CONCORD – With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Chris Sununu will make it easier for many Granite Staters to carry concealed weapons.
The governor is scheduled to sign into law Wednesday morning a measure repeals the need for a permit or license to carry a concealed handgun.
The bill passed the GOP dominated state Senate in a 13-10 party line vote last month. Earlier this month, by a two-to-one margin, the measure easily sailed through the Republican controlled state House of Representatives.
Similar bills passed the GOP dominated state Senate and state House of Representatives the past two years, but were both vetoed by then-Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Her predecessor in the Corner Office, fellow Democratic Gov. John Lynch, vetoed similar measures in 2006 and 2011.
But Sununu, the first Republican governor in New Hampshire in a dozen years, has repeatedly said he’ll sign the bill into law.
Last month, following the measure’s passage in the state Senate, Sununu wrote “I am pleased that the State Senate today voted to advance common sense legislation in support of a citizen’s fundamental right to carry a firearm, joining neighboring states throughout the region and across the country.”
Current law gives local police chiefs the right to determine if a person’s “suitable” to carry a concealed weapon.
Supporters of the bill, known officially as SB12, pointed to the neighboring states of Vermont and Maine, which don’t require permits to carry concealed handguns.
In arguing in favor of the bill earlier this month, state House Majority Leader Dick Hinch argued the measure "is a reasonable and long overdue measure that provides clarity, will enhance freedom for our responsible firearms community. And will be an overall deterrent to crime."
"This is a commonsense legislation that allows people to protect themselves and their loved ones by exercising the second amendment rights," Hinch added.
Supporters of the measure call it 'constitutional carry,' and Hinch said "law abiding gun owners deserve their rights to be fully upheld without the existing state law creating unnecessary barriers.
State House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff, a retired U.S. deputy marshal, argued that the current law works.
"A concealed carry law has been in place for 94 years. It is often cited in FBI statistics as one of the safest states in the nation," Shurtleff said.
And he raised alarms, saying "if this law is repealed individuals who should not be carrying a concealed weapon such as those suffering from dementia and alcoholism will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon."
CONCORD — Attendees of the 34th Annual New Hampshire Farm and Forest Expo donated 445 pounds of non-perishable food and $250 to support the N.H. Food Bank.
“Since 2009, our attendees have donated over 3,000 pounds of food in support of reducing hunger in New Hampshire,” Expo Board Chair A.J. Dupere said. “We continue to be grateful to support the NH Food Bank in their
The non-profit expo has taken place every winter since 1984, and provides attendees with information and education on all aspects of agriculture and forestry in the state.
The expo brings N.H.'s forestry and farming communities together to share ideas and thoughts on the industries, along with providing the public a chance to learn about the impact the industries have on their lives.
The expo features workshops and various speakers, a trade show with industry products, equipment and food - much of it produced in New England, farm animals, a kid's area with hands-on activities, and an awards ceremony.
For more information on the N.H. Farm & Forest Exposition visit www.nhfarmandforestexpo.org.
DURHAM (AP) — New Hampshire's maple syrup producers say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer.
Producers joined climate experts and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire on Tuesday to talk about the state's changing climate and how it is affecting one of the state's most important industries.
Some producers talked of seeing a steep drop in the amounts of sap they are getting, while others are dealing with another trend attributed to warmer temperatures in which the sap goes up to the top of the trees rather than down to taps.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont produced 3.78 million gallons of syrup in 2016.
NEW YORK (AP) — A plucky bull escaped from a slaughterhouse and led police on a wild chase through the streets on Tuesday only to die on its way to a shelter.
Police corralled the bull in a backyard in Queens after a two-hour chase that continued even after the bull's hide was studded with tranquilizer darts.
A spokeswoman for Animal Care Centers of New York City said the bull died en route to one of the agency's care centers.
Police said the bull had escaped from the Aziz halal slaughterhouse. No one answered a phone number listed there.
The bull would have been spared the butcher's knife if it had lived. Mike Stura, the founder of Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in Wantage, New Jersey, said he was on his way to pick the bull up and take it to his facility.
"I was there trying to get him," Stura said. "This is not the outcome I was hoping for."
