Robert Garrova

Reporter, G.A./Demographics

Robert is a General Assignment reporter, with a focus on New Hampshire's changing demographics. He comes to NHPR’s newsroom from Los Angeles, where he worked as a reporter for member-station KPCC and a producer/director on APM’s Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal.

His work has been featured on Marketplace’s flagship program, Southern California Public Radio and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Robert has reported on a wide range of topics, including the largest fire in California history and the re-discovered costumes of a silent film star.

He’s looking forward to learning everything he can about New Hampshire and the people who call the Granite State home. 

Ways to Connect

Dan Belflower

Saturday, April 21 music-lovers around the world will pause Spotify for a few minutes and head out to support brick and mortar shops as part of Record Store Day.

 

The idea for RSD came from an email sent by Chris Brown of New England-based Bull Moose Records. Behold, the email that started it all:

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Congressional delegation says the state isn't getting its fair share of federal funds aimed at stemming the opioid epidemic.

 

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law under President Obama, will bring $485 million to the national opioid fight this year. New Hampshire is getting about $3 million of that.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster said she's disappointed at the amount and that the distribution method should take into account the state's rate of overdose deaths.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The UNH School of Law held a panel Wednesday on the opioid crisis and New Hampshire's court system. Professor Lucy Hodder led the discussion, which was attended by law students, attorneys practicing in New Hampshire, law enforcement and several health care professionals.

 

"The courts, like the police, often see before anyone else the impact of addiction on families and communities because they see people at their neediest," Hodder said.

 

Katherine Garrova

At her home studio, embroidery artist Sarah Benning stitches together one of her pieces. It’s a sun-filled room at this time of the morning. The artist’s finished work spills into the space around her with dozens of circular canvases bubbling up onto the walls. There are also plenty of house plants around.

 

“A lot of my work is inspired by my own house plants,” Benning says, “The very first plant pieces I stitched were actually inspired by houseplants that I killed, luckily I’ve gotten better and they’re not all dead plants now.”

U.S. Court of Appeals

  A Brazilian immigrant living in Nashua who narrowly avoided deportation earlier this month is still at risk of having to leave the country.

 

Elvecio Viana is 65 and has lived in the U.S. for 27 years, according to his attorney.

 

Robert McDaniel is a litigation lawyer representing Viana. He's filed a motion for a stay of deportation.

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu issued a letter this week to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security asking for more H-2B temporary worker visas.

 

"With unemployment currently at 2.6%, New Hampshire has a tight labor market and it is critical for small seasonal businesses to have access to H-2B visas in order to meet their workforce needs," Sununu said in the statement.  

 

NHPR Staff

A bill that would establish a position for a New Hampshire state demographer cleared the Senate Thursday.

 

The bill’s supporters argue that hiring someone to study the state’s changing population is key to making informed decisions on proposed laws and budgets.

 

Eric Herr, formerly the Board Chair of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, testified during a hearing earlier this month.

 

YouTube Screenshot

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is back in Washington Wednesday for the second round of questioning from Congress about the Cambridge Analytica misuse of user data.

Several U.S. Senators had tough remarks for Zuckerberg on Tuesday, and Maggie Hassan was among them.

“You know, you’re sitting here the head of a bazillion-dollar company and we’ve heard you apologize numerous times and promise to change, but here we are again,” Hassan said.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster met in Concord Monday with more than a dozen state and local leaders to discuss how to best use funding aimed at the opioid epidemic.

 

Kuster led a listening session where doctors, law enforcement and mental health experts offered expertise on how to battle addiction in the state.

 

One major theme was that, while the promise of billions of dollars in funding is welcome, New Hampshire needs to do more to make sure there's a trained workforce on the front lines.

 

Katherine Garrova

The trend of the speakeasy bar - drinking establishments that play with the history of our prohibition days - has taken off in big cities like New York and L.A. But New Hampshire now has at least a couple secretive watering holes of its own.

There’s a new place to grab a drink in Concord called Chuck’s BARbershop. Liu Vaine is the owner and he's started up a similar place in Nashua called CodeX.


Robert Garrova for NHPR

The New Hampshire chapter of the State Employees Association joined local faith leaders in Concord Wednesday to rally for workers' rights.

 

The rally was timed to the 50th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Rev. Eric Jackson of the Brookside Congregational Church in Manchester spoke at the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

 

Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

More than 50 teachers and support staff at the Timberlane School District are in danger of losing their jobs due to funding.

 

The problem, school administrators say, is that because a higher proposed budget failed with voters, an almost $72 million default budget will go into effect. And that default budget doesn’t allow staffing numbers to stay where they are.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The City of Nashua announced today a new program to bring more solar power to the city.

 

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess outlined the campaign at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter which switched on its own 131-panel solar array earlier this year.

 

It’s called the “Solarize + Campaign,” and the plan is to allow residents and local businesses to pool resources in order to get better deals on solar energy construction and efficiency improvements.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Last year Governor Chris Sununu created the 25-member Millennial Advisory Council to explore ways to attract and retain a younger workforce in New Hampshire.

 

Concerns about affordable housing, conservation of public lands and transportation were included in the council’s report issued last year.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers in the House held a hearing today for a bill that would restrict access to adult education programs in the state. Senate Bill 525 narrowly cleared the Senate.

 

A crowd of dozens showed up in opposition to the bill and a larger hearing room was needed to accommodate them.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The $48 million women’s prison in Concord that had been plagued by funding troubles and delays was finally unveiled today.

 

Governor Chris Sununu, Senator Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Annie Kuster and several Department of Corrections officials spoke at the ceremony today.

The new facility has many advantages over the women’s prison in Goffstown, including more than three times the square footage at 101,000 square feet, a 24-hour nursing staff and access to training in graphic design and culinary arts.

  Congresswoman Annie Kuster today applauded continued federal money for the Northern Border Regional Commission in the government funding bill. The funds supply infrastructure and economic grants to struggling communities in the Northeast.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The New Hampshire Council on Diversity and Inclusion held its first public listening session on the campus of UNH in Durham on Wednesday night.

 

The public forums are meant to collect stories and concerns from the community so that they can affect future policy and legislation.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill that would create a position for a state demographer passed the N.H. House today.

 

House Bill 1817 would require the person who gets the job to work closely with U.S. Census data and compile projections on things like how diverse the state is and how it's aging.

 

Representative Erin Hennessey is the bill’s prime sponsor. She says it also calls for a commission made up of legislators and Granite Staters with demographic expertise.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion will hold its first public listening session Wednesday, March 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Granite Room on UNH’s Durham Campus.

 

Diversity Council Chair and Seacoast NAACP President Rogers Johnson says snow or not, the council will proceed with the forum. Johnson says Durham was an obvious first location for the session because of several racially charged incidents that took place in the area and on the UNH campus last year.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

A bill that would limit state-funded adult education programs to legal residents cleared the Senate last week.

 

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn is the primary sponsor of SB 525. He contends it will focus taxpayer funding on those who can work legally in the state.

 

Sanborn pointed out during a Senate session last week that the bill is not meant to target those on a path to citizenship.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Trump's speech at Manchester Community College today about the national opioid epidemic included plenty of New Hampshire references.

Trump took time to thank Governor Chris Sununu and Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan for attending.

The speech ranged widely on topics including sanctuary cities, DACA and the border wall with Mexico, but the President did not make any specific announcement of new funding measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

Trump did make it clear that he wants to see tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Trump will visit Manchester Monday, where's he's expected to announce a new plan to battle the nationwide opioid crisis.

Manchester Fire Department Chief Daniel Goonan knows first-hand how big his city’s opioid problem is.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake paid a visit to the state today to speak at Saint Anselm College’s “Politics and Eggs” series, which has long been a stop for presidential hopefuls.

 

At the event Flake said he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 campaign but that the odds were long. He’s been vocal about wanting someone to run against President Trump in the Republican primary though.

 

Flake had no shortage of barbs for Trump, calling out what he sees as chaos in the White House and attacks on the media.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump's planned visit to New Hampshire next week is expected to focus on the opioid epidemic, and some local responses to it.

 

In Manchester on Monday, he will unveil a new plan to battle the national opioid crisis, according to news reports.

 

AP | NPR

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is scheduled to speak Friday morning at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

 

Flake will be the featured speaker at the “Politics and Eggs” forum hosted by the college. Past speakers have included President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

 

In an interview with NBC, Flake said he thinks Trump should be challenged during the 2020 Republican primary. But Flake has yet to announce a presidential run for himself.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Students across the country are marking one month since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting left 17 dead. Today, more than a thousand Concord High students stood outside at 10 a.m., the morning after a snowstorm hit the northeast. It was still snowing lightly as students held 17 minutes of silence to commemorate the 17 killed in Parkland and read the names of those lost.

 

Senior Jonathan Weinberg was one of the organizers. He says they purposely chose to hold 17 minutes of silence instead of a focusing on a walkout.

 

Courtesy the Okeny family

  Ageth Okeny fled war in Sudan with her four children. In Egypt, she says she applied for refugee resettlement.

 

“They asked me in interview: ‘You have specific place to go?’ I said no, I just want to leave with my kid[s], I need the safety place to be safe with my children,” Okeny says.

 

“So they brought me here to Manchester,” she says.

 

 


Robert Garrova for NHPR

It’s six o’clock at night on a Tuesday at New InkLand Tattoo. Two clients are getting ink done and the place is going to be open late, like it is most nights.

Angel Villanueva runs the shop. He says he’s originally from Los Angeles, where he had a tattoo shop for 20 years. But about eight years ago, he made a trip to New Hampshire.

The decades old cultural organization known as the New Hampshire Humanities has a new executive director.

Anthony Poore is the latest to take the helm of the group, which is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Manchester resident most recently worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Poore says he believes the humanities are as important as ever for New Hampshire.

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