The Joint Task Force for the Response to the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in New Hampshire elected Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, Republican from Wolfeboro, chair and House Majority Leader Richard Hinch, Republican from Merrimack, vice chair. Following the meeting, at which they took copious testimony from a variety of people, the pair issued a statement saying quote
“The presentations… helped ensure that all legislators have a well-rounded understanding of the complexities within the heroin and opioid epidemic facing our state.”
Their release also announced the creation of subdivisions of the task force, each of which will address specific parts of its mission. We’ve posted the document identifying who’s doing what, as well as when and where they’re doing it, with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
According to Bradley, quote
“Our goal throughout the Task Force’s division meetings starting next week will be to find common ground on issues like tougher penalties for Fentanyl and expanding the reach of the State Police’s mobile enforcement teams among others. The division meetings will allow the legislature to draft proposals that have gone through a strict initial vetting process, resulting in strong and effective legislation that will be poised to move quickly through the legislative and public hearing process in January.”
The task force is charged with addressing:
- The current criminal penalties for the possession and distribution of fentanyl;
- Requiring insurance companies to use the same evaluation criteria for substance abuse treatment and removing prior authorization requirements;
- Mandating greater use of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and upgrading its technology;
- Continuing medical education relating to prescribing schedule II, III and IV drugs;
- Providing a statewide drug court grant program
- Expanding the reach of State Police’s new mobile enforcement teams.
The Merrimack Police Department has announced it will be conducting extra patrols starting this holiday weekend through the Christmas shopping season at the Merrimack Premium Outlets. Police are urging shoppers to be vigilant as they go about their business. They’ve distributed a list of safety tips they encourage people to make use of as they’re out and about acquiring the stuff that will end up in stockings and under trees. We’ve published their post at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this news read. Like them, we encourage you to take a minute to review them. As always, police urge you to “say something if you see something.”
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Just some bizarre news coming out of the Timberlane Regional School District. At the last meeting of its school board, board member Donna Green from Sandown asked the district to provide school by school data from the Smarter Balanced Assessment after a presentation of its district-wide data from administrators. That request was rebuffed by Superintendent Earl Metzler who said no presentation would be made on the individual schools until the spring, when each school presents its “action plans.” Metzler said the schools were “drilling down” on the data to understand the results and that to present them at this time would be quote “illogical,” even though they’d just given a presentation on the district’s scores as a whole.
What makes this bizarre is that during the discussion, Executive Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Learning Deb Armfield told the board that the individual school data was available on the state Department of Education’s Web site. So, while a motion to get the data passed, the Timberlane Regional School Board will have no presentation on the individual school scores until some undefined time in the Spring, which, of course, will likely be after the district’s school board elections in March, despite their admission that it it already publicly available.
Just one year after the historic Thanksgiving snowstorm caused the fourth worst outage in New Hampshire history, Eversource took the wraps off new, state-of-the art facilities that use the latest technology to maintain reliability, respond to power outages and relay information more quickly during significant events.
The new Integrated Electric Operations Center puts all aspects of electric system operations and outage response under one roof. In addition to assessing outage reports and dispatching line crews, control center operators are able to remotely isolate trouble spots and reroute power around them by strategically implementing Distribution Automation technology that Eversource continues to install around the state. This grid modernization technology is capable of dramatically lessening the impact of a power outage, bringing many customers back on line within minutes of an interruption.
Eversource has also expanded its Incident Command Center, which opens during significant outage events, to ensure a coordinated and integrated approach to restoration, and recently launched a new enterprise Outage Management System. This state-of-the-art technology will provide greatly enhanced outage information, including estimated restoration times.
Local philanthropist Stephen Singer is making a personal plea for your help this holiday season. Bell ringers for the iconic Salvation Army Kettle Campaign are desperately needed starting this weekend. Singer is asking folks to take an hour or two from their busy schedule, maybe with your spouse, kids or grandkids, neighbors or friends, to ring the bell for those in need. Singer says it’s a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in our community and that it gets you into the real spirit of the holiday season. If you’d like to volunteer your time, please call or email Roxy Baker at 6 9 5 9 3 0 1 or at roxy baker @ merchants fleet dot com. Your support and partnership would be greatly appreciated.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!