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

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. 

One of Maine’s most prolific and well-regarded environmental journalists has died.

For three decades, until 2002, Phyllis Austin wrote hundreds of stories about the forest products industry, Baxter State Park, environmental regulations and land conservation for the Maine Times. She was also someone whose investigative reporting helped influence environmental policies.

How will policies to combat climate change fare under Donald Trump’s administration? It’s one of many questions being raised after the president-elect’s stated positions on the campaign trail.

Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the science of climate change, even famously suggesting it was a Chinese hoax. At a climate change solutions conference in Biddeford on Friday, U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says he’s optimistic that Washington won’t be the final arbiter. Local environmental groups are planning for that scenario, too.

Courtesy Friends of the Presumpscot River

LEWISTON, Maine - After three years of negotiations, the S.D. Warren Company has agreed to remove the Saccarappa Hydroelectric Project, the second dam on southern Maine's Presumpscot River in downtown Westbrook. 

Michelle Knowles and Maze Knowles
Contributed photo

The mother of a transgender teen who took his own life at the Long Creek Youth Development Center says her son’s mental health needs were going unmet and he was languishing in the facility.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

It’s been nearly two weeks since Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick released a vague, two-sentence statement saying a resident at the Long Creek Youth Development Center was involved in an unspecified “incident” and that all action was being taken to deal with the situation.

Several days later, the Maine attorney general’s office confirmed that the death of a juvenile resident at Long Creek was under review by the state medical examiner. State officials, citing confidentiality laws, declined to release additional details.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Two days after the election, the Associated Press is officially calling the results for Question 1 in Maine. With less than a fraction of a percentage point separating the yes vote from the no vote, AP is handing the victory to supporters of marijuana legalization.

Question 1 would set up a framework to regulate, tax and sell recreational marijuana in Maine. Opponents have not ruled out asking for a recount and they have until next Wednesday to make the request.

Meanwhile, supporters say they are grateful to Maine voters and ready to start working toward implementation.

LEWISTON, Maine - A spokesperson for the Maine Secretary of State's Office says about 4,000 ballots received from members of the military and Mainers living overseas have been counted and are being processed by her office. 

The final tally could be released later today but may have to wait until Monday after the Veterans' Day holiday tomorrow. 

Kristen Muszynski says she understands there's a lot of interest in the outcome because of the close vote on Question 1, the ballot measure to regulate and tax recreational marijuana. 

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Question 1, the ballot measure that would tax and regulate recreational marijuana, remains too close to call nearly 24 hours after the polls closed on Tuesday. Supporters declared victory early Wednesday morning after the Bangor Daily News called the race in their favor, but opponents are refusing to concede.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

It was a big night for the marijuana legalization movement around the country, with 3 of 5 states, including Massachusetts, approving ballot measures and Maine poised to follow suit.

The vote remained extremely close all night, but at about 3 a.m., supporters of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol declared victory.

The Yes on One campaign held an edge of between one and two percentage points all night long. And in the wee hours of the morning, with a few more precincts still to be counted, political director Alysia Melnick offered this assessment.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says Maine could set a record for voter turnout this year.

LEWISTON, Maine - A juvenile being held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has died.  Few details are being released about the nature of the death or the person's identity.

The Maine Attorney General's Office confirmed that the case has been reported to the chief medical examiner "for review to determine time, date, place, cause, manner and circumstances of the death." 

Thursday is the last day for requesting an absentee ballot in Maine. And already the number of people who have voted early this year is outpacing 2012. Included in those figures are prison inmates.

No one keeps track of exactly how many prisoners vote, but Maine and Vermont are the only two states that allow them to do so. Other states restrict voting even after sentences are completed, but some of those polices are starting to change.

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