Sarah Gibson

Reporter

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on New Hampshire's southern tier.

Sarah came to New Hampshire from New York City, where she was a producer at WNYC. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, her stories have appeared on WBAI, Alaska Public Media, and in The Village Voice. Prior to journalism, Sarah worked with non-profits in North Carolina and studied History at Brown University. She grew up in rural Vermont.

Ways to Connect

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Ham radio and Morse code enthusiasts are gathering at the Deerfield Fairgrounds this weekend for the New England Amateur Radio Festival.

 

The event has come to New Hampshrie for decades, but this year for the first time, a program called New England Tech Trek is catered specifically to middle and high schoolers.

Courtesy of Leigh Maynard

 

Librarians in Hopkinton are finding new ways to encourage reading after a fire damaged the town library in August.

With the library building undergoing significant repairs, Hopkinton has set up a small, makeshift library of about 3,000 books in a community center.

But it doesn't have the vast array of puzzles, books and reading nooks that families are used to.

So this week, librarian Leigh Maynard opened four "Story Stops" in town.

Allegra Boverman

 

First Congressional District candidates Eddie Edwards (R) and Chris Pappas (D) met today in the first of five general election debates.

In the forum at NHPR's studios, the two came down on opposite sides of nearly every issue, except for the question of personal identity.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were in Manchester on Tuesday to discuss a major opioid bill awaiting President Trump's signature.

The U.S. Senate passed the sweeping legislation, called the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, last week. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

This fall, Manchester's trees aren't just turning orange, red, and yellow - they're also turning blue.

With the help of local volunteers, New York City-based artist Konstantin Dimopoulos is coloring the trunks of about 100 city trees at the Currier Museum and Victory and Pulaski Parks.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The candidates for New Hampshire's First Congressional seat campaigned in opposite sides of the district Thursday night.

In Manchester, Democrat Chris Pappas talked about economic opportunity. And in Dover, Republican Eddie Edwards discussed solutions to treating substance misuse and addiction.

Pappas made his campaign stop at a carpenter training facility to discuss his proposals for improving opportunity for middle class workers.

PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

New Hampshire is sending about $11 million to full-day kindergarten programs this year.

The money is the result of SB 191. The law, passed last year, mandates that the state help cover costs of full-day kindergarten, covering at least $1,100 - or 7 percent - of per pupil costs.

After over two years of contract negotiations, Manchester and its firefighters have reached a tentative agreement.

On Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a three-year contract that is now headed to union members for a vote.

The decision comes after a tense month of many firefighters taking sick leave, and fewer firefighters working each shift.

James Jordan / Flickr CC

State health officials have identified a batch of mosquitoes in Manchester with the virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

This is the third detection of EEE in New Hampshire this season, and the first in Manchester since 2013. There have been no reports of human cases of the virus so far.

EEE is less common but more serious than the mosquito-born West Nile Virus. Symptoms are flu-like and appear four to 10 days after being bitten.

Via audio-luci | Flickr Creative Commons

 

New Hampshire's new student assessment tool - known as PACE - is continuing to expand.

The New Hampshire Department of Education announced Tuesday that it has received a five-year waiver from federal officials so schools piloting the assessment tool can continue to use it.

The Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) focuses on periodic assessments of student learning, rather than end-of-year, statewide tests.

Courtesy of Manchester Library

 

The Manchester Library is eliminating fines for overdue children’s and young adult materials.

The move is part of a trend in New Hampshire and across the country that aims to increase accessibility for young and low-income patrons. It was inspired by conversations over the last year among library staff, families, and students and teachers in the Manchester School District.

The Manchester Library has over 10,000 patrons between the ages of 5 and 17.

Appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is continuing its investigation into the death of a man in Epping during a confrontation with a state trooper.

The man who was killed has been identified as 40-year-old Walter Welch, Jr. of Epping.

An autopsy revealed that he died of gunshot wounds to the head but the details are still under investigation.

The AG’s office says on Saturday night, a trooper responded to a 911 call about an erratic driver in a white pickup truck near Route 101.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are being felt on New Hampshire's college campuses.

At the University of New Hampshire, faculty and students staged a #BelieveHer walkout in support of survivors this week.

Amy Culp runs the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) at UNH. She says the Kavanaugh hearings have had ripple effects on campus:

John K via Flickr CC

 

The Department of Education has received $1.6 million in federal funds to help schools pay for upgrades to water systems found to have lead.

The grant is coming through the N.H Department of Environmental Services, which received the money as part of a 2013 settlement with Exxon Mobil.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A live storytelling event featuring New Hampshire refugees is coming to Manchester’s Palace Theater this Sunday.

The event, called “Suitcase Stories,” is organized by the International Institute of New England, which resettles refugees in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Seven people from Manchester - mostly resettled refugees - will get on stage and tell their stories.

