Proposed coin would honor space-shuttle teacher McAuliffe

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s U.S. senators have introduced a bill for the creation of a coin in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring Christa McAuliffe, who was picked to be the first teacher in space.
Proceeds from the sale of the coins would support FIRST programs that inspire young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is founded by inventor Dean Kamen.
Democrat Jeanne Shaheen says it would be a fitting tribute to McAuliffe, who was a high school social studies teacher in Concord. She and six other astronauts died when the shuttle broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff on Jan. 28, 1986.
Republican Kelly Ayotte says McAuliffe inspired and encouraged young people to follow their dreams.

Bill would proclaim ‘Granny D Day’ on Jan. 24

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire state senator has introduced a bill that would proclaim Jan. 24 as “Granny D Day.”
Doris “Granny D” Haddock, of Dublin, New Hampshire, was a political activist who drew attention to the need for campaign finance reform. She died at age 100 in 2010. Her 110th birthday would have been Jan. 24.
At age 88, she walked more than 3,200 (5,150 kilometers) miles across the United States. She started in California on Jan. 1, 1999. Fourteen months later, she arrived in Washington D.C.
“Granny D as a fierce activist who dedicated her life to defending democracy,” said Sen. Melanie Levesque, a Democrat from Brookline. She introduced the bill Tuesday to the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee.
At 94, Granny D ran for the U.S. Senate. The film “Run Granny Run” depicts her 2004 decision with no money and no campaign experience to go from an activist for voter registration to actively seeking votes in a campaign against the powerful incumbent Republican Sen. Judd Gregg. She lost.

Man indicted on attempted murder charges in church shooting

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — A man accused of shooting a New Hampshire church pastor and bride during a wedding and later attacking his own lawyer has been formally indicted on two counts of attempted murder, among other charges, according to court paperwork.
A grand jury in superior court in Nashua handed up the indictments Tuesday against Dale Holloway, 37, of Manchester.
Holloway also faces charges of first- and second-degree assault and being a convicted felon with a firearm stemming from the October shootings at a Pelham church. He’s pleaded not guilty.
Stanley Choate, 75, the presiding bishop, was shot in the chest. Claire McMullen, 60, was shot in the arm. Authorities said the groom is the father of a man who was charged with killing Holloway’s stepfather.
Separately, a grand jury in Manchester indicted Holloway earlier this month on a first-degree assault charge, accusing him of striking his public defender in the face and head, causing him to suffer a hemorrhage. They were meeting in a jail interview room.
Holloway had denied assaulting the lawyer, Michael Davidow, and said he got an officer’s attention after noticing the attorney had a nosebleed.
A message seeking comment on indictments was left with Holloway’s attorney, Donna Brown, on Friday.

Lebanon, New Hampshire, putting ‘sanctuary city’ on ballot

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) — Residents of Lebanon, New Hampshire, will vote in March on an ordinance that would make it an immigration “sanctuary city.”
City councilors voted 8-1 Wednesday to include what it calls the Welcoming Ordinance on the March ballot.
It would limit city employees and officials from working with or sharing immigration-related information with federal immigration authorities.
The city’s lawyer questioned a section that would require the city to notify residents when immigration officials are present, noting that it could be considered obstructing federal authorities.
Lebanon signed on in 2018 to a three-year federal community policing grant in 2018, the Lebanon Valley News reported. The grant covers 75% of two officers’salaries and requires police to share “information regarding citizenship or immigration status” with federal authorities.
An ordinance could hurt the city’s chances to acquire federal grants in the future, Police Chief Richard Mello said.
Karen Liot-Hill, councilor-at-large, said a concern raised by the council was a provision preventing city employees from profiling, collecting or retaining information based on race, citizenship or immigration status, New Hampshire Pubic Radio reported.
Liot-Hill said polling stations “actually have a duty to ask about people’s citizenship status and to retain and collect that information.”
If voters approve the ordinance, the council would have to work with its supporters to address the concerns before it goes into effect.

