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A Year In New Hampshire News: The Top Stories of 2019

Allie Gutierrez for NHPR
Three of the Bear Brook murder victims were identified in 2019. The case was chronicled by NHPR's Bear Brook Podcast.

New Hampshire Public Radio covered thousands of stories in 2019. Some stories offered closure, while others still await a final chapter.

Hands down, NHPR broadcast listeners, online readers, and podcast fans made Bear Brook the most popular story of the year.

As chronicled by the Bear Brook Podcast, three of the murder victims discarded in two barrels in Allenstown nearly four decades ago were identified in June. Two of the victims were laid to rest at a funeral in November.

Credit Ali Oshinskie for NHPR
Associate Attorney General Jeff Strelzin discussing the identities of three of the Bear Brook murder victims.

Stories on primary politics, a gun manufacturer's pistol, marijuana legislation, Mount Washington, and a rare Frank Lloyd Wright home were among the top 10 stories on

And features on the "World Famous" Ruggles Mine, New Hampshire's last roller-skating rink, and the prospect of mountain lions in the state resonated with readers and listeners alike.

A lot of history was made in 2019. The House of Representatives impeached President Trump.

There were also big votes at the State House this year. The state abolished the death penalty, with the legislature overturning the veto of Gov. Chris Sununu — who had a record number of vetoes during a time of divided government in Concord. 

The first-in-the-nation presidential primary continues to pique interest, and NHPR launched itsStranglehold Podcast, a unique way of covering the New Hampshire Primary. Casey McDermott was first to report that Dixville Notch's midnight voting was at risk for 2020.

NHPR reporters found a loyal audience covering stories on climate change, energy issues, the opioid crisis, mental health, and voting rights — as well as PFAS and drinking water quality. 

Scroll down to view some of the most-read and most-engaging stories on this year. Do you have a favorite that didn't make the list? Email us or share it on the NHPR Facebook page.

A Year in New Hampshire News

Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR
High Tide Flyover / Sea Level Rise: A 10-foot high tide, like one seen here, causes regular flooding in some neighborhoods of Hampton Beach.

JANUARY Top Stories

  1. CEO of N.H. Gun Maker Facing Five Years in German Prison for Alleged Arms Deal
  2. After Controversy, City Approves 'Pho Keene Great' Restaurant Name
  3. N.H. Family to Receive $1,000 a month from Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang
  4. High Tide Flyover Shows Rising Seas Already Threaten N.H. Seacoast
  5. What Marijuana Bills Will the N.H. Legislature Consider in 2019
  6. Nashua Group Says Light Rail Could Arrive By 2023
  7. House Bill Would Add Lyme Disease to Medical Conditions for Therapeutic Cannabis
  8. FAA Worker From Brookline Discusses Impeach of Furlough During Government Shutdown
  9. In Franklin, Residents Balance Ambitious Growth Plans with Economic Realities
  10. Shoes Like Wolves' Feet: The Inventions of Portsmouth's Sam Asano
  11. When Low Taxes Aren't Enough: How State-backed Incentives Help Lure Businesses to N.H.
  12. Governor Sununu Sworn In For Second Term, Delivers Inaugural Address

Credit Sean Hurley for NHPR
Jeremy Ullmann, a climber from Somerville, Mass., died after falling in the Huntington Ravine area of Mount Washington in February of 2019.

FEBRUARY Top Stories

  1. In Close Vote, House Committee Backs Marijuana Legalization in N.H.
  2. Climber Dies After Fall on Mount Washington
  3. New Measurement Data Means New Hampshire's Famed '4,000 Footer' List May Change
  4. New Hampshire's Snatam Kaur Takes The Stage at the Grammy's
  5. The Snow Rangers of Mount Washington
  6. Amid Election Scrutiny, Dixville Notch's Midnight Voting Tradition Could Be At Risk
  7. Paid Family Medical Leave Clears N.H. Senate After Long, Testy Floor Debate
  8. Marianne Williamson Makes Campaign Stop in Exeter
  9. First Lady Valerie Sununu Quietly Emerges as Advocate for Kids' Causes
  10. The Rules Are Different Here: A Series on New Hampshire's Jails and Prisons

Credit Ali Oshinskie for NHPR
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, during an interview at NHPR.

MARCH Top Stories

  1. N.H. AG Says 11-year-old Charged with Murder in Alton Shooting
  2. N.H. Passes Bill to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to get a Driver's License
  3. Sig Sauer Faces Potential Class Action Suit Over 'Drop Fire' Issue with Popular Pistol
  4. N.H. House Panel Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill, Reworks Tax Structure
  5. 2020 Candidate Conversation: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  6. In Close Vote, House Committee Backs Marijuana Legalization in N.H.
  7. Poor? Found Guilty? N.H. Sends You A Bill, Anyway
  8. 'We're Trying to Just Survive': How State Cuts Fueled Berlin's School Funding Crisis
  9. As Dartmouth Rolls Out New Harassment Plan, Critics Say It's Nowhere Near Enough
  10. Held Back: Why N.H. Still Struggles to Answer School Funding Questions

Credit Courtesy of Debbie DeHavens
Al DeHavens built the Enfield rink, originally called Al's Casino, in 1977. At the height of the rink's popularity, there were lines up to an hour to get in and hundreds of people out on the floor.

