The CLiF Year of the Book grant at Pittsburg School funded a Mad Scientist Day for grades K-6 on Friday, May 10, when National Honor Society members read books to the younger students and then engaged them in a related experiment. Addy Cunningham got her hands into some gooey slime after hearing the book Bartholemew and the Oobleck. (Ann Gray photo)

North Country Chamber of Commerce Names Butch Ladd Executive Director

By Karen Harrigan

The North Country Chamber of Commerce board of directors has appointed Butch Ladd of Colebrook as their new executive director, just as the Chamber's headquarters is getting a facelift under new ownership.

A Colebrook native, Mr. Ladd is well known around the North Country for his work in sales and sports broadcasting, and his volunteerism as a youth sports coach, a Kiwanian, a longtime member of the Chamber board of directors, co-founder of the Colebrook Booster Club, and the go-to emcee for all manner of charity events. He has also served on the Chamber's board of directors for several years.

In his younger years, Butch worked as a manager for Lambert's Store and LaPerle's IGA, then entered a career in sales, starting with beverage distributors in Berlin and then going into car sales. In 2001 he began his long association with The News and Sentinel, selling advertising and writing sports, business and feature articles.

He has been a sports broadcaster for Northeast Sports Network since 2021, providing play-by-play and commentary on live-streamed varsity games around the North Country. While continuing to write sports for the paper and broadcast games, Butch returned to car sales in 2022 when he joined the team at Don Noyes Chevrolet.

When the executive director's position became available, he saw it as an opportunity to work with the wider business community, focus on the Chamber's membership and mission, and help promote all that this area has to do and see.

"I've had many conversations with Don about the Chamber, the North Country, and how much potential there is," Butch said. "Working for Don, I've learned what the Chamber means to him as a business owner." The position also offered hours that would allow Butch to spend time with his grandchildren and attend their sports events.

When the Chamber board members discussed what they wanted in an executive director, Butch said he couldn't help seeing how well-suited he would be for the job, and that he wanted to do it. "I've got the connections, the experience, the friendships and the involvement to help the Chamber move forward," he said. "I thought, maybe now's the time for a more hands-on engagement than what I've had as a board member."

Butch said the biggest things on his agenda are growing the Chamber's membership and bringing back Business After Hours and other social and networking events. "It should be about fun, and what we can all do together," he said. "We should also have ribbon-cuttings for new businesses. When someone works hard to open a new business, we want to welcome them and let people know about them."

The Chamber, he said, "should be at the forefront, leading the business community." This is a great time to get involved, he observed, when a lot of new people are moving into the area and new businesses are starting up.

He noted that over the past few months without a director at the Chamber office, "the Pittsburg businesses jumped in and didn't let anything slide. We worked with them on the Christmas events they had, and we want to keep that energy going."

"I, for one, could not be more thrilled to welcome this next chapter for the North Country Chamber of Commerce," said board president Hannah Campbell. "We're headed in a positive direction and I'm so excited to see this transition."

The Chamber is on-line at and on Facebook, and the office may be reached at 603-237-8939. Mr. Ladd will assume the director's position on June 1.

Facelift for the Office

The Chamber office was relocated from the second floor of Citizens Bank to the former Hill's Department Store building on Main Street in the fall of 2022. Tim Stevens, who works as Colebrook's town manager and owns the Northern Comfort Motel, bought the property in March as an investment, and is having it spruced up.

"That was one of the reasons I bought it, was to help clean up Main Street a little bit," he said. "We're hoping to take some of the space out of the Chamber and get somebody else in there, so the Chamber isn't paying for that big space they don't need."

The fa�ade and windows are getting some attention, to include replacing metal stripping with decorative wood, and the ceiling that shows signs of past water damage is being replaced. "We're working to get it presentable for people to stop in at the Chamber office," Mr. Stevens said.

There is one apartment upstairs, occupied by a steady tenant, that will be fixed up and made more heat-efficient as well. He has no plans yet for the basement, which still has a bowling alley, but if that changes he'll fill in the gutters and install a new floor.

(Issue of May 15, 2024)

Chamber Director Butch Ladd

New Hampshire Together Hosts Dialogue Session in Colebrook Tonight, May 15

By Karen Harrigan

As election season nears, a vast majority of New Hampshire voters surveyed recently are "gravely" concerned about extreme political polarization and its impact on the state's political processes, according to a press release from the nonprofit New Hampshire Together. That divide is the main takeaway from a study commissioned by the group, which aims to strengthen voter confidence in elections, reduce polarization and improve political responsiveness to Granite Staters.

The survey, conducted in December by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, polled nearly 1,200 state residents. "The bottom line: that political polarization threatens the state's way of life," the release states, "and extreme political partisanship and polarization are among the most important problems facing New Hampshire today.

State residents will have opportunities to discuss these issues and consider possible solutions in a series of New Hampshire Together-sponsored virtual and in-person dialogues. The schedule of in-person events includes a dialogue session at the Tillotson Center in Colebrook, taking place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight, May 15. Others will be held tomorrow night, May 16 in Laconia; Wednesday evening, May 29 in Concord; and Wednesday, June 5 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

More sessions may be added; a full list and registration are available on-line at

"New Hampshire Together offers Granite Staters a way to identify issues of widespread concern and to prioritize specific topics for deliberation and action," said project manager Martha Madsen of Hopkinton. "We need to consider the problem from different perspectives and surface possible solutions, then act to produce meaningful, measurable change."

The conversations will focus specifically on polarization, representation and responsiveness in government, and voter confidence. These discussion topics have been selected based on input collected at open-ended listening sessions held last fall and winter across the state, the December UNH survey, and consultation with local civic groups and policy-makers with a range of interests and perspectives.

Each conversation will take a couple of hours and will require some preparation and reading. Participants in these events will then be invited to join a Statewide Citizens Assembly on June 22 and 23, at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

New Hampshire Together is a project of The People, a non-profit organization focused on helping citizens come together across political differences to make a change in their community. The People launched in 2019 by bringing 100 Americans�two each from all 50 states�to Washington, D.C., to find a way forward together. New Hampshire Together launched shortly after that, when the state's representatives wanted to strengthen citizen deliberation and collective action in the Granite State.

(Issue of May 15, 2024)


Pittsburg-Canaan's Alyvia Jaimes moves to touch second base before Groveton's Kandrah Savage gets there during the Yellow Jackets' road win on Friday. (Jake Mardin photo)

Gentlemen's Club Clears DOT Hurdle

By Jake Mardin

At its meeting on Monday, the Colebrook planning board held public hearings and voted to approve site plans for a pair of businesses, and learned that the N.H. Department of Transportation has issued a driveway permit for a proposed gentlemen's club on Diamond Pond Road. The board also heard and approved a plan from the Colebrook school district for a gazebo to be built at Kiwanis Park.

The board took up the site plan application from Paul and Ruth Priolo for the operation of "Porch on Main," a wine and cheese shop with dining at 193 Main Street on Cooper Hill. Planning board administrator Mike Ouellet reported that he had received the DOT driveway permit, and Mrs. Priolo said she talked to water and sewer operator Brian Sullivan, and he said everything looked good.

Mr. Priolo said they are hoping to open around Christmastime. Porch on Main will have a wine and cheese shop downstairs, dining upstairs, and short-term rental units on the top floor. Mrs. Priolo said the plan is to have a small wine bar and bistro with small plates, and said they will affiliate with two or three wineries to bring their products to the area. They will also host tastings and sell bottled wine. The dining menu will likely have three or four dinner options with a three-course meal.

The board also approved a site plan for Christa Lambert to operate an event venue at 100 East Colebrook Road. She said the capacity will be 100 people and she hopes to start hosting events in the summer.

Mr. Ouellet reported that he checked on the status of Scott Rogers' driveway permit for Suga'z Gentlemen's Club at 773 Diamond Pond Road, and found that it has been approved by DOT. Mr. Rogers submitted a site plan application for the proposed business last year, but because he was waiting for the driveway permit, the planning board could not take the step of determining that the application was complete. With the permit approved, the next step is for the board to determine that the application is complete and schedule a public hearing on it.

(Issue of May 15, 2024)


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Colebrook, NH 03576