Amileah Goudreau, Bryce Greenwood and Hayden Grant (facing away) get acquainted with Australian Shepherd Xander from Therapy Dogs of Vermont, who visited Canaan Schools last Thursday prior to the Gizmo 4 Mental Health program organized by school librarian Kaitlin Wood. The dogs travel to schools, libraries and other youth groups to read aloud from Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health, which teaches kids how to deal with their emotions and to reach out to trusted adults when they want to express how they feel. (Courtesy photo)

Balsams Receives Planning Board Approval for Ski Area Site Plan

By Jake Mardin

After several meetings over the past five months, the Coos County planning board has given conditional approval to Dixville Capital's site plan application for the expansion of the Balsams Ski Area in Dixville.

The board approved the application at last Wednesday's public hearing, which had been continued two previous times. Prior to that, the board and the developers met several times to work on the application so that the planning board could deem it complete.

The plan includes seven new lifts and about 250 acres of ski terrain, along with a gondola and ski-back bridge that cross over Route 26. The new Lake Gloriette House will serve as a base for the ski area, and skiers will reach the slopes from and return to that location. There is a plan to allow for shuttles to transport guests if the ski-back bridge is not in place when the ski area opens.

Construction of the ski area is expected to take approximately two years.

The county commissioners will hold a special meeting today, March 22, on a resolution to approve the creation of the Balsams Resort Redevelopment District, adopting the financing plan for the district, approving the issuance of bonds for the district, approving the imposition of special assessments within the district, and all other necessary actions and activities required to carry it out.

Developers have gone over the proposed financing plan for the district with the commissioners and the county delegation.

(Issue of March 22, 2023)


James Foote of Mountain Top Drywall drives past the Full Birds defender during the 2023 North Country Men's Basketball Tournament in Canaan on Friday. (Jake Mardin photo)

N.H. Governor Seeks New Agreement for Security on the Northern Border
By Jake Mardin

New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu has made a request to enter into an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would allow ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations to delegate certain functions to state and local officers.

Gov. Sununu's budget proposal also includes $1.4 million to create the Northern Border Alliance Program. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Gov. Sununu said the program "will establish a task force of state, county and local law enforcement officials to patrol the roads, highways and state forest land along the border to detect and deter illegal activity, and to prevent any further escalation of the humanitarian crisis facing our borders."

In his letter to Secretary Mayorkas, the governor noted that New Hampshire shares a 51-mile international border in Canada that lies within the U.S. Border Patrol's Swanton Sector. He referenced a press release from USBP that between October 1 and December 31, 2022, there was an increase of approximately 743 percent in apprehensions and encounters compared to the year prior.

"While the recent announcement that 25 additional border patrol agents will be stationed in the Swanton Sector is a good first step, more can and should be done in collaboration with state and local authorities to address the alarming rise in border crossings," Gov. Sununu wrote. "Over the last few months, the State of New Hampshire has attempted to assist the federal government in securing our northern border. These offers of assistance have been repeatedly rejected. The Biden Administration has cut funding and hindered the state's ability to assist in patrolling the northern border. If the Biden Administration truly believes that securing the border is a priority, I hope you will partner with the State of New Hampshire to make this a reality."

Governor Sununu went on to write that a migrant from Mexico died in the Swanton Sector in February while trying to enter illegally from Canada. "Due to the cold weather, rough terrain and ill-equipped individuals, your agents have often been required to administer emergency medical aid to those individuals who have crossed the border illegally," he said. The USBP press release states that many who attempt to cross the border are often ill-informed of the dangerous conditions, and agents have encountered families in single-digit temperatures.

Gov. Sununu is asking that Homeland Security lift its moratorium on entering into new delegation agreements "and enter into a customized agreement with the State of New Hampshire in order to train its law enforcement officers and to allow them to serve as a force multiplier in New Hampshire's North Country."

