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.

Ways to Connect

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.

A federal judge on Wednesday heard arguments in the lawsuit brought by Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves against Repubilcan Gov. Paul LePage.

LEWISTON, Maine - Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and more than two dozen of her counterparts in other states are asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to close a loophole that keeps methadone clinics from reporting their dispensing data to state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

These are programs that collect patient-specific data on controlled prescription medications, including addictive painkillers, so that doctors, pharmacists, and others can access the information to make sure patients are not doctor shopping or abusing drugs.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The Scarborough Police Department says its program to help people with addiction is showing positive results.

Six months after launching Operation Hope, the program is reporting that 62 out of 68 people contacted say they are still in recovery and doing well. Police call that a 90 percent success rate.

But addiction specialists say there’s a reason to be skeptical of both the statistics and the drug treatment being used.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

A group calling itself Not Your Mascot, Maine has presented a petition to the Skowhegan school board and superintendent asking that the town’s high school officially retire what is now the last Indian mascot in Maine.

An anti-gay activist who has made headlines for comparing homosexuality to sorcery is apparently ready to launch another anti-gay citizens’ initiative.

E. Peter Steenstra / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr/Creative Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries have released a draft recovery plan for endangered Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Maine.

LEWISTON, Maine - Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has joined a group of attorneys general from around the country who say they will aggressively pursue climate change litigation, including defending the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants and to investigate potential fraud by ExxonMobil.

The company allegedly knew about climate change as far back as the 1970s and misled the public and investors about the dangers it posed. 

Susan Sharon / MPBN

This is an important week for defenders of the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s strategy to combat climate change. Tuesday is the deadline for states, utilities and environmental groups who support it to file briefs.

Sen. Angus King listens to family members of those affected by addiction at Paris Town Hall opioid roundtable.
Office of U.S. Sen. Angus King

Family members of those struggling with addiction met with Sen. Angus King at the Paris Town Hall Monday afternoon to discuss some of the challenges they're facing in rural Maine.