Bill would reauthorize Northern Border Regional Commission

COOS COUTY — The Northern Border Commission would be funded for another five years under legislation introduced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and other House members representing districts along the US-Canadian border.

The Northern Border Regional Commission Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would continue funding for Northern Border Regional Commission and extend its authorization for five years.

Created by the 2008 Farm Bill, the commission was established to organize federal funding towards specific state economic and community development projects in rural parts of the Northeast.

Currently, the commission must dedicate at least 40 percent of their grants to develop 1. transportation infrastructure of the region, 2. basic public infrastructure of the regions, and 3. to develop the telecommunications infrastructure in the region. The bill would allow the development of renewable energy resources to count toward that 40 percent. The commission is also currently prohibited from trying to attract businesses from other regions within the NBRC.

“The Northern Border Regional Commission plays a critical role in driving the economic growth and community development in some of New Hampshire’s most economically distressed communities,” said Kuster. “This is a program that has created jobs while improving rural infrastructure projects and both Republicans and Democrats recognize the value of the Northern Border Regional Commission to rural communities in the Northeast. While President Trump regrettably eliminated the NBRC in his FY2018 budget, this bill demonstrates the NBRC’s strong bipartisan support in Congress and our collective commitment to helping rural towns and non-profits succeed,” she said.

The commission is a federal-state partnership comprised of a federal co-chair and the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Joining Kuster in co-sponsoring the bill were the state’s other representative, Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) as well as Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Peter Welch (D-VT), John Katko (R-NY), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY).

Public meeting on plan to promote Coos County's trails

By Barbara Tetreault

COOS COUNTY — Coos County is a region blessed with hundreds of miles of recreational trails, from hiking and paddling trails to snowmobile and ORHV trails.

“New Hampshire’s North Country really is the trails capital of the East,” said Tara Bamford, senior planner for North Country Council.
With funding from a variety of sources, NCC is working to create a plan to “increase the economic value of the region’s wide variety of world class trail systems through coordinated planning and marketing.”

Bamford envisions creating a type of one-stop shopping for information on Coos County’s trails using the web, as well an app, kiosks, and brochures to provide information.

Anyone with an interest in Coos County trails is invited to participate in a planning discussion on July 31 at 2:30 p.m. at White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield.

“Whether you’re looking for day hikes or backpacking, winter sports such as skiing or snowshoeing, mountain biking or cycling on the region’s scenic byways, paddling, motorized sports, or even horseback riding or riding on the back of a dog sled, we have it here. When you take in some of the nearby opportunities in our neighboring states, the choices are even broader. We just need to do a better job of working together and getting the word out,” Bamford said.

The discussion will begin with a presentation of what is known about the county’s trails based on a review by North Country Council of available reports, studies, websites as well as interviews with about 50 trail stakeholder groups. Attendees will then participate in developing the vision that will guide future planning steps.

Bamford said NCC hopes through the meeting to come up with a consensus about what are the important issues, what people value about trails, and concerns and needs.

The project grew out of North Country Council's first comprehensive regional plan put together in 2014 with public input. Adopted by representatives from the region’s municipalities, one focus of the plan was increasing livable wage jobs and attracting more young families by building on the region’s strengths. It also called for increasing the production of wealth from the region’s natural resources, thus the focus on trails.

North Country Council obtained funding from USDA Rural Development, the Neil & Louise Tillotson Fund, and the state Department of Resources and Economic Development to develop a vision and plan for marketing and promoting Coos County.

This effort is totally different that an earlier study by North Country Council that summarized municipal regulation, state regulation, and usage data for OHRVs to see how Coos communities differed in their approach to the motorized recreational vehicles.

The study was designed to show how ordinances and restrictions differed across the county.

Bamford said a public meeting was held to discuss the report but officials seemed content with the present system. She said some clubs decided to seek help with signage.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Tara Bamford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (603) 444-6303 x 26.

 

Shaheen visits North Conway hospital, takes aim at GOP health plan

CONWAY — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) took aim at the latest health-care proposal floated by Republican leadership during her July 14 visit to Memorial Hospital. Afterward, she headed to Berlin, where she repeated her warning that “Trumpcare” would decimate nursing-home care in local counties.