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.

Ways to Connect

TOPS students riding the bus
Susan Sharon/maine public

For special education students, attitudes are changing. Barriers to employment, independent living and even college are being lowered. But there is a need for more specialized training for students with developmental disabilities, especially toward the end of high school. And a unique, year-round program is helping to fill that void.

Dead fish below the Brunswick dam from October 15 and 16, 2016
Ed Friedman, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

Conservation groups are raising red flags about what they say are two significant fish kills in Ellsworth and Brunswick over the past week.

Courtesy Rick Steves

PORTLAND, Maine - Travel writer and public television host Rick Steves has been in Maine the last couple of days to lend his support to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. 

Steves has donated $100,000 to the campaign in an effort to pass Question 1 on the November ballot.  He says he sees Question 1 as a common sense way to legalize, tax and regulate a relatively benign drug, despite the concerns raised by the opposition.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Maine’s attorney general is again raising questions about how Question 1 could affect children if voters approve it next month.

Michael C. York / Associated Press

Donn Fendler may not be a household name, but thousands of schoolchildren know him as the 12-year-old boy who used his wits and stamina to endure nine days alone in the Maine wilderness. Fendler died over the weekend at the age of 90, but his legacy lives on in a classic children’s book, “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.”

Susan Sharon

This week, representatives from eight Arctic nations are meeting in Portland to discuss environmental issues and promote sustainable development in the Arctic region. Representatives of indigenous groups are also at the table. But the meetings are being held in private.

Today, a small group of mostly retirees protested what they say is too much emphasis on the economic opportunities of a melting region and not enough on the fundamental issue: addressing climate change.

A new rule is now in effect in Maine to try to protect loons from lead poisoning.

Prior to 2002, lead was responsible for nearly a third of all adult loon mortality. So in 2013, Maine lawmakers passed An Act to Protect Maine Loons By Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs.

Susan Gallo is with Maine Audubon which is part of a coalition of groups trying to encourage the purchase and use of lead-free fishing tackle. She says one provision of the law didn’t take effect until September of this year.

Maine Audubon

There’s an unusual conservation effort underway involving loons from Maine called Restore the Call.

A South Paris man has been found not guilty of reckless conduct in connection with a fatal hayride accident that killed an Oakland teenager in 2014.

Prosecutors tried to show that David Brown was criminally reckless in driving a jeep pulling the hay wagon at a farm in Mechanic Falls. Investigators found that mechanical failure caused the hayride to plunge down an embankment and crash into a tree.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

One of the big questions raised by the ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Maine is what effect it will have on the state’s medical marijuana program and the mom-and-pop economy it has created.

Democratic leaders in the Maine House and Senate are sharing their vision for what they’re calling “A Better State of Maine.” Some of the ideas are a stark contrast to what Mainers have heard from Gov. Paul LePage at similar gatherings.

At a forum in Topsham Tuesday night, Democrats unveiled a general platform that calls for modernizing and repairing roads, bridges, ports and rail, expanded access to broadband, clean energy and investment in early childhood and K-12 education.

LEWISTON, Maine - A new report finds that Maine's forest products industry supports more than 33,000 jobs and will contribute about $8.5 billion to the state's economy this year, despite recent job losses and mill closures. 

A group of business professionals has formed a new coalition to advocate for better regulation of the marijuana industry.

Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana is not taking a position on Question 1 on the November ballot — its members are equally divided — but the group hopes to have a better system in place if the measure passes.

For the third time in recent years, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection is considering new mining rules that are drawing strong opposition from around the state.

Similar rules have twice been rejected by the Legislature, staff from the department say the changes are needed to address gaps and inconsistencies in the existing law.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

New research from supporters of Question 3 on the November ballot finds that unlicensed gun sales are flourishing in Maine through classified and online advertisements in publications such as Uncle Henry’s and

The four-year analysis conservatively estimates that 3,000 unlicensed gun sales take place in Maine each year. But there’s disagreement about whether requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and transfers would help put a stop to gun violence.