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Northwood School Board’s Caron Faces Hearing Over Obscene, Racist Rants

When the Northwood School Board meets Wednesday night, it won’t be to cover the “three R’s.” Instead, they’ll be dealing with the “N-word” and other racial and obscene comments from one of their own members: outspoken progressive Gary Caron.

Caron has a history of using obscene and sexually explicit language to attack conservatives and Republicans in social posts, and the newest member of Northwood’s School Board hasn’t slowed down since taking office.

When a conservative commentator posted a meme with the message that former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ought to be sent to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp last week, Caron responded with a sexual threat.

“I’d love to see you in GTMO after I [explicit] your ass red raw,” Caron posted.

When another conservative account posted a photo of controversial Republican political candidate Kari Lake around that same time, Caron was quick with a misogynistic response.

“Gfyself lying c—t,” Caron wrote.

Caron posted dozens of obscene, angry, and violent messages on Twitter/X over the past few years, mostly directed at conservative and Republican figures. One post about Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) from January includes an implied racial slur targeting African Americans.

“F**king house N—a sellout coward c***suvker gfyself,” Caron wrote.

After a flurry of complaints over the Presidents Day weekend, Caron’s fellow board members had had enough. Northwood Superintendent Nathaniel Byrne told NHJournal that the board will be addressing Caron’s behavior at the upcoming meeting.

The board will discuss “racist, graphic, and violent social media posts from a current school board member.” Caron plans to be at the meeting, according to Byrne.

Caron was elected to a three-year term on the board last March when he ran unopposed for the seat. The retired engineer worked for the United States Navy on submarine modernization and weapons systems, according to his resume posted on LinkedIn. As part of his work, Caron held a security clearance.

Caron could not be reached for comment as the several phone numbers publicly associated with him, including the cell phone number on his resume, were disconnected or are no longer in service.

According to a questionnaire he filled out prior to last year’s school board election, Caron is concerned with how children are taught history in school.

“Issues of importance are teaching truth, American history, civics, democracy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” Caron wrote.

There is a noticeable lack of advocacy for civil rights — or civility in general — in Caron’s public postings. And he’s made no secret of his partisan leanings, declaring his “hate” for “Trump, his supporters, White men, Christians and Conservatives.”

“This is vile and disgusting. This man makes decisions regarding the materials that will be in the hands of children and public policy,” wrote Manchester politico Victoria Sullivan, one of the Granite Staters who brought Caron’s posts to the school board’s attention.

It’s not clear what Caron will do next or what the board can do about his posts. Byrne has spoken to Caron and told NHJournal he doesn’t know if Caron plans to resign his seat, though the possibility was mentioned.

“I’m not aware of his decision. I do know he will be at the meeting this week,” Byrne said.

Wednesday’s meeting could prove frustrating for anyone hoping the board takes action. Northwood’s school board does not have a policy dealing with social media use by members, Byrne said.

“The board is not allowed to infringe on any other members’ First Amendment rights,” Byrne said.

The board does have a code of ethics policy, however, and Byrne said that will guide Wednesday’s discussion about Caron’s social media posts. But that policy, last updated in 2015, mostly concerns board member interactions with other board members. It does not address how board members conduct themselves with members of the general public.

UNH Staffer Charged With Threatening to ‘Blow Vivek’s Brains Out’ Ordered Released

The UNH staffer charged with threatening to kill Vivek Ramaswamy and at least one other GOP politician was ordered released Thursday.

Tyler Anderson, 30, had been jailed since his arrest Saturday at his Dover apartment after federal agents connected him to the threats to kill Ramaswamy at a Portsmouth event.

According to court records, Ramaswamy’s campaign team sent text invitations to a list of potential voters on the Seacoast on Friday, ahead of the “Breakfast with Vivek” event slated for Monday.

Anderson got an invitation and allegedly responded with grisly and obscene threats.

“‘Great, another opportunity for me to blow his brains out!’ Anderson reportedly replied. He followed up with, ‘I’m going to kill everyone who attends and then f*** their corpses.’”

Ramaswamy isn’t the only GOP official Anderson has threatened, according to court records. Investigators found another series of alarming messages Anderson sent in response to another campaign text from a different candidate.

 “Fantastic, now I know where to go so I can blow that bastard’s head off.” “Thanks, I’ll see you there. Hope you have the stamina for a mass shooting!” “And then I’m gonna f*** (names) corpse.” “And don’t worry, (name), I’ll make sure to f*** yours too.”

The name of the other candidate is not being released. Anderson reportedly told investigators he had sent similar texts to other campaigns.

