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home : news : regional July 24, 2014

6/30/2014
New Hampshire News Briefs
FILE - In a Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, the state’s key witness, Kathryn McDonough, testifies, in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. Defense lawyers and prosecutors stressed one thing throughout the trial of Seth Mazzaglia: The key was the truthfulness of the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, McDonough. (AP Photo/Portsmouth Herald, Rich Beauchesne, Pool, File)
+ click to enlarge

FILE - In a Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, the state’s key witness, Kathryn McDonough, testifies, in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. Defense lawyers and prosecutors stressed one thing throughout the trial of Seth Mazzaglia: The key was the truthfulness of the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, McDonough. (AP Photo/Portsmouth Herald, Rich Beauchesne, Pool, File)

Defendent Seth Mazzaglia enters the courtroom with defense attorney Melissa Davis Friday, June 27, 2014 in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. He was found guilty in the Oct. 9, 2012 of murder for the strangulation death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, who was a student at the University of New Hampshire. Defendent Seth Mazzaglia, left center, enters the courtroom with defense attorney Melissa Davis at the Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. on Friday, June 27, 2014. He was found guilty of murder Friday in the Oct. 9, 2012 strangulation death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, who was a student at the University of New Hampshire. He will be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. (AP Photo/Portsmouth Herald, Rich Beauchesne, Pool)
+ click to enlarge

Defendent Seth Mazzaglia enters the courtroom with defense attorney Melissa Davis Friday, June 27, 2014 in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. He was found guilty in the Oct. 9, 2012 of murder for the strangulation death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, who was a student at the University of New Hampshire. Defendent Seth Mazzaglia, left center, enters the courtroom with defense attorney Melissa Davis at the Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H. on Friday, June 27, 2014. He was found guilty of murder Friday in the Oct. 9, 2012 strangulation death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, who was a student at the University of New Hampshire. He will be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. (AP Photo/Portsmouth Herald, Rich Beauchesne, Pool)


New Hampshire moose permits to be auctioned

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire will be auctioning off two moose hunting permits for the 2014 season.

The two winning bidders will receive free 2014 New Hampshire hunting licenses as well as the moose hunting permits. The next three highest bidders will receive free 2014 hunting licenses. In the case of a tie, the earliest postmarked signed bid will win the permit.

LHR Sporting Arms in Rochester will give the highest bidder a half off coupon toward its new RCF Centerfire Rifle. The rifle has the option of seven interchangeable barrel configurations on one receiver. The rifle will not be on the market until fall giving the highest bidder the chance to acquire one of the first ones.

Proceeds from the auction help support fish and wildlife initiatives and education programs. This year, the foundation voluntarily reduced the number of permits being auctioned due to a concern that the moose population is under stress from ticks.

Last year, 19 bids were placed from nine states for five permits. The highest bid was $10,000. Winners came from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Washington.

Bid forms and instructions are available from the foundation by email at adminnhwildlifeheritage.org or by calling (603) 496-2778. Bids must be received by Aug. 8 and will be opened Aug. 12. The permits and license are valid only for the Oct. 18-26 moose hunting season and will allow the holder to harvest one moose of either sex in a wildlife management unit of the permit holder's choice.




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3 New Hampshire beaches get high marks

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Three beaches in New Hampshire are getting high marks for clean water quality.

The beaches are Hampton Beach State Park, Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road, and Wallis Sands State Park beach.

The Natural Resources Defense Council put them at "superstar" status along with 32 other beaches nationally in its annual "Testing the Waters" report.

Officials say New Hampshire ranks second out of 30 states that are part of the EPA's beach monitoring program.

"Considering that 2013 was a difficult year for water quality because of numerous heavy rain events, New Hampshire residents can be proud of our coastal water quality and our efforts to maintain these levels," said Tom Burack, Department of Environmental Services commissioner.

"Everyone can take simple steps to prevent beach pollution in all locations," he said. "Picking up pet waste, maintaining septic systems, putting swim diapers with plastic covers on babies and keeping trash off the beach can help keep our waters clean."

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Marshal: Let professionals handle fireworks

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Some Fourth of July advice from the state fire marshal: Leave fireworks displays to the professionals.

William Degnan said people often forget they are playing with explosives and each July 4th, thousands get injured.

He notes that wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks.

"Fireworks are explosives devices and are dangerous and unpredictable," Degnan said. "The few seconds of pleasure that firework displays may bring to family and friends are not worth the risk of permanent scarring, loss of vision and hearing, dismemberment or even death."

