The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 16, 2007

A different view of the honor roll

To the Editor:

Re: the editorial about CCHS's no longer publishing the honor roll outside of the school, two confessions: One is that I do not know "how the world works." In my 70 years here, I have come absolutely no closer to figuring that one out than when I began.

The second is that, in more than 40 years as a classroom teacher and principal, not once — never ever — has the parent of a child who did not make the honor roll told me what a good idea publishing that honor roll was. The only folks who advise us that competition is the way of the world are those who have "won," those who have "succeeded," those who themselves have made the honor roll.

In my experience, it is never those who have "lost," who have "failed," who have not made the honor roll who ask for public recording of their shortcomings. Kids who make the honor roll know that they are good students. Kids who don't, for the most part, not only know that they did not, but also that they most likely never will make the honor roll. Term after term, semester after semester, they see the successful students certified as such and, by omission, themselves as not certified as successes. Kind of like the last one selected in a choose-up game.

Kids who win in open competitions — musical, artistic, athletic — deserve public acclimation. Grades are not competitive, except individually. Let college admissions officers do the comparing.

Congratulations to the students, faculty, and the excellent principal, Art Dulong, for recognizing that those who are not among the elect do not need another reminder, and a public reminder at that, that they have failed to measure up. Let's ask them what they think of the new decision. Let's have the wallflower plan the party. And let us remember that, in a school setting, for every "winner" there are a host of "losers" who profit little from our publicizing that fact, that way "the world works." Let's try to see things, maybe just this once, from their perspective.

Dick Shohet
Bedford Road

Where is the common sense?

To the Editor:

After reading the article in last week's Mosquito on Coventry Woods, I came to the conclusion that we have lost our common sense in a big way on this project. One fact jumped out at me that should stop this project in its tracks. A giant septic system serving multiple dwellings is 150 feet from the Epstein/Stone well. You don't need to know anything about hydrogeology to conclude that the Epstein/Stone family is eventually going to be drinking some form of sewage effluent in a situation like that. What are we thinking? Of course, a miracle could happen, and 150 feet of rocks and gravel could filter out all that nasty stuff, but I don't buy it.

If I were the Epstein/Stone family's legal counsel (and I am not), I would sue the life out of the town of Carlisle if we decide to let this configuration stand. If we let this go, we will have caused an annoyance and higher cost of doing business for Mr. O'Hagan, but quite possibly force a family out of their home at some substantial financial loss (would you buy their house?) and likely incur legal action against the town. We are all collectively responsible for this lack of simple common sense. Please, let's all stand up and say something.

Paul Callahan
Indian Hill

Return those census forms now

To the Editor:

We would like to ask anyone who has not yet returned their census form to please do so at your earliest convenience. We still have about 20% of the forms outstanding and we need to finalize the annual street listing very soon.

If you cannot locate your form, please contact the Town Clerk at 1-978-369-6155 or by e-mail at and we will send you a new copy. It is vital that we have responses from as many families as possible. The town census count is used to calculate state reimbursements and Cherry Sheet Monies as well as to project future school enrollments. The town benefits when we have the most accurate information.

We appreciate your cooperation and would be happy to answer any questions on this matter.

Charlene Hinton
Town Clerk

Highland Studios opens its doors

To the Editor:

We eleven artists enthusiastically invite Carlisle residents to come to our annual Open Studios on the weekend of March 31/April 1 to see our current artwork and view our much-loved building. We can work with true colors because of those grand windows which admit lots of natural light. Many pieces are for sale and there is lots to see and do, refreshments too. Our doors are locked the other 363 days of the year so please come see us and then go on to Concord to the other ninety of us at the Emerson Umbrella on Stow Street.

Phyllis Hughes
Church Street

Thanks to Evita supporters

To the Editor:

I wish to thank the residents of Carlisle who supported our recent Concord-Carlisle High School stage production of Evita. We averaged over 500 patrons for each of our six performances, sold over 3000 tickets, and enjoyed multiple sold-out performances. The over 100 student actors, stage techs, and musicians involved with the show were very appreciative of the warm and emotional reception that you provided. We hope to see many of you back for the outdoor performances of Twelfth Night the weekend of May 19-20. Thanks!

George Kendall
Drama and Theatre Arts Teacher
Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

Inequality may be in the eye of the beholder

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Ballantine's presentation on the town's demographics, I would like to comment on his conclusions regarding unequal tax burdens. While I don't doubt that there are inequalities in the property tax burden, I doubt that the situation is as simple as he described it.

