HomeWeekend Wrap-UpRecount on Ballot Question, Nashoba Tech Tour of Gillette: Weekend Wrap-Up

Recount on Ballot Question, Nashoba Tech Tour of Gillette: Weekend Wrap-Up


Subscribe to our mailing list and consider following WestfordCAT on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for daily updates from Westford's hometown source for news. 

WESTFORD — Welcome to the May 21 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford. Don’t forget — our weekly news show will be included in the Weekend Wrap-Up going forward.

Recount scheduled for Annual Town Election ballot question

Officials will conduct a recount of a ballot question that was decided by a narrow margin during the Annual Town Election.

During a May 18 meeting, the Board of Registrars scheduled an official recount for Question 3, which asked whether the Town of Westford should observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, superseding local references to Columbus Day.

In order to request a recount, 10 voters from each of the town’s seven precincts must petition for a recount. One of the 10 signatures must be notarized as well.

Town Counsel, election workers and volunteers will oversee the process, according to Town Clerk Patty Dubey. Officials estimate the recount to take up to four hours.

The recount is also expected to incur some cost to the town, however, Dubey was unable to provide an exact figure at the time of reporting.

“I don’t know yet, [much of] the cost is [for] legal counsel to oversee it. I am getting some town clerks to come in and I may have to pay some of the workers,” she said. “We try and get some volunteers, but people deserve to be compensated for their time.”

Residents raise concerns of divisiveness, bias

Some Westford residents raised concerns over the results, where the question passed by just 15 votes. 1,068 residents voted in favor of the resolution on May 2, while 1,053 residents voted against it.

“Let’s do a recount and make sure things are OK,” Anthony DiLeo, chair of Save Columbus Day in Westford, told WestfordCAT.

He added, “we want to make sure every ballot is properly counted. Even if we win, it won’t change the fact that it is evenly split.”

Additionally, some residents raised concerns over the wording of the question originally presented to voters.

“The question was worded in a misleading, biased way which gave proponents an unfair advantage,” Kathy Lynch, First Middlesex Republican State Committee member told WestfordCAT. “The wording of the question should have been balanced, as suggested by some residents.”

Alternative wording was proposed ahead of the election during a listening session held by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee last summer. Suggestions such as recognizing both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day were proposed.

“This should not be an either/or question. People can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on another day,” she said. “That solution takes away the need to have a question that divides the town.”

The question is a nonbinding public opinion advisory question. Even if the current results remain unchanged after the recount, advocates for Columbus Day can petition the Select Board to maintain the status quo.

“I don’t know what they’ll do. The thing to do is to possibly go to the Select Board meeting and discuss it with them,” DiLeo said. “We have not finalized that [or what we will do].”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution in Westford 

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution was originally proposed during an Oct. 18, 2020 Special Town Meeting. The proposal failed to garner majority support, however, the resolution was later referred to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for further consideration.

Proposed ballot language from the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee was later approved by the Select Board during an Aug. 23, 2022 meeting. The question was originally slated to appear on the Special Town Election ballot, however, it was later withdrawn from the Nov. 8, 2022 ballot over legal concerns.

Town Counsel told officials that a nonbinding resolution cannot be placed on a Special Town Election ballot and must appear on the regular Annual Town Election ballot.

“After consulting with Town Counsel, we learned that this ballot question can only appear on the annual local election ballot,” former Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet said during a Sept. 27, 2022 Select Board meeting.

The resolution reflects a growing movement across Massachusetts as 20 other cities and towns such as Boston, Belmont, Newton and Wellesley among others have adopted the holiday.

“We are grateful that ballot Question 3 was approved by the voters on May 2 and we look forward to the completion of the process,” Joe Diamond, Chair of the DEI Committee, said in a statement to WestfordCAT. “It is a privilege to be in a position to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Westford and to have inspired such an important conversation.”

The recount is scheduled for May 24 at 10 a.m. at the J.V. Fletcher Library.

WA Capstone Spotlight: Rachel Dodos

WestfordCAT is delighted to spotlight four Westford Academy Capstone students who are working with staff until graduation in June.

Rachel Dodos has spent her final month at Westford Academy on her capstone project, where she has mentored three other capstone students on their marketing projects.

“We’ve been working with advertising, so we’ve been doing stuff with clients [like Sweepnman and Bamboo],” she told WestfordCAT. “We’ve made commercials and took photos for them to put on display.”

She continued, “it also has a lot to do with the other students learning the equipment and feeling comfortable using the cameras.”

Dodos will attend Emerson College with a major in Media Arts Production.

“I really want to expand my knowledge of filmmaking and advertising. I used to want to go into Hollywood and things like that but I discovered I want to work with commercials,” she said.

Dodos, who has been with WestfordCAT since 2020, noted a number of skills she learned from WestfordCAT that she will use through college and beyond.

“I’ve learned how to operate different equipment in the studio,” she said. “But I’ve also learned how to talk to people. I used to be very shy, but I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills during our camps because I have to teach them, lead them and organize the event.”

She continued, “It’s very sad [to leave]. I really enjoyed my time here. Everyone has been great.”

From all of us here at WestfordCAT, we would like to thank Rachel for her hard work and tenacity throughout her time at WestfordCAT. We know you will succeed wherever you go and we look forward to what your future holds.

Nashoba Tech electrical students tour Gillette Stadium

Nashoba Tech electrical students were recently invited to tour Gillette Stadium.

Students from the Electrical Technology program spent a day with Jim Kelly, director of facility operations for Kraft Sports and Entertainment.

“These kids got an experience that will probably never be replicated, which, in turn, created memories all these kids will cherish for a lifetime,” said Electrical Instructor Robert Baker.

According to Baker, the tour took nearly six months to schedule.

“While we were there, they were setting up the field for a New England Revolution soccer game,” Baker said. “They were also making preparations to set up for Monster Jam and three nights of Taylor Swift concerts, as well as a slew of private events, like the NFL draft and several high-school proms.”

Students toured electrical and mechanical rooms and toured the site with new construction, including where a new 22,000-square-foot screen will be installed.

According to Electrical Instructor Peter Martin, a highlight of the tour was learning how the new screen was installed and how “all of the individual monitors work together for one picture.”

Students also learned about how the Kraft Group is focused on alternative energy sources, according to Martin.

“This was an excellent chance for students to learn about another career opportunity that exists within the electrical field,” Martin said.

UPDATED: 2023 Apple Blossom Festival

We’ve posted a number of highlights from the Apple Blossom Festival already, but we wanted to compile our full suite of coverage of the program for residents.

Many of these highlights were posted on WestfordCAT on May 13 and are included here for consistency. 

WestfordCAT News

Support WestfordCAT News

Local journalism is vital to our communities. As other publications shift focus toward regional journalism, WestfordCAT continues to provide high-quality hyperlocal reporting to our town, free for everyone to read. So  we have a small favor to ask. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, helps us sustain our journalism and keep our community informed. Please consider supporting WestfordCAT by donating online.

Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.

Upcoming Events