Merrimack

Sara Plourde; NHPR

The Exchange will explore a different region of the state every Thursday starting July 12th: the Great North Woods, the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, Dartmouth/Sunapee, the Monadnock Region, the Merrimack Valley, and the Seacoast. 

We look at what makes each region distinct, the biggest issues facing that part of the state, and what people who live there love about their home. 

The state will require more testing for PFAS chemicals at another former industrial site in Merrimack – the Harcros Chemical site, which is now the town's Watson Park.

PFAS-type chemicals are man-made, don't biodegrade and have been linked to a range of serious health problems. Regulators are investigating their presence at dozens of sites statewide.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Englanders had a chance to speak out this week about what they want to see in new Environmental Protection Agency rules for industrial chemicals in drinking water – but residents say the proof that they were heard will be in what the regulators do next.

Annie Ropiek for NHPR

Residents in and around Merrimack are nearing the end of a two-year struggle with contaminated drinking water.

Hundreds of private water wells near the Saint Gobain plastics factory have been contaminated during that time with suspected carcinogens called PFCs

FILE

Hundreds of people in a New Hampshire town have signed a petition asking a plastics company believed to be the source of tainted groundwater to pay for water filters at the town's schools.

The group of Merrimack residents says Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has provided filtration in other towns with contaminated water, but taxpayers are currently paying to filter water at Merrimack schools.

Via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7MMKBg

Merrimack residents will vote this month on giving the town control of their water utility.

It comes after two years of struggle with contamination in local wells, likely stemming from local plastics-maker Saint Gobain.

Laurene Allen co-founded Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water, and says the local public water company's board hasn't been transparent about its dealings with the polluter.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

On Tuesday, a  New Hampshire woman will ask a Superior Court judge to let her cross her name off the back of a $560-million winning lottery ticket. It’s not that she doesn’t want the money. It’s what comes with the sudden wealth that she’s trying to avoid.

The single winning Powerball ticket for the January 6th drawing—the seventh largest prize in U.S. history—was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack. But rather than come forward and claim her prize, the winner instead has filed a lawsuit requesting that she get to stay out of the spotlight.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The state Attorney General’s office says disclosing the name of lottery winners in New Hampshire “is not something done for the sake of curiosity or sales promotion,” but instead is a crucial step to ensure the Lottery Commission operates with integrity and accountability.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s substance abuse crisis is often linked with a single type of drug: opioids. But another illicit drug is rising in use. That’s methamphetamines.

Over the past three years, meth cases have more than doubled each year in the state.

NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reports from one Southern New Hampshire town where meth use is raising particular concern.

FILE

A new report shows that recent PFOA water contamination in Merrimack does not appear to have resulted in higher cancer rates in town.

Special Drug Unit Coming to Merrimack, N.H.

Jan 26, 2018
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The town of Merrimack will soon have a special drug unit to address a recent uptick in meth. The town council Thursday night unanimously voted to approve the additional officers.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Merrimack town councilors are set to vote Thursday on whether to create a specialized drug unit within the police force.

The proposal is in response to police reporting an influx of drug use at hotels in town – specifically meth use.

In just two weeks there have been 17 drug arrests, most involving meth.

Police Chief Denise Roy says without a drug unit, the department doesn’t have the time or resources to stop this from getting worse.

John K via Flickr CC

A state lawmaker wants entities that cause pollution in New Hampshire to pay in to the state's general fund as part of the cleanup.

NH Department of Health and Human Services

State health officials say residents on public water in Merrimack and Bedford have been exposed to perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, at rates higher than the general population, but lower than in some other exposed communities.

Blood tests from more than 200 residents in the two towns found levels of the chemical known as PFOA were roughly double what's found in the general population.

The contamination is thought to have come from a nearby Saint-Gobain performance plastics plant.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Over a year ago, residents near Merrimack, New Hampshire learned their drinking water had been contaminated by emissions from a plastics plant owned by the multinational company, Saint-Gobain.  

More than a year later, some residents in Merrimack say state and federal officials haven’t done enough to protect them from the contamination. Now, a few are taking things into their own hands, going door to door.

  Anheuser-Busch has announced a multimillion-dollar expansion at one of its breweries in New Hampshire, eying growth in expanding craft or specialty beers.

The brewery in Merrimack will receive the $11.3 million expansion, allowing construction of new fermentation tanks for brewing craft beer.

A Look at Recent Police Shootings in New Hampshire

Jul 8, 2016
NHPR Staff

In a week where violence by and against police has dominated the news, from Louisiana to Minnesota to Texas, we thought we’d take a look at recent police shootings in New Hampshire.

Since the beginning of 2015, four people have died at the hands of police officers in the state, and two police officers have been been shot, both surviving those incidents.

Mark via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8mdNZs

Town officials are moving forward with new guidelines for a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation center in Merrimack.

The Telegraph of Nashua reports Merrimack officials said Tuesday evening that a licensed company is interested in putting a dispensary in the town.

Town officials unanimously granted initial approval on new rules requiring dispensaries be 1,000 feet away from schools. Police must also review their floor-plans and security measures.

Daniel Nguyen

The Anheuser-Busch plant in New Hampshire is planning for an addition to produce canned beer.

The Telegraph of Nashua reports the Merrimack Planning Board has approved construction of a 5,300-square-foot brewing facility and 50,000 square feet in warehouse and packaging buildings.

Canned beer is making a comeback, as new technologies such as polymer linings have allowed beer to be stored longer in cans without acquiring a metallic taste.

voting booths
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Voters are heading to the polls in Merrimack Tuesday.

Resident will decide on the election of new town councilors and proposed town and school district budgets.

There are also two collective bargaining agreements on the ballot.

Polls will be open until 7 Tuesday evening.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

While New Hampshire may not be known for earthquakes, the town of Merrimack is now host to the Granite State’s first seismograph available for public use.

Library Director Yvette Couser got her introduction to earthquakes about two years ago.

As of nine o’clock Friday night, motorists no longer had to pay tolls at exit 12 in Merrimack.

The change was included in the state’s new gas tax law, in order to relieve Merrimack residents who had to pay tolls at all three exits in town.

Bill Boynton with the state’s transportation department says after Friday, the exit 12 toll plaza’s three full time employees will begin working at adjacent plazas.  Next month, he says, the state will ask companies to bid for the job of removing the toll plaza, at a cost of about $600,000. 

Via Flickr CC

As you're paying more at the pump today, you may be wondering where all that extra money is going.

New Hampshire's 4.2 cent increase to the state's gas tax goes into effect July 1.

The increase, the first since 1991, is expected to generate an additional $32 million annually for the state's Department of Transportation.

The legislation that enacted the increase mandates that 42 percent of that money go towards bonding for the widening of Interstate 93.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

State transportation officials say they’ll stop collecting tolls at an exit ramp in Merrimack next month.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Town councilors in Merrimack have voted in favor of pursuing a lawsuit against the state in an attempt to get relief from toll booths.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

A House committee has voted unanimously to reject the latest effort to remove at least one of the toll booths along the F.E. Everett Turnpike exit ramps in Merrimack.

The 15-0 vote came during a Public Works and Highways committee meeting on Wednesday.

Former Senate President Peter Bragdon sponsored the bill, which would have removed the ramp tolls at Exit 12.

But committee members say the issue should instead be discussed as part of the state’s 10-year highway improvement plan.

While the state’s unemployment rate is well below the national average, thousands of people are still searching for a job.

Friday, many of the state’s unemployed showed up for a job fair for a new $100 million shopping center in Merrimack. The retail outlet is expected to create more than 800 positions.

By 7 a.m. Friday morning, hundreds of people lined up outside Nashua Community College for the Merrimack Premium Outlet job fair.

When it opens in mid-June, the outlets will feature 100 clothing, home goods, and other stores.