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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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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
Roger Hastings shears Dolly Llama. Photo: Sarah Harris
Roger Hastings shears Dolly Llama. Photo: Sarah Harris

Dolly Llama, Daisy, and 14 alpacas get a haircut

Summer means shearing season. All across the North Country, sheep, alpacas, and llamas are getting serious haircuts and losing their winter coats. A couple weeks ago reporter Sarah Harris went to an alpaca shearing in Ray Brook.

It had special significance for her. Sarah has two llamas living in her backyard that desperately needed to be shorn. So she watched, she learned, and she later helped her llamas get a much-needed shave.  Go to full article
Dustin Whitcomb makes sure to wear proper headgear. Photo: Sarah Harris
Dustin Whitcomb makes sure to wear proper headgear. Photo: Sarah Harris

Outhouse races: a Fourth of July tradition in Bristol

Most towns are gathering and getting ready for their 4th of July parades. Few are getting ready for their outhouse races. Each year in Bristol, Vermont though, runners pushing outhouses on wheels barrel down the main street. And this morning at 9 am, they'll do that again.

This feature first aired July 2013.  Go to full article
The <em>Lois McClure</em> on Lake Champlain. Photo: Sarah Harris
The Lois McClure on Lake Champlain. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sailing through history in Vermont, NYS, Canada

The Lois McClure is a replica of an 1862 canal schooner that's also a floating museum. She's just beginning her 2014 voyage, which starts at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont, travels south to New York City, and ventures north to Quebec.

Last summer Sarah Harris hopped aboard the Lois McClure as she set out on Lake Champlain.  Go to full article
Spiny water flea. Photo: J. Liebig, NOAA
Spiny water flea. Photo: J. Liebig, NOAA

Spiny water flea poised to invade Lake Champlain

Spiny water flea isn't actually a flea at all. It's an invasive zoplankton that cuts down on food supply for fish and annoys anglers.

Spiny water flea's in the Great Lakes. In 2008, it made its way to Great Sacandaga Lake, and then to Lake George in 2012. Now, it's headed for Lake Champlain.  Go to full article
The GOP candidates Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny will face off in a primary on June 24. Photo courtesy Mountain Lake PBS
The GOP candidates Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny will face off in a primary on June 24. Photo courtesy Mountain Lake PBS

Stefanik, Doheny trade barbs, share policies in Watertown debate

The clock is ticking for Republican Congressional candidates Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik. Primary voters will make their choice between the two June 24. Both campaigns are airing attacks ads as the Republican primary draws closer.

Doheny and Stefanik faced off at a debate in Watertown yesterday. Despite the vitriolic ads, the debate was mostly friendly, and the two candidates agreed on most issues.  Go to full article
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant

What does Congress' school lunch debate mean for North Country schools?

New regulations for school lunch passed in 2010 promised to make kids' meals healthier, with more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But some school lunch directors say it's been difficult and expensive to implement the new rules.

Now, House Republicans hope to bass a bill that will delay the regulations. Sarah Harris and Martha Foley talked about what the food fight playing out in Congress means for North Country schools.  Go to full article
Common loon adult and young. Photo: Nina Schoch
Common loon adult and young. Photo: Nina Schoch

How are Adirondack loons doing, anyway?

If you're on the water you might see one of the region's most iconic birds, the loon, or hear its haunting cry. Loons have been on the upswing, and those encounters that were once a rare treat are now becoming more common. But even though loon populations are on the rise, they still face some serious threats.  Go to full article
Third grader Ty Lester is serious about dodgeball. Photo: Sarah Harris
Third grader Ty Lester is serious about dodgeball. Photo: Sarah Harris

Inside School: 5th graders organize sports day, raise money

North Country schools have their budgets set for the coming year. Canton Central School District managed to keep the tax levy low and not make any job cuts by relying heavily on its fund balance. But Superintendent Bill Gregory says the fund balance is running low, and there's nothing left to cut. He says next year, unless school funding changes, the district will face damaging reductions in program and staff.

A group of 5th graders from Canton Central School decided to raise money to help fund the programs they love. They organized an after school sports day for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders and raised over $100.  Go to full article
The Federal Kivalina was aground and at anchor for over 2 days and stopped shipping on the St. Lawrence. Photo: Emmett Smith
The Federal Kivalina was aground and at anchor for over 2 days and stopped shipping on the St. Lawrence. Photo: Emmett Smith

Shipping resumes on the St. Lawrence Seaway

Shipping has resumed through the St. Lawrence Seaway, after salvage crews moved a disabled freighter that was aground near the Thousand Islands Bridge to Wellesley Island.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation reports that 15 ships were backed up over the two days since the Federal Kivalina lost steering Tuesday.

Save the River says that divers confirmed a two-foot long gash in the freighter's hull.

The Coast Guard could only confirm that the freighter was received "mild damage." The Coast Guard approved a salvage plan for the ship early yesterday afternoon.  Go to full article

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