Marchand says campaign is in 'full beast mode'

By Lloyd Jones

7-19-17-Steve-Marchand-at-hospital-2Steve Marchand chats with Memorial Hospital's Kathy Bennett during a swing through town Wednesday. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO) CONWAY — Steve Marchand is a man on a mission.

The 43-year-old former mayor of Portsmouth was unsuccessful in his bid for the governor's office last fall. He admits he got into the race late, which hurt his candidacy. This time around, more than 400 days from the next gubernatorial election, he wants people to know he's running.

On Wednesday, he spent a large part of his day in the Mount Washington Valley, starting with a meet and greet at The Met, followed by a stop at Tech Village, a visit to Memorial Hospital, checking in at the Sun and, finally, meeting with MWV Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Janice Crawford before heading for more events in the Lakes Region.

While it may seem early to start running for 2018, Marchand, who announced April 3, said the time is right.

"You have someone who is an incumbent, and with a famous last name to boot, who is actively fundraising for a re-election in February of the first year (in office)," he said. "I knew I was going to do it by then, by late winter."

Shaheen hosts Afghan all-girls robotics team

7-19-17-Senator-Jeanne-Shaheen-with-the-all-girl-Afghan-robotics-team-1Sen. Jeanne Shaheen welcomes the team to her D.C. office Wednesday. (COURTESY PHOTO)WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hosted the Afghan robotics team in her Senate office in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

The team was initially denied visas to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge in Washington.

Shaheen's office contacted the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on their behalf to urge approval of their visas.

Shaheen met with team members Lida Azizi, Somayeh Faruqi, Rodaba Noori, Fatemah Qaderyan, Kawsar Roshan, team sponsor Roya Mahboob, and their coach Alireza Mahraban, as well as Lael Mohib, wife of Afghanistan's Ambassador to the United States Hamdullah Mohib.

Shaheen presented the team with Congressional Record statements that honor their achievements and their determination to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge in Washington.

"This team has become an inspiration for young women across the globe, especially for those in developing regions who face barriers to education and opportunity," said Shaheen.

Sununu signs decriminalization into law

ariBy Daymond Steer

CONCORD — Thanks to Gov. Chris Sununu, who signed HB 640 into law Tuesday, the penalty for adults possessing a small amount of marijuana will soon be a lot lighter.

Longtime employee denied retiree health insurance subsidy

By Lloyd Jones

27173 1293670777490 1977483 nBrenda Harris. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)CONWAY — Recent school retiree Brenda Harris has learned that her 17 years of service to the Conway School District will not qualify her for the health insurance package she was seeking.

The reason is because her service occurred under two separate unions.

Harris had sent a letter to the Conway School Board requesting consideration for a retiree health insurance subsidy.

She worked as a resource room/English teacher at Kennett High School for 17 years in the district.

Eight of those years, she worked as a paraprofessional under the Conway Education Support Personnel union.

As an English teacher, Harris worked for nine years as part of the Conway Education Association union.

Retirement health insurance is mentioned in the contract and basically says that retirees with 10 years in the system will receive health insurance for themselves (though not their spouses or families) equal to what active teachers get.

Employees hired after June 30, 2000, must have taught in the district for at least 15 years to be eligible for the retirement benefits.