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 MPBN working at the State House in 1992. Since then she has covered major political and environmental stories, winning national awards for her beat reporting twice from the Society for Environmental Journalists. Her coverage of labor issues, including an investigative series on independent contractors, has also been recognized by the Public Radio News Directors, Inc and by the Associated Press. 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.


Food stamp changes
5:41 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Plan to Restrict SNAP Benefits in Maine Meets Strong Opposition

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates for the low-income, veterans and the homeless turned out in Augusta to express their strong opposition to a proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services to cut off food stamps or SNAP benefits to able-bodied, childless adults after three months unless they work 20 hours a week, volunteer or undergo job training. Advocates say the proposal establishes an "unrealistic and unachievable" expectation that will overwhelm food pantries and soup kitchens and create hardships for people, especially young veterans.


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Marijuana vote
5:40 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Efforts to Legalize Pot for Recreation Concerns Medical Marijuana Proponents

Legal marijuana growing in Colorado.
Credit Brett Levin

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - South Portland city councilors voted unanimously Monday night to put a measure on the ballot that would make recreational marijuana possession legal for adults in city limits. Similar questions are expected to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York this November. But the move is meeting resistance from medical marijuana caregivers in Maine, who are concerned that a broader plan to tax and regulate recreational pot statewide will affect their own livelihoods.


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DHHS Delays
5:39 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Long Waits for Maine DHHS Services Blamed on Staff Shortages, Department Overhaul

Stephanie Wilburn and Mike Smith
Credit Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates for the low-income, elderly and disabled say they are concerned by the barriers their clients are facing getting food supplement benefits and other assistance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Some clients report having to wait for months to get timely help. Others are finding that they must spend more than an hour on the phone to get someone at the department to answer a question. Recent administrative changes are believed to be the culprit, along with inadequate staffing.


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Pulp mill closes
4:44 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

State Scrambles to Save Old Town Pulp Mill, 200 Jobs

Old Town Fuel and Fiber's parking lot was nearly empty today, after nearly all the pulp facility's 195 workers were put on furlough.
Credit Jennifer Mitchell / MPBN

OLD TOWN, Maine - "Effective immediately all Old Town mill operations will be indefinitely suspended." That was the message employees at the Old Town Fuel and Fiber Co. received Wednesday evening. The written statement went on to say that all workers except those needed for security were being sent home. The workforce currently numbers about 200 people.  

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Your Vote 2014
5:21 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Opposing Sides Gear up for Battle Over Bear Hunting Referendum

PORTLAND, Maine - Supporters of a referendum to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in Maine's annual bear hunt began canvassing neighborhoods in Portland over the weekend. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say they don't oppose hunting in general, just the use of what they consider cruel and inhumane practices. They plan to contact tens of thousands of voters across the state over the next few weeks to make their case. Opponents are also gearing up.  And both sides are feeling confident as the election draws closer.


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Water quality
5:56 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Public Invited to Weigh in On Tribal Waters Dispute

The Penobscot Indian Nation is inviting the public to a hearing tonight to provide input on proposed new water quality standards for tribal waters. It's the first time the tribe has ever petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for such standards. Thee move has raised concerns from the state of Maine, which is embroiled in a lawsuit against the EPA over its handling of water quality issues on Indian territory.

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5:58 am
Mon August 4, 2014

While Fighting Rages, Israelis, Palestinians Gather at Maine Peace Camp

Campers listen to the opening ceremony at Seeds of Peace Camp.
Susan Sharon MPBN

OTISFIELD, Maine — This past weekend, even as heavy fighting raged in parts of Gaza, nearly 100 Israeli and Palestinian teenagers were singing songs, holding hands and sharing stories on the shores of Pleasant Lake in Otisfield. They're part an even larger delegation of young people who are in Maine for the Seeds of Peace International Camp. Now in its 22nd year, the camp is just one part of a larger program founded on the idea that peace is personal.

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6:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Bait, Hounds, Traps — A Look at Bear Hunting

Bob Parker puts out bait at one of his sites.
Susan Sharon MPBN

This week Maine hunters started setting out barrels laden with meat, pastries and other sweets in anticipation of the annual three-month bear hunt that begins at the end of August. The bait is used at regulated sites to attract bears, which are difficult to spot in the dense Maine woods. But if supporters of a statewide referendum are successful, baiting, trapping and the use of hounds to hunt bears will be outlawed except in special circumstances. And that possibility has state bear biologists and the hunting community on edge.

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5:45 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

LePage Pitches 'Welfare to Work' at Lewiston Homeless Shelter

LEWISTON, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage visited a homeless shelter in here Monday to make the case for his food stamp reform initiative that he's calling "Welfare to Work." The governor views the effort as a way to help people, not hurt them.

The governor says the initiative won't affect people with disabilities, single parents, or those with several children. But it will require able-bodied people between the ages of 19 and 49 to work or volunteer 20 hours a week.

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Border children
5:52 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Colbert Spoofs Maine Gov's 'Border Children' Concerns

Gov. Paul LePage's displeasure with the placement of unaccompanied minors in Maine has become fodder for late night political satirist Stephen Colbert. Colbert used his Wednesday night cable TV show to poke fun at Gov. LePage and his characterization of the effect they could have on state resources.

  With more than 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America in federal custody, and as many 90,000 expected by the end of the year, Colbert says the humanitarian crisis at the Texas border is a flood - a flood like El Nino is raining actual "ninos."

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