North Country

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Michael Bartoszek and the Laidlaw Energy Group – the original developer of the new biomass plant in Berlin - with insider trading.

In a filing Wednesday the SEC said Bartoszek failed in his obligation to publicly disclose the shaky financial state of his New-York based company before he sold his own stock.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Lots of people climb Mount Washington. But a North Country non-profit group is wants help to go beyond a normal ascent.

They need people for the Sunrise Ascent to help push and pull two children and three adults with disabilities to the top.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sandy Olney is the head of Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country and she cherishes her volunteers but she calls them mules.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Nobody expected it to be balmy this Memorial Day weekend but parts of the North Country - such as Bethlehem - had about four inches of snow by 8 a.m. Sunday and it was still snowing only to taper off and end by 10 a.m.

PSNH reported about 2,100 customers in communities clustered around Littleton losing power.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

People leaving the movie at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem Saturday night were stunned to see several inches of snow.

"It was May when we went into the movie. I don’t know what happened. Is it six months later?”

Northeast Utilities, the parent company of the Northern Pass project, did not announce a new route during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning. 

NHPR’s Chris Jensen listened in and has this report.

Late last year Northern Pass officials said they finally had a new route through the North Country.

But they said they weren’t ready to disclose it.

Then, at the end of March officials basically said the same thing.

North Country Events

Apr 25, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen

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


April 22-27. Friends of the Littleton Public Library present events for kids during screen-free week. See the full schedule here.

One person was killed Wednesday afternoon in a crash in Milan, according to a news release from state police.

The accident occurred about 4:30 on Route 110 when a tractor-trailer carrying logs and a 1995 Dodge pickup collided head-on.

The pickup caught fire and was fully in flames when police arrived. When the Milan Fire Department put out the fire they found a body.

The identity of the victim was not released. The driver of the logging truck was not seriously injured. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by Troop F in Twin Mountain.

North Country Events

Mar 28, 2013

Compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia

Chris Jensen / NHPR

If the Senate bill that proposes a single casino in the state becomes law it “would dedicate millions of dollars per year directly to North Country economic development,” Governor Maggie Hassan said during a speech Thursday night before the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

That would spur business and job growth “helping us attract new companies by marketing the North Country’s advantages to businesses in Canada and elsewhere,” she told about 125 people at the Log Haven Restaurant on lonely Route 26 in Millsfield, about 145 miles from Concord.

A New Boston man fell Saturday while ice climbing in the Crawford Notch, according to news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Eric Scoville, 55, fell about 2:30 p.m. while climbing on the Frankenstein Cliffs when he fell about 70 feet. He was climbing alone without ropes, Fish and Game reported.

Nearby climbers reached him, arranged a litter and carried him to the Arethusa Falls parking area where he was met by an ambulance.

He was then flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock where yesterday he was listed in critical but stable condition.

North Country representatives overwhelmingly favored legalizing small amounts of marijuana, although as The Associated Press reported the bill failed.

As the AP said “supporters had argued that it was time to stop the government's war on marijuana users, saying tobacco and alcohol abuse are legal but pose a greater danger to personal health.

North Country representatives were split on a bill that would raise the speed limit on parts of I-93 to 70 miles per hour.

As NHPR reported the bill - HB 146 - passed the House 292-65. It would allow 70 mph from Exit 18 north with the exception of a two-lane stretch through the Franconia Notch.

A Connecticut man was killed early Saturday morning in a snowmobile accident in Errol, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game officer Glen Lucas.

The man was identified as Louis Voegeli Jr., 56,  of Woodbury.

He was traveling with three other snowmobiles about 2 a.m. when he failed to make a turn and hit a tree on 13 Mile Woods trail approximately 2 miles north of Millsfield Pond Road in Errol.

Voters headed to town meetings Tuesday in the North Country will find some unusual issues including creating a community ski slope, challenging the rights of corporations as people, abolishing a police department and excluding “formula stores and fast-food restaurants.”

* In Bethlehem voters are considering two articles aimed at preventing “formula retail and formula fast food restaurants” from locating in the center of town.

There were three snowmobile crashes in the North Country Saturday, including two in which riders were injured, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The first involved 32-year-old Kevin Brigham of Brookline, New Hampshire who lost control of his snowmobile and struck an oncoming snowmobile, Conservation Officer Geoffrey Younglove wrote in a news release. Brigham suffered internal injuries in the crash on Trail 18 and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Maine.

North Country legislators split pretty much along party lines Wednesday on whether to increase the gas and diesel tax and use the money to improve roads and bridges.

Ten Democrats voted in favor of an increase. Six Republicans and one Democrat voted against.

The bill passed 207 – 163.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported the House decided to increase the tax on gas and diesel fuel 15 cents per gallon.

The increase would be phased in over four years for gasoline and six years for diesel.

An amendment to Senate Bill 152, which proposes a single casino in the state, provides details on how money designated for use in the North Country would be used.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton, says his amendment:

1) Requires the funds would be managed by “three public members from the North Country appointed by the governor.” Each would serve a two-year term.

2) Requires the money would be used for “job creation, economic stability and other activities which improve the standard of living of residents of the North Country."

A bill authorizing a casino with 500 slot machines and 150 table games faces its first vote in the senate ways and means committee Tuesday morning.

The proposal enjoys the backing of Governor Maggie Hassan and calls for the casino to be located on the Massachusetts border.

But as NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports, it’s also getting some attention in the North Country.

As drafted, Senate Bill 152, envisions a sending part of of the casino’s profits to the North Country for economic development.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn is a Democrat from Dalton.

The owners of the closed Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch are playing beat the clock to get an important part of the financing they need to renovate and reopen the resort.

Ten North Country representatives – all Democrats - were among those who voted Wednesday to repeal the education tax credit.

Six North Country representatives – all Republicans – voted against the repeal.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reported the law grants an 85% tax credit to businesses that donate to scholarship organizations, which give the money to students going to a private school, an out-of-district public school, or home school.

Back in the 1950s, at a plant near the Balsams hotel, the Neil Tillotson family was producing products like balloons, latex gloves and disposable plastic eyedroppers. 

But a little more than two years ago, the Dixville Notch plant was forced to shut down when the Tillotson Corporation prepared to sell its Balsams resort.

But now Rick Tillotson, one of the sons of the plant’s original owner, is opening a new 100,000-square foot plant in nearby Colebrook to produce some of the same items.

Tillotson says it’s a dream he’s had since the  plant closed.

Brookfield Renewable Energy has ended a dispute with Coos County over payments for its wind turbines by paying up.

Last month Brookfield, which operates 33 wind turbines, said it only owed about $245,000.

That is about half of what the county expected under a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes agreement. The deal was for ten years.

The county argued the contract was clear and required payments for wind turbine generators that “are actually installed and either generating energy or capable of generating energy and permitted to generate energy as required by applicable law.”

By Saturday morning it appeared the North Country had been spared the worst of the storm.

Only four inches of snow was reported in Lancaster and about nine inches in Randolph, according to spotter reports filed with the National Weather Service office in Gray Maine. Berlin was an exception with 14 inches.

Sergeant Travis Anderson of Troop F, which covers the North Country, said “things are pretty quiet.”

Anderson said only one car was reported off the road since midnight.

He said the snow is continuing and road crews are busy, but roads are still slippery.

Sean Hurley

There aren’t many roads that have books written about them, but we have one in New Hampshire.  In 1973, writer Elizabeth Yates published “The Road Through Sandwich Notch”, which more than anything else helped secure the road’s preservation status as a part of the White Mountain National Forest.  Sean Hurley has been running down and learning about the road for some time now and sends this reflection.

North Country Events

Jan 17, 2013

Compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

North Country Events

Jan 10, 2013

Compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The town of Colebrook in the North Country has taken a new step to try and attract ATV-riding tourists.

It’s opening up some of its streets to the all-terrain vehicles.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Colebrook’s select board has approved opening up 21 streets in the town to ATV riders, says Jules Kennett, one of the three selectmen.

 “We finally came up with what we believe is the safest, most accessible way to get the ATVers into the center of town.”

The speed limit would be 10 miles per hour.

North Country Events

Jan 4, 2013
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Events compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

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


Several bills that would expand gambling in New Hampshire are likely to be introduced this session.  One North Country lawmaker plans to file a bill to allow two casinos in the state.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

As the legislative session begins, Governor-elect Maggie Hassan has repeatedly said that she’s open to expanded gambling in the state.

And she thinks New Hampshire would benefit most from a single high-end casino near the Massachusetts border.

Among the bills to be considered by the legislature in 2013 is one that would significantly increase the value of a gift that could be accepted by legislators, who are paid only $100 a year.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Last year Edmond Gionet, a Republican rep from Lincoln, asked the legislative ethics committee whether it was okay for him to accept free ski passes to Cannon Mountain.

Gionet volunteers on Cannon Mountain’s advisory board and he saw the tickets as a nice thank-you.

For much of the year officials at Northeast Utilities have been saying they would have the new route for Northern Pass submitted to the US Department of Energy by the end of the year.

But the New Year is here and while nothing has been posted with the DOE Northern Pass says it has a new route.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

In a conference call with analysts early in October Northeast Utilities official Lee Olivier said the company was “still on track” to file a new route with the Department of Energy by the end of the year.