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Precinct 5 preliminary election today

GREENFIELD — Three candidates will vie for two spots on the June ballot today when preliminary election polls open at 7 a.m.

Retired Greenfield firefighter John Lyford, local activist and Greenfield Human Rights Commission member Penny Ricketts, and local lawyer specializing in elder law Robert Wainstein will vie for the two spots, which will eventually lead to voters choosing a new Precinct 5 town councilor in June. The preliminary election, for Precinct 5 only, will be held today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Guiding Star Grange Hall, 401 Chapman St. Two candidates will advance to the town’s annual election.

Lyford, 48, lives on Farren Street, while Ricketts, 53, lives on Main Street and Wainstein, 63, lives on James Street.

All three candidates have said they love the diversity of their precinct, which includes the Highland Avenue and Congress Street area, Maple Street, Bingville and the east end of Main Street.

All three candidates said they are in favor of a recent wetlands ordinance rewrite by the town’s Conservation Commission, though Ricketts and Lyford said they would not make any changes, but Wainstein said he would suggest “tightening up” the language and would ask that the commission include a clause that forces large-scale developers to provide a bond in case they abandon a project before any required wetlands work has been completed.

The three candidates have also said they would need more information before supporting a citizen-proposed burial ground protection ordinance, and while Lyford and Wainstein have said a citizen-proposed plastic bag ordinance, which would ban plastic bags from being used at check-out counters in Greenfield, is a good idea in theory, they both said it needs more research before passing it in Greenfield. Ricketts has said she does not support a plastic bag ordinance. There are 1,305 registered voters in Precinct 5.

Temperatures today are supposed to be in the 60s with a 100 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.

“I think the council needs to be part of keeping town finances stable, giving town employees the tools they need to run the town efficiently and provide residents with the best services, and find a way to assist agencies working on the serious drug problem here in Greenfield and the area,” said Lyford in a recent interview.

Ricketts said the town needs a Precinct 5 councilor who is ready to help implement the town’s new sustainable master plan by deciding what makes the most sense and then prioritizing.

“Greenfield needs a Town Council that is interested in supporting police, fire, public works, public schools and other town departments that provide services to residents,” said Ricketts.

Wainstein said he has read the town’s new sustainable master plan cover to cover and would like to participate in its implementation.

“We need to make Greenfield’s downtown a more vibrant and busy place,” said Wainstein recently. “I would support hiring a marketing specialist whose job it would be to market and brand the town.”

He said he would also like to see the former First National Bank on Bank Row become a cultural center and would like to see the town move ahead with building a municipal parking garage.

Lyford, Ricketts and Wainstein have all said they would like to hear all of the voices of Precinct 5.

Following his recent retirement, Lyford is not currently working at another job. Ricketts works at Home Depot and Wainstein has his own practice working in elder law. He is one of the founding partners of the former Greenfield law firm Esser, Singer, Eisenberg and Wainstein.

The election will cost the town about $4,000.

For more information about the preliminary election, call the town clerk’s office at 413-772-1555.

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