From the category archives:


DURHAM, N.H. – If past banner leaf peeping seasons are an indication of future years’ color, this year could be a favorable year for New England’s fall foliage season, according to a scientist with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire.

Experiment station researcher Heidi Asbjornsen, associate professor of natural resources and the environment in the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, explains that in the fall when leaves start to senesce, chlorophyll is degraded. This allows carotenoids, which have yellow, orange, and sometimes red colors, to be expressed. During this time, anthocyanin concentrations, which have darker red to purple colors, also can increase in the leaves.

Historical trends suggest that, in general, good foliage years occur when springs are fairly mild and wet, sufficient rainfall occurs in the summer, and in particular, late summer and early autumn have lots of warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights. Thus far, New Hampshire has continued to experience unseasonably warm days with abundant sunshine, while nighttime temperatures have overall been above average. The forecast for the New England region calls for a continuation of above-normal temperatures associated with the El Nino that NOAA predicts will strengthen this fall and into the winter of 2018-19, since this would keep the polar jet stream further north than usual.

“This year has been relatively wet, with the exception of periods of moderately dry conditions and periods without substantial rainfall between May and July. Certainly, in August we saw frequent rainstorms and overall wet conditions. We also experienced unusually hot and humid conditions this year, but in general, rainfall and sunshine tend to be more important factors determining fall foliage colors than temperature,” Asbjornsen says. “Leaves also have remained relatively healthy this year, due to a lack of widespread pest or pathogen outbreaks, which would tend to support more favorable fall foliage.”

Asbjornsen is also interested in the possible effects that drought may have on NH forests, including potential implications for fall foliage. “There is some evidence from recent studies suggesting that more drought in the autumn can delay peak of redness for some species such as red maple, white oak, while other species may exhibit earlier redness peaks. These include sugar maple, black birch, shagbark hickory, beech, red oak,” Asbjornsen says. “For sugar maple in particular, warmer temperatures during September and October appear to be especially important in producing higher intensity of red leaves. In contrast, more frosts in October tend to reduce red intensities.”

Additionally, certain types of stress, such as droughts, can cause more of these anthocyanins to build up in the leaves, resulting in more intense and vibrant fall foliage colors. Although scientists don’t yet have a good understanding about how the timing and severity of drought may affect anthocyanin production and foliage colors, in general scientists expect that some drought stress during the growing season may lead to enhanced foliage colors.

“Although there hasn’t been much work specifically focused on the effects of moisture stress on fall foliage colors, it’s interesting to note that despite the severe drought that we experienced throughout much of New England in late summer of 2016, the display of foliage colors that year was still quite spectacular,” she says.

Asbjornsen says that the understanding of interactions between all the various environmental factors that affect anthocyanin production and expression is still very poor. “The factors that influence foliage color are complex. For example, there are other pigments in the leaves that interact with anthocyanins and can affect color expression while different species also may show very different responses to the same environmental conditions.”

Going forward, she says the possible effects of climate change – especially increases in the frequency and severity of drought — on foliage color timing and intensity is especially important for ecotourism, and more research is needed in this area.

This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 1003450, and the state of New Hampshire.

Story Contributed by:
Lori Wright, NH Agricultural Experiment Station

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Escaped Maine Murderer Found After Thursday Escape

by Christian Mower on September 18, 2018

65-year-old Arnold Nash has been found after escaping from a minimum security prison in Maine on Thursday. ~ Photo courtesy of the Maine Department of Corrections.


PORTLAND, ME (AP) — A convicted murderer who escaped for a third time from prison has been captured, law enforcement authorities said Tuesday.

A sheriff’s deputy found 65-year-old Arnold Nash walking along a road Tuesday morning in Dover-Foxcroft, in Piscataquis County, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said. He was last seen Thursday evening at the minimum-security unit at Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, several miles down the road from where he was found.

Nash was serving a 45-year sentence for killing his former neighbor in 1991. He was due to be released last year and had previously escaped from Maine Correctional Center in Windham in 1973 and from the Maine State Prison in 1981.

Nash was taken to Piscataquis County Jail, McCausland said. The Maine Department of Corrections will attempt to determine where Nash has been since Thursday night, he said.

“The corrections officials can learn where he has been, and whether our search efforts were close. They were extensive over the weekend,” McCausland said, adding that bloodhounds were used to try to find Nash. “Having that information would be helpful as we prepare for future searches and manhunts.”

Nash has been charged with escape, which is a felony, said Piscataquis County Sheriff Robert Young. He has been transferred to the custody of the Department of Corrections, Young said.

It was unclear on Tuesday morning what Nash’s next stop would be or whether he was represented by a lawyer, he said.

Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick floated the theory on Monday that Nash had spent much of his life in prison and that his escape may have been his way of ensuring he would go back to prison.

But Young said on Tuesday that Nash “wasn’t trying to run, but he wasn’t trying to be caught,” and that the apprehension was a case of a deputy “being in the right place at the right time.”

