Chris Jensen

North Country Reporter

Christopher Jensen worked as a reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer for 25 years, covering topics including desegregation, the 1st Gulf War, international charities’ fraud and the auto industry. He also wrote stories about competing in off-road races including the 1988 TransAmazon, the Baja 1000, the Paris-Moscow-Beijing Raid and Paris-Dakar.

Since 2007 he has lived in Bethlehem, covering the North Country for NHPR in addition to freelancing on automotive topics for The New York Times. He enlisted in the Army in 1968 and spent 15 months as a combat photographer in Vietnam. He graduated from George Washington University with a degree in journalism.

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A 23-year-old woman from Maine suffering from a medical problem was rescued from the Dry River Trail Saturday evening, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Kristina Reams, 23, began having problems breathing and since there was no cell service a companion hiked out and flagged down a motorist who called for help, conservation officer Alex Lopashanski said.

Rescuers reached her, stabilized her breathing and helped her to an ambulance.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Running a restaurant is a risky business. Many owners don’t figure out all the angles and are out of business the first year or so. But in the North Country, the family that owns Grandma’s Kitchen figured it out more than 30 years ago.

Dennis Streeter and his wife, Linda, have owned Grandma’s Kitchen since 1994.

Linda’s parents owned it for a decade before that.

As a kid, Dennis used to buy ice cream cones here.

So, the couple understands what works in Whitefield and the North Country.

There is no evidence that the death of 18-year-old Emily Clogston from Warren was anything but a no-fault accident, an investigation has concluded.

The accident happened last July in Lisbon as Troop F Commander Todd Landry was heading home with his wife and daughter after getting ice cream, according to the report released Tuesday by Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway.

A meeting Tuesday night between the Coos Planning Board and Balsams developers to discuss crucial plans to expand the resort's ski slopes didn’t go well, with each side frustrated.

The Coos Planning Board meets Tuesday night in Lancaster to consider a plan to greatly expand the ski area at the Balsams, including a proposal to clear some high-elevation forest.

The multi-year plan would expand the skiing area from 135 to almost 1,100 acres, with possibly 800 more acres of glade skiing.

Developer Les Otten says the pace would depend on “market conditions," but he would like to begin some clearing this summer.

Cold temperatures and icy trails caused problems for hikers in the North Country over the weekend, says Lt. James Kneeland of New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Sunday morning a hiker who was suffering from hypothermia was rescued on the Falling Waters Trail.

Kneeland said two hikers camped Saturday night, but lacked adequate cold-weather equipment and in the morning one reported “difficulty moving.”  Members of Pemi Search and Rescue Team reached them late morning, warmed them and helped them off the mountain.

Sunday afternoon, there were two more rescues.

For decades an abandoned paper mill sat in the center of Lincoln and Butch Burbank says it has been depressing driving past it. It was a reminder of a prosperous past and challenging future.

But now there’s a new building there. It’s called RiverWalk at Loon Mountain and it opens in June, the latest addition to a town that now lives on tourism.

“For someone who has lived in this area all my life and remembers the old mill and what was there and what is going up now, it is pretty exciting,” he says.

After almost three years of study, Monday night fish and game officials from New Hampshire and Vermont said they will not go ahead with a controversial proposal to stock the Moore Reservoir in the North Country with walleye.

The idea was scrapped over a concern that the walleye – which typically eat other fish – might hurt the trout population, not just in the reservoir, but in the Connecticut River downstream.

Stocking the walleye was suggested by fish and game officials from both states.

A Midwestern company specializing in fish farming is hoping to franchise its business on the site of a former paper mill in Groveton.

Earlier this year Groveton voters approved borrowing $400,000 to provide water and sewage to the mill site mill.

The water and sewer improvements at Groveton are contingent on getting about $600,000 in federal funds.

But if that comes through the site would be a good spot for an indoor fish farm, says Traci Bell, the owner of Ripple Rock Fish Farms, which raises tilapia in Ohio.

