This Week in N.H. News: (Just in Time for July 4th) Fireworks Of the Political Variety, & Otherwise

Jul 1, 2016

Happy (Almost) Fourth of July! Before you settle into your holiday weekend, we're here to make sure you have at least a few conversation starters to keep you going between parades, fireworks and the like. If you want to stay in the loop every week, make sure to sign up for NHPR's newsletters: You can do that right here.

Whale, This Is Sad…

As noted on Twitter by one Rye resident and former Senate candidate, among others, an 18-year-old whale named “Snow Plow” washed ashore along the Seacoast earlier this week. 

In the days since, hundreds of people have flocked to the shore to pay their respects — while scientists have gotten to work trying to figure out what, exactly, is responsible for her death. 

While it might have taken a few days to actually move her away from the beach, we hope Snow Plow can soon rest in peace.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again…

Credit Jason Moon, NHPR

Just weeks after swinging through Manchester, Donald Trump returned to the Granite State (and the Queen City, specifically) for a talk centered mostly on the impact of free-trade policies. (Link to Jason’s story, when posted….)

As the setting for the speech, Trump chose an abandoned factory that shuttered a few years back as its parent company moved some of its jobs to Mexico and China, as reported by the Union Leader. (Per the Concord Monitor, the same company still has plants in Hilsboro and Exeter.) 

While Trump’s speech was meant to underscore the negative impact of free-trade agreements like NAFTA, the company that used to own the shuttered factory is saying that it moved because of lagging demand for its lightbulbs — not because of free trade. 

Planned Parenthood Puts Spotlight on Sununu

It’s not every day that you see a presidential candidate weighing in on the matters of New Hampshire's executive council, one of the lesser-known bodies of state government, but such is the highly political nature of New Hampshire’s on-again, off-again relationship with Planned Parenthood.  After the council voted down a state contract with the health centers last year — to much fanfare, from both sides — a similar one was back on the table this week.

All eyes, this time, were on Executive Councilor Chris Sununu — a pro-choice Republican gubernatorial candidate who had voted both for and against the contracts in the past.  In the end, he reprised his role as the key swing vote, causing audible gasps when he broke with his colleagues to reinstate Planned Parenthood’s funding. 

PFOA: Still Not Going Away…

Several months after the chemical was first detected near a Merrimack plastics plant, residents are still pressing state officials for answers on how bad the contamination is, how far it’s spread and how worried they should be about their health.  Meanwhile, residents in nearby Amherst are the latest to start getting bottled water from the state, after tests showed higher concentrations of the chemicals in wells there, too. 

New Hampshire’s hardly alone in its PFOA problems, though. One town in Vermont is looking at a $30 million tab to bring clean water to private wells that were tainted with PFOA, as reported by VPR.

Ever Wonder What Life Is Really Like On Capitol Hill?

NHPR’s Natasha Haverty spent a day in Washington shadowing Sen. Kelly Ayotte, chronicling the less-than-glamorous side of governing — from speedwalking between committee meetings to delivering speeches to rows of empty seats. 

So, About That Whole “Live Free” Thing…

Some people are taking it pretty seriously, with renewed inspiration from Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. It remains to be seen whether a newly launched “NHexit” campaign (like "Brexit," get it?) will have legs beyond a demonstration involving just over a dozen people this week. 

And if you're still looking for somewhere to celebrate this weekend...

You have plenty of options, all the way through Monday, as outlined by NH Magazine. (But, if you happen to be heading out of state, just make sure you remember that others aren't as lax about pyrotechnics...)

via GIPHY