Stats are mixed

The latest stats on the opioid epidemic in Manchester are out and there seems to be mixed news.  While May’s sixty three overdoses were thirty fewer than April’s ninety three, each month had eight overdose deaths.  There were also eight more suspected overdoses this May versus last May, which had fifty five overdoses and seven deaths.  In past releases, emergency response officials had cited concern with the increased potency of the drugs being used, including Carfentanyl, which is an elephant tranquilizer.  Year to date, there have been two hundred ninety seven suspected overdoses, including thirty one fatalities.  Last year to date, there’d been three hundred thirty one overdoses with forty eight fatalities.  Overall, year to date versus last year, overdoses are down by ten percent and fatalities are down by thirty five percent.

Numbers continue to grow

Meanwhile, addicts seeking help continue to pour into Manchester fire stations from across the state and nation.  People from nearly one hundred New Hampshire communities have accessed treatment through Manchester’s Safe Station program so far this year, including from multiple communities that have enacted their own version of the program.  Treatment seekers have also come from multiple states, including Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Nevada, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania.  Since the program launched last May, one thousand two hundred forty three people have accessed services through the program one time and two hundred seventy eight people have made a total of five hundred three visits in search of help for a total of one thousand seven hundred forty six visits.  Ages of those seeking treatment have ranged from eighteen to seventy.

Gatsas: Where’s the money?

For those who still, incredibly, believe this is a quote un quote “Manchester problem,” of the one thousand five hundred twenty one unique individuals that have come through Safe Station, only five hundred thirty seven, or thirty five percent, have been Manchester residents.  It would seem the Queen City is shouldering a statewide burden.  This has become a source of frustration for Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas who, in our weekly interview last Wednesday, expressed exasperation that funds appropriated by the state still haven’t found their way to the agencies serving the addicts.  We’ve linked to the interview.  It should be remembered that the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen has allocated significant resources to Serenity Place to keep them from going under in the face of the onslaught of people looking for help.

Gatsas also said that finding transitional housing for people in recovery had reached a critical stage if efforts to help addicts get clean are to continue.  Gatsas said some sort of supervised group housing was needed to keep people from returning to the neighborhoods where they’ve obtained their drugs.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Gatsas raises big questions

In his weekly interview here on Girard at Large last Wednesday, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas raised concerns about the amended version of Senate Bill 1 9 1 which passed the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week.  Gatsas, who testified in favor of the original bill, which targeted aid to communities with full day kindergarten, questioned whether or not legislators had read the bill because it raised more questions than it answered.  The bill legalizes Keno and uses the revenue to provide the additional kindergarten funding. 

How will this work?

Having now read the bill at the mayor’s invitation, we can confirm that, if it passes, the additional eleven hundred dollars in per pupil funding won’t be available to local school districts until Fiscal Nineteen, which is the eighteen – nineteen school year, not the coming one.  He was also correct in his assertion that, while the bill does designate that eight percent of the revenues generated will be paid to the establishments that host the Keno machines, it doesn’t say how much money will be paid out to players versus paid into the Education Trust Fund from which the additional kindergarten funds will be paid.

Gatsas: Will we have “donor towns?”

Because the bill requires local communities to put Keno on the ballot for public approval before the machines can go into establishments within a city or town, Gatsas also asked what happens if a community rejects Keno.  Will they get state funding or will only those communities that approve Keno get the funding?  Gatsas questioned whether or not communities that approved Keno would become donor towns to those that don’t if every community with full day kindergarten shares in the revenues generated.  Gatsas also asked what happens if the revenue generated by Keno is insufficient to cover the cost of additional funding.  We’ve linked to the interview from this news read at Girard at Large dot com.

Sununu: Request granted by President Trump

Governor Christopher Sununu announced that President Donald Trump has granted his request for a major disaster declaration in Belknap and Carroll counties in response to the severe winter storm that occurred on March 14th and 15th.  Sununu said the storm significantly strained state and local resources.  The declaration provides local governments and private nonprofit organizations most heavily impacted by the storm access to federal help.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency working with state and local emergency management officials, recently completed a Preliminary Damage Assessment, finding that the statewide costs for response efforts related to this event were nearly two point two million dollars.

Councilor still wanted

The Hooksett Town Council is still seeking applicants to fill the vacant at-Large seat on the Town Council, term to expire June 30th, 2 0 1 8.  Candidates must be currentHooksett who have been in town for at least the past year.  We have all the info you need to submit your paperwork with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.

Submissions via mail should be addressed:  

  • Town of Hooksett, Attn: Town Council, 35 Main Street, Hooksett, NH 03106.
  • E-mail submissions should be addressed to [email protected] or to the Project Coordinator). 
  • Forms are available via www.hooksett.org, at the Town of Hooksett address above. 
  • Candidates are invited to attend Town Council’s 06/14/17 meeting at Council Chambers, 35 Main Street, Hooksett, NH @ 6:00pm at which time the Council will make their nomination/appointment for the At-Large Council Seat.
  • Questions should be directed to the Administration Department 603-485-8472.

That’s NEWS from our own backyard!  Girard at Large hour ___ is next!