Fitzpatrick had called on the public to offer any tips they had about Nash’s whereabouts, and stressed that “we do consider Mr. Nash dangerous.”

Nash was due to be released in December 2019, thanks to credits for time served in jail and good behavior. He was convicted of killing the neighbor in North Sullivan, a small community about 145 miles northwest of Portland.

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Names Of Drivers Involved In Fryeburg Rollover Released

by Christian Mower on September 17, 2018

A 29-year-old pregnant woman from Denmark, Maine and an 8-year-old boy were severly injured in a Saturday morning car accident in Fryeburg. ~ Photo courtesy of Fryeburg Police

FRYEBURG , ME – A pregnant woman and an 8-year-old boy are in critical condition after a serious car accident in Fryeburg Saturday morning. According to Fryeburg Police the 29-year-old Denmark resident, later identified as Bridgette McAvoy, was headed west on Route 302 in her Subaru Outback with three children all under 10-years-old in the vehicle at around 9:30 am. a Volvo, driven by a 56-year-old Irene Thurston of Fryeburg, headed Eastbound entered the westbound lane colliding with the Subaru.

A 29-year-old pregnant woman from Denmark, Maine and an 8-year-old boy were severly injured in a Saturday morning car accident in Fryeburg. ~ Photo courtesy of Fryeburg Police


The McAvoy and her 8-year-old son were in critical condition and were Life flighted to Maine Medical center, where they are being treated for potentially life-threatening injuries. Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin said Monday Morning that the victims were stable/fair condition at Maine Medical Center.

A 29-year-old pregnant woman from Denmark, Maine and an 8-year-old boy were severly injured in a Saturday morning car accident in Fryeburg. ~ Photo courtesy of Fryeburg Police


The other two children who were in the Subaru, ages three and five, have been treated and released to their family.

The driver of the Volvo was not injured.

Route 302 was closed for all non-emergency personnel for 3.5 hours while Fryeburg Police and a crash reconstruction team investigated the scene. Fryeburg Police Investigators along with Crash Reconstructionists returned to the crash scene Monday for further investigation.

Police say the exact cause of the accident is under investigation, but they believe distracted driving could be to blame.

Center Conway, Conway and United Ambulance Service all responded to the scene, along with Life Flight of Maine.

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CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Senate has voted to override Governor Chris Sununu’s vetoes of two energy bills. SB 365 and SB446 were vetoed by the Governor in June, with the governor citing that the two bills would put too much of a burden on rate and taxpayers costing them $100 million over three years.

SB 365 was championed by Wolfeboro’s own Jeb Bradley and would give a three year subsidy to six biomass plants in New Hampshire, including Pinetree Power in Tamworth.

SB466 would increase the net-metering cap from one megawatt to five megawatts.

The energy bills have garnered the most attention, with dozens of farmers, loggers and environmentalists protesting in front of the statehouse and signing petitions urging lawmakers to overturn the veto.

Senators voted 21-3 easily getting the two thirds majority needed to overturn the vetoes.

However in the house SB365 squeaked by passing by a single vote with a total vote of 226-113 exactly two-thirds of the majority.

SB 446 did not pass, though it received a majority of 213 to 128, that was not enough to meet the two-thirds requirement in order to override a veto.

Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester, District 18) said “Time and again, Governor Sununu has failed to sit down with lawmakers to craft legislation that best serves the people of our state, instead relying on his veto pen after the legislative process has concluded. It is unfortunate that, in vetoing SB 365, the Governor listened more to the fossil fuel industry than he did to the 900 biomass workers whose hard work generates more than $254 million annually for New Hampshire’s economy.”

When he originally vetoed the bills the Governor said that the two bills would cost ratepayers approximately $100 million combined over the next three years in higher electricity costs, placing a burden on the elderly, those on fixed incomes, and on businesses.

Sununu said SB 365 would not guarantee the solvency of the six biomass plants in the state and would only generate 3.5% impact on the revenue of wood suppliers of those facilities.

He said SB 446 would just be a handout to large-scale solar energy developers.


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Mount Washington Valley Firefighters Head To North Carolina To Assist In Hurricane Florence

by Christian Mower September 13, 2018 Front Page News

 Firefighters from Bedford, Amherst, Bedford, Goffstown, Keene, Conway, North Conway and Manchester departments gather at the Bedford Fire Department early Wednesday morning before beginning their journey to North Carolina. (Courtesy Photo) CONWAY,NH – Local Firefighters are headed to North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Conway Fire Chief Stephen Solomon said in a press release that […]

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2018 New Hampshire Primary Results

by Christian Mower September 12, 2018 Front Page News

Primary Results   So far state wide 93% of towns have reported their results (281 of 301 precincts)     Governor   Republican: Incumbent Christopher Sununu(Uncontested)   Democrat: Molly Kelly 75,531 65.6% Steve Marchand 39,628 34.4   Libertarian: Jilletta Jarvis 496 53.7% Aaron Day 428 46.3   District 1 U.S House Of Representatives 96% reporting […]

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