Ryan Lessard

Contributor

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.

Ways To Connect

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The Veterans of Foreign Wars in Merrimack held a ceremony Monday morning and added six names to its memorial wall. One of the names belonged to a field medic who was present at the legendary flag-raising of Iwo Jima.

The damage left in the wake of super-storm Sandy has New Jersey scrambling to recover. New Hampshire State Police are sending a 12-member team to help with the clean-up efforts in New Jersey.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Races for State House and Senate were still wrapping up early this morning. Republicans lost some ground in the House, but we’re still learning how many seats were gained by Democrats.To start with, the Speaker of the House, Bill O’Brien, was reelected. He finished second to a Democrat in a two-member district.

Presidential candidates have coveted New Hampshire this election even while some swing states have five times the number of electoral votes.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

On Tuesday, Manchester voters will pick nine names from a list of 62 candidates vying to serve on the city’s charter commission. And public education is a central issue.

Utility companies are working to restore power to more than 160,000 customers. But the process is not simple.

State Police

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the New Hampshire State Police.

At the State Police Headquarters, case file boxes tower towards the ceiling in the Cold Case Unit. Volunteer Milli Knudsen says sometimes she can’t believe the way the State Police department used to investigate crimes.

The family of a missing UNH student is offering a ten thousand dollar reward for information in her disappearance.

19-year-old Lizzie Marriott was last heard from by text message on Tuesday night. After class, she told a friend in Dover she was on her way there. Since then, investigators say, there has been no activity on her cell phone, credit cards or Facebook page.

The FBI, State Police, Chester Police, New Hampshire Fish and Game, and several volunteers continue to search for her.

Cawley Middle School media

Manchester school officials dealing with a teacher shortage and overcrowded classrooms may soon face the loss of high school students from neighboring towns.

New Hampshire gillnet fishermen are relieved to learn that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has postponed a temporary closure of the gillnet fishery on the Gulf of Maine.

In the original plan, the gillnet fishery would have been shut down in October and November, the two most profitable months of the year. And New Hampshire fishermen were not happy. Now, they will be allowed to continue fishing until the new closure dates of February through March.

NHPTV

State budget cuts to New Hampshire Public Television, through the university system, have led to several changes. And some town selectmen on the seacoast are worried about what it means for their programming.

Splitting up the 99%

Sep 19, 2012
Sunset Parkerpix via Flickr Creative Commons

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement – and though some vigilant protesters saw a lot of promise in the 185  New York arrests on Monday, there’s no denying that the movement has changed, and in many ways diminished since last fall.  Here in New Hampshire, an online feud has forced Occupy’s local chapter to do some tricky math... how do you divide 99 percent by two?  NHPR’s Ryan Lessard has the story. 

Abby Goldstein / NHPR

New Hampshire’s first district candidates for Congress battled Monday in a debate moderated by NHPR’s Laura Knoy. The topics for discussion stayed within the realm of economic policy and job creation and energy policy was among the stickier points.

Much of the debate between Congressman Frank Guinta and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter was an argument of who should and should not receive federal tax dollars. This was highlighted when the candidates were asked how they would address the rising cost of energy.

Jim Cole / AP

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter spoke in Concord Friday night. Among the topics for discussion was the state of civics education in the country.

Justice Souter told an audience of more than 1,300 people that civics education had declined since he attended Concord High School in the late ‘50s. The decline began, says Souter, in the ‘70s and it failed to recover since then.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Following her victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, State Senator Maggie Hassan greeted voters at Manchester’s Red Arrow Diner on Wednesday.

It was a slow morning as Senator Hassan met with a half dozen or so patrons at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. Hassan told reporters her campaign will be aggressive in stepping up fundraising.

“We’ve had a great outpouring of support in this state yesterday and today already and we’ll work as hard as we can to have the resources we need to compete.”

Ryan Lessard / New Hampshire Public Radio

Minutes before Smith's arrival at the Derryfield, District 4 Executive Councilor candidate Tom DeBlois arrived to applause.

Ryan Lessard / New Hampshire Public Radio

It's not exactly a rambunctious crowd here at the Derryfield in Manchester. Folks are just eating, talking or checking their phones for the latest poll numbers. Smith himself hasn't shown up yet and there hasn't been any spontaneous cheering or chanting.

Supporters don't seem anxious so much as resigned - but they're still hopeful. They're also hungry, and not just for the food - there has been a real lack of polling updates. Those with smartphones are making good use of them, but several supporters are turning to members of the press for the latest numbers.

