North Country

The Storm: Ho Hum

Mar 13, 2014

All in all it was a normal March snow storm, says Michael Ekster of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

“The amounts varied greatly. Northern New Hampshire got anywhere from six to twelve inches of snow. Parts of Southern New Hampshire got a lot of rain and sleet.”

"It was pretty average. There weren't any ridiculously high totals."

Ekster said this morning should bring another one to three inches of snow with locally higher amounts in the mountains.

Sean Hurley

With yet another storm bringing rain and snow and ice to New Hampshire, NHPR's Sean Hurley went into downtown Plymouth to see how folks there were holding up.

Standing out on Main Street in Plymouth, I heard variations on the theme of "Please oh please, will someone stop the snow from snowing."  Except from the unusual Kayla Grimes clearing the sidewalk with her trusty shovel in front of Plymouth Ski and Sport where she works.

I love shoveling. 
Do you?
Yeah! I don't ski or snowboard. 
You shovel. 
I shovel.

Sean Hurley

The annual town meeting at Hart's Location might be a small affair, but it usually attracts almost 80 per cent of its registered voters and this year was no different.

Not far from Bretton Woods and Mount Washington - the biggest ski area in the state and our highest mountain - sits the smallest town in New Hampshire - Hart's Location. Population, I'm told, just under 40.

Before the town meeting begins, Moderator Les Shoof announces the unofficial results of the just completed town election.

Not Quite A Sign Of The Times

Mar 12, 2014

It was about two weeks ago that Stephen Dignazio, the executive director of the non-profit Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, put the message on the marquee.

It said “Spring Is On The Way.”

It was a warm, fuzzy thought, but premature.

“I guess we made a misstep there,” said Dignazio.

With the snow getting heavier throughout the day Wednesday, cars churned up and down Main Street past the theater and that overly optimistic marquee

And Dignazio was not trying to escape the blame for the wintry assault.

A Huge, New Ski Resort At The Balsams?

Mar 2, 2014

Coos County commissioner Paul Grenier says there are plans to convert the Balsams into a huge ski resort.

North Country Events

Feb 27, 2014

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

The Search Is On: Colder Winter, Fewer Wood Pellets

Feb 25, 2014
D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons

Those big stacks of wood pellets typically seen each fall in the parking lots of big box stores aren’t so easy to find right now. And, that’s posing a challenge for people like Andy Langlois of Berlin.

He heats with pellets and has become a hunter-gatherer.

“I had to start calling around as well as just stopping by places just to see if anybody has them and then how many they have,” he said.

Around the state stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are often coming up short, spokeswomen for the companies acknowledged.

North Country Events

Feb 21, 2014

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

Sean Hurley

North Conway's Sean Doherty, at 18, is the youngest member of the US Olympic Biathlon team.  While most people know the Biathlon combines skiing with shooting, the finer points are a little elusive.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently visited the Jackson Biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about the sport.

How North Country Reps Voted On Pay Disclosure

Feb 20, 2014

Nine of the 14 North Country representatives voting favored a bill under which New Hampshire employers could not prohibit their workers from discussing how much they are paid.

The bill, H.B. 1188, passed 183 – 125 on Wednesday and now goes to the Senate.

Supporters argued the bill is a step toward ensuring men and women are paid equally for comparable work.

Seven years ago 300 jobs were lost when the Wausau paper plant in Groveton closed. But now a Marlborough, Mass. company says it plans to open a new liquified natural gas plant at the site.

The new plant will cost about $100 million, says Evan Coleman, an official with Clear Energy, the developer.

“We take natural gas out of a pipeline, we cool it down to about negative 260 degrees which transforms the gas into a liquid and then we truck that product out to utility, industrial and transportation users within New England.”

Sean Hurley

The combination of fresh snow and February school vacation should mean brisk business for our New Hampshire ski areas.  As the vacation week opens up, NHPR's Sean Hurley and his son Sam went to Loon Mountain and sends us this audio postcard.

Loon Mountain is capsized by high winds and cloudy torrents and the rough air means the gondola has been shut down for the day.  But the early arriving vacationers don't seem to mind.

The Road Agent

Feb 13, 2014
Sean Hurley

In the summer, the Road Agent in a small New Hampshire town will handle everything from ditches to tree-work to regrading.  But in the winter, there's pretty much one job.  Keeping the roads clear of snow and ice.  As this winter storm bears down, NHPR's Sean Hurley caught up with the local Road Agent in his hometown of Thornton to see how the town plows will handle the fresh snow.

John Kubik, Road Agent for the Town of Thornton, glances down at the inch of snow gathering around his boots.

North Country Events

Feb 12, 2014

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


Wednesdays February 12 and 19 at 7 PM at the Haverhill Congregational Church Parish Hall. Haverhill resident David Pruitt will present. Programs will explore aspects of Lincoln's life. For more information visit


More than two years ago the Balsams closed, putting about 300 full and part-time employees out of work.

But now Les Otten, a Maine businessman and former owner of the American Skiing Company, is working on reopening the Balsams.  He says he has an agreement with the resort’s two owners, Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse.

Five Snowmobile Crashes Saturday

Feb 8, 2014

There were five snowmobile crashes in the North Country Saturday, including two on rental machines, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Three of the five accidents resulted in injuries and in two cases they were described as serious, according to Sergeant Mark Ober.

One happened about 11 a.m. near Whitefield. It involved Cydney Johnson, 42, of Alton who was on a guided tour. It is thought she accelerated by mistake, causing her snowmobile to hit a tree. She was taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

North Country Events

Feb 6, 2014

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

 Under pressure from New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy says it will disclose which alternatives to the route favored by Northern Pass it plans to study. That is something opponents of the controversial project have been seeking.

Before the Northern Pass project can go forward it must be approved by the DOE. And, the core of that approval is an environmental impact statement. It will focus on the 187-mile route Northern Pass wants to use.

How North Country Reps Voted On Allowing Keno

Feb 2, 2014

In the vote on whether to allow electronic Keno games to be played in the state sixteen North Country representatives were evenly split for and against, without any clear divide along party lines.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported the Keno bill cleared the house by a 202-141 margin.

Under the bill, 92 percent of the proceeds would go to the state for education, with one percent of that earmarked for problem gambling programs.

A Berlin woman was killed Saturday night in a snowmobile accident, the second time in a week that there’s been a fatal snowmobile accident in the North Country.

Lucie Gagnon, 58, was killed just before 10 p.m. at Success Pond when she hit an embankment and large tree, Fish and Game Conservation Officer Mark Ober reported in a news release.

“Mrs. Gagnon suffered severe trauma as a result of the crash and died at the scene,” Ober said.

Berlin First To Let Bars Stay Open Until 2 a.m.

Jan 31, 2014
dearbarbie via Flickr CC

Berlin is on the way to becoming the first jurisdiction in the state to allow bars to take advantage of a new law and serve liquor until 2 a.m.

But Mayor Paul Grenier says the city council's decision has a downside.

“It is actually going to increase law-enforcement activity.”

And, an upside.

“We want to try to encourage and do everything we can to help our businesses in Berlin succeed.”

North Country Events

Jan 30, 2014

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

While the legislature considers whether to allow a $25 hiker’s card that would eliminate any chance of being charged for a rescue, a Michigan man is fighting a $9,300 bill for the help he got in 2012.

Earlier this month a judge in District Court in Concord decided Edward Bacon of Northville, Michigan was negligent. That meant he should reimburse New Hampshire Fish and Game for the cost of his rescue from the Franconia Ridge.

Eleven of fifteen North Country representatives were among those trying – but failing – to keep alive a bill that would have put a moratorium on wind farms and electric transmission lines such as Northern Pass until the state adopted a comprehensive energy policy.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reported the Science, Technology, and Energy Committee previously voted 13 to 6 to recommend killing this bill.

North Country Events

Jan 23, 2014

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


Thursday January 23 7 PM Littleton Opera House, Union Street. Lida Winfield and Ellen Smith Ahern perform their duet work "Long Gone", which blends dance and storytelling to celebrate heartfelt, funny and irreverent memories of those who are no longer with us. Tickets $12, $8 students, at the door or visit

Only one representative from the North Country voted Wednesday against a bill that would encourage state regulators to give preference to electric transmission lines that are buried or located along public highways.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reported the House voted 171 – 139 for HB 569.

Chris Jensen

Voters in Executive Council District 1 went to the polls Tuesday in a primary over the seat held by Ray Burton, who died in November.

Three Republicans Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, Christopher Boothby of Meredith and, Joseph Kenney of Wakefield are vying to see who will face Hanover Democrat Michael Cryans in March.

In Littleton the turnout was extremely light, says Gerald Winn, the town moderator.

“We opened at eight this morning and we’re four and a half hours in and there are fifty people who voted.”

Amid high winds and blowing snow, four people were rescued from above the treeline on Mount Washington before dawn Monday. But one rescuer said the group was lucky to get out a call for help.

"I think it would have been a bad outcome if they weren’t able to get the rescue call out,” Craig Taylor, a volunteer with the Mountain Rescue Service, told NHPR.

“Temperatures were expected to go below zero, winds were expected to ramp up to the triple digits that night. So, the forecast was really grim.”

Ice Climber On Mount Washington: Lost And Found

Jan 19, 2014
Mt. Washington Auto Road / Flickr CC

  Searchers spent hours on Mount Washington Saturday night looking for - and locating - a lost ice climber, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The call for help came about 5:30 pm from Ms. Dale Edwards, 32, of the Bronx in New York, who was climbing with two companions in the back country of the Ammonoosuc Ravine, according to Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes.

Legalizing Marijuana: How North Country Reps Voted

Jan 17, 2014

By roughly a three-to-one margin North Country representatives voted against legalizing marijuana.

As NHPR’s Ryan Lessard reported the debate over HB 492 had those in favor of legalizing the use of small amounts of marijuana saying marijuana was no different than drinking alcohol.

And, those opposed said there were “negative health impacts.”