The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 7, 2003

Comments on proposed new BOH regulations on animals

To the Editor:

For the past several months, the board of health has been working on new regulations for keeping animals (other than household pets).The BOH meeting on February 27 was attended by a large number of citizens who are concerned about possible restrictions and limitations to their ability to enjoy ownership of horses and other animals on their properties. They expressed their concerns to the board, which is struggling to achieve its objective of protecting the health and safety of the public, while recognizing the desire of many citizens to own and keep animals on their property. Some thoughtful proposals were made and a productive exchange of ideas took place. Here are some important considerations for all Carlisle residents:

1. The new regulations represent overkill. Present zoning and wetlands bylaws adequately protect the health and safety of Carlisle property owners. There have been only 12 animal-related complaints in the past 16 years, and no evidence of any well contaminated by animal waste.

2. Most properties with animals would be non-conforming. A BOH waiver would be required with a new application. A two-year hiatus of animal activity would also require compliance for a new license. Potential property buyers would be reluctant to invest with such uncertainty.

3. Property values would be reduced. The rural nature of Carlisle is a major reason people are willing to pay high prices to live here. Restrictions would be detrimental to the free use of property for enjoyment of animal ownership for children and adults.

I urge the board to consider the potentially negative impact on property values and on the special character of life here in Carlisle of the proposed regulations. Please take whatever time is required so that the overall needs of our community are met.

Brigitte I. Senkler
Curve Street

Thanks from the Davis family

To the Editor:

The family of James C. Davis, Jr. wishes to express its thanks and appreciation for the many acts of kindness and generosity during and after Jim's illness: the honor of lowering the flag to half staff, the contributions of food and flowers for our home and the memorial service, the attendance of the Minutemen in their uniforms, the great congregation of friends from near and far, and all who spoke and performed music at the service · all of which gave our family strength and consolation.

With the continued outpouring of love and support, including many cards and letters, and numerous donations in Jim's memory to the Hospice Program at Emerson Hospital, we know his name will be remembered in the community.

Wendy Davis
East Street
(for the Davis family)

A horse, a dog and a pig

To the Editor:

Seventeen years ago my wife, my daughter and I came to Carlisle in search of not only a home for us, but also a property that could support "a horse, a dog and a pig." Through a realtor we located our present house, an antique farmhouse with an old barn foundation on several acres of land. Besides the quality of the schools, one of the main attractions of Carlisle was its strong agricultural heritage and sense of community that would be welcoming of our dream and us.

As it turned out Wilbur, the pig, never materialized; but Joshua, the dog, and Miss Peppermint Patty, the pony, arrived on the scene shortly after we moved in. Our family worked together to clear the land and to build the stalls in the newly rebuilt barn. Horses and riding became a family affair that continues to this day. One of my most vivid memories of our daughter Sarah's adolescent years was when she kept continuous pressure for two hours one night, in below freezing weather, on a serious leg wound that her horse had sustained until the vet arrived. I also remember the thrill that she felt when she won a ribbon, the sense of accomplishment she had when her team was successful at a Pony Club Rally and the disappointments she learned to deal with when things did not go her way.

I am writing to you about these events because the board of health's regulations as currently proposed will effectively preclude or make it difficult for many future families to have these types of wonderful and healthy experiences. These regulations would also make many of the existing animal facilities into non-conforming uses and structures, which would severely impact the considerable financial investments that many of us have made in our properties. Carlisle does not need a seven-page document and the accompanying bureaucracy to deal with the possibility that an abutter, who probably moved to Carlisle for the rural ambiance, might possibly at some point in the future find the not-unpleasant fragrances of a small farm offensive.

Peter Stuart
School Street

Some data and cooperation, please

To the Editor:

The intense polarization on animal management at last Thursday's BOH meeting seems to be a classic case of insufficient data and lack of constructive communication. We see two fundamental problems that have exacerbated said problem:

1. In the name of proper manure management and possible prevention of perceived nuisance factors, significant rules regarding setbacks are being proposed. Such sweeping changes would not only alter the physical landscape of Carlisle, but also the soul of the community, as thoughtfully articulated by Ms. Senkler among others that evening. Disputes among neighbors will never be eliminated by simply piling on additional restrictions, and there is little evidence that manure has actually been a widespread source of dispute within Carlisle.