2nd flu death reported in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A second flu death has been reported in New Hampshire, health officials said Friday.
WMUR-TV reports officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services said the adult victim was from Strafford County.
The first adult to die from a flu-related illness in the state this season was from Rockingham County.
Nationally, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 6,600 flu-related deaths.
At least 39 kids have already died. No children have died in New Hampshire.
Flu activity is considered widespread in New Hampshire and 47 other states.

Man found not guilty in mistaken address shooting

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts for a former New Hampshire man charged with shooting at a teenager who mistakenly thought his home was a party venue.
A Rockingham County Superior Court found Mark Gray, of Portsmouth, not guilty of numerous charges stemming from a shooting in front of his house in 2018, the Portsmouth Herald reported.
Gray and his partner, former Portsmouth Police Commissioner Brenna Cavanaugh, were awaken by someone who they believed to be an intruder in their home in April 2018.
The couple then chased the supposed intruder out of the house and onto the street, where Gray admittedly fired six shots at the intruder’s vehicle as it fled the scene. Cavanaugh was accused of telling Gray to “get your gun” then “shoot” or “shoot him.”
It was later revealed that the intruder was a teenager whom the couple had met before.
The Portsmouth High School student thought there was a party at the house that night and entered through an unlocked door, the teen testified.
Gray had pleaded not guilty the charges. Cavanaugh was convicted of attempted assault and criminal mischief in August and lost her job.

Vermont hopes to complete 93-mile rail trail by mid-decade

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The completion of a 93-mile rail trail across northern Vermont would help link an ever-expanding network of recreation trails across New England and beyond, advocates say.
The effort got a big boost this week when Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott asked lawmakers to approve $2.8 million as the state’s share of the estimated $14.1 million cost of completing the remaining 60 miles of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. It runs from Swanton, near the Canadian border, to St. Johnsbury, not far from the Connecticut River border with New Hampshire.
The 30-mile section of the trail currently open is already benefiting businesses and the communities that people visit so they can use it, officials say. Trail advocates say completing one section of the trail boosts other nearby trails.
“As far as New England goes, pieces and parts are starting to come together,” said Marianne Borowski, the founder of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail. That trail begins in Woodsville, New Hampshire, about 20 miles south of St. Johnsbury, and runs 83 miles across northern New Hampshire to Bethel, Maine. “When they start to link together, they look good, not only for the locals who want to get out and take a walk, but for people who are coming from away who want to come in and enjoy the region.”
Tom Sexton, northeast regional director of the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which since 1986 has helped oversee the construction of 24,000 miles of rails-to-trails projects across the country, said the completion of the Lamoille Valley trail would go a long way toward linking a series of existing or planned rail trails throughout the six New England states.
While the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail runs exclusively on an old rail bed, others, such as Borowski’s trail across New Hampshire, can be a combination of rail trails, local recreation paths, backroads and in some cases larger roads.
Greg Western, executive director of the Cross Vermont Trail Association, a recreation trail which runs 90 miles across Vermont on roads, rail beds and other thoroughfares, says many people have been motivated to work with his organization after visiting parts of the existing Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
“The proof of concept is a big deal,” Western said.
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, located on a rail line that was completed in 1877 and operated until the 1980s, is being managed by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, the organization that oversees snowmobiling in the state.
In 1997, VAST proposed transforming the line, owned by the state, into a four-season recreation trail.
Over the years the project has faced little opposition, but in 2012 the project became subject to the state’s land-use planning review known as Act 250, which could have delayed the project. In 2017, VAST reached an agreement with the state exempting the project from Act 250 review.
In 2005 Congress appropriated $5.8 million for the project. At the time some held up the Lamoille Valley trail project as an example of political pork in the federal budget. But advocates said the criticism was unfounded because a relatively small amount of money would draw tens of thousands of people to the trail and the surrounding communities.
When the organization first started working on the line, the steel rails and old railroad ties remained. There were dozens if not scores of old bridges and culverts that had to be upgraded or replaced, a process that continues.
It remains to be seen how the governor’s request for the money will fare in the Legislature. Advocates say the project is an economic tool that is a part of Vermont’s $2.5 billion outdoor recreation industry.
The first section of the trail, between St. Johnsbury and Danville, opened in 2015. Another section, from Morrisville to Cambridge Junction, opened the next year.
VAST has been working to raise the money to finish the trail, said Michele Boomhower, the director for policy planning and intermodal development for the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
“There was a realization that if we could identify from our existing program the federal funds needed to implement the project … we could get this project done in four years versus 15,” she said.
Cindy Locke, the executive director of VAST, said that much of the existing trail is used in the winter by snowmobilers, but overall about 90% of the use of the existing trail comes in the summer and fall.
“Honestly, it’s such a boon for the communities it goes through,” Locke said. “This trail has done so much for the communities where it’s open in the form of, not just recreation, but exercise and health.”

