Manchester

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Manchester's police chief is hosting a forum Tuesday night for the public to talk about the city's heroin epidemic.

Chief Nick Willard will be one of seven panel members at the forum at the Radisson Hotel from 5 to 7 p.m.

Manchester police Lt. Brian O’Keefe says drug activity in the city continues to surge at an alarming rate.

“We’re well over I believe 47 deaths since Jan. 1,” he said. “In addition to that, we have responded to probably well over 250 overdose-related calls since Jan. 1. The numbers are staggering in the city.”

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Republican Ted Gatsas filed his candidacy for a fourth term as Manchester's mayor on Monday. He joins a growing field of candidates to lead New Hampshire's biggest city.

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Nationally, only 17% of students who enter community college seeking a bachelor’s degree reach that goal within six years. Today, we learn about a new program in Orlando, Florida that aims to solve the problem of community college attrition. Then, you’re locked in a dark cell with a group of strangers – there’s a zombie on the loose and you’re running out of time…oxygen…and solutions. It’s not a video game, this is real life…and you paid to be there. Welcome to the new trend in adventure recreation: the escape room.  

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New Hampshire’s largest police department has changed its policy prohibiting visible tattoos.

The move was prompted by an op-ed published by the wife of a Manchester veteran who questioned the policy, saying her husband couldn’t apply because of an army-related tattoo on his forearm.

thisweekinraymond.com

 

Manchester's new police chief is officially being sworn in.

Assistant Chief Nick Willard has been promoted to chief of the department. Carlo Capano has been named assistant chief.

A swearing-in ceremony is being held Monday at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

Five new officers also are joining the department.

DOJ

Dozens of Manchester officials and advocates testified in front of leaders of the Hillsborough County Legislation Delegation Monday morning, urging lawmakers to fund a drug court in the state's largest city.

Manchester Homeless Service Center Set to Close

Jun 16, 2015
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The Manchester Homeless Service Center is getting ready to close at the end of this month.

The shelter accepts all comers—people with or without substance abuse problems. It serves about 70 people a day, and that number doubles during colder months.

It had been struggling financially since private foundations cut funding earlier this year.

thisweekinraymond.com

The city of Manchester could soon have a new police chief.

The Union Leader reports Mayor Ted Gatsas has nominated Assistant Police Chief Nick Willard to lead the department.

If aldermen approve the nomination, Willard would replace Chief David Mara, who announced earlier this month that he will retire at the end of June.

If he gets the job, Willard has already agreed to move to the city within 180 days.

NHPR / Ryan Lessard

The head of the Manchester Police Department is stepping down.

Chief David Mara tells the Union Leader he’s retiring and his last day will be June 30.

Mara has been chief of the department for almost seven years.

He says he made the announcement to department staff Monday.

Mara has been with the department for nearly three decades, starting as a patrolman in 1986.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas says the city's police chief will meet this week with Uber representatives to review the company's policies on vetting drivers. That could mean the city and the ride-booking company could find a compromise over Uber's presence in Manchester.

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It was quite a run for Kerry Greene of Manchester.

She won six straight games on the quiz show “Jeopardy!”

Her streak came to an end last night, but she walked away winning $146,598.

Her appearances on the show were actually taped back in January, so she’s had to wait until now to share the experience with friends and family.

You come across as so calm and cool on the show, you really do.

That’s what I’ve been hearing online actually, to the extent that someone called me “robotic.”

Child and Family Services

As the temperature dips below freezing tonight, activists and business leaders will sleep outside in Manchester’s Stanton Park to raise money and awareness for youth homelessness.

The timing is no coincidence. Manchester’s daytime homeless shelter recently slashed its hours due to lack of funding. The city is also considering a panhandling ban.

Cathy Schmidt, CEO of McLane Law Firm, says her headlamp and sleeping bag are packed.

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  The Manchester School Board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee has approved a measure letting parents pull their child from taking tests linked to the Common Core standards.

The proposal includes a mail campaign to inform parents of this option. The letters would state that there would be no penalties if they choose to opt out of the Smarter Balanced test. And parents would need to notify the child’s principal of the decision in writing.

NHPR / Ryan Lessard

Manchester is the state’s largest city, and it’s also the most racially diverse.

In the wake of tensions between police and citizens in several large cities, the Manchester Police Department recently held a public forum to talk about policing in a diverse community.

David Mara is chief of the Manchester Police Department.

He joins Morning Edition to talk about the issue.

When you first talked about the idea behind the forum, you said you didn’t want to have a Ferguson in 10 years. What did you mean by that?

Manchester police made more drug arrests in 2014 than in the previous year.

Manchester police recorded 155 drug-related arrests for the year. That’s up from 83 the previous year, an increase of about 85%. Major dragnets like those in March and November netted close to 60 alleged low level dealers.

Brian Leveille, the head of Manchester’s Special Investigations Unit, says the amount of heroin and oxycodone seized more than doubled from 2013.

Manchester Police Department

Four teenagers are facing felony charges after police say they broke into a Manchester pet store and stole more than a dozen puppies.

Shortly after a break in was reported at Bill’s Pet & Aquarium this morning, a Manchester police officer spotted the suspects in the area carrying two of the missing dogs.

