North Country

The Road Agent

Feb 13, 2014
Sean Hurley

In the summer, the Road Agent in a small New Hampshire town will handle everything from ditches to tree-work to regrading.  But in the winter, there's pretty much one job.  Keeping the roads clear of snow and ice.  As this winter storm bears down, NHPR's Sean Hurley caught up with the local Road Agent in his hometown of Thornton to see how the town plows will handle the fresh snow.

John Kubik, Road Agent for the Town of Thornton, glances down at the inch of snow gathering around his boots.

North Country Events

Feb 12, 2014

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

HAVERHILL CORNER LIBRARY PRESENTS PROGRAM ABOUT ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Wednesdays February 12 and 19 at 7 PM at the Haverhill Congregational Church Parish Hall. Haverhill resident David Pruitt will present. Programs will explore aspects of Lincoln's life. For more information visit http://hliba.blogspot.com.

MINDFULLNESS CLASS FOR TEENS, BETHLEHEM

More than two years ago the Balsams closed, putting about 300 full and part-time employees out of work.

But now Les Otten, a Maine businessman and former owner of the American Skiing Company, is working on reopening the Balsams.  He says he has an agreement with the resort’s two owners, Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse.

There were five snowmobile crashes in the North Country Saturday, including two on rental machines, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Three of the five accidents resulted in injuries and in two cases they were described as serious, according to Sergeant Mark Ober.

One happened about 11 a.m. near Whitefield. It involved Cydney Johnson, 42, of Alton who was on a guided tour. It is thought she accelerated by mistake, causing her snowmobile to hit a tree. She was taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

North Country Events

Feb 6, 2014

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

 Under pressure from New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy says it will disclose which alternatives to the route favored by Northern Pass it plans to study. That is something opponents of the controversial project have been seeking.

Before the Northern Pass project can go forward it must be approved by the DOE. And, the core of that approval is an environmental impact statement. It will focus on the 187-mile route Northern Pass wants to use.

In the vote on whether to allow electronic Keno games to be played in the state sixteen North Country representatives were evenly split for and against, without any clear divide along party lines.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported the Keno bill cleared the house by a 202-141 margin.

Under the bill, 92 percent of the proceeds would go to the state for education, with one percent of that earmarked for problem gambling programs.

A Berlin woman was killed Saturday night in a snowmobile accident, the second time in a week that there’s been a fatal snowmobile accident in the North Country.

Lucie Gagnon, 58, was killed just before 10 p.m. at Success Pond when she hit an embankment and large tree, Fish and Game Conservation Officer Mark Ober reported in a news release.

“Mrs. Gagnon suffered severe trauma as a result of the crash and died at the scene,” Ober said.

dearbarbie via Flickr CC

Berlin is on the way to becoming the first jurisdiction in the state to allow bars to take advantage of a new law and serve liquor until 2 a.m.

But Mayor Paul Grenier says the city council's decision has a downside.

“It is actually going to increase law-enforcement activity.”

And, an upside.

“We want to try to encourage and do everything we can to help our businesses in Berlin succeed.”

North Country Events

Jan 30, 2014

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

While the legislature considers whether to allow a $25 hiker’s card that would eliminate any chance of being charged for a rescue, a Michigan man is fighting a $9,300 bill for the help he got in 2012.

Earlier this month a judge in District Court in Concord decided Edward Bacon of Northville, Michigan was negligent. That meant he should reimburse New Hampshire Fish and Game for the cost of his rescue from the Franconia Ridge.

Eleven of fifteen North Country representatives were among those trying – but failing – to keep alive a bill that would have put a moratorium on wind farms and electric transmission lines such as Northern Pass until the state adopted a comprehensive energy policy.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reported the Science, Technology, and Energy Committee previously voted 13 to 6 to recommend killing this bill.

North Country Events

Jan 23, 2014

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

LONG GONE: THEATER ARTISTS, DANCERS & STORYTELLERS, LITTLETON

Thursday January 23 7 PM Littleton Opera House, Union Street. Lida Winfield and Ellen Smith Ahern perform their duet work "Long Gone", which blends dance and storytelling to celebrate heartfelt, funny and irreverent memories of those who are no longer with us. Tickets $12, $8 students, at the door or visit www.aannh.org.

Only one representative from the North Country voted Wednesday against a bill that would encourage state regulators to give preference to electric transmission lines that are buried or located along public highways.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reported the House voted 171 – 139 for HB 569.

Chris Jensen

Voters in Executive Council District 1 went to the polls Tuesday in a primary over the seat held by Ray Burton, who died in November.

Three Republicans Mark Aldrich of Lebanon, Christopher Boothby of Meredith and, Joseph Kenney of Wakefield are vying to see who will face Hanover Democrat Michael Cryans in March.

In Littleton the turnout was extremely light, says Gerald Winn, the town moderator.

“We opened at eight this morning and we’re four and a half hours in and there are fifty people who voted.”

Amid high winds and blowing snow, four people were rescued from above the treeline on Mount Washington before dawn Monday. But one rescuer said the group was lucky to get out a call for help.

