North Country

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The decisions on whether the controversial Northern Pass hydro-electric project goes ahead will be made by state and federal agencies. But a single person will make a crucial decision.

FlickR by AskJoanne

A biology professor from Rhode Island got a big, furry surprise recently when driving in the North Country.

It is called a mountain lion.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Jim Chace is a biology professor at a university in Rhode Island.

He was driving south on Route 3 from Lancaster towards Whitefield just south of the White Mountains Regional High School.

It was daylight.

There weren’t any cars ahead of him.

Then, it happened.

“Smack right in front of my car, running out ahead across the road was a large cat.”

Chris Jensen for NHPR

In a move that would be good for the region’s wood-based economy Maine Energy Systems of Bethel, Maine plans to start building automated, wood-pellet boilers in the United States instead of importing them from Europe, says Les Otten, founder and chief executive officer.

“We will do the majority of the manufacture and assembly in the United States,” he told NHPR. “There is no reason we can’t be competitive globally.”

North Country legislators were almost evenly divided about whether to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of a bill that would give tax credits for businesses that make donations to not-for-profit schools.

As NHPR has reported Lynch said “the proposed bill would siphon public money away from public schools and give it to private ones. He said the budget gaps the plan would create would have to be covered by increases in local property taxes.

North Country representatives overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortions.

As NHPR reported Lynch vetoed the bill saying it was unnecessary because such procedures are already prohibited under federal law.

The governor also expressed concern about a provision that would require a second opinion before a woman could receive the procedure even if her life were threatened by the pregnancy.

Chris Jensen for nhpr

For three years Coos County has been at the bottom of a list of the healthiest counties in the state.

But now groups from the North Country have decided to do something about it.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Each spring for the last three years health care workers in the North Country have taken it on the nose.

Spring is when the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute releases its ranking of the health of individual counties nationwide.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy says the names of people who commented - for and against the Northern Pass project – were inadvertently removed from the agency web site.

Originally most of the 1,700 people who commented had their names and towns included.

But recently that information was removed, replaced with a note saying:

“The comment information presented below has had the personal information obfuscated for privacy as requested by the original author.”

Florida Firm Plans To Buy Old Groveton Paper Plant

Jun 27, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

A Florida businessman says he plans to buy the closed Groveton paper mill, tear down most of the buildings and look for buyers or tenants for the remaining structures.

David Boshart, who heads up Groveton River Development of Naples, Florida, said he hopes to close on the 107-acre property in about two weeks.

The current owner is Groveton Acquisitions LLC, the parent company of which is based in New Jersey.

“We are going to preserve as many buildings as we can for lease or resale,” Boshart said in an interview.

Injured Boy Rescued On Mount Washington

Jun 25, 2012
N.H. Fish and Game

A 15-year-old was carried off Mount Washington Monday after he fell and injured his leg, according to a news release from Fish and Game.

Conservation Officer Matt Holmes said Michael Hery of Peabody, Massachusetts, was heading down the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail Monday morning when he fell.

Hery was traveling with his father, Peter, and a friend and the father went to the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds hut for help.

Employees of the hut then helped the youth get back to the hut where his leg was put in a splint.

Voting In The North Country: The 2012 Contenders

Jun 25, 2012

Here’s how this year’s election in the North Country – including the September 11th primary - is shaping up, according to filings with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

* Longtime Coos County Commissioner Bing Judd is being challenged by Rick Samson - also a Republican – who is deeply involved in the opposition to the Northern Pass hydro-electric project. There is no Democratic opponent.

 * Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath faces another Republican, Gerard L. Thibodeau of Rumney in the primary.  Democrat Beth Funicella of Jackson has also filed.

Four Motorcyclists Die In One Day

Jun 15, 2012

With Laconia Bike Week underway four motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes Friday including one in the North Country, according to news releases from the state police.

The latest occurred about 4:15 on the Everett Turnpike near Exit 8 in Nashua. Police said Michael Loverme, 24, of Merrimack, lost control of his motorcycle, crashed and died of “severe trauma.” The accident in the North Country occurred on Route 16 near Dummer Pond Road about 3:15 p.m.

