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

Maine Sen Susan Collins has joined the three other members of Maine's congressional delegation in acknowledging her support for same-sex marriage.  Collins has long said that the issue of marriage equality should be left up to states to decide.  Today, in response to inquiries from the media, she took a personal stand.  And she also earned the endorsement of the nation's largest LGBT civil right organization in her re-election campaign.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The state of Maine made history two years ago by becoming one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Now, gay rights supporters are hoping Maine voters break new ground again this November by electing Democrat Mike Michaud as the nation's first openly gay governor. Polls continue to show Michaud in a tight race with Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Independent Eliot Cutler is trailing a distant third. And dynamics at play in Maine's first and second districts could affect the outcome.

Portland's 10-day LGBT pride festival wrapped up Sunday.

Saturday's parade drews hundreds of supporters and revelers waving rainbow flags all along the parade route.

"It's been six months in the making — ten days worth of events," said pride festival co-chair Jill Barkley. She said organizers planned for 3,000-4,000 people and thinks they met their mark.

There were rainbow-flag-waving bikers, belly dancers, big hair and feather boas all along the route.

Falmouth physician Richard Rockefeller is being remembered today as a philanthropist, conservationist and humanitarian who was dedicated to improving the world.  

Rockefeller was killed when his small plane crashed just after takeoff this morning in Westchester County, New York.  He was the sole occupant of the plane.  

Tim Glidden, president of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, says Rockefeller had served on his group's board for several decades and helped conserve tens of thousands of acres in Maine.  

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
Maine.gov

Gov. Paul LePage is standing by a new enforcement rule announced yesterday by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate General Assistance for "illegal, undocumented immigrants." Cities and towns that choose to continue to provide it would have to use their own resources. Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills says the administration doesn't have the statutory authority to enforce the rule. And she and others are advising cities and towns to just ignore it.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Frustrated by what they say is the failure of legislative and political efforts to stop the proposed east-west highway, a small group of grandmothers is taking matters into its own hands. The grandmothers have started holding monthly vigils in front of Cianbro headquarters. Cianbro is the Pittsfield-based construction firm that wants to build a 220-mile-long closed access toll highway that would stretch from Calais to Coburn Gore. As Susan Sharon reports, the grandmothers hope that their quiet persistence will carry a powerful message.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The LePage administration has suffered a major setback in its effort to exclude asylum seekers and certain immigrants from General Assistance. The Maine Attorney General's office has reviewed the request, and after "extensive research," has concluded that it is unconstitutional, represents an unfunded mandate and exceeds statutory authority.

Responding to issues raised in a series of articles recently published in the Portland Press Herald, the head of Maine's National Guard today attempted to set the record straight in an email to soldiers and their families.  Brig. Gen. James Campbell said he would not address the specific allegations in the published reports except for one:  the possible relocation of the 133rd Engineer Battalion from Maine.  Susan Sharon reports.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

More than 30 local food activists took their support of Maine farmer Dan Brown from the barnyard to the courtyard this morning. Brown is a Blue Hill farmer who was fined $1,000 by the state for selling raw milk at his farm stand without a license. Blue Hill is one of 11 towns in Maine that have declared independence from state and federal regulations on locally-produced food. And Brown issued a legal challenge of the state's action against him. Today the Maine Supreme Court took up his case.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The Maine Manufactured Housing Board has revoked the license of a Richmond trailer park owner and ordered him to pay the maximum fine possible for raw sewage and two other violations that resulted in the temporary eviction of his tenants. It's the first time the board has taken such an action. Russ Edwards is now negotiating to sell the beleagured park to a potential buyer. But as Susan Sharon reports, the tenants are still hoping to take it over themselves.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have added the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde to the state's priority chemical watch list as way to protect children's health. The rule would have required manufacturers to disclose which of their children's products contain formaldehyde, sometimes found in crib sheets, bibs and baby shampoo.  As Susan Sharon reports, health and environmental groups were quick to attack the move as caving to the chemical industry lobby.

This weekend, members of the Maine Greens will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their party, which now includes more than 30,000 members.  It was started by a small group of people who were disenfranchised with the Democratic Party, in part, because of the difficulty they faced trying to get presidential candidate Jesse Jackson on the Maine ballot in 1984. The Greens embraced what were considered fringe values at the time.  And while many of their positions have since gone mainstream, the party is still working to gain broader acceptance.  Susan Sharon has more.

This weekend, members of the Maine Greens will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their party, which now includes more than 30,000 members. It was started by a small group of people who were disenfranchised with the Democratic Party, in part, because of the difficulty they faced trying to get presidential candidate Jesse Jackson on the Maine ballot in 1984. The Greens embraced what were considered fringe values at the time. And while many of their positions have since gone mainstream, the party is still working to gain broader acceptance.

Susan Sharon

Residents of a Richmond trailer park were ordered to vacate their homes by 5:00 P.M. today because of a sewage overflow problem that required water to be shut off.  But most of the residents are low income and on disability or public assistance.  Some say they will be forced to sleep in their vehicles.  Others don't know where they'll go.  And as Susan Sharon reports, they blame the park's owner, who says he's been duped by the man he hired to fix the mess.

The glass eel/elver fishery
www.maineeels.com / www.maineeels.com

A former Passamaquoddy tribal representative to the Maine Legislature and his two sons are among eight people who have been charged with three counts of felony possession of American eels, and conspiracy to commit a crime in the state of New York. Fred Moore of Perry, a vocal critic of the state of Maine's elver management plan, said the other six are members of the Unkechaug Indian Nation on Long Island. And he said were all arrested while trying to carry out the Unkechaug's own conservation plan for eels.

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