APRIL Top Stories

  1. For N.H.'s Last Roller Rink, End of An Era Looms
  2. N.H. Health Officials Say Hepatitis A Outbreak is Accelerating
  3. N.H. House Votes to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
  4. Pamela Smart Asks Governor and Council to Commute Her Life Sentence
  5. New Fictional Podcast is Set in Berlin, N.H.
  6. Model Citizen? No, But Exeter Man is at Center of First Amendment Dispute
  7. Sig Sauer CEO Avoids Jail Time for Role in Illegal Arms Shipment
  8. In Votes at N.H. State House, Lawmakers' Personal and Public Interests Often Overlap
  9. Even When N.H. Lawmakers File Financial Disclosures, Details Are Spotty
  10. Mink, the Famous Hanover Bear, Has Returned to the Upper Valley
  11. N.H. Poised to Abolish Death Penalty After Senate Vote

Credit Jason Moon / NHPR
Bird-doggers in action during a presidential candidate's event in Dover.

MAY Top Stories

  1. N.H. Abolishes Death Penalty, As Legislature Overturns Governor's Veto
  2. After Major Poaching Bust in Madagascar, N.H. 'Turtle Artist' Swings Into Action
  3. 'Grow Your Own' Medical Marijuana Bill Clears N.H. Senate
  4. The Great American Coin Hunt
  5. 2020 Candidate Conversation: Andrew Yang
  6. Tired of Campaign 'Manipulation' N.H. Voters Get Trained in the Art of the Bird Dog
  7. N.H. House Votes to Override Sununu Veto of Death Penalty Repeal
  8. Poet Donald Hall's Historic Farmhouse to be Preserved
  9. N.H. Sues Makers of PFAS Chemicals for Drinking Water Contamination
  10. They'll Drink to That: The Presidential Hopefuls Pull Out The Brewery Stops in N.H.
  11. What Counts as a Campaign Expense? For Some Lawmakers, It Includes Flowers and Dry Cleaning
  12. Sununu Vetoes Paid Family Leave Bill

Credit Allie Gutierrez for NHPR

JUNE Top Stories

  1. Three Bear Brook Murder Victims Identified; Citizen Sleuth, Genetic Genealogy Provide Key Clues
  2. Superior Court Judge Rules N.H. School Funding System is Unconstitutional
  3. N.H. DOJ Retains Private Law Firm to Assist in 'Bootlegging' Inquiry
  4. Sig Sauer Settles Lawsuit Alleging Gun Discharged Without Trigger Pull
  5. Confusing Letters, Frustrated Members: N.H.'s Medicaid Work Requirement Takes Effect
  6. Sununu Vetoes State Budget, Says Spending Level Threatens N.H.'s Economy
  7. Summer Series Kickoff: A Road Trip on Route 4 Through the Heart of New Hampshire
  8. Sununu Vetoes Net Metering Bill Again, Setting Up Repeat Override Battle
  9. Update: Driver in Crash That Killed 7 Motorcycle Riders in Custody After Court Appearance
  10. How Often Are N.H. Lawmakers Missing Votes? Not As Much As Last Year, Data Shows

Credit Ali Oshinskie for NHPR
A sign marks Gov. Chris Sununu's parking spot outside the New Hampshire State House. Sununu has set a record for the number of gubernatorial vetoes this year - with more, perhaps, on the horizon.

JULY Top Stories

  1. Why Did Pence Cancel N.H. Visit? Trump Says: 'You'll Know In About 2 Weeks'
  2. Eversource Pulls Plug on Northern Pass After N.H. Supreme Court Rebuke
  3. N.H. Veto Tracker: Sununu Rejecting Record Number of Bills
  4. Former UNH President Continued to Earn Full Salary After Retirement
  5. After 30 years, Contaminated Wells in Southern N.H. to get permanent fix
  6. N.H. Approves Unprecedented Limits for PFAS Chemicals in Drinking Water
  7. In Unanimous Vote, N.H. Supreme Court Upholds Northern Pass Denial
  8. The Antiques of Route 4's 'Antique Alley'
  9. Top Employee of Granite Recovery Centers Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Trafficking
  10. As Lobbying in N.H. Grows More Complex, It's Nearly Impossible to Follow the Money
  11. 4,500 Bikers Join Memorial Ride for 'Fallen 7' Victims of Randolph Crash
  12. A Night At Route 4's Rainbow Cottages on Harvey Lake

Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Three women affiliated with the "Free the Nipple" movement petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with their arrest for being topless in Laconia in 2016.

