News from the local region for a station

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Governor Chris Sununu said Wednesday he wants his hand-picked school safety task force to research the effectiveness of arming school employees and if stronger background checks could help prevent gun violence.

The first-term Republican's School Safety Preparedness Task Force met for the first time Wednesday, the same day students across the state walked out of the classroom to honor the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla.

Jason Moon for NHPR

In Portsmouth, students had planned a walkout for the morning but it was interrupted by the snow storm, which caused a delayed school opening.

But that didn’t keep Portsmouth students from having their message heard.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, several dozen students, flanked by encouraging adults, gathered in Market Square in downtown Portsmouth.

Many had been checked out of school by their parents to come to the event. Others left school on their own.

Seven cities approved Keno gambling last November and 77 towns will put the question to voters at town meeting on Tuesday--and later this week, according to the N.H. Lottery, which oversees Keno 603. Thirty-six towns OK'd Keno on Tuesday, while nine rejected it. 

Click the dots on the map to see where KENO stands in New Hampshire towns:

Rob_ / Flickr CC

Voters in Newport approved a major solar deal Tuesday.

The project will go up for one final vote in May, but town officials are hoping to begin construction this summer.

Under the plan, solar arrays would power all the town’s municipal and school buildings, making them net zero.  

It’s a collaboration between Newport and Norwich solar technologies.  The company will cover construction and maintenance costs in exchange for the ability to benefit from federal tax credits.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

It may not be every New Hampshire reveler’s go-to drink order, but Hennessy cognac was the top selling spirit by volume at state-run liquor stores in 2017, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total sales that year.


Hennessy also happens to be the liquor at the center of bootlegging allegations made last month by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who is calling for an investigation into how the New Hampshire Liquor Commission handles large all-cash sales made by out-of-state residents.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Students across the country are marking one month since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting left 17 dead. Today, more than a thousand Concord High students stood outside at 10 a.m., the morning after a snowstorm hit the northeast. It was still snowing lightly as students held 17 minutes of silence to commemorate the 17 killed in Parkland and read the names of those lost.


Senior Jonathan Weinberg was one of the organizers. He says they purposely chose to hold 17 minutes of silence instead of a focusing on a walkout.


Britta Greene / NHPR

There will be no charges against a New Hampshire state trooper who shot and killed a 26-year-old man in Canaan in December.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Wednesday that Trooper Christopher O’Toole’s use of deadly force was legally justified. (The AG's full report is embedded at the end of this story.)

That’s because, according to O’Toole, Jesse J. Champney repeatedly said he had a gun and threatened to shoot. O’Toole was pursuing Champney on foot across a dark, snowy field after a car chase on Dec. 23.

Google maps


Town meeting voters in Bethlehem have rejected a plan to expand a North Country landfill. 


The Casella-owned facility serves a large part of the region and is on track to fill up by 2021. 


Jim McCann was one of about 600 Bethlehem residents who voted against the expansion proposal, with about 500 residents voting for it. This is the second year in a row the matter has been up for a vote.  McCann says he wants to see his small town diversify its economy, not invest in the landfill.


New Hampshire is now tied for the second oldest population in the country and beginning to see the pressure on healthcare, services, and housing caused by the "silver tsunami."  In his new book,"The Longevity Economy,"  author Joseph Coughlin says the future is both older and "technologically-enabled." He makes the case for rethinking aging and retirement not as a burden, but as an economic catalyst that could transform business and society.

Via Friends of Kennett HS Facebook page

Students across the U.S. and around the Granite State will be walking out of school Wednesday calling for stronger gun control and school safety reform. This follows a national movement led by students of a high school in Parkland, Florida where a mass shooting took place in February.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Molly Robert, a senior at Kennett High School in North Conway. 


It was a scene you'd expect at any well-executed campaign launch: dozens of supporters gathered at a press conference just steps from the State House, top party officials waiting to offer endorsements and a well-endowed fundraising committee waiting behind the scenes.

An average campaign launch — except for the fact that any kind of campaign for this particular office, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, was all but unprecedented.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

5:30 p.m.: The New Hampshire Department of Transportation reports that the number of crashes are down today, thanks in part to drivers staying off the roads where possible. Roger Lamontagne, of DOT District 3, took this photo of a car off the road at the end of the Laconia bypass in Gilford:

There are only scattered outages, as of 5:30 p.m. Eversource had halved its customer outage to just 50. 


3 p.m.:  The latest nor'easter is going a lot easier on area utilities than last week's storm. So far.

b / New Hampshire Public Radio

State officials are working on a deal to secure funding for drug recovery services in Sullivan County. That’s after the major provider in the region, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, announced it was rolling back its offerings last month.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Social studies teacher Rob Nadeau’s journey to the New Hampshire State House began last fall in his Hopkinton Middle High School classroom. While teaching an Intro to Law class, he said he noticed his students were shocked to learn that in New Hampshire, permitted gun owners were allowed to bring their firearms into a school building. 

