The Monadnock Region

Unlike some other parts of New Hampshire, it’s hard to capture an overarching picture of the Monadnock region through economic and demographic information.  In fact, looking at US Census numbers, both Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties could be described as “overwhelmingly average” compared to the state as a whole.  The only major economic deviation from the state’s overall numbers appears to be a single tier of home prices.  While 28.2 percent of New Hampshire homes fall into the $300 thousand to $499,999 price range, Cheshire County reports less than half that figure.

The real economic picture of the Monadnock Region is much more subtle.

Like much of New Hampshire, manufacturing is a major source of jobs.  In fact, Cheshire County is only second to Sullivan County in the Dartmouth-Sunapee region for the percent of area wages paid by factories.  Hillsborough County comes in a close third.

Despite the heavy industrial presence, the Monadnock region maintains a largely rural character.  It’s home to the oldest–and longest-running–artists’ colony in the nation.  The countryside also supports a number of small-scale organic farms.  And the region’s shared border with Vermont has made for some interesting cross-state collaboration in the local foods movement.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

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The state’s highest court has ruled that protesters who went around following parking attendants and feeding meters in Keene cannot be sued for damages.

Tuesday's decision states these so-called "Robin Hooders" are protected under the First Amendment as long as their actions remain nonviolent.

YOUTUBE.COM

The state’s highest court will rule Tuesday on whether the so-called “Robin Hooders” of Keene, who go around feeding expired parking meters, are protected under the First Amendment.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court will decide whether the city has a right to mandate how far protesters can come to parking meter attendants on the job.

thecaldorrainbow.blogspot.com

It’s a sign of the times in Keene, where the city’s last-standing video rental store announced this week it’s closing up shop.

Video HeadQuarters opened in 1983, and at one time was one of the highest-grossing video stores in the nation.

But a rapidly evolving home entertainment industry finally caught up with the business. The store will close next month.

Owner Ken McAleer joined NHPR’s Morning Edition from his video store in Keene.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

There will be no Pumpkin Festival in Keene this year, after the City Council voted overwhelmingly to reject a permit for the annual event after alcohol-fueled violence last year led to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests.

The council voted 13-1 last night not to grant the license.

Councilor Kris Roberts was one of the most vocal supporters of keeping the festival going.

Courtesy

 

The fate of the Keene Pumpkin Festival rests with the City Council, which could vote against holding the annual fall tradition that was overshadowed by nearby violent disturbances last year.

The city's Planning, Licensing and Development Committee has twice rejected a permit request for the festival. The matter now goes before the council, which meets at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The nonprofit group running the festival, Let It Shine, wants the city to develop a security plan for the festival. That's estimated to cost more than $300,000.

Keene Police Department

Keene police have arrested a man they say fired a gun during a domestic dispute Wednesday morning, prompting a lockdown at nearby Keene State College and Wheelock School.

Tyler Day, 22, is facing five felony charges, including reckless conduct and criminal threatening, as well as three misdemeanors. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at Keene district court.

Police say they responded to the area of Proctor Court around 9:30 Wednesday morning for a report of a domestic disturbance.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

 

A City Council committee has once again rejected a permit request this year for the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a fall tradition overshadowed by nearby violent disturbances last year.

WMUR-TV reports the nonprofit group running the festival, Let It Shine, wants the city to develop a security plan, estimated to cost more than $300,000.

The Planning, Licensing and Development Committee rejected a license Wednesday for the second time. The Keene City Council is scheduled to vote on it April 2.

The Monadnock Folklore Society is the steward of New Hampshire’s musical and dance heritage. Samuel Foucher, who is 17, received a scholarship from the Society to study with legendary contra dance piano and accordion player Bob McQuillen. McQuillen, who died in February, 2014 at the age of 90.

 

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

  Let It Shine, the group that organizes the Keen Pumpkin Festival, and city officials are at an impasse as this year’s festival hangs in the balance.

After the riot that took place during last years’ pumpkin festival, Let It Shine was saddled with an unusually high bill due to the added police response needed to control the disturbance.