Anderson had no intention of following through on any of the threats, his attorney Dorothy Graham argued. He had no criminal record prior to the arrest.

Anderson is free on several conditions, including:

  • He has no contact with Ramaswamy or members of his campaign staff;
  • He stays away from all presidential campaigns;
  • He takes medication for mental health conditions;
  • His roommates’ guns must be removed from the apartment they share.

A 2018 UNH graduate, Anderson recently started a new job as an administrative assistant at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. UNH administrative assistants typically earn between $35,000 and $45,000 a year.

The University did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment.

Ethics Committee Orders Rep. Murray to Recuse in Wake of NHJournal Reporting

The House Ethics Committee ruled Tuesday that state Rep. Alissandra Murray must recuse on votes related to abortion issues and the nonprofit paying the Manchester Democrat’s salary, an indirect rebuke to her questionable actions as a House member.

Murray is a co-founder and employee of the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire (RFFNH). NHJournal reported in October that RFFNH lobbyist Josie Pinto was paying Murray’s salary so the progressive could serve in the House and influence legislation. And while Murray had voted on many pieces of legislation related to abortion issues of interest to RFFNH, she had never filed a conflict of interest disclosure.

The bipartisan Ethics Committee ruled the lawmaker’s votes on some abortion bills ran afoul of House conflict of interest rules and ordered Murray to recuse in the future. That was not the ruling Murray, who sought the advisory opinion, wanted to hear.

Rep. Alissandra Murray and attorney William Christie at House Ethics Committee hearing on December 5, 2023.

Murray’s attorney, well-connected Democratic lawyer William Christie, acknowledged the only reason his client sought the opinion was because of NHJournal’s reporting. 

“Because of the article and controversy, Rep. Murray felt this is the best course,” Christie said. Christie is married to Democratic Executive Councilor and candidate for governor Cinde Warmington. 

The committee voted five to one to tell Murray to recuse on all bills on which RFFNH lobbies. The one no vote came from Sen. Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua).

House members are required under ethics rules to either recuse themselves from voting on bills that could be seen as a conflict of interest, or to file a declaration of intent to vote in order to publicly disclose the potential conflict of interest. Despite several abortion bills before the legislature in the last session, Murray never filed a declaration of intent to vote. 

Christie told the committee Murray did not think filing a declaration was necessary despite the full-time job with an organization that lobbies on particular abortion-related bills.

“Since this issue came to light, (Murray) reviewed with counsel and others and does not think a declaration of intent to vote is necessary,” Christie said. 

Christie claimed during the hearing that Murray’s job with RFFNH has nothing to do with Murray’s elected position. But Pinto told The Nation magazine that Murray’s salary was part of a plan to get a pro-abortion advocate to be in the House.

“Together, we sort of developed this theory of change, which was like, ‘If we want to see the state we want, we have to get our people to run,’” Pinto told the magazine.

The article spelled out RFFNH’s plan to have a paid activist in the House.

“But there was a major obstacle in their way: New Hampshire’s Legislature pays a salary of just $100 a year. That’s fine for wealthy retirees but not for working-class activists. So Pinto hired Murray at the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire, giving [Murray] a salary that would allow [Murray] to work in the Legislature while running the abortion fund’s social media accounts.”

Christie argued that since the RFFNH would not financially benefit from any of the abortion-related proposals considered, and since the organization is not primarily a lobbying group, Murray’s votes do not cross any ethical lines.

Committee Chair Edward Gordon did not appear to buy that argument in light of the fact the RFFNH did lobby for five abortion-related bills that Murray then voted on. 

“I’m looking at it intuitively, and looking at it intuitively, I would say, ‘Geez, don’t I have a conflict here?’ Didn’t Rep. Murray say, ‘This is close; this is something I would have a concern with here if someone else did it’?”

Murray claimed to believe filing an annual financial disclosure form listing the RFFNH employment and salary — a form every House member with a job fills out — was notice enough.

“When I filled out the disclosure form, I thought that was me disclosing,” Murray said. “I didn’t see any clear conflict when I was voting on these bills.”

Pinto did not speak during the hearing but acknowledged to the committee through her attorney that, as RFFNH executive director, she did lobby on five bills, spending about $800 in total on those efforts.

The fact Murray’s employer, RFFNH, lobbied on any bill and spent any money was enough to create a conflict of interest, according to David Hess, a former state representative and committee member.

“The guidelines are pretty clear,” Hess said. “[Murray] is getting income from an organization that is lobbying.”

Christie said RFFPNH would not have been financially impacted by any of the bills for which Pinto lobbied since the organization maintains such a narrow mission. He also said Pinto spent a relatively low amount on only five bills.

But Hess said the fact that the group’s executive director lobbied on the bills showed Pinto considered the legislation important to the RFFNH mission. He also cited a recent committee opinion imposing recusal on a Republican.

Last summer, the committee told Rep. Deborah Hobson (R-East Kingston) that she would have to recuse herself on bills if she took a job with a conservative advocacy group. Hobson sought the advisory opinion while considering a job with Americans for Prosperity. The committee’s answer was Hobson should recuse herself from any bill that AFP lobbies for or against.

Hobson and Murray’s situation are nearly identical, Hess said, and the result should be as well.

“I see no distinction whatsoever between the two situations,” Hess said. “It’s an employee getting income from a firm engaged in lobbying. The money and time amount are irrelevant.”

A complete advisory opinion draft will be voted on at the committee’s next meeting.

NH Families Continue Using EFAs to Flee Failing Public Schools

Manchester mom Saverna Ahmad knew her children needed a lot more than what they were getting at their public high schools, but she didn’t have a lot of options.

“At other schools, my kids had to go with the pace. They were bored,” she said.

Manchester’s school district is struggling to educate all students, whether they need advanced courses or remedial help. In some cases, the district is failing. 

When the New Hampshire Department of Education released the mandated list of Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools — the lowest-performing five percent of all schools in the state receiving Title I, Part A funds — three of these failing schools are in Manchester: Beech Street School, Henry Wilson Elementary School, and Parker-Varney School.

The state DOE has identified 19 schools across New Hampshire as Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools, including high schools with a four-year graduation rate of less than 67 percent. Those schools are now eligible for a share of $3.7 million in additional federal funding.

“To help aid with continued progress, the New Hampshire Department of Education will offer ongoing reviews, technical assistance, and monitoring to support each CSI school with its improvement efforts,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

In Manchester, the Middle School at Parkside, Southside Middle School, and Manchester West High School are all in the Department of Education’s Targeted Support and Improvement plan.

But until recently, working parents like Ahmad had limited options if their children were attending failing schools like these. Both her children, now teens, are gifted and ready for advanced classes that are unavailable in Manchester’s school district. In fact, the only solution her son’s teachers could come up with was to simply graduate him after his sophomore year in high school and get him into college.

“I don’t want him to go to college at 17,” she said. “As a mom, I don’t think he’s ready to graduate.”

Ahmad knew there were schools in and around Manchester that could offer her son and daughter the education they needed, but she couldn’t afford them. Private school tuition was simply out of reach until Ahmad learned about the Education Freedom Account program.

“I didn’t know this kind of thing existed until Shalimar (Encarnacion, with the Children Scholarship Fund NH) reached out, and now I’m an ambassador,” she said.

New Hampshire’s EFA program awards need-based grants to families they can use to pay for tutoring, necessary educational hardware, extracurricular classes, private school tuition, and home school supplies. For Ahmad and her children, it meant a lifeline to opportunity.

“Coming from a salary where you don’t have much, it allows us to give the kids a break, and they can grow and enjoy their education,” she said. “As a mom, it makes me feel like the kids are where they need to be.”

It may not take a mathematical genius to understand that as Manchester’s public schools continue to fail students, more families like Ahmad’s are going to seek another solution. This year, EFA enrollment went up 20 percent to 4,211 students. Of that total, 1,577 students are new to the program. 

“It has been three years since the launch of New Hampshire’s successful Education Freedom Account program, and it is apparent that New Hampshire families are taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity that provides them with different options and significant flexibility for learning,” Edelblut said.

But EFA’s popularity is a problem for state Democrats and their teacher union allies. Meg Tuttle, president of the New Hampshire NEA, wants families in public schools to stay put.

“Taxpayer funds should be spent to resource neighborhood public schools to ensure they are desirable places to be and to learn, where students’ natural curiosity is inspired,” Tuttle said in a statement.

According to data from the Department of Education, New Hampshire’s EFA system is cost-efficient. Taxpayers are handing over a little more than $22 million this school year for EFA grants, about $5,255 per student on average. The cost per pupil for public schools is close to $20,000, sometimes more. If all the EFA students switched to public schools, it would increase taxpayer costs by another $63 million.

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, a Democrat running for governor, promises to end the EFA program if elected and kick all of the students out of the school of their choice. Poor parents who want to send their kids to private schools would be out of luck.

“We don’t take taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools,” Warmington told WMUR.

Both of Warmington’s children attended the elite Tilton School for secondary education, an independent boarding and preparatory school in New Hampshire. Tilton charges $38,500 for day school and nearly $67,000 for boarding school.

Warmington is a retired partner with the prestigious and politically connected Shaheen & Gordon law firm. Her husband, William Christie, is a partner at the firm. Partners in law firms maintain part ownership and take a percentage of the firm’s overall profit.

The EFA grants are available to New Hampshire families who earn no more than 350 percent of the federal poverty level. For Ahmad, EFA means her children have opportunities to succeed in school and in life. These are opportunities she could not afford on her own.

“It levels the playing field,” Ahmad said.

Hate on Campus: UNH Professor Compares Hamas to Jewish Victims of Nazi Germany

Jewish students at the University of New Hampshire say they are feeling fearful as the anti-Israel slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is heard across the campus and swastikas appear on the walls. The chant was also heard at an anti-Israel rally in Manchester on Saturday, along with attacks on Israel as an “apartheid state.”

Thus far, New Hampshire’s elected officials are largely standing with Israel. All four members of the state’s federal delegation have condemned the use of the “from the river to the sea” language, and Gov. Chris Sununu has declared the phrase “nothing short of requesting another Holocaust.”

But New Hampshire’s far-left activists denouncing Israel are getting support from some members of the UNH faculty, including a nationally-known progressive academic who is using her large social media following to attack Israel as an “apartheid state” and to compare Hamas terrorists to the Polish Jews who fought Nazi SS troops during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Assistant Physics Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is paid close to $100,000 a year to teach physics and gender studies at UNH. In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel that claimed the lives of 1,400 people and injured another 3,400, Prescod-Weinstein has kept up a flurry of anti-Israel posts on the X social media site. Her feed, which has more than 115,000 followers, includes denunciations of what she calls Israel’s “setter colonialism” and defenses of antisemitic Rep. Rashid Tlaib (D-Mich.)

“Everyone harassing Rashida Tlaib — who is wildly popular with her constituents — looks like a complete *a**hole* attacking her while her people are facing *genocide*,” Prescod-Weinstein posted on X. “Complete a**hole. Cannot stress this enough.”

Particularly troubling, critics say, is her Nov. 9 tweet in which she appears to compare Hamas terrorists to Polish Jews during World War II.

Describing the current political conversation surrounding Israel’s military response to the Hamas terror attack, Prescod-Weinstein posted, “The people in charge are those who would have condemned the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.”

Prescod-Weinstein did not respond to an email from NHJournal seeking clarification on her tweet. She has tweeted almost nonstop in support of Palestine, and in strong opposition to Israel over recent weeks. NHJournal could find no tweet or written statement from Prescod-Weinstein in which she condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Asked directly by an X user if she is “saying that condemning Hamas is like condemning the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising?” Prescod-Weinstein responded cryptically: “If that’s what I wanted to say, that’s what I would have said. Instead, I said what I said.”

This isn’t Prescod-Weinstein’s first political controversy.

In the past, she signed a letter opposing a call for more free speech and intellectual diversity on campus. And she argues that human beings should rethink going to Mars over concerns of “colonialism.”

“Can we be trusted to be equitable in our dealings with each other in a Martian context if the U.S. and Canadian governments continue to attack indigenous sovereignty, violate indigenous lands, and engage in genocidal activities against indigenous people?” Prescod-Weinstein asked at a 2018 symposium on “Decolonizing Mars.”

 And according to a January 2020 story by Campus Reform, Prescod-Weinstein wrote posts claiming Black people cannot be anti-semitic. Prescod-Weinstein describes herself as an “agender queer” Black feminist. She grew up in Los Angeles with a Black mother and a White Jewish father.

“Antisemitism in the United States, historically, is a White Christian problem, and if any Black people have developed antisemitic views, it is under the influence of White gentiles,” she wrote. “White Jews adopted whiteness as a social praxis and harmed Black people in the process … Some Black people have problematically blamed Jewishness for it.”

In June, UNH rewarded Prescod-Weinstein with her tenure. A university professor with tenure can only be fired for cause, or under extraordinary circumstances. 

After news of the “river to the sea” chants at UNH, Sununu told NHJournal he hoped “the leadership over at UNH was swift and firm to condemn this language.”

Instead, the university released a statement merely acknowledging the phrase is “hurtful” to many.

“The university is proud of its record of protecting free speech on campus, including speech that may be objectionable,” UNH said in a statement. “The individuals in the video participated in an assembly to speak out on an issue, as is their right. We understand the phrase used in the video has deep and hurtful meaning to many. Neither these individuals nor anyone exercising their free speech rights on campus speak on behalf of the University of New Hampshire.”

