Portsmouth

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.        

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.

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