Keene

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Members of a new mosque in Keene will gather with local community leaders tonight for a Ramadan celebration.

Will Coley moved to Keene from Tennessee to launch the mosque last year. It's the only one in the state's Monadnock region.

Related story: Behind Planned Mosque In Keene, A ‘Redneck Muslim’ With Libertarian Ties

Keene State College has hit its enrollment goal this spring for the incoming freshman class.

That goal, more modest than in years past, reflects an overall downsizing of the college in response to regional demographic trends. 

Many schools in the northeast have been struggling to stabilize enrollment as local high school class sizes, and therefore general application pools, have shrunk. 

AP

Keene is the latest in a string of New Hampshire cities to sue pharmaceutical giants over their alleged role fueling the opioid crisis. Nashua and Manchester have filed similar lawsuits, as have hundreds of communities across the country.

Courtesy of NH Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has fired a retail employee who it says violated policies by improperly completing a large all-cash sale at a state liquor store last month.

That transaction, involving $24,000 worth of Hennessy cognac, is at the heart of allegations being made Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky into wrongdoing by the Liquor Commission.

Brett Amy Thelen / Harris Center for Conservation Education

Frogs and salamanders in Keene got a vote of confidence from the City Council Thursday night.

Officials unanimously approved a plan to close a local road for a few nights this spring to let migrating amphibians cross in safety.

 

A judge in Virginia has denied a request by Christopher Cantwell to move his trial outside the Charlottesville area. 

 

Cantwell is a Keene-based white nationalist. He made headlines in August for his participation in the violence surrounding the Unite-the-Right Rally. He's been held since then in Virginia on charges relating to his use of pepper spray. 

 

Cantwell says all the attention on his case in Charlottesville will make it impossible for him to have a fair trial. 

 

visitnhcolleges.com

A professor from Keene State College is representing five of her students in a lawsuit against the city of Keene for failing to fulfill Right-to-Know requests.

Journalism professor Marianne Salcetti calls the students the “Keene State Five.” Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her about the lawsuit.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

How did this all come about?

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Keene State College Interim President Melinda Treadwell will host a live video conference for admitted students and their parents next week.  This comes as Keene State looks to improve its enrollment numbers while navigating significant budget cuts.

Treadwell says the live chat she's planned will be a first for prospective families. “I'd rather be very direct with parents about where we are and the bright future than to wait for folks to fill in the blanks,” she said, pointing to recent news headlines.

A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

Keene resident and white nationalist Christopher Cantwell has been granted bail in Virginia.

Cantwell has been in the Charlottesville area since the Unite the Right rally in August that turned violent. He was featured in a viral documentary about the unrest, and has been held in a local jail on charges relating to his use of teargas in the crowds.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Keene State College’s alumni weekend this fall kicked off with a 5k run around campus. Justina Reichelt, a 2003 graduate, crossed the finish line pushing her 2-year-old son in a stroller.

Reichelt actually grew up in Keene. She now lives in Vermont, so not far away, but she almost didn’t come back for alumni festivities this year. “I was at one of those turning points where I was thinking - maybe I should take my degrees off my wall and put them under my desk,” she said. “You know, I was embarrassed.”

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Keene State College will offer buyouts to faculty and staff as part of ongoing efforts to cut costs. The college may also look at layoffs in early 2018, said Interim President Melinda Treadwell.

Enrollment declines have fueled Keene State's recent financial struggles. The college relies heavily on tuition income for its operating budget. 

The Keene Public Library is hosting an immigration-related event Thanksgiving morning. 

Organizer Mohammed Saleh hopes locals will take a moment to step away from their celebrations and reflect on how other families might be separated on this day.

It only made sense to choose Thanksgiving, he said, as a day that recognizes the coexistence of immigrants and natives.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Will Coley walks through the old house in Keene he’s been renovating since September. It’s a work in progress.

He steps over rusted metal tiles and points to ceilings and walls awaiting a new coat of paint.

“This is the mosque,” he says, “this is our place to pray.”


A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

New Hampshire-based white nationalist Christopher Cantwell remains in custody in Virginia, where he's raising money and hosting a podcast from his jail cell.

1761 Gravestone of 9-Year-Old Girl Rededicated in Keene

Nov 14, 2017
Historical Society of Cheshire County

  The Historical Society of Cheshire County is rededicating a gravestone today of a 9-year-old girl who died in 1761 after it was found years later at a home near a cemetery in Keene.

Betty Clark was buried at the Ash Swamp Cemetery. Her stone was removed more than 130 years ago and found supporting the steps of a home while the owner was doing repairs.

