Melanie Plenda

Correspondent
NH News
10:27 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Quality Of Life, Fear Of Repeat Riots Raised At Keene Pumpkin Festival Forum

Credit Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Advocates for keeping Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival going said at a forum Tuesday the loss of revenue to local nonprofits would be devastating, while those who want to see the festival end raised concerns about whether the riots that marred this year’s festival will get worse.

"Is it responsible to dig in our heels when there is a very real possibility this will happen again?" said Beth Truman, a Keene resident and Pumpkin Festival volunteer. "Luckily this didn't result in any deaths, but what if there is a death next year? ...It is time for it to end."

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NH News
10:21 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Keene Residents Discuss Riots, Weigh Future Of Pumpkin Festival

Keene resident Jessica White, who started the Facebook Page "Keene Pumpkin Festival Move it or Lose it" and moderated Thursday night's forum
Credit Melanie Plenda for NHPR

For many Keene residents, the wounds are still fresh.

"This is an emotional issue," said Jessica White, who started the Facebook Page "Keene Pumpkin Festival Move it or Lose it" and moderated a forum Thursday night focused on the events of that weekend. "We were hurt. We were embarrassed. Embarrassed is a big one."

On Oct. 18 and 19, more than 2,000 college-aged adults overwhelmed police, started street fires, threw full liquor bottles at emergency officials tending to the injured, toppled light poles and tipped cars for more than eight hours.

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Politics
8:25 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Perry Tests 2016 Waters: Addresses Charges, Keystone Pipeline, Border Security

Perry takes questions at Keene State College
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s itinerary  -- meetings with core Republican activists, stops at colleges, and a speech at an event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – was very much that of a candidate. 

In his remarks at the Marine event, Perry cited Russia, Iran, and ISIS, as reasons why the U.S. cannot afford a foreign policy, that is, as he put it, “lacking in clarity.” 

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NH News
7:48 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Slideshow: Before The Riots, It Was All About The Pumpkins In Keene

Melanie Plenda for NHPR

Before riots overshadowed the festivities in Keene on Saturday, thousands gathered in the city's downtown for the annual spectacle of thousands of jack-o'-lanterns lining Main Street.

Click above to see a gallery of some of the pumpkins, which include corporate-sponsored carvings, political messages, and at least one marriage proposal. 

NH News
9:51 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Police In Riot Gear Clash With Crowd In Keene, Several Injuries Reported

Police formed a barricade on Winchester Street to deal with the huge crowds.
Credit Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Police turned out in riot gear to try to quell the violence that erupted in the neighborhoods surrounding the Pumpkin Festival in Keene Saturday.

Initial police and fire reports indicate that police and EMTs had to dodge bottles and other debris from the hostile crowd as they tried to tend to the injured.

Stephanie Konopka of Swanzey was visiting the festival with her 12-year-old daughter Saturday afternoon, and said her car was surrounded by a mob of hundreds of college age students while driving down Winchester Street at about 2 p.m.

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Business and Economy
5:00 am
Mon August 4, 2014

S'more Than Tradition: Summer Camps Bring Big Dollars To The Granite State

The swimming dock at Camp Coniston
Credit L. via Flickr Creative Commons

Happy campers produce more than beaded wallets and macramé planters. They also generate millions in revenue, payroll and taxes.

At last count there were 289 youth summer camps in New Hampshire, contributing $317 million to the state’s economy and supporting 4,400 jobs with $128 million in total payroll, according to a 2011 report issued by the American Camps Association of New England.

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Arts & Culture
2:38 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

For Artist, 'Draw New Hampshire' A Trip Down Memory Lane

Isles of Shoals from Rye
Sue Anne Bottomley

New Hampshire is already small, but for artist Sue Anne Bottomley, everyone's practically a neighbor.

Or they are since the New London woman spent the last two years visiting each town with the goal of drawing pictures of all of them. Bottomley has produced a blog called Colorful Journey where she displays her drawings and tells each town's tales.

Bouncing beside her grandpa down rutted dirt roads  in his old  Chevy pickup truck, a 5-year-old, Sue Anne Bottomley discovered New Hampshire.

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Word of Mouth
1:11 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Nature Schools

Credit nicoleta gramada via flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s newly unveiled budget is making political waves…he’s pushing for publicly funded “preschool for all,” paid for with a new tax on cigarettes. Here in New Hampshire, there’s been a different kind of preschool push…toward teaching kids outside. So-called nature preschools and forest kindergartens may sound like more fun than foundational, but this approach to early learning is gaining popularity for teaching the basics, while getting kids away from screens into the wilderness.

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NH News
11:29 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Funding Debated For Poison Control Center

On Monday, the Legislative Joint Financial Committee will meet  to approve emergency funds to keep New Hampshire's poison control center running for the next year. Without the funds, on July 1, poison control won't be available to New Hampshire residents anymore.

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Arts & Culture
5:01 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Finding Theater at an Alstead Machine Shop

Triple M Tool and Die has been a sometimes-working, unassuming, hard- to- find machine shop in Alstead for more than 50 years. At least that’s what it is during the day.

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Business and Economy
5:30 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Veteran Unemployment Remains High

The last of the U-S troops are now returning from Iraq.

Once home they’re likely to end up joining thousands of other veterans looking for work in a bleak job market.

Despite government incentives to get companies to hire vets, unemployment among vets is still higher than civilians.

The youngest veterans struggle the most.

Twenty-two year old Courtney Selig went into the military to better herself.

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