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 Hudson man has been fined $1,000 for riding a four-passenger ATV on a North Country snowmobile trail not marked for that use.

There were three charges brought by Fish and Game against Jeffrey Rogers, of Hudson, over the September 12th incident in Stewartstown.

Appearing in District Court in Colebrook Thursday, Rogers plead not guilty to charges of operating an off-highway recreational vehicle in a wetland and causing damage to property.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen says she may have missed some meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but she is working against terrorism...

According to an article in the Boston Herald during this Congressional session Shaheen has missed 11 of the 30 meetings at which the committee published a report.

But Shaheen says it is wrong to conclude that she has been derelict and isn’t engaged in efforts to combat threats such as ISIS.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A Colebrook woman is trying to make it easier for people to buy locally grown foods while giving farmers an economic boost. Her idea is a variation on the classic roadside farm stand, and it is a model that could be used around the state.

But it’s going to require a change in state law.

Martina Oefelein via Flickr CC

Rescuers searched a flank of Mount Washington Saturday night and early Sunday morning to find a 55-year-old Massachusetts man who suffered from a “pre-existing medical condition” while descending the Jewell Trail, according to a news release from Fish and Game.

The search began about 9:30 Saturday night after Chris Trottier of Amesbury was reported missing by his wife.

A Hudson man was arrested Friday evening in the North Country after he was found operating an off-highway recreational vehicle in a wetland, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Christopher Egan.

The man, Jeffrey Rogers, 48, of Hudson was charged after his vehicle was found stuck in the mud on a snowmobile trail that is not open to all-terrain vehicles “in part because of environmental sensitivity to wetland soils and vegetation.” The trail was on snowmobile corridor 5 in  the Coleman State Park in Stewartstown. 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Major concerns of North Country residents outlined in a new, preliminary draft report include protecting air quality and the water supply both for drinking and recreation...

There is also strong support for local agriculture and improving energy efficiency, including renewable resources.

But there is also a desire for local governments to have more of a say in whether renewable energy projects are approved.

The Trust for Public Land

    

The completion of the third largest conservation project in New Hampshire history will be celebrated today in the North Country...

The newly conserved land is called the Androscoggin River Headwaters. It covers about 31,300 acres clustered around Errol.

“The whole property will be open for public access for hiking, hunting, fishing and snowmobiling,” said J.T. Horn, an official with The Trust for Public Land, which orchestrated the project.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new biomass plant in Berlin is finally producing electricity for Public Service of New Hampshire under a controversial 20-year contract that a report says will cost PSNH ratepayers $125 million more than if the electricity was purchased on the open market...

That estimate came from the consulting firm of La Capra Associates which did the report for the state's Public Utilities Commission as part of a wide-ranging review of PSNH’s operations.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The White Mountains Community College – in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club - is offering a new program for those interested in working in outdoor recreation management...

The goal is to give young people interested in the field a head start, said Fran Rancourt, the vice president of academic affairs at the college, which is located in Berlin.

A 19-year-old man from Dracut, Mass drowned Sunday afternoon in the Pemigewasset River, according to a news release from the New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol.

The man, whose name was not released, was swimming with companions south of the Route 175 bridge in Woodstock and was overcome by the swift current. 

His body was located in about 12 feet of water.

Sunset Power Lines
Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

A new federal report about an electric transmission project in New York says there are a lot of good reasons to bury such lines and that is likely to give opponents of Northern Pass ammunition in their campaign to get the lines underground...

The U.S. Department of Energy analyzed the impact of the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express, which hopes to carry power from Canada to the New York metro area.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Gorham Paper and Tissue, the last paper plant in the North Country, will soon be operating again – but with far fewer workers...

The plant was closed for about a month while officials considered a new business strategy, but now they have it worked out, said CEO Mike Cummings.

Two of the three paper machines that were running earlier this year will start within the next week or two. They’ll produce tissue paper and the type of paper towels typically found at gas stations, Cummings said.

A Canadian firm plans to open a manufacturing facility in Colebrook and will have at least ten employees by early next year, according to a news release from the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development.

The company, Vaporium Inc.  of Sherbrooke, Quebec, makes electronic cigarettes. The company plans to lease about 7,500 square feet in the Colebrook Industrial Park.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Tighter budgets over the last few years have meant volunteer fire departments in the North Country have been cutting back on making the trip to Concord for training at a state facility. But that will change Friday with the opening of the first fire training facility north of the notches...

It’s something that North Country fire departments have dreamt of for decades, said Jack Anderson, the Bethlehem fire chief.

The man who drowned Friday in the North Country has been identified as William P. Glad, 37, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, according to a news release from the New Hampshire State Police.

Glad was swimming at the Upper Falls of the Ammonoosuc River in what police described as “swift, turbulent water directly adjacent to the falls” when he began yelling for help.

He surfaced again downstream in quieter water but efforts to revive him failed.

Four health centers in the state will be sharing about $921,000 in federal funds to help people with mental illness or substance abuse...

The funds are coming through the Affordable Care Act and they’ll be used at community health centers, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said Thursday.

Those centers are:

* Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth: $250,000.

* Harbor Homes in Nashua: $250,000.

* Manchester Community Health Center: $250,000.

* City of Manchester: $171,360.

