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  • 06/24/2020 12:32 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    COAST to Launch New System on Monday, June 29th

    Dover, NH – After nearly two years of planning and outreach with riders, community members and financial stakeholders, COAST’s redesigned public transit system will launch on Monday, June 29th

    Ultimately, the new system was designed to reflect the region’s changing travel patterns, and to adapt to COAST’s new financial reality. Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director, remarked, “We recognized a change in where people wanted to travel to and from, as well as the days and hours during which they work and shop, and we knew we’d be working with a diminished overall budget. To determine how our services would best meet our passengers’ and communities’ needs, we initiated a comprehensive analysis of COAST’s operations in the summer of 2018.”

    After many months of extensive analysis, design and redesign, outreach, and consideration of feedback received, this past winter COAST announced it had arrived at its new service design. The schedule and/or route traveled of all of COAST’s current bus routes will be affected. Additionally, there are several new bus routes that will be introduced. More information about the new system and schedules can be found on COAST’s website 

    Cornerstone features of the new system offer the following benefits:

           Creates separate local routes from routes making regional connections

           Significantly reduces travel times for many of the longest trips (by more than 50%)

           Improves timely connections between routes, making regional travel easier

           Provides hourly frequencies on most routes

           Uses clockface schedules (bus coming to the same stop, at the same time after the hour, every hour) on most routes

           Significantly enhances Saturday service levels

           Extends service coverage to identified areas

           Maintains the current daily span of service to the maximum extent practicable

           Provides greater flexibility to operate routes only when sufficient demand exists

           Makes better use of downtime and bus movements to maximize revenue service          Represents an overall cost reduction to operate


    After also reviewing the fare structure, no changes were proposed to the base cash fare to ride the system ($1.50). There will continue to be options for purchasing discounted fare media, such as bundled tickets and monthly passes.

    As a cost saving measure, two new no-service holidays will be recognized by COAST: Christmas Eve and Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day. These two holidays were chosen based on their traditionally lower ridership numbers. 

    COAST is currently operating at just below its full-service levels because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between April 1 and May 10, it had completely suspended all fixed route operations due to a lack of availability of personal protective equipment, and concerns for their employees’ and passengers’ safety due to the increased presence of the virus in the region. On May 11 COAST began what has been a three-phase resumption to services. Currently average weekday fixed route ridership is 45% of prepandemic levels and has been on a very positive growth trend each week since service was resumed. Compared with national trends for public transit ridership under current conditions, COAST is doing quite well.

    “We are committed to our mission to champion and provide customer-focused public transportation with a commitment to excellence in safety and service,” stated Mr. Nichols. “The pandemic has been a significant challenge for our operation to overcome, and just as we were preparing for the launch of our new system. It has been a tremendously difficult spring on all fronts, but our staff has been incredible, and we are ready for next Monday.”

    Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a non-profit agency, operating a regional public transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies. COAST’s vision is to be an innovative leader in providing a broad range of public transportation services, connecting, and coordinating a robust network of transportation options for everyone.

  • 06/23/2020 2:46 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    June 22nd, 2020

    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu announced the members of the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency ahead of today’s first meeting at 1:00 PM.

    • Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Chair
    • Robert Quinn, Commissioner of the Department of Safety
    • Ahni Malachi, Executive Director, New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights
    • John Scippa, Director, Police Standards and Training Council
    • Rogers Johnson, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion
    • James McKim, President of the Manchester NH NAACP
    • Sawako Gardner, Justice of the New Hampshire Circuit Court
    • Mark Morrison, New Hampshire Police Association
    • Charlie Dennis, President, New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police
    • Ken Norton, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness – New Hampshire
    • Devon Chaffee, Executive Director, ACLU New Hampshire
    • Julian Jefferson, Attorney, New Hampshire Public Defender
    • Eddie Edwards, Public Member
    • Ronelle Tshiela, Public Member

    Members of the public may attend this teleconference using the dial in information below:

    1. Call-in: 1-800-356-8278 or 1-857-444-0744
    2. Enter one of the following 6 digit conference codes:
      1. 570417
      2. 146910
      3. 858342
    3. When prompted, clearly state your first and last name as well as if you are a member of the public or which organization/agency you represent.

    Any member of the public having difficulty accessing the telephonic public meeting should contact the Department of Justice at (603) 271-1202.

    Please note that this meeting will be audio recorded. The recordings will be available following the conclusion of the meeting at:

    Pursuant to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement that a quorum of a public body be physically is waived. Therefore, in accordance with Emergency Order #12, Section 3, Commission members will be participating in the meeting remotely via teleconference.

