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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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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
Guidance counselors Kelley Glasgow and Heather Marin, in front of the food shelf at Canton Central's Banford Elementary school. Photo: Sarah Harris
Guidance counselors Kelley Glasgow and Heather Marin, in front of the food shelf at Canton Central's Banford Elementary school. Photo: Sarah Harris

Inside school: How Canton Central keeps kids fed and warm

Twenty percent of North Country children live in poverty. That means that in winter, a lot kids have to deal with hunger and cold. Then, when they go to school, it's hard to learn. Schools in districts like Canton Central, where more than one in three students qualifies for free and reduced lunch, have to pick up the pieces with food and warm clothes.

Canton administrators say they're doing what they can, with help from students.  Go to full article
Ticonderoga's new slaughterhouse. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Meat Company, used with permission
Ticonderoga's new slaughterhouse. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Meat Company, used with permission

Ticonderoga gets new slaughterhouse

Ticonderoga has a new slaughterhouse. The Adirondack Meat Company, a USDA inspected facility, opened this month. It's amping up production - and filling a need for Adirondack and Champlain Valley farmers.  Go to full article
Master grower Ryan Douglas checks out the plants. Photo: Sarah Harris
Master grower Ryan Douglas checks out the plants. Photo: Sarah Harris

Yes, that is marijuana growing in Smiths Falls' old Hershey's factory

When Hershey's had a plant in Smiths Falls, Ontario, you could smell chocolate from miles away. But not a single chocolate bar has rolled off the line since the plant closed in 2008, one of six employers to leave the town at the same time.

Now, Smiths Falls, a working class town of about 10,000 in Eastern Ontario, has a new industry: medical marijuana. Health Canada is changing its medical marijuana rules, and Tweed, a licensed marijuana production company, has just received its license to grow medical cannabis there. Some are hoping the new plant will bring much-needed jobs to an area that's had it tough for the last few years.  Go to full article
Skaters throng the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa during Winterlude. Photo: Sarah Harris
Skaters throng the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa during Winterlude. Photo: Sarah Harris

A postcard from Winterlude

In Canada's capital, winter is something to celebrate. Every year, visitors and locals alike take to Ottawa's famous frozen canals. The Rideau skateway: really an urban, outdoor ice rink.

Sarah Harris, her mom Kate, and her partner Joe traveled north for a day of skating at the city's annual Winterlude. She sends this audio postcard.  Go to full article

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