This Week 21/07/29

Big Events July 29, 2021, and beyond

Thursday, July 29

The Merrimack Valley Military Vehicle Collectors Club will hold its annual Weare Rally today through Saturday, July 31. The event includes vendors (including food vendors), demonstrations, military vehicle displays and more. On Saturday, admission will cost $5 and the rally will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to mvmvc.org.

Thursday, July 29

At the Currier Museum of Art’s (150 Ash St. in Manchester; currier.org, 669-6144) weekly Art After Work, admission is free on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and you can enjoy live music, free tours and food and drink for sale in the Winter Garden Cafe. Today, the live musical performance is by Charlie Chronopoulos and the tours are of the exhibits “Tomie dePaola at the Currier” (at 5:30 p.m.) and “Roberto Lugo: Te traigo mi le lo lai — I bring you my joy” (at 6:30 p.m.). Advance online registration is recommended, according to the website.

Friday, July 30

The Nashua Silver Knights will play the Westfield Starfires today at 6 p.m. with fireworks to follow the game at Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St. in Nashua). The Silver Knights will face Westfield again on Sunday, Aug. 1, in a doubleheader, the first game of which starts at 3 p.m. Tickets to games start at $8 for adults, $6 for kids. See nashuasilverknights.com.

Saturday, July 31

Lucas Gallo plays Fletcher-Murphy Park (28 Fayette St. in Concord) today at 6 p.m. as part of the Bank of New Hampshire Stage’s Music in the Park Series. Gallo released his newest EP, Time, last week. Tickets cost $12 plus a $3 fee; see banknhstage.com.

Saturday, July 31

Olympic competition continues this week, as does the competition at the Doggy Olympics, a series of activities held by the New Hampshire Dog Walking Club. Today at 10 a.m. it’s the Canine Fitness Challenge at Canine Strong in Concord. Or perhaps the Bubble Catching Game on Monday, Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m. at Friendly Pets Dog Park in Lee is more your dog’s speed. Find information on all the events and how to register your four-legged competitor at nhdogwalkingclub.com/2021-doggy-olympics-events.

Saturday, July 31

Take the kids to Greeley Park in Nashua for a Fairy Tale Concert with Party Palace, which starts at 11 a.m. The event is part of the city’s SummerFun programming (see nashuanh.gov) and kids are invited to dress up as their favorite fairy tale characters, according to the brochure, which also said the event will feature princesses interacting with the kids for singing, dancing and more.

Save the Date! Friday, Aug. 6

Catch Recycled Percussion Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. at Lakeport Opera House (781 Union Ave. in Laconia; 519-7506, lakeportopera.com). Tickets start at $25.

Featured photo, Aaron Tolson. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 21/07/29

Smoke in the air

Earlier this week — and for the second time in two weeks — the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services issued a statewide advisory due to high concentrations of fine particle air pollution. Officials called for an Air Quality Action Day on July 26 and July 27 and advised children and older adults, people with lung disease such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, and people who are active outdoors to limit prolonged outdoor exertion. According to a press release, the air pollution is being caused by the wildfires in the western U.S. and central and western Canada. The air quality was expected to improve on Wednesday, with winds pushing smoke plumes out of the area, but as of Tuesday morning the wildfires were still burning, which could mean more Air Quality Action Days for New Hampshire.

Score: -1

Comment: Even healthy individuals are encouraged to limit outdoor activity, as particle pollution exposure may cause chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, the release said.

Mission accomplished

With much fewer Covid-19 cases than at the height of the pandemic, and with strong vaccination rates throughout the state, the Senior Support Team of New Hampshire has ended its operations supporting senior residential facilities. According to a press release, the fully remote, all-volunteer organization was formed in April 2020 to support assisted living facilities and other senior residential facilities in New Hampshire through the pandemic. Covid Response Liaisons were available every day to communicate with senior facilities, providing facility leaders with guidance, and a statewide team advocated for supplies or services to help make outbreaks in senior facilities less likely. About 55 senior residential facilities participated in the Covid Response Liaison program, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: The rapid organization of this all-volunteer group, and its work throughout the pandemic, is impressive, but the real positive here is the fact that it’s no longer needed.

Beware of Child Tax Credit scams

Advance payments of the Child Tax Credit from the Internal Revenue Service are now being delivered to families, and along with them are new scams that criminals are using to steal money and personal information. According to a press release, any families that are eligible for the credit should be on the lookout for phone, email, text message and social media scams, specifically communication offering assistance to sign up for the Child Tax Credit or to speed up the monthly payments. When receiving unsolicited calls or messages, taxpayers should not provide personal information, click on links or open attachments, the release said.