"I think it would have been a bad outcome if they weren’t able to get the rescue call out,” Craig Taylor, a volunteer with the Mountain Rescue Service, told NHPR.

“Temperatures were expected to go below zero, winds were expected to ramp up to the triple digits that night. So, the forecast was really grim.”

Mt. Washington Auto Road / Flickr CC

  Searchers spent hours on Mount Washington Saturday night looking for - and locating - a lost ice climber, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The call for help came about 5:30 pm from Ms. Dale Edwards, 32, of the Bronx in New York, who was climbing with two companions in the back country of the Ammonoosuc Ravine, according to Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes.

By roughly a three-to-one margin North Country representatives voted against legalizing marijuana.

As NHPR’s Ryan Lessard reported the debate over HB 492 had those in favor of legalizing the use of small amounts of marijuana saying marijuana was no different than drinking alcohol.

And, those opposed said there were “negative health impacts.”

COBAN Technologies

Nine of the 14 North Country representatives voting opposed allowing police to use license plate scanners, while five were in favor of the technology.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported supporters – including the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police – argued scanners might help solve crimes, while opponents worried about privacy issues.

The bill authorizing scanners, House Bill 675, was defeated 250 – 97.

North Country Events

Jan 16, 2014

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

PUBLIC HEARING ON PERMIT FOR BETHLEHEM LANDFILL

North Country Events

Jan 9, 2014

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

AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE, LITTLETON
Thursday January 9, 11 AM - 5 PM NH Armory on Meadow Street. Donate a pint and get a Dunkin Donuts coupon for a pound of free coffee. The Red Cross is urging all donors to donate as soon as possible - especially O Negative, B Negative and A Negative. For more information visit www.redcrossblood.org.

Winter has indisputably arrived and most of the state’s drivers figure they know what to do when the roads get slick. But a company in the North Country is helping drivers polish those skills and learn a few things even veterans of the ice capades may not know.

One of those drivers is Judy Gessner, of Whitefield, who is behind the wheel of a Honda Odyssey minivan, and, with increasing confidence she is slaloming between big, orange cones despite a slick, snowy surface.

NHPR / Chris jensen

Gorham Paper and Tissue, the town’s largest employer, is temporarily cutting back operations, a move that will lead to 20 to 50 employees losing their jobs.

The company says other employees will see week-long layoffs.

In an email Friday, CEO Mike Cummings says the move is in response to record-setting natural gas prices.

Gorham Town Manager Robin Frost says the news is devastating for the town’s economy.

Loon Mountain

With only 6 to 8 inches of fresh powder, most New Hampshire ski areas aren't exactly reeling from the storm.  But even a little snow can bring skiers to the mountains.

Greg Kwasnik, marketing director at Loon Mountain is expecting a surge of skiers.

Up here we didn't have such a huge impact that people had in Southern New Hampshire so I think a lot of people will shovel their driveways and then get up here.  They might get here a little later than they anticipated but I think we'll see some strong business today.

The first major storm of the season and road crews have both been going all night.

“We’re in hour twenty-nine at this point of a very long storm and it is turning into a stamina test and our crews are pretty much having to deal with a lot of blowing snow across the roads, which requires repeated runs," said  highway department spokesman Bill Boynton.

He says speeds on the turnpike interstates have been lowered to 45 miles per hour.

“And we’re  hearing motorists are really having trouble keeping up those speeds," he said.

North Country Events

Jan 2, 2014

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

A 24-year-old Massachusetts man who survived an avalanche on Mount Washington Saturday afternoon says it was a bewildering and terrifying trip down the Tuckerman Ravine.

Adam Herman of Oak Bluffs, was walking ahead of his partner, Conor Lodge, when he felt the snow begin to give way.

He turned and desperately tried to sink his ice ax into the snow.

“It didn’t take, so I just fell,” he said.

For 100 years the library in Bethlehem occupied three small rooms in Town Hall. But over the weekend that changed with opening of a new library on Main Street. It was the conclusion of a tale involving a mystery donor, a brother who moved far away and a sister who stayed in the North Country.

At the tale’s center were two people.

One was Muriel Brown, who for more than three decades was the town’s beloved librarian.

The other was her brother, Arthur Jobin, known to the family as “Bud.”

Both grew up in Bethlehem.

Sean Hurley

Utah has one.  Colorado does too.  And now New Hampshire has its very own Ice Castle open to the public at Loon Mountain.  It's taken Mother Nature and 20 workers about a month to turn tons of homemade icicles into a glacial maze of frozen caverns and clear blue coliseums.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a tour of the nearly completed castle and sends us this report.

Rescuers say it is amazing that two men caught in an avalanche on Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine weren’t seriously injured, but they had a brutal ride.

The two men were on their way down Mount Washington Saturday afternoon when they missed the turn onto the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, says Jeff Lane, a snow ranger with the U.S. Forest Service.

Then, they walked into an area known as The Lip, triggering an avalanche that carried them through a perilous area.

Pages