2. The other concern in this debate is the ironic preoccupation and negative connotation associated with animal waste when there seems to be no discussion in this town regarding the seasonal saturation of our water table with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, nor the daily dousing of pollutants on our wetlands by corporate jets. Are we afraid to interfere with corporate interests, preferring to manage the 4-H kid? I hope not, but we'll revisit this bigger problem at another time.

Instead of characterizing manure as a problem, perhaps we could envision a plan of treating it as a resource and attaching some value to the fact that Carlisle has a significant number of responsible horse owners. Since Carlisle has such poor native soil, why don't we offer composted manure at the transfer station, where residents could organically enrich their gardens instead of enriching the chemical companies and poisoning our ground water? There are a million ways to solve this issue with a win-win. We should harness our local expertise and seek a world-class model for our community rather than copying inappropriate precedents from cookie-cutter towns. Finally, and most importantly, we should keep perspective, and spare ourselves unnecessary conflict given the more pressing fiscal and educational challenges ahead of us. Let's not go to war over manure.

Linda and Steve Lerner
Brook Street

Successful Senior Band fundraiser

To the Editor:

On behalf of the seventy-five members of the Carlisle Schools' Senior Band, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Carlisle community, band members and their parents for their support during our seventh annual citrus fruit fund raising drive. Our focus for the profits raised from this year's sale will be to help purchase additional chairs for the students, as well as to fund transportation costs for a number of off-campus performances. In addition, percussion equipment will be purchased, and a number of scholarships for after-school music lessons will be provided.

Margie Zuk, our wonderful · and amazing · chairperson of the drive for the fourth year, and her committee of Tricia Reed, Joan Beauchamp, Mary and Dick Cheever, and Paula von Kleydorff, again did a superb job of organizing students and parent helpers; double-checking forms; ordering hundreds of boxes and bags of fresh fruit, and organizing the unloading of the tractor-trailer, as well as the delivery to all of our Carlisle neighbors. Thanks are extended as well to the parents who chaperoned at the transfer station and to those who helped with the fruit distribution on February 6.

In addition, school administrators, Davida Fox-Melanson, Andy Goyer, and David Flannery were actively involved and supportive throughout; while staff members Susan Pray, Peg Lynch, Richard Price, Dan Flannery, Andy Dyment, Steve Melanson, and Beverly Woolard, contributed much time and energy to the success of the project. Finally, Bill Brown, Carlisle resident and owner of the Minor Chord music store in Acton, stepped up once again and helped to support the project with incentives for our top-selling students.

Thanks to all for a successful fund raising campaign.

Thomas O'Halloran
Carlisle School's Director of Music

Request for civility in RSC budget discussion

To the Editor:

As a concerned citizen, I have attended several regional school committee meetings over the past two years. I can say that I have found the RSC members to be genuinely concerned with the health of the regional school as well as with the tax situation in both towns. I have always observed a respectful and thoughtful discussion of the desires and needs of the two towns. There have been, and are, disagreements between the school committee and other town bodies. However, I find the use of the term "arrogant" with respect to the regional school committee members unwarranted. (Reference CCTF ad in last week's Mosquito.)

For the past five years, Carlisle enrollment at the regional high school has increased by 66% · an average rate of over 13% each year. During this time, the population of our town has been increasing at about 2% annually. Yet, as a percentage of the total town budget, the Carlisle assessment to the regional school district has grown from 18.1% to only 20.5% throughout this period. The school committee, which includes Carlisle members, has done a good job of containing costs while remaining highly competitive with other area schools. Let's debate differences; let's not indulge in pejorative comments.

John Nock
Canterbury Court
Ed note: John Nock is a member of the Carlisle Finance Committee

Teaching is an underpaid profession

To the Editor:

I was filled with a sense of pride as I read of the CEF/CSA auction for the Carlisle Public School. I thought it remarkable how so many people in the community have pulled together to support our wonderful school. I turned to the next page and was quickly deflated as I read the full page political advertisement placed by the Carlisle Committee for Tax Fairness. I found the advertisement and its attack on teachers offensive, unfair and in bad taste. I empathize with people's concern about the continued increase in taxes and I agree that control measures are needed but to attack teachers, the cornerstones of our schools, is, in my opinion, wrong. It has been long known that teaching is an undervalued and underpaid profession. I am proud to live in a community that attempts to place due value on our teachers who are some of our most precious resources.

Elizabeth Hughes
Old Quarry Drive

Support US on Iraq

To the Editor:

In your February 28th issue, the Mosquito ran a lengthy front-page article by an opponent of U.S. policy towards Iraq. The author may oppose U.S. policy on Iraq but offers little in terms of proposals to deal with the Iraq problem.

