District Split is Not a First for Webster, Dudley  
Friday, February 3, 2012

WEBSTER X Strange as it might seem, there are people hereabouts who think the new state legislative alignment, placing Webster and Dudley in different districts, sets a precedent.

It's happened before, and it gave the towns some pretty savvy representatives. A couple of Clark University graduates won seats in the state body in 1976.

Richard T. Moore, then of Hopedale, carried a Democratic banner from his hometown to Boston that year, and lawyer A. James Whitney of Dudley beat the Webster-based incumbent, William A. Starzec, for state representative in a heated Democratic primary.

The race seemed significant because it moved the house office from Webster to Dudley for the first time in decades. Other than this, the shift proved seamless.

Mr. Whitney did a good job for his Webster constituents, while surely gaining plaudits from fellow Dudleyites.

The friends from Clark University were new to the state legislative wars, and subsequently got thrown into new voting arrangements. Webster and Dudley were separated in 1978, and it wasn't the first time. Mr. Whitney surrendered Webster and gained Southbridge. Mr. Moore came out of the Blackstone Valley to build alliances in Webster.

Both were successful, but Mr. Whitney ultimately turned to other fields, serving as Dudley town administrator for a while. Mr. Moore stayed with elective politics until Bill Clinton was named president of the United States. Mr. Moore was one of Clinton's New England campaign strategists and was rewarded with a Federal Emergency Management Agency appointment in Washington, D.C.

Then, state Sen. Louis P. Bertonazzi, D-Milford, left the senate, and Mr. Moore said farewell to his D.C. associates to seek the state senate post. He was successful, and the only change in his standing with most Webster voters was that his name had a different space on the ballot.

This opened a legislative opportunity for Paul Kujawski, D-Webster, who served through 2010.

The future should be interesting. A young Republican from Sutton, Ryan Fattman, will probably represent his party; and Webster Selectman Donald Bourque has already announced for the Democratic nomination. Others may get into the Webster or Dudley races. Peter Durant, R-Spencer, and Democrat incumbent Geraldo Alicia of Charlton finished in a virtual dead heat two years ago, requiring a second election. Mr. Durant won.

The redistricting panel all but left him on the outside looking in, adding Dudley to the tail end of his new district. Another set of victories X in the GOP primary and the representative election X would set up Mr. Durant as a political stalwart.



Talk recently was about the new attendant at a town gas station. He checks pennies to every sale.
The young man had a pump reading with one cent on it a couple of weeks ago, and asked the customer, Have you got a penny?

Ron Boisclair, one of the group participants, suggested, Someone should tell him to look on the ground, allowing the disdain some people have for the coins.



As often happens when death separates long-marrieds, Barbara Kotori, widow of the late John Kotori, previously retired as a Nichols College professor, has relocated from Charlton to Venice, Fla., where she and John wintered over several years.

Barbara's area friends can send mail to her at 45 Trento Drive, Venice, FL 34285.



While it's usually a matter of going from one Town Hall office to another, most Webster department heads are emailing their annual town reports to Town Clerk Robert T. Craver's office these days. It's working out fine, the clerk said.



Nancie Zecco of Reid Smith's Cove at Webster Lake is the new member of the Webster Board of Health. She was appointed to fill a vacancy on the panel recently.

Ms. Zecco replaces Loretta Scott Walker, who remains a member of the town Cultural Council. Holding both offices constituted a possible conflict of interest, so Ms. Scott Walker opted for culture.



Robert Ducharme, the retired Oxford High School teacher, seems well-suited to his new management post with the Black Tavern Historical Society on Dudley Hill. He shares responsibilities with his wife, Christine.

The annual membership drive is under way and is off to a good start, says Robert, long known as a Civil War reenactor. The big thing is an increase in rentals, he says, calling the tavern the Gem on Dudley Hill.

The facility is gaining recognition as a great place for showers, family gatherings, birthday parties and like events, says Mr. Ducharme.

Linda Branniff, fast gaining recognition for her historical pieces on old Dudley, is the new editor of the Black Tavern Newsletter, according to Mr. Ducharme. The annual publication should be in member mailboxes shortly.

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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