The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 19, 1999

We all need to work for safe schools

To the Editor:

I read about the resolution of the sexual harassment case in the Carlisle school system with mixed emotions. While I am relieved that the Albericos have been able to put the trauma of last year behind them, I continue to be deeply disturbed that this situation could occur in our school system and that so little would be done to assist the student and to sanction the adult. I watched this case unfold throughout the 1998-1999 academic year. As a parent and member of the community, I found it disturbing. As a college professor, I found it simply appalling.

What has been lost in all the discussion and descriptions is the horror of the situation and the very real pain to which a student was subjected. We want to think of our schools as a safe haven for our children. When their time and energy must be devoted to protecting themselves from the very adults who are supposed to be educating and guiding them, we have a serious problem.

Had the behavior that unfolded in our school taken place in a corporation, jobs would likely have been lost. Instead, a 13-year-old girl was first the victim of sexual harassment and then a victim of the system.

Parents, do not stand idly by. The next abused child may be your own or the neighborhood children you've watched grow up. Listen to your children. Question school policies. Demand answers from school officials. And do everything in your power to make sure this never happens to a student in Carlisle again.

Teachers, do not let the behavior of one of your own damage the fine reputation that you've worked hard to achieve. Incidents like this reflect badly on you, which is a grave disservice to those of you who give 110% to provide our students with an outstanding educational experience.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. It is then that village's responsibility to make sure that our school is a safe environment in which to raise our children.

Margo Seltzer
East Riding Drive

Grateful to local family

To the Editor:

As one who knows the Alberico family and is aware of the extremely difficult times they experienced this past year, I would like the town of Carlisle to recognize the strength of character and community responsibility that this family possessed in pursuing their concerns with the Carlisle Schools. Obviously, none of us who are not directly involved can say what is true in this or any situation of harassment. Harassment is a horrible thing to endure, especially for a child, and it is equally so to be accused of. However, the focus of the quote Marion's daughter took to heart"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced"reveals a steadfast commitment on the Albericos' part not to let go of what they believe in and to pursue what for many of us may seem as an insurmountable task. It is not easy to take a stand in situations where power is not equal. Their intent was pureto address a problem they saw needed to be rectified immediately as well as to address this issue on behalf of all the students at Carlisle Schools. We should thank them for contributing toward the school's recently adopted sexual harassment policy.

April Stone
Spencer Brook Lane

ConsCom should rescind fine

To the Editor:

I was trying to remember an occasion any occasion in which a "not guilty" finding was followed by the imposition of a penalty. Anybody who hasn't read last week's article in the Mosquito ("ConsCom brings closure to fracas over dam repairs") is probably thinking "Not in America," or "It's never happened," or "It couldn't ever happen," but the conservation commission's imposition of a $2,500 fine on Jonathan Sachs was just that.

The conservation commission's issuance of a certificate of compliance was, as a matter of law and fact, an affirmative determination that Jonathan Sachs complied with the law. As an attorney, the immediately following fine is incomprehensible. As a former member of the conservation commission, I remember the commission's power to fine only being used sparingly (never of this magnitude) to induce compliance from recalcitrant violators who were otherwise ignoring enforcement orders, not as a means to exact retribution for innocent missteps along the way to compliance.

Besides, it's a rotten way of saying thank you for all that he and Winifred Sachs have done for this town, including the repair of this dam. Ralph Anderson had it right when he said it's unpardonable to fine him.

The commission should do the decent thing, follow Katrina Proctor's lead, and rescind the fine at its next meeting.

Alex Parra
Bellows Hill Road

Congratulations on Veterans Day article

To the Editor:

Although not a prolific letter writer, I am inspired to write a congratulatory Veterans Day letter to the Mosquito for its article on the two Carlisle infantrymen who served in the Vietnam War. David McAllister and Ralph Metivier typify the men we had in the infantry during World War II. They deserve our admiration and thanks. Their West Point lieutenant, whose life they saved, would undoubtedly express his sentiments more eloquently. I can picture their platoon in The Big Red One, the division that secured "Bloody Omaha," the toughest Normandy beach head.

Tom Brokaw wrote a book about my generation entitled "The Greatest Generation." None of us would have the gall to select such a title. We only did what we had to do. Some of us were glad to have the opportunity to help set the world straight, a world that had gone wrong in the '30s.

Tom's book sometimes ponders the question of how our present day youth would respond to the challenges we faced during World War II. Most of the subjects in the book respond that they believe the youth of today would meet the challenge. I second the notion. Your article confirms it about Carlisle youth of the '60s and early '70s. I trust that, if necessary, it would be the same today.

Let us hope, however, that we are resourceful enough to challenge our youth to participate in a world of fairness, cooperation and constructive building, rather than the destruction that accompanies every war.

With that thought, I say happy Veterans Day from an old World War II parachute infantryman who fought through five major battles in Europe, from Rome to the Po Valley in Italy, the airborne invasion and liberation of France, the Bulge from start to finish and on to Berlin.

Howard Hensleigh
School Street

Garden Club thanks DPW

To the Editor:

Last week the Carlisle Garden Club, with the help of the department of public works, began the first phase of the landscaping project at the Carlisle rotary. The existing shrubs were relocated and boulders were placed to anchor the new design.

The DPW crew worked tirelessly with shovels and heavy equipment to remove the plantings and help grade the area. Work was scheduled after the morning rush hour; however, working in the rotary with heavy equipment at any hour of the day is a challenge. With deft teamwork, the backhoe helped unload boulders from the dump truck and place them, while Officer Steve Mack routed traffic. The rhododendron shrubs were relocated with care.

Daffodil bulbs have been planted and bark mulch will now go over the soil to keep it in place over the winter. In the spring, more small shrubs and perennials will be planted to complete the design and add visual interest and a changing scene of color through the seasons.

