The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 15, 2006

Come to the School Committee meeting Sept.20

To the Editor:

I, too, am a parent concerned with the recent departures of administrative personnel and teachers who have resigned from the Carlisle School this past year. They were a great group of people who did wonderful things for our children and they will be missed. When I learned that Ms. Butts gave her notice, I too was stunned and upset. Not because of the time frame, but because she was such a great teacher to my children and many other children in town. To me, this was the last straw.

I contacted Ms. Butts to hear how she felt about leaving and learned that she was part of the Carlisle School System for 20 years, starting as a parent volunteer, School Committee Member, OT (occupational therapist) for seven years and as a teacher for six years. It was not an easy decision for her to leave somewhere where she loved to work and enjoyed teaching our children. She enjoyed working in Carlisle. She stated that she left so that she could fulfill her professional growth elsewhere.

Ms. Butts is now working for the Winchester School as their Pre-school Case Manager. She is responsible for seven pre-school classes. Two classes are special-needs classes and the other five classes are integrated with students with different needs. It is a job that she is looking forward to, and I wish her well. Winchester is lucky to have such a person in their midst.

We are lucky to havereplaced all the recent departures from our school with new personnel. I welcome them. But, in the back of my mind, I wonder who will be next to resign. We don't want to lose any more of our great teachers. We need to address the issues that have been raised in previous Editor letters. Please try to make it to the next School Committee meeting on September 20.

Linda Fabrizio
Patch Meadow Lane

Help the Trails Committee September. 23 and 24

To the Editor:

Carlisle has miles of beautiful trails, and the River Trail along the Concord River is one of the most scenic. If you've tried to walk it at any but the driest times though, you know that it is frequently impassable; people have been known to ice skate and kayak over it when conditions permit. The Trails Committee will be building two new boardwalks on the trail on September 23rd and 24th to alleviate the problem, and if you can spare some time, even if just a couple of hours, your help will be greatly appreciated. Students can log their time as community service hours, and we guarantee plenty of exercise. We'll meet at the O'Rourke barn, starting at 9 a.m. each morning; for more details, look for the notice in this issue of the Mosquito. Hope to see you there!

Kevin Smith,
Carlisle Trails Committee
East Street

Benfield Land woes the stuff of musical comedy?

To the Editor:

With the noblest of motives, Carlisle bought the Benfield Land two years ago. What a world of hurt has descended upon us since then. ("Benfield Task Force struggles with constraints and trade-offs," September 1.) Abutters who want nothing visible or audible within sight or earshot of their property, the state salamander saviors, the Native American rock protectors, and finally the town itself, with its curious 2005 vote to prohibit construction of "affordable" housing along South Street. (The last time I drove down that street there were many single-family houses to be seen on both sides. With the current slump in home prices, some of them may even be affordable.)

One has to look to the classics to find situations of comparably sublime silliness. I'm thinking Strauss operas, Shakespeare's late comedies, and the Marx Brothers. Or maybe I'm being too grandiose — Gilbert and Sullivan could truss us up nicely. Anyway, there's definitely a work of art in this, and I feel that musical comedy is the way to go.

Mosquito writers often deplore the reluctance of townspeople to run for local office or serve on committees. I ask you, readers, is it any wonder?

Roger Goulet
Westford Street

Coventry Woods will impact wetlands

To the Editor:

The Conservation Commission meeting concerns on Thursday night, September 7, causes us to look again at the recent plans for the 41-unit Coventry Woods development. We counted the number of units partially or completely in the buffer zone and found the numbers staggering. Thirteen units are 100% in the buffer zone, four are 90% in the buffer zone, and six are 50% or more in the buffer zone, with four only 10% in the buffer zone. It appears out of 41 units only 14 are completely out of the buffer zone. This is just considering the buildings and not the adjacent open area (grass?) around them.

Additionally, some structures in the buffer zone are less than 25 feet from the wetlands. The plans as they now stand can't help but have a significant impact on the wetlands and the inhabitants thereof.

Joan and Alex Parker
Russell Street

[Ed note: the Parkers are abutters to the proposed Coventry Woods development.]

Are spouse's affiliations relevant?

To the Editor:

Your note immediately following my letter to the editor ("School Superintendent has passed the test of leadership") in the last issue of the Mosquito, disclosing my marital relationship with the President of the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF), has caused me to endure some mild ribbing from several Carlisle friends and acquaintances. Some have said that they too always believed me incapable of independent thought. Others have said that Laura is my better half and they would have preferred to hear from her anyway. But in one way or another, all have remarked on how unusual it is for an editor to note a correspondent's marital relationship as opposed to, say, his or her position on a related town board or other organization.

