Friday, March 3, 2006
Build ballfield on Benfield, not Foss Farm
To the Editor:
Town Meeting voted to purchase the Benfield Land for affordable housing and playing fields. Why then is the RecCom asking for $80,000 from the Community Preservation Act account to hire a landscape architect to develop existing conservation land at Foss Farm?
While other towns are using their Community Preservation Act funds to purchase and preserve conservation land, we are now planning to reduce our acreage of prime farmland to build more playing fields, with, no doubt, a parking lot, sprinkler system and back stops as necessities. While I do not dispute the need for more soccer and baseball fields, I believe Foss Farm serves a different, diverse population who seek other equally valid passive recreational opportunities.
Foss Farm is a gateway to our town and a treasure that should not be altered. Let's continue our plan to use the Benfield Land for housing and playing fields and preserve our town's rural heritage by keeping Foss Farm as it is.
Consider the Olympic Games
To the Editor:
I have the highest respect for competitive sports and I greatly appreciate the benefits of sports participation for people of all ages, especially for young people. However, both the Winter and the Summer Olympic Games have evolved into a curious mixture of "pure sports" (e.g., cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, speed skating, running, jumping, swimming) with "invented sports," many of which involve judges who determine each athiete's success in terms of the beauty of performance. Here are some comments on certain of the sport activities taking place in Torino.
Short Course Skating: This is an adaptation of speed skating to the confines of an ice hockey rink. The secrets to success seem to be skating really fast around extremely tight turns and avoiding getting tripped or wiped out completely by a falling competitor. Russian Roulette in an ice rink?
Mogul Skiing: An invented sport that involves a weird combination of a race through moguls for speed during which there occur two judge-evaluated jump moves. Come on, guys. How can you combine speed and beauty? Who invented this one?
Luge and Skeleton Sled: It is difficult to develop interest in sports events when the only time they appear in the media is every four years for the Winter Olympics. Can you identify for me the nearest luge run to Carlisle? Can you name any of the U.S. team's "sliders"? Neither can I. And why do the TV announcers have to shout so much?
Curling: How can you take a "sport" seriously when the competitors are dressed like they are going out for an evening at the movies and their competition involves the use of
Men's Figure Skating: Costumes with sequins and the boys wearing makeup? Give me a break.
Ice Dancing: Apparently, the women competitors obtain their expensive competition costumes from the likes of Armani, Dior, and Versace. Very odd conduct for "athletes."
The Olympic motto of "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger) has traditionally defined the basic objectives of Olympic competition. There was never any intention by the ancient Greeks to have judges sifting and evaluating how pretty the athletes were in their performances.
Hurrah for pure sport! Out with the trash.
Artists and Highland renovations
To the Editor:
How wonderful to learn from Phyllis Hughes's letter in last week's Mosquito that the artists who use the Highland building have a plan for its renovation/restoration and have offered to help with fundraising for that purpose. The building is indeed one of Carlisle's treasures; it would be a shame if it, like so many other remnants of the town's early days, were to be no more. It would be a shame, too, if Carlisle no longer had a place for its artists to work away from but close to their homes. As a writer, I don't need the space that other artists do, but I have enough trouble storing and maintaining my files, manuscripts-in-progress, books, research materials, supplies, and office equipment at home to recognize the importance of a quiet, clean, spacious, and orderly workplace — something that can be especially hard to come by if one works with paint, fiber, wood, clay, and the many other materials used by those who occupy Highland. Surely our town values the contributions made by these artists enough to renew their lease for the space they themselves are willing to help restore.
Help protect children
To the Editor:
As citizens, we are all concerned about the safety and well-being of children. Unfortunately, the recent cases of clergy abuse is just the tip of the iceberg. Most sexually abused children are abused by a family member, a close friend of the family, or someone entrusted with their care. Studies show that one out of three to four girls and one out of six to seven boys will suffer some form of sexual abuse before age 18.
Just as there is no way to know if a child is being sexually abused, there is no way to identify sexual predators. They are exposed only when a victim finally has the courage to accuse or expose them, which takes an average of 20 years. At that point, our present Statute of Limitations laws prevent any criminal or civil action. The law keeps perpetrators free to go on abusing children.
