Portsmouth

Courtesy photo

The 18th annual New Hampshire Film Festival kicks off Thursday in Portsmouth.

The four day festival features films from everywhere, but organizers say there’s a tradition of recognizing filmmaking in New Hampshire.

"There's never a shortage of material for us when we're looking to program New Hampshire Day,” says NHFF Executive Director Nicole Gregg. “So I would say that's a pretty good indication that it's a pretty active industry here in the state."

Cubbie_n_Vegas via Flickr

For the first time since the 1990s, Portsmouth International Airport at Pease will be served by two commuter airlines.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people rallied for action on climate change in Keene and Portsmouth this weekend.

They were part of demonstrations nationwide, ahead of a global climate summit in San Francisco this week.

Seacoast families and students filled Portsmouth's Market Square with electric vehicles and signs denouncing fossil fuels and President Trump’s climate policies.

They listened as mock-time travelers told stories from two potential futures. One came after inaction on climate in the present day:

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The Portsmouth City Council voted Tuesday night to expand a tax exemption for home solar panels.

They passed a resolution extending the city’s current exemption to solar arrays of any age, and removing caps on valuations and how long exemptions last.

The value of the panels will be added to homeowners’ property assessment, then immediately deducted, which officials say means the change won't have a big effect on city revenues or residents' tax bills.

Portsmouth Court Reopens After Bomb Threat

Sep 5, 2018

  

Authorities in New Hampshire say nothing suspicious was found at a Portsmouth court following a bomb threat.

Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Merner says a threat was called into the Portsmouth Circuit Court at 2:27 p.m. Tuesday. Police evacuated the courthouse, a nearby middle school and multiple local businesses.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Portsmouth hosted a trans-Atlantic visitor Tuesday – the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, England.

Lord Mayor Lee Mason donned his ceremonial best to meet the staff at Portsmouth City Hall.

He wore glittering gold and black robes, a feathered tri-corner hat, and an ornate gold medallion, which he showed to Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock in the city council chambers:

“This part’s from 1842, the chain itself is 1887, but the logo that’s on it goes back 824 years,” Mason said.

Courtesy BHTNH

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is expanding its educational tours beyond the city of Portsmouth for the first time.

 

The non-profit has the goal of shining a light on African-American history in the state and this month they'll visit the town of Hancock. That's where a formerly-enslaved man named Jack Ware settled in the 1700s.

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Portsmouth City Council has withdrawn its support of a conference on climate policy. 

The conference, titled "Climate Policy Choices: Payoffs and Trade-offs" once had the backing of the Portsmouth City Council.

But several residents raised concerns about the conference speakers, some of whom challenge policies that prioritize climate mitigation efforts, saying they're a big cost to the economy.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Coakley Landfill on New Hampshire’s Seacoast is back in the headlines, more than 30 years after it became a Superfund site.

Neighbors are again worried the site could be poisoning their drinking water, after a rash of childhood cancer cases nearby and the discovery of dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals at the landfill.

That’s despite local officials' promises that the landfill is safe, under control and not a threat to nearby residents. In fact, they say the landfill is mostly just misunderstood.

Courtesy BHTNH

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire purchased a property this week which will become its new home in Porstmouth.

 

Part of the group's mission is to share New Hampshire's African-American history.

 

Executive Director JerriAnne Boggis says the new headquarters will be an anchor for statewide educational tours.

 

gundalow.org

Hot days call for cool water. If you are looking for an aquatic adventure, consider a sail on a Gundalow out of Portsmouth, a jaunt on a runabout on Lake Winnipesaukee, or a narrated cruise of Lake Sunapee.

Michele L'heureux

New Hampshire is known for its natural beauty, and this is certainly the perfect time of year to enjoy it, but equally enticing are the artistic vistas on view at the many museums and galleries located throughout the state.  What could be better on a hot (or rainy) day than an hour or so of tempered air and a glimpse into another world, real or imagined? 

Here are five summer exhibits to mark on your calendar.  Visit the NHPR Community Calendar for more events.

Via Wikimedia Commons

A Plaistow-based construction company has won a $13-million contract for work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Methuen Construction is the winner of a competitive bidding process to upgrade and repair pumping facilities at the Shipyard. The federal contract was announced by the U.S. Navy and hailed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan as a win for Granite State business.

Portsmouth turns 400 years old in 2023 and planning for that birthday is already under way.

Portsmouth residents will have a chance tonight to share their ideas at a public forum on how they want to celebrate the city's four centuries.

Susan Labrie is the director of Portsmouth400, which is the group planning the celebration. She says the anniversary is more than just a day for a parade.

"It's going to be creating the programs and events that go beyond 2023,” she said.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is contributing a commemorative letter about the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge to a time capsule.

