Friday, October 15, 1999
Conant Land is unique
To the Editor:
This past summer, I had occasion to show several friends a favorite walk behind Carlisle Town Hall through a nicely laid-out trail with clear signs, up and down hills, past Fish Tail Pond to Castle Rock. Imagination soars upon the out-croppings and in the crevices of the naturalness of this place. The same features that make the space unique also, I feel, preclude its possibilities for more imposed structures.
Think of early farmers and settlers in town assessing this land. Although it is in the town center, it has defied most encroachment. Now surrounded by homes, wells with two municipal buildings, its other resource is possibly to protect future water sources. As stewards of this unique feature in an historic town center, gift or no, we need to look creatively at other options than to impact this site further. I anticipate we can successfully begin to acquire funds for affordable housing through land banking and buying smaller properties in a gradual manner. I would be glad to help in this thinking process.
Attend 'Safe Schools' forum
To the Editor:
Saturday, October 23 will be a busy one, but I urge Carlisle residents to attend the "Safe Towns, Safe Schools" forum at CCHS at 8:30 a.m. Congressman Barney Frank will address the forum which is subtitled "For Both Gay and Straight." His talk will be followed by a choice of workshops: including one on religion and one on professionals, which will focus on various aspects of support networks in our towns.
213 Virginia Farme
Consider spraying mosquitoes to prevent summer outbreak
To the Editor:
Recently I was in New York City. The major topic on the news was the spread of the West Nile Virus via mosquitoes. Six people had died from the virus. Countless infected birds also died. The city and the State of New York started an aggressive spraying program that appears to be helping the problem.
Last week the Centers for Disease Control announced that the spread of the virus has continued. The virus has now infected birds and people in New Jersey and Connecticut. It appears that the virus will spread to Massachusetts. Unfortunately, winter will not kill the virus since infected birds will migrate south for the winter and through the ordinary course of events will produce more carrying mosquitoes thus infecting more migrating birds. The birds will migrate north in the spring carrying the virus.
The West Nile Virus is similar to encephalitis, not invariably fatal but the risk of death or permanent damage is significant. The disease causes an inflammation and swelling of the brain.
The point of this letter is not to terrify the townspeople. Rather it is to make people aware of the risks and to address spraying for mosquitoes next spring and throughout the summer and fall. Needless to say those most at risk are those least able to defend themselves, the young and old. Our children play in shaded areas at the school and at home. Our seniors sit under a shade tree. These are the areas where mosquitoes swarm.
The cost proposed a number of years ago for spraying the town was close to $10,000. There may be funds available from the state for this project. However, even if there are no state funds the cost would be approximately two dollars per person. Even if only one person is infected we will all feel responsible and wish we had done more. Therefore I would support any effort to manage the mosquito problem and would contribute to any fund formed for the purpose of minimizing all of our risk.
Rules necessary for horse-owners
To the Editor:
I can appreciate why a horse owner would want to keep his animal on his residential property for convenience and economics. But owning a horse in this day and age is no longer a necessity and hasn't been since the invention of the combustion engine. Keeping it on one's property is not a right provided by the zoning bylaws; it is a privilege that should in no way diminish the quality of life and property values of a neighborhood.
If three horses are confined to an 80 foot square pen 100 feet across the street from one neighbor's house and directly adjacent to the front yard of another, that's inconsiderate and unfair. If the excrement from these horses, which in the course of a year is over a ton of manure and more than 2000 gallons of urine, is deposited on the ground 100 feet from the wells of these two neighbors, that's irresponsible. If the horse owner's property is not large enough to relocate the horses a respectable distance from abutters, then it's obvious that the property is not adequate to support horses and they should be removed from the property.
Carlisle has no restrictions on keeping horses on residential property. For the most part, the 5% of the residents who own horses have been responsible and considerate towards their neighbors and a restriction hasn't been necessary. However, given that the above scenario currently exists in my neighborhood, I believe the time has come for Carlisle to follow the lead of neighboring towns and establish some guidelines.
