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Adams Voters to Decide Three Races on 2014 Ballot

Staff Reports

ADAMS, Mass. — The town will see several races on this year's election ballot, including for the one selectman's seat.

Incumbent Michael Ouellette will vie for a third three-year term against newcomer Jeffrey Michael Snoonian of 1 Berkshire Square.

Ouellette, of Tramway Drive, was first elected in 2008 and won a narrow victory to retain his seat in 2011.

There will be a three-way race for treasurer/collector between the town's financial assistants Paula Schrade and Town Meeting Member Kelly F. Rice, and Melissa McGovern-Wandrei, currently the appointed treasurer/collector in Clarksburg.

The incumbent, Holly Denault, is retiring in May; the winner of the election will complete the two years left of Denault's term.

Dennis A. Gajda and George J. Haddad will vie for the one three-year seat on the Board of Assessors being vacated by Lynn D. Avery.

Incumbents Joseph F. Greenbush and David M. Strzepek are running for the two three-year library trustee seats; Jill Pompi, appointed to the trustees in December, is running for the two-year seat.

Jacob N. Schutz, an incumbent, and Scott E. Cernik are running for two three-year Park Comission seats.

Incumbents also running for re-election are Moderator Edward Driscoll, one year; Planning Board member Barbara Ziemba, five years; Housing Authority member, Mark Alan Covert, five years; McCann School Committee member Daniel J. Maloney Jr., three years, and Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee member Regina A. Hill, representing Adams for three years.
 
No candidates submitted nomination papers for a five-year spot on the Redevelopment Authority or a three-year seat on the Cemetery Commission.

The election will be held Monday, May 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town garage; the deadline to register to vote is April 15 by 8 p.m.

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Williamstown Ballot Spaces Filling for Town Election

By Stephen Dravis
Williamstown Correspondent
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With just more than one week left before the deadline for nomination papers, the town is looking at — minimum — a three-way race for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen.
 
With Selectman David Rempell and Chairwoman Jane Allen having announced they will not seek another term in May's annual election, four Williamstown residents have taken out papers, and three have returned them with the required 28 signatures to gain a spot on the ballot.
 
Andrew Hogeland of 2143 Cold Spring Road, Jack Nogueira of 149 Luce Road and Hugh Daley of 106 Southworth St. each have returned their papers to Town Hall, Town Clerk Mary Kennedy said on Monday morning.
 
A fourth man, Gary Fuls of 82 Elm St., has taken out nomination papers but has not yet returned them, she said.
Selectmen serve three-year terms.
 
Interested residents can take out papers and return them with the proper signatures by 5 p.m. on March 25, Kennedy said.
In addition to the Selectmen, there is one other town body with an open seat this spring.
 
On the Planning Board, the five-year seat currently held by Patrick Dunlavey is up for grabs.
 
So far, only one resident, Amy Jeschawitz of 1173 North Hoosac Road, has pulled papers, but she has not returned them, Kennedy said.
 
Four other positions positions will be on the ballot. Three of the current seatholders have taken steps to serve another term.
On the Williamstown Elementary School Committee, John Skavlem has taken out papers to run for another three-year term, as has Housing Authority Board member Joan Burns, who is serving a five-year term that expires in May.
 
On the Milne Public Library Board of Trustees, there are two seats on the ballot. Trustee Kathleen Schultze has returned her papers with the required signatures to run for another three-year term; Trustee David Dewey has not taken out papers as of Monday morning, Kennedy said.
 
The Board of Registrars confirms the signatures on nomination papers before names are placed on the ballot for the May 13 town election, scheduled for 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the elementary school.
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Sayers Wins Lanesborough Selectman Seat

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Henry 'Hank' Sayers won the special election for the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. 
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Henry "Hank" Sayers came out the winner in Tuesday's special election to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen. 
 
Sayers polled 270 votes; his opponent, Barbara Hassan polled 217.  
 
The election was held to replace Robert Barton, who stepped down to run for School Committee but too late to put the seat on the ballot for the annual town election. 
 
The turnout was 487 registered voters, out of 2231, or 22 percent, high for one race in a special election. The split was 55 percent for Sayers, 45 for Hassan.
 
The high turnout was the talk of those gathered for the results. Both Town Clerk Ruth Knysh and Selectmen Chairman John Goerlach said they were impressed with the number of voters who made it to the polls.
 
In contrast, in the June regular election, only 564 votes were cast for the two candidates seeking one selectman seat in that election. That election not only included voters for the special statewide U.S. Senate race but also various town seats.
 
Both candidates in this election are well known and have long-standing connections and roots within the community. Sayers owns Sayers Auto Wrecking and Hassan operates Barbara Hassan Realty and both have worked closely with town leaders. 
 
"She was a good candidate," said Sayers. "We did our best. Thanks to the supporters, voters... I'm going to try to do my best."
Barbara Hassan outside of Town Hall on election day campaigning for votes.

Sayers said he was ready to "hit the ground running" when he takes over the seat. Sayers campaigned on trying to lower the tax rate by finding ways to do more with less.

He has strong connections with many town departments and pledged to be fair in resolving issues fairly and quickly.

On Tuesday, Sayers spent the day with his family campaigning outside of Town Hall. 
 
Hassan boasted her knowledge of town issues and business aptitude from years of working as a real estate agent in town. She has been involved in various town subcommittees and regularly attends Selectmen and other government meetings.
 
"Although I would have loved to have won this race I feel great on how my campaign was run," Hassan said in a statement following the election. "I had great support from my husband in getting my signs out and his moral support was outstanding. Many of our family, friends and acquaintances that I've known in town were wonderful in their support and I thank them all."
 
During the day on Tuesday, Hassan said no matter what happened, she would continue to play an active role in town government. During the campaign she "got a laundry list of 'to do' items" from citizens and she will now pass those along to the sitting selectmen, she said.
 
"No regrets and as always I'll be back at town hall working on the Town Services Study Committee with the task of combining the Highway and Water Departments into a new DPW along with  any other projects that I am asked to help out with," she said.

 

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Two Seeking Lanesborough Selectman Seat

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Selectman candidate Barbara Hassan and Tim O'Brien, who moderated the forum at Town Hall on Wednesday. Candidate Henry Sayers was unable to attend the forum.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Two local business owners are vying for the open seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Henry Sayers, owner of Sayers Auto Wrecking, and Barbara Hassan, owner of Barb Hassan Real Estate, are both running in next week's special election.

The seat is open after Robert Barton resigned to run for School Committee. His resignation was too late to fill the seat at the annual election this past spring.

A candidate forum was scheduled on Wednesday but Sayers was unable to attend. However, Hassan fielded questions for a half hour segment while a letter from Sayers was read.

When asked why residents should vote for her, Hassan said one word kept coming to mind — qualified.

Her job as a real estate agent over the past 25 years requires her to be up to date with the issues, Hassan said, and have a wide range of contacts in business and politics.

"I can seamlessly take on the responsibility left by the previous selectman because I've stayed current on the issues facing the town of Lanesborough," Hassan said, adding that she has increased the number of government meetings she has attended so if she is elected, she can hit the ground running.

She has been an active in politics but hasn't run for an elected office before. When the town hired a full-time administrator, she said it created a much more businesslike environment and she is seeking election to continue the transition.

"There has been a huge transition since the new town administrator came on and more transparency and accountability," Hassan said. "I really like that it is a businesslike environment."

She said she has a "business mindset" and the connections that come with it. When asked about improving commercial buildings, she said she has resources across the country she can ask for advice on, for example, a brownfields project.

Hassan said she has a strong relationship with the Berkshire delegation and the mayors of the the two cities — all of whom said they would be available to help in a situation.

"I am humble enough to ask for help all day long on any subject I don't know about," she said.

She said she has met with Mount Greylock Regional Superintendent Rose Ellis about the impending school project and is comfortable that the town and herself will receive plenty of information about that project as it moves along.

Hassan would like to merge various town departments into one, a move she says will create efficiencies. She has already put a year's worth of effort as a member of a committee researching that possibility and she hopes to complete it.

Sayers, in his letter, boasts similar experience in business. His letter focused on trying to control spending while expanding the tax base.

"Young families do not want to move into Lanesborough because of the high tax rate. Some of the committees are looking at current spending habits and ways we could save money. We have to continue to find ways to stretch dollars," the letter reads.

Meanwhile, attention needs to be paid to the town's infrastructure, Sayers' wrote, and that he would place priority on finding grants or bonds to improve the road systems.

"I believe I can work well with other board members and other departments by bringing common sense to issues as well as thinking outside of the box when needed," the letter reads.

The letter continues to say he would like to make town hall "more user friendly" and would work to resolve problems before they grow to become "major issues." He said he would be "fair" and "listen to everyone that has something to say."

The election is on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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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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