New Hampshire bill would require restaurant allergy training

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A House bill in New Hampshire would establish new regulations at restaurants regarding food allergies.
The proposed law was inspired by the death of a 20-year-old University of New Hampshire student in April. Rachel Hunger went out to eat with friends and wasn’t aware that an egg roll she ate contained peanuts, WMUR-TV reported.
She went into cardiac arrest and died 18 days later.
The bill would require that someone at every restaurant be certified and trained in food allergies. It would also require restaurants to post notices that it’s up to the customer to inform the food server that they have a particular allergy.
Supporters of the bill, which was scheduled to be reviewed by House committees this week, say added costs would be minimal.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services testified that additional training would cost $100 to $150.

China deal might not bail out lobster industry this New Year

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — American seafood exporters are optimistic that a new trade deal with China will allow them to claw back into one of the world’s biggest markets for lobster, but help might not have arrived in time for the biggest day on the calendar.
The busiest season for lobster exports to China is around Chinese New Year, which took place Saturday. Lobsters have exploded in popularity as the middle class has grown in China, where red is considered a lucky color. And lobsters, of course, turn bright red when cooked.
But President Donald Trump’s trade hostilities with China led to tariffs in 2018 that cratered the U.S. lobster export market, while Canada’s surged. A new trade deal between the U.S. and China announced on Jan. 15 is designed in part to give American exporters of seafood, especially lobsters, renewed access to China.
The market for China might come back, but it’s not coming back swiftly, or all at once, said Stephanie Nadeau, a Maine exporter who owns The Lobster Co. in Arundel.
“It’s not like you’re going to get back all your business,” Nadeau said. “But it would help.”
American lobster exports to China were worth more than $138 million through the first 11 months of 2018, and fell to less than $47 million through the first 11 months of last year, federal figures stated. Figures for December, typically a month of heavy exportation, were not yet available for 2019.
January is typically another heavy export month for lobsters. America sent more than $22 million in lobsters to China in January 2018, about six months before the tariffs were applied. The figure fell to less than $9 million in January 2019.
The Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association supports improved trade relations with China, but it’s “unclear how this is going to play out in the market right now,” said Annie Tselikis, the group’s executive director.
One of the biggest remaining questions is just how much of the Chinese market American seafood exporters will get back. That will determine how much of a role the Chinese New Year rush plays in future years.
The four members of the congressional delegation in Maine, the biggest lobster fishing state, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Jan. 23 asking him to hold China to its commitment to the new trade deal. The letter said knowing an “exact dollar value of lobster that China has agreed to purchase will enable independent verification as to whether China either has met or again shirked its trade commitments” to the U.S.
Regaining full access would take more work by the Trump administration, said John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute in McLean, Va.
“We urge the administration to work swiftly towards a phase-two solution that sees tariffs, import and export, removed so jobs in all sectors of the American seafood community benefit,” he said.

Grant to fund child exploitation research

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — University of New Hampshire researchers are getting a four-year grant to track trends in the use of technology to sexually exploit children.
The National Institute of Justice grant will fund the fourth in a series of studies conducted by the university’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. Study director Kimberly Mitchell says child exploitation crimes can change quickly, and it’s important to closely monitor the environment so law enforcement can respond.
The study seeks to identify whether current training, legislative and policy changes around such crimes are having a positive impact.