copyright the Chronicle March 29, 2017
by Joseph Gresser
NEWPORT — The Newport City Council is again up to full strength. After a special meeting Monday night to select two new members, the council is no longer the all-male bastion it has been since the death of Karin Zisselsberger ten years ago.
With the choice of Julie Raboin and James Merriam, the council has also given itself a more youthful appearance.
Ms. Raboin, a substance abuse prevention consultant with the state Department of Health, and Mr. Merriam, who is lead pastor at the United Church of Newport, were chosen from a field of four. That field also included Woodman Page, who returned to Newport after a career in the Air Force and the Department of Defense, and Ira Morgan Jr., former owner of Hellbilly Hideaway in Derby, and a driving force behind the creation of Newport’s first skate park.
At its meeting on March 13 council members asked interested parties to submit applications for the seats left vacant by the surprise, and as yet unexplained, resignations of Steven Vincent and Neil Morrissette on Town Meeting Day.
Applicants were given until March 22 to volunteer for the post. The council decided to hold the interviews for candidates in open session, but to deliberate on their choice behind closed doors.
Mayor Paul Monette also invited community members to submit suggestions for questions to be asked of the candidates at the open forum.
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