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Lawmakers in New Hampshire are questioning the merits of a lawsuit over shared costs at Hampton Beach, saying the state has done a lot to give money to the town of Hampton.

Republican State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says he sympathizes with Hampton's call for aid for emergency services, but argues the state has paid a fair share through capital expenditure projects. The Portsmouth Herald reports the lawsuit filed Feb. 14 asks a judge to determine if the state of New Hampshire is taking on its share of responsibilities outlined in a 1933 deed.

NHPR Staff

Pistols and revolvers would be allowed on the campuses of New Hampshire's public colleges, universities and community colleges under a bill up for a vote in the House.

House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a bill that would allow anyone who is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law to carry a gun to bring weapons onto the grounds of any University System of New Hampshire campus or community college campus. Currently, the campuses ban guns other than those carried by law enforcement.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says it wants to widen a section of Interstate 93 in Concord.

NHDOT officials say the project would reduce traffic and improve safety on the stretch of highway road. WMUR-TV reports the public saw a virtual rendering of the proposed $262 million project at a public meeting Thursday.

Officials say the proposed construction would likely not begin until 2024, and the project still needs additional federal and state funding approval.

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A minor earthquake shook New Hampshire's Seacoast region Thursday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 2.7 quake centered on East Kingston struck at about 9:30 a.m. at a depth of 6.3 kilometers.

John Ebel, a senior research scientist at Boston College's Weston Observatory, says people near the epicenter would probably have heard a loud boom, while people farther away would hear a rumbling and some ground shaking, maybe window rattling.

But, he says, "it was way below the threshold for damage."

NHPR Staff

The New Hampshire House has voted to send a bill that would reauthorize the state's version of Medicaid expansion for further study, giving it an uncertain future.

This bill would have reauthorized the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, the state's program that provides health insurance coverage for over 50,000 low-income adults who do not qualify for Medicaid. If not reauthorized, the program will end on Dec. 31.

The House on Thursday agreed with a committee recommendation that more work is required to create a program that taxpayers can support.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

New Hampshire health officials say 20 people in the state have died of the flu or flu-related complications this season.

WMUR-TV reports seven of the deaths were included in last week's report. All of the victims have been adults.

Last year, there were 45 flu deaths in the state, and flu season peaked in mid-February.

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan says so far, New Hampshire doctors have treated more than 2,100 people who were suffering from flu-like symptoms.

AP

New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan say they have helped to secure an agreement to provide an additional $6 billion to respond to the national opioid epidemic over the next two years.

The Democratic senators said Wednesday they also received assurances that the opioid funding formula will be improved to prioritize states like New Hampshire with high mortality rates from overdoses.

A New Hampshire medical center is getting a $900,000 federal grant to address prescription drug misuse by creating a network of doctors, mental health providers, and addiction treatment centers.

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock in Keene is receiving the grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Rural Health Policy.

The medical center says a lack of coordination among doctors, recovery centers and mental health professionals means prescription drug use isn't being monitored optimally.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A Senate committee is taking up a bill aimed at strengthening New Hampshire's animal cruelty laws after a Wolfeboro breeder was accused of keeping dozens of Great Danes in filthy conditions.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday on the bill, which relieves the financial burden on taxpayers when animals are seized in cruelty cases and redefines what constitutes a commercial breeder under state law.

The bill requires mandatory, unannounced inspections of pet stores, animal shelters, rescues and commercial breeders.

A woman who says she has the lone Powerball ticket sold in New Hampshire that matched all six numbers for a $559.7 million jackpot wants a court order allowing her to stay anonymous. 

"Jane Doe" filed a complaint last week in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua saying she signed the back of the ticket following the Jan. 6 drawing. She contacted a lawyer and learned that if she had written the name of a trust, instead, she could've shielded her identity. 

The New Hampshire resident says she made a "huge mistake." She hasn't turned in the ticket yet. 

New Hampshire's Department of Transportation will hold two public meetings to review and discuss the proposed widening of Interstate 93 in the areas of Bow and Concord.

Up for discussion is the proposed widening of the I-93/I-89 interchange in Bow northerly about four miles to the I-93/I-393 interchange in Concord.

The project also will include interchange reconstruction/reconfiguration at Exits 12, 13, 14, and 15 on I-93, Exit 1 on I-89, and Exit 1 on I-393.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire's child protection agency would be required to keep reports of child abuse and neglect for at least seven years under a bill passed by the state Senate.

Currently, allegations that the Division of Children Youth and Families deems not worth investigating are destroyed after one year. Such "screened-out" records would be kept for seven years under the bill.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has passed legislation allowing physicians from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to continue treating patients at outside facilities while the flood-damaged VA hospital is being renovated.

Other hospitals agreed to let VA providers use their facilities after a burst pipe in July caused severe flooding at the VA hospital in Manchester. But under New Hampshire licensing rules, doctors with out-of-state medical licenses can only practice at the VA hospital.

