Town election by the numbers:
Board of Selectmen (the only contested race)
Craig Dauphinais 843
Dennis Flynn 731
Bruce Spinney 696
Robert Nault 525
Lisa Kelley 4
Nicola Ashmore 1
Christine Brown 1
Fe Naff 1
Michael Sowyrda 1
Laurence Silverman 1
Bradford Nauet 1
Matthew Chouinard 1
Chris LeMay 1
P. Adams 1
Joanne Holahan 1
Total voters: 1,615
Total turnout: FOURTEEN PERCENT
Total turnout 2012 Town Election: 17 percent
Total turnout 2011 Town Election: 15 percent
Just in from Roger Trahan at the polls: it’s Craig Dauphinais and Dennis Flynn winning today in the Grafton selectmen’s race.
Turnout was only 14 percent. Bruce Spinney was only 30 votes behind Flynn and actually beat Flynn in every precinct except Precinct 1 — home base for the opposition to the Grafton & Upton Railroad.
Congrats to the winners!
Want to tear up, just a little bit? Here’s a sweet slideshow of Brady’s ride on the Grafton & Upton Railroad Sunday.
I was sorry I couldn’t make it to this one.
For more information about Brady, and how to help his fight against Neuroblastoma, visit http://bradysmission.com/
It’s Election Day!
Don’t forget to turn out and vote in today’s Grafton town election. Polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with Precincts 1,2, and 3 at Grafton Middle School and Precinct 4 and 5 at Millbury Street Elementary School.
It’s been a weird election season for me, since I was essentially pulled out of it by the closure of the Daily Voice and my quick jump in and out of the unemployment pool. The Voice closed before we could really get into the campaigns and I never got around to interviewing all the candidates for Greater Grafton before I started at the Lowell Sun. And The Grafton Villager, of course, only officially launched last week, so the voters are basically making their decisions based on lawn signs, letters to the editor, the possibility they caught the debate on GCTV and who they know.
Heck, I’m basing my vote on who I know. Normally, I make my decision when I actually have ballot in hand. Frankly, a lot of the time it boils down to “who had the supporters who pissed me off the most when I had to approve comments?” and “who was the most high-maintenance of the candidates?” and then I vote against them. That wasn’t the case this year, having finally separated the town in which I live from the town I cover.
On the ballot for the Board of Selectmen, the only contested race:
- Bruce Spinney, formerly of the Grafton Planning Board, now of the Finance Committee and a number of other boards. This marks his third shot at the Board of Selectmen and, frankly, I thought he should have gotten it his first time out. He had every excuse not to run this time. I think it speaks well of him that he was persistent enough to continue.
- Craig Dauphinais, formerly of the Board of Selectmen, seeking a return. That’s not Craig in that picture above, by the way. That’s Brook Padgett. Craig was celebrating his daughter’s graduation from the University of New Hampshire.
- Robert Nault, now on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He will forever be the lead story on the last day of the Grafton Daily Voice.
- Dennis Flynn, a former superintendent of schools and an opponent of the Grafton & Upton Railroad.
I will be in Lowell when the polls close but I’m hoping for some texts once the results are in. Otherwise, I’ll be hitting “refresh” on The Grafton Villager starting at 8 p.m., and I hope you will as well. Sorry I’m not going to be able to get the Millbury Street numbers for you this time, Rich!
Grafton Police Chief Normand Creapeau Jr. asked me to post this:
Due to a recent increase in day-time house breaks, the Grafton Police Department is advising residents to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity in their neighborhood and to ensure that their homes are secure when unoccupied…if even only for a short time.
The police department is investigating several reported house breaks that have occurred over the past few weeks. Areas include Snow Rd., Pleasant St., Fitzpatrick Rd., and Trinity Ave. In most instances, the intruder(s) entered the home by breaking windows or forcing open doors. The suspects have been taking jewelry and electronics including televisions. The breaks are occurring during the day time when the occupants are away.
Residents should ensure that their doors are locked and ground floor windows, including basement and garage windows, are secure when they are away. Do not rely on screens to secure the windows as they are easily removed or cut to allow access.
Anyone observing suspicious activity should contact the Grafton Police Department immediately at 508-839-5343. Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 if you feel a crime is in progress. Suspicious activity may include strangers walking on or near a neighbor’s property looking into windows or a vehicle driving slowly though a neighborhood and pulling into a driveway then quickly leaving when approached.
When calling the police, try to provide a description of the individual(s) including an approximate age, height, build, hair color and clothing. Important vehicle information includes the color, make, model, style and if at all possible the registration (full or even partial.)
Grafton’s case against the Grafton & Upton Railroad was sent back to Worcester Superior Court by a federal judge who questioned whether the railroad had complete preemption from local regulations and suggested the case should ultimately be brought before the Surface Transportation Board.
“The Town is gratified that the Court has agreed with its postion that this case should have been referred to the STB by the state court judge,” Town Administrator Timothy McInerney said in a news release issued by the town this morning. “Unfortunately, due to the railroad’s continual demand that the case was properly removed, the Town had to undertake an expedited federal trial before it was remanded to the Superior Court. The Town will further review the decision in the coming days to determine what its next step will be.”
The 26-page ruling was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman late Friday. The entire thing is fascinating reading (if you enjoy legal documents, that is) and I’m attaching it here for your enjoyment. GRAFTON MEMORANDUM AND ORDER 513
What does this mean for the town? This still doesn’t eliminate the Grafton & Upton Railroad’s plan to create a propane transloading operation on North Grafton property owned by the railroad. This would bring in four 120-foot long 80,000-gallon tanks for storage. It does give the town a chance to argue the railroad is violating the town’s zoning bylaws by siting an industrial operation in a residential zone.
“While the Grafton & Upton Railroad is disappointed that the federal court’s ruling postpones to another day a decision that is vitally important to both parties, the decision supports the Railroad’s position that it will ultimately prevail because it has satisfied the requirements for federal preemption of the town’s zoning by law,” Grafton & Upton Railroad spokesman Doug Pizzi said in a news release.
Not only did the Court find that the Railroad did in fact inform the town and the state fire marshal of its potential plans for a propane transloading facility more than a year before the town claimed it knew of those plans, but the court also noted that “during trial and through extensive briefs . . . the G&U satisfied the five-step ordinary preemption analysis” as set forth in the most recent federal court decision on this issue.
“Despite finding that the Railroad satisfied the elements of preemption, the court’s ruling will require that both the Town and the Railroad re-litigate these issues at substantial expense to both parties,” he added. “While the Railroad will consider all of its legal options, it remains committed to conducting all operations at the highest level of safety and to providing jobs and increased economic activity to the entire rail corridor.”
- Rich Price had the story first at The Grafton Villager yesterday, and has some more info here and here.
- The T&G has a sweet story and photo slideshow about a 4-year-old fighting cancer who got to take a ride on the Grafton & Upton Railroad yesterday. My favorite part is the description of engineer Kevin Gallagher as “an imposing man with a long goatee and tattoos.” Possibly, I’ve seen Kevin play Santa Claus one too many times.