Teen vaping

Some studies have suggested that teens who vape may be more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes and marijuana.

School officials have announced a date for a community presentation on a new program in Manchester schools designed to prevent teen vaping.

The presentation, called “Vaping Unveiled,” will be held for parents and the community at large on Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Manchester High School West.

Representatives from Catholic Medical Center (CMC), Breathe New Hampshire and the nonprofit Makin’ it Happen recently went before the school board to pitch the program. Vaping Unveiled will provide the opportunity for youths from Makin’ it Happen to speak with their peers and younger students about the dangers of vaping.

The city has issued a request for proposals seeking consultants to help the Conservation Commission develop a city-wide Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), to help guide officials in terms of land use and efforts to conserve Manchester’s natural resources.

Conservation Commission members are looking to use the NRI to:

Balance the development of the city with the preservation of natural resources for wildlife and recreational use

Identify city-owned land that may warrant protection by easements or other means

Identify additional land that may warrant protection

Identify current or potential threats to these resources in order to make land-use decisions on a parcel basis or to inform changes to current land-use regulations

Identify challenges and projects that should be a focus to the commission

Identify locations of invasive species (plant and animal) that warrant the commission’s attention

Identify endangered and threatened species and their approximate location

Identify and rank potential mitigation projects that could be used to offset future development or maintenance projects

Conservation Commission members are looking to have the NRI completed within a year after a consultant is selected.

Commission members anticipate selecting the winning proposal during the first scheduled commission meeting of 2020.

Last week, Mayor Joyce Craig nominated Jean Fortier to become the city’s new information systems director. Fortier succeeds Jennie Angell, who retired July 31 after working for the city for nearly 39 years, including the last 12 as the IS department head.

“I feel it is time to turn the reins over to someone new,” Angell wrote this past summer in a letter to aldermen, announcing her retirement.

Fortier, currently employed as the city’s computer and network infrastructure manager, has worked in the Manchester IS department for over 20 years and “possesses the strong technical background and leadership skills needed to provide technical solutions for those who live, work and visit Manchester,” according to Craig.

“Throughout his twenty years with the city, Mr. Fortier has developed unmatched technical knowledge of our city’s technological infrastructure and has displayed a proven record of leadership,” Craig wrote in a letter to aldermen announcing Fortier’s nomination. “In the more than 11 years Jean has spent as the leader of the computer and network infrastructure division, he and his team have delivered an outstanding record of reliability and excellent customer service. I am fully confident that the combination of Jean’s technical skills, experience, and leadership make him a uniquely qualified candidate for the position.”

Fortier’s nomination will be addressed at the next meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. If confirmed, he will receive an annual salary of $118,899.72.

City aldermen have approved Phase 1 of a proposal submitted by Karla Ramirez, managing partner with Behealthle LLC of San Antonio, Texas, for services designed to support Manchester’s efforts to end homelessness.

According to Ramirez, Behealthle is a “small operation who have made it our life’s work to improve lives and create conditions for hope and healing.”

Ramirez said following a phone conversation with Alderman At Large and board Chairman Dan O’Neil, her firm submitted a proposal that included both “immediate action items and long-term planning,” according to a summary provided to city aldermen.

The summary shows Phase 1 would consist of:

Reviewing current data and sources, such as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), used by both Manchester and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to create a common set of benchmarks for measuring success

Developing an emergency sheltering plan to address capacity needs for the upcoming winter months, including a look at national best practices and policies for shelters that serve those with substance abuse disorders

Discussing and identifying immediate changes in the current Doorway structure in Manchester and the rest of the state to alleviate local burden, and to identify needs that should be prioritized for state and federal funding

Identifying short-term solutions — at the local, state or federal level — to strengthen emergency response in addressing homelessness and substance abuse disorders, including support for 24/7/365 outreach

With the city’s non-partisan municipal general election just over two weeks away, on Nov. 5, both candidates for mayor picked up campaign endorsements last week.

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Works Local 7 and the New Hampshire chapter of the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Craig in her reelection campaign, while the Log Cabin Republicans of NH announced their endorsement of former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan for mayor.

This reporter will moderate a debate between Craig and Sullivan with NHPR host Peter Biello on Oct. 28. The debate will be broadcast at 2 p.m. on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Jim Gaudet of the Concerned Taxpayers of Manchester, a member of Sullivan’s steering committee, criticized Craig for declining to participate in a separate debate the group wanted to host. “We believe she owes the taxpayers of Manchester clarity on some very big issues that are front and center,” he wrote in a news release. McKenzie St. Germain, Craig’s campaign manager, said Craig was already appearing at four debates and forums, and said Craig had no more free evenings before the election.

Condolences go out to the family and friends of Fernand “Fern” Gelinas. The former chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Ward 7 alderman and chairman of the police commission passed away on Oct. 15 on his 92nd birthday.

Gelinas spent nearly 35 years in the baking industry, starting off in route sales with Genest Baking Company and retiring as a district manager with the Nissen Baking Company.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.

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