Former Groveton mill site gets ready to open with new manufacturing company

GROVETON — Progress is being made at converting the former Groveton mill site into a new manufacturing facility, with NSA Industries planning to begin operations there next month.
Eversource employees last Friday completed installation of new electric infrastructure at the site of the former Wausau mill, and officially turned on service to the building.
"The Wausau mill has been re-energized — just one more step in the renovation of a facility that has historically served as an economic engine for Groveton and surrounding communities," said Bob Chapman, owner of Chapman Industrial Park. "We are grateful to Eversource for their role in keeping this project moving forward as planned, and are thrilled NSA has chosen to bring 40 to 60 skilled manufacturing jobs to the North Country."
Eversource and local contractor Ray's Electric and General Contracting, of Berlin, expedited work to connect the facility to the grid to allow NSA to move machinery into the new space. The company plans to begin operations in early February and anticipates hiring about 40 new workers in the Granite State. As NSA continues to renovate the facility, Eversource plans to work with the firm to identify energy efficiency upgrades that qualify for rebates.
"Doing our part to provide high-quality job opportunities to New Hampshire workers is a priority of Eversource," said Paul Ramsey, vice president of operations for Eversource in New Hampshire. "It's good for the whole state that NSA chose to locate in the North Country, where the firm will put highly-skilled, local professionals to work."
Headquartered in St. Johnsbury, Vt., NSA does metal fabricating, machining and powder coating. Looking to expand, the company found a willing and skilled workforce in the Groveton area. The company has a long-term lease for about 77,000 square feet at the Groveton industrial park.
NSA recently announced the purchase of New Hampshire Precision Metal Fabricators in Londonderry and plans to move that operation to its Groveton and St. Johnsbury facilities. Employees will be offered jobs if they choose to move, or NSA will assist them in finding new ones.

Forest Society seeks details on fiscal relationship between the Balsams and Northern Pass

By Christopher Jensen
IndepthNH.org

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is demanding that the developers of the Balsams turn over all documents relating to any financial dealings with Northern Pass.
The forest society made the request last week in a filing to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.
It asks the Site Evaluation Committee to “compel” Balsams developer Les Otten, Dixville Capital LLC and Balsams Resort Holdings LLC to turn over the material.
The request comes as part of the Site Evaluation Committee’s consideration of whether to allow the controversial Northern Pass project to proceed.
As part of that process Northern Pass foes and supporters who will be arguing the case before the committee – known as intervenors – are gathering information to support their positions.
In cases where one side balks, the other can ask the Site Evaluation Committee to order the release of the information.
The Balsams, which favors Northern Pass, is an intervenor in that siting process. The forest society wants to know if the Balsams received a benefit conditioned on backing Northern Pass, which it contends could reflect on The Balsams’ credibility.
“We want to understand the nature of the relationship between Eversource, Hydro-Quebec and those people who are promoting their project,” says Jack Savage, a spokesman for the forest society.
Savage says his group is also trying to explore how much of a public benefit Northern Pass will provide and “whether running around the state writing checks constitutes a public benefit that is relevant.”
That’s a reference to Northern Pass’ Forward NH Fund. If the project is approved by the Site Evaluation Committee it would involve spending $10 million a year for 20 years “for projects associated with community betterment, clean energy innovation, economic development, and tourism.”
Northern Pass says other benefits will include thousands of construction jobs, an estimated $30 million a year in “local, county and state taxes” and lower energy costs, although the latter have not yet been detailed.
Northern Pass spokesman Martin Murray did not respond, over several days, to a request for comment.
Otten’s lawyer, Mark Beliveau, is objecting to providing the information to the forest society, saying it is not relevant, the requests are so broad as to be burdensome and releasing that information would put the Balsams at a “competitive disadvantage and would not serve the public interest.”
The Balsams is being asked to turn over documents including:
• Any payments to Northern Pass, its parent company Eversource or “any person affiliated with them.”
• Any financial arrangements “discussed or committed to” between Otten, the Balsams and Northern Pass, Eversource or persons affiliated with them.
• Whether any future funding for the Balsams was contingent on Otten’s stating his support of Northern Pass.
Last year Otten publicly said that Northern Pass was providing $2 million for the project.
Otten recently filed testimony with the Site Evaluation Committee in which he praised Northern Pass and said it would save the resort about $200,000 a year in reduced electricity costs.

