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. He can be reached at shurley@nhpr.org. 

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NH News
5:43 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Police Commissioner Resigns But Questions Remain

Main Street in Wolfeboro. The town relies on summer tourism.
Sean Hurley

Although Police Commissioner Robert Copeland submitted a letter of resignation earlier today, the people of Wolfeboro worry about the possible long-term impact the racial controversy could have on their town. NHPR's Sean Hurley spoke with residents over the weekend, before Copeland’s resignation and looks more closely at what led to today’s events.

On Sunday Joanne Parise sat on the shore of Wolfeboro Bay.  On nearby Main Street, families lined up for ice cream, gazed in shop windows, and consulted maps and guidebooks.  The summer tourist season has already begun. 

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NH News
10:28 am
Fri May 9, 2014

White Mountains Community College Faces Declining Enrollment

21 year old WMCC student Mariah Middleton.
Sean Hurley

Enrollment in the network of seven community colleges in New Hampshire nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010. But while overall growth is up, the North Country’s White Mountains Community College is seeing a decline. 

Go to a restaurant, school or office in the North Country and chances are you'll find a White Mountains graduate.

You see em at the hospitals, you see em at the doctor's office you see em in the schools. 

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

I Think I Knew When I Stole The Book - The Poetry Of Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown at Frost Farm
Sean Hurley

As part of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley has been introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday. Today, in our final part of the series, we hear from Deborah Brown who lives in Warner. Brown published her latest volume of poetry, Walking the Dog's Shadow, in 2011.  

Deborah Brown recalls the moment she knew she'd become a poet.

I remember really falling in love with poetry as a kid.  Certainly by middle school years.  But I think I knew it when I stole the book.

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Arts & Culture
4:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

A World Record For A Tiny Car

The Slot Car Corner Team
Christian Gingras

For the fourth year in a row, a local slot car enthusiast has helped his team capture the world record for distance traveled in 24 hours by a car the size of an iPhone.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited Dickie Pearson, owner of Slot Car Corner in Penacook, fresh off his world record race at the Michigan 24.

Claudio Serrano is late to the race. He sets his briefcase down.  Planted safely in the foam molding, he introduces me to his four favorite cars. 

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Blame The Typewriter - The Poetry Of Rodger Martin

Poet Rodger Martin at Frost Place
Sean Hurley

As part of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley has been introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday.  Today we hear from Rodger Martin who lives in Hancock. Martin published his latest volume of poetry, The Battlefield Guide, in 2010.  

Rodger Martin loved writing stories as a boy, but he blames the typewriter for turning him into a poet.

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Arts & Culture
6:15 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Saying The Unsayable - The Poetry Of Jennifer Militello

Jennifer Militello
Joanne Smith

In honor of National Poetry month, NHPR's Sean Hurley is introducing us to a New Hampshire poet every Friday.  Today we hear from Jennifer Militello.  The Goffstown native has recently published her second book of poetry - "Body Thesaurus."

While her relatives gathered for coffee in her grandmother's kitchen, 9 year old Jennifer Militello would sneak off into a back room to read aloud from the two books she found there.  A heavy collection of Edgar Allen Poe and a slimmer volume of Emily Dickinson.

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Arts & Culture
4:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

What The Psychics Said

Dante the Wandmaker casts a spell.
Sean Hurley

A 2013 Harris Poll survey on belief shows that Americans believe a bit less in angels - down 6 percent since the original survey in 2005 - and a little more in ghosts  - up 1%.  Less in Heaven - down 6, more in reincarnation - up 3.  While our faith in astrology remains level at 29%, our belief in witches has fallen off 5 per cent.  NHPR's Sean Hurley isn't quite sure what he believes when it comes to mediums, witches, and astrology - and to find out more, he recently visited two psychic fairs in New Hampshire.  A quiet gathering of 6 mediums in Londonderry and a larger fair with vendors at

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

The Dark Is Where This Poem Wins - The Poetry Of Chris Locke

Chris Locke prepares to read "Waiting for Grace"
Sean Hurley

Since 1996, April has been National Poetry month.  The idea is to draw our attention - to remind us - of the art of poetry. To celebrate National Poetry month locally, every Friday  NHPR's Sean Hurley will introduce us to a New Hampshire poet.  First up -  Christopher Locke.  The NH native has just published his second full length book - "Waiting for Grace and other Poems."

Born in 1968, Poet Chris Locke has lived most of his life in the Granite State.

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North Country
3:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

How An Abandoned Train Ended Up In A N.H. Forest

The abandoned train cars in Bartlett, looking toward North Conway.
Sean Hurley

You've seen abandoned houses.  Windows broken or boarded up.  You've probably seen abandoned cars in the woods.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently came upon an abandoned train in Bartlett.  To find out more about its history, he spoke with Conway Scenic Railroad Conductor Gordon Lang.

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North Country
6:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Yet Another Storm - Reactions from Plymouth

PSU Senior Ethan Batten's grumpy storm face.
Sean Hurley

With yet another storm bringing rain and snow and ice to New Hampshire, NHPR's Sean Hurley went into downtown Plymouth to see how folks there were holding up.

Standing out on Main Street in Plymouth, I heard variations on the theme of "Please oh please, will someone stop the snow from snowing."  Except from the unusual Kayla Grimes clearing the sidewalk with her trusty shovel in front of Plymouth Ski and Sport where she works.

I love shoveling. 
Do you?
Yeah! I don't ski or snowboard. 
You shovel. 
I shovel.

