This Week in N.H. News: Winter Is Very Much Here. Let Us Count The Ways.
OK, so things might be brightening up a bit this weekend. But it's still the middle of February and we're just coming off of several rounds of snowstorms and New Hampshire winters are nothing if not unpredictable — so while we're all catching our breath waiting for the next whiteout, we thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some particularly wintry stories before diving into the rest of this week's headlines.
(If you're sick of the cold: Just keep scrolling! But make sure to sign up for our newsletters first.)
ICYMI: Lotta Snow Out There...
After falling into disrepair, the 171-foot-tall Nansen Ski Jump in Milan was restored over the winter, and will soon host its first jump in more than three decades. Located just north of Berlin along Route 16, the jump hosted Olympic Trials in 1938, and went on to host four national ski jumping championships.
Climbers are advised to take a snow check on any planned hikes around Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines, according to the Mount Washington Avalanche Center. (In their words, avalanche terrain right now is "near epic proportions.") On a related note: This is a good time to appreciate the work of Lily Carus, the Mount Washington Avalanche Center’s resident Avalanche Dog.
There were as many snowmobile fatalities across New Hampshire last weekend as there were in the state all last winter. Between those deaths and a spate of other accidents, the Fish and Game Department says it’s having trouble keeping up with calls for help. The Union Leader has more details on the other accidents reported last weekend and a remembrance of the victims of the fatal crashes.
- A snow day riddle: “What’s small and orange and needs to be shoveled out 1,382 times in Concord alone?” (Concord Monitor)
- Berlin is looking at whether it’s worth investing in a heated sidewalk system to speed up snow melting. (Berlin Daily Sun)
- While most of the state was hunkering down at home, this 36-year plow driver was happily braving the storm in Northfield with his fellow cleanup crews. The way he sees it, “You should treat these roads like you would your own driveway.” (Concord Monitor)
- Take it from one optical systems engineer who recently found himself facing down Frankenstein Cliff in Hart’s Location: Ice climbing is as much cerebral as it is physical. “It’s both an adrenaline rush and it’s a puzzle-solving test.” (Associated Press)
- One Belmont resident just wants to say thanks to a Good Samaritan (and his dog) for their help shoveling out last week. (Laconia Daily Sun)
- Something called a “Snowshoe Hullabaloo” is happening in Exeter this weekend. (Seacoast Online)
- A message from New Hampshire Fish and Game: Don’t feed the deer. Really. (NH Fish and Game Facebook)
In Other News...
New Hampshire’s moose are on the decline and so, too, are moose permits. NHPR caught up with the state’s Moose Program Leader (which is indeed a real job) about how the agency’s trying to manage the Annual Moose Lottery to account for a shrinking moose population.
Even though refugee resettlement has resumed after a federal judge halted President Trump’s recent executive order, that hasn’t done much to ease uncertainty among refugees and the groups who try to support them here in New Hampshire.
On a related note, at the University of New Hampshire: President Mark Huddleston was pressed this week during a campus forum to explain how that school plans to protect students who might be affected by the order. Huddleston said he didn’t think declaring the school a “sanctuary campus” would be productive — and could end up putting students more at risk — but did say he wouldn’t allow campus police to be “deputized” by federal authorities for immigration enforcement. (University of New Hampshire Youtube)
About Those 'Buses' Of Voters...
With all the (unfounded) talk of voters being bused across the border en masse to throw New Hampshire elections, you might be wondering: What do we know about the people who registered to vote on Election Day? Thanks to some newly released records from the Secretary of State’s office, we now have a slightly clearer picture. Dig into the map here for more insight on where out-of-state licenses were used to register at the polls in November. (Short answer: If there were really buses pouring in from Massachusetts, they appear to have taken a pretty winding route.)
And, just to be totally clear: Under existing law, out-of-state licenses are a valid form of voter ID in New Hampshire. Learn more about what it takes to register to vote and what’s actually required to cast a ballot and how the state is supposed to respond to make sure people are who they say they are.
