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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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Lisa Campbell in Peavine Park, Bethel, Vermont. Photo: Sarah Harris
Lisa Campbell in Peavine Park, Bethel, Vermont. Photo: Sarah Harris

A year after Irene, Vermont reflects on recovery

Tropical Storm Irene devastated mountain villages across the Northeast a year ago. Vermont was particularly hard hit. Major flooding downed bridges, tore houses off their foundations, washed out roads, and even left some towns inaccessible. The state's been hard at work rebuilding since.  Go to full article
Father Delbel addresses parents and parishioners at a meeting shortly after the school closure was announced.
Father Delbel addresses parents and parishioners at a meeting shortly after the school closure was announced.

Champlain's St. Mary's Academy closes its doors

Another Catholic school is closing in the North Country. St Mary's Academy, a pre-kindergarden to 6th grade elementary school within the Clinton County town of Champlain, won't reopen in the fall.

Catholic officials blame declining enrollment, a budget deficit, and worries about long-term debt.

But for parents of the 46 kids, from New York, Quebec and Vermont, who went to St. Mary's, the decision has meant painful changes.  Go to full article
Cover detail: 2012 State of the Lake Report from the Lake Champlain Basin Program
Cover detail: 2012 State of the Lake Report from the Lake Champlain Basin Program

State of the Lake: new report investigates water quality and health of Lake Champlain

Every few years the Lake Champlain Basin Program publishes a "state of the lake" report, detailing environmental quality in Lake Champlain. This year's report came out last week.

It says that while the overall health of the main lake is good, certain areas, like the Northeast arm and Missisquoi Bay, have higher levels of phosphorus pollution and algae blooms. Sarah Harris spoke with Bill Howland, director of the Basin Program, about the report.  Go to full article
Protester sail canoe, escorted by State Police boat into the Burlington waterfront, and their sail (detail).
Protester sail canoe, escorted by State Police boat into the Burlington waterfront, and their sail (detail).

Monday protests in Burlington quiet after clash Sunday

Burlington streets remained mostly quiet yesterday after Sunday's large protests ended with a clash between demonstrators and police. Events remained peaceful. Members of the Innu First nation in Quebec held a press conference this morning in front of the Hilton to voice their opposition to development by HydroQuebec on their ancestral lands.

Approximately 50 protestors gathered in Battery Park for a peaceful Occupy New England event that featured political theater by Vermont troupe Bread and Puppet. Later, protesters gathered as conference attendees returned from a dinner cruise on a boat on Lake Champlain.  Go to full article
The Bread and Puppet theatre troupe performs for protesters.
The Bread and Puppet theatre troupe performs for protesters.

After police clash last night, today's Burlington protests quiet

Burlington streets remained mostly quiet and peaceful Monday after the weekend's large protests ended with a clash between demonstrators and police.  Go to full article
Demonstrators form a "human oil spill." Photo: Sarah Harris
Demonstrators form a "human oil spill." Photo: Sarah Harris

Demonstrators, police clash at governors' conference in Burlington

A peaceful protest in Burlington turned violent late yesterday afternoon when demonstrators clashed with police. Approximately 500 protestors took the streets downtown to protest the 36th annual New England Governors conference. While New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers met at the waterfront Hilton Hotel to discuss energy policy, protestors demonstrated outside, voicing their opposition to a proposed pipeline across northern New England that would ship Tar Sands oil to Portland, Maine. Sarah Harris has our story.  Go to full article
Clare and Carl's hot dog stand in Plattsburgh has served Michigans for more than half a century. Photo: Sarah Harris
Clare and Carl's hot dog stand in Plattsburgh has served Michigans for more than half a century. Photo: Sarah Harris

Michigans: a North Country delicacy

The North Country has its own special take on the hotdog: michigans. They're a beef or pork hot dog, or sometimes a Malone-made Glazier, slathered in mustard, onions, and a rich meat sauce. Michigans are stick-to-your-ribs type food. They first appeared in Plattsburgh in the 1920s and have a storied history in the Champlain Valley. On a hot July Friday, Sarah Harris visited michigan stands across Plattsburgh, ate one and a half hot dogs, and has our story.  Go to full article
Robert Howrigan Junior on his Fairfax, VT dairy farm. The field behind him is prone to runoff.
Robert Howrigan Junior on his Fairfax, VT dairy farm. The field behind him is prone to runoff.

New USDA program to help VT farmers reduce phosphorus loading

Lake Champlain's Missisquoi Bay is plagued by phosphorus pollution. When hot weather comes, the pollution feeds potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms.

Phosphorus is a common fertilizer, and the excess causing the local problems comes primarily from agricultural runoff. An international study has helped pinpoint the sources around the big bay, which spans the Vermont-Quebec border in the northeast corner of the lake.

Sarah Harris reports on a new USDA program that uses the targeted information to help farmers in the surrounding watershed change their methods and reduce pollution.  Go to full article
Jon Kovecses and Eva Redwanly
Jon Kovecses and Eva Redwanly

For Quebec's common law couples, an uncertain future

Here in New York, debate over same-sex marriage has existed for the last few years. But just across the border in Quebec, the big issue is that a lot of couples never marry at all. One third of Quebecois couples have de facto, or common law, partnerships. They live together, join their finances and have families without getting married. That's different than in the U.S., where common law relationships are fairly rare. And now, a case now making its way through the courts may change the rules for millions of unmarried Quebecois couples. Sarah Harris has more.  Go to full article
General Dubie addresses the press
General Dubie addresses the press

Vermont Air National Guard defends F-35s

The plan to base a new fleet of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport has generated hot debate in surrounding communities. If the new jets do bed down at the airport, they will run training flights over the Adirondacks and Watertown. The F-35 is louder than the F-16s that currently fly in and out of Burlington.

The public comment period about the proposed plan has just ended. Now, the Vermont Air National Guard is weighing in. Sarah Harris has more.  Go to full article

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