SISTER GETS IN ON THE FUN
Despite her pleas, Emma McKeage couldn't avoid getting a pie to the face courtesy of her sister, Sophie LeClair, during the Pie-a-Senior fundraising event for the Class of 2023 at Colebrook's homecoming events on Friday night. Looking on from left to right are Kimber Cross, Sierra Riff, Shyanna Fuller, Jaydon Kennett and Sara Fernald. (Jake Mardin photo)
Balsams Developers to Submit New Ski Area Design to Coos Planning Board
By Jake Mardin
Members of The Balsams Resort development team told the Coos County planning board last Wednesday that the project is moving ahead and that they hope to submit a new application for the ski area in time to have it reviewed at next month's meeting.
Team member Ed Brisson noted that The Balsams originally submitted an application for the ski area in 2016. Developers and the board went through the first step of a completeness review but things slowed down after that, according to Mr. Brisson, and the application was withdrawn.
Mr. Brisson said the upcoming application will be similar to the one submitted in 2016. When that original application was submitted, the board offered several comments that Mr. Brisson said developers will incorporate as much as they can into the new one.
Design and construction for the ski area will take approximately two years, according to Mr. Brisson, and developers have been working on designing trails "for quite some time."
The new application will show the overall layout of the ski area, including the location of trails, lifts, a gondola from the hotel to the top of the existing Wilderness ski area, and a ski-back bridge. Mr. Brisson said the initial request would seek approval of the layout, ski trail and lift locations, and that it is important to have those approved before grading and drainage work begins.
Due to the nature of the project, The Balsams will also require approvals from other agencies, including the N.H. departments of Environmental Services and Transportation. Mr. Brisson said he anticipates that The Balsams will submit a plan for storm drain work to the DES in late November or early December. If the planning board approves the location of the ski area, developers will commence with the engineering for the ski-back bridge, which requires DOT approval. If the DOT approves the engineering plan, developers will come back to the planning board in the spring.
Another part of the project that requires planning board approval is the location of snowmaking utility buildings, and before the resort can open, the board will have to approve traffic circulation, parking, signage and lighting plans.
Lead developer Les Otten said he is approaching his ninth year on the project, and that, "We see the finish line." Developers are working with two different contractors--one for the Hampshire and Dix Houses and another for the Lake Gloriette Hous--and have received commitment letters or letters of intent from financing partners.
Before discussing the ski area, the board held a public hearing on an application by Dixville Capital to amend the subdivision and site plan approval for the Lake Gloriette House that was granted in 2017. Mr. Brisson explained that the proposed amendment would simplify the approved plan and that it would accommodate potential changes to the landscaping and hardscaping on the southern end of the building, as well as potential revisions to the nearby drop-off area and plaza hardscape. The amendment applies only to a lot line configuration and does not make any changes to the site plan or building.
After the board reviewed suggested edits by consultant Tara Bamford, it voted to accept the amendment and to extend the approval to January, 2025.
(Issue of September 28, 2022)
Colebrook's Keenan Hurlbert got a head on the ball against Groveton during the Mohawks' 1-0 win in Saturday's homecoming matchup. (Jake Mardin photo)
District 3 Primary Results Certified, AG Reviewing Complaint
By Karen Harrigan
The N.H. Secretary of State says the results of the September 13 Republican primary election for District 3 in the House of Representatives have been certified, despite the losing candidate's allegations of impropriety that are under review by the Attorney General's office.
Gary Whitehill of Stewartstown lost his bid for the Republican nomination to Mike Ouellet of Colebrook by 17 votes, 294-277. The threshold for a recount is a margin of fewer than 10 votes or 1.5 percent.
In the days following the election Mr. Whitehill alleged procedural violations in Colebrook and Columbia, and submitted a complaint to the AG's Election Law Division. Mr. Whitehill stated for last week's front-page article that the Secretary of State "will not be certifying the election anytime soon, nor doing a recount. Both a certification and recount rely on an integrity-led election. That is currently in the air and therefore, he will wait for the AG to complete their investigation."
When contacted on Monday, N.H. Secretary of State David Scanlan stated, "Mr. Whitehill did not qualify for a recount, and the results have been certified. A recount is for the purpose of determining a winner, not [to] conduct an investigation of the election. He expressed concerns about the conduct of the election in his race, and those concerns have been passed on to the Attorney General's office."
Michael Garrity, communications director for the AG's office, stated only, "This office is reviewing the complaint submitted by Mr. Whitehill."
As of yesterday afternoon, neither Columbia town moderator Steve Brooks nor Colebrook moderator Nathan Lebel had heard from anyone at the state level regarding the primary results. "We did not count any Democrat votes in the Republican primary," Mr. Lebel said, countering a specific claim Mr. Whitehill has made publicly. "All the results are in the town clerk's office, and anyone can go take a look. All the numbers match up--it's pretty simple math--which is probably why I haven't heard from anyone."
Mr. Ouellet stated, "This proves that the Secretary of State recognizes the diligence, dedication and integrity of the North Country town officials."
(Issue of September 28, 2022)
Northern Vermont University athletics director Chris Gilmore (left) congratulates Kevin Trask for being inducted into the college's Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday evening, September 23. Kevin is a 2001 alumnus of Colebrook Academy and a 2006 graduate of Lyndon State College, now NVU, where he scored over 1,500 points in basketball and won numerous awards for his exploits on the court. (Courtesy photo)
New Scoreboards Installed at C.A. Gym
By Jake Mardin
Two new basketball scoreboards were installed inside Trask Gymnasium at Colebrook Academy and Elementary School on Friday.
Athletic director Ryan Call said the old scoreboard, which was located on the far side of the gym, was put up in the late 1990s and was on its last legs. Former SAU 7 business administrator Cheryl Covill was working on closing out accounts and told Mr. Call that one of the previous graduating classes donated left over money with the intent of using it to install a second scoreboard. Given the condition of the old one, Mr. Call said it made sense to purchase a new eight- by five-foot board in its place and install a second one to the right of the stage.
The new scoreboards say "Mohawks" instead of "home" and have bright LED lights. They are also wireless, with everything controlled by the operator at the scorer's table. Like the old board, the new ones will show the score, quarter, and player and team fouls. On Friday, Mr. Call, Eric Dejackome and Carl Harris took down the old board and installed the two new ones.
With the addition of the second scoreboard next to the stage, fans sitting on the opposite side will now be able to see the score without craning their necks or standing up. Mr. Call, who is also an official, said having two boards will also make it easier for referees to keep track of the time and other aspects of the game.
Mr. Call is looking for scoreboard operators for the upcoming varsity basketball season, and anyone who is interested can contact him at 603-237-4801, ext. 1137.
(Issue of September 28, 2022)