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NCPR News Staff: Sarah Harris

Reporter and Producer

Sarah Harris was a sophomore in college when the radio bug bit. She spent the year producing audio narratives of students' journeys to Middlebury (where she went to school) through the Middlebury Fellowship in Narrative Journalism. A long-time public radio listener, Sarah thought she might've found her niche. She spent the money she earned from the fellowship on equipment and promptly headed abroad to the Maldives and Nepal, where she did a ton of interviews and spent a month at Community Radio Madanpokhara, South Asia's first rural-based community radio station.

Upon returning to the United States, Sarah decided she needed to learn how to do radio for real. So she called NCPR on a Friday afternoon and proceeded to pester station manager Ellen Rocco until she agreed to give Sarah an internship. Sarah spent the following summer interning at the station and living on Ellen's DeKalb farm. She's been producing stories for NCPR ever since -- first covering the Champlain Valley in Vermont and New York, and now covering St. Lawrence County. 

Sarah's work has aired on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and has been published in The American Prospect and Slate. She reported on cement production in Chanute, Kansas through the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism and contributed to the award-winning NPR/Center for Public Integrity collaborative series "Poisoned Places." Sarah assistant taught the first session of the Transom Story Workshop in fall 2011. She lives with her partner Joe, a cat named Louie, and soon, two llamas. E-mail

Stories filed by Sarah Harris

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Gov. Cuomo at the dedication of the rebuilt firehouse in Upper Jay. Photo: NY Governor's Office
Gov. Cuomo at the dedication of the rebuilt firehouse in Upper Jay. Photo: NY Governor's Office

Cuomo dedicates new firehouse in Upper Jay

Three years ago, Hurricane Irene ripped through the New York's eastern Adirondacks destroying roads, homes, and the fire station in the town of Jay. Accroding to fire chief Jeffrey Straight, "No one will forget those days: the floodwaters, the damage, the houses, the businesses, the cost to the fire station itself."

But now, there's a new firehouse. Governor Cuomo was in the town of Jay yesterday to announce its opening.  Go to full article
Eye of the Needle, Lake George. Photo: Sarah Harris
Eye of the Needle, Lake George. Photo: Sarah Harris

Boat inspections to keep invasives out of Lake George

Lake George is no stranger to invasive species. Spiny water flea, Eurasian water milfoil, zebra mussels, Asian clam, and curly-leaf pondweed have all made their way into the lake. It costs millions of dollars to keep them from taking over and to keep new species out. This summer there is a new, preventative approach to help do both: mandatory boat inspections.  Go to full article
The entrance to Canton-Potsdam Hospital's detox unit. Photo: Sarah Harris
The entrance to Canton-Potsdam Hospital's detox unit. Photo: Sarah Harris

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Detox: after heroin, a first step

Heroin use has skyrocketed in the North Country over the past couple of years. The good news is drug treatment is available in the region. But before an addict can go to rehab, they have to stop using; they have to detox. It's not easy. The Canton-Potsdam Hospital unit is the only medically supervised detox center north of the Thruway.  Go to full article
Hillary Clinton signing books at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY. Photo: Sarah Harris
Hillary Clinton signing books at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY. Photo: Sarah Harris

Hillary Clinton signs "Hard Choices" in Saratoga Springs

Hillary Clinton was in Saratoga Springs yesterday, signing copies of her book, Hard Choices, at Northshire Bookstore. Supporters lined the streets, waiting to shake hands and have their books signed. Clinton's visit to Saratoga was something of a homecoming.  Go to full article
Dan Hollister conducts a tasting. Photo: Sarah Harris
Dan Hollister conducts a tasting. Photo: Sarah Harris

Bella-Brooke winery: a stop on the St. Lawrence County Wine Trail

St. Lawrence county isn't a big wine destination -- at least, not yet. But a New St. Lawrence County Wine Trail could change that. Governor Cuomo signed a law last week that establishes the St. Lawrence County wine trail. It includes 3 wineries in Black Lake, Lisbon and Winthrop, and it goes past the brewery in Canton.  Go to full article
Marina at Keewaydin State Park. Photo: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Marina at Keewaydin State Park. Photo: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Three Thousand Island-area state parks get upgrades

Long Point State Park in Lyme and Crane Point State Park in Redwood both have new boat launches.

Keewaydin State Park near Alexandria Bay also has two new buildings: a comfort station with upgraded bathrooms and showers, and a clubhouse.  Go to full article
Mark Ellis in front of his camera obscura. Photo: Sarah Harris
Mark Ellis in front of his camera obscura. Photo: Sarah Harris

Capturing the North Country, one pinhole photo at a time

Say you want to take a picture. You whip out your smart phone or your digital camera, take a bunch of shots. Maybe you add a filter or dress it up in photoshop. We've gotten accustomed to taking lots of photos fast.

But Saranac Lake photographer Mark Ellis is interested in slower, older methods of photography. He's a master of the pinhole camera and he has a giant camera obscura in his front yard.  Go to full article
Fourth graders Max and Mason at lunch. Photo: Sarah Harris
Fourth graders Max and Mason at lunch. Photo: Sarah Harris

What's for school lunch next year? Congress hasn't decided

School may be out for summer, but school lunch is definitely on the table in Congress.

A new healthy food law went into effect in 2012. It was a flashpoint in the last congressional race in the North Country...and it's back.

It's called the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. The goal is to get kids to eat healthier lunches, with more fruits and vegetables, less salt and sugar.
Schools have complained about the new rules, and House Republicans want to give schools a break.

First Lady Michelle Obama is a longtime champion of the law -- and she's lobbying Congress to keep it in place.

But far from Washington, school lunch directors have spent the last two years trying to figure out how to meet the law's requirements and serve kids healthy food that they'll actually eat.  Go to full article
The 28-member joint advisory committee in the Potsdam High school library last fall. After a comprehensive study, school boards have decided it's now up to the public to vote on the merger. Photo: David Sommerstein
The 28-member joint advisory committee in the Potsdam High school library last fall. After a comprehensive study, school boards have decided it's now up to the public to vote on the merger. Photo: David Sommerstein

Canton-Potsdam school merger process moves to public vote

The Canton school board voted unanimously to move the merger process forward last night. Earlier this week, the Potsdam school board also voted in favor of public vote on the merger.

Bill Gregory is superintendent of Canton Central School District. He says now, the schools have to sure make the community understands precisely what it would mean if the two schools merge.

"Beginning in late August and extending through the end of October there will be an intense public information campaign with a series of town hall meetings and meetings with all the community service organizations to really answer questions and to alleviate fears in some cases about what may or may not occur with a merger."

A straw poll vote is scheduled for October 30, and a binding referendum is scheduled for mid-December.  Go to full article
The 28-member joint advisory committee in the Potsdam High school library last fall. After a comprehensive study, school boards are voting on whether to put the merger question to the public. Photo: David Sommerstein.
The 28-member joint advisory committee in the Potsdam High school library last fall. After a comprehensive study, school boards are voting on whether to put the merger question to the public. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Canton and Potsdam school boards to vote on continuing merger process

Canton and Potsdam school districts are considering merging. They hired an educational consulting firm out of Buffalo that spent the last school year determining whether it would be educationally and financially beneficial for the two schools to merge. Sarah Harris joined Martha Foley in the studio to talk about the study and how the merger process is going forward.  Go to full article

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