This Week in N.H. News: Oscars Connections, Interstate Trash-Talking And Plenty of Thin Ice

Mar 3, 2017

Happy Friday! You might be overwhelmed with national political headlines this week, but there's lots of stuff going on closer to home, too. Read on for the latest on some of the most important (or interesting) things to report from all corners of the Granite State. And make sure to sign up for our newsletters to get this sent straight to your inbox each week

Tension At The Southern Border

In an extreme case of interstate trash-talking, Gov. Chris Sununu found himself in a war of words with the mayor of Lawrence, Mass. – after accusing that city of supplying “85 percent” of the fentanyl flowing into New Hampshire and otherwise fueling the state’s drug crisis by allowing “undocumented drug dealers” to go free on bail. (The governor has yet to clarify specific sources for those claims.) In any case, as you might imagine, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera didn’t take too kindly to his city being used as a scapegoat.

That’s not the only time the Bay State-Granite State rivalry flared up this week. New Hampshire earned a No. 2 spot on a newly released index of the “Best States” to live in, as compiled by U.S. News & World Report. The No. 1 spot? Massachusetts. Before you start feeling too jilted about that second-place status, here’s why it’s best to take this ranking with a grain of salt anyway.

Granite Scene
Credit Hannah McCarthy, NHPR

Take it from Mark Tremblay, a member of the Brookline IceBreakers: "A lot of people think, ‘I can just throw my ski clothes on, and I’ll be fine on a sled.’ Wrong." NHPR’s Hannah McCarthy tagged along with him and other seasoned riders to find out more about what it takes to hit the ice safely.

By The Numbers
Credit meganxkathrynpurves, GIPHY

One man spent 575 days (and more than $43,000 in taxpayer dollars) in Hillsborough County Jail for trespassing. NHPR’s Emily Corwin took a look at how he got there, and what his case says about the larger issues facing New Hampshire’s criminal justice system. (NHPR)

344 New Hampshire bridges are on the state’s so-called “red list” (meaning they need some serious work), but even as Gov. Chris Sununu pledges millions toward repairs, it’s unclear how that money’s actually going to get spent. (AP, Concord Monitor)

Accused of selling more than $500,000 in forged artwork, a former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son appeared in federal court for a pretrial conference related to those allegations this week. (NHPR)

The relative economic impact of the New Hampshire primary is oft-debated, but campaign finance reports suggest local restaurants have a stake in keeping the tradition alive. The Trump campaign reportedly spent $937 at Angela’s Pasta in Manchester, $500 at the Dancing Bear Pub in Colebrook and $690 at Fratello’s Italian Grille in Manchester, among other stops. (Union Leader)

A little-known, three-decade-old “drug-induced homicide” law is being used more frequently as a penalty against drug dealers, but some advocates are warning that this approach goes too hard on small-time dealers and is a misguided use of law enforcement resources. (NHPR)

One of New Hampshire’s biggest developers got hit with a $90,000 fine for violating federal lead paint laws – but at least one tenant affected by the lead exposure says that penalty isn’t enough to deter future problems, “like a drop in the bucket.” (NHPR)

The state added 850 jobs last month, with most of those gains coming in retail, healthcare, food service and accommodations – and still holding steady with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. (NHPR)

Nutfield, whose claim to fame is “the first European settlement in the Merrimack Valley,” is getting ready to celebrate its 300th birthday. (Union Leader)

A Plymouth State University parking lot was home earlier this week to about 50 very damp cars that got submerged in several feet of water after an ice jam on the nearby Pemigewasset River flooded the area. (WMUR)

There are a whole lotta numbers you might use to size up Obamacare’s impact on New Hampshire, for better or worse. NHPR’s Todd Bookman rounded up a few of the most important. (NHPR)

Some outside experts hired by Durham are raising some red flags about Eversource’s plans for a 13-mile transmission line that would cut, in part, under Great Bay. (NHPR)

Blustery conditions across the state left some 11,000 customers in the dark Thursday, according to updates from a number of utility companies. (Union Leader)

New Hampshire’s set to receive about $6 million in federal money to help fight the drug crisis – down from the $10 million advocates and state officials initially expected. (NHPR)

What does it take to pull off “a stunt involving a high-powered snowmobile skimming across the open water of the Weirs Channel and pulling a barefoot ?” A lot of coordination, presumably – and, potentially, a $500 fine for ensuing disorderly conduct charges. (Laconia Daily Sun

603 Connection

Decades before he was the “scapegoat of the Oscars,” the PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountant at the center of Sunday night’s very visible Best Picture snafu was just another kid at Kennett High School, Class of 1978 — and the Union Leader managed to have no trouble tracking down people willing to talk about the hometown guy newly in the spotlight. (For what it’s worth, the Conway Daily Sun also reports that the hometown celebrity was “seen visiting the North Conway Pizza Hut just three weeks ago.”)

But it's worth noting another, more solemn moment with a local connection at this year's show: As noted by the Boston Globe, the evening also featured an emotional tribute to James Foley, the journalist and New Hampshire native who was very publicly killed by the Islamic State in 2014. The song, performed by Sting, came from an HBO Documentary retelling Foley's story and was nominated for best original song this year.