You can help stop this injustice and make our state safer for children. Four bills have been submitted to the Legislators to change these unjust laws and you can help make it happen.
Please go to www.stopsexcrime.org to read about these bills and what you can do to help protect children.
These three sites have more info about sexual abuse: www.incestabuse.about.com/od/childabuse/a/childthreat.htm , www.secasa.com.au/index.php/workers/21/7, www.enoughabuse.org
Old Home Day set for July 1 and 2
To the Editor:
Spurred on by the cold weather to look forward to warmer days, the Old Home Day (OHD) committee held its first planning meeting last Sunday. Our first order of business was to set the date for 2006. As many know, we had a Survey on our web site (www.CarlisleOHD.org) that attracted a number of responses. 76% of those who considered the question, "Would you rather have OHD on the fourth of July or before/after?" voted for the weekend before and so it will be. OHD will be on Saturday July 1. And because we had such positive feedback on the larger format for the family picnic, Ice Cream Social and music fest.... we're going to do it again on Sunday, July 2. We won't have fireworks, but we plan on having a number of family-oriented activities all evening. (More to come on this.) If you've any ideas for us, please send them in to the web site.
One more important item: The theme for this year will be "Made in Carlisle." Cottage industry items, hobbies, garden produce, floats, inventions, soapbox cars or whatever you think fits the spirit of that thought.
Lastly but most importantly we still have to raise funds to make this happen again. Our costs run $5,000 each year and we're a good bit short of that. But if we received just one dollar for each person in town we'd be there. We don't receive any public funds; it's all citizen- powered. Please do what you can for this your Old Home Day and send a check to Old Home Day, 90 Page Brook Road. For every donation of $12 or more we'll mail you a DVD copy of the documentary of last year's Old Home Day .
Dave and Florence Reed
2006 OHD Chairpersons
Page Brook Road
Would private fundraising restore Highland?
To the Editor:
Some days ago, I was walking past the Highland Building at the school and it got me to thinking. This is a beautiful building, majestic and, as far as I can tell, unique in the town. It certainly deserves to be preserved and cherished. Yet it is in a woeful state of disrepair.
To be honest, I am not surprised that the school does not want to pay the estimated $1.5 to $2.5 million restoration bill, especially for so little classroom space. Nor am I surprised that the town is leery about taking on the responsibility for a building that, while historically important, has no obvious use; I cannot see the Town Meeting agreeing to such an expense, and the necessary increase in taxes, for such little gain. So what is to be done?
Well, why should the town be the only option? Why cannot the people take on responsibility directly? Gleason Public Library has a Friends organization to help it out financially. Why cannot the Highland Building? A non-profit organization, headed by volunteers, might be able to raise the needed money to repair and perhaps manage the historic building.
I know nothing about the details or possibilities of such an organization, yet I call upon the citizens of Carlisle to think about it, and quickly. Highland is deteriorating even as we wait. It deserves better.
Charles F. Schweppe
Parent seeks avenues to question school
To the Editor:
As a parent of three students in the Carlisle Public School, I am concerned about recent events. I find particularly worrisome the lack of public information and opportunities for questions, considering the rumor mill surrounding the resignations of our Principals, the arrest of our Food Services Manager, and recent student misbehavior.
I have attended School Committee meetings, as well as the meeting convened by the Superintendent concerning the hiring of the new Principals. I was able to ask a few questions, would like to have asked many more and do not feel that I have gotten complete and satisfactory answers. It has been especially hard to find a forum in which to ask questions about curriculum changes and plans. I have called the Superintendent with specific questions but given that other parents have similar questions and concerns,
I would like a public forum in which these issues may be addressed.
I understand that the teachers at the Carlisle Public Schools work for the Superintendent, and that the Superintendent works for the School Committee. Who has the ultimate responsibility to me as parent and taxpayer?
The next Superintendent/Parent Coffee is scheduled for March 10 at 9 a.m. in the Carlisle Public School cafeteria. I plan to attend with my questions ready, and I encourage others to attend.
Berry Corner Lane
© 2006 The