North Country

White Mountain National Forest

Tropical Storm Irene’s heavy rains did more serious damage to trails in the White Mountains than any storm in decades, says one of the authors of the new 29th edition of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Guide.

“It was only a limited number of trails, but the ones that were damaged were damaged very badly,” said editor Steven Smith of Lincoln. “It was mainly restricted to the trails that run along streams.”

Nine of the fifteen North Country representatives voting on Wednesday were in favor of Senate Bill 409 which would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Six representatives voted against the action and one was excused from voting.

Sponsors of the effort included Sen. John Gallus of Berlin as well as Representative Evalyn Merrick, a Democrat from Lancaster.

The bill already passed the Senate and now goes to Gov. Lynch.

A North Country man has been indicted for negligent homicide in a hunting accident last November.

A Grafton County Grand Jury concluded that Wade S. Holmes, 49, “failed to identify with certainty” his target and fired the shot that killed Kenneth Brunelle of Marlboro, Massachusetts.

Brunelle was hunting with his father and brother off Mt. Eustis Road in Lisbon when the accident occurred about 8 a.m. He was shot in the neck and died at the scene, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Such a felony could result in three and one-half to seven years in prison.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Tourism is seen as one of the economic underpinnings of the North Country.

But a highly touted program designed to boost tourism is running low on funds while facing a tricky question: After spending about $1 million was it successful?

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.


In 2008  - with the paper industry pretty much dead -  some in the North Country gloomily wondered about its economic prospects.

So, the non-profit Northern Community Investment Corporation decided to see whether more could be done to promote tourism.

The extremely low prices for natural gas – which can be used to generate electricity - have some  opponents  of Northern Pass wondering whether Hydro-Quebec  might reconsider the project. But a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that’s unlikely.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Amid the immigrants who have come to New Hampshire are two French citizens – a doctor and a nurse - who saw America as a place for a radically new life focused not on patients but on making baguettes and Madeleines in the North Country.

<a href=""> SimplyAbbey</a> / Flickr


After about 25 years the Car-Freshner plant in Berlin is closing.

Judy Piarulli, an official at Car-Freshner’s headquarters in Watertown, N.Y.,  declined to say how many workers are losing their jobs.

But Diana Nelson, an official with New Hampshire Employment Security office in Berlin, said 46 workers were laid off.

She said another 24 part-time workers lost their jobs in February.

The plant makes the Little Trees brand of air fresheners typically seen hanging from rear-view mirrors.

Photo: <a href="">Lucid Nightmare</a> / Flickr

Veterans in Coos County deserve a medical clinic in Colebrook, according to a letter sent to the Department of Veterans Affairs by Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Charlie Bass.

“While Coos County’s population is small compared to the area covered, there are some 3,605 veterans in New Hampshire’s North Country, of which 1,821 are in the VA medical system,” the letter says. 


A Littleton man hiking without a flashlight, map or warm clothing spent the night in the mountains while officials looked for him, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Dylan Jessen, 20, planned to hike the 15 miles from the Lafayette Campground in Franconia to Route 112 in Woodstock but didn’t begin until about 1 p.m.

His mother lost cell-phone contact with him about 7 p.m.  when he still had about five miles to go and only 30 minutes of daylight left.

Chris Jensen for NHPR


State and local police are on the scene of a shooting in Dalton which two people died but officials say there is no danger to the public.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Audio of fire being dispatched….

Police and rescue units rushed to a house on Whitefield Road in Dalton just after 1 p.m.

They found two men dead and a third man seriously wounded.

The wounded man was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock.

The identities of the men were not released.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen


The new owners of the closed Balsams resort in Dixville Notch are moving ahead with plans to renovate the North Country resort.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Improvements at the Balsams resort will include a new conference center, spa, pool house and suites near the Hampshire House.

That’s according to the web site of Summit Engineering of Portsmouth which says the firm has been chosen to handle the structural engineering.

An Intervale firm is in trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations of water pollution in the North Country.

 NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

CSG Holdings – also known as Columbia Sand & Gravel - is accused of allowing polluted water to get into the Connecticut River.

“The nature of the discharge from the site contained large amounts of suspended solids basically.  Sand.  Silt.”

That’s David Deegan, an EPA spokesman.


The North Country Health Consortium in Littleton has scheduled a June summit to tackle some of the health problems in Coos County noted in a recent study.

The University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute study released last week evaluated the health of individual counties nationwide.

The study has been done for the last three years. Each time Coos was ranked last in the state.


A bill critics say would reduce funding for legal services for the poor was sponsored by Gregory Sorg, a Republican from Easton, and heavily favored by North Country representatives.

The bill - HB 1395 - passed the House 235 – 99.  It now goes to the Senate.

Eight North Country representatives – all Republicans – voted in favor.

Four North Country representatives – all Democrats – voted against it.

Four legislators were excused from voting.

