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Veterans seek help to maintain deployed serviceman’s property

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TOWNSEND — Assisting active-duty service people, improving regional cable television and moving to a greener future got a green light as selectmen moved into the autumn season Tuesday night.

Veterans Tim Manigan and Doug Fitzgerald made a plea to the community to assist a local resident through the GreenCare for Troops program. A Townsend Guardsman who was deployed to Iraq right after the December 2008 ice storm still needs to have his yard cleaned from the damage.

He is currently stationed in Fort Knox and is likely to be redeployed, Fitzgerald said. GreenCare’s goal is to keep properties up when active-duty personnel are away from home.

Fitzgerald, a resident of Milton, learned about the local resident and contacted Manigan, a Townsend resident. After looking at the property, Manigan saw it would take more than a couple of axes and a shovel to get the land back in shape.

The pair is looking for volunteers with equipment to chip and load downed debris. Carla Walter at the Board of Health will ask the board for a place to dump the debris, Fitzgerald said.

A large mower is needed to begin the process of reclaiming the lawn. Volunteers already working with GreenCare will reseed and work with plantings on the property once the basic cleanup is complete. The organization will continue to provide help in maintaining the property, including snow removal, if the homeowner is redeployed.

Ideally the work should be done within six weeks to give the lawn time to grow before winter hits Manigan said.

Please contact Manigan at 978-660-1212 or tmanigan@verizon.net or Fitzgerald at doug.fitzgerald@verizon.net to help the Townsend serviceman.

Steve Cloutier, a former chairman of the Cable Television Advisory Committee, also spoke at the meeting. He asked the selectmen to support an effort to interconnect cable broadcasts from North Middlesex Regional High School.

He said the school district is served by two cable companies, Comcast and Charter. Pepperell does not get the same local programming as Townsend and Ashby, the other towns in the school district. If a regional group is formed, all three towns would get cable casts of school-related programs.

He does not think there would be any cost to Townsend for establishing the interconnectivity. Charter has already placed fiber at the school.

“If there is an expense to us for doing this, we can legitimately ask the town of Pepperell,” Cloutier said.

“I would agree with that stipulation. It’s one thing to be a good neighbor,” said Bob Plamonden, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

The town will also be forming a five-member Energy Efficiency/Green Committee at the request of Town Administrator Andy Sheehan and Selectman Sue Lisio. This will enable Townsend to apply for state funds to be used for designation as a green community and to reduce energy use and limit the carbon footprint of the community.

“We’re looking to tap into the brainpower in town,” Sheehan said. Engineers, facility management people and business people would all be an asset for the committee, he said.

Applications are available from the town clerk and are due Sept. 24.