The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 22, 1999

Petty complaint is a pity

To the Editor:

I find it rather small and petty for people to air their grievances about their neighbors in the town newspaper. Perhaps the aggrieved party should take up her concerns with the proper town officials. Carlisle is a town where there are no leash laws for dogs, so I find it peculiar that one would want to enforce laws on horses (who are in the minority and aren't allowed to roam freely-unlike man's best friend).

As a responsible horse owner, I am offended by the opening comment regarding the necessity of horses ever since the invention of the engine. Should horses be outlawed because cars have been invented? Horses are environmentally friendly. Besides, dogs, cats, fish, chickens, sheep, and the like (by those standards) aren't necessary either. Since we don't need them to survive does not mean that they should be outlawed. I hope from now on people who have concerns with their neighbors won't broadcast them in the town newspaper.

Kristen Kilfoyle
West Street

A helpful Halloween hint

To the Editor:

Like many residents of Carlisle, I live on a dark street with homes spaced far apart. Trick-or-treating is just about impossible here. Last year, we lit pumpkins and turned on the lights, yet saw only four trick-or-treaters. Because of this, as in other years, I took my son to Carlisle center. There we were able to experience the thrill of a small town Halloween.

I've never heard a complaint from my friends who live in the center, despite the fact that they hand out candy to over 100 children. I have heard how bad they feel when they run out of treats. This year, those who rely on the town center for their Halloween tradition can contribute to the party. You can drop off a bag of candy at Daisy's Market anytime before the 31st. Dale Ryder, who lives in the center, will distribute the candy to her neighbors.

I'll be contributing a couple of bags. This way, not only will I feel as if I've done my part, but also, I won't have all of that leftover candy to indulge on in the next few weeks!

Terry Golson
Sunset Road

Horses are wonderful

To the Editor:

Horses are wonderful. They keep our town "different" than other "people-only" towns. I don't care to live in a "people-only" town.

Since people don't eat hay, there would be no beautiful hay field vistas. Horses are vegetarians and their "by-product" can be used as enriching compost for the soil. It's not at all like "people-waste." Horses make beautiful quiet neighbors, give children and adults a wonderful hobby and fill, and fulfill, dreams.

There are a bazillion towns one could live in if they wanted only people neighbors. But our town, Carlisle, is wonderful, and classic New England because it has horses (and some pretty wonderful cattle, too!)

Sally Lakness
Cranberry Hill

Thanks, Charlie

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to Charlie, the child with Down Syndrome whose mother wrote to the Mosquito last week.

When my children were your age, Charlie, I used to tell them there was no such thing as perfect, but as they have grown older I now realize I was wrong. They are perfect. They are themselvesmade and shaped after their Mom, Dad, school, church, community and their "very own genes."

You are the same as them. No, they don't have Down Syndrome but they have their very own perfect flaws that make them them and yet they too have been made fun of and teased and yes, it hurts.

Charlie, go back to last week's edition of the Mosquito and see how many times you see words like fast, faster, stress, and hurry here and there. We all get caught up in this crazy rat race and forget to "slow down!" You are here to remind all of us to "slow down."

I bet you could tell us things about school, the playground (like chipmunks running here and there) or what teacher gives the best smile or has the prettiest eyes. I bet too that you laugh more, hug more, and care about us more than we take time to care for ourselves.

Thanks, Charlie, for being "you" and when I'm on the streets and I see someone who isn't quite like me, I'll stop, look around, laugh, and smell the roses. Charlie, you're here to remind all of us how wonderful we are because of our differences. Thank you.

Name withheld upon request

Let the sidewalks begin

To the Editor,

I disagree with several of the ideas in Jayne Prats' forum piece last week.

Except for the danger posed by the heavy car and truck traffic, it is safe for children to walk and bike in this town. Ms. Prats' Forum piece, and an earlier editorial by Marilyn Harte, seem to hint at, but don't define, some other sinister danger to our children. Kidnapping? Drive-by shooting? Sure, these things happen, but not often enough for me to keep my children at home. If there were a sidewalk, I would let both my children walk and bicycle on Lowell Street without any worries.

I also feel that sidewalks on the major roads would not hurt the rural character of this town. "Rural character" is another of those things which gets a lot of press but isn't defined. I would define it as the ability to walk peacefully on the side of the road without worrying about being run over. (Other aspects of rural character, such as rednecks and beer cans, are not relevant to this discussion.) Try walking your child to school on Lowell Street some day and any romantic thoughts about "rural character" will be banished from your mind forever. (It is nevertheless a wonderful way to spend 45 minutes of quality time with your child.) Our busy roads have already lost their rural character and need sidewalks so that they will be usable by everyone, not just car and truck drivers.

Clyde Kessel
Curve Street

Early sports participation worthwhile

To the Editor:

I would like to take issue with your editorial concerning sports at an early age.