It has already paid about $60,000 of the $90,000 bill and is now asking the city for approval to move forward with this year’s festival.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Advocates for keeping Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival going said at a forum Tuesday the loss of revenue to local nonprofits would be devastating, while those who want to see the festival end raised concerns about whether the riots that marred this year’s festival will get worse.

"Is it responsible to dig in our heels when there is a very real possibility this will happen again?" said Beth Truman, a Keene resident and Pumpkin Festival volunteer. "Luckily this didn't result in any deaths, but what if there is a death next year? ...It is time for it to end."

One of the ways health officials have tried to stem the growing amount of heroin and prescription opioid abuse in New Hampshire is methadone treatment. Methadone is an opioid, but given in the proper dose, it can reduce cravings without getting users high.

Melanie Plenda for NHPR

For many Keene residents, the wounds are still fresh.

"This is an emotional issue," said Jessica White, who started the Facebook Page "Keene Pumpkin Festival Move it or Lose it" and moderated a forum Thursday night focused on the events of that weekend. "We were hurt. We were embarrassed. Embarrassed is a big one."

On Oct. 18 and 19, more than 2,000 college-aged adults overwhelmed police, started street fires, threw full liquor bottles at emergency officials tending to the injured, toppled light poles and tipped cars for more than eight hours.

Virginia Prescott / NHPR

It was a sparkling fall day with trees ablaze in Francestown, New Hampshire.

Senior Producer, Maureen McMurray and I, met historian Eric Stanway on the town green in Francestown just as the bells of the white clapboard community church pealed noon. From there we then followed him to a small beach at Haunted Pond; a lovely, shallow pond rimmed with summer cottages, birches and pines -- the picture of serenity despite the number of people who met their ends there. Listen to the spooky story below.

Keene Police Department

 

Keene police have made the first arrest as a result of asking the public for photos of the violent disturbances during a family-friendly pumpkin festival last weekend.

Police say 19-year-old Jacob Clark of Chichester threw a beer bottle at a police officer. He was charged Thursday with a felony count of reckless conduct. He was released on $500 bail and is due back in court Nov. 6.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Keene police say they may pursue subpoenas as they work to identify those responsible for the mayhem that occurred during last weekend’s Pumpkin Festival.

Police say the subpoenas will be used to identify account subscriber information for phone numbers and social media accounts.

Officials say social media played a significant role in the riots that occurred in Keene Saturday and into Sunday morning.

And that’s where they’re now looking for evidence.

Vanderbuilt.edu

When her son came home from school one day last March, Jessica Giberson was disturbed. She noticed her son’s genitals were bruised and swollen. Giberson’s son is developmentally delayed.  

"He is nine years old. He’s more like a three year old in a nine year old’s body," says Giberson.

Giberson says she complained to the Crotched Mountain Foundation School, but that nothing ever came of it. Then in June, she got a call from the school.

West Midlands Police via flickr Creative Commons

Police officials in Keene have taken to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to track down the major players in last weekend’s riots, and want the public to help them track down additional perpetrators. On today’s show: how police departments across the nation are using social media to fight crime and bolster their image. 

Plus: the 1922 version of Nosferatu still tops lists as one of the greatest horror films of all time. We’ll find out what goes into scoring this silent classic for a live audience.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Keene Police Department

Keene police have released two dozen photos from this weekend's riots and are asking the public to help identify the suspects.

"These subjects can be seen engaging in criminal acts, if identified, will be arrested and charged accordingly," the department said. 

Police said earlier this week they've already made 84 arrests connected to the riots, which took place Saturday afternoon and escalated again later that night and into Sunday morning.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

There have already been 84 arrests made in connection with the riots in Keene over the weekend, as police continue to scour video and photos on social media for additional culprits.

At a press conference in Keene City Hall, Police Chief Ken Meola said there’s been trouble at Pumpkin Festival in the past, but nothing like what the city saw this weekend.

“These were gatherings that occurred on public property, disrupting traffic, disrupting people’s lives, disrupting the quality of life, putting people in potential for some serious harm.”

FinnaRageTV.com

This weekend, Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival ended in chaos.

The main part of the festival downtown was mostly untouched. But just down the road, in a neighborhood abutting Keene State College, young people charged through the streets, hurling beer bottles at police in riot gear.

