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Hampden voters override Proposition 2 1/2 to buy fire vehicle

Date: 5/17/2011

May 16, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN — Nearly two thirds of voters responded favorably to allow a Proposition 2 1/2 override in order for the town to purchase a new fire engine for its Volunteer Fire Department.

Two hundred and eighty-eight of the town's voters said, "Yes" to the only question on this year's ballot, while 142 voted against the override.

Fire Chief Mike Gorski told Reminder Publications earlier this year that the department hoped to spend approximately $360,000 to purchase a multi-purpose engine that would be able to replace two severely out-dated models — a 1972 Maxim Pumper and a 1974 Diamond Reo tanker.

The Maxim has been out of service because of maintenance issues and neither comply with the standards for what Gorski referred to as "modern standard practices" for fire and emergency rescue.

Among other features, the new pumper/tanker would have a cab capable of carrying seven people, which would not only be in compliance with safety standards, but would also give firefighters the opportunity to communicate and formulate a strategy for battling the blaze before arriving on the scene.

Voters also had the opportunity to weigh in on other motions, including the re-election of Park Commissioner Michael Cronin. He will be joined by Frederick Frangie, who was selected for a second open position on the commission.

James Quackenbush narrowly won a four-year seat on the Planning Board with a write-in campaign, receiving eight votes. He defeated fellow write-in candidate Deborah House, who collected seven votes.

Robert Howerth (Town Moderator), Kirsten Hadden Lipkens (Library Trustee, one year), John Flynn (Selectman), Lisa Morace (School Committee), Robert Makach (Board of Assessors), Edward Lioko (Cemetary Commission), Beth Burger (Library Trustee, three years), Kathleen Flynn (Housing Authority) and Joseph Dolben (Planning Board, five years) all won uncontested races.

A total of 451 registered voters came out to the polls, representing 13 percent of the town's voting population of 3,456.

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