Thank you to all members of the DPW who assisted with this project. We couldn't have done it without you.

Liz Carpenter, president, Carlisle Garden Club
Cynthia Seavey, Garden Club civic committee

The reality of horse ownership

To the Editor:

As much as I would like to see all horses kept in a "beautiful hayfield vista," the reality is that most horses are boarded in a 10x10 foot stall and turned out for a few hours per day.

Horses are grazers and would love to eat all day, however this is not always beneficial. Some vegetation can be poisonous. If they are not fed properly, you would notice a loss of weight and their condition would deteriorate. Also, they will eat any fiber they can, including their shelter and the fence. Since these structures are expensive to fix and replace, the owners often make sure their animals are not hungry.

The location of the turnout is normally decided on many factors. Drainage is important as moisture affects the condition of the horse's feet. Wet areas freeze in the winter, making turnout difficult.

Owners know animals confined to small places must have the manure removed on a regular basis. If it is not removed then the animals will suffer health problems. Issues with hoof care and digestive tract maintenance can be costly to treat. The manure pile needs to be located so that it is accessible for removal. Owners are not pleased with the sight or smell of a manure pile. Owners either have it removed on a regular basis or spread it out in fields or gardens.

So in response to the question, "Is it appropriate for an owner to house and confine his horses in a very limited space located in its entirety closer to the houses of his neighbors than to his own house?" Yes, as long as there are no detrimental effects on the health and well-being of the neighbors, i.e. well contamination.

To restrict by law where horses can be stabled, according to Sue Granger's first letter, would preclude many people in Carlisle the ability to have horses on their property.

Diane M. Geggis
Brook Street

Changes are appreciated

To the Editor:

First let me thank the residents of Carlisle who have called or written me expressing sympathy and support or providing valuable information concerning my "horse" situation. I greatly appreciate their concern.

But more importantly, let me also express my tremendous appreciation to the horse owner who has moved his stable and paddock area as far away from Baldwin Road and my house as the "buildable" portion of his property will allow. And also thanks for covering the excrement in the former paddock area with loam in

preparation for planting grass and screening evergreens next spring. If the screening is sufficient and if the excrement in the new stable and paddock area is cleaned up in the necessary manner and removed on a regular basis, my problem should be solved. No longer will the aroma of my lilacs be overpowered by the smell of manure. No longer will it be an unpleasant experience to tend to my roses in my front yard.

Unfortunately my other neighbors who are still close to the stable and paddock may not be so lucky. In the future, other residents of Carlisle may find themselves in this unfortunate predicament as equestrian properties become more scarce and expensive. The rurality of Carlisle is disappearing rapidly as developers look for land to develop. The town cannot afford to buy every parcel that comes on the market to maintain open space. More and more horse owners will resort to keeping their animals in two-acre-lot neighborhoods like mine, and not all of them may be responsive to their neighbor's concerns regarding the location or cleanliness of their animals.

I believe that a bylaw restricting lot size or location of horses on residential property will ultimately be necessary in Carlisle, as it has been in other towns in the area. If this precludes some owners from keeping their horses on their property, so be it. As I pointed out in my first letter, owning a horse is not a necessity. But the people of Carlisle do have the "right" to breathe fresh, clean air while on their own properties.

Sue Granger
Baldwin Road

Act on air traffic now

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge immediate support for the efforts of HATS, the group of selectmen, planning board, and conservation committee members from Concord, Bedford, Lincoln and Lexington that is suing Massport over the commercialization of Hanscom and to urge support for ShhAir, the local citizens' group that is seeking to halt commercial air traffic out of Hanscom. The effort of these organizations to fight off commercialization at Hanscom is commendable. Carlisle needs to join in the fight.

Carlisle will be affected by the changes at Hanscom. Increased traffic, noise pollution, air pollution, and decreased property values are just a few of the issues that the commercialization of Hanscom would create for our town. Our school systems could be degraded by the reduction of property values, and even if Carlisle's property values are not directly affected, homes in Concord near the airport may experience a reduction in value, which would cut down on the revenue available to Concord-Carlisle High School.

This area already receives an enormous amount of air traffic out of Hanscom. At the current time there are 180,000 operations per year out of Hanscom or 90,000 flightsa flight is both an outgoing and incoming trip, an operation is one trip. That breaks down to 500 flights a day. Here at our home on River Road, we receive a continuous stream of overhead air traffic. It is not uncommon for there to be an afternoon "rush hour" where a plane goes overhead every minute and a half to two minutes.

Hanscom is the second busiest airport in New England. Limited commercial air flights will only be an invitation for increased air travel out of Hanscom and for large noisy planes circling overhead as they wait for a runway. The airport at Westchester County, New York, started allowing commercial aviation in the late 1980s and is now serving 1,000,000 people annually.

Visit ShhAir at their website and consider a donation to help defray their legal costs; attend HATS and HFAC meetings (the times are posted at the ShhAir website), or write to Cellucci's office, state and U.S. Reps.

Finally, it might be appropriate for the selectmen to appoint a task force for this issue and for Town Meeting to consider passing a resolution.

Kathleen Mayor
River Road

Thanks for the blankets

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone who donated old blankets, etc., to Mrs. Chandler's kindergarten drive. In appreciation, the Humane Society will conduct an educational program for all of the five kindergartens on November 30 at the Carlisle School. Thank you for helping the animals and educating the children.

Sam Coursey
Westford Street

Pig and Pepper thanks

To the Editor:

We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped before, during and after the Pig 'n Pepper to make this year's Food Tents a success. Looking forward to working with you next year!

Lisa Martini, Lisa Harris, Lori Canavan and Karen Stefaniski
Food Tent Committee

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito