Town elections held across the Berkshires
Lee and Sheffield voters each elected a new selectmen following two of seven annual town elections held in the Berkshires on Monday.
By a count of 554-462, Thomas Wickham defeated Richard "Dickie" Neales to succeed Gordon Bailey who opted against seeking another three-year term on the Board of Selectmen.
In Sheffield, Nadine Hawver edged Martin Mitsoff, 536-496, to take the spot being vacated by Selectman Julie Hannum who opted against re-election. This was Mitsoff’s second defeat in three months, having lost in February -- later upheld by a recount of 487-480 in March -- to David Smith to fill a vacancy on the Board of Selectman. Sheffield’s only other contest saw incumbent Town Moderator Bruce Person easily beat H. Dennis Sears, 731-284.
Meanwhile in New Marl-
borough, West Stockbridge and Windsor, incumbent selectmen Nathaniel Yohalem, Earl Moffat and Scott Brockway held off challengers to win re-election.
Following his victory in Lee, Wickham thanked those who supported him at the polls and he looks forward to helping the town boost its economy, especially through the proposed mixed re-use of the Eagle Mill.
"The rebuild at the north end of [Main Street] will help our tax base and bring more people to town," he said.
Meanwhile, challenger Andrea Wadsworth defeated incumbent Alexandra Heddinger 558-418 for the last of three seats available on the Lee School Committee. Incumbents Kathy Hall and Chairwoman Susan Harding finished with 712 and 649 votes, respectively, to win the other three-year terms.
While Hall campaigned hard, she was surprised at being the top vote-getter.
"I’m speechless," said the retired Lee Public Schools teacher. "I really had to let the town know where I stood on the issues as this year and next year are crucial."
Hall, referring to the School Committee’s self-study results expected to be released next month, said that will guide the school district’s future leaders, financial and educational structure.
In New Marlborough, incumbent Selectman Nathaniel Yohalem held off challenger Peter B. Marks 279-157 in the town’s only race in Monday’s annual town election. The 43 percent of registered voters who cast ballots also approved borrowing plans for a new fire truck, 250-171 and borrowing for a new highway department truck, 257-163.
By a count of 208-158, West Stockbridge Selectman Earl Moffatt held off his challenger Stevan Cabral 208-158 in that town’s only contested race. The 31 percent of registered voters also backed the 10 other incumbents and four political newcomers who ran unopposed: Andrew Krouss, finance committee; Jon Piasecki, planning board; Barbara Dowling library trustee and constable Matthew McMahon.
In Windsor, former selectman Charles Sturtevant mounted an unsuccessful write-in campaign to get back on the board, losing to Scott Brockway 50-9. The only real contested race saw nearly 10 percent of the town’s 621 registered voters cast ballots.
The turnout was "the worst I’ve seen in several years," said Town Clerk Evelyn Bird.
With no contested races in Dalton a total of 159 of the town’s 4,300 registered voters, or 3.2 percent, made it to the polls on Monday.
Incumbent Mary Cherry with 143 votes and Michael Szklasz with 134 votes won the two three-year terms available on the Board of Selectmen. Szklasz replaces Stuart Sargent Jr., as the incumbent decided against seeking re-election.
The Hancock ballot also lacked contested races on Monday, with incumbent Selec-
tman Sherman L. Derby Sr. and School Committee hopeful Thomas Trimarchi among the Hancock candidates who ran unopposed.