(1/26/07) Here are some bits and pieces of news and information from around town.
Candidate Roundup: There are three new candidates for town-wide offices this week, and all are running for School Committee. Incumbent Andy Churchill and challengers Chrystel Romero and Kathleen Anderson are the most recent to join the race. For those keeping score at home, here is the complete list of candidates thus far (not including those for Town Meeting):
Select Board (2 seats): Incumbents Gerry Weiss and Robie Hubley, and challengers Alisa Brewer and David Keenan
School Committee (2 seats): Incumbents Tom Flittie and Andy Churchill, and challengers Chrystel Romero and Kathleen Anderson
Jones Library Trustees (2 seats): Incumbent Kathleen Wang, and challengers Nonny Burack and Leeta Bailey
Moderator (1 seat): Incumbent Harrison Gregg and challenger Nancy Gordon
Housing Authority (1 seat): Incumbent Joan Ross Logan
Oliver Smith Will Elector (1 seat): Incumbent David Farnham
Redevelopment Authority (1 seat): no candidates yet
Deadline looming: Candidates for town-wide offices must return their nomination papers with signatures from at least 50 registered voters of Amherst to the Town Clerk's office by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 6th. Candidates for Town Meeting have the same deadline, but require only one signature.
Walking the walk: Mary Wentworth and Molly Turner are on the train to Washington D.C. to take part in Saturday's March for Peace. A couple of buses full of local folks will leave from UMass' Haigis Mall Friday night to take part in the rally on the National Mall and the march around the Capitol Building. The event is organized by United for Peace and Justice, and it seeks to send the new Congress a strong message by having participants from all 435 congressional districts demonstrate their opposition to the war.
Oenophilia: One of downtown's special treats is educational, delicious and free – the Saturday wine tastings at Amherst Wines and Spirits. From 2:00 to 5:00 each Saturday afternoon, an array of excellent wines are served with fresh baguette slices to cleanse your palate. Best of all: the tasting sheets that tell you a bit about each bottle. January 27th will feature Cabernet Sauvignon from around the world; February 3rd will be Malbecs from Argentina.
Focus on the O word: Override. Everybody's talking about it. Will we have one? Do we need one? What will we do without one? Have you made up your mind yet? Select Board Chair Anne Awad will host Focus at noon Sunday, January 28th on 91.1 FM WMUA and have a conversation with guests of varying viewpoints on the subject, possibly including Robie Hubley. Next Sunday, February 4th, John Olver, Congressman and new Chair of the Transportation and HUD subcommittee, will join host Rob Kusner on the program.
They're back: The frigid temperatures not withstanding, this week kicks off the spring semester. Dorms fill up this weekend and classes begin Monday for Amherst College and UMass, Wednesday for Hampshire.
Pep rally: The “Rally to Save our Schools” will be held Thursday, February 1st from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Middle School auditorium. Learn more at: SaveAmherstSchools.org.
In memoriam: Irene Abramms, a long-time Meals-on-Wheels volunteer, died this week. She will be dearly missed by many residents of Clark House and Ann Whalen apartments. I did not know her, though we have a strong connection – we've shared the same delivery route for several years, working different days. The heartbreak expressed by our meal recipients upon learning of the tragic news tells me how very special she was.
21st century bake sale: Could this be how we try to fund public safety in these grim budgetary times? Maybe there's a market for leftover tally vote cards from Town Meeting too – you never know.
-- Stephanie O'Keeffe