Score: -1

Comment: If you are eligible for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, the IRS will use information from your 2020 or 2019 tax return to automatically enroll you for advance payments, and there is nothing further that you need to do, the release said.

Thriving school systems

New Hampshire has the fifth best school system in the country, according to a recent study released by personal finance website WalletHub, which compiled data of 32 key measures of quality and safety. According to the study, New Hampshire ranks No. 1 in Median ACT Scores and in Existence of Digital Learning Plan. Other Top 10 ratings include No. 3 in Pupil-Teacher Ration, No. 4 in Reading Test Scores and No. 6 in Math Test Scores.

Score: +1

Comment: Overall, we ranked fourth for quality and 12th for safety. Massachusetts ranked first overall, snagging the top spot for both quality and safety.

QOL score: 82
Net change: 0
QOL this week: 82

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Still growing

Local farmers contend with heavy rain, dip in demand

Every sumShawn Jasper, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, gave an update on the current growing season and how local farms are doing.

How is the summer growing season going so far?

It’s sort of a mixed bag as to what’s going on out there. … Things started out very dry for much of the state. There was enough moisture that many of the farms, particularly the ones that were growing hay for forage, had a very good first crop, but then they were very concerned about the second crop. To a large degree, in the areas where a lot of the hay is grown, we never really got into a drought, but we were in dry conditions. Now the problem for most of our farms is that things are too wet. … We’re getting a lot of rain and just enough sunshine that the corn is shooting up like crazy, but for some of the other crops in some areas, like tomatoes, it’s not enough sunshine. … The other problem is we’re not having three days of dry weather to really be able to get out into the field. That’s a concern at this point, because second cutting should be well underway and almost wrapped up in most areas, but farmers can’t [work]. I’ve heard of some farmers who are out in the field trying to do various things and getting stuck, and that’s never a good thing. … Still, it’s certainly a lot better than where we were last year, when everyone was running out of water or their irrigation ponds were going dry and it was just one thing after another.

What conditions would be ideal for farmers for the rest of the season?

We’re praying for some sunshine at this point, for an extended period of time. Four or five days without any rain would really allow the vegetables and crops to take advantage of the moisture that’s in the soil. We could be poised for a very good remainder of the year, and all the fruits and vegetables are probably going to do pretty well if things dry out and don’t just immediately go back into another drought. Ideally, we should have a rainstorm about once a week, not once every other day.

How are local farms doing business-wise?

During the pandemic, our farmers markets and farm stands did very well. I hoped that people would continue to buy from our local farms, but that’s one case where things have gone back to normal. We need more people to buy more local products if agriculture is going to expand in New Hampshire. We’re all a lot healthier when we’re eating local food and getting those fresher products into our systems. It’s going to be a little bit more expensive, but as we’re seeing, [food] is getting more expensive anyhow, even at the grocery store.

What are farmers doing to protect their livelihood?

There’s no question [farming] is a challenge in New Hampshire, and it probably always will be, but New Hampshire farmers are smart. We’re seeing a lot more innovative farming methods. A lot more people are using high tunnel greenhouses; they don’t require any heat because they allow natural heat to be trapped within the greenhouse, which means farmers can start their seasons earlier. We had local corn on the Fourth of July because [the crops] were started under black plastic, which, again, traps heat and allows the corn to get a great start. Farmers are trying all the methods that are out there.

What is the best thing people can do for their home gardens right now?

Be aware of their soil conditions. A lot of the nutrients are leaching out of the soil with this large amount of rain, so putting in some extra fertilizer is going to be helpful.

Featured photo: Shawn Jasper. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 21/07/29

Covid-19 update As of July 19 As of July 26
Total cases statewide 99,966 100,286
Total current infections statewide 224 364
Total deaths statewide 1,382 1,385
New cases 196 (July 13 to July 19) 320 (July 20 to July 26)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 69 92
Current infections: Merrimack County 27 44
Current infections: Rockingham County 40 85
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

With its public health update on July 20, New Hampshire surpassed 100,000 overall cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic last year. As of July 26, there were 364 active cases, 23 hospitalizations and 1,385 overall deaths that have been attributed to the virus.

On July 21, Gov. Chris Sununu responded to the federal government’s extension of the non-essential travel ban between the United States and Canada through at least Aug. 21, calling the decision “absurd” to delay the border opening for another month. “It harms our small businesses and families, and does not follow the science,” Sununu said in a statement.

