Seacoast

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Exeter UFO Festival is again drawing in experts in extraterrestrial sightings, abductions, as well those just curious about what may be out there.

This weekend marks the 8th edition of the Festival, which features two days of speakers, along with vendors and UFO tours.

In 1965, two Exeter policemen, along with others, had a famous encounter with a red orb just across the town’s border in Kensington. After that sighting drew national attention, Exeter became known as the ‘Roswell of the East,’ at least in certain circles.

Jason Moon - NHPR

Schools in Portsmouth started a bit later this week—at 8:20 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. The idea is that if kids are allowed to sleep later, they’ll be better prepared to learn once they get to school. Schools in the towns of Durham, Madbury, and Lee as well as the Inter-Lakes School District in the Laconia area also are starting late this year.

Steve Zadravec is superintendent of Portsmouth's schools. He’s been a supporter of these later start times. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Off the coast of New Hampshire are the iconic Isles of Shoals.

Somewhere around the middle of those isles is a dotted line -- the state border between New Hampshire and Maine.

As part of our series Surrounded in which we look at life in and around New Hampshire's islands, Jason Moon found out that line has been the cause of some intense disagreement over the years.

The state liquor store near the Portsmouth traffic circle is set to receive a major upgrade.

The new building will be double the size of the existing liquor store and will offer some 6,000 different sizes and varieties of wines and spirits.

Joseph Mollica is Chairman of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. He says replacing the old building is expected to generate a 10 percent increase in sales.

“The selection just isn’t there and we’re missing the boat. It’s time to step it up and get that store done.”

Library of Congress

Islands can be calm, quiet, isolated places where you can remove yourself from the stress of mainland life. Or, they can serve a more transactional purpose: a place to put people you don’t want to have around. Think Alcatraz, or Elba, where Napoleon was exiled.

Well, off the coast of Portsmouth, there are islands that were also used to remove and isolate certain individuals. Individuals who sometimes figured out novel ways to entertain themselves. 

A state representative is calling for the resignation of New Hampshire's state epidemiologist. At issue is the validity of a new study about the health effects of exposure to certain water contaminants.

Democratic rep Mindi Messmer of Rye and state epidemiologist Ben Chan are both members of a task force investigating a cancer cluster identified on the Seacoast last year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Officials in the New Hampshire city of Portsmouth are praising a new bike sharing program after two months of operating.

According to a report by Planning Director Juliet Walker, there were 548 bike rentals in a two-month period following the Zagster bike sharing program's launch on May 3. The Portsmouth Herald reports Zagster allows people to rent bikes from kiosks throughout the city.

Walker says Portsmouth pays $54,000 a year to lease 30 bikes and six stations. Zagster returns money from membership fees to the city after deducting a 7 percent processing fee.

Jason Moon for NHPR

At the center of the weekend's turmoil in Charlottesville is a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

While New Hampshire isn't seeing much debate over old confederate monuments, at a post office in Durham, a 1950's-era mural is raising questions about race and another uncomfortable chapter from our nation's history.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Emergency personnel from around the Seacoast responded to Exeter Hospital Friday, where employee complaints of nausea and dizziness resulted in a partial evacuation. At this time, the cause is unknown.

A large federal building occupying prime real estate in Portsmouth is getting one step closer to being turned over to the city.

After almost 15 years of talks with the city about the fate of the Thomas J. McIntyre building in downtown Portsmouth, the federal General Services Administration says it is planning to move out by next fall.

Courtesy photo

It’s been a busy summer for the Seacoast Science Center’s marine mammal rescue team.

There’s been a surge of late in the number of beached seals in need of rescue along New Hampshire’s coast.

Ashley Stokes manages the marine mammal rescue team, and she joined NHPR's Morning Edition.

Talk about what these past few weeks have been like for your team. What are you seeing?

File Photo

Deep sea fishing companies say they are feeling the squeeze from new regulations on recreational fishing.

The new rules for recreational fishing come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They reduce the number of haddock anglers can catch from fifteen to twelve each day and they eliminate cod fishing altogether.

File Photo

Federal regulators are tightening catch limits for recreational fishing of cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reducing the number of haddock that anglers can take each day and it’s limiting the number of days they can be fished.

The agency is also continuing its ban on recreational cod fishing.

