Southern NH

Connor Mahar

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will perform in Manchester for the last time, this weekend.

This hundred and forty-six year-old spectacle is known as the Greatest Show On Earth. Recently, it’s been stopping through Manchester every year since the early 2000’s.

Since then, ticket sales have declined. Animal Rights activists pressured the circus to retire their elephants a year ago, and the circus itself will retire in May.

The Flying Gravity youth circus troupe will be in Manchester to witness the Ringling Brothers’ final performances here.  

Emily Corwin for NHPR

Jared Barbosa is an Elementary School guidance counselor who was raised by a professional soccer player. His dad, Manoel “Boom Boom” Barbosa, competed all over the world before settling down in Nashua, N.H.

Jared says professional soccer was his dad’s ticket out of poverty in Brazil. College soccer was his ticket to economic mobility.

He doesn’t think high level sports should exclude low-income kids.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/autophotomoto/">autophotomoto</a> / Flickr

Saint-Gobain, a multinational plastics company, has agreed to pay for the design efforts to extend public water lines in Bedford.  The new water mains will connect to homes with wells contaminated by perfluorichemicals, most likely released from Saint-Gobain’s smokestacks. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The Greater Nashua NAACP held its first open meeting in nearly a decade on Wednesday night.

Gloria Timmons founded the group in 2004, and has started it up again after a 10-year hiatus. She says she was motivated by what she called the increasingly hostile political environment. "Kids are being called names, the bullying, people are just saying horrible things to people on the street. All kinds of hideous things," Timmons said, are happening in Nashua and surrounding towns.

Diocese of Manchester, NH

  The head of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester, NH has instructed clergy not to house unauthorized immigrants facing possible deportation.

According to Tom Bebbington, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Manchester, the Bishop had received questions from priests about how to respond to news of increased deportation enforcement. On Friday, the Bishop sent a letter to local church leaders urging them not house unauthorized immigrants in their churches.

Nashua Department of Public Health and Community Services

Nashua’s Health Department wants you to stop using the word “addict.”

“We need to talk about substance use disorder like the disease that it is,” health educator Aly McKnight told a captive audience of thirty or so in the basement of Nashua Public Library last month.  She pointed to a list of “stigmatizing” words projected onto a screen. “Alcoholic,” “junkie,” even “addiction” should be avoided, it said. 

Salem Police Department

Police say a condemned house exploded and went up in flames in Salem as they responded to a neighbor dispute over stacking firewood, and about eight homes were evacuated.

Police said they tried to approach a man near the home Monday night, but never spoke to him. Police Capt. Rob Morin said they heard a hissing sound, followed by a strong odor of gas, and backed away. An explosion blew off the roof and broke windows. Neighbors said they heard a popping sound.

www.harriman.com

  Nashua's Board of Education approved a budget this week that includes full-day kindergarten at all of the city’s schools. Currently, full-day kindergarten is offered at six the city’s twelve elementary schools.

Its expansion has been championed by Jim Donchess, the city’s mayor.

Nashua’s school budget, including funds for full day kindergarten, will now go to the Board of Alderman and then the Board of Education.

About three quarters of towns and cities in New Hampshire offer full day kindergarten.

Brady Carlson for NHPR / NHPR

Health care reform, public education and infrastructure spending are all hot topics in Congress – and the State House – nowadays. In Nashua, New Hampshire’s second largest city, Mayor Jim Donchess has been pushing his own ideas on these very issues. Sometimes, this puts him at odds with the folks calling the shots in Concord and Washington.

Recently, during a class on city government

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Not even Mayor Jim Donchess expected the city’s new thirteen-week, twenty-six hour class on city government to fill up so fast.  

“Fifty people seemed like comfortable number,” Donchess said. When those seats filled up quickly,  his office closed registration.

The syllabus includes subjects such as what happens to solid waste, and what tax assessors do.

“Well, I wouldn’t call it dry,” Jay Welch said as students streamed into the city’s auditorium. Like many who showed up, Welch is an avid volunteer.

What’s the appeal? Answers ran the gamut.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Michael Treadwell sat at the back of a courtroom.  In a windbreaker and khaki pants, he leaned over his work boots, elbows on his knees. At first, I thought he was chewing gum – a bold choice in a courtroom.  When we began to talk, I discovered it wasn't gum Michael was chewing.  It was his own gums. Michael doesn't have any teeth.

Ryan Caron King / New England News Collaborative

New Hampshire’s refugee resettlement agencies are moving fast to bring at least six refugees to the state before February 17th. That’s after a Federal Judge on Friday blocked parts of a Trump Administration executive order, including a 120-day ban on refugee admissions, and an indefinite ban on all immigration from Syria.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

While President Trump's recent executive order on refugees and immigrants has caused much concern across New Hampshire, there are also plenty of folks in the state who are happy with the new president's first decisive actions. 

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

Preliminary results are in from blood testing provided to Southern New Hampshire residents exposed to contaminated well-water.

The contamination was discovered last March, in ground water near a plastics plant in Merrimack, called Saint-Gobain. Blood tests began in June, and now the first 147 results are in.

The contaminant is not well understood, so it makes sense to interpret the results by comparison.

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

Should lawmakers dissolve the unfunded, volunteer-run New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority? That was the question at a House Transportation Committee public hearing Wednesday. 

Last spring, lawmakers voted not to pursue preliminary steps to connect rail line from Boston to southern NH. Now, Republican House member Neal Kurk of Weare told the House Transportation Committee  he wants to eradicate the unfunded group of volunteers tasked by lawmakers with overseeing rail development in New Hampshire.

The organization that resettles refugees in Manchester says it’s ready to take action against an executive order likely to be announced by the Trump administration Thursday. Nearly 450 refugees were resettled in New Hampshire last year.

Allegra Boverman

Over 100 people gathered on Manchester’s West side Monday evening for a vigil after racist signs were found in the city last week.

In the chilly damp evening at Rock Rimmon Park, people held hands in a circle. Some wore headscarves; others the red jackets of Americorps City Year, a group that works in Manchester’s public schools.

They were there because last week, signs were found near two schools and a bridge in Manchester that read “diversity is a code word for white genocide.”

Emily Corwin / NHPR

For 35 years, the Martin Luther King Coalition has hosted a celebration of the late civil rights leader’s birthday in Manchester. Some at this year’s event said now more than ever - King’s Legacy must not be forgotten.

Early in her invocation, Meriden’s United Church of Christ Reverend, Gail Kinney, zeroed in on current events.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Updated on Jan. 13, 2017 at 5:07 PM:

Visiting hours will return to normal on Saturday at the state prison for men. Inmate visits were halted earlier this week after a series of likely drug overdoses left one man dead.

In the meantime, the department says it is investigating the type, source, and entry point of the drugs that caused the following three incidents.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Over the summer, Nashua aldermen voted to make Nashua a sister city with Mysore, India - a city 100 miles southwest of Bangalore.

Now, a local Rotary Club is sending a group of four Americans there.  

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Chris Webber was in jail on a couple hundred dollars cash bail the day his daughter was born. He wasn't there because of his trespassing and resisting arrest convictions. He was there because he misses court dates, and he's poor.

The organization that handles refugee resettlement in Manchester says  it’s seen an uptick in volunteers there over the course of the presidential campaign season.  

Usually, a case manager drives new refugee families to apply for things like fuel assistance.  But on Monday, a volunteer made the trip, said  Amadou Hamady, the Manchester site director of the International Institute of New England.

Courtroom One Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday would have marked the first day of Manchester’s new drug court, which gives drug-crime offenders struggling with addiction a chance to get treatment instead of incarceration. But, according to the Union Leader, the opening has been delayed one week, due to a lack of participants.

In June of last year, the city’s commissioners denied funding for the program.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

In Manchester, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is partnering with state and local agencies in a new effort to curtail both the supply of illicit opioids and the demand for them.

On the demand side, the DEA program is starting young. Tuesday, students from Parker-Varney and Green Acres Elementary Schools danced to Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” Cristine Dhimos is the regional manager of the after school dance program. 

“I think one of the best things is the kids have an opportunity to be in a safe place for one hour,” she says.

  State and city officials will meet with a representative of the US Drug Enforcement Administration Tuesday in Manchester to discuss the Agency’s new strategy to address drug crimes in the city. 

On Tuesday, thousands of New Hampshire voters will fill in a bubble way down the ballot, under “County Attorney.” It's likely few will know who they are voting for. Below, are interviews with all four candidates for the two contested county attorney seats in N.H. 

Click on the menu below to see how each candidate answered  her questions. 

RELATED: What's At Stake In Rockingham And Hillsborough's County Attorney Races

On Tuesday, thousands of New Hampshire voters will fill in a bubble way down the ballot - under “County Attorney.” But who are they voting for, and what does the job entail?  Few seem to know.

Related: Read Emily Corwin's interviews with the candidates for Hillsborough and Rockingham County Attorneys.

Earlier this year, it seemed a commuter rail line could really happen for Southern New Hampshire.  

Polling had shown 74 percent of residents support it, and lawmakers were voting on whether to use $4 million in federal dollars to connect Boston’s commuter rail to Nashua and Manchester.

Via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7MMKBg

The well serving Kingston NH’s Fire Department has tested above the state’s standard for PFOA, a water contaminant also found at the former Pease Air Force Base, and surrounding the Saint-Gobain plastics plant in Merrimack.

The state tested the Kingston Fire Department’s well water first in September. That was after the town began offering the water to residents whose wells are failing due to the drought.  This week, a second water test confirmed: Kingston’s fire department’s well is contaminated with PFOA, at a level over the state’s regulatory standard.

Pages