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UNH

  Construction will begin soon on a new $2 million athletic facility on the second floor of UNH’s Field House.  The Student-Athlete Center for Excellence is slated to open late next fall.

Mike Murphy, with the Athletic Department, says the new space should help the school attract athletes to campus.   

So it’s going to be both areas where students can have breakout rooms where they can work in tandem, but they also will have rooms where they can have advisors, tutors, and career assistance.

Suspended County Attorney Returns To Work

Apr 29, 2014
Rockingham County Attorney's office

 

Suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams will return to office on Wednesday, but his authority to make personnel decision will be limited.

Lawyers for Attorney General Joe Foster and Attorney Reams together crafted the agreement that allows the Reams to return to work. 

Foster suspended Reams from his elected post in November and opened an investigation. In March, the investigation concluded with allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and misuse of public money. No criminal charges were made.

State of New Hampshire

 

Senate President Chuck Morse says lawmakers need to agree on a short-term fix to address a court ruling that found New Hampshire's tax on hospitals unconstitutional.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Backers of a casino bill are making last ditch efforts before Wednesday’s scheduled vote in the New Hampshire House.

Brian Pocius via Flickr CC

The Senate is voting whether to sell "hike safe" cards to hikers that would forgive them for any rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe New Hampshire for being negligent.

Thursday's vote is on a House-passed bill that authorizes the Fish and Game Department to sell voluntary hike safe cards for $25 per person and $35 per family. People who obtain the cards would not be liable to repay rescue costs if their rescue was due to negligence on their part.

This week the New Hampshire Senate is set to vote on a House bill designed to protect home heating fuel customers.  This comes after hundreds of Fred Fuller Oil Company customers suffered shortages and late deliveries in January.  

A report by the New Hampshire attorney general says a tired police officer, poor planning and a series of bad decisions converged eight months ago to turn an attempted drug bust in Weare into a chaotic fatal shooting. Attorney General Joseph Foster ultimately opted not to prosecute Weare police officer Nicholas Nadeau for the death of Alex Cora DeJesus. The decision was made against a backdrop of laws and precedents that are weighted heavily in favor of a police officer's split-second judgment.

Slot Machines
Raging Wire / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire's House is voting Wednesday whether to legalize two casinos about a month after representatives said `no' to one casino.  The Ways and Means Committee voted 11-9 to recommend that the House reject the bill, which includes $25 million in aid to communities as a sweetener. The House has never approved video slots legislation.  The Senate bill proposes legalizing two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games. The House killed a bill a month ago that would have legalized one casino licensed to have 5,000 video slot machines.

Seal
Richard Towell / Flickr Creative Commons

The Seacoast Science Center in Rye is now handling marine mammal rescue duties in coastal New Hampshire. The center has joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's marine mammal stranding network. The partnership began Jan. 1, but the busy season is likely to start this spring as seal pup season begins.  Humans are more likely to encounter seals and seal pups on the beach at this time of year.  The center reminds residents that most seals they encounter on beaches are not in danger.  The center manages a 24-hour hotline for calls about animals that do appear in peril.

After a brief delay, New Hampshire Fish and Game department trucks have been heading out to stock the state's lakes and ponds with trout.  Saturday is opening day for the state's designated trout ponds. Fish stocking generally occurs from mid-March to early July, but it didn't start until the last days of March this year because spring conditions were slow to arrive.  Inland Fisheries Chief Jason Smith says with cold, high waters from melting snow, it will be a few weeks before rivers and streams are at "fishable'' levels.

Wild Turkey
John Mizel / Flickr Creative Commons

 A New Hampshire wildlife biologist says that the spring turkey population appears to be robust, despite the record number of zero-degree days this winter.  Saturday marks the start of the annual Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend.  Turkey biologist Ted Walski says sightings of flocks of wild turkeys suggest they weren't affected by the frequently frigid winter.  He expects the spring turkey hunting season to be as good as or better than last spring, when hunters took 4,550 turkeys.  Turkey season for adult hunters runs from May 3 to May 31.

Spring is finally here, but at least one New Hampshire ski resort is holding out for another weekend of running the ski lifts.  Wildcat Mountain is open this weekend. There's still snow on some trails.  The ski area began operating daily for the 2013-2014 season on Nov. 3.  It plans to close again on Monday, April 28, through Friday, May 2, with the possibility of opening again next weekend.  

Karner Blue Male
aecole2010 / Flickr Creative Commons

A unique forest habitat in Concord that's home to the endangered Karner blue butterfly is getting a face-lift--and over $233,000 in funding --in an effort to increase the butterfly population.  The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is getting the money to help maintain and restore the pine barrens, a mix of small trees, grassy areas and sandy soil, much of which has vanished nationwide to development.  The current population on the refuge is just over 1,500 butterflies. The goal is 3,000.

www.rocka.net / Rockingham County Attorney's Office

  Suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams is one step closer to getting his job back.  On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided for now, it will not hear the state’s appeal in a lawsuit seeking to return him to office.

Reams and his attorney will likely return to court next week to argue that the Supreme Court’s decision lifts a previous lower-court order continuing his suspension.

Supreme Court Says Reams Can Return To Work

Apr 24, 2014
Emily Corwin / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Thursday that suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams can return to office while the Attorney General appeals a lower court's finding that the suspension was unlawful. 

The Supreme Court denied the AG's request for a stay that would have kept Reams out of office until the appeal is argued.

The N.H. Attorney General’s office will not file charges against Rep. David Campbell (D-Nashua) for  who running down five ducks in a hotel parking lot in December, or the former Nashua Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas who drove Campbell from the scene. 

The finding, which was detailed in a 14-page report,  comes  a day after David Campbell announced he won’t seek reelection, and almost 3 months after Thomas Pappas resigned over the incident.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  About 80% of the people behind bars in New Hampshire have substance abuse issues. It’s a growing problem and one way the justice system is trying to address the problem is with drug courts—where nonviolent offenders have their sentences suspended if they take part in treatment. Five counties now operate drug courts and efforts are underway to start two more in Manchester and Nashua. The program could help reduce recidivism rates.


It’s important to note, firstly, that the cost of incarcerating someone in state prison is about $32k and in county jails about $35k. Experts say that ideally, drug courts operate on a budget that has a per capita cost of about $8-12k. Any less than that and participants may not be getting enough supervision or critical aid in education, transportation, medication etc. Any more than that and it’s probably time to bring more participants into the program. The challenge many drug courts face is funding.

Upupa 4me via Flickr CC

The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.

The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.

Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.

Saint Luke Institute

A former top Manchester diocese official has been ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church and other organizations in a plea deal reached this morning.

Governor Maggie Hassan is urging Senate lawmakers to increase the state’s minimum wage.

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, Governor Hassan writes that boosting the rate would accelerate the state’s economic growth.

“Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state,” writes Hassan.

A Wall Street firm is downgrading New Hampshire's bond outlook from stable to negative, but at the same time affirmed the state's high bond rating.

New Hampshire Marine Patrol

Divers are working to recover a small plane that crashed into Lake Winnipesaukee earlier today.

A Senate plan to legalize two casinos could be headed for a familiar fate in the House, after members of the Ways and Means committee voted 11-9 Tuesday to kill the proposal.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  The House Judiciary committee considered a bill Tuesday that would create a 25 foot buffer zone to keep anti-abortion activists clear of abortion clinic entrances. While it’s expected to become law, it may face legal challenges when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar law in Massachusetts.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife via Flickr CC

As the ice continues to recede on shallow lakes and ponds, dead fish might be washing up on New Hampshire shorelines, but state officials say that's not uncommon.

The Fish and Game Department and Department of Environmental Services say a number of dead fish recently were discovered along the shore of Hopkinton Lake, also known as Elm Brook Pool, in Hopkinton.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is giving a talk on leadership at the University of New Hampshire law school.

Giuliani, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2011, will deliver a presentation called "Leadership in the 21st Century" on Tuesday in Concord.

Afterward, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley will present Giuliani with a key to the city.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

A longstanding legal dispute between the operators of Mount Sunapee Resort and the New Hampshire officials who blocked expansion plans is on trial once again.

A lawyer for the resort operators says state officials misled them into thinking they could expand and build condominiums when the state leased the ski area portion of the state park to the Sunapee Difference LLC in 1998.

The Concord Monitor reports the lawyer argued Monday his clients lost millions in potential revenues.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the fallout from last week's Senate vote on the death penalty repeal.

They also talk about Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein's stance on political issues and what's coming up at the Statehouse this week.

Rockingham County Attorney's office

New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster has appealed to the state Supreme Court that he in fact had the authority to strip suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams of his prosecutorial authority.

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