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. 

Sean Hurley

Every year the Loon Preservation Committee does a count of NH's loons on Lake Winnipesaukee.  I decided to go out on the lake with them to find out how the loons are doing.

The Director of the Loon Preservation Committee, Harry Vogel, leads me down a forest path toward a boat slip on the northern tip of Lake Winnipesaukee. We'll be touring the lake looking for loons in advance of the population census later in the week. Within moments - maybe it's unavoidable - we're talking about On Golden Pond, which Vogel had just re-watched.

Conway Police Department

 

Abigail Hernandez is asking for privacy and "time and space" to heal according to a brief statement issued on Tuesday by one of her attorneys, Michael L. Coyne. 

While few details have emerged since the North Conway teenager returned home on July 20th after a 9 month absence, the statement does finally clarify the nature of her ordeal: "Abby was violently abducted by a stranger.  For many months, she suffered numerous acts of unspeakable violence."

Sean Hurley

When you think of summer camp, you might think of games, crafts, sing-alongs or maybe canoes. But NHPR’s Sean Hurley paid a visit to another kind of summer camp, one devoted to hiking and writing.

We've only just started up the trail to Indian Head, but already 16 year old Brandi is having trouble breathing.

"Tired.  Really tired.  I don't really like having asthma.  It weakens me.  I was down there and I almost threw up."

Sean Hurley

There's no shortage of advice if you want to hike the rugged trails of the White Mountains. But there aren't many guides for those interested in the gentler, family friendly paths that cut through our forests. NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a walk in the woods with New Hampshire trail expert Steve Smith to compile a list of 10 magnificent - and magnificently easy - wilderness walks.

Bruce Lyndes / Plymouth State University

While woolly mammoth specimens have been discovered in Vermont and Maine, there's never been a confirmed finding in New Hampshire.  Until now.  NHPR's Sean Hurley has more.

In 2004, PSU Biology Professor Fred Prince was out hunting arrowheads in Campton when he found - and unkowingly discarded - a woolly mammoth tooth.  When he learned of his mistake a decade later, he vowed to find another and in April of this year, in an old gravel pit in Thornton, he got lucky.

"The specimen was just sticking above the surface of the ground." 

Sam Hurley

Today, Here & Now broadcast one of our favorite stories by Sean Hurley, in which he discovers more than he expected about his neighbors. 

They are everywhere. We are surrounded by them.  You are probably one yourself.  Of the range of people you can know in the world, the neighbor occupies a curious spot.  As Sean Hurley writes, here in New Hampshire we have our own special kind of neighbor...and sometimes, they have helicopters.

Sean Hurley

Since 1996, the State Archeologist Dick Boisvert has led excavations at sites in Jefferson, uncovering tools and stone shards that tell the story of the Paleo-Indian people who lived in New Hampshire 12,000 years ago.  

By the road is an antique bed frame half-sunk in the dirt. 12,000 years from now a future archeologist may dig it up and speculate that we people of the 21st century liked to sleep under the stars on iron beds - and maybe never guess that the old frame was simply a lawn decoration for a local bed and breakfast.

Sean Hurley

Last Saturday Plymouth joined 800 cities around the world to celebrate Make Music Day. The general idea - music performed by anyone, anywhere they like.  

Bob King has a day job but he hosts open mics at Tony's Restaurant on Thursdays. Today, he's standing in front of Thomas Roberts Hair Salon playing some of his favorite songs.

"It must be beautiful for people to walk around town and hear a different song every ten feet."

Sean Hurley

New Hampshire’s two model sailboat clubs got together in Wolfeboro for a regatta known as the Sasquatch Footy.

Bob Rice sits on a bench overlooking the wind scratched surface of Wolfeboro's Back Bay Harbor.  He watches the remote control sailboats tack back and forth and pivot around the floating white marks.  

Oh I think it's dandy.  You get boats of this size and more people can play with them.

Megan / Flickr CC

There are plenty of trails that lead to scenic vistas.  Up mountains, down into valleys.  But there's only one that leads to ice cream: The New Hampshire Ice Cream trail. 

Somewhere in a New Hampshire field, a cow, fawn colored, like a big deer, lifts her head from the tall grasses...

A Jersey cow, she has no idea that the milk she makes from the grass and hay and grain she eats is high in butterfat - about 5%, which makes her milk ideal for ice cream.

Sean Hurley

A couple who hoped to start a security business for this year’s World Cup has run into financial trouble as they also work to repair a large boat docked on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.  Andresa and Marcelo Nunez’s boat has now become something of a mysterious legend to those who have seen it drifting in Hampton Harbor.  NHPR’s Sean Hurley brings us the story.

Sean Hurley

While the summer tourist trade won't peak until sometime after school lets out, Memorial Day weekend gives local businesses and attractions a mild forecast of things to come.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited some destination spots in the Mountain Washington Valley and sends us this report.

Standing beside the North Conway Scenic Railroad's Valley Train, Conductor Alex Schwarzmeiller gets ready to bellow in an old fashioned way at the top of his lungs.  

All aboard!!!

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

What The Psychics Said

Apr 9, 2014
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

The Road Agent

Feb 13, 2014
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.

A Tale Of Two Castles

Feb 12, 2014
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?

 

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.

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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