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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Mill Town Prepares for Future Skyline Entertainment

By Joe DurwiniBerkshires Staff

The Board of Selectmen meets on Monday.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Food, liquor and entertainment licenses have been granted to Skyline at Seven LLC at the former Skyline Country Club, though activity there is not anticipated anytime soon.

Tim Burke of Mill Town, who purchased the former country club for $750,000 earlier this year, told the Selectmen on Monday that while most of the property will be devoted to the planned installation of solar fields, the plan is to reintroduce the main building "for events consistent with the club's previous usage."

"We have no plans to do anything this year, but do expect to have some event type structure eventually," Burke said.

The board approved all three license requests by unanimous 2-0 vote. Chair John Goerlach abstained due to business dealings with Mill Town.

In other town business:

  • Katara Mullet will join the town's administration as interim town treasurer, effective immediately, following approval of her appointment by the Board of Selectmen on Monday.

  • The Selectmen approved an updated policy for the disposal of surplus town property provided by Town Manager Kelli Robbins, and approved a specific surplus disposal of unused equipment by the highway department.

  • The board renewed an annual contract with CAI Technologies to maintain the town's geographic information system mapping.

  • Martha Freedman of the Lanesborough Clean Up Committee called the recent town cleanup "highly successful," hailing a great turnout of all ages. "The town looks so much better with the litter cleaned up," Freedman told the board, "People are less likely to litter if they don't see trash accumulated."

  • The Selectmen approved a list of proposed roads for Chapter 90 improvements for FY22. "We are taking the low-hanging fruit," said Highway Superintendent Bill Decelles, "Everything that is in the worst shape is on the list."

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