The central issue with Iraq is the Hussein regime's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons program. I support the actions of the Bush administration to remove the Hussein regime and end its program for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) even if that entails a preemptive attack on Iraq.

It is clear that the policy of sanctions and containment towards Iraq has broken down. In August 1998, Iraq expelled UN inspectors and in all likelihood, intensified its program to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) including nuclear weapons. It was only the Bush Administration's threat to invade Iraq, which the protestors oppose, which caused Iraq to readmit inspectors.

Inspections themselves are highly problematic. Iraq is a police state and its WMD program is well hidden. Indeed, Khidir Hamza, the director of Iraq's nuclear weapons program claims that the Iraqi nuclear weapons program intensified after the Gulf War while inspectionswere going on. Inspections also can only eliminate the tangible elements of Saddam's WMD weapons program. Inspections cannot eliminate the expertise and know-how making it possible for Saddam to quickly reconstitute his WMD program afterwards.

I do not believe that preemption by the United States would be an act of "terrorism" as one Carlisle marcher's sign stated. Rather, the downfall of the Hussein regime, which has launched attacks on five countries in the Middle East since 1980, would bring some stability to that region. Inspections without regime change will not accomlish this goal.

The only real deterrent to Saddam is US military power and the will to use it. Saddam seeks hegemony over the Middle East and the destruction of Israel. By ruling out preemptive action, the protestors actually strengthen Saddam's hand by allowing him to strike his timetable, perhaps after he has developed a nuclear weapon. That is not peace in my opinion. I wonder if the marchers would agree.

James G. Bohn
Concord Street

League urges U.S. support of U.N.

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle joins the League of Women Voters of the United States in urging President Bush to continue working with the United Nations to resolve the situation in Iraq. For decades, the League has supported U.S. policies that strengthen the United Nation's capacity to solve global problems. International cooperation is an essential element in guarding against reckless actions by any nation, including our own, particularly when such actions could involve the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Working with the U.N. provides the U.S. with many foreign and domestic advantages. First, it ensures a full and exhaustive debate of alternative policies and actions. Second, it builds unity of purpose by means of a clear definition of our objectives. Third, it assures the world and the American people that the U.S. is not acting alone. Fourth, it provides the legitimacy of international law. Fifth, if military action is required, it spreads the cost of that action across all nations that determine such a need. And last, and most important, it increases the chances of long-term success through international peace keeping and nation building efforts.

Pre-emptive action by our country would be in defiance of the United Nations Charter, of which our nation is a signatory. Acting without the concurrence of the Security Council would violate international law. Furthermore, unilateral action would detract from ongoing efforts by a large number of United Nations member nations to combat terrorism, and it would encourage a resurgence of anti-American hostility in western as well as non-western nations. Such action would be antithetical to our professed national commitment to foster stability and security throughout the world.

For these reasons, the U.S. should work actively and constructively within the United Nations system, exercising diplomatic leadership to support an international consensus that demands responsive and responsible behavior by the government of Saddam Hussein. Multilateral action is needed today to combat terrorism and establish the infrastructure needed for real economic and social development in post-war Afghanistan and other countries.

Each citizen has the responsibility to examine information in order to make informed choices, and all citizens have the right to contact their Congressional representatives and the White House.

Board Members
League of Women Voters
of Concord-Carlisle
Nancy Beeuwkes, President

Cultural Council shares poem

To the Editor:

February is over and so, too, is the Carlisle Cultural Council's evening series. The poem below is our most unique thank-you note. The smiling faces of the children who made paper puppets for an instant Musketaquid parade and of those who listened with rapt attention to author John Mitchell's "Following the Sun" program were proof of appreciation.

We thank all who made it possible and invite comments and ideas for future projects.

Bonnie Miskolsky
Cross Street
For the Carlisle Cultural Council

The night the poets were reading

by Nancy Lewis

"I'll sit in the back," I told my husband,

as I left for the meeting place.

"I won't stay the whole evening, but leave early ·

even though the poets are still reading."

They read of many things: birds and flowers,

Landscapes and families.

Some poems made us laugh, others cry

On the night the poets were reading.

I couldn't leave early · I was glued to my chair,

Taking in every word they spoke,

Mesmerized by the sounds of their voices,

Caught up in the stories they told.

I stayed to the very end.

I didn't miss a word they spoke,

And came home somehow changed

By the night the poets were reading.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito