Friday, September 26, 2003
Carlisle's place in the Web
Have you recently visited the town's official Web site at carlisle.org, or the Mosquito online at carlislemosquito.org? How about the web site of the Carlisle Public School at carlisle.mec.edu? As time goes by, people increasingly turn to the Internet for information. Residents will benefit as Carlisle's web sites continue to be expanded and improved.
Volunteers Ed Fields and his son, Chris, have managed the official town web site for several years, and continue to post updates as town departments and organizations provide new data. For example, each week Gleason librarian Kay Edelberg sends a calendar of town events.
A town web page is an ideal tool to provide citizens with all kinds of information · from how to register to vote, to recycling your trash, to committee agendas, minutes, and town reports. Not all of these are available yet on Carlisle's web site. On the other hand, it does contain an eclectic mix of interesting links. Explore our town web site. A few of the links aren't working (the link labeled "preparedness" did not appear to be finished) but chances are, you'll discover things you weren't expecting · like a kids' page, or an online discussion group called City in the Woods.
Now that most of the town has access to high-speed Internet, it makes sense to increase the amount of town-government information available online. Carlisle might want to research what other towns offer on their web sites. Right now the town pays nothing for its web site. Town Hall could supply more information at little cost by just e-mailing copies of additional town documents to the volunteer web masters. Looking longer term, the town will need to budget and search for grants to help pay for improvements to carlisle.org.
The Mosquito joined the Internet Age about three years ago, and a team of seven share the task of bringing the newspaper to the Web. Usually, the Mosquito appears each week online at about same time residents receive the printed version by mail. One difference with the web edition is that photos appear in color. After elections, the paper tries to post results to the Web right away. However, the feature I find most helpful is the Mosquito's search engine. By typing in a key word or phrase, like "cell towers" or "school expansion," the search engine will retrieve pertinent articles from the four years of back issues in the online archive. New ideas for the web site are always welcome, and can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A third Carlisle web site is provided by the elementary school. According to Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson, the school's newly hired technology integration specialist, Cynthia McCann, is tackling the project of redesigning and maintaining the web site. Already, for example, third-grade teacher Liz Gray is using the site to post class newsletters, and school librarian Sandy Kelly has a page packed with links for kids and parents. This summer the school began posting back-to-school information and forms online. Another new feature being added is a list of directions to sporting events held at other schools. More changes should be visible in the next few weeks, and suggestions from the public are encouraged.
People have come to rely on the Internet. It's important to continue working to improve Carlisle's web sites to better meet the town's need for accurate, accessible information.
Spring-cleaning the mind
Is summer here yet? After an interminable winter, we've followed up with the longest spring on record - at least according to my lawn, which keeps demanding to be mowed every three days.
Why are Republican entertainers-turned-politicians considered solid-thinking patriots, but any celebrity who spouts a liberal view is labeled a pea-brained socialist?
What happened to all the traffic jams we were going to have to endure during the reconstruction of Route 3?
If you think that the Army can manage our Iraq occupation next year on $87 billion, you probably thought in 1992 that the Big Dig could be completed for $2.5 billion.
Why do the Red Sox persist in breaking their fans' hearts by folding in September, when it would be so much more humane just to do it in June?
Is there any worse news than that from global-warming experts, who now say New England might actually grow colder, not warmer, as the melting ice cap spills chilly waters into the North Atlantic?
If playing the Terminator qualifies Arnold Schwarzenegger to be governor of California, shouldn't Martin Sheen be running for Emperor of the Universe?
Who's getting my tax cut? I haven't noticed anything extra in my paycheck lately.
With all the conservation land in Carlisle, wouldn't you think people could find a place to walk their dogs for free?
Should I feel better now that Saddam loyalists are exterminating Americans instead of Kurds and Shiites?
When George Bush declared that no child would be left behind, was he planning to help families pay the $120,000 it now costs to send a kid just to a moderately priced private college?
Speaking of Arnold, has any political candidate stirred up more hypocrisy than he? We've got Conservatives supporting a sexed-up, drugged-out, Hollywood social liberal, while the Dems denounce that very same candidate for lacking political experience. Isn't being married to a Kennedy-clan member usually credentials enough for them?
If the fight to limit air traffic at Hanscom Field is really about the despoiling of a historic national park, doesn't the Bunker Hill Monument deserve the same level of concern? Where are the "Shut down Logan Airport" protests?
Read my lips: no new jobs, no second term. (Hasta la vista, Georgie.)
© 2003 The