North Country

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The resurrection of the closed Balsams Resort in the North Country got past a critical hurdle Thursday as state officials approved a request to take water from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking.

The Department of Environmental Services report said the Balsams’ developers could take about 22 million gallons of water a day and pump it about nine miles to the resort.

North Country Events

Jul 30, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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Sean Hurley

In 2012, the New Hampshire Mushroom Company was producing two hundred pounds of mushrooms a week in their 5000 square foot farm-warehouse in Tamworth - and struggling to sell them.  Three years later, with seven full-time employees, the farm can't keep up with the demand, selling out their weekly stock of 1,200 pounds of edible fungus usually within 24 hours. 

Dennis Chesley, part owner of the New Hampshire Mushroom Company, says there's very little gray area when it comes to mushrooms.  It's either love or hate -

Chris Jensen for NHPR

When it comes to what floats your boat there are many possibilities.

For a retired North Country doctor it is literally corks.

About 65,000 wine corks are keeping his home-built catamaran afloat on the Connecticut River and on a recent morning at the Bedell State Park near Haverhill a group of teenagers was transfixed when they saw it in the water.

“Look at that guys, the boat is made out of wine corks!"

"No way."

"You drank all the wine yourself, right?"

"That is so sick."

"Awesome!”

Courtesy: NH Agricultural Research Station

Walking in among the rows of more than a 100-varieties of cold-hardy kiwis planted at his UNH observational vineyard, Professor Iago Hale says forget those fuzzy brown kiwis, if you really want flavor, try his plants. 

“Right off the bat you’re dealing with a much, much sweeter fruit, but it’s not cloyingly sweet,” he says squinting against the morning sun, “It also has a lot of acid to it, so it has this really complex flavor to it, a lot of tropical kind of flavors: pineapple, mango, papaya – I mean they’re amazing!”

North Country Events

Jul 23, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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Chris Jensen for NHPR

A series of violent thunderstorms struck the North Country Sunday evening with the worst hitting Littleton and Bethlehem just before 7 p.m., said Michael Cempa with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

“We were indicating fifty to sixty mile per hour gusts on our radar.”

Within minutes dozens of trees were felled, often blocking roads.

At one point one lane of Interstate 93 in Bethlehem was closed by a downed tree.

Nicole McGrath and her daughter were just trying to drive to their home in Bethlehem when one of those trees hit their car.

North Country Events

Jul 16, 2015

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Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 

North Country Events

Jul 9, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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Chris Jensen for NHPR

NHPR's Chris Jensen recently profiled the North Country's Frances Glessner Lee, whom many refer to as "The Mother of CSI."

Lee recreated tiny crime scenes that resembled meticulous, macabre dollhouses. She called them "nutshells," as in finding truth "in a nutshell."

Of Lee's twenty original nutshells, eighteen are in still in use as teaching tools and aren't available to the public. One was destroyed. But the final one is on display in Bethlehem, N.H.

Flickr Creative Commons/Mike Bitzenhofer

All four North Country hospitals said Tuesday that they have finally come to a long sought after agreement to work together to reduce costs and provide better service.

It may be possible, they said, to save money in areas ranging from purchasing to not duplicating services.

The hospitals are the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, Littleton Regional Healthcare, the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook and the Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster.

North Country Events

Jun 25, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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 A Maryland man leading a Boy Scout troop in the North Country died yesterday, apparently due to a heart attack, says New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Vernon R. Rippeon of Westminster collapsed about one and one-half miles up the Crawford Path in Bean’s Purchase.

CPR was started immediately but Rippeon, 51, died on the trail. 

Rippeon and three other adults were leading a Boy Scout troop that included his two sons. The group planned on a five-day hike staying at several Appalachian Mountain Club huts.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A radical event took place Saturday in a most traditional setting: a tiny, white, classic New England church in Shelburne. Mary Catherine White was ordained and now considers herself a Roman Catholic priest.

With about three dozen - sometimes tearful and proudly independent friends and relatives watching - White became one of just over 200 ordained women worldwide who say they are Roman Catholic priests. The Vatican says they are not priests because  priests have always been - and must always be - men.

North Country Events

Jun 18, 2015
Chis Jensen for NHPR

  

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Courtesy of New Hampshire Fish and Game

 A 59-year-old man was seriously injured Friday in an ATV crash in the North Country, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.The crash occurred about 1 p.m. on the Blueberry Hill Trail near Stratford when Timothy Flanders of Hill, New Hampshire, swerved to avoid a water hole and rolled his ATV several times, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas. He suffered injuries to his right leg, chest and head and was taken by helicopter to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For a little over two decades the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network – based in Bethlehem - has helped artists and business people in the North Country. Thursday night – in Berlin - it opened its second center.

The WREN Works Maker Studio is focused on artists and people who would like to be artists, says Marilinne Cooper, WREN’s executive director. And, its 4,000 square feet is filled with equipment to please them.

North Country Events

Jun 11, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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Chris Jensen for NHPR

Gov. Hassan was in the North Country Tuesday to praise students at Profile School in Bethlehem who gave up their senior trip to help a beloved principal recently diagnosed with cancer.

 “You are wonderful examples of character not only for everybody in New Hampshire but throughout the country.”

Last month the students learned that Courtney Vashaw, their principal, was being treated for cancer.

Almost immediately the 42 seniors got together. The question was whether to give Vashaw about $8,000 saved for a class trip to a resort in upstate New York.

Flickr Creative Commons/Yoann Jezequel

Rescuers in the North Country had to carry a Massachusetts man for seven hours on Sunday after he injured his leg hiking in a remote area.

The 40-year-old Massachusetts man was hiking with his wife near the junction of the Six Husbands and Great Gulf trails when – about noon – he hurt his leg crossing a river.

There was no cell coverage and another hiker – an employee of the Appalachian Mountain Club - had to walk four and one-half miles to call for help.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Organizers of the opposition to Northern Pass – along with a state senator - on Sunday said it is time to prepare to persuade state regulators that - in its current form - the project is a mistake.

About 120 people filled the Easton Town Hall.

The gathering was called because Northern Pass will soon be asking the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to approve the controversial project.

Without that approval, the project can’t move ahead.

Anyone can provide comments to the SEC.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

    

A federal grant is allowing small companies in the North Country to get some financial help to develop their businesses, says Karl Stone, the spokesman for the Northern Community Investment Corporation

Stone said a total of $30,000 is available for projects including education, training, marketing, sales, finance, accounting and website development.

Under the program the federal funds will cover 70 percent of a project and the business owner must contribute 30 percent.

North Country Events

Jun 4, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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LEGO CLUB AT BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thursday June 4 3:00-4:30 PM 2245 Main Street. White Mountain Science will be on hand, helping kids make their creations jump into action. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.bethlehemlibrary.org

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Balsams resort developer Les Otten said Wednesday night that he is more confident that the ambitious project portrayed as providing a huge economic boost to the North Country will move forward...

And, he said he hopes construction will begin before the end of the year.

Otten appeared in Colebrook to update the Coos County Planning Board on the project and answer questions from about five dozen people in the audience.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Northern New Hampshire's "Ride the Wilds'' network of 1,000-plus miles of interconnected off-highway recreational vehicle trails is open for the season.  

A grand opening event for one of the largest such trail systems in the country was being celebrated Saturday at Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin.  

The final segment of the network's first phase opened in August, enabling riders to travel from Lancaster to Pittsburg.  

North Country Events

May 21, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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North Country Events

May 14, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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MICHAEL KAPPEL/FLICKR CC

    

Within the next two months the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to release its draft report on the environmental impact of the controversial Northern Pass project.

That federal report could propose some changes in the route and a top Northern Pass official says the company has been looking at options should modifications be needed...

The issue came up during a recent conference call with analysts.

One of them asked about a 1,090 megawatt project recently listed with ISO New England.

North Country Events

May 6, 2015

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