Friday, September 24, 2004
One upgrade that makes cents
The Carlisle Public School is quietly participating in an energy-saving project that we should all know about. New, more efficient lighting is being installed in the Corey Building that will save approximately 40,000 kilowatts of electricity annually. According to Carlisle School Business Manager Steve Moore, the new lights will use less energy while giving the same or brighter illumination.
Thirty-eight percent ($8,367) of the upgrade cost is being funded by a grant from the NStar Corporation. The town should recoup its share of the cost — $13,750 — in three and a half years. After that, the new lights will save Carlisle $4,000 each year in electricity costs. Moore added, "The real benefit is that the gym will be bright and well lit."
The proposal was finalized in August, but Moore and the Carlisle School's Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds David Flannery began working on the project last February, researching grants and speaking with multiple vendors. Besides the grant, the school is paying for the lighting using a combination of money normally budgeted for lighting and small projects, and money collected through facility use fees. NStar's grant monies are from their Energy Conservation Fund, which area homeowners contribute to as part of their monthly electricity bill. The work is to be performed by the DMJM Harris Company.
NStar has also provided estimates for upgrading the lighting efficiency in other school buildings. Moore said it would cost the town $23,000 to upgrade the Grant and Robbins Buildings and another $13,000 for the Wilkins Building, assuming the NStar grants are still available when the town is ready to apply. (However, he thought the school would not want to improve the Spalding Building, because it would probably be affected by any future school expansion.) When asked about the time-frame for additional upgrades, Moore said the school might consider requesting funds at next spring's Town Meeting. Flannery hopes the town will eventually expand the project to upgrade other town-owned buildings.
David Flannery, Steve Moore and all those who helped with the NStar grant application for the Corey Building deserve our appreciation. As long as grants such as NStar's are available, it makes sense both economically and environmentally to upgrade Carlisle's public lighting.
Pushing my luck
I hesitate, as I don't want to jinx, but my sister Edie assures me that her friend Tom's friend Gordo from Gloucester is the guy who at any given moment is personally responsible for doing whatever it is that causes the Sox either to hit one out or ground into a double play, to make a diving catch or throw the ball away, to win or lose. So, I'm off the hook.
A few years ago, I bought a bottle of Nantucket Nectars juice with this cryptic message under its lid: "The Red Sox will win the World Series next year." The intent may have been to comment wryly on the annual pageant of New Englanders' dashed hopes; I chose to take it literally. But I also opted to hold the prediction in suspension until the cosmic alignment felt more propitious. Without access to cryogenic facilities such as those wherein sadly lie the remains of Sox legend Ted Williams, I simply tossed the portentous juice lid into the closet.
I came across it this past winter and, on a whim, added it to the Christmas stocking of Edie's friend, Tom. As the fortunes of the Sox have been dramatically improving over the course of this season, Tom has taken to showing the lid to one and all on the North Shore as proof that this year, 2004, is the year — next year has finally arrived — the Red Sox will win the World Series.
With the ups (Schilling) and downs (A-Rod) of off-season deal-making behind them, the Sox got off to a great start (15-6 in April) before a plethora of problems (among them, Nixon's back, Mueller's knee, Williamson's elbow, with Lowe clueless and Nomar mysterious) led to a lot of losses. The Sox were passed by and lost sight of you-know-who in the standings, and "Red Sox Nation" blamed the new manager and wrote the season off: "Wait 'til next year."
The owners kept their cool and traded the Franchise to the Cubs. Whether it was Nomar leaving or the new guys arriving, a few weeks later the Sox rose from the dead and started to win — 6 in a row, then 10 more. Suddenly the team had gelled, bit players were doing their bit, Manny was being Manny (in a good way), Ortiz stayed hot, Pedro had grown a head of hair to match his dugout clowning, Arroyo showed up with cornrows(!), and Schilling was going about his business despite the antics. Winning seemed to be coming naturally. Less of the "Cowboy Up!" come-from-behind heroics of last year that ended so tragically — just good baseball: solid defense, potent offense, consistent pitching. Fun to watch.
I am a recent convert to the cause, dating from our move here in '98. Though my pedigree is suspect (an Ohioan and Reds fan in '75, a New Yorker and Mets fan in '86), the basic long-suffering but ever-hopeful mantle of Red Sox fandom seems to fit. It feels good and it's not coming off any time soon. There are those who wonder if winning it all would ruin the experience, that Sox fans really don't want the Curse of the Bambino to be lifted. But I disagree; we can handle it.
Statisticians have demonstrated that luck is a huge factor in baseball — in the outcome of a game, a season, a World Series. As I said at the outset, it's ultimately up to Gordo in Gloucester. But if the Red Sox do win it all this year, my lucky Nantucket Nectars lid and I are taking some of the credit.
© 2004 The