Sunday Notes August 23 2015

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Lowell firefighters to carry Narcan to counteract drug overdoses

Depending on a person’s weight, the effects of Narcan wear off after a half hour to an hour, and if further medical treatment isn’t sought, the person could once again suffer the effects of the overdose.

But when it comes to providing immediate, life-saving help to a person in the throes of an overdose, Narcan really is a miracle drug.

Each city firetruck will now carry a small package containing two containers of Narcan, each of which provides two doses. Most patients only need one dose, but a clogged nose could necessitate giving a second spray.

The drug is administered much like over-the-counter nasal spray, with a little assembly required. But Keene said preparing the spray takes just a matter of seconds

City Councilor Danny Rourke, who made a motion to deploy the spray in early March, praised the speed at which the Fire Department and firefighters’ union embraced the suggestion, noting that it only took about 100 days for the department to accept the suggestion and train firefighters.

Why does a city council who campaigned on public safety and whose city has an ongoing opioid epidemic (the Sun reminded us yesterday) that there were 114 overdoses, several fatal, in Lowell in July still insist on closing Fire Companies who carry the drug that helps prevent death in these overdoses?

Lowell is a Total of 14.5 sq mi ( Land 13.8 sq mi Water 0.8 sq mi) with only 8 fire stations and 16 companies covering a population of over 110,000. Separated by the Merrimack river.

When violence increased in the city during the last election cycle, there was an outcry from the Neighborhood groups, the newspaper and the City Councilors to increase Police presence and allocate funds to attack the issue. Why is there no outcry to staff fully first responders who deal with these overdoses?

Why isn’t Councilor Rourke who championed the use of narcan not filing a motion to keep these companies open? Is 114 overdoses in 31 days not enough of a sign that there is a large public safety issue?

We know opioid use is a city wide issue and here in Centralville we have had above average incidents. What happens for example, here in Centralville if they close one of ONLY 2 fire companies and there is an overdose on Easy street and a fire on Albion st (which I believe is an automatic 2 alarm) especially if it occurs during rush hour?

Why is this council willing to take a chance on allowing an overdose or fatal fire when they and this Administration constantly tell us that public safety is their #1 concern?

Where are the Council challengers and why are they not asking this question? Jordan Gys has this issue on his Campaign Website. Why isn’t he, Paul Ratha Yem, Dave Conway and others calling for fully funding and staffing these first responders?

Is Lowell Police Supt. being forced out?

Usually when you start to hear rumors, there is some grain of truth to it. Sometimes the truth is distorted, other times it turns out to be true but doesn’t occur right away.

Hopefully the rumors involving Police Supt. Bill Taylor being encouraged to retire or be forced out is just distorted. Supt. Taylor was selected by City Manager Lynch and the dept. has faced some issues including lawsuits and allegations over promotions and exams, the resolution and punishment of officers involved in a women’s death while in custody, challenges by city residents to the depts policy of issuing concealed carry permits and the recent incident involving a Police Captain. There is also the increase in violence and other crime do to the opioid epidemic.

The word around the political bubble is that then State Rep. Murphy would have preferred a different candidate than Taylor and since he is about to appoint his selection for Fire Chief, he would also like to appoint his own choice for Police Supt.

Taylor has been working in Lowell for 33 years and is 55 so he could retire but would like a few more years. Will Murphy give that to him?

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Everybody (listens) gets it!
Yesterday on Saturday Morning Live on WCAP we had Patrick Farmer A candidate for the Lowell School Committee and Chelmsford School Committee member / local developer Sal Lupoli. Information we learned from both men can be found in today’s Sun Column Blog. glad our friends from the Sun listen!

Sal for he 2nd time on Saturday Morning Live, explained that when he purchased the Comfort Bedding property he gave the current longtime owner 2 years (rent free) before requiring him to move out. Yesterday he also gave us a brief description of what he has planned for that location, including two restaurants and market rate housing units. He also stated he has met twice with City Manager Kevin Murphy. Honoring a deal and working with the Administration isn’t doing things behind the scenes, it’s the normal way professional business people act. Sal to his credit has always got back to us anytime we have reached out to him for comment or to come on the show. He’s very accessible!

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