The Merrimack Valley Region

The Merrimack Valley follows the Merrimack River, straddling part of southern New Hampshire and a swath of northeast Massachusetts, including the cities of Lowell, Haverhill, and Lawrence.  Residents on both sides of the border refer to their areas as “the Merrimack Valley,” but technically the Massachusetts side is considered the “Lower Merrimack Valley,” while the New Hampshire portion is the “Upper Merrimack Valley” (not to be confused with the “Upper Valley” in the Dartmouth-Sunapee region).

From the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the Lower Merrimack Valley was a manufacturing powerhouse.  In the early 19th century, businessmen founded the city of Lowell as a textile mill town.

As the various mill industries picked up steam, they spread north into New Hampshire.  While Manchester was the Upper Merrimack Valley’s most notable mill town, the industry also gained footholds in Concord and Nashua.  As industrialization advanced over the decades, factories specializing in mechanical parts and other manufactured goods were established on both sides of the Valley.

But over time, some significant  economic differences have developed between the Upper Merrimack Valley and the Lower Merrimack Valley.  Both sides of the border have, of course, suffered job losses and other side-effects of a bad economy.  But in the long-term, as American manufacturing has declined over the past half-century, the New Hampshire side has seen more success in diversifying its economy. As the capital city, Concord, of course, supports a large government workforce.  According to the US Census Bureau, more than one out of five residents are government employees.  (Of course, these numbers are subject to change, especially given the state’s most recent budget.)  Only 8.7 percent of people in Concord do factory work.  These days Nashua also skews heavily toward white collar work, with 66.7 percent of residents holding down management, sales, and other office jobs.  Only 12.3 percent of people work in factories.  And in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, 60.2 percent of residents work in professional fields, while 13.6 percent of people do production work.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development found that nearly one in five Lower Merrimack Valley jobs were in the manufacturing sector.  As the national decline of manufacturing has accelerated during the recession, the Lower Merrimack Valley experienced greater–and faster–job loss than the rest of the state.  Wages in the area are also significantly lower than the Massachusetts average, with the low-paying retail and hospitality sectors dominating the economy.

Despite these differences between the Upper and Lower Merrimack Valley, there is still a lot of interaction between the two areas.  Lowell, Massachusetts is considered part of the Greater Boston Area–as is Nashua, New Hampshire.  Although mass transit between the Upper and Lower Merrimack Valley is decidedly lacking, easy Interstate access for much of the area has made it possible for many people to cross state lines as they commute to and from work.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Harbor Homes Supports Homeless Vets

Credit Courtesy of Harbor Homes

When Matt Milbourn, a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, found himself unexpectedly made homeless,  Harbor Homes was there for him.

In addition to operating a homeless shelter, Harbor Homes also manages a reintegration program, offering services, healthcare, and education to homeless veterans and their families. Matt earned his CphT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) through the program, and now teaches computer education and life skills classes at Harbor Homes.

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NH News
4:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Report: Man Who Shot Son At Manchester YWCA Was Not Searched

The vigil outside the Manchester YWCA days after murder-suicide carried out by Muni Savyon on Aug. 11. Savyon killed his 9-year-old Joshua during a supervised visit, then killed himself.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

The man who killed his 9-year-old son and then himself during a supervised visit at the Manchester YWCA in August was not searched before entering the building.

The state Attorney General’s office released its final report on the incident on Thursday.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin says investigators interviewed employees who were working at the YWCA the day Muni Savyon killed his son Joshua.

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NH News
10:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Ted Gatsas Wins Third Term As Manchester Mayor

Mayor Ted Gatsas at his campaign HQ in Manchester's Derryfield Country Club.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Republican incumbent Ted Gatsas has won his third term as Mayor of Manchester. But the race against Democratic Alderman Patrick Arnold was a close one.


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All Things Considered
5:45 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

A Look At The Police Investigation Into Nashua's Mayor And Her Husband

Credit City of Nashua

There are new details about the police investigation of Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and her husband, including allegations of bid-rigging, kickbacks and drug use.

