North Country

Chris Jensen for NHPR

About 20 people who are part of  “Occupy The North Country” gathered outside the post office in Littleton Saturday afternoon.

The idea was to show solidarity with occupy groups throughout the country, said Sean Rutherford, of Littleton.

He said there were wide-ranging concerns from the cost of college to health-care reform.

Rutherford said the North-Country group is new and only about two weeks ago started a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/OccupyTheNorthCountryNH) to communicate.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Funding was approved today for the new federal prison in Berlin and soon it will be open season on several hundred new jobs. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

With President Obama signing a bill that includes funding for the new federal prison in Berlin hiring can finally begin.

The prison will have about 300 employees. That will include about 200 new hires.

The jobs have good pay and benefits.

But the application process is complicated.

The Boston Globe is reporting there was a small earthquake Wednesday morning near Conway.

The Globe said it was "A tiny, 1.6-magnitude earthquake" that was "small enough that it may have gone unnoticed."

The newspaper said: "The earthquake, with a depth of 15 miles, was recorded just before 11 a.m. by the Weston Observatory at Boston College. The epicenter was 8 miles southeast of Conway, N.H., at the coordinates 43.885 degrees north, 71.040 degrees west. "

The new federal prison in Berlin – which has been sitting empty – could finally be funded this week, providing a huge economic boost to the North Country.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

Funding for the federal prison in Berlin is likely to be approved this week, according to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

“We’re very excited because there has been an agreement reached between the House and Senate on the bill that includes funding for the Berlin prison.”

Shaheen sees it as a done deal.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Northern Pass hydro-electric project is interested in buying a section of land associated with The Balsams Resort. If such a sale went through it’s likely to create a furor in the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

One of the companies interested in purchasing a slice of the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch is Northern Pass.

“They have identified land that they would like.”

That’s Tom Deans.

He’s the president of the Tillotson Corporation. It has been hoping to stem financial losses by selling the resort.

On Saturday, December 3rdat 3 p.m. there will be a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet at the Berlin Junior High Auditorium.

The classic holiday tale will be performed by the Robinson Ballet Company (http://www.robinsonballet.org/index.html) of Bangor, Maine, according to a news release from the St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts (http://www.stkieranarts.org/).

The tickets are $12 for adults and $6 and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath says he tried unsuccessfully to keep Meredith Hatfield as the state’s consumer advocate on public utility matters because she has been “independent minded” and helped consumers.

But last week the Republican controlled Executive Council voted 3 – 2 against re-appointing Hatfield who represents consumer interests before the Public Utilities Commission.

The Union Leader says Coos County Administrator Suzanne Collins has the 35thhighest pension benefit in the state and her $93,281 represents “the highest benefit for a state, county or local public employee who is not an educator. “

For the full article and list go here: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20111109/NEWS06/711099991

 

  

A group of North Country leaders has sent Sen. Kelly Ayotte a letter expressing their unhappiness over her voting against a bill that - among many other things - included funding for the federal prison in Berlin.

Last week Sen. Kelly Ayotte voted against a wide-ranging bill that included about $28 million in funding to open the new federal prison in Berlin.

The prison would bring about 330 jobs to the area.

A 31-year-old man killed in a hunting accident in Lisbon this morning was shot by a hunter in another party, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The victim, Kenneth Brunelle of Marlboro, Mass. was hunting with his father and brother off Mt. Eustis Road in Lisbon when the accident occurred about 8 a.m.

Early reports said Brunelle was shot in the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The name of the alleged shooter was not released.

The accident is being investigated by Fish and Game and the New Hampshire State Police.

 

A Massachusetts man who injured his ankle spent Saturday night alone on Mount Eisenhower in freezing temperatures before being rescued late Sunday afternoon.

According to a news release from Fish and Game Sergio Mori, 41, of Brookline, was coming down the Edmands’s Path when he hurt his ankle.

He couldn’t walk and didn’t have cell phone coverage so wound up spending the night on the mountain. While temperatures were below freezing Mori was “very well prepared for his hike,” according to Fish and Game.

A new federal grant is going to be helping small businesses in the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

About $400,000 is now available in grants under a federal program aimed at helping  small businesses in Grafton, Coos and Carroll Counties.

Molly White is with the Northern Community Investment Corporation in Lancaster. It is administering the funds.

“Typically I find that most business owners know their type of business or the industry they are in very well but they have trouble with the other types of support services such as marketing or web design.”

Chris Jensen / NHPR

A free environmental symposium dealing with topics including reinventing local farms, grassroots solar energy, the effect of acid rain on songbirds in the state and “agritourism” is planned at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem on the afternoon of Saturday, November 12th.

The goal is not just to provide presentations but give participants the tools they need to make changes in their communities and lives, said Elizabeth Lokey Aldrich, the chair of the Sustainability Studies Department at the school

The Berlin Daily Sun is reporting there will be a job fair in Berlin next Thursday (Nov. 10th) for the new biomass plant but the construction workers must either be union members or agree to temporarily pay union dues.

“The job fair is being held by the New Hampshire Building Trades Council which will be providing union workers for the construction of the facility,” the newspaper reported.

The New Hampshire Union Leader is reporting that Berlin mayor Paul Grenier is not happy that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) voted against a bill that included funding to allow the new federal prison to finally open. “I am deeply angered, saddened and mystified that Senator Ayotte voted against creating 332 jobs,” Grenier told the newspaper. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) voted in favor of the bill.

For the first time Public Service of New Hampshire has statewide competition from another utility company. That could be good news for some consumers and bad news for PSNH.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

In 1996 the state passed a law that gave consumers the right to pick the company from which they wanted to buy electricity.

But the pickings were so slim as to be non-existent.

