NH News

During the summer of 2013, NHPR’s newsroom took a closer look at crime in Manchester and how it affects the city and its residents. The largest city in a small state, in roughly equal proximity to Boston and the White Mountains, Manchester is in an unusual position, balancing small-city challenges with big-city problems.

Find all series stories here.

The Manchester YWCA is tightening its security measures after a shooting during a supervised visit earlier this month.

The YWCA says it will now use a metal detector on all non-custodial parents prior to supervised visits, and will have police on site during those visits, at least for the time being.

That’s according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, which obtained a memo detailing new security measures that took effect this week.

Same-Sex Couples Can Enroll For Benefits In August

Aug 22, 2013

Public employees on the state’s benefit plan can add their same-sex spouse to their insurance plan during a short enrollment period through the end of the month.

The State Employees Association alerted members this week that same-sex employees are now eligible to enroll. This is due to the Supreme Court’s overturning the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

Deb Lacross is an accountant with the Department of Health and Human Services. She says the social and financial implications are huge for her family.

Authorities say the prime suspect in the murder of a Nashua elderly couple in their home earlier this summer killed himself while under police surveillance.

The Attorney General’s office and the Nashua Police Department say 37-year-old Shawn Burne lived next to William and Eleanor Grant.

A visiting nurse found the couple stabbed to death in their home on June 17.

Authorities say evidence quickly pointed to Burne as a suspect, including that he was in possession of some of the Grants’ property and that he had been in their homes after the murders.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Close to 3000 refugees have arrived in Manchester in the last decade, many from the war-torn regions of Somalia, Sudan and Iraq.  Another 200 are expected to arrive in the city this fall.

N.H. Poetry Society Seeks New Laureate

Aug 21, 2013

The Poetry Society and N.H. State Council on the Arts are looking for a new poet laureate. The selection will be announced in early November.

The search comes after laureate Walter Butts passed away earlier this year.

The Poetry Society is accepting submissions until September 13; all eligible candidates must be N.H. residents and have published at least one full-length book of poetry. N.H. Poetry Society president Kyle Potvin says the announcement has generated a lot of buzz.

The commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services says he’s concerned about the cost to his department of implementing the state’s new medical marijuana law.

Appearing on The Exchange, Nicholas Toumpas says there is no shortage of issues facing his staff as it works through the early stages.

“There are legal issues that we have, there are systems issues that need to be developed, there are protocols that need to be developed, there is staffing that is required in order to go off and certify and license.”

The state’s largest union has endorsed Ward 12 alderman Patrick Arnold in the race for the next mayor of Manchester.

The State Employees Association announced its endorsement of Arnold on Tuesday. He is challenging Mayor Ted Gatsas, who is seeking a third, two-year term.

Union President Diana Lacey says she supports Arnold’s vision for economic development and job growth.

Over the next few months, the union will be encouraging members who live in the state’s largest city to vote for Arnold.

Manchester’s municipal election is scheduled for November.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Tuesday afternoon, local and national political figures helped break ground for the state’s new Job Corps Center in Manchester. The bipartisan project has been long in the making but some were not happy with the construction contract.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter held its annual backpack giveaway on Tuesday.

Families walked through rows upon rows of backpacks spread out across the gym at Ledge Street Elementary School.

“I’ll take the princess one,” said one girl, who was with her father.

The more than 2,300 backpacks are filled with school supplies, donated by local organizations and businesses.

This is the 21st year the soup kitchen has run the program, and as organizer Carol Weeks says, there’s no shortage of need for assistance among families in the city.

Abby Kessler

Bog Pond is tucked away off of Route 4a in Andover. The area is a wetland and peat bog habitat. And this past Monday, UNH wildlife program assistant, Emma Carcagno led a tour of the area. The event is part of a summer-long project called "Taking Action for Wildlife" sponsored by the Andover Conservation Commission.

NHPR's Abby Kessler went on the wetland walk and filed this audio postcard.

Passenger Airline Relaunches At Seacoast Airport

Aug 20, 2013
Roger Wood

Airline passenger service is returning to Pease International Tradeport.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The Manchester YWCA is set to reopen today, more than a week after police say a man shot and killed his 9-year-old son and then killed himself during a supervised visit.

The YWCA has been closed since the shooting on Aug. 11.

That’s when police say Muni Savyon brought up a gun into the facility and shot and killed his son, and then committed suicide.

Police say he had threatened to kill his son, his son’s mother and himself.

Gamma Man / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials say a batch of mosquitoes in Exeter have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

This is the first case of EEE found in New Hampshire this year.

Public Health Director Dr. Jose Montero says the finding is not unexpected and Exeter remains a low risk area.

Still, he cautions people to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.

In addition to the case of triple-E found in Exeter, six batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus so far this season.

State of New Hampshire

Senator Chuck Morse appears to be the front-runner to replace Peter Bragdon as the president of the state Senate.

The Salem Republican and chair of the Senate Finance Committee says he plans to pursue the seat.

And he has already received endorsements from Republican colleague Jeb Bradley and former governor John H. Sununu.

In a statement, Sununu praised Morse’s knowledge of state government and the budget process.

Bragdon said last week he was stepping down from the post, after taking over as head of the Local Government Center.

Senator Ayotte Calls For Cutting Off Aid To Egypt

Aug 19, 2013

Senator Kelly Ayotte has changed her views on sending aid to Egypt following continued, bloody crackdowns on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.  Speaking Sunday morning on Meet The Press, New Hampshire’s Republican Senator said President Obama isn’t doing enough to stem military violence against civilians.

Town of Londonderry

A massive, 600-acre development in Londonderry is on the verge of getting the green light, after months of meetings with town officials.

The project is the first of its kind for New Hampshire and some residents are concerned how it will change the town.

Once complete, Woodmont Commons will add 3,600 residents to the town, along with several hotels and more than 800,000 square feet of retail space.

The Nottingham Farmers Market will be the site of a so-called ‘vegetable mandala' today.  Traditionally, mandalas are intricate geometric designs used in Buddhist practice.  But in Nottingham, visitors will buy or bring their own local produce to a table and artistically arrange their donations to create a large-scale design. 

Sean Hurley

Governor Hassan stopped by the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery in North Woodstock to sample the microbrew and ceremonially sign into law HB 253 allowing nanobreweries to serve beer to their customers.  Sean Hurley was there and sends us this report.

Before Governor Hassan cracked open a celebratory bottle of beer, she did a bit of governing, signing into law House Bill 253.

I am very very proud to support this important sector of our economy by signing both these bills, so how about we go do that?

A 56-year-old tourist was killed in an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle Thursday evening near Fremont, according to a news release from Fish and Game.

The victim was identified as Dulce Compres-Nunez of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Fish and Game said she was a passenger on an ATV driven by 23-year-old Yefrey Perez of Methuen, Mass. Perez lost control and struck a tree.  Both riders were wearing helmets. Perez suffered minor injuries.

The accident occurred about 7:30 p.m. the Rockingham Recreational Trail near South Road in Fremont.

Sate of New Hampshire

Senate President Peter Bragdon is stepping down from his post, saying it’s the right thing to do after taking a position as executive director of the Local Government Center.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Bi-State Primary Care Association, a non-profit network of health centers, will receive federal grant money to help consumers sign up for coverage under the new health law.

Federal officials announced Thursday a total of $67 million in grants to more than 105 groups around the country.

Bi-State Primary Care Association will receive $430,000, while Planned Parenthood will get $145,000.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

With any black market, it's impossible to track the full extent of its reach. One way to estimate the relative quantity of various drugs in the city is to track undercover drug buys and seizures by the police department. This system of measurement, however, is an imperfect science; large busts (see: cocaine, 2009) skew numbers for a particular year, throwing off the curve, and budgetary and tactical considerations can restrict potential drug buys.

Courtesy of MPD

The abuse of prescription drugs and heroin in the city has been on the rise in the past decade. For police that means a rise in related crime and overdoses.

Dartmouth Backtracks On Tengatenga Appointment

Aug 14, 2013

The appointment of Malawi bishop Dr. James Tengatenga as dean of Dartmouth College’s Tucker Foundation has been rescinded, amid criticism of Tengatenga’s previous statements against homosexuality.

Dartmouth president Philip Hanlon said in a statement that the growing concern over Tengatenga’s appointment made him rethink the decision to hire the Anglican bishop to lead the college’s social justice foundation.

Governor Maggie Hassan says concerns raised about Senate President Peter Bragdon heading the Local Government Center should be "carefully and thoroughly addressed."

Her office released a statement today, in which Hassan's spokesman called Bragdon's appointment "uncharted territory," given the numerous issues that come before the Legislature that deal with the LGC and its members.

Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party wants to know more about the LGC's hiring of Bragdon as its executive director.

Study Finds Emerald Ash Borer In Concord Area

Aug 14, 2013
Flikr Creative Commons / MJIphotos

A study on the emerald ash borer found the beetle in 12 out of 195 sites in New Hampshire.

When an emerald ash borer was found in Concord this spring, it spurred further inspections at nearly 200 sites concentrated in Merrimack County. The borer is an invasive species that kills ash trees, and UNH Cooperative Extension Forester Karen Bennett says it poses a risk for N.H. forests.

Sate of New Hampshire

The Local Government Center has a new executive director – to the surprise of many, it’s Senate President Peter Bragdon, a Milford Republican.

But Bragdon’s decision to fill both roles raises questions about whether doing so creates an unusual conflict of interest.

The head of the state Professional Firefighters Union Dave Lang summed up the reaction of many on Tuesday.

“Um, we find the employment interesting.”

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Authorities continue to investigate a shooting over the weekend at the Manchester YWCA in which a man killed his 9-year-old son and then shot himself.

The head of the New Hampshire YWCA answered questions today about security at the visitation center and what they can to make sure children are safe.

Monica Zulauf took questions from a swarm of reporters just a few feet away from a makeshift memorial for Joshua Savyon.

She says she is confident staff did all they could to prevent Sunday’s tragedy.

Erik Eisele

Funeral services for a conservation officer who died last week drew hundreds to North Conway on Saturday. Police, firefighters, the governor, state officials and others went to celebrate the life of Sgt. Brian Abrams.

Green trucks fill the parking around the Congregational Church in North Conway.

Just outside the church door a row of 30 men stand at attention.

Each man wears a red jacket, green pants tucked into their boots, a Stetson and white gloves.

A crowd is growing, but the men remain silent.