A decision on whether to replace a dilapidated bridge in the Pemi Wilderness Area of the White Mountain National Forest won’t come until early next year. That's longer than expected because the agency is using an unusual procedure to allow additional public comment on the controversial issue, according to the forest service.

The structure is the Thoreau Falls Bridge, which crosses the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. It is a six-mile hike from the Lincoln Woods Ranger station just off the Kancamagus Highway.

Michael Bartoszek, the original developer of the Berlin biomass plant, has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $3 million to settle charges he violated regulations, including misleading investors about the prospects and financial condition of his company, Laidlaw Energy Group.

A 25 year-old Pennsylvania man hiking on the Chandler Brook Trail on Mount Washington called for help yesterday saying he was wet and worried about hypothermia,  according to Fish and Game.

Evan Scott called for help about noon saying he and his dog were trying to cross a brook, when he slipped off a log and fell into knee-deep water in windy and snowy conditions, said Lt. Wayne Saunders.

Rescuers found Scott at the bottom of the trail. He’d changed footwear, warmed up and said he no longer needed help.

 

About seven percent of New Hampshire’s residents don’t have access to broadband. But in Coos County that jumps to about 31 percent. That's the worst - by a narrow margin - in the state, according to a new study by the University of New Hampshire.

And much of Coos – which has about 33,000 residents – has no broadband access because the technology is typically offered in the southernmost and most populated part of the county.

The plan to spend about $2.8 million to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road, which connects the now-closed hotel with the golf course, got mixed reactions at a public meeting Monday in Colebrook.

Supporters said it is important to help the Balsams because if it reopens it would be a huge boost to the economy of the North Country.

Opponents said there are many roads in the North Country that need to be fixed. Those include roads that are in terrible shape and ambulances – sometimes carrying desperately ill or injured patients - have to go very slowly.

The department of transportation is holding a meeting this afternoon in Colebrook to discuss one of two projects that will significantly benefit the Balsams resort, even though businessman Les Otten doesn’t yet have the money he needs to resurrect the closed resort.

The state will spend about $3.6 million this summer, with about $2.8 million of that going to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road. It goes from the shuttered hotel to the golf course, but it belongs to the state.

The 2 p.m. meeting at the town hall is to answer questions and hear comments, DOT says.

A 29 year-old man from Massachusetts was killed in a skiing accident at Cannon Mountain over the weekend, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Late Saturday,Trevor Hennessey of Holden Massachusetts was reported missing by his family said Lt. James Kneeland. After his vehicle was found in a parking lot, a search was started and continued through the night.

About 8 a.m. Hennessey’s body was found in the woods near the Upper Ravine Trail.

Kneeland said Hennessey missed a sharp turn and struck a tree.

The body was found about 40 feet off the trail.

In the North Country Littleton is receiving a $500,000 grant to upgrade storm drainage and sewers in its River District, the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority announced Friday.

The $500,000 is available through a federal Community Development Block Grant. Littleton voted recently to come up with a little over $555,000 in matching funds.

This summer the state plans to help the developers of the Balsams by spending almost $3 million to fix a 1.8 mile road at the resort.

The seasonal Golf Links Road connects the now-closed Balsams hotel and the golf course.

The road, which belongs to the state, is in bad shape. Erosion, steep slopes and wetlands will make repairs along its 1.8 miles tricky, according to the minutes of a DOT meeting in January.

A Massachusetts man was arrested Friday morning and charged with negligent homicide after his passenger was killed in a crash Thursday night near Errol, according to state police.

Police said forty-nine year-old Michael Sheehan of Foxborough lost control of his pickup on Route 16 about 8:30 and struck several trees, killing forty-eight year-old Stephen Bagley of Roslindale, Massachusetts. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Voters in Groveton – which has been struggling since the paper mill there closed in 2007 and devastated its economy - took a fiscal leap of faith Saturday.

