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
3:18 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Ride-Sharing Service Uber Comes to Manchester

Screenshot of the Uber iPhone app.

  The ride-sharing service known as Uber will launch in Manchester Friday.

Uber users and drivers find each other using a smartphone app.

Manchester users will be able to get five free rides up to $25 until the end of the month.

Billy Guernier is the General Manager of Regional Expansion for Uber.

He says the average ride is roughly ten percent cheaper than a taxi in Manchester.

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Politics
1:56 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Hassan Touts Economic Record At Campaign Stop

Governor Hassan talks with employees at Commonplaces who benefited from the job training program.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan touted her economic credentials at a campaign stop at a Manchester marketing company Tuesday. She also fired a few shots at her opponent, Walt Havenstein.

Hassan argued she’s better equipped to help small businesses than rival Walt Havenstein. Internet marketing company Commonplaces was a beneficiary of job training grants. Hassan championed that program and what she terms bipartisan successes like increasing higher ed funding, raising the gas tax and expanding Medicaid.

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NH News
3:53 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Boosted By Grant, Manchester Video Game Developer Workspace Readies For Launch

About 60 people attended their fifth monthly meet-up earlier this week at Joker's in Manchester.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

 A newly-formed group of independent video game developers in Manchester looks poised to open a game developers’ incubator in the city’s Millyard by the end of the year.

Local game developer David Carrigg is one of the founders of the state chapter of the International Game Developers Association, which is leading the creation of the incubator called Game Assembly.

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NH News
5:10 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Committee Working On Bill To Control Synthetic Drugs

Spice packets seized by Manchester police.
Credit Courtesy of MPD

  Lawmakers and law enforcement are still struggling to craft a policy that would control synthetic drugs in New Hampshire.

Lawmakers, the New Hampshire Department of Justice, health officials and law enforcement have been meeting for months in the hopes of coming up with language for a bill that could better protect communities from synthetic drugs like spice and bath salts.

Senator Molly Kelly of Keene, who chairs the special committee, says they are getting close.

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NH News
3:53 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

State Employees' Association Elects New President

Rich Gulla
Credit Courtesy of S.E.A.

The State Employees Association, the state’s largest public union, has elected a new president.

  Rich Gulla who works for the State Liquor Commission unseated incumbent Diana Lacey by a difference of just four votes during Sunday’s convention.

Gulla says he’s excited about representing the interests of SEA members who he says are overworked and underpaid.

“Because now you’ve got one person perhaps doing the job of two or three because of cut-backs.”

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NH News
4:12 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Executive Council Confirms Three New Judges

The Governor and Executive Council meeting took place at the NH Food Bank in Manchester.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The Executive Council confirmed the appointments of three new judges Wednesday, including two to the Superior Court.

The council unanimously confirmed New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Chairman Amy Ignatius as one of the new additions to the Superior Court bench.

The council also confirmed two other judicial appointments: Manchester attorney Andrew Schulman to the Superior Court and Senior Assistant Attorney General Suzanne Gorman to the Circuit Court.

Governor Maggie Hassan says she’s pleased with the confirmations.

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NH News
4:29 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

SNHU Wins $3.9 Million Federal Innovation Grant

  Southern New Hampshire University has been awarded a $3.9 million “First in the World” innovation grant from the Federal Department of Education.

SNHU was among two dozen colleges and universities nationwide selected for the program meant to improve access to higher education for non-traditional students.

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NH News
3:24 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Hillsborough County Court Not Awarded Drug Court Grant, Wins HOPE Grant

Credit Michael Flanagan/Flickr CC

The Bureau of Justice Administration has approved funding for a new drug court in Nashua, but has rejected a grant for the same program in Manchester.

Hillsborough County Superior Court had applied for two three-year, $325,000 grants.

Each would have funded drug courts in the state’s two largest cities, but, earlier this month, only Nashua’s was approved.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Ken Brown says while he’s disappointed, the Manchester court did receive funding for a similar program called Project HOPE.

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NH News
3:45 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

N.H. Retirement System Makes $900 Million In 2014

The past twenty years of pension fund returns.
Credit NHRS Data

  The New Hampshire Retirement System saw more than $900 million in investment returns added to its trust fund in the last fiscal year. That’s a return of 17.6%.

The state retirement system was holding $7.3 billion at the close of the 2014 fiscal year. That’s up from $6.5 billion in FY-2013.

Retirement system spokesman Marty Karlon says it’s exceeding its annual goals but the unfunded liability isn’t expected to be resolved until 2039.

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Health
5:09 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Conway Woman Dies Of Triple-E

Credit Centers for Disease Control

  One of the people infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis in New Hampshire this year has died from the disease. The 51 year old woman spent nearly a month in the hospital before succumbing to the illness.

According to the online obituary of a Rhode Island Funeral Home, Diane Humphreys of Conway passed away in a hospice home in Maine on September eighteenth.

Humphreys was the first confirmed human case of triple E in the state back in August.

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NH News
11:35 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Man Charged In Manchester High School Lockdown Heading To Court

Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A 21-year-old New Hampshire man charged in connection with a lockdown at his former high school in Manchester is heading to court.

Damian Johnson of Manchester will be arraigned Friday on a felony count of falsifying physical evidence and misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass, violation of probation and disrupting school in session.

Police say Manchester High School West was on lockdown for 90 minutes Thursday, after a student reported seeing Johnson with a gun tucked into his waistband. He was found in a small, occupied classroom and was arrested without incident.

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NH News
5:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

UNH Undergrad Seeks To Produce First Genetically Decaffeinated Tea Plant

Some genetically altered plants growing in growth mediums in a temperature-controlled room in UNH's Rudman Hall.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Genetic engineering of plants has come a long way in recent years. It was first used to make more robust crops, then more nutritious and efficient crops. Now, scientists at the University of New Hampshire are tweaking tea plants to create an un-caffeinated variety.

Camellia sinensis is the plant from which virtually all caffeinated teas derive. UNH neuroscience major Laura Van Beaver has been working to flip one particular gene like a switch, which changes the plant in a significant way.

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NH News
4:19 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Authorities Dismantle Major Supply Chain Of Black Market Painkillers In Manchester

Baggies of 30mg Oxycodone Tablets seized by police.
Courtesy of MPD

Manchester Police say they’ve arrested nine alleged drug dealers and seized more than $90,000 worth of Oxycodone tablets.

The drugs seized over the course of 13 searches on August 27th came by way of New York and Lawrence Massachusetts according to authorities. The individuals arrested were affiliated with what they are calling a “high level” Drug Trafficking Organization. Three of the individuals behind bars were operating at the top of the chain.

Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says the multi-agency investigation began nearly a year ago and is still ongoing.

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NH News
3:43 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Manchester Police: $25k Worth Of Synthetic Marijuana Seized Last Month

Credit Courtesy of MPD

 Manchester Police have reported the seizure of more 11 pounds of synthetic marijuana known commonly as spice from a Manchester tattoo parlor. The drugs sold as incense had a retail value of more than $25,000.

The search warrant was executed at two Spider Bite locations two weeks ago as part of a months-long, multi-agency investigation that began well before a spate of overdoses that occurred in the middle of August.

Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says the department kept the seizures close to the chest since the investigation is still ongoing.

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NH News
12:26 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Havenstein Wins Party Nomination, Faces Tough Race Against Hassan

Walt Havenstein greeting supporters after his victory speech.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Former BAE Systems CEO Walt Havenstein is the Republican nominee governor.

Walt Havenstein didn’t always run strong in this race but he won by nearly 20 points over Andrew Hemingway. He said voters in the general election will have a clear choice.

“The choice is going to be about the future of our state and whether or not we’re gonna maintain and stay in this economic stagnation or if we’re actually gonna take a bold course to change our economic outcome for the future prosperity of our state.”

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