This is the first of a four part series remembering those who are no longer with us who have served our community in Town Meeting for many years. Each person discussed has brought their own unique perspective, knowledge, and style to our grassroots democratic process. With Town Meeting having 240 volunteers (24 from each of the town's 10 precincts), there have been so many who have served with distinction over the past 258 years, more than a quarter millennium. (Town Meeting was first called to order on March 19, 1759 by moderator Dea Ebezr Dickinson.) This series just scratches the surface in recognizing a few with apologies to the many who are not remembered by name. We celebrate the memory of those discussed here as a sampling of the service and commitment of so many others over the years. In Amherst where only the "H" is silent, the voices of these individuals were heard and remembered, their civic engagement recognized. Part I remembers Isaac Ben Ezra, Harry Brooks, Paulette Brooks, Larry Kelly, and Ken Mosokowski.
Drawing its name from Isaac Ben Ezra’s long-running Conversations program, Conversations about Town Meeting, hosted by Carol Gray, is a series of discussions about the value and history of Town Meeting. Amherst’s venerable Town Meeting tradition began on March 19, 1759, after the town of Amherst became independent of Hadley. Dea Ebezr Dickinson was its first moderator. Since then, Amherst has convened Town Meeting every year to conduct vital town business such as creating and changing bylaws, and voting the annual budget. Town Meeting works in conjunction with the five-person, elected Select Board which handles day-to-day business year-round and oversees the town manager. This program will feature many different people who serve in town meeting or who have brought important community issues to Town Meeting.