The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has concluded an investigation into whether or not former State Representative Kyle Tasker, Republican from Nottingham, sold drugs to other state reps. Tasker was picked up by police in Nottingham on March 1st for online solicitation of a minor and possession with intent to distribute. At the time, the thirty year old Tasker was in his third term as a state rep. Police found evidence that Tasker was an organized drug dealer, peddling marijuana, hash, psilocybin mushrooms, the narcotic buprenorphine, and Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). He was charged with multiple felonies for drug dealing and online solicitation.
The A G’s office launched the investigation into whether or not Tasker was dealing drugs at the State House, after receiving information that he had been. The investigation reviewed sixty five thousand pages of information obtained from Facebook and conducted several interviews and concluded that Tasker did, in fact, sell marijuana to four state reps, including Shem Kellogg, Republican from Plaistow, Joe Lachance, Republican from Manchester Ward One, Pamela Tucker, Republican from Greenland, and Ted Wright, Republican from Sanbornville.
Kellogg is believed to have purchased marijuana from Tasker to help alleviate the pain of colon cancer. He passed away in June and was not interviewed.
- Lachance made multiple marijuana purchases from Tasker, even bringing friends who bought from Tasker in various places including each others homes. Lachance, a medical marijuana card holder, said that he needed marijuana to help with chronic pain and other conditions caused by a spinal injury, gastrointestinal illness and P T S D associated with his military service.
- Tucker who bought marijuana from Tasker once, said she was having personal issues.
Wright purchased from Tasker to provide marijuana to his wife, who was battling cancer.
- In addition to those who bought pot, Amanda Bouldin, Democrat from Manchester Ward Five, admitted to smoking marijuana with Tasker in his car.
No charges were brought by the A G, citing the limited immunity granted to the interviewees and their belief that a jury would not convict based on the evidence obtained.
The latest stats from Manchester on the opioid crisis are out and there seems to be improvement. For the second month in a row, the number of overdose calls have decreased versus the same period last year, according to the Manchester Fire Department. This September, firefighters were called to the scene of sixty three overdoses, five of which were fatal. Last September, they were called to one hundred two overdose scenes, of which ten were fatal. August and September were the first two months to see any year over year decline for overdose calls since the crisis began.
The fire department also released updated statistics on the Safe Stations Initiative. Since it began on May 4th, five hundred thirty four people from seventy seven New Hampshire communities and three states have gone to a Manchester fire station seeking help with their addiction. Only two hundred seven of them have come from the city, meaning sixty one percent of those helped come from outside of the city.
In releasing the stats, Manchester Fire’s Emergency Services Director Christopher Hickey said the department had received bulletins from the NH State Police warning of even more powerful drugs hitting the streets, such as CARFENTANIL and FURANILFENTANYL which are one hundred to two hundred times stronger than the fentanly currently out on the street and are extremely hazardous to emergency personnel who can accidentally overdose just by coming into contact with the drugs. Yikes! We’ve uploaded the complete data from Manchester Fire for your review.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Today is the first day Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Manchester’s new superintendent of schools, will be on the job. Vargas was elected by the Board of School Committee on September 24th, subject to the successful negotiation of contract terms and a satisfactory legal review of the contract by both parties. Manchester’s attorney suggested a couple of language changes, which were approved by Vargas’ lawyer early on Friday morning. Vargas came into town over the weekend and is expected to put pen to paper and authorize the paperwork today, as is Mayor Ted Gatsas, whose concerns that the state Department of Education might not certify him in time to begin on October 1st, as called for in the contract, were also allayed last week as Vargas’s certification was fast tracked through the bureaucracy.
Vargas accepted the position at an annual salary of one hundred sixty five thousand dollars, the starting point on the advertised salary range and offered to pay twenty five percent of his health insurance premium, though the district’s initial contract offer required him to only pay twenty percent. The contract also requires Vargas and the Board to come to mutually agreed to terms should he wish to depart in advance of the two year contract’s termination date.
Sixty Eight year old Sandown Volunteer Fireman Jerry Lachance successfully completed the bicycle trip that started at the New Hampshire-Canada border on September 3rd and ended on Friday at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, FL. Jerry made the trip to raise money for Ride 2 Recovery, a service organization that builds bicycles for disabled vets to help them get around and provide them with hope and purpose. Jerry was supported along the way by fellow firefighters who treated him like family, providing lodging, meals and camaraderie. In many locations Jerry was supported by other cycling enthusiasts who rode with him along the way and provided mental support, snacks and gear.
Jerry rode his bicycle about seventy five to one hundred miles per day, arriving at Sloppy Joe’s at about 5:00 on Friday, twenty seven days after he started. Supporters were able to watch Jerry arrive live via Sloppy Joe’s online Web cams. He was greeted and escorted into town by Key West Fire and was met at the red carpet by his wife Barbara, his sister, his daughter and her family as well as other friends who traveled from Sandown to surprise him upon his arrival. Jerry’s nearly doubled his initial fund raising goal and donations can still be made to this worthy cause. We’ve got the link, of course.
Congrats to Timberlane Regional School Board Member Donna Green and former Hooksett School Board membr, Budget Committee Chairman and community watchdog, the late David Pearl. They are this year’s recipients of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication’s First Amendment Award. I can think of none better as they’ve battled relentlessly in pursuit of open, transparent government, making known much of what others had tried to keep hidden!
That’s news from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!