Officials with the town of Durham say they remain concerned about a proposal to bury a long-distance power cable across a one-mile stretch of Great Bay.

Efforts to clean up PFCs at the former Pease Air Force Base will be the topic of a meeting tonight in Portsmouth. Air Force officials plan to give an update on where those efforts stand, 3 years after the contamination was first discovered.

On Wednesday morning, Durham’s three-person human rights commission will discuss establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day. Town administrator Todd Selig says the idea came about as the town grappled with pushback over a mural at the local post office.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Prescott Park in downtown Portsmouth has long attracted locals and tourists alike with its historic backdrop and waterfront views.

But over the last few years it’s also attracted a fair amount of controversy.

At issue is both the history and future of the park.

An investigation by the state Attorney General’s office has concluded that state troopers were justified in their use of deadly force in the shooting of a Portsmouth man last month.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, investigators released audio and video evidence of the encounter between police and Barry Jones outside the Hampton state liquor store in June.

Supporters of the Prescott Park Arts Festival say complaints about alcohol use at concerts this summer are overblown.

Police in Portsmouth say they plan to step up enforcement of the alcohol ban at the festival, after complaints were filed with the state attorney general's charitable trust unit.

Courtesy the Hampton Historical Society

Imagine you’re at Hampton Beach, strolling down Ocean Boulevard. To one side you have the long sandy beach and open ocean; to the other, a seemingly endless row of motels, restaurants, arcades, and t-shirt shops.

When the breeze picks up, you can just catch the smell of sunscreen and fried dough. It’s the quintessential Hampton Beach scene. But it turns out that your view of it can depend a lot on which side of the boulevard you’re standing on – the side owned by the state or the side owned by the town.

Over a million dollars is headed to New Hampshire to help protect coastal communities.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Since 1847, the Exeter Brass Band has been filling the air with horns and cymbal crashes.

The New Hampshire ensemble is one of the oldest continuously performing bands in the country. This summer, they’re back at it, doing the usual Monday night run of free concerts from the Exeter bandstand, also known as the Swasey Pavilion.

City of Rochester

Officials in Rochester are investigating what they say is illegal oil dumping into the city’s sewer system.

City officials say they first detected oil in the sewer system last November, then again every month since February.

Director of City Services John Storer says it seems to be dumped on semi-regular basis and is most likely waste oil – something the city offers to properly dispose of for free.

Jason Moon for NHPR

People concerned about a proposed utility project on the Seacoast gathered for a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Outside the offices of the Department of Environmental Services in Portsmouth, roughly 20 people held signs showing their support for the environmental health of the Great Bay estuary.

The state's largest utility, Eversource, is hoping to bury a portion of a proposed transmission line beneath Great Bay.

Demonstrators here say that could do permanent damage to the tidal estuary. Eversource maintains it won’t.

File Photo

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is proposing a moratorium on recreational fishing of cod in state waters.

Fish stock assessments show the population of cod is still at historic lows in New England waters.

In response, Fish and Game is proposing that all cod caught by recreational anglers be immediately released, year round.

The department is also proposing to limit recreational fishing of haddock – that species is doing fine, but fishermen going for haddock often end up with cod as well.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu spent Thursday morning at Hampton Beach. He toured local businesses and touted the area as a successful collaboration between public and private interests.

The Governor, flanked by members of the Hampton Chamber of Commerce, strolled down Ocean Boulevard...

“Enjoying the beach?”

Through the kitchens of local restaurants...

“Hey gang, how are you?

And into at least one candy store...

“Hey Pete I got us some fudge for the ride home!”

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Rochester Farmers Market is offering any veteran who lives in Strafford County a $20 voucher to thank them for their service.

The Vouchers for Veterans program lets veterans spend $20 at any of the Rochester Farmers Market vendors.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

If this Fourth of July is sounding noisier to you, you’re not wrong. This is the first Fourth of July in more than a decade that people can legally buy firecrackers in New Hampshire.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Over 200 people gathered around the steps of City Hall in Dover this morning for a special July 4th tradition: a reading of the Declaration of Independence by actors portraying John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is pushing for a national health study on the health effects of perfluorochemicals – the same chemicals that contaminated drinking water at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth.

In an amendment to a $700 billion military spending bill, Senator Sheehan is hoping to fund a $7 million national health study about the effects of perfluorochemicals, or PFCS.

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