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 Radio. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, her reporting won the annual Joan Konner Prize for Broadcast Journalism, and her stories have appeared on WBAI, Alaska Public Media, National Native News, 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 Vermont.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The bitter rivalry between Republican congressional candidates Eddie Edwards and Andy Sanborn ended on Tuesday night when Sanborn called his loss before the final, official results were in.

He told a crowd of supporters in Bedford that with precinct numbers from the Seacoast and conservative strongholds near Manchester, he couldn’t see a path for closing the gap with Edwards.  

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In the final day of a bitter fight for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District, frontrunners Andy Sanborn and Eddie Edwards say tomorrow's primary comes down to character and conservatism.

Over the weekend, state Sen. Andy Sanborn was endorsed by the NRA and from two fellow state senators Bill Gannon and Bob Giuda.

The endorsements touted Sanborn's voting record while in the Legislature.

With just a few days left of primary campaigning, supporters of Republican congressional candidate Eddie Edwards continue to target Andy Sanborn’s character.

Today, two state senators - Regina Birdsell of Hampstead and Sharon Carson of Londonderry - endorsed Edwards. They praised Edwards for his conservatism, and warned that Andy Sanborn's alleged behavior toward staffers would haunt him in a general election.

Manchester School District

Teachers in Manchester headed back to work on Wednesday without a new contract.

The teachers' union has been at an impasse with the school board since June.

The sticking point is salary increases.

Sue Hannan, president of the Manchester Education Association, says that in March, the union submitted a proposal that would put Manchester salaries on par with districts in New Hampshire with good teacher pay. Hannan says it would have cost the city an additional $28 million over the course of three years.

 

Many New Hampshire colleges have been struggling with declining applicant and enrollment numbers for years. But a few campuses are growing.

Churches and recovery centers across the state gathered today for Overdose Awareness Day.

New Hampshire has the second highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, the majority from fentanyl.

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A Nashua real estate developer is working with the EPA on plans to clean up and develop a toxic waste site in the city. 

At a meeting with EPA officials and Nashua residents on Wednesday, Bernie Plante of Blaylock LLC unveiled a proposal to develop 40 acres along the Nashua River. 

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At the entrance to John Stark Regional High School in Weare, there’s a big sign that reads: “Premises under video surveillance.”

Principal Christopher Corkery is showing me into the school lobby. On the ceiling are black half-domes with cameras inside.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire is spending about $250,000 to improve cybersecurity for the midterm elections.

The money is part of a funding package that New Hampshire requested from the federal government in June for improving security and voter accessibility.  

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Nashua residents are meeting on Wednesday with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and a prospective real estate developer to discuss the clean-up of a proposed superfund site, The Mohawk Tannery. The site is in a residential area of Nashua and contains toxic chemicals left over from its years as a leather tannery.

James Jordan / Flickr CC

The number of towns in New Hampshire at risk for West Nile virus is growing. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services elevated Manchester’s level of risk for West Nile to high, automatically elevating the surrounding towns to medium risk.

This year, a record number of schools in New Hampshire are offering full-day kindergarten. At least six districts spent the summer hiring additional staff and amending facilities to boost their half-day kindergarten programs to full-day programs.

That puts the number of districts in the state offering full-day kindergarten to over 90%.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The national pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA is joining New Hampshire organizations to combat the opioid crisis. The new effort is called the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) New Hampshire.

NHPR Photo

 Governor Sununu and the Executive Council approved more than $168,000 for the Attorney General's office to raise salaries.

 

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald says his attorneys make less than they would in many county offices, and that some are leaving as a result.

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Residents of the Manchester area got a chance on Tuesday to ask representatives of Liberty Utilities about its proposed natural gas pipeline, The Granite Bridge.

The 27-mile pipeline would link two existing pipelines in New Hampshire that run north to south. It would be buried along Route 101, between Stratham and Manchester, and would include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

Ten community health centers in New Hampshire are splitting over $835,000 in federal grants to improve health care delivery. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money last week after reviewing the performance of all 1,400 federally qualified health centers in the United States. Eight of the ten centers in New Hampshire receiving awards were also named “Health Center Quality Leaders” for ranking in the top 30th percent of centers nationwide. 

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The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that temporary rules are in place to expand the state’s Medicaid to Schools Program. 

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