Community Spirit is Alive and Well
By Gregory T. Federspiel
The successful COVID vaccination clinic held this past Saturday in the Parish Hall of Sacred Heart Church was a terrific example of the community coming together to help our seniors. A strong showing from community members volunteering to assist combined with the generosity of the Church to make the Parish Hall available, the organizational skills of Nancy Hammond, our Council on Aging Director, and Ellen Lufkin, Our Board of Health Administrator, and the partnership with Conley’s Drug Store made it possible to vaccinate nearly 300 residents, including some of our neighbors in Essex. A repeat of the event will take place on March 6 for people to receive their second dose. I was pleased with how smoothly the event went thanks to the many helping hands and humbled by the many words of thanks recipients expressed. It was great to be a part of an event that successfully served our seniors over 75.
Efforts will continue to provide a local option for vaccinations as we move into the next phase and the various tiers. The availability of the vaccine will be the critical factor here. Updates regarding who is eligible and where appointments can be made are posted on the Town’s web site.
Manchester has a long tradition of community service and engagement. It is a wonderful quality for a community to have and one well worth fostering. One benefit of having to conduct board and committee meetings via Zoom is that we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people attending meetings – joining through a few clicks on your computer is certainly easier than driving down to Town Hall for a meeting. (Even when we are able to hold meetings in person again, I suspect there will be a desire to still allow virtual attendance as well.) This increased attendance means enhanced communications between residents and board/committee members. It also might inspire more to consider running for an elected position.
The nomination process for elected town positions is open through March 30th. To be placed on the Town’s ballot a resident must secure the signature of at least 31 registered voters on nomination papers that are available through the Town Clerk’s Office. Requests for nomination papers can be made over the phone or by emailing newly appointed Town Clerk Dianne Bucco. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Positions on this year’s town elections, slated for May 16th, include:
- Town Moderator for a 1-year term;
- 1 Housing Authority member for a 5-year term (a quasi-state agency that oversees Newport Park and the Plains housing complexes in town)
- 2 Library Trustees, one for a 3-year term and one for a 2-year term;
- 2 Planning Board members each for 3-year terms;
- 1 School Committee member for a 3-year term
- 1 Select Board member for a 3-year term
For questions about the election process, feel free to contact the Town Clerk. Need more information about a particular position? You can always talk to someone who has or currently holds the position, read up on the duties, or talk to a staff member who provides support to the elected body. Our form of government depends on citizens being willing to step forward and taking a leadership role. While staff can provide guidance and technical support, it is your elected or appointed neighbor, someone just like you, who provides the policy directives and decisions on the matters that come before a particular board. As an “open town meeting” community, all voters have the final say on the larger questions – budgets, bylaws, property purchases, etc. But most of the questions brought before voters first come through various boards and committees.
As this past year has so apply demonstrated, there are many issues that are before us, and many will have lasting impacts on the type of community we are. Let’s continue the tradition of being an engaged, well informed, and carrying community. Maybe its time for you to consider running for an elected position.