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Ortendahl, Smith to square off for Planning Board seat

Date: 5/9/2013

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM — On a ballot consisting largely of uncontested races, two Republicans will face off against each other for a seat on the Planning Board in the May 18 Annual Town Election.

Town Clerk Beverly Litchfield said she anticipated a solid turnout for the election, headlined by David Ortendahl and Jeffrey Smith, who are vying for the position that caries with it a five-year term. Ortendahl recently gained the nomination of the Republican Town Committee.

"I would have to say our usual 15 percent turnout, especially if it is a nice day," Litchfield said of her expectations for the election. "I hope that the candidates with races get people out to vote. I would love to see a higher turnout for sure."

Ortendahl, an associate director of Employer Relations at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, touted his ability to develop opportunities for engineering, science and business organizations, as well as an understanding of the nuances of town planning in a recent press release.

"I am a candidate for the Wilbraham Planning Board because I understand the importance of having a vibrant community and would be a strategic and thoughtful voice on issues such as easements, land use, historical preservation, and economic development. I would focus on retaining local control for those types of decisions in policy matters and pursue economic growth opportunities on the Route 20 corridor," he said.

Smith is currently serving a one-year term as the Planning Board's associate member and has also been a member of the Open Space and Recreation, and Community Preservation committees. The Board of Selectmen and Planning Board selected him as the board's associate member by unanimous vote in September 2012.

He is an associate with New England Promotional Marketing, which is headquartered in Wilbraham.

Also up for grabs is a five-year seat on the Wilbraham Housing Authority. Anne Turcotte, the vice-chair and Democratic Caucus nominee, will seek re-election against Michael Dane, a Republican.

Board of Selectmen Chair Robert Boilard will run unopposed for re-election to a three-year term.

James Jurgens, Mary McCarthy, William Bickley, David Graziano, Michael Mazzuca and Roger Roberge are also Republicans running unopposed.

Mazzuca is running an uncontested campaign for a seat on the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee.

Jurgens is the only nominee for two open seats on the Board of Library Trustees; however, Litchfield said she anticipates a write-in candidate. McCarthy is running for Water Commissioner, while Bickley is nominated for Cemetery Commission.

Graziano is the candidate for tree warden and Roberge is running for a seat on the Board of Assessors.

Smith did not return a call seeking comment regarding his candidacy as of press time.