2003: The Year in New Hampshire's Upper Valley - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

SPECIAL SEGMENT

2003: The Year in New Hampshire's Upper Valley

West Lebanon, New Hampshire - December 29, 2003

New Hampshire began 2003 with a changing of the guard. Business entrepreneur Craig Benson was inaugurated governor, returning control of the statehouse to the Republican party. He vowed to run the state like a business and tightening its belt promising "No sales tax, no income tax, no way!".

That promise led to a budget crisis at the statehouse this summer. The state was spending more than it was getting in revenues.

"We need to live within our means just like every family in New Hampshire. This budget does not do that, I've made that plain and clear."

Governor Benson vetoed the $8.8 billion dollar budget in a move that threatened to shut down state government, even state-run businesses like the liquor stores. The legislature worked out a compromise and approved a budget nearly identical to the one they rejected and keeping New Hampshire in business.

This summer was also the first without a New Hampshire icon. The Old Man of the Mountain fell from its rocky perch on Cannon Mountain. The image represents New Hampshire on road signs, license plates, even the state quarter. Granite State businesses that depend on the flock of tourists to the White Mountains mourned the loss of their most famous attraction. Road signs point to a landmark that is no more.

Another symbol of the Granite State -- it's motto, Live Free or Die -- helped New Hampshire win attention from a political party. This summer a group of Libertarian activists announced as many as 20,000 members will be moving to New Hampshire in an effort dubbed the Free State Project.

The head of the Libertarian party in New Hampshire says the project might lay its roots in Claremont. They hope that concentrating themselves in a small state will give them more leverage on public policy.

"With an influx of people with a can-do spirit, I think we can revitalize cCaremont," said John Babiarz of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party.

New Hampshire launched another revolution in 2003 with the election of the country's first openly gay Episcopal bishop. Reverend Gene Robinson's confirmation drew both praise and protest. Several bishops from Anglican churches all over the world denounced the move and conservatives in the U.S. said it may split the church.

"It's a bittersweet moment because while I rejoice with my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and all of those who are working for full inclusion in this wonderful Episcopal church of ours, we are very aware this is a troubling decision for many in our church," said Robinson.

With Robinson's election confirmed, New Hampshire turns its eyes to another election -- the election of the next president.

Voters here had their first look at the candidates. They gathered at public rallies,town hall meetings, even backyard barbecues. From the workplace to local diners,candidates looked for support everywhere and in every way they could. A longstanding tradition that has been challenged by other states who say New Hampshire is too small to have so much say.

"We've got to continue the tradition of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary because it's the only way candidates with no money but strong backing, have any chance at all," said Howard Dean, democratic front runner and former Vermont governor.

As voters here cast the first ballots in the race for the White House, the eyes of the world will be on New Hampshire as we start 2004.

Kate Duffy - Channel 3 News

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    Friday, April 25 2014 4:04 AM EDT2014-04-25 08:04:41 GMT
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
  • Springfield police search for armed robber

    Springfield police search for armed robber

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:00:49 GMT
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
  • Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:03:45 GMT
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
  • Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:06 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:06:48 GMT
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country.More >>
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country. More >>
  • Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:09 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:09:20 GMT
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...More >>
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.