Also on July 21, the University of New Hampshire announced in a press release that it has obtained a federal grant to perform surveillance for Covid-19 variants in the state. The $757,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, according to a press release, enables UNH to perform testing in its lab in partnership with New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories and the state Department of Health & Human Services.

During a July 22 press conference, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan reported that the state has averaged about 40 new infections of Covid-19 per day over the previous week. “This is a small increase from about a month ago, when we were averaging around 20 or so new infections per day,” he said. “Similarly, the test positivity rate is also showing an increase, [at] around 1.9 percent over the last week.” Overall, however, Chan added that the level of community transmission statewide has remained low. “Despite some of the increases we’ve seen, New Hampshire has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 currently in the country,” he said.

Dr. Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control of the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, also provided an update during the press conference on vaccine distributions in the state. “The number of new people getting vaccinated each day has slowed down over time, [but] we still have about 1,000 new people each week,” she said. While New Hampshire is no longer allocated a weekly amount of vaccine doses from the federal government, health care providers can order them on an as-needed basis.

According to a July 23 press release, Sununu signed HB 220, known as the “medical freedom” immunization bill, into law. Under the new law, New Hampshire residents cannot be required to be vaccinated in order to access public facilities, benefits or services. It also allows mandatory immunizations in prisons and jails. The new law does not apply, however, to county nursing homes, the state psychiatric hospital or other medical facilities operated by the state.

Anti-discrimination

Guidance related to the new discriminatory practice prohibitions for public employers and government programs that were passed as part of House Bill 2 was issued last week by Attorney General John M. Formella, Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and Commission for Human Rights Executive Director Ahni Malachi. Two frequently asked questions documents are now available at doj.nh.gov that further explain the new anti-discrimination laws, one for public employees and government programs and one for K-12 educational programs.

According to the guidance, HB2 was passed on June 25 and includes sections 297 and 298, Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education. “There has been much discussion about this law and what prohibitions it imposes on public employers, government programs, and schools,” the document reads. “The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance to public employers, government program administrators, and school systems as they review their compliance with this new law.”

Questions address things like what public employers and government programs are prohibited from training and advocating: “In short, do not train or advocate that a person or a group is inherently oppressive, superior, inferior, racist, or sexist. Train and treat all equally and without discrimination,” the document reads. In the K-12 educational programs FAQ, one question asks whether the law prohibits teachers from teaching U.S. history. “No. Nothing prohibits the teaching of historical subjects including, but not limited to: slavery, treatment of the Native American population, Jim Crow laws, segregation, treatment of women, treatment of LGBTQ+ people, treatment of people with disabilities, treatment of people based on their religion, or the Civil Rights movement. Nor does anything prohibit discussions related to current events including, but not limited to: the Black Lives Matter movement, efforts to promote equality and inclusion, or other contemporary events that impact certain identified groups.”

The documents note that the term “divisive concepts” is not found anywhere in the new law, and that nothing in the new law prohibits these entities from examining issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, equality and other related topics. They also recognize that such topics may make people uncomfortable, but that does not mean that the training has violated New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination laws and does not give employees or participants the license to refuse to participate in the training without consequence.

Auto insurance

The New Hampshire Insurance Department has issued a reminder to consumers to notify their auto insurance company immediately after getting a new vehicle. “Recent complaint investigations have shown that not all consumers are notifying their carriers when they are purchasing used or new vehicles,” Keith Nyhan, Director of Consumer Services at NHID, said in a press release. “The failure to notify their carrier has created situations where consumers are unknowingly uninsured.” According to the release, people typically have only a short grace period to notify their carrier. If they miss that window and the vehicle is not insured, they could be held financially responsible for injury and property damage caused while driving that vehicle.

Coppal House Farm in Lee is hosting its annual Sunflower Festival from Saturday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. According to a press release, the 4-acre field of sunflowers is only open during this festival. There will also be live music, food vendors, a wine garden, a craft fair and more. Tickets are available at the farm stand or at nhsunflower.com

On July 22 the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services issued an advisory after observing a cyanobacteria bloom on Governors Lake in Raymond. The previous day it issued a cyanobacteria advisory for Marsh Pond in New Durham. According to a press release, the advisories are intended for people who use the water bodies for recreation, as the blooms can release toxins that can cause acute and chronic health problems. See updated advisories at twitter.com/NHDES_Beaches.

