Around Amherst: Election ballot order decided by picking out of hat

Staff Writer
Monday, October 11, 2021

AMHERST — How those running for elective office will be listed on the Nov. 2 ballot was recently determined through a process in which candidates’ names, written on folded pieces of paper, were randomly drawn from a jar.

Town Clerk Susan Audette said the selection of names took about 22 minutes and was done for all offices listed on the ballot, including district seats, whether they are contested or not.

For councilor at large, with six residents vying for three positions, challenger Robert Greeney, who had recently withdrawn his name but then rescinded his withdrawal, will be listed first, followed by challenger Vira Douangmany-Cage, incumbents Andy Steinberg and Mandi Jo Hanneke, and then challengers Ellisha Walker and Vincent O’Connor.

In District 3, where there is a contested race, Dorothy Pam and George Ryan, incumbents, will be listed before challenger Jennifer Taub, and in District 4 incumbent Evan Ross will be listed before challengers Pamela Rooney and Anika Lopes.

For the School Committee, incumbent Peter Demling got the top spot, followed by challengers Irv Rhodes, Phoebe Merriam and Jennifer Shiao Page, then incumbents Heather Lord, Ben Herrington and Allison McDonald.

Elector under the Oliver Smith Will incumbent Carol Gray will be listed first, followed by challenger Sarah Marshall.

Finally, for the Housing Authority, incumbents Nancy Schroeder and David Williams got the first two spots, followed by challenger Jessica Mix-Barrington and incumbent Michael Burkart.

New police officer

Rafael M. Guzman is the newest Amherst police patrol officer, recently beginning his 12-week field officer training program.

Previously an officer at the University of Massachusetts Worcester campus, Guzman is an April 2017 graduate of the Western Massachusetts Municipal Police Academy in Springfield.

Guzman, 26, is a 2013 graduate of Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Worcester State University in 2019.

The son of Rafael Guzman and Clorae Prince, Guzman lives in Worcester with his wife, Alyssa.

Pancake breakfast

The Leverett Firefighters Association is holding a pancake breakfast during the townwide tag sale at the Leverett Elementary School on Montague Road Saturday from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

People are encouraged to put in their orders in advance, though walk-up orders will also be accepted. To pre-order, go to LeverettFire.com/Pancake.

Fort River Cleanup

The Fort River Watershed Association’s third annual Fort River Cleanup, coinciding with the Source to Sea Cleanup organized by the Connecticut River Conservancy in late September, brought out 80 volunteers remove trash from 18 sites in Shutesbury, Pelham, Belchertown, Amherst and Hadley.

Volunteers collected 159 discarded nips, the single-serving alcohol bottles that are the same size and shape as ocean baitfish and can be fatal to fish if ingested.

Among the volunteers were members of Latino Outdoors and the Jewish Community of Amherst, students from the MacDuffie School and Amherst and Hampshire colleges, and State Rep. Mindy Domb.

Bathroom damage

Amherst Regional High School principal Talib Sadiq recently sent a message home to families alerting them to a concern over a new Tik Tok social media challenge called “Devious Licks” that has caused damage to the building’s bathrooms.

The challenge calls on students to rip soap and paper towel dispensers from the walls, to clog toilets and to damage sinks. When this happens, bathrooms have to be closed for repairs.

“Obviously, this creates a lot of problems for our entire school community,” Sadiq wrote.

“With fewer bathrooms available for students to use, it increases the chance of students congregating in bathrooms and the spread of COVID and other germs.”

Cuppa Joe

A Cuppa Joe with Paul will be held at 8 a.m. Friday with Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Finance Director Sean Mangano.

Their discussion will center on how the Jones Library expansion and renovation project fits with other capital projects, such as a new elementary school.

Bockelman said questions to be answered are whether the project will raise property taxes and whether it compromises the town’s ability to pursue other building projects. The simple answers to both questions are “no,” Bockelman said.

Meetings, all virtual

WEDNESDAY: Conservation Commission, 7 p.m.

THURSDAY: Cultural Council, 5:30 p.m., and Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m.