On the #NHpolitics Front...
- Right-to-Work is off the table in New Hampshire, at least for the next two years. Acting against the urging of state party leaders, the governor and conservative advocacy groups, a few dozen Republicans sided with Democrats to sink the bill — and to block it from coming back up again during this legislative session.
- After a few bumps along the way (in the form of a contentious public hearing and a delayed vote so he could be formally presented to the state board), Frank Edelblut was officially confirmed as New Hampshire’s new education commissioner this week.
- Rules around drones and veterinarians’ prescribing practices, among other issues, were also up for debate this week.
- Lawmakers are also weighing whether to give grandparents more of a say in guardianship cases involving their grandchildren, prompted in part by the rising number of children living with grandparents because of their parents’ substance abuse.
- After pitching a plan to target funding for full-day kindergarten to needy communities, rather than spread it out across the board, Sununu had this explanation for skeptical lawmakers this week: “Let’s not let great be the enemy of the good."
- Outside of his official business at the Statehouse, the governor sat down for an hourlong conversation with The Exchange earlier this week — weighing in on Trump’s claims about voter fraud, the fate of Medicaid expansion and more.
- The Granite State is divided on its views of President Trump so far, but — in a caveat that will surprise no one — New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats have much different views on his job performance.
Also Worth A Click...
(Despite the bridge battles and general interstate rivalry, we in the public radio sphere will keep doing our part to improve relations across the Connecticut River.)
- Vermont to New Hampshire, basically: “Start pulling your fair share.” Officials next door are losing patience with the Granite State in a decades-long neighborly dispute over upkeep of the Bellows Falls bridge. (Eagle Times)
- A timely story on taking care of your heart that’s not about Valentine’s Day. (Eagle Times)
- Coming off a 12-18 season, the UNH Wildcats women’s basketball team is having quite a turnaround: They’re close to making the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. (Seacoast Online)
- Some students and officials in Durham are getting frustrated with a lack of recycling options in off-campus housing, especially since some of those property owners signaled they would provide it as a condition of being able to build the housing units in the first place. (The New Hampshire)
- Local police in Durham are turning to Facebook and Twitter followers for help tracking down a few people who damaged cars during (mostly peaceful) post-Super Bowl celebrations a few weeks ago. (The New Hampshire)
- Applying to Dartmouth could be a little more within reach for low-income and first-generation students, if the administration heeds a student-led call to waive application fees for those groups. (The Dartmouth)
- If everything goes according to plan, the iconic Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is supposed to open back up by the fall. Some students who frequented the landmark say they’re looking forward to having a place to go without a wifi connection. (The Dartmouth)
- Some economic optimism is sprouting up in the North Country in the form of several new hotel projects. (InDepthNH)
- Meanwhile, the Lakes Region is having an interesting kind of property boom of another kind: storage units. (Laconia Daily Sun)
- Heads up, Prius drivers: Hitting the road in New Hampshire could get more expensive, as legislators consider adding a fees to electric car drivers to offset potential losses in gas tax revenue. (Concord Monitor)
- A high-tech greenhouse could soon sprout up in Berlin — this, after its developer’s attempts to plant it in several other New Hampshire towns withered. (InDepthNH)
- New Hampshire has more millionaires than Washington, D.C. — but it still falls behind a few other New England states, according to a new report. (New Hampshire Business Review)
- The Islamic Society of the Seacoast Area is hoping to turn a vacant lot in Dover into a place for meetings, prayer, educational services and more. (Seacoast Online)
- Did you know New Hampshire’s home to more than 900 dams? And none of them are close to the size of the one that spurred a mass evacuation in California this week — the tallest, at 193 feet, sits on the Upper Connecticut River in Littleton. (Concord Monitor)
- A new catchphrase/greeting/personal mantra to consider, courtesy of a late Cardigan Mountain School headmaster: “It’s a beautiful day in New Hampshire.” (Valley News)