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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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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
Joe Orifice. Photo: Kate Glenn
Joe Orifice. Photo: Kate Glenn

Paul Smith's professor a teacher and a farmer, too

Last summer, NCPR reporters traveled the region looking for the new generation of North Country farmers for a series we called Farmers Under 40. We're listening back this week to the highlights.

Today we have a profile of Joe Orefice, an assistant professor of forestry at Paul Smith's College.
Orefice taught the school's first sustainable community agriculture course this past year. He also owns and operates a small farm, which he uses as a teaching tool.

Last summer Paul Smith's culinary arts students visited Joe's farm for a lesson in local meats. Sarah Harris joined them and has our story.  Go to full article
Organizer Severine von Tscharner Fleming, photo courtesy of Cathryn Kramer
Organizer Severine von Tscharner Fleming, photo courtesy of Cathryn Kramer

Farmer "mixer" celebrates a passion for the work and land

Last summer, NCPR reporters ran the roads looking for the new generation of North Country farmers for a series we called Farmers Under 40. This week, we'll take a second listen to the highlights of that series. We started in the Champlain Valley in late June.

Beginning farmers from both sides of Lake Champlain gathered at the Grange Hall in the crossroads of Whallonsburg for a sort of mixer. The mixer was organized by the Greenhorns, a nonprofit group that works on behalf of young farmers. The day included area farm tours, workshops, food, a puppet show, and camaraderie. Typical old grange-style stuff. But it wasn't farm business as usual. Sarah Harris found the young farmers there were on a mission to change farming in America.  Go to full article
It's amazing that in this country with as much technology and money we have that we can't take care of our own people.

Burlington homeless man's death prompts debate, sorrow

Paul O'Toole, a Burlington homeless man, died of hypothermia Saturday night. He was found sleeping on a heating grate. The temperature was 17 degrees, with windchill around 6. O'Toole's death has sparked debate about what options the homeless have as the weather gets colder. Some say he could have benefited from a low, barrier, or wet shelter. That means the kind of shelter where you're allowed in even if you're intoxicated. But mostly, people were sad that O'Toole couldn't get the help he needed. Sarah Harris stopped in Georgia Center and Milton, Vermont, to hear what people had to say.  Go to full article

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