Liberty the ‘comfort dog’ to soothe crime victims

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A 4-month yellow Labrador puppy is getting ready to soothe crime victims as a comfort dog.
WMUR-TV reports that Liberty the dog is believed to the state’s first comfort dog for a police department.
New Hampshire-based nonprofit Hero Pups is training Liberty, who will also accompany Concord officers sat community events. The nonprofit typically trains service dogs for first responders and veterans.
Department chief Bradley Osgood said he doesn’t expect the dog to cost the city.

Warm weather finally cooling off in northern New England

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Recent record-setting warm temperatures throughout northern New England are finally cooling off.
Temperatures are beginning to cool down amid rainfall Thursday. The National Weather Service warns of coastal flooding amid heavy rainfall in Maine and New Hampshire.
The National Weather Service says Burlington, Vermont, on Wednesday saw a record high of 82 degrees. The previous 81-degree record was set in 1909.
Portland, Maine, reached 84 degrees Wednesday afternoon, compared to an 81-degree record in 2011. New Hampshire’s most populous city of Manchester reached 84 degrees, while the National Weather Service says the city typically has temperatures in the 60s this time of year.
A cold front may be coming in this weekend, with frost possible Saturday night.

Dartmouth College sees spike in hand, foot and mouth disease

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Dartmouth College says 50 of its students have fallen ill with hand, foot and mouth disease.
WMUR-TV reports that the college is treating students at its health service facility and a 24-hour hotline for sick students has been set up. Health officials say there is currently a nationwide spike in patients suffering from the illness.
Saliva and other bodily fluids spread the disease. The disease’s symptoms include a high fever and sores on the inside of the mouth or lips. Those with hand, foot and mouth disease can be contagious for up to 10 days even though symptoms typically last a few days.
The disease is typically common in children.

Congressional candidates Kuster, Negron meet at forum

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A forum for House candidates Thursday in the congressional district that covers western and northern New Hampshire featured the incumbent stressing what she has done in Washington and her opponent focusing on what he wouldn’t do.
Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster and her Republican challenger, Steve Negron, met for their first joint appearance ahead of the Nov. 6 election at a 2nd Congressional District forum sponsored by AARP and the Concord Chamber of Commerce.
Negron, a state representative from Nashua, answered several questions by saying Washington has too much power, resulting in massive bureaucracy. Congress, he said, shouldn’t tell states how to lower energy costs, should have no significant role in infrastructure projects and should let states control Medicaid spending through block grants.
“I would trust my state government,” he said.
Negron offered no specifics when asked for examples of working in a bipartisan manner, though he mentioned sitting between two Democrats in the Statehouse. Meanwhile, Kuster described leading a bipartisan task force on the opioid crisis that passed dozens of bills, as well as working with Republicans on the federal farm bill and on behalf of veterans.
Kuster, who is seeking her fourth term, disagreed with Negron on Medicaid, saying she feared block grants would not adequately take into account population shifts at a time when the state’s elderly population is growing. And, she said, infrastructure is a federal responsibility when it comes to the interstate highway system, and she is proud to have helped secure federal funding for the widening of Interstate 93 and other projects.
The two also disagreed on Social Security and Medicare. Negron said Medicare benefits should be maintained for current enrollees, but the program eventually should “morph” into something more sustainable. He promised to do everything in his power to keep Social Security solvent but did not mention specific solutions.
Kuster said she supports making higher income levels subject to Social Security withholding. She said the looming problems with both programs are the result of the Republican-backed tax cuts.
“The only threat to Medicare and Social Security is the tax break for millionaires and billionaires that added $1.5 trillion to the deficit,” she said.

Maine takes step to prevent spread of dangerous deer disease

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine wildlife regulators on Thursday enacted emergency rules to protect Maine’s moose and deer herds from a dangerous disease that has been discovered in neighboring Canada.
Chronic wasting disease is an always fatal neurological disease and it has been found in Quebec, which has a long border with Maine. The disease could devastate deer and moose populations if left unchecked, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock said.
Woodcock’s department said it’s now illegal to bring deer and moose carcasses into Maine unless a strict set of guidelines is followed. Maine officials are also urging hunters to take precautions, such as reporting deer that appear sick or weak to the wildlife department so the animal can be tested.
“Chronic wasting disease is the most serious threat facing our deer and moose populations in modern times,” Woodcock said, adding the disease could “ravage Maine’s hunting and wildlife economy.”
Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is caused by a protein called prion that causes lesions in the brain. Animals spread it through bodily fluids via direct contact or through dirt, water or food.
The disease isn’t known to affect humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that experimental studies “raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to people” and suggest it’s a good idea to prevent human exposure.
Maine is currently free of CWD, as are New Hampshire and Vermont, which have also worked to deter the disease. The restrictions will require hunters to adapt, but it’s worth it to try to keep the disease at bay, said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
“As a hunter and a conservationist, the most important thing to us is keeping the resource preserved in a responsible way,” he said. “We don’t want this to come to Maine. At this point we have to be supportive of what the department has done.”

