Governor Maggie Hassan - Why we need a special session on substance abuse

Across our state, people are dying from the heroin and opioid crisis — at least 258 of our family, friends and neighbors already this year. Hundreds more have overdosed, their lives saved only by the quick action of first responders, medical providers and their family and friends. There are few people who I meet in our great state who haven't had their lives touched by this epidemic.

We must act now to save lives and to reverse the tide of addiction. We must act now with comprehensive action to help those addicted recover, to help prevent new addictions, and to help first responders and others fighting on the front lines of this crisis.

That's why over the last several months, I have been working closely with legislative leaders from both parties and people across the state on a comprehensive package of legislation to save lives and give patients, providers, parents and law enforcement better tools to combat this epidemic.

I was hopeful that legislative leaders would call themselves into a special session or, at the very least, outline a plan for an expedited bill to reach my desk for signature by the end of January. But they did not.

In the face of this crisis, our citizens and our communities can't wait for the Legislature to send a bill to my desk in April or May. This epidemic deserves the full and swift attention of the legislature, not just being one thing considered along with the nearly 1,000 other bills the legislature will take up next year.

That is why I have called the legislature back into a special session on November 18 and asked them to consider comprehensive legislation to address our opioid crisis, allowing for a full public process.

There is strong bipartisan support for many of the measures we are proposing, such as cracking down on fentanyl, which has been the major cause of overdose death in 2015, and bringing the laws and penalties for the distribution and sale of fentanyl in line with those for heroin.

We agree that we need to develop a statewide drug court plan to expand existing drug courts and establish new ones across the state, including in Manchester.

We know that we need to strengthen our prescription drug monitoring program, mandating greater use by prescribers and upgrading technology to ensure that more prescribers can use it in a timely fashion.

We need to provide additional law enforcement support to our hardest-hit communities — similar to the grant-funded effort underway in Manchester — and to continue to address backlog in the State Police Forensic Laboratory.

We know that many heroin addictions begin with prescription drug addictions. We must require all of our medical boards to update prescribing practices to help stem the tide of new addictions.

We must streamline access to treatment by requiring all insurance companies to use the same evaluation criteria and removing prior authorization requirements in certain cases.

And we need to strengthen our support for community-based treatment, prevention and recovery efforts through the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

To those who say we can't afford to invest in these steps, I say that we can't afford not to. Every month, we lose dozens of our fellow citizens. We can't afford to lose more lives. We can't afford the devastation to our families losing their loved ones to this crisis. We must act now.

This legislation builds on steps we have already taken to combat the most pressing public health and safety crisis facing our state.

We have increased the safe and effective use of Narcan by first responders and police officers to immediately save lives, and now families and loved ones of those at the risk of an overdose can also access this life-saving treatment.

We launched our prescription drug monitoring program in October 2014.

We are bringing a nationally recognized provider training program to New Hampshire later this month, and we are strengthening youth prevention and education efforts at our schools and in our communities.

And thanks to our bipartisan health care expansion program, thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and mental health services since coverage began last August.

But we know that is not enough, and that in order to stem — and reverse — the tide, we must fight together every single day to strengthen our efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and save lives.

Combating the substance abuse crisis and saving lives transcends politics, as the Executive Council demonstrated with its strong bipartisan approval of my call for a special legislative session.

There is significant support from both parties for many of the items in the proposal that I have put forward. And there is absolutely no reason to wait on taking these steps now to save lives.

(Democrat Maggie Hassan is currently serving her second term as governor of New Hampshire.)

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Pat Buchanan - Let Europe be Europe

"A modern day mass migration is taking place ... that could change the face of Europe's civilization," warned Hungarian President Viktor Orban. "If that happens, that is irreversible. ... There is no way back from a multicultural Europe," said Orban. "If we make a mistake now, it will be forever."

Orban acted on his beliefs. He erected a 110-mile fence on the Serb border, redirecting hundreds of thousands of migrants away from Hungary to Croatia, thence to Austria and Germany.

