- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A busy election year in New Hampshire highlighted by a parade of presidential hopefuls and competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests topped state news headlines in 2016. Others include a man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and holding her captive for nine months; a new law expanding Medicaid coverage; and a family winning a $487 million Powerball jackpot, the nation’s eighth largest.

A look at the state’s top stories of 2016:

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PRESIDENTIAL AND STATE POLITICS

Republican Donald Trump broke with campaign tradition and held rallies over house parties to win the presidential primary. Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic contest to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders but won the nomination and the state’s four Electoral College votes over Trump by less than 1 percent of the 732,000 votes cast.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte by about 1,000 votes. Ayotte had awkwardly danced around Trump for much of the campaign, rescinding her support when a tape surfaced of Trump bragging about forcing himself on women.

New Hampshire will have the nation’s first all-female, all-Democratic congressional delegation: Hassan, Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Republican Chris Sununu will become the nation’s youngest governor at 42, defeating 37-year-old Democrat Colin Van Ostern.

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PREP SCHOOL TROUBLES

A year after St. Paul’s School senior Owen Labrie was convicted of using a computer to lure a freshman into a 2014 sexual encounter, the girl revealed her identity. Seventeen-year-old Chessy Prout wanted to make sure others don’t need to be ashamed. Prout sued the school, arguing it should have done more to protect her. St. Paul’s denied it could have prevented what happened. Labrie is appealing his case.

Two former Phillips Exeter Academy teachers acknowledged sexual misconduct and a former admissions officer pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse. A male student accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate was encouraged to bake bread for her as “penance.”

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CRIME AND COURTS

Nathaniel Kibby was sentenced to 45 to 90 years in prison after acknowledging he kidnapped a 14-year-old girl, held her captive for nine months, and raped her. She thanked him for letting her go.

The state Supreme Court denied a new trial for Seth Mazzaglia, sentenced to life in the 2012 strangulation of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott. It also rejected his request to introduce evidence of Marriott’s past sexual interests.

Republican Rep. Kyle Tasker, of Nottingham, resigned after he was accused of having drugs and trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter.

Wendell Noyes, of Stewartstown, was charged with killing Celina Cass, his 11-year-old stepdaughter, nearly five years after her body was found in the Connecticut River.

Ian MacPherson may seek an insanity defense in the shooting of two Manchester police officers.

A state trooper pleaded guilty to beating a suspect who was kneeling to surrender in Nashua. Another awaits trial.

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WATER ISSUES

The chemical PFOA was found in more than 50 wells in towns surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack. Saint-Gobain has agreed to pay for efforts to design an extension of public water service for those affected.

A drought dried up some wells and hurt dairy farmers. The Legislature plans to vote on a funding relief bill next year.

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CHILD DEATHS-INVESTIGATION

An independent review concludes the state’s child protection agency too often fails to help children at risk of being harmed. Gov. Maggie Hassan ordered the Division for Children, Youth and Families assessment following two high-profile toddler deaths. Consultants didn’t delve into those cases; they reviewed a random sampling of 232 cases.

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MEDICAID EXPANSION

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law a Medicaid expansion plan that allows nearly 50,000 residents to keep their health care for another two years. Medicaid expansion, made possible through President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, subsidizes health care for people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or roughly $16,000.

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FREE STATE

The Free State Project says it has reached its 20,000th pledge from liberty-minded people vowing to move to New Hampshire and work to limit government’s interference in their lives. The goal: to have all of them moved in five years.

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POWERBALL

A family stayed anonymous to claim a $487 million Powerball jackpot. The winning ticket was sold at a Hannaford supermarket in Raymond. The final payout after taxes: $256 million.


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