North Country

North Country Events

Jan 9, 2014

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

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

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.

A horse-drawn sleigh carrying tourists in the North Country flipped over Saturday afternoon, sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries.

The accident happened on a trail near the Omni Mount Washington Hotel says, Todd Bailey, a captain with the Twin Mountain Fire Department.

“The horse was spooked, apparently, and the carriage flipped over, ejecting several passengers,” he said.

Five passengers were thrown from the sleigh and four were taken to Littleton Regional Healthcare with what Bailey described as injuries that were not life threatening.

N.H. Department of Transportation

Drivers will see new speed limits on much of the northern part of Interstate 93 starting Wednesday.

For projects like wind farms or the Northern Pass to be built in New Hampshire they must be approved by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. By the end of the month the state’s Office of Energy and Planning has to submit a report to the legislature on what changes – if any – should be made to the Site Evaluation Committee.

North Country Events

Dec 26, 2013

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


Rescuers were in The White Mountains Saturday night after being alerted that somebody needed help. They just didn’t know who or why.

The alert came about  6:45 Saturday when New Hampshire Fish and Game got a call from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center in Texas.

It had received a signal from a SPOTS emergency beacon that had been activated in King Ravine in Burbank’s Grant.

The signal indicated where help was needed but nothing else.

At just after 8 am the National Weather Service was reporting freezing rain is finally starting to fall in some parts of the state.

While most of the state has been relatively warm temperatures are now beginning to drop says John Cannon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

“Well, right now we have cold air funneling into eastern NH and that is causing temperatures to fall to at or below freezing and we are beginning to pick up some accumulating icing conditions over eastern New Hampshire," says Cannon.

Sean Hurley

For the last 3 years, NHPR's Sean Hurley and his family get a $5 permit to cut down their Christmas Tree in the White Mountain National Forest and every year, as Sean explains in this audio postcard, they run into the same problem. 

We walk beside an ice snagged brook looking for the balsam fir we tagged with a purple ribbon the month before.  My wife Lois leads us along, interpreting the wildlife signs as we go.

A new state program is offering financial help to businesses that would like to start using wood pellets rather than heating oil.

The grants are designed to help businesses buy new heating systems that use a homegrown, renewable resource: wood.

The money is available through the Public Utilities Commission’s  Sustainable Energy Division.

Jack Ruderman is its head.

“We’re offering a rebate of up to 30 percent of the cost of the heating system and installation with a cap of $50,000 per system," says Jack Ruderman, the head of the division.

North Country Events

Dec 19, 2013

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

Tuesday night in Plymouth the state’s Office of Energy and Planning held its last public hearing on possible changes to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee - which is responsible for approving utility projects ranging from wind farms to Northern Pass - and the theme was that the SEC needs a significant and wide-ranging overhaul before it can be trusted.

About three dozen people attended and their concerns echoed those voiced at previous meetings around the state.

A central issue was that all fifteen members of the SEC are officials from state agencies.

The Composer Next Door

Dec 17, 2013
Sean Hurley

USA Today recently published a list of the fastest growing professions in the United States.  Music Composer came in at #3.  Everything, in this digital age, needs music.  With advances in technology, today's orchestras are more often found on hard drives in basements than symphony hall. NHPR's Sean Hurley has this profile of music professor and film composer Rik Pfenninger of Holderness.

It's 3:30 AM in Holderness and Plymouth State University Professor of Saxophone Rik Pfenninger is practicing in the soundproofed basement of his house. 

Bruce Lyndes / Plymouth State University

Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who died November 12th, was remembered yesterday at  a Memorial Service held at Plymouth State University.  Dignitaries large and small gathered together with Burton's friends and family to remember the longtime political face of the North Country.  NHPR's Sean Hurley attended the event and sends us this report.

A lost Massachusetts hiker was rescued Thursday afternoon after spending a bitterly cold night in the White Mountains.

North Country Events

Dec 12, 2013

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

New Hampshire State Police

There was a fatal collision Tuesday morning on Route 3 in Columbia, according to a news release from the state police.

The accident was reported about 8:40 and involved a Buick LeSabre going northbound and a Toyota Tundra pickup headed southbound, reported Lt. Todd Landry, the commander of Troop F, which covers the North Country.

Saturday night it was the third annual Christmas in Bethlehem celebration in the North Country.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen sent this postcard:

North Country Events

Dec 5, 2013


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

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley: This week the public has a chance to weigh in on the future of the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.  The SEC reviews major utility projects, including proposed wind farms and the Northern Pass project. 

The concerns of opponents of those projects prompted Governor Hassan to sign Senate Bill 99.  It calls for a review of how the SEC works with a report due at the end of December. 

This week’s listening sessions and workshops include one tonight in Manchester.

UPDATE: By early Sunday afternoon two members of the Fish and Game rescue party were still working their way through the tangled and challenging, Dry River drainage, trying to reach a road, said Lt. Wayne Saunders.

A solo hiker missing in The Presidentials walked out on his own late Saturday afternoon after teams of rescuers and a helicopter spent a rugged day searching for him.

The search began on Saturday morning for Michael Niles 31 of Bradford Massachusetts.

Four candidates – three Republicans and one Democrat – are in the running for the vacant District 1 Executive Councilor seat.