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Michelle Francesconi and Ron DeAngelis won the special election Tuesday to fill two newly created seats on the Board of Selectmen.

Cheshire Elects Francesconi, DeAngelis to Select Board

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Michelle Francesconi and Ron DeAngelis won the special election Tuesday to fill two newly created seats on the Board of Selectmen.  
Both candidates appeared relieved the campaign was over and eager to begin their terms as they received the results at the Community Center.
"I think there's a different dynamic that will develop on the board and it will be interesting to see how Ron's work background and my own work experience will help bring some new perspective and help move the town forward," Francesconi said, after learning she had defeated her opponent, Donna DeFino, for the three-year term by a count of 407-107. 
"I'm really excited ... there's so much potential here! I can't wait to start digging in." 
When asked about her opponent, Francesconi was nothing but complimentary. "Donna is doing great things on the Planning Board and I wish her the best because we will still need to work together," she said.
Francesconi made it clear she is eager to dive in but intends to take it one step at a time. 
"Right now we are in uncharted waters with a five member board so the division of duties needs to be reshaped. I'm just looking forward to getting started," she said.
Her daughters Mia and Sophia were on hand for the occasion and were clearly very proud of their mom.
"I'm super happy and so proud of her. She's gone through so much to get here and it's just really cool," said Mia, while Sophia added, "I'm proud because ever since I was born she's always wanted to try for this and I think it's just a good opportunity for her."
DeAngelis won the two-year term on the board by beating two other candidates, receiving 267 votes to 145 for Mickey Biagini and 103 for E. Richard Sholz.
"The very first thing I'd like to do is to find out how the town has been running, how it works. I want to find out how decisions have been made the last few years," said Deangelis, when asked what his first task would be. 
DeAngelis was also concerned with a disconnect he feels between some town employees and Town Hall. 
"We need to get them on board and improve that relationship. I want to start right from the beginning and  build it up," he said.
When asked about his new partner on the board, DeAngelis said, "Having Michelle ... it's turned out really well for the town. Two fresh candidates. There's a great opportunity here." 
The 122-vote margin surprised DeAngelis a bit but he felt the voters heard his message. 
"I believe that, even though I wasn't born here, some people who knew me through Petricca through the years," he said. "They saw I had the qualifications and the ability to help make the changes the town should have."
Both winners will get sworn in by the town clerk and begin their duties at the next meeting on Aug. 20.
The races for selectmen weren't the only thing on the ballot Tuesday night. There was a non-binding referendum to poll the town on where the annual Memorial Day parade should hold its ceremonies. For years it has been held at the cemetery but if the voters get their way it could be moving to Town Hall as that was preferred 294-224. 
Town Clerk Christine Emerson was thrilled with the new voting machines and the people who stayed to learn the final results were surprised at how fast they were posted. Emerson recorded a turnout of 529 out of a possible 2401 registered voters, or 23 percent.

Tags: election 2019,   election results,   special election,   town elections,   

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MCAS Results Mixed for Hoosac Valley Regional School District

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Standardized test results were a mixed bag for the Hoosac Valley Regional School and although there was some progress, the district was penalized because of incomplete data.
Superintendent Aaron Dean went over the 2019 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System results at Monday's School Committee meeting and noted although the district is classified as "requiring assistance or intervention," this label is not truly accurate of the district's scores and progress.
"I don't see a problem because this is something we are going to stay on top of and I want to make sure we are constantly checking it throughout the year," Dean said. "It is unfortunate that we suffered a little bit in this but all in all the data here is not scary and I think ... we will be able to address these challenges."
Dean said the reason for this classification was the district being "in need of focused/ targeted support" and "failure to meet mandatory data reporting deadlines," which was simply a result of incomplete data that ultimately hurt the district. 
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