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John Gregg: Cryans to Seek Executive Council Seat Again

Hanover Democrat Mike Cryans is going to run again for the District 1 Executive Council seat now held by Wakefield Republican Joe Kenney.

Cryans, a longtime Grafton County commissioner, narrowly lost to Kenney in a March 11 special election to succeed the late Ray Burton, a Bath Republican who had held the seat for decades.

Turnout was relatively low, and Cryans won 48.5 percent of the vote, falling short of Kenney, a former state senator, by 1,266 votes.

“I am running again, I thought I’d get that out there,” Cryans said recently. “I’ll be back there at it again. It will be a different race. I won’t go to Colebrook at 35 degrees below zero, and the other thing is, we won’t be the center of attention.”

The pair campaigned for months through the long, cold winter, and both have kept their profiles up throughout the district, which stretches from Claremont north to the Canadian border and east to the Maine state line.

Cryans last week was the keynote speaker at Lebanon College’s graduation, and Kenney has taken an active interest on behalf of an American Legion Post in Lebanon that faces gambling charges over a Super Bowl pool.

Although Democrats traditionally fare better in the district during presidential elections, Cryans thinks he’ll be helped by turnout in the U.S. Senate race, which is likely to pit U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat popular with the party base, against a Republican challenger, quite possibly former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is also trying to draw independents to the polls.

“The turnout will be tremendous,” Cryans said. “It will bring a lot of people out to vote. I’m hoping to do well as a result of it.”

Meanwhile, the Burton era is ending on another front, as well.

The 1860 farmhouse where he grew up in Bath, which includes 45 acres and about 1,000 feet of frontage on the Ammonoosuc River, will be put up for public auction by his estate on June 7. The home and barn are “in need of restoration,” according to the auctioneers. Details can be found at www.steenburgh.com.

The Next Northern Pass?

Much has been made of the proposal by TDI New England to build a privately financed $1.2 billion power line under Lake Champlain to carry Canadian hydropower to a new facility in Ludlow, Vt., then connect to a high-voltage power line at the so-called Coolidge substation in Cavendish. The project is seen as environmentally benign because the proposed line would be buried underground and underwater, including under Lake Champlain.

But what’s not clear is what happens to all that power — can you say 1,000 megawatts — once it reaches Cavendish, and whether the existing above-ground transmission lines, which include some that run east to Ascutney and through Sullivan County, would have to be upgraded, or expanded.

“We do not believe any upgrades will be required. However, that is currently being studied by ISO-New England. If (the operator of the regional grid) determines that upgrades are required anywhere on the system as a result of this project, TDI New England as the developer, is required to pay for them,” said Andrew Rush, a spokesman for the TDI project.

Such questions as whether the power is needed for reliability, and whether it would be priced more cheaply than electricity available from other generators, could also play a role.

“More than likely the power on this line will be competing with other resources to deliver electricity to the region,” Ellen Foley, a spokeswoman for Holyoke, Mass.-based ISO. “It’s just too early in the process to determine if upgrades would be needed.”

Briefly Noted

∎ The White House announcement earlier this month that it had completed the installation of some solar panels on the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was music to the ears of Norwich Democrat Bill Stetson.

The Vermont philanthropist, environmentalist and party donor has been urging President Obama to go solar since shortly after he was elected. “I had brought it up with the newly elected president in 2009, and we both acknowledged the complexity of any construction on the (White House) roof,” Stetson said via email, citing both multiple jurisdiction of government agencies overseeing the White House and grounds, and the Secret Service.

Stetson, who serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, said he was pleased to “just get the solar panels up there as an example to all.”

∎ Former Bear Stearns executive Bruce Lisman, the Shelburne, Vt., resident behind the advocacy group Campaign for Vermont, said Wednesday he will not run for governor against Democrat Peter Shumlin. Lisman, a Vermont native, wants to concentrate on “a stronger business environment” and transparency in health care reform, among other measures.