North Country

Chris Jensen, NHPR

Less than three weeks after Executive Councilor Ray Burton announced his kidney cancer was no longer in remission he died.

Around the state more institutions, towns and businesses are turning away from oil in favor of heating with wood, viewing it as a renewable resource that helps the region’s economy, lowers the carbon footprint and apparently saves money.

There’s a good example in the basement of the main building at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem.

The old is a huge, black, gray and rust-fringed H.B. Smith boiler that once feasted on heating oil.

A few feet away are three modern-looking, green and white pellet boilers.

A new fire training facility in the North Country will be named after Executive Councilor Ray Burton, said Deborah A. Pendergast, the director of the state’s division of Fire Standards & Training and Emergency Medical Services.

The center, located in Bethlehem, will allow fire fighters from the North Country to learn fire fighting techniques without the cost and time involved in traveling to Concord.

“It gives the folks up in that area a facility that meets their needs,” she said in a telephone interview.

Travis Giles, the culinary instructor at The White Mountains Community College in Berlin, is the winner of the North Country Chef’s Challenge, an effort to see who can best match culinary skills with local ingredients.

Giles was competing against seven other chefs.

The judges were from the White Mountain chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

The event is the idea of the North Country Farmer’s Co-op.

For his entrée Giles began with “a whole red deer” from a farm Milan. 

North Country Events

Nov 8, 2013

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

VETERANS DAY CEREMONY AT LITTLETON HIGH SCHOOL

Thursday Nov. 7 1:30 PM in the gymnasium. Presentation of Colors, Regional JROTC, guest speaker Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Howard, LHS Chorus and Band, flag pole ceremony. Veterans and community members invited. For more information contact Connie Ward at LHS 444-5186 x2208.

While the North Country is routinely working on economic development some people are also looking at human resources, in particular the source of the next generations of community leaders and volunteers.

Their concern:  Talented young adults being one of the North Country’s rarer creatures.

And, some research into that issue got underway recently at the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster, where fourteen young adults – in their 20’s and 30’s – volunteered to answer questions about what brought them or keeps them in the North Country.

Executive Councilor Ray Burton has received Plymouth State University’s highest award for public service, only the third time the honor has been given in almost a decade.

The Henry W. Blair Award for Distinguished Public Service was created in 2004.

“It is for distinguished public service, it recognizes someone who has devoted – as Henry Blair did – a life to making the world better through strong public service,”  PSU president Sara Jayne Steen said in an interview. “And, in that sense of course, Ray is the perfect candidate.”

Courtesy CDFA

Unofficial results show Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier was re-elected on Tuesday, beating challenger Mark Evans 971 to 272.

Evans is a member of the city’s Planning Board and former member of the city council.

This will be Grenier’s third term. He is also one of three Coos County Commissioners and is unusual in the North Country as an elected official who favors the Northern Pass project, which does not pass through his city.

Sean Hurley

When poet Robert Frost returned to New Hampshire from England in 1915 he moved his family into a small farmhouse in Franconia.  Since 1976, when the town of Franconia purchased the property, The Frost Place has provided a glimpse at the poet's life from a hundred years ago.  His old chair sits near his old desk near his old wallpaper.

Frost Place Director Maudelle Driskell says volunteer Dee Macoun was emptying the contents of a small closet during a routine clean up when she noticed something unusual about the large slab of wood supporting a shelf. 

It is hard to imagine there have been many openings of roadside scenic areas that attracted three former governors, a sitting governor and two US Senators as well as dozens of state office holders.

But that happened Friday afternoon in the North Country during a ceremony to honor longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

In theory the ceremony was for the opening of the scenic area on US 302 across from the Mount Washington Hotel.

But it was really about North Country Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who arrived in the back seat of a yellow convertible.

North Country Events

Oct 31, 2013

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

THRILLER AT THE FRANCONIA BONFIRE
Thursday Oct. 31 7 PM Dow Field. Flash dance mob at the Halloween bonfire.

A new scenic overlook will be opened Friday in the North Country and the plans include honoring Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

The new overlook and rest area is on Route 302 just across from the Mount Washington Hotel.

It cost about $1.4 million and replaces a much smaller pull-off on the other side of the road.

The old area had room for five cars or two buses which state highway officials say caused traffic problems and raised safety concerns. The new area has room for 22 cars and six buses.

Sean Hurley

Abigail Hernandez has now been missing for 19 days.  Although thousands of acres have been combed and hundreds of tips have been followed, both the FBI and local police still don't know what happened between 3 and 4 in the afternoon on October 9th when Abby disappeared.  Despite this, the Hernandez family and the local community remain hopeful. On Saturday night nearly 500 people attended a flashlight vigil in Schouler Park in downtown North Conway meant to light the way home for Abby.  Sean Hurley was there and has this report. 

State of New Hampshire

Ray Burton, a Republican who has represented the North Country for four decades, says his kidney cancer has returned and he won’t be seeking re-election.

Burton has served as both Executive Councilor and a Grafton County Commissioner.

Earlier this year Burton, who lives in Bath, said he had cancer but it was curable.

For much of the year he has been attending functions throughout the North Country, his cancer said to be in remission.

North Country Events

Oct 24, 2013

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

A 64-year-old Vermont man has been found responsible for the 2010 explosion in Colebrook that killed two men and injured a third.

Craig Sanborn’s trial in Coos County Superior Court in Lancaster took about four weeks and the jury made up its mind in about three hours on Wednesday, says Coos County Attorney John McCormick.

