North Country

Heading Down The Connecticut In A Corker Of A Boat

Jul 24, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

When it comes to what floats your boat there are many possibilities.

For a retired North Country doctor it is literally corks.

About 65,000 wine corks are keeping his home-built catamaran afloat on the Connecticut River and on a recent morning at the Bedell State Park near Haverhill a group of teenagers was transfixed when they saw it in the water.

“Look at that guys, the boat is made out of wine corks!"

"No way."

"You drank all the wine yourself, right?"

"That is so sick."


North Country Events

Jul 23, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

The Department of Energy has released a long-awaited draft of its Environmental Impact Statement examining the Northern Pass project as well as alternatives including complete or partial burial.

The agency found that full burial of the lines would have the smallest impact visually but would be about twice as expensive.

However, it would also provide about 1,500 jobs, almost twice as many as putting the lines overhead.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A series of violent thunderstorms struck the North Country Sunday evening with the worst hitting Littleton and Bethlehem just before 7 p.m., said Michael Cempa with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

“We were indicating fifty to sixty mile per hour gusts on our radar.”

Within minutes dozens of trees were felled, often blocking roads.

At one point one lane of Interstate 93 in Bethlehem was closed by a downed tree.

Nicole McGrath and her daughter were just trying to drive to their home in Bethlehem when one of those trees hit their car.

North Country Events

Jul 16, 2015

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 


A 61-year-old woman has suffered serious injuries after losing control of her all-terrain vehicle while riding on a steep, rocky section of trail in Columbia.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says Lise Nienhouse of Farmington suffered the non-life-threatening injuries when she fell off her ATV as it rolled downhill on the Cree Notch Trail. It happened around 2:15 p.m. Thursday.

The crash took place about 4 miles from the nearest paved road. A riding companion called for help on a cellphone.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

State officials have again found fault with a federally required review of Northern Pass' potential impact on historical sites.

This is the second time within a month that the state’s Division of Historical Resources has taken issue with the federal review called Section 106.

As part of the permitting process, the Department of Energy must look at the potential impact to historical sites or views along Northern Pass’s proposed route. 

North Country Events

Jul 9, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR


  The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Body cameras recorded the scene as two Haverhill police officers shot and killed a Canterbury man Monday in Bath,  according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

The man, identified as Hagen Esty-Lennon, 42, was hit six times in the head and torso, according to Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Andrew.

The statement said Esty-Lennon crashed his vehicle about 4 p.m. on an abandoned bridge at the intersection of U.S. Route 302 and Route 112.

Medical personnel arrived and told police the driver had a knife.

A police officer from Haverhill fatally shot a man Monday afternoon in Bath, according to the attorney general’s office.

Neither the circumstances nor the identity of the 42-year-old man was released pending an autopsy. However, the attorney general said two officers from Haverhill were at the scene and more details would be available later today.

mwmn via Flickr CC /

The organization behind the “Ride the Wilds” ATV network in the North Country is in talks with Northern Pass about getting a multimillion-dollar donation. But the founder of the group says accepting such a donation would not indicate Ride the Wilds endorses the controversial project.

Under the terms being discussed Northern Pass would give the North Country Off Highway Recreational Vehicle Coalition as much as $500,000 immediately, along with about 1,100 acres of land in the Diamond Pond area in Stewartstown and Colebrook. That land is valued at about $1.5 million.

Flickr Creative Commons/Mike Bitzenhofer

All four North Country hospitals said Tuesday that they have finally come to a long sought after agreement to work together to reduce costs and provide better service.

It may be possible, they said, to save money in areas ranging from purchasing to not duplicating services.

The hospitals are the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, Littleton Regional Healthcare, the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook and the Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

New Hampshire officials are not happy with the quality of a federal report that is supposed to gauge the Northern Pass’ impact on historic places and landscapes.

The critics are from the state’s Division of Historical Resources and the subject is what’s called a Section 106 review.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Starting Monday veterans in the North Country will have access to a new VA clinic in Littleton.

It’s in a remodeled section of the old Littleton Hospital and with 10,000 square feet it is almost twice as large as the clinic vets have been visiting.

“The big differences are the new services we are offering which would be audiology, PT and home-based primary care. Those are services that we previously did not have available in the Littleton area,” says Dr. Hugh Huizenga, the chief of primary care for the White River Junction VA Hospital, which is the parent facility.

North Country Events

Jun 25, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Boy Scout Troop Leader Dies On Crawford Path

Jun 22, 2015

 A Maryland man leading a Boy Scout troop in the North Country died yesterday, apparently due to a heart attack, says New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Vernon R. Rippeon of Westminster collapsed about one and one-half miles up the Crawford Path in Bean’s Purchase.

CPR was started immediately but Rippeon, 51, died on the trail. 

Rippeon and three other adults were leading a Boy Scout troop that included his two sons. The group planned on a five-day hike staying at several Appalachian Mountain Club huts.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A radical event took place Saturday in a most traditional setting: a tiny, white, classic New England church in Shelburne. Mary Catherine White was ordained and now considers herself a Roman Catholic priest.

With about three dozen - sometimes tearful and proudly independent friends and relatives watching - White became one of just over 200 ordained women worldwide who say they are Roman Catholic priests. The Vatican says they are not priests because  priests have always been - and must always be - men.

North Country Events

Jun 18, 2015
Chis Jensen for NHPR


The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.


A social service agency that provides heating-fuel assistance and other funding for North Country residents is closing five of its eight walk-in offices to save administrative costs.

Michael Coughlin, CEO of Tri-County Community Action Program, tells the Valley News the closings are planned this month. He said the same services will be provided, but electronic mail and regular mail will be used more to reach clients.

Staying open are offices in Ashland, Tamworth and Berlin.

Closing are offices in Colebrook, Groveton, Littleton, Woodsville and Lebanon.


An important part of evaluating the impact of the Northern Pass project is a federal requirement for a historical review.

It’s called a Section 106 and it is supposed to determine whether the construction of Northern Pass – including the visual impact - will adversely affect any of the state’s historical sites.

It calls for public involvement – and the state’s congressional delegation - has said the Northern Pass review overall should be transparent. 

ATV Crash Requires Helicopter Evacuation

Jun 12, 2015
Courtesy of New Hampshire Fish and Game

 A 59-year-old man was seriously injured Friday in an ATV crash in the North Country, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.The crash occurred about 1 p.m. on the Blueberry Hill Trail near Stratford when Timothy Flanders of Hill, New Hampshire, swerved to avoid a water hole and rolled his ATV several times, said Conservation Officer Glen Lucas. He suffered injuries to his right leg, chest and head and was taken by helicopter to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

For a little over two decades the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network – based in Bethlehem - has helped artists and business people in the North Country. Thursday night – in Berlin - it opened its second center.

The WREN Works Maker Studio is focused on artists and people who would like to be artists, says Marilinne Cooper, WREN’s executive director. And, its 4,000 square feet is filled with equipment to please them.

North Country Events

Jun 11, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Sean Hurley

With more than 4000 miles of hiking trails, it's not too hard to get away from it all here in New Hampshire. But if you want to get even further away, you could head out on the Cohos Trail, one of the wildest, most remote trails in New England. I recently went for a hike on the Cohos with trail founder, Kim Nilsen.

In the dirt lot at the base of Owl's Head mountain, 68 year old Kim Nilsen pulls a weaved pack basket, made by his daughter, over his shoulders.  

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Gov. Hassan was in the North Country Tuesday to praise students at Profile School in Bethlehem who gave up their senior trip to help a beloved principal recently diagnosed with cancer.

 “You are wonderful examples of character not only for everybody in New Hampshire but throughout the country.”

Last month the students learned that Courtney Vashaw, their principal, was being treated for cancer.

Almost immediately the 42 seniors got together. The question was whether to give Vashaw about $8,000 saved for a class trip to a resort in upstate New York.

Long Haul: Injured Hiker Carried For Seven Hours

Jun 8, 2015
Flickr Creative Commons/Yoann Jezequel

Rescuers in the North Country had to carry a Massachusetts man for seven hours on Sunday after he injured his leg hiking in a remote area.

The 40-year-old Massachusetts man was hiking with his wife near the junction of the Six Husbands and Great Gulf trails when – about noon – he hurt his leg crossing a river.

There was no cell coverage and another hiker – an employee of the Appalachian Mountain Club - had to walk four and one-half miles to call for help.

Northern Pass Opponents Plan For The Next Phase

Jun 8, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Organizers of the opposition to Northern Pass – along with a state senator - on Sunday said it is time to prepare to persuade state regulators that - in its current form - the project is a mistake.

About 120 people filled the Easton Town Hall.

The gathering was called because Northern Pass will soon be asking the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to approve the controversial project.

Without that approval, the project can’t move ahead.

Anyone can provide comments to the SEC.

Chris Jensen for NHPR


A federal grant is allowing small companies in the North Country to get some financial help to develop their businesses, says Karl Stone, the spokesman for the Northern Community Investment Corporation

Stone said a total of $30,000 is available for projects including education, training, marketing, sales, finance, accounting and website development.

Under the program the federal funds will cover 70 percent of a project and the business owner must contribute 30 percent.

North Country Events

Jun 4, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

Thursday June 4 3:00-4:30 PM 2245 Main Street. White Mountain Science will be on hand, helping kids make their creations jump into action. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit