NH News

NH News
3:11 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

House Takes Aim At Abortion Providers

 

The New Hampshire House has voted to bar any organization that performs elective abortions from receiving any state or federal funds.

The measure backed by GOP leaders means Planned Parenthood of Northern New England would no longer be eligible to enter into contracts with the state to provide non-abortion reproductive health services to the poor – a role the organization has played in NH for 40 years. Warren Groen of Rochester is the measure’s lead sponsor.

“Mr. Speaker, this is our opportunity to reclaim the sanctity of life in one small area -- public funding.”

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NH News
3:06 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

House Backs Amendment To Bar New Taxes On Income

 

The 251 to 101 vote exceeds the 3/5th needed to send the proposal on to the state senate. Prior to the vote, Manchester Republican Keith Murphy warned that while the income tax isn’t popular in Concord right now, that could change.

“Lest we forget in 1999 this body did pass an income tax of 4 percent, and every year since an income tax has been proposed in this body. We need to take the temptation off the table now and forever.”

NH News
5:35 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

O'Brien Wants Fatter Rainy Day Fund --Now

 

The Legislature holds the purse strings and House Speaker Bill O’Brien wants to prove it. O’Brien is backing a measure to divert money generated by the state’s insurance tax to New Hampshire’s rainy day fund. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports

The measure aims to fatten the rainy day fund by $26 million, which was the state’s surplus in fiscal year 2011. Speaker O’Brien told the House ways and means committee that socking the money away amounts to simple prudence.

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NH News
3:41 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

NH House Eyes Pulling out of No Child Left Behind

Flikr Creative Commons / xMizLitx

 

A house committee heard public testimony on a bill that would withdraw the state from the federal education requirements under No Child Left Behind.

But pulling out would mean the state would forfeit more than $60 million in federal money.

The sponsor of the bill, twenty-year-old representative Weeden from Dover,  says that No-Child-Left-Behind, or NCLB, has created a culture of teaching to the test that has reduced the quality of education overall.

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NH News
1:50 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

House Committee Takes up Eminent Domain

NHPR Staff Photo

 

The House judiciary committee heard testimony today about three bills that would make it more difficult for a private utility to use eminent domain to acquire land. 

Opponents of the Northern Pass project sponsor the bills, saying the planned electric transmission lines would not benefit to the state.

Republican representative Baldasaro from Londonderry gave testimony in favor of tightening up eminent domain rules.

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NH News
4:39 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

NH Lawmakers: Don't Cut Off Cod

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

 

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation signed a letter asking federal regulators not to lower the catch limit on Atlantic Cod.

The federal lawmakers say that fishermen in the Granite State already have their backs against the wall.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen says lowering the catch limit on Cod could lead to the loss of 90% of the fishermen’s revenue.

Shaheen: it has potential to almost wipe out our fishing industry in New Hampshire because so much of their revenue comes from cod and inshore ground fishing.

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NH News
5:44 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Senate Unveils Redistricting Plan

State Senate leadership says it’s drafted a redistricting plan that’s legal and doesn’t play politics.

Senate Democrats don’t really agree.

There was lots of talk about snakes and salamanders at the senate’s one – and only – public hearing on setting up 24 new senate districts for the next decade.

Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says the goal of the plan was to create districts that make sense, not win elections.

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NH News
5:24 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Change in Policy May Help Immigrants Stay in the U.S.

President Barack Obama has set a record number of deportations last fiscal year, removing nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants.

Despite this, a new administration policy set in August allows undocumented immigrants without criminal records to stay in the United States.

Seven months ago 19-year old Juan Valdez had to appear in a Nashua courtroom for driving without a license.

The Manchester resident had been undocumented since he came to the U-S from Mexico at age three.

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NH News
11:53 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Huntsman Headed South

Jon Huntsman placed third last night in the New Hampshire Primary.

The former Utah Governor says that's well enough to stay in the race.

In the days leading up to the primary, Huntsman’s campaign suggested a second place finish was possible.

The candidate talked about a sense of momentum, that his commitment to retail politics in the Granite State would pay off.

He never caught up to Texas Congressman Ron Paul, but Huntsman told supporters nonetheless he’s energized.

“I’d say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentleman. Hello South Carolina!”

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NH News
5:37 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Hospitals Detail Service Cuts in Court

A coalition of hospitals in the state testified in federal court today/Tuesday that state budget cuts have forced them to restrict care for the poor.

Ten hospitals are suing the state over a $130 million reduction in Medicaid funding.

Hospital officials described the series of reductions they’ve had to make in response to state cuts dating back to 2008.

For example, Lakes Region General Hospital and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center now are turning away new Medicaid patients unless they are children, seniors or pregnant women.

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NH News
9:32 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Democrats Mobilizing Voters for the Primary

Democrats working the phones
Sam Evans-Brown

 

The entire nation is watching as voting begins in today’s Republican Primary.