The bridge connects the state to Maine. She'll start at the Kittery, Maine, side on Friday, where she plans to highlight the importance of the bridge as a vital economic link for the region and for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The time capsule will serve as a reflection of life in northern New England in 2018 and will be placed at a later time.

Dan Tuohy

 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire's oldest city, is gearing up for its 400th birthday.

The Portsmouth Historical Society and the city have created a partnership called Portsmouth400 to mark the anniversary in 2023. The events will start with a look back at previous anniversaries.

The festivities will continue with discussions of how to engage the community in programs that will honor the city's historic past and benefit its future.

The sessions are set for June 12 and June 26 at the Portsmouth Public Library. More sessions will be held in the fall.

 

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Expect to hear big brass bands, a 19-gun salute and cannons at the New Hampshire State Pier on Saturday. That's when thousands will gather to watch the new USS Manchester officially get its title.

The 3,000 ton Navy vessel is part of a new line of combat ships. They are lighter, faster and can fight closer to the shoreline.

The ship also has a smaller crew. There are about 70 people total who man the ship, compared to about 300 crew members on a destroyer. 

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will develop new regulations on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water. The substances, called PFAS, have been a problem on New Hampshire's Seacoast and elsewhere.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said at a summit on PFAS in Washington on Tuesday that they’ll talk about the issue in Portsmouth next month.

New Hampshire environmental regulators joined officials from at least 30 other states and tribes at the summit.

Naval Sea Systems

 

The USS Manchester, a U.S. Navy combat ship, will be commissioned Saturday in Portsmouth.

The commissioning ceremony for the USS Manchester Littoral Combat Ship on May 26 will be at the New Hampshire State Pier, aka the state Port Authority.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital has opened a new drop-off site for moms who are interested in donating breast milk. The hospital partnered with Mother's Milk Bank Northeast for the project.

This is state's fourth milk depot.

Nora Fortin, director of maternity, pediatric and women's health, says there are a lot of women in the state who have extra milk to give.

Courtesy

This weekend, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is celebrating 20 years of building community around poetry. It's considered one of the oldest municipal laureate programs in the country that provides a stipend and support for the laureate. Each laureate launches a project that's meant to bring poetry into the community. Bill Burtis is the co-chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Board of Trustees. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

How did the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program come to be?

WPS Geography

Environmentalists will kick off a new campaign for clean energy development in Portsmouth Wednesday.

The League of Conservation Voters' "Clean Energy for All" project spans 30 states, including New Hampshire.

State Director Rob Werner says they're unveiling the campaign in Portsmouth because zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions and using all renewable sources of power are now part of that city's energy policy goals.

Maine DOT

 

A  replacement for a 76-year-old bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine opened to traffic on Friday after months-long delays caused friction between transportation officials and the contractor.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge replaces an old span that connected Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine, along the Route 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River.

Courtesy of U.S. Navy

The second ship to have the name U.S.S. Manchester will officially get that title during a commissioning ceremony on May 26th in Portsmouth.

The U.S. Navy, along with the ship’s official sponsor Senator Jeanne Shaheen, made the announcement on Thursday at an event inside the Manchester Millyard Museum.

“We could not be more excited to have this addition to our longstanding tradition of contributing here in New Hampshire to our national defense,” said Shaheen.

Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth says it expects to release a trove of documents about toxic waste cleanup at Coakley Landfill Superfund Site around the end of this month.

It comes as a group of Seacoast lawmakers files suit to get records from the entities responsible for that pollution, known together as the Coakley Landfill Group. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

In Portsmouth, students had planned a walkout for the morning but it was interrupted by the snow storm, which caused a delayed school opening.

But that didn’t keep Portsmouth students from having their message heard.

Police in a New Hampshire city are making efforts to address loud motorcycles in Portsmouth.

Police Chief Robert Merner says he is aware of a proposed ordinance currently in a Senate committee that would ban "motorcycle-only checkpoints," but adds he has ordered decibel reading equipment for his officers to be used citywide.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Merner says enforcement of noise levels will begin in the spring during motorcycle season.

DOT

The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation just issued an update on the delayed opening of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge: Despite rumors about why it's delayed, the bridge is "operational and safe."

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

Courtesy

Portsmouth businessman Deaglan McEachern announced his candidacy for Congress in an email blast on Wednesday, becoming the seventh Democrat to enter the race in the First District.

McEachern is a well-known name in state Democratic circles: his father Paul ran for Governor several times. Deaglan, 34, is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and UC Berkeley, who went on to row competitively for Cambridge University and the U.S. national team.

“As Americans, we are stronger when we pull together,” he writes on his website.

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