Emily Corwin

Southern New Hampshire Reporter

Emily Corwin covers news in Southern New Hampshire, 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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Take a look at the Merrimack, NH Water Issue Facebook page and you’ll see that people on the town's public water are not happy. Dozens call the water commissioners “unprepared,” say they are “protecting the culprit,” and need to “step up.” Unlike other towns in New Hampshire, in Merrimack, the public water system (Merrimack Village District, or MVD) is independent from town governance, overseen by its own elected board of commissioners. “I know that the MVD has been working hard,” Merrimack...

New Hampshire gun manufacturer Sig Sauer lost an appeal in a US Appeals Court this week. The dispute was over the classification of a “silencer" device.

John K via Flickr CC

Residents concerned about PFOA contamination in Merrimack’s public water supplies demanded more accountability from commissioners at a meeting held on Monday. Unlike many other towns in New Hampshire, Merrimack’s public water is overseen by an independent board of commissioners and is not coordinated with town government.

They have green backs, pink bellies and are only about 2 inches in diameter. The invasive green crab has been destroying clam and scallop populations from South Carolina to Maine, since they were introduced here two centuries ago.

The Department of Health and Human Services will now pay for blood tests for some residents exposed to chemicals like PFOA and PFOS. The department paid for the blood tests after workers and parents demanded them following exposure on the Pease Air Force Base two years ago. But DHHS had resisted paying for blood tests in Southern New Hampshire where similar chemicals turned up. That changed today, DHHS spokesman Jake Leon says. "We know there is a lot of concern and uncertainty among...

Emily Corwin for NHPR

In Nashua on Wednesday, Republican Ted Gatsas announced his plan to fight opiate addiction across the state. In front of city hall, Gatsas told a small gathering of reporters the heroin crisis needs leadership, saying, "M y first act as Governor would be to declare this fentanyl heroin epidemic is a public health emergency."

Emily Corwin

A new kind of water contamination has shown up all over the US, including New England. This time it’s not lead, like in the Flint, Michigan water system, but instead it's a chemical used to manufacture Teflon pans, firefighting foam, even microwave popcorn bags. It's forced some communities to hand out bottled water and shut down their water systems.

Two adults and two juveniles died in a four-alarm fire in Manchester early Monday morning. The fire broke out in the back of an apartment building on Wilson Street. Twenty-five people are believed to live in the building. At five in the morning, residents from a similar apartment building next door were evacuated. Twenty-three year old Luis Collaza has lived in that building for three years. "It's a really sad way to start a Monday morning," he says, "a horrible way. Especially when there's...

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

The federal government does not regulate PFOA and PFOS -- the contaminants found in drinking water in Southern New Hampshire and on the former Pease Air Force Base. But as of today, they are regulated in New Hampshire. That’s because the state’s environmental regulator has filed an emergency rule giving the state new authority over contaminated water. It means municipal water suppliers will have to maintain water with fewer than 70 parts per trillion of either or both of these contaminants....

Residents with private wells near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack filed two class action cases Wednesday against the company. Saint-Gobain is the likely source of water contamination in the area, according to state officials.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Last week was a big news week for residents dealing with water contamination issues in New Hampshire and across the country.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The EPA has announced a lifetime health advisory level for two chemicals that have contaminated water in Southern New Hampshire and at the former Pease Air Force Base.

The man who appears on video being punched by law enforcement officers following a high speed car chase has been taken to Elliot Hospital. Richard Simone’s public defender requested a bail hearing on Friday after finding his client had not been transported to a hospital the day before. Attorney Tony Sculimbrene says it was expected he would be taken to a hospital following a court appearance on Thursday. “The result of the bail hearing was that a transport order was issued to have him taken...

Both a New Hampshire state trooper and a Massachusetts state trooper have been relieved of their duties after allegedly punching a driver following a multi-state car chase Wednesday. The story has gotten national attention after media outlets released a video of the incident.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Private wells near a former manufacturing plant in Amherst have tested high for levels of the chemical PFOA. The contamination likely originates at a former Textiles Coated International plant. That company moved its operations to Manchester in 2005.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

This is the first week inmates about to be released from prison in New Hampshire can receive the substance abuse medication Vivitrol . The program is designed to reduce re-offenses and drug overdoses after release. DOC deputy commissioner Helen Hanks says the prison will give inmates a single dose of Vivitrol seven days before they return to the community. Then, Hanks says, “We connect them with a primary care provider so that we continue that continuity of care model to help them have the...

