Medicaid expansion moves forward
New Hampshire lawmakers could be close to finalizing a plan to reauthorize the state’s Health Protection Plan — commonly known as Medicaid expansion — for two years. Members of the Senate Finance Committee voted on March 28 to send HB 1696, the bill that reauthorizes the program, to the full Senate. State senators will vote on the bill on Thursday, March 31.
The program expands Medicaid and private health insurance coverage for low-income Granite Staters through the federal Affordable Care Act. About 484,000 people in the state have insurance through the program, which, so far, has been fully funded by federal money. That funding is set to decrease in 2017; that, combined with a two-year time limit legislators included in the plan when it passed in 2014, has prompted negotiations for how the plan might continue.
HB 1696 requires adults using the program to volunteer or work at least 30 hours a week to receive benefits. The House approved the bill earlier this month. — Larry Clow
Climate risk project kicks off
A project that aims to help communities around Great Bay deal with the impacts of climate change will hold its first meeting in conjunction with the Strafford Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 6 at 3 p.m. at Durham Town Hall.
Climate Risk in the Seacoast (C-RiSe) is a joint project from the state’s Department of Environmental Services, the Rockingham and Strafford Regional Planning Commissions, and the University of New Hampshire. Formed in the fall of 2015, the project will provide maps and assessments of flood impacts on natural resources and municipal assets to Durham, Dover, Madbury, Exeter, Greenland, Rollinsford, Newmarket, Newfields, and Newington. The project will also look at projected increases in storm surges, sea level rise, and precipitation, as well as hazard mitigation efforts.
Meetings are open to the public. A meeting for Rockingham County will take place on April 12 at 3 p.m. at the Stratham Municipal Offices. For more information, contact Steve Couture of NHDES at 603-271-8801 or [email protected]. — LC
Police investigate pair of robberies
Kittery police are investigating a pair of robberies that targeted elderly residents on March 28.
According to a release from the Kittery Police Department, an attempted robbery was reported at approximately 7:15 p.m. near Bridge Street. The victim was an elderly male who was walking his dog near his house. According to police, someone approached the man from behind, claimed that he had a knife, and told the man to give him his wallet. The victim shouted to his wife to call the police and the suspect fled. No one was injured and no money was taken.
The second robbery was reported at 8:10 p.m. at Village Green Drive. An elderly woman reported that a man entered her home, telling her to give him all her money and she would not be hurt. No weapon was shown and no one was injured, although police said the woman was pushed and a small amount of cash was taken.
The suspect is described as a white male, approximately six feet tall, thin, and between 20 and 30 years old. He has a small amount of facial hair on his chin and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans. He is believed to have been driving an older black sedan, possibly a Mercury.
Police believe the two incidents are related and are investigating. They have also increased patrols in residential areas but do not believe there is an immediate threat to residents. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 207-439-1638. — LC