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
4:54 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

This Guy Makes Homebrewed Beer With Syrup, Just Not The Kind You Think

Peter Ashworth (right) watches as his son James hammers a tap into a black birch tree.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Last week I tagged along with a man in Weare who’s tapping black birch trees for their sap. While its syrup is not as sweet as maple syrup, it can be an unexpected and tasty ingredient in home-brewed beer.


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NH News
5:30 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Republican Candidates For U.S. Senate Debate, Scott Brown Declines Invite

From left, Karen Testerman, Jim Rubens and Bob Smith at the Bedford Public Library.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Republican candidates for U.S. Senate Karen Testerman, Jim Rubens and Bob Smith debated in Bedford Tuesday night. The tone was cordial and while some disagreed on points of policy, they were united in their criticism of the absent candidate: Scott Brown.


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NH News
6:08 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

N.H. House Kills Recreational Marijuana

The New Hampshire house voted 192-140 Wednesday to kill a bill that would legalize up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use.


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NH News
5:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

New Program Helps Refugee Women Start Home Child Care Business

Nidhal Qaraghuli with some of her own kids in her Manchester apartment.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

A new program helps refugees earn money by training stay-at-home moms to be entrepreneurs in the child care industry.


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NH News
2:55 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Housing Discrimination Bill Narrowly Passes House

Apartments in downtown Manchester
agrippa93 Flickr

This week, the New Hampshire House narrowly passed a bill that would prohibit landlords from discriminating against renters with Section 8 vouchers and victims of domestic violence.

After the House initially tabled the bill last week, lawmakers amended it to more tightly define victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. They now must have a current, final protective order.

The bill goes to the Senate next where it faces a tougher debate. 

NH News
10:54 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Hooksett Voters Say 'No' To Pinkerton Deal

The town of Hooksett said no Tuesday to a 10-year deal with Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Only about 44% of residents voted in favor of the contract.


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Education
5:00 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Hooksett Voters To Weigh In On Pinkerton Deal

On Tuesday, the town of Hooksett will vote whether to approve a contract with Pinkerton Academy in Derry. If voters approve the deal, it could spell the end for the town’s century-long relationship with Manchester schools.


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NH News
10:37 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Rail Study Group Expects 3,000 Riders Daily Between Manchester and Boston

Concord to Boston.
courtesy NH DOT and URS Corp

New details released by the Capitol Corridor rail study group during a public hearing Wednesday night point toward higher ridership than expected.


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NH News
5:50 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Housing Discrimination Bill For Federal Renter's Assistance And Domestic Violence Stirs Controversy

This map of Manchester shows where section 8 vouchers are used.
courtesy of NHLA

The New Hampshire House is slated to vote this week on a bill to prevent housing discrimination. Renters who pay with federal subsidy vouchers, known as Section 8, and victims of domestic abuse would receive new protections.


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NH News
5:23 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Manchester Police Ensnare 30 Low-Level Heroin Dealers In Sweep

16 of the 30 dealers arrested so far.
MPD

Over the last two days, police in Manchester arrested 30 street-level heroin dealers. Three were on Wednesday and at least 27 on Thursday since 5 o’clock in the morning.


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NH News
4:24 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Senate Committee To Hold Gas Tax Hearing

Tuesday morning, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on a bill that would raise the state’s gas tax by a few cents every four years.


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NH News
4:32 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Death By Dancing Lion: Internationally Renowned Chocolate Here In N.H.

Ryan Lessard NHPR

Valentine's Day means you may be on the hunt for some good chocolate. How about chocolate that not only tastes good but is also high art?


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Education
4:11 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Final NECAP Scores For New Hampshire Show No Real Change

Flikr Creative Commons / Renator Ganoza

Fresh results from New England Common Assessment Program tests, or NECAP, are in. 

The New Hampshire Department of Education says student performance in math, reading and writing stayed essentially the same as last year.

The DOE says that while the percentage of students in the proficient or above level went up or down a few points in each category, the changes weren’t statistically significant.

Overall, 77% of students tested were proficient or above in reading. That’s down from 79% last year. 65% in math (down from 68%) and 58% percent in writing (up from 55%).

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NH News
5:51 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Hassan Reiterates Opposition To Legal Pot, Wants More Drug Treatment

Governor Maggie Hassan, during her State of the State Address, criticized efforts to legalize marijuana. Hassan expressed concerns about New Hampshire’s current drug problem.


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NH News
5:47 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Word Cloud of Hassan's SOTS Address

Below are the most common words used in the Governor's first State of the State Address.

Foodstuffs
4:37 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Napa Valley Vintners Come To New Hampshire

Corinne Szopa of Portsmouth smells a deep rosé of cabernet.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

The 9th annual Wine Week wraps up in New Hampshire Thursday night with a big event in the Manchester Radisson from 6-9 where about 1800 wines will be featured along with several wine personalities. NHPR’s Ryan Lessard checked out two events Wednesday night where some Napa Valley winemakers and vineyard owners made an appearance and produced this audio postcard. 


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NH News
4:51 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Bill To Ban Some Fireworks Likely To Be Voted Down By House

Fireworks in Jaffrey.
Credit Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce

The New Hampshire House will take up a bill this week that bans certain types of fireworks. Given the committee report to kill it, it’s unlikely to pass.


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Education
5:33 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Most Hooksett Freshmen To Attend Pinkerton In The Fall

A ten year agreement between the Hooksett School Board and Pinkerton Academy in Derry still needs to be finalized by a town vote in March. But Hooksett eighth-graders are already choosing the Derry school over Manchester high schools for the next school year.


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NH News
4:11 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

C.D.C. Gives N.H. A Mixed Grade On Preventing Public Health Issues

The Centers for Disease Control has released its annual report that grades states on their capacity to prevent public health problems. It was a mixed bag for the state.


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NH News
5:14 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Remembered In Manchester

The event was held at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Monday, the state observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day with bell ringing and celebration. Governor Maggie Hassan and members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation attended an event in Manchester.


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NH News
5:30 am
Thu January 16, 2014

N.H. Bhutanese Community Shaken By Recent Suicide, Seeks To Prevent Others

Bhutanese community leaders in N.H. after their two-day workshop.
Bhutanese Community of N.H.

In November, a Bhutanese refugee living in Concord killed himself. Nationally, Bhutanese refugees have the highest suicide rate of any refugee population. And here in New Hampshire, where nearly 2,000 Bhutanese refugees have resettled in the last six years, the community is scrambling to answer the questions ‘why does this happen?’ and ‘how do we prevent it?’


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NH News
7:14 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

N.H. House Votes In Favor Of Legalizing Marijuana, Bill Goes To Ways & Means

House members gather for roll call vote to kill the bill. That vote passed but was later overturned.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

After hours of debate and despite a promised veto from Governor Maggie Hassan, the New Hampshire House voted in favor of a bill to legalize marijuana 170 to 162 Wednesday night.


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NH News
2:58 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

2013: Manchester's Record Crime Year

Ryan Lessard NHPR

Last year, robberies, burglaries and heroin addiction appear to have skyrocketed in the Queen City.

Over the summer we looked at the issue of crime in Manchester and we provided a lot of historical data from the past five years. Now that the year is done, we review some of those numbers. The most surprising development is a 45% growth in robberies compared to 2012. Burglaries spiked to unprecedented highs during the summer, but robberies continued well into the colder months. The city also saw a high number of homicides. The highest in recent memory.

NH News
2:52 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Mayor Gatsas Sworn In, Promises To Tackle Crime

Former Mayor Ray Wieczorek swears in Mayor Ted Gatsas for his third term. On left is Gatsas' wife Cassandra.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

Ted Gatsas began his third term as Manchester’s Mayor Tuesday. And his inaugural address included promises to improve the city’s safety and public education.


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NH News
3:09 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Fire-Related Deaths Were At All-Time Low In N.H. Last Year

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The State Fire Marshal’s office says 2013 had the lowest fire-related deaths on record.


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NH News
4:15 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

N.H. Population Grew Slowly Last Year

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates New Hampshire’s population grew by only .1% last year. That’s fewer than 2000 people added since 2012. That’s among the slowest rates of growth in the nation.


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NH News
3:47 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

ISO-NE Approves Northern Pass Interconnectivity

The hydroelectric power line project known as the Northern Pass has passed a major regulatory hurdle Tuesday.


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Education
4:37 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Hooksett School Board Votes To Sign Contract With Pinkerton, Manchester Calls Foul

Last week, the Hooksett School Board voted to sign a ten-year contract with Pinkerton Academy that would eventually send most of its high school students to the Derry school. This new agreement may reignite a legal conflict between Hooksett and Manchester.


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Business and Economy
4:48 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Energy Retailer PPG Suspended, Customers To Pay Original Provider Rates

ISO New England, the region’s energy grid operator, has suspended the independent supplier People’s Power and Gas. 5,700 Granite State customers who turned to PPG for lower rates will be automatically switched to prices set by Public Service of New Hampshire.


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NH News
5:30 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Handmade Gifts Are Big In N.H.

Birdhouses in Ice Out, Terravechia's shop in Alton.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

The website Craftsy said Manchester is the number one city out of 700 surveyed when it comes to homemade gift giving. The holiday season is no exception.


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