LAURA'S BEAR GETS A FEW STITCHES
Pittsburg kindergarten student Laura LaBranche supervised Ed Laverty, PA, as he put some sutures in her teddy bear's paw in the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital's ER. The hospital sponsored its annual Teddy Bear Clinic last Wednesday, May 15, welcoming children from around the North Country for a visit to familiarize them with what goes on in a small, modern hospital. (Rob Maxwell photo)
Attorneys: No Way through Headwaters Conservation Easement for Northern Pass
By Jake Mardin
A Concord lawfirm has analyzed the Connecticut Headwaters conservation easement deed and concluded that its terms prevent Northern Pass from crossing the property, which encompasses 146,000 acres in Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartstown.
Ransmeier & Spellman reviewed the deed at the request of Jane Difley, president and forester of the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. "The State of New Hampshire, as the easement holder, has the duty and responsibility to defend and enforce the easement," attorney Thomas Masland wrote in a cover letter.
According to the analysis, written by Mr. Masland and attorney Paul MacDonald, "the clear language of the easement restricts commercial development of the protected property that is not related to the purposes of the easement, and this land is not available to Northern Pass." Representatives for Northern Pass have not yet proposed a route for the high-voltage, direct-current transmission line, a joint project of Public Service of New Hampshire parent company Northeast Utilities, NStar and Hydro-Quebec. However, the attorneys say that based on land acquisitions, it is possible that Northern Pass may seek use of the Headwaters Tract as it seeks 40 miles of new right of way from the Québec border southward through Coös County.
Northeast Utilities spokesman Michael Skelton said the company will not comment on the specifics of a new route until it is ready to announce it, but said, "We have always maintained that any new proposal will of course be respectful of property rights, legal restrictions or easement agreements governing the land we are seeking to use."
Forest Society spokesman Jack Savage said speculation about Northern Pass' intentions toward the Headwaters property ramped up when it purchased land abutting the easement. "From our standpoint, we feel very confident that the route is blocked," Mr. Savage said. "There's really no opportunity for them to [access the easement], and the state is clearly obligated to defend it."
The purposes of the easement include conserving the open spaces for the benefit of the public, sustaining traditional forest uses, and allowing hunting, fishing, trapping, snowmobiling and other traditional recreational uses.
The attorneys pointed out that section 2.A.i states that "the property shall be maintained in perpetuity as open space...without any residential, industrial or commercial activities being conducted thereon, except forest management activities." It also states that under lease limitations, construction of any structures or improvements, including towers, is prohibited, as is any disturbance of the soil surface, changes in topography or water systems unless it is necessary for forest management activities.
The attorneys also determined that the deed cannot be amended to allow for the construction of towers. The easement states that any amendment must be consistent with the purposes and stewardship goals, and cannot adversely affect the property's qualifications for the Forest Legacy Program. The LCHIP and Forest Legacy funding requirements also place additional restrictions on the property.
Finally, the attorneys state that the state "has accepted the responsibility to enforce [the easement] and is obligated to defend [it]." They concluded that "the development of any other commercial or industrial activity, and specifically the development of a transmission corridor such as the Northern Pass project, is contrary to the express purposes of the conservation easement and is contrary to the state and federal law that authorizes significant funding sources for the purchase of the easement."
Information about Northern Pass, including a project journal, can be found on-line at www.northernpass.us. More information about the Forest Society, and its "Trees Not Towers" campaign against Northern Pass, is available at www.forestsociety.org.
(Issue of May 22, 2013)
WADING INTO THE SUBJECT
Caleb Collins and Alan Garcia waded into the Connecticut River to stir up some aquatic insects for identification as part of the annual Conservation Day program at the Brady family's CJEJ Farm in Columbia on Wednesday, May 16.
Memorial Day Events Planned
Around the North Country, veterans' organizations, Scouting groups, schools and students are planning Memorial Day observances taking place from this Friday, May 24 through the holiday on Monday, May 27.
At 5:30 this Thursday evening, May 23, members of the George L. O'Neil American Legion Post 62 and Scouts from Troop 220 will gather at the Colebrook Village Cemetery to place flags on veterans' graves. This is a big job, and anyone who would like to help is welcome. Volunteers may obtain cemetery section maps and flags by checking in with the Legionnaires, who park parallel to Route 3, just south of the main access road.
In the event of rain the detail will still be done, but if lightning makes safety a concern the project will be postponed 24 hours, to Friday evening. Questions may be addressed to Commander Jim Kenny, at 603-237-4440.
Friday, May 24
" Errol Consolidated School students and staff will team up with American Legion Post 82 of Gorham to observe Memorial Day at 10:30 a.m. The Legion will present an honor guard, a wreath will be placed on the veterans' monument, and the students will present patriotic songs and poetry.
" Stratford Public School students will parade from the school to the veterans' monuments in Bloomfield and North Stratford at 11 a.m.
Monday, May 27
" The Northland American Legion Post 47, Ladies' Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion organize Memorial Day observances in Pittsburg, Canaan and Stewartstown. The day starts with a parade in Pittsburg that steps off at 10 a.m., and continues with an 11 a.m. ceremony at the veterans' monument in Beecher Falls. The group takes a break for lunch at the post in Canaan, and gathers again for a 1 p.m. parade in Canaan and Stewartstown. The North Country Community Band provides the music for the Post 47 parades.
