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Local & Regional Briefs: Claremont Gathering on Tuesday Targets Racism


Sunday, September 10, 2017
Claremont GatheringOn Tuesday Targets Racism

Claremont — Concerned citizens are planning a “Time for Reflection” on Tuesday, at 5:20 p.m., at Broad Street Park, as a response to recent violence against a biracial boy.

“The purpose of this gathering is a compassionate public witness to support all in our community who are wounded by racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and insular nationalism and to stand up against it,” said an announcement dated Friday from organizer Rebecca MacKenzie.

The 8-year-old boy’s family has said that a group of children taunted him with racial epithets, placed a rope around his neck and pushed him off a picnic table near Barnes Park on Aug. 28. The boy was injured and treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He has since returned to school.

Police have refused to release additional details about the case, citing an ongoing investigation, which has led activists to raise concerns that the lack of information is stifling a needed conversation about race.

Community members said they hoped to get that discussion started on Tuesday.

“During the gathering on Tuesday, there will be a time for community and faith leaders to share a reflection or prayer, a time of silent reflection for all attendees, and an opportunity (to) deepen our connection in working for justice and equality.”

Judge: N.H. Ordinances Targeting Panhandling Violate Free Speech

Concord (ap) — A federal judge in New Hampshire has ruled that anti-panhandling ordinances enacted by some communities are a direct violation of the First Amendment.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that the decision comes as part of a lawsuit filed against the city of Manchester by Theresa Petrello, an Army and Navy veteran who has panhandled to make ends meet.

The ruling orders the cities of Concord, Manchester, Rochester and Somersworth to cease the enforcement of unconstitutional ordinances that ban individuals from receiving charitable contributions from individuals in motor vehicles.

It said cities have “less speech-restrictive means available” to address concerns related to panhandling.

Petrello’s attorneys, ACLU of New Hampshire Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette and Elliott Berry, the managing attorney of the Manchester branch of New Hampshire Legal Assistance, called the decision a victory for free speech.

Vermont Swift Water Team Returning From Texas

Colchester, Vt. (ap) — A Vermont swift water rescue team is returning to Vermont from Texas, where it helped with the response to flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Fifteen people were deployed last week from fire departments and rescue crews around the state after the request came in from Texas.

On Friday, Vermont Emergency Management reported the members of the group known as Vermont Task Force 1 were on their way back to the state. It’s unclear when they will arrive.

The team includes members of Colchester Technical Rescue, the state fire marshal’s office, and members of the Burlington, Charlotte, Lyndonville and Williston fire departments.

N.H. Lawmakers Want
Assistance for Residents With Tainted Water

Concord (ap) — Several lawmakers are calling on a plastics company believed to be source of tainted drinking water in New Hampshire to connect 100 properties to the public water system.

The legislators wrote last week to state environmental officials asking that Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics connect the Bedford families to the Manchester Water Works.

The company agreed to fund design efforts for a potential extension of public water service into Bedford after wells near the plant were found to contain a toxic chemical linked to cancer and other illnesses above state standards. If approved by month’s end, the company said construction could begin on the extension by the end of the year.

Since last year, perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs have been found in the drinking water at 222 sites across the state.

N.H. Ag Commissioner to Retire After 10 Years

Concord (ap) — New Hampshire’s agriculture commissioner is planning to retire after 10 years on the job.

Lorraine Merrill is planning to leave at the end of the year.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Merrill’s passion and dedication for New Hampshire farms, farmers and local communities will be missed.

Merrill said the decade has brought challenges, but also opportunities, and renewed awareness of the importance of local farms and foods.

Police: Man Dies in Crash in Northern Vermont

Concord, Vt. (ap) — Vermont State Police said a Concord, Vt., man has died in a crash in northern Vermont.

Police said 55-year-old Leonard Noyes was killed when his pickup truck went off the road in Concord and struck a tree at a high rate of speed on Friday night.

Police said Noyes was not wearing a seat belt. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Small Vermont Community Loses Entire Road Crew

Benson, Vt. (ap) — Both members of the Benson, Vt., road crew quit recently, The Rutland Herald reported, leaving the community with no one to care for its 62 miles of roads.

Town Clerk Daphne Bartholomew wouldn’t say what prompted the road foreman to quit. The other member of the crew took another job.

Selectman Tory Tyminski, who is also the Benson road commissioner, said the town is now looking for applicants. They’d like to hire Benson residents because it’s an on-demand job and when it comes to winter snow plowing, they’d like someone who knows the roads.

Tyminski said most of Benson’s town roads are gravel.

— Staff and wire reports