NH News

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Research shows that participation in organized activities, like sports or music lessons, plays a big role in closing the opportunity gap in school, and in life. 

But with the rise of "pay to play" sports in school, and the virtual disappearance of affordable neighborhood piano lessons, there's an increasing gap in the ability of kids from poor families to participate in organized enrichment.

So, how does New Hampshire's gap look?

Jens Schott Knudsen/Flickr

 

New Hampshire health officials have released a report suggesting there's a decrease in occupational injury and illness rates in the state over the years.

The report finds that from 2000 to 2012, there were 160 work-related fatalities in New Hampshire. There were over 171,000 work-related emergency department hospital discharges for people age 16 and older for the same time period.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As part of our series, "The First Decade," Gov. Maggie Hassan sat down with NHPR's Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about what role she sees state government playing in helping to close the opportunity gap.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate ticked down in April to 3.8 percent, after seeing no change the month before. 

The unemployment rate can go down when fewer people are looking for work. But in April New Hampshire’s total labor force increased. 

Thunder Hill Elementary via Flickr CC

The incomes of wealthy and poor American families have diverged over the past three decades, so too have the educational outcomes of the children in these families. For more on why money matters when it comes to early childhood education and success later in life, we turn to Greg Duncan. He, along with Richard J. Murnane, is the author of Whither Opportunity?, which looks at the consequences of rising inequality for America’s education. Duncan spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.
 

NHPR

Research shows students who attend preschool are more likely to have stability and success as they go through school and through life, yet New Hampshire is behind the national curve when it comes to investing in these programs.

The National Institute for Early Education Research has released its annual report, The State of Preschool, which profiles state-funded programs and tracks national trends around preschool quality and access.

www.portsmouthwastewater.com

 

The City Council in Portsmouth has voted to approve a $90.1 million plan to upgrade the existing Peirce Island wastewater plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports it will be the most expensive public project in the city's history.

The vote came despite the continued assertion by City Manager John Bohenko that the cost has been inflated as much as $40 million because of the Environmental Protection Agency's belief that nitrogen discharge from the plant is hurting Great Bay. He said there's "no impairment" on the bay.

 

Some police departments such as Manchester are taking part in the "Join the New Hampshire Clique Seatbelt Campaign" this month to promote safety among teen drivers and young passengers.

Officers are working patrols that focus on occupants of motor vehicles not in compliance with state seatbelt law. The law requires drivers and passengers under the age of 18 to be properly restrained with a seat or safety belt.

 

A growing concern in one New Hampshire community over rival biker groups has put police on alert.

Authorities tell WCAX-TV that they learned one motorcycle group may have wanted to "deal with" another rival biker faction having a fundraiser at an Applebee's in Lebanon Tuesday evening.

Police notified the restaurant and it closed Tuesday afternoon.

Police say biker gangs haven't been a problem for them. But they are posting a detail near the Applebee's as a precaution.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Yvonne Dean-Bailey defeated Democrat Maureen Mann yesterday in a special election for the state House of Representatives.

The seat is in Rockingham District 32, which represents Candia, Deerfield, Northwood and Nottingham.

Dean-Bailey will fill the seat left vacant by Republican Brian Dobson. He resigned to become director of veterans affairs for Congressman Frank Guinta. 

Both Dean-Bailey and Mann, a former state representative, received support from potential presidential candidates in the weeks leading up to the election.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan is going to sign a bill opening the way for a Maine businessman's plan to restore a historic resort in the economically distressed North Country.

Hassan is scheduled to sign the bill Wednesday that creates a special taxing district allowing the state to back $28 million in bonds toward redeveloping the Balsams, which closed in 2011.

Les Otten is seeking the state-backed bond to help finance the $143 million project that would reopen the Dixville Notch resort where the first presidential ballots are traditionally cast.

thisweekinraymond.com

The city of Manchester could soon have a new police chief.

The Union Leader reports Mayor Ted Gatsas has nominated Assistant Police Chief Nick Willard to lead the department.

If aldermen approve the nomination, Willard would replace Chief David Mara, who announced earlier this month that he will retire at the end of June.

If he gets the job, Willard has already agreed to move to the city within 180 days.

David Clow via Flickr Creative Commons

A Manchester elementary school teacher is on paid administrative leave after police say she held an underage drinking party at her home in Chester.

Steffany Maloney, a first-grade teacher at Gossler Park Elementary School, is charged with a misdemeanor, after police were called to her home early Sunday morning for complaints about a loud party.

Police say they found a half-dozen underage people passed out or intoxicated.

The teens were released to their parents.

Maloney is scheduled to be arraigned in Derry District Court on July 1.

FILE

Robert Breest has been locked up since 1973 for the killing of 18-year-old Susan Randall of Manchester.

Since then the 77-year-old Massachusetts carpenter has always maintained his innocence.

