Sarah Gibson | New Hampshire Public Radio

Sarah Gibson

Reporter, Education & Demographics

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on New Hampshire's demographics and education.

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.

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The Portsmouth coffeehouse Breaking New Grounds is closing its doors after January 3.

On Friday, owner Matt Govoni announced on Facebook that he and his wife were selling the coffeehouse 25 years after they moved to Portsmouth to start it.

The prime Market Square spot will soon be under the ownership of Salem-based Tuscan Brands, which plans to turn it into an Italian cafe and market.

More than 600 customers - and counting - have responded to Govoni's post, remembering everything from the German Butter Cake to falling in love over coffee.

Manchester School District

 

The way the state helps school districts cover the cost of public education will be on the agenda in the New Hampshire State House next year.

The state currently provides $3,636 per student - called "adequacy aid" - to districts, and sends supplemental aid for English language learners, students with special education needs, and students in poverty.

A proposal this fall from legislators on the Committee to Study Education Funding and the Cost of an Opportunity for an Adequate Education would bump adequacy funding to nearly $4,000 for every student.

Courtsey of Paul Lindemann

 

 

Several towns in southern New Hampshire will be celebrating their tricentennial in 2019.

The settlement of Nutfield - now known as Derry, Londonderry, and Windham - became the first inland settlement of Europeans in the Merrimack Valley in 1719.

It comprised 16 Scots Irish families who had fled religious persecution in their hometown of Aghadowey, in the Irish County of Londonderry.

Appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

 

The ACLU of New Hampshire and the Union Leader Corporation have filed a right-to-know lawsuit against the town of Salem.

Flickr, Courtesy of dfirecop

 

New Hampshire saw around a 40 percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2018, reaching the highest number in over a decade.

As of December 26, the numbers from the Department of Safety put the total of fatal crashes to 129, and the number of deaths from those crashes to 142.

The test results for New Hampshire schools are in: proficiency in Math and English Language Arts are above the national average in most districts, and science scores are on the rise.

According to the N.H. Department of Education's annual report on student performance in state assessments, 58 percent of students are proficient at English, and 48 percent proficient at math.

Courtesy of Erin Pettengill

A program developed in Manchester that supports children in trauma is spreading to other New Hampshire towns.

The program - called “Adverse Childhood Experience Response Teams” (ACERT's) - helps police connect social workers to kids who have recently witnessed a traumatic event, such as domestic violence or an overdose.

Courtesy of New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness

 

Homelessness in New Hampshire has grown over the past two years, even as the state's economy has boomed.

 

A report from The New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness says the number of homeless people in the state increased by 10 percent between 2016 and 2018 to a total of 1,450 people.

 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth, and Families wants to hire 57 more child protection service workers over the next two years.

The budget request comes after a steady increase in the number of investigations the agency is handling, and the number of children it is placing in foster care.

In a presentation to the legislative Children’s Caucus on Wednesday, DCYF director Joe Ribsam said that in 2014 the agency handled around 9,000 investigations into potential child neglect and abuse; now it's handling over 12,000.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Even if countries cut greenhouse gas emissions immediately, New Hampshire will get warmer and wetter within the next three decades, and towns need to plan accordingly.

That was the topic of Nashua's first Resilient Nashua Summit, which the city hosted Tuesday as part of a year-long initative to gather input on its plan for dealing with natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. 

File Photo, NHPR

A former principal in Manchester has filed a wrongful termination and whistleblower lawsuit against the Manchester School District SAU 37. 

Sarah Lynch alleges she was wrongfully fired from Webster Elementary School in October and is seeking compensatory damages from the District and its superintendent, Dr. Bolgen Vargas, and assistant superintendent, Amy Allen.

Sarah Gibson / New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire continues to rank among the hardest-hit states in the opioid crisis. Gov. Chris Sununu and state health officials are now investing heavily in a new system they say will significantly improve care for those struggling with addiction. This so-called "hub and spoke" plan kicks off at the start of the new year. Now, with that launch date just weeks away, NHPR’s Britta Greene and Sarah Gibson having been reporting on how the effort is taking shape. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Police departments throughout the U.S. are struggling with recruitment and retention, and New Hampshire is no different.

 

national survey this year by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence found that police vacancies were the top most difficult positions to fill for jurisdictions.

 

Currently, New Hampshire police departments are trying to fill an estimated 40 vacancies. 

Courtesy of N.H. DOE

The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with the New Hampshire National Guard's Counter Drug Task Force to improve substance use prevention and intervention for students.

On Dec. 6th, the N.H. DOE and the National Guard signed a 9-year Memorandum of Understanding outlining the partnership.

This is the country's first such agreement between the two groups.

Appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan is resigning after an internal audit revealed widespread problems in the department.

The audit found the department mishandled investigations, failed to follow through with citizen complaints, and was inconsistent in timekeeping and pay.

