Southern Tier

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.

Scott McGilvray of Hooksett is President of NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest teachers union, and that’s a job he says he’ll keep if he wins a seat on the state Senate.  McGilvray says there’s no conflict of interest, because he stopped doing any lobbying work. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The New Hampshire internet company, Dyn, has restored services after a cyber-attack Friday morning.

The Manchester-based company provides internet infrastructure services to major internet companies including Twitter, Etsy, and CNBC.

Dyn says it began investigating the attack early Friday morning as it began to affect websites on the East coast.  Reportedly, Dyn customers including Twitter, Spotify, and Reddit were shut down or performing poorly.

By 10:30 this morning, Dyn said its services had been restored. 

Jessica Hunt for NHPR

Jim Lawrence, a Republican running for U.S. Congress from Hudson, hasn’t paid property taxes on his home for three years, according to the Concord Monitor, which reported Lawrence owes the town of Hudson $15,614 for a home valued at $289,100.

www.lawrenceforcongress.com

Republican candidate for Congress Jim Lawrence provided details on his business background in an interview with the Union Leader, after a report by NHPR into Lawrence’s business record. 

Jessica Hunt, NHPR

Jim Lawrence is running for Congress in District 2  in New Hampshire. He’s a Republican, going up against incumbent Democrat, Ann McLane Kuster. His pitch to voters relies heavily on his record as what he calls "a small business owner."  But it’s hard to get much detail on what exactly that record entails.

Nashua residents recently packed City Hall to urge their aldermen to back a resolution that would affirm the city’s welcoming stance toward refugees and immigrants. Activists and others spoke in support of the newcomers, but they also had a somewhat unlikely ally: the city’s business leaders, who say foreign-born residents would boost Nashua’s economic vitality.

As a rookie officer in Nashua, N.H., Sergeant Lakeisha Phelps owned a little blue sports car. “One of the troopers would stop me like every other night,” she says, laughing. Phelps worked midnight shifts, and arrived in Nashua around 11 at night.

The Manchester internet company Dyn has a new CEO. Colin Doherty is succeeding Dyn co-founder Jeremy Hitchcock. 

Dyn is an internet performance management company based in Manchester, with clients including Visa, Netflix and Twitter.

John K via Flickr CC

Two-hundred randomly selected public water customers in Merrimack will get their blood tested for PFOA. That’s the contaminant found in drinking water near the Saint-Gobain plastics plant.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 The city of Manchester has won a $25,000 prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for cultivating what the foundation calls a “culture of health.” 

Manchester is one of seven communities to receive the prize, out of nearly 200 applicants. 

Saint-George's, Manchester, NH

This weekend is Saint-George Greek Orthodox Church’s 37th annual Glendi festival in Manchester-- the church's largest fundraiser of the year. 

Glendi is the Greek word for “celebration," and the festival, which runs from Friday through Sunday, includes live music, traditional costumed dancing, and plenty of Greek food.

Frank Comerford is the president of the church’s Board of Directors, and calls himself "the Irish president of the Greek Cathedral." If he could only get one thing at the festival all weekend, Comeford says, he would get the lamb shank.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The state will offer blood tests to a random selection of residents who use  city water in Merrimack. That’s despite the fact that public water in Merrimack is currently below the state’s enforceable threshold for PFOA contamination.

Surrounding the Saint-Gobain plastics plant in Merrimack, over 600 private wells have been tested for the chemical PFOA, and more than a third have turned up with high enough contamination to qualify for bottled water, new water infrastructure, and blood tests paid for by Saint-Gobain.

Sean Hurley

November 29, 1964 is known in the Catholic Church as “the day Mass changed.” It didn’t take a day – more like five years - but by 1969 the vernacular “New Mass” had taken hold and the traditional Latin Mass, in place for 400 years, largely became a thing of the past.  But as NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports, the Latin Mass is making something of a comeback here in New Hampshire.

For five years John Brancich fought fires in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota.

