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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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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
Corn field. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/planmygreen/2675568751/sizes/z/in/photolist-55qZnH-bfofwD-dGNrkA-beYJnK-63LZ2U-8HDeJF-6GbW5-9YJvnJ-czRDem-6We4UA-eewiJV-4C3kF5-2646Jd-eewjQc-fMjAUL-beYM1n-4PyEtt-gUjULQ-2pSP5G-8zDeLm-cyUjpw-fsYiiv-5csq5g-2NwTUm-aGiKEt-4KyjvA-aixLKC-dpXLfz-bFt1zX-2u9i3q-3nJSPG-deoJxq-4VRPDZ-4CVnHk-JbVrz-8KkFPs-axMX7G-5aBFhp-5yRjVU-cSTXQN-4VgYUW-2Zg6mX-8ivjiQ-dnzy3J-d36eKN-4wJrq5-4Ehkv-512oKM/">Rastoney</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Corn field. Photo: Rastoney, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

What you need to know about Vermont's GMO bill

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin plans to sign the nation's first GMO labeling bill into law this week. Sarah Harris spoke with Laurie Beyranevand, associate director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, about what the bill means for food producers and consumers.  Go to full article
Brendan Gotham teaches 11th grade English in Lake Placid. Photo: Sarah Harris
Brendan Gotham teaches 11th grade English in Lake Placid. Photo: Sarah Harris

Teachers, unions picket Lake Placid pro-charter ed conference

Two groups with different ideas about the future of education faced off in the Adirondacks yesterday. Education Reform Now, a Democratic policy group, is hosting a conference at Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid. They're pro-charter school, pro-Common Core, pro-teacher evaluations, and in favor of a longer school day.

It cost $1,000 to attend the conference, which didn't sit well with teachers' unions and their allies. Cold, driving rain didn't stop hundreds of teachers from protesting; they came from all across New York state to picket outside Whiteface Lodge, clutching umbrellas, huddling under ponchos and carrying signs. Sarah Harris was there.  Go to full article

Search continues for missing Black River canoeist

The search continues for a man who went missing in the Black River near Watertown when his canoe capsized 11 days ago.

The Watertown Daily Times has identified the man as John Villafranco, a 24-year-old fishing guide originally from Texas. The paper reports that Villafranco and his wife, Lydia, were canoeing together when the boat capsized. She was pulled ashore by Fort Drum soldiers and he was swept away.

The Jefferson County Sherriff's Department would not confirm the man's name. They said they have been in constant communication with the man's family, and plan to release his name once the investigation is over and his body is found.

The department says it has searched with divers, helicopters and on foot. It encourages the public to call the police if they see anything suspicious in the river, and encourages everyone to exercise caution near waterways.  Go to full article

Nine heroin overdoses in one day escalate calls for change

This week NCPR is looking in-depth at the crisis of heroin use in rural New York and Vermont (hear those stories here.) Some officials say there needs to be a better way to track heroin overdoses and deaths. On Tuesday, nine people in Burlington overdosed in a single day, prompting calls for better coordination between police and healthcare experts.  Go to full article
Deryl Kolanko, at right, owns the Potsdam Agway. He explains his business to Congressman Bill Owens (left) and Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf (right). Photo: Sarah Harris
Deryl Kolanko, at right, owns the Potsdam Agway. He explains his business to Congressman Bill Owens (left) and Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf (right). Photo: Sarah Harris

Owens endorses and campaigns with Aaron Woolf in NY21 race

Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for Congress Aaron Woolf was in St. Lawrence County yesterday. He was campaigning and he wasn't alone. Current Congressman Bill Owens, who plans to retire at the end of this term, joined Woolf for an official endorsement as they visited local businesses.  Go to full article
The Black River last Thursday, when it was over its banks. High water on the river is being cited as a hindrance in recovery efforts, as are fast-moving water and debris. Photo: Brian Caird
The Black River last Thursday, when it was over its banks. High water on the river is being cited as a hindrance in recovery efforts, as are fast-moving water and debris. Photo: Brian Caird

Canoeist missing on the Black River

Update 4/24: The search for a man missing on the Black River continues.

The unidentified man and an unidentified woman were canoeing just east of Watertown Monday evening when their canoe capsized. The man was swept downstream. The woman was pulled ashore, treated at Samartian Medical Center, and released.

According to WWNY TV, authorities have recovered some of the man's personal items.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is conducting the investigation.  Go to full article
Brett McLeod says the Adirondack North Country is a "working landscape." Photo: Sarah Harris
Brett McLeod says the Adirondack North Country is a "working landscape." Photo: Sarah Harris

How can North Country's "working landscapes" thrive alongside the wild?

Yesterday farmers, community leaders, business people and students gathered at the Paul Smith's VIC to talk about the future of the North Country and launch a new collaboration, the Adirondack Center for Working Landscapes.

Sarah Harris went to the symposium and talks about the event and the issues raised by it with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
The new Center for Working Landscapes will be housed at the Paul Smith's VIC. Photo: Nora Flaherty
The new Center for Working Landscapes will be housed at the Paul Smith's VIC. Photo: Nora Flaherty

The Adirondack North Country: a "working landscape"

People across the North Country are grappling with big questions about sustainability and the future of the region. Today The Adirondack Center for Working Landscapes, a new collaboration between Paul Smiths College and Cornell Cooperative Extension, is hosting a symposium in search of some answers.  Go to full article

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