By Stephanie Bergman
MANCHESTER — Manchester voters will go to the polls May 15 to cast votes for town officials, with two contested races to watch: selectman and Planning Board member.
There are two open spaces on the Planning Board, now occupied by Rebecca Jaques and Kurt Melden. Melden and Jaques are running for the seats again, but will face a challenge by Ralph Smith.
In the race for selectman, Chairman Thomas Kehoe is running again, the only member of the board up for re-election this cycle. He is being challenged by Karen Smith-Crawley, the former chairwoman of the Harbor Advisory Committee.
Smith-Crawley quit the committee along with all of the other members in June 2011. The members resigned en masse in protest of the lack of support shown for the committee's effort to audit the mooring records.
In that effort, the committee requested the records of the 2010 and 2011 moorings, and members said they were stonewalled. In the aftermath of that controversy, Town Meeting voted in May 2011 to separate the harbormaster position from the Police Department, displacing police Chief Glenn McKiel from his harbormaster's position in the process.
After the resignation of the Harbor Advisory Committee members, a new committee was put together and carried out a space-by-space audit of the mooring holders — an audit that showed the depth of the problems highlighted by Smith-Crawley and the other committee members.
Smith-Crawley, however, was also recently sentenced to 18 months' probation for operating under the influence of alcohol.
According to police records, Smith-Crawley was pulled over on Pine Street on Nov. 25, 2010, and charged with drunken driving, her first offense. Smith-Crawley did not return calls for comment on this story.
According to police, Smith-Crawley was driving erratically after coming off of Route 128, crossing the yellow line several times, and running a stop sign. While she was being booked by police, Smith-Crawley was given a breath alcohol test, where the level was found to be .17, more than double the legal limit of .08.
At the trial, Smith-Crawley's lawyer argued that the test was inaccurate. She was, however, found guilty on April 5 of this year following a jury trial. She was fined $600, received a 90-day loss of license, was ordered to enter a driver alcohol education program, and to remain alcohol-free and submit to random screens for the duration of her probation.
The polls for the May 15 election will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Memorial School.
Stephanie Bergman can be reached at 978-238-7000 x3451, or email@example.com.