North Country

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed Senate Bill 99, which calls for a study of the state’s important Site Evaluation Committee’s “organization, structure and process.”

The committee  reviews major utility projects, which would include Northern Pass Transmission. Without its approval the project to bring hydro-electric power from Canada could not move ahead.

Courtesy of The White Mountain School

A Vermont man has been indicted by a Grafton Country Grand Jury for second degree murder in the death of Catherine Houghton in Littleton in January.

The indictment - returned Friday - charges Rodney Hill, 37, of West Danville, Vermont with the crime.

Houghton, 70, was a trustee of The White Mountain School in Bethlehem. She came to the North Country for a meeting.

She was fatally injured January 28 when she went to the lobby of the Hampton Inn to ask about a television remote that wasn’t working.

North Country Events

Jun 20, 2013

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

OUTDOOR SUMMER CONCERTS

Whitefield Thursdays 6 PM through August 29 - acoustic and vocals

Whitefield Mondays 7 PM through August 5 - town band

FARMERS MARKETS

Lancaster Saturdays 9AM-noon through October 12

Bethlehem Saturdays 10 AM-2 PM through October 12

Littleton Sundays 10 AM-1 PM through October 1

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.

Some Northern Pass opponents are hoping Governor Maggie Hassan will sign Senate Bill 99, which they think may complicate approval of the controversial hydro-electric project. The bill may reach Hassan's desk this week but she says she hasn’t decided what to do.

“I haven’t reviewed the bill yet in any kind of detail so I’ll do that and then make up my mind,” she told NHPR Saturday.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new economic development effort got underway Saturday in the North Country.

It is called Ride the Wilds and it is a linking of ATV trails designed to attract ATV-riding tourists from the Northeast and Canada.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

For decades the North Country has had hundreds of miles of trails on which ATVs could rumble along.

Sound of ATVs…

But they were not linked. So, riders had to stop and put their ATVs on a trailer to get from place to place.

Sean Hurley

The people of Littleton New Hampshire celebrated Pollyanna Glad Day this past Saturday. The June 8th event also marked the publishing Centennial of the bestselling children’s classic about the little girl who always looks on the bright side. While a dubious meaning shadows the character name in popular culture, Sean Hurley reports that the residents of Littleton believe they know the real Pollyanna.  A hundred people opened and closed their umbrellas in the rain and shine that came and went throughout Pollyanna Glad Day.

The motorcyclist killed Thursday morning in the Franconia Notch has been identified as Robin Staines, 47, of Pembroke, Massachusetts, according to state police.

Staines was traveling north on the two-lane section of I-93, failed to make the turn at the entrance of the former parking area for the Old Man of the Mountain.

He was thrown from his Harley-Davidson and was not wearing a helmet.

Passersby gave him CPR until an ambulance arrived but he died of his injuries at Littleton Regional Hospital.

North Country Events

Jun 13, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

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

ACHS PRESENTS COMMUNITY HEALTH MATTERS, LITTLETON

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The Fields of Lupine Festival is marking its 20th year.

The event pays tribute to the brief but spectacular show of color the purple flower puts on in the Granite State’s North Country this time each year.

After making the hour and a half trek from Woodstock, Vermont to Sugar Hill, Renette Bedard found the perfect spot to snap a picture.

Standing atop a rock, she looks out into a sea of purple flowers known as lupines.

The backdrop: a lush forest and the majestic White Mountains.

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.

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.

North Country Events

Jun 6, 2013

COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY TOVA COHEN OF FRANCONIA

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

OUTDOOR SUMMER CONCERTS

Whitefield Thursdays 6 PM through August 29

FARMERS MARKETS

Lancaster Saturdays 9 AM-noon through October 12

Bethlehem Saturdays 10 AM-2 PM through October 12

Littleton Sundays 10 AM-1 PM through October 13

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.

The Unusual Ascenders

May 31, 2013
Sean Hurley

The 3rd Annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day took place this past Monday on Mount Washington.  With fresh snow closing the summit, participants still gathered at the base of the Auto Road to walk, ran, paddle and roll their way to the snowline.  As NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports, it’s an event that blends the difficult with the whimsical. 

75 year old Otok Ben-Hvar stares at the white powder top of Mount Washington. He’s about to go rolling along the Auto Road in a shambling contraption of five inner tubes.  

