Crews working to demolish old building after collapse

Heavy rain has collapsed part of an abandoned four-story building on Main Street in Bethlehem, N.H., forcing emergency crews to close part of Route 302.

No one has been injured, and a demolition crew arrived Friday to work on taking down the building, which is over 100 years old. The building, which has been called the Summit Building or the Cruft Block, is 150 feet long by 50 feet wide. It used to host some businesses and had been vacant for at least four years.

Bethlehem Fire Chief Jack Anderson said the hope was to get the front part of the building down by nighttime. “They’ve got the back half knocked down,” he said Friday afternoon.

The building started bowing Thursday afternoon after a strong storm and part of the roof eventually collapsed.

In addition to making sure no one gets hurt, officials are concerned about a major cable and phone connection being affected near the building.

“It basically services the whole northern part of New Hampshire,” Anderson said. “It’s not an easy fix if something happens to it.”


Groups attempting to raise $1.8 million to protect trails

There’s an effort under way to raise nearly $2 million to protect New Hampshire’s Mount Major and preserve its trails.

The state owns the Mount Major parking lot and the summit, but the land in between is owned privately.

WMUR-TV reported that while there is no current threat to close any of the trails, the Lakes Region Conservation Fund and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests said they want to make sure it never happens.

Brenda Charpentier of the Forest Society said four willing landowners are interested in selling their land.

“You never know what’s going to happen in the future, and we can make sure that these trails stay open,” Charpentier said. “We have that opportunity right now.

The amount, $1.8 million, would buy the four trails and hundreds of acres.

“If we are successful, we can address permanent protection,” said Dave Anderson of the Forest Society.

The mountain is in Alton, south of Lake Winnipesaukee.


Bulger’s defense bill totals $2.6 million through June

Court records show defense costs for convicted Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger totaled $2.6 million through June with more bills yet to come for taxpayers.

Bulger was convicted Aug. 12 of racketeering, including 11 killings, as well as extortion, money laundering and weapons charges, in the 1970s and ’80s.

The expenses disclosed Friday begin with the end of June 2011, when Bulger was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., through the beginning of his trial. They don’t include July and August.

Bulger was one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives when he fled Boston in 1994 ahead of an indictment. He was granted public defenders when he said his assets were seized by the government.

The 84-year-old Bulger faces sentencing in November. Prosecutors have said they will seek a life sentence.

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