North Country

The plan to spend about $2.8 million to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road, which connects the now-closed hotel with the golf course, got mixed reactions at a public meeting Monday in Colebrook.

Supporters said it is important to help the Balsams because if it reopens it would be a huge boost to the economy of the North Country.

Opponents said there are many roads in the North Country that need to be fixed. Those include roads that are in terrible shape and ambulances – sometimes carrying desperately ill or injured patients - have to go very slowly.

The department of transportation is holding a meeting this afternoon in Colebrook to discuss one of two projects that will significantly benefit the Balsams resort, even though businessman Les Otten doesn’t yet have the money he needs to resurrect the closed resort.

The state will spend about $3.6 million this summer, with about $2.8 million of that going to fix 1.8 miles of Golf Links Road. It goes from the shuttered hotel to the golf course, but it belongs to the state.

The 2 p.m. meeting at the town hall is to answer questions and hear comments, DOT says.

A 29 year-old man from Massachusetts was killed in a skiing accident at Cannon Mountain over the weekend, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Late Saturday,Trevor Hennessey of Holden Massachusetts was reported missing by his family said Lt. James Kneeland. After his vehicle was found in a parking lot, a search was started and continued through the night.

About 8 a.m. Hennessey’s body was found in the woods near the Upper Ravine Trail.

Kneeland said Hennessey missed a sharp turn and struck a tree.

The body was found about 40 feet off the trail.

In the North Country Littleton is receiving a $500,000 grant to upgrade storm drainage and sewers in its River District, the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority announced Friday.

The $500,000 is available through a federal Community Development Block Grant. Littleton voted recently to come up with a little over $555,000 in matching funds.

North Country Events

Mar 23, 2016

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

This summer the state plans to help the developers of the Balsams by spending almost $3 million to fix a 1.8 mile road at the resort.

The seasonal Golf Links Road connects the now-closed Balsams hotel and the golf course.

The road, which belongs to the state, is in bad shape. Erosion, steep slopes and wetlands will make repairs along its 1.8 miles tricky, according to the minutes of a DOT meeting in January.

A Massachusetts man was arrested Friday morning and charged with negligent homicide after his passenger was killed in a crash Thursday night near Errol, according to state police.

Police said forty-nine year-old Michael Sheehan of Foxborough lost control of his pickup on Route 16 about 8:30 and struck several trees, killing forty-eight year-old Stephen Bagley of Roslindale, Massachusetts. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ian Hart

This past winter four New Hampshire friends set out for a 12 day thru hike of the Cohos Trail -  170 miles from Crawford Notch to the Canadian Border.  When they began their hike in early February they had no idea that if they finished they'd become the first hikers to ever complete the trail in winter.  NHPR's Sean Hurley has more. 

Voters in Groveton – which has been struggling since the paper mill there closed in 2007 and devastated its economy - took a fiscal leap of faith Saturday.

They voted to borrow up to $400,000 to put sewage and water on privately owned land in the hope that businesses will locate there – and bring tax money and jobs.

The $400,000 allows Groveton to seek another $600,000 in federal funds.

If that federal grant comes through the total of $1 million would be used to install water and sewage on the redeveloped site of the old paper mill.

Flickr/Wistech Colleges

A $340,000 program opens Friday in the North Country to introduce high school students and adults to a job they probably never knew existed: computer-controlled machining.

“There’s a dire need of CNC operators above the notch,” says Mike Currier, the manager of the Rotobec plant in Littleton. Its products include machinery for the forestry industry.

A mix of 12 Republicans and Democrats from the North Country agreed on the need to pass a bill that would continue Medicaid for the next two years.

That reflected the tone at the House on Wednesday, where HB 1696  passed 216 - 145, NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reported.

North Country Events

Mar 10, 2016

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

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Tuesday Lancaster voters on a 113-to-8 vote gave the select board permission to borrow up to $320,000 for solar arrays that would generate 121 kilowatts.

However, rebates could lower the cost to about $243,000, town officials have said.

Town officials predict going solar will save the town about $25,000 a year. That’s about 25 percent of the town’s total energy cost.

It was estimated it could take about 15 years to pay for the equipment, but one town official said if the rebates come through and drop the price to about $243,000 it would be much quicker.

Fish and Game

Three days after a Groveton man was found dead at the scene of a snowmobile crash, investigators are still trying to learn more about what happened.

About 7 p.m. on Saturday a snowmobile rider stopped at a house on Nash Stream Road, reported there was a crash “up the road” and left without providing any additional information, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas.

About an hour later, searchers found the body of 51-year-old Paul Fortin alone on Corridor 5.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Town meetings are being held throughout the state and this year the most important – and unusual - in the North Country is in Groveton.

Saturday, Groveton taxpayers will decide whether to spend money to help provide sewage and water for a privately owned industrial development in the hope of bringing jobs to the hard-luck town.

“This is probably the best chance the town’s got to get something going,” says Selectman Jim Tierney, Jr.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Northern Pass has invested $2 million in the Balsams, developer Les Otten said Monday night at a public hearing in Colebrook, according to a transcript released by a spokesman.

Otten said the money came through Northern Pass’ Forward NH Plan, there were no strings attached and there is the potential for “a more substantial investment.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Ride the Wilds ATV network covers about 1,000 miles in the North Country and now a new ATV group in Jefferson is looking at getting in on the economic action.

At a meeting last week, members of the Jefferson ATV club said a link to Ride the Wilds might draw tourists to local businesses.

But club president Roy Parkhurst said the first step was seeing how residents feel about the prospect.

“It is a proposal. There is nothing written in stone here. You people are going to decide whether we have trails in the town,” he said.

Fish and Game

One person was killed and three others were injured Saturday in separate snowmobile crashes, according to Fish and Game.

It is the second death in two weeks.

The fatality occurred in Stark, where Paul Fortin, 51, of Groveton was pronounced dead at the scene, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas. 

Lucas said a snowmobile rider knocked on the door of a house in Stark about 6:30, said a man had been injured, and help should be sent “just up the road.”

North Country Events

Mar 4, 2016

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

Officials in the North Country are fighting a bill that would take a tax break designed to encourage business to locate in economically troubled Coos County and offer it statewide.

In 2008, as Coos staggered from the closing of paper plants, the state approved a bill proposed by Rep. Fred King of Colebrook that would provide a tax break for business-related construction – assuming the local jurisdiction approved.

Courtesy NH Fish and Game

Update: Fish and Game officials have identified the hiker as 54-year-old Timothy Hallock of Orient New York.

A dead hiker was found Sunday on the Castle Ravine Trail between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Two hikers found the body of a middle-aged man between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, said Lt. Wayne Saunders who notified officials.

Saunders said officers found nothing suspicious at the scene and the medical examiner will be determining the cause of death.

Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University is reorganizing its Center for Rural Partnerships to provide more resources to help communities and businesses. And it gets a name change: now it will be the Center for Business and Community Partnerships.

But the big difference is that resources from throughout the university will be available, says Donald Birx, who took over last year as president.

That help ranges from arts and technology to health and human enrichment, tourism, environment and sustainable development, Birx says.

“Now, we’ve broadened the scope immensely.”

A Rhode Island man was killed in a snowmobile accident Saturday and two other men were injured in separate crashes, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The fatality occurred in Lincoln on the Power Line Trail near Bog Pond, said Lt. James Kneeland.

Kneeland said 29-year-old Jordan F. Desousa of Warwick died of injuries before he could be transported to a hospital.

Kneeland said it appears Desousa hit a water bar across the trail, lost control of his snowmobile and hit a tree.

North Country Events

Feb 25, 2016

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

A 65-year-old Nashua man who died hiking the Franconia Ridge on February 13 suffered a heart attack, the state’s medical examiner says.

Maxim Raykin was with four companions when he collapsed near the summit of Little Haystack Mountain.

His companions failed to revive him and helped carry the body down the Falling Waters Trail where they were met by rescuers.

Fish and Game said Raykin was an experienced hiker who was well equipped and had hiked the Franconia Ridge many times.

h080 / Flickr/cc

Lancaster could become the first town in the North Country to extensively use solar energy to help cover its electric costs. But that’s contingent on getting an okay from voters next month.

The proposal, going before voters at the March town meeting, would pay for a series of solar panels providing about 121 kilowatts, says town planner Ben Gaetjens-Oleson.

“We’re looking at placing three solar arrays at two locations, one at the transfer station, one at the waste-water lagoon to run the aerators and one also at the lagoons for the chlorinator building," he said.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

A 45-year-old Massachusetts woman suffered serious injuries Monday afternoon when her snowmobile crashed in Pittsburg, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Laura King of Danvers lost control of her snowmobile – apparently when she inadvertently accelerated - and hit some trees adjacent to the trail she was riding on.

She suffered injuries described as severe but not life threatening.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The North Country is pinning its much of its hope for an economic boost on the effort to reopen the Balsams Resort, but a tourism official says the region should have a Plan B.

“I would really encourage the development of two strategies," says Gloria Bruce, the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association.

“One, in the event that the Balsams were to open, which I think would be fantastic, what does that look like, what are the outcomes, what do we need to plan for.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The warm winter is having a terrible impact on businesses tied to snowmobiles and logging, says Wayne Frizzell the president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and a Colebrook native.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The redevelopment of the Balsams will take another step forward soon, says Ed Brisson, an official with Dixville Capital LLC.

“In the next couple of weeks we will be coming in with ski area site plan approval as well as, we anticipate coming in with plans for renovating Dix and Hampshire House,” he said.

Those plans would go before the Coos Planning Board, which must approve them before work can begin.

"We are actually looking to put a shovel in the ground sometime this summer," he said.

He said there would be a series of applications in the coming months.

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