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Shelburne to see race for selectman

SHELBURNE — Selectman Robert A. Manners will be running for re-election, with a challenge coming from Shelburne Falls attorney Kevin D. Parsons in the April 30 election.

Town Clerk Beverly Neely said the selectmen’s race is the only contest in this year’s election; however, every available seat in the election will have at least one candidate on the election ballot.

Manners is currently serving his third selectmen’s term and says he is hoping for a fourth term so that he can see several town-building improvement projects come to fruition.

“This selectboard has been systematically working on improving the town buildings — making them more energy efficient,” he said. Manners noted that the Cowell Gymnasium renovation and replacing the roof of the Arms Library’s Pratt Memorial Library building are two priority projects for the board currently. Manners said he facilitated funding for the new highway garage roof. “We started moving forward, and I want to keep (the town) moving forward,” he said.

A lifelong resident, Manners is a captain in the Shelburne Center Fire Department, where he has been a volunteer since age 14. His primary job is working as a paramedic with the Baystate Heath Ambulance — a job he has held for 27 years.

Kevin Parsons of Main Street has been a lawyer for 24 years, with a business based in Shelburne Falls since 1996. Parsons and his wife, Kathleen Young, both have their businesses in the village and live about one mile north.

“I believe it is important for the board to have at least one member who has a significant connection to the downtown village area,” Parsons says in a campaign statement. “This has not been the case for many years. Residents and businesses in the downtown village have a unique set of challenges that are always evolving (limited parking, sidewalk conditions ... and striking a balance between residential life and bolstering tourism and economic development). “Having a selectman that sees and understands these issues — and is willing to be a strong voice for the village residents and business district — is important.”

Parsons grew up in Colrain, and was on the Greenfield Community College board of trustees for 10 years, serving as chairman for two years. He has also served on the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and is a past president. He is also a past member of the Shelburne Falls Kiwanis and the Mary Lyon Education Fund’s board of directors. Parsons says he was instrumental in helping the Board of Selectmen establish a Downtown Tree Committee, which he serves on. He is also on the Shelburne Planning Board’s Wind Advisory Committee.

Town Moderator James G. Stacey is not seeking re-election to his moderator post but is running for constable, seeking the position long held by John Shea, who recently died.

Karen Redeker-Hicks is running for a three-year seat on the Mohawk Trail Regional School Committee, for the seat held by Susan Flaccus, who stepped down this year.

The following unopposed candidates are seeking election or re-election. All are for three-year terms unless otherwise noted:

Town Clerk Beverly Neeley (incumbent, one-year term); incumbent Constables Michael Barnes and Laura Manners; Recreation Committee: incumbent Diana Hardina (five-year term), Julie Dubreuil (two-year term) and Emily Schoelzel (four-year term).

Judith Kulp and incumbent Launie York are each running for the Free Public Library board of trustees.

Incumbent Rita Maccini is running for the five-year seat on the Housing Authority. Allan Stevenson is seeking the Planning Board seat of Chuck Washer, who is not seeking re-election.

“We haven’t had a full slate of candidates in years,” says Neeley.

To be eligible to vote in this year’s election, town residents must register to vote by April 10.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
dbronc@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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