State defends fatal shooting of bear cubs near homes

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Officials with the New Hampshire Fish and Game on Thursday defended shooting dead two bears that were running to a busy roadway, saying they posed a danger to motorists.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau said a biologist shot the bears Tuesday because they were running into traffic on Route 3A in Manchester. Agents first responded to reports that the bears were in a tree early in the day and left hoping they would eventually leave with their mother. They did come down but remained in the area in Manchester near an apartment building, retail stores and homes. When spotted again, the bears took off running toward Route 3A and were shot dead.
“He shot them so they wouldn’t cause a traffic accident,” said Normandeau, describing the unidentified biologist as someone with decades of experience and not “somebody we dragged off the street, gave a gun and said go shoot problem bears.”
“He didn’t shoot these bears because he wanted to. He shot because of legitimate concern for public safety which is our responsibility,” Normandeau said. “Now, you never know. He could have let them run out there and see what happened. But 3A is a pretty crazy road.”
Residents of a nearby apartment complex, including Sandy and John Pelletier, said they heard the gunshots and were concerned that the biologist shot so close to where people live. The Manchester residents questioned why the biologist didn’t use a tranquilizer.
“I find them shooting the bear, the person shooting the bear between two apartment complexes, with a couple hundred apartments between us, that violated every rule that I know,” John Pelletier said.
Normandeau dismissed suggestions that less lethal means could have been used. On Thursday, officials tranquilized another bear cub in Manchester and took it out of a tree, but he said that was a different situation.
“There isn’t an alternative in a situation with two bears running,” he added. “The things were running flat out. It’s not Wild Kingdom you know what I’m saying. You need a bear sitting stock still to hit it with a dart.”
Normandeau said the situation illustrates the reality in New Hampshire where bears and other wildlife like deer and turkeys are increasingly showing up in populated areas and sometimes coming into conflict with humans.
He estimated that they get up to 1,000 calls about bears each year and that up to five bears are killed annually by state agents. Another two or three dozen are killed by private land owners, including three cubs shot and killed last month after they and their mother got into a beehive in Tamworth.

Police: 2 pedestrians struck by car when vehicles collide

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Authorities in New Hampshire say two pedestrians were hit when two vehicles crashed.
WMUR-TV reports the crash happened Wednesday morning in Manchester. Police say one of the vehicles involved in the crash struck the two pedestrians before hitting a house.
One of the pedestrians was taken to an area hospital with a broken ankle.
The crash is under investigation.

Lawyers say man accused in hospital shooting was delusional

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — Lawyers for a man accused of killing his mother in a New Hampshire hospital intensive care unit say the man suffered from “delusional beliefs,” and they may seek an insanity defense.
Valley News reports lawyers for 49-year-old Travis Frink wrote in court documents that he told police he was taken from the womb of his birth mother and subjected to a “sadistic scientific experiment.”
Frink also told police he had not taken any medication and had not slept in a long time before the September 2017 shooting that killed 70-year-old Pamela Ferriere.
Authorities say Frink shot his mother multiple times at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Court records show Frink had been hospitalized before the shooting and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
He has pleaded not guilty.

Health officials: 12 case of Legionnaire’s disease found

HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — Public health authorities in New Hampshire say 12 people have been identified with Legionnaire’s disease and at least one person has died.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services said the 12 likely acquired Legionella at the end of July or beginning of August in a localized area of Hampton. Health officials said they were still trying to identify the source of the infection and had closed several hot tub spas in the area as a precaution.
Legionnaire’s disease is a bacterial pneumonia spread by inhaling droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria.
New Hampshire averages about 32 cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 6,100 cases in 2016.

Alec Baldwin to speak at New Hampshire Democrats’ dinner

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Alec Baldwin will be the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraising dinner.
The actor, who won an Emmy last year for his portrayal of President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” will speak at the Oct. 14 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner in Manchester.
Baldwin says he is working to help Democrats win elections across the country. He recently appeared in a video calling for citizens to support and for Congress to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the 2016 election.
The New Hampshire dinner is an annual event with a new name. In 2016, the party switched the name from the Jefferson-Jackson dinner to the Kennedy-Clinton dinner.