North Country

A flood warning is in effect until 6:30 am Sunday for Southern Coos, Carroll County and Northeast Grafton County, according to the National Weather Service.

The alert – which means “flooding is occurring or is imminent” – was issued about 8:30 a.m.

It was prompted after radar showed heavy rain stretching from the seacoast to The White Mountains. The weather service said it could generate an inch or two of additional rain that will cause “rapid rises” in small streams.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Harry Brown shuts off his ATV on the side of a cross-country ski trail notched in the woods above the Balsams Grand Resort.

 “We’re going to head north out of the Balsams property,” he says.

Brown is among those working on a new network of ATV trails through the North Country.

Currently ATV enthusiasts have permission to ride in a half dozen places including Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin and on private land.

But ATV enthusiasts say touring the same trails again and again can be boring.

Debi Warner, a clinical psychologist from Littleton, is running for the seat being vacated by Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin.

So far Warner is the only Republican running.

Warner got her doctorate in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University.

She’s been in private practice in Coos and Grafton Counties and previously worked for a non-profit family clinic as well as state agencies in New York and New Hampshire.

Gallus told NHPR he doesn’t plan to endorse any candidate until after the September primary.

The majority of North Country representatives voted for a bill that would allow murder charges for causing the death of a fetus more than eight weeks old.

As the Associated Press reported:

“Both the House and Senate had voted in favor of charging someone with first-degree murder, second-degree-murder or negligent homicide for causing a pregnant woman to lose her fetus, but they disagreed over when the bill should apply. The House originally wanted to apply the bill to fetal deaths after 24 weeks of pregnancy while the Senate set the threshold at eight weeks.

Residents of Southwestern Coos and Northern Grafton County are being warned of possible flash floods due to heavy rain.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning about 7:30 saying in the following two hours an additional one to two inches of rain was expected and streams were rising rapidly.

It said areas of concern include “but are not limited to Franconia Notch State Park, Littleton, Franconia, Crawford Notch and Bethlehem.”

The warning was expected to end about 10:45 p.m.

A Massachusetts woman who became lost near Pittsburg was rescued last night, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The woman, Sharon Matthews, 49, of Warwick, Mass., was reported missing about 4:30 Sunday by her  husband after she failed to return from a hike to look for moose antlers.

About 8 p.m. a plume of smoke in South Bay Bog was spotted by Conservation Officers Chris Egan, Adam Cheney and Pittsburg Police Chief Richard LaPoint.

Matthews was reached about 40 minutes later sitting next to a fire with her dog at her side.

Warm weather over the weekend and climbing a 4,000 footer in the North Country was a bad combination for a Penacook man.

 NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Early Sunday afternoon hiking companions of a 51-year-old man used a cell phone to call for help.

Lt. James Kneeland of Fish and Game said the problem was apparently heat related.

“Dehydration, heat stroke. Something along those lines to the point where he was losing, in and out of consciousness.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Colebrook Planning Board Tuesday night removed what the new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort have said was an impediment to the redevelopment needed to allow hundreds of people to get back to work.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Fire departments from throughout the North Country were called to Bethlehem Wednesday morning for what progressed into a four-alarm fire at an apartment building.

The fire at the Cedarcroft Apartments at 2323 Main Street burned through the roof of the three-story building but by 9:30 it was out and clean-up work - expected to take hours - was underway.

Departments responding included Littleton, Lancaster, Franconia, Whitefield, Twin Mountain, Sugar Hill and Lisbon.

U.S. Route 302 - which includes Main Street - was closed. 

In some good news for the North Country an old family business is coming back to life.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Starting in 1931 Neil Tillotson made his fortune manufacturing natural latex products including balloons and later gloves.

That allowed him to purchase the Balsams Grand Resort.

Tillotson died in 2001 and a  latex plant located near the resort closed in 2010.

But Tillotson’s son, Rick, purchased the equipment and recently bought a 103,000 square foot building in Colebrook.

The body of a Massachusetts man who fell into a crevasse in the Tuckerman Ravine in April was recovered early Monday, according to a news release from the White Mountain National Forest.

