Friday, January 7, 2000
A New Year's Wish List for Carlisle
Now that all the hoopla and hype over the millennium is just about over, it is time to take a deep breath and contemplate what we would like to see accomplished in the year ahead. As I read over editor Mary Hult's end-of-the-year review, I am reminded of all that was accomplished here in town in 1999. It also gives me pause to think of the things that I would hope to see happen in the year 2000. Therefore, with all this in mind, here is one editor's wish list for the new year.
· Completion of renovations to the Gleason Public Library, although I must add that the Mosquito will miss our neighbors, the library and librarians, temporarily located next door.
· A return to a full-time town administrator to coordinate communication among town committees and boards and take over the reins at Town Hall.
· If the town must have cell towers, they should be unobtrusive, for example kept as low as possible, disguised as trees, put in flagpoles or steeples. I am told a device called a "repeater" might be attached to existing utility poles along Route 225 to do the job.
· The old Saint Irene Church on Bedford Road should become town property. As the town grows, there will be a need for more town function space, affordable housing or some kind of community center. Or how about the town renting it out for a tea room or a neighborhood pub?
· Pathways along our major roads should be built so children and adults can walk safely, instead of driving or being driven everywhere in town. A pathway down Bedford Road (one that was recommended by a town bikepath committee more than 20 years ago) now proposed by the present committee is still top of the list. People could walk and children could ride bicycles from Daisy's Market to the library, the post office, past Seawright's daylily gardens, all the way to Bates at Kimball's for an ice cream cone. If you tried that today, you'd be taking your life in your hands. · The Community should come to terms with what "sexual harassment" really means. There are all sorts of behavior that might or might not be termed "harassment," but sexual harassment should mean something very specific and be dealt with fairly and promptly if and when it occurs.
· The continuation of a pure and plentiful water supply for town residents is looming as a major concern. Some ideas which should be considered are ground coverage limits in the zoning bylaws, strengthening the town's non-zoning wetland bylaw, and planning for possible future town well sites. The potential loss of water because of the construction of six proposed wells on the Chelmsford side of the Cranberry Bog should be a wake-up call to the town of Carlisle.
· Affordable housing in Carlisle must move forward. One means of offering affordable housing is for the town to find a way to secure the smaller homes built in the 40s and 50s, then rent them out. Other communities have tackled this problem and have found imaginative ways to keep the smaller houses instead of letting them be torn down and replaced with much larger homes.
· Where to build affordable housing is another question. Although this may sound crazy, I would suggest building some units on the Banta-Davis Land. Why? Because there will be no supervision of that vast area of ballfields after dark. A few houses built on the edges of that property would give the town some required affordable housing, plus a watchdog in the vicinity .
That's enough for now. So here's to a happy 2000!
Observations of a Y2K Survivor
I first heard about the Y2K problem some three or four years ago. Initially, it seemed like a way-out techie problem, which would have little impact on my life. Besides, the year 2000 was difficult to comprehend. All my life it was always 19 something or other.
As time progressed, it became more real. Nevertheless, I figured such a little thing as a two digit date change could not be as big a deal as everyone was making out. About a year ago we were led to believe that a major catastrophe was in the making. Planes would fall out of the sky. Bank accounts might be wiped out. ATM machines would not work. My firm's auditors had to assess our Y2K readiness as part of our year-end audit requirements. It seemed that panic was starting to set in. I was even invited to a gathering of Carlisle neighbors, who were stocking food and hoping to share each other's resources in the event of a national meltdown. These were not members of some California nut cult, but rational, well educated people. I started to think that maybe, just maybe, they were right. The fatal day was coming closer and closer, but since I hate deadlines (more about that later) I kept putting off any preparations.
On New Year's Eve I finally decided to do something. According to the national news, the most likely event was a loss of electricity for some period of time, and surges once power was restored. Since I live in Carlisle, I am used to that. We are like a third world country when it comes to electric power. I already had a good supply of wood, so I wasn't worried about heat. I filled our bathtubs with water, our cell phones were charged and I backed-up my computer. Before going to bed, I also unplugged my computer and TV set.
I awoke at my usual ungodly hour of 6:00 am on New Year's day and immediately checked my alarm clock to see if I had electricity. Sure enough, I did. When you expect to have it you don't, and when you expect to lose it you don't. How do you figure? I checked my various body parts and I was all there. I then plugged in the TV and checked CNN to see if Carlisle was an exception or the rule. To my surprise, God and hundreds of thousands of programmers had saved the world. Even Bill Clinton and Washington, DC were still there. Oh well, you can't have everything.
So what was the lesson? I guess the problem was real, but there was probably no need to panic. I understand that Italy only started preparing some four months ago. We spend billions and they spend millions for the same result. I wonder which is the more advanced country.
This is my last Forum essay. I have been doing this for many years, and have decided that now is the time to eliminate the additional stress of Forum deadlines. It has been fun for me, and I hope informative for you. I have always tried to avoid writing puff pieces. I would rather have someone mad at me than bored by me. I am still a conservative political activist and I am sure the conservative wave which has swept over most of the country will eventually hit the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. I just hope I'm still around to see it. So long, and thanks for listening.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito