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Nashoba Publishing/Mary Arata
Taking the oath of office Monday night were selectman Gary Luca, who earned his third consecutive 3-year term on the board, Board of Health member Mary Spinner, returned for a fresh 3-year term to the board, Daniel Gleason, who returns to the Regional School Committee for a 3-year term, political newcomer Christopher Hillman, who topped the selectmen race for two available seats, and top Ayer Planning Board vote-getter James Lucchesi.

AYER – Political newcomer and business owner Christopher Hillman topped the ticket Monday, securing a seat on the Ayer Board of Selectmen with 534 votes. Incumbent Gary Luca finished in second place with 345 votes and secured the second available seat on the board.

Mark Coulter, who suffered a heart attack on Sunday, placed out of the money with 291 votes. Coulter is due now for triple-bypass surgery at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

Hillman said he’s been warned his life will change, starting tomorrow night with a joint meeting of the selectmen and the Finance Committee to push forward a Fiscal Year 2013 budget. “It’s going to be good. I’m looking forward to it,” said Hillman.

Hillman said he’d often sensed excitement among voters along the campaign trail in that Hillman would bring “new blood” to the board. “They were excited to see a new person get involved. I’m 37,” said the father of three. “It always seems to be the same people serving which is great. But people were excited to see someone new.”

“I congratulate Chris Hillman and Mark Coulter – I hope he gets well soon,” said Luca. “I appreciate the fact that the voters of Ayer are giving me another opportunity for three more years to fulfill what I’ve been doing for the last six years.”

There were a sizable 274 blank ballots cast in the selectmen’s race. And compared to other years, the total number of ballots cast – 727 – is down from 877 ballots cast in 2011 and 1,049 ballots cast in 2010.

In the two way race for one Planning Board seat, James Lucchesi’s 373 votes trumped David Bodurtha’s 300 votes.

“It was a lot closer than I anticipated,” said Lucchesi. “I really thought David was going to beat me. He’s been involved I’ve been sort of non-existent for three years.” Lucchesi had previously spent from 1997 to 2008 on the board, but lost in 2009. This was his first run to return since that defeat.

Lucchesi said it was an honor to serve in the seat being vacated by Peter Johnston, who was feted last Thursday following his 27 years of service on the Ayer Planning Board. “Peter is completely dedicated to the Town of Ayer and has been as long as I’ve been in town these last 44 years. Peter Johnston has always been in the forefront of community service.”

In the contested race for one seat on the Ayer Board of Health, incumbent Mary Spinner earned 438 votes, besting challenger Ruth Maxant-Schulz who earned 253 votes.

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Ayer election results, as posted on the town website, are as follows for the contested races:

Selectman (pick 2):

*Gary J. Luca (Incumbent) – 345

Mark W. Coulter – 291

*Christopher R. Hillman – 534

Write In / Blank – 284

Park Commissioner (Two)

Write In: Jason Mayo – 58

Write In: Eric Hebert – 49

Blank – 1347

Planning Board (Pick 1):

David R. Bodurtha – 300

*James F. Lucchesi – 373

Write In / Blanks – 54

Board of Health (Pick 1):

*Mary E. Spinner (Incumbent) – 438

Ruth L. Maxant-Schultz- 253

Write In / Blanks – 36

Regional School District Committee (Pick 1):

*Daniel W. Gleason (Incumbent) – 579

Write In / Blanks – 148

Total Ayer Votes Cast – 727