At last night’s meeting of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Ward Four Alderman Christopher Herbert proposed a Special Committee on Establishing a Manchester Public Bank. The purpose is to educate the aldermen on the benefits and challenges of establishing one. Herbert explained that public banks charge little to no interest on loans and are primarily used to support the interests of the city and taxpayers. The Manchester Public Bank would save the city money on projects it bonds, but would not be available to individual citizens. This committee will do the research and report back on whether a public bank would be beneficial. Herbert will chair the committee and be joined by aldermen Kevin Cavanaugh of Ward One, Ron Ludwig of Ward Two, Bill Barry of Ward Ten and at-Large Alderman Dan O’Neil. The special committee was approved with aldermen Nick Pappas of Ward Six, Keith Hirschmann of Ward Twelve and at-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur opposed. Ward Eight Alderman Tom Katsiantonis was absent and did not vote.
Also last night, the Manchester Fire Department released an updated fact sheet on the opioid epidemic. Levasseur expressed concern over the state legislature taking away the authority of police to arrest opioid addicts. The fact sheet did not report how many overdose calls the police responded to of the one hundred twenty three in the past two months, but it did note they only arrested one person at the scene of an overdose. Levasseur criticized the police department’s inability or unwillingness to arrest users saying he expected that to change after the department swears in fifteen new officers later this month.
In response, Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said the department responded to ninety eight of the overdose calls and confirmed that only one case led to an arrest. He explained the department’s “hands are tied” because state law says they do not have the authority to arrest drug addicts unless they are in possession of needles or selling. Levasseur thought that ridiculous, noting that people get arrested for D W I all the time and they don’t quote “have beers in their hands when they’re driving.”
The conversation turned to fentanyl as a more dangerous drug than heroin. Mayor Ted Gatsas reiterated his oft made call to up the penalties for selling fentanyl saying quote: “Something must be done… if you’re caught dealing fentanyl, you should be arrested for attempted murder because that’s what that does.” Gatsas went on to say the penalties for dealing have to be severe enough that dealers would avoid the city and state.
O’Neil said he thought it was great to talk about enforcement, but that it was only one piece of the puzzle. Quote “We need more money for prevention and education. We need beds and money for beds. We are not going to enforce our way out of this. We need all three components. We need commitments from the legislature for education, treatment, and enforcement.”
Levasseur suggested significantly raising the rewards people receive from Crimeline if they report on dealers. Levasseur believes that increasing the reward from approximately fifteen hundred dollars to five thousand or even ten would give users more incentive to report their dealers. He worried about giving them the cash directly, though, fearing it might feed their habit and suggested that using the reward funds to pay for their treatment might be a better option.
There was OOOHHH sooo much more and you can get all the details from the Live Blog Forum capably chronicled by our very own Melanie Friese under Oh My BLOG! at Girard at Large dot com. We’ve linked to it from this newscast for your convenience.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
40 Days for Life, a pro-life advocacy group, is holding a candlelight prayer vigil on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00. The event will take place in the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood Clinic on Pennacook Street in Manchester. They will provide candles and serve light refreshments. Visit 40 days for life dot com slash Manchester for more information.
The Manchester V A Medical Center is hosting two town halls in March for veterans, family members and the public. The purpose is for the V A to get feedback and recommendations on their operations. The meeting will be an open forum for veterans to ask questions and discuss their healthcare and benefits with V A officials. Both meetings will be held in the Training and Education Room at the Medical Center on Smyth Road. The first is March 10th from 3 to 4: 30. The second is March 15th from 5 to 6: 30.
Super Tuesday has come and gone and it was, well, super! Donald Trump roared on the Republican side with hard fought victories in Vermont, Virginia and Arkansas and outright landslides in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Massachusetts. Texas Senator Ted Cruz scored a narrow victory in Alaska, seems to have won a confused Colorado, scored a solid win in Oklahoma and blew away all comers in Texas. Florida Senator Marco Rubio managed to win Minnesota with a solid margin.
For the Democrats, Hillary left Bernie babbling in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas. She narrowly beat him in Massachusetts, which had to hurt. Sanders racked up the biggest margin of any contest so far in his home state of Vermont, where he took over eighty six percent of the vote and also won big victories in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado where he racked up substantial margins.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.