Ryan Lessard

Correspondent

Before becoming a reporter for NHPR, Ryan devoted many months interning with The Exchange team, helping to produce their daily talk show.  He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester with a major in Politics and Society and a minor in Communication Arts. While in school, he also interned for a DC-based think tank. His interests include science fiction and international relations. Ryan is a life-long Manchester resident.

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NH News
3:47 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

UNH Manchester Waits On City To Approve Building Deal

88 Commercial St. (Aka the Pandora Building).
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  UNH Manchester is planning on selling its main building in the millyard to the company run by the inventor of the Segway. The university is looking to expand into a larger space—the millyard’s Pandora building.

For more than twenty years, UNH Manchester has been located at 400 Commercial street, next door to Dean Kamen’s company DEKA’s headquarters. Now, the school wants to consolidate itself in a nearby larger mill building where it already leases the first two floors from Kamen. The swap would mean Kamen can expand his corporate headquarters.

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NH News
5:00 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Audio Postcard: Purana Hindu Festival

Women dancing to live music.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

For the first time, New Hampshire’s Hindu community hosted a week-long religious festival in Concord called the Srimad Bhagavata Maha Purana (or just Purana for short). It’s a ceremony where participants gather from across the region to pray for global peace, emotional wellbeing and spiritual enlightenment. 

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NH News
9:33 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Manchester Police: 2014 Crime Stats Show Little Change

Chief David Mara facilitating the meeting in the M-PAL building.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Manchester police say that while efforts to reduce property crimes in Manchester have shown some success, the total number of crimes since January is virtually identical to last year. The information was presented during a downtown community meeting hosted by the Manchester police department Tuesday night.

Officer Matt Barter, the department’s crime analyst, says some of the numbers between January and June are looking good. 

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NH News
4:35 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Audio Postcard: The Warner Intertribal Pow-Wow

The honor guard leads the Grand Entry procession.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Every summer, people flock from all over the region to participate in a traditional Native American powwow in Warner. This marks its fifteenth year.  

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NH News
4:29 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

15th Annual Warner Powwow Kicks Off

A collective dance, the Grand Entry.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Saturday marked the beginning of the annual intertribal powwow in Warner.

On the field next to the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, craft vendor tents, participants and visiting families surround a wide meeting circle at the field’s center. Lynn Clark is the Executive Director of the museum.

“It’s our 15th anniversary powwow. It’s one of the larger powwows in New Hampshire and it’s a very family oriented event and it’s a great social event—as you hear everybody reconnecting. There’s people that I sometimes see just once a year at the pow wow. It’s great fun.”

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NH News
3:39 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Manchester Chamber of Commerce Expands Lunch In The Park Series

Residents and business people bring their lunches to eat at park tables at Veterans Park.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is expanding its summer Lunch in the Park series this year. Veterans Park is at the center of an effort to clean up the image of downtown area parks.

The hope is that every Thursday to the end of the summer people will venture out of their offices and homes to eat lunch in the city’s Veterans Park. Last year, Lunch in the Park events happened three times. This time it’s up to eight. Mike Skelton, the chamber of commerce president, says the events were first conceived when business owners complained about how the parks were being used.

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NH News
3:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Second Pelham Fireworks Accident Reignites Hopes For Reloadable Mortar Ban

Fire Investigator Chris Wyman holds the damaged mortar tube resulting from a shell placed intentionally upside down for a safety demonstration two years ago.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  The Pelham Fire Chief is renewing his call for a ban on a type of controversial fireworks called reloadable mortars. That follows a second accident in his town over the holiday weekend.

Pelham Fire Chief James Midgley remembers seeing what he describes as a mushroom cloud coming from behind a residence where thirteen people were injured two years ago. Then, on July 4th this year, just around the corner, another fireworks accident injured two people. And the common thread, says Midgley, is reloadable mortars.

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NH News
4:00 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Sifting Through N.H.'s Fireworks Regulations

Reloadable mortars.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Though forecasts for the day mean you probably won’t be enjoying fireworks until perhaps tomorrow, consumer fireworks are legal in New Hampshire—though at least 18 towns ban them.

NHPR's Ryan Lessard sits down with Rick Ganley to talk about the state's fireworks regulations.

RG: So Ryan, not all types fireworks are legal in New Hampshire. Which ones can we find on the shelves and which ones are still banned?

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NH News
10:03 am
Thu July 3, 2014

NHIA Faculty And Students Worry About Possible Merger With SNHU

Executive Vice President, Rick Strawbridge (left) led the town hall meeting during the rainy Wednesday evening.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

At the first public meeting since it was announced the New Hampshire Institute of Art was engaged in merger discussions with Southern New Hampshire University, faculty, staff and students voiced their concerns.

In the NHIA auditorium, filled with about fifty people, reactions to the prospect of a merger with SNHU ranged from cautiously optimistic to skeptical. Like faculty member Sean Beavers.

“I just have a lot of concerns and I see no benefit.”

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NH News
1:33 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Fireworks Lobby Succeeds In Keeping Controversial Devices On Store Shelves

Reloadable mortars.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Backyard pyrotechnics are a favorite—and legal—way for Granite Staters to celebrate the 4th of July.  And the fireworks lobby—yes, there really is a lobby for everything—has been fighting to not only keep them legal, but to deregulate them.

Two years ago this week in Pelham, a homeowner piled up nearly 350 mortar shells on his deck. And when sparks from a stray spinner landed on them, they exploded and more than a dozen people were injured. In 2011, the legislature had legalized those two types of fireworks.

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NH News
4:30 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Tiny Windham Brook Is A Roadblock In I-93 Widening Project

By the time the water reaches here it has already flowed under the highway. Next it goes under a large parking lot before pouring into Cobbetts Pond.
Ryan Lessard NHPr

The widening of I-93 is without doubt a massive public works project. It’s also been a massive political issue. But its full build-out may end up being blocked by a tiny brook.

Driving south on I-93 in Windham, you won’t miss the fifty-foot wall of granite dwarfing the backhoes that chip away at it.

But what you won’t see from the road is a small stream known as Dinsmore Brook. Concerns over its water quality have been threatening to reduce the width of the road from four lanes to three.

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Health
5:00 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Informational Campaign For N.H.'s Expanded Medicaid Kicks Off

Credit istock photo

  The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services held a public info session in Manchester Tuesday night to demystify the state’s new Expanded Medicaid plan.

About 15 people, mostly care providers, attended the Manchester session. Questions ranged from how one qualifies for the program and ‘are refugees included?’ (they are), to the application process itself.

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NH News
3:36 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

N.H. Buffer Zones Bill Signed Into Law

Governor Hassan signing SB 319 into law.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law a bill enabling abortion clinics to create a buffer zone that would keep protesters clear of the entrance.

After a prolonged legislative debate in the house, the final language in the bill gives reproductive health clinics the flexibility to make clearly marked buffer zones “up to” 25 feet in radius.

Jennifer Frizzell with Planned Parenthood says the buffer zones will ensure the privacy, dignity and safety of patients while protecting first amendment rights.

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NH News
3:48 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Confusion Abounds As Reports Of Meriam Ibrahim's Release Remains Unconfirmed By Family

Meriam Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani were married in 2011.
Credit Courtesy of Gabriel Wani

  The BBC reported Saturday that the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy, Meriam Ibrahim, will be released in the coming days. The report was based on a statement made by a high-ranking Sudanese foreign minister who reportedly said Ibrahim would be released from prison in a few days’ time. I caught up with the Ibrahim’s brother-in-law Gabriel Wani of Manchester.

Sitting in his living room, Gabriel Wani anxiously phones his brother Daniel, Ibrahim’s husband, to see if she will be released.

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NH News
4:53 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

N.H. Senators React To V.A. Secretary Shinseki's Resignation

New Hampshire’s Senators say Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki’s decision to step down was the right one.

Senator Kelly Ayotte says that more needs to be done to address the waitlist problems in VA medical centers but Shinseki’s resignation is a positive first step.

“We need to make sure that those who have committed the falsifying of records and misleading people should be fully pursued and prosecuted.”

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