A police department in a New Hampshire city is creating a new unit aimed at preventing the escalation of gang violence in Manchester.

Manchester police say they've identified members of multiple different gangs, and took community leaders and federal officials on a bus tour Wednesday to highlight areas of gang activity. WMUR-TV reports the new Gang Prevention Unit was established at the urging of community policing officers.

Police Chief Nick Willard says he was shocked by the level of activity in the city, but his officers care deeply about finding a solution.

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New Hampshire's highest court will begin hearing the case of three women who are challenging a city ordinance that barred them from going topless at a beach.

Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro are part of the Free the Nipple campaign. They were arrested in 2016 after they took off their tops at a beach in Laconia and refused to put them back on when beachgoers complained.

The women appealed to the state Supreme Court after a district court judge rejected their request to dismiss the case. Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

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A New Hampshire Gothic Revival church has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

The First Congregational Church in Farmington was built in 1875 and is the oldest church in continuous use in the town. It has arched windows and doorways, 14 buttressed with angled capstones, a 9-by-5-foot arched stained glass window above the vestibule entrance and a steep gabled roof.

The church's 120-foot corner belfry houses the town clock and a 1915 memorial bell.

The Executive Council has approved Gov. Chris Sununu's nomination of Moira O'Neill as director of a new office to help better protect children.

O'Neill was confirmed Wednesday as the first director of the Office of the Child Advocate.

She's served as an assistant child advocate for the state of Connecticut for 11 years.

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New Hampshire House lawmakers are considering two bills on the topic of gender reassignment surgery.

One bill would prohibit gender reassignment surgery for anyone under age 18. The other would prohibit Medicaid from paying for sex reassignment surgery, drugs or hormone therapy.

Lawmakers are again considering lowering the drinking age in New Hampshire.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday on a bill that would lower the legal age for alcohol possession from 21 to 20.

In 2016, the House rejected a bill that would have allowed residents as young as 18 who were accompanied by adults to drink beer or wine, but not liquor. Similar bills have failed in other states over the years, in part because states that lower the drinking age below 21 would lose federal highway money.

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New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation is requesting that the Pease International Tradeport be included in a nationwide health impact study on chemicals such as PFOA found in drinking water.

Legislation authored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter establishing the study was signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.

The Pease Tradeport formerly served as an Air Force base. In 2014, the city of Portsmouth closed the Haven well at Pease after the Air Force found high chemical levels.

File photo

New Hampshire's largest utility has completed the sale of its power-generating plants.

Eversource has sold its three large fossil generation facilities and two combustion turbines to Granite Shore Power LLC. The large plants include the Newington and Schiller stations and Bow Station in Merrimack.

The company's nine hydroelectric facilities have been acquired by Hull Street Energy, LLC and affiliates, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

A new office created to help better protect children in New Hampshire might be led by a woman who has held a similar position in Connecticut.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Wednesday will nominate Moira O'Neill to serve as the director of the Office of the Child Advocate. O'Neill has served as an assistant child advocate for the state of Connecticut for 11 years.

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New U.S. Census estimates show New Hampshire has achieved its largest annual population gain in more than a decade, though the numbers don't compare to the booming 1980s and 1990s.

For many years, New Hampshire was the fastest-growing state in the Northeast, largely due to people moving in from Massachusetts. But that domestic in-migration slowed in the last decade since the recession.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan says a bill she co-sponsored to help stop the flow of illegal fentanyl into the United States is on its way to the president's desk.

Hassan, a Democrat, says the bipartisan bill will provide scanning devices and other technology to Customs and Border Protection workers, and will boost funding for staff such as scientists to interpret screening results. Senate passage of the bill comes as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report finding that for the first time, fentanyl rather than heroin is now the deadliest opioid drug.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

With plenty of fresh snow covering much of northern New England, this winter's snowmobile season is off to a good start.

That's good news in an era when scientists predict the warming climate is going to reduce the amount of time people will be able to cross the countryside on their motorized sleds.

Southern Vermont trails are mostly ready for use by snowmobilers after a recent heavy wet snow last week set the base. In northern Vermont, there's been mostly light snow.

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A school district says its business administrator has resigned over an accounting error that kept millions of dollars from going toward property tax relief.

Goffstown and New Boston school officials in a press release said that an auditor found that since 2011 more than $10 million that could have been used to reduce property taxes was overlooked.

AP

New Hampshire's congressional delegation is urging the state attorney general to join other states suing the Federal Communications Commission for repealing "net neutrality" rules.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter wrote to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald on Friday. It came a day after the Republican-controlled FCC voted to scrap an Obama-era rule that guaranteed equal access to the internet.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Manchester veterans' hospital will use a federal grant to give veterans access to yoga, meditation and other complementary health practices.

The program, called "Healing Into Wholeness" will start next spring. Participants will work with "Whole Health" coaches and peer support groups to create personal health inventories. Yoga, massage, biofeedback and other practices will be offered at the medical center or in other communities.

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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.

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