North Country

This Friday, a new documentary will premiere in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. See What’s Whispered tells the story of artist David Baker. Baker came to the town of Jackson in 1946. He went on to make his name locally with a roadside gallery and studio on route 16 that he continued working in until the 1990s. Film maker Judy Faust says he became well known well beyond the Mt. Washington Valley not only for his work, but for the way he and his wife welcomed all. 

American Whitewater

The kayaker who died Wednesday in the Franconia Notch State Park was the Northeast Stewardship director for the American Whitewater organization.

Lincoln police chief Theodore Smith identified him as Alan Panebaker, 29, of Montpelier, Vermont.

Panebaker was an experienced whitewater kayaker whose work responsibilities ranged from “state and federal policy affecting rivers” to “community recreation planning.”

North Country Events

Sep 20, 2012

These events are compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

 The newsletter below typically announces events in the next week.

The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

FARMERS' MARKETS
Thursdays Lisbon 3-6 PM Route 302 near Lisbon Center through October 11
Saturdays Bethlehem 10 AM - 2 PM Main Street through October 13
Sundays Littleton 10AM - 2 PM Riverglen Lane near the Senior Center through October 14

During last week’s primary Coos County Commissioner Bing Judd lost his bid for re-election by five votes.

Today (Monday) there was a recount in Concord.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has the results.

Bing Judd, who has been a Coos County Commissioner since 1997, has lost that position.

In a recount today in Concord Judd lost by seven votes.

599 to 592.

Originally Judd lost by five votes, prompting him to ask for the recount.

Judd is from Pittsburg – where he lost to Samson.

Samson from Stewartstown.

Bing Judd, who has been a Coos County Commissioner since 1997, has lost his seat by five votes.

Judd had 592 votes compared to 597 for challenger Rick Samson, deputy secretary of state David Scanlon told NHPR Thursday afternoon.

Late Thursday Judd said he will be driving to Concord Friday to file a request for a recount.

"Five votes in 1,200, there could be a mistake," he said.  "It could go either way."

That recount is expected to occur Monday.

Judd had not faced a challenge for more than a decade.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley – a Berlin native – took Coos County with 1,226 votes, according to figures just released by the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

That compared to 1,087 for Maggie Hassan and 187 for Bill Kennedy.

But, of course, Hassan won statewide with 45,143 compared to Cilley’s 33,073. Kennedy had 6,001.

Some of the totals from Coos are below. The full list can be found here.

North Country Events

Sep 13, 2012

Tova Cohen of Franconia compiles this listing.

Her newsletter – below - details events in the next week. The calendar – found here - shows events in the coming months.

FARMERS' MARKETS

Thursdays Lisbon 3-6 PM Route 302 near Lisbon Center through October 11

Saturdays Bethlehem 10 AM - 2 PM Main Street through October 13.

Sundays Littleton 10 AM - 2 PM Riverglen Lane near the Senior Center through October 14.

BOOK DISCUSSION AT BATH LIBRARY

Chris Jensen for NHPR

If Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley thought being a Berlin native would give her a crucial edge in the North Country she was wrong.

Cilley did win in Berlin but her 546 votes were only 56 percent of the total.

Down the road in neighboring Gorham she snared 55 percent of the votes.

But it was downhill from there despite spending five consecutive days touring the North Country from Littleton to Colebrook and Pittsburg and then over to Berlin and the communities along the Androscoggin River.

In Littleton she got only 35 percent of the vote.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

With 94 of 112 precincts reporting veteran Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath has about 71 percent of the votes, easily rebuffing challenger Jerry Thibodeau of Rumney.

Burton had almost 14,500 votes compared to about 5,800 for Thibodeau.

Burton effortlessly put down a revolt by some Republican representatives in the North Country who thought he was too moderate and urged his defeat.

In November Burton will face Democrat Beth Funicella.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

An unusual and important race in the North County will be decided on Tuesday.

It’s the political future of Bing Judd, a longtime Coos County Commissioner and one of the best-known figures in the region.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

For the first time in more than a decade Coos County Commissioner Burnham “Bing” Judd is being challenged for the commissioner’s spot he’s held since being appointed by a court in 1997.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

These events are compiled by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

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

FARMERS' MARKETS

Thursdays Lisbon 3-6 PM Route 302 near Lisbon Center through October 11

Thursdays Berlin 3-7 PM starts June 28th through September 6

Saturdays Lancaster 9 AM - noon Main Street through September 8

Saturdays Bethlehem 10 AM - 2 PM Main Street through October 13

Flickr/Lewong2000

There was an odd rescue in the Franconia Notch after a man apparently left his girlfriend behind.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

It was dark Monday when hikers on the bike path heard a woman in the woods screaming for help, saying she didn’t have a flashlight.

Franconia police sergeant Mark Taylor and Allan Clark, who heads up the Pemi Search and Rescue responded.

Clark headed in on a trail.

But before he reached her the woman saw Taylor’s flashlight and reached him.

The Canadian woman did not have a happy story, according to Clark.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

In between the picnics and end-of-summer festivities a series of protests against the Northern Pass hydro-electric project were held throughout the state  during the holiday.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports…

Easton was the site of one of a dozen or so protests from Manchester to Colebrook on Saturday.

Just under 100 people gathered on Gingerbread Lane along an existing right-of-way where the Northern Pass towers would cut through the tiny North Country town before heading south to cross the White Mountain National Forest.

Courtesy of the Serafini family

Fifty years ago this summer New Hampshire got its newest town, but only after a fight to secede from a neighboring town.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen sends this postcard from Sugar Hill in the North Country.

The town of Sugar Hill is perhaps best known for elegant homes and views, the home of the first organized ski school in the United States and its fight to keep its post office open.

Originally the hill settlement was part of Lisbon, which was clustered about eight miles away along the banks of the Ammonoosuc River.

Sean Hurley

In the words of Henry David Thoreau: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. now put the foundations under them.”  Thoreau wasn’t writing about constructing actual castles, but realizing one’s dreams.  Sean Hurley found a North Country man who’s castle in the air is actually a castle…and he’s building it. Sean takes us on this radio field trip to the kingdom of Thornton.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

This story began 70 years ago with an Austrian musician fleeing the Nazis.

A Polish woman fleeing the Russian soldiers towards the close of World War II.

And their love affair.

Now it has ended with a surprise, $1 million donation to bring more music to the North Country.

For decades Fritz Kramer was a professional piano player in Europe.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Four North Country fiddlers will represent New Hampshire on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress,  carrying on the tradition of French-Canadian fiddle music.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Patrick Ross was three when he played his first song on a fiddle.

It was called “The Rocking Chair Jig.”

Tick tock sound over and over…

Okay, it was simply rocking the back of the bow against the back of the fiddle.

Image of running track and field
Stewart Cutler / Flikr Creative Commons

A list of the top-ten most-read stories on nhpr.org and StateImpact- NH website.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Bleak. Troubled. Struggling. Take the phrase “North Country economy”, and you’ll almost inevitably hear one of those adjectives attached to it.

And to a certain extent, it’s true; the northern New Hampshire economy has had a difficult run since the bottom fell out of the mill economy. But can a handful of downbeat adjectives really characterize a whole region’s economy?

Eighty-one percent of Coos County’s 2009 high school graduates say they don’t see job opportunities for themselves at home. And, more than 60 percent say they see those opportunities getting scarcer. That's according to the most recent survey results from the Carsey Institute's 10-year Coos Youth Study, published this week.

Officials for the Northern Pass hydro-electric project say they plan to have their new route through Northern New Hampshire finished this fall.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Northern Pass is making progress buying land for its new route through northern Coos and still hopes to file that plan with the U.S. Department of Energy by the end of the year, says Leon Olivier, an official with Northeast Utilities, which is behind the Northern Pass project.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new, two-year study of Coos County finds that the community is strong on cooperation, but struggles with the best strategy to create jobs.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has more on the study done by the Carsey Institute

In 2009 UNH sociologist Michele Dillon began composing a picture of Coos County.

It would be a mosaic based in large part on about four dozen interviews with community leaders.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A year ago Thursday Celina Cass was reported missing from her home in West Stewartstown. About a week later her body was found in the Connecticut River.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

A year ago Thursday afternoon senior assistant attorney general Jane Young was driving up to West Stewartstown.

The state police had been investigating a report that 11-year-old Celina Cass was missing.

Turning control over to someone like Young - specializing in homicide investigations - was an ominous sign.

But Young says heading north she was trying to be optimistic.

There were four rescues in the North Country over the weekend, requiring good, old fashioned ground pounding, the use of an ATV and an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter, according to a news release from Fish and Game Region 1, which is based in Lancaster.

The first occurred on Friday evening about 10:30 when a Florida family called for help from the Jewell Trail on Mount Washington. Their problem: The batteries on their only flashlight were drained.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

There are three Democratic hopefuls in the gubernatorial primary this September. One is Jackie Cilley, an outspoken Berlin native. She’s not shy about not taking the pledge. She says ideologues in the legislature are embarrassing and undermining the state. And she says in crucial ways the government is failing its citizens and businesses.

Faced with tighter budgets three hospitals in the North Country are forming an alliance to do something about it.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

With cuts in funding - and facing an increasing demand for services -  three hospitals in Coos County have agreed to work together to see how they can save money.

Without such cooperation there’s trouble ahead, says Scott Howe, the CEO of the Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster.

Courtesy White Mountain History.Org

Almost all of the grand hotels that once brought the North Country fame, fortune and tourists are gone.

But now some of the music that was composed specifically for each hotel has been played and recorded, possibly for the first time in 100 years.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen sends this audio postcard.

Rick Russack runs a web site on  White Mountain history.

Not long ago he was going through some material.

“Stereo views, photographs, postcards and prints, graphic things.”

The new federal prison in Berlin still has plenty of jobs to fill and there’s a chance next Tuesday to learn more about them.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

With 255 jobs at the new federal prison still available a job fair is planned next Tuesday in Berlin.

Officials from the Bureau of Prisons will be answering questions,  says Diana Nelson, with New Hampshire Employment Security.

“We’ve had a lot of questions come up about what were the hours be, when will my days off be, is it shift work. These people will be able to answer those questions for them.”

After several delays the new federal prison in Berlin is getting closer to opening and hiring is underway.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has an update.

The first prisoners – about 50 minimum security inmates - could arrive at the federal correctional institute in Berlin as early as the end of August, says Judith Nichols, the prison’s spokeswoman.

But that could be pushed back because there is still plenty of hiring to do.

“We are looking to fill 341 positions. We currently have 86 staff that have been hired.”

Fatal Fire in Berlin

Jul 8, 2012

A body was found in a burned-out garage in Berlin Sunday afternoon, according to a news release from state and local fire officials.

The fire was reported in a garage at 16 Williamson Avenue about 12:30.

The garage was engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived and the body  was found after the fire was extinguished.

The name of the victim was not released and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Fire officials said they are still investigating the cause of the fire but there's a possibility repairs were being made to a vehicle.

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