News & Notes 24/01/04

A graphic the shape of the state of New Hampshire, filled in with the New Hampshire flag made up of the crest of New Hampshire on a blue field.

Storm clean-up

In the aftermath of a massive storm system on Dec. 18, 2023, which brought heavy rainfall and strong winds to New Hampshire, both the state’s Congressional delegation and the Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) have requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to a press release, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, led by Sens. Jean Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, along with Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell expressing their support for the affected local communities. The storm resulted in extensive road closures, infrastructure damage and home destructions in northern New Hampshire, leading to the rescue of some residents by National Guard helicopters. The delegation urges FEMA to be prepared to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments in collaboration with state and local officials, should the state request it, especially as impending snowfall could complicate the assessment of the full extent of the damage. On the state level, the HSEM, on behalf of Gov. Chris Sununu, initiated joint Preliminary Damage Assessments with FEMA to document the impact on communities, which is crucial for securing federal disaster relief funds. HSEM had nine teams visiting affected communities to assess initial damage estimates, working closely with communities to determine whether they meet the state threshold of $2.53 million in damages.

Food help

NH Hunger Solutions and other anti-hunger advocates plan to attend a public hearing in Concord on Jan. 3 for SB499, the Hunger Free NH Act. According to a press release, this bipartisan legislation, led by Sen. Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) and introduced for the 2024 session, aims to address food insecurity in New Hampshire. Key objectives of the act include increasing participation in Federal Nutrition Programs (FNPs), removing administrative barriers for accessing these programs and improving participation in School Breakfast and Summer Meals programs. The act also focuses on making it easier for older adults and people with disabilities to access food and nutrition benefits.”Our food and nutrition support system is designed to work like a power grid that can move healthy food to communities and households — the problem is that the grid is well-powered in some areas and patchy or even non-existent in others,” Executive Director of NH Hunger Solutions Laura Milliken said in the release. “At the same time, rising costs of goods, housing and child care are straining household budgets. For many, it is increasingly difficult to meet basic needs.” Milliken noted that over half of New Hampshire children and 46 percent of adults live in households with insufficient food as of Oct. 30. “The Hunger Free NH Act will connect more Granite Staters with nutritious food and bolster our food support system in NH,” she said.

Historic registry

The Bald Peak Colony Club in Moultonborough has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a notable example of a rural country club from the 1920s, according to a press release. Located with views of Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounded by the Belknap and Ossipee mountain ranges, the club was founded in 1921. It stands out as one of New Hampshire’s most preserved historic golf clubs, featuring 93 contributing buildings, sites and structures that maintain the Colonial Revival architectural style. The club’s facilities include a symmetrical clubhouse, early cottages near the clubhouse, a variety of recreational buildings, and an 18-hole golf course that has kept its original layout since 1919. The listing on the National Register, administered by the National Park Service, recognizes the property’s historical significance without imposing new restrictions on it. It also makes the property eligible for certain state grants aimed at conservation and heritage investment.

Corrections training

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire (NAMI NH) for a training initiative funded by a grant from the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs. According to a press release, this collaboration aims to equip all corrections staff with specialized skills through programs like Building a Trauma-Responsive Correctional Setting and Crisis Intervention Training, with a focus on application in correctional environments. This move comes after a significant number of individuals were referred for behavioral and substance use services upon booking, highlighting the need for enhanced staff training. The initiative, starting in Fiscal Year 2025, seeks to improve outcomes for justice-involved individuals with mental illness and support corrections staff in managing complex issues within the criminal justice system.

Pembroke received approval from the NH Public Utilities Commission to proceed with the Pembroke Community Power Energy Aggregation Plan, set to launch on March 1, 2024. According to a press release, the plan aims to provide residents and businesses with more affordable and cleaner electricity. Residents will receive information letters starting Jan. 22, detailing the benefits and explaining how to participate or opt out of Pembroke Community Power. The Pembroke Energy Committee will hold an informational public meeting on Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pembroke Academy auditorium.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) has announced the closure of the temporary E-ZPass Walk-In Center (WIC) at Exit 16 on the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 16) in Rochester, according to a press release. The center, which was set up to assist travelers in transitioning to the All-Electronic-Toll (AET) system implemented in September 2023, will cease operations permanently on Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. Walk-In Centers in Concord, Nashua and Portsmouth will continue to serve the public from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Upper Room, a family resource center in Derry, is launching a six-week series titled “Is This Crossing The Line?” to educate teen women on boundary setting, consent, sexting and personal confidence. According to a press release, the free program will run Mondays, Jan. 22 through March 4, from 3 to 4 p.m. Sessions will be facilitated by Valerie Mazzola, LICSW, from Clear Balance Counseling, to provoke insightful discussions among participants about maintaining healthy relationships. Attendance for all six sessions is required for participants. To register, call 437-8477.

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