Monthly Archives: September 2015

Don Lowe for First Selectman

Citizen News, Letter to Editor, September 30, 2015

To the Editor:

I first met Don Lowe in the way I would come to
know him: at a crowded town event, chatting among a
group of parents. Throughout the years the backdrop
shifted: the Sherman School, the Historical Society, a
town hall meeting, or the Sherman Library-among
others. The one constant was Don, warmly engaged in
the midst of conversation with community members,
whether it be about education, land preservation,
zoning regulations- or the new album he was currently
hammering out. Don Lowe has always struck me as a
man who cares deeply about our town: its citizens and
its history just as much as its attributes and its issues.

Since moving to Sherman sixteen years ago, Don
has immersed himself in our town’s life, perhaps
most notably in education. For many years my
father, Barry Roberts, taught in the Sherman School.
His memories of Sherman families are long, but
Don Lowe was one of those parents who stood out
to him, too. He enjoyed teaching Don’s son, David,
as much as he enjoyed his spirited discussions with
Don-just as I had the privilege of taking a writing
class Don led at the Sherman School, in which the
draft of my first novel came to fruition. And where I
have since had the joy to get to know the rest of
Don’s family: his lovely wife, Mary Ann Lamb, son
Connor, and daughter Rosemund, with whom my
own children now attend school. Don’s work as a
Board member for Sherman Higher Education Fund
is longstanding. In his professional life the thread
remains; a published author, Don is an adjunct
professor at Naugatuck Valley, as well as a tutor for
at-risk students with REACH in Newtown.

It would be hard to throw a rock in town without
hitting a Board or committee that Don Lowe has
served on: the Planning and Zoning commission,
Chairman of the Land Acquisition Board, SHEF, the
Sherman Chamber Ensemble, accompanied by
unswerving volunteerism at the Senior Center,
School, and Library. From 2004 to 2008, Don
served as an elected Sherman Selectman garnering
the valuable experience of town administration
beyond the many years of service he’d already put
in, and continues to put in today. Don’s approach,
no matter the Board on which he serves, is
diplomatic. He is a listener. An eloquent speaker. A
problem solver. Having grown up in a rural North
Dakota town himself, Don doesn’t just understand
small town life- he embraces it.

The depth and diversity of his public service
record speaks for itself. But it is the person that Don
Lowe is that still draws people across the town green, or a stretch of beach, or the school parking lot  to shake his hand. His altruistic efforts embody who he is in our town of Sherman: parent, husband,
educator, board member, former selectman,
volunteer, writer, and musician. I have always felt
honored to call Don Lowe a friend. Our town would
be honored to call him First Selectman.

Hannah Roberts McKinnon, Sherman

A Letter of Support for Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake

Citizen News, Letter to Editor, September 30, 2015

To the Editor:

I write this letter as a very proud 3rd generation
Sherman resident. Anyone who knows me knows I
love this town. Could it be better? My answer in the
past would have been, “no way!‘ As I get older, I
get wiser and I see a great opportunity for change in
our leadership.

From the moment I heard Don Lowe was running
for First Selectman, he had my vote. The experience
that he already has under his belt from his time as
Selectman makes him appealing to me. A leader
who is going to come in and hit the ground running
is what Sherman needs.

Although there is sure to be a small learning curve, it will be shorter than the one we are still on. Clarity, Connection and
Cohesiveness – this is the name of the writing class
that Don is offering at the JCC beginning next
month. I believe this to be what he will bring to our
town. Won’t that be nice?

Volunteering comes naturally and effortlessly to Ashleigh Blake. Knowing her the way I do now, it  comes as no surprise that our first interaction a few years ago was her volunteering to take my son to
camp. This is just her way. She sees a need and she
fills it. I am thankful and feel fortunate to have her
as my friend. Moreover, our town is so lucky to be
the benefactor of her giving ways. Now she would
like to do even more by seeking a Selectman
position. A vote for Ashleigh is a win for Sherman.
Could Sherman be better? Absolutely, and it
starts with great leadership.

