Motorcycles rumble as "bike week" ramps up
LACONIA, N.H. (AP) -- Motorcycles are roaring and rumbling through New Hampshire as the 91st annual Laconia Motorcycle Week ramps up.
Thousands of bikers flock to Weirs Beach and the Lakes Region to a week of camaraderie, races, road trips, music and tournaments.
Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the event last Thursday by touting its million-dollar-plus boost to the state's economy. The festivities officially got underway Saturday and Sunday's sunshine brought bikers out in force.
Motorcyclists will ride to the top of Mount Washington, watch races at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and compete for honors in events ranging from pool to top tattoos.
The event, which runs through June 22, attracts thousands of motorcycle riders from around the world.
-- -- --
New Hampshire vets head to DC to visit memorial
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Twenty-four New Hampshire veterans are visiting the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. as part of a traditional Father's Day trip.
The group Honor Flight New England organized the trip for the World War II veterans.
The veterans were escorted to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport by police, a bagpipe band and about 80 bikers at about 5 a.m. Sunday.
WMUR reports (http://bit.ly/1uuxOll ) it is Honor Flight's third trip this year.
Once the veterans return Sunday night, Honor Flight can say it's helped more than 1,000 veterans make the trek since its first flight in June 2009.
The group uses donations to fly veterans to Washington to visit their memorials.
-- -- --
Mental health training being offered in July
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association is holding a five-day, intensive training program next month to certify 30 people as Mental Health First Aid instructors.
The program is being offered July 7-11 at The Yard in Manchester in coordination with the state Department of Health and Human Service's bureau of behavioral health. Participants will include people from community mental health centers as well as from other organizations.
The association said it is the first statewide Mental Health First Aid training to be offered in the United States. Other states have offered the program on local, county or regional levels.
"The mental health crisis in New Hampshire requires a comprehensive approach and a robust set of tools to help consumers, families and communities better deal with mental illness," said association President Jay Couture.
He said the 30 people trained as instructors will train others in the community to better understand, identify and know how to deal with mental health episodes. He compared the training to how first aid is used to address medical injuries and health emergencies. The training will help people identify mental illness sooner to provide early intervention, he said.
The program will prepare people to teach others to recognize the symptoms of common mental illnesses and addiction disorders, safely de-escalate crises, initiate timely referrals, and de-stigmatize mental illness.
Couture said the program was started in the United States in 2008 and has trained 100,000 people.
-- -- --
Gregg, Rendell discuss federal debt, solutions
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell will discuss the national debt and possible solutions at a breakfast forum Wednesday in New Hampshire.
Gregg of New Hampshire is a member of The Concord Coalition's board of directors and, along with Rendell, co-chairs Fix the Debt. They are proponents of bipartisan congressional action on the nation's fiscal problems.
They will discuss the issue and its implications for New Hampshire at a forum from 8 -10 a.m. at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.
The Concord Coalition and Fix the Debt are nonpartisan organizations dedicated to fiscal responsibility.
-- -- --
E-ZPass service centers extend summer hours
HOOKSETT, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says E-ZPass Walk-In Service Centers in Portsmouth, Nashua and Hooksett are extending customer service hours for the summer.
The three locations will be open from Monday, June 16, through Tuesday, Sept. 30, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- two hours longer than usual.
E-ZPass use has grown to exceed 70 percent system-wide, reflecting the popularity of E-ZPass and Open Road Tolling lanes in Hampton and Hooksett.
-- -- --
Hand-held phone use in car could soon cost $100
By NORMA LOVE
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Officials are considering traffic signs, radio announcements and brochures as ways to educate drivers that holding a cellphone up to the ear to talk while driving or sitting in traffic will be illegal a year from now in New Hampshire.
Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign a bill that makes hand-held cellphone use punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense. The price rises to $250 for a second offense and $500 for subsequent offenses within a 24-month period.
The bill allows adults to talk on cellphones while driving if they use hands-free phones, devices built into the vehicle and two-way radios.
The ban would apply while drivers are stopped temporarily, such as at a red light, but not if they have pulled over and are stopped off the road. The bill allows answering the phone but not holding it to the ear or typing emails or other messages. It also does not allow programming GPS systems unless drivers are pulled off the road.
The bill also would ban all cellphone use by minors behind the wheel. Emergency calls are exempt for all drivers.
Hassan spokesman William Hinkle said she has not received the bill but likely will sign it.
"Gov. Hassan believes that we must continue to find ways to improve the safety of our roads by reducing distracted driving," he said.
The law would take effect July 1, 2015. Meanwhile, the bill requires the state to begin a targeted public education program to alert drivers to the law's requirements.
Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney said the state is considering using traffic signs, radio talk shows, public service announcements on radio and television, brochures and a section in the driver's manual used by first-time drivers as education tools. Brochures will be placed at liquor stores, rest areas, ski areas and other sites visited by nonresidents to reach that audience, Sweeney said.
When people request New Hampshire travel guides, information about the cellphone law also could be included, he said.
"We anticipate that once the law kicks in, many law enforcement agencies will be a bit lenient until they are satisfied the word has spread," Sweeney wrote in an email.
Drivers can use a variety of ways to comply with the law and still talk on their phones. For example, drivers can attach a Bluetooth device to an older car's sun visor and sync it to their cellphone.
Newer cars can also make hands-free calls through Bluetooth integrated into the car's system, he said.
State law currently bans typing and sending text messages while driving but does not prohibit reading text messages, surfing the Internet, dialing cellphones or programming GPS devices while driving.
Twelve states prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones and 44 states ban text messaging, according to the Governors' Highway Safety Association.
-- -- --
Power boat hit by wake sinks in New Hampshire lake
WOLFEBORO, N.H. (AP) -- A boat traveling on a New Hampshire lake has been struck by a wake and has sunk, but its operator has been rescued.
The state police Marine Patrol says it happened Saturday afternoon on Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro.
Police say Wolfeboro resident James Roome was operating a 1950 Chris Craft power boat near Sister Island. They say he was traveling at about 20 mph when the small wake hit the boat and it sank in about 35 feet of water.
Police say Roome caught the attention of a passing boater, who plucked him from the water and took him to shore. They say he wasn't injured.
Authorities are trying to figure out what caused the boat to sink. Efforts to recover the boat are expected to begin Sunday.
-- -- --
75 businesses to be represented at job fair
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire Employment Security is hosting a job fair in Manchester next week, with more than 75 businesses expected present.
Openings are available in manufacturing, staffing, retail, government, education, health care, computers and technology, and other fields.
The event is scheduled from Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Hanover Street.
-- -- --
Summer archaeology school looks at 2 sites
BERLIN, N.H. (AP) -- A caribou hunting encampment and Mount Jasper are the sites two archaeological programs in New Hampshire this summer.
Participants in the school will learn site documentation, artifact identification, data recovery skills and field mapping.
They will investigate Mount Jasper, a site in Berlin that was used for more than 12,000 years, and the caribou hunting area overlooking the Israel River in Jefferson.
The field school will take place in three two-week sessions: June 23 to July 3, July 7 to July 18 and July 21 to Aug. 1. It's being directed by Dr. Richard Boisvert, state archaeologist.
For more information and to register, visit http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/SCRAP.htm and click on "Upcoming Events and Opportunities" or contact the N.H. Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-6433.
Instruction will conform to standards for archaeology set by the National Park Service.
Successful completion of the fieldwork will result in certification as a survey and excavation technician. Graduate or undergraduate credit through Plymouth State University is available.
-- -- --
Hassan leading trade mission to Turkey
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Gov. Maggie Hassan is leading a trade mission of New Hampshire business representatives to Turkey on Friday.
Some have criticized Hassan for not cancelling the June 20-27 trip after issuing an executive order last month freezing out-of-state travel. Her office has said cancelling the trip would cost the participating businesses without saving the state money. Hassan announced plans for the trade mission in March.
Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development, said the governor's presence will help open doors to the businesses seeking to connect with Turkish businesses. Turkey has emerged as an important market and is New Hampshire's 12th largest trading partner, Rose said. New Hampshire sent $79 million in goods and services to Turkey last year, he said.
The budget Hassan signed last year increased international trade assistance and restored funding for trade missions to help businesses market and sell their products. Rose said the International Trade Resource Center has organized trade missions over the past 15 years to Brazil, Chile, England, France, India, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. The missions result in tens of millions of dollars in contracts to New Hampshire companies, he said.
With lawmakers' approval, Hassan froze most hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel paid for with New Hampshire state tax funds. She said the freeze was needed after tax collections dropped in April, nearly wiping out a surplus. The freeze came after the state had spent money on arranging travel to Turkey.
The state is spending about $15,000 on the trip.
-- -- --
State to educate landowners about beetle
CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) -- The University of New Hampshire's Cooperative Extension is going on the road to educate people about the destructive emerald ash borer.
Workshops are scheduled in Canterbury at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, and at 4 p.m. Friday, June 20. Each will last two hours.
Homeowners, landowners and community leaders will learn about the beetle that has been spreading outward from Michigan for more than a decade, destroying millions of ash trees. They've been found in parts of New Hampshire.
The first workshop, at Canterbury Town Hall, will give an overview of the insect and the local situation. The second, at the Canterbury Shaker Village, will provide an opportunity to see what infested trees look like.
The workshops will also provide suggestions for what to do if trees are infested.