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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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Skaters throng the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa during Winterlude. Photo: Sarah Harris
Skaters throng the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa during Winterlude. Photo: Sarah Harris

A postcard from Winterlude

In Canada's capital, winter is something to celebrate. Every year, visitors and locals alike take to Ottawa's famous frozen canals. The Rideau skateway: really an urban, outdoor ice rink.

Sarah Harris, her mom Kate, and her partner Joe traveled north for a day of skating at the city's annual Winterlude. She sends this audio postcard.  Go to full article
Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both E.J. Noble Hospital (pictured here) and Kinney nursing home. Now the nursing home's future is unclear. Photo: Sarah Harris
Last year, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both E.J. Noble Hospital (pictured here) and Kinney nursing home. Now the nursing home's future is unclear. Photo: Sarah Harris

Gouverneur's Kinney Nursing Home may close

The state Department of Health is reviewing a plan to close Kinney Nursing Home.

Last December, Canton-Potsdam Hospital purchased the assets of both E.J. Noble Hospital and the nursing home, which had been operating a loss.

A new entity, Gouverneur Hospital, has emerged, and operations began last month, under a new parent organization, the St. Lawrence Health System. But the nursing home may not be part of the new organization's future.  Go to full article
The Ontario men's curling championships in Smiths Falls, Ont. Photo: Sarah Harris
The Ontario men's curling championships in Smiths Falls, Ont. Photo: Sarah Harris

Listen: curling, a love story

The Ontario curling championships were held in Smiths Falls last week.

For the uninitiated, curling (also known as "chess on ice") is a sport where players slide stones across a sheet of ice toward a target area.

It's said to have been invented in medieval Scotland; today, it's an Olympic sport.  Go to full article
Canton superintendent Bill Gregory explains the how and why of a potential merger. Photo: Sarah Harris
Canton superintendent Bill Gregory explains the how and why of a potential merger. Photo: Sarah Harris

Canton-Potsdam school merger: what's happening now?

School districts across the state are being pressured to consolidate or share services. If you live in Canton or Potsdam, you've probably heard the rumblings about a possible merger of the two school districts. But where are the schools in the process? And how will the decision to merge ultimately be made?  Go to full article
New York State Education Department building in Albany, NY. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NYSED_Building_Night_2.JPG">Matt Wade</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
New York State Education Department building in Albany, NY. Photo: Matt Wade, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Teachers' union withdraws support from Common Core

Over the weekend the New York State United Teachers union board voted to withdraw their support of Common Core standards.

They also passed a vote of no confidence in State Education Commissioner John King.  Go to full article
Eric Young, soil scientist at the Miner Institute. He's leading a study on tile drains. Photo: courtesy of Miner Institute
Eric Young, soil scientist at the Miner Institute. He's leading a study on tile drains. Photo: courtesy of Miner Institute

Tile drains: good or bad?

Tile drains are controversial. Farmers install the slotted pipes under their crops to drain water faster, extend the growing season, and increase crop yield. But environmentalists worry that the drains provide a direct route for harmful nutrients, like phosphorus, into a waterway.

Phosphorus loading in Lake Champlain has led to dangerous blue green algae blooms. And phosphorus levels in the lake remain stubbornly high.

A new study at the Miner Institute in Chazy may provide some answers.  Go to full article
Canton Central School. Photo: Lizette Haenel
Canton Central School. Photo: Lizette Haenel

What does Cuomo's budget mean for schools in the North Country?

Governor Cuomo's budget was packed full of big news for schools. He proposed universal pre-kindergarten, after school programs, and a $2 billion bond initiative that would bring technology into classrooms. But North Country educators say there are other implications for area schools.  Go to full article
Art Sennett, holding a sculpture. Photo: Sarah Harris
Art Sennett, holding a sculpture. Photo: Sarah Harris

Art Sennett: Making magic with clay

For 35 years, Art Sennett taught ceramics at SUNY Potsdam. He inspired generations of students to work with clay and create art. And he made a lot of his own pottery from raw materials he found in the North Country. Now, Art's retired. He spends his summers in Potsdam, and winters on an island off the coast of Georgia, where he teaches art classes.  Go to full article
Sarah Rivers, 10th grader and student representative to the merger committee. She liked Potsdam's sugar shack, but has concerns about the auditorium size and a divided middle and high school. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Sarah Rivers, 10th grader and student representative to the merger committee. She liked Potsdam's sugar shack, but has concerns about the auditorium size and a divided middle and high school. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Inside school: to merge or not to merge?

Canton and Potsdam school districts are considering a merger.
The idea is to save money and offer more opportunities to students.

A 28-person committee of administrators, teachers and students and a Buffalo-based consulting firm are studying how it could work, and what the pay-offs would be. They're on a short deadline, with a recommendation due in the late spring. Then the two communities will vote.  Go to full article
Canton Central School. Photo: Lizette Haenel
Canton Central School. Photo: Lizette Haenel

Auditing Canton Central: It's all in the (fund) balance

When the state Comptroller audited Canton Central School District recently, auditors found what school officials already know too well: the district can't rely on its dwindling fund balance for much longer.  Go to full article

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