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
12:11 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

New North Country Fire Training Center To Be Named After Burton

A fire in Bethlehem in 2012 badly damaged an apartment building. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new fire training facility in the North Country will be named after Executive Councilor Ray Burton, said Deborah A. Pendergast, the director of the state’s division of Fire Standards & Training and Emergency Medical Services.

The center, located in Bethlehem, will allow fire fighters from the North Country to learn fire fighting techniques without the cost and time involved in traveling to Concord.

“It gives the folks up in that area a facility that meets their needs,” she said in a telephone interview.

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North Country
11:12 am
Fri November 8, 2013

And The Winner Of The North Country Chef Competition Is...

Judges came from the White Mountain chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

Travis Giles, the culinary instructor at The White Mountains Community College in Berlin, is the winner of the North Country Chef’s Challenge, an effort to see who can best match culinary skills with local ingredients.

Giles was competing against seven other chefs.

The judges were from the White Mountain chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

The event is the idea of the North Country Farmer’s Co-op.

For his entrée Giles began with “a whole red deer” from a farm Milan. 

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North Country
7:16 am
Fri November 8, 2013

North Country Research: How To Attract The Sometimes Elusive Young Adult

The focus group was held at the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

While the North Country is routinely working on economic development some people are also looking at human resources, in particular the source of the next generations of community leaders and volunteers.

Their concern:  Talented young adults being one of the North Country’s rarer creatures.

And, some research into that issue got underway recently at the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster, where fourteen young adults – in their 20’s and 30’s – volunteered to answer questions about what brought them or keeps them in the North Country.

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North Country
11:30 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Ray Burton Given PSU's Highest Honor For Public Service

Executive Councilor Ray Burton has received Plymouth State University’s highest award for public service, only the third time the honor has been given in almost a decade.

The Henry W. Blair Award for Distinguished Public Service was created in 2004.

“It is for distinguished public service, it recognizes someone who has devoted – as Henry Blair did – a life to making the world better through strong public service,”  PSU president Sara Jayne Steen said in an interview. “And, in that sense of course, Ray is the perfect candidate.”

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North Country
7:46 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Berlin Mayor Grenier Re-Elected

Mayor Grenier speaking at a ceremony in April
Credit Courtesy CDFA

Unofficial results show Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier was re-elected on Tuesday, beating challenger Mark Evans 971 to 272.

Evans is a member of the city’s Planning Board and former member of the city council.

This will be Grenier’s third term. He is also one of three Coos County Commissioners and is unusual in the North Country as an elected official who favors the Northern Pass project, which does not pass through his city.

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North Country
5:27 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Ailing Ray Burton Honored: A Scenic Overlook And A Look Back

Executive Councilor Ray Burton was helped to the place of honor. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

It is hard to imagine there have been many openings of roadside scenic areas that attracted three former governors, a sitting governor and two US Senators as well as dozens of state office holders.

But that happened Friday afternoon in the North Country during a ceremony to honor longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

In theory the ceremony was for the opening of the scenic area on US 302 across from the Mount Washington Hotel.

But it was really about North Country Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who arrived in the back seat of a yellow convertible.

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North Country
11:34 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Ray Burton To Be Honored At Opening Of New Scenic Overlook

A new scenic overlook will be opened Friday in the North Country and the plans include honoring Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

The new overlook and rest area is on Route 302 just across from the Mount Washington Hotel.

It cost about $1.4 million and replaces a much smaller pull-off on the other side of the road.

The old area had room for five cars or two buses which state highway officials say caused traffic problems and raised safety concerns. The new area has room for 22 cars and six buses.

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North Country
2:11 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Ray Burton: Cancer Back, He Will Not Run For Re-election

Ray Burton
Credit State of New Hampshire

Ray Burton, a Republican who has represented the North Country for four decades, says his kidney cancer has returned and he won’t be seeking re-election.

Burton has served as both Executive Councilor and a Grafton County Commissioner.

Earlier this year Burton, who lives in Bath, said he had cancer but it was curable.

