Voters in Manchester wards 8 and 9 and the town of Litchfield will go to the polls today for a primary election to fill the vacancy created by the death of State Rep. Andy Martel. On Republican side, former Ward 8 State Rep. Mark McLean of Manchester is up against former State Rep. George Lambert of Litchfield. Lambert held the seat before making a run for State Senate in the last election. James Morin and Ryan Curran of Manchester will square off on the Democrat’s side. The winners will face off in the special general election scheduled for May 23rd. McLean came into our Super Secret Broadcast Location above Jacques Flower Shop last week. We’ve linked to the interview.
The Governor and Council is soon expected to set a special election date to fill the vacancies caused by the deaths of District 16 State Senator Scott McGilvray, Democrat from Hooksett, and State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Republican from Manchester Ward 8. Former Republican Senator David Boutin of Hooksett, who retired the District 16 seat at the end of the last term, has announced he will again be a candidate for the seat he held for five terms. Hurray…not really.
Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut’s Brown Bag Tour of schools around the state comes to Manchester today. He’ll spend the entire day in the Queen City, starting with an interview here on the Girard at Large Radio Show at seven twenty. Edelblut will tour and meet with teachers and administrators at several schools, including Central, Beech Street, Parker Varney and Parkside. He’ll also meet with parents at the District Office, after which he’ll meet with the Board of School Committee starting at six thirty.
The Manchester Police Department announced it will increase distracted driver enforcement patrols this month as part of a nationwide campaign to draw attention to distracted driving. The cops say that, of the two point five million people in road accidents each year, over half involve cell phones. According to the department, drivers are twenty three times more likely to crash while texting and three times more likely while eating, drinking and adjusting the radio. They say one in four crashes is caused by texting and driving. Motorists are urged to leave their phones in “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving or to keep it out of reach. They also say to make seat adjustments prior to operating a vehicle and refrain from reaching for items while driving.
You can raise this and other public safety issues with Manchster Police Chief Nick Willard. He’ll be at the Dancing Lion Chocolate Shop on Elm Street from eleven to one to discuss your public safety concerns. Be sure to wish him and shop owner Richard Tango-Lowy a happy birthday. And, Yes, there will be plenty of chocolate cake to celebrate!
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Committee on Public Safety, Health and Traffic of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night and there was a lot of traffic on their brains. Up first was a discussion about how things were working in the city’s South End now that the gates and one way restrictions that had been installed to block access to Walmart had been removed. Seems all is working well. For the most part, the pressure put on President Road and Beech Hill Ave. has been alleviated, though both streets have traffic counts that are higher than before Walmart was built. While traffic has returned to Gold Street, it hasn’t reached pre-Walmart levels. Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw said all seemed to be running smoothly and that the situation should be left as is.
That didn’t deter former Lord Emperor, at-Large Alderman Dan O’Neil from raising a fuss over truck traffic on President Road. He said he gets daily emails complaining about it. Shaw disputed that saying it’s not that frequent and that she’s getting the same email he’s getting from the same one person. She also said the state needs to make changes to highway signage alerting trucks that there’s nowhere for them to go except South or back onto the highway if they use Exit 2. O’Neil blamed the U-Haul Truck Rental Center on Frontage Road for the problem. In the past U-Haul’s ownership has said they advise all of their customers to use alternate routes because President Road, which was originally built to facilitate truck traffic, is posted “no thru trucks.”
The committee also discussed the gridlock that gripped the city two weekends ago. Seems the big problem bottlenecking traffic was the St. Patrick’s Day half marathon. It shut down Chestnut, Elm and Canal streets for more than four hours, which on a normal Saturday might be fine, but not when the N C A A Frozen Four Tournament and Made in N H Expo are also downtown. The committee heard from staff about efforts to better coordinate coming events through the Office of the City Clerk, require more advance notice, and give the city the authority to relocate events to avoid gridlock. Traffic delays in the downtown stymied literally thousands of folks for hours.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet thrice tonight. At six, there will be a special meeting on a zoning change forced by a new state law regarding uses of single family homes. At seven, there will be the usual public comment session. Then, at seven thirty, the regular meeting of the board will start. On the agenda is the resignation of Ward Six Alderman Nick Pappas, whose house sold before he could find a new one, forcing him to stay with friends in Londonderry, which disqualifies him from serving. Also on the agenda are items related to the budget. At-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur is expected to move to approve a budget of one hundred sixty five million dollars for the schools, though the motion is not expected to pass.
Also tonight, the Derry Town Council will meet. Approval of the town’s Emergency Operations Plan seems to be the big agenda item there.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!