Emily Corwin

Southern New Hampshire Reporter

Emily Corwin is NHPR's Southern New Hampshire reporter, doing general assignment reporting across the region. She also covers the state's justice system.

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Rockingham County will pay an $80,000 settlement to a whistleblower in the Attorney General's investigation of former prosecutor Jim Reams.  The settlement with Jerome Blanchard comes after Blanchard filed a claim against the county for wrongful termination. It includes $54,000 in lost pay and damages, and $26,000 in attorneys fees.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

On Sunday night, the U.S. Womens Soccer team goes up against Japan in the World Cup Final. Ten year old soccer player Abby Bentley of Newmarket is looking forward to the game. NHPR's Emily Coriwn met up with Bentley at a summer camp held by Seacoast United in Hampton, N.H.

Courtroom One Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Police and defense attorneys now have a second list of officers who – for more than two years- may not have been properly certified to give breath tests.

Mirko Isaia / Flickr, creative commons

Portsmouth will host its first Pride festival this weekend. Festival organizers say the festival has been in the works since early winter.  Now that the Supreme Court upheld gay marriage in all 50 states, Seacoast Outright board chair Chuck Rhoades says, "I think there’s a little extra oomph, a little extra joy, and another reason to celebrate."

Seacoast Outright is a nonprofit that supports LGBT youth.  The organization faced funding and volunteer shortages last year. With a new board and director, Rhoades says, the group is revitalizing. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

For the first time this year, the Exeter Classic – a “criterium” style bike race – offered equal prize money in their pro women's race as their pro men’s race.  In September, the Portsmouth Criterium will also offer an equal purse to women for the first time.

Top female bike racers say regional race directors in New England and Northern California are pushing national and international governing bodies toward equality for women as they make room for women’s races and attract sponsors for equal prize money.

NHPR Staff

Funding for public higher education is a core issue in the budget battle now being waged between the Governor and the Legislature. Meanwhile, budget woes are brewing on the state's community college campuses, too, where students, faculty, and senior administrators don’t agree on how to balance the books.

State health officials have analyzed the first 100 out of about 500 blood samples taken from people exposed to a contaminant found in one of the wells on Pease International Tradeport.

The first 100 blood tests show concentrations of Perfluorochemicals PFOS and PFOA that are higher than the average American’s, but lower than other exposed groups like those drinking water downstream from a West Virginia DuPont factory.

New Hampshire Health And Human Services will discuss the results of the first 100 blood samples provided by individuals who spend time on the Pease Tradeport.  

A total of 433 people have been tested for the perfluorochemical “PFOS” after the city of Portsmouth discovered a high concentration of the contaminant in the Haven well on Pease.  The well has since been shut off.

Runs With Scissors via Flcikr/Creative Commons

USDA Undersecretary, Kevin Concannon visited New Hampshire this week to talk poverty and food policy with social service providers, meet with high school students, and visit a farmers market. I caught up with him and asked about local food and SNAP benefits; local food in schools -- and how behavioral economists are influencing the USDA's "Smarter Lunchrooms" program. 

Deborah Brown / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Strafford-County-Courthouse

Every year, police officers who operate breathalyzer equipment have to get re-certified through an online course. 

Over the last year and a half, a software error re-certified about 110 officers who may not have been given the entire test.

Emily Corwin

Ohio’s Republican Governor and potential presidential candidate John Kasich stopped in Portsmouth Thursday to test his appeal with a handful of Seacoast Republicans. Kasich was the 10th presidential hopeful to luncheon with Renee Plummer and her politically active friends. Some consider Plummer the region’s most active Republican networker.

Kasich, a longtime congressman, former Fox TV host, and current Ohio governor, says he knows how to navigate Washington bureaucracy. And, he said – his administration would be sensitive to issues like mental illness and drug addiction. 

Three New Hampshire counties are on track to begin next year a streamlined system for processing felonies that removes the automatic probable cause hearing.

Today, all arrests begin in a local court, and anyone charged with a crime gets a probable cause hearing. But according to a bill passed by the House Wednesday, felony crimes will begin in the county courthouse starting in July of next year. Defendants will then have to petition a judge for a probable cause hearing -- that’s when the court determines if its more likely than not the crime occurred.

A community advisory board concerned about water contamination on Pease Tradeport heard from two epidemiologists Tuesday night in Portsmouth.  

Courtney Carignan studies environmental contaminants at Harvard’s School of Public Health. She says even though the contaminant found in a well at Pease is in a sort of regulatory limbo with the EPA, the contaminant's health effects are known.

Seacoast Charter School

An Arts and Music Charter School on the Seacoast that had faced closure is now likely to stay open.

The Seacoast Charter School has been trying to raise money to stay open since it learned its current lease from Sanborn Regional School District in Kingston wouldn’t be renewed.  The school needed to raise $125,000 by the end of May to lease a new space in Stratham. 

Seacoast Charter School Principal Peter Durso says the school met that goal through the efforts of teachers, parents, and some deep pocketed youngsters.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

Former New York Governor George Pataki announced his bid for president this morning at a rally in Exeter. The Exeter town hall was sweltering and packed with perhaps as many New Yorkers as Granite Staters.

NH DHHS

As of this week, the state has tested the blood of 260 adults and children who were exposed to contaminated well water at the Pease Tradeport.  But some parents are questioning why their children are asked to sign a consent form before being tested. 