For much of the year he has been attending functions throughout the North Country, his cancer said to be in remission.

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North Country
5:50 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Vermont Man Guilty In Colebrook Explosion Faces 30 Years

A 64-year-old Vermont man has been found responsible for the 2010 explosion in Colebrook that killed two men and injured a third.

Craig Sanborn’s trial in Coos County Superior Court in Lancaster took about four weeks and the jury made up its mind in about three hours on Wednesday, says Coos County Attorney John McCormick.

The jury returned verdicts of guilty on all counts, two negligent homicide charges and two manslaughter charges,” he said.

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North Country
5:43 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Ayotte Says Northern Pass Should Pay To Have Lines Buried

Sen. Kelly Ayotte's town meeting at noon in Whitefield attracted about three dozen people. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

Despite a modified route for the Northern Pass Project Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she still has “serious reservations” about the plan and the lines along the entire route should be buried.

“I am still very concerned about the impact on the beauty on the North Country and many other areas of the state,” she told NHPR following a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in Whitefield.

Ayotte says it would be best to bury all the transmission lines, not just an eight-mile section in Northern Coos County.

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North Country
5:29 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Ayotte Town Hall: What Is Going On Down There?

Joe Vigue of Berlin waited quietly for his chance to ask Senator Kelly Ayotte about Congress' behavior. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

At Senator Kelly Ayotte’s town hall meeting in Whitefield Wednesday Berlin resident Joe Vigue sat quietly through her description of the nation’s growing deficit and struggle to adopt a budget.

His arms were folded across his chest – and a sweatshirt reading: “I’m like an owl. I don’t give a hoot.”

When Ayotte opened the floor to questions, Vigue wanted to know about a dysfunctional Senate.

“What is it like to deal with almost all of that 100 people that are worse than my eight and nine-year-old grandchildren,” he asked.

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North Country
3:16 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

OSHA Claims Some Berlin Biomass Contractors Put Workers At Risk

Federal officials say six companies building a biomass plant in Berlin have put workers at risk by not following safety regulations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration proposes fining the companies about $280,000 for thirty-one “willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards.”

“These hazards included potential cave-ins, falls, scaffold collapse, crushing, exposure to lead and electrocution hazards,” said OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said there were no serious injuries or deaths.

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North Country
4:50 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Resort Sues Northern Pass Over Right-Of-Way

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

A Campton resort is suing the Northern Pass, claiming it has no right to use an existing Public Service of New Hampshire right-of-way for larger transmission towers.

The suit was filed in Grafton County Superior Court by the owners of The Owl’s Nest Resort & Golf Club.

The resort already has a PSNH right-of-way and the suit claims Northern Pass’ plan to add substantially taller towers is unreasonable and “wrongfully exceeds” the original right-of-way agreement.

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North Country
4:55 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Campgrounds In White Mountain National Forest Told To Close

Folks who figured on spending Columbus Day weekend at campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest won't be able to do so. The campgrounds will close Thursday.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

The operator of twenty-two campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest has been told to close them.

“We are directed now to close the gates as of Thursday the 10th unless something happens in Congress,” said Kent Tower, the owner of Pro Sports of Campton.

Last week federal officials in Washington began notifying private businesses that operate campgrounds in national forests that they would have to close even though they provide water, sanitation and other services without help from federal employees.

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North Country
5:30 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Federal Shutdown Expands To Privately Run Campgrounds In National Forests

Campsites throughout the Sugarloaf I and II campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest were reserved by campers hoping to enjoy the foliage. But the sites will soon be closed, a federal official says. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

The shutdown of the federal government is expanding to include privately run campgrounds in national forests across the country, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service said late Thursday.

“We are in the process of shutting these operations down at facilities across the country due to the lapse in funding,” wrote spokesman Leo Kay in an e-mail. “Some closures have already taken place while others are still in progress.”

That is expected to include twenty-two campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest operated by Pro Sports Inc. of Campton.

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