Comstock/Thinkstock

As New Hampshire regulators consider adopting the EPA’s PFOA health advisory as the state’s enforceable standard, a New Jersey committee has recommended setting a much lower standard in that state.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

In the last couple years, millions of people across the country have learned their drinking water contains high levels of the contaminants known as perfluorichemicals. These are used to make nonstick things like Teflon and pizza boxes.  And for those with illnesses that are linked to the contaminant, that knowledge can be helpful -- and frustrating.

WMUR

Two Republican candidates for the state's 2nd Congressional District went head to head for an hour Thursday night during a debate hosted by WMUR and the Union Leader. Jack Flanagan and Jim Lawrence are vying to go up against incumbent Democrat Annie Kuster.

The Conservation Law Foundation says it will file two lawsuits against the Pease Development Authority over stormwater discharges, which the foundation alleges contains high levels of the chemical contaminants PFOA and PFOS.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The Radisson ballroom was not yet full, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would not arrive for almost an hour. Already, the crowd chanted, “lock her up.” Peter Vincello from Raymond was on his way in, with his 15 year-old son.

“He kinda talked me into it. I was actually supporting Cruz in the primary.” But now, Vincello said, “He says all the right things, second amendment, getting the economy back, law and order.”

public domain / wikimedia commons

The state’s Department of Environmental Services is going through the public comments as it weighs how much of the contaminants PFOA and PFOS to allow in drinking water in the state. These are the chemicals that have contaminated wells in Southern NH, on the former Pease Air Force Base, and countless other locations around the country and the world. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Thirteen years ago, Roni Vetter bought an ice-cream shop called Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Today, Jake’s is a locally-sourced, wholesale ice cream supplier out of Vetter’s hometown of Nashua.  For this week’s installment of our weekly series “Foodstuffs,” NHPR visited Vetter’s tiny ice cream factory, and saw her process step-by-step.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

This Friday is the last day for New Hampshire residents to weigh in on drinking water standards for the chemicals PFOA and PFOS. These are the chemicals that have contaminated drinking water in Southern NH, on the former Pease Air Force Base, and countless other locations around the country and the world.

On Tuesday, NHPR host, Brady Carlson spoke with reporter Emily Corwin about the deadline.

So get me up to date here. Friday is the deadline for the public to comment on a new rule?

Emily Corwin

Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen called on Congress today to provide money for research on the Zika virus. She spoke to state and town officials in Salem, where mosquitos with both West Nile and EEE have been successfully controlled in years past.

The state’s Health department says New Hampshire’s fourth and final medical marijuana dispensary will open Thursday in Merrimack.

Emily Corwin

New analysis of state and county-wide data shows black and Hispanic people are arrested and incarcerated at higher rates in New Hampshire than whites are, and at more disproportionate rates than blacks and Hispanics nationwide.

Little research has been done in New Hampshire on race and the state's 10 county jails, which are run by county government.  No comprehensive data is available regarding these jails’ populations. But in our recent story, Racial Disparities Increase At Each Step Of N.H.'s Justice System, data provided to NHPR by the Valley Street Jail in Hillsborough County allows a glimpse into the details of who is incarcerated here, and why.

Here are the numbers behind our analysis.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Click photos for slideshow.

For the last few months, Laura McCarthy has been preparing to put a lifetime of training on display before an international audience in Rio de Janeiro—home of this year’s summer Olympics.  No, McCarthy is not an athlete. She’s a fashion designer. And today – a collaboration she’s been working on for months will be draped on a Brazilian model, and strutted down a runway in Rio.

US Drought Mitigation Center

Despite the rainy weekend, the state’s environmental services department is continuing to urge residents in areas with severe drought to conserve water. 

The drought has been called the worst in New Hampshire in over a decade. While over 100 water systems in the state have formal outdoor watering bans and restrictions in place, the state is asking even those not listed to conserve water. 

US Drought Mitigation Center

The region's ongoing drought has forced state officials to restrict or ban outdoor water use in 54 New Hampshire towns and cities.

The state's drought management team has classified the North Country and the White Mountains as “abnormally dry,” while four counties in the southern tier are suffering severe drought conditions. 

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