Emily Corwin

Reporter

Emily Corwin covers New Hampshire news, and reports on the state's criminal justice system. She's also one of eight dedicated reporters with the New England News Collaborative, a consortium of public media newsrooms across New England. 

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Emily Corwin / NHPR

Over a year ago, residents near Merrimack, New Hampshire learned their drinking water had been contaminated by emissions from a plastics plant owned by the multinational company, Saint-Gobain.  

More than a year later, some residents in Merrimack say state and federal officials haven’t done enough to protect them from the contamination. Now, a few are taking things into their own hands, going door to door.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / Vermont Public Radio

A settlement between the state of Vermont and the plastics company Saint Gobain is catching the attention of some in New Hampshire who say the settlement should change the conversation around water quality here.

On Wednesday morning, Durham’s three-person human rights commission will discuss establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day. Town administrator Todd Selig says the idea came about as the town grappled with pushback over a mural at the local post office.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Governor Sununu signed three bills having to do with water quality last week. 

Two new laws will address water contamination from perfluorichemicals – those so called “Teflon toxins” found on the Seacoast and in Southern New Hampshire.

One will allocate $5 million dollars from the state’s water trust to remedy contamination in Amherst. A year ago, the state found perfluorichemicals in private wells surrounding the former TCI plastics plant there.

Catholic Charities of NH has received $60,000 in federal funds to help immigrant victims of crimes perpetrated by U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Cathy Chesley of Catholic Charities said most of the organizations eligible clients are survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, although victimes of other crimes are also eligible.

Jennifer Shea via Facebook

Last weekend’s rainstorm did more damage than officials initially assessed. On Thursday evening, twenty local roads remained closed. 

By Wednesday, cities and towns in Grafton County had upped their flood damage tally from $4 million to nearly $12 million. Two state roads, 116 South in Easton and 25A in Orford, will likely remain closed through the coming weekend, although local traffic can access residences in the interim.

On Thursday, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials began a tour of storm damage in the state.

Sam Evans-Brown

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is overseeing the city prosecutor’s office until an interim city solicitor can take over.

On Thursday, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office shared with Manchester officials findings from an investigation into the city’s domestic violence prosecutions. They outlined a multitude of failures both by a domestic violence prosecutor, and her boss, city solicitor Tom Clark.

On Friday, Clark resigned, effective immediately.

Update: Manchester City Solicitor, Tom Clark, announced his resignation Friday afternoon. 

Manchester city officials met with the city solicitor and the attorney general’s office Friday to discuss an investigation into Manchester City Solicitor’s office. The meeting was held to discuss quote “corrective action” and “potential terminations.” None of the parties present agreed to discuss the meeting.

Don Kasak via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6Xqtg1

The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism predicts an increase in tourism and spending this summer, four percent more than last year – and they expect nearly a million out of state visitors this weekend alone.

Via the Friends Program Facebook page

A recent agreement between a Concord homeless shelter and the federal government could help end discrimination against domestic violence survivors who face homelessness.

The settlement includes the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Friends Program in Concord, and a female survivor of domestic violence.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The New Hampshire parole board plays a key role in the state’s criminal justice system. Its nine members decide which inmates get out on parole, and which parolees return to prison. Although parole hearings are open to the public, they take place with little oversight or public scrutiny. And, unlike most legal proceedings, they can be surprisingly unrefined affairs.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Sununu says his staff is reviewing the US Senate’s version of the health care reform bill, made public Thursday.

As the Senate released the bill, Sununu published a letter to Congressional leadership along with New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Chuck Morse and House Speaker Shawn Jasper.  

State legislator and Manchester alderman Thomas Katsiantonis was indicted Thursday by a grand jury on charges of theft, tax evasion, and falsifying evidence.

Katsiantonis is a 44-year-old six-term Democrat in the New Hampshire House.

The state attorney general says Katsiantois stole $423,000 in meal and rental tax payments through two restaurants he owns in Manchester.

He was also formally charged with evading business profits taxes over four years. A CPA from Claremont also was indicted for conspiring to commit tax evasion.

  The NH ACLU has weighed in on a lawsuit against the town of Farmington. In an amicus brief filed in federal court, the organization claims Farmington subjects its employees to a social media policy that violates those employee’s first amendment rights to free speech.

 

 

The lawsuit was initiated last year by former Farmington firefighter, Alexander Morin.  Farmington fired Morin in 2015, after Morin posted opinions on Facebook during off-duty hours.

 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

New Hampshire has joined 36 other states in allowing illicit drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones.

Photo via TripAdvisor

A Mexican restaurant in New Boston that was raided by immigration agents this week has shuttered.

La Cabana Mexican Restaurant announced in a Facebook post on Thursday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had raided their restaurant that morning, picking up half its staff.

