Robert Garrova

Reporter, G.A./Demographics

Robert is a General Assignment reporter, with a focus on New Hampshire's changing demographics. He comes to NHPR’s newsroom from Los Angeles, where he worked as a reporter for member-station KPCC and a producer/director on APM’s Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal.

His work has been featured on Marketplace’s flagship program, Southern California Public Radio and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Robert has reported on a wide range of topics, including the largest fire in California history and the re-discovered costumes of a silent film star.

He’s looking forward to learning everything he can about New Hampshire and the people who call the Granite State home. 

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The ACLU of New Hampshire is suing the U.S. government on behalf of a man they say has been in immigration detention for more than two years.


Mahamed Ahmed-Cali, a Somali native, was detained at a California port of entry in 2016 after requesting asylum.


Since then, immigration officials have transferred him to several states, including Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and, most recently, New Hampshire at the Strafford County Department of Corrections.


Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A measure that would create an independent commission to draw boundaries for New Hampshire elections gained a bipartisan boost Wednesday.


Current state law leaves the responsibility of redistricting to the legislature.


Senator Maggie Hassan said leaders in China are making progress toward stemming the illicit flow of fentanyl into the U.S. She indicated some headwinds, however.


Fresh off of a congressional delegation trip to East Asia, Hassan applauded Chinese efforts to further classify components of fentanyl as controlled substances.


"In New Hampshire, where we are losing almost 500 Granite Staters to the opioid epidemic, 80 percent of the opioid deaths come from fentanyl," Hassan said.


There's was no hot water or heat at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene Thursday afternoon due to a problem with one of the hospital's boilers. 


Cheshire Miedical Center says no one has been injured, but that all new patients are being diverted. Current inpatients Thursday were being evacuated and relocated to the nearest appropriate facility.  


Officials with the state of New Hampshire dispatched a portable boiler so that operations can continue as soon as possible. 



A chef in Franconia who's facing deportation has had his case picked up by the ACLU of New Hampshire.


Cornelia Lorentzen runs the cafe where Juan Pu works. A little more than a year ago, Lorentzen says she convinced him and his family to move from Florida to Franconia to work as a chef in her restaurant.  


She says Pu was detained two weeks ago by ICE officers in plain clothes.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A measure that would expand the availability of absentee voting hit the state Senate Wednesday.


Currently voters who want to cast an absentee ballot have to meet certain criteria, like having a disability or an employment obligation.

Robert Garrova

Presidential candidates are making their campaign stops at the obligatory house parties, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and a bunch of restaurants and bars. But one New Hampshire high school class is vying for its place on that list of stops.


It’s mid-afternoon on a Monday at Kennett High School in North Conway. Inside this classroom the scene is typically academic, with textbooks stacked along the walls and a white board with a list of grammar tips.

Robert Garrova

New Hampshire's congressional delegation on Monday criticized a new Trump Administration rule around facilities that offer abortions.


In February, the administration announced it will deny federal money -- known as Title X funds -- to clinics that provide abortion services. Opponents say this would hurt providers that offer other health services on site, including cancer screenings and birth control.

Robert Garrova

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined a round table discussion in Manchester Friday on bringing passenger rail to New Hampshire.


Flanked by Mayor Joyce Craig and small business owners, Klobuchar expressed support for a proposal which would bring commuter service from the Boston area to New Hampshire’s Capitol Corridor region.


Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, described rail as a potential economic and demographic boost.

Census population estimates released Thursday show that New Hampshire gained the second highest number of new residents among New England states last year.


The Granite State added an estimated 6,700 people with only Massachusetts seeing more newcomers.


"Domestic migration is the thing that's changing and fueling more and more of this growth, which is more typical of New Hampshire's historical patterns," says UNH Senior Demographer Ken Johnson.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House considered a measure Wednesday to provide a financial incentive for recent college grads to stay in New Hampshire.


This bill would create a voluntary program: Employees would get a minimum of $1,000 a year for the first four years they stay in the state. That would be paid for by their employer, not the taxpayer. But companies that participate would be able to work with a network of colleges in the state to attract recent grads.


Robert Garrova

State officials launched an online database Tuesday that gives users access to more than 16,000 historical documents.


It's called the Enhanced Mapping and Management Information tool -- or EMMIT for short. Envisioned about 20 years ago, the system provides instant access to records.



Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the Division of Historical Resources, takes EMMIT for a spin, using our current location at the Department’s headquarters.

Robert Garrova / NHPR

President Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, headlined a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party in Nashua on Tuesday night. 


After criticizing the media, Lara Trump, who's also a senior campaign advisor to the president, pinpointed what she says would be a winning formula for Republicans in 2020:


"We're going to stay out of the Democrats' way and we're going to let them battle it out, right?"


Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers in eight New Hampshire counties will be eligible for emergency loans due to climate conditions last year.

The emergency credit is supposed to help agricultural producers bounce back from natural disasters.

In 2018, that meant drought in the north of the state, and too much water in the south, according to the USDA.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The fight to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire reached the state Senate Tuesday morning after clearing the House earlier this month.

The measure would change the penalty for capital murder to life imprisonment. Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of the Cheshire County jail says he's in support of the bill, as an official who's worked with the incarcerated for 26 years.

Robert Garrova

Dozens of people gathered at the Islamic Center of Greater Concord Friday to remember the 50 people killed at two mosques last week in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Representatives from local churches and temples spoke to a sea of umbrellas as people stood in the rain. They also took turns reading the names of the people lost in the attack.


Afterward, several joined the afternoon prayer inside the mosque.


NHPR Photo

The New Hampshire House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow residents in the state who do not have a social security card to get a driver's license.


Supporters of the measure say undocumented immigrants already living in the state should be able to drive to work and transport family members without breaking the law. They argue that many are already driving without licenses and this bill would make roads safer.


Robert Garrova

Over the weekend, tragedy struck the town of Alton, a small community on the southern edge of Lake Winnipesaukee. The New Hampshire Attorney General said an 11-year-old has been charged with murder in relation to a shooting that left two people dead.


Friday evening, on the second floor of Alton’s town hall, state and local law enforcement made a grim announcement: An 11-year-old had been charged with murder under juvenile laws in connection with a shooting that took place in a home in town earlier that day.


Robert Garrova / NHPR

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office is charging an 11-year-old in the death of a man and woman at an Alton home Friday morning.

Autopsy results released Saturday show the woman, 50 year-old Lizette Ekert, died of single gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner declared the manner of death a homicide.

The man, 48 year-old James Eckert, suffered more than one gunshot wound. He was initially transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where he died late Friday. 

Robert Garrova

Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made another stop in New Hampshire Friday as he contemplates a 2020 presidential campaign.


He told the crowd at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs that issues like climate change are personal for him as a millennial. At 37, he's possibly the youngest candidate in a crowded field of Democrats. 


Lara Bricker for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers considered a bill in Concord Wednesday that would give municipalities more flexibility in the timing of elections. After two years straight of significant snowstorms on town election day, many moderators throughout the state called for a postponement provision, citing transportation concerns.

Robert Garrova

Lawmakers in Concord heard hours of testimony on a so-called “red flag” gun control bill Tuesday. The measure would temporarily prohibit firearm possession for up to one year for people considered to be a risk to themselves or others.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  A University of New Hampshire student has pleaded guilty to putting false information on a voter registration form. Spencer McKinnon, 21, was sentenced Feb. 28 based on the Class A misdemeanor charge of wrongful voting.


The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says McKinnon has also agreed to cooperate in an investigation into alleged voter coercion.


By martinalonso4895 via Flickr CC /

New Hampshire legislators on Wednesday voted to move forward a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The House voted 209-147 to pass a measure that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

Associated Press

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that Rep. Mark Vallone spoke in support of the bill, not against it. 

The New Hampshire House approved a bill Wednesday that aims to restrict guns in schools. The measure forbids carrying a firearm in so-called school safe zones which includes school property.

Earlier this month the bill was the subject of heated testimony and the debate Wednesday on the House floor was no different.

Brett Levin/Flickr

A New Hampshire House subcommittee today voted unanimously to support a bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis.

The bill would make it legal for qualified patients and caregivers to cultivate three mature plants and twelve seedlings, provided they're secured with a lock or other security device.

There are currently four dispensaries in the state, where patients can purchase cannabis products for therapeutic use.

Robert Garrova

Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell of California is the latest in a series of potential Democratic presidential candidates to visit New Hampshire.

Speaking at St. Anselm College's Politics and Eggs yesterday, Swalwell's main focus was the economy. Namely that its booming on several measures, but, "That's not the economy,” he said. “The economy is you. How you're doing. Whether you have enough to save to buy a home. Whether you can survive a thousand dollar unexpected emergency."

Robert Garrova

The ACLU started out defending conscientious objectors during World War I. It would go on to be involved in many landmark cases. That includes battling the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and fighting segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Robert Garrova

Trade workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard said they’re worried President Trump’s plan to divert money for military construction to help pay for the border wall could affect work underway there.  


More than 6,000 workers at the shipyard repair the Navy's growing fleet, with a focus on Los Angeles-class submarines.


Jim Cleveland / courtesy Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

All four members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation signed a letter to President Trump Tuesday opposing his plan to divert funding for a border wall.

In the letter the delegation says taking money from the Department of Defense to pay for a border wall could hurt two projects in and around the Granite State.