" Observances in Colebrook are conducted by George L. O'Neil Post 62 and Ladies' Auxiliary, and the parade steps off at 11 a.m. in front of the post. The Colebrook School Band and Chorus will lend their talents to the observances, which take place at the Main Street bridge and at the monument lot on Bridge Street. All veterans are welcome to march in the parade, regardless of Legion membership.
(Issue of May 22, 2013)
Andrew Fadden and Debra Bourque enjoyed the pool during Family Adventure Day on Saturday, May 18 at the North Country Community Recreation Center. This first-ever event was hosted by Indian Stream Health Center, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital and NCCRC.
(Alan Farnsworth photo)
Local Schools Plan Commencement, Grade 8 Promotion Events
Local elementary and high schools are preparing for this year's graduation events in early June, and have announced their commencement speakers.
Groveton High School
A Baccalaureate service for Groveton High School's Class of 2013 will be held at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at the Groveton United Methodist Church. Class Night is at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 3, and commencement exercises will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 7.
Pittsburg High School
Graduation week for Pittsburg High School also begins with Baccalaureate, at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 2 at Farnham Memorial United Methodist Church. Class Night is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5 at the gym, and commencement takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. The Class of 2013 has selected longtime English teacher Dale Billé to deliver the commencement address.
The presentation of Academic awards at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 will start off Colebrook Academy's graduation events. Class Night is at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7 in the gym, and a Baccalaureate service will be celebrated at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at the Monadnock Congregational Church.
Commencement takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, and this year's speaker is Randy Pierce, who attended Colebrook Academy before transferring to Nashua for his senior year. Mr. Pierce, who is blind, has made headlines as the founder of 20/20 Vision Quest and is working toward a goal of hiking all the 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
Canaan Memorial High
St. Albert Church will host a Baccalaureate service for the Canaan Memorial High School graduates at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, followed by Class Night at 7 p.m. in the school gym. Commencement exercises begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 15, and the guest speaker is 2005 alumna Kaitee Daley, who is now the Associate Manager for Social Media at ESPN.
8th Grade Promotions
Errol Consolidated School's eighth grade graduation event will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.
Stratford Public School will send off is eighth-graders in a graduation ceremony at the school gym, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.
Colebrook Elementary School's eighth grade graduation is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 in the school gym.
(Issue of May 22, 2013)
Kevin Haley (left), formerly of Pittsburg, defeated Travis Lechern by first-round knockout in his debut fight at the Cage Titans XIV event in Plymouth, Mass., on April 13. He took the light heavyweight bout on short notice but still controlled the fight, landing multiple punches to end the match. (Photo courtesy of Rich O'Sullivan, RichO's Photography)
'Northwoods Nightmare' Kevin Haley Aims for Ultimate Fighting in MMA
By Jake Mardin
Kevin Haley, who grew up in Pittsburg, won his first professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fight in Plymouth, Mass., last month.
The 30-year-old Haley, billed as "The Northwoods Nightmare," defeated Travis Lechern in a light heavyweight bout at Cage Titans XIV by KO at 4:08 in the first round. He previously won two amateur bouts.
MMA is a contact sport that allows striking and grappling and draws from several fighting disciplines, such as boxing, wrestling, ju-jitsu and kickboxing.
According to a write-up of the match by northeastmma.net, Haley took down Lechern and initiated side control, controlling an arm with one hand while kneeling on the other with his left knee, before hitting Lechern with eight to ten punches. Northeast MMA awarded him the KO (knockout) of the Night.
Haley said he took the fight with Lechern on six days' notice, and has had five or six fights called off due to various circumstances, including injury.
Haley grew up in Pittsburg and was into professional wrestling before becoming interested in boxing when he was 18. He got into MMA when he was 25. Stan King of Canaan taught him some basics, and his current coach is Dominic Fiandaca.
Kevin is a member of the Team Anubis gym, based in Rollinsford. "You're pretty much only as good as your team," he said. The gym is comprised of around 10-15 core members, with four active competitors.
Part of being an MMA fighter is staying in peak physical condition, and Kevin said that includes eating right all the time--especially a month up to the fight. "You have to be ready to fight at any time," he said. He also works out with University of New Hampshire wrestling team in addition putting time in at the fighting gym.
Leading up to the fight with Lechern, Haley said he was relaxed, taking a nap and listening to music. "Training is no different than high school sports," he said. "You go through the methods and when it's time to go, you're not even thinking about it."
He knew that Lechern was an experience Muay Thai fighter who would use his knees and elbows, and his plan was to take it to the ground. "Every fight is different," he said, saying that his next opponent will likely be a Jiu-Jitsu fighter. "You have to know your opponent and can't be one-dimensional."
For younger fighters looking to get into MMA, Kevin said they should "be prepared for the hardest workout of your life." He also said it's important to find a team. "Find a team you're comfortable with and one that will support you all the time," he said. Haley tried out a couple of different teams before landing with Anubis.
Haley has two fights scheduled: May 25 in Dover and June 29 in Berlin. He said he usually fights at 205 pounds, but will move up or down in weight class.
His focus is to continue to get fights with better opponents each time, and that "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show competition is also a possibility. The show is produced by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world's largest MMA promotion company, and gives fighters the chance to compete for a UFC contract. Haley said a winning record in three professional fights is needed to compete on "Ultimate Fighter." His ultimate goal is to take it as far as he can and fight in front of as many friends and family as possible.
Updates on Haley's MMA career can be found at www.facebook.com/Northwoods Nightmare.
(Issue of May 22, 2013)