North Country

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.

FlickR by AskJoanne

A biology professor from Rhode Island got a big, furry surprise recently when driving in the North Country.

It is called a mountain lion.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Jim Chace is a biology professor at a university in Rhode Island.

He was driving south on Route 3 from Lancaster towards Whitefield just south of the White Mountains Regional High School.

It was daylight.

There weren’t any cars ahead of him.

Then, it happened.

“Smack right in front of my car, running out ahead across the road was a large cat.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

In a move that would be good for the region’s wood-based economy Maine Energy Systems of Bethel, Maine plans to start building automated, wood-pellet boilers in the United States instead of importing them from Europe, says Les Otten, founder and chief executive officer.

“We will do the majority of the manufacture and assembly in the United States,” he told NHPR. “There is no reason we can’t be competitive globally.”

North Country legislators were almost evenly divided about whether to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of a bill that would give tax credits for businesses that make donations to not-for-profit schools.

As NHPR has reported Lynch said “the proposed bill would siphon public money away from public schools and give it to private ones. He said the budget gaps the plan would create would have to be covered by increases in local property taxes.

North Country representatives overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortions.

As NHPR reported Lynch vetoed the bill saying it was unnecessary because such procedures are already prohibited under federal law.

The governor also expressed concern about a provision that would require a second opinion before a woman could receive the procedure even if her life were threatened by the pregnancy.

Chris Jensen for nhpr

For three years Coos County has been at the bottom of a list of the healthiest counties in the state.

But now groups from the North Country have decided to do something about it.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Each spring for the last three years health care workers in the North Country have taken it on the nose.

Spring is when the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute releases its ranking of the health of individual counties nationwide.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy says the names of people who commented - for and against the Northern Pass project – were inadvertently removed from the agency web site.

Originally most of the 1,700 people who commented had their names and towns included.

But recently that information was removed, replaced with a note saying:

“The comment information presented below has had the personal information obfuscated for privacy as requested by the original author.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A Florida businessman says he plans to buy the closed Groveton paper mill, tear down most of the buildings and look for buyers or tenants for the remaining structures.

David Boshart, who heads up Groveton River Development of Naples, Florida, said he hopes to close on the 107-acre property in about two weeks.

The current owner is Groveton Acquisitions LLC, the parent company of which is based in New Jersey.

“We are going to preserve as many buildings as we can for lease or resale,” Boshart said in an interview.

Here’s how this year’s election in the North Country – including the September 11th primary - is shaping up, according to filings with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

* Longtime Coos County Commissioner Bing Judd is being challenged by Rick Samson - also a Republican – who is deeply involved in the opposition to the Northern Pass hydro-electric project. There is no Democratic opponent.

 * Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath faces another Republican, Gerard L. Thibodeau of Rumney in the primary.  Democrat Beth Funicella of Jackson has also filed.

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