Newly appointed Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Harrington says having a pension from Northeast Utilities is not a good enough reason to disqualify him from hearing a case involving the utility – and so he won’t.

Harrington made the statement in an order he signed Tuesday dismissing a motion arguing that he has an unacceptable conflict of interest.

Photo: Chris Jensen

Much of the battle over the Northern Pass hydro-electric project has focused on cutting a new route through the forests of the North Country.

Northern Pass intends to use 140 miles of existing right of way for much of the remainder of the project.

That may not be as easy as it sounds.

NHPR's Chris Jensen reports.


It takes maybe five minutes – including crossing a large brook on a narrow board – for Kris Pastoriza to reach the right-of-way that cuts through her wooded land in Easton.

<a href="">MrdOOdman</a> / Flickr

A new nationwide study released today/Tuesday ranks Coos County as the least healthy county in the state. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

A Massachusetts man fell into a deep crevasse in the Tuckerman Ravine Sunday afternoon and is thought to have died, according to a news release late Monday from the White Mountain National Forest.

The man was identified as Norman Priebatsch of Boston.  He was said to be in his late 60’s.

He was hiking with friends when he tripped and slid down a slope before falling into a crevasse between areas known as the Lunch Rocks and The Lip.

Chris Jensen for NHPR


On a late winter’s day three film crews are busy at Lisbon Regional School.

Inside one crew is editing film on a computer, quickly and cleverly trimming and rearranging sequences.

Another is working on a soundtrack, drawing fingers across a guitar’s strings.

And outside the third crew is filming, working out camera angles and a script.

“Okay, I’m going to explain your parts to you,” says Sydney Lambert, a seventh grader. “You are basically a person who doesn’t really care that you are littering.”


Seven North Country legislators were among the majority passing a bill on Thursday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Three North Country representatives voted against the bill while six were excused from voting.

The bill, HB 1660, passed 190 – 109. It now goes to the Senate.

Here are the legislators who voted in favor of the bill:

* Lyle Bulis (Republican) of Littleton

* Larry Rappaport (Republican) of Colebrook.


Ten out of 13 North Country representatives voted against a bill that would have abolished the State Art Fund.

According to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts the fund is also known as the Percent for Art Program and it was established by the legislature in 1979.

That 1979 action “authorizes one-half of one percent of the capitol budget appropriation for new buildings or significant renovations to be set aside in a non-lapsing account for the acquisition or commissioning of artwork.”


In unusual alliances Democrats and Republicans from the North Country paired up for and against a bill that would have allowed gambling.

The bill failed on a 118 – 226 vote.

Eight representatives – including five Republicans and three Democrats – voted in favor of the bill.

Six representatives - including four Republicans and two Democrats – voted against the bill.

As NHPR’s Todd Bookman reported:


Nine North Country representatives voted in favor of a bill that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion and three voted against.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported:

The so-called women’s right to know bill had to be pared back to win final house passage.

Chris Jensen for NHPR


A live World War II era hand grenade was found at the Moore Reservoir in Littleton Sunday.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.


The grenade was found by two men using a metal detector in an area that would normally have been under water.

“They were very surprised. They were hoping to find, I think, a little bit more valuable item.”

That’s Littleton police officer James Gardiner.

“They told me they found a penny, an old New Hampshire token and then the grenade. They are done with today’s metal detecting.”


Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin who represents the North Country, was among 19 senators voting last week in favor of a new and more restrictive voter identification measure.


Sen. John Gallus,  a Republican from Berlin who represents the North Country, was among those voting last week not to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of so-called payday loans.

As NHPR reported “The measure would have lifted the current 36% interest rate cap on small loans. In place of that cap, Senator Matt Houde told colleagues companies could charge borrowers up to 403% interest.


The Conservation Law Foundation has joined in a request that newly appointed Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Harrington be disqualified from hearing a case involving the Merrimack  Station powerplant because it feels there is a conflict of interest involving Public Service of New Hampshire.

The issue is that Harrington has a pension from Northeast Utilities, the parent company of PSNH, which routinely goes before the three-member commission.


Nine of sixteen of North Country legislators voted against a bill that would allow for-profit specialty hospitals to avoid going through the certificate of need regulatory process.

As reported by NHPR “the bill also exempts these hospitals, most of which do not take Medicaid patients, from paying the state's Medicaid Enhancement Tax.


Ten North Country representatives were among those who voted Wednesday to kill a bill that would have repealed gay marriage. 

Only four North Country representatives voted to keep the repeal alive.

Two others were excused from voting.

As NHPR reported the Republican-controlled House decided to keep the state's gay marriage law in place on a 211 – 116 vote.

The Associated Press is reporting:


The New Hampshire Senate has approved exploring leasing ski operations to a private vendor at the

state-owned Cannon Mountain.

  The Senate voted by voice Wednesday to pass a bill requiring the Department of Resources and Economic Development to develop a master plan for Cannon Mountain and Franconia State Park.