The total property tax burden is the product of the assessed property value and the tax rate. One problem I noticed in Mr. Ballantine's analysis stems from using the same average property value for both higher and lower income brackets. I would expect more high income families to own properties with higher assessed values, consequently paying higher taxes. While an income tax certainly has a more direct relationship between income and tax burden, the property tax also has such a correlation, albeit in a weaker form.

I agree with Mr. Ballantine that we cannot assume that increases in the tax burden can be shouldered equally well by all Carlisle residents. At the same time, we have to be careful about jumping to conclusions about entire segments of the population. Personal finances are a tricky subject and involve a balance between income and expenses. It might well be possible that a high-income family with three young children, a newly-acquired property, little in the way of savings, college expenses to come, and a big mortgage, is hurting more than a lower-income retired couple with grown-up children, a retirement fund, and an unmortgaged property.

Alex Krapf
Ice Pond Road

OHD planning begins

To the Editor:

Once again it is our privilege to be chairing Old Home Day for Carlisle. We've been involved with OHD for so many years and met so many wonderful people that we can't imagine not doing our part for Carlisle in this manner.

To pick up where we left off last year, we'll announce the latest plans for OHD 2007 in "The Old Home Day Citizen" which should arrive in your mailbox next Friday. Be sure to keep this in a safe place as it has all the details for OHD events as we know them today.

Old Home Day this year is set for June 30 and July 1. As this special weekend approaches, we'll be asking the Mosquito to publish updates and reminders as necessary.

And please don't forget that we are "people-powered" and exist only with your donations. Please send what you can to Old Home Day, 90 Page Brook Road.

For every donation of $10 or more, let us know if you'd like us to send you a video copy of the 2005 Bicentennial Old Home Day celebration.

Florence and Dave Reed
Page Brook Road

Plan for Carlisle's future

To the Editor:

A nonpartisan group, A Livable Carlisle Community (LCC), has formed in town to discuss issues related to the future of our community. Do you worry about whether you or your children will be able to afford to live here? Whether we can maintain the quality of our schools? Whether we will have the services our aging population needs? Whether we can continue our commitment to environmental protection and open access to land? The LCC is a group of residents who are examining these and other issues facing Carlisle. We want to create a community that provides human and physical connections and affordable living opportunities for all residents, but we also recognize the demands of our changing demographics — a growing and an aging population — and fiscal constraints imposed by skyrocketing property taxes.

LCC is hosting two open community meetings in March to talk about the demographic and fiscal projections for Carlisle and to begin a discussion about planning for our future. Please join us for what we promise will be informative, lively, and participative discussions. Each session will include similar material, so you can choose one or attend both. The meetings will be on Tuesday, March 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Union Hall and on Saturday, March 24, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Town Hall. Refreshments will be served.

For more information about the open meetings or the LCC, contact Marlene Fine (; 1-978-371-7542).

Marlene Fine
Acton Street

Come discuss Carlisle's future

To the Editor:

"Learn to live within your means." "Waste not want not."

Aphorisms like these reverberate in my head as I drive around town. Perhaps my father and others of the Depression era are nodding sagely up there as the "me" generation finally begins to wrestle with its future challenges.

Many of us in Carlisle are coming to grips with our changing needs and expected limitations. We have many decisions and choices to make over the coming ten years: new schools, community center, pathways, housing mix, pubs, conservation land, where to live and, of course, taxes.

So in the spirit of Vivian Chaput's Planning Days, a group of loosely affiliated citizens led by the Council on Aging, Marlene Fine, town representatives, and local ministry, are gathering to discuss how we might shape Carlisle's future. A Livable Carlisle Community will host two lively forums on Tuesday, March 20

John Ballantine
Fiske Street

EnSeussiastic thanks

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Trustees of the Gleason Public Library, I would like to express our thanks to the cast members of Seussical who came to help at the library's Dr. Seuss birthday party last Saturday. These students had been working all day in a rehearsal up at the school, but they came down to the library in their costumes and pitched right in, enthusiastically singing and reading to around 25 children who came to the party. The kids loved them, and gathered in several reading circles around them to listen to stories from the Dr. Seuss canon. Their efforts made the party particularly special for the children, who really enjoyed hearing the Seuss stories from these costumed readers and meeting characters from the show. This kind of community spirit is one of the things that make us all glad to be part of Carlisle. Great job, seventh-graders, and thank you heartily.

Priscilla Stevens
Chair, Gleason Public Library Trustees

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito