Two candidates competing for Selectman seat

Vacant seat on Board of Selectmen will be filled in November election

Denene Premus, one of the candidates running for a vacant seat on the Pepperell Board of Selectmen

PEPPERELL – Two local residents are vying for a seat on the Board of Selectmen this fall.

Denene Premus and Norman Radwich both returned papers last month to run for the seat on the board. The seat was made open after Board Chair Lisa Ferolito resigned on Aug. 28 after citing issues with Town Administrator Andrew MacLean. William Greathead was nominated and then elected as the new board chair the same day, with the election for the vacant seat set for Nov. 18 this year. The winner of the election will serve on the board until the next Annual Town Election scheduled for Apr. 27 next year.

Premus had her nomination papers certified on Sept. 12.

Radwich’s papers were set to be certified on Oct. 2 by the Board of Registrars.

This isn’t Premus’s first experience with the Board of Selectmen as she appeared at a board meeting in September with her son, Duncan, who proposed a bylaw banning single-use plastic bags in town. That bylaw is currently part of the warrant for the Fall Town Meeting scheduled for Oct. 21.

As she toured around town meeting people and collecting signatures for her nomination papers, Premus said many people were surprised to learn of Ferolito’s resignation and the vacancy on the board. Fortunately she follows the motto she recalled hearing in, of all things, the 2005 animated film “Robots.”

“I was more than happy to, ‘See a need, fill a need,’” Premus said.

Though she’s lived in Pepperell since 1998, Premus was originally born in Methuen and raised in Chester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Premus got into the field of insurance and worked for the likes of Progressive and the Lex Insurance Agency.

Premus and her husband, Vince, have two children: son Duncan and daughter McKenna. Though she worked part-time after having her children, Premus started to get involved in community education. She wore multiple hats at the now-closed Country Day School, first as a P.E. instructor and then as head of the school’s parent-teacher organization. She helped organize fundraisers for the school in that latter role, at one point raising over $100,000.

With all of that experience, Premus hopes to transfer it into a role with the Board of Selectmen.

“I think I have the ability to work well with people,” she said. “Having worn many hats over the years, I have no problem working hard and doing the due diligence to look over all the facts before rendering decisions.”

Some of the issues Premus hopes to focus on if elected to the board include utilizing available commercial space and bettering the local business environment. She focused on improving the local economy as a benefit not only for the community, but for visitors that could eventual become frequent patrons.

“There are so many areas we could potentially develop into mixed-use shops and food areas,” Premus said. “It would only help our economic base and provide more employment opportunities.”

Taking a break from another day overseeing land-clearing jobs, Radwich said he had been “kicking around” the idea of running for a seat on the board for some time. The founder and owner of Radwich Land Clearing has lived in Pepperell for 42 years with his wife, Mary. Originally born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Radwich graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Technology with a degree in electronics and job interviews throughout the state. He worked for the General Radio Company in West Concord on sound meters and with sound analysis.

After he and Mary moved to Pepperell to raise their three children (Joe, Craig and Emily), Radwich started to get involved with community groups and government. He joined the Pepperell Business Association, the Pepperell Lions Club and the Pepperell Light, Air, and Noise Bylaw Committee, all in the means of serving his town.

“It’s easy to throw money at something, I’m just trying to give something back,” Radwich said. “If you don’t have a solution, you’re just complaining. I’d like to be part of a solution.”

While he admits to not having a “hot button” issue he wants to focus on if elected, Radwich said he wanted to look into the town’s business aspects while also trying to preserve Pepperell’s “small-town feel.” He further described himself as a “big picture guy” who’s open-minded to discussing new ideas for the town.

“I think we should still keep things open and growing,” he added. “Growth has to be measured, but we do have to grow.”