Associated Press

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

 

  Eversource is planning to invest $41 million to prune trees along more than 2,700 miles of power lines in New Hampshire to reduce outages.

Bob Allen, manager of Vegetation Management at the utility, says the lack of rain and snow in the region over the past year-plus has taken a toll on trees, and managing them is even more vital than ever.

Eversource will start tree trimming in about 150 New Hampshire communities this year, including 140 miles of work along roadways in Weare, 100 miles in Manchester, and 85 in Laconia.

jim.richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

 

  Nuclear regulators are seeking the public's feedback on a plan to address concrete erosion at Seabrook's power plant.

NextEra Energy wants to extend its license for Seabrook Station by two decades. It must first show the Nuclear Regulatory Commission how it'll address alkali silica reaction, which causes concrete erosion.

The chemical reaction was found in several plant structures in 2010.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to expand protections against discrimination for transgender people in New Hampshire.

A bill up for a public hearing Tuesday adds "gender identity" to the state's anti-discrimination statutes. That would protect people who are transgender from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The state Commission for Human Rights already bars discrimination based on age, sex, race, creed, color, marital and familial state, national origin, sexual orientation and physical or mental disability.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  New Hampshire's Ray Buckley dropped out of the race for Democratic National Committee chair Saturday, throwing his support behind Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.

Buckley's announcement comes a week before the DNC's 447 members gather in Atlanta to choose a new leader. Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez are widely acknowledged as the front-runners, although several other candidates are also in the running.

NHPR Staff

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she's disappointed that Gov. Chris Sununu hasn't been more forceful in rebutting voter fraud allegations in New Hampshire.

President Donald Trump says he lost New Hampshire in November because thousands of people came by bus to vote against him. Shaheen, a Democrat, says Trump is making that up. On Wednesday, she told reporters that it's disappointing that Sununu — a Republican who was elected in November — hasn't been stronger about pushing back.

NHPR Staff

 The fate of right to work is uncertain in the New Hampshire House, potentially handing Republican Gov. Chris Sununu an early defeat on one of his priorities.

GOP House Speaker Shawn Jasper warns the union-targeting legislation may fail Thursday due to long-standing opposition from a handful of Republicans. But Republican leaders are making an aggressive push in the final hours to flip votes, even suggesting the party may not help Republicans who don't support the bill in the next election.

 

  The family of a New Hampshire man killed by police is suing the officers who shot him.

WMUR-TV reports that the family of 42-year-old Hagen Etsy-Lennon is suing the two Haverhill police officers who fatally shot him in 2015. Attorneys representing the family claim the officers acted recklessly and that Etsy-Lennon did not pose an eminent threat.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

  A Florida-based circus operator has agreed to pay $25,000 in fines to resolve criminal charges in New Hampshire following a tent collapse in 2015 that killed two people and injured dozens.

The Caledonian-Record reports a prosecutor says the plea agreement resolves eight charges, including operating without a license, and ensures the state will receive money from a defendant who has limited funds.

Sarasota-based Walker International Events initially faced more than $200,000 in fines.

The agreement will need court approval. A March 8 hearing is scheduled.

  New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is planning to meet with President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Democratic senator is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Judge Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from Denver.

She has indicated that she's unlikely to support Gorsuch, saying he intends to "turn back the clock" on women's reproductive rights and LGBT equality.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

  Dartmouth College has announced plans to offer compensation to homeowners impacted by groundwater contamination coming from a site where the New Hampshire Ivy League once dumped animals used in science experiments.

The school's Rennie Farm was used from the 1960s until 1978 to dump carcasses from "tracer experiments," in which scientists used radioactive compounds to see how things moved through life systems. One of the chemicals used in the experiments leaked into the groundwater around the site — raising fears that property values had been impacted.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan say the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and all Navy public shipyards will be exempt from Republican President Donald Trump's federal hiring freeze.

The Department of Defense clarification comes in response to calls from the senators, both Democrats, to establish this exemption after Shaheen's office learned that several new hires at the Kittery, Maine-based shipyard received letters indefinitely postponing their start date.

 

Parents would get advance notice before their children learn about sex in schools under a bill up for a vote in the New Hampshire House.

House lawmakers are voting on several bills Thursday related to education. One would require school districts to provide parents at least two weeks' notice about certain subject material, including material related to human sexuality and reproduction.

Michael Kappel / Flickr CC

  The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that the Northern Pass energy project has the right to bury a power line under a North Country highway.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests sued Eversource, saying it didn't have the right to bury the line under land the society owns on Route 3 in Clarksville.

Flickr

  It's a green Monday in Maine.

The first tangible results of state voters' decision to legalize marijuana are being felt as possession and home growth of marijuana becomes legal.

Voters narrowly passed the ballot question in November, and the waiting period between the vote and legalization has expired.

Contentious aspects linger, including what rules should govern businesses that will sell marijuana, such as retail stores and social clubs. But it's now legal to smoke it, gift it, grow it and possess up to 2.5 ounces of it.

It's been nearly 13 years since Maura Murray packed her car, lied to professors about a death in the family and left Massachusetts. The 21-year-old nursing student crashed her car on a rural road in northern New Hampshire before she disappeared.

Since then, some North Country residents have been keeping up the search for her. They are holding a remembrance and informational event in Littleton on Feb. 11.

Parents, doctors and child advocacy groups are urging New Hampshire lawmakers to support paid family and medical leave and help reduce the costs of child care.

