Longtime resident joins Lincoln selectboard

LINCOLN — The Lincoln selectboard has a new member, effective immediately.
Ellie Bryant was appointed by the selectboard this past Tuesday, Aug. 21, to replace James Needham, who resigned on Aug. 7 for personal reasons. Needham had served on the selectboard since his election as a write-in candidate in 2015.
Bryant’s term will expire in March, at which time she may choose to run for election to a two-year term on the board.
“Ellie is well-qualified, and she’ll be a good fit,” said selectboard chair Bill Finger.
Bryant has lived in Lincoln for 18 years and has been taking notes for the board for more than a year, in a paid position she will keep while serving on the board, Finger said.
“It’s been a privilege to work with the selectboard, and it’s an honor to be appointed,” Bryant said. “The selectboard in Lincoln is amazing. These guys are so smart and well-informed. The meetings are stunning. I’m in awe.”
It’s also been fun taking notes for them, she added.
“I’m hooked up to the Wi-Fi during meetings and I’ll look up words I don’t understand, like ‘Bomaging,’” (it has to do with large machinery preparing roads for repaving).
Looking things up is likely a natural impulse for someone with Bryant’s talents and background.
For 25 years she taught at Mount Mansfield Union High School in Jericho. She also taught for 12 years in the creative writing MFA program at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky.
Writing as Louella Bryant, she is the author of several books, including the nonfiction “While in Darkness There Is Light” (2008), about five young men in the Vietnam era (with an introduction by former Vermont governor Howard Dean, whose brother was one of those men), and the short story collection “Full Bloom” (2010).
Bryant is also a former writer for the Burlington Free Press.
“At first I felt a little unqualified (to join the selectboard),” she said. “But then the other members told me stories about what it was like when they first started, and how they felt unqualified at first.”
Taking notes at every meeting has given her enough familiarity with meeting routines to get started.
“I know the drill,” she said. “I understand how it all works.”
She’s also disgusted with national politics and is ready to get to work locally, she added.
“Right now I’m working on a town-wide introduction to local resources with efforts targeted at young people and the temptations and fears they face as they head back to school: drugs and sexting, as well as the rising potential of school shootings.
“I’m just beginning the conversations with school principals and organizers, but other towns have done similar presentations and I believe Lincoln residents can benefit from knowing who serves us and how, from the dog warden to town constable and state police.”
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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