Susan Sharon

Deputy News Director

Deputy News Director Susan Sharon is an experienced newsroom leader and reporter who has worked in both radio and television.  She's covered a wide range of subjects including politics, environmental policy, the opioid crisis and criminal justice as well as human interest stories.  Her work has been nationally recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Public Radio News Directors, Inc and by the Society of Environmental Journalists for breaking news, enterprise and beat reporting.

Susan is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism. She's received additional training in management, newsroom leadership and editing from Central Maine Community College, Poynter and NPR..

Got a story idea? E-mail Susan: ssharon@mainepublic.org. You can also follow her on twitter @susansharon1

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AUBURN, Maine — Two Androscoggin County Superior Court juries have reached two different verdicts against a pair of defendants who sat on train tracks in 2013 to protest the transportation of Bakken crude oil into Maine.

Dougles Bowen Jr. of Porter was found guilty of trespassing last August by his jury. A mistrial was declared against a separate defendant, Jesse Dowling of Unity, after her jury could not reach a verdict.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Bar Harbor couple arrested in Portland last May after using a cell phone to record a police stop involving several officers. In their lawsuit against Sgt. Benjamin Noyes, Jr., the couple allege that the arrest violated their right to free speech, which includes the right to observe, photograph and record the police performing their work in public.  

 

PORTLAND, Maine — City councilors here are wrestling with their options now that the LePage administration has said it will deny state reimbursement to cities and towns that provide general assistance to some undocumented immigrants, including asylum seekers.

The city has filed suit over the policy on the grounds that it was improperly adopted without legislative approval. But while that lawsuit and a counter suit from the state work their way through the courts, the city must figure out how to budget for the possible fallout of the case.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

LEWISTON, Maine — More than 200 people, including dozens of police, firefighters, game wardens and public safety personnel, attended the annual Blue Mass offered by the Catholic diocese at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Lewiston Sunday morning.

Mark Vogelzang / MPBN

When President Bill Clinton campaigns on behalf of Democrat Mike Michaud in Portland tonight, he may need to be reminded about the correct pronunciation of Michaud's last name. It's a subject that comes up most often among politicians and reporters, sticklers for accuracy who are often thrown by the candidate's Franco-American heritage. Here at MPBN we've also had inquiries from listeners and staff, so let's set the record straight.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Hundreds of people gathered for a rally in downtown Portland Monday morning to support unionized Fairpoint employees who are working under a contract imposed late last week by the company which declared that contract talks are deadlocked.   The employees are now working under terms of a new contract with major concessions.  Speaking at the rally, First District Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says the union has put three offers on the table.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Nearly 200 people turned out in Portland Tuesday night to discuss the racial implications of Ferguson, Missouri, in one of the whitest states in the nation:  Maine.  Many say the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer has raised the curtain on institutional racism in the U.S.  And blacks and whites at the meeting say they're committed to rooting it out.

 

AUBURN, Maine - A new report authored by the national group Alliance for a Just Society finds that Mainers earning the minimum wage of $7.50 an hour are increasingly falling behind when it comes to paying for food, housing, utilities and household expenses.  Their problems are compounded when they take out loans to cover the cost of college.  

Tom Porter / MPBN

A federal judge has sided with four contributors to independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler's campaign. The four filed suit over a state law that limits the amount of money they can each spend on independent candidates to $1,500 dollars. The judge found that, in this particular election, the four have shown a strong likelihood that they have suffered "unconstitutional discrimination" compared to contributors to major party candidates.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates for the low-income, veterans and the homeless turned out in Augusta to express their strong opposition to a proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services to cut off food stamps or SNAP benefits to able-bodied, childless adults after three months unless they work 20 hours a week, volunteer or undergo job training. Advocates say the proposal establishes an "unrealistic and unachievable" expectation that will overwhelm food pantries and soup kitchens and create hardships for people, especially young veterans.

 

Brett Levin

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - South Portland city councilors voted unanimously Monday night to put a measure on the ballot that would make recreational marijuana possession legal for adults in city limits. Similar questions are expected to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York this November. But the move is meeting resistance from medical marijuana caregivers in Maine, who are concerned that a broader plan to tax and regulate recreational pot statewide will affect their own livelihoods.

 

Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates for the low-income, elderly and disabled say they are concerned by the barriers their clients are facing getting food supplement benefits and other assistance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Some clients report having to wait for months to get timely help. Others are finding that they must spend more than an hour on the phone to get someone at the department to answer a question. Recent administrative changes are believed to be the culprit, along with inadequate staffing.

 

Jennifer Mitchell / MPBN

OLD TOWN, Maine - "Effective immediately all Old Town mill operations will be indefinitely suspended." That was the message employees at the Old Town Fuel and Fiber Co. received Wednesday evening. The written statement went on to say that all workers except those needed for security were being sent home. The workforce currently numbers about 200 people.  

PORTLAND, Maine - Supporters of a referendum to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in Maine's annual bear hunt began canvassing neighborhoods in Portland over the weekend. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say they don't oppose hunting in general, just the use of what they consider cruel and inhumane practices. They plan to contact tens of thousands of voters across the state over the next few weeks to make their case. Opponents are also gearing up.  And both sides are feeling confident as the election draws closer.

 

The Penobscot Indian Nation is inviting the public to a hearing tonight to provide input on proposed new water quality standards for tribal waters. It's the first time the tribe has ever petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for such standards. Thee move has raised concerns from the state of Maine, which is embroiled in a lawsuit against the EPA over its handling of water quality issues on Indian territory.

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