WESTFORD — Welcome to the April 30 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford.
WestfordCAT’s guide to the 2023 Town Election ballot
Though early voting was not held this year, voters had the opportunity to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Additionally, voters may still request an absentee ballot by noon on May 1.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. If a resident is in line to vote by 8 p.m., they will still be allowed to vote.
Voters in precincts one, three, four and seven will vote at Westford Academy and voters in precincts two, five and six will vote at Stony Brook Middle School.
Voters can view a sample ballot online.
Want more context on who is running for open board seats and what ballot questions are up for consideration? Find out more here.
Select Board co-sponsors proposed gun shop bylaw
A proposed zoning bylaw amendment that would regulate new firearms dealerships in Westford has received the blessing of the Select Board.
The Select Board voted unanimously to co-sponsor the proposed bylaw amendment during an April 25 meeting. The proposal returns to the Planning Board for consideration, which could make a decision on whether to co-sponsor the proposal with the Select Board as early as May 1.
“The boards did seem to reach a consensus at that [April 11] meeting,” said Director of Land Use Management Jeffrey Morrissette.
Officials believe the current language could hold up to potential legal challenges if it is approved in a future Town Meeting.
“We did have this language reviewed by Town Counsel, they thought it was legally tenable and defensible,” he said.
If the Planning Board votes to co-sponsor the proposal, the public hearing process could begin as early as June.
“If they are [the Planning Board] amenable moving forward, we’re immediately going to work on preparing the public hearing notice and that would set things up for the public hearing to start sometime in June, either June 5 or the June 20 Planning Board Meeting.”
He continued, “but we would have to get the public hearing notice published much sooner than that, we would probably send it to the newspapers for publication next week, so perhaps the following week.”
Once the public hearing notice is published, new firearms shops could be subject to review under the proposal if the proposal passes during Town Meeting and is approved by the Attorney General.
Westford firefighter to retire after 38 years of service
After 38 years of service to the town, Captain Mark Valcourt is retiring from the Westford Fire Department.
Valcourt began his service in October of 1984 at 16 years old, where he served as a member of the Westford Fire Auxiliary. He began full-time work for the department in July of 1989, where he now serves as a captain and EMT.
“There’s been some ups and downs [in 38 years]. We made a lot of good friendships,” Valcourt told WestfordCAT.
Valcourt says he has a number of plans for his retirement, including travel and trade work.
“We’re gonna do a little bit of traveling in the U.S. and I’ll be working part-time for a local HVAC company,” he said.
Valcourt notes he is grateful to have been able to serve the community.
“Thank you for a wonderful 38-year career,” he said.
School Committee says goodbye to Gloria Miller
Two-term incumbent Gloria Miller is not seeking reelection to the School Committee this year.
Miller has served on the committee since 2017 and served as chair of the committee between 2021 and 2022.
Superintendent of Schools Christopher Chew expressed his gratitude for Miller’s work and commitment to Westford Public Schools.
“Personally, I am very grateful for your contributions to the committee. I enjoyed working with you as a principal and now a superintendent,” said Chew during an April 24 meeting. “You’ve always been a champion of the students, your commitment has made us better.”
Vice Chair Valery Young, who was elected to the committee in 2020, says Miller is a “welcoming figure” during her first campaign.
“You’ve been a mentor and a support for all of us, we’ll miss your off-camera sense of humor and your passion for creating an inclusive environment for students,” Young said.
Miller notes her two terms on the committee have been “invaluable and educational.”
WestfordCAT News Show
The News Show is back! In an effort to increase accessibility and availability of information to our readers, we plan to record a 10 to 15-minute news show to post each Sunday. Check it out!