North Country

COBAN Technologies

Nine of the 14 North Country representatives voting opposed allowing police to use license plate scanners, while five were in favor of the technology.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported supporters – including the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police – argued scanners might help solve crimes, while opponents worried about privacy issues.

The bill authorizing scanners, House Bill 675, was defeated 250 – 97.

NHPR / Chris jensen

Gorham Paper and Tissue, the town’s largest employer, is temporarily cutting back operations, a move that will lead to 20 to 50 employees losing their jobs.

The company says other employees will see week-long layoffs.

In an email Friday, CEO Mike Cummings says the move is in response to record-setting natural gas prices.

Gorham Town Manager Robin Frost says the news is devastating for the town’s economy.

N.H. Department of Transportation

Drivers will see new speed limits on much of the northern part of Interstate 93 starting Wednesday.

Saturday night it was the third annual Christmas in Bethlehem celebration in the North Country.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen sent this postcard:

The Two New Hampshires

Dec 4, 2013

New Hampshire Economist and Chancellor of the Community College System Ross Gitell is looking at the major demographic and economic differences between the rural and more urban parts of our state - a divide he says is growing. We’re talking about that, and his ideas on closing the gap.  


Around the state more institutions, towns and businesses are turning away from oil in favor of heating with wood, viewing it as a renewable resource that helps the region’s economy, lowers the carbon footprint and apparently saves money.

There’s a good example in the basement of the main building at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem.

The old is a huge, black, gray and rust-fringed H.B. Smith boiler that once feasted on heating oil.

A few feet away are three modern-looking, green and white pellet boilers.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Investigators say the last call made on a missing New Hampshire girl's cellphone was at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, about four hours after she was last seen.

Fifteen-year-old Abigail Hernandez of North Conway was last seen leaving Kennett High School on Wednesday afternoon. Police say she made it home but was gone when her mother arrived later.

WMUR-TV reports that police said Sunday they have not located the girl's phone, but have determined that the last call was made at 6:30 p.m. It's not clear where the call was made.

Police in North Conway say so far there is nothing suspicious about the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl.

Abigail Hernandez left Kennett High School around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and police believe she made it home. But when her mother arrived home, the girl was gone.

The search continued Thursday. Conway Police Chief Edward Wagner says police are treating it as a missing person's case "and nothing more." Local, state and federal police agencies are involved in the investigation.

Grace Family via Flickr Creative Commons

The extent to which the federal shutdown will hurt the White Mountain National Forest – and tourism - will depend on how long the shutdown continues, says forest supervisor Tom Wagner.

Wagner says the current workforce – about 120 people – will be cut to sixteen.

That’s to cover 800,000 acres.

People can still enjoy the views and the trails. But there’s a question about facilities.

A Vermont man will go on trial Monday in connection with the deaths of two men in an explosion in Colebrook more than three years ago.

Sixty-four year old Craig Sanborn of Maidstone, Vermont is scheduled to appear in Coos County Superior Court in Lancaster.

Sanborn owned the Black Mag factory - which made a gun powder substitute – when it exploded in May 2010, killing two workers and injuring a third.

In the North Country nine chefs are getting ready to compete in the finale of the second annual North Country Chef’s Challenge, an effort to determine who can best match culinary expertise with local food.

The goal is to show people in other parts of the state that North Country dining is worth a trip north of the notches.

A Salem, Massachusetts man drowned in the Connecticut River near Colebrook on Wednesday, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

John Cornish, 71, was launching his boat with a friend when it began to drift away, carried by the current,   Conservation Officer Kevin Bronson wrote in a news release.

Cornish, who was wearing hip waders, went after the boat, lost his footing and slipped under the water. He was pulled from the river by a friend but was unconscious and couldn’t be revived.

Officials: Faulty Pipes Led To Conway Explosion

Sep 25, 2013

Fire officials say piping work that didn't comply with building codes led to a propane gas explosion inside a house in Conway, N.H.

Conway Fire Chief Stephen Solomon tells WMWV-FM the source of the problem was most likely the home's hot water heater.

The house has been condemned and will be torn down Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the condition of the homeowner, identified as 53-year-old Philip Murphy, appears to have worsened. He was listed in serious condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, he was in fair condition.

The owner of a New Hampshire gunpowder factory that was the site of a 2010 explosion that killed two men is scheduled for trial next week.

Craig Sanborn of Maidstone, Vt., was indicted last year on two counts of manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide for negligently engaging in the manufacture, production, testing and storage of explosive material.

The Black Mag plant explosion in Colebrook killed Donald Kendall and Jesse Kennett.

The two ATV riders killed Saturday in separate accidents were each from the North Country, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The first accident occurred on South Hill Road in Colebrook about 1:15 when David Howe, 40, of Colebrook was killed when he rolled his ATV.

The second accident occurred a little more than an hour later on the Dixville Peaks Trail where  Clifton Scott, 79, of Stewartstown missed a turn. His ATV also rolled.

So far this year three ATV riders have died in accidents in New Hampshire.

Mt. Eustis Ski Area To Make A Comeback In 2014

Sep 11, 2013

Plans are in the works to bring back the Mount Eustis ski area in northern New Hampshire, which has been closed since the early 1970s.The town of Littleton will lease the 33-acre property to the nonprofit Mt. Eustis Ski Hill Group for $1 a year. A three-year lease starts Oct. 1.

The Caledonian-Record reports the plan is to reopen the slopes for skiers and local school ski programs after Jan. 1. It would be run by volunteers and funded through donations.

Mount Eustis has two open trails and a natural gladed area in between.

Sean Hurley

They eat your crops, they scold you from the treetops, they prey on songbirds.  Experts consider the crow, which can use tools and recognize human faces, one of the smartest birds.  And while many people don’t know it, crows are also hunted in NH.

Some North Country Health officials told Gov. Hassan Thursday that increasing funding for psychiatric services and expanding Medicaid are vital for improving healthcare in the region.

Hassan met with workers at Ammonoosuc Community Health Services in Littleton.

Its executive director, Edward Shanshala, told Hassan it is good that she restored funding for primary preventive care.

And he is hopeful that Medicaid will be expanded to help low-income families in the North Country who can’t afford health insurance.

New Hampshire State Police say the man killed in an accident Monday in the North Country was Harry Goodwin, 67, of Milan.

The accident happened about 10:40 am on Route 16 near the Appalachian Mountain Club Lodge in Pinkham’s Grant.

According to a news release from Troop F a Toyota Sienna minivan apparently crossed the center line and collided with a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Goodwin, who died at the scene.

For a century, the North Country was dominated by the wood, pulp and paper industry. Today, those sectors have almost died out and now many see the region in the midst of an economic makeover, moving away from its paper past.  But what that future should look like is a still huge discussion…is it tourism, high-tech, manufacturing, government, or “all of the above”?  We'll look at what many are calling a North Country makeover.


Two good Samaritans were involved in a dramatic rescue attempt at The Upper Ammonoosuc Falls in Crawford’s Purchase in the North Country Saturday that almost cost one his life, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The falls – not far from the Cog Railway – are well known for treacherous undercurrents.

According to Fish and Game about 4:30 a 15-year-old boy who was swimming got into trouble and began yelling for help.

Freddy Poisson, 36, of Haverhill, Massachusetts jumped into the water but was himself pulled under.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Starting as early as Thursday ATV enthusiasts will be able to ride on some streets in Gorham. It is part of a plan to increase tourism in the North Country.

State officials have given final approval for ATVs to drive on parts of Main Street and Route 2 in Gorham.

The idea is to make it easy for ATV riders to enjoy a network of trails in the North Country called “Ride the Wilds” and then easily get into town, says Gorham town manager Robin Frost.

Figuring that storms are as inevitable as death and taxes a North Country planning group will be looking at ways to minimize the impact of bad weather on the economy.

“You know we can’t predict the weather but maybe we can be prepared for what it might bring us,” said Patricia Garvin, the economic development coordinator for the North Country Council.

Sean Hurley

There’s buried treasure in the rivers and streams of New Hampshire.  22 carat gold to be precise. While it’s very high quality, it’s also very low quantity.  Experienced New Hampshire prospectors say that even though there isn’t much to find, it’s not hard to find.  But you have to know where to look and how to find it as Sean Hurley reports from the gold-speckled Wild Amonoosuc River in Bath. 

The Wild Ammonoosuc River trickles to life in Kinsman Notch and rushes for 15 miles from Woodstock to Bath before breaking into the bigger, slower glass of the Ammonoosuc.  

With hurricane season ramping up and fire danger decreasing, New Hampshire’s Civil Air Patrol is beginning to switch roles.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

On a morning early in May Civil Air Patrol 2875 is about to leave the runway at Mount Washington Regional Airport in Whitefield.

Sound of pilots going through a checklist.

“Electrical equipment is off. Avionics switch one and two, off…”

The Civil Air Patrol is a non-profit corporation created by Congress that also serves as an auxiliary to the Air Force.

The company in charge of building a huge biomass plant in Berlin is suing one of its contractors claiming fraud.

But a spokesman for the plant’s owner - Berlin Station - says it should still open late this year, right on schedule.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has this report.

The suit was filed in federal district court in New York by Babcock & Wilcox Construction Company.