Alex McOwen | New Hampshire Public Radio

Alex McOwen

News Intern

Alex McOwen is NHPR’s news intern. Previously, she worked as the All Things Considered intern for NHPR and as a production intern for NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.

Alex is a graduate of McGill University where she studied communications and anthropology and worked as a producer for the school’s student television station.

Roush Clean Tech / Twitter

The city of Manchester is adding 14 propane-fueled school buses to its fleet in an effort to improve local air quality.

The city has 81 school buses in total. The new propane-powered ones will replace the oldest buses, all of which are between 14 and 18 years old. Officials say tests show the propane buses can cut emissions from diesel buses by 96%.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas introduced a bill Thursday aimed at preventing age discrimination in voting.

Pappas says this legislation is particularly important during the pandemic, when access to the polls has been more limited.

“We’ve had voting hours restricted…restriction of polling places. And what we can’t afford to have happen is for efforts to be targeted against young voters or communities of color based on politics or based on political decision making.”

Credit Courtesy Kathleen O'Donnell

The New Hampshire Democratic Party is asking the state to pursue a “full investigation” into a recent batch of erroneous absentee voter registration mailers sent by the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Courtesy of Kathy Stroup, who received one of these mailers in Lee

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that the mailers included requests for absentee ballot registration paperwork, not requests for absentee ballots.

In the years since she lost her 22-year-old son, Tyler, Kelly Simpson has learned to steel herself when opening the mailbox.

“Every now and again a piece of mail comes for him,” she said, “and it takes my breath away.”

But Simpson wasn’t at all prepared for what arrived in Tyler’s name this weekend, seven years after his death: an “official absentee voter registration packet request” from the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Ostin Bernier

As parts of New Hampshire’s economy begin returning to something like business as usual, one key piece of the puzzle has been child care: will parents be able to find someone to watch their kids when they go back to work?

The state says there are plenty of open child care spots available across New Hampshire -- in all parts of the state, and for all age groups. But the picture is a little different when you look up close. Parents say they can’t go back to work because they can’t find reliable care, and child care providers say they’re turning families away every day.

EversourceNH

Update: Thursday, 5:10 p.m.: About 5,000 customers of Eversource and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative are still without power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday night. 

Previous updates continue below: 

nashuanh.gov

The city of Nashua is taking on the issue of childhood immunizations, after the CDC reported a nationwide drop in vaccinations as a result of families staying home due to COVID-19.

This evening, Nashua is hosting the first of three free mobile vaccination clinics for children in the Greater Nashua area.

U.S. Drought Monitor

With dry weather in the forecast, experts say southern New Hampshire could be headed for a severe drought within the next three weeks.

The southern half of the state has been experiencing moderate drought conditions since June.

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Courtesy

New Hampshire’s flexible school reopening guidelines have left many parents and teachers feeling uncertain about next year. Some are eager to get back in the classroom, while others are more hesitant.

NHPR’s Alex McOwen spoke with parents and teachers from across the state, and asked them for their thoughts on school reopening. Here’s what they had to say.

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Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

As the state awaits an announcement from Governor Sununu on schools reopening, New Hampshire mayors say they’re moving forward with plans for next year.

NOTE: On July 14, Sununu released the state's guidance for reopening New Hampshire schools. You can find more on that here

NHPR File Photo

A Salem police captain was arrested Thursday for tax fraud related to profits from the sale of firearms.

Michael Wagner, of Pelham, is accused of purchasing 36 assault rifles from Sig Sauer Academy in Epping using a law enforcement discount, and reselling them for a profit of more than $33,000.

Governor Sununu has set aside $35 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide housing assistance for individuals who have trouble paying their rent and utilities as a result of the pandemic.

Courtesy of Camp Hale / United South End Settlements & Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Ninety-five percent of New Hampshire sleepaway camps will remain closed this summer.

The governor’s guidelines for reopening allow overnight camps to reopen this Monday, June 29.

But Ken Robbins, president of the New Hampshire Camp Directors Association, says late notice and strict guidelines have forced most camps to stay closed.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Southern New Hampshire is now officially in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The state’s Department of Environmental Services says low snowpack and dry weather earlier in the year have led to this point.

“In some parts of the state we are 7 inches of rain behind where we would be on an average year,” says Thomas O’Donovan, director of the department’s Water Division. “And in most of the state we’re about 3 and a half to 4 inches behind.”

Concord Parks and Rec Department

New Hampshire’s day camps are allowed to open today, but some won’t be bringing kids back until later in the season.

