North Country

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The new owners of the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch are pulling together the money they need for a massive renovation. And, they hope federal programs will give them a big boost. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Late last year North-Country businessmen Dan Herbert and Dan Dagesse bought the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch for about $2.3 million.

Now they are looking for the money they need for an extensive renovation.

It is badly needed to make the resort competitive, get it open again and put hundreds of people back to work.

As reported by NHPR the Senate recently delayed action on three gun bills.

The bills had already passed the House.

Here’s how sixteen representatives from the North Country voted before the bills went to the Senate.

House Bill 536which would allow carrying a concealed gun without getting a special permit.

It passed 193 – 122.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Boston Herald is reporting that a grand jury met in Lancaster last Friday and questioned witnesses about the death of Celina Cass of Stewartstown.

The story quoted two witnesses as saying the questions focused on Wendell Noyes, the stepfather of Celina Cass.

The witnesses were Noyes’ mother, Eunice Richards, and other family members.

An ambitious plan to revitalize Berlin’s downtown and make it the social and economic focus of the city is finished and now officials are looking around for millions of dollars to carry it out.

"The downtown is the heart of the community. If people come through our downtown and don’t feel it is alive the people will pass on and go to another community,” said Sylvia Poulin, the chairperson of the Main Street Program.

Chris jensen for NHPR

The federal government has provided $5 million to help protect some of the most beautiful land in the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The U.S. Forest Service is providing $5 million to purchase a conservation easement near Errol.

The money will prevent development but still allow sustainable logging and recreation.

J.T. Horn is an official with the Trust for Public Land. It has been working on the huge, conservation project.

Half of the North Country’s sixteen representatives voted in favor of House Bill 228  which bars any organization that performs elective abortions from receiving any state or federal funds.

Chris jensen for NHPR

Concerns about a government that can’t work together to solve problems and possible cuts to valuable federal programs were top concerns of about a dozen North Country businessmen who met Thursday with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R).

“Our whole society and our economy needs greater confidence,” said Peter Powell, a realtor from Lancaster who attended the meeting held by the North Country Council in Bethlehem.

Three weekly newspapers from the North Country have endorsed Ron Paul for president.

The newspapers are the Littleton Courier, the Coos County Democrat and the Berlin Reporter

The endorsement was made in the January 4th edition.

“We believe the two strongest candidates are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul,” the editorial said.

But then it noted “We feel there is something about Romney that is missing.”

Its praise for Paul included:

Chris Jensen, NHPR

There's been plenty of news in New Hampshire's North Country this year, from the Gorham mill to the Berlin prison, from the towers proposed for Northern Pass to the tragedy of Celina Cass.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the big North Country stories of 2011.

Photo: Chris Jensen / NHPR


While there are thousands auto body mechanics in the U-S, only a handful have been able to turn their work into a specialized art form.

One of those artists lives in the North Country re-creating some of the world’s most elegant automobiles.

Banging sound

In a shop in Bethlehem Joe Stafford is beating – ever so carefully - an aluminum panel.

Part of the deal to sell the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch will apparently prevent the Northern Pass from using the land for its electric power lines. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.


When the Balsams resort was up for sale the Northern Pass utility project was interested.

Northern Pass apparently wanted a right-of-way for the huge towers bringing hydro-electric power from Canada.

But if the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests can raise $850,000 that won’t be happening.

(Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">Wolkenkratzer</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

NHPR's Chris Jensen reports on the Molar Express, a non-profit program engineered to delivery basic dental care to North Country kids. 

The Union Leader says Coos County Administrator Suzanne Collins has the 35thhighest pension benefit in the state and her $93,281 represents “the highest benefit for a state, county or local public employee who is not an educator. “

For the full article and list go here:



A 31-year-old man killed in a hunting accident in Lisbon this morning was shot by a hunter in another party, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The victim, Kenneth Brunelle of Marlboro, Mass. was hunting with his father and brother off Mt. Eustis Road in Lisbon when the accident occurred about 8 a.m.

Early reports said Brunelle was shot in the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The name of the alleged shooter was not released.

The accident is being investigated by Fish and Game and the New Hampshire State Police.


Chris Jensen / NHPR

A free environmental symposium dealing with topics including reinventing local farms, grassroots solar energy, the effect of acid rain on songbirds in the state and “agritourism” is planned at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem on the afternoon of Saturday, November 12th.

The goal is not just to provide presentations but give participants the tools they need to make changes in their communities and lives, said Elizabeth Lokey Aldrich, the chair of the Sustainability Studies Department at the school

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.

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 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.

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.

AG Asks For Help

Aug 19, 2011
Dan Gorenstein / NHPR

The 11 year old girl’s body was pulled from the Connecticut River near her home six days after she went missing.

The AG’s Office has established a reward fund at the Northway Bank in Gorham.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young says even the smallest observation could provide the necessary clue to solve this tragedy.

“We are building a puzzle here. So we need the pieces to be put together to get the big picture, to make the determination, what happened to her.”

Brady Carlson, NHPR

The Northern Pass hydropower project from Quebec, which includes transmission lines through New Hampshire, has divided our state with passionate disagreement on the amount of energy it will bring, how badly that energy’s needed, and the economics of the project, including its affect on property values. We’ll talk to those on both sides of this debate.


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:



While some critics are lining up to oppose the Northern Pass Project in New Hampshire, others are following those wires to their source.

And that source is a series of dams in Quebec Canada run by Hydro-Quebec.

As Northeast states increasingly look to satisfy their demand for low cost renewable energy, opponents are arguing that big hydro is not as green as it appears.

As part of a collaboration of Northeast stations John Dillon of Vermont Public Radio reports:

Debating Northern Pass

Jan 25, 2011
<a href="">-AX-</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

In October, the Northern Pass Project. comprised of Massachusetts-based utility NStar and Northeast Utilities, formally announced a partnership with Canadian energy giant Hydro-Quebec to bring hydroelectric power from Canada through New Hampshire. Promising new construction jobs, cheaper and greener energy sources, and additional tax revenues, the plan at first enjoyed broad support.

<a href="">-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.