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Voters say no to change candidates in Peru

PERU – Change took a beating at an annual town election Saturday where better than half of registered voters turned out and the candidates who ran on that slogan mostly lost.

Bruce Cullett and Dale Weeks won respective three- and one-year seats on the Select Board over “change” candidates Bonnie DiTomasso and Kevin Cahill.

The margins, though, were slim. Cullett posted 162 to DiTomasso’s 135 votes, and Weeks received 157 to Cahill’s 142 votes.

Caryn Wendling defeated “change” candidate John DiTomasso for a five-year slot on the Finance Committee and Weeks bested Kimberly Wetherell, another “change” candidate, for a year-long seat on the same body.

In the race for a five-year Planning Board seat, “change” candidate Scott Seely narrowly lost to Weeks.

“Change” candidate Joseph Kaminski also lost his race for town moderator to Richard Haupt.

The new town clerk after Saturday’s election, Candice Cahalan, counted herself among the candidates for change, but she was unopposed on the ballot.

Additionally, Coralie Pelky and Wetherell won respective two- and one-year constable positions, and “change” candidate Charles Goyette took a tree warden’s position.

The turnout Saturday was 302 of the town’s 569 registered voters, or 53 percent.

The candidates for change organized against a wind farm developer Lightship Energy had proposed for the town, which boasts a high potential for wind energy generation. They alleged that members of town government were acting secretively in support of the developer’s intentions.

Lightship later withdrew its proposal and Town Meeting then voted in a new bylaw banning industrial-scale wind energy generation in the town of Peru.