The AP confirmed with ICE that two people who had been previously deported from the United States were arrested outside the restaurant.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Two laws signed by Governor Sununu on Wednesday will limit certain legal arguments in sex crime cases.

Beginning January 1 of next year, a defendant can no longer argue in court that he or she did not know the age of a prostitution or human trafficking victim.

Additionally, Sununu signed a high profile bill strengthening the state’s so-called “rape shield” law. He explained the change would “ensure that the private and unrelated sexual history of sexual assault victims will not be used against them in any court proceeding.”

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Nine months ago, Joyce Chance left a refugee camp in Uganda where she had spent the last eleven years. Chance, who was born in Congo, boarded a plane with her two kids, and came to the United States.

A refugee resettlement agency in Concord, New Hampshire picked them up at the airport, and moved them into a one-room apartment.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

It took nearly thirty minutes to read all 704 veterans’ names.  These were not the few who died in service, but the many who died over the past year throughout New Hampshire.  When Jerome Forte’s name was called, Dennie Forte stood and walked to the front of the hall at Manchester’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center. There, Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan handed her a rose. The ritual would repeat itself hundreds of times that morning.  

Every other year, the organization Building On Hope rallies together hundreds of people to renovate a community organization's space. 

This time, the organization chose Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire, in Concord. It’s an emergency shelter for domestic violence and other survivors of abuse. Board member E.J. Powers says the project is "In the spirit of yankee barn raisings from many generations ago."

He says builders, architects, painters, designers, and everyday people will volunteer their time, and sometimes, their money.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci spent an hour visiting immigrants detained at the Strafford County Jail in Dover on Monday.

The decision to visit the jail came after the Bishop  met with a parish in Manchester on Sunday with many Hispanic congregants. That Parish, St Anne-St. Augustin, had sought to protect undocumented immigrants living in the neighborhood by proclaiming itself a, quote, “sanctuary church.”

The Bishop responded last month with a letter urging Catholic churches against such proclamations.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A Manchester police officer allegedly struck a pedestrian with his car early Sunday morning, then fled the scene.

The victim suffered only minor injuries. Officer Steven Comacchia, the alleged driver in the hit and run, is now on leave from the department without pay. He has been charged with a misdemeanor and could face fines or up to a year in jail.

Manchester police chief, Nick Willard, said his department does not know if Comacchia was  under the influence of any substances at the time.

It’s a weekend of unusual events in New Hampshire.

Andrew W. Sieber/flickr

New police recruits in New Hampshire get paid by their towns to attend a 16-week police academy run by the state. New officers stay at the training facility during the week, and return home during weekends.  

Now, two officers are suing their employers, alleging they were underpaid while attending the academy.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A couple years ago, Manchester police lieutenant Nicole LeDoux and two colleagues decided to crunch some numbers. They found that in a single year, 400 Manchester kids had been at either domestic violence incidents or overdoses when police were called.  LeDoux is a fast talker who oversees the juvenile and domestic violence units. “I remember sitting,” she said, “and being like ‘man, that’s a lot of kids. How do we deal with that?’” 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

There was singing in three languages, chants, even a prayer Monday night at Veterans Park in Manchester. There, demonstrators gathered in a chilly rain to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The administration had created a new urgency for this annual May Day rally.

Zagster

A bike share program in Manchester could be underway as early as June 1. 

Carol Gayman is the engine behind the project. She lives in Manchester, where she rides her bike and works at the YMCA. Manchester is not known for its spending on public goods.

"We needed all private sponsorship dollars for this project to work in Manchester," Gayman said. After 18 months hustling for those sponsorships, Gayman says she’s "99.9 percent certain that as of May 2, it will get the nod from the full board of mayor and alderman."

Connor Mahar

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will perform in Manchester for the last time, this weekend.

This hundred and forty-six year-old spectacle is known as the Greatest Show On Earth. Recently, it’s been stopping through Manchester every year since the early 2000’s.

Since then, ticket sales have declined. Animal Rights activists pressured the circus to retire their elephants a year ago, and the circus itself will retire in May.

The Flying Gravity youth circus troupe will be in Manchester to witness the Ringling Brothers’ final performances here.  

Emily Corwin for NHPR

Jared Barbosa is an Elementary School guidance counselor who was raised by a professional soccer player. His dad, Manoel “Boom Boom” Barbosa, competed all over the world before settling down in Nashua, N.H.

Jared says professional soccer was his dad’s ticket out of poverty in Brazil. College soccer was his ticket to economic mobility.

He doesn’t think high level sports should exclude low-income kids.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/autophotomoto/">autophotomoto</a> / Flickr

Saint-Gobain, a multinational plastics company, has agreed to pay for the design efforts to extend public water lines in Bedford.  The new water mains will connect to homes with wells contaminated by perfluorichemicals, most likely released from Saint-Gobain’s smokestacks. 

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