Two of the central figures in the ongoing drama in West Pawlet may face off on Town Meeting Day.
Daniel Banyai, the owner of a shooting facility known as Slate Ridge at 541 Briar Hill Road, has filed paperwork to run for Pawlet Select Board.
Also filing paperwork to be on the ballot is Banyai’s neighboring property owner Rich Hulett.
The two have been at odds for years since Banyai began operating Slate Ridge in 2017.
Banyai and Hulett will have company on the ballot.
There are two one-year seats on the ballot and a three-year seat.
Those on the ballot seeking one of the two one-year seats are Hulett, Banyai, current board vice-chair John Malcolm, Martin Kravitt, Estella Leach and Jessica Van Oort.
Candidates for the three-year seat are Hulett, Banyai, Leach, Kravitt and Maureen Brown.
Current board members Edgar Cleveland and Charles Weeden are not seeking re-election.
The race will garner a lot of attention with Hulett and Banyai on the ballot.
Just weeks ago, Hulett’s wife, Mandy Hulett, was granted a protective order against stalking against Banyai to prevent Banyai from coming near or communicating with her or two teenagers.
In November, Banyai attempted to get a protective order against the Huletts, but was turned down by the judge.
Slate Ridge has been in the spotlight the past three months as Banyai has been accused of threatening neighbors.
Banyai has been at odds with the town for years over his operation of the Slate Ridge firearms training facility and shooting range, which does not have the necessary town permits.
The town has taken Banyai to court over his unpermitted activities at Slate Ridge and the case is currently in the Superior Court’s Environmental Division.
He has expressed his displeasure with the town and neighbors, accusing town officials and neighbors of being part of the Ku Klux Klan.
He tried to rally people to attend an April 7 Pawlet Select Board for Second Amendment and other freedoms and his Facebook post encouraged supporters to bring firearms to the meeting.
More recently, he’s distributed “No Pawlet” stickers to followers on his Facebook page and in late December, Banyai sent postcards to residents of the town claiming to be forming a “class action lawsuit [to] hold the town of Pawlet accoutable [sic].”
The postcards ask “Have you been a victim of favortism [sic], nepatism [sic] or corruption?” and “Do you feel violated by the Town of Pawlet Select Board?”
“Daniel S. Banyai and Slate Ridge Vermont are here to help.”
Elsewhere in the Northshire, ballots will look very much like they have in the past with very few contested races to look forward to.
In Manchester, Heidi Chamberlain, who was just appointed recently to fill out the remaining months of long-time board vice-chairman Wayne Bell’s seat, is seeking to be elected to the three-year seat.
Bell, who resigned at the end of September after 20 years on the board, said he wanted to turn the reins over to younger leaders in town and had added things to his bucket list necessitating he step away.
Chamberlain has no opposition on the ballot.
Also running unopposed is incumbent Jan Nolen who filed her candidate consent form by the deadline. She will run uncontested for her two-year seat barring a write-in challenge.
Current town clerk Anita Sheldon will seek another three-year term without any opposition as will Donald Brodie who will run for another three-year term as a trustee of public funds and Michael Nawrath has filed for another year as town moderator.
In Arlington, Select Board incumbent Dan Harvey is running for re-election to his two-year seat on the board.
But there will be a new face on the board as board member Tim Williams has chosen not to run for re-election. Glenn Sherman submitted a consent form for that three-year seat and has no opposition.
The Arlington School Board has two seats up for election with board chairman Todd Wilkins running unopposed for his three-year seat. The two-year seat on the board will have a race between Jeff Tilley and Dan Wood.
All other races will be unopposed.
In Sunderland, two members of the Select Board have filed for re-election but one board member did not and nobody stepped up to fill the seat.
Board members Jon French (three-year term) and Richard Zens (one-year term) have no opposition as of the filing deadline.
Board member Richard Timmerman is stepping down from the board and nobody filed for that one-year seat leaving it to the write-in process.
There are no contested races on the ballot with incumbents running for re-election except in a few cases.
A two-year auditor seat, cemetery commissioner and town moderator position are all in need of someone to step up.
In Landgrove, town clerk Chrystal Cleary is just one of many incumbents running unopposed to keep their seats.
Select Board member Steven Hall’s seat is up this year. Hall, the incumbent, has no opposition for the three-year position on the three-person board.
Lori Langevin is running unopposed for the town treasurer position to replace Andrea Ogden.
Auditor Charlie Howard, lister Blair McCaw, constable John Wiley, trustee of public funds Sally Waite and collector of delinquent taxes Lori Langevin are all looking to hold on to their positions without opposition.
In Danby, there are competitive races for two Select Board seats.
Lynn Bondurant and Thomas Fuller, Jr. will face off for a two-year seat on the board while Bradley Bender and Suzanne Kantorski are competing for a three-year seat.
There will also be a competitive race for auditor for a three-year term as Byron Battease and Marianne McClure seek the position.