Brady Carlson / NHPR

Many of the candidates for president this year have made an unusual detour from the campaign trail: strolling the sidewalks of a quiet North Manchester neighborhood with the city's mayor.

But it’s actually a longstanding tradition in New Hampshire primary politics. Presidential candidates hope to benefit from their associations with local officials – and the locals stand to gain, too.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

The candidates for mayor of Manchester squared off in their first face-to-face forum Thursday night. Incumbent three-term Mayor Ted Gatsas is being challenged by Joyce Craig, a veteran alderman.

The two presented starkly contrasting visions for the state’s largest city. 

The forum took place at an elementary school — an appropriate setting considering that education was a running theme through the evening.

Craig, a Democrat, faulted Gatsas for large class sizes and other problems in Manchester’s schools. 

The candidates for mayor of Manchester will begin a series of six town hall events this week.

Mayor Ted Gatsas and challenger Joyce Craig will be on hand Thursday night at McDonough Elementary School for the first event. 

The candidates will take audience questions and give opening and closing statements. 

Craig and Gatsas are scheduled to participate in five more sessions during October. The dates for the events are set but some locations have not been announced. 

Town Hall dates and locations: 

Courtesy of MPD

  Manchester officials will take part in a forum this week aimed at encouraging businesses to help in the fight against heroin abuse.

The city’s public health director, Tim Soucy, will moderate a panel discussion Wednesday morning. He says a coordinated approach to addressing heroin use in the city has to include local business owners and workers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 Voters in Manchester go to the polls Tuesday for a primary election that will narrow down a field of five candidates for mayor that includes, most prominently, the three-term incumbent Ted Gatsas. Contributor and former city politics reporter for the Union Leader Ted Siefer spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 

First of all, the current mayor, Ted Gatsas, is a well-known political figure in the state and won his past three elections by comfortable margins. Is he considered vulnerable this time around?


  The state Department of Health and Human Services is relocating its Manchester office to temporary offices.

Officials say they were unable to agree on a new lease with the owner of the Manchester office space.

Associate Commissioner Mary Ann Cooney says about 30 employees will work out of a building at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The rest will make short-term moves to other cities.

“Some will be at the southern district office in the Nashua area,” Cooney said. “Others will be in the Concord area.”


Authorities are offering a $17,500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or people who shot a woman to death as she strolled in her Manchester neighborhood.

Police say 62-year-old Denise Robert was walking in the North End section around 9 p.m. Sunday when she was shot once.

There were reports of a pickup truck speeding away with a white man in his 20s or 30s wearing a white tank top and having close-cropped hair.

Juliana Robidoux via

Teachers in Manchester are starting the school year Wednesday with a new contract.

Aldermen voted 10-3 Tuesday night to pass the three-year deal, overriding a veto by Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Ward 6 alderman Garth Corriveau said passing the deal is an important step forward for the city's school system.

"This would have been the third school year our teachers operated without a contract," he said. "The fairness of this contract - both sides - really I think reflected well on trying to reach a compromise."

When students in Manchester return to school Wednesday, their classrooms may look a little different.

That’s because teachers there say they won’t be bringing anything into the classroom they purchased on their own, due to the city’s ongoing contract dispute.

Mayor Ted Gatsas recently vetoed a new teachers contract, which means this will be the third year in a row educators will be working without a raise.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Police are asking for the public's help in trying to find out how and why a woman was shot and killed as she went for a weekly walk in a Manchester neighborhood.

Authorities say 62-year-old Denise Robert was walking in the North End section of Manchester at about 9 p.m. Sunday, an area regarded as a safe neighborhood, when she was shot. There were reports of a pickup truck speeding away with a white man in his 20s or 30s wearing a white tank top and having close-cropped hair.

Courtesy of MPD

Officials in Manchester are calling for new efforts and better coordination against heroin abuse.

The city held a “Stop the Circle Rally” Saturday in Veterans Memorial Park.

Mayor Ted Gatsas told the crowd that he and other city officials met with the heads of area hospitals to find ways to work together against drug abuse.

Jack Rodolico

Manchester is getting a $2.9 million grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to remediate lead hazards in 175 housing units.

While this is the fourth time the Queen City has received the federal grant, the announcement from Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office comes on the heels of a new state law aimed at educating families about lead hazards, and as one of the state's largest landlords faces a lawsuit over lead contamination in a Manchester apartment complex.

Juliana Robidoux via

Next month, a primary election in Manchester will narrow an unusually crowded field of candidates seeking to unseat three-term mayor Ted Gatsas. The race has been roiled by Gatsas’s recent decision to nix a contract with the city’s teachers union. The move has enraged the educators, who have been working without a contract — and without raises — for the past two years, and it’s given new ammunition to the mayor’s rivals.


Officials with the Manchester teachers union say morale is very poor among its membership, as teachers prepare to enter their third school year without a new contract.

The Manchester Education Association released a statement Thursday, saying it was "utterly disappointed" by the veto of a proposed three-year contract by Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Vice president Maxine Mosley says teachers will report to work on the first day of school Sept. 2 and will educate the city’s students.


The Manchester Board of School Committee took a vote of 'no confidence' in Mayor Ted Gatsas at a meeting Monday night, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The 10-2 vote comes after Gatsas vetoed a three-year contract with city teachers.

School board members also asked aldermen to reconsider their vote on the agreement, and urged Gatsas, who chairs the school board, to recuse himself from a reconsideration vote.

Getty Images

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.”

Flikr / Cityyear

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.

Alan Levine via Flickr Creative Commons /

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.

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.


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.


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
hotblack / Morguefile

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.

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.

Courtesy photo

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.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

  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.