Winslow Townson / AP

A development site in Salem has become the base of operations for crews replacing pipelines after the explosions in Massachusetts.

Joe Faro, the CEO of Tuscan Brands, has temporarily donated 60 acres of the Tuscan Village site to make way for equipment and work tents.

He says around 2,500 Columbia Gas crew members are staying in regional hotels and coming to the site on a daily basis.

Null Value

The rate of violent crime continues to fall in the U.S. and in New Hampshire, according to FBI statistics released this week.

The new numbers put New Hampshire as the third-safest state in the country, after Vermont and Maine. New Hampshire's rate of "violent crime"- a broad category that includes burglary, aggravated assault, rape, and murder - is 198.7 per 100,000 people.

Construction is wrapping up on a new drug treatment facility at the John H. Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The 36-bed facility at the detention center will provide services to people ages 12 to 18 with substance use disorder.

www.massfiretrucks.com

As the city of Manchester and its firefighters’ union try to reach a new contract, cuts have been made at city fire stations.

Starting Sunday, Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan reduced the number of firefighters per shift from 46 to 37.

Goonan said the cuts were necessary because the fire department is over budget.

The reason for the budget problems is a drastic increase in overtime expenses.

Overtime has ballooned in the last month as many firefighters call in sick and others work overtime to fill the vacancies.

Courtesy of Carla Gomez

Not far from downtown Nashua, Carla Gomez is hosting a 77th birthday party for her uncle.

 

Three generations of the family mill around the house with new friends, eating and chatting in a kitchen bedecked with balloons and ribbons.

 

There’s a lot of laughter here today, but there’s also some reflection; the last time they celebrated this birthday, the family was living in Puerto Rico.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire is one step closer to overhauling its infrastructure for combatting the opioid epidemic.

State lawmakers on Friday approved nearly $20 million in federal money to bolster treatment and recovery programs over the next 10 months.

The funding was announced last month, and becomes official this week. The state must start spending it within 90 days.

Nearly $9 million will go toward developing a hub-and-spoke model with hospitals serving as the go-to spot for someone seeking help for addiction.

Via unlockinghistory.com

A middle school student in Seabrook has been criminally charged for making threats to "shoot up" his school.

The students' peers first reported the threats on Friday. On Monday, SAU 21 Superintendent Bill Lupini says that students returned with more detailed and serious reports.

School officials say they do not believe the school was in danger, but the student is not attending classes.

Police say the students' name and many details - including plans for returning to school - cannot be released because of juvenile privacy rules.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Scientists, tech entrepreneurs and government officials are in Manchester this week to talk about human tissue engineering. It's a complicated new technology, but backers say it could transform southern New Hampshire's economy.

New Hampshire has one of the country’s highest rates of foster care kids receiving drugs for emotional and psychiatric issues, and many of them don’t have a treatment plan.

That’s according to a report released this week from the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A new coalition in Manchester is launching a community planning process for the city's public schools.

The coalition - called Manchester Proud - is funded by local business leaders and has the support of the school board, school unions, the mayor, and many non-profits.

On Saturday, volunteers fanned out across the city, knocking on about 600 doors to collect input from residents about the city's schools.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Nashua residents and officials are debating an EPA proposal to clean up the Mohawk Tannery, a 30-acre toxic waste site along the Nashua River.

The former leather tannery has been the focus of local environmental and health concerns since it closed in the 1980s.

Centers for Disease Control

The numbers of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus in southern New Hampshire is on the rise, prompting officials to issue a public health threat declaration for the region.

On Thursday, Governor Sununu and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 30 municipalities in southern New Hampshire are at increased risk of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). 

Courtesy of Manchester Police

The Manchester Police and the Attorney General have arrested and charged Paul Dimick, the Manchester man wanted since last week for second-degree murder.

The police had been searching for Dimick since Friday, when they say Dimick shot and killed 32-year old Justin Lee in Manchester.

The police received a tip on Wednesday that Dimick was seen exiting a house not far from the site of the shooting. He was arrested and will be arraigned at Hillsborough County Superior Court on Thursday.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

After a strong primary win last night, Democrat Molly Kelly launched the next stage of her bid for Governor at the Red Arrow Diner, a famous political pit stop in downtown Manchester.

The City of Manchester has reached a settlement with the EPA and the Department of Justice for failing to meet clean air standards for its sewage waste incinerator.

The incinerator, located near the Manchester Airport, processes sewage waste from the region.

The EPA found that Manchester violated federal rules requiring them to monitor and reduce pollutants released from the incinerator, including mercury, lead, and carbon monoxide.

The city will pay a fine of over $131,000 and invest in a new monitoring system which will cost an estimated $6 million.

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