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

As school districts continue to face budget cuts, administrators look for creative ways to fill in the gaps.  And that means that some schools are warming up to a concept that public educators used to reject: advertising.

In Nashua, the district wants to place electronic billboards at its stadium.  While many welcome the funding, some say commercialism doesn’t belong at public schools.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Governor Lynch is leaving office after eight years and gubernatorial nominees from both parties are fighting for last-minute in today's primary.

But despite the zeal from the recent presidential conventions, not to mention the glut of political signage, many New Hampshire voters decided to sit this election day out.

Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

It’s back to school week.  And for about 2 to 3 percent of New Hampshire students, learning will begin or continue in the home.

Two laws that went into effect this summer give families who home-school a lot more independence than they’ve had in the past.

The Department of Transportation says the Boston Express is the most successful new bus line in the country.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

This past Saturday at Manchester’s Veterans Memorial Park, more than 500 people showed up to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

It was the first New Hampshire gay pride festival in 15 years.

But the lead up to this year’s festival was overshadowed by a donation from Nashua's Chick-fil-A. 

“We’re fabulous, come march with us. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous."

On this hot and humid Saturday, New Hampshire’s LGBT community turned up the volume on its fight against discrimination. 

The annual League of New Hampshire Crafts Fair at Mt. Sunapee  is now in its 79th year.

The show opened this past Saturday, and is the oldest, longest-running crafts fair in the country.

About 200 exhibitors are showcasing their wares.  

And most of them spent close to a year leading up to what they call, not just a fair, but the Fair.

Artists are nailing down floors, draping curtains and hanging up lights to get their booths ready for the annual New Hampshire Crafts Fair.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

With the high costs of tuition, many students with an associate’s degree can’t afford to go on for their bachelor’s.  So in 2011, when one non-profit college in Salem began offering students their third year of college free, some considered the deal a godsend.

Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

As the last of the soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan return to their native New Hampshire, about one third will retire from the military for medical reasons.  That means they’re likely to face one of their toughest battles yet as they search for meaningful employment.

(photo: Sheryl Rich-Kern)

Rivier College in Nashua may be getting a makeover.

Electropac, a firm that makes printed circuit boards in New Hampshire, once had 500 paid employees. Today, it has 34. But thanks to a state program for the unemployed, it also now offers unpaid internships.

Across the country, unpaid internships are on the rise for older adults looking to change careers or rebound from layoffs. In New Hampshire, a state-run program encourages the unemployed to take six-week internships at companies with the hope of getting a permanent job.

While the state’s unemployment rate is well below the national average, thousands of people are still searching for a job.

Friday, many of the state’s unemployed showed up for a job fair for a new $100 million shopping center in Merrimack. The retail outlet is expected to create more than 800 positions.

By 7 a.m. Friday morning, hundreds of people lined up outside Nashua Community College for the Merrimack Premium Outlet job fair.

When it opens in mid-June, the outlets will feature 100 clothing, home goods, and other stores. 

Most people agree that good teachers help students succeed.
But how do good teachers learn to be effective?

One D.C.-based, private nonprofit is asking just that. They want colleges to participate in a study that ranks teacher preparation programs.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Mont Vernon voters approved changing the controversial name of a pond at its town meeting Tuesday night.

Whether or not to rename Jew Pond, which many consider offensive, garnered national attention in this small town.

But voters still don’t know what the new name of the pond will be.

A packed crowd of about 250 residents filled the gymnasium in the Mont Vernon Village Schoolhouse.

The turnout was impressive for a town whose population is less than 2400.

The town meeting began as it does every year with the pledge and a prayer.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Out-of-hospital births in New Hampshire are on the rise, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.

That increase is in large part, because of a 2008 law that requires health insurers to pay for midwives who work in homes or at birthing centers.

But a new bill before lawmakers proposes repealing that mandate.

And midwives are worried what that means for their livelihoods.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

New Hampshire is known for being one of the safest places to live in the United States. According to a recent study, its crime rate is the fifth lowest in the country.  

But that doesn’t mean detectives have an easy time recovering stolen merchandise. In fact, police officials say they could respond to crime faster by tightening regulations among pawnshops and second-hand dealers.

Photo: Sheryl Rich-Kern

Some sectors of the New Hampshire economy are taking longer to rebound from the recession.

Particularly industries that rely on discretionary income, like many of the 20 small airports in the state.

Nashua’s Municipal Airport is one of the state’s oldest and busiest.

But it’s been years since this airport operated to its capacity.

Now a new $16 million construction project may give the airport the economic lift it needs.

It’s a cold, but sunny December morning at the Nashua Municipal Airport, also known as Boire Field.

Cheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

It’s that time of the year when the days are getting shorter and the retail hours are getting longer.

And while year-round merchants are gearing up for the holiday season, pop-up stores, like the many Halloween outlets, are cropping up alongside them — and then shutting their doors one or two months later.

These temporary stores may sound like a fad, but pop-up stores reflect a growing trend in the retail sector.

You see one in almost every large mall in New Hampshire:

Mackenzie is a young adult with autism. She is finishing her senior year at Pelham High School and plans to attend college next year. She is also an artist and is considering pursuing a career as a teacher. She and her mother, Deborah, talk with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, addressing the following questions:

Explain how you worked with a counselor at UNH? What steps do you take? What are your expectations?

Mackenzie - what do you see yourself doing after college?

Under federal law, students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education. That means they can receive the supports they need up until they turn 21.

After that, many of these young adults aren’t ready to live on their own, find jobs or go on to college.

NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich Kern has the story as part of her series, Challenges of Autism.

Mackenzie Trippier is talking to her parents about going to Greece with the seniors at Pelham High.

Mackenzie is a young adult with autism. She is finishing her senior year at Pelham High School and plans to attend college next year. She is also an artist and is considering pursuing a career as a teacher. She and her mother, Deborah, talk with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, addressing the following questions:

What prompted you to have Mackenzie evaluated? When did you receive a diagnosis? What was your reaction?

Mackenzie - Were you aware you were different?

Ministère Travail Solidarité Fonction Publique via Flickr/Creative Commons

This week, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich Kern has been looking into the challenges schools face when teaching children with autism.

The parents obviously face challenges too. Providing the therapy some children need costs a lot of money and time. But come January 1st, relief is on the way. 

In our week-long series Challenges of Autism, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich Kern looks into the new legislation.

The standard treatment for autism when kids are young is something called applied behavior analysis or ABA.

Kirsten Murphy is the administrative director of the New Hampshire Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders. She was a key advocate behind the passage of Connor’s Law, a mandate that goes into effective January 1, 2011. The new law will require health insurance companies to cover therapies for children with autism. Murphy is also the mother of two teenage boys diagnosed with autism. She talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern to answer the following questions:

Who are the families that were depending on Connor’s Law the most and how will they benefit?

These days it’s not rare to find a child with severe autism actively participating in a public school. A generation ago, parents would have sent those kids to a private school or maybe institutionalized them.

But studies show kids with autism improve in a regular public school. There they are able to socialize and learn how to communicate better because they’re copying the other children.

But not everyone agrees this approach is good for all students.

If it seems like you’re hearing a lot about autism these days, it’s likely because more kids are being diagnosed with it.

Nationally the rate of children diagnosed with what’s called autism spectrum disorder is 1 in 100. For boys, it’s 1 in 70. To put that number into perspective, it means that one student in 3 or 4 average sized school classes lives with some form of autism.

How schools should deal with it is up for debate.

NHPR Correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern has this second part in her series Challenges of Autism.

Parents across the board would probably agree that becoming a parent is a lesson in managing chaos and tolerance. And research shows that parents raising a child with autism experience higher stress levels than parents of children with other disabilities.

But some parents of children with autism say their child’s diagnosis has enriched their lives in ways
they never would have imagined.

Dr. Jorgensen is a project director with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire and is an assistant research professor in the UNH Education Department. She works with public school teachers, parents and administrators to help them include more students with disabilities in general education classes. She is the author of several books on inclusion education, including The Inclusion Facilitator’s Guide. She talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern and answers the following questions:

Ari Ne’eman is a college student diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He is the founder of the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), which works to improve the public perception of autism. Ne'eman believes that autism is a different way of being and not a disease that should be cured. He talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, and answers the following questions:

You were diagnosed at age 12. Had you always felt you were different? How did you learn about your autism and how did learning about the diagnosis affect you?

Ari Ne’eman is a college student diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He is the founder of the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), which works to improve the public perception of autism. Ne'eman believes that autism is a different way of being and not a disease that should be cured. He talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, and answers the following questions:

If there was a pill to make you not autistic, would you take it?

What does the term “neurodiversity” mean?

If your child attends public school, chances are they have a classmate who has difficulty speaking, behaves a little differently,  or just doesn’t seem to  socialize well.

A generation ago, we might have called these kids quirky, and that would have been the end of it. But today, an alarming number of these kids are being diagnosed with what’s called autism spectrum disorder.

A decade ago, the prevalence was one in 250. Today, it’s closer to one in a hundred. We still don’t know the causes of autism, and so there’s little hope of a cure.

A decade ago, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder was one in 250. Today, it’s closer to one in a hundred. In this weeklong series, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern looks at the impact of autism on families, schools and towns in New Hampshire.

Challenges of Autism is brought to you in part by the Endowment for Health.

Series Stories:

Pages