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.

Contact

Ways To Connect

For the first time Public Service of New Hampshire has statewide competition from another utility company. That could be good news for some consumers and bad news for PSNH.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

In 1996 the state passed a law that gave consumers the right to pick the company from which they wanted to buy electricity.

But the pickings were so slim as to be non-existent.

In short nobody gave Public Service of New Hampshire any statewide competition for residential customers and PSNH currently dominates the market.

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is opening an office in Berlin next week, according to a news release.

“This location will serve as a base of operations for my Senate office’s Coos County outreach efforts, with a staff member available to provide assistance to those who need help on matters related to the federal government,” Ayotte said.

The office will be located at 19 Pleasant Street, Suite 13B, Berlin. Office hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday On other days meetings will be by appointment.

The Boston Globe is reporting that an official working for the controversial Northern Pass project is hosting a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“According to an invitation provided by the liberal Center for American Progress, Greg Butler, the senior vice president and general counsel for The Northern Pass, is one of the co-chairs of a $500-a-head fundraiser for Romney at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan this Wednesday evening,” the newspaper reported.

A 49-year-old Stratford woman was seriously injured Tuesday morning in a crash on Route 3, according to a news release from Troop F.

The release said Donna Malone, 49, was driving south through North Stratford when her car crossed the center line and struck the trailer of a tractor-trailer headed north.

 Malone suffered “critical injuries” and was taken by helicopter Dartmouth Medical Center in Lebanon.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

Trooper First Class Paul Rella of Troop F is investigating the cause of the crash.

A state trooper chasing a speeder early Saturday morning in the North Country lost control of his cruiser and crashed, allowing the speeder to escape, according to a news release from Troop F.

The release said the chase began about 12:55 am in Franconia when the trooper attempted to stop a gray or silver BMW coupe for a traffic violation.

The vehicle fled on Route 116, a particularly twisty and challenging road, towards Easton.

The Northern Pass electric project is searching for a new, less controversial path through the North Country.

But a small group of landowners is determined to block the utility’s plan even though it means giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sound of piano music.

At 65 years of age Lynne Placey gives piano lessons.

She lives with a cat and a gray-muzzled dog in a small house in Stewartstown.

And she hopes she’s blocking the path of a corporate giant.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Conservation Law Foundation says the U.S. Department of Energy isn’t providing enough public scrutiny of its environmental impact study on the Northern Pass.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The environmental impact statement is an important part of the Department of Energy’s decision whether to approve the 180 mile long hydroelectric transmission project.

That’s why the Conservation Law Foundation is so worried about how the study will be carried out.

Rebecca Brown / Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust

Almost 1,100 acres of land in the North Country will be protected against development under a new conservation easement that will benefit loggers, people who enjoy the woods and perhaps most important of all – a devastated bat population. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The easement will permanently protect more than 1,000 acres of land on Gardner Mountain in Lyman.

It’s an important habitat for wildlife, but especially so for bats.

Emily Brunkhurst, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game says bats gather in the area to mate.

Three college students were rescued early Tuesday morning after being stranded on a cliff in the Franconia Notch.

Three rock climbers were rescued early Tuesday morning from the Cannon Cliffs in the Franconia Notch, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The three men were identified as Jonathan Merritt, age 18, of Lander, Wyoming; Jason Reitman, age 18, of Potomac, Maryland; and Alexander MacMillan, age 19, of Boston, Massachusetts.

Kestrel Aircraft Company

Last week Berlin got the news that a new company – which officials declined to name - could be bringing at least 150 manufacturing jobs to the city. NHPR’s Chris Jensen has talked to the chief executive officer of that company.

The North Country could be getting into the high-tech end of the aircraft industry.

Kestrel Aircraft Company of Brunswick Maine is seriously considering setting up a plant in Berlin.

“Well, Berlin is one of the locations we have been looking at and there are a number of very interesting attributes there.”

Three rivers in the northern part of the state set new records thanks to Irene. On Sunday the water flow was more than 100 times normal for the Saco and more than that for the East Branch of the Pemigewasset and the Pemi. 

During Irene’s visit anyone who looked at the torrents called the Saco, East Branch of the Pemigewasset and the Pemigewasset probably guessed that the horrifying amount of water tearing past was a record.

And that was the case, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Several new records were set Saturday for first ascents of the Mount Washington Auto Road involving roller skis, a unicycle and driving backwards.

 “I felt quite comfortable to four-mile but from there up it was getting hard,” said Sue Wemyss, 51, of Randolph. She arrived first, skiing up the 7.6 miles in two hours and 15 seconds.

 While the weather was mostly clear the last few miles were in windy, foggy conditions.

 “I really didn’t know where I was the last mile or so,” she said. “When I came to where the service road cuts off I knew I was close.”

A 70-year man from Clarksville was killed Saturday morning in a crash on Route 3 near Colebrook, according to state police.

 The victim was Robert L. Eidell, who was southbound in a 2007 Chevrolet HHR when it collided with a 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe sport utility driven by Robert J. Queen, 74, of Woburn, Massachusetts.

 Police said their investigation indicates the accident occurred when Queen “drifted into the southbound lane” a little after 9 a.m. just south of the state-run rest area.

Grand plans for a huge resort community around the Mount Washington Hotel have fallen apart and a foreclosure auction is planned.

About 900 acres surrounding the Mount Washington resort – including two golf courses - are going on the auction block late in June.

 That includes about 500 wooded acres that the owners had hoped could be turned into a huge, upscale development with hundreds of homes and retail shops.

Faced with strong, statewide opposition officials from Northern Pass say they are reworking parts of their plan, including finding a better route through the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

NorthernPass officials say they want to change some important parts of their plan to bring 1,200 megawatts of hydro-electric power from Canada.

 Their possible changes include finding a new route between Canada and Groveton, one that will calm the furor in the North Country.

 Last month at least 2,300 people attended seven public hearings on the project.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

Transcripts of the seven public hearings on the Northern Pass project are now available at a web site operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, which conducted the meetings.

 1) Colebrook: http://www.northernpasseis.us/Document_Library/transcripts/03-19-2011%20NORTHERN%20PASS%20COLEBROOK%20HEARING.pdf

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/with/3211176586/">scottfidd</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

In commemoration of the centennial of the Weeks Act, NHPR is looking at the impact the federal legislation has had on the state and its largest forest. The Weeks Act gave the federal government the authority to buy private land to turn into the National Forest system. While the law is typically appreciated by conservationists, it was business interests that drove its passage. And one hundred years later, the law has had a large and positive economic impact on the North Country, providing jobs and improving the quality of life. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

 

Courtesy of The Weeks Estate

Lancaster’s John Weeks, who was responsible for the Weeks Act of 1911 that gave the government the authority to create national forests, appreciated nature but wasn’t a hardcore environmentalist, according to a historian who is also his great granddaughter.

 “He, himself was a businessman. He did not claim to be a conservationist in the classic sense of the word, certainly not in our sense,” said Rebecca Weeks Sherrill More. “But I think it is important that as a good businessman he understood that conservation was good business”

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/axelrd/4963764167/in/photostream/">-AX-</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Northern Pass project promises to be one of the biggest, most complex and controversial issues of the coming year.

When built it’s going to bring electric power to New England from massive dams in Quebec .

It’s renewable power and therefore very attractive to state officials and utilities looking to get away from fossil fuels.

But it’s going to cut a long swath through New Hampshire, much of it forest land.

Pages