Hickey: Trend improving

The latest statistics on the opioid epidemic in Manchester were released on Friday night.  Manchester Fire Department Emergency Medical Services Officer Christopher Hickey reported things have been trending steadily lower compared to 2 0 1 5.  Since August, there’s been a noteworthy decline in the number of overdose calls.  Nonetheless, there have been seven hundred thirty eight overdose calls since the first of the year and the department has administered Narcan at five hundred thirty four of them.  There have been eighty nine fatalities, which is about one for every eight overdoses. 

November finished with forty seven overdoses and six deaths versus fifty eight overdoses and five deaths last year.  The hardest hit areas of the city, according to Hickey, are the response areas around the Amory Street Fire Station, Sommerville Street Fire Station and Central Fire Station.  Interestingly, forty eight overdose victims have been found in parked vehicles while twenty have been found actually driving.

Big numbers

Hickey also released updated stats on the Safe Station initiative.  As of Friday, there had been eight hundred seventy four visits by addicts to a Manchester fire station.  Seventy one were taken to the hospital, three hundred forty seven were taken to Hope for N H Recovery and four hundred fifty six were taken to Serenity Place.  Of the eight hundred seventy four visits,  two hundred three came from people who had gone there more than once.  Just three hundred ten visits have come from Manchester residents.  The rest have come from ninety three other New Hampshire communities and from eighteen communities in Massachusetts, six in Maine, and one each from Connecticut and Alabama.  Yes, you heard that right Alabama; Birmingham, in fact.

Peak time for Safe Station visits is from eleven to noon and between the hours of two in the afternoon until about eight o’clock at night.

Bryfonski: Winter weather tips

As temperatures drop and the winter driving season is upon us, Bedford Chief John J. Bryfonski issued an advisory for residents and commuters to drive carefully and be aware of all snow emergency plans in town.  In order to prevent accidents and ensure your vehicle’s safety on the road and at home this winter season, Bryfonski suggested various safety tips, including: 

  • Allowing extra time for travel.
  • Never running a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.  (Good advice for using generators, too.)
  • Making certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Keeping your gas tank at least half full.
  • NOT using cruise control while on any slippery surface.
  • And to always look and steer where you want to go.

Bryfonski said New Hampshire law requires drivers to keep windshields and car surfaces free of frost and snow, so be sure to completely clear your vehicle.  He also urged pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists to take extra caution during inclement weather, saying they should always wear bright and reflective clothing any time of the day or night.

Additionally, Bryfonski reminded residents of Bedford’s Winter Parking Ban.  No one is allowed to park any vehicle on any public street until April first between the hours of Midnight and eight or at any time during which it may interfere with snow removal operations.  Expect to be towed if you do.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Receives big matching donation grant

The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, has received a one hundred thousand dollar matching grant from an anonymous donor.  The donor, who has made similar matching grant in the past two years, will match any monetary donation dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year, to a maximum of one hundred thousand dollars.  The donation provides a critical opportunity to raise two hundred thousand dollars, which would provide four hundred thousand meals to support the nearly one hundred forty thousand New Hampshire residents, including more than forty one thousand children, who do not know where their next meal is coming from.  To take part in this matching opportunity, please visit n h food bank dot org slash spirit.

Until the meeting anyway

The Derry Town Council will host a workshop with the Economic Development Advisory Committee tomorrow night in the Derry Municipal Center starting at five forty five.  The purpose of the workshop is to review and act upon Buxton Company’s proposed Retail Recruitment Solution.  We’d like to tell you more, but in the best tradition of the town of Derry, no supporting documentation was on the meeting’s agenda.

Vargas: Lots to talk about

The Manchester Board of School Committee will meet tonight in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall starting at seven.  On the agenda are several items from Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas, whose reports include “increasing and improving learning,” updates on the district budget and efforts to evaluate the district’s and assessment practices, follow up on substance abuse education and building repairs and maintenance and an item regarding transportation for the Career and Technical Education program.

Public forums set

Speaking drug education, remember that initiative to embed anti-drug messages into the Manchester School District’s curriculum?  You know, the one where Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said it had to be approved by the board before it, or the public, could know what materials were being provided to teachers?  Well, the public forum the board mandated be held after approval has been scheduled.  In fact, three have been scheduled for this week, one at each high school.  The fun starts tomorrow night at Central High, Wednesday is  Memorial’s and the tour wraps up on Thursday at West.  Each forum starts at six o’clock and will be held in each school’s auditorium.  The district has also made the materials provided to the teachers available to the public on the district’s Web site.  We’ve got the link.  This initiative applies to grades six through twelve, so middle and high school parents will want to take a look and provide their feedback.

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