State, local officials dedicate welcome center to Burton

Last modified: 3/17/2015 11:49:18 PM
As an executive councilor, Ray Burton was always lobbying for better roads, bridges and buildings, and promoting tourism in his beloved North Country. Now, one of the state’s newly renovated welcome centers has been dedicated to him.

A ceremony yesterday morning at the center on northbound Interstate 93 in Hooksett was in honor of Burton, the state’s longest-serving member of the council. He died of kidney cancer in 2013 at age 74.

Joan Day of Concord, Burton’s sister, attended the gathering, helping Gov. Maggie Hassan unveil a portrait of him for the center. Another sister, Mary Grimes, drove down with her family from Colebrook.

Day said if her brother were here today, he’d say, “Look North, governor, look North.”

The center features a 20,000 square-foot state Liquor and Wine Outlet; a Merrimack County Savings Bank branch; and a general store. There’s an 8-by-13-foot video wall highlighting state attractions; a rock waterfall with a likeness of the Old Man of the Mountain carved into a cliff; a large topographical map of New Hampshire and suspended covered bridge.

There’s also a 10,000 square-foot food court; a League of New Hampshire Craftsmen store; 16 Irving fueling stations and electric car charging stations; upgraded restrooms; and more than 300 parking spaces.

The project took 15 months from ground-breaking to completion. It’s the first renovation work done to the rest stop since the mid-1970s.

Both the south and north-bound welcome centers are projected to sell $40.5 million in liquor sales and $13.5 million in food.

Connecticut River projects to get grants

A total of $1.3 million in grants is going to 13 Connecticut River projects in New Hampshire and Vermont to improve water quality, restore habitat and conserve space.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation grants were announced yesterday.

A fund dedicated to the restoration and protection of the river, its wetlands and shorelands is expected to provide about $21 million for the projects over 20 years.

Since 2003, the fund has distributed $12.5 million to support the projects. It was created as part of a settlement agreement between the parties involved in the federal process to award a new operating license for three hydroelectric dams on the river near Littleton and Ryegate, Vt.

State jobless rate 3.9 percent for February

The New Hampshire Employment Security office said the state’s unemployment rate for February was 3.9 percent, a decrease of a tenth of a percentage point from the January rate.

In February 2014, the seasonally adjusted rate for New Hampshire was 4.6 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 5.5 percent, down from 5.3 percent in January, and a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the February 2014 rate.

Associated Press


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