Fire officials in Manchester are marking a milestone that is as concerning as it is celebratory. On Thursday, the Fire Department’s Safe Station program welcomed the two thousandth visit by an addict. According to Emergency Medical Services Officer Christopher Hickey, that marker was reached amidst what he called a “surge of intakes,” which he said has been averaging six to seven per day. He considered that good news, especially since most of those visiting were new to the program, as opposed to being repeat clients. Hickey also said that, despite its bad start, the number of overdoses in July had slowed considerably. As of Friday, there had been forty seven overdoses and one death. Last July, there were eighty one overdoses and eight deaths.
Despite that good news, there was some that was unwelcome. According to Hickey, there’s been quote “quite an increase in SPICE” and that the Manchester Police Department is quote “taking the necessary enforcement actions.” We’ll get more details about that and OOOHHH sooo much more when Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard joins us in studio tomorrow morning in the six o’clock hour.
Confusion and controversy over the enforcement of New Hampshire’s new voter law has hopefully been put to rest by a memorandum issued by Associate New Hampshire’s Attorney General Anne Edwards to moderators in the towns and city wards of Senate District Sixteen, in which there will be a special election tomorrow. In the memo, Edwards wrote that, quote:
“identification cards presented that do not have a photograph on them shall not be accepted under any circumstances as a valid voter identification.”
Apparently, Edwards issued the letter to correct instructions the A G’s office gave to election officials during a special election in Concord last week where it said non-photo I D could be accepted. The current law, as did the prior law, allows people who won’t show photo I D or proof of address to fill out a challenged voter affidavit and vote. However, unlike the prior law, those who fill out the purple piece of non-public paper will have to return to the clerk’s office in their city or town to provide proof of address and or identity or potentially face prosecution. Among the legal forms of photo I D accepted by the law is a student I D or an expired photo identification so long as it’s within five years of expiration.
After Edwards released the letter, the law’s primary author, District Nineteen State Senator Regina Birdsell, Republican from Hampstead, issued a statement thanking them for, quote:
“promptly correcting their previous decision to allow non-photo IDs during this past Tuesday’s special election in Concord and for providing further clarification of allowable forms of identification. New Hampshire law clearly states that election moderators may authorize forms of identification not specifically listed in statute as long as they include a photo.”
We’ve posted the letter with this news read so you can get a sense for just how stupid this new law is, all due respect to those involved, of course.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Well, the filing period for elective office in Manchester closed Friday at five P M and there are a number of surprises and races of interest on the ballot.
Mayor Ted Gatsas will again face a September primary that includes former Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig and perennial candidate Glenn Ouellette. Newcomer Joshua Dallaire also filed for mayor.
At-Large school board incumbents Rich Girard and Nancy Tessier and aldermanic incumbents Joe Kelly Levasseur and Dan O’Neil have no opposition in their reelection bids. All four will be back for another term.
In Ward One:
- There will be a primary for alderman as incumbent Kevin Cavanaugh will square off with former Ward Three School Committeeman Christopher Stewart and newcomer Jeffrey Nyhan.
- Former State Rep. Joe Lachance will be on the ballot opposite incumbent Sarah Ambrogi for school board in November.
In Ward Two:
- It looks like a free for all in the race for alderman with five candidates on the ballot in September, including Welfare Commissioner Paul R. R. Martineau, chamber executive Will Stewart, former school board member Bob O’Sullivan, Timberlane Teachers Association President Ryan Richmann and Thomas Svoleantopoulos.
- For school board, incumbent Debra Langton will be challenged by liberal activist and teacher David Scannell in November.
Ward Three features:
- A race for alderman in November between incumbent Patrick Long and restaurant owner Tim Baines, son of former Mayor Bob Baines, that will have all eyes on it.
- That one promises to be hard fought. On the school side, first time incumbent Mary Ngwanda Georges faces a challenge from Phillip Harris.
Ward Four, no doubt, will be of interest too as:
- embattled incumbent Christopher Herbert once again faces a challenge from Steve Mathieu. We’ll know a lot about this race early, as the addition of Jason Hodgden to the line up means there’s a primary.
- For school board, vulnerable incumbent Leslie Want faces Mark Flanders in a rematch.
In Ward Five:
- Alderman Tony Sapienza picked up a challenger on the final day, Cameron Barr of Central Street.
- First time incumbent Lisa Freeman faces Kathy Staub, who was defeated in her at-large reelection bid last time out for school board.
In Ward Six:
- Elizabeth Ann Moreau, Ryan Van Orden and Peter Macone, all newcomers, will battle for alderman in the September primary.
- Incumbent Dan Bergeron filed for reelection on the very last day. He’ll face our technology guru Jon DiPietro and a fellow named Ernesto Pinder in the primary.
In Ward Seven:
- For the first time in memory, Ward Seven Alderman Bill Shea has a primary. Brian Cole and Brenda Noiseux are challenging him.
- For school board, incumbent Ross Terrio will be challenged by Ethan Moorehouse.
In Ward eight:
- There is a primary for alderman between former alderman, state senator and firefighter Betsy DeVries, second time candidate Ed Sapienza and newcomer John Cataldo on the September ballot.
- For school board, apparently being on the ballot in the concurrent special election for state rep. wasn’t enough for incumbent Erika Connors. She filed on the last day and will face Jimmy Lehoux, whom she narrowly defeated two years ago.
In Ward Nine:
- Alderman Barbara Shaw has a race that will garner citywide attention as she faces former Manchester and current Hooksett Fire Chief Jim Burkush and newcomer Michael Ricker.
- Arthur Beaudry is unopposed for school board and will serve another term.
On the West Side, Ward Ten:
- Features two key match ups this November as Manchester City Republican Committee Chairman and former State Rep. Tammy Simmons will challenge incumbent Bill Barry.
- Long time school board member John Avard faces a challenge from newcomer Thomas McGee.
In Ward Eleven:
- A four man race for alderman features three heavy hitters and a newcomer to the ward. IncumbentNormand Gamache will face former Alderman and School Committeeman Russell Ouellette and former Ward Twelve Alderman and State Rep. Armand Forest. Andre Rosa is also in the race.
- For school board, incumbent Kate Desrochers picked up a challenger in Alexander Avery of Cartier St.
Ward Twelve will see primaries for both alderman and school board.
- Incumbent Alderman Keith Hirschmann will face perennial candidate, State Rep. Joel Elber, newcomer Hassan Essa and newcomer Jonathan Barrett of English Village Road.
- For school board, incumbent Constance Van Houten picked up two challengers on the final day. Former State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez filed for the seat as did newcomer Kelly Ann Thomas of Waterford Way.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!