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Peter A. Cook was the town's only combat casualty in Vietnam. The 20-year-old Army private was killed in 1970. Navy Lt. Francis Horahan, 25, was killed the year before when the plane he was on went down in California.

Clarksburg Looks to Add Peter Cook's Name to Veterans Field

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Select Board reviewed a number of issues on Wednesday. Select Board member Kimberly Goodell was absent. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Select Board on Wednesday gave its blessing to add Peter A. Cook's name to Veterans Field as a way to keep his memory alive.
 
Edward Denault of Peter A. Cook Post 9144 Veterans of Foreign Wars approached officials about changing the name of the town field on West Cross Road to Private Peter Cook Veterans Field.
 
The VFW is named after Cook, a town resident killed in 1970 in Vietnam, and Denault said in the likelihood that the VFW will eventually shut down, they want to memorialize Cook.
 
"A lot of our members are getting older and we don't know how long the VFW will be able to maintain itself in the form it is in now," Denault said. "When that day comes, and it will come, we all feel the obligation to keep the name in the community in some form."
 
He said the VFW is not really proposing changing the name but adding to it. He said the town field's name was changed to Veterans Field in the 1980s and they would only be adding Cook's name to it.
 
He said currently the signage isn't visible and a new sign would be a better.
 
"There is no real visible sign and you have to go out in the field to find the plaque ... locals still call it the Town Field," Denault said. "It would be nice to have something more visible that when you drive by you don't need to squint."
 
The board did not have an issue with the renaming and gave the project their blessing.
 
"That sounds good to me and I'd be in agreement with that," Chairman Jeffrey Levanos said. "It's a good idea." 
 
Denault said the post plans to do some fundraising and wanted public input before designing the sign. Levanos suggested bringing it up at town meeting
 
"Everybody will have a shot and if someone objects and the majority disagrees, we will find another option," Denault said.  
 
In other business, the Select Board voted to add an article to the special town meeting on Sept. 27 that will allow the town to appropriate $19 million to renovate Clarksburg Elementary school.
 
With this, the board members also approved a ballot question for the Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion needed to raise the funds for the project.
 
Levenos said the town will have more specific numbers at town meeting and will be able to tell residents how exactly the project will affect their taxes.
 
"We will know how much the school will provide, how much the town will provide and how much per thousand taxes will go up," he said. "Forty years is a long and when we are on the floor there will be questions. There should be questions and we are going to answer them." 
 
Last week, the School Building Committee was told that the tax rate could rise between $3.20 and $3.25 per $1,000 valuation to cover the town's portion of the project, estimated at $7.7 million. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is expected to cover 70 percent of eligible costs. 
 
The board asked to table a vote to allow Town Administrator Carl McKinney to sign U.S. Department of Agriculture/MSBA documents related to the Clarksburg School on behalf of the Select Board.
 
"On my end, I feel more comfortable reviewing something before I put my name on it," Levenos said. "I am just not comfortable with the way it is written."  
 
McKinney said they can change the wording to create a two-step process through email that would ensure the Select Board approves any documents before signing.
 
"I understand you don't want give me a blank check that's absolutely fine," he said. "We can let this gel and figure out some wording. There is no rush." 
 
The Select Board also voted to re-enter into an electrical aggregation program with Colonial Power that will increase the rate 0.10708 per kilowatt hour from 0.104 per kWh.
 
"It's a third of a penny if you boil it down," Levenos said. 
 
The contract represents 100 percent green energy and is a three-year contract.
 
Residents can opt out and select the energy source of their choice. If they choose not to opt out, they automatically will join the aggregate.
 
Before closing, the board agreed that instead of inviting candidates for the 1st Berkshire District seat to a future meeting, the town will try to hold a forum for all candidates for state representative. There are four Democrats -- John Barrett III, Lisa Blackmer, Stephanie Bosley and Kevin Towle -- and one Republican, Christine Canning-Wilson, vying to replace the late Gailanne Cariddi in representing North Berkshire on Beacon Hill. 
 
"We have been contacted by a couple of the candidates and my thing is if we bring a candidate in, it looks like we are endorsing them," Levanos said. "So I want to get away from that." 
 
McKinney said if the candidates can attend a forum, it would be a good opportunity to ask Clarksburg-specific questions.  
 
"We can tailor it to municipal issues that are related to Clarksburg," he said. "A lot of the time they just provide canned remarks but we can bring up specific items."
 
The board also approved a revised fee schedule with minor changes in organization. The revised fees can be found at Town Hall.

Tags: public parks,   VFW,   

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