Portsmouth

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

Portsmouth has long been considered one of the state’s food hotspots, and with Restaurant Week Portsmouth getting underway, we thought it was a good time to check in on Portsmouth’s food scene - a scene that got a huge boost in the 1970's from a chef called James Haller, who founded the Blue Strawbery restaurant.

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.

A new book aims to tell the stories of some of the most remarkable women in the history of Portsmouth, from colonial tavern keepers to nationally-known artists, politicians, philanthropists and more.

It's called Portsmouth Women: Madams and Matriarchs Who Shaped New Hampshire's Port City.

The book's editor, Laura Pope, talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about some of the women featured in the book.

In 1981, playwright, performer and theater company director Carlyle Brown decided on a whim to take a trip to Africa. That launched a journey of self-discovery and an adventure that became the basis for a one-man show called “The Fula from America: An African Journey," which Brown performs tonight at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. It’s a fund-raising event for Portsmouth’s African Burying Ground, and will be followed by a candelight procession to the site where the design for a memorial will be unveiled.

At most art exhibits, guests aren't supposed to touch the works – though the current exhibit at Discover Portsmouth is the exception to that rule. In fact, some of the pieces won't work unless you touch them.

It's an exhibit called “In Motion,” and the artist, Kim Bernard, joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to talk about exploring movement through visual art.

Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

Senator John McCain was in New Hampshire stumping for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, McCain made the case for Mitt Romney to a gathering of veterans and their families.

Addressing the recent anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East, McCain called the president’s response to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya a “partial apology.”

He said under President Obama, America’s relationship with Israel had deteriorated to an all-time low and questioned the President’s commitment to see America lead the world:

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a higher limit for Nitrogen discharge from Portsmouth’s wastewater treatment plant.  But city officials are still unsure whether it will actually save the city money.

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

We learned recently that the cost of rental housing has been climbing in New Hampshire – a typical two bedroom apartment in the state now costs more than a thousand dollars a month. And in some parts of the Granite State, businesses are dealing with high rental costs as well.

Every summer, the non-profit Piscataqua Maritime Commission seeks tall ships and other historic vessels to attract residents and tourists.

From the collections of the Naval Historical Center. USNHC # NH 97551.

Navy officials continue to investigate the massive fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The blaze caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the USS Miami nuclear submarine, which had come to Portsmouth for an overhaul.

For longtime Seacoast residents, the accident brings to mind the tragedy of the USS Thresher, a nuclear sub based in Portsmouth. Nearly a half century ago, the Thresher sank several hundred miles off the East Coast; all of its 129 crew members died.

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

New England athletes know today as Marathon Monday – history buffs call it Patriots’ Day. And tech watchers know April 16th as Foursquare Day, named after the social media app.

On Foursquare Day, businesses and communities offer special discounts and free stuff to users who drop by and “check in” to Foursquare using their smartphones.

By now, you may have heard of Bombino, his album, Agadez was a hot seller on i-tunes and named one of NPR’s 50 favorite albums of 2011. Bombino, whose given name is Omara Moctar, is a guitarist from the Tuareg tribe, African nomads who have been persecuted by the government of Niger, especially, who reportedly fought for Gaddafi in Libya and are now considered rebels by the government of Mali, but their real fidelity is to eking out their lives in the desert

Another bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine is undergoing emergency repairs.

Side railings on the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge are so rusty; they present a hazard to any vehicle that accidentally slides into them. So, the two states are taking emergency measures to protect motorists.

Bill Boynton, with New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, says that steel Jersey Barriers will be installed along the length of the 2800 foot span.

After a history of closures, repairs and re-openings which mottle its 88-year lifespan, the Memorial Bridge replacement project has begun. The bridge which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine, is set for completion as early as July, 2013.

The "float-out", which is the removal of the lift span and the first stage of demolition, is scheduled for today.

Photo: Roger Wood

The demolition of the Memorial Bridge begins Tuesday. The 90-year-old lift bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine, has long been in a state of disrepair.

The bridge closed permanently to vehicle traffic in July of last year.

Weather and barge setup permitting, the removal and “float out” of the lift span of the Memorial Bridge is expected to begin Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Rik Koenig, via Flickr creative commons

The Governor and Executive Council are expected to approve a contract for replacement of the Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.

If approved, the bridge will be in place by July 2013. The total price tag is $81 million dollars. New Hampshire, Maine and the Federal Government will split the cost.  Speaking at a Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Project Manager Keith Coda with DOT said  the new bridge will closely replicate the old span.

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