Meanwhile democrat voters are quietly turning out for that other primary.

SFX: Phone bank sounds

The night before primary day, volunteers are hard at work calling potential voters.

Kuster: Hi, is this Mrs. Singer? How are you this is Annie Kuster, calling from the Obama headquarters.

Ann Mclane Kuster, a democratic candidate for congress in 2012, was out working the phones.

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NH News
9:25 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

House Leaders Pull Back On First Day

The New Hampshire House of Representatives kicked off 2012 with a marathon 8-hour session Wednesday.

And in those 8 hours, lawmakers tackled controversial topic after controversial topic, like fetus rights, the death penalty, the 2ndAmendment and health insurance.

Amidst all the action, House leaders flashed something they haven’t shown much of before...restraint.

By now - halfway into their term – House Republicans have earned a reputation for fiscal austerity and Libertarian tendencies.

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NH News
10:40 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Let 'Er Rip: NH Legislature Kicks Off New Session

By Wednesday night, the New Hampshire Statehouse might have been an afterthought....lost in the glare of the Republican presidential candidates.

But earlier in the day, New Hampshire politicians flexed their rhetorical muscles, jockeying for higher ground as the next legislative session kicked off.

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NH News
1:26 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Automotive Deaths in NH Down

Sources: NH Department of Safety, NH State Police

 

The number of fatal crashes on New Hampshire roads dropped in 2011 by nearly a third.

The coordinator of the Highway Safety Agency, Peter Thomson, says that the state police are targeting factors that cause fatal crashes: speed, distracted driving, and drugs and alcohol.

He says so far this year, eighty-seven people have died in crashes, which is the lowest number in fifty years.

He credits, among other things, the safe commute program which the state police instituted this year.

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NH News
10:38 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Portsmouth Book Store Closing Until February

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

 

 

A Portsmouth bookstore that was saved from closing by local investors will be shutting its doors for the month of January.

Tom Holbrook, one of the owners of RiverRun Books, had hoped that the store would only be closed for a week or so when it moved to a new space.

But renovations on the new store weren’t completed in time and the lease on the old one was up, so for the month of January RiverRun will only be selling books online.

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NH News
1:49 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

NH Ski Areas Open, But Revenues Down

iagoarchangel / Flikr Creative Commons

 

A winter that has begun with warm nights and balmy days, has given the ski season a rocky start.

According to SkiNH revenues at New Hampshire ski areas are behind the same point last year.

Most of New Hampshire’s Ski areas were finally able to open this past week, but with a rain storm in the forecast, prospects for a profitable holiday season are dim.

And Karl Stone of SkiNH says that the holidays are crucial.

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NH News
3:35 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Late Storm to Save White Christmas

jcbwalsh / flikr Creative Commons

 

Flakes will start to fly tonight after an unseasonably warm December.

NHPR talked to a National Weather Service forecaster about the probability of a white Christmas.

According to weather data, on any given year there’s at least at 75% chance there will be snow on the ground in New Hampshire Christmas day.

Michael Esker – a forecaster in Gray, Maine – thinks that probability isn’t going to change this year.

A storm will shoot through tonight, leaving just enough snow to frost the state and make things look festive.

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NH News
5:53 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Republicans Eye Primary with Economic Fears in Mind

As we all know, the upcoming presidential election is about the economy and jobs.

So the economic fears and hopes of the electorate in early-voting states like Nevada and New Hampshire will play a significant role in who emerges from the GOP pack.

Despite the state’s financial stability, lots of Republicans voters see cloudy skies ahead.

 

When it comes to economics, New Hampshire is a little like that fictionalized Minnesota town.

You know, the one where "all the women are strong, and all the men are good looking."

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NH News
5:01 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

More New Hampshire Families Will Get Help Paying Fuel Bill

More families in New Hampshire can now get help with their fuel bill this winter.

Congress increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, this week.

New Hampshire will receive a total of $26 million, rather than the $14.7 million dollars originally allotted.

That original appropriation forced Community Action Agencies to target the money to families of four earning less than $28,000.

Other low-income households were placed on a waiting list.

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NH News
5:20 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

HHS to Cut the Roles of Community Health Programs

 

In an attempt to save $400,000 in Medicaid spending, State health officials are planning major funding cuts to child and family health programs. 

 

Lisabritt Solsky, the deputy director of Medicaid, said state health officials had no choice but to make the cuts.

Solsky: The legislature acted and reduced our budget, the funding is gone for this, it is not something we asked for and it is not something we promoted

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NH News
3:40 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Senate President Sets Priorities for 2012

Senate President Peter Bragdon says improving the business climate will be among his top priorities going into the 2012 session.

Bragdon wants to see the tax code cleaned up.

In truth, Senate President Peter Bragdon has two primary goals for next year.

He wants to push through a constitutional amendment on education funding that has the backing of Governor Lynch.

And he wants to make it easier for businesses to grow and thrive in the Granite State.

To accomplish that second objective, Bragdon says the corporate and LLC tax codes need to be combed. 

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NH News
5:40 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Redistricting Tangle Pushes Forward

Chairman Mirski addresses the house committee on redistricting
Sam Evans-Brown

 

The redistricting of New Hampshire’s House of Representatives is proving to be very tricky.

The Republican leadership proposed a new map this week, and critiques are rolling in.

Redistricting is never particularly easy; representatives tend to like the districts that elected them.

And considering that the right to re-draw the political map is a spoil that goes to the victors of the last election cycle, partisan friction is inevitable.

But this time around, redistricting has gotten very complicated.

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NH News
5:28 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

North Country Looking Greener as New Prison Opens

The last bunch of Christmases up in Berlin, New Hampshire haven’t been terribly merry.

For the last decade, the old pulp and paper mill city near the Canadian border has watched life-long neighbors leave, businesses go bust and economic dream after dream dissolve.

But this Christmas there’s something in the air.

There's a new employer coming to town.

This Christmas story starts - fittingly- in Bethlehem.

This no-stop light town, tucked into the White Mountain National Forest is a little under an hour’s drive from the new federal prison.

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NH News
3:22 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Executive Council Takes Refugee Money from Feds, but not Healthcare Money

Staff photo

 

Refugees in the state will receive almost a half million dollars of federal funding for health and social services.

The executive council had put that money on hold last month at the request of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Councilor Ray Wieczorek says that he still has reservations about the number of refugees being resettled in Manchester.

Wieczorek: we ought to try to spread it out a little bit so that the responsibility is spread amongst at least eleven cities.

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NH News
5:39 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Water Tank Leak Forces Evacuation in Rochester

A leaking two million gallon water tank in Rochester forced residents to evacuate their homes today.

A Rochester resident reported hearing a crash or banging sound coming from a 90 foot  water tank around noon Tuesday.

Water department crews saw water gushing from the bottom of the cylindrical tank.

Rochester police ordered nearby residents to evacuate and detoured traffic around the scene. City Engineer Peter Norson says that the tank doesn't appear to be in danger of collapsing.

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NH News
5:34 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Economists Tell Lawmakers: Future is Uncertain

Flikr Creative Commons / Ben McLeod

Today New Hampshire lawmakers got an update on the economic outlook from a series of forecasters

The Ways and Means Committees from both the House and Senate heard in a day’s worth of presentations that while the economy is improving, it’s doing so very slowly, and the recovery is fragile.

A rebound in the housing market is especially far off, as home sales in New Hampshire have been essentially flat for the past two years.

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NH News
1:29 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Chickens Coming to Town

Key Lime Pie yumyum / Flikr Creative Commons

 

 

Concord City council has approved a pilot program to allow chickens on urban lots that are less than 1 acre in size.

For the next 21 months Concord residents will be able to keep five hens, but no roosters due to noise concerns.

After 21 months the ordinance will be reevaluated to determine if issues raised at the hearing are worth worrying about.

Ben Leubsdorf covered the vote for the Concord Monitor.

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NH News
4:07 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

UNH Economics Professor Appointed Chancellor of Community Colleges

Dr. Ross Gittell
Courtesy Photo

 

The New Hampshire Community College System has appointed Economist Ross Gittell as its new Chancellor.

The new chancellor is already a heavy-hitter in policy circles.

Gittell’s nineteen-year career at the Whittemore school of Business has followed an impressive arc.

He has won numerous awards and fellowships, and is considered one of the foremost experts on the New Hampshire economy

Gittell hopes to use that pedigree to make sure that the Community College system is staying relevant.

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NH News
6:33 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Feds Blast NH Mental Health System

In a strongly worded letter, the U. S. Department of Justice has concluded the state’s mental health system is “broken” and “in crisis.”

In the eyes of Washington, the state is violating the civil rights of people with mental illness.

In its letter, the Justice Department says not only does the mental health system violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it’s an inefficient use of resources and bad policy.

The Department finds the state lacks key services, like housing, crisis intervention and employment support.

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NH News
3:20 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Second Amendment Protests at PSU Get Strong Reaction

Second Amendment chalking on PSU Walkways
Sam Evans-Brown

 

Two men who had threatened to bring guns onto Plymouth State University’s campus triggered strong reactions from members of the campus community.

The anti-gun-law protesters who accompanied the men sang songs, and engaged onlookers in conversations about the right to bear arms.

Student Alex Cabeceiras says that he thinks no-one on campus took part in the protest.

Cabeceiras: I think it’s pretty stupid, I mean, I’m all for you know, being against the state infringing on our rights but something about fire-arms and education don’t seem to mesh well.

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