Sunday, March 25, 2007

Michelle Twichell

Michelle Twichell:

Positivism and Change

By: Michael Reiff

The first thing a stranger would notice about Michelle Twichell is her positive attitude. Twichell, who is a town board trustee in the village of Fredonia, NY, says that her success comes from, in part, her ability to “visualize a positive outcome.” She also believes that giving 100 percent at all times is crucial to achieving her goals. Considering that only a few years ago Twichell had little influence in the Fredonia community, it seems that visualizing positive goals has worked well for her in her meteoric rise to political heights in Fredonia.

Twichell says that she began her public work because of a yearning to do work that benefits people, helping people in the community live better lives. Twichell understands that everyone has their own needs, but has long been one to make connections in order to achieve goals. “You can’t run things on your own, you can’t run your own show,” Twichell remarks, noting that as being one of the ways democracy works in our country. The ability to address a problem through understanding of the issues, and understanding that not every problem has a solution, has helped Twichell work in the community, solving problems with public servants and citizens alike.

Twichell got her start in the public realm in Fredonia when she began a campaign to curb negative student activity in the village. Upset by student drunken disregard for personal and public property, Twichell and a friend got together 150 signatures and took them to town hall, made their opinions known, and soon University and village officials alike worked to curb the rash of destructive behavior.

During that initial campaign and those that have followed, Twichell has consistently felt that “You can’t always make decisions with your heart; you have to use your head and do what’s right, what the law says.” Twichell has used that mantra in many instances when the requests of the community, who she usually works the closest with, sometimes simply can’t be met in view of what the local law says. In those situations, Twichell sticks closely with her personal belief that even when it’s difficult, you have to stay with what the law says.

Twichell also feels that enjoying what you do is crucial in succeeding in life, and believes that her Irish heritage plays a role in her cheerful demeanor she has in and out of her work. Her immediate family has a direct link to that heritage: her mother came to America when she was just a year old, having been born in Ireland herself. The family moved from New York to Dunkirk where Twichell grew up, and now resides in the neighboring village of Fredonia.

The Catholic faith, then a staple in the Irish community, has played a role in her life as well. While Twichell says she isn’t an every-Sunday practicing Catholic, she says her faith in a higher power is another part of what drives her to success day in and day out. Twichell feels that there is a pattern to the events in life, something which she believes ties in with her religious faith as well. Twichell remembers that some members of her Irish family were very superstitious in their beliefs in life, and Twichell shares that to some extent, particularly when she talks about meeting her second husband, Dr. Mark Twichell, who she knew she would marry as soon as she saw him ice skating.

Forming a tender but productive relationship with her spouse is another aspect of her life she attributes to her success. Both Dr. Twichell and Michelle Twichell have helped each other in their personal successes. Mrs. Twichell helped her husband make his successful dental practice what it is today, and Mrs. Twichell says that she wouldn’t have undertaken public service without the support of her husband throughout the election process and beyond.

Come summer time, Mrs. Twichell can be found in her rose garden, which she plans to expand this year. Twichell is also a fervent music fan, and especially enjoys the Beatles catalog; she hopes to see the new Beatles Musical in Vegas before it ends its run. For more contemporary musical acts, Twichell has recently bought and highly recommends the new Beck album, The Information.

Recently, Twichell and her husband purchased the adjacent house and are now renting it out to SUNY Fredonia students; her green thumb can be found all around the premises of that house as well. They have worked on renovating the house to return it piece by piece to its original form, lovingly recreating what made the home distinctive over one hundred years ago.

Michelle A. Twichell

Board of Trustees

Village of Fredonia, NY

Phone: 716-679-4282

Village Hall Number: 716-679-2302

Village of Fredonia