Mount Greylock School Candidate Urges Votes for Opponents

By Stephen DravisSpecial to iBerkshires
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Sheila Hebert has a simple message for voters this November: Don't vote for her.

Hebert is one of three candidates for one Lanesborough position on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee, and she is really hoping residents of the district do not use one of their votes on her.

It is not that she does not want to serve. It's just that she already has a spot on the MGRSD board.

"Three people put in their papers (to be on the ballot), and then what happened was two people resigned," Hebert said this week. "Nobody knew the positions were opening up."

This summer, Hebert and Chris Dodig were appointed by the Williamstown and Lanesborough Selectmen to fill out terms ending in, respectively, 2014 and 2012.

Dodig, like Hebert, is on the Nov. 6 ballot along with would-be newcomer Mark Schiek. Since Dodig's term is expiring, he is actively seeking to retain it. Since Hebert is safely on the committee for another two years, she would rather not win the four-year seat being contested next month.

"If I could have taken my name off the ballot, I would have, but it had already gone to the secretary of state's office in Boston," she explained. "What I have decided to do and have ended up doing is promoting the two other candidates.

"If I won the election, I would fill (the seat formerly held by Jack Hickey), and they would have to make another appointment to the seat I hold."

Hebert, a longtime member of the Lanesborough School Committee, said the transition from the elementary school panel to the middle/high school board has been worthwhile.

"People will ask me, 'You just served 10 years. Why do you want to do 10 more?' " she said. "I figured it was time to try something totally different. It's a much more dynamic and diverse school committee than I've ever been on. I'm enjoying the diversity of it."

Likewise, Dodig is enjoying the new challenges on the Mount Greylock board. Previously, he has served the town as chairman of the committee that studied whether the town should join the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District and as a member of the Town Management Study Committee.

"Although [the Mount Greylock committee] is certainly a demanding position, I have enjoyed it," Dodig said in an email seeking his thoughts on the race. "It has become clear to me that we are entering a critical time period for the high school and that there are a number of very important issues facing the school and the communities.

"I hope to be elected so that I have the opportunity to help our communities work through these important issues."

Schiek is hoping for his first shot at helping the town on an elected board, but he already serves on the Mount Greylock Regional School District Building Committee. Schiek, Dodig and "pseudo-candidate" Hebert agree the condition of the current building and its renovation or replacement are top concerns for the district in the years ahead.

"There's a potential for major renovation or building change going forward," Shiek said. "I'd like to withhold judgment on" the question of renovation versus replacement.

"I do know for a fact the building is inadequate. We have science labs that aren't functioning. There is a lot of new electronic communication out there, and the building isn't up to those standards."

Dodig agreed that something needs to be done about the outdated facility.

"Certainly the issues presented by our 50-year-old building will be front and center over the next five years," he wrote. "We need to provide the public with information about the condition of the building and our options, gather community input, and then move forward without delay."

While there are (technically) three choices for the one open Lanesborough position on the committee, there are only two names on the ballot for the Williamstown spots currently held by Dave Backus and by Heather Williams, who is not running for re-election. Backus is running for another four-year term, and Colleen Taylor hopes to join him on the committee.

The Lanesborough candidates offer diverse professional backgrounds, but each is the parent of a student at Mount Greylock.

Dodig is an an attorney at the North Adams firm Donovan & O'Connor LLP and the father of two Mount Greylock students. Schiek is a research engineer with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in New York and the father of twin boys in the eighth grade. Hebert works in finance and has two children who graduated from Mount Greylock and a third in the 11th grade.

This fall, she is telling everyone she knows to vote for someone else on Election Day.

"I'm just telling people, 'Make up your mind who you vote for,' " she said. "I'll probably get some votes. I'm sure some people will say, 'I don't care what you say. I'm voting for you anyway.' "

Tags: MGRHS,   school committee,   


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Thunderbolt Ski Trail Eroding

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Advisory Council has serious concerns with erosion on the Thunderbolt Ski Trail.
 
Advisory Council member Heather Lindscott relayed a message to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the rest of the council from the Thunderbolt Ski Runners who have noticed major erosion issues on the historical ski trail caused by over hiking. 
 
"They are just making trenches now," she said on Wednesday. "There are parts that are just rock and they are wearing it down."
 
Trail Coordinator Becky Barnes said the Thunderbolt is the quickest way up the mountain and one of the most popular trails. She said the erosion has been worsened by water cascading down the trenched trail.
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