On Friday, New Hampshire became the latest state to adopt a needle exchange program when Governor Christopher Sununu signed Senate Bill 2 3 4 into law. Though the bill was sponsored by District Six Senator James Gray, Republican of Rochester, its development and adoption was spearheaded by former State Rep. Dr. Joe Hannon, Republican of Barrington, whom we interviewed here on Girard at Large. We’ve linked to the interview so you can better understand how the new law will work.
In praising the bill’s becoming law, Gray issued a statement saying, quote:
“Many substance users are contracting blood borne, preventable diseases as a result of used needles. Identifying this as a significant public health concern, we worked with stakeholders to look at the best way for our state to establish a needle exchange program in New Hampshire through this legislation.”
Gray said the program will offer some legal protections for those using illicit substances, allowing them to dispose of syringes with trace amounts of drugs to obtain clean syringes. He also said that substance users will have to enter treatment and recovery programs in the state.
Following his signing of the bill, Sununu issued a statement simply saying, quote:
“The drug crisis is the most serious public health and safety issue facing New Hampshire and it remains critical that we continue supporting investments and resources in law enforcement, but also in prevention, treatment and recovery programs, which is why I am proud to sign SB 234 into law today, establishing a statewide needle exchange program. There is no doubt that this bill will save lives.”
James Hodgkinson, the man who shot up a baseball field full of Republican congressmen and senators and their staffs and family members last week, had a “kill list” on him as he took aim that fateful morning. According to published reports by WorldNet Daily and Fox News, the names included representatives:
- Mo Brooks of Alabama
- Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
- Trent Franks of Arizona
- Scot DesJarlais of Tennessee
- Jim Jordan of Ohio, and
- Morgan Griffith of Virginia
All six are members of the House Freedom Caucus and all were present at the ball park when Hodgkinson opened fire. That, say some, indicates the attack was a pre-planned political assassination rather than a random act of rage. The F B I also recovered a computer, camera, and cellphone from Hodgkinson’s car, whichare still being processed, according to a statement released on June 15th.
Meanwhile, Congressman Steve Scalise, who was near fatally wounded in the assassination attempt, has improved after several surgeries. Hospital officials announced his condition was upgraded from critical to serious over the weekend.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen is poised to do an about face on an action it took two weeks ago to shut down Lowell Street from Elm to Church streets on Friday and Saturday nights. At the time, Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann took some heat from Ward Three Alderman and Board Chair Patrick Long, for opposing the proposal, saying it didn’t look like Long had done enough homework to see if all those affected by the closure were okay with it. Long said he was taking the word of the owner of Penuche’s Grill that he’d done the necessary legwork and obtained the approval of the businesses and restaurants that would be impacted.
Well, it appears as if President Ronald Reagan’s mantra of “Trust but Verify” should have been followed.
At a special meeting tomorrow night at five, the board will revisit the issue as a letter sent by Gamache Enterprises, Gale Motor Company, The Mint Bistro, McGarvey’s, The Wild Rover, The Pint Publik House and The Red Arrow asked the board to reverse course and leave the street open. In the letter, the establishments said that they weren’t contacted about the road closure and didn’t consent. They said they were strongly opposed to the closure because it would would cut off an access to their parking, create public safety concerns and create logistical difficulties, quote:
“given the high congestion of patrons in the area consuming alcoholic beverages.”
At the time it was before the board, Mayor Ted Gatsas raised concerns over the move, reminding everybody about the fiasco that ensued after the board voted to close Hanover Street between Chestnut and Elm, at the request of the same restaurant owner who didn’t check with all the businesses he said he checked with. Long remembered, but said it wasn’t up to him to run around and do that work, but to take the word of the business owner in question. Gatsas also asked Long if anybody’d checked with the new ownership of the former Amoskeag Bank building to see if they had any concerns over the closure of Hanover St. given its change in use from commercial to residential. Long said he hadn’t, but that he would.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Liberty Utilities (Energy North Natural Gas) vs. City of Manchester. The court upheld the city’s right to assess degradation fees against public utility companies that cut open roads for maintenance and repair work because it compromises its integrity and escalates the need for maintenance. The court also ruled that the city can impose an enhanced degradation fee for roadways that have been reconstructed or rehabilitated within five years.
Following the ruling, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who launched the suit seven years ago with the support of the Board of Aldermen, issued a statement saying he was pleased with the outcome. Quote:
“This is a big win for the taxpayers of Manchester and means that we will be able to make a bigger investment into the repaving, reconstruction and rehabilitation of city roads.”
Gatsas said there was about three million dollars in unspent roadway degradation fees that have been collected and held since the ordinance was imposed. Now that the court has ruled, Gatsas said he’s asked the Department of Public Works to come forward with a proposal to allocate the additional funds to roadwork around the city and set some of the money aside to build reserves for future needs.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!