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Several dozen attend Candidates’ Night at the Willows

Westborough – The Westborough Democratic Town Committee hosted Candidates’ Night at the Willows April 25. Nearly 40 people showed up to hear from candidates in the May 4 town election. Voters will be selecting members for the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, the School Committee, the Library Board of Trustees and the Housing Authority.

Moderator Kris Allen said this discussion was offered as a public service and not a debate. Candi- dates from all five races were on hand. Only two of the races, those for the Library Trustees and Housing Authority, are contested.

Four women are on this year’s ballot for the three open spots on the Library Board of Trustees. Incumbents Helena Engbert and Karen Griegal are hoping to win a three-year position as are newcomers Miriam “Mimi” Cronin and Geralyn “Dee” Kohler.

Engbert is running for her fourth term on the board. She expressed her desire to help the library through projected financial cutbacks.

“I would like to help the Trustees, as they have the challenge of not letting these cuts impact our patrons too much,” she said, “I would like to continue [to serve] because I feel that our library is one of the finest in Massachusetts.”

Griegal is seeking her third term on the board. She expressed optimism about the increase in digital media and explained that it makes the library completely accessible through the internet. This, she said, can benefit those who cannot get to the library. Among the challenges she noted are space utilization and educational opportunities.

“I would like to be part of the solution,” she said.

“I want to ensure that [the library] remains a vibrant centerpiece in the town,” Kohler said. Kohler is currently a school librarian and recently completed additional library education. She commented on how financial cutbacks may mean changes to how the library operates.

“I want to be a part of the team that finds solutions to many of these changes,”

she said.

Cronin also offers handson experience in the library and the corporate world. As a working mother, Cronin expressed her desire to see more family programs on the weekends or in the evenings. She also noted the current financial atmosphere and the upcoming retirement of the library director, saying, “I think this is a really important time for the library.”

Looking to renew a fiveyear position on the Westborough Housing Authority is incumbent Joan Pavolis. She stressed her desire to help people in the town find affordable housing. Her challenger, Charles Naples, was not present at the discussion.

Running unchallenged are School Committee members Bruce Tretter and Steve Doret. Both are looking to renew their three-year terms.

Tretter reminded the audience of the three challenges that the School Committee tackled this year. These include hiring a new superintendent, negotiating with all of the unions, and crafting a budget for the upcoming school year. “We are doing extremely well,” he said.

Also running uncontested is Lester Hensley, who is seeking a five-year term on the Planning Board. He assured the audience that his concern is to balance the use of land in town.

“Thoughtful planning now will help future generations to enjoy Westborough,” he said.

Current Selectman Tim Dodd is seeking a renewed three-year term, along with Selectman Leigh Emery, who was not present at the event.

Dodd noted the tumultuous nature of his last three years on the Board of Selectmen, citing a change in the national economy and the hiring of a new town manager. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to help the town successfully manage its challenges.

The town-wide elections for these five races will take place Tuesday, May 4. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=6975

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