North Country

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

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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.

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.

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

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LEGO CLUB AT BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
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 www.bethlehemlibrary.org

    

A North Country grant is helping an organization that works with abused and neglected children to get more volunteers.

The group is Court Appointed Special Advocates, more commonly known as CASA.

It trains volunteers to represent abused children in court as guardians ad litem.

CASA has offices statewide, including Coos County.  And right now the organization has about 14 volunteers in Coos, but it’s simply not enough, says CASA official Jen Buteau.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Summer has made its unofficial debut and for many that means time on the water. And, on a recent Sunday, that included more than 100 canoes and kayaks slipping down the Connecticut River.

It called “Paddle the Border” and it started 12 years ago.

“This was started as a way for community groups from either side of the river to work together to show our shared asset: the Connecticut River,” says Mike Thomas, of the Newbury Conservation Commission.  

North Country Events

May 28, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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Chris Jensen for NHPR

Balsams resort developer Les Otten said Wednesday night that he is more confident that the ambitious project portrayed as providing a huge economic boost to the North Country will move forward...

And, he said he hopes construction will begin before the end of the year.

Otten appeared in Colebrook to update the Coos County Planning Board on the project and answer questions from about five dozen people in the audience.

North Country Events

May 21, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

CALENDAR OF EVENTS: The newsletter typically announces events in the next week. The calendar shows you events in the coming months.

North Country Events

May 14, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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MICHAEL KAPPEL/FLICKR CC

    

Within the next two months the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to release its draft report on the environmental impact of the controversial Northern Pass project.

That federal report could propose some changes in the route and a top Northern Pass official says the company has been looking at options should modifications be needed...

The issue came up during a recent conference call with analysts.

One of them asked about a 1,090 megawatt project recently listed with ISO New England.

North Country Events

May 6, 2015

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Chris Jensen for NHPR

The N.H. House has approved a bill that would allow a state-backed $28 million loan to the developer of the now-closed Balsams resort.

North Country legislators including Bill Hatch, a Democrat from Gorham, urged its passage.

“Please know that we are in dire need of any kind of economic development.”

Senate Bill 30 allows an unincorporated area – such as that around the Balsams - to become a tax district.

That alone doesn’t provide any money to the Balsams.

MICHAEL KAPPEL/FLICKR CC

    

Assuming the Northern Pass project is approved, it will not be fully operational until the first half of 2019, Eversource Energy official Lee Olivier said during a conference call with analysts.

That’s a delay of about six months, which Olivier said was due in part to an extended regulatory process.

When the project was announced late in 2010 officials said it should be operating by 2015. But that was before it became a highly controversial project opposed - in its current form - by politicians including Gov. Hassan.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A bill that opens the door to a state-backed loan to the developer of the Balsams Resort got a big boost Thursday when the House of Representatives Finance Committee unanimously voted it ought to pass. That allows it to go before the full House.

“I hope the House will see it as the great economic development tool that the Finance Committee did,” said Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Democrat from Nashua, who is on the committee.

The bill allows the formation of a tax district in the unincorporated area around the closed Balsams Resort.

Sal Falko via Flickr cc

North Country reps were about evenly divided on whether to allow casino gambling, but the division wasn’t along party lines.

As NHPR reported  on Wednesday the House again rejected casino gambling, killing SB 113 by a vote of 208 to 156.

North Country reps were almost evenly split on whether to allow concealed weapons to be carried without a permit.

As NHPR reported Senate Bill 116 would repeal the law requiring a permit for concealed carry – “unless such person is otherwise prohibited.”

North Country Events

Apr 30, 2015

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WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS, LITTLETON

Thursday April 30 1:00 PM Littleton Area Senior Center, 77 Riverglen Lane. Welcome an Arctic Fox, a Wallaby, a giant tortoise, a monitor lizard, a mini pig and a pigmy goat.  Free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.gcscc.org/littleton.html.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The approval process for Northern Pass is ramping up and so is the battle for public support.

Last month Northern Pass and its parent company Eversource Energy donated $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used on conservation projects in New Hampshire.

But there’s some controversy over it now and NHPR’s Chris Jensen has been looking into the donation and why some conservation groups are reluctant to accept the money.  He joins us now.

Birdman of Pondicherry

Apr 27, 2015
Sean Hurley

At sunrise on May 9th birders from around the Granite State will converge on the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson for International Migratory Bird Day. Local naturalist and bird expert David Govatski will be on hand to help identify the nearly 100 species of birds arriving at the refuge, considered one of the top birding spots in the state. NHPR's Sean Hurley recently toured the area with Govatski and sends us this. 

Officials from Northern Pass are complaining that opponents have used misleading elements in a new YouTube video about its plan to run power lines through Concord if the controversial project is approved.

The video argues unless the power lines are buried there will be an adverse visual impact on Concord.

But Northern Pass says the video exaggerates the impact and has misleading material.

A major complaint is a scene showing a playground at Alton Woods without any electric towers.

North Country Events

Apr 23, 2015
Chris Jensen for NHPR

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SENATOR WOODBURN HOSTS GRAFTON COUNTRY TOUR WITH ENERGY LEADERS

  

A North Country group says $200,000 provided by the Northern Pass is now available to businesses in Coos County hoping to maintain or increase employment.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Those who want to revive the Balsams resort went before the House Finance Committee Tuesday arguing in favor of a $28 million state-backed loan for developer Les Otten. And to nobody’s surprise the hearing was packed with supporters...

Many came down from the North Country, thrilled with the possibility of a huge economic boost and supporters included Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, who represents the North Country.

“This project is so important to the North Country you couldn’t believe it.”

North Country Events

Apr 16, 2015

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Withdrawing water from the Androscoggin River to provide snowmaking for the Balsams resort would adversely affect 15 hydro-electric facilities downstream, the Brookfield Renewable Energy Group says in a filing with the state’s Department of Environmental Services.

And, Brookfield can’t support the project unless there is a guarantee that the developers of the Balsams will compensate it for any lost revenues, according to a letter sent to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

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