He also said the state has worked on northern border patrols for years via Operation Stone Garden. "Last year, the state requested your department provide additional funding to pay for increased state and local participation in routine border patrols and to purchase additional all-terrain vehicles, which are necessary to patrol the vast network of forest roads abutting the international border," he wrote. "The department declined to provide that additional funding for these efforts. I ask you to reconsider this decision as well."

Gov. Sununu wrote about the creation of a Northern Border Alliance Program in his proposed budget. Contained in HB2, the program would be established by the N.H. Safety Commissioner and make grants available to other agencies, and provide funding to N.H. State Police for overtime, equipment and training. As the lead agency, State Police would schedule patrols and coordinate with participating agencies. The bill also proposes that "police employees acting within 25 air miles of the international border with Canada shall have the same authority powers granted to forest rangers and officials of the Division of Forest and Lands."

Pittsburg police chief Rick Dube said he and the selectmen contacted state and federal officials about increased border activity last year. "I thought we'd hear from all these other officials," Chief Dube said. "Governor Sununu was the only one."

A July, 2022 letter from Chief Dube and the Pittsburg selectmen to Gov. Sununu references a report that had aired on WMUR the previous month. "The report focused on New Hampshire's border and the calls for more law enforcement to handle the increased amount of known smuggling, which includes narcotic and human trafficking," the letter states. "It is also reported that Pittsburg residents are concerned about the increased criminal activity. However, and possibly the most damaging information that this report exposed, was the sparse amount of law enforcement currently available in this area."

Chief Dube and the board requested any available funds or resources to help the department protect the border. "The Border Patrol, which has assisted the town in the past, has seen their ranks decimated by transfers to help control the chaos which exists on the southern border of the United States, leaving this community vulnerable to increased criminal activity."

(Issue of March 22, 2023)


Five of Canaan’s Business Administration & Technology students participated in the Future Business Leaders of America’s annual leadership conference in Burlington on Friday. From left to right are Karissa Sweatt, Hana Bissonnette, Savannah Ricker, Amelia D'Aiello and Jacqueline Giroux. (Courtesy photo)

Canaan Students Earn Trip to FBLA National Leadership Conference

Canaan Memorial High School students enrolled in the Business Administration & Technology program, led by educator Denise Wood, traveled to Champlain College in Burlington on Friday, March 17, to participate in the annual Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference.

With over 200 people in attendance, the conference is an opportunity for high school students to prepare for careers in business through academic competitions, leadership development, and educational workshops. Five students from Canaan Schools--Hana Bissonnette, Amelia D'Aiello, Jacqueline Giroux, Savannah Ricker and Karissa Sweatt--entered 10 different competitions, ranging from Impromptu Speaking to Website Design. At the conclusion of the conference in the evening, the students were thrilled to hear that they placed in all but one of the events.

Specifically, the students earned five first-place wins:

- Business Ethics--Hana Bissonnette, Amelia D'Aiello, and Jacqueline Giroux;

- Marketing--Jacqueline Giroux and Savannah Ricker;

- Public Service Announcement--Amelia D'Aiello, Jacqueline Giroux and Savannah Ricker;

- Spreadsheet Applications--Savannah Ricker;

- Website Design--Amelia D'Aiello.

Students also received several second- and third-place finishes:

- Impromptu Speaking, 2nd--Jacqueline Giroux;

- Publication Design, 2nd--Karissa Sweatt;

- Website Design, 2nd--Karissa Sweatt;

- Graphic Design, 3rd--Savannah Ricker and Karissa Sweatt;

- Hospitality & Event Management, 3rd--Hana Bissonnette and Jacqueline Giroux.

With these victories, every student in the BAT program at Canaan Schools earned a spot in the FBLA National Leadership Conference this June in Atlanta, Ga. Leading the charge for the group will be Hana Bissonnette, who campaigned for the role of Vice President of the Vermont State Chapter. After securing the most votes, Hana became the second Canaan student to ever be elected to a state office for FBLA; Savannah Ricker served as last year's Vice President of Vermont FBLA and is this year's State Historian. In anticipation of the national conference in a few months, Canaan students will be fund-raising and seeking sponsorships for the trip.

(Issue of March 22, 2023)


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