Associated Press

Allegra Boverman

  Republican Gov.-elect Chris Sununu will have considerable power to shape the direction of public education with four key appointments during his first months in office.

Sununu takes office in January as New Hampshire's first Republican governor in a dozen years. He'll immediately have three appointments to the seven-member State Board of Education, which approves education standards and charter school applications. He'll also choose a commissioner of education in March when Commissioner Virginia Barry's term ends.

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Two women are suing a groom and the event company that ran his wedding reception after they allege he flew a drone that hit them in the head at the New Hampshire event.

Kneena Ellis, of Seabrook, and Kelly Eaton of Peabody, Massachusetts, claim in their Dec. 1 suit that they suffered permanent physical and emotional injury as a result of the Aug. 8 incident.

The suit says Barry Billcliff had flown the drone to take pictures at his wedding reception at Searles Castle in Windham.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says the appointment of President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency would "signal a capitulation to polluters."

Trump, a Republican, plans to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to the post. Pruitt has been a vocal denier of the science showing that the planet is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

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A potential strike by school bus drivers in New Hampshire has officially been called off.

That’s after union drivers signed a five-year contract Wednesday night with their employer First Students after a weeks’ long labor dispute. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, in her farewell address on the Senate floor, has thanked the people of the state for the "extraordinary opportunity" to serve them.

Ayotte, elected in 2010, was defeated in November by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in a very close race.

Facing a projected operating loss of $2.6 million, New Hampshire's Colby-Sawyer College says it will "restructure" and lay off 18 employees.

College President Sue Stuebner says seven faculty members and 11 staffers at the New London college received notice Monday. Another 11 learned their hours will be modified and more than a dozen who are leaving won't be replaced.

The Valley News reports Stuebner attributes the current year's operating loss to recent fluctuation in Colby-Sawyer's enrollment, which went from about 1,500 four years ago to 1,100 this year.

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New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has directed that flags fly at half-staff in honor of the 75th anniversary of the attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor.

Hassan says the solemn occasion is an important opportunity to join together in honoring the sacrifices of the brave lives lost on Dec. 7, 1941, as well as those who survived and those who courageously went on to defend the nation in World War II.

Hassan said she joins all Granite Staters, Americans and people across the world on Wednesday in remembering this dark day in the nation's history.

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Portsmouth officials say six rounds of sampling done for chemicals in wells at what's now the Pease International Tradeport have resulted in non-detect levels since the city began using a carbon filter system.

Public Works Department deputy director Brian Goetz tells The Portsmouth Herald the last test was done on Nov. 15. He says all six tests resulted in non-detect levels for two types of PFCs, or perfluorochemicals.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/with/3211176586/">scottfidd</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

 

Parents of fourth and fifth graders can save money when their kids ski in New Hampshire.

Ski NH is offering a $30 Snowsports Passport to fourth and fifth graders that includes a one-day lift ticket or trail pass voucher to each of the association's 34 ski members. Vouchers also have additional offers on lessons, equipment rentals and lift tickets for family members.

A portion of the proceeds from each Passport also go to Make-A-Wish New Hampshire.

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 New Hampshire law that puts limits on how long third parties have to collect the necessary signatures to petition their way onto a general election ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire urged a three-judge panel in Boston to strike down the law, saying it could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.

The panel agreed Friday with a judge who found the law creates reasonable restrictions justified by the state's interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.

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Nineteen former faculty members of the psychiatry department at Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine have sued, saying Dartmouth violated their employment contracts and policy that entitled them to severance payments when it laid them off.

The Valley News reports a college spokeswoman said officials had no comment.

The dispute is the latest to arise following Dartmouth's moves to erase an estimated annual deficit approaching $30 million at Geisel.

 

 Several hiker-generated petitions have started in opposition to plans to build a hotel near the summit of Mount Washington, the Northeast's highest peak.

An online petition started by New Hampshire hiker Rachel Lewis has more than 2,700 signatures. Another asks hikers to contact the Coos County Planning Board to share their concerns.

The owners of the cog railway that runs up the mountain want to build the hotel.

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U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says new cellular voice and data service in New Hampshire's North Country will significantly boost economic development, tourism and public safety in the region.

Shaheen is announcing the expansion of 4G LTE service at a news conference Friday in Northumberland. The new service was built and operated by Wireless Partners LLC and will carry Verizon services.

Shaheen, who played a key role in developing the partnership, will be joined at the news conference by several state and local officials.

via Portsmouthwastewater.com

A group of residents in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, have sued the city, state, and federal government, saying an upgraded wastewater treatment plant under construction lacks the capacity to handle sewer needs.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the group filed the suit in federal court in Concord on Wednesday under provisions of the Clean Water Act. It also believes the Peirce Island plant is using the wrong technology because the city wanted to build it there, rather than at Pease International Tradeport.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 A Florida-based circus operator has agreed to pay $24,000 in fines issued by federal safety officials for a tent collapse that killed two people and injured dozens in New Hampshire last year.

Forty-one-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, of Vermont, died Aug. 3, 2015, when a storm with 75 mph winds blew through the Lancaster Fairgrounds, toppling the tent just minutes after about 100 people had settled in for a show. Fifty others were injured.

aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Wildlife officials say an adult loon was found dead from a gunshot wound in a New Hampshire lake over the summer.

WMUR-TV reports the Loon Preservation Committee announced the loon was discovered by a construction crew working at a lakefront property on Bradley Lake in Andover on Aug. 28.

The animal was collected by a New Hampshire Fish and Game officer and then transferred to the committee.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan is calling on a state legislative task force to provide assistance to dairy farmers who have been hit hard by a long-running drought and low milk prices.

In a letter to the chairman of the state Legislature's Dairy Producers Task Force, Hassan called for assistance to the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund in order "to help this important industry survive in New Hampshire."

 A New Hampshire town that said it wouldn't be decorated with holiday lights this season because of code issues with a utility now has a glimmer of hope.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that Exeter town officials have been talking to Unitil and are looking to get an electrician to install a needed meter and utility pole panel so they can set up their lighted garlands.

appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

 

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office says the death of a 2½-year-old Berlin girl was a homicide.

State and local police say that Madison Dana was taken to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital from her Berlin home Sunday afternoon after a 911 call. The girl was later pronounced dead.

An autopsy conducted Monday on the body of the girl found she died of blunt impact injuries. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The investigation into the circumstances of the girl's death is continuing.

voting booths
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Though there is no evidence behind President-elect Donald Trump’s recent claim of “serious’’ voter fraud in New Hampshire, the state could see a handful of election law changes now that Republicans are in charge at the State House.

Gov.-elect Chris Sununu wants to eliminate Election Day registration, while fellow Republicans in the legislature have long sought a 10- or 30-day residency requirement. They say the changes would give voters more confidence in New Hampshire’s election systems.

 

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The American Red Cross is highlighting a string of house fires in Vermont and New Hampshire this week to warn people to be extra careful as they prepare for the holidays.

Red Cross volunteers responded Monday to fires in Concord, Manchester and Proctor, Vermont. The fires displaced 25 people from eight families. Two more fires Tuesday night — in Rochester, N.H. and White River Junction, Vermont — displaced an additional four people.

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

Marijuana stores and social clubs won't be opening in Portland for at least six months following Maine's recent vote to legalize the drug.

The Portland Press Herald reports the city council unanimously approved a six-month moratorium Monday on the opening of any marijuana businesses. The moratorium will give councilors time to develop regulations around marijuana-related retail businesses.

Maine voters opted on Nov. 8 to legalize marijuana, but municipalities can regulate it. The law allows people 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use.

The New Hampshire Historical Society is bidding on papers from Franklin Pierce, the only president to have come from the Granite State.

The papers, including 90 letters between Pierce and his secretary Sidney Webster, are being auctioned by Auction at Doyle on Tuesday in New York. The letters are estimated to be worth between $15,000 and $30,000.

The society's president Bill Dunlap says the papers would bolster what is already considered the best collection of Pierce-related items. Pierce was president from 1853 to 1857.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The Attorney General's office wants to hire another medical examiner to help deal with the spike in drug-related deaths.

Via Wikimedia Commons

U.S. senators from Maine say Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield has been awarded a nearly $29 million contract from the U.S. Navy to do structural repair work at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King made the announcement on Monday. The senators say the contract will support repairs and modernization of structures at a berth at the Kittery shipyard.

Michael Brindley

 

The contentious Northern Pass transmission line project will have its strongest advocate yet in New Hampshire's corner when Republican Gov.-elect Chris Sununu takes office.

Northern Pass is a plan to bring enough megawatts to power roughly 1 million homes from Canada into the New England energy grid through mostly overhead transmission lines running down New Hampshire.

John K via Flickr CC

 

New Hampshire health officials say they anticipate that blood test results for residents whose drinking water supply has been contaminated with PFCs will be coming back in the weeks ahead.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says that the agency has received about 400 blood samples from people who may have been exposed to perfluorochemicals in southern New Hampshire and at the Pease Tradeport.

Dank Depot via Flickr CC

 

New Hampshire lawmakers say legalization of marijuana in Maine and Massachusetts should increase the chance of passing similar laws in the Granite State, while police officials say they'll continue to arrest people found in possession of pot until the law changes.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

 

More than a dozen New Hampshire ski areas are announcing their tentative opening days, starting with Loon Mountain Resort, which plans to open Wednesday.

A list released by the state Division of Travel and Tourism and Ski NH shows six resorts planning to open in late November, a handful in early December and the rest in mid- to late December.

 

The long-running drought in much of the Northeastern United States is expected to persist through the winter.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows dry conditions continuing through February throughout New England and the only relief coming in parts of upstate New York, where some drought-stricken areas could see improving conditions.

The drought is the worst seen in more than a decade. It has been devastating to farmers and resulted in water restrictions in many places. It has dried up drinking wells and dropped lake levels.

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