The beast's break for freedom was covered live on local TV.
Footage that aired on WABC-TV showed the black bull trotting briskly through a residential neighborhood.
The nimble bovine eluded attempts to box it in between police vehicles by squeezing through narrow openings.
There were no reports of the bull causing any injuries during the chase, though it ripped the door off a car.
Escaped livestock episodes are rare but not unheard of in the city.
A bull that escaped while being transported to a Queens slaughterhouse last year was taken to an upstate farm sanctuary by former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey Stewart, an animal advocate.
PORTSMOUTH — A woman involved in an armed SWAT standoff Monday is being held on $5,000 cash bail while she awaits trial.
According to court documents, Susanne Becker is being held on cash bail because the court feared she could be a danger to herself or others.
Becker was charged with two counts of criminal threatening and one count each of reckless conduct and disorderly conduct, all of which are misdemeanors.
According to police testimony and court documents, when police arrived Becker was angry because she didn't have heat or hot water in her condo. Becker threatened officers multiple times with an airsoft pistol, yelled obscenities at them and continually refused to cooperate. Police noted that a clicking noise could be heard when Becker pulled the trigger and she also told officers the gun was fake when they told her to drop it.
Court documents also said that Becker eventually told officers she was going inside to get a real gun, but then came back out and poured multiple pills in her mouth. Police said she made a choking sound and went back into her condo, only to return with a kitchen pot containing an unknown liquid that she dumped on the ground before going back into her condo. She was eventually taken into custody by SWAT members.
Becker will appear in court again on May 2, 2017.
MANCHESTER – Many of the top political leaders in New Hampshire teamed up on Tuesday for the groundbreaking of a substance use treatment center in Manchester.
Sen. Maggie Hassan, Gov. Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, state Senate President Chuck Morse, longtime state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester, and state Sen. Dan Feltes of Concord, among others, gathered at the former Hoitt Furniture building on Wilson Street for the groundbreaking ceremony of the expansion of the Families in Transition Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center.
The politicians donned hard hats and took some whacks with sledge hammers at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility.
Families in Transition says the new center will enable some 400 women each year to “receive the treatment that they need in order to get their lives back.”
And Families in Transition board chairman Dick Anagnost says that for the first time ever his organization “will now be able to provide 19 units of recovery housing for women with and without children.”
Gov. Chris Sununu told NH1 News the groundbreaking is “another key puzzle piece in terms of everything we do from prevention, recovery, treatment, law enforcement side.”
He added it’s “a great example of the state finally putting a real emphasis on ideas, making ideas a reality. And that reality really helps families. It helps individuals. It helps women and children, especially right here in downtown Manchester. And providing a resource that right now we are still lacking, but really making some great efforts and improvements on.”
“We’re going to slowly turn the tide and start to see our numbers go in the favorable direction. But it’s not just downtown Manchester. It’s all across New Hampshire. It’s every town, county, community, every family. There’s virtually no one in the state that this crisis doesn’t’ have an impact on. And again just to see projects like this come to reality are huge,” the governor continued.
Speaking with NH1 News, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas hailed the new facility as “another step in the whole puzzle that we’re putting together to make sure that we remove stigma from the epidemic that we have here in the city of Manchester and our people.”
“This is about helping mothers and their children, which is incredibly important. So when people think that it doesn’t stop, it’s truly continuing right here in the city of Manchester. All the funding that they give us, we can find ways to spend it on projects that make sense for people that are addicted to these awful drugs,” the mayor added.
Hassan said the new center “will help make a difference in the lives of Granite Staters living with addiction by providing critical treatment and recovery services around the clock, and I commend Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center and Families in Transition for their tireless efforts to combat this crisis.”
“I will continue working to ensure that those on the front lines of this crisis, including the dedicated professionals at Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center, have the resources and support they need to stem – and ultimately reverse – the tide of this horrible epidemic,” the senator added.
Families in Transition, a non-profit organization “that provides safe, affordable housing and social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” says construction on the $4 million project will begin next month.
LEBANON - A church that authorities say was set on fire last year has been demolished.
The remnants of the First Baptist Church were taken down Tuesday.
Anthony Boisvert is charged with starting the fire in December. He's accused of setting fire to the church on Dec. 28, and then stabbing two people who talked to police about him.
The 27-year-old Boisvert has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault and three counts of arson.
Boisvert admitted to masturbating into a dirty diaper while watching child pornography in the church's rectory before setting the church and two other buildings on fire and later stabbing two people, according to court documents.
Boisvert's case was transferred to Grafton Superior Court and his bail remains the same at $500,000 cash. He is being held at the Grafton County jail.
At the beginning of February, the church started holding its Sunday services at the Lebanon Middle School.
The congregation is renting out two classrooms and the cafeteria every Sunday through the end of March as they begin the process of constructing a new church.
EPSOM — Police arrested a suspected heroin and cocaine dealer following the search of an Epsom home.
The New Hampshire State Police Narcotics and Investigations Unit, along with members of the Epsom Police Department, executed a search warrant at 27 North Road on Tuesday.
The search led to the arrest of Kathleen Gilmartin, 51, of Epsom. She faces charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and sale of a narcotic drug, heroin.
Gilmartin was released on $15,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to be arraigned March 2.
DURHAM — A threat that read "bomb scare at 12" on a bathroom wall led to the evacuation of Oyster River High School Tuesday.
"Based on our last bomb scare, the state police gave us a series of protocols to apply against threats, and this particular one was what they would consider a low-level threat," Superintendent Jim Morse said.
A similar threat was made in December 2016, which ended up closing the school for 760 students.
"Rather than sending the students home this time, we sent them to the middle school, while we investigated the threat," Morse said.
The students went to the middle school at about 11:15 a.m. to ensure that the building contained no students at noon.
"At no time do I believe student safety was at jeopardy," Deputy Chief Rene Kelley of the Durham Police Department said.
Morse, local and state police checked the building for anything that stood out, but Morse said nothing did.
Authorities allowed students back in the high school at about 12:50 p.m.
State Police said they are going back to the school to check other spaces Tuesday evening.
ROLLINSFORD (AP) — An injured owl has healed and has been freed after he was found a month ago on a road during a snowstorm in New Hampshire.
Foster's Daily Democrat reports a small group of people involved in the bird's rescue gathered in Rollinsford on Saturday to witness the bird's release. The owl flew to a nearby tree. Diana Dumais of the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine, who released him, said it's typical for an owl to scope out the area for an hour or more before deciding where to go.
Chris Smith, of Rollinsford, said he was driving home in the Jan. 18 storm and saw what he thought was a lump of hard-packed dirty snow that had broken off a car. Then it moved. He scooped up the bird and carried it to safety.
Milder air is starting to move back into the Granite State, but on the leading edge of this warmth, there will be some showers that move through Tuesday night. Temperatures will be cold enough for freezing rain in spots overnight. This isn't a big system, but it may be enough for some slick spots overnight into the early hours of Wednesday.
Clouds may linger for a while Wednesday, especially farther north, but enough sun should develop for temperatures to rise into the low 50s in southern New Hampshire.
The real shot of warmth will come on Thursday, when lower and even mid 60s are possible in southern New Hampshire, as long as we see enough sunshine.
We'll stay on the mild side through Saturday. Any sun will help boost our temperatures to near 60 once again on Saturday. The next cold front moves through with a period of rain later Saturday, with colder air following for the second half of the weekend.
NH1 First Alert 7-Day Forecast:
WEDNESDAY – Clouds linger for a while, but some sun should develop for the afternoon with highs in the 40s north to low 50s in southern areas.
THURSDAY – Sun and clouds. Very mild, especially in southern New Hampshire, where highs in the low to mid 60s are possible. 50s north.
FRIDAY – More clouds than sun, with a few showers around. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.
SATURDAY – Cloudy with a period of rain likely, especially later in the day into Saturday night. Some downpours are possible. Any breaks of sun will help boost temperatures into the low 60s for highs south, well into the 50s north.
SUNDAY – Clearing, cooler with partial sun. Gusty northwest wind. Highs in the upper 30s to low 40s.
MONDAY – Partly sunny, still blustery. Highs either side of 40.