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Politics
9:39 am
Mon November 4, 2013

On The Political Front For November 4

Credit Sara Plourde

After the commission's recommendation last month, lawmakers will be debating expanding Medicaid in a special legislative session called by Governor Hassan; it remains to be seen how much bipartisan support the measure will have. We'll be watching the mayor's race in Manchester, where incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas is being challenged by Alderman Patrick Arnold, and a special House election in Nashua, which pits former House Majority Leader Peter Silva against Democrat Latha Mangipudi.

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NH News
7:00 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Dean of UNH-Manchester Resigns

Ali Rafieymehr
Credit University of Massachusetts - Lowell

The dean of UNH-Manchester has resigned just 15 months into his appointment

Provost Lisa MacFarlane announced Dean Ali Rafieymehr’s departure in an email to faculty and staff late Friday afternoon.  She noted the resignation was effective that day.  Spokesperson Erika Mantz said she couldn’t comment on personnel matters.  Like MacFarlane’s email, she highlighted his work in so-called “STEM” fields.

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Word of Mouth
9:35 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The Real Salem Witches

A gravestone for Gile Corey, executed for witchcraft in Salem.
Credit Christine Zenino via Flickr Creative Commons

Visitors to Salem, Massachusetts, have a surfeit of choices in Halloween season. They can take a “Tales and Tombstones Trolley Tour,” attend the Zombie Prom, Voodoo Ball, or a performance of “Dracula’s Guest.”

The real terror that coursed through the Massachusetts Bay colony from 1692 to ’93 was not the stuff of a night out with the family. More than two hundred people were accused of witchcraft by their neighbors. Nineteen were hanged. Another was pressed to death. Five women died in prison.  Historian Marilynne Roach examines the lives of individuals swept up in the trials through surviving documents, invoices, and objects. Her new book is called Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials.

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All Things Considered
5:17 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Nashua Mayor Alleges Police "Smear Campaign" Related To Contract Dispute

Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau
Credit City of Nashua

The mayor of Nashua, Donnalee Lozeau, says the city police department, led by Chief John Seusing, have investigated her and her husband, David Lozeau, partly over contentious negotiations on a new police labor contract.

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NH News
5:02 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

From 'The Boggs' To 'The Buckner:' Nashua Bar Features Boston Athletes - In Sandwich Form

William Flynn chooses from among the sports-themed sandwiches at the Nashua Garden.
NHPR / Michael Brindley

With the team one win away from a World Series victory, Red Sox fever has officially gripped the Granite State.

At a sports bar in Nashua, passionate fans not only get to root on their team – they also get to eat sandwiches named after Sox players past and present.

The Nashua Garden features sandwiches named after a slew of legendary Boston athletes.

In this audio postcard, we visit the Garden to learn what goes into each creation and talk with fans about their favorite lunchtime staples.

The menu:

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Arts & Culture
8:30 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh: Currier Museum Explains Impressionism In Three Paintings

"Route aux confins de Paris" (1887)
Vincent van Gogh Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, N.H.
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NH News
7:26 am
Sat October 19, 2013

The Rise Of Public School Rowing

One of the largest rowing events in the world --The Head of the Charles Regatta – takes place in Boston this weekend. Public high schoolers from Concord and Bedford will be among the rowers.

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NH News
5:42 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Handwriting Led To Arrest In Racist Graffiti Case

Chief John Duval at podium.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

A Concord tattoo artist has been charged with criminal mischief Tuesday for the racist graffiti found on four Concord homes. Court documents reveal a detailed account of a Concord detective’s investigation into Raymond Stevens. Handwriting on a 2009 gun license application was the first piece of evidence.


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NH News
10:13 am
Tue October 15, 2013

AG: Deadly Force Justified In Officer-Involved Manchester Shooting

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has determined that a state trooper’s use of deadly force was justified in a shooting in Manchester last month.

According to an autopsy, 45-year-old Wendy Lawrence of Canterbury died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

She was shot four times following a high-speed pursuit that ended in Manchester on Sept. 30.

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NH News
8:43 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Manchester Mayoral Candidates To Hold First Debate Wednesday

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas at a campaign fundraiser earlier this year.
Credit Michael Brindley for NHPR

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and challenger Alderman Patrick Arnold will off face in their first debate Wednesday morning.

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