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Scholz Challenges Incumbent Astorino in Cheshire Election
By Jack Guerino On: 05:08PM / Sunday May 04, 2014

CHESHIRE, Mass. — Political newcomer E. Richard Scholz is challenging incumbent Paul Astorino for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen.

Astorino has served four terms on the board since 2002.

"I take pleasure in seeing things come to fruition and people enjoying what has been gained for them and just a good quality life," he said. "If I can do anything to help that that's what I want to do."

Astorino retired as manager of contracts at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

"I think that the people skills that I have developed over the years at General Electric and General Dynamics have made me a good listener, open minded, and a good communicator," he said.

Astorino was a member of the Fire Department from 1978 to 1980 and on the Berkshire County Selectmen's Advisory Board as a member of the Executive Committee. He has also served on the board of directors of Elder Services of Berkshire County from 1980 to 1983.

In 1981, he was appointed to a six-year term on the Berkshire Community College Board of Trustees. There he chaired the Finance Committee, which oversaw the expenditures of state funds at the college.

He served from 1990 to 1996 on the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee, and on board of directors of the Adams Ambulance service from 2004 to 2013.

"I believe that my 35 years of business experience and service on other boards has given me the tools needed to deal with the financial issues facing the town," he said. "Creative thinking will be needed as Cheshire moves into the 21st century to better the position of the town so it is a more affordable place to live while still providing the required services to the town's people."

He wishes to continue to serve the town where he was born and raised.

"I have been active in many facets of town government, and my whole quest of the matter is to try and give back to the town that was good to me and my children," Astorino said.  

With the reduction of state aid, Astorino sees Cheshire facing more financial struggles in the future.

"I truly believe that the Board of Selectmen should serve as a catalyst and bring all the town's boards together to develop a master plan of goals for the town in order to develop a strong and affordable five-year plan and develop budget estimates which reflect the true needs of the town," he said. "Only then can we provide sound fiscal management while providing the required services."

Scholz was raised in Cheshire and left for college and work in Boston and New York before returning in 2004.

"The Berkshires are among the best places to live on Earth, and Cheshire is the best town," Scholz said.

An electrical engineer, he worked in telecommunications, wireless and consulting. He said he has experience in managing budgets and staffing organizations and that he has launched a startup telecom companies in the Boston and Hartford, Conn., markets.

Hee has been involved in projects such on the NYNEX Corporation's Science & Technology team and the Project Aurora Broadband expansion experiment, and has taught in Northeastern University's Continuing Education Program.

"I have extensive business experience including managing large complex projects, first of a kind experiments, new product introductions, launches of new business ventures, recruiting and staffing organizations, and more," Scholz said.

He would like to use his business, management, and technological experience to change Cheshire's government.

"I am up for pushing things to their limits to see what you can get out of them," he said. "You have to start somewhere, and I think there should be more done."

Scholz said he thinks Cheshire could benefit from expanding the Board of Selectmen from three to five members.

"If two board members agree with how things should be done they run Cheshire," Scholz said. "With five board members, more people serve the town, more voices are heard, and more representative decisions result."

He also would like to get more people involved in the local government.

"I really think if we get more people involved there will be less frustration with government," he said.

Scholz also wants to improve the availability of information, including posting government documents and meeting minutes on the Internet to allow better communication between the government and its people.

"Information sharing is critical to town's people actively participating in town government, and it's not good enough anymore to just invite the them to Selectmen's meetings and have paper copies of all the important documents during business hours at the Town Hall," Scholz said. "Cheshire town government should be using today's technology and media tools to reach out to town's people."

Scholz has been digitizing the board's minutes and publishing them online.

Astorino has served four terms on the board since 2002.

"I take pleasure in seeing things come to fruition and people enjoying what has been gained for them and just a good quality life," he said. "If I can do anything to help that that's what I want to do."

Astorino retired as manager of contracts at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

"I think that the people skills that I have developed over the years at General Electric and General Dynamics have made me a good listener, open minded, and a good communicator," he said.

Astorino was a member of the Fire Department from 1978 to 1980 and on the Berkshire County Selectmen's Advisory Board as a member of the Executive Committee. He has also served on the board of directors of Elder Services of Berkshire County from 1980 to 1983.

In 1981, he was appointed to a six-year term on the Berkshire Community College Board of Trustees. There he chaired the Finance Committee, which oversaw the expenditures of state funds at the college.

He served from 1990 to 1996 on the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee, and on board of directors of the Adams Ambulance service from 2004 to 2013.

"I believe that my 35 years of business experience and service on other boards has given me the tools needed to deal with the financial issues facing the town," he said. "Creative thinking will be needed as Cheshire moves into the 21st century to better the position of the town so it is a more affordable place to live while still providing the required services to the town's people."

He wishes to continue to serve the town where he was born and raised.

"I have been active in many facets of town government, and my whole quest of the matter is to try and give back to the town that was good to me and my children," Astorino said.  

With the reduction of state aid, Astorino sees Cheshire facing more financial struggles in the future.

