Amherst Media staging debate on Jones Library expansion project

  • Valerie Gracechild, left, and Yaxin Qin, both of Amherst, read in the atrium of the Jones Library in Amherst on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 15, 2019.

  • Jones Library JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2021 7:09:39 PM

AMHERST — A debate on the Jones Library expansion and renovation, a referendum question on the Nov. 2 election ballot, is being sponsored by Amherst Media a week before election day.

The Oct. 26 discussion, to be moderated by attorney Buz Eisenberg, is expected to feature two panelists each from both the Vote Yes For Our Library ballot committee and the Start Over Smart ballot committee answering questions.

Amherst Media Executive Director Jim Lescault said no matter the outcome of the vote on the $36.3 million project, Amherst residents will be impacted, and the question is the most talked and written about electoral issue of the season.

“Amherst Media believes that an issue of this magnitude and complexity calls for the opposing viewpoints to actively engage in a civic debate, in the same space and time,” Lescault said.

Eisenberg, an attorney, is Ashfield’s town moderator and anchor of WHMP’s drive time talk show, Afternoon Buzz.

The debate will start at 6 p.m. and be broadcast live on Amherst cable channel 17, as well as streamed on


District 4 incumbent Evan Ross is receiving the endorsement of former state Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

“I appreciate his hard work, independence and focus on critical issues like expanding and diversifying housing options, town finances and equity,” Rosenberg said in a statement.

Rosenberg, who lives in the voting district, has also endorsed newcomer Anika Lopes, who is running for one of the two available seats in District 4. The third contestant in the field is Pamela Rooney, a former Town Meeting member.

Ross said he is proud to have Rosenberg’s support. “Stan knows what it’s like to represent the people of Amherst and knows how to make progress on critical and complex issues,” Ross said.

Meanwhile, Amherst Firefighters Local 1764 has made a handful of endorsements, including for incumbent at-large Councilor Mandi Jo Hanneke and former School Committee member Vira Douangmany-Cage, who is also running for at-large councilor, along with Pat De Angelis, who is seeking to remain a District 2 councilor.

“Mandi Jo has expressed her support for safe staffing of the fire department that the town of Amherst deserves,” the union wrote.

For Douangmany-Cage, the union wrote, “Vira has made it clear that public safety is a top priority for her. That includes safe staffing at the fire department.”

“Pat has continued to stand up for what is right,” the union wrote about De Angelis. “That includes adequately and safely staffing the fire department. “

Absentee ballots

Absentee ballots for the town election are available in the town clerk’s office, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A voter may apply for an absentee ballot if unable to vote on the day of the election due to being absent from town during polling hours, a physical disability or the inability to stand in line for long periods, or religious belief.

Applications for absentee ballots must be made in writing and must include the voter’s name, voting address, voting precinct, the address to which the ballot should be mailed, contact information, such as phone number or email address, and the voter’s signature.

Family members who reside in the same household may apply for an absentee ballot on the voter’s behalf.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.

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