Join me and vote for Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake.
Kim Devine Kean,

Don Lowe: Working Hard For Sherman


Citizen News Article, September 23, 2015.

Since announcing my candidacy for First Selectman, I have been
delighted by the encouraging comments sent my way. Thank you!
Many of these same people express hope that I can change the Board of
Selectman into a more responsive and dynamic administration for
Sherman. I will.

I hear and I understand the frustration: proposals, repairs, and
initiatives move at turtle speed. The frustration comes from those who
want cell phone service in southern Sherman,  from those who need
basic, necessary repairs at the Sherman Senior Center and the Sherman
School, from those who ask for clear leadership and direction on
critical management issues at Happy Acres Farm, from taxpayers
concerned with ever ensuing attorney fees, and inexplicable confusion
over the bidding process for services and equipment. Citizens ask for
the utilization and implementation of best-practices, in an expedient
fashion, based on the recommendations of professionals who serve the
town’s best interests. I’ve heard the frustration from board and
commission members who feel ignored, and from advocates of a
needed senior housing solution who were discouraged from presenting
their case. And sadly, from citizens who don’t even get their phone
calls returned from the person whose number one job is to represent
them. Some folks are angry. Some have hurt feelings. Others are
resigned to saying, “That‘s government for you!“ Well, I will change that.

Yes, I’m realistic. There’s a learning curve to this job. But that curve
should be measured in months not years. Getting acclimated does not
mean that I won’t be proactive on objectives and issues in town, that I
can’t move agenda items to action or resolution. I will return phone
calls. I will show up at the meetings of town boards and commissions. I
will see for sure that town-wide initiatives get a fair public information
process allowing voters to choose “nay” or “ya” based on all the
pertinent facts from all sides of the issue. I will not allow a loud
minority, seeking to drown out reasonable discourse, to dominate,
skew, and muddy the waters of a civil exchange of views. I believe
that it is the charge of the First Selectman to set the example and tone,
and that a failure to do so short-changes the dialogue and ultimately works contrary to the greater good of the town.

I will not let essential town projects be pushed to the last minute
because of inaction. As your First Selectman I will see to it that items
are placed on the Board of Selectmen’s agenda in a timely fashion to
allow ample time for discussion and consideration. Major projects, as
we all know, are fraught, by their very nature, with delays and
unforeseen changes that will inevitably prolong the process. As such, it
is unforgivable to handicap these processes by starting them late simply
on account of poor time management skills and lack of foresight. Yes,
mistakes happen and nothing in public construction happens easily.
Things don’t always work perfectly or go as planned. But I Will not be
tone deaf to the town’s needs and I will react and I will give them my
full attention. I will resolve issues and have answers. If I have to use
that awful phrase, “I will get back to you on that” then I will at the very
least make good on that promise and get back to you.

My Board of Selectman meetings will be transparent. And they will
darn sure be audible. Public comment at meetings will become a
meaningful exchange and a source of information where answers are
received. I can‘t guarantee that you‘ll like the answers, but I’ll do
everything I can to get them to you’ promptly. I will seek out
candidates for town positions and boards based on their attributes and
qualifications over party affiliation. This is evidenced by my decision
to let roles currently filled by competent people go unchallenged in this
election. I believe the good of the town, and responsibility to its
taxpayers should always take precedent over political gamesmanship.

These are easy promises for me to keep. It’s the way hard-working
people operate. They listen. They react. They take action. They reach
timely resolutions. The town leader is hired by the public in the voting
booth and that leadership works for the voters. If you hire me, I will
work my tail off for you. Please feel free to contact me personally
at or 860 778 3394.

Ashleigh Blake: Appreciating the Value of Volunteerism


Citizen News, September 16, 2015.

