Susan Sharon

Deputy News Director

Deputy News Director Susan Sharon is a reporter and editor whose on-air career in public radio began as a student at the University of Montana. Early on, she also worked in commercial television doing a variety of jobs. Susan first came to Maine Public Radio as a State House reporter whose reporting focused on politics, labor and the environment. More recently she's been covering corrections, social justice and human interest stories. Her work, which has been recognized by SPJ, SEJ, PRNDI and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, has taken her all around the state — deep into the woods, to remote lakes and ponds, to farms and factories and to the Maine State Prison. Over the past two decades, she's contributed more than 100 stories to NPR.

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

Ways to Connect

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.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

OTISFIELD, Maine — This past weekend, even as heavy fighting raged in parts of Gaza, nearly 100 Israeli and Palestinian teenagers were singing songs, holding hands and sharing stories on the shores of Pleasant Lake in Otisfield. They're part an even larger delegation of young people who are in Maine for the Seeds of Peace International Camp. Now in its 22nd year, the camp is just one part of a larger program founded on the idea that peace is personal.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

This week Maine hunters started setting out barrels laden with meat, pastries and other sweets in anticipation of the annual three-month bear hunt that begins at the end of August. The bait is used at regulated sites to attract bears, which are difficult to spot in the dense Maine woods. But if supporters of a statewide referendum are successful, baiting, trapping and the use of hounds to hunt bears will be outlawed except in special circumstances. And that possibility has state bear biologists and the hunting community on edge.

LEWISTON, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage visited a homeless shelter in here Monday to make the case for his food stamp reform initiative that he's calling "Welfare to Work." The governor views the effort as a way to help people, not hurt them.

The governor says the initiative won't affect people with disabilities, single parents, or those with several children. But it will require able-bodied people between the ages of 19 and 49 to work or volunteer 20 hours a week.

Gov. Paul LePage's displeasure with the placement of unaccompanied minors in Maine has become fodder for late night political satirist Stephen Colbert. Colbert used his Wednesday night cable TV show to poke fun at Gov. LePage and his characterization of the effect they could have on state resources.

  With more than 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America in federal custody, and as many 90,000 expected by the end of the year, Colbert says the humanitarian crisis at the Texas border is a flood - a flood like El Nino is raining actual "ninos."

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