Sunday, after a third of a million had passed through, Croatia replaced a center-left with a rightist party. A fortnight ago, the right-wing eurosceptic Law and Justice Party won a landslide victory in Poland.

Support for Angela Merkel, who has opened Germany to a million migrants, is plummeting. Bavaria's CSU, sister party of Merkel's CDU, is in rebellion. Bavaria has been the main port of entry for the hundreds of thousands of arriving migrants.

Europe is undergoing the greatest mass migration since World War II, when 14 million Germans were driven out of Prussia and eastern Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. That mass migration halted after two years. But no end is in sight to the migrations from Africa and the Middle East. As long as Europe's borders remain open, they will come. And the people who wish to come number not just in the millions but the tens and scores of millions. And they know how to get there.

The routes — through Turkey to the Balkans on land, or across a few miles of the Med to the Greek islands, or from Libya to Lampedusa and Sicily, or into the Spanish enclaves on the Moroccan coast, or out to the Canary Islands — are arduous but not impossible.

Why should they not come? Why should Arabs and Africans not flee the tyranny, terror, poverty and war that are their lot to come to Europe, live the good life, and have life's necessities provided for their families by the munificent welfare states of northern Europe? And what is to stop them?

Jean Raspail's "The Camp of the Saints" is proving more prophetic than Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" or Orwell's "1984."

Considering the crises facing Europe, the question is no longer: Will the EU survive? It is Orban's question: Will European civilization survive the century?

This year, the EU monetary union, the eurozone, avoided breaking apart because Athens capitulated and accepted austerity, and the hard-bargaining Germans agreed to a bailout. How long will Greeks and Club Med members of the EU accept austerity? How long will Germans bail out nations whose people like to work fewer hours while enjoying superior social benefits?

Under the Schengen Agreement, there are to be no barriers to trade and travel, to the movement of goods and people inside the EU. Yet, across Europe, fences are going up, borders are being re-established, anti-immigrant and anti-EU parties like the National Front of France's Marine Le Pen, are gaining converts. If the mass migrations are not halted, the rise of nationalist regimes at the expense of Europe's liberals and leftists is inevitable.

With birth rates in this smallest and least populated of continents below replacement levels for decades, Europe is aging, shrinking and dying, as it is being invaded and altered forever.

Optimists point to how America absorbed the 15 million that arrived in the Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920. But they ignore the differences. America's immigrants were Europeans from Christian nations coming to a country with a history of assimilation. And the Great Wave stopped in 1924, for 40 years.

Unlike America, Europe has never known mass immigration. And those pouring into Europe are Arab, African and Muslim, not European Christians or Jews. They come from other civilizations and cultures. And they are not all assimilating but rather creating enclaves in Europe that replicate the lands whence they came.

Last year, the Swiss voted to cut back on immigration. This year, with the UK Independence Party growing in popularity, Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding reforms in the EU charter, before the British vote on whether to leave the EU altogether. With migrants in the thousands milling around Calais and the entrance to the tunnel to Dover, Brits must be wondering whether it was wise to dig that tunnel beneath the Channel to their island home.

The threats raised by the mass migration into Europe rise to the level of the existential. Can a civilization survive the replacement of the people who created it by people of other races, religions, and civilizations? Ask the Native Americans.

Will Europe remain Europe if she is repopulated by Arabs, Muslims, Asians and Africans? What will hold Europe together? Free trade? In 1981, when Solidarity was crushed by the Warsaw regime on the orders of Moscow, Americans took up the cry — "Let Poland be Poland." One day soon, a voice will arise across the Atlantic calling for an end to this invasion, by force if necessary, and declare: "Let Europe be Europe!"

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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Lakes Region Profiles — Smile of the Great Spirit



On the northern shore of the big lake dwelt the chieftain of the woodlands, Ahanton. He was renowned for his courage, but even more so for the beauty of his daughter, Ellacoya. Many warriors pursued her. Yet all were rejected until one day, Kona, a young chief from a rival tribe to the south, appeared in the village. In response to the legend of Ellacoya's beauty, he had traveled across the lake in his canoe to win her hand.

