North Country

Artful Monsters Stopping Traffic In Bethlehem

Sep 4, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Traffic through the North Country on Labor Day was slowed a bit in one town by huge metal monsters.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The movie monsters and Leonardo Da Vinci’s horse stopped a lot of traffic on Route 302 in Bethlehem over the holiday.

The statues are in front of a shop where Gerry Ramback plans to sell arts and crafts from the region – as well as Asia.

They were created by welding, mixing and matching thousands of auto and motorcycle parts.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The U.S. Forest Service is honoring a Thornton man as its national volunteer of the year.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen joined him on the job.

Giff Kriebel of Thornton spends so much time volunteering with crews in the White Mountain National Forest that sometimes forest service employees think he’s getting paid, too.

Like earlier this year when there was a huge search near Rumney for a missing man.

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.

An Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter was used Saturday morning to lift an injured, 285-pound hiker off Mount Adams, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The man, Jason Baker, 43, of Chicago, dislocated his knee  on Mount Adams and about 7:30 Friday evening his two companions called 911 for help.

The trio was in a remote area and Fish and Game Lt. Douglas Gralenski said since they were properly equipped to spend the night on the mountain they were told to wait for a rescue in the morning.

North Country Calendar of Events

Aug 30, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

This newsletter compiled by Tova Cohen announces events in the next week.

The calendar shows events in the coming months.

SUMMER OUTDOOR TOWN CONCERTS
Thursday August 30, Whitefield Common at 6:30 PM
Saturday September 1, Twin Mountain, 7 PM, town bandstand at the Route 3/Route 302 intersection.
Sunday September 2, Bethlehem Gazebo, Corner of Main Street & Prospect Street at 6PM

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.

An Injured Hiker And 4.4 Miles Of Trail

Aug 24, 2012
NH Fish and Game

It took almost two dozen volunteers to carry an injured woman out of the White Mountains late Thursday, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Mary Jean Mork, 61, injured her leg on the last day of a five-day trip from Franconia Ridge to the Zealand Road in Bethlehem.

Her husband, Michael Donahue, went to the Appalachian Mountain Club hut for help because there is no cellular coverage in the area. The AMC huts have high-powered radios.

There’s a new effort underway to attract businesses to the North Country with the prospect of cheaper energy.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has the story.

An economic development group has a new way to encourage businesses to come to Coos.

It is taking advantage of a natural gas pipeline from Canada that crosses the county, says Jon Freeman, the president of the Northern Community Investment Corporation.

“Typically the natural gas will cost about one quarter of the price of oil.”

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests says it has reached deals with several land owners in Coos it believes will block the Northern Pass hydro-electric project.

But Northern Pass says it plans to keep working on the $1.1 billion dollar project.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The Forest Society says it has tentative conservation easements with land owners in Coos that would keep the controversial hydro-electric project from finding a crucial route south from Canada.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

One might think that the mom-and-pop motels of the 50’s and 60’s have all been replaced by cookie-cutter nationwide chains.

But some vintage lodgings in New Hampshire have found a way to prosper.

And now there’s an effort to push a plan to help them do even better.

We can’t blame Norman Bates for the decline of the mom-and-pop motels.

Screechy music from the shower scene in “Psycho.”

Chris Jensen / NHPR

It was a year ago at the end of this month that Tropical Storm Irene hit New Hampshire and when it comes to the White Mountain National Forest there are still plenty of unwelcome reminders.

Sound of ground-to-helicopter communications…

That’s Erin Lane and she’s making arrangements for a helicopter to make a sweeping turn and then hover over a clearing about two miles up the Zealand Trail in a part of Bethlehem that is within the White Mountain National Forest.

New Jersey Family Rescued In White Mountains

Aug 15, 2012

A New Jersey family was rescued from the White Mountains early Wednesday morning, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The couple and their 31-year-old son called 911 for help about 9 p.m. after they found their small light wasn’t enough to safely follow the Old Bridle Path Trail, said Lt. James Kneeland.

Conservation officers reached the family about 11:15 and had them off the mountain just after midnight.

Kneeland said the family didn’t allow enough time to follow the trail and failed to have proper equipment to cope with the unexpected.

The 57-year-old man who died on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail Monday has been identified as Gary Muise of Sharon, Massachusetts.

Muise was hiking with his teenage daughters when he collapsed about two and one-half miles from the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Rescuers were not able to revive him.

Fish and Game said he died as the result of a "medical emergency" and an autopsy is planned.

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

Film studios are planning to replace 35 mm films with digital projectors that could cost $50,000 or more.

That’s expected to improve visual quality and reduce costs for the film studios. But owners of small, community cinemas and drive-ins are worried.

North Country Fiddlers Head To Kennedy Center

Aug 7, 2012
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.

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.

A Picture of Coos That Took Two Years To Develop

Jul 25, 2012
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.

Balsams Renovation Delay Amid Financing Glitch

Jul 25, 2012
Chris Jensen / NHPR

The new owners of the Balsams are still looking for financing and the renovation of the resort is months behind.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Earlier this year the Balsams owners were seeking historic tax credits as one of several ways to attract investors.

The credits are available for the renovation of certified historic properties – like the Balsams.

But owners Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert are dropping that idea, says Balsams’ spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne.

The reason is a plan to tear down  some parts of the Balsams complex.

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.

Gorham Mill Puts White Mountains On A Map

Jul 23, 2012

For the first time since 2009 a guide to the White Mountains is being printed on paper produced in the North Country.

Four Rescues In the North Country Over The Weekend

Jul 15, 2012

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.

Jackie Cilley: Five Days In The North Country

Jul 12, 2012
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.

Coos Hospitals Form Cost-Cutting Alliance

Jul 11, 2012

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.”

Man Killed in Berlin Fire Was Trying To Fight It

Jul 9, 2012

The man who died in a fire in Berlin Sunday was Edward Wedge, according to a news release from Troop F.

Wedge, 73, died of smoke inhalation, according to an autopsy conducted Monday

Investigators believe Wedge was working on a vehicle in his garage and it appears he tried to fight the fire.

In a written statement State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan said people should not attempt to fight fire in a building.

“You have as little as three minutes to escape a fire once it begins in your home,” he said.

Fish and Game responded to two calls for help over the weekend in The White Mountains, one involving a five-year-old who fell and hit his head and the other a woman suffering a sudden illness.

Both, however, turned out to be minor problems.

The first call was Saturday for a 36-year-old woman from Hawaii who was reported to be seriously ill on the Franconia Ridge Trail, according to a release from Lt. James Kneeland.

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.

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