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

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In their effort to woo voters before next month’s primary, Democratic Presidential candidates have come out with an array of policy plans, including ones to revitalize the rural United States. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson has been looking at what these plans might mean for rural New Hampshire and talking to voters about their concerns.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

  Democratic presidential hopefuls are campaigning all over New Hampshire, and they’re spending a lot of time in areas once considered Republican strongholds. The candidates are hoping to capitalize on a demographic shift underway in rural New Hampshire that could have big political implications.

Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

 

A Concord-based non-profit that researches public education in New Hampshire has released a report on the most significant factors contributing to student performance across the state. 

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

A lawmaker from Keene wants the campaign finance laws that govern state elections to apply to city and town elections as well.

Under current law, rules for campaign finance disclosure are up to individual municipalities. But Democratic representative William Pearson wants the state to require anyone who runs in municipal elections and spends more than $500 to disclose their campaign finance records to the Secretary of State.

NHPR Staff

A group of lawmakers has once again voted to reject a federal grant to expand charter schools in New Hampshire.

Democrats on the legislative fiscal committee voted against the $10 million dollars last month, citing concerns that opening more charter schools would cost the state down the road and harm existing conventional public schools.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut told reporters after the second failed vote today that he still wasn’t giving up on the grant.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A group of providers and staff with the Department of Health and Human Services are re-examining the state’s model for how to treat young people with substance use disorders and mental health challenges, following the closure last month of the state’s sole addiction treatment center for youth. 

Shannon Dooling for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking the public to contribute to its annual survey of wild turkey flocks. People who see groups of five or more turkeys from now until the end of March are encouraged to submit information on the N.H. Fish and Game website.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 

Lawmakers will consider a bill this session that would change the way the state oversees county attorney offices.

The proposed bill would require the Attorney General's office to get approval from the Executive Council before taking over control of criminal cases from a county attorney.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent the majority of a campaign stop in Concord Thursday responding to voters’ questions about her plans and her potential appeal to independent and moderate voters.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Hundreds of hikers and skiers started the new year outside as part of New Hampshire State Parks' First Day Hikes program. Five parks throughout the state - Monadnock, Franconia Notch, Odiorne Point, Milan Hill, and Bear Brook - welcomed visitors with trail maps, campfires, and hot chocolate.

File Photo, NHPR

New Hampshire schools' social studies standards are expected to get an update this year. The proposed updates from the DOE come after mounting concern among some lawmakers over the lack of history and civics in public education.

"It's critical for our democracy that one, people know how it works and two, people know how to get involved if they are upset and want to change it," says Rep. Garrett Muscatel of Hanover.

Courtesy of the United Nations

 

Climate change education could get more attention in 2020, as lawmakers consider whether to require districts to give classes on climate change.

A bill in the House would require some lessons about climate change in elementary school, and at least ten hours of climate education or a full semester of environmental education in high school. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Officials in New Hampshire are moving forward with efforts to reduce vaping and tobacco use among teens in advance of state and federal laws raising the minimum purchasing age in 2020.

On January 1, the age for purchasing tobacco and vape products in New Hampshire will increase to 19. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban all flavored vaping products except for menthol in New Hampshire stores. 

The move follows work by a bipartisan group of lawmakers this year that raised the age for vaping and smoking to 19 and made it illegal to vape indoors.

 

A nonprofit advocacy group says the number of people experiencing homelessness in New Hampshire has dropped in the last two years, though homelessness among students and in some counties is on the rise.

The New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness bases some of their calculations on counts taken every January across the state. These suggest overall homelessness has decreased by five percent, but Coalition director Cathy Kuhn says the homelessness count from January 2019 doesn't reflect the increasing demand on shelters.

“Every shelter is across the state is reporting at and over capacity,” Kuhn says. “It’s always important that we’re looking at multiple sources of data to understand a complex issue like homelessness.”

 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has released a report into a series of non-fatal overdoses at the state's sole residential youth addiction treatment center last month.

The report says that most of the overdoses at the Granite Pathways Youth Treatment Center in Manchester were from a drug that one resident smuggled in after visiting their family over the weekend of November 23.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Federal officials are still looking into the causes of vaping-related deaths around the country, but in New Hampshire, schools are continuing to see a surge in teenage vaping.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a quarter of high schoolers here are vaping at least occasionally. That’s nearly twice the national average. And schools and public health advocates are struggling to find a way to get teenagers to stop.


Wikimedia Commons

 

Congress is expected to vote on a government spending bill this week that would allow money earmarked for opioid use disorder to be used to treat other addictions. The provision, authored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, comes in response to concerns that federal money coming into New Hampshire was too narrowly tailored to the opioid crisis.

John K via Flickr CC

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is sponsoring a bipartisan bill to restore tax-exempt status to water infrastructure projects, citing unexpected tax hikes in southern New Hampshire and across the country after the Republican-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The legislative Fiscal Committee voted today to block a $10 million grant from the federal government for public charter schools.

The funds would have been the first installment of a $46-million grant to help the New Hampshire Department of Education double the number of charter schools in the state over the next five years.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a stark ideological contrast between herself and political rivals on Thursday in a speech on her economic plans at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Merrimack Valley High School’s former mascot - a depiction of a Native American man in a headdress - will be removed from some parts of the school but remain in others. The compromise came after hours of public comments and discussion at a school board meeting on Monday night.

The school replaced its Native American mascot with a lion fifteen years ago, responding to concerns that the image was hurtful and offensive.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

After at least two overdoses by teenagers in their care, the state health department canceled its contract with the organization Granite Pathways, which was running a drug treatment facility at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Manchester's Board of Aldermen has given approval for the federal government to support refugee resettlement in the city.

President Trump issued an order earlier this fall requiring states and local municipalities to opt in by before federal funds go to support refugee resettlement agencies there. Governor Chris Sununu gave state-level consent last month. Municipalities have until December 20th to opt in.

The board of alderman in Manchester voted on Tuesday to do just that.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Governor Sununu signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at streamlining the process for schools to recoup costs of providing Medicaid-eligible services.

The order will expedite the licensing and credentialing process for providers who work in schools but lack a license as a Medicaid participating provider, thus making their services ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement. 

Courtesy of American Medical Response

 

More people in Manchester and Nashua have been using Narcan this year to revive someone who has overdosed on opioids

The data comes from American Medical Response, which provides emergency response services in southern New Hampshire.

AMR says that for the fourth consecutive month, a record number of people have used Narcan after an overdose before first responders arrive. 

Courtesy of SAU 55

 

The superintendent of the Hampstead and Timberlane School Districts is suing the SAU, alleging they failed to pay him appropriately for overtime hours.  

Dr. Earl Metzler is one of the highest paid superintendents in the state, and an unusual policy at SAU 55 allows him to bill the SAU for comp time accrued while working on non-scheduled workdays.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

New Hampshire is terminating its contract with the state's sole addiction treatment facility for youth and temporarily suspending all admissions after teenagers staying there overdosed and were rushed to the hospital earlier this week.

On Wednesday, DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers told reporters that swift action was neccessary against Granite Pathways, the organization running the center.

FILE

 

A former prosecutor fired by Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon is suing Conlon for wrongful termination.

NHPR Staff

 

A group of lawmakers is asking the New Hampshire Department of Education to respond to its concerns about a $46 million federal grant to expand public charter schools, before deciding whether to accept it.

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