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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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Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris

Too cold? Too warm? Hitting the sweet spot for maple

Continuing deep cold through the end of March had maple producers worrying if they'd have a season at all this year.

But remember two years ago, when it felt like we barely had a winter? Maple syrup producers struggled then, too, because it wasn't cold enough.

That year, Sarah Harris went to an usually warm Adirondack "boil" (click "listen" to hear the sounds of the boil.)  Go to full article
Educators  and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris
Educators and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris

Will community partnerships save North Country schools?

The 2014-2015 New York State budget grants an additional $1.1 billion to schools. It sounds like a lot of money.

But many North Country schools are still struggling financially. They're not getting the state aid they need. They've cut staff and classes. And next year, many schools still have will have to dip into their fund balances to pay for programs. Yesterday at St. Lawrence University, educators and community leaders came together at an annual gathering called the North Country Symposium. This year, they talked about how to keep schools and the economy strong.  Go to full article
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris

Desiree's story: Your questions answered on student homelessness

Last week we brought you the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. Desiree's a 10th grader at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. For about five months last year, she and her family were homeless. They lived outside, in the woods. And they're not the only ones: there were over 3,200 homeless kids in the North Country last year.

Desiree's story went viral last week. It was seen by tens of thousands of people and generated a lot of questions about homelessness in the region. Sarah Harris and Martha Foley answered some of those questions in a conversation this morning. A list of resources is also below.  Go to full article
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sixteen and homeless, pt. 2: homeless no more

Today, we continue the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. She's in 10th grade at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. As Sarah Harris reported yesterday, Desiree and her family spent much of last year living outside, homeless. Today we'll go see to the land where they lived. And we'll learn more about how North Country schools support homeless students.  Go to full article
Desiree with her baby half-brother Cameron. Photo: Sarah Harris
Desiree with her baby half-brother Cameron. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sixteen and homeless, in Parishville woods

When you think of being homeless, you think of living in shelters and on the street. You imagine a city. But homelessness happens here in the North Country, too. And it happens to children.

Desiree Wieczorek is in 10th grade at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. Desiree and her family were homeless for about five months last year. They lived in the woods outside Parishville. And it wasn't social services that first helped Desiree and her family move into a real house; it was the school.  Go to full article
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via <a href="http://www.fdrhpo.org/health-care-services/ej-noble/">Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization</a>
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization

Kinney Nursing Home supporters pack Gouverneur village meeting

Supporters of Kinney Nursing home packed into the Gouverneur village board meeting last night. The home has been operating at a loss, and St. Lawrence Health System, which owns it, filed the plan to close the home in late December. The New York State Department of Health is currently reviewing the plan.

Mayor Ron McDougall says people are really worried that the nursing home may close. "The overwhelming majority of people in the room understand it may be slipping away and we want to see what we can do to save the nursing home."  Go to full article
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via <a href="http://www.fdrhpo.org/health-care-services/ej-noble/">Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization</a>
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization

Gouverneur residents fight possible nursing home closure

Kinney Nursing home in Gouverneur may close. The state health department is reviewing a closure plan submitted in late December. If the state approves the plan, then the nursing home could close within 90 days. That doesn't sit well with some Gouverneur residents, who are organizing to try and keep the nursing home open.  Go to full article
Hermon, NY, seen from above by Google Earth. Image: maps.google.com
Hermon, NY, seen from above by Google Earth. Image: maps.google.com

Village of Hermon considers dissolution

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is encouraging smaller local governments to consolidate. And the St. Lawrence County village of Hermon may take him up on it. About 400 people live in the village, which is within the town of Hermon (pop. Around 1,100). The tiny village is beginning the process of deciding whether it makes sense to dissolve.  Go to full article
Town meeting day, home of democracy and pie. Treats baked by Tim Wolfe of Tunbridge, VT. Photo: Rick Scully, used by permission
Town meeting day, home of democracy and pie. Treats baked by Tim Wolfe of Tunbridge, VT. Photo: Rick Scully, used by permission

Small VT towns grapple with big issues on Town Meeting Day

On the first Tuesday in March, Vermonters come together for town meeting day. They gather in town halls and school auditoriums to hash out budgets and elect local officials. Every year, small towns grapple with big issues. This year was no exception, as Burlington voters approved gun control rules; many communities rejected a school tax increase; and three Addison County towns voted against the second phase of the proposed Vermont gas pipeline.  Go to full article
Natalie Higley, vice president for Business Affairs and Administration for SUNY Canton & SUNY Potsdam. Photo provided by SUNY Potsdam
Natalie Higley, vice president for Business Affairs and Administration for SUNY Canton & SUNY Potsdam. Photo provided by SUNY Potsdam

SUNY VP pleads not guilty to theft charges

SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam Vice President for Business Affairs Natalie Higley is pleading not guilty to charges of theft. Higley's been accused of stealing from Bainbridge State College in Georgia, where she used to work.  Go to full article

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