Her burial stone is now adjacent to the slate stone of her father, Simeon Clark, according to the Historical Society.

Britta Greene/NHPR

There’s nothing like working for years to bring a Halloween festival back from the dead, so to speak, only to have it deluged by rain. But that’s exactly what happened this year to Keene’s Pumpkin Festival, back for the first time since 2014.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Three years after the Keene Pumpkin Festival ended because of violence, organizers say this weekend's revamped event will feature far fewer jack-o'-lanterns, but many more "life lessons."

Over its more than 20-year history, the downtown festival had broken world records for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns in one place. But it was cancelled after parties near Keene State College led to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests.

bwats2 / Flickr Creative Commons

Organizers of Keene’s pumpkin festival have met their funding goal, but they are still soliciting donations for the event.

The festival once drew thousands to the area breaking world records for the most jack-o-lanterns in one place, but this is the first year it’s returning since 2014. That’s when riots broke out involving students at Keene State College.

Robert Wilson/flickr

A bid to bring the pumpkin festival back to Keene prevailed Thursday night after an unexpected last minute challenge from local officials.

Keene's mayor cast a tie-breaking vote at the city council meeting to allow the event to go forward.

In the past, the festival has broken world records for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place. But it was canceled in 2014 after riots broke out. Now. organizers are planning a much smaller, kid-focused festival.

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The former president of Keene State College, Anne Huot, received a severance payout of more than $300,000 after stepping down earlier this year.

The University System of New Hampshire said Huot would take a year of unpaid leave when it announced her resignation in June. But she received a $327,225 severance payment following her resignation.

The college has recently struggled to contain its deficit. Officials say low enrollment is largely to blame. Todd Leach, chancellor of the state university system, was unavailable Thursday to comment on the severance agreement.

The city of Keene will hold a public forum on drug and alcohol abuse Tuesday, stemming from a July Facebook post shared widely among city residents. The post included a photo of a man slumped over on a park bench downtown in broad daylight.

Jeff Dell/Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/5wMPqa

The Keene City Council voted unanimously last week to put the permit for this year’s Pumpkin Festival on hold.

Organizers are planning for a scaled-down festival compared to previous years. But councilors are now expressing concern that they could see a repeat of the riots that broke out in 2014.

NHPR’s Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Councilor Janis Manwaring by phone on Monday.

The council granted a license for the festival back in June. What has changed since then?

John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons

After giving the go-ahead earlier this summer to a scaled down Pumpkin Festival, the Keene City Council is now putting a permit on hold.

Organizers are planning for a smaller, tamer festival this year; one that would include more involvement from area school children. However, City Councilors are expressing concern that they could see a repeat of the riots that broke out in 2014.

Courtesy of Bo Worth

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil in Keene Sunday night in response to events in Charlottesville earlier this month.  

The vigil, organized by local faith leaders, aimed to put politics aside, to bring people together with a message of love.

Following remarks from Mayor Kendall Lane and Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Church, the crowd lined the streets of downtown, joining together in song. 

Screenshot via Vice News

Facebook has banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in deadly violence.

A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

A prominent white nationalist who was active in clashes in Charlottesville this weekend is a resident of Keene.

Christopher Cantwell hosts a live-streaming call-in show from a studio in town. He argues for a white state without blacks, Jews or immigrants of color. 

The New Hampshire attorney general says officers from the Keene Police Department were justified in the use of deadly force in a shooting that injured a man last month.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Wednesday the shooting happened after police responded to an apartment to assist the girlfriend of Patrick Letendre and the woman's 3-year-old daughter.

The girlfriend was removing their belongings. MacDonald said she was involved in an argument with Letendre, who prevented her from leaving. She called 911 and three officers arrived.

NHPR Staff

Protesters sat in the black plastic chairs of the Keene City Council chambers in June, hand-lettered signs at their feet. At issue at the meeting was a proposal by Liberty Utilities.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

After a two-year hiatus, the annual Pumpkin Festival has the final go-ahead from the city of Keene to return this fall.

The Keene City Council voted Thursday night to approve its license pending certain conditions. Those include organizers covering the costs of any city services used at the event. And Keene is requiring the festival to take out a million-dollar insurance policy that covers the city.

Jeff Dell / https://flic.kr/p/5wMPqa

The Keene City Council will soon decide whether to approve the return of the Pumpkin Festival. At its peak, the festival drew tens of thousands of people to Keene and set world records for the most lit Jack o' lanterns in one place. But the event was canceled after riots in 2014.

Now, a proposal for a scaled down version will head to the city council for final approval next week.

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