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The 20th annual Fields of Lupine Festival gets underway this weekend.

The event pays homage to the purple wildflower, which blossoms around this time each year in the North Country.

Festival organizers say the lupines are blooming, despite the recent cold weather and snow fall.

The festival kicks off with a parade through downtown Franconia on Saturday.

There will also be open air markets, concerts and an art show.

The festival ends on June 15.

North Country Events

May 30, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen of Franconia

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

MARK SHELTON CONCERT TO BENEFIT MISS LITTLETON AREA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM, LITTLETON

Courtesy of The White Mountain School

The man accused of murdering a stranger – a California woman - in Littleton in January thought she was the devil who previously used the form of his father, according to Littleton District Court records released Tuesday morning.

And, had Catherine Houghton, 70, not chosen to spend an extra night in Littleton she would have apparently missed her fatal encounter with Rodney Hill, the 37-year-old Vermont man accused of her murder.

Houghton was a trustee at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem and she came to the North Country for a trustees’ meeting.

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?”

North Country Events

May 23, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

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

AMERICAN VETERANS TRAVELING TRIBUTE AND MEMORIAL WALL, NORTH HAVERHILL

Working largely on what amounts to the honor system state officials say they have decided state air pollution standards were not violated in a fire last January when two buildings at the Balsams resort were burned down as part of a renovation.

In 2003 state and federal officials, a private land owner and conservation groups created a conservation easement to protect about 146,000 acres in northern Coos County from development.

It is called the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters and some opponents of Northern Pass fear the utility hopes to cross it to send hydro-electric power south from its partner – Hydro-Quebec.

But getting permission to do that would be a complicated procedure with so many hurdles it would be the longest of long shots, according to those familiar with such easements.

North Country Events

May 16, 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.

ARTIST TALK OR STAND-UP ROUTINE - YOU DECIDE, BETHLEHEM

Thursday May 16 5-7 PM The Gallery at WREN, 2013 Main Street, Bethlehem. Larry Golden and Jason Tors will discuss their painting techniques and the ideas behind the artwork in PULP, which is on display at the gallery until June 4th.

MOVIE AT THE COLONIAL: RENOIR, BETHLEHEM

Sean Hurley

While most newspapers are downsizing, outsourcing, assimilating or outright folding, there’s a newspaper in the North Country that’s flourishing. Two weeks ago the Colebrook Chronicle opened a new business office in downtown Colebrook. As Sean Hurley reports, business at the Chronicle has never been better.

North Country Events

May 10, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen

Chris Jensen, NHPR

Spring is a time that worries fire fighters because the forest and brush are not yet green enough to resist a flame.

That was a problem Wednesday afternoon in Littleton.

Diana Levesque never wants to wake up from a nap this way again.

She was sleeping Wednesday afternoon when she heard noises outside her home high on a hill on the outskirts of Littleton.

Fire trucks were pulling up around her house and there were flames all around.

“The woods are all on fire and the wind is blowing. It was just crazy. I pretty much had a heart attack.”

For more than a year landowners and a conservation group have been trying to keep Northern Pass from finding a route through Northern Coos County.

But there’s one possibility that would give Northern Pass a big step forward: Crossing a huge conservation tract controlled by the state.

Such an effort could easily make the project even more controversial.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sean Hurley, NHPR

It was ten years ago Friday, that the state lost the Old Man of the Mountain. A celebration at Profile Park marked the anniversary.

  A lone bagpiper approached the shore of Profile Lake to set the tone of the morning. Throughout the ceremony, eyes and cameras hunted the jagged spot where the Old Man’s face once was. John DeVivo, General Manager of the Park said you can’t help but look:

North Country Events

May 3, 2013

Compiled and written by Tova Cohen of Franconia.

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

CEREMONY TO MARK TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF COLLAPSE OF THE OLD MAN

Friday May 3 11:30 AM Old Man Memorial on Profile Lake in Franconia Notch. Presented by the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund. The free festivities will be held in rain or snow.

LITTLETON NATIVE TIMOTHY WOODWARD BOOK SIGNING, LITTLETON

During a quarterly conference call Thursday officials at Northeast Utilities, the parent company of the Northern Pass project, said while they have a new route they still aren’t ready to say where it goes. 

And that the soonest the project could now get underway is 2017.

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

One reason the starting date of Northern Pass has slipped from 2015 to 2017 is opposition to the project.

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