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

Every year the federal government buys about $400 billion worth of goods and services including about $1.9 billion from New Hampshire. But there are many missed opportunities because doing business with the government is complex and can be confusing, says David Pease, who heads up the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program...

Chris Jensen for NHPR

By early evening the snow was heavy in the North Country, keeping road crews working most of the night.

About 7 p.m. a trained weather spotter reported snow falling at the rate of two to three inches per hour near Orford, said Chris Legro a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Legro said morning snow totals have yet to be reported but the highest last night was 10.9 inches in Randolph.

But there shouldn’t be any significant snowfall today.

After the fourth largest power outage in the state’s history utility companies say they have restored power to most customers.

Following the storm Wednesday night - and in the days that followed - more than 300,000 customers lost power at some point, disrupting holiday plans and sending some people to warming shelters.

This morning PSNH said about 1,900 customers are without power and it expects to have power restored to them by tonight.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A  new luxury resort - RiverWalk at Loon Mountain – is going up in Lincoln on the site of a former paper mill and 40 percent of it is being funded in a way that’s unusual in New Hampshire: EB-5 visas that allow foreigners who invest in projects that create jobs to obtain green cards...

"Next week they’ll be doing all the basement slabs,” says Dennis Ducharme, one of the owners, standing at the construction site in the center of town.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

In the North County incumbents  kept their offices, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton was re-elected, beating challenger Mark Evans, a Republican from Berlin. Woodburn had 9,056 votes to Evans’ 5,741 with 80 percent of the precincts reporting.

In the race for Executive Council incumbent Republican Joseph Kenney was re-elected with 42,838 votes over Democrat Michael Cryans with 41,297 and 84 percent of the precincts reporting.

In other races:

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For almost 25 years a nonprofit called Affordable Housing, Education and Development has been helping low-income families in the North Country to find housing, sometimes in rental units it owns.

But now it is trying something far different and it admits it is a gamble. It is selling its own design of energy-efficient modular and manufactured homes…

The idea is to help people like Tammy Zubik of Bethlehem.

For years Zubik has had a dream about living in a home of her own, not renting.

Chris Jensen

Veterans in the North Country should soon find it easier to get medical care with a VA medical clinic in Littleton moving into a larger facility next spring and a new center opening this year in Colebrook.

A 10,000-square foot facility now under construction at the Mt. Eustis Commons on Cottage Street will be about twice as big as the clinic’s current home.

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...

Pages