The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 3, 2004

Don't blame the squirrels

To the Editor:

Regarding your story in the most recent Mosquito regarding NStar's blaming the recent power outage problem on squirrels, I don't think so. If it's squirrels, then we must be suddenly inundated with them, or else they have recently developed a lemming-like mentality where they are diving into power lines en masse. Squirrels have been around since there were trees, and we haven't had another pattern of frequent interruptions like this recently. And if it were indeed squirrels, you couldn't blame it on just one squirrel, because the type of squirrel/power line encounters they cite are decidedly the squirrel's last.

The interruptions have become so numerous that I started keeping a log, and have logged eight interruptions since July 14. There were several more outages before I started keeping count, so that makes about a dozen incidents recently. If you lived in town at the time, and your memory is long enough, you may remember a similar period of outages that occurred in October about 7 or 8 years ago. At first, Boston Edison tried to minimalize the problem by implying that the only effects of it were "flashing VCRs." Anybody with a computer can certainly disagree with that pronouncement! The cause of that problem turned out to be Boston Edison's failure to regularly prune tree branches near the lines. I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that's the real cause of the current problem (no pun intended).

I expressed my concerns to NStar and was referred to the "Customer Service Engineer for the city (sic) of Carlisle." So far I have been unable to contact this person — I always get a voice mailbox — and so far the three messages I have left remain unanswered. Can't truly blame her; according to her voice mail announcement, she's covering for about 20 towns. However, if a few more folks from Carlisle called, we might get her attention. Her name is Liz Madden, and she can be reached directly at 1-781-441-8710.

Ray Pichulo
McAllister Drive

Is Carlisle still mosquito heaven?

To The Editor:

Prologue: Ever since I remember, and that goes back to 1967, Carlisle has always been mosquito heaven. We couldn't use our deck or do any outdoor activities in the summer because of the mosquitos.

That was then, this is now. When Carlisle stopped spraying several years ago, the mosquito population has steadily declined. Today, it's just about nil. I spent more than two hours outside, putting in new wiring on an ATV trailer and the tow vehicle. During that entire time, and right up until dusk, only a single mosquito came to bother me. (She got killed on the spot.)

Stopping the spraying gave the natural predators (and the entire food chain) the chance to rebound, and restore the natural balance. That pretty much wiped out the mosquitos!

About 2 or 3 years ago, there was a wonderful article in the Mosquito addressing the spraying issue and the restoration of natural balance. Is there any way to retrieve that article?

Based on our real-world experience here in Carlisle, spraying is an absolute no-no, not to mention the effect it has on humans.

The following story appeared on today's CNN Web site: westnile.ap/index.html

For the reasons cited above, the story is deeply disturbing. I would like to send the Mosquito article (citing the source) to the Phoenix newspapers as a warning against spraying.

All the best for continued success,

Daniel F. Stanfill III
Heald Road

P. S. It may even become appropriate to change the name of the Mosquito!

Ed note: The Mosquito on-line archive goes back through 1999. To view old articles on this topic, go to and enter "mosquito spraying" in the search window.

State offers seniors help with prescriptions

To the Editor:

Between September 1 and September 30, the state's Prescription Advantage Program will hold an open enrollment for seniors age 66 and older. For seniors not receiving prescription drug benefits from Medicaid, this program offers a fantastic opportunity to get state assistance to help pay for costly prescription drugs.

However, seniors interested in taking advantage of the Prescription Advantage Program must submit their applications before September 30. After September 30 the enrollment will close, perhaps for many years.

We've all heard stories of seniors forced to choose between their medications and their bills. Hopefully, the Prescription Advantage Program will help bring an end to some of these painful choices.

The state hasn't done a good enough job advertising the upcoming enrollment period. Please help spread the news to friends and family. I encourage all seniors who use prescription drugs to take part in this beneficial program.

For more information about the program, feel free to contact me at the State House. The number is 1-617-722-2040.

Cory Atkins
State Representative

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito