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Vt. naming raises NH hackles

PITTSBURG - While it's the job of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to be vigilant regarding threats that may come from outside the nation's borders, a threat of a different sort over several months mobilized New Hampshire's top politicians.

When CPB officials decided late last year they'd call their new $7.4 million border station the 'Beecher Falls Port of Entry via Pittsburg, New Hampshire,' the Granite State response to the possibility that Vermont would get top billing was fast and furious.

'Since its inception, the border crossing at Pittsburg has been known as the 'Pittsburg, New Hampshire, Port of Entry,' U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a letter she fired off to then-CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Charlie Bass added their signatures to the letter.

The new station, built with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding, replaced the aging Customs station that was built in 1960. It's less than 10 miles from Beecher Falls, Vt., and the intersection of New Hampshire, Vermont and Quebec.

The New Hampshire response to the name change caused CPB officials to abandon that plan and keep the Pittsburg designation.

'I appreciated the agency's subsequent reconsideration of that decision,' Shaheen wrote early last month to acting CBP Commissioner David Aguilar. In the same letter, however, the senator expressed her concern that it was taking quite some time to replace the 'Beecher Falls' signs at the station.

'... it is important that the facility be correctly identified to the public as soon as possible,' she wrote.

The new lettering went up late last month.

- Bob Hookway

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