Norman Priebatsch, 67, tripped while hiking and slid into a deep crevasse on April 1st.

While a searcher was partially lowered into the crevasse shortly after he fell the body couldn’t be seen and experts concluded he couldn’t have survived such a fall.

Additional efforts were suspended out of fear that a rescuer could be hurt or killed, officials said.

It is going to take a little longer than expected for the state of New Hampshire to decide whether it can save money by having its prisons run by a private firm.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

By July the state’s department of administrative services had hoped to finish its report evaluating proposals from four companies interested in running a private prison.

But Linda Hodgdon, the commissioner for administrative services, says there is so much information the department is looking for a consultant to help sort through it.

Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, has joined only four North Country members of the House in supporting a bill that would give a business a tax credit when it donates to a parochial or private school.

As NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein reported the Senate Wednesday passed House Bill 1607.

Advocates of the bill say it gives less wealthy families more choices in where they wish to send their children.

North Country representatives split along party lines in voting Tuesday on a bill that would allow towns and cities to have a one-year moratorium on having refugees settle in their jurisdictions.

Seven were in favor. Seven against. Two were excused from voting.

As NHPR has reported the bill previously passed the House but had trouble when it reached the Senate.

The Associated Press is reporting the bill was revived:

The majority of North Country representatives voted in favor of resurrecting a bill that would require women wanting an abortion to wait 24 hours.

Such a bill passed the House  in March.

But then the Senate killed it last month.

New Hampshire Fish and Game officials say they had to rescue three hikers and a dog over the weekend.  The hikers ran into trouble on Little Haystack Mountain in Grafton County.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen has more.

(Jensen) A 29-year-old Manchester man used his cell phone late Saturday to call for help after it got dark before he could finish hiking down from Little Haystack Mountain.

And he lacked a flashlight.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The walls and the hallways are largely empty today in one of New Hampshire’s oldest and grandest hotels.  As part of the plan to rebuild and renovate the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, the hotel’s new owners auctioned off many items this past Saturday.  The goal was to sell everything but photos and items of historical significance. 

Senator John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, was one of nine Senators who voted to kill a resolution voicing support of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

The motion to kill the resolution failed 15 – 9.

Then, the motion of support was approved on a voice vote for which there is no record of how senators voted.

The Colebrook Planning Board has called a special meeting May 22 to try and resolve an issue the new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort say is delaying its renovation.

The owners,  Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert, are asking the Planning Board to approve a subdivision that would separate a 28-acre parcel from the roughly 1,000 acres that currently includes the hotel, grounds and golf course.

Less than two weeks after Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, said he wouldn’t seek another term representing the North Country two Democrats say they would like to take his place.

They are Jeff Woodburn and Paul Ingersoll, each of whom has previously served in the House of Representatives.

Woodburn, 47, is a free-lance reporter and owns White Mountain News.com.  Before that he had a real estate business focusing on historical buildings and was a teacher. The Whitefield native lives with his family in Dalton.

A North Country  town could be the site of a privately run prison, should state officials decide to outsource its prison operations.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch are planning a huge renovation.

But before that can happen there is a lot of stuff they need to get rid of from a ski lift to pots and pans and that means an auction.

A North Country firm has been fined $192,000 over concerns about the potential for oil polluting the Androscoggin River.

Fatal crash in Dummer

Apr 27, 2012

State police say a Connecticut man who formerly lived in Berlin died yesterday in a one-vehicle crash in Dummer.

The victim was identified as 40-year-old Steven Lambert of Manchester, Conn.

According to a news release Lambert lost control of his 2009 Ford Escape on Route 116 near the Route 110A intersection just before midnight.

The vehicle struck several trees and Lambert died at the scene of head and chest injuries.

Sen. John Gallus, who has represented the North Country in the Senate for about a decade, is retiring.

“I’ve been in the legislature going on 13 years and it is time to call it quits and go fishing,” he told NHPR.

After serving in the House, Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, was elected to the Senate in November 2002 to represent  District  One.

The core of district is the North Country but it runs south to the Waterville Valley.

He said changes to the district were not a factor.

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.

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