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NCPR News Staff: Todd Moe

Morning Host and Producer
A native of rural Minnesota, Todd Moe grew up on a farm not far from mythical Lake Wobegon. He attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN; studied Speech/Theatre and Norwegian, and began his radio career as a student announcer at WCAL (2002 marks its 80th anniversary!).

Moe sings in the Potsdam Community Chorus, and hobbies include food, gardening, history and tango! He was a newscaster and reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for eight years. A favorite memory from that job was interviewing Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. Moe and his partner, Paul Siskind, moved to the North Country in 1998. Siskind teaches at the Crane School of Music. E-mail

Stories filed by Todd Moe

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Parmalee Tolkan kneels near a hand-painted scenic backdrop in her studio in the basement of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.  She's been living in the Adirondacks and creating costumes for Broadway shows for more than 30 years.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Parmalee Tolkan kneels near a hand-painted scenic backdrop in her studio in the basement of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. She's been living in the Adirondacks and creating costumes for Broadway shows for more than 30 years. Photo: Todd Moe

Broadway magic created in a Lake Placid artist's studio

Hours from the lights of Broadway, an Adirondack artist has made a career of creating costumes for some of the city's biggest shows.

For more than 30 years, Parmalee Tolkan has been painting costumes and scenery for the theater, working with some of the greatest designers and scenic artists on Broadway. Scenic arts and colorful costumes from a studio in one of the most scenic parts of the country.

Parmalee Tolkan works in a quiet space in the lower level of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Email, social media and FedEx allow her to create costumes in the Adirondacks that will end up on stage in New York City.

A member of the United Scenic Artists Union, she's also painted murals for venues like the Northwoods Inn and the Adirondack Carousel, but Parmalee told Todd Moe that she prefers the collaborative process of theater over the life of a solitary artist.  Go to full article
The series of original clam shell doorways at the South Boathouse at Singer Castle.  Photo:  Todd Moe
The series of original clam shell doorways at the South Boathouse at Singer Castle. Photo: Todd Moe

Soundscape: the closest thing to a drawbridge at Singer Castle

During a visit to Singer Castle on the St. Lawrence River this week, Todd Moe got a chance to explore some of the rooms, towers and secret passageways in the century-old stone structure on Dark Island. It was built as a private retreat for the Bourne family during the Gilded Age. Today, it's open to the public for tours, weddings and overnight stays.

Tom Weldon, president of Dark Island Tours, which manages the castle, was eager to explain some of its features, including a set of clam shell doors at the main visitors' entrance. Original doors that consist of two panels that open vertically. Vintage doors with a vintage sound...  Go to full article
"The Wind in the Islands" book launch is set for Wednesday, July 23rd from 5-7 pm at Cornwall Brothers Museum in Alexandria Bay.
"The Wind in the Islands" book launch is set for Wednesday, July 23rd from 5-7 pm at Cornwall Brothers Museum in Alexandria Bay.

Preview: "The Wind in the Islands" a new take on a classic children's novel

Generations of children have roamed the English countryside in the company of Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger -- immortal animal pals in Kenneth Grahame's classic novel, The Wind in the Willows.

A Thousand Islands artist has created a North Country version of the book. Scott Ouderkirk grew up spending summers along the St. Lawrence River and has a hobby farm and studio near Hammond.

In his new adaptation, titled The Wind in the Islands, Mole and Rat have new adventures on the St. Lawrence in the Thousand Islands, with visits to familiar landmarks and historical river residents.  Go to full article
Mark Valley
Mark Valley

Hollywood star returns to his Ogdensburg roots for Founder's Weekend

Hollywood actor Mark Valley returns to his hometown this Saturday and Sunday for Founder's Weekend, Ogdensburg's French and Indian War re-enactment and colonial trade fair on the site of Fort La Presentation on Lighthouse Point. Valley is vice president of the Fort La Presentation Association, and an active supporter of the association's efforts to reconstruct the fort.

NCPR is media sponsor for the weekend, which commemorates Ogdensburg's French colonial history from the founding of the fort in 1749, to the 1760 Battle of the Thousand Islands fought on the St. Lawrence.

Land and water battles by re-enactors from the U.S. and Canada will be featured in the Saturday and Sunday program. The 18th-century style armed schooner La Revenante will join the fray on the water and be open to deck tours for Founder's Day visitors.