Rus Wilson, Portsmouth’s recreation director, says that city's camps are starting up on July 6th, the same day its public pool opens.

Savannah Maher/NHPR

Claremont’s third annual Rural Pride is moving online this year due to COVID-19. Matt Mooshian, founder of Rural Outright, the organization behind the event, says it’s important to still hold Pride events this year, especially in rural areas.

Christina Phillips/NHPR

Black activists, allies, and Manchester community members gathered Thursday night outside the YWCA to listen to youth voices speak about their experiences with racism in New Hampshire. 

This Friday’s Juneteenth celebration in Manchester will include art, music, poetry, and free COVID-19 testing.

Tia Parker, one of the event’s organizers, says they asked the city for a testing site because there are often barriers to COVID-19 testing in African American communities.

“So I want to make sure that this event also had something like that tied into it,” she says. “Just have a place where you can call the number, and there’s no cost to you, and you can come just get tested and have that accessibility.”

The history of school desegregation in America has long been centered around the southern United States.

But in her new book, "In Pursuit of Knowledge," University of New Hampshire Professor Dr. Kabria Baumgartner explores an earlier story from much closer to home.

She joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Note: The following transcript is lightly edited for clarity

Christina Phillips/NHPR

High school students and others gathered in Concord Saturday to march in support of Black Lives Matter and to honor the memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other black Americans killed by police.

Courtesy DDA604 via Flickr/Creative Commons. (https://flic.kr/p/6H6XSo)

As of today, two-thirds of New Hampshire’s child care centers have been designated as emergency child care programs.

This designation is required for centers opening under the state’s recent guidelines.

Approximately ten thousand children are being served through the emergency program. But Department of Health and Human Services Associate Commissioner Chris Tappan says the demand for child care is changing every day.

On March 15, Gov. Chris Sununu announced K-12 school closures across New Hampshire and a transition to remote learning. Just over a month later, he extended his order through the end of the school year.

  

The decision changed the way the education system operates.

Sara Marzinik

On March 15, Gov. Chris Sununu announced K-12 school closures across New Hampshire and a transition to remote learning. Just over a month later, he extended his order through the end of the school year.

The decision, while necessary, changed the way the education system operates. 

NHPR

New Hampshire Circuit Courts are now accepting electronically filed petitions for protection from domestic violence and stalking.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, the courts required an in-person filing at a local courthouse.

Domestic Violence Program Manager Sarah Freeman says with courts limiting the number of people inside, domestic violence and stalking filings have dropped by about 20 percent.

Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire has few places left open for people to cool off during this week's heat wave.

Phil Alexakos, Chief Operations Officer for the Manchester Health Department, says if temperatures reach what is considered “extreme heat,” the city may have to create designated cooling centers.

“And we would have to do that now with the lens of properly distancing folks,” he says. “So that’s what we’re going to be working on is looking at our existing plans and making sure that they take into account proper distancing and precautions and screenings.”

photon_de via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/57BSet

With more time at home, many New Hampshire residents are taking up gardening. But some gardening supplies are in short supply.

Dave Short, owner of the Stratham Circle Nursery, says his business is booming.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and haven’t seen anything like this,” Short says.

He says the demand for plants is up in every category, in particular, edible plants like fruits and vegetables. He thinks people have a survivalist mentality right now.

weirsbeach.com

With Seacoast beaches closed for Memorial Day, Lakes Region locals are prepping for a busy three-day weekend.

Laconia City Manager Scott Myers says he expects people to be outside this weekend hiking, biking, and sitting on the beach.

David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire dental practices began reopening Monday, seeing patients for non-urgent, elective procedures. 

The state released guidelines on Friday that allow dentist’s offices to reopen so long as they have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and safely treat patients. 

Cori Princell / NHPR

Almost all of the state's farmers markets intend to open this year, with new precautions to address COVID-19.

The Concord Farmers Market opens for the season on Saturday. Wayne Hall, the market’s president and owner of Rockey Ole Farm in Concord, says that in addition to opening the market a week later than normal, he’s been working on new policies to keep both patrons and vendors safe.

Peter Biello/NHPR

Because of COVID-19, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections suspended all visits and volunteer services at the state’s prisons on March 16, more than 7 weeks ago. 

Nicole Belonga has been serving time at the New Hampshire State Prison for women in Concord for 11 years.

She says these efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have cut off almost all contact with the outside world, making stressful prison life even more so.

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