    Press release announcing formation of the Commission by Governor Sununu

  • 06/23/2020 2:45 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    June 22, 2020

    While outdoor seated bar service is still permitted, indoor bar service presents a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission and is linked to outbreaks in several other states

    The Mills Administration announced today that it is postponing the reopening of indoor service at bars to protect public health given the higher risk of COVID-19 transmission in such settings.

    Under the Administration’s Restarting Maine’s Economy plan, bars across Maine have been able to reopen for outdoor service and were tentatively scheduled to resume indoor service on July 1 (Stage 3). However, given the elevated health risk presented by bars, along with major outbreaks in other states linked to the reopening of bars, the Administration is postponing indoor service until further notice. Bars can still provide outdoor seated service to patrons, and the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations will work closely and promptly with businesses to establish or expand their outside capacity. The Administration said last week that it was evaluating the reopening of indoor bar service.

    “This was a difficult but necessary decision given the increased public health risk and the outbreaks we have seen across the country associated with indoor service,” said Governor Mills. “While we believe this is the most prudent step to protect the health and safety of Maine people, we recognize that it will frustrate some businesses and patrons. The Administration will work with these businesses to help them open for outdoor service to the extent they may be able to do so. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the prevalence of this deadly virus and take whatever steps necessary to protect people as we continue the gradual reopening process.”

    “Recent outbreaks related to indoor bar service in multiple states raise concerns,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “As we learn more about how the virus spreads, duration and density – specifically being in close quarters inside, as is the case with most bars – clearly elevate the risk of virus transmission.”

    Indoor service at bars presents a significantly elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission. Indoor service bars typically feature crowds often in close contact with one another often without tables or other ways of keeping people apart. Smaller spaces at many bars make physical distancing very difficult. Further, individuals may be less likely to wear face coverings at bars and, in some instances, may be speaking at a higher volume – both of which increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The action also follows recent reports of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to the reopening of bars in states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Idaho.

    There are no other updates to Stage 3 at this time. As of now, Maine has reopened the majority of its economy under the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan. The Administration continues to monitor epidemiological data, including case trends, hospitalization rates, and reports of COVID-like symptoms, as well as health care readiness and capacity, to inform decisions about the reopening.


    The Administration continues to strongly urge Maine people and businesses to follow State health requirements and U.S. and Maine CDC recommendations to protect their health and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings, staying six feet apart whenever possible, and washing hands with soap and warm water often.

  • 06/23/2020 2:44 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    June 22, 2020

    The Federal government earmarked billions to support agricultural producers impacted by the pandemic

    On Friday, Governor Mills called for the USDA to designate maple syrup as an eligible Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) specialty crop. Doing so will create the pathway for Maine's maple producers to receive needed CFAP payments. Maple is currently ineligible for CFAP, and the industry is suffering due to a variety of factors due to COVID-19, including price drops, annual event cancellations, and restaurant closures.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for Maines approximately 557 maple syrup producers. Maine is the third-largest producer of maple syrup in America, with 580,000 gallons produced in 2019 and an overall production value of $21.6 million. Maines growing maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full- and part-time jobs, and $25.1 million in labor income, wrote Governor Mills in her request to the USDAs Farm Service Administration to include maple syrup as a specialty crop that can receive economic support through CFAP.

    Governor Mills' support of our maple producing families comes at a time when it has become clear that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their market in multiple ways, commented Amanda Beal, DACF Commissioner. Maple producers are clearly in need of and should qualify for CFAP relief funds, and we are hopeful that the USDA will agree and make the needed adjustments to their criteria in response to the Governors request.

    USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue implemented the CFAP on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, to assist agricultural producers impacted by the effects of the pandemic. CFAP establishes provisions for direct payments to producers of eligible specialty and non-specialty crops.

    Note to Maine agricultural producers:
    USDA is accepting CFAP applications through August 28, 2020. Producers should inquire about eligibility and apply through the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center.

    The complete text of Governor Mills' letter is below:

    June 19, 2020

    US Department of Agriculture
    1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522
    Washington, DC 20250-0522
    Docket ID: FSA-2020-0004

    Re: Request for Maple Syrup to be Added as Specialty Crop Under Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for Maines approximately 557 maple syrup producers. 1 Maine is the third-largest producer of maple syrup in America, with 580,000 gallons produced in 2019 and an overall production value of $21.6 million. 2 Maines growing maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full- and part-time jobs, and $25.1 million in labor income. 3 I write to request that USDAs Farm Service Administration (FSA) include maple syrup as a specialty crop eligible for economic support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

    The CFAP program offers support to specialty crops that suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Maine maple syrup producers fit within this definition.

