EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 4, 2010

Pentucket schools override fails; Arakelian, D'Amore re-elected

GROVELAND — Voters kept Road Commissioner Robert Arakelian and School Committee member Joseph D'Amore in their jobs yesterday, but overwhelmingly rejected a $350,000 override for the Pentucket schools.

They also signaled support for keeping the number of selectmen at three by turning thumbs down on a nonbinding referendum that called for a five-member board. About 1,300 of the town's approximately 4,800 voters — 27 percent — cast ballots at Town Hall on Main Street.

Arakelian, who has served as road commissioner for 15 years, won his sixth, three-year term by receiving 833 votes to 477 for Robert O'Hanley.

"I reached out to a lot of people," Arakelian said last night at the Groveland Fairways function hall, where he greeted many well-wishers, including Selectman Bette Gorski and Finance Director Greg Labrecque. Both Arakelian and O'Hanley, who serves on both the Board of Health and the Planning Board, placed numerous signs throughout town.

Arakelian said he is grateful that voters gave him another term and he said he's looking forward to completing a number of road projects, including an upgrade of Route 97 from Georgetown to Groveland center. Not only will the road itself be improved, there also will be wider sidewalks and a bicycle path, he said.

"I want to see that project completed," he said.

"I think they (voters) all recognize the fact that he's done a good job," Gorski said.

While disappointed with the results, O'Hanley said, "I'm still going to be able to contribute."

Even though they disagree on many issues, including the override that was voted down, both D'Amore and Gelina stressed that they ran "a clean race." D'Amore, running for his second term, received 699 votes to Gelina's 529.

D'Amore, who backed the override, saw a silver lining in the rejection.

"The defeat of the override helped eliminate the divisiveness," he said, because it will force town and school officials to work together to figure out where to make the cuts. West Newbury supported the override, but Merrimac rejected it.

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