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
9:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Final Gubernatorial Debate Highlights Differences In Leadership Style, Economic Plans

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

  Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway held their last debate Friday. They differed on how they say they would lead and improve the state’s business climate.

Political activist and serial entrepreneur Andrew Hemingway, when asked how his business experience would inform his style of governance, said New Hampshire is a small-business state.

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NH News
5:25 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Infographic: Spice Overdose Cases Since 2010

New Hampshire lawmakers say they’re thinking outside the criminal code when it comes to the designer drug known as Spice and may consider consumer protection laws such as labeling requirements.

A study committee met for the second time Thursday to look into ways to create a statewide approach to banning the substance, which has proven to be a challenge through conventional legislation.

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NH News
5:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Walt Havenstein's Strengths In General Election May Be Weaknesses In Primary

Havenstein speaking to the press at BAE Systems in Nashua.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  As former President of BAE Systems, Walt Havenstein led one of New Hampshire’s largest employers. That’s one reason top Republicans encouraged the millionaire business-man to get into the governor’s race. Havenstein has vastly outspent his Republican opponent but this race remains tight.

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Politics
4:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Hemingway Banking On Youth, Tech Savvy In Bid For N.H. Governor

Hemingway sitting at the BAE boardroom conference table, meeting with employees.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

At 32 years old, Republican Andrew Hemingway would be the youngest governor in the history of New Hampshire.

That, coupled with his being known primarily as a political activist, makes his candidacy a bit of a long shot. But Hemingway is banking on his traditional conservative values coupled with his tech savvy.

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NH News
5:24 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Synthetic Drug Study Committee Holds First Meeting

Some packets of Spice seized by police.
Credit Courtesy image/Manchester PD

  A newly formed committee to study ways to regulate and control the designer drug known as Spice held its first meeting Wednesday.

The committee was created by legislation signed in the last session. Senator Molly Kelly of Keene was the legislation’s author and is now the Chair of the study committee.

“There’ll be different components than just looking at the criminal law. We can look at even our consumer protection law on labeling.”

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NH News
3:30 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

City Aldermen Push Back On Manchester Park Closure

The new sign posted at Bronstein Park.
Credit Carol Robidoux / Manchester Ink Link

  Some Manchester aldermen are pushing back on a decision by Mayor Ted Gatsas to close a park to the public during school hours.

The decision to erect signs at Bronstein Park warning the public that the park is off limits during school hours came a week after a spike in spice-related overdoses, some of which occurred at the park. Gatsas argues the park is city property meant for use by Central High School. But some aldermen, like Garth Corriveau, say the unilateral decision may have unforeseen consequences.

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NH News
4:26 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Nearly 1,500 Market Basket Employees Filed For Unemployment

Credit Ella Nilsen / NHPR

Nearly 1,500 Market Basket workers have applied for unemployment benefits since the company stopped giving hours to part-time employees earlier this month.

New Hampshire Employment Security Commissioner George Copadis says claims are still coming in as the department figures out which employees are eligible.

“Over the weekend things have pretty much leveled off. We were at 1,445 on Friday and we’ve only picked up 20 since then.”

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NH News
5:06 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

GOP Candidates For Governor Debate Policy, Integrity

Credit Sara Plourde for NHPR

  Republican candidates for Governor, Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway, squared off Wednesday morning on WGIR. Their debate was heated and, at times, personal.

While this race remains tough to call, in this debate, Andrew Hemingway acted the part of underdog. He went after Walt Havenstein repeatedly, hoping to turn what Havenstein says is his strength—his experience leading billion dollar defense companies—into an example of how moneyed interests use campaign contributions to get their way at tax payers’ expense.

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NH News
7:49 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Manchester Stores Allowed To Reopen After Being Closed For Suspected Connection To Overdoses

Credit Courtesy image/Manchester PD

  The three Manchester stores that were closed last week in the wake of the synthetic marijuana overdoses have been allowed to reopen. The stores have agreed not to sell any brand of so-called spice.

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NH News
4:00 am
Tue August 19, 2014

NHIA Board Drops September Deadline, Continues With Merger Talks

Joe Reilly and Paul LeBlanc answer questions and field comments.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  The New Hampshire Institute of Art has dropped a September 1st deadline for deciding whether to merge with Southern New Hampshire University. 

During a packed town hall meeting Monday in the institute’s auditorium, NHIA board chair Joe Reilly and SNHU President Paul LeBlanc did their best to persuade a largely skeptical crowd that this was not a hostile takeover.

They said if most students and stakeholders ultimately don’t want this deal, it won’t happen.

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NH News
5:26 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Governor Hassan Declares Emergency In Wake Of 'Spice' Overdoses

'Smacked' is one brand of so-called Spice sold in N.H. stores.
Credit Courtesy image/Manchester PD

Governor Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency in the wake of more than 40 synthetic marijuana overdose cases since Monday.

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as spice, has been linked to a jump in overdoses in Manchester and Concord. The powers of Governor Hassan’s executive order to seize the drug sold ostensibly as incense in corner stores, applies only to the bubblegum-flavored variety of a brand called ‘Smacked!.’ Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas says other brands called ‘Green Giant’ and ‘Crazy Monkey’ may also be dangerous.

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NH News
4:29 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

FairPoint Union Workers Picket Ahead Of Next Round Of Bargaining

Union workers at FairPoint picketed outside locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont Tuesday morning. This comes as contract negotiations with the company are set to resume Wednesday.

The two sides have been at the bargaining table since April and through the expiration of the workers’ last six-year contract on August second.

New Hampshire union negotiator Glenn Brackett says the company plans to increase health care costs, freeze the pension fund and hire out-of-state contractors without union permission.

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NH News
4:31 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Hassan Campaign Returns $33k In Improper Contributions

Maggie Hassan in her first TV spot released Wednesday.
Credit Hassan campaign

Governor Maggie Hassan has returned another $9,000-worth of campaign contributions from organized labor. Hassan has now returned $33,000 of improper donations from union political action committees.

The problem with the initial donations – $25,000 from the Electrical Workers PAC and $10,000 from the Plumbers and Steamfitters PAC, was when they were received – after Hassan’s candidacy was official.

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NH News
3:04 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

With City Approval, UNH Manchester Prepares For Move

88 Commercial Street (aka the Pandora building).
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Manchester city officials have approved the sale of UNH Manchester’s main millyard building to Segway inventor Dean Kamen’s company.

The deal includes a long-term lease agreement with Dean Kamen’s company which owns the much larger Pandora building. UNH Manchester’s Interim Dean Mike Hickey says construction will begin Monday and they hope to complete the move to Pandora by next Spring break.

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NH News
1:11 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Mitt Romney Endorses Walt Havenstein

Walt Havenstein at an event in Nashua.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Former Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney has endorsed New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein.

In a statement, the former Massachusetts governor praised Havenstein’s leadership abilities, pointing to his tenure as the CEO of BAE Systems.

Havenstein is running against Republican activist Andrew Hemingway, who led Tea Party protests against Romney in the last election.

The two will face off in a September 9th primary.

The winner will face Governor Maggie Hassan in the November general election.

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