September’s shaping to be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month for opioid overdoses in the Queen City. (Apologies to Alexander!) Manchester Fire Department Emergency Medical Services Officer Christopher Hickey released September’s month to date statistics showing fifty one suspected overdoses, including four fatalities. There were sixty three overdoses, with five fatalities, in all of last September. Thus far this year, there have been five hundred ninety eight suspected overdoses, including forty six deaths.
On the Safe Station front, as of Friday, one thousand five hundred ninety six people had made a total of two thousand three hundred six visits to a Manchester fire station seeking help with an addiction since May fourth of last year. Seven hundred ten visits came from three hundred seventy four people who’d made more than one visit. About sixty percent of those seeking help came from over one hundred twenty New Hampshire communities outside of Manchester and more than a dozen states.
Manchester resident Lisa Gravel, who caused something of a stir when she hammered the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in July over its failure to discipline members for voting on contracts that affected their immediate family members, a clear violation of the city charter, has launched a political action committee. Gravel, who has also been a fierce critic of the board for overriding the city’s tax cap to fund pay raises for unionized employees, first disclosed she was organizing the group in an interview here on Girard at Large. In a message to Girard at Large late last night, Gravel said the Web site she built to support the cause had been published. It’s For A Better Manchester dot org. We have the link. Funds collected by the committee will be used to support candidates who oppose aldermen and school board members voting on contracts that cover family members and oppose overriding the city’s tax cap.
The Hooksett Town Council has begun its budget process. With the Police, Fire and Public Works departments having been evaluated, the town’s taxpayers are looking at a potential tax increase of two and a quarter percent, more than eighty percent of which is due to “contractual obligations.” Town Council Chairman Jim Sullivan said he expects an otherwise “lean budget” that will continue to cover services town residents expect. The council will hold two more budget review sessions before finalizing its recommendations.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The School District Governance Association of New Hampshire is hosting a workshop entitled Special Education 1 0 1: Mysteries Unraveled for School Officials. Santina Thibedeau, Director of the state Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education and Bonnie Dunham, Vice Chairman of the State Advisory Committee for the Education of Children with Disabilities will help elected school district officials know what is required, how it gets determined, what funding is available and where they can find special education expenses in the budget.
S D G A President Donna Green said the seminar was created because so many elected officials have said they feel they’re at a loss when it comes to special education because while they’re often told about special education costs are driving budgets, they’re not told how or why.
The event will be held on Saturday, October 7th from nine to Noon at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester. Pre-registration is requested. We’ve got the link. It’s only ten bucks cash at the door for members. Non-members are fifteen dollars. Coffee and muffins will be available and it is open to the public, though seating is limited.
The S D G A – N H is a forum of experienced elected officials committed to promulgating best practices in governance, budgeting, model school district policies and legislation that enhances local control in education and transparency in administration. It’s goal is to move the balance of power back to elected representatives for the ultimate benefit of our children’s education.
The state Department of Education has issued a Technical Advisory to school districts across the state advising it’s changed the rules for non-compliant bake sales. Instead of allowing just three events of up to three days over the course of the year, the state will now allow up to nine one day events. Parents angry with the Manchester Board of School Committee’s decision to all but ban bake sales prompted the move. After people started digging around, it was discovered that the state was overly proscriptive in its imposition of federal regulations. We’ll see if kids in Manchester will get to have their cupcakes after all. We’ve got the details with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.
Tomorrow is Primary Day in the Queen City. Voters will go to the polls to choose general election candidates for this November’s General Election. Primaries for mayor, alderman, school board and ward offices will take place across the city, though not every ward with have primaries for school board, alderman or those other offices. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on it.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!