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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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Mary Ann Ashley. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Mary Ann Ashley. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Meet Mary Ann Ashley, Canton's new mayor

Canton has a new mayor: Republican Mary Ann Ashley. Ashley ran as a Democrat in order to challenge Republican incumbent mayor Dave Curry. She won with 68% of the votes - a decisive victory that was coupled with new blood on the village board.  Go to full article
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.

District 9 county legislator election gets complicated

St. Lawrence County's District 9 special election for county legislator has gotten even more special.  Go to full article
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sail barge Ceres brings Champlain Valley produce to NYC

Vermont farmer Eric Andrus just completed a major voyage. Andrus built a sail-powered, carbon-neutral cargo barge called the Ceres. He filled it with produce, and sailed it from Vermont to New York City last month.

The idea was to bring farm products from the Champlain Valley to new markets via historical waterways.  Go to full article
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.
The St. Lawrence County courthouse and legislative building.

St. Lawrence County District 9 electing legislator for 1 year

There's a special election for St. Lawrence County legislator in District 9 this year. District 9 includes downtown Canton and stretches south along Route 11 towards DeKalb. Current Representative Stephen Putman, a Democrat, had to resign in June in order to combine his state retirement money with the retirement money from his job. He was reappointed to the legislature a month later. Now there's an election for the final year of the term - and Putman is challenged by Republican Bill Fobare.  Go to full article
Lining up for the parade. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Lining up for the parade. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Halloween, elementary school style

Banford Elementary School in Canton takes Halloween very seriously. The annual Halloween parade is one of the school's biggest events. For half an hour, the school totally transforms.  Go to full article
"Electing a coroner is a holdover from British Common Law." Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/36606530@N00/4608471444/">Degi Hari</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
"Electing a coroner is a holdover from British Common Law." Photo: Degi Hari, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Talking with a voter about the coroner race

It's almost election day. And in St. Lawrence County one of the races is a public office you might forget about -- coroner. There are 2 open seats this year, and 3 candidates.

The coroner's job is to respond when somebody has died. One of them takes the call, drives to the scene and pronounces the person dead. They also figure out where to transport the body, and coordinate with police, courts, and hospitals.  Go to full article
Kevin Crosby takes the mic at the St. Lawrence County Republicans meet-the-candidates dinner. Photo: Sarah Harris
Kevin Crosby takes the mic at the St. Lawrence County Republicans meet-the-candidates dinner. Photo: Sarah Harris

Why do we elect a coroner, anyway?

In St. Lawrence County, four coroners are notified when a fatal accident happens.

One of them takes the call, drives to the scene, day or night. Besides issuing an official announcement of a death, the coroner also figures out where to transport the body, and coordinates with police, courts, and hospitals.

It's a behind-the-scenes job - and one you might forget is actually a public office.

But almost 1600 counties around the country still elect coroners St. Lawrence County is one. Two of three candidates will be elected next Tuesday.  Go to full article
Congressman Bill Owens and Richard Eakins talk about corn storage. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Congressman Bill Owens and Richard Eakins talk about corn storage. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Owens: farm bill may happen in 2013

There's still no Farm Bill this year.

The Farm Bill sets policy for agriculture nationwide. But most of the bill--money-wise--goes to food stamps. And disagreement over cuts to food stamps has held the overall bill up for over a year.

This week, members of the House and Senate will start hashing out a new compromise version of the bill. At a visit to a North Country soybean farm, Congressman Bill Owens said that may mean progress.  Go to full article
One of the approximately 11,000 fish released. Photo: Sarah Harris.
One of the approximately 11,000 fish released. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Stocking sturgeon in the St. Lawrence

The St. Lawrence River has more sturgeon than it did yesterday. About 11,000 baby sturgeon were released into the St. Lawrence and its tributaries.

State environmental officials hope to restore the sturgeon population in the region.  Go to full article
Ron Flannery connects a Dickinson Center camp. Photo: Sarah Harris
Ron Flannery connects a Dickinson Center camp. Photo: Sarah Harris

Local internet provider connects the North Country

The Internet is a big part of 21st century life - people use it get news, watch movies, apply for jobs, and pay bills. But the North Country lags behind the rest of New York state in connectivity. 20 percent of people in the region don't have fast, reliable internet connections. That's compared to just 5% of people state-wide.

SLIC, a local internet provider that grew out of Nicholville Telephone Company, is trying to change that.  Go to full article

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