The Northern Pass project was one of the topics covered during a debate Wednesday on WGIR among three candidates seeking the Republican nomination in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District to oppose incumbent Democrat Ann McLane Kuster this fall.

State Representative Marilinda Garcia of Salem said she visited the North Country recently and recognizes the opposition and concerns about the project involving private property rights and the benefits going to other states. 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

At 7:30 in the morning on the 4th of July Magdalena Randall is in her kitchen in Lancaster with mixing bowls, dough, a large baking oven and a dream...

Many people in the North Country couldn’t tell you her real name. To them she’s The Polish Princess, purveyor of European-style bread.

Randall started baking about six years ago. It was a way to supplement the family income and she missed the kind of bread she grew up eating in Poland.

She had zero experience but did some research and gave it a shot.

Faced with increasingly worrisome economic challenges, four North Country hospitals said Monday they have signed an agreement to work together to try and find ways to “improve quality, increase efficiencies and lower cost of health care delivery in the region.”

The hospitals said their problems range from growing healthcare costs to Medicaid payments that don’t always cover services provided to the poor.

And, the situation has been getting worse, said Russell Keene, the CEO at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.

Rescuers found a missing teenager in the woods near Jefferson just before midnight Monday, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Matthew Darr, who is 19 and has autism, had been staying at the Easter Seals Intensive Residential Treatment Facility in Lancaster.  But about 6:30 pm he ran away from his caregivers when their van stopped near a rest stop on Route 115.

Members of Fish and Game, State Police and local police began searching almost immediately and at one point a search dog from Fish and Game picked up the scent but then lost it in a swampy area.

Safety officials are expecting a large number of ATV enthusiasts will be following trails in the North Country over the holiday weekend and they’re saying safety patrols will be watching for reckless behavior...

The riders are being attracted by the new 1,000-mile network called Ride the Wilds, part of an economic development effort for the North Country.

“I’m asking them to drive safe. To be out there, to think about what they are doing,” said Fish and Game Lieutenant Wayne Saunders.  “Sober is huge.”

Governor Hassan signed a bill Wednesday that keeps about two dozen residents of tiny Millsfield in the North Country from having to pay huge increase in property tax bills...  

Millsfield was facing the increase in the state tax bill because of a deal Coos County commissioners – Paul Grenier, Tom Brady and Bing Judd - made in 2008.

That’s when they decided the value of a newly proposed wind farm –mostly in Millsfield - was $113 million.

  Despite a Supreme Court ruling in their case about a dozen households in tiny Millsfield in the North Country still don’t know whether they’ll be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. But they do know that the state’s highest court concluded Coos County Commissioners were wrong to use a single remark to settle on the value of the Granite Reliable wind farm, which was the subject of the court case...

North Country Events

Jun 19, 2014

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Thursday Whitefield 6 PM Country trio Tim Berry, Kerry Smith, Russ Beck

FARMERS' MARKETS
Friday Franconia 4-7 PM
Sunday Littleton 10 AM - 1 PM

  An attempt to boost the economy of the North Country by drawing tourists to a 1,000-mile network of ATV trails is getting a boost itself as the federal government is providing about $152,000.

 “This is a tremendous shot in the arm for the 'Ride the Wilds' marketing program,” said Harry Brown, the president of New Hampshire Off Highway Vehicle Association.

Tourism is a huge part of the economy in the North Country and many of those tourists head to the upper reaches of the Connecticut near Pittsburg.

But those going up to fish for trout have noticed the river is lower than usual, Cindy Howe, one of the owners of the Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg said earlier this week.

“Well, right now the water coming out of the three dams which affect the fishing in the area is quite low. TransCanada has reduced the flows substantially and it is making it a little bit tougher on the fishing,” she said.

A family from Michigan is behind a newly opened brewery in the North Country.  Schilling Beer Company is located in an old grist mill next to the Ammonoosuc River in Littleton.

That fulfills the Cozzens' family dream of one day having such a business, said CEO Jeff Cozzens.  He and brothers Matt and Stuart, parents, Bruce and Kathy and a best friend, John Lenzini, opened The Schilling Beer Company last September.

It’s named for a grandfather, Richard Schilling.

 

 

The key to the new “Ride The Wilds” ATV trails network in the North Country is allowing riders to use some roads to get into towns and reach food, fuel and lodging, thus boosting the region’s economy.  But that’s part of a nationwide trend that has some safety researchers worried.

 

“At this point in the United States more ATV deaths are happening on roads than are happening off-road,” says Rachel Weintraub, a researcher with the Consumer Federation of America. 

Bike road racing is an expensive sport typically associated with prep schools. But, on a May afternoon, a North Country school is challenging that tradition as bike racers from around the state wheel away from Profile School in Bethlehem.

Soon they are huffing and puffing with youthful grit up Route 117 into Sugar Hill.

It is a long climb.

And it is only going to get worse.

At Blake Road they take a sharp right. Then, as the corner unfolds they see another hill so steep it looks like somebody painted a road on a wall.

About 51 percent of the wood purchased for the new Burgess BioPower biomass plant in Berlin during its first two months of operation came from New Hampshire, according to a new “sustainability” report filed with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.

Thirty-five percent came from Maine.

Five percent from Vermont.

Eight percent from Massachusetts.

And "one truck load" came from Canada.

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