Within hours of the pro-Palestinian protest on campus, students reported finding fresh swastika graffiti. Student Mark Rittigers found a swastika drawn on the bathroom tiles in his dorm.

“It’s gross; no one wants to see that in their bathroom,” he said.

The 18-year-old said there is a sense of hostility on campus when it comes to Israel. The pro-Palestine rally was an effort to direct hate at Jewish people and those who support Israel, he said. Rittigers is not Jewish, but he supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. Those are not opinions he is always comfortable expressing on campus.

“It feels unsafe,” he said. “There are people who I am sure would get violent over this. There are people who are quite passionate about their beliefs and more than willing to use violence.”

UNH did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment on the swastikas. 

 

Anti-Israel Dartmouth Protestors Edit Out Threats After Arrest

When two anti-Israel progressive Dartmouth College students were arrested last weekend, they claimed the college administration’s accusations that they had made violent threats were a smear.

In fact, the statement issued by the two students specifically violated the school’s policy on violent threats, as evidenced by the fact they edited the document after their arrest to soften the language.

Early Saturday morning, Dartmouth students Roan Wade and Kevin Engel, who were camping outside of college President Sian Leah Beilock’s residence, were arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing. The two are student leaders of the far-left Sunrise Movement. They had issued a document listing a series of demands, including that Dartmouth act against “Israeli apartheid by divesting the College’s endowment from all organizations that are complicit in apartheid and its apparatuses.”

The demands, which they called the “Dartmouth New Deal,” also include paying reparations to Native Americans, going carbon neutral, and cutting ties with the military-industrial complex.

“We are taking action now, but we will escalate. You have until the first day of the winter term to publicly address our demands and outline a plan to meet them. If you fail to do so, we will escalate and take further action,” they wrote.

The threat to “escalate” and “take further action” violated Dartmouth’s rules against threats, and as a result, the Hanover police were called.

“(T)he situation changed when two students … threatened in writing to ‘escalate and take further action,’ including ‘physical action,’ if their demands were not met,’” Beilock wrote.

In an open letter published in The Dartmouth, Wade and Engel denied they made any threats.

“The administration’s accusation that the demonstrators threatened violence is a lie. Beilock cited a decontextualized sentence from the Dartmouth New Deal as justification for the arrests,” they wrote.

However, the Sunrise Movement at Dartmouth’s own document showed it was edited two days after the arrests to soften the objectionable language.

“Sunrise is committed to nonviolent direct action, such as hosting vigils, sit-ins, and rallies. In this context, to escalate and take further action means that the organization will host larger events and mobilize a greater number of people in order to achieve the demands listed in the Dartmouth New Deal. (Edited October 30 at 2:40 p.m.)”

The incident comes as progressives organize anti-Israel marches, often featuring antisemitic rhetoric, on many of America’s most elite college campuses. The protests come in the wake of the Hamas terror attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, in which more than 1,400 people were murdered, and Hamas terrorists took hundreds more hostage.

The Dartmouth New Deal urges the university to embrace the views of the so-called “Palestine Solidarity Coalition, or PSC. The organization, of which Wade is a member, blames all of the Hamas violence targeting Jews on Israel.

“The root cause of this violence is apartheid, the institutionalized system of oppression and domination by one ethnic group over another,” the Coalition wrote. “Israel today is an apartheid state, designed to deny Indigenous Palestinians their democratic representation and civil rights.”

Casey Stockstill

Wade did not respond to a request for comment.

Wade’s position on Israel is similar to Dartmouth Associate Sociology Professor Casey Stockstill, one of hundreds of sociology professors who signed an open letter in response to Hamas’ deadly terror attacks. Stockstill and fellow academics wrote of the need to “contextualize” the murders, kidnappings, and beheadings committed by Hamas terrorists “in the context of 75 years of settler colonial occupation and European empire,” the letter stated.

 

Dartmouth has a history of antisemitism. In the 1940s, as European Jews were fleeing the horrors of the Nazi regime, then-President Ernest Hopkins told the New York Post the school had a policy of turning away Jewish students.

“We cut the quotas more on our Jewish applicants than we do the basis of applications from Anglo-Saxons,” Hopkins said. “I think if you were to let Dartmouth become predominantly Jewish, it would lose its attraction for the Jews … Dartmouth is a Christian college founded for the Christianization of its students.” 

Judge Blocks Woodburn’s Request for ‘Blame the Victim’ Defense in Domestic Violence Case

Disgraced former State Sen. Jeffrey Woodburn is not being allowed to introduce evidence that he claims shows the alleged victim had a history of causing the kind of fights that led to his alleged crimes.