Mark Valley is a graduate of West Point, a former military service member and is active with several veterans advocacy groups. He told Todd Moe that he's also interested in the history of the North Country and the St. Lawrence River.  Go to full article

Preview: Harper Martha Gallagher "Coming Home" with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta on Sunday

Harpist Martha Gallagher has spent years on the road sharing her brand of harp music nationally and internationally. This year, she's staying closer to her home in Keene. She's calling her 2014 concert series, "Home in the Adirondacks".

Martha Gallagher shares the stage with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta this Sunday night to showcase her unique "orphan" harp and present the world premiere of a new work for harp and orchestra. Martha shares the story with Todd Moe of her custom built harp made of "orphaned" wood, and creating new music this summer. She says the last time she performed with the Sinfonietta was in 2005.  Go to full article

Preview: All things clay in Jay this weekend

Norte Maar makes its return to the North Country this summer with a big exhibition of works in clay this weekend in Jay. Curated by ceramicist Jackie Sabourin, "The Jay Invitational of Clay" will include a selection of works in clay from the functional to the fanciful by local, regional and internationally recognized artists.

Norte Maar was founded in 2004 by curator Jason Andrew and choreographer Julia K. Gleich as an advocate and presenter of visual, literary and performing arts in the North Country.

Todd Moe spoke with Jason Andrew about Norte Maar's tenth anniversary and "The Jay Invitational of Clay" that kicks off on Friday night.  Go to full article
Surrounded by Gerda Wikander's art, Jesse Bruchac shares new music on a  traditional Abenaki three-chamber flute at the Old Forge Libary.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Surrounded by Gerda Wikander's art, Jesse Bruchac shares new music on a traditional Abenaki three-chamber flute at the Old Forge Libary. Photo: Todd Moe

A hundred years of more than books at the Old Forge Library

Poetry, music, art and cake were part of a celebration marking the centennial of the Old Forge Library yesterday. The library also threw a 100th birthday party for artist Gerda Wikander.

In February of 1914, five people gathered in Old Forge and voted to establish a free library for the use of residents of the Town of Webb.

Over the past century, the library moved several times. In 1977, it moved to the former home of Moses Cohen where it is today. It's also undergone extensive renovation and remodeling. Today, it's a state of the art literary, cultural and community gathering place.

Todd Moe attended Sunday's celebration that included Joe Bruchac reading his original poem, "Wide Branches, Deep Roots", written for the library's centennial, Native American flutist Jesse Bruchac, and lots of avid library users.  Go to full article
"Mustard Field", Jacqueline Altman
"Mustard Field", Jacqueline Altman

Preview: "Mountains and Things" at the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake

Adirondack artist Jacqueline Altman shares her love of watercolors and mountains in a new exhibit in Saranac Lake this month. The solo show, "Mountains and Things", continues through July 29. Todd Moe talks with her about favorite mountain views and spending a lot of time outdoors this summer with a paint brush, canvas and new tools.  Go to full article
SUNY Potsdam students use trowels and brushes to gently excavate soil and peel through layers of history along the Raquette River in Potsdam. Photo: Todd Moe
SUNY Potsdam students use trowels and brushes to gently excavate soil and peel through layers of history along the Raquette River in Potsdam. Photo: Todd Moe

SUNY Potsdam students dig into history along the Raquette River

Student archaeologists excavating a site along the Raquette River in Potsdam have unearthed pieces of prehistoric Native American pottery, stone tools and part of a spear tip that could be 5,000 years old.

The SUNY Potsdam Anthropology Department is overseeing the summer school program on college property along the river. It allows budding young scholars the chance to get their hands dirty while learning more about uncovering buried artifacts, mapping and field research.

Todd Moe stopped by the dig site recently to watch the students search for more clues to the North Country's ancient past.  Go to full article
Stop by the Carriage House Bakery in Potsdam on Sunday, July 13th (noon - 3 pm) to sample and vote for a favorite entry in the Summer Baking Fest.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Stop by the Carriage House Bakery in Potsdam on Sunday, July 13th (noon - 3 pm) to sample and vote for a favorite entry in the Summer Baking Fest. Photo: Todd Moe

Ready, set, bake! Potsdam Food Co-op's summer Baking Fest

As part of the annual Potsdam Summer Festival, the Potsdam Food Co-op is holding a summer baking contest to benefit GardenShare. The Baking Fest will be held on Sunday, July 13th (noon-3 pm) in the Carriage House behind the Co-op.

Todd Moe spoke with Co-op general manager Eric Jesner, who says the newest baking contest celebrates the bounty of summer, and culinary artistry.  Go to full article

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