    The coronavirus pandemic struck just as the Maine maple syrup production season was beginning. The Maine season typically starts at the end of February/early March and finishes mid-April. Maine maple syrup producers rely on this season for the majority of their sales, which consists of direct-to-consumer, wholesale and bulk sales.

    The emergence of Covid-19 effectively canceled the annual Maine Maple Sunday event scheduled for March 21-22, 2020, which typically drives robust direct-to-consumer sales for maple producers. 4 Thousands of Mainers and tourists, who normally visit sugar shacks to enjoy tours and demonstrations, and support producers through on-site purchases, remained home. The loss of this popular and profitable event has been devastating, especially for smaller producers who tend to make the bulk of their sales at that time. Significant losses that cannot be recovered by producers include advertising costs and expenditures associated with non-shelf stable inventory such as value-added maple products.

    Similar market disruptions occurred between January-April due to the evaporation of wholesale accounts to institutions or restaurants, which also significantly decreased due to the pandemic. At a May 8, 2020 meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Maple Syrup Institute, in a round table discussion of the industry, large maple syrup packers from both the US and Canada stated that the crop appeared to be large and of high quality in 2020. 5 Sales have only been steady in grocery stores across the North American region. 6 With maple festivals, fairs, and events canceled due to health concerns, restaurants closed, and tourism curtailed both nationally and internationally, many producers have been unable to sell their current production from 2020.

    In addition, due to the increase of production and strategic reserve inventory in Canada, the largest maple producing market in the world, bulk syrup prices are falling from $2.26 in 2017 to a reported average bulk price of $2.06 being paid by bulk packers in New England in 2020 7. Due to the decrease in the value of the Canadian dollar and the large supply they hold in their strategic reserve, Canadian syrup is much cheaper on the world market, which forces US prices down. Coupled with falling bulk prices, canceled orders, and decreased demand, both Canada and the US report a record-breaking volume in store for 2020. 8

    I strongly urge USDA/FSA to include maple syrup within the CFAP program. Maine producers will be able to document to the FSA the negative price impacts and other evidence of market disruption between January-April 2020. CFAP program coverage will allow these producers to salvage the 2020 season and stay in business. Without such critical support, we fear that some producers will have to cease operations a blow for this otherwise robust and growing industry.


    Janet T. Mills

    cc: Amanda Beal, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

  • 06/19/2020 3:58 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced the launch of a dedicated online tool for small businesses and non-profits to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional smaller asset size lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  

    SBA’s Lender Match is an additional resource for pandemic-affected small businesses who have not applied for or received an approved PPP loan to connect with lenders.  The forgivable PPP loan is emergency relief assistance aimed at sustaining businesses and keeping employees on payroll.  Lender Match does not accept Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications.

    “The SBA is focused on assisting eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities and connecting them with forgivable PPP loans, especially before the June 30, 2020, application deadline,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.  “As communities begin to carefully reopen across the country, there are still many more opportunities to provide this assistance to businesses who have yet to access these forgivable loans.  SBA is utilizing these partnerships with CDFIs, MDIs, CDCs, Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders and many other participating small asset lenders to ensure that access to this emergency funding reaches the most small businesses and their employees in need – a key priority for President Trump.”

    Lender Match Background

    Within two business days after entering their information into the Lender Match platform, a borrower receives an email from lenders who have been matched with them.  The borrower can see lenders’ requests for them to begin an application.  Borrowers are then able to begin the application process directly from the email they receive.

    Lender Match was on pause due to CARES Act implementation priorities and loan volume. It is now being reinstated for CDFIs and other Small Asset Lenders.  Leads will only be forwarded to CDFIs and Lenders with < $10b in assets until the PPP program ends on June 30, 2020, at which time Lender Match will be open to all participating SBA Lenders.  Lender Match not only connects borrowers with accessing PPP loans, but also other SBA lending products, such as 7(a), 504, Microloans, and Community Advantage loans which are currently offering debt relief.


    About the U.S. Small Business Administration
    The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

  • 06/18/2020 2:44 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Concord, NH – Today, the Office of Strategic Initiatives announced a Request for Proposals for the Connecting NH - Emergency Broadband Expansion Program.

    copy of the announcement can be found here PDF file, or below. The Request for Proposals can be found here PDF file.

    Note: The Office of Strategic Initiatives' press release is below

    CONCORD- The New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI), in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) and Public Utilities Commission (PUC), today announced a Request for Proposals for the Connecting NH- Emergency Broadband Expansion Program. Gov. Chris Sununu launched the new program this month using $50 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Connecting NH is seeking proposals from qualified applicants to provide high speed internet connectivity (25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3)) to as many unserved New Hampshire properties as possible at the least cost to the State.
    The Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will address challenges for students participating in remote learning, individuals working remotely, as well as other Granite Staters utilizing the internet to access telehealth services, including vital mental health services.
    “This public-private partnership is a smart investment for communities across the Granite State in expanding broadband access,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “As more Granite Staters are learning and working remotely, and using the internet to access telehealth services, this vital expansion program ensures equitable access to service for Granite Staters.”
    We need to be prepared for a possible spike in COVID-19 cases later this year,” added OSI Director Jared Chicoine. “Expanding broadband access will be vital for our response in education, remote working, and public health.”
    “While New Hampshire schools have gained nationwide recognition for their switch to remote learning this spring, connectivity remains a challenge, particularly for students in rural New Hampshire communities,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “Connecting NH will leverage available federal funds and private sector competition to bring vital broadband connectivity to Granite State students.”
    "Broadband access has proven to be critical for New Hampshire citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PUC Chairwoman Dianne Martin. “The Connecting NH- Emergency Broadband Expansion Program will provide that critical access to more New Hampshire citizens quickly."
    The program goal is to provide broadband connectivity to as many New Hampshire properties currently experiencing no or limited internet connectivity as possible at the least cost to the State. The program requires reliable service delivered at a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3 Mbps). To accomplish this priority, the project will:

    1. Be technology-neutral
    2. Work in a public/private partnership collaboration with existing providers and municipalities
    3. The technology can be wired or wireless

    Projects must be completed as soon as possible, but no later than December 15, 2020.
    Schedule of Events

    • RFP Issued
      Date/Deadline: 6/18/20
      Time: 4:00 PM
    • Question Period Closes
      Date/Deadline: 6/22/20
      Time: 4:00 PM
    • Responses to Questions Posted
      Date/Deadline: 6/25/20
      Time: 4:00 PM
    • Proposal Due Date and Time
      Date/Deadline: 7/2/2020
      Time: 4:00 PM
    • Anticipated Contract Start Date
      Date/Deadline: Mid-July 2020    

    The Request for Proposals can be found here PDF file.

    PDF filePortable Document Format (.pdf) . Visit for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

  • 06/18/2020 1:55 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    WMUR-NEWs Chanel 9

    Main Street Relief Fund

    •  June16, 2020 - Sununu said 5,466 grants were approved in the program, which aims to compensate businesses for some of their losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The average grant awarded is nearly $62,000, Sununu said.

    •  Each grant will cover 17% of a business's losses, the governor said. Grants were capped at $350,000.

    • Everyone who applied for a grant will soon get an email explaining whether they will receive the grant and how much they can expect. Sununu said the checks will be cut within the next few days.

    • More than 13,000 applications were received for the program, but thousands were found to be ineligible, the governor said. Some businesses were too large, while others were from out of state.

    • More than 4,700 applications were disqualified because they came from self-employed individuals, Sununu said. He said the state is working on a program to specifically help self-employed individuals with funds left over from the Main Street fund.

  • 06/18/2020 1:50 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    GraniteStats, a new application featuring workforce and economic data has been released. The application provide easy access to a variety of labor market, economic, and demographic data for New Hampshire.

    Data for many New Hampshire sub-state areas are available as well, including cities and towns, Labor Market Areas, counties, and planning regions.

    The publication can be accessed at:

  • 06/18/2020 1:48 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Time is running out to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to help your small business through the COVID-19 crisis. There is still more than $120 billion available and the June 30 deadline to apply is fast approaching!

    The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds for payroll costs and other eligible non- payroll costs.

    More than $100 Billion in PPP funds are still available. The recent passage of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act allows small businesses to use funds up to 24-weeks and have the option of extending the life of the loan from two years to five. SBA will forgive loans if funds are used as intended.

    Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

    For more information, visit here.

    List of Participating Lenders





The Falls Chamber of Commerce is a professional association of businesses in  the falls area.  We are the catalyst that facilitates business growth , prosperity, partnership and success for our members. 


Bonnie McNair, Executive Director
office hours by appointment: 472 High Street, Somersworth NH 03878



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