Upper Valley

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Voters in Newport approved a major solar deal Tuesday.

The project will go up for one final vote in May, but town officials are hoping to begin construction this summer.

Under the plan, solar arrays would power all the town’s municipal and school buildings, making them net zero.  

It’s a collaboration between Newport and Norwich solar technologies.  The company will cover construction and maintenance costs in exchange for the ability to benefit from federal tax credits.

Britta Greene / NHPR

There will be no charges against a New Hampshire state trooper who shot and killed a 26-year-old man in Canaan in December.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Wednesday that Trooper Christopher O’Toole’s use of deadly force was legally justified. (The AG's full report is embedded at the end of this story.)

That’s because, according to O’Toole, Jesse J. Champney repeatedly said he had a gun and threatened to shoot. O’Toole was pursuing Champney on foot across a dark, snowy field after a car chase on Dec. 23.

b / New Hampshire Public Radio

State officials are working on a deal to secure funding for drug recovery services in Sullivan County. That’s after the major provider in the region, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, announced it was rolling back its offerings last month.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Several hundred students walked out of classes at Hanover High School Friday afternoon in recognition of shooting victims in Parkland, Florida last month.

Chanting “we want change” and “never again,” they marched to the local post office, where they sent off more than a thousand letters to state and federal officials. 

James Napoli

There are the mysteries you know about, and then there are the ones lurking in your midst. For the staff at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, it was a bit of both.

The site, run by the National Park Service, is the estate of Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens is behind many iconic monuments still standing today, most famously of Civil War heroes in Chicago and Boston. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Craig Perry stopped by the Claremont office of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery on Thursday afternoon. He struggled with addiction for a good chunk of his 20s, but now, at 30 years old, he’s been clean for about a year and a half.

His drug problems started when he took his first job after college, he said. He’d get high on lunch breaks.  “I didn’t know it’d affect me like that,” he said. “More and more, and then I had to go to heavier stuff.”

He’s been coming to the center here for about five months. He has a close relationship with its manager, who's been a bedrock counselor in his recovery.

Britta Greene / NHPR

A collection of children’s books in indigenous languages are on display this week in Hanover. The exhibit is scheduled to correspond with International Mother Language Day, a United Nations effort to recognize languages that are under threat.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Jessica Saturley-Hall knew she wanted to start her own business, and she got hooked on the concept of compost. She knew that food scraps produce significantly more methane, a greenhouse gas, when tossed in a landfill, rather than breaking down on their own. So she wondered, what if you could reward people for separating their food waste from their trash.

At first, she thought about somehow paying people for their compost. She did a host of financial models, looked at it every which way, but couldn’t come up with a solution.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Governor Chris Sununu signed into law Thursday morning new protections against childhood lead exposure.

At a signing ceremony in Claremont, the Governor championed the public health impact of the new law.

"We will, without a doubt, prevent a lot of children from getting lead poisoning,” he said. “That's a really good thing"

The legislation mandates lead screenings for all one and two year olds. It also lowers the blood-lead level that triggers state intervention.

James Napoli

New works in progress by black playwrights will be performed this weekend in the Upper Valley. The festival is sponsored by JAG productions, a relatively new black theater company that’s been drawing audiences across western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont.

Dennis Curran / Courtesy of Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College will have a strong presence at this year's winter Olympic Games, opening Friday in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Fifteen former or current students will be competing – a high tally, even for a school that's regularly represented in the winter events. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

As part of our series “The Balance," we’re asking for your input on the costs and benefits of living in New Hampshire. One issue we’re hearing a lot about is property taxes, which provide the bulk of money for public schools. The city of Claremont has the highest property tax rate in the state. This year, some residents there are saying ‘enough is enough," and the school board is taking a hard look at its budget. It’s also raised a conversation about the role schools should play in students' lives.

A former physician at Valley Regional hospital in Claremont has been charged with sexual assault.

The Claremont Police and Sullivan County Attorney's office announced the arrest of Dr. Eric L. Knight Monday after a months-long investigation.

The New Hampshire Board of Medicine suspended Knight's medical license in September. He was fired from Valley Regional in June.


Dartmouth College is updating its image with a new logo, typeface and standardized color palette.

The new logo features a simplified image of the college’s iconic lone pine, a tree under which students are said to have gathered in the 1800s. The college’s new wordmark, the visual presentation of its name, also hearkens back to its history. The wordmark’s font is based off a typeface created by designer Rudolf Ruzicka for Dartmouth's 200th anniversary in 1969.

Hanover police say they're investigating a fire last week at Hanover High School.  Fire officials have determined it was started intentionally in a boys bathroom on the school's third floor.  The fire was quickly put out and no one was injured.  

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Between pouring drinks and clearing the deck, the bartender at the American Legion post in Lebanon this week has an additional task in mind: political organizing. Behind the bar is an old-fashioned paper petition -- they're trying to get enough signatures to put the electronic gambling game Keno on the city ballot in March.

