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Wendell Town Meeting to vote on nuclear weapons, state flag

  • Article 23 on the Wendell Town Meeting warrant cites centuries-old atrocities that European colonists committed against Native Americans and asserts that the Massachusetts state flag and seal ought to be changed.

  • Article 23 on the Wendell Town Meeting warrant cites centuries-old atrocities that European colonists committed against Native Americans and asserts that the Massachusetts state flag and seal ought to be changed.



Recorder Staff
Sunday, June 03, 2018

WENDELL — On Tuesday, Wendell residents will tell the world what they think about nuclear weapons and the state flag.

The annual Town Meeting — to commence at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall — will allow the town of roughly 900 people to vote on raising $2,649,601 for general expenses, as well as salaries and compensation for town officials.

Other warrant articles — of which there are 24 — are more symbolic in nature.

Massachusetts state flag

Article 23, citing centuries-old atrocities that European colonists committed against Native Americans, asserts that the Massachusetts state flag and seal ought to be changed.

The flag and seal, depicting a Native American holding a bow against a blue shield, has smaller details that some find offensive to Native Americans. For example, a colonial broadsword depicted above the figure is said to be that of Myles Standish, who ambushed and killed members of a native tribe in April of 1623.

If Article 23 passes, Wendell would formally support a bill introduced by state Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Suffolk, H-1707, calling for a special commission, including members of the state Legislature and representatives from Massachusetts’ native tribes, to investigate and recommend changes to the state flag and seal.

A “yes” vote would also see the town clerk sending a copy of the resolution to state Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, the state senator elected to replace Stanley Rosenberg, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee and Massachusetts Municipal Association Executive Director Geoffrey Beckwith.

Selectboard Chairwoman Christine Heard said she supports the resolution, which would lend Wendell’s voice to the statewide discussion. Three other Franklin County towns, Orange, Gill and New Salem, will vote on similar resolutions at their annual Town Meetings.

“I don’t see any problem with passing it,” Heard said. “It’s just asking the state to go ahead and change it.”

Nuclear weapons

Another article will give Wendell the chance to lend its opinion to a national, even international, discussion.

Article 22, if passed, would see Wendell adopt a resolution concerning the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The article states, “We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war,” and asserts that the U.S. should not use nuclear weapons as a first option, and that nuclear weapons should be taken off of “hair-trigger alert.”

“Ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack,” and “canceling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons,” are also focuses of the resolution, as well as calling for the United States to negotiate with other nuclear-armed countries to eliminate their arsenals.

The resolution, if passed, would get copies sent to Congress and the U.S. president and secretary of state.

Other articles

Besides changing the state flag, nuclear weapons and the general budget, most articles on the warrant deal with moving preexisting town funds to different accounts in order to pay for certain projects.

For example, $15,000 from the Rehab Loan Payback Account to complete repairs on the Town Hall’s crawl space, and $20,000 and $65,368 from the same account to build solar panels on the roof of the town offices building and set up a fund to loan residents money for conservation of their properties, respectively.

In a bid to avoid using some tax dollars, the town will vote on taking $35,000 from the stabilization fund to pay for items mentioned in other warrant articles.

Reach David McLellan
at dmclellan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.