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May 2, 2013

Candidates take stances on Conomo Point, finances, infrastructure

Candidates differ on what to do with Conomo Point

ESSEX — Although there are no contested races listed on the local election ballot, Karin Gertsch has launched a write-in campaign to challenge incumbent Selectman Lisa O’Donnell for her three-year seat.

Gertsch, a resident for more than 40 years, has worked as an author, publisher and marketing consultant. She is a graduate of Manchester High School and attended night classes at Harvard University.

O’Donnell operates her own structural engineering firm out of her home. The Princeton University graduate completed post-graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she has taught occasionally for about 14 years.

Gertsch was elected to a seat on the Board of Library Trustees, and said she was a catalyst in starting the Essex Garden Club in the 1980s in addition to voluntarily running writing programs at TOHP Burnham Library.

O’Donnell has served on the Conomo Point Planning Committee and still serves on the town’s Long Term Planning Committee and is chairman the Building Committee.

Gertsch said she did not intend to run as a write-in candidate — she planned to run on the ballot, but there was some confusion and she did not submit nomination papers before the March deadline.

Gertsch said Conomo Point, while an important issue, has taken up too much of Essex residents’ attention. “I’ve been here a long time, and I’m seeing some problems,” she said.

Gertsch said issues such as the increase of town clam diggers in Essex waters and possible illegal dumping at the transfer station have gone unnoticed.

O’Donnell said Conomo Point is something she would like to see settled.

Selectmen voted unanimously to put an article on the Annual Town Meeting warrant that would create Central Conomo Point, consisting of Robbins Island Road and Beach Circle. If passed, the zoning bylaw would be the first step to selling the areas; the sales themselves would have to be approved at another town meeting.

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