Most towns limit the number of acres that can support horses. However an owner could have five acres of land and still place his horses only 100 feet away from an abutter's dwelling and/or well who has only two acres of land. The guidelines have to include a setback for the stable/pasture from an abutter's dwelling and well. Depending on the location of the dwelling relative to the prevailing wind and to the amount of vegetation available to block the wind and filter the odor, 300 feet would seem like a safe distance.
I would like to hear the opinions of other residents.
Spaghetti Supper thanks
To the Editor:
Wow! After planning for four months, it's hard to believe that the annual Sixth Grade Spaghetti Supper has happened. And what a pleasure it was to work with this incredible group of parents and 6th graders. October 5th was a perfect example of the class of 2002 coming together to pull off a single big event with tremendous effort and enthusiasm. Our unofficial tally shows that we served over 1350 meals and raised over $9000!
We'd like to give big thanks to the chairpersons of the 13 subcommittees of the 1999 Spaghetti Supper: Sharron Kenney, Nancy Forte & Cathy Galligan, Nancy & Tim Stephens, Deb Coscia & Cynthia Gatti, Susan Lehotsky, Christine & Paul Vilcans, Sue Koning, Jennine Blum, Anne Wilkes, Elizabeth Price, Amy Mestancik, Mary Murray & Leslie Wagner, and Nancy & Charlie Ferraro.
In addition, special thanks go to the following: Dan Scholton for developing our Web Page, www.carisle.org/spaghetti; Mary and the kitchen staff at the Bedford High School for sharing their lunch trays with us for the evening; Joyce, Barbara, and Anne who worked with our volunteer parents in the kitchen during Friday's sauce preparation and Tuesday's Supper itself; Andy Goyer for being in the cafeteria all night and trouble shooting as needed; and to David Flannery and his crew for overseeing the setup details as well as the final cleanup.
We thank all of the donors who contributed to the success of both the Raffle and the meal itself ( a list of these people and businesses can be seen on our web page).
And a final thanks to the generous community of Carlisle who turned out on a chilly night for yet another Spaghetti Supper.
Kathryn Dennison, Kathy Hassey
co-chairs of the Spaghetti Supper
Education still needed about Down Syndrome
To the Editor:
October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. In an affluent and well-educated community such as ours, there is still a need for education about people with special needs,
This fact was particularly apparent to me today. At recess two fellow second-graders taunted my son, Charlie, who has Down Syndrome. "Retard!" they cried. What else? Maybe "stupid" and "dumb." I don't know. "Retard" was bad enough. How did Charlie react to this torment? The same as any child: he was terribly hurt.
Once home from school, he read an apology note from one of the children. As he came to the word, "retarded," he asked, "What mean?" I responded that it meant slow. Charlie knows he is slow. His eyes never wavered from mine. "Yes, Charlie, you know you are slow sometimes." I added, "Yes, you are retarded."
Can you begin to imagine how that felt? For me? For Charlie? Everyday we live with his mental retardation, but to know that it was used against Charlie to hurt him was tremendously painful. At eight years old he has to go through this?
Yes, I suppose he does. Maintaining as much composure as I could, I continued: "It is OK to be retarded. It is OK to be slow. It is OK to be you, Charlie."
And it is. Charlie has Down Syndrome, but he is so much more. He is kind, caring, loving, funny, smart. Yes, smart. He can read; he can write. He can use a computer with ease. He has friends, both with and without special needs. He has teachers who adore and respect him. And he has a family who loves him and he loves in return. It is OK to have Downs. It is OK to be retarded. It is OK to be Charlie.
So, during this month of Down Syndrome awareness, why not talk about Downs, mental retardation and that offensive word "retard" with your children? If you need an example of mental retardation, Charlie is a fine one. But please, reinforce that making fun of anyone is never acceptable behavior.
Karen Foster French
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito