Roger Wood

Correspondent
Roger Wood

A New Hampshire Marine Patrol boat circled the waters of Great Bay, while State troopers flanked a Massachusetts State Police strategic vehicle. They were there to urge motorists in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts to drive responsibly. NH State Police major Chris Aucoin said that this weekend they’ll be looking for speeding motorists as well as those who are under the influence.

“It continues to be an ongoing phenomena that is killing people on our highways, in addition to distracted driving.”

NHPR / Roger Wood

American Idol finalist Alex Preston returned to New Hampshire on Saturday. 

The Mont Vernon native was greeted by throngs of supporters in his hometown and again later in the day in Durham.

At a celebration in Mont Vernon, Governor Maggie Hassan proclaimed Saturday Alex Preston day in New Hampshire. 

And at parade in Durham, more than a thousand people waited for the Preston to pass by in an open convertible.

The City of Portsmouth is taking action to reduce the parking squeeze downtown. 


Roger Wood/NHPR

The Navy deactivated the Los Angeles Class Submarine at the Portsmouth Navy Yard.

It was there that a former shipyard worker, Casey Fury, set a fire on board that ultimately gutted the $900 m sub. During a one hour ceremony, its last commander, captain Rolf Spelker, noted that the Miami, commissioned in 1990, was recognized as the best sub in the Atlantic fleet.

“And all of us justifiable take pride not only what we have in our tours, but also what has been done by those that preceded us and those that came after us.”

The state’s highest court has settled the dispute over the ownership of Portsmouth regional hospital, thwarting an effort by the foundation for seacoast health to wrest control of the hospital from the Hospital Corporation of America.

At issue was whether the 1999 restructuring of Portsmouth regional hospital gave the foundation for seacoast health the right to purchase the hospital from its parent company , the Hospital corporation of America.

Roger Wood

Public safety officials in Northern New England are urging caution on the highways and waterways during the holiday weekend.

State Police and Marine Safety officials converged on Dover Point to emphasize their commitment to safe driving and boating, starting with the July 4th holiday.

New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn says that enforcement will be increased in three states.

Roger Wood

The final section of the New Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine is now in place.

It took less than half an hour to float the center span down the Piscataqua River from the New Hampshire State Pier. 

That’s where construction crews built all the new bridge parts for the new span.  After tugboats pushed the section into place, crews began the work of connecting it with the other finished sections of bridge. 

Scott Dennett, a Portsmouth native, has been documenting the entire bridge building process with his camera.

Roger Wood

  Governor Maggie Hassan has signed legislation that finally officially grants freedom to African Americans who served in the Revolutionary War. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers learned today they will no longer be furloughed.

The Sarah Long Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine sustained significant damage from a ship accident.  On Monday afternoon, a tanker ship drifted into the bridge. 

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and State Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement spent Tuesday morning surveying the damage.  The tanker Harbour Feature is now docked at the state pier, where the Governor updated her survey of the bridge damage assessment.

Roger Wood, NHPR

 

The U.S. Coast Guard will investigate why a tanker ship drifted into the Sarah Long Bridge between New Hampshire and Maine Monday afternoon.

As of Monday evening, the bridge remained closed to vehicle traffic.

 

The vessel, loaded with tallow, an export from the Port of New Hampshire, broke free from its mooring at the New Hampshire State Pier. Ports and Harbors Director Geno Marconi says that The Harbour Feature, a tanker, was secured at the pier, and had just undergone a refueling.

Roger Wood

Portsmouth Navy Yard workers and their supporters are rallying to oppose furloughs they face because of federal budget cuts.

Roger Wood

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard may be forced to close down completely one day a week, under federal budget sequestration.

New Hampshire fishermen say the federal government’s most recent fishery management policy continues to push them out of business.

A $900,000 river dredging project is underway in Newington.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the contractor for the federal project, which is intended to make the Piscataqua River more navigable in one area. When completed next month, some 15 thousand cubic yards of sand and gravel will be taken from the Simplex Reach, upriver from the I-95 bridge. Tugboat Captain Chris Holt says that the project will improve navigation for vessels in that area.

Right now, he says, the three shoals created by river currents can create a hazard.

A section of seawall in Rye has collapsed, closing another section of Route 1A on the
Seacoast. 

The New England Fishery Management Council has approved drastic new cuts in cod fishing.

Roger Wood

There is finally some visible evidence of progress in the rebuilding of the Memorial Bridge between New Hampshire and Maine.

Jeff Cutler / Flick/Creative Commons

Anti-nuclear groups from New Hampshire--and around the country--will be in court Thursday in Boston. They will argue for inclusion into the Seabrook Nuclear Plant re-licensing process.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected the groups' call for intervenor status in the plant's relicensing application. That ruling superseded that of the NRC's own Atomic Safety and Licensing Board decision to allow the groups to hold a public hearing on nuclear energy alternatives like wind energy.

Amy Quinton / NHPR

Top municipal officials of three Seacoast region communities are continuing their fight against tough new environmental regulations for their wastewater treatment plants.

A public meeting in Dover raised questions about how the non profit Local Government Center improperly collected and retained insurance funds it maintained for state and local employees and retirees. 

Kittery, Maine residents are relieved that there has been an apparent resolution to the U.S.S. Miami fire and smaller blaze nearby at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. 

Every summer, the non-profit Piscataqua Maritime Commission seeks tall ships and other historic vessels to attract residents and tourists.

The sign outside Greenland’s Town Offices reads, “Our condolences to the Maloney Family.” Early this morning The flags were already flying at half staff to honor 48 year old Police Chief Michael Maloney. The 12 year veteran of the police force was killed just a week before he was sent to retire.

Four other officers were wounded in the shooting. The gunman 29 year old Cullen Mutrie and unidentified female also died, under circumstances still under investigation. Speaking at town hall, Attorney General Michael Delaney’s main focus was on comforting a shaken town.

Organized bicycle groups sought permission to use the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge to cross the border. But the Maine Department of Transportation has ruled that out, saying that the bridge railings are too rusted out. Instead, crews will be installing metal barriers to protect motorists from hitting them. That work will result in a bridge too narrow to accommodate bikes. Josh Pierce, President of the Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders group, says he's not surprised at the ruling. He also says that many bike tour groups will probably bypass the region.

 

Environmental groups in New Hampshire and Maine want the EPA to investigate sulfur dioxide emissions at a power plant in Portsmouth.

Sierra Club chapters in the two states are mounting a petition drive.

It asks the EPA to look into the possible effect of the emissions on asthma cases in the Seacoast regions of the two states.

The groups contend that sulfur dioxide emitted by the Schiller Plant could be adding to respiratory illnesses, especially in Maine.

But Martin Murray, spokesman for PSNH says that an examination of the plant isn't necessary.

Another bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine is undergoing emergency repairs.

Side railings on the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge are so rusty; they present a hazard to any vehicle that accidentally slides into them. So, the two states are taking emergency measures to protect motorists.

Bill Boynton, with New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, says that steel Jersey Barriers will be installed along the length of the 2800 foot span.

Jim Richmond

Anti-Nuclear groups are angered by a decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exclude them from the re-licensing process for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. 

A number of groups filed for intervener status so that they could file objections to the plant's extension of its operation to 2050. The coalition of environmental organizations planned to argue that renewable energy resources, such as wind power, could ultimately replace nuclear power. But the NRC ruled that their argument lacked merit, because that replacement power isn't available now.

Roger Wood

Removal of the historic Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine is finally underway. 

Shortly after noon-time Wednesday, the center lift-span was lowered into position to be placed on a barge.

(Memorial Bridge photos by Erik Swenson, view gallery on flickr.)

A leaking two million gallon water tank in Rochester forced residents to evacuate their homes today.

A Rochester resident reported hearing a crash or banging sound coming from a 90 foot  water tank around noon Tuesday.

Water department crews saw water gushing from the bottom of the cylindrical tank.

Rochester police ordered nearby residents to evacuate and detoured traffic around the scene. City Engineer Peter Norson says that the tank doesn't appear to be in danger of collapsing.

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