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NCPR News Staff: Natasha Haverty

Reporter and Producer

Natasha Haverty has an English degree from Brown University and got her radio training at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine.

From Maine she went to work at The Moth, a nonprofit in New York City devoted to the art of live storytelling, where she was the coordinator of the community outreach program that teaches workshops to schools and community centers and brings storytellers to the Moth stage (and the radio). She also helped produce the first two seasons of Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Hour (now playing on NPR stations across the country).

Tasha returned to her home state after receiving the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities’ “Liberty and Justice for All” grant to create an oral history of the Norfolk Prison Debating Society, which had an outstanding record against top college teams in the Forties and Fifties. She recently premiered her original 'improvised audio drama' The Yankee City Series at a live listening event at Harvard University. Tasha arrived in the North Country on April Fool's Day, 2012. E-mail

Stories filed by Natasha Haverty

Juanita Babcock, bellydancing instructor. Photo: Kimberly Doerr
Juanita Babcock, bellydancing instructor. Photo: Kimberly Doerr

Profile of a Belly Dancing Troupe in the North Country: A feeling of freedom

For over 25 years Juanita Babcock has been teaching belly dancing to a group of women on Wednesday evenings, in the community room of the First Presbyterian Church in Potsdam. Some of the women have been with Juanita for almost a decade, others are just beginners.

They leave their jobs or school, and at 6 o'clock begin to wander into the wide, open room. Each woman grabs a coin-covered hip scarf from a basket Juanita has brought in, ties it around her waist, and they keep dancing until the church choir kicks them out for rehearsal. Juanita says belly dancing is for all ages--she's had a 78-year-old woman take lessons, and a current member of her group began when she was just eleven.

Juanita started belly dancing in 1973 when she was living in Ulster County. When she first started offering classes in the late eighties, the belly dancing landscape here in the North Country was pretty barren. But since then, belly dancing classes and groups have popped up all over. Producer Natasha Haverty came to one of Juanita's rehearsals and has this profile.  Go to full article
Photo by Jennifer Herrick
Photo by Jennifer Herrick

Heard Up North: Pre-K dreams

What did you want to be when you grew up? Imagine sitting down with your four-year-old self today and telling him or her about your future. Would that child be surprised? Excited? Disappointed?

Last week the pre-kindergarten class at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School in Potsdam graduated. For the graduation ceremony, their teacher Jen Herrick had them record what they wanted to be when they grow up. These recordings played as each child walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma. Tasha Haverty turned some of them into today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
The view through one of the St. lawrence University telescopes last evening.  Venus is the little black dot. Photo: Melissa Burchard.
The view through one of the St. lawrence University telescopes last evening. Venus is the little black dot. Photo: Melissa Burchard.

Earthlings watch the Venus Transit

Yesterday evening Venus made its last journey across the face of the sun, as seen from Earth, until the year 2117. People of all ages covered the southeast corner of the St. Lawrence University practice fields to get their look at earth's closest neighboring planet, peering through one of the big telescopes or a pair of safe solar glasses.

Tasha Haverty joined the crowd, and talked to physics professor Jeff Miller, as well as Lillian LePage and her son Wally, Chip Jenkins and Tucker Catanzaro for today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
Rep. Bill Owens
Rep. Bill Owens

Owens gives students a farming peptalk

The new federal Farm Bill reaches the Senate floor this week. The farm bill includes a myriad of policies that will affect farms and food over the next five years. It's been the subject of public hearings and committee reviews in the House and Senate.

The conversation about the future of agriculture never stops in farming areas like the North Country. Yesterday afternoon, Congressman Bill Owens came to Canton Central School to speak with students of FFA.

Tasha Haverty reports.  Go to full article
The Dairy Princess float
The Dairy Princess float

Heard Up North: The Dairy Princess Parade

June is National Dairy Month, and this weekend was the annual Dairy Princess Festival and Parade. Despite the crummy weather, the hundreds of people who came out didn't look like they were feeling a drop.

Fire trucks, high school bands, girl scouts, politicians, local businesses and, of course, the Dairy Princess and her court rolled through town, throwing handfuls of candy all along the way. Tasha Haverty got to meet the parade's unofficial tallier of the floats, 11 year-old Ryan Nolan. They send us this postcard.  Go to full article

Storytime sows seeds for lifelong literacy

This week we're looking at literacy in the North Country. Yesterday, we heard what it's like to live without knowing how to read or write, and the challenges and rewards of learning to read late in life. Today we'll spend a few minutes at the other end of the age spectrum.

Reading to children is a good way to plant the seeds for a lifetime of literacy. For today's Heard Up North, we'll nestle into the downstairs at the Canton Free Library for Children's Storytime.  Go to full article
John Kordet
John Kordet

Heard Up North: Nosing around the Canton Farmer's Market

The Canton Farmer's Market opened last week. While most of the vendors rely on their table display to catch the customer's eye, one tent calls on the customer's olfactory system.  Go to full article
Failure to provide adequate resources is neither prudent nor acceptable

Potsdam considers police force size

The Potsdam Village Board opened a public discussion on the size of the police force last night.

Two positions have remained unfilled since one sergeant resigned last year, and another was promoted to chief. That's prompted questions about how big a police force the village needs.  Go to full article
Itís my belief that the cost of the Potsdam village police force... is the major financial issue facing the village.

Potsdam considers police force size

Tonight the Potsdam Village Board will hold a public discussion on the size of the village Police Department. Potsdam has only cut its the department by one position, since former Sergeant Kevin Bates took over as Chief of Police, but that cut has sparked serious discussion about the future of the force.

As Tasha Haverty reports, this evening's session will help determine whether the village will restore the position, or take the opportunity to downsize and save money.  Go to full article

Keeping the Dairy Princess tradition alive, one farm daughter at a time

St. Lawrence County has had a Dairy Princess since 1964. Every year since then, a group of judges selects a wholesome young woman from the community to be the face of the local dairy industry.

To become the dairy princess a girl has to be between 16 and 21 years old, and has to compete in a pageant where she is judged on her public speaking ability, her general poise, and her knowledge of dairy products. Tasha Haverty takes us through this year's competition, and looks ahead to its future.  Go to full article

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