It’s been a tough go. The deadline for the petition is Wednesday, and on Monday afternoon, even the club manager said he’s not confident they’ll get the 420 names they need.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Long-running efforts to expand public boat access on Lake Sunapee may be headed in a new direction.

Officials with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department had been working for decades to build a new public boat launch on a piece of land known as the Wild Goose Site when Governor Chris Sununu abruptly pulled the plug on the plan last summer.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Dr. Anna Konopka, a physician in New London, surrendered her medical license in October to settle allegations from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. Months later, she’s still fighting to reopen her doors.

As her battle plays out in the courts, many of her patients are struggling to find a new primary care doctor. Many of them are low income and reliant on pain medication day-to-day.

Lebanon became the second New Hampshire city Wednesday to categorically say no to Keno, without putting the issue in front of voters.

State lawmakers allowed cities and towns to authorize the gambling game last year as a way to raise money for all-day kindergarten statewide. Districts are eligible for the kindergarten funding, though, whether or not they approve the game.


President Donald Trump has granted New Hampshire's request for federal disaster aid to cover storm damage this fall.

Heavy rain and strong winds swept across northern and western New Hampshire right around Halloween. The storm left behind damaged roads and bridges, as well as significant power outages.

FEMA estimated it cost the state nearly $6 million. Governor Chris Sununu requested federal assistance for Belknap, Carroll, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan Counties. President Trump has now signed-off on that request.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Hundreds of old skis in the Upper Valley that were headed for a landfill are now being repurposed. It's a poignant end for the story of a beloved old ski shop in Lebanon that’s seen its final days.

A bill to study the impact of lower tax rates for undeveloped land will be considered in the legislative session beginning next month.

The tax structure is known as “current use.” It started decades ago as a part of a pro-environment push.

Basically, landowners who keep their property undeveloped — keep it forested, for example — pay a significantly lower tax rate, in theory encouraging them to preserve their land.

f2point8 / Flickr Creative Commons

Some New Hampshire towns hit hard by storms this year are still waiting for federal disaster relief funds. That's led to a proposal to offer short-term aid from state coffers to fill the gap. 

Orford, for example, suffered bridge damage and road washouts after storms in July and October. The Grafton County town is expecting to be reimbursed in part by FEMA funds, but there's a delay before that money comes through.

NHPR Staff

Dartmouth College is one of about 30 schools in the country to be hit by a new provision taxing endowment returns under the Republican-backed tax overhaul.

The measure targets private schools with large endowments relative to their student population — specifically, endowments that represent more than $500,000 per student.


A state law enforcement investigation into a high-profile, allegedly racially motivated attack in Claremont is now complete, state Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Thursday. The close of the investigation marks a progression in the case, but few additional details are now public. 

In August, the mother of a young biracial boy said her son was attacked by local teens. She said the teens tied a rope around his neck and pushed him off a picnic table. He had to be airlifted to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Britta Greene/NHPR

Rory Gawler bought a big, old farmhouse in Lebanon about seven or eight years ago. It has beautiful views of the Mascoma River valley and a little orchard in the backyard. 

It’s mostly surrounded by open space, but next door — and really, right next door — is another house that’s not in good shape. Lebanon’s property records list it in “very poor” condition. It’s run-down and sprawling, with low ceilings and peeling walls. There’s even trees growing up through the pool outside, Gawler said. 

Editor's Note: We strongly recommend listening to this story. 

Plainfield Police

A man charged in a murder-for-hire plot in the town of Plainfield was found not guilty by a jury Tuesday.

Prosecutors argued Maurice Temple, along with his 83-year-old mother, plotted to pay another man to kill his ex-wife. Temple’s attorney said he was instead set up by that would-be hit man, who owed his mother money and first went to police with the story of the murder plot.

Temple’s mother was found to be mentally unfit for trial last month. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Dr. Anna Konopka, a New London doctor who's been fighting in the courts to reopen her practice, was dealt another disappointment this week. In a decision released Wednesday, a judge in Merrimack County Superior Court denied her motion to have her case reconsidered.

The news comes after Konopka learned just last week that she's under investigation by her local police department. The details of that investigation remain unclear. 

Lawyer: Man Accused in Murder-for-Hire Plot Was Set Up

Dec 7, 2017
Plainfield Police

The attorney for a New Hampshire man accused of participating in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his ex-wife says he was set up by a prosecution witness.

The trial started Wednesday for 63-year-old Maurice Temple. He's charged with criminal solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempt to commit murder.

He and his mother, 83-year-old Pauline Chase, were arrested in July after the witness, Mark Horne, agreed to secretly record police-authorized phone and video conversations.

Plainfield Police

  A judge has ruled one of two defendants in a murder-for-hire case out of Plainfield is not competent to stand trial.

Pauline Chase, 83, was charged with plotting to pay a local man to kill her son's ex-wife. That man, the would-be hit man, ended up going to the police. He recorded phone calls and videos for police investigators of his interactions with Chase and her son.