About a year ago, water tests revealed that a potentially harmful contaminant had been leaching into well water on the former Pease Airforce Base.  It was from old firefighting foam that was used as early as 1970.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

It was just over a year ago, at Keene area School District’s annual board retreat, and Deputy Superintendent Reuben Duncan was expecting the usual conversations about curriculum and finances. The teachers, he says, had something else in mind.

  In five or ten years, Duncan says, elementary school students were coming in without the skills they used to have. “They were coming in without vocabulary, without being able to interact appropriately with other kids, with hygiene issues, not being able to use the bathroom,” he recalls. “And then, there’s the aggressive behaviors.”

Sara Plourde for NHPR

There are many factors that affect the way a family with children lives. We've selected ten of these - factors which affect income, access to resources, and stability - and combined them to illustrate how families are doing at either end of the income spectrum.
 
This graphic illustrates how the top 25% and bottom 25% compare, and how the bottom 25% compares with the average of all New Hampshire families. 

Notes on the data:

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The co-owner of the Meat House grocery franchise will spend one month in jail after pleading guilty to fiduciary fraud.

Jason Parent pleaded guilty to Mismanagement of Property on Thursday.

Two years ago the Meat House LLC used $26,000 raised for a Veterans’ Charity to make payroll, including $14,000 in paychecks made out to Parent and co-owner Justin Rosberg.

Parent will face 30 days in the Rockingham County Jail followed by an 11 month suspended sentence. 

Rosberg,  pleaded guilty to the same charge in January.

http://www.seacoastcharterschool.org

A Kingston charter school that focuses on arts and music is facing possible closure.  

Currently, the school leases space from Sanborn Regional School District. The district extended the lease last year, but says they did not renew the lease because building’s fire and safety violations are too expensive to repair. 

Superintendent Brian Blake says the district intends to leave the building vacant.

Gavin Peterson / Flickr, Creative Commons

UNH Law Professor and Sports Journalist Michael McCann will teach a social science course to UNH Undergrads next year called “Deflategate.” 

The course will cover the intersection of sports law and journalism. Professor Michael McCann says it will include the Aaron Hernandez, Donald Sterling and "Deflategate" scandals, in addition to more general issues like union membership, contracts, and privacy rights.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Two cities and eleven individuals will have the chance to weigh in on propane company SEA-3’s controversial project in Newington. 

The state’s Site Evaluation Committee is in the middle of evaluating whether to approve SEA-3’s request to expand. SEC evaluations can take up to a year, and SEA-3 has requested an exemption to speed it up. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

For over ten years, the city of Portsmouth has been trying to decide whether and where to build a second downtown parking garage.  On Monday night, city councilors voted unanimously to bond a $23 million new garage.

Of the 150 or so people who packed City Hall, more than 50 testified in favor of the garage; four testified against it.  Pressure was on for the three city councilors who had indicated uncertainty over the project.

Garage Enthusiasts

Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution has ranked NHTI – Concord’s Community College -- as the nation’s most value-added two-year college.

The report compares how well two and four-year colleges boost student’s economic outcomes. That’s in contrast to many college rankings, which assess schools’ ability to attract top students.

Brookings Fellow Jonathan Rothwell says the study focused on alumni’s midcareer salaries, their occupations, and their ability to repay student loans.  

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Strafford_County,_New_Hampshire_Genealogy

The mayors of Dover, Somersworth and Rochester have created a commission to pool municipal resources. 

As cities go, these cities are on the small side, with populations from 12,000 to 30,000. Rochester Mayor T.J. Jean says he hopes together, the tri-city commission can find economies of scale through collective purchasing and other measures. 

"Each community is going to send two representatives to bring ideas and discuss ideas on how we might be able to work together so we aren’t all spending the same amount of money on the same things," he says.

gavel
SalFalko, Mentus Media / Flickr Creative Commons

 

For more than a decade leaders in New Hampshire’s courts have been trying to modernize the state’s judicial system. In 2001 they began a major effort to digitized files. More recently, they’ve consolidated the lower courts.

On Thursday, the House begins hearings on an effort to speed up felony prosecutions.

Although the bill would create a trial phase in just two counties, debate over the proposed change is rippling through the state’s criminal justice community.

 

How It Works Now

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Congressman Frank Guinta worked the counter -- and met with lobbyists from the National Association of Convenience Stores during a stop at Cumberland Farms in Portsmouth.

He said he would work to make sure compliance with federal regulations like the new food labelling law isn’t unwieldy for convenience stores:

I will now,  when I’m back in Washington,  take a look at the current rule. And there’s legislation to fix that – proposed legislation -- so I’m going to take a look at all of that.

dla3lat at MarineTraffic.com

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a report including details about a 2013 collision between a 473 foot cargo tanker docked in Portsmouth and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.

The authors report the vessel needed maintenance and was not adequately attached at the wharf.

New Hampshire Director of Ports and Harbors, Geno Marconi, says he knew the port was not responsible, because saw the collision from the dock:

Wikimedia Commons

Allegiant Air's flights will arrive and depart as scheduled at Portsmouth's airport at Pease.

 The Teamsters International Airline division had planned to strike Thursday beginning at 3 a.m.

The strike was stalled when Allegiant Air was granted a temporary restraining order against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1224, which represents the Allegiant pilots.

Wikimedia Commons

A labor dispute between the Las Vegas airline Allegiant Air and its pilots could affect passengers flying out of Portsmouth Airport.

Allegiant Air is the only commercial airline serving Portsmouth International. Airport manager Bill Hopper says airline let him know that its pilots’ union, Teamsters International, is planning to strike at 3am Thursday morning.

For now, Hopper says, the airport is planning business as usual “and we’ll see how things are in the morning.”

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