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.

Tracy Lee Carroll/NHPR

This week, Granite Staters are meeting, many in blizzard conditions, to hash out their town's budgets and priorities -- either in the traditional town meeting form, when voting and discussion take place on the same day, or as part of a newer form of town government, known as SB2, which involves a deliberative session and a separate day for voting.  We're sitting down with four seasoned town moderators to discuss how local government is working nowadays in their towns.  


The cultural organization New Hampshire Humanities has a new executive director. Anthony Poore will now lead the group.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Poore about his future plans for the organization.

Lara Bricker for NHPR

Today, voters in towns around the state will cast ballots in local elections. Like last year, a severe snowstorm is complicating matters, especially in the wake of the state's claim that towns don't have the power to reschedule local votes.

NHPR's reporters are in the field covering polls around the state throughout Town Meeting Day. Bookmark this blog and check back to see photos, hear from voters, and more.

Click here for NHPR's coverage of local issues leading up to Town Meeting Day. 


President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he's replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo's deputy at CIA. She would be the first woman in that role.

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before the announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.


He Tweeted it out:

NHPR File Photo


A New Hampshire circuit court judge has been suspended without pay because of allegations that he submitted fake evaluations of his job performance.


Judge Paul Moore sits on the Nashua District Court. He has been on leave since last year.


According to documents released yesterday, Moore interfered with the evaluation system the state courts use to assess the performance of judges, in order to boost his own score.


Former Pembroke Academy Dean Sentenced for Drug Possession

Mar 13, 2018

  A former dean of students at a Pembroke Academy in New Hampshire says her arrest for drug possession was the best thing that happened to her, because it forced her to face her addiction.

Rekha Luther apologized in court Monday while she was sentenced. Luther was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to surrender her teaching certificate.

Prosecutors say Luther was arrested in 2016 with fentanyl and steroids on school property, and they had asked for a one-year jail sentence.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

It look just a few hours for a jury to find Christina Fay guilty on all 17 counts, a fast ending to one of the highest profile animal abuse cases in recent history.

During a two-week trial in Carroll County Superior Court, jurors heard testimony from law enforcement and veterinarians who described the squalid conditions inside Fay’s 13,000 square foot Wolfeboro estate last June, when police seized 75 Great Danes. Some of the dogs were in need of immediate medical care, suffering from both skin and gastrointestinal issues.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

Just a few years after opening up local roads to ATV traffic, residents of the town of Stark are debating whether to reverse course. A warrant article up for a vote at tomorrow’s town meeting would close local roads to off-road vehicles beginning in mid-April.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A House committee voted Monday to recommend that a bill to legalize marijuana be sent to interim study.

It's the second time the legislation has come out of a committee with a negative recommendation–advocates view the “interim study” recommendation as "an egregious attempt" to kill the bill. In January, the full House overturned a committee recommendation to pass the bill.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire regulators on Monday put off a final decision on Eversource’s appeal for its Northern Pass permit.

The state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC, voted to wait on next steps until the end of March, when they expect to put their earlier denial of the utility's proposed transmission line in writing.

That denial came in early February. Soon after, Eversource asked for the decision to be reconsidered.

On Monday, the SEC declined to take up any such request until after their written decision comes out.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Another nor'easter is developing, and this winter storm watch coincides Tuesday with New Hampshire's annual Town Meeting day.

The National Weather Service issued the storm alert for all of Tuesday and until Wednesday at 8 a.m.

The updated forecast Sunday indicates snowfall of at least a couple of inches across the Granite State. 

Snow accumulation projections include:

Rebecca Lavoie

With more than a foot of snow forecast in some parts of the state on Tuesday, it feels like déjà vu for many towns who had to scramble to accommodate a late-breaking nor’easter that swept in on town meeting day in March 2017.

University of New Hampshire Updates 2-year Degree School

Mar 12, 2018
Mike Ross / UNH

  The University of New Hampshire is changing its two-year degree programs to refocus on agriculture and respond to evolving workforce needs.

Officials recently completed a four-year review of the Thompson School of Applied Science, which has been offering two-year associate degree programs for 125 years.

Three programs — forest technology, animal science focused on livestock and large animal veterinary technology — will be integrated more closely with four-year degree programs, while four other programs will be dropped after 2019.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Jane Doe will remain Jane Doe.

In a ruling that could shift legal precedent in New Hampshire, a Superior Court judge has declared that the identity of a woman who won a $560 million Powerball jackpot cannot be disclosed by the state Lottery Commission, citing “an invasion of privacy.”

In the southern region of New Hampshire and on the Seacoast, vacancy rates are low, housing prices are high, and there is a lack of affordable housing for families and young adults. In the northern and western parts of the state, substandard housing remains a problem. As part of the The Balance series on NHPR about the cost of living in the Granite State, we look at why our state continues to have issues, and how some cities, like Londonderry, are turning to mixed community developments.