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.

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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will be one of the first official visitors to Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument that was authorized by President Obama this week. Secretary Jewell will also participate in a dedication ceremony for the new monument.

Jeff Pidot via Natural Resources Council of Maine

Supporters of what’s now known as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are celebrating the addition of 87,500 acres to the National Park System Wednesday night.

A view of some of the land donated by Roxanne Quimby to the Federal Government.
C. Schmitt

It appears that philanthropist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby is finally getting her wish. Nearly 90,000 acres of land she owns east of Baxter State Park have been transferred to the federal government as of Tuesday morning. Quimby has been hoping to create a national park, and more recently a national monument in Maine’s North Woods, for nearly 20 years.

A federal judge in Texas has sided with Maine Gov. Paul LePage and several other states over their opposition to transgender students’ use of bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

In May the federal government told public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. But Judge Reed O’Connor is blocking the federal directive, at least for now.

Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine, says O’Connor’s decision is unlikely to affect transgender students in Maine.

MPBN file

LEWISTON, Maine - A foundation created by philanthropist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby has donated nearly 100 acres to Acadia National Park. 

The park is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.  Next week the National Park Service itself will also turn 100. 

Quimby's son, Lucas St. Clair, is president of Elliotsville Plantation Inc., which put together the gift.  He says it includes 13 separate parcels contained inside or adjacent to the park's boundaries. 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is once again asking Maine lawmakers to consider new rules to address mining regulations in the state.

The Legislature has twice rejected similar proposals since 2011, and both times the debate over them has been contentious.

In a memo explaining the proposed rules, the state says existing rules on the books are inconsistent with state statute. In addition, the DEP says it has addressed environmental, technical and legal concerns expressed in previous proceedings by lawmakers and other stakeholders.

Ed Morin / MPBN

LEWISTON, Maine - Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Maine U.S. Sen. Bill Cohen has joined a growing list of Republicans criticizing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's recent performance.  

Appearing on BBC television this week, Cohen said he was "appalled" by Trump's criticism of the Khan family "and the way he said it." The Khans are the parents of a Muslim American soldier who was awarded a purple heart after being killed in combat in Iraq.  They were invited to speak about their son at the Democratic convention.

"For him to, number one, criticize Mr. Khan by suggesting that Hillary Clinton may have written his speech, and, number two, to go after Mrs. Khan and indicate her silence must be telling us something.  Maybe she can't talk.  Maybe Sharia law.  I thought it was beneath anyone to do that," Cohen said.

It’s been six months since the residents of Mount Desert Island launched a grassroots initiative to become energy independent in 15 years.

The effort was highlighted in January as part of our ongoing series Beyond 350: Confronting Climate Change. This Sunday residents are getting together again for an update on the project, and they’ve already gotten a clearer picture of how to reach their goal.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmental groups in Maine, Canada and around the country are sounding the alarm about a massive pipeline project they say would threaten East Coast fisheries, imperil marine mammals and exacerbate climate change.

In a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the groups warn that TransCanada’s proposed 2,800-mile Energy East pipeline poses a greater threat than its Keystone XL project, rejected by President Barack Obama last year.

LEWISTON, Maine - A spokesman for industrial energy consumers in Maine is calling the decision by the Public Utilities Commission to expand natural gas pipeline capacity "historic." 

Attorney Anthony Buxton says New England is the most oil-dependent region of the country which he says is a detriment to the economy and to the environment. 

But Buxton says if four other New England states agree to follow the Maine PUC's lead, there could be light at the end of the end of the tunnel.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has determined that Maine consumers would benefit by investing in expansion of natural gas pipeline capacity. The decision goes against an earlier recommendation from PUC staff, and it’s contingent on other New England states taking similar action and on a series of hurdles being cleared.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

"'Tis the gift to be simple. 'Tis the gift to be free.” Those are the beginning lyrics to the Shaker song “Simple Gifts.”

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is coming under fire this week from the administration of Gov. Paul LePage.

Methadone and Suboxone are medications that, in combination with behavioral therapy, are considered the most effective way to treat opioid addiction. But on Tuesday the governor took to the airwaves to say he’d like to close the state’s 10 methadone clinics.

Methadone and Suboxone providers in Maine are warning that a proposal by the state Department of Health and Human Services could exacerbate the opioid crisis in Maine and potentially drive some drug treatment clinics out of business.

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation are joining civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials and others in condemning the sniper attacks that killed five police officers and wounded seven others in Dallas Thursday during a protest over fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.