Friday, January 9, 2004
2003: staying intact in challenging times
• Fire Chief Konig retired and David Flannery became the new Fire Chief on January 1, as announced earlier.
• As the Carlisle Finance Committee began its hearings on budgets for fiscal year 2004 (FY04), beginning July 2003, the Police Department asked for a 10% increase over FY03, the Fire Department recommended a 12.6% increase, the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee voted a 9.32% hike, while the Carlisle School asked for a relatively modest 2.65% boost.
• Bands from Concord-Carlisle High School and Sapporo, Japan performed a joint concert at Symphony Hall on January 10, enthralling an audience of parents, friends and dignitaries.
• Gleason Public Library Director Ellen Rauch resigned to become the Director of the Somerville Public Library.
• Church Street became a one-way road heading west.
• The Carlisle School unveiled a proposal for Option One, a four-phase expansion of the school on the current campus.
• The Conservation Commission received an estimate of $100K to repair the deteriorating earthen dam on the Greenough conservation land off Maple Street.
• An anonymous threatening message was left on the answering machine in the Assessors' Office at Town Hall. Investigations by the police and Verizon could not identify the caller.
• At the request of the Selectmen, plans for a 40B development on Lowell Street were scaled back from eight buildings and a total of 26 bedrooms, to four buildings and 16 bedrooms. The development falls under state Chapter 40B laws as 25% of the units will be affordable.
• The Carlisle School unveiled a proposal for Option Two, a new early education center for preschool through grade 2 on the Banta-Davis Land off Bedford Road.
• The Regional School Committee continued to campaign for a two-phase renovation of the high school, totaling $45 million.
• The Planning Board initiated a comprehensive town master plan with the help of professional planning consultants, paid by a state grant.
• The multicultural, multiracial musical Ragtime was presented at CCHS with many roles played by African-American students from Boston who participate in the school's METCO program.
• Brenda Finn, Superintendent of the Gill-Montague Regional School System, was selected as Superintendent of Concord and Concord-Carlisle schools.
• After months of reviewing architectural plans and cost estimates, both the Carlisle School Building Committee and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee decided to put school expansion plans on hold due to the weak state economy.
• The FinCom's budget plans were tossed into chaos with the announcement of substantial cuts in state aid compared to earlier projections. Carlisle was targeted for a 10.5% decrease from FY03.
• Eighty-five residents participated in a Planning Board forum. Participants wanted to preserve the small-town character and good schools, but to slow increasing taxes and residential development.
• The seventh-grade production of Guys and Dolls Jr. was a smash hit.
• Comcast brought digital TV and high-speed Internet service to those sections of Carlisle which had been wired for cable. This still left a number of "orphan roads" stuck in the last century.
• Snow, which first appeared before Halloween 2002, continued to fall well into April, making the 2002-03 winter one of the coldest and snowiest in recent memory.
• The Carlisle School Senior Band earned a gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) for a sixteenth consecutive year.
• After a year of frequently confrontational meetings, the Board of Health and a group of Carlisle horse owners agreed that burdensome new animal management regulations are not needed, although licensing of animal facilities would provide a good opportunity for oversight and education.
• After a year of budget anxiety the Annual Town Meeting approved all Warrant articles, including a $189K override for CCHS and $150K for construction of footpaths along major roads leading out of the town center.
• At town elections in Concord and Carlisle voters approved similar overrides of Proposition 2-1/2 to fund the FY04 budget for the high school. (And we thought that this concluded our budget negotiations for the year.)
• All incumbents running for town office were re-elected in the town election. Incumbent Doug Stevenson and FinCom Chair Tony Allison won three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen. Tom Raftery became Town Moderator in an uncontested race.
• Navy Reserve Commander Joshua Klein was the keynote speaker at Carlisle Memorial Day observances.
• CCHS students presented a contemporary "Goth" production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
• Angela Reddin began her tenure as Director of the Gleason Public Library on June 9.
• Carlisle teachers Esther Almgren, Margaret Bruell, Geraldine Madigan and David Mayall retired after a combined 110 years of service.
• Carlisle resident Greg Peterson received the River Steward Award for his leadership in the purchase of the O'Rourke Farm and subsequent resale to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
• It rained on seven out of eight weekends in May and June. CCHS seniors graduated in an outdoor ceremony on a rainy Saturday. It also rained on the Carlisle Middle School graduation, but did not dampen spirits.
• Sixty-four scenic acres of Clark Farm, including the hayfields visible from Concord and School Streets, were placed under permanent conservation restriction by the Wilson and Clark families.
• Consultants hired by the Planning Board recommended four cell towers and bylaw changes for Carlisle.
• At Old Home Day celebrations on July 4, Judy Larson and Jim Davis (posthumously) were named Carlisle's Most Honored Citizens. Wayne Davis was chosen Conservationist of the Year.
• In late June the state announced unexpectedly large cuts in aid to towns. Carlisle leadership and the Regional School Committee recommended 1% cuts to the previously approved CCHS budget, but Concord asked for a 2% cut.
• A Town Meeting in Concord approved a 1% cut in the high school budget, placing both towns and the Regional School Committee in agreement.
• In Carlisle the cut in the high school budget made up for lost state aid, thereby balancing the town's FY04 budget.
• The Maple Street culvert over Pages Brook was repaired and the street reopened to traffic 15 months after it collapsed in a May 2003 storm.
• Former Finance Committee Chair Larry Barton was appointed Treasurer/Tax Collector.
• Opponents of expansion of commercial traffic at Hanscom Field planted "No FedEx at Hanscom" signs all over neighboring towns.
• After a very hot and humid summer, mold was found and removed at the Carlisle School, allowing the new school year to begin on schedule.
• Town Clerk and Accountant Sarah Andreassen died on August 15 after a two-year battle with cancer.
• With the rapid rise in land prices, Principal Assessor John Speidel and the Board of Assessors decided that properties should be revalued annually. This year the average jump in Carlisle property values was 24%.
• A new law requiring a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check on all volunteers working with "vulnerable populations," such as children and the elderly, created confusion and frustration amid local volunteer organizations.
• The Revenue Enhancement Committee presented their report on potential new sources of revenue for the town. Their recommendations included raising fees for town services as well as a range of new initiatives, such as cell towers on town land, a transfer tax on real estate, and a municipal electric company.
• A foiled burglary and a dramatic car chase through the center of town ended with the getaway car flipped on its roof on Lowell Street and its two occupants, amazingly unhurt, under arrest.
• Charlene Hinton was named Acting Town Clerk until the annual Town Election in May 2004.
• The Carlisle Board of Appeals approved Laurel Hollow, the first 40B development in Carlisle. Two of the eight units on the four-acre parcel on Lowell Street will be affordable housing.
• Expecting slower real estate growth and another 5% cut in state aid, the Finance Committee issued a preliminary guideline for FY05 budgets holding schools and town departments to a 0.47% increase over the current year, FY04.
• A warm Halloween evening brought out crowds of trick-or-treaters especially in the center of town and well-populated neighborhoods like Tall Pines.
• The seventh-grade spaghetti supper raised over $15,000, the highest ever.
• CCHS teachers voted to hold up a number of reports needed for the high school reaccreditation process in order to pressure contract negotiations with the Regional School Committee.
• A very short Special Town Meeting approved $1.3 million for a wastewater treatment plant for the Carlisle School by a vote of 195 to 1. A week later the town reaffirmed its approval by a vote of 278 to 45 in a Special Town Election.
• The Carlisle Police staged a stakeout and arrested two persons who had been breaking into cars parked at the canoe launch at Great Brook Farm State Park.
• A new usage and management plan for Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge proposed to permit limited hunting but to restrict dog walking and other recreational activities. After an extended comment period this year, the final decision will be made in Washington.
• The Massapoag Real Estate Development Corporation presented an application for Carlisle Woods, an eight unit 40B development off Maple Street, to the Carlisle Board of Appeals. A major issue is that the parcel does not have adequate frontage on a legal road.
• Daisy's Market which was operated for many years in the center of town by the Daisy family, closed on December 24. It will reopen in early 2004 under the ownership of Carlisle residents Larry Bearfield and Robin Emerson.
© 2004 The