Peter Holland, a longtime race team coach at Pats Peak in Henniker, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during Ski New Hampshire’s annual business meeting earlier this month. According to a press release, the award was presented posthumously to his wife Roberta Holland. Peter Holland began his ski career at Pats Peak as a ski instructor in 1980 and dedicated decades to teaching and coaching skiers of all ages, the release said.

The Merrimack Fire Department was called to the Merrimack Premium Outlets on July 24 after employees of one store received what they thought was a suspicious package, according to a report from WMUR. The hazardous materials team in Nashua was also called in, and the package was determined to be safe, but all shoppers and employees were evacuated, and the outlets remained closed for the rest of the day, the report said.

This Week 21/07/22

Big Events July 22, 2021, and beyond

Thursday, July 22

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have home games at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (1 Line Drive in downtown Manchester; nhfishercats.com) on the schedule through Sunday, July 25, against the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Games today through Saturday, July 24, start at 7:05 p.m.; Sunday’s game starts at 1:05 p.m. Catch fireworks from Atlas Fireworks after the games today and Saturday. Today is also NASA/Space Day and Sunday’s theme is Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues and You, with activities for kids. On Friday the Fisher Cats celebrate Christmas in July, with Christmas music and lights and an ornament giveaway for the first 500 fans, according to the website, where you can purchase tickets.

The Nashua Silver Knights also have a game today; they’ll play the Worcester Bravehearts at 6 p.m. See nashuasilverknights.com.

Friday, July 23

Tap dancer, choreographer, professor at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and New Hampshire native Aaron Tolsonpresents Aaron Tolson and Friends, an evening of dance and music featuring Elan Trotman, tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow, July 24, at 2 p.m. at the Dana Center (Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Dr. in Manchester; anselm.edu/dana-center-humanities). Tickets cost $20. Find more arts and theater events in the Arts section, which starts on page 10.

Friday, July 23

Catch some of your favorite classic songs played live. Tonight at 6 p.m., catch JT Express, a James Taylor tribute show, at the Tupelo Drive-In in Derry (tupelomusichall.com).On Saturday, July 24, Into the Mystic, the Van Morrison Experience, will perform at the Bank of NH Stage in Concord at 8 p.m. (ccanh.com). On Sunday, July 25, the Flying Monkey in Plymouth presents Pink Talking Fish (a band that pays tribute to the music of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish) at 7:30 p.m. (flyingmonkeynh.com). Find more upcoming concerts in our listings on page 42.

Saturday, July 24

Take a walking tour of Manchester’s millyard with John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association, today from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Pre-registration is required for this event, which costs $15 per person. Tour attendees will meet outside the Millyard Museum’s Commercial Street entrance. See manchesterhistoric.org.

Wednesday, July 28

Wednesdays are good nights for catching a free live outdoor concert. Among the towns offering Wednesday concerts: Bedford at the Village Common Park Gazebo at 6 p.m. (this week it’s Knock on Wood), Candia at the Candia Pond Park at 6:30 pm. (Windham Swing Band), Merrimack at Abbie Griffin Park at 6 p.m. (Studio Two) and Plaistow at the PARC at 6 p.m. (B Street Bombers). Find more live music, including listings of area towns concert series, in the Music This Week listing on page 37. If you know of a spot with live music, let us know at music@hippopress.com.

Save the date: Saturday, Aug. 7

The Blues on the Range Festival, presented by the Granite State Blues Society, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 7, starting at noon at The Range, 96 Old Turnpike Road in Mason. Tickets cost $25 in advance. This year’s lineup includes Veronica Lewis Band with Monster Mike Welch and more local and regional blues talent, according to granitestateblues.org, where you can purchase tickets.

Featured photo, Aaron Tolson. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 21/07/22

Fewer violent crimes in the Queen City

Preliminary numbers show that violent crime in Manchester is down 25 percent from April of this year to the end of June. The city usually sees about a 9-percent increase in violent crime heading into the summer months, according to a press release, and the Manchester Police Department is attributing this success in part to the CompStat360 initiative, which promotes collaboration with community members and other city stakeholders to solve community problems, as well as strong collaboration with local, county, state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors. One of the top priorities has been violent crime prevention and reduction, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: The data also shows that gun crime in Manchester has dropped 40 percent compared to 2020 and is down 20 percent when compared to the five-year average, the release said.

Tuition freeze at community colleges

The Community College System of New Hampshire will once again freeze tuition at $215 per credit, or $6,450 per year, in tuition costs for a full-time course load. According to a press release, the rate has been the same for four years, and New Hampshire’s community colleges continue to be the most affordable college options for residents. In addition, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges are offering one free, three-credit course in the fall semester to any member of a New Hampshire high school class of ’21.

Score: +1

Comment:Annual full-time tuition at New Hampshire’s seven community colleges costs only $150 more than it did a decade ago when the tuition rate was $210 per credit for the 2011 school year, according to the release.

Hiring challenges mean less amusement

Without enough employees to staff its regular hours, Canobie Lake Park in Salem will now be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and will close early a few days a week, according to a report from WMUR. Park officials told WMUR that while about half of the staff returns each year, new applicants are down 75 percent. The new hours of the park are Wednesday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Score: -1

Comment: At least you can still get nauseatingly dizzy on the Turkish Twist five days a week.

Keeping lakes clean

The Lake Host courtesy boat inspection program is celebrating its 20th anniversary as once again its hundreds of lake hosts posted at 100 of the busiest boat ramps in the state are teaching boaters how to clean their boats to prevent the spread of invasive species. According to a press release from NH LAKES, over the past 19 years the Lake Host program has slowed the rate of spread of invasive plants, including milfoil, from lake to lake. The primary way invasive species spread is on boats that have not been thoroughly cleaned, drained and dried between voyages in different bodies of water.

Score: +1

Comment: Approximately 90 of the state’s water bodies contain infestations of invasive species that can clog boat motors and propellers, according to the release, and once they are firmly established they are nearly impossible to get rid of.

QOL score: 80
Net change: +2
QOL this week: 82

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

News & Notes 21/07/22

Covid-19 updateAs of July 12As of July 19
Total cases statewide99,77099,966
Total current infections statewide197224
Total deaths statewide1,3751,382
New cases215 (July 3 to July 12)196 (July 13 to July 19)
Current infections: Hillsborough County5369
Current infections: Merrimack County1127
Current infections: Rockingham County4440
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Rentals needed

Results of the recently released 2021 New Hampshire Residential Rental Cost Survey Report shows that it’s a tough market for renters right now, with low inventory, lower vacancy rates and higher rents. According to the report summary, owners and managers of more than 24,560 unsubsidized rental housing units in the state (15 percent of all units) took part in the survey, which shows that this year’s statewide median gross rent of $1,498 (including utilities) for two-bedroom units is up 6 percent over last year, and the 0.9 percent vacancy rate for all units is lower than last year. According to the report, a vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered a balanced market for tenants and landlords, and comparatively, both the U.S. and Northeast vacancy rates are at 6.8 percent. Meanwhile, there is also a limited supply of homes for sale, making it more difficult for renters to become homeowners, the report said. New Hampshire Housing has committed financing for more than 1,000 rental units over the past year, and those will be available in 12 to 18 months. Still, “To sustain New Hampshire’s economy, additional housing is needed to support our workforce, as well as those who cannot work because of age or disability,” the report summary said. “It is estimated that about 20,000 more housing units are needed to meet current demand and stabilize the market.”

Residential treatment

Children in need of behavioral health residential treatment will soon have more options. On July 14, the New Hampshire Executive Council and Gov. Chris Sununu approved contracts with nine organizations that will provide behavioral health services in residential treatment settings to children and young adults “whose behavioral health needs cannot be met safely in the community without intensive supports,” according to a press release. The contracts will expand clinical services by ensuring that each provider delivers services through a trauma model and developing programming that targets special treatment needs. They will also establish relationships with community providers to determine when residential treatment is appropriate. More contracts with remaining residential treatment providers are expected to be submitted for consideration in the coming weeks. “Residential treatment services vitally help children and young adults with severe emotional disturbances,” Erica Ungarelli, director of the Department of Health and Human Services Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health, said in the release. “Children and youth have unique mental and behavioral health needs, and a comprehensive system of care is being established to ensure these needs are met. The expansion of residential treatment for children and youth is a critical step in the establishment of the system of care.” Joe Ribsam, director of the Division for Children, Youth and Families, said in the release that children too often end up involved with DCYF if their severe mental health needs aren’t being addressed, and that making residential treatment services more widely available and accessible, along with the recently expanded mobile crisis and wraparound support for families, will keep more kids out of the state’s child protection and juvenile justice systems.