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Saint-Gobain is not the only company using perfluorinated compounds in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services has identified 44 companies in the state that likely use or once used this water-contaminating compound in their products. Perfluorinated compounds include PFOA, found earlier this year at Saint-Gobain’s Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack, and PFOS, found two years ago in well water on the former Pease Air Force base. The companies are located across...

For years, New Hampshire has been unable to recruit enough prison officers. Despite spending thousands of dollars on recruitment and advertising, prisons here operate with 70 fewer officers than they need to meet "critical staffing" levels. While correctional facilities across New England face the same shortage, New Hampshire is the only state in the region that requires candidates to pass a polygraph test: a practice Congress banned among private employers 30 years ago. The New Hampshire...

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The physician at Manchester's Valley Street Jail has agreed not to practice medicine at any correctional facility while the Board of Medicine investigates allegations that inmates received substandard care. The board issued an emergency order April 28 that temporarily suspended the license of Matthew Masewic, who has been physician at the Hillsborough County jail since 2009. In agreeing to the terms of the order, Masewic has not admitted to any misconduct. Masewic has also been placed on paid...

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Residents with contaminated wells in Southern New Hampshire may be able to hook up to public water in the coming months. That’s since Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack agreed to pay for design efforts to extend public water to affected homes. The agreement comes after the contaminant PFOA was found in well water surrounding the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack. Thomas Burack, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, supports the plan. He says it means residents...

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

The emergency suspension of a physician who oversees the medical needs of more than 200 inmates in Hillsborough County c omes after the state Board of Medicine received numerous complaints of substandard care at Valley Street Jail. But well before the board launched an investigation into allegations that Matthew Masewic had failed to provide adequate treatment, attorneys for former inmates say medical care at the jail was a problem long before he arrived seven years ago.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

A doctor who oversees the medical needs of over 200 jailed inmates in Hillsborough County has been barred from practicing at the facility for at least the next 120 days, after an emergency license suspension by the state’s Board of Medicine The board claims Matthew Masewic failed to provide his patients at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester with adequate medical care. Its investigation argues that one individual’s heart and other medications were stopped, even after a trip to the ER and...

s_falkow via Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice and New Hampshire’s Attorney General, Joe Foster, will work together to prosecute drug overdoses as crime scenes. The goal is to charge drug dealers with homicide, when an overdose death can be linked to a drug sale. The collaboration will expand resources for state prosecutors and allow New Hampshire drug dealers to be charged under federal law, which has tougher penalties for drug crimes.

Flikr Creative Commons / eyesore9

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has announced updated drinking water well test results for the water contaminant PFOA in Southern New Hampshire.

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

In 2002, the Saint-Gobain performance plastics plant in Merrimack doubled in size. That growth happened when the company decided to close its plant in Bennington, Vt., and move those operations to Merrimack , N.H.

The state’s Medical Examiner has concluded that a man found dead at the Valley Street Jail in early March died of a fentanyl overdose. The death was ruled an accident.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

A second bottled water pickup has been scheduled for Southern New Hampshire residents whose wells were contaminated with the compound known as PFOA. The state Department of Environmental Services will provide the bottled water, paid for by Saint-Gobain, at the Litchfield Transfer station on Sunday, from 9 to 3. Residents who qualify include those within a one-mile radius of the Saint-Gobain plastics plant, as well as those in designated neighborhoods outside of that radius. DES estimates the...

Flikr Creative Commons / eyesore9

New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services says test results of groundwater and soil taken at the Saint-Gobain plastics plant in Merrimack show a high level contamination at the plant.

NHDES Website

NH Department of Environmental Services will expand their testing radius for PFOA , a contaminant found in drinking water near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack .

kennethkonica (Flickr)

The New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of Manchester’s panhandling ordinance in federal court. The organization claims the ordinance violates panhandlers’ rights to free speech and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. Legal Director Gilles Bissonette says the ordinance is “particularly problematic,” because it targets the individual standing peacefully in a public space, “not a motorist that is potentially causing an obstruction.” He...

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