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Three Running For Two-Year Cheshire Selectman Seat

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — E. Richard Scholz, Michael Biagini, and Ronald DeAngelis are vying for a two-year seat on the expanded five-member Board of Selectmen.
The special election to add two more seats — a two-year and the three-year — on the currently three-person board will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 9 to 7 at the Community Center. 

Michael Biagini is running to move the town forward. 
Biagini said he decided to run for selectman because he thought the board could do more.  
"I am concerned about the way we are going," he said. "We have had nothing but a reactive board for the past decade and it is time that we had a proactive board." 
The former Board of Health member and semi-retired volunteer firefighter said he has firm roots in the town and said if elected his historical knowledge will be an asset.
"Four generations of my family have lived in Cheshire. My mother's family were original settlers in Cheshire," he said. "I think I can bring some good experience to the town. I think I can bring some knowledge. I have been involved most of my life in one way or the other and I know the history."
Biagini also touted the budgetary experience that he gained from building budgets on the Board of Health for 14 years.
Infrastructure is on top of Biagini’s list and he specifically said he was concerned about deteriorating roads, public buildings, and equipment. He said if elected he would also want to address major maintenance issues at the fire station and Cheshire School, which he is also concerned about leasing.
He did note that there is no easy fix but if the town leverages its finances differently, he thinks it can address some of these major infrastructure issues.   
"I see what's going on in the town and how the money is being spent foolishly in a lot of places," he said. "They are creating jobs and starting out way above the salary."
Biagini said if he is elected he will help move the town forward.
"I have seen how it has gone backwards while someone new coming in may not have an idea,"  he said. "The town is going backwards. I don't care what anyone says."

Ron DeAngelis says he's an outside the box thinker.
DeAngelis said he has the time and experience to improve Cheshire.
"I have a lot of experience that would be a good fit for the town and I have the time it takes to do the job the way it should be done," he said. "The town is a business … and you are dealing with a pretty good chunk of money but you only have so much."
DeAngelis is retired but worked more than 40 years for Petricca Industries, where he was vice president of operations. He also serves on the Water Department Board of Commissioners and the Planning Board.
"I did budgets, I bought equipment, managed a lot of people did union contracts. I did a little bit of everything," he said. "I am good at making things happen and getting the data you need to make decisions."
DeAngelis said if elected he would like to improve the Highway Department and get the squad working better together as a team.
"Just like in business we find that people working together are much more efficient and it would benefit the town," he said. "That takes working with them and I am more than happy to help and work with anyone." 
He said this would mean better communication between the board and the department but he noted this should be the case with all departments. He said he hopes this would also be a good way to start addressing the town's infrastructure issues.
"I think having the highway squad happy would help with our infrastructure issues," he said. "The roads have really depleted over the past 10 years."
DeAngelis said he is an independent voter and will not just go with the rest of the select board. 
"I think outside the box, I am an outside thinker," he said. "I don't go with the flow. If you want the town to change I would be the one you would want." 

E. Richard Scholz hopes to capture one of the two new board seats  that came about from an initiative he started in 2014.
Scholz is making his fourth run for the select board and is happy to see that the board is finally going from three to five members, an initiative he started in 2014.
"I was the prime mover ... people over the five years gradually decided they wanted to change the way we are doing business in Cheshire by adding two more to the board," he said. "So that is a fact ... people are realizing what I knew all along."
Scholz, who served on the town's Finance Committee, has 20-plus years of experience in project management and consulting experience within the telecommunications industry and hopes to use this experience to help market and improve the town.
"If I didn't live and work outside of Cheshire I don't think I would have had this perspective. I have worked with companies across the globe," he said. "I have contacts have not tapped in a while. I have budget and planning experience."
Planning is important to Scholz and he not only wants to stick to a long-range, collaborative, calculated vision but also take a look at what the town has for assets, services, and equipment.
"Cheshire needs to understand that there has to be a link between long-range planning and current planning," he said. "I have done all of these phases."
Scholz wants to make the town attractive to outside private development to help grow the town’s tax base. Specifically, Scholz said he sees recreational and agricultural opportunities and the town needs to market itself to attract development. 
Scholz said he would like to look at all town services and optimize them. To start, he favors moving all town business to the mostly vacant Cheshire School. He said he also sees opportunities to streamline Highway Department tasks that could only help the town's failing infrastructure.
This will be his last try for selectman, he said, and even if he does not succeed, he feels satisfied for driving change in town. He said if elected he hopes to move Cheshire on even further.
"I've lost more battles then I have won but I won the war and have proven I can stick to a long-range plan," he said. "I have achieved several things that have fundamentally changed the trajectory of Cheshire without ever being a selectman ... I may be footnote ... but Cheshire will be perpetually better over the next 200 years."
Donna DeFino and Michelle Francesconi will run for the second three-year seat in the Aug. 13 special election.

Tags: election 2019,   special election,   town elections,   

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Cheshire Hires New Highway Superintendent

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Chairman Robert Ciskowski says he is pleased at the way the newly expanded board, seen in this file photo, is working together.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Board of Selectmen hired Robert Navin on Tuesday night as the new Highway Department superintendent after a two-month process.
The job became available when Blair Crane resigned the same position this summer. Foreman Jason Hoellerich has been acting superintendent and will return to his position pending a successful salary package negotiation. 
Navin didn't mince words when it came to his qualifications.
"Sixteen years in municipal highway experience and before that 17 years in construction, mechanical, and fabrication experience," he said. "For the hands-on part of the position, I'm more than familiar with any situation. I've enrolled and attended every course, class, seminar, or meeting possible to gain knowledge in municipal highway operations."
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