Summer stipend

The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security opened applications for the Summer Stipend Program on Monday, July 19, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office. The program was announced in May following the state’s decision to end federal pandemic unemployment benefits. Individuals who were receiving unemployment benefits the week of May 15 and found and maintained employment on or after May 18 at 20 or more hours a week for at least eight weeks, earning less than $25 an hour, are eligible for a stipend. The stipend amounts are $500 for individuals who worked under 37.5 hours per week for eight weeks and $1,000 for individuals who worked 37.5 hours or more per week for eight weeks. The stipends are first come first served until the $10 million fund runs out. The first wave of potentially eligible people is calculated to be more than 1,700, according to the release.

Filing for mayor

Manchester City Mayor Joyce Craig officially filed for re-election for a third term on Monday, July 19, according to a press release. “I’m running for Mayor in 2021 to ensure our city fully recovers from this pandemic, builds upon our progress and comes out of this stronger than before,” Craig said in the release. “We have a tremendous opportunity in the next two years to continue to tackle issues facing our community,” Craig added. “I’ll continue working to help residents lead better lives with stronger schools, safer neighborhoods, good jobs and a growing economy.”

Victoria Sullivan, former New Hampshire State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader who served two terms on the House Education Committee, has also filed paperwork to officially become a candidate for Mayor of Manchester. “I am running to ‘Make Manchester Shine Again’ — to drastically improve the quality of life and livability of our city now and for future generations,” Sullivan said in a statement. The Manchester mayoral election will take place in November.

And Republican Richard Girard planned to officially file his candidacy for Manchester mayor on Wednesday, July 21, according to a press release.

Homelessness bill

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined two California senators to introduce a bill that would increase federal resources to battle homelessness, authorizing $1 billion in grants to local governments each year for the next five years. According to a press release, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act would condition federal funds on a grant recipient’s ability to provide not only housing, but also comprehensive supportive services like mental health care, substance abuse treatment and job training. It also requires a 25 percent match for services and housing from non-federal funds, and it requires grantees to report on measures of success, including whether individuals remain housed. “To stem the homelessness crisis that worsened during the pandemic, we need a comprehensive approach that makes families whole again. We must take into account how poverty, mental illness and substance misuse exacerbate cycles of housing insecurity,” Shaheen said in the release.

After spending more than two weeks assisting at the site of the Surfside condominium complex collapse in Florida, Concord Fire Chief Sean Brown has returned home and will be spending some time with his family before returning to work, according to a July 17 report from WMUR. Brown worked in the wreckage of the Champlain Towers South building, which collapsed on June 24 and killed at least 97 people, the report said.

After the recent announcement of a charter school expansion grant from the state, Founders Academy in Manchester has decided to amend its charter to include fifth grade. According to a press release, the school opened in 2014 serving 100 students in grades 6 through 8; for the 2020-2021 school year, 350 students were enrolled in grades 6 through 12.

Last week, the Nashua Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a request to equip police officers with body cameras. According to a report from WMUR, the $1.8 million, six-year contract will provide all 179 officers and 31 patrol cars with cameras with features that include activation with holster draws, opening cruiser doors and turning on lights and sirens.

Space to create

Shaker Village welcomes resident artists

Every summer, Canterbury Shaker Village offers an artist-in-residence program where artists spend two weeks living and working at the Village, creating art inspired by the architecture, landscape, traditional crafts, furniture, artistic endeavors and culture of the Shakers. Current artist-in-residence Maria Molteni discussed the opportunity.

What kind of art do you typically do?

I tend to make artwork that’s sort of formally rigorous, conceptually rigorous and very experimental and playful. A lot of what I do is project-based, so, for that reason, I work in a lot of different media, depending on what project I’m doing. … I do a lot of artwork that’s performative and often involves writing and publication and sometimes drawing and movement.

What drew your interest to the residency at the Shaker Village?

I came to create art inspired by the Shakers, but I’m also here to do experiential research … and learn more about the history and culture of Canterbury Shaker Village just by being on the land and in the presence of this Shaker energy. … You could say I’m kind of a low-key Shaker academic. … I’m very interested in how Shaker culture was different from community to community. I’ve visited all of the Shaker villages that I’m aware of … and have made artwork at several of them. … I was really excited to come to Canterbury Shaker Village because it had a very vibrant culture that sets it apart from some of the other Shaker villages.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at the Village?

Two weeks isn’t very much time, so I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself to meet a deadline or goal. … I’m just letting myself flow intuitively and explore and experiment. I’m not sure what I’ll come up with, but I want to make as many drawings and notes as I can so that I can take all this research with me [after the residency] and continue building on this work.

Will you be interacting with the public?

It’s not required that [artists] interact with the public … which is nice. … I interact and engage with the public a lot in my [regular] work, and I love it, but I think it’s valuable and a great privilege for an artist to have some time and space alone.