Supporters of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy lobbied representatives Thursday on two bills. One would establish a family and medical leave insurance fund allowing for up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The other would add $15 million to the state budget to help families pay for child care.

A proposal to require firearm safety training for New Hampshire lawmakers wishing to carry guns on the House floor has been defeated.

Democratic Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff proposed the rule Thursday after a representative dropped her loaded gun during a committee hearing this month.

House rules say lawmakers with the proper license can carry hidden guns in the House chamber. The new rule would have required them to take a speaker-approved gun safety course before being allowed to carry concealed weapons.

Wikimedia commons

  A state senator has proposed allocating $2 million in funding to New Hampshire dairy farmers hurt by a drought and milk prices.

Legislators last year proposed a relief funding formula calculated on a farm-by-farm basis. Republican Jeb Bradley, of Wolfeboro, proposed an amendment Tuesday to simply the process and divide the $2 million among milk producers.

Flikr / Quinet

   The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is going to conduct their annual point-in-time count to identify people experiencing homelessness.

The department's Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services will determine the number of sheltered and unsheltered people for a 24-hour period Wednesday.

The count is based on information reported from city and town welfare offices, homeless shelters, police and fire departments, faith-based organizations, outreach workers and other groups serving people and youth experiencing homelessness.

Duncan Hull via Flickr CC

Some New Hampshire lawmakers are proposing that the state secede from the populous Eastern Time Zone and join in with Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico on the Atlantic time zone, dropping daylight saving time.

Opponents of daylight saving time argue that traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes increase when we change time.

New England states have considered similar bills before, but they haven't passed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is asking Congress to give states as much flexibility as possible to design their own health care systems as part of the federal effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sununu is offering his thoughts in a letter to U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent Wednesday. Congress is soliciting governors' feedback on changes to health care. Sununu says a new system should avoid "onerous regulations" on states.

Health officials say New Hampshire has reported a high number of gonorrhea cases for last year, at 465.

The average in the past was about 130 cases per year, going back to 2007.

Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said Thursday that New Hampshire historically has had one of the lowest rates of the sexually transmitted disease in the country. He said health officials are working to identify people who may have been exposed to gonorrhea to connect them with testing and treatment.

flickr/barjack

  Police in Somersworth, New Hampshire, say an 11-year-old brought a loaded gun to school.

Police say there's no evidence the gun was used or was intended to be used in any threatening manner at Somersworth Middle School on Wednesday.

It's not clear where the student got the firearm from. No one was hurt.

The Somersworth Police Department's juvenile division was handling the investigation.

  Officials say an Arizona company that makes a spray version of an opioid painkiller for cancer patients has agreed to pay nearly $3 million after New Hampshire investigators determined the drug was being marketed to people who shouldn't be using it.

WMUR-TV reports Insys Therapeutics also agreed to properly market the drug, Subsys, and give $500,000 to combat the state's opioid crisis. Insys doesn't admit wrongdoing.

The spray version of fentanyl is absorbed under the tongue. It's more powerful than heroin.

CREDIT CREDIT MIKECOGH VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

  Nurses in New Hampshire's state prisons may be getting a salary bump.

The Department of Corrections is asking executive councilors to approve $239,000 for a 15 percent pay increase over the next five months. Officials say the department has a hard time remaining competitive with the private sector in recruiting and keeping nurses. Roughly 19 percent of the state's 48 prison nursing positions were vacant last fiscal year.

NH DMV

  State officials say they're phasing in a new design for New Hampshire's identification cards over the next five years.

WMUR-TV reports officials announced on Tuesday that new driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards will feature a design with a more colorful background.

The cards will have a profile of the Old Man of the Mountain, a granite face-like profile that crumbled to the ground nearly 15 years ago, as well as an outline of the state and a purple lilac — the state's official flower.

The cards will also have new security features.

Daniel S. Hurd

 

Fierce debate is expected over a bill that would require sexual assault victims to corroborate their testimony if the defendant has no prior related convictions.

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday on the bill. Existing law doesn't require a victim to corroborate their testimony. Another bill before the committee would change the word "victim" to "complainant" in the sexual assault statute.

Domestic violence advocacy groups oppose both bills. Prosecutors, police and victims are expected to testify against the bill.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

 

  New Hampshire's chief accountant is resigning three years before his term ends, giving Republican Gov. Chris Sununu another key appointment in his first term.

Comptroller Gerard Murphy is leaving at the end of January when the state's comprehensive annual financial report is completed. The comptroller handles all statewide financial reporting, including monitoring state revenues, which determine how much money the state has to spend.

Murphy is taking the job of associate vice president for finance at Keene State College.

  A federal appeals court has upheld New Hampshire's law allowing buffer zones around abortion clinics that supporters say protect women from harassment.

The state law allowing buffer zones up to 25 feet has been on the books since 2014, but no clinic has established one.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said in its Wednesday ruling that anti-abortion activists had no standing to challenge the law because with no zones in place, their protests haven't been affected.

 

  New Hampshire's corrections commissioner says authorities are investigating four drug overdoses — one of them fatal — at the state prison in Concord and at a transitional housing unit in Manchester.

The overdoses resulted in the cancellation of inmate visitation at the prison from Tuesday through Thursday.

Commissioner William Wrenn says the fatal overdose happened at the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit in Manchester. He said 48-year-old Michael Robert Cullen was found unresponsive Friday night. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

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