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
4:45 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Last Year Saw Fewer Hospital Infections

Credit Dirty Bunny via Flickr/CreativeCommons

The state saw fewer healthcare-associated infections last year.

According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire’s 33 hospitals reported a total of 183 in 2013. That’s down from 198 in 2012.

Beth Daly, the chief of infectious disease surveillance at DHHS, says the numbers are largely positive.

“Forgunately, in this year’s report, we see that most hospitals have a similar number of infections as predicted based on national data or fewer infections than expected.”

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NH News
4:03 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Meriam Ibrahim And Family Are In Manchester

Credit Courtesy of Gabriel Wani

  The Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith has arrived with her children and husband to New Hampshire.

Meriam Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their two children arrived in the airport in Manchester Thursday night.

Ibrahim was released in June after being held in captivity with her young son in a Sudanese prison. She gave birth to her daughter there while shackled to the floor.

Daniel Wani, in a recorded statement, thanked everyone who helped secure his family’s release.

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NH News
4:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Chris Christie Stumps For Walt Havenstein In Nashua

Christie says goodbye to Havenstein right before driving away.
Ryan Lessard NHPR

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited New Hampshire for the second time in as many months Thursday night to aid Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein with his campaign.

Chris Christie, who’s Chair of the Republican Governors Association is again signaling establishment support for former defense contractor Walt Havenstein.

Christie said when Havenstein took over BAE Systems in 2000, the company had a budget three times the size of the state.

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NH News
3:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Concord City Council To Vote On Downtown Revamp

Credit From MainStreetConcord.com

The Concord City Council is meeting tonight to vote on whether to spend more than $10 million revitalizing its Main Street corridor.

For nearly two decades, Concord has debated the pros and cons of redesigning and rebuilding nine blocks of Main Street.

Pedestrian friendly and aesthetically pleasing plans to revamp downtown are up for a vote in the City Council. At-Large Councilman Mark Coen supports the project. And says Concord is the latest in a long list of communities to explore such changes.

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NH News
2:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Bail Set At $1 Million For Gorham Man Charged In Hernandez Kidnapping

Nathaniel Kibby
Credit NH Attorney General

A judge set bail at $1 million cash for a Gorham man charged with kidnapping North Conway teen Abigail Hernandez and authorities are continuing to investigate the case.

Associate Attorney General Jane Young says they have no other suspects currently but more information may come to light in the weeks to come.

“As you are all aware, searches are ongoing right now at Mr. Kibby’s residence. If there is additional evidence that other crimes have been committed, those charges will be brought.”

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NH News
3:47 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

N.H. Liquor Sales Hit Record Levels

New Manchester store opened in May.
Credit Courtesy NHLC

  The New Hampshire Liquor Commission reports liquor sales reached a record six hundred twenty six million dollars in the past fiscal year.

Joseph Mollica, the Chairman of the liquor commission, credits the 4% increase in sales to customer service training and innovative marketing campaigns.

“What this current commission is doing is utilizing the ability of current marketing, social media and proper advertising and these renovations of these stores. And I think what we will see is the liquor commission become more and more profitable as time goes on.”

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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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