How does the residency impact your creative process?

As a full-time artist, I have so much administrative work to juggle all the time: meetings, phone calls, budgets to balance, grants to write. Residencies are nice because they allow me the time and space to breathe and focus, and the minimal presence of objects and materials primes my mind to create inspired work.

What does a typical day look like for you during your residency?

I wake up and do some reading; I brought around 20 books with me, and half of them are about Shakers. … Then, I set out into the woods; I’ve been exploring the trails, trying to find areas that feel spiritually charged to me. I’ve been filming myself doing movements, and I’ve been taking photographs of artwork and objects that I bring out to the woods. Then, I come back [to the studio space] and work on drawing and on an essay that I’m writing about Shaker gift drawings. … I’ve also been trying to stretch each day and take the time to be healthy and take care of my body more than I normally get to with all the pressure and hustle in my regular life.

Featured photo: Maria Molteni. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 21/07/15

Massive soap bottle in Manchester

The world’s biggest bottle of soap will make an appearance in Manchester on Saturday, July 17, part of a multi-city tour to raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene. According to a press release, clean beauty company Soapbox will donate personal care products to communities in need during the tour. The 21-foot tall, 8.5-foot diameter, 2,500-pound metal and fiberglass bottle will be on view at Hannaford at 201 John E. Devine Dr. between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Score: +1

Comment: During the stop in Manchester, Soapbox will be donating pallets of soap to Families in Transition and hygiene kits to Webster House.

Fifty years of service

The Merrimack Rotary Club has been providing support to the community for 50 years now and celebrated its achievements earlier this month. According to a press release, even the pandemic didn’t stop the Rotary from giving back and holding its weekly meetings — 58 total, via Zoom. It donated to a whole host of organizations and projects, including thousands of masks to Meals on Wheels, the Town of Merrimack and the Merrimack School District. It also provided support to the Wasserman Park Function Hall Sound Tile Project, the Watson Park Pavilion Staining Project and the Adopt-A-Roadside Clean-Up Project, among many other local contributions, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: “Rotarians are proud to give of their time to benefit others in the community and such service was recognized this year with the … Presidential Citation from Rotary International in honor of all our club has achieved,” R. Brian Snow, Rotary Club of Merrimack President 2020/2021, said in the release.

Illegal fireworks

Illegal use of fireworks is on the rise, according to a press release from the Manchester Fire Department. After receiving numerous complaints from residents over the holiday weekend, both the Manchester Police and Fire departments issued a statement saying they expect fireworks usage to continue as the summer goes on and as such will be conducting enforcement efforts on various weekend nights throughout the season. According to the release, the joint effort is meant to be a proactive approach to remind people of the city ordinance that strictly prohibits the sale, possession or use of fireworks within the Manchester city limits.

Score: -1 for all the noise

Comment: A fire inspector and police officer will ride together from 8 p.m. to midnight on certain weekend nights to monitor fireworks usage, from now through August, the release said.

Big energy bills

New Hampshire is the 10th most energy-expensive state in the country, according to a report released last week by personal finance website WalletHub, which compared average monthly energy bills that accounted for multiple residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil. The average monthly energy bill in the Granite State is $355. It ranked fourth most expensive for the price of natural gas and sixth most expensive for the price of electricity.

Score: -1

Comment: The most energy-expensive state, with an average monthly bill of $411, is Connecticut, and the least is District of Columbia, with a $217 average monthly energy bill.

QOL score: 80
Net change: 0
QOL this week: 80

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

News & Notes 21/07/15

Covid-19 updateAs of July 2As of July 12
Total cases statewide99,55599,770
Total current infections statewide181197
Total deaths statewide1,3721,375
New cases100 (June 29 to July 2)215 (July 3 to July 12)
Current infections: Hillsborough County3853
Current infections: Merrimack County1211
Current infections: Rockingham County4244
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Covid-19 news

State health officials announced 17 new positive cases of Covid-19 on July 12. The state averaged 28 new cases per day over the most recent seven-day period, an increase of about 17 compared to the week before. As of July 12, there were 197 active cases and 15 hospitalizations.

