intervention when infants and toddlers are at risk.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A top counselor to President Donald Trump is headlining a New Hampshire Republican Party dinner this spring, continuing the steady stream of prominent politicos heading to the state.

Kellyanne Conway is slated to speak at the party's 2017 Spring to Victory Dinner on May 18 in Nashua.

Conway ran Trump's presidential campaign, making her the first woman to successfully run a presidential bid. She now serves as a counselor to Trump and frequently appears on television promoting his agenda.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House Speaker Shawn Jasper wants to give towns that postponed their elections due to a snowstorm a way out of facing potential lawsuits from voters who may have been disenfranchised.

Jasper is proposing letting towns ratify the results of their elections by holding another vote. A bill he's sponsoring would give towns that moved Election Day the option of letting townspeople vote to ratify, or confirm, the results on May 23.

Salem Police Department

Police say a condemned house exploded and went up in flames in Salem as they responded to a neighbor dispute over stacking firewood, and about eight homes were evacuated.

Police said they tried to approach a man near the home Monday night, but never spoke to him. Police Capt. Rob Morin said they heard a hissing sound, followed by a strong odor of gas, and backed away. An explosion blew off the roof and broke windows. Neighbors said they heard a popping sound.

  Former Vice President Joe Biden is the first major Democrat scheduled to return to the early primary state of New Hampshire since the November election.

Biden will headline the state Democratic Party's annual McIntyre Shaheen 100 Club Dinner on April 30. He attended the dinner in 2011 and 1986. All four members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation will also attend.

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