AUGUST Top Stories

  1. 'Free the Nipple' Trio Appeal Laconia Case to SCOTUS
  2. Sununu Vetoes 'Home Grow' Medical Marijuana Bill
  3. How Laconia Is Confronting an Airbnb Boom
  4. Democratic candidates Scramble Through N.H. As Next Debate Deadline Approaches
  5. In Hampstead, Residents Spar with a Private Utility Over Town's Water
  6. Sununu Vetoes Gun Bills, Says They Wouldn't Stop 'Evil Individuals From Doing Harm'
  7. Dartmouth College, Plaintiffs in the Title IX Lawsuit Reach Settlement
  8. Patient Zero: New Podcast Explores Origins, Evolution of Lyme Disease
  9. On the Trail with Andrew Yang: An Optimist Who's 'Very Intimate With Defeat'
  10. Biden's Experience, Buttigieg's Youth Highlight Key Question Facing N.H. Primary Voters
  11. Hennessy 'Bootlegger' Pleads Guilty to Charges in N.Y.
  12. Supporters Cheer for Trump's 'Greatest Hits' at N.H. Rally

Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR
Anti-fossil fuel activists march past Merrimack Station in Bow on their way to a restricted area Sept. 28, 2019.


  1. Philadelphia Transit Police Scrap Sig Sauer Pistols After Incident
  2. Rare Frank Lloyd Wright 'Usonian Automatic' Home in N.H. to be Sold
  3. 'World Famous' Ruggles Mine Has New Owners
  4. N.H. Liquor Commission Scraps Contract, Citing Vendor Shortcomings
  5. Dozens Arrested at Protest Outside New England's Largest Coal Power Plant in Bow
  6. Research: Wilderness Therapy for Teens is More Effective, Less Expensive Than Traditional Treatments
  7. Remembering 'World Famous' Ruggles Mine
  8. Tulsi Gabbard May lag in the Polls, But She's Winning the Campaign Sign Ground Game
  9. Held for 20 Days: How N.H.'s Shortage of Mental Health Beds Erodes Patients' Rights
  10. Owl's Head: The Best Or Worst of N.H.'s 4,000 Footers?
  11. What Does N.H.'s New Residency Law Actually Change? For Now, State Officials Aren't Saying

Credit Courtesy of the Nadig Family Archive
Unsung: Meet the Mother of N.H.'s Midnight Voting Tradition

OCTOBER Top Stories

  1. 2020 N.H. Primary Candidate Tracker: Where and When to See the Candidates
  2. Layoffs Begin at Embattled N.H. Biomass Plants After Subsidy Plans Fail
  3. Christa McAuliffe Coin Now Law, Benefits FIRST Robotics
  4. You Asked, We Answered: Who Are The Real Witches of N.H.?
  5. The Town of Merrimack Urges N.H. DES To Temporarily Shut Down Saint-Gobain
  6. 'A Whole New Industry': N.H. to Work with Neighboring States on Offshore Wind Development
  7. Unsung: Meet the Mother of N.H.'s Midnight Voting Tradition
  8. Where They Stand: As Presidential Hopefuls Talk Addiction, N.H.'s Experience is at Forefront
  9. One of Boston's Favorite Used Bookstores Sets Up Shop in N.H.
  10. As Dartmouth Tries to Move Away From Fossil Fuels, What Role Will Biomass Play?
  11. Primary School: What You Need To Know About N.H.'s Party Registration Rules
  12. Watch or Listen: 2020 Forum with Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren

Credit Courtesy of Paula Martin Group
The living room of the Kalil House, which has 350 individual windows. The Currier Museum purchased the Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.

NOVEMBER  Top Stories

  1. Sig Sauer Faces More Lawsuits Over P320
  2. Watch or Listen: Trump Impeachment Inquiry, Live House Hearings
  3. Currier Museum Purchases Second Frank Lloyd Wright House
  4. Watch or Listen: 2020 Candidate Forum with Andrew Yang
  5. What's Next for N.H. Timber as Biomass Power Plants Close
  6. Judge Says N.H. Must Halt PFAS Limits Dec. 31, Pending Supreme Court Appeal
  7. You Asked, We Answered: Why Do The Salem Witch Trials Get So Much Attention?
  8. Elevator Pitch: Andrew Yang on Why He Should Be President?
  9. Two Bear Brook Murder Victims Laid to Rest in Allenstown
  10. Debate Over Science and Risks Shapes 3M's Lawsuit Against N.H.'s PFAS Water Standards
  11. Craig Cruises to Re-election in Race for Manchester Mayor
  12. Medicare, Seneca and Left-over Chicken Wings: A Bus Ride Across N.H. With Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on The Exchange Candidate Forum.

DECEMBER Top Stories

  1. 2020 N.H. Primary Candidate Tracker
  2. Marijuana Legalization Loses Steam at N.H. State House
  3. Climate Activists Arrested Trying To Block Coal Train From Reaching N.H. Power Plant
  4. Watch or Listen: 2020 Candidate Forum with Pete Buttigieg
  5. Watch: Buttigieg Calls on McKinsey, His Former Employer, to Release Client List
  6. Where They Stand: Comparing the 2020 Democrats' Climate Change Proposals
  7. N.H. Episcopal Church Wants To Make It Easier To Become a Priest
  8. St. Anselm Monks Sue Trustees in Struggle for Power
  9. Watch or Listen: Trump Impeachment Inquiry, Live House Hearings
  10. N.H. High Schoolers Find Vaping Hard Habit to Kick

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