Amherst Town Hall. Photo: Art Keene.

Editor’s note:  this article is informed by memos submitted by Town Manager Paul Bockelman to the town Clerk on October 31, 2019.  Bockelman reports that these memos are currently being revised. We will report the revisions and provide a link to the revised memos when they become available. 

In a memo to the Town Clerk dated October 31, Town Manager Paul Bockelman submitted his nominations to the following boards, commissions  and committees: Agricultural Commission, Cultural Council,  Disability Access Advisory Committee, Human Rights Commission,  Munson Memorial Library Building Board of Trustees,  and Transportation Advisory Committee. All of these appointments were recommended for approval by the Outreach, Communications and Appointments Committee of the Town Council and will come before the full Council for a vote of approval at their next meeting on November 18.

His nominating memos can be read at the links heading the sections below.

Agricultural Commission

Nominated for three-year terms:  Cassandra Urrichio and Ryan Karb.  For two-year terms: Jada Haas and Christopher Von Achen.

Glenroy Buchanan, Masoud Hashemi and David Machowski will continue as members with terms expiring June 30, 2020.

The Town Manager provided the following profiles for new appointees.

Cassandra Uricchio is director of the Equine Management Program at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at UMass and has a primary role of educating the public about livestock farms and sustainable protection of public lands.  She holds a MA and Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension Education. She is interested in promoting agricultural education and opportunities and in helping to preserve agricultural land in Amherst.

Ryan Karb is the founder and General Manager of Many Hands Farm Corps on Pelham Road.   He manages the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and utilizes organic methods for farming and has a commitment to employment practices that value and retain employees.  He is Chair of the Commission and has been a member since December 7, 2015.

Jada Haas is a resident and farmer at Simple Gifts Farm on North Pleasant Street.  She has operated a farm, worked a farmers market in Vermont and has experience working at Uppingill Farm in Gill and Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton.  She wants to contribute to her home community and seeks to better connect farmers with policies that the Town is reviewing.

Christopher Von Achen currently works at the UMass Food Science Extension Program and is a relatively new resident of the town.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in food science and sustainable food and farming and a Masters Degree in sustainability science.  He is interested in getting more involved in town government and feels his background will contribute to raising awareness of where food comes from. 

The mission of the Agricultural Commission is as follows:
The Agricultural Commission’s purpose is to support commercial agriculture and other farming activities in the Town of Amherst.

 The Commission’s duties include: 

  • Promoting agricultural-based economic opportunities.
  • Acting as mediators, advocates, educators, and/or negotiators on farming issues.
  • Working for the preservation of agricultural lands.
  • Pursuing all initiatives appropriate to creating a sustainable agricultural community.
  • Reviewing and advising on development proposed in farmland areas, as may be permitted under zoning and other development regulations.

Cultural Council
Nominated for three-year terms: Jennifer Lind, Julianne Applegate, and Terry Rooney.  Nominated for two-year terms: Georgia Barnhill and Sondra Radosh. 

Gina Chaplain and Robin Thompson will continue as members with terms expiring June 30, 2020.  There continues to be one vacancy and one member will continue to serve until the seat is filled. 

The Town Manager provided the following profiles for new appointees. 

Jennifer Lind has been in the museum field for over 25 years as a collections manager, exhibition registrar and curator.  She is currently the Registrar and Collections Manager at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass.  She is very interested in organizing and supporting arts programs in town.

Julianne Applegate is a life-long design professional and this would be her first service on a town committee.  She is eager to work with her fellow committee members to cultivate inspiring experiences in Amherst that draws community into conversation and collaboration, She is especially interested in seeing how art can be experienced at different scales.

Terry Rooney served on the town’s Public Art Commission for nine years until 2013, chairing the Commission for many of those years.  As an artist and curator, she has produced several large events in town including: shedding light (lighting of the tobacco barn on the Swartz family farm) for Amherst’s 250th anniversary, The Little White Houses (poetry houses at the Emily Dickinson Homestead), and Art in the Park (contemporary Art in Kendrick Park). She also started the Amherst Biennial (art in expected and unexpected places) that exhibited art in over 20 locations. 

Georgia Barnhill’s interest is in visual arts. She got involved in the Cultural Council when she moved to town.  Previously she served on the Worcestor Cultural Commission. She works as a curator and produced an exhibit at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.  She is an author and a recognized authority on American historical prints. She continues to serve as the Andrew W. Mellon curator at the American Antiquarian Society. 

Sandra Radosh is a children’s librarian at the Jone’s Library.  Ms. Radosh served as the staff liaison to the Cultural Council until her retirement in 2015.  She subsequently was appointed to the Council where she brings a theater background to the Council’s deliberations. She also serves as a board member of the Friends of the Jones Library.

The mission of the Cultural Council is as follows:
The Amherst Cultural Council allocates state Arts Lottery funds, but it is directed to support and nurture arts activities in the community by seeking private or other public funds and initiatives. 

Disability Access Advisory Committee
Nominated for three-year appointments: Myra Ross, Elysse Link, and Ruth Smith.  For two-year appointments: Seren Derin and Victoria Dixon. For a one-year appointment: Gerry Weiss.

Elissa Griffith-Johnson recently resigned from the committee. Joseph Tringali will continue as a member with a term expiring on June 30, 2020.

The Town Manager provided the following profiles for new appointees.

Myra Ross is eager to re-join the committee after having served 18 years ago.  She brings great knowledge to the workings and history of the Committee. She is a former employee of Amherst Regional High School and as a blind person, will bring that perspective on matters of transportation, web access and design.

Elysse Link previously served on the transportation subcommittee in Northampton and was interested in bringing her perspective to this committee. She is a frequent user of PVTA vehicles and wants to advocate for greater access to all facilities. She navigates with a guide dog and has special concerns about the ability of those with disabilities to travel safely during the winter months.

Ruth Smith is a consultant who has worked in disability services her entire career.  She is fully committed to full inclusion and accessibility. She comes to her work in part because her father had an acquired disability and she was born with a mild disability.  She also ran a social work department at a hospital for children and adolescents with disabilities. She was first appointed to the committee on December 12, 2016.

Seren Derin is the Fiscal Director of the Stavros Center, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities to live independently.  Serin was first appointed to the committee on December 19, 1991 and has served continuously since April 30, 2007. As a long standing member of the committee she brings experience with advocacy. 

Victoria Dixon is a peer advocate at the Stavros Center, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities to live independently.  She was first appointed to the committee on August 23, 2011. She is in regular contact with people with disabilities through her job and brings the perspectives of many people who are living with disabilities. 

Gerald Weiss is a self-employed psychotherapist and has served the town in numerous capacities including being elected to the Charter Commission and Select Board.  He is President of Craig’s Doors which operates a shelter for homeless persons. He was first appointed to the committee on March 25, 2010.

The mission of the Disability Access Adviory Committee is as follows:
The goals of the Disability Access Advisory Committee are to:
Serve the Town of Amherst and its citizens as an advisory committee on issues of physical, programmatic, and employment accessibility, and Ensure equal access for people with disabilities.

Human Rights Commission

Nominated for a two-year term: Petua Mukimba.

Matthew Charity, Romarin Speck, Benjamin Herrington, Deborah Neubauer, Gazit Chaya Nkosi, Sid Ferreira, Elizabeth Cahn, and Sophia Moldanado will continue as members.  Sophia holds the seat designated for a student member and is a student at Amherst College. 

The Town Manager provided the following profile for the new appointee.

Petua Mukimba is a student at Amherst  Pelham Regional High School (ARHS).  She stated that she is interested in becoming more active in her community and has a passion for human rights.  She participated in the Restorative Justice Youth Leaders Program, created the Community Youth Action Club whose mission is to promote youth advocacy leadership and youth led change, and is an active member of People of Color United , the minority student achievement network, and is a member of  the International Students Club. She has become a leader and a connector at ARHS through her participation in these committees, by playing girls varsity basketball and being a role model and showing how students like her can be more socially active in the community.