Leading an expedition to expel invaders, Chief Ahanton was away when Kona walked into the village arrayed in an eagle-feathered headdress denoting him as chief of the enemy tribe. His fearlessness immediately gained the respect and affection of Ellacoya. It was not long before the entire village was won over by the bravery of the young chief. Before many days passed, Ellacoya and Kona were deeply in love. Their courtship was interrupted by the sudden arrival of Ahanton, back from his expedition. He recognized his enemy and was infuriated that Kona had taken advantage of his absence to pursue Ellacoya. Ahanton rushed at Kona with his tomahawk. Ellacoya leaped in front of her father to plead for the life of her beloved.

Now stand on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, look over the Broads, and hear the end of the story. An assembly of bark canoes made its way across the lake from the north. The canoes reached the middle of the lake. One canoe broke from the cluster. It continued crossing while the others stopped. The lone canoe carried the bride Ellacoya and her husband Chief Kona. Ellacoya had successfully pleaded for his life. Chief Ahantan, impressed by Kona's bravery, had consented to their marriage. As the couple journeyed to Kona's tribal territory, Ahantan and his tribe had escorted them to the mid-point of the Broads. Hundreds of eyes watched as threatening storm clouds gathered. Suddenly, the dark clouds parted and a single ray of sunlight shot across the sky, illuminating the newlywed's canoe. "This is a good omen," shouted Chief Ahantan. "From this time on, these waters will be called Winnipesaukee, for the great spirit has smiled upon my daughter's marriage."

Who wouldn't want to live in such a romantic place as the Lakes Region? Part of its beauty is the richness of its history going back millenia. In other places, gray skyscrapers and dark pavement obscure the past. But here, the sites of legends are still discernible.

The heritage of the Native American presence in this area is strongly reflected in the names. Even the legendary figures of our story are immortalized. Ellacoya Beach in Gilford stretches over 600 feet and looks out towards the Sandwich and Ossipee Mountains. In Moultonborough, what is now part of the national award winning community of Windward Harbor was previously a portion of the land that Herbert Dumaresq bought in the early 1900s. Dumaresq named his estate Kona Farm after the hero from the romantic story. The Ossipee Mountains stretching along the northern shore of Winnipesaukee derived their name from the Abenaki language. The Pemigewasset River which runs through many Lakes Region towns including Holderness, Ashland, New Hampton, Bristol, and Sanbornton, got its name from the Abenaki "Pemijijoasek," which translates to "where side entering current is." Squam Lake was originally known as Keeseenunknipee, meaning "the goose lake in the highlands." It was later called another Abenaki name, Asquam, before being shortened to its present version. Lake Winona was named after a Native American princess who could understand the voices of birds. Lake Winnisquam, Opechee, Waukewan, Kanasatka, and Wicwas all derive their names from the Abenaki.

The Weirs is of particular historic interest. It was a gathering site for many tribes. The Abenaki called the spot Aquedoctan, which means "place of good fishing." Every year tribes would arrive to capture the shad that migrated through the Weirs Channel. This passageway between Winnipesaukee and Paugus Bay provided a shallow natural sluiceway to net fish in baskets called "weirs." Other major villages in the Lakes Region included Plymouth, Moultonborough (called K'chi-Nayok), and Ossipee. Smaller campsites were known to have existed at Meredith Neck; Bald Peak Colony Club in Melvin Village; Tuftonboro Neck; Clay Point in Alton; and Quannippi (Alton Bay).

