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.

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.

Mass. Office of Travel & Tourism Via Flickr CC

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.

Michael Flanagan/Flickr CC

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.

Courtesy of MPD

 Manchester Police have reported the seizure of more 11 pounds of synthetic marijuana known commonly as spice from a Manchester tattoo parlor. The drugs sold as incense had a retail value of more than $25,000.

The search warrant was executed at two Spider Bite locations two weeks ago as part of a months-long, multi-agency investigation that began well before a spate of overdoses that occurred in the middle of August.

Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says the department kept the seizures close to the chest since the investigation is still ongoing.

A variety of companies representing such fields as food service, construction and retail are participating in a job fair in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The event is offering opportunities for entry-level and skilled job-seekers.

The job fair is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Sweeney Post Manchester.

It's sponsored by the New Hampshire Employment Security agency.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Education has rejected the Manchester School District’s request to opt-out of a new standardized test to be given this spring. In a letter to the school district, Education Commissioner Virginia Barry writes that if Manchester doesn’t administer the Smarter Balanced exam, it could lose nearly $17 million in federal education funds.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Labor Day was one of the last days customers had to move their stuff out of Extra Space Storage, a self-storage facility in Manchester.

The Manchester mill building that contained the storage company was purchased a developer called Brady-Sullivan, which has  plans to convert the building into luxury condos. The closure came a lot earlier than expected, however, after lead dust was detected in the storage units in January during renovations on the upper floors.  

Courtesy image/Manchester PD

  A newly formed committee to study ways to regulate and control the designer drug known as Spice held its first meeting Wednesday.

The committee was created by legislation signed in the last session. Senator Molly Kelly of Keene was the legislation’s author and is now the Chair of the study committee.

“There’ll be different components than just looking at the criminal law. We can look at even our consumer protection law on labeling.”

Carol Robidoux / Manchester Ink Link

  Some Manchester aldermen are pushing back on a decision by Mayor Ted Gatsas to close a park to the public during school hours.

The decision to erect signs at Bronstein Park warning the public that the park is off limits during school hours came a week after a spike in spice-related overdoses, some of which occurred at the park. Gatsas argues the park is city property meant for use by Central High School. But some aldermen, like Garth Corriveau, say the unilateral decision may have unforeseen consequences.

Courtesy image/Manchester PD

  The three Manchester stores that were closed last week in the wake of the synthetic marijuana overdoses have been allowed to reopen. The stores have agreed not to sell any brand of so-called spice.

Courtesy image/Manchester PD

Governor Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency in the wake of more than 40 synthetic marijuana overdose cases since Monday.

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as spice, has been linked to a jump in overdoses in Manchester and Concord. The powers of Governor Hassan’s executive order to seize the drug sold ostensibly as incense in corner stores, applies only to the bubblegum-flavored variety of a brand called ‘Smacked!.’ Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas says other brands called ‘Green Giant’ and ‘Crazy Monkey’ may also be dangerous.