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.

During her career, Susan has numerous awards from the Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press for her coverage of Maine’s opiate epidemic, labor issues, politics, corrections and the environment. Her outstanding beat reporting has twice been recognized by the Society for Environmental Journalists. And in 2014 she, along with Maine Public Radio colleagues Patty Wight and Mal Leary, received a prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society for Professional Journalists for their breaking news coverage of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who faced a quarantine after returning to the U.S. from Africa, where she treated Ebola patients.

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. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Radio Television News Directors Association. You can occasionally hear her stories on NPR.

Ways to Connect

Rick Gray / BRI

For years, researchers have been studying the pressures on one of Maine’s most-loved birds, the common loon. They’ve looked at shoreline development, mercury and fishing fear. And now a potential new threat has emerged: malaria.

The tropical parasite started showing up in healthy loons about a decade ago. But it had never been known to kill a bird, until recently.

C. Schmitt via the Natural Resources Council of Maine

The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources announced Wednesday that he will hold a congressional field hearing on the national monument proposed for the Katahdin region.

The hearing will be held at the East Millinocket Town Office on June 1 at the request of 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, and its announcement comes just two days after lengthy public meetings were held in East Millinocket and Orono on the plan.

Susan Sharon

MILLINOCKET, Maine - The director of the National Park Service is in Maine today to listen to concerns about the possible designation of 90,000 acres of private land in the Katahdin region as a National Monument.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

It’s a question that has divided residents of Millinocket, East Millinocket and surrounding towns for years: how to breathe new life into an economy dependent on papermaking after the paper mills are gone. One possible answer is the creation of a national park.

A company that makes modular homes in Oxford has notified the Maine Department of Labor that it is going out of business.

Keiser Homes says it will close all of its facilities in Maine and several other states. About 120 workers in Maine will lose their jobs. Some had already been laid off earlier this spring.

Julie Rabinowitz, a spokesperson for the Labor Department, says the state has scheduled Rapid Response sessions to try to assist workers with unemployment and other services.

C. Schmitt via the Natural Resources Council of Maine

The director of the National Park Service will come to Maine later this month to gauge support for possible presidential designation of privately owned land in the Katahdin region as a national monument.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

A Sabattus couple wants to operate a social club for medical marijuana patients in the back of their retail smoke shop in Lewiston.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Second chances often don’t come easily for those getting out of prison. Combine a criminal record with a history of addiction, and finding a job can seem impossible. But that’s where MaineWorks comes in.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

When the Lewiston High School Blue Devils won the state championship in soccer last fall, it was a victory not only for a team made up of Somali, Kenyan and Congolese players, but for their community.

The players and their coach will be recognized Friday night at the Emerge Film Festival with the screening of a documentary and after-party at the Franco Center in Lewiston.

Titled “One Team,” it could be considered a metaphor of the benefits of integration.

Gov. Paul LePage has apologized to the president of the University of Maine Farmington and to longtime former UMF President Theodora Kalikow for what he described in a written statement as “the sequence of events on Tuesday.” Translation? For walking away from the podium during a dedication ceremony at the college.

LePage was addressing a building dedication ceremony in honor of Kalikow when two students in the audience quietly held up signs critical of the governor. He suddenly left the podium, calling them “idiots” as he walked away.

Access to housing is the biggest barrier for people coming out of jail or prison. That was the message Tuesday from more than half a dozen private and public organizations that work with former prisoners in Maine.

Their meeting at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland was designed to share resources and strategize on ways to prevent recidivism and strengthen communities as part of what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling National Reentry Week.

Beth from the women's group playing with Danielle's baby at North Bridgton Family Practice
MPBN/Susan Sharon

For several years now, a rural family practice in Bridgton has quietly been offering treatment and support for pregnant women and mothers who are addicted to heroin and other drugs.

Dr. Craig Smith of North Bridgton Family Practice and Catherine Bell of Crooked River Counseling
MPBN/Susan Sharon

Like other small towns throughout Maine, Bridgton has not been immune from the heroin problem. In the past year there have been at least six overdoses in this town of about 5,000 residents.

Maine has a chronic shortage of treatment programs for opiate addiction. Nowhere is this more evident than in rural Maine. In some places the nearest methadone clinic or Suboxone provider may be a three-hour drive away.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Dealing with the state’s opiate epidemic has become a big part of the job description for local police over the last decade. No matter what the size or wealth of the town or the police force, the challenge remains the same.