Harrington; Duval Win Selectmen Seats In Adams
|Top: Longtime School Committee member John Duval was the second highest voter getting in Monday's election and will join the Board of Selectmen.
Right and Bottom: Arthur "Skip" Harrington was re-elected for the board.
Duval edged out former Selectmen Edward Driscoll by only 61 votes while Harrington ran away with re-election by winning every precinct.
The final totals were Harrington with 851; Duval with 565; Driscoll with 504; Richard Blanchard with 470 and Jeremy Halek with 341. A total of 1,470 of the 5,826 registered voters — about 25 percent — made it to the polls.
The five candidates were vying for two three-year seats. Selectman Jason Hnatonko did not run for re-election.
For Duval, he is looking forward to the change from his last 17 years on the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee.
"I look forward to working with the board," Duval said. "I'm just humbled for the support I've received."
The election did not come without worry as he led Driscoll by only 44 votes after four of the five precincts were reported. Harrington, who campaigned heavily on what he believes are successes of the last three years, said he was confident that he would be re-elected.
"I am a little disappointed there wasn't more of a turnout," Harrington said. "I think John [Duval] is a good addition to the board and I am glad to be back for another three years."
The only other contested race was for moderator and Joseph R. Dean Jr. won re-election over Ryan Biros by a margin of 937-477.
The uncontested races were: Haley Meczywor for town clerk; Donna MacDonald for assessor; Patricia Clairmont for Board of Health; James Loughman and Eugene Michalenko for library trustees, James Fassell for Parks Commission; Sandra Moderski for Planning Board; Aaron Dean for the Northern Berkshire Vocational School District and Stephen Vigna for the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee.
iBerkshires Hosting Selectmen's Debate At Library
The debate will be held at the Adams Free Library's Miller Annex on Saturday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m. The debate is expected to last about an hour and a half and is open to the public.
Depending on how technology treats us, we are hoping to live stream the debate on the front page of our website. If we can't livestream it, we will at least have the video clips posted after the event. We'll keep you posted on that. It will also be recorded by Northern Berkshire Community Television for a future showing.
Running for two seats on the board are incumbent Arthur "Skip" Harrington, former Selectman Edward Driscoll and newcomers Richard Blanchard, John Duval and Jeremy Halek. Current board member Jason Hnatonko is not running for re-election. The election is on Monday, May 7.
The candidates will give opening remarks before fielding an array of questions. The moderator will be Editor Tammy Daniels. At least one question will come from iBerkshires Senior Reporter Andy McKeever, another from North Adams Transcript Reporter Phil Demers and the rest generated from you — yes, you.
iBerkshires is seeking questions to ask your next selectmen. Email, tweet (@iBerkshires), Facebook, whichever works best for you. We suggest sending them in early but we also will be checking during the debate. We'll be asking as many of your questions as we can before the candidates give their closing statements.
We'll see you there!
Adams Candidates Speak at Maple Grove Civic Club
All five of those running appeared at the annual Maple Grove Civic Club candidates' forum on Sunday afternoon.
Appearing at the forum in the crowded PNA Hall were incumbent Arthur "Skip" Harrington, Richard Blanchard, Edward Driscoll, John Duval and Jeremy Halek.
Anyone running for office in the May 7 election was invited to attend. They included candidates for Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee, Steven Vigna; Parks Commission, incumbent James Fassell; library director, Eugene Michalenko; town clerk, incumbent Haley Meczywor, and town moderator, incumbent Joseph R. Dean Jr. and Ryan Biros.
Harrington, the current chairman and who is running for a second three-year term on the Board of Selectmen, pointed to challenges and successes during his first term.
"I love this town, I've enjoyed my three years as selectmen," he said. "I think, and I hope, everyone can agree that during my term as selectman, a lot — a lot — has gone positive for this community."
Harrington spoke of the decisions coming about facilities, such as the middle school and visitors center; the Summer Street project and his involvement with coming Park Street Streetscape Project; work on the library and old Town Hall; the changes at the Council of Aging and its programming expansion; the extensions of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and the repairs made after Hurrican Irene.
Regarding last year's controversial attempt to cut the dispatchers, Harrington said a committee with representation from all the emergency services are involved, and lauded the town's first responders for the work during the hurricane.
"I have respect for those who have an opinion about the town of Adams," he said. "I may not always agree with your opinion, and you can't alway agree because you can't please everybody ... but I'll always listen."
Blanchard focused on the need to increase the tax base to offset the tax burden on residents.
"We've got to find a way to stop that," he said. I know it's easy to say; do I have a magic plan? No. But what I'd like to see is a little more marketing."
He said the town should do what it could to market the town as a recreational area and also attract outdoors retailer like Cabela's, adding that people drive for hours to shop at those venues.
Driscoll, who was on the board from 1995-2007, also thought the town should create a marketable identity along recreational uses. The Red Lion Inn might be the front porch, he said, "but maybe Adams is the back porch."
