The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 14, 2000


Carlisle Presents Awards to Three Special Citizens for the Year 2000 Most honored: Pete and Kate Simonds

What follows is the text of the speech given by Howard Hensleigh at the July 4 festivities.

We are gathered here today on the Green for a special occasion, one that occurs every year on the birthday of the country, now 224 years old, and on a spot where our Minutemen gathered more than a year earlier to march down Estabrook Trail to the Old North Bridge. We pay tribute to those patriots who did their part to bring this country into being. Our immediate occasion today is to honor those who, through the succeeding decades, have continued to serve our country at the grassroots level to make Carlisle the place we love to call home. This prestigious acknowledgment of community service is our Most Honored Citizen Award.

This year as last, we honor two citizens. Both have played key roles in our town government. They both have accomplishments that reach beyond Carlisle, but our emphasis today is on what they did here to help form the community we now enjoy.

One was born in the Commonwealth of Virginia where she grew up and attended public schools. Her father was president of Newport News Shipbuilding Company. As a teenager, she christened several ships that helped win World War II. Her introduction to Massachusetts was to continue her education at Dana Hall in Wellesley, then on to Vassar where she majored in physics. As a young lady, she mastered the bulky computers at the National Security Agency in the Washington D. C. area to break foreign codes. She came to Carlisle 42 years ago and began her career of community service. Here are a few examples.

One item in which we have a vital interest is our health services. She had a part in the establishment of the excellent services we enjoy here today. She served as a volunteer at Emerson Hospital where her organizational abilities were soon recognized. She served on the board of directors for 23 years and, during a portion of that time, as chairman of the board.

When in doubt at Town Meeting as to how to vote on a thorny issue, you "go with the finance committee." She served on that committee from 1979 to 1984, several years as its chairman. She was elected to the board of selectmen where she served from 1984 to 1987, serving the last year as chairman. During this period, our selectmen withstood an onslaught of tape-recorded meetings and requests for the attorney general to investigate and outlaw everything we attempted to do. She admirably carried out her duties under fire and should be awarded the purple heart for this service.

She is versatile. Her interest in the theater stems from her high school days where she starred in several productions. She is warmly remembered in Carlisle as the author of "Funny Business in the Bureau" and as script coordinator of "The Plural of Spouse is Spice" performed here respectively, in 1978 and 1976, both for the benefit of Emerson Hospital. These successful productions resulted in her being drafted as script coordinator for "When You're Over the Hill, You Pick Up Speed," performed in 1982 for the benefit of the elderly housing community room, later named the Sleeper Community Room in honor of the late Edna Sleeper, who was also a recipient of this award.

The other person we name as the Most Honored Citizen was born in Boston. He attended public schools there and in Belmont where he played football and was a member of the crew. He attended Princeton where he continued his athletic activities. He was admitted to the Harvard Law School where he found his calling, graduating cum laude in 1955. After graduation, he joined the respected Boston law firm of Goodwin, Procter & Hoar and soon became a partner. He served in leadership positions in that firm for over 40 years. He was a member of the management committee, the executive committee and chaired the litigation department of that firm. If we were to pay him his hourly rate for his many hours of service to this community, we would owe him a fortune.

He was elected town moderator in 1967, succeeding Guy Clark, also a recipient of the Most Honored Citizen Award. He conducted 33 Annual Town Meetings and 48 Special Town Meetings, including a Saturday morning session in 1972. He was always prepared and got around to talk with those who had items on the Warrant so that he understood the gist of the debate, if there was to be one. He realized that most of us, as he, liked the town the way it was, without change. He understood the time-honored saying, "The last one in wants to shut the gate." He also realized that change is inevitable and presided over the meetings that shaped the town to the satisfaction of the majority (sometimes a two-thirds majority) of those attending Town Meetings. He made sure that our town business was handled properly for 33 years. During his term as moderator, the town grew from just under 2,000 to just under 5,000.

