NEW HAMPSHIRE

Coverage of New Hampshire from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators and New Hampshire State Police at the scene of the June 21 collision involving a pick-up truck and numerous motorcycles.
Peter Knudson / National Transportation Safety Board

There's a change in leadership at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles after agency officials failed to pick up a May “operating under the influence” charge involving the truck driver accused in a New Hampshire crash that killed seven people.

The 23-year old man facing seven counts of negligent homicide for his role in a devastating crash in Randolph last week entered a plea of not guilty on Tuesday. 

Prosecutors allege that Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy was driving “erratically” when his 2016 Dodge 2500 pick-up truck that was towing a trailer crossed the double-yellow line on Route 2 in the tiny New Hampshire town north of the White Mountains.

Physician assistants soon will be able to prescribe medical marijuana in New Hampshire.

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill expanding the list of providers who may prescribe the drug. Another bill that would allow medical marijuana users to grow their own plants awaits his signature.

The state won't be legalizing recreational use of marijuana any time soon; The House passed a bill legalizing recreational use in April, but the Senate later voted to delay action on it.

Officials continue to investigate the cause of a crash between a pickup truck and 10 motorcycles Friday evening.  Seven people were killed in the crash in the town of Randolph. Throughout the weekend, the crash site drew those who wanted to pay their respects to the victims.


Two of the big players on the Northeast's highest mountain - the Mount Washington Observatory and the Cog Railway – are taking each other to court.

At issue is a 2009 agreement that lets Cog riders visit the nonprofit Observatory's museum for free. In exchange, it says the Cog will pay the Observatory a dollar per visitor.

A Cheshire County judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s current formula for funding public schools is unconstitutional, potentially re-opening New Hampshire's long-simmering school funding debate.

  The New Hampshire Legislature has banned capital punishment, overturning the veto of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. The outcome was narrow but anticipated.  And, for opponents of the death penalty, it was a long time coming.

New Hampshire has abolished capital punishment.

The state Senate voted Thursday morning to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of the bill to repeal the death penalty. The vote follows the New Hampshire House's vote last week to overturn the veto.

New Hampshire is now the 21st U.S. state to have abolished capital punishment, after its legislature voted to override a veto by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. After a years-long effort to repeal the state's death penalty, the state's Senate voted 16-8 Thursday to finally make it official.

Calling capital punishment "archaic, costly, discriminatory and violent," Democratic state Sen. Melanie Levesque said the time has come to end it, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned across New Hampshire this week, with three events scheduled on Memorial Day and three more for Tuesday.

During a stop in Warner, Sanders told a crowd that many of the unpopular positions he's taken in the past now have widespread support -- including his votes against the war in Iraq.

Now, as tensions with Iran mount, Sanders accused the current president of failing to learn from history.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont, stopped operations in December 2014.
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Creative Commons

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vermont, has been decommissioning for five years. By the end of May, New England will be down to its last two nuclear power plants.

There’s an old cliché in politics – who’s the candidate voters would want to have a beer with?

It’s a euphemism for likability. But this year, it’s also something New Hampshire voters might actually be able to answer.

A "now hiring" sign.
Steven Depolo / CREATIVE COMMONS / flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo

New numbers released by the state of Massachusetts show the unemployment rate dropping to a level not seen in almost 20 years. 

Wednesday marked "ice-out" on Lake Winnipesaukee – the day when the cruise boat Mount Washington can safely reach all of its ports.

It's pretty standard timing for this traditional sign of spring. But overall, state records say New Hampshire lakes and ponds may be thawing earlier as temperatures warm.

 

Answering perhaps the most significant question of the early 2020 election season, former Vice President Joe Biden will launch his presidential campaign on Thursday.

The move, confirmed by a person familiar with his plans, sets up the 76-year-old lifelong politician as a front-runner in the crowded Democratic contest as the party fights to determine who's best positioned to defeat President Donald Trump next year .

 

Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan swung through the first-in-the-nation primary state Tuesday, telling a group of business leaders and politicos at Saint Anselm College that he's seriously considering running for president in 2020. 

 

Hogan called for more Republicans to challenge President Donald Trump in the primary ("the more, the merrier," he said), as he believes a bigger field would help Trump be a better candidate and grow the Republican Party.

The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College played host Monday night to a televised forum with a few 2020 presidential candidates: Five Democrats, over five hours, in front of 500 or so college students. NHPR’s Todd Bookman reports on how this made-for-TV take on a New Hampshire tradition came together.

New Hampshire wildlife officials have the same message every spring when it comes to bears.

Bring in bird feeders, they say, get chickens inside some kind of bear-proof enclosure and make sure trash is stored away.

But the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has been running into a very human problem: apathy. 

Noelle Franco rehearses a scene in "Deployed."
Ruby Summers

A new play called "Deployed" is based on the words of dozens of women who served in the U.S. military in places like Vietnam, Okinawa, Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

New Hampshire is a step closer to allowing betting on sports. A plan to authorize up to 10 sites for sports betting easily cleared the New Hampshire House on Tuesday.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination back to New Hampshire this weekend. Sanders, who won the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary in a blowout, told voters they could make good on the promise of his longshot run four years ago.

Nuclear regulators say they plan to approve a new license for Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant next week.

It comes after an extra public hearing on concerns they were moving too quickly to approve the license extension through 2050.

New Hampshire legislators on Wednesday voted to move forward a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The House voted 209-147 to pass a measure that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

Methodist Pastor Becca Girrell.
Courtesy of Becca Girrell

Leaders of the United Methodist Church voted this week to uphold restrictions prohibiting gay clergy and same sex weddings.

Editor's note: After this story was posted Monday afternoon, Mount Washington recorded a peak wind gust of 171 miles per hour - the highest since 1985, and a new February record for the summit.

The original story continues below: 

The Mount Washington Summit Observatory saw some of its highest winds in more than a decade Monday.

Meteorologist Tom Padham said the strong gusts, forecast up to 165 miles per hour, had been buffeting the 6,288-foot-elevation weather station all day.

A handful of potential and declared 2020 presidential candidates are spending Presidents Day Weekend criss-crossing New Hampshire.

NHPR's reporters are on the trail, and filed these reports.

Note: Bookmark this page for more news from candidate events through the weekend  

New England activists and lawmakers say the Environmental Protection Agency's new plan to manage harmful PFAS chemicals isn't aggressive enough.

The EPA says this plan is a broad roadmap of goals for protecting people from exposure to the huge class of likely toxic PFAS chemicals.

These industrial chemicals were used for decades to make non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant coatings, as well as firefighting foams and other industrial products.

Federal regulators still appear poised to re-license Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, despite requests to delay.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing on the issue Wednesday night was packed with industry workers and residents from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spoke at Manchester Community College during her first presidential campaign swings in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

With some formalities out of the way, Massachusetts lawmakers try to get moving. And the state is due for some more attention this week on the national stage.

Opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana made a pre-emptive strike against a bill that would do just that in New Hampshire.

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