This Week in N.H. News: Some Silver Linings to Brighten Up a Sea of Somber Headlines

Dec 30, 2016

At long last, 2016 is almost — almost! — over. And if you're thinking that it's easy to feel pretty down while scanning the headlines lately, you're not alone.

But there are still plenty of people out there doing what they can to provide some pick-me-ups around the Granite State. 

With that in mind, we figured we'd start off by highlighting a few silver linings to round out the final week of the year.

(And don't forget to sign up for NHPR's newsletters to get all of the latest updates — serious, silly and everything in between — on what's happening around New Hampshire, delivered right to your inbox every week. You can subscribe right here.)

Cheers!

First, A Few Pick-Me-Ups...
Credit Animation by Mochimochi Land

A needle-wielding gang of seniors in Manchester (calling themselves “The Hookers”) is banding together to knit scarves and other gear to keep local kids warm. (Manchester Ink Link

A 24-year-old who grew up in Londonderry gave back to local officers with hand-painted portraits: One of Mingo, the presiding police department dog, and one of Zip, the former police pup who held the title before passing away in 2010.  (Eagle-Tribune)  

Thanks to a recent vigil to honor homeless individuals who died in the last year, one New Hampshire family found some closure in learning about the final days of their long-lost brother — and, as a result, were able to give him a resting place at their family plot in Kingston. (Concord Monitor

Hundreds are expected to take a polar plunge in Seabrook this weekend — and not just as a feat of strength. They’ll also be raising money for Chucky’s Fight, a local nonprofit formed by a New Hampshire man who lost his two sons to opioid addiction. (Seacoast Online)

A Concord-area social worker says one local car dealership went out of its way to help a client in need of repairs. (Concord Monitor

One UNH student decided to take the fight against on-campus hunger into her own hands, setting up a new program to allow people to “Swipe It Forward” to provide meals for students who might otherwise have trouble affording food. (Union Leader)

In Berlin, high schoolers are also banding together to organize an in-school food pantry to help out their peers in need. (Berlin Daily Sun

Some kids at Epping Elementary School gave up part of their lunch periods to sell handmade ornaments (and pooled together extra cash from chores at home) to donate money to a local nonprofit that helps families buy bedding, clothing and other items in need. On top of that, some students also baked cookies for firefighters who were scheduled to work on the recent holidays. (Seacoast Online)

A bunch of people in the Portsmouth community are sharing stories to honor the late Chris Anderson,  “a man who quietly worked behind the scenes to make things happen” for the local youth sports scene. Among his good deeds: rounding up sweatshirts to make sure kids playing baseball didn’t go cold, helping to refurbish local athletic facilities and more. (Seacoast Online

Milan moved to protect a whole lot of trees (“for generations” to come, some hope) as part of a community forest project with spaces for wildlife protection and lots of other woodland activities. (Berlin Daily Sun

A Portsmouth family is trying to use their personal experience to educate law enforcement on how to better respond in emergency situations involving people with autism. (Fox 25 Boston

Two siblings from Concord shuffled their way toward the title of world champions in a recent international tap-dancing competition. (Concord Monitor)

Even after a devastating fire that destroyed their longtime place of worship, members of the First Baptist Church of Lebanon are still pledging to keep up with the food pantry, weekly community dinner and other services it provides to those in need. (Valley News

The Cathedral of the Pines — “which boasts panoramic views of Mount Monadnock” — is giving away a free wedding to one New Hampshire military couple. (Keene Sentinel

And, finally: How’s this for making the best of a bad situation? When his parents told him they couldn't buy him another puppy for his birthday, a 6-year-old in Claremont decided to donate his presents to a local animal shelter instead. (Eagle Times)

A Small Request: We Want to Hear From You

Whether you’ve personally experienced addiction or you know someone who has — as a sibling, a parent, a friend, a treatment provider or otherwise — NHPR wants to hear your stories. We’re hoping that by listening directly to those of you who have been touched by the opioid crisis, we’ll be able to put together even more meaningful coverage of the issue moving forward.

If this sounds like something you might be able to help with, we'd appreciate any help you can offer.

And Now, In Other News...
Credit MrSchuReads via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sfTDs

In Case You Missed It: It Snowed. Like, a Whole Lot.

So, technically, New Hampshire had a bit of “bombogenesis” this week. And if that sounds more like a weird disease than a weather pattern, you might want to give this explainer from NHPR’s Peter Biello a read. And then, if you’re so inclined, you can drop the new vocabulary word the next time you want to sound smarter while making small talk about the weather.

As you might expect, the extra snowfall had ski areas across the state gearing up for a busy week. But conditions weren’t exactly ideal for winter sports in all areas. The regions around Mount Washington were under “considerable danger” for avalanches on Thursday as the winter storm moved in, leading officials to caution against hiking or travel in general in the surrounding areas.

Data Breach at DHHS

The state just this week disclosed that personal information for as many as 15,000 people who’ve used services from the state Department of Health and Human Services was breached...way back in October of 2015. Officials say a patient at the state psychiatric hospital was able to access the information using a computer in the on-site library and then went on to post some of the information on social media.  

Needless to say, the state is now scrambling to play clean-up, when it comes to both cybersecurity and public relations.

Get Ready for Battles Over the Ballot in 2017

There are at least 40 different bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws on deck for the next legislative session. At least fifteen of those bills come from just one lawmaker, a Republican who’s made voting rules a prime focus in recent years.

The changes would range from banning out-of-state college students from voting in New Hampshire to launching online voter registration to getting rid of same-day registration to retooling the Electoral College, among others. For an idea of some of the larger debates to keep an eye on, check out this overview.

Out: Errant Laser Pointers, Bestiality; In: More Transparency for Non-Public Meetings

With a new year comes a host of new rules taking effect as the result of laws passed during the last legislative session. Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting regulatory changes in store for 2017 and beyond in the Granite State.

Foodstuffs: Concord Corner Market Serves Up Authentic Korean Food

Whether you’re looking for some traditional homemade kimchi or just a box of Cheese-Its, Go Food Basket offers something for all kinds of snackers. From a tiny stovetop in the corner of this convenience store, owner Helen Han also serves up bibimbap, Philly Cheese Steaks and more delicacies, Korean and otherwise. 

Get to Know A #NHpolitics Icon...
Jim Cole and friends celebrate "Jim Cole Day" last week.
Credit Toby Talbot

Show Me a Story: Photographer Jim Cole Looks Back at a Career Spent Behind the Lens

Jim Cole spent decades behind the camera, chronicling life in New Hampshire — notably, scenes from the presidential primary — as a photographer with the Associated Press. After he was let go from the AP recently, Cole’s found himself in the spotlight and on the receiving end of an outpouring of affection from colleagues and other admirers. NHPR’s Sean Hurley takes it from here

Finding Literary Inspiration in L.L. Bean Boots...

'In Maine, when we say something is "wicked good" – we really mean it.'

That's how LL Bean describes their Wicked Good Slippers, and how the producers behind the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop podcast describe Jeff Ryan, who for decades wrote Bean's catalog copy.

Host Virginia Prescott spoke to him about finding the story in everyday objects and the tricks of the trade when it comes to copy writing. Listen right here, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and never miss an episode!

And if you can't get enough of Virginia, you should also check out Word of Mouth's best episodes of 2016.

How to Ring in 2017 on a Sweet Note...
Credit healthline.com

Eating Lucky for the New Year

There are many foods you can consume to set yourself on the right course for 2017. Most do not require cooking.  Perhaps your good fortune will multiply if you combine a fewHere are some suggestions for twenty-four hours of charm-laden eating.