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

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

As 2016 draws to a close, we thought it seemed appropriate to focus on something positive, something universal that means so much: Hope. And so we asked some Mainers we crossed paths with recently to answer this question. What gives you hope? Here’s what they said:

Robert Bukaty

The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Wednesday that it will invest $225 million in conservation projects around the country, including $6 million for Maine.

The five-year Maine Aquatic Connectivity Restoration Project will help private forestland owners reduce the effects of flooding on road-stream crossings and restore more than 250 miles of fish habitat by replacing and resizing several hundred culverts.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Opponents of Question 1, the ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana Maine, have delivered an early Christmas present to supporters. They announced they are abandoning their recount effort and conceding that the yes side won.

Representatives from the No on 1 campaign gave notice to the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections Saturday afternoon to bring an end to the recount, which was scheduled to resume in January. They also contacted supporters to congratulate them on their victory.

v1ctor / Flickr/Creative Commons

A national coalition of more than 50 youth development organizations is calling on judges, state and local policymakers around the country to end the practice of youth incarceration. Instead, the National Collaboration for Youth says jails should only be used for a small number of violent kids and that other youth offenders should be placed in community-based programs.

To bolster its argument, the coalition released a report that says there’s overwhelming evidence to show that youth prisons are “harmful, ineffective and excessively expensive.”

LEWISTON, Maine - Last week it was Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency that was widely condemned by environmental groups around the country.  Pruitt is a climate-denier who has lobbied on behalf of the oil and gas industry at the agency he would head. 

This week environmentalists are sounding the alarm about the nominations of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as energy secretary and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.  Both are also climate deniers and champions of the fossil fuel industry. 

Courtesy photo

One of the giants in Maine’s conservation movement has died. Clinton “Bill” Townsend, an attorney, river advocate, environmental watchdog and lifelong fishermen, passed away at his home in Canaan this week at the age of 89.

LEWISTON, Maine - Poland Spring is proposing to expand its water withdrawal operations to Rumford.  The company pitched its plan to the Rumford Water District at a meeting Wednesday night. 

The plan calls for a long-term contract to withdraw up to 150 million gallons from two well sites in the Ellis River watershed.  Mark Dubois is the natural resource manager for the company. "We believe we can sustainably withdraw spring water up there while the district maintains its commitment to serve ratepayers."

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Environmental groups in Maine and around the country are condemning the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Over the past decade Pruitt has sued the EPA multiple times, challenging major environmental protections for clean water to standards that protect Americans from smog, haze and methane. He has also questioned the scientific basis of climate change, sending letters to the EPA written by oil and gas companies and calling the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution “unlawful and overreaching.”

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

More than 20 faith leaders joined students, faculty members and others for a rally in solidarity with Maine immigrants at the University of Southern Maine.

Organizers said the noontime gathering sends a message that Maine won’t stand for discrimination, intolerance or hate. The rally was planned in response to recent acts of hate reported around the country, including anti-Muslim graffiti found at the USM student government offices.

The City of Bangor announced late Friday that it has settled a lawsuit brought by Metro Treatment of Maine, a Bangor methadone clinic that wants to expand.

In August, the city denied the expansion plans, saying that the methadone clinic failed to demonstrate a need for the expansion as required by a local ordinance dealing with methadone treatment. Metro Treatment filed suit, alleging that the ordinance was discriminatory.

LEWISTON, Maine - Some colleges have boycotted athletic events in North Carolina because of its new law that limits protections for LGBT people.  The University of Maine Black Bears will take a different approach. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Robert Dana says it was a complicated decision to allow the men's basketball team to play the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils tomorrow evening in North Carolina. 

But Dana says the team will go to show solidarity with the LGBT community.  They'll meet with LGBT student groups in North Carolina and Maine before and after the match. 

Elizabeth Noble

It’s been nearly a year since we reported on the case of Doug Burr, a Maine State Prison inmate who spent 22 months in solitary confinement in an 8- by 10-foot cell for reasons that he and his attorney say are still unclear.

A meeting scheduled this week by Corrections Commissioner Dr. Joseph Fitzpatrick to review LGBT policies, suicide prevention and other issues at the Long Creek Youth Development Center is being postponed.

The commissioner and others agreed to wait until after the Maine attorney general’s office completes an investigation into a recent suicide at the South Portland facility.

Corrections Commissioner Dr. Joseph Fitzpatrick will convene a panel of experts in Maine this week to review suicide prevention and LGBT policies at the Long Creek Youth Development Center.

The meeting follows the recent suicide of a transgender teen at the facility, the first death of a child in state custody in more than 20 years.

Fitzpatrick says he’s open to any and all suggestions, and he also says it may also be time to consider creation of a state psychiatric facility for mentally ill youth.

LEWISTON, Maine - The former chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point says he was recalled in a special election earlier this month because he was cracking down on a widespread opioid problem on the reservation.