Art Campbell

Art started The Groton Line late in 2009 as a synthesis of two careers in newspaper journalism and technical communications -- writing about networks, computers, and software. He's only lived in Groton 20+ years, so he qualifies as "one of the new guys" with a fresh perspective.

May 252015
 

Several hundred people cheered on Groton’s Memorial Day parade this morning, and many made it to the Groton Cemetery for the ceremony honoring U.S. military personnel who have died in the nation’s conflicts. Here is a gallery of the parade and ceremony.




May 252015
 

Groton Girl Scout Troop 63179 marched under a very special U.S. flag in the Groton Memorial Day parade this morning.

Girl Scout Troop 63179's flag was carried on a mission by a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Veteran's Day, 2014

Girl Scout Troop 63179’s flag was carried on a mission by a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Veteran’s Day, 2014


Beverly Harris, a troop leader, explained the story behind the troop’s flag.

“This fall I reached out to a friend who is currently serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan looking for an opportunity to be of service to our military troops. Groton troop 63179 had the privilege of sending goodies and toiletries to his squadron to celebrate Veterans Day.

“We learned that this squadron called BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node) maintains and flies a special plane that helps soldiers in combat keep communication lines open to base camp. The plane was developed after a group of 4 soldiers went up into the mountains in search of Taliban and was discovered by goat farmers. The soldiers let the farmers go, but the farmers reported them to the Taliban anyway. All but one soldier survived the mission. The movie “Lone Survivor” is the story of that mission.

“We were honored to receive this flag flown on a mission on Veterans Day 2014 by the BACN crew. With special permission we proudly carry the flag at today’s Memorial Day remembrance for all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

Girl Scout Troop 63179 marched under a U.S. flag carried in AfghanistanArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Girl Scout Troop 63179 marched under a U.S. flag carried in Afghanistan


May 242015
 

Terrance Kane's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Virtual Wall plaque

Terrance Kane’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Virtual Wall plaque

If you work in journalism, every once in a while a story pops up that affects you in a personal way.

This is one of those, a Memorial Day quest by a soldier looking for information about another soldier, from Groton. Terrance Kane is someone whose memory will never fade away for some, but who is also a person whose past in Groton is hard to find and define.

I received this email a couple of days ago from Mike Taylor in Spokane, Washington:

Art:

You look old enough to have lived through the Vietnam saga.

Terry Kane, of Groton, MA, was a heavy equipment motor pool mechanic in my company in Vietnam in 1969. I had the privilege of commanding B company of the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion along the DMZ in northern I Corps. We built roads, bridges, air strips, bunkers, and did mine sweeps for everyone. We were also building the ‘McNamara Line’ (which was about as ineffective as the Maginot Line. They just used the Ho Chi Minh Trail to circumvent.)

This was one of the three most deadly years of that conflict with over 10,000 killed; and we were in a heavily contested area. We were constructing a new 14-mile road from the city of Quang Tri to the port of Cua Viet on the Gulf of Tonkin. It largely paralleled the Cua Viet River. The river was especially dangerous because the enemy floated mines to destroy the PT boats. It also kept the fishermen from risking bringing their catch to Quang Tri via boat. So, the road was both a military resupply route for the Allies and a safer route for the fishermen to reach the markets in Quang Tri. Terry helped maintain the dozers, earth moving pans, front loaders, graders, and a myriad low boys and dump trucks. We built that road, from scratch, in 2 ½ months. A happy memory was one of the first users was a Vietnamese on a moped with his 4-foot shark bungee-corded to the rack, heading for Quang Tri. If you go into Google Earth and locate Quang Tri, you will see our road labeled TL64. Nice to see that we left something that served well and lasted.

We were split up serving all across the DMZ from C2 through Quang Tri to Cua Viet (also called Camp Kistler). Terry and his buddies slept in a sand bag protected hooch. We were frequently attacked with 90 mm rockets which easily fired over the DMZ. The hooches were in the sandy areas past the beaches; we had a makeshift volleyball court between the 6 hooches we occupied. Terry was a character and loved to play volleyball (after a 12 hour hard day in the tropics!) with his buddies. He was just 20 days from rotating home on the 11th of August. We were rocketed with 11 rounds. One blew up in the volleyball court. Terry was hit in the head with shrapnel. Three of his buddies were also wounded from the same round. He was 22. I was the ‘Old Man’ at the ripe age of 26. What a horrible night. It took me three agonizing days to compose the letter of condolence to his grandparents (He’d reportedly lost his parents in a traffic accident when he was young and was raised by his grandparents.) What could one possibly say to them that would mean anything in that devastation?

I have never stopped wondering what else I might have done that could have brought him home, safely. It troubles me to this day. He would be the same age as my younger brother. I imagine he would have married and had kids, and grandkids, by now. What a tragedy; what a loss. If you ever wanted to do a story of him, I have quite a few photos of building the road and more.

If you could help me get a photo of him (high school, boot camp, ???), I will put it with the memorial I have on the wall beside me. That would be so very appreciated.

Regards

Mike Taylor

Taylor and Groton Veteran’s Service Officer Bob Johnson have corresponded for several years, but not much has turned up, Johnson reported.

“The underlying issue appears to be that Terry Kane’s parents died when he was young and the word I’ve heard is that he was raised by his grandparents, possibly over on the eastern side of Groton. I’ve seen conflicting information as to whether he went to high school at G-DRHS, North Middlesex, or possibly even Chelmsford which further fogs things up. Discussions I’ve had with older Groton residents suggest that there’s no family left in Groton and possibly further afield as well.

“Information on Terry Kane in websites relating to Vietnam casualties is very sparse, so that hasn’t been at all helpful. Massachusetts Military Records Branch has a redacted casualty report which mentions Fitchburg as well, as if things wasn’t confusing enough already,” Johnson wrote.

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Principal Michael Mastrullo is searching through old high school and district records for traces of Terry Kane. I have also asked Vanessa Abraham, Director of The Groton Public Library, for assistance.

If you knew Terrance Kane or his family, or have photos or information about him, please contact me at Editor@thegrotonline.com or through our contact page, and I will put you in touch with Mike Taylor, the soldier in Spokane who’s memory of Terry Kane will not fade away.

And one more thing: If you attend the Groton Memorial Day parade tomorrow and climb the hill into the cemetery for the final ceremony, please think of Terry Kane for a moment when Taps echoes off the hills around you.


Mike Taylor’s Vietnam Gallery



May 242015
 

Tayside Police searching for former Groton resident Susan  McLeanTayside Police

Tayside Police searching for former Groton resident Susan McLean

Update — May 24: Scottish media reported Saturday, May 23, that:

The family of an American tourist who went missing in Perthshire on Sunday evening has appealed for information to help trace her.
Susan McLean, 61, was last seen on CCTV outside the Moness Resort on Crieff Road in Aberfeldy at about 19:45.
Ms McLean was on a two-week tour of Scotland with her family.
Her husband Donald said: “Susan is a loving wife and mother to our sons James and Donald and we miss her terribly.”
He said: “Everyone in Aberfeldy has been very supportive and I want to thank all the people who have spoken to the police and given their time to help in our search for Susan.
“We just want her to be here with us, if anyone knows anything that might help to bring her back to our family, please let the police know so that we can bring her home.”
Police Scotland has carried out extensive searches in the town, with support from Tayside Mountain Rescue Team and search dogs.

Originally published on May 19:

Susan McLean

Susan McLean

Susan McClean, a former Groton resident and sister of Selectman Anna Eliot, is the subject of a large air and ground search and rescue mission in Scotland after she failed to return to her vacation lodgings on Sunday evening, May 17. According to Police Scotland and UK news outlets, she was last seen leaving the Moness Resort about 7:45 p.m. and was reported missing when she failed to return.

McLean, 61, grew up in Groton and raised a family here through the 1980s. She currently lives in Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg.

“We’re all just hoping for her safe return,” Eliot said. She declined to comment further.

The resort is in Aberfeldy, a village on the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands, north of Edinburgh. Police Scotland posted the most recent details of the search on its website today.

The Penn Live website, which covers central Pennsylvania, wrote in a story that “The neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said Susan McLean “is a very outdoor person and an accomplished horseback rider. She’s not unfamiliar with the outdoors.”

McLean, a mother of two, is a self-employed teacher of horseback riding and therapeutic riding, the neighbor said.

McLean’s husband, Donald, is a former Army veterinarian who works for the USDA in Harrisburg.”

In a story published today, Wednesday May 20, The Courier newspaper reported that police were “hopeful of finding US tourist alive and well.”


May 232015
 

James "Stewie" HoranSusan Hogan

James “Stewie” Horan

Groton call firefighter Chris Curtis has been disciplined and returned to duty after separate police and fire department internal investigations into his sending an email to all or most members of the department allegedly threatening former firefighter James “Stewie” Horan and his friends who are members of the department, according to Groton Fire Chief Steele McCurdy.

The email, apparently sent Monday, January 26, 2015 at 6:51 a.m., was addressed to Groton EMT Cathy Lincoln. It was CC:ed to about 50 more people, including what appear to be all members of the Groton Fire Department including officers and Chief Steele McCurdy, and warned off “Some people that still stay in touch with stewie (Horan) … and we know who you are!!!”

In a written statement on Thursday, May 21, Groton Police Chief Donald Palma said: “A number of weeks ago the Groton Police received a complaint concerning an email that was sent by Mr. Curtis to a number of people. The complaining party felt that a threat to his safety was made. A criminal investigation was launched and a number of interviews of persons that had received the email were conducted. Complaint applications were filed by the Groton Police Department at Ayer District Court. Complaints were denied by a magistrate after a hearing. The investigation material was then turned over to Chief McCurdy for potential violation of rules or other personnel matters.”

Horan was the “complaining party.” He is part of a pending federal lawsuit filed by himself and three call firefighters who lost their jobs last spring when they were not reappointed to their positions by then Chief Joseph Bosselait. Horan, former Deputy Fire Chief Clarence Jefferson, former firefighter Ben Miele, and former firefighter Stephen Tervo filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the town and town officials in state court. The lawsuit was moved to federal court because it involved potential civil rights law violations.

Curtis reportedly received three months disciplinary suspension from the department and “additional disciplinary action.” McCurdy said he could not reveal any details because the entire matter was handled as an internal personnel matter.

Curtis is related to several other members of the department, and related through marriage to Selectman Anna Eliot.


May 222015
 

Town Clerk Michael Bouchard takes his oath of office from Town Moderator Jason KauppiArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Town Clerk Michael Bouchard takes his oath of office from Town Moderator Jason Kauppi

This Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were really long days for Town Clerk Michael Bouchard…

Setting up voting machines, polling stations, work tables, and signs at the Groton Country Club and Senior Center on Monday.

Up with, or maybe a little before, the sun on a damp and cool Tuesday morning to supervise a town election that started slowly and accelerated through the day until the polls closed at 8 p.m. with 18 percent of Groton’s voters participating, almost double earlier predictions of 10 percent. Breaking down the two polling locations, loading all the gear in the back of his silver pickup truck. Then the counting, checking, recounting, and finally issuing unofficial tallies to news media at 11:20 p.m.

Wednesday was a day of phone calls and questions from candidates and voters, punctuated by swearing in newly-elected officials as they swung through Town Hall. Electric Light Commissioner Kevin Lindemer, on his way to a meeting, stopped by the Clerk’s office just before 7 p.m. to be sworn, so he could be “legal.” Then, at 7, in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room, Bouchard swore in Town Moderator Jason Kauppi, who had been re-elected the day before. A couple of minutes later, Kauppi and Bouchard switched places — Bouchard stood up, raised his right hand, and responded when Kauppi swore him into his new term.

Newly elected officials take oaths of office from Town Clerk Michael BouchardArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Newly elected officials take oaths of office from Town Clerk Michael Bouchard

Then Bouchard turned to half a dozen successful candidates, gathered together for a (small) mass swearing in. He administered the oath of office to them, and segued into a quick briefing on the state’s Open Meeting Law and other legal niceties that public officials must be aware of.

Then, finally, on Thursday… things were winding down. Bouchard, ever the gracious host, sent out a “Thank You” note to the community for attending the daylong election day “party.”

To the Voters of Groton,

Thank you to all our voters came out to vote in the Annual Town Election on May 19 — an important responsibility. Our turnout was 18%. In contested races, we re-elected a Selectman, re-elected an incumbent and added two new members to the School Committee, and elected a Sewer Commissioner by a write-in vote. Complete election results can be found at www.townofgroton.org.

Thank you to all the candidates, successful or not, for your willingness to expend time, energy and money participating in the electoral process. Your participation gives the townspeople continued government functions in your areas of expertise.

On a personal note, I want to thank the voters for providing me the opportunity to continue service as the Town Clerk. I very much appreciate this opportunity to deliver services to the townspeople in this rewarding and challenging position. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael Bouchard
Town Clerk


May 212015
 

Keith LaValley installs new Groton Country Club sign on Main StreetArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Keith LaValley installs new Groton Country Club sign on Main Street

Electrician Keith LaValley puts the finishing touches on a new Main Street sign for the Groton Country Club Wednesday May 20. Janine LaValley designed the sign as part of a new, complementary “look” for signs on town-owned buildings — the LaValleys have recently worked on signs for the Country Club, new central Fire Station, and the Police Station.

Janine said the project was paid for with a $3000 donation from the Groton Board of Trade, and was enhanced with landscaping plants and installation donated by P.C. Myette Landscaping.


May 202015
 

Memorial Day Parade Route

Groton Memorial Day Parade Route

Groton’s Memorial Day is going to be much quieter than it has been for years; the annual parade is going to be missing a band this coming Monday, May 25.

“The Groton Marching Band and Chowder Society no longer has enough members to field a band and the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School couldn’t line up enough members either,” according to Parade Adjutant Bob Johnson. “Both Michael Manugian of the Chowder Society and G-DRHS Music Director Tim Savoy made valiant efforts, but were unsuccessful in the end.”

He wrote in a news release that the parade will begin at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day at the Legion Hall on School Street. The parade pauses for ceremonies at the Main Street Common, Old Burying Ground, Groton Cemetery, and Sawyer Common. There will be no parking permitted on any of the streets on the parade route, and they will be closed to traffic as the parade passes.

Johnson said “As always, the parade honors veterans of all wars, but this year’s special theme will be the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II. We would like to invite all veterans to join us, whether in uniform or not. Veterans who wish to participate but are unable to march are asked to contact Dave Elliott at 978 448-6303 to arrange a ride in one of the vehicles in the parade.

“Our Grand Marshal and primary speaker this year is U.S. Army LtCol Steven Egan, Post Commander of Fort Devens. We will be joined at the Cemetery again this year by the Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus, 12-time Northeast District champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society.”

The Groton Minutemen; town Boy, Cub, and Girl Scouts; and town selectmen will march and be accompanied by units of the Fire Department.

The parade returns to Legion Hall from the cemetery and usually disbands shortly after 11 a.m., Johnson wrote.


May 202015
 

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly

Groton Electric Light Department Manager Kevin P. Kelly was recently re-elected to another three-year term on the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) board of directors at the group’s annual conference.

“I was honored to be re-elected to the MMWEC Board of Directors by the full membership,” he said. “As a member of the MMWEC Board of Directors, I have some influence over strategic decisions at MMWEC which gives me some additional influence over the power costs that the Groton ratepayers receive.”

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito attended the conference and “praised the accomplishments of public power,” according to a MMWEC news release. Polito commended MMWEC and its municipal utility members for providing excellent service at competitive rates to the communities they serve. Polito resides in Shrewsbury, where she and her family have close ties to Shrewsbury’s municipal utility, Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO), according to the news release.

Kelly said, “It was very encouraging to be with the Lieutenant Governor, Karyn Polito and to hear that the executive branch understands the energy and infrastructure needs of the Commonwealth.”

The MMWEC board consists of 12 director positions, with seven directors elected by the MMWEC membership, two appointed by the governor of Massachusetts, and three representing the towns of Ludlow, Wilbraham, and Hampden.

MMWEC, a nonprofit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth, is the joint action agency for public power in Massachusetts, providing a variety of power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state’s consumer-owned, municipal utilities. MMWEC was created in 1969 and became a nonprofit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth in 1976, empowered to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance energy facilities for the benefit of municipal utilities and their customers.


May 192015
 

Town Clerk Michael Bouchard talks with election workers George Faircloth and Fran Stanley as they check ballotsArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Town Clerk Michael Bouchard talks with election workers George Faircloth and Fran Stanley as they check ballots

Unofficial results in today’s (May 19) town election show incumbents stayed firmly in their offices despite strong challenges. Selectman Jack Petropoulos won his second three year term, beating two challengers. Groton School Committee representatives Alison Manugian and Jon Sjoberg were returned to office. They were joined by newcomer Peter Cronin, who will fill the second vacant three-year seat as a Groton representative on the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee.

Town Clerk Michael Bouchard, who was unopposed for re-election, released unofficial tallies at 11:20 p.m. The tally sheet shows that voter turnout was 18 percent, a higher participation rate than anticipated, with 1365 people out of 7615 possible voters participating. When a percentage of votes is mentioned in this stor, note that the total percentages of votes for an office will not add up to 100 percent because some ballots were cast for write in candidates or were blank. — Ed.

Selectmen

Petropoulos convinced 674 voters, 49 percent of the votes cast, to return him to office. Challenger Art Prest, a retiree who serves on several town committees and who spent 16 times as much on his campaign at Petropoulos did, came in with 470 votes, 34 percent of the votes. Planning Board Chair George Barringer trailed them both with 176 ballots, 13 percent.

School Committee

Three candidates ran for two three-year term school committee seats and two candidates competed for a one-year term. In the race for the three-year seats, Manugian polled 754 votes, 55 percent, and Cronin 687 and 50 percent. Donahue narrowly missed the winner’s circle with 678 votes and 49.67 percent. In the one year contest, Sjoberg polled 692 votes, 51 percent, in the head-to-head contest with Gilbert, who earned the support of 509 voters, 37 percent.


No candidates filed nominating petitions for a single slot on the Sewer Commission, but incumbent Tom Hartnett mounted a last-minute write in campaign. He was challenged by another write in candidate, John McCafferty. Hartnett polled 67 ballots, McCafferty had 43 supporters, and other write in candidates as a group drew 34 voter’s attention.


You can view or download the unofficial tally sheet here.