David Parenti, president of the New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs, said a substantial portion of structure fire property loss is due to fireworks involving rockets. He said the rockets can land on rooftops and retain enough heat to cause a fire.

Degnan and Parenti advise residents to check with their local fire departments to make sure fireworks are permitted in the community; have an extinguishing device readily accessible, such as a water hose, bucket of water, or fire extinguisher; and avoid areas with dry brush, grass or debris.

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Police investigate death of woman found in pool

HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) -- Police in Hampton, New Hampshire, are investigating the death of a woman at an apartment complex pool.

Police say the 27-year-old woman's body was found just before 6 a.m. Saturday at the bottom of the community pool at the Olde English Village Apartments.

Authorities have not released the victim's name, but say she had been staying that the apartment complex temporarily.

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Grant to help water main at covered bridge

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A North County town is expected to get a $278,000 grant to make repairs to a broken water main suspended from a historic covered bridge across the Ammonoosuc River.

The 100-year-old cast iron pipe suspended on the underbelly of the Northumberland Covered Bridge feeds wells and storage tanks on both sides of the river. It broke in April, and only temporary fixes have been made.

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority approved an Emergency Community Development Block Grant for the repairs in Northumberland.

The solution will require directional drilling to install 300-plus feet of new pipe beneath the riverbed.

Engineers who've examined the water main say a leading cause of the damage comes from constant vibrations of snowmobiles, which use the 1852 covered bridge as a river crossing.

Ice jams and soil erosion have also taken their toll on the pipe.

"This water main serves 600 people in downtown Groveton Village. A permanent solution must be in place before next winter; otherwise, safe drinking water for the area could be compromised, fire hydrants could become ineffective, and discharge from the pipe could cause further damage to the bridge and the river bank," said Kevin Flynn, CDFA communications director.

The grant awaits final confirmation from the Executive Council.

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Body of fallen Marine returned to New Hampshire

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) -- The body of a killed in Afghanistan has been returned to New Hampshire.

The remains of Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant of Greenfield arrived in Manchester Saturday morning.

Police and fire officials escorted the casket to a funeral home in Peterborough while volunteers lined the procession route, holding signs showing their support.

Garabrant is one of three Marines who were killed June 20 in what the military described as a "hostile incident" in Helmand province.

WMUR-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1pKuKAn ) that calling hours will be held Thursday at ConVal High School and a memorial service is planned for next Saturday, July 5, at the school.

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Ex-girlfriend's testimony key to murder conviction

DOVER, N.H. (AP) -- Defense lawyers and prosecutors stressed one thing throughout the trial of a 31-year-old man convicted of raping and killing a University of New Hampshire student: The key was the truthfulness of the defendant's ex-girlfriend.

The jury decided Friday that Kathryn McDonough, the star witness in Seth Mazzaglia's murder trial, was telling the truth, convicting Mazzaglia of first- and second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott in October 2012.

McDonough, 20, first told investigators that she lured Marriott to their apartment as a sexual offering for Mazzaglia and she died while the women were engaged in consensual rough sex. She later testified that she made the story up because she still loved Mazzaglia and wanted to protect him. After getting immunity from prosecution, she testified that Mazzaglia choked then raped Marriott after she twice rejected his sexual advances. The Westborough, Massachusetts, woman's body was never found.

McDonough has already pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and is serving 1½ to 3 years in prison. The plea deal was contingent on her telling the truth at trial.

Defense lawyers painted her as an opportunistic liar who killed Marriott then changed her story when she found out she could cut a deal and get less time in prison if she pinned the crime on her ex-boyfriend.

"The main thoughts were that she was a pathological liar most of her life and up until she took that witness stand, her life had been based upon lie after lie after lie," juror Maria Clifford, 52, said of McDonough. "I think Mr. Mazzaglia had control over her and she was afraid of him. We just thought, 'She's on the witness stand now and she doesn't have anything left to lose,' and she came to the realization that 'I need to do the right thing.'"

Clifford also said McDonough's efforts to reconnect with her mother after being estranged from her influenced jurors.

The verdict was bittersweet for Marriott's father, Bob, who read a statement in a shaky voice that broke several times. Mazzaglia's life sentence without chance of parole will never soothe their grief, he said.

"We will always miss her and we wonder what could have been," Marriott said. "In fact, the trial has been torturous for us. The truth of what happened to Lizzi is horrendous. And every time it's been told, it has reinforced the despair that we feel."

Marriott said the verdict, which included convictions on lesser charges of conspiracy, will keep a dangerous man off the streets and protect other women.

He also had harsh words for Mazzaglia's lawyers for what he called intentionally misstating his daughter's actions the night she died.

"Blaming a victim who is unable to defend herself is a typical ploy used by defense teams. If you are dead, you cannot correct a mischaracterization," he said.

Mazzaglia showed no emotion as the verdict from the jury of seven women and five men was read. He was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. His lawyers did not comment after the verdict.

Clifford, the juror, said she approached the trial as if Mazzaglia was one of her own family members.

"Everybody deserves a fair trial, no matter what they did," she said.

Clifford said the jury looked at all the evidence and "just felt that the prosecution just made a really strong case." She hopes the verdict helps the Marriott family, even a little.

"They'll never forget what happened but maybe they'll get a little more peace knowing the murderer is behind bars," she said.

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Artist in residence chosen for White Mountains

CAMPTON, N.H. (AP) -- This year's artist-in-residence program in the White Mountains National Forest is dedicated to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

The forest and the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire say poet, teacher, and photographer Susie O'Keeffe has been chosen as the artist in residence for 2014.

O'Keeffe serves as a research associate and adjunct professor at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

O'Keeffe will spend three weeks in the wilderness starting in mid-August, with exact dates for her residency and community and public programs to be announced in July.

"We are delighted to welcome Susie, whose work is very much focused on the exploration of wild places," said Marianne Leberman of the forest-alliance partnership. "We think her exploration will find the perfect venue in the forest."

Her work, "Art of Reciprocity," looks at how consciousness is deepened through unique, individual experiences that can't be reproduced, repeated, or imposed.

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Dozens of bills await action in New Hampshire

By NORMA LOVE

Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A ban on using a hand-held cellphone while driving, a settlement of a tax lawsuit with 25 hospitals and a measure allowing women who become pregnant after a rape to terminate the attacker's parental rights are among the bills Gov. Maggie Hassan still must act on.

Senate President Chuck Morse and House Speaker Terie Norelli must first sign off on the bills, but they were waiting until Hassan returned from a trade mission to Turkey. Once the bills reach Hassan's desk, she has five days excluding Sundays and holidays to act or they will take effect without her signature.

Hassan is expected to sign the hospital settlement over Medicaid rates and a tax on hospital revenues that two judges deemed unconstitutional.

The governor negotiated the settlement with the hospitals and legislative leaders to avoid deep cuts to the state budget this year to make up for lost tax revenue. St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, which has sued over the tax, is the only hospital that didn't settle.

The tax brought in about $185 million this year and was used for Medicaid and other state spending. The agreement calls for all the money to be spent on health care after the current budget.

The hospitals would get more money for the care they provide in exchange for dropping a lawsuit over rates and putting on hold their challenge of the tax's constitutionality.

The tax rate also would drop from 5.5 percent of net patient revenues to 5.45 percent in 2016 and 5.4 percent in 2017. It could drop to 5.25 percent in 2018 if the total cost of uncompensated care provided by hospitals drops below $375 million. Uncompensated care currently totals $427 million.

The state's two rehabilitation hospitals would no longer pay the tax. A judge had ruled this winter that applying the tax to them was unconstitutional.

Hassan also is expected to sign a bill that makes hand-held cellphone use illegal while driving beginning July 1, 2015. The bill allows adults to talk on cellphones while driving if they use hands-free phones, devices built into their vehicles and two-way radios. The ban would apply while stopped temporarily but not if the driver pulls off the road. All cellphone use by minors behind the wheel would be banned.

Other bills expected to reach Hassan would:

-- Require courts to terminate rapists' parental rights when petitions are filed by women who give birth after being sexually assaulted. Under current law, termination is optional, not mandatory.

-- Clarify that New Hampshire recognizes gay marriages that took place in other states before New Hampshire enacted its gay marriage law. It would also allow gay couples from states that don't recognize gay marriage to get married and be recognized in New Hampshire. Gay couples who entered into civil unions in other states could get married in New Hampshire without dissolving the civil unions.

-- Create a program to sell "hike safe" cards that would forgive hikers for any rescue expenses if they were negligent.

-- Tighten rules for table games operated in the name of New Hampshire charities.

-- Include household pets in orders protecting victims of domestic violence.

-- Authorize a limited driver's license for first-time drunken drivers to go to work, medical treatment, school or other locations approved by a judge.

-- Prohibit fuel dealers from advertising or soliciting earlier than May 1 for consumers to enter into contracts for the upcoming fuel season.

-- Establish a 10-year highway plan that outlines a way to pay the balance needed to finish the Interstate 93 expansion.







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