When my husband and I first came to Sherman 17 years ago we were
looking for an antique home to restore and call our own. We did not
know at that time how important Sherman would become to us and
how deeply we would become woven into the fabric of this wonderful

Coming from Redding, CT I already had an in-depth understanding
of small town life in Connecticut and that the majority of necessary
tasks in such towns were accomplished almost exclusively by
volunteers. We soon learned that Sherman was just the same. Often,
as we labored on our house in the center of town, we would be visited
and encouraged in our effort by townspeople with best wishes. Buoyed
by the encouragement of our, then new. community and the
understanding of the necessity for community minded individuals, I
began volunteering at library and historical society events. Soon I was
asked to serve on the Conservation Commission where I served for 8
years (7 years as vice president). During my time on the Conservation
Commission I was involved with the Natural Resource Inventory
Report, helped organize numerous farm tours, worked on land
conservation measures and attended many planning zoning meetings
and site walks. Through volunteering for town boards and
organizations I came to know some really fantastic people in
Sherman-the type of people who help to build a community and make
it strong.

When our children Nathaniel and Eden reached school age I started
to focus my volunteer work at the Sherman School. I served on the
Sherman Parent Teacher Organization Board for 4 years (3 years as
president and one as secretary). I enjoyed contributing to the wonderful
atmosphere at the Sherman School. I chaired numerous committees at
the school while running the day-to-day activities of the SPTO. I made
it my directive to always maintain a fair approach to school issues and
to give my full efforts to whatever task; big or small, that my
responsibilities encompassed. I enjoyed being a part of the Sherman
School community and contributing a positive attitude.

In my 17 years as a Sherman resident I have volunteered for the
Library, Historical Society, Conservation Commission, the Sherman
Parent Teacher Organization, the Sherman School Art Show,
Matthew’s Hearts of Hope, Weed Warriors, Happy Acres & Matthew
25. All of these experiences have added to my understanding of the
importance of volunteerism. Without the people of Sherman that are
willing to volunteer their time and effort, the town, quite simply, would
not be as wonderful.

It is with a strong background of, and deep respect for volunteerism
that I will approach the job of selectman. It is my firm belief that our
town leadership must cultivate, encourage and, above all recognize the
efforts of those that contribute to make our community great.
Meaningful leadership is best practiced from the “front lines” where the
battle is met with rolled up sleeves and tireless hours of selfless service
not 10 minute cameo appearances and photo ops. My philosophy of
leadership will be this: Lead by example. recognize that your
volunteers are one of your most valued assets, and constantly strive to
encourage all who wish to contribute.

In the next several weeks leading up to the election my running-mate
Don Lowe and I will outline what we intend to do to make our
community even better. There is a great deal of room for improvement
in a multitude of areas in the wake of the last few years. I would
strongly encourage you to test the validity of my last statement. How?
Ask a Sherman volunteer.

Where We Stand

We are the party of inclusion, not exclusion. We represent the diversity of people in town – both Democrats and Unaffiliated – who hold many different viewpoints and opinions.

We strive to provide Sherman residents with:
• Fiscal responsibility and effective town management
• Educational excellence through efficient use of resources
• Commitment to maintaining and enriching Sherman’s rural character
• Multi-facetted support for senior citizens
• Leisure programs to promote health, education and citizenship
• Support for goals & values of the National & Connecticut Democratic Parties.

Lowe and Blake for Sherman

Citizen News, September 9, 2015.

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my enthusiastic support
for the candidacies of Don Lowe and Ashleigh
Blake in Sherman. While both are familiar, friendly
faces in town, each brings a solid background of
valuable experience with them. Don has served in
the roles of Selectman, Chairman of the Sherman
Land Acquisition Board, and a member of Planning
and Zoning. Ashleigh served as Vice Chairman of
the Sherman Conservation Commission for eight
years and has volunteered extensively in town at the
Library, the Historical Society, Weed Warriors,
Matthews Hearts of Hope, Happy Acres and M25.

But perhaps most importantly, both Don and
Ashleigh bring a deep and informed commitment to
the Sherman School at a time of change and
upheaval there. Don has served as a Board Member
on the Sherman Higher Education Fund since 2001,
and is a regular volunteer at the School. His
educational background includes a Master’s Degree
in professional writing, and he works as an adjunct
professor of college writing. Don tutors local
students of all ages in a variety of subjects. and
takes special interest in working toward academic
excellence with “at risk” students. Don’s talents
were recognized when he was selected as the
Commencement Speaker at the Sherman School
graduation this June.

Ashleigh served as the President of the Sherman
Parent Teacher Organization from 2012- 2015. and
as Secretary of that same board from 2011-2012.
Her devotion to the school is evident in Ashleigh’s
tireless work with the school community, and her
efforts were celebrated when she was the recipient
of the Sherman School Friend of Education Award
in both 2014 and 2015. Sherman School Board
members will recognize Ashleigh‘s regular and
involved presence at their meetings.

With leadership at the Sherman School evolving
and adjustments likely to be necessary as the school
moves forward over the next years, the town will
benefit greatly from the kind of pragmatic, balanced
guidance that Don and Ashleigh have demonstrated
to so many organizations in Sherman, but especially
to the school.

Lisa Bilbrough,

Don Lowe: A History of Working For Sherman


Citizen News, September 9, 2015.

I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my town again. In a town
of Sherman’s size, the Board of Selectmen administers every aspect of
it. Sherman taxpayers deserve to have the board guided by a “hands-
on” First Selectman with his heart in the job, who rolls up his sleeves
and digs in – a leader who is earnestly engaged. I am that person.
That’s the way I have approached every position in life, from my
success in the financial services industry and medical advocacy to my
work in academia as a college professor.

One of the most fulfilling jobs I ever had was serving Sherman as
Selectman from 2004 through 2008 and I wished I could have
continued. However. I decided against running a third term in order to
devote necessary time to my growing family. Now that my children are
older, I am able to dedicate myself full-time to Sherman as its First

Along with many other people who give a lot of themselves to this
town, 1 count myself lucky to have a history of working for Sherman.
Because I wanted to be fully informed on the issues concerning
Shemian, as Selectman I attended immeasurable hours of Sherman
boards and commission meetings. Previous to this. I had the privilege
to earn a seat on Sherman ‘5 Planning and Zoning Board, and later,
after helping form it, I served as chairman of Sherman ’3 Land
Acquisition Fund. Presently. I enjoy helping out as a board member of
the Sherman Higher Education Fund and The Sherman Chamber
Ensemble Board. For me, the best part of all service to Sherman is
meeting and working with other people. Even when philosophies differ,
there is mending in doing the work and getting the job done. When my
family and I moved here 16 years ago, I found this spirit of community
as the most impressive and striking characteristic of Sherman.

In subsequent columns. political gatherings. the public debate. and
any time you ask me, I will be specific about major issues here in
Sherman, especially our finances. I will also explain my views on
bettering town maintenance, creating a stronger relationship between
the school and the Board of Selectmen, assisting the merchant and
tradesmen, improving cell service and enhancing emergency services,
helping our seniors. caring for our natural resources, and protecting
Candlewood Lake. In addition, I will let you know how I will bring
transparency and effectiveness to the office of First Selectman.

Meanwhile, let me introduce myself. I grew up on a farm along the
Northern Pacific train tracks a mile east of McHenry, North
Dakota. Much of what I miss about my rural upbringing is cheered by
Sherman’s small town appeal. I hold a Master‘s Degree in Professional
Writing and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and Speech with minors in
communication and journalism. I have many interests and they include
most sports, songwriting, theater, fishing, hunting, hiking, and my
greatest interest: my family. My wife of 26 years is Mary Ann Lamb, 3
professional dancer and choreographer. I have three children – David,
28, Connor, 2], and Rose 12 – all who attended Sherman School.

Please feel free to call or email me with regard to Sherman related
issues. My email is: cell phone: 860 778 3394; home
phone: 860 350 4115.