Monadnock Region

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. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

There’s a field in Peterborough that makes all the other fields jealous. It’s about a mile from downtown, roughly 20 acres, with a small stand of trees in the southwest corner.

It’s a great-looking field. Stand in the middle, and you’re rewarded with views of Mt. Monadnock.  

Stan Fry believes there’s just one thing missing from this place.

James Napoli

Tad Montgomery can still remember when he first discovered morels.

He was five years old, working in the garden with his mom and siblings, when a thunderstorm suddenly rolled in. They all ran under some nearby trees for shelter.

“Mom, what are these things? They’re really weird!” exclaimed his sister, looking to the ground.

His mom had no idea what to make of the brown, brain-looking things emerging from the soil. But, being an amateur naturalist, she piled all the kids in the car and drove them, soaking wet, to the local library.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Members of a new mosque in Keene will gather with local community leaders tonight for a Ramadan celebration.

Will Coley moved to Keene from Tennessee to launch the mosque last year. It's the only one in the state's Monadnock region.

Related story: Behind Planned Mosque In Keene, A ‘Redneck Muslim’ With Libertarian Ties

Phil Penman Photography

Renowned cartoonist Art Spiegelman will travel to Peterborough this summer to accept the annual Edward MacDowell Medal from the MacDowell Colony. Spiegelman is the first cartoonist to be honored by the colony, which has hosted some of the most influential writers and artists of the last century. 

Spiegelman is best known for his iconic graphic novel Maus, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and is credited with bringing cartooning into the literary mainstream.

Saratoga Associates

The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a much-debated wind farm in the town of Antrim.

Plans for the project began nearly ten years ago, but have been tangled in regulatory and legal battles. Nearby residents argue the proposed turbines threaten the natural landscape and wildlife, as well as human health.

Keene State College has hit its enrollment goal this spring for the incoming freshman class.

That goal, more modest than in years past, reflects an overall downsizing of the college in response to regional demographic trends. 

Many schools in the northeast have been struggling to stabilize enrollment as local high school class sizes, and therefore general application pools, have shrunk. 

Britta Greene / NHPR

Keene State College today broke ground on an expansion to its Mason Library, a project aimed at bringing its academic programming and research resources on genocide studies under one roof.

Courtesy of Keene State College

Keene State College is pledging to run its heat plant completely off biofuels, rather than heating oil, in less than two years. In that same window, it will look to cut per capita electric, heat and water use by 20 percent.

Those are among a number of new sustainability goals the college is announcing this week.

By 2030, the school is also pledging to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by half over current levels, as well as divert upwards of 90 percent of its waste. 

AP

Keene is the latest in a string of New Hampshire cities to sue pharmaceutical giants over their alleged role fueling the opioid crisis. Nashua and Manchester have filed similar lawsuits, as have hundreds of communities across the country.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

As part of our Only in New Hampshire series, we've been getting a lot of questions from listeners about the Free State Project. It's a movement that began almost 20 years ago based on libertarian ideas. The goal is to bring tens of thousands of like-minded people to live in New Hampshire - and influence politics here.

Related: Click here to read the long-form story What Is The Free State Project?

Our reporters have been diving into the movement and its history. For this story,  NHPR's Britta Greene talked with couple currently relocating from Indiana to join the Free State Project.

www.visitnhcolleges.com

Keene State Biology Professor Susan Whittemore was at a conference last summer when she first heard statistics about hunger among college students nationwide.

The numbers struck her. Of course, she knew college was expensive, but she hadn’t thought about how that might be affecting her own students’ ability to feed themselves on a day-to-day basis.

Buyouts and cost-cutting in recent months at Keene State College have put the school on track to balance its budget for the coming fiscal year, according to Interim President Melinda Treadwell.

A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

Christopher Cantwell, a prominent Keene-based white nationalist, is suing two people who recently testified against him in court in Virginia.

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Keene State College Interim President Melinda Treadwell will host a live video conference for admitted students and their parents next week.  This comes as Keene State looks to improve its enrollment numbers while navigating significant budget cuts.

Treadwell says the live chat she's planned will be a first for prospective families. “I'd rather be very direct with parents about where we are and the bright future than to wait for folks to fill in the blanks,” she said, pointing to recent news headlines.

Flickr, Aranami

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan have introduced legislation to give the town of Swanzey its own, unique zip code.

The issue is North Swanzey shares a zip code with neighboring Keene. But North Swanzey isn't part of Keene — it's technically part of Swanzey.

And, because there's crossover with street names and addresses in the two zip codes, there's been issues with mail delivery. There's also been delays for emergency responders as they try to figure out where to go.

A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

Keene resident and white nationalist Christopher Cantwell has been granted bail in Virginia.

Cantwell has been in the Charlottesville area since the Unite the Right rally in August that turned violent. He was featured in a viral documentary about the unrest, and has been held in a local jail on charges relating to his use of teargas in the crowds.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Keene State College’s alumni weekend this fall kicked off with a 5k run around campus. Justina Reichelt, a 2003 graduate, crossed the finish line pushing her 2-year-old son in a stroller.

Reichelt actually grew up in Keene. She now lives in Vermont, so not far away, but she almost didn’t come back for alumni festivities this year. “I was at one of those turning points where I was thinking - maybe I should take my degrees off my wall and put them under my desk,” she said. “You know, I was embarrassed.”

The Keene Public Library is hosting an immigration-related event Thanksgiving morning. 

Organizer Mohammed Saleh hopes locals will take a moment to step away from their celebrations and reflect on how other families might be separated on this day.

It only made sense to choose Thanksgiving, he said, as a day that recognizes the coexistence of immigrants and natives.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Will Coley walks through the old house in Keene he’s been renovating since September. It’s a work in progress.

He steps over rusted metal tiles and points to ceilings and walls awaiting a new coat of paint.

“This is the mosque,” he says, “this is our place to pray.”


A still from Vice News "Charlottesville: Race and Terror"

New Hampshire-based white nationalist Christopher Cantwell remains in custody in Virginia, where he's raising money and hosting a podcast from his jail cell.

File photo

Fall Mountain Regional School District Superintendent Lori Landry will meet with community members Thursday night about a controversial plan to allow marksmanship practices in the local high school cafeteria.

The Fall Mountain Regional School Board approved an exemption to its weapons policy earlier this fall to allow the Army JROTC program to bring in air rifles for the practices subject to certain safety precautions -- things like closed blinds, locked doors and secured entry.

Britta Greene/NHPR

There’s nothing like working for years to bring a Halloween festival back from the dead, so to speak, only to have it deluged by rain. But that’s exactly what happened this year to Keene’s Pumpkin Festival, back for the first time since 2014.

Courtesy of Keene State College

New Hampshire police chiefs overwhelmingly cite drug abuse as the most serious problem facing their communities, according to a new survey from Keene State College.

“Police chiefs are confronting these problems every day,” said Keene State Professor Angela Barlow, who directed the survey. “And they’re having very little success at reducing the opioid crisis and addiction issues within their communities.”

The survey went out to all full-time police chiefs in New Hampshire last year. About half, including those from the largest cities, responded, Barlow said.

CREDIT JENNIFER MEI/CREATIVE COMMONS

New court documents reveal how a former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son say they obtained valuable works of art. Those paintings, by the New York-based artist Leon Golub, were then sold to a collector who claims they are forgeries.

This story first broke last year, centering the art world’s attention on an unlikely location: Rindge, New Hampshire. NHPR’s Todd Bookman joins Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley for an update on the case.

www.visitnhcolleges.com

The new president of Keene State College says she is working quickly to try to right the school’s balance sheet.

The college has struggled in recent years to attract and retain students. Lower-than-expected enrollment has translated to significant declines in revenue from tuition.

This week, interim President Melinda Treadwell is launching a task force to look closely at the school’s admissions and enrollment strategy. She’ll ask that group to deliver preliminary recommendations next month.

Courtesy of "Recovery House Keene"

Neighbors of a proposed new residential rehab center in Keene are organizing to fight the project. They’re concerned it will create public safety issues and lead to crowding in the neighborhood, said attorney Joseph Hoppock, who’s representing the group.

Courtesy of the Peterborough Town Library

Holden Caulfield, Huckleberry Finn, and even Harry Potter are no strangers to controversy. The characters, and more precisely, the authors behind them, have been accused of including themes or language that some find offensive. 

Tonight at the Peterborough Town Library, controversial books and the authors who take written risks will instead be celebrated during what's being called a "banned book readout." The event is part of the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week, an annual event which the group says honors intellectual freedom.

Robert Wilson/flickr

A bid to bring the pumpkin festival back to Keene prevailed Thursday night after an unexpected last minute challenge from local officials.

Keene's mayor cast a tie-breaking vote at the city council meeting to allow the event to go forward.

In the past, the festival has broken world records for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place. But it was canceled in 2014 after riots broke out. Now. organizers are planning a much smaller, kid-focused festival.

www.visitnhcolleges.com

The former president of Keene State College, Anne Huot, received a severance payout of more than $300,000 after stepping down earlier this year.

The University System of New Hampshire said Huot would take a year of unpaid leave when it announced her resignation in June. But she received a $327,225 severance payment following her resignation.

The college has recently struggled to contain its deficit. Officials say low enrollment is largely to blame. Todd Leach, chancellor of the state university system, was unavailable Thursday to comment on the severance agreement.

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