Woodburn, once one of the highest-ranking elected Democrats in state government, continues to fight hard against the domestic violence charges that have hung over him since his 2018 arrest. He is heading for a new trial on one count of domestic violence and one count of simple assault after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled he was denied the ability to argue self-defense.

On Friday, Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein denied Woodburn’s request to introduce evidence of prior instances that “physically interfered with his attempts to avoid conflict.”

Woodburn’s attorney, Mark Sisti, filed a motion to allow this evidence, even though it detailed incidents that predate the alleged violence for which he had originally been convicted. 

“Testimony concerning Jeff Woodburn’s prior attempts to avoid conflict and the alleged victim’s behavior about those attempts are admissible and relevant to his mental state at the time of this alleged offense,” Sisti wrote.

Assistant Attorney General Zachary Wolfe’s objection pointed out Sisti and Woodburn supply no details about this “vague, amorphous” evidence, making it impossible to counter in court or even prove they actually happened.

“The defendant’s motion fails to identify not only the specific instances of conduct he wishes to introduce, but also any specific legal grounds justifying his request,” Wolfe wrote.

While the Supreme Court ruled Woodburn can use evidence demonstrating his claim of self-defense for the actions covered in the trial, Bornstein wrote in his order that it does not open the door for what is essentially the unspecified evidence Woodburn is claiming.

“Among other things, the defendant has not identified any of the alleged victim’s prior acts as to which he seeks to introduce evidence or the approximate date(s) on which he alleges occurred,” Bornstein wrote. 

The simple assault and domestic violence convictions stem from Woodburn’s violent actions related to three separate incidents, according to court records. In the first instance, Woodburn and the woman arrived in separate vehicles at a Dec. 15, 2017, Christmas party, and the woman agreed to drive him home so that Woodburn could drink at the party. During an argument on the drive home, Woodburn had the woman pull over, and during a struggle over his phone, he bit her hand, according to court records.

On Christmas Eve that same year, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house when she refused to let him inside. In August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer earlier that year, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

The woman went on record telling Bornstein that at one point during one of her struggles with Woodburn, she tried to grab his phone without permission. Bornstein stated in court that it did not rise to the level of behavior allowing Woodburn’s self-defense claims.

Woodburn’s new trial on the two charges is slated for next year. The North Country Democrat has already been convicted on two counts of criminal mischief and is facing 30 days in jail. He is also free while he appeals Bornstein’s August ruling denying a new trial on these charges.

Woodburn is just one of several Granite State Democrats embroiled in legal scandals. Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is on paid leave and facing charges of stealing tax dollars to pay for trysts with a series of paramours. Former state Rep. Stacie Laughton (D-Nashua) is in jail awaiting trial on child pornography charges. And two-time Democratic candidate for governor, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, has just been called out for a second time by the state attorney general over illegal campaign tactics he used in local political races.

In addition, both U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and the state Democratic Party are still holding on to cash donated to them by notorious fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried after he allegedly stole it from clients. Hassan and the NHDP were two of the top recipients of the more than $100 million in political campaign contributions federal prosecutors say Bankman-Fried made before the 2022 midterm elections.

Progressive Attacks Don’t Stop Board of Ed Approval of PragerU Course

New Hampshire families can now choose a new financial literacy course from PragerU through the state’s Learn Everywhere program, and New Hampshire Democrats have a new hobby horse to ride into campaign season.

That was the result after three hours of a contentious State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, where Democrats, progressives, and union activists packed the room to denounce PragerU and its “right-wing” politics.

“This approval disregards the potential harm PragerU’s extreme content will inflict on our schools and the education of our children,” said Democratic Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, who is seeking her party’s nomination for governor next year.

At issue is a video course on personal finances and financial literacy called “Cash Course,” and produced by PragerU, a conservative content business. The state Board of Education has been considering making the course, which contains no political or controversial content, part of the content eligible to complete course requirements for students in the Learn Everywhere program.

Learn Everywhere, an innovative education program unique to New Hampshire, allows students to earn credit for learning outside the classroom. The program, which has been under development since 2018, was first approved in August 2020 in a 4-3 vote.

The State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday, with Chair Drew Cline’s abstention, to approve the PragerU content as a half-credit course. The class is offered for free for any student who chooses to take it.

The approval comes despite heavy, organized opposition from progressives and teachers unions against PragerU.

Their opposition is not based on the content itself but rather on the provider. Many of the people who spoke in opposition Thursday did not appear to have seen the Cash Course content under consideration.