Marc Nozell / New Hampshire Public Radio

Kevin Smith supporters finally outnumber media and campaign staff. People are hitting the bar, and the gourmet food buffet featuring tomato basil crackers, tabouli and hummus. Still, the Derryfield Country Club is far from full.

Early numbers are coming in with 5% of the precincts reporting and Smith is already far behind his primary opponent Ovide Lamontange. Smith has about 2.5 thousand votes (23.5%) and Lamontange has about 8 thousand (75.4%).

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke at a rally in Nashua on Friday night.

Approaching the stage of a crowded baseball stadium in Nashua to the Kid Rock song Born Free, Mitt Romney and his wife greeted their supporters with smiles and waves.

(Music and cheers…)

Romney said the latest job numbers from August reflect what he calls the president’s poor management of the economy.

“There were four times as many people who dropped out of the work force as the net new jobs created under this president.”

NH Housing Finance Authority

New Hampshire foreclosure numbers from July are up from the previous year. 

New Hampshire had 269 foreclosures in July. That’s up 13 percent from July of last year. However, it’s a decrease compared to the month before. In fact, it’s the third monthly decline in a row so far this year. The numbers come from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey.

“Even though it’s higher than last July, it’s still more on a steady downward curve.”

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Thursday, Governor John Lynch issued a proclamation declaring September “Hunger Action Month.”

The New Hampshire Food Bank has been experiencing a food shortage in recent years.

Governor Lynch declared the month of September to be “Hunger Action Month” in an effort to raise awareness about the shortage.

“Each year, more than 143,000 individuals in New Hampshire rely on food being provided by the Food Bank.”

Melanie Gosselin, the Executive Director of the Food Bank, says the needs are still great for many in New Hampshire.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Most schools around the state begin classes this week.  The state’s largest district in Manchester begins classes Wednesday.  The district has more than 15,00 students at 22 schools.  But they begin the school year after a year of suffering some of the state’s most severe budget cuts.

When the first school bells ring, Wednesday morning, students in Manchester will come back to school with fewer teachers.

You might have seen more than a few political TV ads this summer. Many candidates are gearing up for the general election this November, but New Hampshire still has a Primary coming on September 11th. Granite Staters will be voting to winnow the field of candidates for governor, and these candidates are using TV commercials as part of their campaign strategy.

To analyze these ads we spoke with…

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday the confirmation of another patient infected with Hepatitis C while receiving treatment at Exeter Hospital.

This new case, confirmed by the Department of Public Health Services, brings the total number of infected up to 33. That includes David Kwiatkowski, the former hospital employee charged with stealing drugs and refilling the used syringes with saline solution. They were later reused on patients.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Democratic Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen from came to New Hampshire Wednesday to talk about the federal budget with prominent state democrats and business leaders on behalf of the Obama campaign.

As the top Democrat in the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen has spoken out against Paul Ryan and his budget. Now, he is doing the same thing, this time for the Obama Presidential Campaign, by visiting swing states like New Hampshire.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security says unemployment is slightly up for the month of July.

More than 4,400 jobs were lost between June and July, bringing the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 5.4 percent. That’s an increase of .3  percentage points. The total number of employed residents was just shy of 700,000.

The New Hampshire unemployment rate is still well below the national rate of 8.3 percent, which also went up a tenth of a percent from June.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

Four female inmates are suing the Department of Corrections for what they say is a disparity of opportunity compared to the male prisoners in the state.

Four women in Goffstown and Concord prisons have filed a suit alleging that the Department of Corrections is out of compliance with the 1987 federal court order that required the state to provide female prisoners with services male inmates already receive.

These services include vocational education, mental health treatment and housing programs.

CDC Social Media / Flickr

Exeter Hospital is expanding its testing clinics to a third day, in its effort to explore the scope of the Hepatitis C outbreak.

The hospital where the Hepatitis C outbreak began is now offering testing from seven in the morning to six at night, Monday and Tuesday, and from seven to noon on Wednesday. The state is also offering free clinics through August eighteenth.

The state declared a public  health incident ahead of the clinics as more than three thousand people were sent letters recommending they get tested.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass is celebrating the enactment of a law he backed to curb protests at military funerals Thursday.

At a statehouse news conference, Bass, flanked by veteran groups, said the new law strikes the right balance.

“I think that we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that fallen service members receive the honor and respect that they deserve.”

Eighteen new batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the greater Manchester, Nashua and Salem areas.

The state epidemiologist says this is the first announcement of West Nile Virus from the state this year. The city of Manchester has already reported 8 mosquito batches that tested positive. That brings the state total so far to 26, 23 in Manchester alone. 2 batches tested positive in Nashua and 1 in Salem.

Last year New Hampshire only found a total of 9 positive batches.

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