NH News

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

New Hampshire’s Hands Free Law goes into effect in under five days, which will ban drivers from using hand-held electronic devices even at traffic lights or stop signs.

That means no cell phones, GPS, tablets, iPods, etc. unless they are operated by a Bluetooth or other hand free device.

At a press conference Thursday morning, State Police said starting July 1 all officers statewide will be strictly enforcing the law. Those found to abuse the law will be fined $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 after that.

Craig Murphy via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5Syj9C

 As New Hampshire gets set to enact a ban on handheld cellphone use while driving, there is some evidence that such bans in other states have had little effect on accident rates.

In a 2014 study, researcher Dan Kaffine and others at the University of Colorado Boulder found no evidence that a California ban on using handheld cellphones while driving actually decreased the number of traffic accidents in that state.

Dan Kaffine joined Morning Edition to talk about the issue.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

For the first time this year, the Exeter Classic – a “criterium” style bike race – offered equal prize money in their pro women's race as their pro men’s race.  In September, the Portsmouth Criterium will also offer an equal purse to women for the first time.

Top female bike racers say regional race directors in New England and Northern California are pushing national and international governing bodies toward equality for women as they make room for women’s races and attract sponsors for equal prize money.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

  Leaders from a wide range of faiths stood before a group of roughly seventy people to mourn the murder of nine worshippers in Charleston and to call for peace, unity and change. 

Reverend Jared Rardin of South Congregational said now is the time for people to come together to discuss racism and tolerance.

Two northern New England news organizations have received a national Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence from an organization representing local and network journalists in broadcasting, cable and digital media in more than 30 countries.

The awards for New Hampshire Public Radio in Concord and Free Press Media in Burlington, Vermont, were announced Wednesday by the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Nicole Tung/freejamesfoley.org via AP

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen plans to meet with the mother of slain journalist James Foley who was killed by the Islamic State group last year to get her views on revised government policies for supporting families of hostages.

Shaheen, a Democrat, says the US government should have done a much better job supporting the families of Foley and Steven Sotloff — another American journalist killed — as well as the families of other Americans held hostage.

Shane Adams via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/OJ5Pe

The median cost to rent a two bedroom apartment, plus utilities, in New Hampshire these days? $1,157 a month, according to this year’s Residential Rental Cost Survey from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

NHPR Staff

Funding for public higher education is a core issue in the budget battle now being waged between the Governor and the Legislature. Meanwhile, budget woes are brewing on the state's community college campuses, too, where students, faculty, and senior administrators don’t agree on how to balance the books.

DOJ

Hillsborough County lawmakers have rejected to fund a drug court in Manchester. The 123-member delegation voted 44-39 Tuesday night against a proposal to spend $450,000 of county funds towards implementing a drug court -- 39 delegates were absent during the vote.

Those who voted against the proposal said they support a drug court but just don't want the county to have to pay for it.

dbking / Flickr Creative Commons

The United States Supreme Court is expected to decide a case this month that could be do or die for President Obama’s signature healthcare law. At issue are the subsidies available to people who purchase insurance plans on Healthcare.gov, also called the healthcare exchange. New Hampshire is one of 36 states using this federally-operated insurance marketplace, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff in the case, about 30,000 people in New Hampshire may see their subsidies disappear.

GSFC / Flickr Creative Commons

Mapping New Hampshire’s forests is tricky business. There’s a lot of land to map, and the satellite images that scientists use to augment data from other sources have significant limitations. Nashua Telegraph columnist and writer at Granitegeek.org David Brooks caught up with a few UNH researchers trying to track how human behavior has changed the forests. He spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

What are these images good at showing us?

Nick Douglas via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/eiCit

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is releasing the names of dozens of police officers who were mistakenly told they had passed an assessment to administer a device that tests a person's blood-alcohol content.

The state Attorney General's office released 64 police officer names, their respective departments and dates of their false positive test scores.

Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice says the erroneous test results means any drunk-driving cases handled by these officers will be scrutinized.

Ben Ferenchak via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/afaWoX

New Hampshire tourism officials are expecting more than 15.9 million out-of-state visitors this summer, 3 percent more than last summer.

They say the visitors are anticipated to spend a little over $2 billion, also up 3 percent from a year ago.

More than 40 percent of all visitors to New Hampshire come during the summer. Many come from New England, the mid-Atlantic States, and eastern Canada.

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.

wooleywonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Advocates for veterans in the North Country are working with state and local law enforcement agencies and the court system to create a court diversion program for veterans. 

The diversion program will attempt to keep some veterans accused of non-violent crimes from going to jail. It’s designed to help veterans treat the underlying problems that cause them to have run-ins with police. 

Dave Canter is co-chair of Vet-to-Vet, a peer support program for veterans in Gorham. He says this is not a "get out of jail free" card.

NHPR Staff

House and Senate leaders say they’re crafting a bill that would fund state government beyond July 1, when the current budget expires.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

The annual event known as "PorcFest" is getting underway in northern New Hampshire.

The week-long Porcupine Freedom Festival aims to bring together supporters of the Free State Project, which aims to convince 20,000 people to move New Hampshire to push for smaller government and more libertarian policies.

Lead producer Kristin Weitzel says this year’s gathering will include discussions of government surveillance programs and medical marijuana, among many other topics.

weirsbeach.com

Laconia has wrapped up the 92nd annual Motorcycle Week, in which thousands took part in local events and motorcycle tours into the Mount Washington Valley despite periods of heavy rain. 

While Motorcycle Week has sometimes been characterized by arrests and unruly behavior - or at least concerns about such behavior - Captain William Cleary of the Laconia Police Department says that wasn’t the case this year. “We’ve had extremely large crowds all week – nice crowds, well behaved,” he said. “Arrests and numbers like that are down. Our tickets and accidents are down as well.”

New Hampshire maple syrup producers saw higher yields last winter compared to the previous year.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found New Hampshire produced 154,000 gallons of syrup this year, compared to 112,000 in 2014.

Cold weather shortened the maple syrup season by several days in 2015, but yield per tap rose in New Hampshire over the winter.

Syrup production in the northeast totaled 2.96 million gallons, up 7 percent from 2014.

The manager of the Lebanon Municipal Airport is confident that discounted airline tickets will help to draw more customers for the airport to keep its operating subsidy. 

So far this year, the airport has seen an 11.4 percent drop in the number of passengers flying out of Lebanon. 

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

The only flying B-29 bomber from World War II touched down in Nashua on Friday, where it remains for the weekend for public tours.

On Friday afternoon at the Boire Field Airport in Nashua, dozens wait to get their first glimpse of the Boeing B-29, the same class of bomber plane that flew in the raiding missions in Japan.

The 92-year-old Pete Ziner moves assuredly with his cane, his memories equally as strong. He says he was a radar operator in the 315th bomb wing, one of the last to go overseas before the war ended.

  When he was young, George H.W. Bush, got some advice from his mother, first about life, and then about tennis: Don’t brag and bend your knees when you volley.

Bush’s White House Chief of Staff, former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu, says Bush’s reluctance to talk about himself has meant his presidency has been overlooked. Sununu’s new book is an effort to change that – it’s called The Quiet Man, and he joined Weekend Edition to talk about it. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR; Data: Legislative Budget Assistant

A show-down over budget politics is brewing between New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor and Republican controlled Legislature.

Renewable energy advocates hope they can use it as an opportunity to convince budget writers to reconsider funneling money away from renewable incentives to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

An iconic part of Laconia’s downtown will soon be reborn.

In a deal announced this week, the Belknap Economic Development Council will purchase the historic Colonial Theatre for $1.4 million.

The city will loan the group the money to buy the theater, and assist in raising the $15 million needed for renovations.

The Colonial opened in 1914, but has been shut down since 2001.

Justin Slattery, executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, joined NHPR’s Morning Edition to talk about plans for the theater.

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Shaheen Applauds Decision to Put Woman on $10 Bill

Jun 18, 2015
Eli Christman / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is praising the Treasury Department’s decision to put a woman on the $10 bill in the year 2020.

She says it may not be the change to the $20 bill she had called for, but it’s a big step forward for women.

Shaheen had introduced legislation in April to put a woman on the $20 bill.

In that bill, Shaheen advocated for Harriet Tubman on the $20. Tubman was the choice of the advocates for the “Women on the $20” campaign. But Shaheen says she has her own personal favorite.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

If a bakery does its work right, there will be something for every customer. Katie Johnson, the owner of From Scratch Baking Company in Wolfeboro, shows off her offerings: cases of peanut butter brownies, red velvet cupcakes, and salted chocolate cookies. 

After outcry from students and faculty, the Pembroke School Board has overturned a decision to change the title of the top job at Pembroke Academy from "headmaster" to "principal."

The Concord Monitor reports the school board voted 3-2 late Tuesday night to reverse its earlier decision.

The board voted last fall to change the title to principal, the rationale being that it's a more fitting title for a public school.

C. Hanchey via Flickr CC.

There’s no shortage of options for Nashua voters when it comes to who’ll be the next mayor of the state’s second-largest city.

Six candidates are confirmed to be running, and that’s a big change from four years ago, when the city’s current Mayor Donnalee Lozeau ran unopposed.

Lozeau isn’t seeking re-election this time around, which has opened the door for others hoping for the job.

Kathryn Marchocki is a reporter for the Nashua Telegraph. She joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about how the race is shaping up.

State health officials have analyzed the first 100 out of about 500 blood samples taken from people exposed to a contaminant found in one of the wells on Pease International Tradeport.

The first 100 blood tests show concentrations of Perfluorochemicals PFOS and PFOA that are higher than the average American’s, but lower than other exposed groups like those drinking water downstream from a West Virginia DuPont factory.

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