NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 16, 2013

Last day to register for Nov. 5 election is today

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — Today is the last day to register to vote in Amesbury’s upcoming municipal election, when residents will choose Amesbury’s next mayor and determine the new makeup of the City Council.

City Hall will hold extended hours to accommodate last-minute voters, remaining open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. so residents will have a chance to come in before or after work.

Residents who are not sure if they have registered recently should come down just to be safe, and those who have moved recently should also stop by to make sure the city clerk’s office has the correct address on file, City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin said.

The municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, and will be headlined by the mayoral battle between incumbent Thatcher Kezer and challenger Ken Gray. Kezer is seeking his fifth term as mayor of Amesbury, but Gray has emerged as a formidable opponent, beating Kezer in the Sept. 17 preliminary election with 52 percent to 44 percent of the vote.

The election will also feature contests in the District 1, 5 and 6 city councilor races, along with a deep field in the councilor at-large race. District 1 will see incumbent Bob Gilday face off against challenger Paul Sickorez; District 5 will feature incumbent Joseph McMilleon and challenger Erin Butt; District 6 will feature former Councilor Jonathan Sherwood and newcomer Dave Haraske; and the councilor at-large field includes incumbents Anne Ferguson, Allen Neale and Jim Kelcourse, current District 3 Councilor Donna McClure and newcomer Eric Bezanson.

District 2 has also become an area of intrigue, as incumbent councilor Christian Scorzoni had been running unopposed but will no longer be eligible to retain his seat due to his family’s upcoming move out of the district. His name will remain the only one on the ballot, but former Councilor Mary Chatigny has announced that she will be attempting a write-in campaign; and if she can secure at least 30 percent of the vote, she would likely win the seat even if Scorzoni secures more votes.

Election Day will also feature elections for Planning Board, School Committee, the Board of Library Trustees and the Housing Authority.

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Coastal Connections Inc. announced over the weekend that it has received a $7,500 grant from The Real Friends Project, which is a collaborative program of The Arc of Massachusetts and the state Department of Developmental Services.

The grant is intended to award organizations that are committed to implementing, expanding or refining activities that support relationships or friendships between people with and without disabilities. Coastal Connections is a local nonprofit that works to provide services for local adults who have developmental and physical disabilities, and the organization will reportedly use the grant to begin a gardening program to bring the community together and hopefully foster new friendships.

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Amesbury police Chief Kevin Ouellet announced this weekend that Trick or Treating will be observed on Halloween night between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., and residents who wish to pass out treats are asked to leave an outside light on and to make sure walkways are clear of any obstacles or decorations for children.

Parents are urged to accompany their children, carry a flashlight and visit familiar homes in their neighborhood. Residents are also encouraged to report any criminal or suspicious activity to police by calling 978-388-1212, especially if calling from a cellphone. Ouellet said extra police patrols will be assigned to patrol Amesbury throughout the evening, and trick-or-treaters should use the sidewalk whenever possible.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Tonight

Amesbury High School Student Council, 7 p.m., Amesbury High School Cafeteria.

Thursday

Board of Assessors, 5:15 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

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Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.