Susan Sharon

Deputy News Director

Susan is the deputy news director who handles assignments and planning by the news staff. She’s also a general assignment reporter who began her career at Maine Public Radio working at the State House in 1992, and still loves the work, which takes her to the Maine State Prison for a story on solitary confinement one day and to the foothills of western Maine to look for wood thrush the next.

Susan is a graduate of the University of Montana, where she got her first job in public radio news while still a student. She has also worked at television stations in Montana and Maine. You can occasionally hear her stories on NPR.

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The Jackman town manager is facing a backlash on social media and questions from the town's selectmen for what some characterize as his "white supremacist" views. Tom Kawczynski says those views are personal, separate from his job, and do not reflect anything other than "white pride."  

Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland
BA Bartlett / panoramio.com

Echoing the findings shared at a juvenile justice summit in Maine last Fall, the Muskie School of Public Service and the University of Maine School of Law are calling for a shift away from youth prisons like Long Creek in South Portland to non-residential community-based programs and services. And they’ve produced a report that suggests the transition will save money and produce better outcomes for kids.

Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections is reporting the escape of a prisoner who left his home confinement without permission around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Robert John Berry, 46, was serving a 16-month sentence for theft that began in May of last year.

Berry was assigned to the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and could have been up for release as early as April.

The department did not release additional information.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

It’s been a rough start to the new year for thousands of customers who rely on home heating fuel and for the companies that provide it.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

Twenty years ago this month, much of the state was coping with an icy disaster: downed power lines, toppled trees, impassable roads, frozen pipes and darkness for nights on end.

Schools turned into shelters, power crews worked feverishly around the clock and Mainers pulled together, offering hot showers and cups of coffee and swapping stories about surviving the Ice Storm of ‘98.

Kathy Heseltine / Via Natural Resources Council Of Maine

Frigid temperatures forecast this weekend are proving too much even for rugged Mainers. A pair of popular polar dips planned for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are being canceled or rescheduled due to organizers’ concerns for participants’ safety.

Courtesy Mount Washington Observatory

If you think it's cold outside where you are, consider the top of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, described as the "home of the world's worst weather." 

At the 6,200-foot summit, the mountain's weather observatory recorded a record low temperature for Dec. 28.  

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

The Maine Department of Corrections says it’s taking steps to improve the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, after an independent audit recently found serious safety and other deficiencies at the juvenile correctional facility.

DOC administrators say they are filling staff vacancies, hiring more mental health workers and undertaking a new initiative to treat kids with serious mental illness in the community.

John Briggs

Residents of the town of Phippsburg may soon have an unobstructed view of the sunrise near Popham Beach. The Maine Board of Environmental Protection ruled Thursday that the remnants of a century-old pier, just off the beach, can be removed by an adjacent property owner.

The board rejected an appeal brought by some local residents who say the 150 pilings are part of the town’s history and landscape.

It’s probably safe to say that old timber pilings are typically not beloved, especially when they’re deteriorating. But residents of Phippsburg say these pilings are unique.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP

As Republicans look to reconcile key differences between the House and Senate versions of their tax bills, one of the flashpoints is around a remote, eastern corner of Alaska — the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, considered one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the country.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

One day after President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to dramatically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his final recommendations for other monuments around the country, including Katahdin Woods and Waters here in Maine.

Several protesters, upset with Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and her vote to pass a GOP tax bill late Friday night, are holding a peaceful sit-in at her Bangor office.

Erin Oberson, a nurse, says she and three other people have asked for a meeting with Collins. Reached by telephone, Oberson says they want to convince Collins to change her mind and are refusing to leave on their own until she does.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Portland has become the latest and the largest school district in Maine to adopt an inclusive transgender and gender-expansive student policy. It follows half a dozen other school districts across the state that have taken steps to prevent bullying, provide equity and clarify best practices.

Environmentalists, health groups and others are calling the Trump administration’s single public hearing on abolishment of the Clean Power Plan in West Virginia Tuesday “a sham.”

The plan to require power plants to cut carbon emissions was a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s effort address climate change. But utilities don’t like it, and the coal industry says it will result in job losses.

Lisa Pohlmann of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says the hearing’s location and limited public input make clear where the administration’s priorities are.

The Portland School Board will consider a draft policy Tuesday night that affirms and protects transgender and gender expansive students in Portland schools. Gender expansive is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender expression and identity goes beyond what are perceived as expected gender norms.

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