In short nobody gave Public Service of New Hampshire any statewide competition for residential customers and PSNH currently dominates the market.

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is opening an office in Berlin next week, according to a news release.

“This location will serve as a base of operations for my Senate office’s Coos County outreach efforts, with a staff member available to provide assistance to those who need help on matters related to the federal government,” Ayotte said.

The office will be located at 19 Pleasant Street, Suite 13B, Berlin. Office hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday On other days meetings will be by appointment.

The Boston Globe is reporting that an official working for the controversial Northern Pass project is hosting a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“According to an invitation provided by the liberal Center for American Progress, Greg Butler, the senior vice president and general counsel for The Northern Pass, is one of the co-chairs of a $500-a-head fundraiser for Romney at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan this Wednesday evening,” the newspaper reported.

A 49-year-old Stratford woman was seriously injured Tuesday morning in a crash on Route 3, according to a news release from Troop F.

The release said Donna Malone, 49, was driving south through North Stratford when her car crossed the center line and struck the trailer of a tractor-trailer headed north.

 Malone suffered “critical injuries” and was taken by helicopter Dartmouth Medical Center in Lebanon.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

Trooper First Class Paul Rella of Troop F is investigating the cause of the crash.

A state trooper chasing a speeder early Saturday morning in the North Country lost control of his cruiser and crashed, allowing the speeder to escape, according to a news release from Troop F.

The release said the chase began about 12:55 am in Franconia when the trooper attempted to stop a gray or silver BMW coupe for a traffic violation.

The vehicle fled on Route 116, a particularly twisty and challenging road, towards Easton.

The Northern Pass electric project is searching for a new, less controversial path through the North Country.

But a small group of landowners is determined to block the utility’s plan even though it means giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sound of piano music.

At 65 years of age Lynne Placey gives piano lessons.

She lives with a cat and a gray-muzzled dog in a small house in Stewartstown.

And she hopes she’s blocking the path of a corporate giant.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Conservation Law Foundation says the U.S. Department of Energy isn’t providing enough public scrutiny of its environmental impact study on the Northern Pass.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The environmental impact statement is an important part of the Department of Energy’s decision whether to approve the 180 mile long hydroelectric transmission project.

That’s why the Conservation Law Foundation is so worried about how the study will be carried out.

Rebecca Brown / Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust

Almost 1,100 acres of land in the North Country will be protected against development under a new conservation easement that will benefit loggers, people who enjoy the woods and perhaps most important of all – a devastated bat population. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The easement will permanently protect more than 1,000 acres of land on Gardner Mountain in Lyman.

It’s an important habitat for wildlife, but especially so for bats.

Emily Brunkhurst, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game says bats gather in the area to mate.

Three college students were rescued early Tuesday morning after being stranded on a cliff in the Franconia Notch.

Three rock climbers were rescued early Tuesday morning from the Cannon Cliffs in the Franconia Notch, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The three men were identified as Jonathan Merritt, age 18, of Lander, Wyoming; Jason Reitman, age 18, of Potomac, Maryland; and Alexander MacMillan, age 19, of Boston, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is expected to announce new rules that will raise the bar on the definition of green energy.

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports that shift could cost NH electric producers millions of dollars.

Massachusetts is on track to pass new regulations aimed at cutting the amount of greenhouse gasses going into the atmosphere.

The focus is on power from biomass – basically, burning wood to make electricity.

Dwayne Breger of the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources, says there are two good reasons to get the most out of every tree.

Kestrel Aircraft Company

Last week Berlin got the news that a new company – which officials declined to name - could be bringing at least 150 manufacturing jobs to the city. NHPR’s Chris Jensen has talked to the chief executive officer of that company.

The North Country could be getting into the high-tech end of the aircraft industry.

Kestrel Aircraft Company of Brunswick Maine is seriously considering setting up a plant in Berlin.

“Well, Berlin is one of the locations we have been looking at and there are a number of very interesting attributes there.”

AG Asks For Help

Aug 19, 2011
Dan Gorenstein / NHPR

The 11 year old girl’s body was pulled from the Connecticut River near her home six days after she went missing.

The AG’s Office has established a reward fund at the Northway Bank in Gorham.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young says even the smallest observation could provide the necessary clue to solve this tragedy.

“We are building a puzzle here. So we need the pieces to be put together to get the big picture, to make the determination, what happened to her.”

Several new records were set Saturday for first ascents of the Mount Washington Auto Road involving roller skis, a unicycle and driving backwards.

 “I felt quite comfortable to four-mile but from there up it was getting hard,” said Sue Wemyss, 51, of Randolph. She arrived first, skiing up the 7.6 miles in two hours and 15 seconds.

 While the weather was mostly clear the last few miles were in windy, foggy conditions.

 “I really didn’t know where I was the last mile or so,” she said. “When I came to where the service road cuts off I knew I was close.”

A 70-year man from Clarksville was killed Saturday morning in a crash on Route 3 near Colebrook, according to state police.

 The victim was Robert L. Eidell, who was southbound in a 2007 Chevrolet HHR when it collided with a 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe sport utility driven by Robert J. Queen, 74, of Woburn, Massachusetts.

 Police said their investigation indicates the accident occurred when Queen “drifted into the southbound lane” a little after 9 a.m. just south of the state-run rest area.

When it comes to living a series of gritty soap operas, it would be hard to beat John Loven's life.

He’s a probation and parole officer for Northern Carroll County.

The world he sees things could not be further from the hotels, ski resorts and lives led by most people.

In the first of an occasional series looking at a day-in-the-life of some of the people who work in North Country, NHPR’s Chris Jensen followed John Loven as he made his rounds.

 “Good morning.”

  “Good morning.”

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