Associated Press

Elizabeth Szelog for NHPR

Biologists have begun investigating what killed an 18-year-old humpback whale that washed ashore in New Hampshire.

New England Aquarium spokesman Tony Lacasse tells The Portsmouth Herald the reason the whale named Snow Plow died remained a mystery as of Wednesday.

A former admissions officer at an elite New Hampshire prep school who went on to become a Teacher of the Year at another school has pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse charges.

Seventy-four-year-old Arthur Peekel was charged with two misdemeanors from his time at Phillips Exeter Academy. He's accused of assaulting Lawrence Jenkens when the then-14-year-old visited the school in 1973.

 

The New Hampshire Lottery says it has sold over $300 million in tickets this year, breaking its all-time sales record.

Officials say the amount tops the $280 million raised last year, which was the previous record high.

The increase includes new scratch tickets and a surge in Powerball sales.

Scratch ticket sales, which make up about 70 percent of total New Hampshire Lottery sales, jumped by $8 million, or 4 percent, from last year to this year. Annual scratch ticket sales have risen from $160 million in 2011 to $216 million this year, 35 percent increase.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster has introduced a bill that would put labels on opioids to warn users about the addictive nature of narcotics.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is back in Maine, and he's being joined once again by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The Bangor visit Wednesday afternoon is the candidate's second time in Maine this year. He was in Portland before the March caucuses that he lost to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

LePage told WVOM that he'll be there to "cheer him on."

This time, Trump is visiting Maine's 2nd Congressional District, which is more conservative than Maine's 1st Congressional District.

 

A former police chief accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl more than 10 years ago has been acquitted of the charges.

WMUR-TV reports that the jury delivered its not guilty verdict Tuesday afternoon, after less than two hours of deliberations.

Lawyers on both sides agree that John LaRoche and the girl had sexual contact.

A new coalition comprised of hunters, outdoors enthusiasts and wildlife advocates alike has formed with the goal of modernizing the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

 

The mother of a 19-year-old Michigan man shot by police in New Hampshire says she was told by the state Attorney General's office that he was brandishing a BB gun and running away when he was shot.

Lane Lesko, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, died of a single gunshot wound on Tuesday on Route 136 in Peterborough. The Attorney General's office has not said which department nor released the names of the officer involved in the case.

 

Taking a cue from Great Britain's recent historic vote to leave the European Union, a group of New Hampshire residents are now advocating for their state's own independence.

Authorities have identified a 45-foot dead whale that washed onto rocks near Rye State Park as an 18-year-old female named Snow Plow.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that fishermen had reported seeing the humpback whale's corpse floating 20 miles out to sea on Sunday. Officials believe it had been dead for several days before washing ashore.

Officials from New Hampshire Fish and Game, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the New England Aquarium were called in to investigate the cause of death.

 

The New Hampshire attorney general's office is reminding consumers that nonprofit charitable groups have to register with the state, after getting complaints about a group selling raffle tickets.

The Charitable Trust Unit says people bought tickets from a nonprofit called Smile God Loves U Foundation, which said it was helping people get treatment for heroin addiction. It wasn't registered.

It sold tickets to benefit a substance abuse treatment center. A $50 ticket offered a chance to win two snowmobiles with a trailer or $12,500.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is looking for 12 to 15 people to advise the commissioner on access to substance abuse treatment and other behavioral health services through private insurance.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There's a wide fundraising gap between two of the Democrats hoping to become New Hampshire's next governor.

Candidates are not required to file campaign finance reports until Aug. 24, less than a month before the Sept. 13 primary. But Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and businessman Mark Connolly filed reports Wednesday, a deadline for non-candidate committees to file.

Via NH DES

The body of a Vermont teenager who disappeared while swimming in the Connecticut River has been found.

Officials say 15-year-old Casey Smith Jr. of Lunenburg, Vermont, had been swimming with his two sisters and three other friends Monday evening in the river in Dalton, New Hampshire, when he began to struggle in swift water.

One of the other swimmers also got caught in the same current and had to be rescued by a good Samaritan who heard their cries for help.

A judge has put the case against Wendell Noyes on hold pending a psychiatric evaluation.

The fifty-two-year-old is accused of killing his stepdaughter Celina Cass in 2011. He made an initial court appearance Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge. He was arrested Monday at the state psychiatric hospital, where he had been since December after being found incompetent to stand trial on unrelated misdemeanors.

Noyes is accused of killing 11-year-old Celina in July 2011. Her body was found in the Connecticut River.

New Hampshire is getting $3.1 million in funding for the AmeriCorps public service program to support 169 members in the state.

