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Event planned to highlight Coös positives

May 06, 2009
CONCORD — Representatives of Coös arts, education, business, healthcare, wood and energy, tourism and telecommunications communities have been gathered and will descend on Concord next week to highlight the state's northern county. The event is being billed as Coös Goes South and is considered by organizers to be a "day of education and sharing."

The event is the brainchild of First Colebrook Bank president Jim Tibbetts, according to Coös Economic Development Corp (CEDC) Director Peter Riviere and CEDC Board President Peter Powell. "This is to replicate what used to be visits (of legislators) to the North Country by the bus loads," Mr. Riviere explained. Both men said that Mr. Tibbetts introduced the idea last year and it has been in the planning stages since. Mr. Riviere noted that Mr. Tibbetts rolled out his concept at the Coös Symposium held at The Balsams last spring and "it evolved from there."

The idea is to acquaint policy makers with the North Country's people and industry, said Mr. Powell, who is also a member of the Coös Goes South steering committee that planned the event. Previously, he said, Executive Councilor Ray Burton and others would carefully organize the bus trips for legislators. The lawmakers would then be hosted at the area's resorts and given a tour of the region and some highlighted businesses. That practice has subsided, likely due to costs, he explained, and its latest incarnation is more of a model that brings the mountain to Mohammed.

Mr. Powell said it wasn't that long ago that Coös had 22 representatives in Concord. With population shifts, that number is now down to 11, leaving a difficult job for those few elected officials to represent such a large geographic area. With most of the population of the state south of the notches, he explained, many haven't had the opportunity to visit Coös, and this event could give them a chance to see what the region — that in many cases embodies the traditional image of New Hampshire — is about, Mr. Powell said.

What the organizers hope to do with their visit to the state capital is offer the legislature a glimpse into the North Country and its people, while leaving them with a sense of "who we are, what we do and why we're important to New Hampshire," said Mr. Powell. "We're not begging for things," he explained, but instead educating those who may not have had an opportunity to visit the region, on its vibrancy and promising opportunities — the good things going on. "There's an awful lot of collaboration…common vision and common goals," he said of the new county dynamic that the steering committee plans to highlight. As a result of the Coös Goes South Mr. Powell said, there is optimism that issues which would impact the northernmost part of the state will be debated in Concord with more informed perspectives.

At the May 12 event, which is not intended for the general public, legislators will be treated to professional presentations arranged by the steering committee, including information from the CEDC on the Coös Action Plan. Poster boards will be exhibited in a trade-show environment and the Grand Resorts will be providing food in the Taste of Coös tent.

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