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North Adams General Election Set for Nov. 5

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Nomination papers for mayor, City Council and school committees are available in the city clerks office for the municipal election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The deadline to submit nomination papers for signature certification is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, in the city clerk's office.

Fifty signatures of registered voters are required to get on the ballot for any of the municipal offices up for election, including mayor.

The nine highest vote-getters for City Council will be elected. There are also two seats up for election for School Committee and for the Northern Berkshire Regional School Committee (McCann).

Any preliminary election would be held on Tuesday, Sept. 24. This would occur if there are more than two candidates for mayor or

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES

  • Last day to register to vote for Primary Election: Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Last day to register to vote for General Election: Wednesday, Oct. 16


ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION DEADLINES

  • Monday, Sept. 23, by noon
  • Monday, Nov. 4, by noon


CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS DUE

  • Report 1: Sept. 20 by 5 p.m.
  • Report 2: Oct. 31 by 5 p.m.
  • Report 3: Jan. 20, 2014, by 5 p.m.
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Pittsfield School Chairman Out of the Running

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —- The chairman of the School Committee won't be running for office this year. Instead, Alfred E. Barbalunga is encouraging others to take out papers.

Barbalunga, elected to his first two-year term in 2009 and again in 2011, stated his decision not to run for a third term in a letter to the public on Monday. He said he will complete his term, which ends in January 2014, and that the running of two committee officers, Vice Chairman Daniel Elias and Secretary Kathy Yon, should offer a "smooth transition."

He did not rule out the possibility of running for elected office in the future.

His full statement follows:

After careful consideration, I have decided not to run for re-election for the City of Pittsfield School Committee.

It has been my honor to serve as Chair and a privilege to work hand-in-hand with all of the valued Pittsfield school district employees. I feel confident there will be a smooth transition with the leadership team of Vice Chair Dan Elias and Secretary Kathy Yon, both who are running for re-election.

During the past year, I have had the unique experience of co-managing the Pittsfield school district with three different superintendents. Among many accomplishments, we were able to sign 100 percent of the union bargaining contracts, and present annual budgets which will allow this school system to move forward.

I am personally encouraging others to take out papers. I feel it is vital to have people from various walks of life who can bring different perspectives and fresh ideas to the School Committee. There are still more than two weeks until the first submission deadline.

I enjoyed working with the Charter Review Study Committee and the Chair, Judge Lapointe, and am hopeful there will be future compensation for School Committee members.  I believe if these are paid positions, we will see a much larger candidate pool.

My final meeting as the School Committee Chair will be on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013.  However, I have already assured Dr. McCandless I fully intend to complete my term, and I will be available to assist until January 8th, 2014.
 
I have contributed 18 years of combined service to the City of Pittsfield, and I feel very grateful to be a member of this vibrant community. There are many ways to make a contribution in my community and I intend on remaining active in public service, and would consider seeking public office again in the future.

I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife, Jonalee, my father Alfred, and my great friend Kevin J. Sherman, for all of the support and feedback they have given me along the way.

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Alcombright Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
Mayor Richard Alcombright makes a point at his campaign kickoff.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright kicked off the city's campaign season on Thursday night with a downtown rally.

More than a 100 supporters attended Alcombright's announcement for a third run at the corner office, held at the newly named MediTerra on Main Street. In between kebabs and cigar boreks, the mayor told the crowd he had three simple reasons for running again: his love of the city, working with people and solving problems, and the progress he has seen.

(Alcombright spoke with iBerkshires about some of the challenges he sees in a third term earlier this month.)

"I truly love this city, I love what was, what it has become and the thought of what it can become," he said. "I think we truly are making progress. I would not do this again if I didn't think we were moving in the right direction."

Alcombright pointed to Crane & Co., which had planned to leave the city with 120 jobs when he first entered office three years ago. After many discussions and a negotiated tax break, North Adams is now the headquarters for Crane's Fine Stationery Division and is expected to employ 280 people by September.

"Maybe the first time that this old mill town in decades has seen two shifts running," said the mayor to applause.

"I work very quietly ... I want folks to know and understand that being mayor is about one thing ... leadership," said Alcombright. "I quietly provide that leadership each and every day. I don't look for headlines, quite honestly I try to avoid them, I look for results and when I get them, I pat those folks on the back who make it happen."

He checked of a list accomplishments that included keeping Juvenile Court and state services in the city, the Conte School project, the Walmart Supercenter and its nearly 200 jobs, plans for a 4 megawatt solar array, development of tourist trains, collaborations with surrounding communities, pushing for the resurfacing of the West End bridges ahead of schedule, savings in city services and health insurance costs, a new master plan, ongoing talks for the redevelopment of Western Gateway Heritage State Park, and keeping budgets at less than 2 percent over the last three cycles.

"But there is a darkness in this city brought on by a few who I truly believe do not want the city to succeed," said Alcombright. "However, despite destructive efforts, we have a clear mission within my administration and that is simply to make things happen through vision and collaboration."

More effort is still needed in working with efficiencies and state and local officials, he said, and the recent rash of violence has to be addressed.

He vowed to "put the hurt" on those selling drugs in the city. And after the stabbing incident outside a city bar two weeks ago, he determined "the day of the incident that that bar would be closed ... It remains closed as we speak."

Alcombright was introduced by Richard Taskin.

"Our crime issues for the large part are drug and alcohol related and we need a way to figure out how to fix that," said Alcombright, adding that he would be meeting with the Police Director Michael Cozzaglio and the media on Friday.

Much of the mayor's comments were met with applause. Eight of the nine city councilors stopped in — President Michael Bloom, Alan Marden, Marie Harpin, Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, David Bond, Nancy Bullett and Jennifer Breen — as well Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi, Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy and North Adams Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Maloney.  

He was also endorsed by 2005 mayoral candidate Walter L. Smith Jr., who said Alcombright had accomplished 90 percent of the goals he'd laid out four years ago.

The simplest sign that he was turning the city around was the installation of the benches on Main Street, said Smith. "This is not the old North Adams anymore, this is the new North Adams."

Local attorney Richard Taskin, who produces a program with Alcombright on NBCTV, introduced the mayor as "a man of faith and a person with faith in people" who was big enough to admit his mistakes and "willing to do what is right even if it is not popular."

Perhaps the most unpopular was his decision to pursue a Proposition 2 1/2 override two years ago. "I'm still in therapy," Alcombright joked, but he was convinced it was the right thing to do to square the city's continued fiscal woes. Despite its defeat, he said it "proved I can handle myself in a tough situation."

"Have you liked everything I've done?" he said. "I don't think so but that's OK. Hell, even my mother tells me all the things I do wrong."

Alcombright said he had delivered on his vows for openness, honesty, accessibility and transparency and asked voters to continue to trust him.

"We only have to agree on two things here tonight: We love this city and we want to see it grow," he said. "If we have those two things in common, we can work together."


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Ericson Wins Lanesborough Selectman Race

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Robert Ericson soared to victory in Tuesday's election for the Board of Selectmen.

Ericson reeled in 381 votes compared to former Selectman Joseph Szczpaniak Jr.'s 183 for the seat last held by William Prendergast, who opted not to run for re-election.

However, Szczpaniak may have another chance to seek a seat on the board. Selectman Robert Barton won a seat on the School Committee over Renee Poplaski. Barton won 282 votes to Poplaski's 244. Barton plans to resign from the Board of Selectmen.

In a three-way race for two seats on the Finance Committee, incumbent Al Terranova and newcomer Ronald Tinkham were elected over Stephen Wentworth. Terranova received 284 votes, Tinkham 267 and Wentworth 221. For a one-year seat, incumbent Christine Galib was unopposed and garnered 452 votes.

Incumbent Mary Reilly easily secured her seat with 446 votes to challenger Gregory Wolf's 68 for cemetery trustee. There were also three unopposed races — Christa Sidway for library trustee and Robert Reilly for both moderator and Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational School Committee.

In the statewide race for the U.S. Senate, Lanesborough voters picked Edward Markey over Gabriel Gomez by a margin of 404 to 189. One voter cast his or her vote for Richard Heos of the Twelve Visions Party.

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Markey Takes Special Senate Election, Berkshires

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
Republican Gabriel Gomez, left, took an early lead but longtime Democratic Congressman Edward Markey was declared the winner just over an hour after the polls closed.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is moving on — from one side of the Capitol to the other.

The veteran Malden congressman was holding a 7-point lead at about 9:15 p.m. when the special election for U.S. Senate was called in his favor on Tuesday.

Early returns were showing Republican Gabriel Gomez leading Markey by large margins in smaller communities in central Mass and on the outskirts of Boston.

But by 9, Markey was gliding past his Republican opponent. He took the state's largest communities, including Boston and its immediate environs, and appeared to have a lock on the Berkshires with only Savoy left to report in.

Expectations were low for turnout throughout the state. Polls closed at 8 p.m. but the Boston Globe noted that by 6, the number of voters who had cast ballots was just over half that compared to 2010's special Senate election that catapulted then state Sen. Scott Brown into Congress. Chicopee, however, was reporting a higher than expected number of voters.

There were concerns that voters were fatigued by three Senate elections in as many years, the last one a hard-fought campaign between Republican Brown and Democratic victor Elizabeth Warren.

The Berkshires was appearing to remain true blue according to unofficial returns. In North Adams, Markey easily outpaced Gomez 1115 to 413 and, in Lenox, 964 to 294. Williamstown also, and not surprisingly, went blue with the Malden Democrat taking 1,295 votes to the Cohasset Republican's 282, making it one of Gomez's worst and Markey's best towns, according to Boston.com. Great Barrington also backed Markey 1,178 to 265.

Otis, which went for Brown in the last special election, was closer but Markey maintained his Berkshires blowout 157 to 121.

North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau had been pessimistic early on in the day, expecting perhaps a 10 percent turnout at most. There were no signs or supporters outside the main polling station at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.

"You wouldn't know there was an election except for the [traffic] cones in the road," said Gomeau, referring to the cones warning drivers to slow for people - very few of them - to cross the street from the parking lot. At least, she said, the weather had mostly cooperated.

"If you going to have to do it, this is the kind of day to hold it on," she said.

Markey and Gomez were running to replace John Kerry, who resigned to become U.S. secretary of state. The third candidate on the ballot, Richard A. Heos, garnered a handful of votes.

For a complete breakdown, see the Boston.com's election results page.

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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.


Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Treasurer
Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Auditor
Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008

 

 

 



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