Sheryl Rich-Kern

Correspondent

Sheryl Rich-Kern has been contributing stories for NHPR since 2006, covering education, social services, business, health care and an occasional quirky yarn that epitomizes life in New Hampshire. Sheryl’s Challenges of Autism series won the first place award for a feature story from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.
 
In addition to producing news for NHPR, Sheryl has filed stories for Word of Mouth, as well the nationally-syndicated Environment Report, All Things Considered and Marketplace. She also writes for several business magazines.
 
Prior to her endeavors with radio, Sheryl worked as a public relations specialist and an adjunct college professor. She graduated Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and film, and earned a master’s degree in management from Lesley College in Cambridge.
 
Sheryl has lived in Nashua for more than 20 years.
 

Sheryl Rich-Kern

It’s summer. And for many college grads, a last chance to do something daring before entering the real world. Greg Hindy plans to spend a year walking from New Hampshire to California. Along the way, he’ll take photographs with a field camera. He calls it a performance art project, mostly because of the unusual rules of the journey.

Greg Hindy is taking a yearlong vow of silence.

That means no talking, no writing, no texting or watching TV.

Hindy took off a week ago.

On Wednesday the Executive Council authorized a new rail study  — one that examines whether to bring trains to Plaistow.

This study will cost far less than one approved earlier this year, for $3.9 million dollars to look at extending commuter rail from Lowell, Massachusetts to Nashua and then on up to Manchester and Concord.

Aging In Place

May 8, 2013
Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

According to a recent AARP survey, more than 95 percent of New Hampshire seniors want to remain in their own homes as they age - but that’s not always practical or affordable.

To address these concerns, two non-profits in the state are developing a novel approach to home-based eldercare that’s becoming popular around the country.

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

As college costs rise around the country, some small private colleges are finding a new way to attract students—by offering financial incentives.  Some are offering discounts. Others are freezing tuition.  But New England College in Henniker has come up with its own plan to attract a wider range of students.

Beginning this May, it’s offering a year-round academic calendar, allowing students to save money by graduating in three years instead of four.

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

In China, early April is prime time for tea picking.

In New Hampshire, the Confucius Institute a partnership between the University of New Hampshire and Chengdu University in China — honored the season this week with a tea sampling at the UNH-Manchester campus.

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

This week, New Hampshire became the third state in the country to announce it will no longer use GED Testing Services for its high school equivalency exams.

Beginning in 2014 , the state is moving to Educational Testing Service, also known as ETS.

And instructors are urging the more than 1,400 adult learners in the state to finish their GED exams before the end of the year.

Otherwise, they’ll have to face starting over with a new test that will be harder to pass.

GED has been the brand name for high school certifications for almost 70 years.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

A team of Nashua High School students is trying to create a bacteria-powered battery that runs off a composter. The team is one of 16 around the country that received up to 10-thousand-dollars in seed money from the Lemelson-MIT Program.

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

The town of Hollis holds its town meeting Wednesday evening.

In the high school gym, residents will debate town hall renovations, property tax exemptions for seniors and funds for the Old Home Days event.

But what’s likely to drum up the most vigor at the meeting is a warrant article that some say is detrimental to horses.

The town of Hudson wants to build a $1.8 million senior center on land it already owns at Benson Park.  On Tuesday, residents will cast their votes on whether to approve the funding.

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

Advocates of the rights to own guns and those who want to restrict the laws governing them are often on opposing sides of the conversation. But many find a common voice when it comes to reducing gun violence. In New Hampshire, gun shop owners are forging ties with mental health experts to prevent the most frequent kind of death by firearms: suicide.

While most Nashua residents are hunkering down for this blockbuster storm, droves of city employees are out straight through the weekend.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

People around the region are preparing for what may be the epic storm of the winter. And that’s good news for some businesses.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

At the start of this spring semester, Manchester’s three high schools are launching two new initiatives around computer-based learning.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., many Nashua parents are asking whether the school system can do more to protect their kids.

Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is inching closer to studying the costs and benefits of restoring commuter rail service.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

In the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., the Nashua School District is putting its security upgrades on the fast track.

Nashua’s Board of Education is moving forward with a nearly $2 million upgrade to the security systems in its 17 schools.

It’s almost the same plan the board proposed three years ago, but then delayed because of budget restraints.

But the assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School is prompting the district to ramp up the pace on two items in the system.

Flikr Creative Commons / rex libris

Online courses in higher education have been around for decades. Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester has been offering online courses since 1996.

Now the university is piloting a new online model — one that dispenses with courses, grades and credit hours. College for America is a low-cost, nontraditional approach that's getting a lot of attention. And it may be the first of its kind to get federal approval by the Department of Education.

An online petition asks the Nashua school district to establish anti-discrimination policies for transgender students.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

For taxidermists like Rick Bewersdorf, business is booming.

"We're hoping for anywhere from 20 to 40 deer heads this year," said Bewersdorf, who has a workshop in a barn in Nashua. "We've already got seven full mount bear in with some rugs."

Rifle season for whitetail deer began only a couple of weeks ago. But already, wildlife officials say the state has topped its record for registered deer kills  compared to the previous nine years.

That's good news for taxidermists.

Richard Young in his shop
Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

After the leftovers from a hefty Thanksgiving dinner are put away, it’s become a tradition for many consumers to head to the malls. But one shop-local initiative wants to lure customers away from the huge Black Friday sales — and stir up some excitement about downtown retail.

Fresh of Nashua
Courtesy of Fresh

Nashua’s downtown retail district is located only a few miles away from mammoth chain stores to the south and the recently-opened outlet center to the north in Merrimack.  As the holiday shopping season kicks off this weekend, the mom-and-pop stores face stiff competition.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

A firm that helps cities revise their image presented its findings on Nashua’s strengths and weaknesses at a public meeting Tuesday night.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Polling stations in Nashua opened at 6 AM this morning. And many stood patiently long before the sun appeared.

With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees, at least 150 voters wrapped around the Amherst Street School building before dawn.

Arthur Barrett is the town’s moderator.

He says by around 10 AM, almost 1500 had already cast their ballots.

He compares this turnout to that of 2008:

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Record numbers of voters lined up this morning at the polls in Nashua.

Priscilla Betses of Nashua is in her late 70s and has been voting she was 18.

That’s a lot of election cycles. But she says this one stands out.

It’s too negative. They’re spending an awful lot of money of advertising. I’ll be happy when it’s over. Too many robo-calls and TV and the whole bit.

Octogenarian Liona Wilson has voted since before World War II and shares similar concerns:

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Much of the election limelight has been on big races at the top of the ballot.  But here in New Hampshire, there are also hundreds of state senate and house races on the ballot – races that often go unnoticed, despite the fact that the winning candidates can have a game-changing sway over local politics.

Bette Lasky and Peggy Gilmour have a lot in common. Together, they host a weekly radio show on a local AM station. In 2010, they both lost their state senate races. Two years later, these two Democrats want their jobs back.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

The election is less than a week away.  And some worry that the majority of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 aren’t bothering to register or vote.  In fact, over the last few decades, the enthusiasm among college voters seems to be slipping.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

In New Hampshire, a statewide task force on effective teaching is publishing new guidelines to improve the quality of teaching.  One issue that’s getting a closer look is teacher mentoring programs.  In Nashua, one mentoring program works to groom better teachers and keep them in the classroom for years to come.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

The Southern New Hampshire Jewish Men’s Club sponsored a political breakfast forum on Sunday morning that pitted gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan against her rival, Ovide Lamontagne.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Candidates for New Hampshire’s second congressional district answered questions from a small audience in a public forum the Southern New Hampshire Jewish Men’s Club sponsored on Sunday morning.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

About 50 students and faculty members gathered at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm’s Wednesday night to watch the debate.

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