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NCPR News Staff: Mark Kurtz

Photojournalist

Mark Kurtz is a photographer based in Saranac Lake. He recieved a BFA from Alfred University and has taught photography in high school, college and workshop environments. Mark is one of the founding members of the Adirondack Artist's Guild, and has had his own gallery in downtown Saranac Lake for the past 12 years.

Mark is a regular contributing photographer to Adirondack Life magazine and his work has been featured in Skiing magazine and many other publications.

Stories filed by Mark Kurtz

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The St. Lawrence County Courthouse's grand staircase. Photo: Mark Kurtz
The St. Lawrence County Courthouse's grand staircase. Photo: Mark Kurtz

In pictures, the history of the St. Lawrence County Courthouse

The county courthouse is the hub of a county's government, but most of us only visit for the county clerk, DMV, or (if we're unlucky) a trip to court or the county jail.

Most of the county courthouses in New York were built in the 1800s, with updates and even rebuilds since then. Some courthouse buildings are mundane, others - like St. Lawrence County's, in Canton - are magnificent.  Go to full article
The Franklin County Fair in Malone NY, which is going on through Sunday August 11, has a rich, long history, including having made an appearance in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "Farmer Boy." Photo: Mark Kurtz
The Franklin County Fair in Malone NY, which is going on through Sunday August 11, has a rich, long history, including having made an appearance in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "Farmer Boy." Photo: Mark Kurtz

Slide show: All the fun of the Franklin County fair

County fairs are one of the joys of summer in the Adirondack North Country. In July and August, the region puts on its best, gives its farm animals a good grooming, and indulges in some fried food. The Franklin County Fair in Malone hosts competitions for everything from beef and dairy cows, to fruit and vegetables, to horse riding and including tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and music. The fair runs through Sunday, August 11.

The fair has a long history: The first was held in the early 1820s. The first fair on the current site took place in 1852 and was mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Farmer Boy.

Sometimes referred to as the Little State Fair in Northern New York, it is one of the largest and longest fairs in the North Country.

NCPR Photographer Mark Kurtz took in the full fair experience this past Monday.  Go to full article
All the participants in the stock class pose for their portait before the start of the competition. Photo: Mark Kurtz
All the participants in the stock class pose for their portait before the start of the competition. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Photo Essay: Glens Falls All-American Soap Box Derby

Akron Ohio is the Mecca of soap box derby racers and references to "going to Akron" was heard often on the Murray Street hill in Glens Falls this past Saturday. Since being revived 11 years ago after an absence of several decades, the Glens Falls All-American Soap Box Derby has an enthusiastic following. Volunteers were setting up the course by 7 in the morning and by 9:00 about 24 competitors took to the Murray Street hill course. By 3:00 in the afternoon two winners were set to "go to Akron".

The Glens Falls All-American Soap Box Derby website has information about becoming involved with soap box derby racing. The rich history of the soap box derby can be found at the All-American Soap Box Derby web site.  Go to full article
Licensed master bander Gordon Howard of the Crown Point Bird Banding Association holds a Lincoln Sparrow that he had just banded.  Howard's home is in South Carolina, where he is a professor emeritus in the department of parks, recreation and tourism management at Clemson University. He has a canp in Keeseville. Photos: Mark Kurtz
Licensed master bander Gordon Howard of the Crown Point Bird Banding Association holds a Lincoln Sparrow that he had just banded. Howard's home is in South Carolina, where he is a professor emeritus in the department of parks, recreation and tourism management at Clemson University. He has a canp in Keeseville. Photos: Mark Kurtz

Crown Point bird banders track migratory species

An historic documentation of bird migrations at an historic North Country site has come to a close for the season. For almost four decades, the Crown Point Bird Banding Association has been documenting the spring migration at the Crown Point Historic Site.

Established by Mike Peterson, bird banders have recorded and banded 17,374 birds of 106 species since 1976. He's been helped for most of those years by retired NYS Forest Ranger, Gary Lee. Listen to our Heard Up North of Lee banding during the winter at his home in Inlet. The banding takes place during the month of May.

This year, licensed master bander Gordon Howard, Professor Emeritus of Clemson University in South Carolina, led the effort. NCPR photographer Mark Kurtz was there.  Go to full article
A collage of some of the yard signs on display around the North Country. Photo: Mark Kurtz
A collage of some of the yard signs on display around the North Country. Photo: Mark Kurtz

An Election 2012 Who's Who in yard signs

Every autumn campaign lawn signs are found sprouting up all across the North Country. They arrive and disappear along with the fall leaves. They generate a mixed reaction from passersby...some see them as unattractive eyesores and others see them as a reflection of free speech and democracy in action.

In his travels through parts of the North Country, photographer Mark Kurtz made a visual recording of some roadside lawn sign gardens.  Go to full article
The 58th annual Saranac Lake Kiddie Parade brought out the red, white and blue.
The 58th annual Saranac Lake Kiddie Parade brought out the red, white and blue.

A Scene Repeated All Across America

Independence Day, more often referred to as the 4th of July, parades are the universal way of celebrating the nations birthday. In a scene repeated all across America, Saranac Lake held it's 58th annual 4th of July Kiddie Parade. Flags, Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam hats and red, white and blue bunting were the costumes and decorations of choice in the Saranac Lake celebration.  Go to full article
Competitor number on a 50th anniversary race guideboat
Competitor number on a 50th anniversary race guideboat

50th Anniversary Willard Hanmer Guideboat Races

The Willard Hanmer Guideboat Race in Saranac Lake celebrated it's 50th anniversary this past weekend. Following tradition it was held on the closest Sunday to 4th of July.

See the slideshow below

Hanmer was a guideboat builder in Saranac Lake from 1930 until his death in 1962 at the age of 60. He learned the craft from his father. The race was created in Hanmer's memory in 1962 and has been held every year since, 2012 being the 50th. After Hanmer's death, his wife sold the boat shop on Lake Street to Carl Hathaway, who apprenticed under Hanmer, and built guideboats in it until 1991 when he sold it to its current boat builder Chris Woodward who apprenticed under Hathaway.

The "two Chris's", Chris Woodward of the Woodward Boatshop and Chris Covert of Guideboat Realty are the race organizers and sponsors. The race has seen dwindling participation in recent years, however this year's event, with support from the Saranac Lake Women's Civic Chamber, saw a resurgence to it's former glory with a significant turnout.

The biggest attraction was the parade of almost 60 guideboats that did a parade lap around Lake Flower commemorating the 50th Hanmer race. In one of the lead boats of the parade were octogenarians Natalie Leduc from Saranac Lake and Jim Frenette of Tupper Lake, both former competitors in the Hanmer Race.  Go to full article

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