"I truly believe that the Board of Selectmen should serve as a catalyst and bring all the town's boards together to develop a master plan of goals for the town in order to develop a strong and affordable five-year plan and develop budget estimates which reflect the true needs of the town," he said. "Only then can we provide sound fiscal management while providing the required services."

The election takes place Monday, May 5, from 9 to 7 at the Senior Center on School Street.



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Adams to Decide New Treasurer/Tax Collector
By Jack Guerino On: 02:13PM / Sunday May 04, 2014

ADAMS, Mass. — Voters will decide two races on Monday, including for treasurer/collector.

Melissa McGovern-Wandrei and Kelly Rice are vying to complete the two years left on the term being vacated by retiring Holly Denault.

Originally from Clarksburg, McGovern-Wandrei has been the Clarksburg tax collector, and more recently treasurer/tax collector, for a total of 15 years. She is currently the president of the Berkshire County Treasurer and Collectors Association.

She is a Massachusetts certified treasurer/collector.

"I am experienced," McGovern-Wandrei said. "I know all of the laws, and I have a 95-97 percent collection rate in Clarksburg, which is very good."

McGovern-Wandrei now lives in Adams with her husband, Lenny Wandrei; some of their children have been in the Adams school system.

"Adams is a good place to raise your children, and it is very community orientated," she said. "The people in Adams have been very supportive of me."

McGovern-Wandrei said she is the most qualified person for the job.

"There is a lot to this job, and I think a lot of people think it is just an accounting job," McGovern-Wandrei said. "It takes a certain kind of person to do this job well, and I think that person is me."

Rice is originally from Savoy but has lived in Adams for nearly 30 years.

"I love Adams," she said. "Adams is a small little tight-knit town, and I like it."

Rice said she worked as the cafeteria manager for Hoosac Valley High School for 14 years, taking care of bookkeeping and all deposits and reconciliations.

Rice said she has also worked for the town as the building inspector's administrative assistant. She moved from there to the financial assistant for grants in the Community Development Department.

"I take care of millions of dollars through all of the grants we have had for the past eight years," she said.

Although not certified, Rice said she has learned the proper skills for treasurer/collector position through her involvement in the town government and also has gained a strong work ethic.

Rice said she wants to help Adams.

"I live in the town of Adams, and I need to take care of the town of Adams," she said. "We need to get some revenues back in for all of the leans and takings, and I would be proud to be part of that."

Also on the ballot is a race for a three-year selectmen's seat; candidates for other offices attended a forum last month.

The town election is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 5, at the town garage.



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Few Candidates Submit Nomination Papers For Lanesborough Election
By Andy McKeever On: 03:44PM / Friday May 02, 2014

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Unless someone launches a write-in campaign, the pool of elected officials is going to stay mostly the same.

By Tuesday's deadline to submit nomination papers for the next election, only incumbents returned papers and there is no competition for any of the seats. And, there are a number of seats with no candidates.

For selectmen, only Henry "Hank" Sayers returned nomination papers. Sayers was elected last year during a special election to replace Robert Barton, who resigned after winning a seat on the School Committee. Longtime School Committee member Regina DiLego is also looking to return to that board.

Two Finance Committee seats are on the ballot, but only one candidate -— incumbent Christine Galib — submitted paperwork. William Steven's seat is also up for election but he did not take out nomination papers.

Planning Board is the same, with two seats and only one candidate. Ronald Tinkham returned papers for the five-year term while Robert Rubin did not submit papers for a re-election campaign.

Three Sewer Commission seats and a tree warden position also saw no candidates. However, the Board of Selectmen are proposing to move both of those posts to appointed positions because of a perpetual lack of interest in serving.

Robert Reilly submitted his paperwork to return as moderator. Jane Stevens and Prudence Barton are both running for re-election as library trustees. And Amy Szczepaniak is looking to return as a cemetery trustee.

The election is on June 17.



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Letters: Cheshire Candidate Sees Options for Dollar General
Letters to the Editor On: 08:31PM / Thursday May 01, 2014

To the Editor:

Recently the select board in Cheshire gave up their hands and stated there was nothing they could do to stop Dollar General from locating in the heart of our community.

The citizens of Cheshire have told me, "They don’t understand why the select board didn't act sooner to prevent this type of a business from locating in the historical center of our town."

Dollar General or any business that generates new taxes and employment opportunities should be welcome in our community, provided they are compatible with the historic and community values that make Cheshire such a special place to live. A place that has that small New England look and feel to it, a place where most of grew up and a place where we want our children to live.

It has been said by many that if you drive into a small town as see a Dollar General type store in the historic middle of the town, it shows is some way a lack of leadership and forethought of its elected official.

In this case, the proposed business clearly does not meet these criteria nor the wishes of the citizens of Cheshire. Is there anything we can do to stop this? I say YES!

If elected on Monday, May 5, the first thing I would do would be to meet with the Dollar General developers and try to convince them to look at other better suited sites in Cheshire for their store. A site that I feel would be more appropriate and should be considered by them would be the site of the Old Country Charm restaurant. The site is not being used, and the traffic patterns are better and safer. I would also meet with the current owner of the property to see if there is some alternative(s) to selling to a developer. This may include, but not limited a purchase by the town.

Seeking grants to purchase the historical site(s) contacting organizations like the Berkshire Natural Resource Council or the Historic Preservation commissions to help arrange a purchase of the property.

It should be noted that when the town of Greenfield was faced with the prospects of a Walmart locating in their community. They realized the impact that it would have on their community and banded together to stop the development. We can do this together!

It should also be noted that when a mall was proposed on Route 7 outside of Pittsfield, then Governor Dukakis used his authority to block the development, by refusing to permit a "curb cut" on to the State-owned road. We should be working with Governor Patrick, who has been very supportive of the small-town life in the Berkshires, to request that a "Curb Cut" be denied, based upon traffic-related problems.

 Other items that should or could be done are:

1. A moratorium on this type of development. This is common practice as we can see in the battle over the building of gambling casinos or fracking

2. Request a study of the impact on the impact of the developing on such items as A. The available of Water. B, Title 5 and how the developer plans on meeting those requirements.

C. Asbestos and PCBs removal (A study should be done to see if the site/building has any of these.) D. a neighborhood impact study

These are only of the few ways to insure that any development meets the needs and historic nature of our community. What I see is lacking is the wiliness to take on these challenges. These or any other steps must be taken before any building permits are issued.

Once issued, as we can see in the case of the town of Sheffield, there would be little we could then do. It is clear that action must be taken soon!

It is important to let your elected officials know how you feel about this matter, but it is more important that you exercise your rights and vote this Monday

Respectfully submitted,


James. M. Boyle
Cheshire, Mass.

James Boyle is running for the Board of Selectmen in Cheshire.
 



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Snoonian, Ouellette Vie for Adams Selectman's Seat
By Jack Guerino On: 04:16PM / Wednesday April 30, 2014

ADAMS, Mass. — Newcomer Jeffrey Michael Snoonian is challenging incumbent Michael Ouellette for a three-year selectman's seat in Monday's election.

Snoonian, 41, of 1 Berkshire Square, is originally from Lawrence, but has been visiting Adams for years became a permanent resident last year.

"I came up here not knowing a lot of people, and even though I wasn't born here, they treat me as such," Snoonian said. "I really do feel a civic duty to give back, and now that I'm here full time I want to get involved."

Although new to politics, Snoonian has worked in construction for nearly 20 years. After selling his house and business, he decided to permanently move to Adams.

Snoonian believes that he can bring a new perspective to the Board of Selectmen, which is currently comprised of longtime residents.

"I definitely think bringing in a different perspective, along with the other four guys on the board who have grown up here, helps," he said.

Snoonian wishes to make Adams more attractive to families as a place to live. He does not foresee large manufacturing jobs arriving, but rather sees Adams as a good place for people to commute from.

"In Adams, right now, we need to make it much more attractive for families to live in so even if they might work in Lenox or Bennington, they would want to settle down in Adams," he said.

Snoonian said he sees the budget cuts in the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District as a main issue in the town and region.

"The school budget keeps getting cut, which is a big concern and when the time comes it seems to get cut again so that will probably be priority No. 1 for me," he said.

Snoonian also sees plenty of tourist attractions in Adams that have been underutilized, and believes advertising areas such as Mount Greylock even more could be financially beneficial for the town.

"I'm big into tourism," he said. "The mountain to me is underutilized and is a big selling point."

Ouellette has been on the board since 2008, and is completing his second three-year term.

"I have lived here all of my life," Ouellette said. "My parents lived here and my grandparents lived here, so I have roots here, and I am committed to the town."

Ouellette was a town meeting member for 18 years and had been a member of the Zoning Board for 10.  He currently is a delegate to the Metropolitan Planning Organization and a member of the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority advisory committee.

An engineer, he retired from the former GE in Pittsfield after 34 years. He has also worked in real estate development and taken part in land subdivisions in Adams and Lanesborough.

He also thinks the town can take greater advantage of Mount Greylock through the Greylock Glen, thinking Frisbee golf courses would be a great attraction.

Ouellette said the technical abilities he gained from GE and working in real estate development makes him an asset to the Selectmen: "I think I bring a very broad talent to the board."

Ouellette said he was instrumental in getting the votes needed to hire current Town Administrator Jonathan Butler and "did his homework" on that vote by conferring with state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, for whom Butler used to work.

"I am not a rubber-stamp selectman, and I want to do what I think is in the best interest of the community," he said, adding, "I do my homework, and that's what it's all about."

He supports regionalization whenever possible to achieve efficiencies and cost savings.

"Anything we can work together with as a team with North Adams, Cheshire or Williamstown, we should try to do," Ouellette said. "I think you can get better services at a lower cost."

If re-elected, he would make sure an effective Department of Public Works director was hired for the now open position. He also would push for a clearer focus on the old middle school building and concentrate on solving the financial issues in the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.

"I think that our school is suffering, and we need to do something there," he said. "I want to push to have our board work with the school board."

The election will be held Monday, May 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town garage.



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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is 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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