A 1956 map entitled "Indian Trails by Chester B. Price" prepared by the State Planning and Development Commission shows many of our main roads were once major trails whose beautiful names have been replaced by the utilitarian. For instance, Route 3 from Lakeport to Northfield and continuing south was once called the Namaskik Trail. Route 11 and 11B from Alton Bay to Weirs Beach was the Winnebisagua Trail. The Co-Joss (Coos) Trail was a major route from southeast N.H. that passed through what is now Lakeport, along the west side of Paugus Bay through South Down Shores to the Weirs, continued along the west side of Meredith Bay through Grouse Point to Meredith, and north along what is now Route 25. In Center Harbor, the trail diverged due north and continued to Littleton. Route 109 from Wolfeboro to Moultonborough was part of another major trail from the seacoast called the Abenaki Trail. Route 132 from Ashland to Concord was once the Pemigewasset Trail.

When you drive around the Lakes Region, remember the story of Ellacoya and Kona hidden in time. These are the same waters, the same shores, the same trails where the events took place. Scientists say we live in a time-space continuum; that the events in the past are still taking place but we cannot see them as they now exist in another dimension; that time is like a train ride - you only see the scenery you are passing and not what you passed earlier or that which is to come. History calls Ellacoya and Kona's story a legend. But somehow as you look out over the Broads of Winnipesaukee, you know it is true. Someday you may be able to breach the time-space continuum. The clouds concealing the past will part. A single ray of the sun will illuminate the lake and you will hear the gruff voice of Chief Ahantan shout in his unknown tongue, "Winnipesaukee!" – the smile of the great spirit.

The story of Ellacoya and Kona was recorded in a 1932 book by the New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs entitled New Hampshire Folk Tales. Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, NH and can be reached at (603) 366-6306.

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E. Scott Cracraft - Liberal, progressive, un-American academics

Some writers to The Sun accuse academics of being "unpatriotic" or "un-American". They often make this accusation when an educator writes something with which they do not agree. It does not matter what the teacher or professor teaches or what he or she says in class. Or, that educators are taxpayers and citizens (and sometimes veterans) too and have a right to their opinion.

It would seem to some of these writers that the First Amendment should exempt educators unless those educators agree with them. Some even cry "persecution" when anyone, especially an educator, disagrees with them. Everyone has the freedom to write and an editor has the right to publish it but does not follow that people have a right not to be criticized for what they write.

Some have even implied that liberal educators should lose their jobs! One even sent a liberal writer an intimidating e-mail to try and get him to retract a statement! This reeks of McCarthyism, especially when these writers accuse teachers of preaching "atheism", "socialism" or even "communism" whenever they criticize academics. They accuse educators of indoctrination when having never stepped foot in their classrooms. Some people chose to believe what they want to believe!

When one reads these letters, one is reminded of what happened in the 1950s during the McCarthy "witch hunts". Many state residents may not know that New Hampshire had its own version of McCarthyism, which was agitated by such entities as the American Legion and the Manchester Union Leader. A good, late 1990s film on this, "Rights and Reds", was produced by the N.H. Bar Association. Readers may be interested in obtaining and watching it. In spite of the fact that both the N.H. Executive and Legislative branches had found no evidence of widespread communist subversion in the state, the Legion and the Union Leader kept saying there were thousands of commies in the Granite State!

In Merideth, at that time, there was a high school history teacher with a special interest in the history of Russia. On these grounds, he was falsely accused of being a communist. Although a N.H. legislative committee cleared him any communist affiliation, the rumors and harassment continued and he was forced to leave the state. One cannot help but wonder how many of our current anti-educator writers to The Sun would have helped "run him out of town?"

These same writers often rage against academic tenure but do they know that the concept was developed to protect educators from the likes of themselves? However, the concept as well as that of Academic Freedom does not just protect liberals; there are many conservative educators who have enjoyed this protection. "Liberal intolerance?" When was the last time that any liberal writer to The Sun suggested that conservatives lose their livelihoods or be censored by The Sun?

Unfortunately, there is a spirit of anti-intellectualism in America which may, at least in part, explain why students in other countries are often "ahead" of ours. Educators are blamed for everything. The term "the Professor" has become a sort of punch line. Actually, the title is very honorable. After all, the best "Gilligan's Island" character was The Professor! Teachers and professors are stereotyped as lazy, underworked, overpaid parasites all the while the "dumbing down" of the American mind continues at an alarming rate.

Some demand that pseudoscience be given "equal time" in the classroom and again, cry persecution when they do not get their way. They also assume that students who do not agree with these teachers and professors are also persecuted.

This writer cannot speak for every educator but he knows those regularly attacked in the pages of The Sun and knows firsthand that they encourage debate, disagreement, and critical thinking and have never penalized a student for his or her opinions. In fact, one even promotes such "subversive" events as celebrations of Veteran's Day and Constitution day. Pretty un-American, don't you think?

(Scott Cracraft is an educator but he is also a citizen, a voter, a taxpayer, a veteran, and a resident of Gilford. He wishes to make it clear that any opinions expressed in this letter are his own and do not reflect the views of the institution where he works or its administration, faculty, staff, or students.)

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Jim Hightower - Not even fellow 1 percenters want Jeb Bush

If you are a presidential aspirant and you have to tell people that you are a person of integrity — there's a very good chance that you are not.

And those odds at least quadruple if you have to hire a talking head to attest to your honor; how intriguing, then, that a spokeswoman for the Bush campaign was recently trotted out to tell us that, "Jeb's record, both in office as Florida's governor and in the private sector as a successful businessman, is one of integrity." The testimonial from his paid mouthpiece was necessitated by the still-evolving news story that, after leaving the Florida governorship in 2007, he immediately cashed in on his name, state government knowledge, and contacts. Bush became a richly-paid legislative consultant and board member to major corporations that had received lucrative benefits from Florida's government while he was at the helm of it.

With cynical chutzpah, Jeb, the presidential wannabe, now campaigns as an ethics reformer, piously preaching against the corrupt coziness between money interests and government officials. But in the last eight years, Preacher Bush has pocketed at least $18 million in personal payment from his own quiet spins through the revolving door of government-corporate corruption. For example, Jeb was only out of government office for four months when he got a nice sinecure as a board member of the insurance giant, Tenet Healthcare (which just happened to run several of Florida's private hospitals under Florida's Medicare program). In 2006, Tenet was found to have cheated patients and taxpayers with more than a billion dollars in overcharges. To settle this malfeasance, the corporation paid only $7 million.

Meanwhile, Tenet has gushed in recent financial reports that it has "benefited greatly from Mr. Bush's extensive background in government service, his perspectives on public policy and social issues." In heartfelt gratitude, during the past eight years, this one corporation alone has put more than $2 million in Bush's pocket.

The Tenet case clearly shows that Bush suffers from a total lack of integrity, but poor 'ol Jeb seems to also have a terminal case of "Mitt Romney disease" — he just keeps blurting out asinine comments that reveal the fact that, in heart, soul, and political mindset, he is yet another "son of a Bush."

His inner-bigotry against the poor, coupled with his cartoonish concept of the black community's political motivation, was outed recently when he was asked how he planned to win the votes of African-Americans. "Our message is one of hope and aspiration," he responded. Okay, Jeb, go positive, so far so good! But then the deep prejudice derived from his narrow upbringing as a child of privilege surfaced. His campaign message "isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff," he asserted with a sneer. Then, to punctuate his little lecture on how to appeal to low-income black families, the multimillionaire heir to the Bush fortune said he would tell them: "You can achieve earned success."
Yes, Jeb — instead of hard-hit people lining up to get what you call "free stuff" (like unemployment compensation and health care), thinks it better to challenge them to "earn" success. Tell them to have the same gumption you did — to be born to rich parents, to be welcomed as "legacy" applicants into the most prestigious schools, and to have their fathers open the doors for them to "achieve" financial and political success.

Yet the former "shoo-in" for the GOP presidential nomination can't figure out why he's running fifth in New Hampshire and fifth in Iowa, even after pouring millions into a month-long blitz of TV ads to goose up his appeal. Such shallowness, callousness, and condescension expose an ingrained contempt for all who don't live in Bush's elite zip code. No one but his fellow "one-percenters" wants someone like that in the White House.

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)


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