“I am appalled by today’s Board of Education decision to allow PragerU to operate in New Hampshire. I will fight for every child in our state to receive a quality education, and I will never allow an extreme right-wing organization to influence their learning,” Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig said.

Craig is also running for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Warmington has been using the PragerU issue to campaign and fundraise for weeks, attacking “their extremist views.” Warmington declined to respond when asked to identify what “extremist views” were in the personal finance content under consideration by the Board of Education.

Warmington suffered a political faceplant early this week with an unfounded complaint that PragerU was falsely presenting itself as an actual university and potentially violating New Hampshire state law. Attorney General John F0rmella dismissed Warmington’s complaint, noting the website explicitly announces PragerU is not a university and that the law Warmington cited only applies to entities incorporated in New Hampshire. It was embarrassing for a career attorney who spent two decades at the Sheehan & Gordon law firm.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation about Learn Everywhere and this course,” Cline said during Thursday’s board meeting.

PragerU is not partnering with the state, getting a state contract, or being paid any taxpayer money, Cline said. Further, the PragerU class is not required for any New Hampshire student. Additionally, PragerU plans to offer its class on a website independent of the wider PragerU offerings.

The association with the conservative media personality Dennis Prager is the major red flag for the Cash Course opponents. Dozens of people who were against PragerU’s application spoke Thursday, accusing the conservative non-profit of pushing an extremist agenda and even likening it to the Ku Klux Klan.

Supporters say that while PragerU is unapologetically conservative in its philosophy, it is far from being an extremist organization. And they note that many of the union members and progressives who say its politics are “too extreme” have supported far-left “critical race theory” content from racists like Ibram X. Kendi in New Hampshire’s K-12 classrooms.

Board Member Richard Sala said the board had approved several Learn Everywhere options and charter schools with decidedly left-wing ideologies. He said the board is not trying to push an agenda other than giving all parents the most choices for their children.

“I trust parents to make good calls for their kids more than I trust the government to,” Sala said.

Sala noted that while PragerU is a conservative, so are at least half the families in New Hampshire.

“A lot of PragerU material is mainstream political thought in this country,” Sala said. “You can’t censor half the ideas in this country.”

It wasn’t all about fears children were being indoctrinated into the Republican Party. Deb Howes, head of the New Hampshire American Federal of Teachers, the state’s second biggest teachers union, claimed that allowing students to take the Cash Course class for a half credit would lower the state’s education standards.

“Watching a video and doing a worksheet doesn’t help you remember it when it counts,” Howe said.

Cline said PragerU’s Cash Course class covers a little more material than another financial literacy program already approved for Learn Everywhere. That program did not receive any public opposition when it was approved.

Board Member Ryan Terrell said the opposition to PragerU is ruled by a bias against all conservatives, which assumes any Republican is a homophobic racist.

“You say you want open dialogue and then attack a whole swath of people’s ideals,” Tyrell said.

The opponents revealed they are ultimately against New Hampshire families having real choices when it comes to educating their children, Tyrell said.

“The overall message was anti-choice. It’s simply that black and white,” Terrell said.

AG Hits Marchand With Warning Over Deceptive Election Materials

Call him Steve Two Times.

Steve Marchand, the twice-failed progressive candidate for governor, was issued the second warning of his political career by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, this one for deceptive campaign materials.

Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Donnell sent Marchand a letter Wednesday stating that he is responsible for double-sided handbills targeting former Portsmouth Mayor Rick Becksted and former City Councilors Paige Trace, Petra Huda, Peter Whelan and Esther Kennedy in the 2021 election. However, that investigation is being closed without further action.

Marchand violated state campaign law with the handbills that he admits he paid for by failing to disclose his name on the materials. But he won’t be charged since he claimed to have acted alone, according to O’Donnell’s letter.

Under the United States Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio, individuals are exempted from disclosure laws as long as they are acting alone and not part of an organized campaign. Marchand earns his living as a political consultant.

Marchand did not respond to a request for comment.

Last year, Assistant Attorney General Myles Matteson concluded Marchand was responsible for the anonymous Preserve-Portsmouth.com and other websites targeting Becksted, Trace, Huda, Whelan, and Kennedy. Again, Marchand was let off with a warning based on the McIntyre ruling.

Marchand targeted the five public officials with anonymous websites, fliers, and robo texts, painting them as too conservative for the city and linking them to former President Donald Trump. According to documents obtained by the Attorney General’s Office, Marchand planned to depress voter turnout among Republicans in order to benefit Democrats on the ballot. 

According to Matteson’s letter, Marchand initially lied to investigator Anna Croteau when she questioned him about his part in the campaign.