They voted to borrow up to $400,000 to put sewage and water on privately owned land in the hope that businesses will locate there – and bring tax money and jobs.

The $400,000 allows Groveton to seek another $600,000 in federal funds.

If that federal grant comes through the total of $1 million would be used to install water and sewage on the redeveloped site of the old paper mill.

Flickr/Wistech Colleges

A $340,000 program opens Friday in the North Country to introduce high school students and adults to a job they probably never knew existed: computer-controlled machining.

“There’s a dire need of CNC operators above the notch,” says Mike Currier, the manager of the Rotobec plant in Littleton. Its products include machinery for the forestry industry.

A mix of 12 Republicans and Democrats from the North Country agreed on the need to pass a bill that would continue Medicaid for the next two years.

That reflected the tone at the House on Wednesday, where HB 1696  passed 216 - 145, NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reported.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Tuesday Lancaster voters on a 113-to-8 vote gave the select board permission to borrow up to $320,000 for solar arrays that would generate 121 kilowatts.

However, rebates could lower the cost to about $243,000, town officials have said.

Town officials predict going solar will save the town about $25,000 a year. That’s about 25 percent of the town’s total energy cost.

It was estimated it could take about 15 years to pay for the equipment, but one town official said if the rebates come through and drop the price to about $243,000 it would be much quicker.

Fish and Game

Three days after a Groveton man was found dead at the scene of a snowmobile crash, investigators are still trying to learn more about what happened.

About 7 p.m. on Saturday a snowmobile rider stopped at a house on Nash Stream Road, reported there was a crash “up the road” and left without providing any additional information, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas.

About an hour later, searchers found the body of 51-year-old Paul Fortin alone on Corridor 5.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Town meetings are being held throughout the state and this year the most important – and unusual - in the North Country is in Groveton.

Saturday, Groveton taxpayers will decide whether to spend money to help provide sewage and water for a privately owned industrial development in the hope of bringing jobs to the hard-luck town.

“This is probably the best chance the town’s got to get something going,” says Selectman Jim Tierney, Jr.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Northern Pass has invested $2 million in the Balsams, developer Les Otten said Monday night at a public hearing in Colebrook, according to a transcript released by a spokesman.

Otten said the money came through Northern Pass’ Forward NH Plan, there were no strings attached and there is the potential for “a more substantial investment.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Ride the Wilds ATV network covers about 1,000 miles in the North Country and now a new ATV group in Jefferson is looking at getting in on the economic action.

At a meeting last week, members of the Jefferson ATV club said a link to Ride the Wilds might draw tourists to local businesses.

But club president Roy Parkhurst said the first step was seeing how residents feel about the prospect.

“It is a proposal. There is nothing written in stone here. You people are going to decide whether we have trails in the town,” he said.

Fish and Game

One person was killed and three others were injured Saturday in separate snowmobile crashes, according to Fish and Game.

It is the second death in two weeks.

The fatality occurred in Stark, where Paul Fortin, 51, of Groveton was pronounced dead at the scene, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas. 

Lucas said a snowmobile rider knocked on the door of a house in Stark about 6:30, said a man had been injured, and help should be sent “just up the road.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Officials in the North Country are fighting a bill that would take a tax break designed to encourage business to locate in economically troubled Coos County and offer it statewide.

In 2008, as Coos staggered from the closing of paper plants, the state approved a bill proposed by Rep. Fred King of Colebrook that would provide a tax break for business-related construction – assuming the local jurisdiction approved.

Courtesy NH Fish and Game

Update: Fish and Game officials have identified the hiker as 54-year-old Timothy Hallock of Orient New York.

A dead hiker was found Sunday on the Castle Ravine Trail between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Two hikers found the body of a middle-aged man between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, said Lt. Wayne Saunders who notified officials.

Saunders said officers found nothing suspicious at the scene and the medical examiner will be determining the cause of death.

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