Some Seacoast towns voted down major capital projects, although residents in New Castle, it turns out, will have a second chance at one of their warrant articles.
In Rye, residents voted not to spend $4 million dollars to renovate their town hall. In North Hampton, a simple majority favored a $7 million new library, and safety complex: but a super majority was needed to pass the measure.
To function, town governments in New Hampshire rely on an informed citizenry. But getting informed can be overwhelming. Deliberative sessions take all day, warrant articles can be technical and hard to understand, and candidates can be numerous.
Now, civic-minded residents are finding ways to help.
On Wednesday the New Hampshire House will vote on whether schools should be able to compel students to disclose their social media activity.
The bill bans schools from demanding access to a student’s user name and password or requiring students to “friend” school officials on Facebook.
It would apply to private and public schools, K through colleges and universities. Prime Sponsor, Merrimack Rep Katherine Rogers says schools that demand access to a student’s social media accounts without a search warrant are denying that student the civil right to privacy.
The city of Portsmouth has been hauling snow from town and dumping it on Peirce Island, just across from the Naval Shipyard. But now, Public Works Director Peter Rice says the island is filling up.
Everything but the road is covered in mountains of snow on Peirce Island. At the very end of the road, a snow pile towers two or three stories high. If you peer over the hill to the park below – you see the pile doubles in size.
“This is unprecedented. We’ve never seen this before, like this. This has been amazing,” Lister revels.
The NH House is backing a bill that seeks to remove a potential financial incentive for county prosecutors who pursue liquor law violations.
The bill is fallout from mismanagement in the office of former Rockingham County Attorney, Jim Reams. Among other things, the state accused Reams of misusing fees his office collected while prosecuting liquor violations. Reams said current law allowed him to collect and spend the liquor fines.
The N.H. House is again hearing arguments to make marijuana possession punishable by civil penalties, not criminal.
Tuesday at a Criminal Safety Committee hearing crowded with supporters, cosponsor Representative Joe LaChance argued New Hampshire is the only state with criminal penalties for simple possession.
“What’s the repercussion for that person who may not be able to afford college? Now he has a marijuana conviction, and according to federal law, you may not be eligible for student loans, public housing. What have we done to that person for the rest of their life?”
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire say it’s not just bad diets and little exercise causing rising rates of obesity and diabetes. In fact, synthetic chemicals used in household items like couches and carpet padding may play a part in both of those conditions.
When Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey at UNH exposed healthy rats to high doses of flame retardant chemicals, and then inspected their fat tissue, she found that "metabolically, chemically, it behaves like it's from an animal that is obese. But the animal is not obese."
After working triple and quadruple shifts plowing the roads in Portsmouth, public workers in Portsmouth climb into garbage trucks for regular trash removal.
Public Works Director Peter Rice says storms and snow make even trash pickup a trying endeavor. "People are trying to pass them on these narrow roads while they’re trying to pick up trash,” Rice says. “You know these guysare exhausted, they are stretched thin.”
The Portsmouth Herald’s newspaper delivery crew is also struggling.
As of January 1, cities and towns in N.H. have new teeth to keep landlords from letting their property get messy or run down. On Tuesday, the city of Somersworth put this new authority to use.
Although Somersworth has spent the last year giving itself a makeover by redeveloping much of its downtown, authorities have had a hard time getting some landlords to maintain their properties. It's a problem a lot of communities face.
On Sunday, clergy from local Lutheran, Congregational, and Unitarian churches -- plus a rabbi -- honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth.
Reverend Arthur L. Hilson reminded his speakers -- including Portsmouth Major Bob Lister and Police Chief Stephen DuBois -- that they stood behind the very pulpit Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. preached at in Portsmouth 63 years ago.
The state’s Department of Transportation warned about slippery conditions on roadways from Manchester to Plymouth Sunday as freezing rain hit cold pavement. “Incidents are happening all over the place,” said Bill Boynton with NHDOT.
By afternoon, a pileup on I-93 blocked traffic in both directions near I-89.
Boynton's recommendation? Watch football.
"As soon as you start using salt, the rain dissolves it," he said. That made pre-treatment impossible Sunday morning, as freezing rain moved in across the state.
Senator Kelly Ayotte fielded questions on a variety of topics at a town hall meeting in Loudon on Friday.
She reiterated her support for sanctions in Iran; for immigration reform; assured one constituent that she would vote repeal Obamacare again if given the chance. However, Ayotte suggested, it may pay to be realistic.
“I also think though we should also try to take up some areas where people are saying ‘I can agree,’” Ayotte said, “like changing the forty-hour work week.”
On Friday, lawmakers will vote on a final rule governing what words New Hampshire drivers can have on their vanity license plates. While the Department of Safety’s interim rules did not allow drivers to receive vanity plates that refer to beer or other legal inebriants, the Department’s final recommendations reversed that decision, outlawing only illegal inebriants.
The USS Norfolk, her crew of 16 officers and 122 enlisted personnel arrived at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Friday to undergo the process of inactivation. During its 31 year history, the Norfolk completed 15 deployments and covered 30,000 nautical miles.
At the Shipyard in Kittery, crews will defuel the nuclear-powered ship. They will drain hydraulic systems and oil tanks, and remove tools, parts and furnishings.
Next, the sub will be towed to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where it will be dismantled.
A ten-year employment forecast in New Hampshire shows the Seacoast region gaining jobs faster than any other region in NH.
According to a report published by New Hampshire’s Economic Security Agency earlier this week, jobs in the Portsmouth/Salem region are predicted to grow 14.7 percent over the next 10 years –faster than anywhere else in the state. New Hampshire economist Dennis Delay says that’s a bit of a surprise.
Former Rockingham County prosecutor Jerome Blanchard begins work Monday as a criminal defense attorney with Russman Law in Exeter.
Blanchard was a primary whistleblower in the state’s investigation into former Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams. Blanchard was later fired by Patricia Conway, a longtime prosecutor in Reams’ office who was elected County Attorney in November.
Granite Staters greeted the New Year with festivities across the state, including First Night celebrations.
In Portsmouth, Jeff Day estimates he’s spent the last 20 New Years Eves running his chainsaw through blocks of ice right here in Portsmouth’s Market Square. This year, he’s working with thirteen 300-pound cubes.
"We're gonna make an iceburg, we're gonna have some penguins on there, some sliding, some sitting there," he says.
Day, who owns a diner in Rumney, won second place at the World Ice Art Championships in 2006.
Thanks to snow blowing, most lifts and at least half the trails are open at New Hampshire's major downhill ski resorts. Now, upcoming cold temperatures will mean more cross country trails can open up, too.
Gunstock will begin blowing snow onto its cross country trails on Monday night. Marketing Director Bill Quigley says getting snow onto these narrow, tree-lined trails requires the assistance of a local farmer. "They actually load the snow into a manure spreader," he says, "and then we drag it around with a snowcat and a tractor to spread it on the trails."
A lifelong champion for uninsured women and their children has died. Avis Goodwin passed away on Saturday in York Harbor, Maine on Saturday at age 95.
As Director of Social Services at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in 1969, she started the state’s first prenatal care clinic for uninsured women. It is now a nonprofit called the Goodwin Community Health Center in Somersworth.