Also on July 12, officials announced the launch of the NH Mobile Vaccine Van, a new initiative in partnership with ConvenientMD in an effort to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines. According to a press release, the van is due to begin operation on July 15 and will run throughout the summer, offering all three of the FDA-authorized vaccines in addition to translation services. It’s available to appear at local community events such as festivals, neighborhood block parties and farmers markets at no cost. The van is set to hold two upcoming vaccination clinics this week — at the Roundabout Diner in Portsmouth on Thursday, July 15, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the Sunapee Farmers Market on Saturday, July 18, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Housing stability

The Council on Housing Stability released its three-year Strategic Plan last week, according to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. The plan is a roadmap that coordinates actions and resources and seeks to increase housing availability by 13,500 units by 2024 to ensure that homelessness in New Hampshire is rare, brief and one-time whenever possible. It includes a three-year actionable framework to address homelessness across the state, with an emphasis on the need for an increase in inventory of affordable housing, the release said. Recommendations include promoting new housing development, reducing barriers to affordable housing and using a data-driven approach to determine regional needs.

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability was established by Gov. Chris Sununu on Nov. 18, 2020, and includes stakeholders from across the state, including state leadership, local mayors, and people who have experienced homelessness. The plan is led by the Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs and the Community Development Finance Authority, the release said.

ARPA funds

On June 7, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to initially approve Mayor Joyce Craig’s recommendations for the city’s use of American Rescue Plan Act funds. According to a press release, most of the programs and positions are funded for the next five years, and during that time the city will measure program effectiveness to make sure it addresses the negative impacts of Covid-19 and helps build a strong recovery for the city. The recommendations will be discussed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Finance Committee before a final vote. “Manchester residents overwhelmingly cited education as one of the areas to which they would like to see ARPA funds allocated, and we look forward to working with Mayor Craig and the Board to help expand access to higher education for public school students in Manchester and to support local workforce needs,” Paul LeBlanc, President and CEO of Southern New Hampshire University, said in the release. Greater Manchester Chamber CEO Mike Skelton said in the release that “The Greater Manchester Chamber, along with many community business leaders, support the proposed ARPA spending plan and the investments that will generate and support job growth, stimulate economic activity and expansion, and strengthen the city’s ability to attract and retain its workforce.”

Unemployment numbers

Last week, the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security issued a press release after the weekly unemployment report was released by the United States Department of Labor, stating that the numbers reported for New Hampshire were wrong “and present a misleading view of trends in the state’s unemployment claims.” According to the release, some claimants were counted twice — once when they received their last week of federal unemployment benefits and again as a new claim for state-level benefits the following week. New Hampshire ended participation in the federal pandemic unemployment programs June 19 and instead incentivized people to return to work with a $1,000 bonus payment. The final week of benefits was included in the claims numbers reported by the Department of Labor, and some of those recipients may have qualified for benefits in the state’s regular unemployment program during the week ending June 26 — meaning those same individuals were counted a second time by the Department of Labor, the release said, artificially inflating the state’s numbers. “These numbers are wrong and give the misleading appearance of an increase from the prior week which has not occurred in the prior 3 months,” Rich Lavers, Deputy Commissioner at Employment Security, said in the release. “In reality when you compare claims filed by people in the regular state unemployment program, the weekly claims fell by 19 percent compared to the prior week and federal claims fell by 12 percent in the final week they were available.”

Aircrews from the New Hampshire Wing of Civil Air Patrol departed from airports in Concord, Laconia, Portsmouth and Nashua on July 10 during a statewide emergency response training exercise. According to a press release, the Air Force-assigned trainings focused on Civil Air Patrol’s airborne search and aerial disaster assessment photography skills.

The Manchester School District announced July 11 that longtime district administrator Debora Roukey of Goffstown will be the new principal of Central High School. According to a press release, Roukey is the first female principal in Central’s 175-year history.

A $50,000 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Local Drug Crisis Grant has been awarded to the Raymond Coalition for Youth, which works to reduce opioid, methamphetamine, and prescription drug misuse among youth and young adults in Raymond and its surrounding communities. According to a press release, the grant is provided by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and will be paid out over five years.

Isabel Povey of Hampstead will represent New Hampshire at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competition in Florida later this month. According to a press release, the Pinkerton Academy senior was crowned Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen in February 2019 and has served as the state representative throughout the pandemic, volunteering with local food pantries, the NH Food Bank, and the international nonprofit organization Seeds of Hope. Preliminary competitions will be held July 29 and July 30, and the new Miss America’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned Saturday, July 31, the release said.

Clarification
Page 29 of the Hippo’s “Cool Things About New Hampshire” magazine should have said that Hayward’s Homemade Ice Cream served chicken tenders, steamed hot dogs and fries in addition to its homemade ice cream flavors. It does not sell burgers.

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