Amanda Loder

Amanda Loder was StateImpact’s multimedia reporter until the project merged with the New Hampshire Public Radio site in July 2013. She now serves as a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for NHPR. You can continue to follow her work at @AmandaLoderNHPR, at nhpr.org, and on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Developer Sees Affordable Housing Opportunity In Old Mill

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The Pine Valley Mill in Milford is one of several affordable housing projects to benefit from federal community block grants

Recently, a handful of towns, including Milford, split $3.1 million in community development block grants to help create more affordable housing.  According to statewide estimates, only one-in-six two bedroom apartments is affordable to a median income renter.  But the Granite State has something of a homegrown advantage in tackling this problem. Continue Reading

“LGC Releases List Of Cities, Towns Owed Refunds”

Elizabeth Dinan of SeacoastOnline.com breaks down how much towns in the region are set to get back from the Local Government Center insurance risk pool surplus. There are also some original documents available for your perusal below the story, so you can see what, if anything, the LGC plans to return to your community in the coming year.


CONCORD – The Local Government Center has released a list of cities and towns that are owed refunds for overpayments made for the purchase of LGC insurance during 2011, with corresponding amounts of refunds owed and when municipalities can expect to receive those refunds.

Read more at: m.seacoastonline.com

Coalition Of Towns Challenges LGC Refund Plans

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

While the LGC remains the go-to place for municipal services, it's facing continued opposition over its handling of insurance surplus payments

It’s been a busy week on the Local Government Center beat.

Recently, we reported for NHPR that a coalition of 12 towns has banded together to demand what it calls its “fair share” of health insurance surplus payments from the Local Government Center.  In the interests of bringing you up to speed, we’ll outline the gist of what happened with this ongoing saga. Continue Reading

What the LGC’s Reorganization Means To Communities (And Taxpayers)

NHPR

The Local Government Center case is incredibly convoluted. But it involves the majority of communities--and taxpayers--in the state

The on-going fight between the state of New Hampshire and one of the nation’s largest insurance risk pool managers is an important one, with millions of dollars of taxpayer money at stake.

It’s also incredibly complicated.

As the Local Government Center implements changes ordered by a hearing officer–even as it appeals the ruling to the state’s Supreme Court–we thought it would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed on the basics of the case, and why it matters. Continue Reading

“Wood Pellet Company From Jaffrey Agrees To $100,000 Fine”

More than a year after a series of explosions and fires at its southwestern New Hampshire plant, New England Wood Pellet has agreed to pay a hefty federal fine–and make safety improvements.

JAFFREY – New England Wood Pellet has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine and take steps to improve conditions as part of a settlement with federal regulators, who cited the company for violations of workplace safety standards following a series of explosions and fires. The company was cited by the U.S.

Read more at: www.unionleader.com

“For Some N.H. Stores And Shoppers, Thanksgiving Will Be ‘Black Thursday’”

A good rundown of what’s open (and when) for extra-early-bird holiday shoppers in the Granite State.

Black Friday bargain hunters beware – this year, some store shelves may be cleared before the Thanksgiving dinner table. With some of the larger big-box retailers like Sears and Target opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving, the day of deep discounts at retail stores could become Black Thursday.

Read more at: www.unionleader.com

What Governor-Elect Hassan’s New Budget Could Look Like

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Maggie Hassan campaigned heavily on budget issues

For political junkies, policy wonks and other assorted budget watchers, February 15th is a big day.  That’s the deadline for new Governor Maggie Hassan to submit her proposed FY 2014-2015 budget to the legislature.  The House and Senate will then have until the end of this fiscal year, June 30th, to hash out an agreement.

But that long timeline hasn’t prevented speculation.  Part of the interest, of course, is that Hassan–a Democrat–was a vocal opponent of budget cuts and tax cuts championed by the last, Republican-run, legislature.

She campaigned on reversing many of those cuts.

So it’s a safe bet that this upcoming budget won’t look just like the last one.

But how, exactly, will it be different?  Reporter Ben Leubsdorf of the Concord Monitor offers some clues: Continue Reading

Company Faces OSHA Fine In Fatal Redhook Keg Explosion

Selbe B. / Flickr Creative Commons

OSHA found safety violations at Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth contributed to a fatal keg explosion last spring

Redhook Brewery’s parent company, Craft Brew Alliance, faces $63,500 in fines for safety violations tied to the death of a worker last spring.

In April, 26-year old Ben Harris was killed when a plastic keg he was pressure-cleaning at the Portsmouth brewery exploded.  After a six-month investigation, OSHA issued three citations to CBA, covering a series of safety violations ranging from minor to serious.

The Portsmouth Patch runs down the basic list of violations.  Robert Cook writes:

“According to [Department of Labor spokesman Edmund] Fitzgerald, the biggest violations that Redhook committed that led to Harris’ death were:

  • The explosion resulted from excess pressure introduced into the keg from the keg cleanout line.
  • The cleanout line lacked an air regulator that would have limited its air pressure to below 60 pounds per square inch or PSI, the maximum air pressure limit recommended by keg manufacturers.
  • Other employees who used the cleanout line were exposed to the same hazard while cleaning out steel kegs.”

One of the more mysterious aspects of this accident was the presence of a plastic keg at the brewery in the first place. Continue Reading

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