TUESDAY – Mostly cloudy. Chance for snow or rain, depending on the timing and track of an incoming weather system. Highs in the low 40s.
NASHUA — The driver who led police on a lengthy chase through several towns Sunday waived his arraignment Tuesday.
Nicholas Santy, 27 of Littleton, refused to stop for a state trooper while traveling at speeds between 50 and 100 mph on Interstate 93, Interstate 293 and eventually the F.E. Everett Turnpike, police said.
The Nashua Police Department deployed spike strips on Santy's vehicle, which swerved into a guardrail on the Exit 3 southbound off-ramp and became stuck in a snowbank.
Police said Santy refused to exit the vehicle or respond to their commands. Troopers on the scene attempted to reason with him for about two hours.
While inside the vehicle the suspect cut both of his wrists and appeared to be drinking a bottle of wine, according to documents.
Police eventually removed Santy and placed him into custody. He was taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
At the hospital, Santy was charged out of Merrimack County with one count of disobeying an officer, reckless operation, driving on divided ways, crossing a media, and improper backing on the interstate. In Hillsborough County, he was charged with two counts of reckless conduct and one count each of disobeying an officer, reckless operation and resisting arrest.
Santy is being held on $5,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in court March 1.
CONCORD – The top Democrat in the state Senate says when it comes to marijuana laws, New Hampshire needs "to be more progressive and more open. We do not want to become Mississippi of the northeast."
But a Republican state senator who’s among those leading the opposition to a bill that would legalize the use of up to one ounce of marijuana by people 21 and older says "children can be hurt" if the measure becomes law.
State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn, a sponsor of the bill, told NH1 News on Tuesday that “reform is needed and we need to be pushing it.”
His bill, 233-FN, also would set up a study committee of lawmakers “that would meet as necessary to create all the framework and the bureaucracy and just determine a whole lot of different issues to what marijuana legalization would look like.”
Woodburn said in most other states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, it’s mostly come through referendums or petitions. Woodburn says his bill would allow "the government, the police, the bureaucracy, being involved in the process."
Voters in Massachusetts and Maine last November approved the recreational use of marijuana. And New Hampshire remains the only state in New England where people are subject to arrest and prosecution for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
"All of our neighbors have either passed legalization or they’re moving towards legalization. So New Hampshire becomes this odd one out," Woodburn explained.
And the lawmaker from the North Country argued that “we need to be more progressive and more open. We do not want to become Mississippi of the northeast, where people have to worry about driving through the state. It’s like driving through the south in the '60s. This is not something that we need to be proud of. We need to get with the program, and if we want to attract young people, we need to be more progressive, more thoughtful about what we need to do to compete for these entrepreneurs, these business people, these professionals that we want residing in the Granite State.”
Woodburn talked to NH1 News minutes after testifying about his bill in front of the Judiciary Committee.
Gannon: ‘Kids are going to see a green light’
On that committee is freshman Sen. Bill Gannon, who’s opposed to the bill. Bringing up the Granite State’s heroin and opioid epidemic, Gannon told NH1 News that if the bill becomes law, "I think we’ll have more deaths from this. We had numerous testimony that it is a gateway drug."
"We’re in the middle of an opioid crisis," the lawmaker from Sandown added. "We’ve got a problem in New Hampshire. It’s not going to help to have more drugs."
And he warned that by allowing those older than 21 to legally smoke marijuana, "kids are going to see a green light."
He compared the situation to beer, and that kids will think "that if it’s OK for adults to do beer," it will be OK for minors as well.
The hearing on the Senate bill came two weeks after the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 14-2 to approve HB640, a bill that would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. That measure could get a vote by the full House of Representatives on March 9.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is on the record as favoring decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
Gannon said that Woodburn’s bill could pass the Judiciary committee, but he predicted it would die after deadlocking 12-12 in the full Senate.
Gannon said that if the measure did pass, he would try to derail it through the courts.
"How can we be legalizing things that are against the federal law?" he asked. "Do we have any right at all to act on marijuana when it’s a class A federal substance? I’d like the court to advise us on that."
Woodburn acknowledged "that realistically it’s a tough uphill battle. I know the governor and the (GOP) leadership don’t want this bill. They want to be settled on decriminalization, and that’s as far as we go."
