Sean Hurley

North Country Reporter

Sean Hurley lives in Thornton with his wife Lois and his son Sam.  An award-winning playwright and radio journalist, his fictional “Atoms, Motion & the Void” podcast has aired nationally on NPR and Sirius & XM Satellite radio.  When he isn't writing stories or performing on stage, he likes to run in the White Mountains.

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North Country
2:19 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

N.H. Ski Areas React To Storm

Riding the Chairlift to the Loon Summit
Credit Loon Mountain

With only 6 to 8 inches of fresh powder, most New Hampshire ski areas aren't exactly reeling from the storm.  But even a little snow can bring skiers to the mountains.

Greg Kwasnik, marketing director at Loon Mountain is expecting a surge of skiers.

Up here we didn't have such a huge impact that people had in Southern New Hampshire so I think a lot of people will shovel their driveways and then get up here.  They might get here a little later than they anticipated but I think we'll see some strong business today.

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North Country
4:00 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Ice Castles at Loon Mountain

Cory Livingood in the Ice Castle
Sean Hurley

Utah has one.  Colorado does too.  And now New Hampshire has its very own Ice Castle open to the public at Loon Mountain.  It's taken Mother Nature and 20 workers about a month to turn tons of homemade icicles into a glacial maze of frozen caverns and clear blue coliseums.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a tour of the nearly completed castle and sends us this report.

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North Country
4:29 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

The Christmas Tree That Got Away

Sean, Lois & Sam look for their ribboned tree.
Sean Hurley

For the last 3 years, NHPR's Sean Hurley and his family get a $5 permit to cut down their Christmas Tree in the White Mountain National Forest and every year, as Sean explains in this audio postcard, they run into the same problem. 

We walk beside an ice snagged brook looking for the balsam fir we tagged with a purple ribbon the month before.  My wife Lois leads us along, interpreting the wildlife signs as we go.

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Word of Mouth
11:55 am
Thu December 19, 2013

The Story Behind "The Christmas La La Song"

Credit Sherwin Sleeves

Christmas songs can quickly puncture the spirit of the season with deep rancor. NHPR’s Sean Hurley found this out for himself, when he decided to compose a new Christmas carol. Sean's song, “The Christmas La La Song” was picked up by Sirius XM shock jocks Opie and Anthony. We’ll let Sean pick it up from there. And a reminder that these are the kind of radio personalities that love to inflame…

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North Country
4:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

The Composer Next Door

Rik Pfenninger in his home studio.
Sean Hurley

USA Today recently published a list of the fastest growing professions in the United States.  Music Composer came in at #3.  Everything, in this digital age, needs music.  With advances in technology, today's orchestras are more often found on hard drives in basements than symphony hall. NHPR's Sean Hurley has this profile of music professor and film composer Rik Pfenninger of Holderness.

It's 3:30 AM in Holderness and Plymouth State University Professor of Saxophone Rik Pfenninger is practicing in the soundproofed basement of his house. 

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Word of Mouth
10:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Scrooge Visits Christmasville, USA

Luminaries, Wassail Weekend, Woodstock, VT
Sean Hurley for NHPR

What happens when a veritable Grinch is confronted by unbridled Christmas spirit? Last year we sent favorite contributor Sean Hurley to visit a town Time Magazine dubbed one of America's "most Christmassy":

Is there a better place to celebrate Christmas than Vermont, where the air has a fragrance of pine needles and the ground is (most likely) dusted with snow? For the past 25 years, Woodstock has hosted Wassail Weekend, a pre-Christmas festival that is rooted in 19th century Norse culture and traditions. While the city itself is a sight to see during the holiday season, Wassail Weekend brings a distinctive parade of more than 50 horses and riders adorned in holiday costumes and period dress, as well as wagon and sleigh rides, a wassail feast and tours of the city's most notable historic buildings ... It's everything you imagine Christmas to be, but so much more. -Time Magazine

He was, perhaps, a bit of a Scrooge about it.

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North Country
6:00 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Ray Burton Remembered At Memorial Service

Ray Burton Portrait by Craig Pursley
Bruce Lyndes Plymouth State University

Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who died November 12th, was remembered yesterday at  a Memorial Service held at Plymouth State University.  Dignitaries large and small gathered together with Burton's friends and family to remember the longtime political face of the North Country.  NHPR's Sean Hurley attended the event and sends us this report.

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North Country
6:00 am
Thu November 28, 2013

We Wear The Winter As the Winter Wears Us

Winter Begins
Lois Hurley

Most of us here in New Hampshire saw our first snowflakes of the year this week.  It's a gentle reminder that winter is on its way.  On this holiday that for many of us kicks off a frenzied season of shopping and parties, NHPR's Sean Hurley pauses to reflect on what it means as winter rolls in.

Winter comes in like a winter coat. Down from the storage closet to hang in the dark front hall to wait by the door. 

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Word of Mouth
12:20 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Re-Creating A 19th Century Thanksgiving

Dinner begins.
Sean Hurley NHPR

On September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire, wrote a letter to President Lincoln.  The author of Mary Had A Little Lamb and one of America’s first female novelists wrote, "The subject is to have the day of our annual thanksgiving made a national holiday."  Lincoln, a great observer of the wisdom of others, quickly agreed and in 1863 Thanksgiving became our third national holiday alongside Washington’s birthday and Independence Day. 

NHPR’s Sean Hurley set out to discover what Thanksgiving was really like during Sarah Josepha Hale's time. His tack: participating in a 19th century re-creation at the Remick Country Doctor Museum.

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NH News
4:36 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Alice Fogel Named Next Poet Laureate of NH

Alice Fogel
Keene State College

Acworth poet Alice Fogel has been named New Hampshire’s next poet laureate.

The Executive Council approved Governor Maggie Hassan’s nomination at a meeting Wednesday.

Alice Fogel was selected from a group of 17 poets nominated for the distinction.

Kyle Potvin of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, one of the groups that coordinated the nomination process, says Fogel’s literary reputation made her an ideal candidate.

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North Country
3:30 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Discovery At Frost Place

Maudelle Driskell holds the discovered crate top.
Sean Hurley

When poet Robert Frost returned to New Hampshire from England in 1915 he moved his family into a small farmhouse in Franconia.  Since 1976, when the town of Franconia purchased the property, The Frost Place has provided a glimpse at the poet's life from a hundred years ago.  His old chair sits near his old desk near his old wallpaper.

Frost Place Director Maudelle Driskell says volunteer Dee Macoun was emptying the contents of a small closet during a routine clean up when she noticed something unusual about the large slab of wood supporting a shelf. 

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NH News
3:15 am
Thu October 31, 2013

N.H. Reacts to Red Sox World Series Win

Before the Last Pitch at Lucky Dog
Sean Hurley

It was 1918 when the Red Sox last did it.   And they did it again last night, winning the World Series in front of a hometown crowd, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1.  Here in New Hampshire, the reaction was swift and loud, as Sean Hurley reports. 

Jeff Chapel from Thornton watches the game at his hometown bar, the Woodpecker Pub. It's only the 6th inning, but he's ready for his World Series pilgrimage.

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North Country
6:00 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Lighting The Way For Abigail Hernandez

Firefighter Brian Ames and his family
Sean Hurley

Abigail Hernandez has now been missing for 19 days.  Although thousands of acres have been combed and hundreds of tips have been followed, both the FBI and local police still don't know what happened between 3 and 4 in the afternoon on October 9th when Abby disappeared.  Despite this, the Hernandez family and the local community remain hopeful. On Saturday night nearly 500 people attended a flashlight vigil in Schouler Park in downtown North Conway meant to light the way home for Abby.  Sean Hurley was there and has this report. 

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NH News
3:40 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

NH Poet Laureate W. E. Butts Remembered

Walter at home in 2009
Sean Hurley

New Hampshire will soon have a new poet laureate. W.E. "Walter" Butts held that post until he died earlier this year.

Butts lived with his wife, the poet S Stephanie, in a small house on a quiet side street in Manchester.  

We shared all our work together, you know like I would write a poem and bring it up to him and he would write a poem and bring it to me.  We were always critiquing each other's work, supporting each other's work.

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Word of Mouth
2:03 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Diary Of A Space Zucchini: An Astronaut Imagines His Vegetable's Voice

Don Pettit

NASA’s Don Pettit has been back from his last mission aboard the International Space Station for over a year, but his blog “Letters to Earth” remains one of the most fascinating and profound windows into the creative and emotional life of an astronaut.  While in space he penned and published poetry, An Astronaut’s Guide to Space Etiquette, and the series, “Diary of a Space Zucchini”, which detailed life on the ISS from the unusual perspective of a se

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