North Country

Eight of the 13 North Country representatives voting last week favored a bill that continues participation in in a regional cap-and-trade program, but stops funding energy efficiency projects such as helping people weatherize homes. Instead that money would be sent to ratepayers.

All those in favor were Republicans, while the five representatives voting against the bill were Democrats. Three other Democrats were excused from voting.

Nine of the 13 North Country representatives voted to kill a bill that would be taken tax dollars away from Planned Parenthood.

As NHPR reported House Bill 677 would have stopped sending tax dollars to the organization. It’s already illegal in the state to use public funds for abortions, but some lawmakers still believe that’s how the money is being spent.

Garnet Hill, the nationally known clothing and bedding retailer in Franconia, is moving about one fifth of its 200 jobs to Exeter. That distresses some in the North Country, but Garnet Hill’s president said it is part of a long-term strategy to increase business.

“We are a business that is very different from what we were five, six, seven years ago in the sense that over half of our business is done in women’s fashion apparel and 84 percent of our business is done online,” said Claire Spofford, who took over as president about a year ago.

North Country Events

Feb 19, 2015

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

NORMAN NG’S MAGIC EXPERIENCE, LINCOLN
Thursday February 19 7:00 PM Jean’s Playhouse, 34 Papermill Drive. An exciting fusion of magic, comedy and audience participation, never-before-seen magic, laugh-out-loud comedic situations. For more information, visit jeans-playhouse.com.

Four people from New York were injured in separate snowmobile accidents Sunday, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

About 11:30 Calian Huang of Jackson Heights, New York lost control of a rented machine in Randolph, hitting a tree. The 31-year-old and a passenger, Shuo Li, were both hurt with Huang’s injuries described as “serious but non-life threatening.”

About 30 minutes later a mother and son  were injured in an accident in Pittsburg when  Bettina Baloia, 48, of Scarsdale, New York  lost control of her machine and hit a tree.

North Country Events

Feb 12, 2015

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

CREATE VALENTINES AT THE BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thursday February 12 after school for younger kids, and Saturday February 14 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM older kids can drop in to create Valentines and decorate cookies. For more information, visit www.bethlehemlibrary.org.

Giving Matters: WREN Helps Local Entrepreneurs Thrive

Feb 7, 2015
Jeannette Fournier

WREN (formerly the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) provides support, training, and networking opportunities to people operating small businesses in northern New Hampshire. They also operate two storefronts and two farmers’ markets for local vendors. 

“I’ve been a painter all my life.” Jeannette Fournier’s medium is watercolors and a few years back she and her husband relocated to the Littleton-area. “We happened to drive through Bethlehem and I noticed the WREN organization on main street. I thought, “this couldn’t be more perfect timing.”

North Country Events

Feb 6, 2015

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Fish and Game officers say a Massachusetts man on a snowmobile has died after crashing into a tree in the North Country.

Officers believe the 39-year-old man from Dunstable became distracted and missed a corner before crashing at about 6 p.m. Thursday on a trail in North Statford. He suffered serious injuries. One companion stayed with him while another went to a residence in Columbia and called for help.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

When most people buy skis they turn to a well-known company. Maybe they get a pair of Rossignols or K2s. But big-names are no longer the only option: some two hundred companies – mostly tiny – now make skis in the United States alone.

One of the newest - Sandwich Tech - is run by Katie Mros and Matt Michaud of Littleton.

Like many others who want to live in the North Country they decided to take an innovative idea, hold their breath and try to make a living doing something they love.

North Country Events

Jan 29, 2015

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

North Country Events

Jan 22, 2015

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For 15 years the Cold Mountain Café in Bethlehem has been a fixture in the North Country.

But when one of its co-owners died, it looked like the café might close.

That is until the owner’s daughter decided to turn to the community for help.

To a large extent Kate Foley grew up in the café her father co-owned, waiting tables and becoming friends with hundreds of customers.

But when she decided she wanted to buy the half of the business owned by her father’s partner she ran into a big challenge.

Money.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Almost six years after it opened the only food co-op the North Country plans to expand so it can offer more locally produced food...

On average the Littleton Food Co-op has almost 5,000 customers a week and many of them want organic or locally produced food, says Ed King, the general manager.

So, the seven-member, elected board voted to expand.

“Obviously we’re focusing on the categories in our store that are most successful and I think natural, organic and local products are the linchpin of our business.”

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...

A research project that examines the experiences and attitudes of Coos County youth and young adults has received a grant of nearly $128,000 from a charitable fund that supports organizations in northern New Hampshire and surrounding areas.

The Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire in Durham received the grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

The grant is one of 14 totaling nearly $1.2 million awarded to municipal, educational and nonprofit groups.

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:

Giving Matters: Certifying Teachers In The North Country

Nov 1, 2014

The North Country Teacher Certification Program is a collaboration between Plymouth State University and White Mountains Community College. The program aims to increase the number of highly qualified teachers in the North Country. 

Amelia Alton was a pre-school teacher with more than 20 years of experience, who wanted to be a classroom teacher, “I always wanted to try my hand at the first and second grade level. But, I needed a different certification.” In 2010, with the help of the NCTCP, Alton went back to college and received her certification.

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.

Voters in the town of Columbia, New Hampshire, will be asked to approve nearly $200,000 in bonds to install a bridge before winter.

A combination of heavy rain, snowmelt and mountain runoff caused brooks and streams to flood in the spring. The bridge on Meridan Hill Road was washed out, temporarily stranding 13 families who live above the bridge.

The Caledonian Record reports a temporary bridge was installed, but selectmen say that bridge will be dangerous to maintain and cross in the winter.

A construction firm that took over work on the long-delayed elementary school in Unity, New Hampshire, is expected to finish all its work in the next two weeks.

Lebanon-based Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co. had the building completed on time in early September for students. The school opened Monday, Sept. 8. An official grand opening is scheduled at the school on Oct. 22.

The Eagle Times reports cleaning, furniture setup and cosmetic work are still being worked on.

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.

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 state of New Hampshire has approved an expansion to a landfill in the town of Bethlehem.

The Caledonian Record reports the application by North Country Environmental Services was approved with 17 conditions last week by the state Department of Environmental Services.

In this expansion, 8 acres would be added to the current 38-acre landfill and its lifespan would be extended by five to 10 years.

Residents have a 30-day window to appeal the DES approval.

The final demolition is underway for a 133-year-old building in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, that collapsed after heavy rain last fall.

The Main Street building, which has been called the Summit Building or the Cruft Block, housed a post office, jail, library, ballroom, general store, pizza parlor, and newspaper offices, among other businesses, throughout the years. The five-story building has been vacant in recent years.

Giving Matters: WREN Helps Local Entrepreneurs Thrive

Aug 9, 2014
Jeannette Fournier

WREN (formerly the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) provides support, training, and networking opportunities to people operating small businesses in northern New Hampshire. They also operate two storefronts and two farmers’ markets for local vendors. 

“I’ve been a painter all my life.” Jeannette Fournier’s medium is watercolors and a few years back she and her husband relocated to the Littleton-area. “We happened to drive through Bethlehem and I noticed the WREN organization on main street. I thought, “this couldn’t be more perfect timing.”

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.

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.

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.

VTDarkStar / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied New Hampshire's appeal for a major disaster declaration for April flooding in the North Country, saying the impact "is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants" such a declaration.

Gov. Maggie Hassan had asked for funding assistance to help Carroll and Coos counties and hazard mitigation statewide. In her appeal letter to FEMA, she said current state and local FEMA-verified assessments exceeded $1.9 million, exceeding the thresholds needed to receive federal assistance.

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