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Audio Series: Looking for the North Country

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Looking for the North Country: Some nutshell views

NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts of Upstate New York, spent October 2000 exploring the place, the people and the culture we call the North Country. The idea was to use the reach of the radio station, from Canada to Glens Falls and from the St. Lawrence River into Vermont, to see what people who live here have to say about regional identity and the question of place.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Where is the North Country? Call-in #1

The first in a series of five radio call-in conversations about the place, the people, the history and the local culture we call North Country. The programs are produced in cooeration with TAUNY - Traditional Arts of Upstate New York, and supported in part by the new York State Council on the Humanities. We explore questions about regional identity in the northern section of upstate New York. Tonight's topic - WHERE IS THE NORTH COUNTRY? In the studio are series host, NCPR news director Martha Foley, TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, Art Johnson, professor of history at the State University College at Potsdam, Terry DeFranco Martino, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association, and Tom Van De Water, science teacher at Canton High School.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: That's Where I Live

Our North Country Identity series prompted response from many listeners, including these thoughts from John Greene, a retired biology professor and naturalist for the Nature Conservancy who lives in Canton.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: You'll Know It When You Leave It

Canton mayor Bob Wells observes that while much about the North Country has changed, much remains as it always has been.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: A Place Apart

Some people say isolation is the North Country's greatest curse. Others say it's our greatest blessing. But what is it, really? Neal Burdick, Associate Director of Communications for St. Lawrence University weighs in with his view of isolation.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Who is the North Country? Call-in #2

Tonight we continue our series of five radio conversations about the place, the people, the history and the local culture we call North Country. Tonight we explore the question: Who is the North Country? In the studio are series host NCPR news director Martha Foley, TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, who first proposed we ask our questions about regional identity and sense of place. Susan Ouilette, a historian, native of the Champlain Valley and a teacher at St. Michael's College in Vermont, Laurie Rush, cultural anthropologist based along the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, and Amy Godine, a journalist and freelance writer who has written extensively about the ethnic history of the Adirondack-North Country.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: An "Outsider" View

Commentator Paul Willcott is clearly an "outsider." He divides his time between New York City and Saranac Lake--and you can't miss the Texas in his talk. But he is a close observer of human nature, wherever he is, and he's been noticing something different in the small community he has adopted here.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Latter-Day Homesteaders

From 1970 to 1980 the population of St. Lawrence County grew by more than 2,000 people. It's hard to say by just reading the Census Bureau figures how many of those were latter-day homesteaders. But in one neighborhood in Rossie, in the southern part of the county, plenty were. Two hundred new people moved to Rossie during the '70s. Many were part of a tight-knit community that included John and Liz Scarlett. Jody Tosti visits this one couple who came back to the land, and stayed.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: How do we create a sense of place? Call-in #3

We continue our series of five radio call-in conversations about the place, the people, the history and the local culture we call North Country. Tonight we explore the question: How do we create a sense of place?--and look at the oral and written traditions, and musical heritage of the region. In the studio are series host NCPR news director Martha Foley, TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, Doug Welch, a book collector, bibliographer, and librarian at Canton College, and writer Chris Angus of Canton. Joining them by phone from WAMC in Albany are folklorist Vaughan Ward, director of the Black Crow network, a regional cultural services group, and Vaughan's husband, George, who's also a folklorist, as well a collector and performer of regional traditional music.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Bleak, Genuine, Bittersweet

In 1984, writer Mason Smith wrote a much-discussed and disputed essay called "North Country," for Adirondack Life magazine. He wrote, in part: "(In my definition of the North Country)... I require a certain bleak and genuine quality consisting in the place not having much to say for itself..." Sixteen years later, he finds life here is still bittersweet.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Are we what we make? Call-in #4

We continue our series of five radio call-in conversations about the place, the people, the history and the local culture we call North Country. Tonight we explore the question: Are we what we make?--customs, crafts, art and architecture of the region. In the studio are series host NCPR news director Martha Foley, TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, Hallie Bond, curator at the Adirondack Museum and author of Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks, Karen Taussig-Lux of the New York Folklore Sociey, and a summer resident of Big Moose Lake, and Steve Engelhart, of Adirondack Architectural Heritage.  Go to full article

Looking for the North Country: Is there a distinct North Country culture? Call-in #5

We conclude our series of five radio call-in conversations about the place, the people, the history and the local culture we call North Country. Tonight we explore the question: Is there a distinct North Country Culture?--landscape, values, attitudes, expressions? In the studio are series host NCPR news director Martha Foley, TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, Betsy Folwell, editor of Adirondack Life magazine, freelance writer and editor Neal Burdick, and John Deans, president of Jefferson Community College.  Go to full article

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About the Series

North Country Public Radio and TAUNY, Traditional Arts of Upstate New York, spent October 2000 exploring the place, the people and the culture we call the North Country. They brought this conversation to air in five weekly call-in programs as well as in a number of shorter features and commentaries that aired within the regional news program, The Eight O'Clock Hour. The series was hosted by NCPR news director Martha Foley and TAUNY executive director Varick Chittenden, and was produced in part with support from the New York State Council for the Humanities.

Special Reports

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Audio Slideshow:
Finding the North Country
A new exhibit at TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York) tells the story of North Country life with pictures. Finding the North Country: Stories of Local Life Through Photographs revisits the theme of North Country identity explored in the 2000 radio collaboration "Looking for the North Country." The photographs will remain on display through November 25, 2006.