As a soccer parent, coach and referee, I can think of no more worthwhile activity for kids than participation in sports at an early age. It teaches both players and parents how to win and lose and my experience with Concord Carlisle parents and kids are, that they are great at both. It gives parents an opportunity to work with and help develop the skills of their children. Saturday mornings teaching first and second graders how to play soccer is what parenting is all about.

Inevitably, to be a success, these sports need to be 'organized'. Without organization these sports cannot happen. A soccer team consists of a minimum of 6 players (under 12) or 11 players. To have them appearing and working together you need organization. Working together, bonding, among players and parents has been one of the most enjoyable parts of raising children.

Our two girls enjoyed all the organized sports that Carlisle had to offer. Cross Country Skiing, Soccer, Softball, Track, Swimming, Field Hockey and lacrosse at the same time playing Violin (age 4) or band (age 10). Since the youngest is now ready to graduate from college many of these skills have been abandoned but because of sports they remain dedicated to maintaining a high level physical fitness.

Of course, If you can replace Saturday morning soccer with another worthwhile activity that your children enjoy, great! A number of times I lost key players for key games because of dance or piano recitals. However, if the alternative is cartoons or video games or sleeping late, you and your kids will be missing a great experience. Sitting around the dinner table is fine but often parents are traveling with their job or have to come home late because of business commitments. If the load of the work place and raising children is so great that you deny children an organized physical outlet, perhaps you are not making the best decision. Maybe we should think twice about committing ourselves to highly organized companies that deny us access to family life.

Edward Bing
Old East Street

Pig 'n Pepper thanks

To the Editor:

We want to thank the Pepper Tent volunteers for giving their time and skills to the Pig 'n Pepper. Whether it was their administration, judging, or coordination expertise, we appreciate their work in making our tent a success.

It is not uncommon for a professional from the vendor tent to submit a new product for judging. What better way for them to test a new idea with honest feedback? For this reason we recruit judges with backgrounds in culinary arts, horticulture, art and related fields.

For each group of judges, we need a judge-hostto make sure the judges have what they need to do their job, provide yogurt and cider to cleanse the palate, average the scores or recording comments from the judges in order to pass on to the contestants. Without these people, confusion reigns.

The registrars have the pivotal role of organizing each entry in its appropriate category. This year we had 63 contestants with 273 entries. The runners are there to help the registrars organize the entries. Within two hours these entries are catalogued and sorted in preparation for the judging. The all important role of computer guru is responsible for compiling information produced by registrars and judges, and from that, tabulating the contest results.

It is clear, no job is more important than another. Many of our volunteers come from Carlisle, Westford, and Concord. Others travel from as far away as Winchester, Marlborough, Worcester and New Hampshire. We would like to thank the Carlisle volunteers: D'Ann Brownrigg. LIoyd Burke, Jan Burke, Michael Burke, Yona Carmichael, Genna Carmichael, Marissa Cheng, Sandy Dolins, Robert Dolins, Adam Feiner, Andy Feiner, Louise Hara, Marjorie Johnson, Judy Lane, Janet Liessner, Melinda Lindquist, Theonie Mark, David McIlhenny, Sandy Mcllhenny, Lauren Means, Paul Morrison, Alex Parker, Joan Parker, Jess Petrie, Debbie Powers, John Putnam, Janet Liessner, Gabrielle Savage, Carly Saylor, Love Seawright, Bob Smith-Peterson, Maureen Tarca, Paul Vilcans, Phyllis Zinicola and Norina Zywiak. We greatly appreciate everyone's time and energy. We couldn't do it without you,

Alison Saylor
Peg Opolski
Lee Means
Janet Tortora
Tim Martin

Time to face housing issue squarely

To the Editor:

It is time now to squarely face the issues of affordable housing and the acquisition and protection of our open space interests in Carlisle. With the heightened indignation over further development of the Conant Land (so-called), we must face the issues of the village center, the town's perceived needs and the political realities as we may understand them in a town-wide forum which does not have the do-something-or-else atmosphere of Town Meeting.

We must prepare by doing careful planning from which should come a report such as Lincoln's "Route to Tomorrow," in which that town faced up to and carefully studied some of the more divisive issues facing Lincoln at that time. Alternative strategies were looked at in hopes of finding creative methods to solve these problems.

For instance, it might be prudent for the town to consider any or all future land acquisitions as dual-purpose. There would be a requirement to accommodate some low/moderate income housing on the parcel in question, never mind the idea that a modicum of "unaffordable" housing be built into the acquisition package either to fund the acquisition itself or to fund low/moderate income housing somewhere else in town. It ought to be town policy to achieve the dual goals of rurality and affordable housing.

While there is no such law on the books at the moment, maybe we should explore a housing version of MGL Chap. 61A. Under such a ruling, towns could preserve already available "affordable" housing by giving a preferential tax assessment in the same manner as certain agricultural and forest lands are assessed to help the owners keep their productive lands productive.

And again in the nature of exploring different approaches to the solution to old problems: shouldn't we also approach the idea of a land-banking article for the purposes of acquiring land for affordable housing? Funding public land purchases for affordable housing with a real estate transfer fee has the advantage of harnessing the energy that drives affordable housing out of town and converting it into the vehicle which keeps our housing base diverse, our population multi-income and our town a more exciting and functional place to live.

John D. Lee
Lowell Street

Save Conant for conservation

To the Editor:

"Many are the times I used to wander in these woods and drink up the peace and solitude of the rocks and pondshills and trees (and poison ivy). You have developed the 'Conant Woods' into a nature wonderland. The blending of rocks, swaying pine treesall is spectacular and primary is the cleared path. What a treasurethank you. I hope you can always keep the Conant woods as a tribute to the Conants."

Former Lowell Road resident Nancy Hague wrote these comments in the 1997 guest book of "On the Land," the environmental site-specific sculpture exhibit organized by the Carlisle Cultural Council, supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Members of the Carlisle Cultural Council, as well as some former members, oppose using the Conant Land for building. We are certain other solutions to affordable housing can be found. The greatest tribute to the Conants would be to dedicate this land to conservation purposes.

Joan Goodman, Stearns Street
Kathleen O'Hara, School Street
Malcolm Walsh, School Street
Andrea Urban, Pine Brook Road
Nancy Stadtlander, Pine Brook Road
Maria Conley, Cross Street
Bonnie Miskolczy, Cross Street

Conant Land walk

To the Editor:

Please join us as we explore the Conant Land. We are hoping to offer information and an opportunity for the voters of Carlisle to become familiar with the housing sites available on the Conant Land. We will also explore the natural resources that are part of this parcel in Carlisle's town center.

The Carlisle Trails Committee (CTC) will meet interested persons at the trail-head behind Town Hall, Saturday, October 23 at 2 p.m. We will sponsor cider and cookies after the walk.

Judy Lane
CTC member

Use the Conant Land for housing

To the Editor:

A substantial majority voted $30,000 at Spring Town Meeting for affordable housing on the Conant Land, an expanse of over fifty acres. It is therefore at least totally inappropriate—if not of questionable legality—to engage in a rearguard action to turn over this land to the Conscom thereby subverting the vote of the town meeting.

As usual, any far-fetched argument couched in inflammatory terms is good enough to serve the agenda: if a few buildings on the Conant Land "rape" this large parcel, I would like to know what the intensity of use in the rest of the town is properly called. If the town should ever decide to construct a water supply for the center on the Conant Land, less than half the acreage will provide sufficient isolation for a well. Besides, there is no prospect this project will ever be undertaken.

Regarding rush-hour traffic in the center, the added trips from a few dwellings, even if occurring during commuting time, will be totally negligible. The reaction of the residents of Rockland Road to the prospect of more traffic is understandable. However, they should realize that those of us living on thoroughfares have seen an increase in traffic over the last twenty years that they on their dead-end street will not experience even if the affordable units are built. Yes, they bought on a dead-end street and, yes, they bought adjacent to a town-owned parcel and not conservation land. With the amount of conservation land Carlisle has, and the proximity of the wonderful state park, more conservation land is clearly not needed.

It would be refreshing—although unusual—if a hard-working committee were afforded the opportunity of doing with dispatch a job this town needs.

George H. Lohrer
South Street

At what cost affordable housing?

To the Editor:

The vote last spring to pursue affordable housing on the Conant Land was a vote in support of affordable housing in Carlisle. Since then it has become increasingly obvious that building on the Conant Land will come at a great price, literally and figuratively. It seems shortsighted that we are permanently destroying a unique asset that we could pass on to future generations. It is long-term thinking that is needed here. Building on the Conant Land is a junior band aid on a much larger problem. We need a more creative solution with greater vision than that.

We love Carlisle. It's a great town with an interesting community of people and a wonderful variety of architecture. Frankly, I think the biggest threat to Carlisle is that the real estate prices and taxes are going to push out the very people that make so many of our lives happy here. I fear we are going to lose our town's historical voices, our elderly, our town employees, our single parents, our tradespeople, our neighbors and our young, as well as all the wonderful smaller homes that make Carlisle a town of character, a town with a friendly scale of homes, a town with diverse people.

Dave Duren's comments at the last Town Meeting really got me thinking. Why can't the town create a plan similar to Wayland's where it buys the more modest homes that come on the market for affordable housing? Perhaps there could be some arrangement where people considering moving out of town for financial reasons could sell their house to the town at a reasonable price, have life-time tenancy and/or tax abatements and Carlisle could either convert these houses into apartments or keep as is? It would help our townspeople, encourage Carlisle's interesting diversity and maintain its architectural scale.

Let's develop a strategic plan that supports our neighbors and neighborhoods while creatively addressing the need for affordable housing. There are many creative people in town. I hope they will step forward and help lead Carlisle to some cutting edge solutions.

Marjie Findlay
Rockland Road

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito