NH News

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The traditional declaration of ice out on Lake Winnipesaukee came around the usual time in 2015, even after an unusually cold and snowy winter.

Dave Emerson is owner and president of Emerson Aviation in Laconia. He declared ice out on Friday, which he says it typical even given the many winter storms that moved through New Hampshire.

Billy Brown / Flickr

A $250,000 federal grant will assist two North Country groups in improving access to food.

The Northern Forest Center and the Northern Community Investment Corporation will use the funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says the grant will help boost local economies and increase access to natural foods grown in New Hampshire. 

The program supports private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, and low-income rural communities.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she would likely sign a two-casino bill now before the Legislature if it came to her desk.  

Hassan's comments on Friday are the first time she's said she would sign the measure and they come two days after she told reporters she doesn't think a market exists for two casinos in the state.  

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

The New Hampshire city of Laconia will host this year's annual Pumpkin Festival after its long-time host city declined to issue a permit following violence near last year's event.

At the announcement in Laconia's historic train station Friday afternoon, Mayor Ed Engler said its experience hosting an annual motorcycle festival gives officials a good handle on security and public safety.

He says there are no "huge concerns" about security in the city of about 16,000.

Court officials confirm a New Hampshire defendant awaiting a jury's verdicts in a trial on multiple counts of sexual assault on a minor shot himself outside the Rockingham County Superior Courthouse. 

Authorities say 75-year-old John Goodwin, a longtime piano teacher in Atkinson, went on trial earlier this week on six counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Prosecutors say he repeatedly sexually assaulted a student who is now 24. He pleaded not guilty. 

Court officials say the jury was deliberating when Goodwin shot himself Friday morning. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is bringing together health care providers and insurers to explore why spending on health care is high and rising, and what can be done to change that.

Taber Andrew Baln via Flickr CC

The Portsmouth City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags. Portsmouth City Councilor Brad Lown is sponsoring the ordinance, on behalf of the New Hampshire Surf rider Foundation's ‘Rise Above Plastics’ campaign. The ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags in the city, and allow stores to pass on a 10-cent per bag fee for using paper bags. 

Tell us why you feel a ban on plastic bags is needed in Portsmouth.

Lisa Padilla via Flickr CC

A law banning hand-held cellphone use while driving in New Hampshire goes into effect on July 1, and state officials are handing out flyers and putting messages on electronic billboards to remind people of the change.

State transportation officials, police and the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association are discussing their efforts to educate people at a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday. It's at the Transportation Department.

State officials say in the last four years, distraction was the cause of 124 crashes on New Hampshire's roads.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the extradition of two men to New Hampshire to face charges in the deaths of two Nashua women nearly 27 years ago.

The Canadian Press reports the justices ruled Thursday on Anthony Barnaby and David Caplin.

The men are Canadian Micmac Indians who were working construction in Nashua when 48-year-old Charlene Ranstrom and 32-year-old Brenda Warner were bound, beaten and stabbed to death in their home in October 1988.

Police said new DNA evidence and witnesses justify extradition.

Luca Nebuloni via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/LZ7gR

A lot of what you see at presidential primary events is pretty standard: a national political figure, local officials, members of the press, and, of course, voters.

On this night at the Snowshoe Club in Concord, there was something else: a long table with sixteen pies.

The guest of honor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, says he mostly adheres to a paleo diet, which doesn’t include baked goods. But in the spirit of the evening, he dug into a slice of blueberry pie – and the potential 2016 candidate had no regrets over indulging.

Dave via Flickr CC

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she doesn't think a market exists for two casinos in New Hampshire, as proposed in a bill that has passed the Senate and is now before the House.

Ty Without Numbers via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says cameras are being installed in all toll lanes in the turnpike system.

Cameras previously were in all dedicated E-Z Pass lanes and open road tolling lanes.

New cameras will be installed starting next week. They will be completed system-wide by mid-May.

The cameras will take images of license plates of drivers who are evading toll payment, and others requesting a "no funds" payment slip.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

A lawyer for the state of New Hampshire says the language of a voter registration law that lower courts have declared confusing and unconstitutional is legally accurate.

In arguments to the NH Supreme Court Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte says the 2012 law amending voter registration forms simply clarifies that those who reside here must abide by laws requiring them to obtain drivers' licenses and register their vehicles if they are residents.

hubbardcalgaryroofing / Morguefile

Finding a contractor to fix something in your house or remodel a room can be tricky. If you live in or around Nashua, Portsmouth, Durham, and Barrington, however, your search for the right contractor may have gotten a little easier.

The website BuildZoom has compiled all the data collected in these locations on every single remodeling and construction project over the past ten years. David Brooks, the author of the weekly Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and GraniteGeek.org, spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 
 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

The House Ways and Means committee has narrowly voted to recommend passage of a bill to authorize casinos in New Hampshire.

Before the 11 to 10 vote, committee members exchanged arguments familiar to anyone who’s followed casino debates in the past. Backers like Republican Gary Azarian of Salem said that, in addition to boosting jobs and economic growth, casinos would give the state revenue to fund its priorities without increasing taxes or fees.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner via Flickr/CC 2.0 - http://ow.ly/LV7pt

HomeHelpNH, a state initiative to prevent foreclosures, says it’s helped about 750 households over the past two years. And state officials say there are many other households still working through the counseling process.

Robert Wilson/flickr

After Keene officials rejected the license for the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival earlier this month, there’s been no shortage of other Granite State communities vying to host the event.

Laconia, Exeter, Franklin and Portsmouth are among those said to be interested.

And in Claremont, a citizens group has been meeting regularly to come up with a formal proposal.

That group is set to bring its proposal before the Claremont City Council tomorrow night.

Michael Charest heads up the Claremont Citizens Group.

The U.S. Labor Department's OSHA division is proposing a fine of nearly $64,000 against a New Hampshire manufacturer of acrylic and wooden sign holders and displays, saying workers were overexposed to a toxic chemical.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections stemming from December say M.F. Blouin of Rollinsford lacked controls to reduce the exposure to methylene chloride and failed to provide respirators, proper eye and face protection and medical surveillance.

Sara Plourde, NHPR

This winter's series of heavy snowfalls put a $9.2 million hurt on the state's annual snow removal budget and led to a raid on the fund that pays for road and bridge repair and maintenance.

Figures compiled by the Department of Transportation show the state spent $48.3 million to clear roads this season. It had budgeted $39.1 million and needed a transfer from the State Highway Fund to cover the shortfall.

DOT spokesperson Bill Boynton says not only was there simply more snow this winter, the storms were longer.

jordache/Flickr

 

New Hampshire's top liquor enforcement officer is telling consumers not to bother looking for powdered alcohol at the state's liquor stores.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Maine are considering moratoriums or bans on the powdered alcohol being marketed under the brand name Palcohol.

Vermont and five other states have banned its sale, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Update: Despite Monday's wet, dreary weather Randy Pierce hit his goal of breaking four hours, crossing the finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes. 

When 30,000 runners line up this morning in Boston, many will be running for some cause or some loved one, and that’s the case for Nashua runner Randy Pierce, but he's doing it with an extra challenge -- he's blind.

And with the record-breaking snowfall, subzero temperatures and icy conditions, training this winter without being able to see was no easy task.

Henry Hemming via Flickr CC

The historic barrage of snow and cold in New England this winter has pushed back the gardening season and left behind damaged bushes, trees and greenhouses as well as gardeners eager to get outside and in the dirt.

The growing season is one to two weeks behind schedule, following a winter that lacked the usual mid-season thaw.

Expert Says Drug Courts Reduce Crime

Apr 17, 2015
Patrick Mansell / flickr Creative Commons

Drug courts in several New Hampshire counties allow some non-violent offenders to avoid jail and treat their addiction. The courts are growing across  the state and earlier this week lawmakers heard from a national drug court expert. Dr. Doug Marlowe is the chief of science, law, and policy for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.
 

Scott Coultas via Flickr CC

As warmer weather has moved into New Hampshire, most of the state's more than 30 ski resorts have already closed. But Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain and Mount Sunapee will stay open Saturday and Sunday, Bretton Woods will remain open through Monday, and Wildcat Mountain is planning to offer daily skiing through April 26.

Molly Mahar at Loon Mountain says this ski season only really hit its peak in the spring, well after the more traditional high points such as Christmas, New Year’s and Presidents Day.

A wheelchair van service operator will pay nearly $76,000 to the state of New Hampshire in a settlement over Medicaid claims he made that lacked adequate records supporting them.

Jeffrey Gould runs North Country Medi-Van. The service claims were made between 2009 and 2013.

North Country Medi-Van no longer provides Medicaid services.

The Medicaid program is a joint federal and state health care program that provides benefits to qualified individuals.

The case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the New Hampshire attorney general's office.

Ze-ev Barkan via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will likely become the first state to repeal laws allowing employers to pay workers with disabilities at a rate lower than the minimum wage.

The bill passed this week by the House not only does away with a provision allowing employers to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage in most circumstances, but it also bans so-called sheltered workshops.  That’s when an organization sets up a workplace aimed at people with disabilities.

Photo: West Midlands Police/cc/flickr

 

Selectmen in the town of Bethlehem have approved body cameras for police officers.

The cameras will be chest-worn devices that can record for five or six hours. Plans are for police to start using them in August.

The Caledonian Record reports that each of Bethlehem's seven police officers will have one for motor vehicle stops and dispatched calls. Individuals pulled over or stopped must be notified the camera is on.

Police in other towns have been using body cameras, such as Haverhill and Weare.

Aaron Plewke via Flickr CC

On a stage in Newbury, in front of an expectant audience, state officials carried out what looked like a standard meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee. But, the audience of more than fifty people was gathered to find out whether Mt Sunapee’s West Bowl expansion would be allowed to go forward.

What they heard is that after more than a decade, the state has proposed granting permission to expand the Mt Sunapee Ski Area with a new chairlift, six new trails, a new parking lot and lodge.

But the approval carried conditions.

Brady Carlson

The CEO of Segway Inc. says the personal transportation device maker plans to stay in New Hampshire after being acquired by a Chinese firm.

Dartmouth College

A Dartmouth College fraternity that partly inspired the 1978 movie "Animal House" and was recently accused of branding new members is appealing a campus judiciary committee's decision to withdraw its recognition as a student organization.

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