And city and state officials are laying at least some of the blame on social media, and they've named one small party-hosting company. 

So, how in the world did Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival - a subdued, family event - turn into this…

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Governor Maggie Hassan says a company may have staged the massive house parties that broke out into riots in Keene Saturday and early Sunday morning.

After meeting with officials from the city and Keene State College Sunday, Hassan explained the parties were broadcast on social media.

"As far as we can tell," Hassan says, "there are companies now that advertise parties around certain events often near college campuses, attract people there, and the people are encouraged to do things that are then videotaped and put on social media."

Melanie Plenda for NHPR

Before riots overshadowed the festivities in Keene on Saturday, thousands gathered in the city's downtown for the annual spectacle of thousands of jack-o'-lanterns lining Main Street.

Click above to see a gallery of some of the pumpkins, which include corporate-sponsored carvings, political messages, and at least one marriage proposal. 

Michael Moore / Keene Sentinel

 

Keene State College students are cleaning up from a chaotic weekend after parties near the city's annual pumpkin festival turned violent.

Dozens of people were injured and arrested as crowds overturned cars, set fires and hurled bottles at police, who responded with riot gear and tear gas.

Police did not have a final count of arrests Sunday, but the department's police log shows officers responded to 235 calls between 2:30 a.m. Friday and 3:30 a.m. Sunday and made at least 49 arrests.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Police turned out in riot gear to try to quell the violence that erupted in the neighborhoods surrounding the Pumpkin Festival in Keene Saturday.

Initial police and fire reports indicate that police and EMTs had to dodge bottles and other debris from the hostile crowd as they tried to tend to the injured.

Stephanie Konopka of Swanzey was visiting the festival with her 12-year-old daughter Saturday afternoon, and said her car was surrounded by a mob of hundreds of college age students while driving down Winchester Street at about 2 p.m.

Michael Flanagan/Flickr CC

The Bureau of Justice Administration has approved funding for a new drug court in Nashua, but has rejected a grant for the same program in Manchester.

Hillsborough County Superior Court had applied for two three-year, $325,000 grants.

Each would have funded drug courts in the state’s two largest cities, but, earlier this month, only Nashua’s was approved.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Ken Brown says while he’s disappointed, the Manchester court did receive funding for a similar program called Project HOPE.

A plan to make the Monadnock region one of the healthiest communities in the country has received a financial boost from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $1.1 million to Healthy Monadnock 2020, an initiative of Cheshire Medical Center-Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene. The hospital is working with schools, farmers and other private and public entities to prevent some of the leading causes of death, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Jack Rodolico

The number of urgent care clinics in New Hampshire has almost doubled since 2012. And in the next year, three such clinics will open their doors in the City of Keene. That will mean more choices for patients in the Monadnock Region - and stiff competition for the clinics.

Urgent care clinics are often called retail healthcare. You’ll see the clinics in strip malls. The idea is you can walk in without an appointment, be treated by a doctor for anything from a bad cut to a broken finger to a sore throat, and get out -- quickly.

A Peterborough Tale Of Friendship, Poetry & The Dump

Jul 24, 2014
Todd Bookman

Here's a classic New Hampshire tale revolving around  neighbors in a small town, poetry, and the town dump's swap shop. Read the story here, which includes full transcripts of Swift's poetry, and listen to the full story through Caitlin and Swift's words below.

Mixed Chemicals Led To Explosion In Peterborough

May 8, 2014
To / NHPR

Investigators say a chemical reaction is to blame for a February 10th explosion at a factory in Peterborough that injured 22 people, including 2 critically.

In a letter to employees, New Hampshire Ball Bearing President Gary Yomantas says nitric acid transferred into a 55-gallon drum containing a mixture of chemical waste sparked the blast. 

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  About 80% of the people behind bars in New Hampshire have substance abuse issues. It’s a growing problem and one way the justice system is trying to address the problem is with drug courts—where nonviolent offenders have their sentences suspended if they take part in treatment. Five counties now operate drug courts and efforts are underway to start two more in Manchester and Nashua. The program could help reduce recidivism rates.


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