In any event, I would like to assure you that my letter to the editor was all my own work. I suppose I should add the usual author's acknowledgment that any errors were also mine, except that I stand by all that I wrote.

Lastly, in case any one is wondering, this letter has been reviewed and approved by my wife, for publication.

Laura Snowdon's Husband
(Alex Parra)
Bellows Hill Road

Benfield Plan B is "dead on arrival"

To the Editor:

Maya Liteplo in the September 1 Mosquito carefully explains the overlapping and conflicting constraints which the Benfield Task Force is grappling with in attempting to site up to 26 units of affordable housing and one ballfield on the town's Benfield Land on South Street. However, there is one apparently unrecognized constraint that drives a stake through the heart of the favored Plan B: locating a ballfield on the 26-acre portion of the land purchased for conservation and passive recreation would violate Article 97 of the Massachusetts constitution.

How do we know that this parcel is covered by Article 97 and cannot contain an athletic field? Article 1, Motion 1, Section C, approved by the Special Town Meeting on March 23, 2004, stated "that the area marked on the attached Plan as the Designated Open Space Parcel ... shall be used as Open Space ... excluding developed athletic fields ..." The intent of this vote was confirmed by Town Meeting on June 8, 2005, which approved Article 20, Motion 11, including Section C authorizing a permanent Conservation Restriction on this parcel, and Section F authorizing the transfer of this parcel to ConsCom.

Can the town change its mind and take the proposed Plan B ballfield area out of conservation? Theoretically yes, but in practice no. Among the many hurdles that must be jumped to remove land from Article 97 protection are unanimous consent of ConsCom, approval by a 2/3 vote of Town Meeting, and a bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature. When combined with the dubious legality of siting the housing on the South Street field, Plan B is dead on arrival and should be dropped immediately by the Task Force.

With the threat of undeniable 40B projects looming, the Task Force should be recommending to the Selectmen a plan that can be implemented without risking delay and defeat by a future Town Meeting. To accomplish this they should ignore "soft" constraints such as supposed but unconfirmable sacred American Indian sites and instead approve Plan A, but with the largest possible setbacks from abutter lot lines acceptable to the state Natural Heritage Program.

Ken Harte
Estabrook Road

Vote for Patrick

To the Editor:

Next Tuesday, we have the opportunity to move Massachusetts towards a new enlightened form of government; a government that is truly "of the people."I have been following and working with the Deval Patrick campaign for the past 17 months and I am absolutely inspired by his candidacy. In the 50 years since first listening to Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson, I have never heard a more perfect candidate for public office.He combines all the traits of intelligence, ability to speak clearly and dynamically, a great sense of humor, charisma, and a true sense of caring.He speaks from the heart and shows a genuine interest in what people want. He wants to listen to all sides of our problems and issues, and is willing to work hard for solutions.This past Sunday, the Boston Globe endorsed Deval in a very well written editorial. In speaking of Deval's economic prescription, the Globe editorial says, "Hold the line on income taxes, focus on support for beleaguered communities to ease property taxes, and expand the economy by making Massachusetts a more inviting place for all kinds of businesses. His ideas for economic development are as serious and sensible as any candidate's, Republican or Democrat."I hope you will join me in taking this step to help take back our State government from "insider" influence. If you are interested in helping with the campaign, call me at 1-978-369-7802 or e-mail me at

Bob Wallhagen,Vice Chairman,
Carlisle Democratic Town Committee
Timothy Lane

Phantom flamingo lands in Carlisle

To the Editor:

unexpected guest (Photo by Liz Bishop)
This morning I opened my door to find — a pink flamingo — had landed on my lawn sometime in the night. An attached letter stated that it is to be passed around from

lawn to lawn throughout town spreading infectious smiles and good humor wherever he may land.

Instantly it reinforced that Carlisle is the place I want to live and raise my children. Somebody out there still has a sense of humor amidst a tumultuous backdrop (9/11 anniversary, school issues to name a few). The phantom flamingo should help remind us all that we are connected by our desire to live in a beautiful, safe town where people know and care for one another and take the time to get involved to make Carlisle what it is.

So if you happen to see this pink guy on your lawn or in town, smile! Feel good about this place we have chosen for our home! Celebrate the quirky and obtuse! Remember: We are the town.

Liz Bishop
Kimball Road

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito