Races are few in Vergennes area

VERGENNES — Not counting possible write-ins competition or floor votes, Vergennes-area residents may face only two choices between candidates for office on Town Meeting Day.
In Ferrisburgh, incumbent selectman and former town fire chief Bob Jenkins is facing a challenge from Kurt Plank, an organizer of the Friends of Ferrisburgh for Responsible Growth group that, among other things, opposed the Route 7 Champlain Oil Company Inc. proposal for a combined convenience store, fast-food restaurant and gas station.
In Vergennes, the only race is for the proposed Addison Northwest Supervisory Union board that would operate all four ANwSU schools if residents in all five ANwSU towns approve a new governance plan on Town Meeting Day. If voters favor that plan, the unified board would be created immediately, but not take control until 2011.
The five ANwSU boards that will remain after June — the Vergennes, Panton and Waltham ID school boards will dissolve then — will run operations until next year if the one-board system is approved.
Three candidates are vying for a two-year term on that proposed unified union board: former Vergennes Union Elementary School board member Sidney Bosworth, current VUES board member Tara Brooks, and Christopher Cousineau, who was appointed to a vacancy on the Vergennes Union High School board.
Vergennes and Ferrisburgh would have four seats each on the new board if it is created. Addison would have two representatives, and Panton and Waltham would have one apiece.
In all other cases, incumbents are running unopposed, and in some cases no candidates took out petitions for vacancies on school boards.
Three incumbent Vergennes aldermen all are seeking re-election without opposition: David Austin, the longest-serving of the three; Ziggy Comeau, who has served several terms; and Lowell Bertrand, who in 2008 earned a seat on the city council for the first time.
Incumbent VUHS director Neil Kamman is seeking another term on that board, and is also running for a three-year term on the unified board, in both cases without opposition.
VUES board member Cheryl Brinkman filed for a one-year term on the unified union school board.
No one filed for the seat on the VUES board that has been filled for years by Ann McGrath. Vergennes City Clerk Joan Devine said McGrath was stepping down because of health concerns.
Possibly the biggest news coming out of Ferrisburgh on Monday’s filing date was that longtime Ferrisburgh Central School director Adela Langrock is not seeking another term on that board. Langrock has served since 2001 on the FCS board, town officials said.
No one filed for the three-year term Langrock is vacating on the FCS board. Langrock may still end up working for ANwSU, however: She is running unopposed for a three-year term on the unified union board.
Also hoping for seats on the unified union board are FCS board members Kurt Haigis and Tim Bicknell, each of whom filed for one-year terms, and VUHS board member Laurie Gutowski, who filed for the town’s two-year term. Haigis is also unopposed for two more years on the FCS board.
Selectboard chairwoman Loretta Lawrence is also seeking re-election. Barring a shocking write-in result, Lawrence will serve another three years on that panel.
The terms of three Addison selectmen will also expire on Town Meeting Day, and all three filed for another term. Joy Pouliot will seek her second term, this one of three years’ duration, and multi-term incumbents Dwight Burnham and Steve Torrey are each unopposed for two more years.
Two Addison Central School board incumbents are in the same position: Allison Martin is on the ballot for two more years, and George Martin for three more years.
ACS board chairman Donald Jochum filed for a three-year term on the unified union board, but no one sought Addison’s second seat, a one-year position.
In Panton, all positions are decided from the floor of town meeting, and residents are not required to file petitions for office. The term of appointed Selectman Eric Carter expires in March. Carter was the pick to fill the rest of Lynn Donnelly’s term after Donnelly moved to Vergennes.
Town Clerk Sue Torrey said Carter has not committed to allowing his nomination, despite some lobbying by officials and residents.
“We’re all trying to talk him into staying, but I don’t know,” Torrey said. “I don’t think the voters would have any problem (if he did).”
Another term expiring is that of VUES board member James Dayton.
One resident has expressed interest in Panton’s one seat on the unified union board, Torrey said: former Mount Abraham Union High School principal Paulette Bogan.
Three terms are expiring in Waltham, where, like Panton, nominations and votes are handled at town meeting.
Those are the seats belonging to Selectman Kevin Bourdon, VUES director Liz Ryan and VUHS board member Kristin Bristow.
Town officials said they did not know of people’s plans to run again, or to seek Waltham’s unified union board position.

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