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North Country
3:57 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Town Meeting in N.H.'s Smallest Town - Hart's Location

Bill King listens to Article 2 at the Hart's Location Town Meeting
Sean Hurley

The annual town meeting at Hart's Location might be a small affair, but it usually attracts almost 80 per cent of its registered voters and this year was no different.

Not far from Bretton Woods and Mount Washington - the biggest ski area in the state and our highest mountain - sits the smallest town in New Hampshire - Hart's Location. Population, I'm told, just under 40.

Before the town meeting begins, Moderator Les Shoof announces the unofficial results of the just completed town election.

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North Country
5:58 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Shooting And Skiing At The Jackson Biathlon Range

Wayne Peterson shooting prone.
Sean Hurley

North Conway's Sean Doherty, at 18, is the youngest member of the US Olympic Biathlon team.  While most people know the Biathlon combines skiing with shooting, the finer points are a little elusive.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently visited the Jackson Biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about the sport.

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North Country
6:15 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Flying Chairs And Steam Powered Trains

Sean and Sam Hurley ski Loon
Sean Hurley

The combination of fresh snow and February school vacation should mean brisk business for our New Hampshire ski areas.  As the vacation week opens up, NHPR's Sean Hurley and his son Sam went to Loon Mountain and sends us this audio postcard.

Loon Mountain is capsized by high winds and cloudy torrents and the rough air means the gondola has been shut down for the day.  But the early arriving vacationers don't seem to mind.

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NH News
1:35 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

The Subtle Beauty Of Snow Covered Patio Furniture

Sean Hurley's Snow Covered Patio Furniture
Sean Hurley

Another big snowstorm has come and gone, but with every storm, some things stay the same. 

With the arrival of every big winter storm, two amazing and very common things happen. 

The first before the storm:

I gotta get the bread and milk!  They said snow!  I gotta get the bread and milk.

We have to get the bread and the milk.  We stock up. We get ready for life underground. Because who knows how hard this thing is gonna hit. 

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North Country
5:24 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

The Road Agent

John Kubik, the Road Agent for Thornton
Sean Hurley

In the summer, the Road Agent in a small New Hampshire town will handle everything from ditches to tree-work to regrading.  But in the winter, there's pretty much one job.  Keeping the roads clear of snow and ice.  As this winter storm bears down, NHPR's Sean Hurley caught up with the local Road Agent in his hometown of Thornton to see how the town plows will handle the fresh snow.

John Kubik, Road Agent for the Town of Thornton, glances down at the inch of snow gathering around his boots.

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Word of Mouth
1:01 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

A Tale Of Two Castles

Sean Hurley NHPR

I love moats.  I always have. I never made sand castles at the beach.  Just moats.  If I saw a kid dripping sand over a turret-y structure I'd say - hey that thing needs a moat, am I right?  Like a used moat salesman, I'd drop to my knees and start moating away. When I visited Lance Keene last year at the castle he's been building for almost a decade on a cliff in Thornton, moats were on my mind.

Sean:  Will there be a moat?

Lance:  You know what, people always ask that? Is there gonna be a moat? Do you think I can put a moat here?  I'm on a cliff.  I'm on the side of a cliff.

Sean: And dungeon?

Oh I love dungeons too. The old wisecracking skinny guy in the caveman t-shirt with his stick arms in the shackles?

 

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NH News
4:20 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Best In Show For N.H. State Dog?

Birr
Sean Hurley

For the first time in its 138 year history, the Westminster Kennel Club will allow the Chinook, NH’s official state dog, to compete in its annual "Best in Show" competition at Madison Square Garden.  One of the four Chinook's vying to be top dog is Birr, from Londonderry.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited with Birr and his owners Kris and Chester Holleran, to find out more about the rare dog and the rarefied Westminster Best in Show pageant.

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NH News
10:10 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Poet Maxine Kumin Has Died At Age 88

Credit Poetry Foundation

The Pulitzer-winning poet Maxine Kumin died Thursday at her home in Warner, where she and her husband lived for almost four decades. 

Born in Philadelphia, Maxine Kumin taught at Universities in Boston.  But, hating the city, Kumin and her husband moved to a farm in Warner, which they called the “Pobiz” farm. They lived together there for almost four decades, where they raised horses and grew vegetables. 

From 1981-1981, Kumin served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington DC, a role now called the US poet laureate.

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NH News
6:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

The New Hampshire Rebellion

Lawrence Lessig Leads the Rebels
Richard C Pollock

Before the 2012 Presidential election, a Gallup poll asked voters to rank presidential priorities. The poll found reducing corruption ranked second. Good jobs ranked first. Despite that, issues surrounding campaign finance reform were never discussed by major candidates. Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig wants campaign finance on the agenda the next time voters pick a President. That's why he founded what he’s calling the New Hampshire Rebellion, and leading a Granny D-inspired walk across New Hampshire.

NHPR's Sean Hurley sends us this report.

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NH News
6:00 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Set The House On Fire - Dr. King Remembered

Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the last 16 years, since Martin Luther King Day was approved as a statewide holiday here in New Hampshire, Sandi Clarke of Newington has put together evenings of gospel and dramatic readings to remember and reflect on the civil rights leaders legacy.  NHPR's Sean Hurley spoke to Clarke and has this preview of tonight's "Set the House on Fire" event at the Newington Town Church.

Sandi Clarke grew up the racially mixed town of Elmira, New York.  But when she was 14, her family's house burned down and they were forced to relocate to the all white town of Elmira Heights.

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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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