He was more than a moderator. Here is an example. Carlisle had been in a Lower House legislative district with Concord for many years, The Great Assembly, in redistricting the Commonwealth, proposed to separate us from Concord, our long-time sibling. The town was up in arms. A hearing was to be held in a huge auditorium in Boston where aggrieved towns could air their beefs. On the night appointed, we had an 8:30 p.m. spot on the agenda. For our "dog and pony show," we enlisted our moderator to be our master of ceremonies (MC). Larger towns crowded ahead of us with their abrasive assaults on the legislative committee, headed by George Kervarian. Carlisle, moved to last on the list, was finally recognized at ten minutes until midnight. Our MC rose from his seat and ingratiatingly thanked the committee for Carlisle's privilege of being the only town in the Commonwealth granted a two-day hearing. At this late hour, this humourous and civil remark set the stage for a successful presentation, including the gift to the committee of Ruth Wilkins' (Hollis) book, demonstrating our long association with Concord. We were also the only town in the Commonwealth to get the relief we requested. Our success that night was orchestrated by one of our Most Honored Citizens.

Our Most Honored Citizens for the year 2000 are Pete and Kate Simonds!

Conservationist: Seba Gaines

What follows is the text of the speech given by conservation commission chair Carolyn Kiely on July 4.

I am pleased to be here today representing Carlisle's Conservation Commission, to present the Conservationist of the Year Award. This award embodies the commitment to preserve and protect the town's rural character and natural resources.

Each year, we present this award to a Carlisle resident who has best demonstrated a commitment to Carlisle's environment. We are extremely fortunate -- there is no shortage of people to whom this award can be presented. As a commission, we hope that this wealth of true lovers of Carlisle's character and environmental protection record continues on into this century.

This year was pivotal for the commission. We were fighting to preserve and protect the water rights impacting our town's Cranberry Bog. We were faced with appeals of our decisions to deny development. We were faced with legal suits due to our decisions. We probably reviewed more projects near wetlands than ever before. All these required more liaisons with other town departments than ever before.

Furthermore, it has become obvious to the commission that Carlisle's townspeople have a remarkable understanding of what might or might not be allowed under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, a law vital to the protection of our drinking water, among many other things. Also, I would meet people on the street who would start discussing ConsCom actions in great accuracy and detail.

How is it possible that in this small town, people know so much? Seba Gaines. Her byline has accompanied Carlisle Mosquito articles on conservation commission and other environmental actions of importance to our town since 1994. We almost take her for granted!

Seba is truly a remarkable woman, and someone whom I have grown to greatly admire in my brief time in Carlisle. She is truly able to see "the story." She is honest and forthright in her reporting and she reports all sides to an issue. This is the only way that the debate effectively becomes well-known. Seba is tenacious in her efforts to learn the background and history of issues. She asks hard questions but also has the courage to admit, publicly in the newspaper, when a series of complicated facts may have been misinterpreted.

But, since I have been here for only a short time, let me quote from two others about the importance of her contribution to Carlisle.

Steve Ells of Lincoln and author of a book on Estabrook Woods, "I'm so pleased Seba is getting such recognition. She has been a loyal friend to the Estabrook Woods and a careful public guardian. Her long article on the Estabrook Woods (Sept.9, 1994) is a loving testimonial and still the most accessible and informative introduction to the Woods....[She has] carried on a grand tradition of community newspaper service the way it should be done...."

Ken Harte: "The depth, accuracy, and insight of her articles in the Carlisle Mosquito brings conservation issues to the Carlisle reading public in a manner that stimulates thought and action, but always remains objective."

Seba's coverage of conservation-related meetings and events in and around Carlisle is the envy of our neighbors....Her coverage of the Estabrook Woods campaign and Middlesex School has been outstanding and unique....While it may be unusual for a journalist to be the story, here is a case where recognition would be very well deserved. She performs a great community service bringing conservation to all of us."

Seba, I am proud to present to you, today, Carlisle's Conservationist of the Year Award. We on the commission truly admire you and your commitment to full and accurate reporting of environmental issues.

In conclusion, I want you to know that we fully expect you to continue your unbiased, tough reporting. We expect your smiling face, your pencil furiously recording our meeting's discussion and your calls with those probing questions during the years ahead.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito