Portsmouth

Michele L'heureux

New Hampshire is known for its natural beauty, and this is certainly the perfect time of year to enjoy it, but equally enticing are the artistic vistas on view at the many museums and galleries located throughout the state.  What could be better on a hot (or rainy) day than an hour or so of tempered air and a glimpse into another world, real or imagined? 

Here are five summer exhibits to mark on your calendar.  Visit the NHPR Community Calendar for more events.

Via Wikimedia Commons

A Plaistow-based construction company has won a $13-million contract for work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Methuen Construction is the winner of a competitive bidding process to upgrade and repair pumping facilities at the Shipyard. The federal contract was announced by the U.S. Navy and hailed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan as a win for Granite State business.

Portsmouth turns 400 years old in 2023 and planning for that birthday is already under way.

Portsmouth residents will have a chance tonight to share their ideas at a public forum on how they want to celebrate the city's four centuries.

Susan Labrie is the director of Portsmouth400, which is the group planning the celebration. She says the anniversary is more than just a day for a parade.

"It's going to be creating the programs and events that go beyond 2023,” she said.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is contributing a commemorative letter about the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge to a time capsule.

The bridge connects the state to Maine. She'll start at the Kittery, Maine, side on Friday, where she plans to highlight the importance of the bridge as a vital economic link for the region and for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The time capsule will serve as a reflection of life in northern New England in 2018 and will be placed at a later time.

Dan Tuohy

 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire's oldest city, is gearing up for its 400th birthday.

The Portsmouth Historical Society and the city have created a partnership called Portsmouth400 to mark the anniversary in 2023. The events will start with a look back at previous anniversaries.

The festivities will continue with discussions of how to engage the community in programs that will honor the city's historic past and benefit its future.

The sessions are set for June 12 and June 26 at the Portsmouth Public Library. More sessions will be held in the fall.

 

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Expect to hear big brass bands, a 19-gun salute and cannons at the New Hampshire State Pier on Saturday. That's when thousands will gather to watch the new USS Manchester officially get its title.

The 3,000 ton Navy vessel is part of a new line of combat ships. They are lighter, faster and can fight closer to the shoreline.

The ship also has a smaller crew. There are about 70 people total who man the ship, compared to about 300 crew members on a destroyer. 

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will develop new regulations on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water. The substances, called PFAS, have been a problem on New Hampshire's Seacoast and elsewhere.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said at a summit on PFAS in Washington on Tuesday that they’ll talk about the issue in Portsmouth next month.

New Hampshire environmental regulators joined officials from at least 30 other states and tribes at the summit.

Naval Sea Systems

 

The USS Manchester, a U.S. Navy combat ship, will be commissioned Saturday in Portsmouth.

The commissioning ceremony for the USS Manchester Littoral Combat Ship on May 26 will be at the New Hampshire State Pier, aka the state Port Authority.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital has opened a new drop-off site for moms who are interested in donating breast milk. The hospital partnered with Mother's Milk Bank Northeast for the project.

This is state's fourth milk depot.

Nora Fortin, director of maternity, pediatric and women's health, says there are a lot of women in the state who have extra milk to give.

Courtesy

This weekend, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is celebrating 20 years of building community around poetry. It's considered one of the oldest municipal laureate programs in the country that provides a stipend and support for the laureate. Each laureate launches a project that's meant to bring poetry into the community. Bill Burtis is the co-chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Board of Trustees. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

How did the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program come to be?

WPS Geography

Environmentalists will kick off a new campaign for clean energy development in Portsmouth Wednesday.

The League of Conservation Voters' "Clean Energy for All" project spans 30 states, including New Hampshire.

State Director Rob Werner says they're unveiling the campaign in Portsmouth because zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions and using all renewable sources of power are now part of that city's energy policy goals.

Maine DOT

 

A  replacement for a 76-year-old bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine opened to traffic on Friday after months-long delays caused friction between transportation officials and the contractor.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge replaces an old span that connected Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine, along the Route 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River.

Courtesy of U.S. Navy

The second ship to have the name U.S.S. Manchester will officially get that title during a commissioning ceremony on May 26th in Portsmouth.

The U.S. Navy, along with the ship’s official sponsor Senator Jeanne Shaheen, made the announcement on Thursday at an event inside the Manchester Millyard Museum.

“We could not be more excited to have this addition to our longstanding tradition of contributing here in New Hampshire to our national defense,” said Shaheen.

Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth says it expects to release a trove of documents about toxic waste cleanup at Coakley Landfill Superfund Site around the end of this month.

It comes as a group of Seacoast lawmakers files suit to get records from the entities responsible for that pollution, known together as the Coakley Landfill Group. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

In Portsmouth, students had planned a walkout for the morning but it was interrupted by the snow storm, which caused a delayed school opening.

But that didn’t keep Portsmouth students from having their message heard.

Police in a New Hampshire city are making efforts to address loud motorcycles in Portsmouth.

Police Chief Robert Merner says he is aware of a proposed ordinance currently in a Senate committee that would ban "motorcycle-only checkpoints," but adds he has ordered decibel reading equipment for his officers to be used citywide.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Merner says enforcement of noise levels will begin in the spring during motorcycle season.

DOT

The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation just issued an update on the delayed opening of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge: Despite rumors about why it's delayed, the bridge is "operational and safe."

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

Courtesy

Portsmouth businessman Deaglan McEachern announced his candidacy for Congress in an email blast on Wednesday, becoming the seventh Democrat to enter the race in the First District.

McEachern is a well-known name in state Democratic circles: his father Paul ran for Governor several times. Deaglan, 34, is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and UC Berkeley, who went on to row competitively for Cambridge University and the U.S. national team.

“As Americans, we are stronger when we pull together,” he writes on his website.

Trump's Portrait Removed from Portsmouth Post Office

Dec 27, 2017
USPS

Portraits of the President and Vice President will no longer hang in the Portsmouth Post Office.

People in New Hampshire and surrounding states spotted a suspected meteor streaking across the sky Tuesday night.

The American Meteor Society has received more than 200 reports of the suspected meteor, with sightings from western Connecticut to Bangor, Maine. People report seeing a streak of light blaze up the sky around 6pm Tuesday, some for as long as seven-seconds.

Images captured in Portsmouth shows a brilliant white tail of light-- a suspected interplanetary chunk of debris-- zipping over the Piscataqua.

Marty Watts / Aira

It’s a Saturday night in at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth. Hundreds of people are here to experience some vintage Christmas charm at the annual Candlelight Stroll.

Gene Lavoie, dressed in her puffy white coat, is eager to join them. But first, she puts on a pair of futuristic looking glasses.

Lavoie is visually impaired. She has some sight, but not enough to get around on her own. She’s hoping the new glasses she just put on will help that.

***This story has lots of sound -- we highly recommend listening.***

A former Portsmouth police officer and the city of Portsmouth have agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding an alleged violation of whistleblower rights.

In 2014, Portsmouth police officer Jon Connors gave an interview to the Portsmouth Herald. He told them he often saw fellow officer Aaron Goodwin at the home of his wealthy neighbor, Geraldine Webber.

A judge would later rule that former-Officer Goodwin exerted undue influence over Webber to get her to change her will to benefit him.

Peter Biello / NHPR

And now it’s time for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in the Granite State.

A new beer on tap at Portsmouth Brewery does more than give you a buzz. It aims to ease the symptoms of menopause. It’s called Libeeration, and several years ago, when Joanne Francis pitched the idea to her colleagues at the brewery, the men didn’t get it.

"It was met with nothing short of disdain and horror," she says. "And I'm not exaggerating when I say that."

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Several dozen people attended a public hearing Monday evening in Portsmouth to weigh in on a proposed increase in the state’s highway tolls.

Keith Shields/NHPR

A Connecticut construction company faces $330,000 in fines after federal officials found its workers were exposed to mercury at a job site in Portsmouth earlier this year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, says Manafort Brothers, Inc., failed to protect its workers from repeated exposures to high levels of mercury.

City officials in Portsmouth have upheld a decision to prohibit a couple from renting out a second home through AirBnB.

Portsmouth couple Matthew Beebe and Barbara Jenny bought the house next door with the intention that one day their daughter will live in it.

In the meantime, they planned to rent out the house through AirBnB. But before they got the chance, the city served them with a cease-and-desist letter.

The city says the home, which is in a residentially zoned area, can’t be used for short-term rentals without a special exemption.

Richard Bartz / Wikimedia Commons

Officials have shut down a New Hampshire playground after it appears to have become infested by yellow jackets.

WMUR-TV reports the wasps can be seen all over the Portsmouth Plains Playground, which is now closed as of Tuesday. Portsmouth Recreation Director Russ Wilson says they almost had to cancel a nearby high school soccer game because one of the teams complained wasps were flying around the field.

Police in Portsmouth say they are planning to crack down on loud motorcycles.

According to state law, an idling motorcycle should be no louder than 92 decibels. But knowing whether a motorcycle exceeds that limit requires police to have specialized gear and training.

Portsmouth Police Captain Frank Warchol says in the past, his department has relied on state police to catch offenders.

Now, in response to complaints from residents, Warchol says the Portsmouth PD is investing in the equipment and training it needs to enforce the law on its own.

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

The Portsmouth City Council has banned the use of what it calls ‘synthetic toxic pesticides’ in public spaces, citing concerns about public health.

The new policy is largely aimed at weed killing chemicals the city sprays on sidewalks and streets.

Portsmouth city councilor Jim Splaine put forward the motion, which was approved Monday night.

“We may be tonight adopting New Hampshire’s first very clear and strong position against synthetic toxic pesticides. This is a step in the right direction.”

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