The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 6, 2006


New Police Chief is one of our own

When Carlisle Police Chief David Galvin retired at the end of September after 31 years on the police force and 27 years as its chief, Lieutenant John Sullivan was named the acting chief. A search committee, consisting of the Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie, two selectmen, and a personnel board representative, would make their recommendation for a new Police Chief to the Board of Selectmen on November 1. Because of the very positive relationship that the Police Department has maintained with the community over the years under Galvin, it was assumed by many that the new chief would come from that department and that it would be Lieutenant Sullivan.

Although November 1 came and went with no appointment, it was not until the December 2 issue of the Mosquito in an article written by Kathleen Coyle, who covers Police Department activities, that we learned that the selection date had been moved to December 13. In that same article it was reported that the Police Chief Search Committee was considering another candidate, from the town of Warren, Massachusetts.

A week later, in the December 9 Mosquito, we learned that the Search Committee had a list of three final candidates, two unnamed and one being Acting Chief John Sullivan. A recommendation for a new police chief was to be made at the next Board of Selectmen's meeting on December 13.

At the December 13 meeting the Search Committee finally announced their decision to appoint Glen McKiel, the Warren Chief of Police, who attended the meeting at the request of the Search Committee. But at no time before this meeting had townspeople been given a chance to express their opinions as to who the new police chief should be. As one after another of the more than 50 Carlisle citizens who had crowded into the Selectmen's meeting in the Clark Room rose to speak, it became apparent that there was overwhelming town support for John Sullivan, who has been on the Carlisle Police Force for 20 years. Since Selectmen John Williams and Tim Hult had not had an opportunity to meet Glen McKiel, they asked to meet with him later in the week and to postpone a final decision until a Selectmen's meeting on December 20.

Finally at the December 20 meeting, which had to be relocated to the Corey Auditorium to accommodate the over 100 supporters of John Sullivan, the three Selectmen who had not been on the Search Committee spoke out. They had met with McKiel and with Lieutenant Sullivan. They were impressed with McKiel, but all three came to the same conclusion: that Sullivan was the right man for the job of Chief of Police in Carlisle. A final vote was taken ­ three votes for Sullivan, none against and two abstaining.

Lesson learned: the next time the Selectmen appoint a search committee, they must carefully specify the process to be followed and in particular insure that the committee takes into consideration the will of the town.

Let it snow

Let it snow! The year I added that line to all my winter-themed holiday cards it did snow considerably. In fact, it snowed so much that the famed Blizzard of '78 almost paled in comparison, at least according to those who have been around long enough to remember. Surely Sammy Cahn had only tranquil vistas of falling snow on his mind, like in the movies, when he penned these lyrics back in 1945.

And ever since, marching to our own harsh New England beat, sometimes literally shoveling ourselves out, we let in this simple tune and its cozy lyrics. Every year, some time around Thanksgiving, this cheery melody gently nudges us into the cold of winter and the obligatory joy of holiday shopping. From Frank Sinatra's version, to Nat King Cole's, to Jessica Simpson's, it has become one of the season's classics. As such, one can download it as an iPod tune, and if really into it, also as a fancy polyphonic ringtone. So put on the headphones, or your skis, or both for a multi sensorial experience, andlet it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Oh, let me count the days ­ until spring, that is.

We are now six longer days into 2006. Can we allow ourselves to indulge in false optimism and start the countdown for the first day of spring? The calendar shows 73 more days to go, or 74, depending on the vernal equinox and the prospect of more snow is still very much in the air, so to speak.

Come to think of it, we have so many days of snow and only one four-letter word for it, S-N-O-W. As one urban legend goes, the Inuit language has a couple hundred words for that very same phenomenon. Scholarly research breaks them down to four basic roots which distinguish different definitions of snow from which all others derive: aput ("snow on the ground"), gana ("falling snow"), piqsirpoq ("drifting snow") and qimuqsuq ("snowdrift").

So, if I looked out my window, in an Eskimo state of mind, I could see, beyond the few inches of sullarniq ("snow blown onto doorways, etc") resting on my windowsill, that there is plenty of aput ("snow on the ground") right where the leafless maples and oaks meet what once had been the lawn line. The sight of katakartanag ("crusty snow, broken by steps") by the lone rhododendron shrub tells me that a few deer stopped by on the way to the back woods. Tucked in a corner which can only be seen from the side window, my old pair of pink flamingos are now up to their necks in kanangniut ("snowdrift made by the northeast wind"). These faded retro-kitsch birds weathered many snowstorms in a few backyards for more than a decade. Offering a splash of color to fend off post-holiday blahs or winter blues, they are there to remind me that spring is more or less around the corner.

It is just about that time of the year again when one might expect an old Mark Twain quip about our weather to materialize: "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes."

On second thought, colorful gardening catalogues with fresh planting ideas for the spring will be coming in any day now.


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2005 The Carlisle Mosquito