The jury returned verdicts of guilty on all counts, two negligent homicide charges and two manslaughter charges,” he said.

Despite a modified route for the Northern Pass Project Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she still has “serious reservations” about the plan and the lines along the entire route should be buried.

“I am still very concerned about the impact on the beauty on the North Country and many other areas of the state,” she told NHPR following a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in Whitefield.

Ayotte says it would be best to bury all the transmission lines, not just an eight-mile section in Northern Coos County.

At Senator Kelly Ayotte’s town hall meeting in Whitefield Wednesday Berlin resident Joe Vigue sat quietly through her description of the nation’s growing deficit and struggle to adopt a budget.

His arms were folded across his chest – and a sweatshirt reading: “I’m like an owl. I don’t give a hoot.”

When Ayotte opened the floor to questions, Vigue wanted to know about a dysfunctional Senate.

“What is it like to deal with almost all of that 100 people that are worse than my eight and nine-year-old grandchildren,” he asked.

Federal officials say six companies building a biomass plant in Berlin have put workers at risk by not following safety regulations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration proposes fining the companies about $280,000 for thirty-one “willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards.”

“These hazards included potential cave-ins, falls, scaffold collapse, crushing, exposure to lead and electrocution hazards,” said OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said there were no serious injuries or deaths.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The town of Pittsburg is revamping its public water system.

It’s been a much-needed project; the issue came to a head in 2009 when the town was put under a boil order for several months after E. coli was detected in the drinking water.

But the town still needs another half a million dollars to finish the job.

When Rick Skarinka of the state’s drinking and groundwater bureau met with Pittsburg town officials, he decided blunt was the best approach.

North Country Events

Oct 10, 2013

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

LAST FARMERS MARKETS OF THE SEASON
Lancaster Saturdays 9 AM-noon through October 12
Bethlehem Saturdays 10 AM-2 PM through October 12
Littleton Sundays 10 AM - 1 PM through October 13

Colebrook Farmer’s Market: Sat 8:00-12:00 on the common on Colby St through Columbus Day

Pittsburg Farmer’s Market: Sat: 10:00-2:00 downtown Pittsburg.

A 72-year-old man from Quebec died in a motorcycle crash Wednesday in Dixville Notch, according to a news release from the New Hampshire State Police.

The victim, Raymond LaLancette, was on Route 26 about noon when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a guardrail.

He was described as unconscious and bleeding heavily when rescuers arrived and was pronounced dead the the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook.

A Campton resort is suing the Northern Pass, claiming it has no right to use an existing Public Service of New Hampshire right-of-way for larger transmission towers.

The suit was filed in Grafton County Superior Court by the owners of The Owl’s Nest Resort & Golf Club.

The resort already has a PSNH right-of-way and the suit claims Northern Pass’ plan to add substantially taller towers is unreasonable and “wrongfully exceeds” the original right-of-way agreement.

The North Country has its first EB-5 regional center, a move that could bring new, foreign investment to the North Country, including about 200 new jobs around Campton.

The new Invest New Hampshire Regional Center in Campton is the first to cover Grafton, Coos and Carroll Counties.

Laurie Tewksbury via Flickr Creative Commons

A search team rescued two hikers from the summit of Mount Madison early Tuesday morning, after they were caught in a severe rain and wind storm Monday evening.

Raymond Barnard and Stephanie Watkins, both of Brownville, Vermont, were hiking along the Pine Link Trail when heavy rain and winds approaching 90 miles per hour forced them to take shelter.

They called 911 around 7 p.m., as dense fog led to limited visibility and temperatures dropped.

Two Conservation Officers and two members of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team found the couple around 1 a.m.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The operator of twenty-two campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest has been told to close them.

“We are directed now to close the gates as of Thursday the 10th unless something happens in Congress,” said Kent Tower, the owner of Pro Sports of Campton.

Last week federal officials in Washington began notifying private businesses that operate campgrounds in national forests that they would have to close even though they provide water, sanitation and other services without help from federal employees.

The shutdown of the federal government is expanding to include privately run campgrounds in national forests across the country, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service said late Thursday.

“We are in the process of shutting these operations down at facilities across the country due to the lapse in funding,” wrote spokesman Leo Kay in an e-mail. “Some closures have already taken place while others are still in progress.”

That is expected to include twenty-two campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest operated by Pro Sports Inc. of Campton.

North Country Events

Oct 3, 2013

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

FARMERS MARKETS
Berlin Thursdays extended to October 3
 

Lancaster Saturdays 9 AM-noon through October 12
 

Bethlehem Saturdays 10 AM-2 PM through October 12

Colebrook Farmer’s Market: Sat 8:00-12:00 on the common on Colby St through Columbus Day

Pittsburg Farmer’s Market: Sat: 10:00-2:00 downtown Pittsburg.

rickpilot_2000 via Flickr Creative Commons

 A 55-year-old Brookyn man was helped from a trail near the Crawford Notch Wednesday after suffering a leg injury, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Steve Litwin slipped on a rock on the Webster-Jackson Trail and couldn’t continue,  according to Conservation Officer Kevin Bronson.

He was taken to Littleton Regional Hospital after being carried out by members of Fish and Game, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, and Twin Mountain EMS.

Grace Family via Flickr Creative Commons

The extent to which the federal shutdown will hurt the White Mountain National Forest – and tourism - will depend on how long the shutdown continues, says forest supervisor Tom Wagner.

Wagner says the current workforce – about 120 people – will be cut to sixteen.

That’s to cover 800,000 acres.

People can still enjoy the views and the trails. But there’s a question about facilities.

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