This Week in N.H. News: Kickoff Time for #NHpolitics Campaigns, Real and Fictional

Jun 3, 2016

Happy Friday! (And a very happy "6/03 Day"...) Here's what you might've missed as you eased back into things following the holiday weekend. If you want to catch up on things a little earlier, make sure to sign up for our Friday newsletter, The Rundown, and get it delivered right to your inbox. Here's the link.

Above The Fold

Not Just Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic

Credit Casey McDermott, NHPR

This week, we delved into the challenges facing schools across New Hampshire as they grapple with their new roles as caretakers for the state’s neediest students. From Berlin to Laconia to Rochester, teachers are starting food pantries, learning trauma care for 5-year-olds and otherwise going way beyond their traditional job descriptions to help fulfill some of their students’ most basic needs.

Here’s an in-depth look at the scope of these issues, where you can also hear directly from educators on the front lines of these changes in Berlin. Here, we take you up-close with some of “the toughest kids you will ever meet” and the people in Laconia who are trying to help them. And here, you can also listen to a full episode of The Exchange focusing on schools’ shifting responsibilities.

In their own words...

As part of our reporting on New Hampshire schools taking on the role of social safety nets, we made videos of four Berlin educators talking about the changes they've seen among students in need and what the district is doing to address the issues. You can watch those videos right here

A New Approach to Addiction

You might’ve heard about the new way the Gloucester Police Department has started responding to the opiate crisis — instead of focusing on bringing charges, the police department extended an open invitation for people to turn in their drugs or drug paraphernalia at the station and be immediately connected with help seeking recovery. (The program got lots of national attention, from The New York Times and The Atlantic, among others.)

Now, a few agencies in New Hampshire are trying out a similar approach. This week, four police departments here — in Dover, Newmarket, Portsmouth and Somersworth — announced plans to open their doors to people in need of recovery supports. Seacoast Online has more details on that. This also comes shortly after Manchester’s firehouses launched a similar “Safe Station” program — which, according to WMUR, saw at least 60 people in its first three weeks.

For more on how people across New Hampshire are stepping up to help people recover from drug addiction, keep an eye out for our upcoming series: “Hope on the Front Lines,” launching Monday, June 6th on Morning Edition.

The St. Paul’s Saga Continues...

The parents of the girl who was sexually assaulted by Owen Labrie are now suing the school itself — saying the assault happened because of the institution’s “fostering, permitting and condoning a tradition of ritualized statutory rape” and its “utter failure” to protect its students. The school, for its part, says the lawsuit is “without merit” and plans to “vigorously” defend against the claims. You can read the full lawsuit (which contains some sensitive material) here.

In Other News
Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

In Case You Felt Like Things Were Quieting Down on the Political Front...

No need to fret — your #NHpolitics Twitter feed isn’t likely to go mute anytime soon. This week kicked off the filing period for New Hampshire politicians running for state and federal office. (At least one fictional candidate also started making his presence known in the Granite State — more on that, if you keep scrolling.)

Sen. Kelly Ayotte wasted no time making her candidacy official. The scene around her filing — a boisterous rally with family, supporters and some protesters — contrasted pretty sharply with the more subdued scene around that of her primary challenger, Jim Rubens

@NHDems Have Hope for 2016...

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Democratic Party rolled out a nearly full slate of its own for the state Senate, hoping that the eight seats up for grabs there might allow them to flip the chamber for a majority.

And On the Presidential Side…

Bernie Sanders picked up his first New Hampshire superdelegate: Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, who was previously neutral throughout the primary, says she plans to support him at the Democratic National Convention this summer. But Fuller Clark, the vice chair of the state party, also says she’ll unite with other New Hampshire delegates to back whichever candidate ends up as the eventual nominee.

Elsewhere, another state lawmaker and loyal Donald Trump supporter made a cameo at that candidate’s press conference in Manhattan earlier this week — Rep. Al Baldasaro, in this case, was jumping to Trump’s defense over his handling of donations to veterans’ charities. (The Concord Monitor has a detailed report on some local groups receiving the funds.)

Meanwhile, at the Statehouse…

After sifting through some 1,000 bills, the Legislature wrapped up its work for the year this week — well, almost. It looks like they'll be called back in for another session to sort out the details on funding a drug enforcement push dubbed “Granite Hammer.” 

At least one person who won’t be returning, however, is Rochester Rep. Don Leeman, who was arrested this week on charges related to voter fraud. (He resigned from the House last week.)

Also Worth A Click
Yikes.
Credit N.H. Department of Transportation

  • Who picks up the tab when Gov. Maggie Hassan is traveling out of state for her U.S. Senate campaign? When it comes to security, taxpayers appear to be on the hook. (Concord Monitor)
  • You could have a chance to bid on a love letter from President John F. Kennedy to his “supposed mistress,” up for auction in Amherst later this month. (WMUR)
  • Some people in Portsmouth are worried that the weed killer used on city sidewalks contains carcinogens. (Seacoast Online)
  • About 150 members of a Londonderry-based battalion are heading to Kuwait to support the fight against ISIS. (NHPR)
  • Make sure to stock up on bug spray: New Hampshire’s now seen four confirmed cases of the Zika virus. (WMUR)
  • Federal authorities might be called in to resolve a turf dispute between Vermont and New Hampshire, as the two states tussle over who’s job it is to take care of the Vilas Bridge connecting Walpole with Bellows Falls. (Eagle Times)
  • A Merrimack native got a big shout-out from one of the foremost arbiters of fashion as “an Artist on the Rise and a Dynamic Name to Watch.” (Vogue)
  • The battle over “Free[ing] the Nipple” rages on in the Lakes Region. (Laconia Daily Sun)
  • A dispute over pups locked in a hot car ended with an arrest for the frustrated passerby who spotted the pets. (Conway Daily Sun)
  • For one Lebanon couple, getting caught with a “small amount” of marijuana — less than a half-ounce, in their estimation — resulted in both a misdemeanor charge and an eviction notice. They said they had been using the drugs for pain relief. (Valley News)
  • How diverse are Dartmouth’s sports teams? The campus paper crunched the numbers and found a predominantly white athletic lineup. (The Dartmouth)
  • Even as the warm weather sets in, the trees in Durham are all bundled up — for a good cause.  A group supporting people in crisis has taken to “Yarn Blooming” around town to raise awareness for its work. (The Sound)
  • Two weeks after he suffered a cardiac arrest at his elementary school, a 9-year-old in Berlin is alive and able to say thanks to the people at his school who helped to save him. (Berlin Daily Sun)

The "Veep" campaign has extended even to the pages of the Union Leader.
Credit Casey McDermott, NHPR