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S. Deerfield native, former EMT seeks selectman seat

DEERFIELD — A South Deerfield native hopes to fill the vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen.

David Wolfram, 60, is running for the eight-month seat in the town’s special election Sept. 9. Selectman Mark Gilmore said he thinks Wolfram is the only person who has returned papers.

The selectman’s term will run from Sept. 9 until the next annual town election on May 5.

The election is to fill the remainder of the term of Elizabeth Clarke, who resigned on May 1 after serving two years, citing demands in her personal life.

If elected, it would be Wolfram’s first time holding public office. But Wolfram has already started attending selectmen’s meetings as an observer.

When the seat became available, Wolfram said, a few people encouraged him to make a bid because of his ability to work with others.

“I have a good way of working with people and conflict resolution,” Wolfram said.

Wolfram brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the community, particularly in public safety.

Wolfram served as a part-time police officer for 14 years in Deerfield. He also volunteered for 15 years as firefighter for the South Deerfield Fire District and another 30 years as a volunteer Deerfield EMT. Wolfram was also an EMT instructor at GCC for 25 years.

“I’m now looking for another way to serve the community,” Wolfram said.

As the Deerfield selectmen look into teaming up with Whatley and Sunderland to create a regional paramedic ambulance service, Wolfram can bring his own experience and personal connections into the process.

“I’m a firm believer in that paramedics should be located in the community and not just in Greenfield,” Wolfram said. “It’s essential we get EMTs closer to Whately, Sunderland and Deerfield. Right now, when a basic EMT responds and there is certain criteria that (require) a paramedic, you have a paramedic dispatched out of Greenfield. It could be 20 minutes for them to come, depending on where they are.”

The selectmen plan to ask townspeople to approve a regional service in September, just as the newest selectman takes a seat.

Heading into the next budget season, the town is also looking for ways to be fiscally conservative with fewer federal and state dollars and increasing demands.

If elected, Wolfram said he will “look at the budget constraints and what is best for the town and the four little town demographics of Deerfield.”

Wolfram referred to the four sections of town — South Deerfield, East Deerfield, West Deerfield and Old Deerfield.

“Each has a different ideology,” said Wolfram. “What is best for South Deerfield may not be best for Old Deerfield. It is working with everyone to get a good balance.”

A plant manager at Charter NEX Films in Turners Falls, Wolfram oversees a $26 million budget with 76 employees. He has worked at the manufacturing company for four years. Before that, he worked at the former Deerfield Plastics from 1980 to 2008.

If elected, Wolfram will have to hit the ground running in September. The selectmen will decide whether a Stillwater Road piggery still needs a site assignment after the special election.

Also in September, the town will work with neighbors in Conway, Whately and Sunderland and the Frontier Regional School Committee to develop a better working relationship when it comes to the school budget and regional agreement.

“Education is one of the most important cornerstones of a town,” Wolfram said. “We have to make sure we have a good, balanced approach.”

Wolfram is a graduate of Frontier Regional School, Greenfield Community College and Cambridge College in Springfield. Wolfram said he needs to learn more of the school budget before suggesting any solutions.

As for the pig farm that has pitted a farmer against his neighbors, the Meadows of Deerfield condominiums, Wolfram said the town has to find a resolution to the 25-year dispute.

“We are a farming community. We have to look at the balance between residential and farms, but the farms have to be maintained,” Wolfram said. “We need a permanent solution.”

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