During the trial 42 years ago, the state argued Breest picked up Randall when she was hitchhiking late one night in Manchester, brutally beat her, and then dumped her body into the Merrimack River in Concord.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

It was just over a year ago, at Keene area School District’s annual board retreat, and Deputy Superintendent Reuben Duncan was expecting the usual conversations about curriculum and finances. The teachers, he says, had something else in mind.

  In five or ten years, Duncan says, elementary school students were coming in without the skills they used to have. “They were coming in without vocabulary, without being able to interact appropriately with other kids, with hygiene issues, not being able to use the bathroom,” he recalls. “And then, there’s the aggressive behaviors.”

mconnors / Morguefile

When children go hungry at school, they’re less able to learn. They also experience higher levels of anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity. Often schools provide breakfast and lunch in school during the week, but what happens to those kids over the weekend?

NHPR / Michael Brindley

It makes sense that students who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to perform well at school.

And while data shows that across the country, more students than ever are benefiting from school breakfast programs, the Granite State continues to lag in that area.

A report earlier this year found New Hampshire ranks second to last in participation in the national school breakfast program among low-income students.

 

A police officer who was fired after he was caught on tape roughing up a suspect at police headquarters in Seabrook is facing trial.

The surveillance video shows Officer Mark Richardson slamming the suspect's head into a wall. He's been charged with simple assault in connection with the Nov. 11, 2009, encounter at the police station.

The suspect, Michael Bergeron, had been charged with driving while intoxicated and possession of drugs. Other officers said Bergeron was struggling and uncooperative when Richardson forced him into the wall.

Isaias via Flickr CC

In 2000, a committee of researchers compiled nearly a century of knowledge on how children develop from birth to age five. The findings, published in a 600-page book titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, covered everything from the long-standing debate over “nature vs. nurture” to the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience.

Researcher: 'Opportunity Gap' Likely To Keep Growing

May 18, 2015
Duboix / Morguefile

New Hampshire has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, but overall, the gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing. Researchers at the Carsey School of Public Policy in New Hampshire have been looking at the effect this income disparity has on children and their success or failure later in life. Vulnerable Families Research Associate Andrew Schaefer spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Research is clear that parental involvement is critical to a child's success in school. But for a number of factors, that can be difficult for families in low-income households.

Maria Barry is the home and school coordinator for Ledge Street Elementary in Nashua, where 8 out of 10 students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Rick Ganley visited Maria in her office at the school to talk about some of the challenges she faces in her job, as well as some of the success stories she's seen.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Voters in Northwood, Nottingham, Deerfield and Candia go to the polls Tuesday for a special State House election. 

  The special election this Tuesday is between Republican Yvonne Dean-Bailey of Northwood and Democrat Maureen Mann of Deerfield.

playground
Brady Carlson / NHPR

Finding great day care can be hard. Sometimes finding any day care can be hard. Just ask Meghan Hoye of Merrimack, who tried everything to find a place for her three kids.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Several high-profile presidential hopefuls are headed to New Hampshire this week, including Republican Chris Christie. The New Jersey Governor is giving a foreign policy speech in Portsmouth at noon Monday and is set to hold a town hall meeting in Hudson later in the afternoon.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be back in the state Wednesday and Thursday for a house party in Bedford and several business-themed events.

On Friday, it’s Democrat Hillary Clinton, who will make her first New Hampshire visit since holding roundtable discussions in Keene and Concord in April.

  Republican Mitt Romney is encouraging new graduates of Saint Anselm College to live quote-“large lives.”

The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee spoke at Sunday’s commencement ceremonies. And he noted his many appearances at Saint Anselm during his two runs for the White House.

Emily Corwin, NHPR

 A union representing FairPoint Communications workers in New Hampshire says it will meet with the company this week over plans to cut 260 positions.

Wayne Silver Via Flickr CC

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, the state's overall population grew from just over 1.1 million in 1990 to more than 1.3 million in 2013, an increase of 19.2%. In that same period of time, there's been a notable drop in kids aged ten and under in the state - the very population we're looking all week at in our special series The First Decade.

A Precipitous Decline 

Sara Plourde for NHPR

There are many factors that affect the way a family with children lives. We've selected ten of these - factors which affect income, access to resources, and stability - and combined them to illustrate how families are doing at either end of the income spectrum.
 
This graphic illustrates how the top 25% and bottom 25% compare, and how the bottom 25% compares with the average of all New Hampshire families. 

Notes on the data:

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

For 32-year-old Melissa Vierra, paying the bills with two kids - 19 months and 10 -  is an equation that seems to never add up.

“If I sat down and figured out my monthly bills, just the straight you know rent, car payment, car insurance, not talking groceries, gas, clothes toiletries, I was about 500 dollars short every month,” she said.

Sean Hurley / NHPR

Federal officials say they issued a higher number of citations and fines than usual to New Hampshire employers for exposing workers to fall hazards this winter.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted inspections between January 29 and March 4 and found a number of employees removing snow from rooftops who were not adequately protected from the risk of falling.

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