After the suspects were apprehended, Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says all 13 dogs were soon found at a nearby home.

Three Manchester school board members have resigned from the board’s student conduct committee, protesting a decision by school officials to allow a student accused of assault back into school.

The five-member subcommittee was in the process of deciding whether to expel the student.

That’s when committee member Art Beaudry says district administrators circumvented the process, recommending to the full board last month the student be allowed to return.

The board approved that recommendation, leading Beaudry and two others to step down from the committee on Monday.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The Manchester Police Department has announced the formation of a multi-agency collaboration to tackle gun and gang-related crime in the city.

  The group was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from a federal Department of Justice program. The money will be used to increase patrols in high crime areas and parole check-ins with probationers and at-risk youth. Manchester Chief David Mara says a big part of this program is showing potential offenders that they mean business.

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According to the latest study of the so-called Capital Rail Corridor released last night by the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority running commuter rail from Manchester to Boston would cost $246 million dollars, and attract at least 650,000 riders per year.

Many in a standing-room-only audience in Nashua were ready to forge ahead with expanding train service, but the study will likely face a chillier reception in other parts of the state.

Carol Robidoux

  The Manchester Police Department along with various local and federal law enforcement agencies have arrested 23 low-level drug dealers in the city.

One city resident police arrested was found with about 140 grams of heroin in his home which holds a street value of $14,000.

Chief David Mara says the arrests serve as a deterrent to people engaged in illicit drug activity and improves the city’s quality of life.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Crews on Manchester’s west side are working Friday to repair the damage after a 16 inch water main let go Thursday night. The burst pipe led to the evacuation of nearly two-dozen residents.

Repairs to the water main wrapped up around seven Friday morning.

But City Water Works Director David Paris says they’re pressure testing the pipe before bringing it back to full force. Crews are now spending Friday removing chunks of asphalt and refilling the hole left behind by about one million gallons of water that flowed down city streets.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A large water main broke Thursday night beneath a west side Manchester street, causing a bus-sized sinkhole and several flooded basements.

City Water Works Director David Paris says the broken pipe is one of five major conduits servicing the city and connecting the east and west sides of the Merrimack river.

"A large part of the road will need to be rebuilt," says Paris. He says it's too soon to estimate the cost of the damages but in the first hour the city lost about 1 million gallons of water.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  With robberies in Manchester on the rise in recent years, police are now training convenience store workers on how to prevent robberies and what to do when one occurs.

Crime Prevention Officer Paul Rondeau told store clerks today that real life robberies are nothing like the movies. Hey says they’re typically brief and those robbing the stores are often desperate addicts.

  The ride-sharing service known as Uber will launch in Manchester Friday.

Uber users and drivers find each other using a smartphone app.

Manchester users will be able to get five free rides up to $25 until the end of the month.

Billy Guernier is the General Manager of Regional Expansion for Uber.

He says the average ride is roughly ten percent cheaper than a taxi in Manchester.

Mary Schwalm/AP

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is coming to New Hampshire to discuss protecting women from gun violence.

Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011, has become a national advocate for gun reform and started the group Americans for Responsible Solutions.

On Wednesday in Concord, she'll join female legislators, law enforcement officers and the president of the Manchester YWCA, the site of a 2013 murder suicide.

The discussion will center on how to prevent domestic and gun violence through legislation.

Manchester Police Department

The state Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of attempting to murder a Manchester police officer in 2012.

In an appeal to the state’s highest court, attorneys for 25-year-old Myles Webster argued eyewitness identifications were tainted when police released his booking photo five hours before he was arraigned.

Webster was found guilty of attempting to kill Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty, after shooting him seven times at point-blank range.

Webster was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison.

Geoff Forester, NHPR (file photo)

There's been no shortage of high-profile debates over the school system in New Hampshire's largest city.

In recent years there have been concerns about class sizes, academic standards and funding, to name just a few. And this week the Manchester Education Association voted against a proposed four year labor contract with the city.

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The Bureau of Justice Administration has approved funding for a new drug court in Nashua, but has rejected a grant for the same program in Manchester.

Hillsborough County Superior Court had applied for two three-year, $325,000 grants.

Each would have funded drug courts in the state’s two largest cities, but, earlier this month, only Nashua’s was approved.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Ken Brown says while he’s disappointed, the Manchester court did receive funding for a similar program called Project HOPE.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A 21-year-old New Hampshire man charged in connection with a lockdown at his former high school in Manchester is heading to court.

Damian Johnson of Manchester will be arraigned Friday on a felony count of falsifying physical evidence and misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass, violation of probation and disrupting school in session.

Police say Manchester High School West was on lockdown for 90 minutes Thursday, after a student reported seeing Johnson with a gun tucked into his waistband. He was found in a small, occupied classroom and was arrested without incident.

Courtesy of MPD

Manchester Police say they’ve arrested nine alleged drug dealers and seized more than $90,000 worth of Oxycodone tablets.

The drugs seized over the course of 13 searches on August 27th came by way of New York and Lawrence Massachusetts according to authorities. The individuals arrested were affiliated with what they are calling a “high level” Drug Trafficking Organization. Three of the individuals behind bars were operating at the top of the chain.

Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says the multi-agency investigation began nearly a year ago and is still ongoing.

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