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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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Canton-area residents learn about the new Marketplace at a workshop last week. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Canton-area residents learn about the new Marketplace at a workshop last week. Photo: Sarah Harris.

NY Health Plan Marketplace opens today

The New York State health plan marketplace, NY State of Health, opens today. New Yorkers who don't get health insurance through their jobs or the government can now shop for coverage in this health insurance exchange created under provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act.  Go to full article
Artist's depiction of cable laying operation on bed of Lake Champlain. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63STVzjpNUo">Video</a> still from TDI Cable Deployment
Artist's depiction of cable laying operation on bed of Lake Champlain. Video still from TDI Cable Deployment

Champlain powerline update today

A public meeting about the Champlain Hudson Power Express will be held in Plattsburgh this afternoon.

The Power Express is a proposed underground and underwater transmission line that would deliver electricity generated in Quebec to consumers in New York City.

The line would travel underneath Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. It was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission in April.
Representatives from Transmission Developers Incorporated, the company seeking to build the line, will provide project updates.

The meeting is sponsored by the New York Citizens Advisory Committee of the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

It will be held at the North Country Chamber of Commerce at 1 p.m.  Go to full article
Cornell Cooperative Extension held workshops on New York's health plan Marketplace. It opens next week. Photo: Sarah Harris, NCPR.
Cornell Cooperative Extension held workshops on New York's health plan Marketplace. It opens next week. Photo: Sarah Harris, NCPR.

What does the Affordable Care Act mean for the North Country?

On October first, a major part of President Obama's major health care law, the Affordable Care Act, will roll out across the country. New Yorkers will be able to shop for health insurance through an exchange called the Marketplace. But for people who hope to sign up for a plan, there may be more questions than answers.  Go to full article
New York's Regional Economic Development Council regions. Map: NYS
New York's Regional Economic Development Council regions. Map: NYS

Development council names priority projects, seeks further funding

Yesterday the North Country's Regional Economic Development Council released its new list of priorities for the next round of funding. It's part of a progress report that gives details on projects already underway, and explains new strategies the council plans to implement as it vies for more state money.  Go to full article
Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. Photo: Joanna Richards
Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. Photo: Joanna Richards

Upgrades coming to North Country airports

It's been a big month for North Country airports. Yesterday airports in Plattsburgh, Lake Clear, Watertown and Potsdam received major grants for infrastructure improvement from New York State. That's after multiple regional airports were awarded federal grants earlier this month.  Go to full article
People gathered in Ogdensburg City Hall for the hearing. Photo: Sarah Harris
People gathered in Ogdensburg City Hall for the hearing. Photo: Sarah Harris

Ogdensburg says keep inpatient services at SLPC

New York's Office of Mental Health hopes to consolidate the state's 24 inpatient hospitals into 15 regional facilities called "centers of excellence."

But the plan has been met with strong resistance in Ogdensburg, where the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center has been a major presence for over 100 years.

Yesterday the legislature held a hearing to see how the plan would impact Ogdensburg. Practically everyone who testified said getting rid of inpatient services is a bad idea.  Go to full article
St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, NY. Photo: Lizette Haenel
St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, NY. Photo: Lizette Haenel

Legislature to hold hearing on future of Ogdensburg psychiatric center

New York's Office of Mental Health plans to close 65 inpatient beds at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg.

It's part of a larger plan to reshape the state's mental health care system, downsizing some, and expanding others to create what the state calls "centers of excellence." And in the Ogdensburg area, it's sparked angry opposition.

The state legislature is holding hearings in communities affected by the plan -- including one in Ogdensburg tomorrow.  Go to full article
Walter Shyne is in his last season at the Canton Farmer's Market. Photo by Sarah Harris
Walter Shyne is in his last season at the Canton Farmer's Market. Photo by Sarah Harris

Listen: A good run

It's the end of the growing season, and farmers are in their final weeks of big business. It's also the peak of apple season.

For Walter Shyne of J & W Orchard in Norfolk, this will be his last one. Shyne is a regular vendor at the Canton Farmers' Market, and he's retiring. For today's Heard Up North, Sarah Harris caught up with him as he was closing up his stand.  Go to full article
Annie Rutsky leads nurses and their supporters in a picket line. Photo: Sarah Harris
Annie Rutsky leads nurses and their supporters in a picket line. Photo: Sarah Harris

Nurses protest EJ Noble dissolution

Nurses and their supporters protested outside EJ Noble Hospital in Gouverneur yesterday.

The financially troubled hospital is slated to close later this fall and re-emerge in a new regional healthcare partnership with Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

Leaders from both hospitals say EJ Noble has been mired in debt for years. Last fall the small hospital shut down temporarily after the state Department of Health closed its lab because of safety concerns.

Two hundred-sixteen people work at EJ Noble. The protesting nurses are skeptical about the coming change, wondering what it means for their jobs.  Go to full article
EJ Noble board chairman Michael Burgess, left, and Canton-Potsdam Hospital CEO David Acker, right, discuss the future of the Gouverneur hospital. Photo: Sarah Harris
EJ Noble board chairman Michael Burgess, left, and Canton-Potsdam Hospital CEO David Acker, right, discuss the future of the Gouverneur hospital. Photo: Sarah Harris

What's happening to EJ Noble Hospital in Governeur?

North Country healthcare leaders gave more details on the decision to dissolve EJ Noble Hospital in Gouverneur and form a two hospital system with Canton-Potsdam.  Go to full article

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