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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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Erica Macilintal
Erica Macilintal

Away from glare of politics, one woman's struggle to balance faith and sexuality

This week, North Country Public Radio has been talking to religious leaders and politicians in our region about the national debate surrounding birth control and sexuality. It's become a big issue for Republicans in the 2012 presidential primary.

Republicans in Congress are also advancing national legislation that would allow all employers, not just religious groups, to deny health insurance coverage for things like contraception if those services violate the beliefs of the company's owners.

These culture-war debates could shape big races here in the North Country this November, including the battle for the 23rd district congressional race. Republican challenger Matt Doheny has accused Democratic congressman Bill Owens, of working "to violate the free exercise of religion."

Republican Assemblywoman Janet Duprey from Peru is also expected to face a strong primary challenge, in part because of her support for same-sex marriage, which is now legal in New York.

This political debate may, at times, seem disconnected from the reality of modern American life. According to the widely-respected Guttmacher Institute, roughly 90% of fertile, sexually active women in the United States are using contraception. But for some women, religious teachings play a profound role in shaping and defining their sexuality. Away from the glare of politics, faith and intimacy can be closely intertwined.

Our Plattsburgh correspondent Sarah Harris sat down recently to talk in-depth with Erica Macalintal. She's a 22-year-old nursing student at SUNY Plattsburgh who will graduate this May. Macalintal is a devout Roman Catholic who says her sexual life has been deeply influenced by the theology of her Church.  Go to full article
Andy Sajor out in the middle of Lake Champlain. Photos: Sarah Harris
Andy Sajor out in the middle of Lake Champlain. Photos: Sarah Harris

Winter sailors chase ice and wind on Lake Champlain

Imagine racing over a frozen lake on a wind-powered sled, hitting speeds that top 40 miles an hour. Ice sailing is a big sport in winter and the north end of Lake Champlain has a growing reputation as one of the best venues in the northeast. Our Champlain Valley correspondent Sarah Harris headed out on the ice to give it a try.  Go to full article
Lorinda Bushey
Lorinda Bushey

Heating assistance cuts mean a tough winter in NY, VT

The federal low income heating assistance program, commonly known as LIHEAP, has had a lot of ups and downs this year. Funding levels are lower than they've been in awhile. And there's more demand for services.

In New York state, this winter's average benefits for families are $500-700 lower than they were last year.

Sarah Harris reports from Vermont, where the state's Congressional delegation secured an additional $5 million to bolster the program. But even with that help, many Vermonters are still struggling to keep their heat on this winter.  Go to full article
Morgan Kelly (left) from Saranac High School and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey with delegates from Clinton and Essex county high schools
Morgan Kelly (left) from Saranac High School and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey with delegates from Clinton and Essex county high schools

Students gather to meet lawmakers, talk politics

NCPR kicked off election coverage with a series of stories this week. See below for more on the 23rd district race for the House of Representatives.

Politics are everywhere these days, from the bitter Republican primary fight that's playing out on our TV screens to the redistricting battle in Albany that could shake up politics right here in our own backyard. As 2012 goes on, the news and conversation will only get louder and more intense.

Most high school students can't vote, but politics plays a big role in their lives, too. And they're paying attention, at least the teens are who gathered recently in Peru to talk about government and politics. Our correspondent Sarah Harris sends this report.  Go to full article
Frances Fairchild, Chazy Public Library director, with the new library's stained glass installation
Frances Fairchild, Chazy Public Library director, with the new library's stained glass installation

Librarians talk about their jobs

These are tough times, as libraries grapple with changing technology and shrinking budgets. But librarians in Clinton County say their work is more important than ever. Sarah Harris talked with Stan Ransom, Frances Fairchild, Betsy Brooks, Eva Jankowska and Jacqueline Madison, all librarians in Clinton County.  Go to full article
Betsy Brooks (left) and Eva Jankowska of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System
Betsy Brooks (left) and Eva Jankowska of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System

North Country libraries: balancing services, budgets

Libraries aren't just quiet places filled with books. In the North Country, libraries serve as social hubs and community centers. These days, they're scrambling to keep pace with the changing ways that we use information and technology.

But decreases in funding are making it harder for rural libraries to juggle their many missions. Sarah Harris has our story.  Go to full article
Protestors outside the state house
Protestors outside the state house

Vermonters protest Citizens United, call for constitutional amendment

Saturday marked the two-year anniversary of the supreme court Citizens United decision. The court voted 5-4, saying that corporations have the same protected speech rights as people, including the right to make unlimited financial contributions to groups who want to influence elections. That's upsetting to a lot of Vermonters. And as Sarah Harris reports, they're working to change it.  Go to full article
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (photo: Wikipedia)
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (photo: Wikipedia)

No tax increase in Vermont budget

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin addressed the state legislature Thursday with his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. With federal funds factored in, the budget totals around $6.7 billion.  Go to full article

Vermont lawmakers face busy session

The Vermont legislature convened in Montpelier yesterday for the first day of the 2012 legisaltive session. It's session is expected to be a busy one, with lawmakers determining how to fill a multi-million dollar budget gap and recover from Tropical Storm Irene.  Go to full article

Vermont minimum wage up in 2012

Vermonters earning minimum wage had reason to celebrate this New Year's Day. The state's minimum wage is indexed to the cost of living. And that pushed Vermont's minimum up 31 cents yesterday, from $8.15 an hour to $8.46. It was one of 8 states to raise its minimum wage on Jan. 1, and now has the third highest minimum in the country. Minimum wage in New York State is the same as the federal rate, $7.25 an hour.  Go to full article

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