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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North Country
5:26 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Hassan Signs Bill That Saves Tiny Millsfield From Huge Tax Hike

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.

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North Country
6:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Supreme Court: Criticism For Coos Officials But Tiny Millsfield Still Unsure About Huge Tax Hike

Millsfield resident Mark Sandoe is among those worried about what they see as a catastrophic increase in taxes over the value of the Granite Reliable wind farm, something in which the community had no say. Photo by Chris Jensen

  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...

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North Country
8:01 am
Thu June 19, 2014

North Country Events

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

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North Country
4:00 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Federal Grant To Help Promote "Ride The Wilds" ATV Tourism Effort

As part of "Ride the Wilds" some towns, such as Colebrook, are allowing ATV riders to use a few streets to reach businesses. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

  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.

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North Country
2:41 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Low Flow On Connecticut River Prompts Complaints From Trout Tourists

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.

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NHPR Blogs
3:11 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Foodstuffs: A Brewery In The North Country

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

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.

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North Country
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

ATV Use On Roads Boosts Economy, But Safety Group Says It Is A Risky Business

Route 2 in Gorham. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

 

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. 

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North Country
4:17 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Profile High School: Racing Bikes In A League Not Their Own

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

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.

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North Country
2:50 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Half The Wood For Berlin Biomass Coming From New Hampshire

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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North Country
5:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Tiny Millsfield: 'Collateral Damage' In A Fight Over Wind Farm Taxes

Millsfield resident Mark Sandoe worries a huge increase in taxes will make his house impossible to sell. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

It would be easy to miss Millsfield. The unincorporated place in the North Country is home to 10 households, many of which are tucked away in the woods, and just two businesses, a bed and breakfast called A Peace of Heaven and the Log Haven restaurant.

“Electricity didn’t show up until the 60s,” said Luc Cote, who’s lived in Millsfield for roughly forty years. “Phone line didn’t come up until mid-60s as well.”

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North Country
5:34 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Expanding Balsams Ski Resort: Money, Jobs And A Regulatory Challenge

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

If Maine entrepreneur Les Otten can expand the ski area of the closed Balsams resort he says it would create about 1,000 full or part-time jobs.

That’s something the region desperately needs. But it isn’t clear whether Otten has the money or can work through a regulatory tangle including safety issues.

The issue is being raised after Otten said he would like to work with Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse, the owners of the closed resort.

One issue is a safety concern. Can the huge blades on the 410-foot tall turbines throw chunks of ice far enough to endanger skiers?

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North Country
3:14 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

After Rescue, Officials Warn It Is Still Winter In The Mountains

Following the rescue of a 75-year-old man from Bond Cliff in The White Mountains safety officials are warning that while it is beginning to look like spring around the state it can still be winter in the mountains.

The man, David Humphrey of Falmouth, had had planned to cover 21 miles from the Crawford Notch to the Lincoln Woods trail on Sunday.

That would require following the Bondcliff Trail which crosses several 4,000 footers but he was only equipped for a day hike.

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North Country
4:16 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

How North Country Reps Voted On Gas Tax

North Country representatives were almost evenly split along party lines on whether to increase the gas tax for the first time in more than two decades.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports on Wednesday Senate Bill 367 passed on a vote of 193-141. That means the state’s tax on gas and diesel will increase 4.2 cents, the first increase to the current 18-cents per gallon since 1991.

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North Country
4:59 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Record $2.25 Million In Grants Awarded To North Country

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority has awarded grants to three North Country towns – Stewartstown, Errol and Pittsburg – as well as Coos County and the city of Berlin.

And, the total of $2 and one-quarter million dollars is the most the North Country has received since the program began roughly thirty years ago, says Kevin Flynn, an official with the agency.

The money will go for work including repairs to water systems and low-income housing.

The grant money comes from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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North Country
4:44 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Canadian Firm Plans To Double Size Of Colebrook Plant

Codet Incorporated, a Canadian firm, is expanding its Colebrook plant including hiring 25 new employees.

“They plan to almost double the size of their operation,” said Michael Bergeron, an official with the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development.

Currently the firm has 28 employees.

Codet also plans to roughly double the size of its building, which is almost 12,000 square feet.

The amount of the investment wasn’t available.

The expansion is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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