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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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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
Brooke Rouse. Photo: Tara Freeman, courtesy of Brooke Rouse, used with permission.
Brooke Rouse. Photo: Tara Freeman, courtesy of Brooke Rouse, used with permission.

Meet SLC's new chamber of commerce director

The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director: Brooke Rouse.

Rouse graduated from St. Lawrence in 2006 and went on to get a masters in tourism management. She and her husband own 24 East Main, a bed and breakfast in Canton. She works for the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Canton. And she's also a village trustee.  Go to full article
Andy Toy fixes up a drawing that's gotten smudged. Photo: Sarah Harris
Andy Toy fixes up a drawing that's gotten smudged. Photo: Sarah Harris

Chalk is Burlington-area amateur artist's favorite medium

During his day job, Andy Toy is a salesman. But he's has always been a doodler, an amateur artist. He just never thought he'd make any money at it.

A few years ago, Andy was working an overnight shift at a hotel in Williston, Vermont. There was an empty chalkboard -- which Andy filled with intricate drawings, usually detailing the weather forecast and events around town.

His drawings caught people's attention, and now Andy creates chalkboard art for several Burlington-area businesses, including Hotel Vermont and the Burlington Beer Company.  Go to full article
The St. Regis Falls dam on Monday. Photo: John Carr, Blue Mountain Engineering, provided by Everett Smith
The St. Regis Falls dam on Monday. Photo: John Carr, Blue Mountain Engineering, provided by Everett Smith

Surging rivers hit roads, damage hydro dam

Despite last night's cold weather, flood watches and warnings remain in effect for all of the North Country and Vermont. Significant flooding, sparked by rain and snow melt, has already been reported in much of the region, with a state of emergency declared in St. Lawrence County and roads closed by high water in many counties.

At this hour, the National Weather Service is reporting moderate flooding on the Black River in Watertown and the the Hudson River at North Creek.

A National Grid substation on Rt. 53 in St. Lawrence County was inundated by water on Tuesday, but National Grid spokeswoman Virginia Limmiatis says the 1300 customers served by that substation are now getting their power from another feeder.

The high water is also putting pressure on the region's dams. On the east branch of the St. Regis River in St. Regis Falls, a hydro dam owned by Azure Mountain Power was damaged this week by ice and high water.  Go to full article
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris

Too cold? Too warm? Hitting the sweet spot for maple

Continuing deep cold through the end of March had maple producers worrying if they'd have a season at all this year.

But remember two years ago, when it felt like we barely had a winter? Maple syrup producers struggled then, too, because it wasn't cold enough.

That year, Sarah Harris went to an usually warm Adirondack "boil" (click "listen" to hear the sounds of the boil.)  Go to full article
Educators  and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris
Educators and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris

Will community partnerships save North Country schools?

The 2014-2015 New York State budget grants an additional $1.1 billion to schools. It sounds like a lot of money.

But many North Country schools are still struggling financially. They're not getting the state aid they need. They've cut staff and classes. And next year, many schools still have will have to dip into their fund balances to pay for programs. Yesterday at St. Lawrence University, educators and community leaders came together at an annual gathering called the North Country Symposium. This year, they talked about how to keep schools and the economy strong.  Go to full article
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris

Desiree's story: Your questions answered on student homelessness

Last week we brought you the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. Desiree's a 10th grader at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. For about five months last year, she and her family were homeless. They lived outside, in the woods. And they're not the only ones: there were over 3,200 homeless kids in the North Country last year.

Desiree's story went viral last week. It was seen by tens of thousands of people and generated a lot of questions about homelessness in the region. Sarah Harris and Martha Foley answered some of those questions in a conversation this morning. A list of resources is also below.  Go to full article
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sixteen and homeless, pt. 2: homeless no more

Today, we continue the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. She's in 10th grade at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. As Sarah Harris reported yesterday, Desiree and her family spent much of last year living outside, homeless. Today we'll go see to the land where they lived. And we'll learn more about how North Country schools support homeless students.  Go to full article
Desiree with her baby half-brother Cameron. Photo: Sarah Harris
Desiree with her baby half-brother Cameron. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sixteen and homeless, in Parishville woods

When you think of being homeless, you think of living in shelters and on the street. You imagine a city. But homelessness happens here in the North Country, too. And it happens to children.

Desiree Wieczorek is in 10th grade at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. Desiree and her family were homeless for about five months last year. They lived in the woods outside Parishville. And it wasn't social services that first helped Desiree and her family move into a real house; it was the school.  Go to full article
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via <a href="http://www.fdrhpo.org/health-care-services/ej-noble/">Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization</a>
The former E.J. Noble Hospital and Kinney Nursing Home. Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both. Photo via Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization

Kinney Nursing Home supporters pack Gouverneur village meeting

Supporters of Kinney Nursing home packed into the Gouverneur village board meeting last night. The home has been operating at a loss, and St. Lawrence Health System, which owns it, filed the plan to close the home in late December. The New York State Department of Health is currently reviewing the plan.

Mayor Ron McDougall says people are really worried that the nursing home may close. "The overwhelming majority of people in the room understand it may be slipping away and we want to see what we can do to save the nursing home."  Go to full article

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