New Androscoggin District Ranger meets with council

BERLIN — Androscoggin District Ranger Jennifer Barnhart introduced herself to the city council last week and discussed the proposed fee changes for the White Mountain National Forest.
Barnhart has been district ranger since last June and said she is trying to meet people.
She noted that the U.S. Forest Service last summer proposed changes to its recreation, rental, and campground fees.
Both the daily recreation pass and the annual pass would see increases. The cost of a daily recreation pass will increase from $3 to $5 while an annual pass would increase from $20 to $30. Initially the Forest Service proposed eliminating both the weekly and household passes, noting that over 90 percent of passes sold are daily passes. But public comments have lead the Forest Service to revisit the household recreation pass which enables people in the same household to purchases passes for two vehicles at a reduced fee. Recognizing that many families see the household pass as important, the Forest Service is now proposing to retain the household pass but increase the fee from $25 to $40. Public comment is being accepted on the household recreation pass through Jan. 30.
Fees would be eliminated at nine trailheads while the Zealand Picnic Area would be added to the forest fee program and become one of 27 day use sites covered by the White Mountain Pass.
Rental fees for Dolly Copp Pavilion and Russell Colbath Barn would increase from $50 to $100. Overnight fees for Crocker Pond campground will increase to $18, 4th Iron campsites would increase to $15, Black Mountain and Doublehead cabins would go to $40, and Radeke Cabin would increase to $65.
Barnhart said fees have not increases since 1997 and 95 percent of the revenues collected remain on the White Mountain National Forest to operate, maintain, and improve the facilities and recreation programs. Among other things the money is used for trash pick-up, septic pumping, trail maintenance, visitor information and education services.
The comment period has closed for most of the proposed fee changes except for the household pass. Comments are being accepted on the household recreation pass proposal until Jan. 30. Comments should be sent to Marianne Leberman, White Mountain National Forest, 71 White Mountain Drive, Campton, NH 03223-4272.
A decision on the fees is expect in April.
Barnhart reported that the Deer Ridge Integrated Resource Project is expected to get underway this year. The project includes timber harvesting, wildlife habitat, and recreational improvements on national forest lands in the Kilkenny section of Berlin and Milan. As part of the project, the Forest Service expects to authorize harvesting about 12.5 million board feet of lumber on 3,800 acres.
Barnhart said bridge maintenance work on Bog Dam Loop Road (Kilkenny Loop) is taking longer than expected but the bridges should be fixed by spring.
Councilor Mike Rozek thanked Barnhart for meeting with the city council.

No foul play suspected in death of man found outside burning car

STARK — State police do not suspect foul play in the death of a man found lying on the ground near a smoldering car Monday on Millbrook Road.
The cause of death has not been determined, but authorities said it does not appear the victim died as a result of the fire. The name of the man, described as middle aged, is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
State Police Troop F received a report shortly before 9 a.m. Monday that a car was smoldering on Millbrook Road with a man lying on the ground a short distance from the sedan. Emergency crews pronounced the man dead at the scene. The car was completely gutted by fire and was found near the entrance of the 4.5-mile dirt road.
The investigation is still ongoing, but authorities stressed there does not appear to be any reason for concern for the public’s safety.
Assisting state police at the scene were officials from the N.H. Fire Marshal’s Office; Groveton police, EMS and fire departments; Stark Fire Department; and the N.H. Medical Examiner’s Office.
Anyone with any information about the incident is encouraged to contact Trooper David Lyon at (603) 846-3333 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..