Salem placed Donovan on leave for two days in August over disagreements with Town Manager Chris Dillon, but he had returned to his post despite ongoing disputes with the town.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

 

The town of Milford is considering leasing 120 acres of town property to a Manchester-based solar energy company.

 

The company, Granite Apollo, has signed a letter of intent to build a solar farm on the Brox property, a former industrial site near Route 101 that used to produce gravel.

 

A group convened by the Governor to study whether schools should start after Labor Day says that despite concerns from educators, establishing a uniform school start date in September is feasible and would boost the state's economy.

(Scroll down to read the commission's full report)

Matty Ring/Flickr

The town of Salem has hired a “civilian administrator” to oversee ongoing improvements at the Salem Police Department after an audit identified significant problems there.

Brian Patullo, a former Chief of the Andover Police, has taken the new role of civilian administrator, which Town Manager Chris Dillon says will last “until most issues are addressed.”

Manchester School District

The Manchester School Board is considering clarifying its policies to prevent board members from using the school district listserv to contact students.

This comes after a controversy with school board member Richard Girard, who used the listserv to email a student who wrote an editorial for her high-school newspaper in support of the Manchester teachers’ union.

Girard is the chair of the contract negotiation team, which has been at an impasse with the teachers’ union since June.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Most of New Hampshire’s riverside mills and factories have closed. But they’ve left their mark - and in some cases, a lot of toxic waste.

For decades, Nashua has struggled with what to do with waste from the Mohawk Tannery, a factory that produced leather for sixty years. Now, the city is considering a private-public partnership to clean it up, but the details are still up for debate.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig got an early holiday present on Monday from a group of Webster Elementary School English language learners.

The students presented a book they've been preparing for the last few months in their immersive all-day ESL class.

The book opens with the words "We are Manchester Proud" and a photo of the students, who moved here within the last year from countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

After that, there are pages of photos of their new city, Manchester, that the students took themselves on walking tours.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

 

Two students from Hillside Elementary School in Berlin are petitioning the state to restore funding to Berlin's schools.

In the past few years, the loss of school stabilization aid to property-poor towns has left a hole in Berlin's annual school budget of over $200,000.

Flickr, Courtesy of christopdesoto

 

The Conway Police Department is asking for funding to arm its officers with Taser guns.

 

Many police departments in New Hampshire already use Taser guns, which pause a suspect by stunning them with an electric shock.

 

Edward Wagner, Conway's Chief of Police, says changes in policing and conversations with Axon, the company selling the Tasers, have convinced him it's time for a change.

 

Appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

 

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office and the Manchester Police Department are investigating police officers' use of force during a recent arrest.

Early Sunday morning, officers tasered two people and arrested four after a fight broke out at Bonfire, a downtown Manchester bar.

Flickr

 

Two stores in Massachusetts began selling recreational marijuana today, but police are reminding people in New Hampshire to be careful.

State law says someone can be arrested if they have more than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana and charged with a felony if they have over an ounce with intent to distribute.

NHPR File Photo

 

A commission of criminal justice experts convened by lawmakers has issued its recommendations for how New Hampshire should implement bail reform.

Among other things, it recommends that the courts keep track of whether defendants commit new offenses while out on bail; that the state pay bail commissioner fees if the defendant is indigent; that victims generally not be required to testify at a bail hearing; and that the state adopt a text messaging system to remind defendants about their court date.

A Conval Regional High School student allegedly involved in a school shooting threat last week is being held without bond in a Manchester jail.

According to police, Anthony Wheeler of Antrim posted a picture on Snapchat last week of another Conval student dressed up like one of the Columbine school shooters and holding guns.

A caption read: "Don’t go to school on Wednesday."

Police have not revealed whether the guns in the photo were real, but all district schools were closed on Wednesday as a result.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

New Hampshire stores that sell e-cigarettes are reacting to the Food and Drug Administration’s sweeping proposals to limit teen vaping.

The crackdown comes after a national report revealed a nearly 80 percent increase in the number of high-schoolers who vape.

Police in Manchester, Pelham, Nashua, and Concord are joining forces on Saturday to host a "Youth Forum for New Americans."

The event is the first time the police have organized this kind of event for young people, specifically targetting immigrants and refugees.

John Marasco is an Administrative Major with the New Hampshire State Police. He says the afternoon is meant to build relationships between the police and new Americans, particularly those who have had bad experiences with law enforcement in the past.

File photo

Police are investigating the death of a woman last weekend in a Manchester jail. 

 

Deatrah Reilly, 32, was found dead in her jail cell on Saturday after an apparent suicide.

Her mother, Lorri Moore, says Reilly struggled with drug addiction and depression.

She was arrested on outstanding warrants, including for drug possession. 

 

"She was in Valley Street Jail," says Moore. "Everyone told me leave her there - it will help her, it will save her life."

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