Voting day at last
Greenfield School Committee, Montague selectman among choices voters face today
GREENFIELD — While Franklin County voters will be asked to pick a new U.S. senator today, Greenfield will also be choosing a pair of school board members and Montague will be selecting a new selectman in local polling piggybacking on the statewide election.
In other action in this year’s annual Greenfield town election, seats on the Town Council are all uncontested.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. countywide where most towns will just vote for Republican Gabriel Gomez or Democrat Edward Markey to replace former Sen. John Kerry.
Montague voters will also have to decide between Michael Nelson and Jeanne Golrick for a one-year selectmen’s term.
Greenfield will pick two out of three candidates for School Committee. On the ballot and endorsed by the Town Democratic Committee for the three-year seats are writer and publicist Wesley Blixt, 61, of 39 Orchard St. and elementary school teacher Margaret Betts, 35, of 16 West St. Mounting an 11th hour write-in challenge to the ballot candidates is retiring Four Corners School principal Donna Gleason, 65, of Vernon St.
For Town Council in Precinct 7, 8 and 9 incumbent councilors Karen “Rudy” Renaud, Karen Shapiro Miller, and Norman Hirschfeld are all looking for three-year terms, as are at-large councilors Mark Maloni and Patrick Devlin.
All nine of the town’s precincts will vote at the Guiding Star Grange, 401 Chapman St.
Town Clerk Maureen Winseck said voters will be offered a ballot for town elections and one for the state election and they will choose whether to use both or just one.
The incumbent councilors
Devlin, 62, of Bernardston Road will seek a second three-year term.
Devlin, who was born and raised in Northampton and moved to Greenfield in 1998, said he loves Greenfield for its open space, friendly people, and small-town amenities.
“I want to do another three years, because I don’t want my service to be a flash in the pan,” said Devlin. “I really want to follow through with the work I’ve been doing.”
Devlin said the biomass moratorium, changes to election terms and dates, and the anaerobic digester being talked about for Greenfield are just a few of the issues he’s looking forward to working on.
“This is a really exciting time for Greenfield and I want to be involved,” he said. “We need to look at our sustainable future and careful development. We need to take our time in exploring our options.”
Hirschfeld, 67, of Meadow Lane will also be seeking a second three-year term.
Born and raised in New York and Florida, Hirschfeld moved to Greenfield five years ago. He said he loves the friendly, progressive, neighborly, warm town.
“I’d like to serve another three years because I believe in giving back to the community I live in,” he said. “I want to see a transparent government. There are still things I want to accomplish.”
Hirschfeld said the effects new zoning on solar farms will have on the town, the moratorium on “biomass” wood-burning plants, and the town’s budget will be a few of the issues he wants to continue working on.
“This is a great town, and I want to help make it even better,” said Hirschfeld.
Renaud, 44, of Munson Street is seeking her first three-year term. She was appointed to the seat vacated by Shenandoah Sluter in 2011. She was elected last year to serve the final year of Sluter’s term.
Renaud, who was born and raised in Lowell and moved to Greenfield in 2005, said she loves Greenfield because it is a livable city, has lots of green space, and is filled with really nice, kinder people.
“I hope I’m going to be more effective over the next three years in representing my precinct,” said Renaud. “I’d like to work with everyone, including people I might not agree with.”
She said health insurance costs and a balanced budget, growing the tax base and keeping services, and staying consistent with the new sustainable master plan the town is currently working on, are a few of the issues Renaud can’t wait to start working on.
“This is a beautiful town,” said Renaud. “We want it to just keep getting nicer.”
Shapiro-Miller, 59, of Phillips St. will be seeking her first full term. She was appointed to the council to replace Iris Vicencio-Rasku last fall.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Shapiro-Miller moved to Greenfield more than two years ago. She said she decided to stay in Greenfield because of its diversity and down-to-earth, small-town feel.
“I love getting involved with my town and I hope I can contribute even more to the council next year,” said Shapiro-Miller. “I want to be a voice for the people of my precinct and help them and Greenfield thrive.”
She said the downtown (more stores, jobs and bringing people there), implementing the new sustainable master plan, and getting more residents to speak out about what they want for their town are just a few of the issues she plans to work on over the next three years.
“I want everyone to have the chance to live a good life here in Greenfield,” she said.
Maloni, 42, of James Street will seek his first three-year term. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Tracey Sutphin last fall.
Maloni, who was born and raised in Springfield and moved to Greenfield in 1985, said he loves the town because of its beauty, access to the highway, clean air, friendly people, and small-town vibe.
“I really like making this type of contribution to my community,” he said. “This is a good fit for me. It is important work and I have something to offer. I want to do work that will benefit the town and me. It’s a nice way to serve.”
Maloni said energy policy, like biomass and solar, getting more people involved in local government and dialogue, and economic development, especially in the downtown, are a few of the issues he sees as important.
“I really want to see Greenfield keep its downtown vital and I want to support the new sustainable master plan that’s coming,” he said. “I also want to stay agenda free.”
A Franklin Regional Transit Authority bus will begin picking people up at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to take them to the polls. It will make it’s last return at 1 p.m.
The following is the schedule:
Weldon: 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Hi-Rise: 11:02 a.m., 11:47 a.m., and 12:32 p.m.
Court Square at Town Hall: 11:03 a.m., 11:48 a.m., 12:33 p.m.
Mill House South: 11:05 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:35 p.m.
Greenfield Gardens rental office: 11:10 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 12:40 p.m.
Elm Terrace Community Center: 11:15 a.m., noon, and 12:45 p.m.
Leyden Woods: 11:25 a.m., 12:10 p.m., and 12:55 p.m.
Guiding Star Grange Hall: 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 1 p.m.
There is no fare for the service provided by the town.