Can A Doc Prescribe Play for Weight Loss?

Jun 13, 2012
Jenni from the block/FlickR

Faced with a serious problem with overweight children two unusual partners are literally trying a new prescription in the North Country – and they don’t see any reason it couldn’t work statewide.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

South of children playing….

That’s a sound healthcare professionals would like to hear more often: Kids outdoors running and jumping and generally goofing around.

 Just like the good old days before the sedentary seduction of video games and television.

A group of power providers that would compete with the Northern Pass says the project can’t make money without some kind of renewable energy, government subsidy, an assertion  Northern Pass disputes.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

A group of New England power generators is worried Northern Pass will try to get federal or state subsidies by persuading government officials to declare its electricity is renewable.

Such hydro-electric power is not currently eligible for subsidies.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For the first time in more than a decade a paper plant in Gorham – once thought to be dead - is hiring workers.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Just over a year ago a New York investment firm, Patriarch Partners, bought the closed Gorham paper mill and promised a new future.

The Gorham facility was the last paper plant standing in the North Country and many doubted Patriarch’s CEO, Lynn Tilton, could make a go of it where others had failed.

Bankrupt Berlin Steel Firm May Be Born Again

Jun 11, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

A North Country businessman plans to resuscitate a steel fabricating company in Berlin that closed earlier this year putting about 100 people out of work.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Whitefield businessman David Presby is buying the building and land once owned by Isaacson Structural Steel in Berlin.

He expects to close the deal early this week.

Presby says he plans to diversify and make more than the structural steel used in new buildings.

Livermore: A Postcard From A Ghost Town

Jun 8, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Beginning around 1876 the town of Livermore was a hectic, noisy logging town in Northern Grafton County not far from Bartlett.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen went in search of the town’s history and sends this postcard.

It is a tale of a hard daily life, a flood, smallpox and becoming ghost town.

 

Sound of walking…

“My name is Peter Crane, I live in Bartlett, New Hampshire, we’re here on the Sawyer Road on the way to into what was once the village of Livermore, New Hampshire.”

Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, was one of six senators who voted against a voter-identification bill.

 Nevertheless on Wednesday SB 289 passed 17-6.

In the House it passed 255 – 103 with 10 North Country representatives voting in favor of it.

Five voted against and one was excused from voting.

Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, was among 17 Senators voting in favor of a constitutional amendment – CACR 12 - that would have given voters the chance to change the state constitution and give the Legislature more control over public school funding. 

But while eight North Country representatives also voted for it in the House Wednesday the amendment did not have the three-fifths majority needed.

Seven North Country representatives voted against it and one was excused from voting.

Ten of sixteen North Country representatives – and Sen. John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin – voted in favor of letting New Hampshire voters decide whether to add a ban on personal income taxes to the state’s constitution.

As NHPR reported on the House and the Senate on Wednesday passed CACR-13, the proposed constitutional amendment. 

The House passed the measure by a vote of 256-110.  The Senate passed it 19-4.

wheany / flickr

Thirty-five teens died in car crashes in New Hampshire from 2006 through 2010.  A new study estimates 14 of them would not have died because they wouldn't have been in crashes if the state had made it harder for teens to get driver’s licenses.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the insurance industry.

The institute looked at death rates nationwide. Then, it looked at how hard it is for a teen to get a license in each state.

The analysis covered 1996 – 2007.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Gov. Lynch has signed a bill to establish a fire training site in Bethlehem.

It will allow a long-sought $550,000 training facility.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sound of fire departments being dispatched for fire in Bethlehem…

For decades North Country fire fighters rushing to fires such this one last month first had to go to Concord for training and practice.

And for years fire chiefs have dreamed of having a training facility above the notches, says Jack Anderson, the fire chief in Bethlehem.

Flood Warning for North Country

Jun 2, 2012

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.

Flash Flood Warning In North Country

May 29, 2012

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.

Black Hawk Rescues Heat Victim From 4,000 Footer

May 27, 2012

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. 

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