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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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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
Spring 2011 flooding: Sediment plumes from the Lamoille River, the Winooski River, and shoreline erosion on South Hero. Photo: Lake Champlain Basin Program.
Spring 2011 flooding: Sediment plumes from the Lamoille River, the Winooski River, and shoreline erosion on South Hero. Photo: Lake Champlain Basin Program.

A year later, learning new flood management techniques

A year has passed since spring floods and Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc on Lake Champlain and its tributaries. Researchers, scientists, safety officials and nonprofit leaders have been meeting in New York and Vermont, trying to sort out what those events mean for the future of communities in the Champlain Valley, and for the lake's ecosystems. Last week they gathered at the University of Vermont. Sarah Harris was there and has our story.  Go to full article
Burlington jazz group Guagua playing at Leunig's Bistro
Burlington jazz group Guagua playing at Leunig's Bistro

In Burlington, jazz on every corner

Burlington's been awash in jazz this week with the arrival of the annual Discover Jazz Festival. There are some high flying musical acts in town. Since last Saturday, bands have set up on Church Street, at the water front and all across the city's restaurants and bars. There's music everywhere, and because it's free, anyone can enjoy it. Sarah Harris listened to a whole lot of jazz and sends this postcard.  Go to full article
Students cheering on their way to the launch.
Students cheering on their way to the launch.

Champlain Valley students turn a boat shop into a classroom

A group of Vermont high school students has been hard at work since January building a wooden long boat by hand. They collected the materials and built the boat piece by piece, gaining skills and confidence as they went.

The program is a collaboration between the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and program called Diversified Occupations. The program offers kids who struggle in the classroom a different approach to learning.

Sarah Harris spent a couple of days with the students and their teachers and has our story.  Go to full article
Looking down on the action at Airborne Park. All photos: Sarah Harris
Looking down on the action at Airborne Park. All photos: Sarah Harris

Almost airborne at Airborne Park Speedway

Fans, friends and families have been coming to Plattsburgh's Airborne Park Speedway for stock car racing since 1955. Since those old days stockcar racing has become a national phenomenon, one of the nation's favorite spectator sports.

But on this popular regional track, the passion is more personal. The cars are mostly homemade and the drivers range from teens to retirees.

"Stock" doesn't really say it all about these cars, or the people who love them. Sarah Harris went to the track and sends this postcard.  Go to full article
F-35A fighters. Photo: USAF
F-35A fighters. Photo: USAF

South Burlington City Council votes against F-35s

Host intro: The Vermont Air National Guard is considering whether to make Burlington International Airport home to a fleet of new F-35 fighter jets. Communities around the airport debated the jets' presence at a public hearing last week. The Environmental Impact statement put out by the Air Force says that the new jets will bring higher noise levels to neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

On Monday night, South Burlington's City Council voted 4 - 1 to oppose the plan. Sarah Harris has more.  Go to full article
The first issue of the Saranac Review
The first issue of the Saranac Review

Saranac Review poems nominated for Pushcart Prize

The Saranac Review is a literary journal published at SUNY Plattsburgh. Since 2004, the journal has slowly built a name for itself in the literary community. And this spring it received a big honor: two poems featured in the journal were nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Sarah Harris has our story.  Go to full article
Madeleine Kunin in her Burlington home
Madeleine Kunin in her Burlington home

Women and the Workplace: An interview with Madeleine Kunin

Discussion of women in the workplace was reinvigorated several weeks ago when Democrat Hilary Rosen chastised presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney, for--quote--"not working a day in her life." That set off another round of "mommy wars": sharp discussion of whether women are better off working to provide for their families or staying home with their children. And it raises an important question - why, 40 years after the women's movement, it's still so difficult for women to balance their families and their jobs.

Madeleine Kunin was Vermont's first female governor in 1985. She's now 78 years old and has published a new book - "The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the next revolution for women, work, and family." The book issues a clarion call for women, men, businesses, and government to make sure that workplace and family rights for women top their agendas.

Sarah Harris spoke with Kunin about her book.

Correction: Madeleine's age was initially reported as 79. She is in fact 78 years old.  Go to full article
The International Joint Commission in St Armand, Quebec
The International Joint Commission in St Armand, Quebec

Public hearings in VT, Quebec on phosphorus in Lake Champlain's Missisquoi Bay

Missisquoi Bay is in the northeast corner of Lake Champlain, along the Vermont-Quebec border. The bay has some of the highest phosphorus concentrations in the lake and is frequently plagued by blue/green algae. In 2008, the US government asked the International Joint Commission, a bi-national body that helps manage US and Canadian boundary waters, to assist in reducing phosphorus levels in the bay.

They've now completed a study that identifies where the phosphorus is coming from and how it gets to the lake. Two public hearings are underway to discuss the results. Sarah Harris was at last night's meeting in Saint Armand, Quebec and has more.  Go to full article

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