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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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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
Volunteers from Clarkson help kids make their lego robots. Photo: Sarah Harris
Volunteers from Clarkson help kids make their lego robots. Photo: Sarah Harris

North Country Children's Museum plans to engage, inspire kids

Yesterday we brought you the story of Old Snell Hall and Congden Hall, two buildings in downtown Potsdam that are slated for redevelopment. Once it's complete Old Snell will have about 20 high-end rental apartments. And it will also be be home to arts nonprofits, including the North Country Children's Museum. The museum hopes to offer interactive, North Country-related exhibits-- including one you can climb on.  Go to full article
Old Snell Hall. The building is a big part of downtown Potsdam's landscape. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Old Snell Hall. The building is a big part of downtown Potsdam's landscape. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Will Clarkson redevelopment "breathe some life" into Potsdam?

Two neoclassical buildings in downtown Potsdam are on their way to getting a makeover. Clarkson University owns Old Snell Hall and Congden Hall, sandstone giants in the center of town. The university's partnered with a developer to revamp the two buildings. Their ambitious plan will provide space for arts nonprofits, graduate housing, and rental apartments. Sarah Harris checked out the buildings and the plans.  Go to full article
Re-enactors haul the cannon. Photo: Joseph Andriano
Re-enactors haul the cannon. Photo: Joseph Andriano

Remembering the troops, recreating history at America's fort

Fort Ticonderoga is "America's fort" perched on the New York side of Lake Champlain, it was instrumental in the American Revolution and other early wars. Now, it's a historical site that comes alive with reenactments and music.

Sarah Harris visited Ticonderoga last Memorial Day and sent this report.  Go to full article
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hlkljgk/3002212217">Heather Katsoulis</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: Heather Katsoulis, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Most North Country school budgets pass

Yesterday voters across New York State weighed in on local school budgets. The budgets determine school funding and property tax rates for the coming year.

Voters also decided on specific ballot propositions, like funding for libraries, building projects or school bus purchases. And they elected school board members. Reporter Sarah Harris has been watching the process and spoke with Martha Foley about how the North Country's districts did.  Go to full article
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hlkljgk/3002212217">Heather Katsoulis</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: Heather Katsoulis, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

North Country school budget votes today call for painful choices

Communities across the state are voting on their school district budgets today. According to the New York State School Boards Association, about 96 percent of school districts are staying under the 2 percent tax cap. And they say that this year's budgets have fewer layoffs than in recent years.

But in Brasher Falls Central School District, balancing the budget has meant hard choices.  Go to full article
Diana Beresford-Kroeger, among the hellebores. Photo: Sarah Harris
Diana Beresford-Kroeger, among the hellebores. Photo: Sarah Harris

"Sacred and science go together" for botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Travel half a mile down a tree-lined dirt road in southern Ontario, and you'll find an oasis, a wooden cabin surrounded by sprawling gardens. Diana Beresford-Kroeger lives here with her husband Chris. She's a botanist in her 60s who clones rare trees. And she's also deeply ingrained in Celtic and Druidic traditions and faith. Sarah Harris spent a day with Diana Beresford-Kroeger in her gardens and among her trees. The place was enchanting -- and it just might hold the keys to what to we can grow as the region weathers climate change.  Go to full article
Smiley Reagan has been cooking for the Raquette Valley Fish and Game Club bullhead feed for 40 years. Photo: Sarah Harris
Smiley Reagan has been cooking for the Raquette Valley Fish and Game Club bullhead feed for 40 years. Photo: Sarah Harris

Bullhead feeds: a North Country rite of spring

It's springtime, which means you might just be getting a hankering for a traditional North Country delicacy: bullhead, maybe with a side of cole slaw and some pie. Communities across the region are getting together to fry up the bottom-feeding fish. At a bullhead "feed," you can expect a delicious spread of food and a good time. Sarah Harris headed over to a bullhead feed in the St. Lawrence County hamlet of South Colton.  Go to full article

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