But he added that "we need to keep the pressure going. The people want this. This is their government and we need to listen to the people."
MANCHESTER — Eversource is investing $41 million in 2017 to trimming trees that threaten the electric system.
Trees along more than 2,700 miles of overhead lines around New Hampshire will receive pruning. This comes out to about 150 communities, including 140 miles of work along roadways in Weare, 100 miles in Manchester and 85 in Laconia.
"While we have a comprehensive tree trimming and removal program, the lack of rain and snow in the region over the past year-plus has taken a toll on trees and managing them is even more vital than ever," said Bob Allen, Manager of Vegetation Management at Eversource. "Trees can have a devastating effect on the electric system and our consistent tree work helps to improve day-to-day reliability for customers during all types of weather."
WILLISTON, Vt. — Police arrested an 80-year-old woman for driving the wrong way on Interstate 89.
Police said Sandra Heath, of Stowe, Vt., was traveling southbound in the northbound lane in the area of Exit 12 about 8:53 p.m. Monday.
She continued traveling in the wrong lane until troopers stopped her about 3.5 miles later at mile marker 80, police said.
Heath underwent a screening at the University of Vermont Medical Center for potential medical issues.
Subsequently, police charged her with grossly negligent operation. Heath is scheduled to appear in court April 24.
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — Firefighters say a warehouse filled with wooden pallets in Brattleboro, Vermont, has collapsed from a fire.
Fire Chief Mike Bucossi tells the Brattleboro Reporter all of the workers got out of the building Tuesday morning and no injuries were reported.
The building is owned by Polarex. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.
Responding fire departments included crews from Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney and the New Hampshire towns of Keene, Chesterfield, and Hinsdale.
NASHUA — Residents escaped their home safely after a smoke detector alerted them of an overnight fire.
The Nashua Fire Department responded to 30 Norton St. at 2:57 a.m. and observed smoke and fire coming from the rear second floor porch.
The firefighters confined the fire to the rear porch and ventilated smoke from the second-floor apartment. Crews used hose lines to extinguish the fire.
No injuries resulted from the fire, authorities said.
The fire remains under investigation by the Nashua Fire Marshal's office.
DURHAM — A low-level bomb threat written on a bathroom wall at Oyster River High School led to the evacuation of students to the middle school.
Assistant Superintendent Todd Allen sent out a letter stating "the evacuation of the building was our top priority."
Authorities are investigating the high school before deeming it safe for students to re-enter.
Suspects who make such threats could not only face criminal charges, but also be ordered to pay for the emergency resources used responding to the calls.
NH1 News will provide more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE: As of 12:50 p.m., students returned back to the high school.
JAFFREY —A two-alarm fire sparked by a heating pad left one dog dead Tuesday.
Jaffrey Fire Department said they responded to a fire at 6 Pine St at about 11 a.m.
First responders knocked down the fire from outside the home before heading in and attacking the fire from the inside. Jaffrey Fire Department reported that the fire was under control at about 11:40 a.m.
The two occupants of the house, a man, and woman were able to safely evacuate the house, but a family dog did not make it out. They were both assessed by Jaffrey Rindge Ambulance EMS for smoke inhalation.
Both occupants initially refused treatment, but at about 12:40 p.m. the man was transported to Monadnock Community Hospital for further evaluation.
Jaffrey Fire Department determined that the fire was caused by radiated conductive heat from a heating pad on a living room couch cushion.
SANDWICH — A mother and her three children escaped serious injury after their vehicle went off the road and ended up on Squam Lake Tuesday.
Sandwich Police said a vehicle driven by a 29-year-old woman was driving down the hill northbound on Squam Lake Road when resurfacing ice on the road caused her to lose control of the vehicle.
A witness in an oncoming car told police that the vehicle crossed in front of them, hit a snowbank, and launched onto the surface of Squam Lake, landing on all four tires.
Police said the woman and her children, two of whom are 10-years-old while the other is eight, were able to self-extricate themselves from the vehicle.
Police said they were transported via ambulance for minor, non-life-threatening injuries and that the vehicle was removed from the lake by a wrecker.