“When she first asked about Preserve-Portsmouth.com, you stated that you had heard of the website. You denied you had ever claimed responsibility for the website but noted that other people had been saying you were responsible for it,” Mattson wrote. 

However, Croteau already had screenshots of a text conversation in which Marchand took credit for the content of the websites. 

“To be very clear, I am the one to create the content,” Marchand wrote in the text.

The legal opinion that Marchand acted alone based on his own statements to investigators seems to fly in the face of the evidence of collaboration uncovered in the investigation. 

The Attorney General’s Office has records of Marchand’s communications with at least four other people about the campaign, in which he stated the goal was to create guilt by association aimed at the targeted candidates, linking them to Trump in the mind of Portsmouth voters.

“(i)s really meant to help get Democrats who gave Becksted and others a vote in 2019 to really think about what they were doing in 2021,” Marchand wrote. 

Matteson wrote the purpose of the anonymous campaigns clear from Marchand’s statements to the others involved.

“It is clear from your own correspondence and admissions that your intended purpose of the site was to influence the Portsmouth City Council election,” Matteson wrote.

Marchand’s campaign seemed to work, as none of the candidates targeted by Marchand won their races.

Marchand lost Democratic gubernatorial primaries to Colin Van Ostern in 2016 and Molly Kelley in 2018. In both campaigns,  Marchand painted himself as a progressive champion when he ran, calling for tighter gun control, universal healthcare, and opposition to the Northern Pass electric transmission line project.

Marchand also ran a failed primary campaign from the left against Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2008. He hasn’t yet declared any plans for a second race for Senate.

UNH 3rd in Free Speech Rankings While Dartmouth Among America’s Worst

Granite State college students enjoy greater freedom of speech at the University of New Hampshire than their peers at the prestigious Ivy League school, Dartmouth College.

The annual college rankings released this week by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, puts UNH third nationally, trailing only Michigan Tech and Auburn.

UNH President James W. “Jim” Dean Jr. said the school takes its responsibility to foster speech seriously.

“Free speech is one of the most fundamental American constitutional rights. As a public university, UNH protects and promotes this value by ensuring our students can be exposed to new and different ideas that will hopefully inspire growth and intellectual curiosity,” Dean said. “This new report from FIRE validates the work we have done and will continue to do to foster an environment where free speech can flourish.”

Meanwhile, Dartmouth, one of the most exclusive — and expensive — colleges in America, ranks near the bottom: 240 out of 248.

That’s a major drop-off for Dartmouth, which came in at 63 in 2021 and 83 in 2022.

According to data compiled by FIRE, a big reason behind that wide gap is UNH students don’t think it is acceptable to shut down controversial speakers, while Dartmouth students are OK with censorship.

FIRE’s Director of Polling and Analytics, Sean Stevens, said students at elite schools like Dartmouth, Harvard University (248), Northwestern (242), and Georgetown (245) are more inclined to prevent speakers they don’t like from being heard on campus The common denominator is those schools are predominately liberal

“There’s this elite culture to be tolerant, but most of those schools do poorly on the disruptive conduct survey,” Stevens said. 

As part of the review process, students were surveyed about how comfortable they felt speaking about controversial topics on campus and in class. They were also asked if shutting down speakers through protest, disruption, or even violence was ever acceptable.

“As you get more and more liberal on the spectrum (the students) are more likely to say those things are at least rarely acceptable,” Stevens said.

One of the findings: Many college students think shouting down a speaker is acceptable behavior, even at schools that rank highly. At UNH, just 44 percent of students said shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus is always unacceptable. 

At Dartmouth, however, that dropped to 26 percent, meaning most students believe in stopping speakers they don’t like. That comes as no surprise to center-right students at Dartmouth. 

Last year, conservative journalist Andy Ngo’s scheduled in-person appearance at Dartmouth was canceled after a deluge of online threats from leftwing opponents. In 2020, more leftist threats of violence forced the cancellation of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corky Messner’s scheduled speech on the need for border security to halt the flow of opioids into the U.S.

Stevens cited the Ngo and Messner events as reasons for Dartmouth’s poor ranking.

“They can’t undo the disinvitations, but they can do better,” Stevens said.

In contrast, UNH stood by a controversial group over objections from liberal students, Stevens said. In March, students staged a walkout after the Christian Legal Society student group planned a vigil for victims of a Tennessee school shooting. UNH liberal activists accused the Christian group of engaging in anti-transgender hate. The Tennessee shooter identified as transgender.

UNH also announced Wednesday that Dean is retiring as president on June 30, 2024.