The grants also will create additional funding for Volunteer NH, a nonprofit that administers AmeriCorps in New Hampshire. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.7 million in local support.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced the funding Tuesday.

The Attorney General's office says it is investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a man dead in Peterborough following a brief pursuit.

The incident happened at about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday on Route 136. The man has not been identified.

No police officers were hurt.

It was not immediately clear how many officers were involved in the shooting. Further details were not available.

An autopsy has been scheduled.

Anders Pearson via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/34dPfJ

Maine politicians are calling for the European Union to deny a request from the Swedish government to have American lobster listed as invasive.

Sweden wants the EU to bar imports of live American lobsters into the 28-nation bloc after 32 lobsters were found in the country's waters. Swedish officials say an invasion of American lobsters could harm native European lobsters.

via Portsmouthwastewater.com

The Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal judge to approve a deal reached with the city of Portsmouth about an $83.4 million plan to upgrade the existing Peirce Island wastewater treatment plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that the agreement, called the second consent decree, lays out the timetable for building the new plant. It has to be entered by the court before it can go into effect.

Via peasegreeters.org

A collective of retired veterans and local residents known as the "Pease Greeters" have welcomed their 1,000th flight to the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the greeters were formed to help active military members feel appreciated before they head overseas or prepare to return home from the New Hampshire airport.

The group traces its lineage to 2005, when a plane carrying about 135 service members landed at Pease to refuel. The greeters have evolved since a handful of people brought out coffee and doughnuts to that initial flight.

Police in New Hampshire and Maine are searching for a 19-year-old man who disappeared during a camping trip.

New Hampshire State Police responded to a remote campsite on Lake Umbagog (in Cambridge. Lane Lesko, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was part of camping/canoeing trip organized by a group called Summit Achievement.

Officers said Sunday Lane was last seen over the weekend in Magalloway Plantation in Maine near the Rapid River. They said a missing green canoe was found overturned a short distance away.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, will be opening its Statehouse on weekends for the first time in nearly two decades.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law this week a bill that paves the way for the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce pay the security costs and provide docents to lead tours.

Chamber director Tim Sink said the plan is to offer Saturday tours Memorial Day through Columbus Day, but tours this year probably won't get off the ground until the fall.

Dave Spier via Flickr CC

New Hampshire is holding its annual moose hunt lottery.

The Fish and Game Department will issue 71 moose hunting permits on Friday. Winners are selected through a computerized random drawing.

Hunters who are drawn and accept a permit are not eligible to enter the lottery or apply for a bonus point for the following three years.

Last year, 105 permits were offered. New Hampshire has roughly 4,000 moose— about half the population from 10 years ago. The decline is due partly due to an increase in winter ticks.

A former Republican state representative who was arrested in connection with alleged voter fraud during New Hampshire's presidential primary has been arraigned on witness tampering and bribery charges.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports Don Leeman of Rochester appeared in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday. He remains out on bail.

The attorney general's office says Leeman, who resigned in May, was representing and voted in a district in which he was no longer domiciled during the February primary.

An elite New Hampshire prep school reeling from the conviction of a former student for sexual assault is hosting a symposium on youth and technology with the goal of publishing a guidebook on social media to help schools.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

A New Hampshire planning board has approved a proposal allowing Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to build a solar array southeast of its campus parking lots.

The Valley News reports the Lebanon planning board's decision Monday includes conditions that the hospital receive state wetlands and terrain approval before construction begins on the 1.25-megawatt solar array.

The hospital must also plant 20 additional trees to provide shade to cars and improve parking lot appearances.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester is calling for mandatory life in prison without parole for people who sell drugs that cause overdose deaths.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

 

Students at Dartmouth are criticizing the Ivy League school for its lack of faculty diversity after an Asian-American assistant professor was denied tenure.

 

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is going to sign into law a bill establishing a statewide drug court program.

The program will help those battling addiction access treatment and recovery services.

The bill establishes a statewide drug offender grant program, setting up the drug courts or alternative programs. It also transfers $40 million to the state's Rainy Day fund this year.

The bill signing is scheduled for Tuesday in Manchester.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

 

Republican Jeanie Forrester promises she won't seek any higher office if elected governor.

Her pledge is partly a swipe at Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who Forrester and other Republicans say has been an absentee governor since launching her U.S. Senate bid.

Forrester, a three-term state senator, made the promise Thursday. She is also taking a voluntary spending cap that limits her at spending $625,000 in the primary contest. Democrat Steve Marchand is the only other gubernatorial candidate to agree to the cap.

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