The mission of the Human Rights Commission is as follows:
To ensure that no power goes unchecked, and that all citizens are afforded equal protection under the law.

The Human Rights Commission shall act to promote the Town of Amherst’s Human Rights Policy, to insure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, lifestyle, or age for all persons coming within the Town of Amherst. 

The Commission shall advise the Town and assist the Town Manager and Human Resources and Rights Director in the achievement of affirmative action/equal opportunity objectives, conduct and participate in educational activities related to its responsibilities, provide mediation, and review matters brought to its attention. 

Munson Memorial Library Building Trustees
Nominated for a three-year term:  Jennifer Vanderleeden. For a two-year term: Oliver Waldman.

Claudia O’Brien will continue as a member with a term expiring on June 30, 2020. 

The Town Manager provided the following profiles for new appointees.

Jennifer Vanderleeden is a resident of South Amherst and a frequent user of the Monson.  She is in the building once or twice/week and walks past it on a daily basis.  She is a certified yoga instructor and utilizes the Muson to teach her classes. She is familiar with the building and its uses and the procedures that the Trustees establish. She is especially interested in providing good security for the building.

Oliver Waldman  is a native of Amherst, lives in South Amherst and is a long-time patron of the Munson Library. He grew up visiting the Munson and feels it is very important to pay attention to the  physical needs of the building. As a practicing attorney, he brings familiarity of small business projects and legal skills to the Board. He has two children in the Amherst Public Schools. 

The mission of the Munson Memorial Library Trustees is as follows:
The trustees oversee the general use of the Munson Memorial Library building and act as the community representative for the town with respect to the building. They schedule and collect fees for the non-library use of the building. The trustees plant and tend the garden and take care of the shrubbery. (Lawn mowing and snow removal is done by the town).

Transportation Advisory Committee
Nominated for three-year terms: Bruce Carson, Bernie Kubiak, and Marcus Smith.  For two-year terms: Aaron Hayden and Tracy Zafian. 

Mark Rabinsky and Kimberly Tremblay will continue as members with terms expiring June 30, 2020. 

The Town Manager provided the following profiles for new appointees.

Bruce Carson has been a member of the committee since 2017.  He served for eight years on the Planning Board and the Zoning Subcommittee and two years on the town Commercial Relations Committee.  While on the planning board, he also served as the Town’s representative to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. He brings an experienced eye and steadying presence to the committee’s deliberations.

Bernie Kubiak is a former town administrator in the towns of Deerfield, Hadley, and Northfield and has consulted in many other towns throughout Hampshire and Franklin Counties. He also served as a selectman in the Town of Belchertown and a commissioner for Hampshire County for ten years.  He also serves on the town’s Bylaw Review Committee. He brings broad, practical experience in managing municipal projects and operations and understanding the challenges that are part of municipal public works projects. 

Marcus Smith is an aerospace engineer who has worked on projects associated with the Federal Aviation Administration.  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. He is interested in providing the town with a transportation infrastructure that is ready and able to serve residents and travelers well into the 21st century. 

Aaron Hayden has served on many town committees over the years, including seven years on the Select Board, seven years on the Planning Board,  in addition to service on the Munson Library Building Trustees, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Puffers Pond 2020 Committee.  He is an advocate for alternative transportation and for providing infrastructure to minimize the need to drive vehicles. 

Tracy Zafian has been working on public sector transportation issues professionally for the past 25 years.  She is currently at the Transportation Center at UMASS where she works on research projects and shares information on transportation innovations.  She is a land use planner and has previous experience at the Franklin County Council of Governments where she worked on transportation planning initiatives including transportation equity and environmental justice issues.  She previously served the Town on the Public Transportation and Bicycle Committee, Parking Commission and the Transportation and Circulation Subcommittee for the Amherst Master Plan. 

A list of the ongoing work of the Transportation Advisory Committee can be found here

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