Portsmouth

Photo by Rich Beauchesne/Seacoastonline

Portsmouth Police Sgt. Aaron Goodwin was fired last week, after an independent report cited him for several ethics violations for accepting a disputed $2.7 million inheritance.

But the story doesn’t end there, as the controversy has raised questions about the future of the city's police commission.

A judge also has yet to rule on whether he can keep the money.

Elizabeth Dinan is a reporter for the Portsmouth Herald.

She’s been following the story and joined NHPR's Morning Edition to give us the latest.

Mirko Isaia / Flickr, creative commons

Portsmouth will host its first Pride festival this weekend. Festival organizers say the festival has been in the works since early winter.  Now that the Supreme Court upheld gay marriage in all 50 states, Seacoast Outright board chair Chuck Rhoades says, "I think there’s a little extra oomph, a little extra joy, and another reason to celebrate."

Seacoast Outright is a nonprofit that supports LGBT youth.  The organization faced funding and volunteer shortages last year. With a new board and director, Rhoades says, the group is revitalizing. 

Courtesy Tom Lee via Flickr / Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/qW8iEj

Most New Englanders have likely heard of the Salem Witch Trials – a particularly notorious episode in colonial Massachusetts that resulted in the executions of 20 people for suspected witchcraft in 1692 and 1693. Less widely known is that over three decades earlier, Portsmouth, N.H. had its own witch hunt chapter. From the archives this week, we dig into reporter Robbie Honig's June 1988 story.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

  Police in Portsmouth say they’re investigating what may be another heroin-related death.

Crystal Paradis via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/N1T8p

This week Portsmouth holds a series of public events ahead of next weekend’s formal dedication of the Portsmouth African Burying Ground.

The public park is the city’s way to mark the final resting places of enslaved individuals as well as free African-Americans who were buried centuries ago but only fully rediscovered more recently.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

For over ten years, the city of Portsmouth has been trying to decide whether and where to build a second downtown parking garage.  On Monday night, city councilors voted unanimously to bond a $23 million new garage.

Of the 150 or so people who packed City Hall, more than 50 testified in favor of the garage; four testified against it.  Pressure was on for the three city councilors who had indicated uncertainty over the project.

Garage Enthusiasts

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

Officials in Portsmouth are set to vote Monday night on a proposed $23.2 million downtown parking garage.

The city council is scheduled to hold a public hearing before voting on the proposal.

The six-story parking garage is expected to create an additional 600 new parking spots downtown.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposed to the project.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

Portsmouth is hosting a community forum Monday night on the issue of heroin use.

The city has seen several heroin and opioid-related deaths already this year; it's part of a dramatic growth in drug overdose deaths in the state. Last week a 28 year old man died in the woods with heroin paraphernalia nearby.

Courtesy/Alyssa Grenning

A new home for 3S Artspace in Portsmouth opens this week.

The renovated facility will feature a music venue, an art gallery, artist studios, and a restaurant.

Chris Greiner is executive of director of 3S Artspace.

He joined Morning Edition to talk about the new facility.

You’ve talked about this new art space filling a unique niche that’s lacking on the Seacoast. Many already see the area as having a rich arts and culture scene, so what do mean by that?

Liz West via Flickr CC

A ceremony is scheduled to mark the start of construction at an aging bridge that connects New Hampshire and Maine.

The 70-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connects Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine. It is rated structurally deficient.

On Monday at 10 a.m., dignitaries from both states are gathering at the Kittery Community Center at Frisbee Common to mark the official start of the project. Members of the public will have a chance to sign a commemorative construction trestle that will be installed on the project later in the week.

The City of Portsmouth says that drivers for ride-booking companies such as Uber meet the city's definition of taxi drivers and are subject to the same regulations.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that at a city meeting Wednesday night, cab drivers applauded the city's position. The city did not rule on whether to shut down an Uber driver currently operating in the city, as the cabbies had asked.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

About 80 people gathered in Market Square in Portsmouth Friday night to show solidarity with African American victims of police brutality.

A few people of color stood among a largely white crowd. Some stood quietly, others chanted "We Shall Overcome." 

PaMela Ramsay held a sign reading “Black Lives Matter.” She’s a third generation Portsmouth Native, and African American. "It's always been very white here," she said, "and it's extremely encouraging, extremely emotional, and I'm just so happy to see all these people who would support people of color."

Matt M. / flickr, creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/41348459@N00/3457301638

  This week the Portsmouth police department launches a new program called “Cops on Corners,” in an effort to make department operations more transparent.

Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald says the community events are a response both to local tensions and a national conversation arising out of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. He says “the goal here is to get out in front of the public, go neighborhood by neighborhood --because different neighborhoods have different issues -- and just meet with people.”

Min Lee via Flickr CC

New Hampshire health, environment and wildlife officials are holding a public meeting on shellfish rules for 2015.

The information session set for Tuesday night in Portsmouth will be an opportunity for the public to hear about a dye tracking study that traced effluent flows from the Pierce Island wastewater treatment facility to Little Harbor and areas of Portsmouth Harbor out to Odiorne Point. Officials say that study indicates that shellfish harvesting in those areas need to be closed.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The last of the scrap metal has been loaded onto a cargo ship and is headed out of Portsmouth this weekend. The scrap company Grimmel Industries had operated on the port for about 10 years. 

The Pease Development Authority voted earlier this year not to renew the scrap company’s lease after years of pressure from  the scrap yard's neighbors and environmental advocates.

Jasperdo via flickr Creative Commons

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time, which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case.

On today’s show, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, we’ll take a look back to a controversial figure at the center of Portsmouth’s historic preservation movement, Miss Dorothy Vaughan.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Beth LaMontagne Hall for NHPR

Walk along any street near downtown Portsmouth and you’ll likely hear the buzz of a moped motor. Recently, these small motorbikes have been whizzing along Portsmouth’s streets in greater numbers and packs of scooters can often be found parked along the sidewalks and in alleyways near the Portsmouth waterfront.

But this rise in moped ridership – and where they’ve been parking – has raised some concerns among business owners and city officials.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The streets of Portsmouth appear peaceful and idyllic this last week of summer. But just beneath the surface, all is not well in the Port City. On the Seacoast, recent responses to ongoing noise complaints have residents here in an uproar. 

Things got really crazy in Portsmouth on Tuesday. That’s when the Prescott Park Arts Festival canceled their end-of-the-season double feature film night after neighbors complained the noise would keep their kids up too late.

It was supposed to be 'Brave,' combined with 'Braveheart.'

http://www.africanburyinggroundnh.org / City of Portsmouth

As many as 200 Africans and their descendants are buried beneath a single block on Chestnut Street in downtown Portsmouth, known as the African Burying Ground.  On Monday, the Western lane of that city block will be transformed into a $1.2 million dollar memorial park. 

 David Moore does community development for the city. He says the memorial construction will include the "re-interment of remains that were exhumed in 2003 during excavations associated with a roadway construction project." That construction, he says, was "when the city rediscovered the existence of this site."

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is doing night paving work associated with a reconstruction project at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and the U.S. Route 1 Bypass in Portsmouth.  The work is scheduled for Sunday through Thursday, Aug. 14, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.  The department says drivers traveling through the work zone during these time periods should anticipate traffic shifts and possible alternating traffic during overnight hours.  Uniformed officers and flaggers will guide motorists through the work zone.

jbspec7 via Flickr CC

New Hampshire is often advertised as a state filled with natural attractions, famous for our mountains (Mt. Washington and Mt. Monadnock are both known world-wide), lakes, and rivers. But the state is filled with historical landmarks as well, which Lucie Bryar covers in her book Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on Back Roads and Quiet Waters. Here are some of the cultural attractions in southern NH you may not have heard about, but that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Robin Nystron via Flickr CC

City officials in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, say one of their oldest trees has died.

The American elm tree on Peirce Island was over 100 years old.

The Portsmouth Herald reports members of the Peirce Island Committee noticed the elm didn't sprout buds in the spring. The tree has no leaves.

Peter Loughlin, chairman of the city's Trees and Public Greenery Committee, said Dutch elm disease has killed American elms up and down the East Coast. He said the tree was the last surviving elm in the city.

The city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a step closer to acquiring ownership of a building that's been under federal control.

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she's received a commitment from the U.S. General Services Administration to leave the McIntyre Federal Building and to work with the city to transfer ownership.

The city has long wanted ownership of the building in downtown Portsmouth.

New Hampshire's open-road tolling in Hooksett and the new Memorial Bridge have received honors in engineering.  They've received "National Recognition Awards'' from the American Council of Engineering Companies.  Both projects presented engineering challenges and both were constructed and completed on very aggressive schedules.  The Hooksett project, which opened in May of 2013, involved the demolition of six conventional toll lanes and the construction of four lanes of highway speed toll lanes, plus other work.

The City of Portsmouth is taking action to reduce the parking squeeze downtown. 


Emily Corwin / NHPR

Portsmouth planners say in the next six years, the city will need at least 650 more parking spaces But last year, a new parking lot championed by the then-mayor failed to gather support among city councilors. The future of parking in the city became a divisive issue in last November’s council election.

On Monday, the newly elected council took the oath of office.  It's likely this month they will begin trying to reach agreement once again on whether a new parking garage downtown will help or harm the future of Portsmouth.

 

African Burying Ground NH

During the 1700's, many Portsmouth residents were of African descent– some slave, some free— and were buried in a segregated cemetery. That cemetery was built over, its boundaries obscured. A public works crew rediscovered the site and now the restoration of its dignity has begun. Kelvin Edwards is working on the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial.

Rik Koenig, via Flickr creative commons

Crews are inspecting the Memorial Bridge today after it had to be closed for a little more than an hour last night.

Portsmouth police say they've made a ninth arrest in connection with a months-long heroin ring investigation.  The ninth suspect--21-year old Chelsea Glover of Milton--was arrested Friday night on charges of selling heroin. She was being held on $5,000 bail.   Seven other people have been charged with felony-level drug offenses. One was charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

The Coast Guard says salvage operations are continuing following the sinking of a barge off Portsmouth Harbor.  Officials say on one was hurt when the 40-foot work barge equipped with a crane began taking on water Saturday east of the harbor. The only person board, the barge operator, was able to escape.   It was unclear why the barge began taking on water.   The Coast Guard said Sunday that divers confirmed that all fuel tanks were intact.        

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