He took a shot at the current board with its handling of the dispatchers by telling how he'd been involved with the committee that worked to rebuild the waste-water treatment, saving the town millions. The research and collaboration had come first, not afterward, he said.
"I want to contrast the style of what we did at that time with what happened with the dispatchers," said Driscoll. "It's not the outcome but the style."
The Finance Committee vice chairman and member of the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District pledged to ask the tough questions about expenditures and taxes and move the town forward.
"I want to see things move forward," Driscoll said. "That's what I want to see that's what I want to bring to the Board of Selectmen."
Duval, 17-year member of the School Committee and football coach, said the town needs to have strong leadership that supports new ideas and forward thinking in a positive way.
"We've had a lot of people try to hold things back," he said. "We need people onboard to work together ... I'm going to tell you what I think."
The School Committee isn't on television every other week, and that means residents aren't seeing the tough decisions being made, he said. Duval found himself defending the need for the $41 million Hoosac Valley High School renovation, saying it would have cost taxpayers more to fix the deteriorating high school and middle school. "It's on budget and on time," he said, adding the new school would draw students - and money - to the school district. "We need to show we have a great school system."
He, too, thought Adams should take advantage of marketing its outdoors resources, pointing to Berkshire Outfitters as an example.
"This is a great community, we've got great people in this community," he said. "We've got to sell this community to everybody you talk to ... come to Adams."
Halek, a town meeting member, said he would be accessible to citizens. A graduate of Berkshire Community College and Westfield University, he currently works for the Brien Center.
"Since I took out papers to run for for selectman, I've been going door to door listening to concerns important to them and their families," he said. Many of have spoke of their concerns for getting more businesses downtown and the future of the middle school. "I want to be approachable and accessible by listening to all residents and bring your concerns and ideas with me to the board."
|Joseph R. Dean Jr., left, is hoping to fend off challenger Ryan Biros in the first race for moderator in some time.|
Dean, a 28-year selectman, was elected after longtime moderator Anthony McBride stepped down in 2010. He brought the town budget book to remind voters that the moderator is responsible for more than running the annual town meetings. After years as a selectman working on budgets, he said it was an easy decision to "work on it on the other side."
"I have to be neutral and I have to let both sides get their point across," he said, listing some of the civic activities he's been involved in. "I do have an interest in the town."
Biros, a town meeting member and member of the Redevelopment Authority, spoke of his work in developing the town's user-friendly website with the past town administrator.
"I feel that as a moderator we have a great process," he said, pledging he would appoint Finance Committee members "in an unbiased way" and that he would work to get wireless microphones for town meeting so it will be easier for town meeting members to speak.
The election is May 7. The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, April 17; the town clerk's office will be open until 8 p.m. Absentee ballots are available until May 4.
Richmond Town Election Ballot Set For 2012
• Three-year term on the Board of Selectmen: Alan Hanson, 796 Dublin Road
• Two three-year terms on the Board of Health: Andrew Fisher, 494 Dean Hill Road, and Anthony Segal, 1220 Lenox Road
• Two-year term on the Board of Health: Peter Cohen, 60 Cone Hill Road
• One-year term on the Board of Health: Fredrick Schubert, 462 East Road
• Two three-year terms on the Finance Committee: Eileen Martin, 2215 Dublin Road, and Stevan Patterson, 132 Shore Road
• Three-year term on the School Committee: Dewey Wyatt, 82 Pine Grove Drive
• One-year term on the School Committee: Bianca Daigle, 970 West Road
• Three-year term on the Board of Library Trustees: Lisa Donfried, 591 Cone Hill Road
• Five-year term on the Planning Board: Linda Morse, 161 Rossiter Road
• Two-year on the Planning Board: Richard Bell, 99 Jolindy Road
• One-year term of town moderator: John Whitney, 251 Yokun Road
Five Vying For Adams Board of Selectmen
At Monday's deadline for nomination papers, the five candidates that had returned papers were incumbent Arthur "Skip" Harrington, former Selectman Edward Driscoll, and newcomers Richard Blanchard, John Duval and Jeremy Halek. Two others, Donald Sommer and Anthony Coty, had taken out papers but did not return them.
The only other race is for moderator. Incumbent Joseph R. Dean Jr. is being challenged by Ryan Biros.
Five elected positions do not have candidates.
Parks Commissioner Aimee Sinopoli will not be running again and the board was already one position short. Of three open positions on that board, only incumbent James Fassell returned nomination papers.
Two seats on the Redevelopment Authority — five-year and a two-year — also have no candidates. Incumbent Joseph Allard will not seek re-election, which adds to an already vacant position.
Additionally, Cemetery Commissioner Robert Ciempa is not seeking re-election, creating a vacancy there.
For all other posts, only the incumbents returned election papers. The full list is available below.
Adams 2012 Offices for Election