Friday, January 28, 2000
Beware of legal ramifications
To the Editor:
The Chelmsford Conservation meeting of January 18 produced a brochure indicating, "Cranberries require up to one inch of water per week during the growing season." Since 326,000 gallons equals one acre-foot, for 40 acres Mr. Duffy needs 326,000X40/12=1,090,000 gallons/week or 155,000 gallons/day maximum. Mr. Duffy has stated his consumption is 337,000 gallons/day for 20 acres.
Last week, his comments were corrected in the Mosquito. He is 'entitled' to ten feet of water on 40 acres of cranberry bogs. For the 24 weeks of a growing season, his maximum needs would be two feet of water. The remaining eight feet of water (80%) are allowed for harvesting and winter crop protection when Chelmsford demands are low.
The Chelmsford private group financing the wells and their conservation commission expressed an interest in working with Mr. Duffy to satisfy his needs and provide some of the needs of the town of Chelmsford. There were two replies from Carlisle.
First, Carlisle Conservation Commissioner Tricia Smith indicated an unwillingness to share. "We want it all," she stated as her group distributed the Cranberry Growers' brochure entitled "Neighbor to Neighbor."
Secondly, Carlisle Selectman John Ballantine stated that a letter of protest had been written with the conservation commission, and that Chelmsford must deal with Carlisle rather than Mr. Duffy. "If you want to negotiate, you must deal with our legal representatives," threatened Mr. Ballantine.
Mr. Ballantine's statement is a disaster for anyone owning real estate in Carlisle. The water used in the bog flows from Chelmsford, through the bog, through the state park and reenters Chelmsford at the Mill Pond. The pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used in the farming operation could be returned to an existing Chelmsford well field near the Mill Pond. Should Chelmsford detect chemicals in their water, Mr. Ballantine has put the town in the position of accepting the responsibility.
The movie "A Civil Action," concerning pollution caused by the tanners in Woburn and litigation as a result of cancer and birth defect data, as well as current controversy concerning the used of lawn chemicals in Newton, should heighten our awareness of such problems. Carlisle would be the "deep pockets" that lawyers always seek.
Lastly, an article in the Boston Globe of January 21 indicated that there is a glut of cranberries. As a result, the price of the berries has fallen in the 1990s from $60 per hundred pound barrel to less than $30. What are we gaining by this venture?
Old East Street
Cell tower forum in Concord this Sunday
To the Editor:
If you saw ABC's "20-20" on the dangers of digital wireless phones and want to know more, come to the following program, "Microwaving Our Communities: The Link Between Cell Phone Antennas and Your Health" to learn about the potential health hazards from the 24-hour exposure to radiation emitted by the multiple antennas in our area. This program, open to the public and free of charge, will be held on Sunday, January 30, 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Alcott School at 91 Laurel Street in Concord, MA. A panel of experts and scientists will be there to discuss health issues and the ethics of the wireless communications' buildout and to answer your questions.
As telecommunication companies expand their networks for wireless antennas, communities across Massachusetts and the U.S. wrestle with how to protect their citizens from the radiation yet comply with the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a May 1999 decision, noted that towns and cities do not have to site antennas where the companies want them, but where the communities choose to place them. Zoning rights are paramount.
Telecommunication companies mislead communities, and want to "hide" antennas in steeples, on buildings, rooftops, telephone poles, and water tanks, often within a few feet of homes and school properties. Come to the meeting and learn more to help Carlisle protect health, property values and the character of our town.
Praise for school committee
To the Editor:
I write to applaud the courageous and responsible approach taken by the Carlisle School Committee and administration in addressing both the recent complaints of harassment and the resulting public concern.
As reported in the January 21 Mosquito, the committee has determined to end the public discussion around the specific allegations made and to continue pursuing the already established, confidential processes for investigating and addressing them. This is not the easy path to take in the face of the understandable clamor to "know what really happened."
But, as the banner emblazoned across the front of Mr. Tate's fifth-grade classroom reminds our children, "Doing what's right isn't always popular; doing what's popular isn't always right."
The right thing to do here is to follow the established procedural rulesnot because slavish devotion to rules is a good thingbut because these rules of due process and protection of privacy are designed to be fair and to get to the truth. They are rooted in our Constitution, are essential to our freedom and protect all of us. They distinguish us as a civil society. And they are of greatest value precisely when we are in the midst of public controversy, with emotions running high.
If we fail to do what is right now, at this moment of high stress and difficulty for all, we will provide our children with the worst possible lessons about responsibility and civility. As Dr. Eli Newberger writes in his wonderful new book, The Men They Will Become, "character" is all about the moral choices we make when "tested by hard circumstances."
In its decisions to adhere to the procedures, end the public debate, and forthrightly condemn as "unacceptable behavior" the personal attacks and unsubstantiated allegations that have been made in public, our school committee has shown us the quality of their character. In the educational results we see in our children every day, the administration and the entire school staff have shown us the quality of their leadership, teamwork, and educational skill. They have done much to earn our trust and respect over the years. I trust that they will continue to show the compassion and good judgment to finish their investigations, take action if necessary, and continue to provide a great educational environment for our children.
Wayne H. Davis
Deer project update
To the Editor:
I want to provide the residents of Carlisle an update on MassWildlife's Deer Project and the results of last winter's efforts when we captured deer at bait sites around town. We began the spring with 27 deer radiocollared. One of these died around the end of April from unknown causes. This was an eight-year-old adult male. He did not appear to have any injuries consistent with a vehicle accident, poaching or predation. He may very well have died of old age and stress from the end of winter. Adult males are particularly vulnerable to winter stress because they may lose 25% of their body weight during the breeding season immediately before winter sets in. Another deer, a year-old male, slipped its collar in June. After that a few deer moved to places where we could not find them for a good while. One two-year-old male moved about 30 air miles north to the vicinity of Temple, NH. Another, an adult female, I finally found on December 23 about ten miles due north of Carlisle and north of Lowell. She had to cross Routes 495 and 3, and the Merrimack River, as well as many other roads to get to where she is now. I found another collar today (1/18), but no sign of a deer carcass, so it may simply have dropped off. There is still one deer missing that may have moved in another direction or simply had a bad radio.
Between October and December 4, deer died: one taken by a bowhunter, one by a shotgun hunter, and two were killed by cars. One of the two car-killed deer had gone about 100 yards from the road before dying and would have gone unreported without the radiocollar. Thus, of 22 radiocollared deer alive in Carlisle at the beginning of the hunting season, two were taken by hunters. That is less than ten percent. If we subtract the deer that lost its collar and the one that is missing (the one found today lived through the hunting seasons so I do not count it here) from our starting population, only five of 25 deer, or 20 percent, died during the past year. Because a deer population can increase at over 30 percent per year in good habitat, it is easy to understand why you may be seeing more deer in recent years.
MassWildlife will again try to capture deer in Carlisle this winter to boost our number of radiocollared animals up to around 30 from the current 17 in town. We will try to use some of the same sites as last winter and may seek one or two additional sites if necessary. I want to thank the residents of Carlisle, the police department and conservation commission for your cooperation with this important research project. Feel free to write or call me at 508-792-7270 if you have any questions.
Deer/Moose Project leader
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito