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.
 

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.

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:

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