Hotel briefly shut down as police search for suspect

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A hotel in Concord, New Hampshire, was briefly shut down as police searched rooms for a man sought on a warrant accusing him of attempted second-degree murder.
Police said they received a tip that the man was staying at the Holiday Inn on Thursday afternoon. They evacuated guests from the second floor and searched several rooms, but did not find him. The man remains at large.
The man, identified as 35-year-old Michael Ames, of Concord, is accused of breaking into a transitional housing apartment and shooting at a woman on Aug. 1, missing her. The warrant also charges him with robbery, attempt to commit armed robbery, reckless conduct, and assault.

Youth electronic cigarette, vaping use up in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire survey says 24% of high school-age youth reported having used electronic cigarettes and cigars, vaping and hookah devices in a 30-day period, compared to the national average of 13%.
The data is from the 2017 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Tricia Tilley, the state Health Department’s deputy director for its Division of Public Health Services, said Friday that the increase puts a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction.
She notes a new state law that updates the definitions of electronic smoking devices and liquids and clarifies that all tobacco-related product devices are prohibited in any public education facility or grounds.

Ban lifted on shellfish harvesting along coastline, harbor

HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services has lifted a ban on most shellfish harvesting along the state’s ocean coastline and Hampton-Seabrook Harbor after a drop in toxic algae bloom known as red tide.
The harvest closure went into effect on May 9 in response to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning detected in blue mussels.
Chris Nash, the department’s shellfish program manager, said Maine and Massachusetts have been reporting similar red tide declines.
He said the one exception is that surf clams along the Atlantic Coast continue to show unacceptably high levels of the toxin. He said surf clams typically retain it much longer than other types of shellfish.
The DES says paralytic shellfish poisoning is life-threatening. Symptoms include tingling, burning, numbness, drowsiness, incoherent speech, and respiratory paralysis.

New Hampshire gets grants to secure houses of worship

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Amid a spike in hate crimes nationwide, New Hampshire’s Democratic congressional delegation announced Friday that seven houses of worship in the state are getting funding to help bolster security.
The $150,000 in grants will go to four churches, two temples and a chabad. The delegation also announced the state was getting more than $4 million from the State Homeland Security Program to support terrorism prevention and preparedness efforts.
“As domestic and foreign terrorists alike target places of worship, malls, and other gathering places, it’s sadly more important than ever that community organizations have the resources they need to mitigate the impact of an attack — and that local and state law enforcement have robust infrastructure to prevent and respond to attacks,” Sen. Maggie Hassan said in a statement.
Overall, statistics released by the FBI late last year showed hate crimes in the United States rose 17% in 2017 compared to the previous year, the third straight annual increase. There were 7,175 hate crime incidents in 2017. There was also a rash of anonymous bomb threats in 2017 made against Jewish institutions, which prompted Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to join about 100 of their colleagues in calling for the Trump administration to take action to address the threats.
“It is a sad reality that churches, synagogues, mosques and other places where the faithful gather have been sites of violent attacks,” Rep. Chris Pappas said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our families and neighbors, and these federal funds will help secure vulnerable facilities and local law enforcement have the resources and training needed to keep people safe.”
The delegation said the funding from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program will go to the Bedford Presbyterian Church; Bethany Congregational Christian Church in Greenland; First Congregational Church in Littleton; Chabad of New Hampshire in Manchester; Temple Adath Yeshurun in Manchester; and Temple Beth Abraham of Nashua. It is the first time the state is getting money from the program, which provides $10 million to secure religious institutions nationwide.
The $4.1 million in grants will be used to provide equipment and training for state and local law enforcement agencies. It is part of $415 million in counterterrorism grants given out nationwide.
“Terrorism poses a significant threat at home and abroad, and it is critical that we do everything we can to combat these hateful and deadly acts of violence,” Rep. Annie Kuster said in statement. “This funding will bolster our state’s security efforts – including at places of worship – and help prevent attacks before they happen, as well as save lives when they do occur.”

Sununu vetoes bill setting up redistricting commission

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has vetoed a bill that would create an independent commission in New Hampshire to redraw the state’s legislative districts.
Sununu on Friday argued there was no need for the commission because gerrymandering was rare in the state and the current redistricting process was fair.
Supporters argue the current system that puts lawmakers in charge of redistricting allows for gerrymandering, in which boundaries are drawn to benefit the party in power. Democratic Rep. Marjorie Smith, of Durham, the prime sponsor of the bill, said she was devastated by Sununu’s veto and said it served to put party interest about those of Granite state residents.
While Democrats now hold majorities in both the House and Senate, the current district designations were approved in 2012, when Republicans controlled the Legislature.

New aerial refueling tankers on their way to New Hampshire

NEWINGTON, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Air National Guard is welcoming the Air Force’s new aerial refueling tanker, the KC-46A Pegasus. reports the Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington is expected to receive two of the planes Thursday. They’re replacing KC-135 tankers, an Eisenhower administration-era aircraft.
The last KC-135 departed the Pease base in March.
Pease is expected to get a total of 12 planes.
The new tankers are designed to refuel any fixed-wing plane, foreign or domestic made.

Adult tests positive for mosquito- and tick-borne viruses

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services says an adult from Kingston has tested positive for mosquito- and tick-borne viruses.
The department said Thursday the adult tested positive for the Jamestown Canyon virus, transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and Powassan virus, transmitted by infected ticks. It’s the first time they’ve been identified in the state this year.
Reports of Jamestown Canyon virus in humans are rare, but have increased over the last several years. This is New Hampshire’s seventh case since the state’s first report of the disease in 2013.
This is New Hampshire’s fourth case of Powassan virus, also since 2013. The blacklegged tick is most likely to transmit the virus.
Both viruses can infect the central nervous system.

Suspect in stabbing of ex returned to psychiatric facility

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A New Hampshire man charged with fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend in a Massachusetts restaurant where she was attending a book club meeting has been committed to a mental health facility for an additional six months.
Court officials tell that at a hearing Wednesday at Bridgewater State Hospital, it was determined that Carlos Asencio would remain held there for up to six more months.
The 32-year-old Derry, New Hampshire man had been at the facility since his arraignment last month on a murder charge in the July 3 stabbing death of 31-year-old Amanda Dabrowski, of Ayer, in O’Connor’s Restaurant & Bar in Worcester. A not guilty plea has been entered on his behalf.
Authorities say the suspect stabbed the victim as she left the restroom.
His attorney has not commented.

2 men in custody after argument, gun fired in Dollar Store

BARNSTEAD, N.H. (AP) — Police say an argument inside a store between two men in New Hampshire led to one of them pulling out a gun and shooting a round.
Police Chief Paul Poirier of Barnstead tells WMUR-TV no one was hurt Wednesday. Both men inside the Dollar General store were taken into custody. Police said the man who didn’t fire the gun is accused of assaulting an officer.
Police said a be-on-the-lookout call was issued for three people who left the scene who were with the shooter. Poirier said there is no threat to the public.

Sununu asks for disaster declaration following July flooding

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has requested a major disaster declaration for Grafton County and other areas hit by severe rain and flash flooding in July.
Sununu wrote to President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying the July 11-12 flooding washed out roads and left debris that restricted travel and emergency operations. He said the majority of the rain fell in less than six hours, with rates as high as 4.75 inches per hour reported. Rescuers helped some people evacuate their homes and from a campground.
He emphasized how many of the communities affected are small towns, like Orange and Groton, which will have to cut back on repairs, delay scheduled road work, increase taxes and take out loans in an attempt to recover.