The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 27, 2007

Features

The silhouettes of the tree and mosquito were office-warming gifts from neighbors Suzie von Bernuth and Kristi Grew. Suzie created and adapted these impressive wooden decorations from the newspaper's banner, which was originally designed by Phyllis Hughes. (Photo by Marjorie Johnson)
Movin' on up: the Mosquito finds a new home

(Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)
Like its insect namesake, the Carlisle Mosquito has been a traveler and remains in circulation all over town. In 1999, when the paper was 27 years old, its offices moved to the bottom of Grant Wilson's old house at 872 Westford Street. This was considered a step up from Mary Diment's converted one-car garage, the paper's first real office, where it had been lodged since 1983. Before that it had flitted from its first home in Bonnie Miskolczy's house (1972), to the old Congregational Church (1974), and then to the basement of St. Irene Church (1979). During that time, it grew from what was essentially a newsletter, mimeographed and stapled together, to a tabloid-sized newspaper. Early illustrations drawn by children were replaced by photographs taken by staff photographers, hand-written headlines and advertisements became proper printed headlines and professional advertisements, and loosely-defined, catch-as-catch-can jobs morphed into real editors and staff members with specific work to do.

By 1991, the Mosquito had become a respected independent newspaper, and that year it won an award for excellence from the New England Press Association. It had come a long way from the little newsletter that had begun with Miskolczy and her fellow editor, Hope "Skip" Anderegg, but their vision of better town-wide communication and a spirit of volunteerism prevailed. The newspaper has always been, and still is, available free to every house in Carlisle. As physical conditions have improved and the paper has become more sophisticated, its original values have remained firmly in place.

The Westford Street address was a large, air-conditioned space, suitable not only for getting the paper out efficiently, but also for large meetings and social events. However, it was Mary Diment's small garage that really defined the office climate for the Mosquito. In a report prepared for the Mosquito's 30th anniversary in 2002, then-feature editor Marilyn Harte remembered that staffers worked "on top of each other in close quarters," but with a "warm, intimate feeling that Diment helped foster." Other staffers remembered "strong opinions flying across the room," and "lively debates." (See "A small-town newspaper grows up: people, technology and office space," August 2, 2002.) That kind of close, animated and vigorous dynamic prevailed throughout the Westford Street years, despite more elbow room and more comfortable quarters.

Planning for another move

With plans for the Wilson property changing, Mosquito General Manager Susan Emmons and the board of Carlisle Communications, Inc., the non-profit corporation that runs the Mosquito, spearheaded a two-year search for a new home for the newspaper and fundraising to enable it to make the move. Bryan and Molly Sorrows, Emmons's daughter and son-in-law, offered to help convert and then to rent to the Mosquito a large garage on their property. After more than a year of preparation, the Mosquito has alighted again.

Bryan Sorrows has been design and construction chief for the project and he, along with Molly and their daughters Elisabeth and Katherine, has spent countless hours doing everything from ordering materials to hammering nails. Staffers volunteered as his assistants and several pressed their spouses into service, putting up siding, helping with drywall and wiring, caulking and painting under Sorrows' direction. It was Bryan who found the Mosquito's new weathervane (see photo above) and installed it on the cupola.

General Manager Susan Emmons directs moving operations inside the Mosquito's new space on Bedford Road. (Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)

After the paper was put to bed (i.e., sent to press) on April 18, volunteers converged on the Westford Street offices to move the smaller pieces of equipment. On Thursday, local movers, hired to move the large furniture, completed the flight of the Mosquito to its new home, and over the weekend, Sorrows kept busy with the details of the physical plant while staffers began arranging desks, equipment and materials in the new space. On Monday, the new office was open for business.

Bright, new space

Thus, the Mosquito is back in a converted garage, but what a space it is! Bright and new, with excellent work - lighting and plenty of natural light as well, the feeling of the rooms is spacious and yet intimate. There is hot water (a first for Mosquito staffers) and a well-appointed kitchen area that will offer convenient hot beverage and lunch preparation and make large meetings and social events easier to manage. The windows on every side look out on lovely woods. There are nooks and smaller offices around the large central room that will allow staffers a quiet place to focus on tasks, and the large room has plenty of space for a sizable conference area as well as computer stations for editors and typesetters. The arrangement promises to maintain and promote the spirited and dynamic office ambience well-established in the years when the Mosquito lived in Mary Diment's garage.

(Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)

If you have some news you would like to contribute to the Mosquito, or just some curiosity about our new home, stop by for a visit Mondays through Wednesdays. We are easy to find at 662A Bedford Road: turn at the stockade fence on Bedford Road, Route 225, and you will find us at the end of the long driveway. The Mosquito will be buzzing, and we would love to see you there.


2007 The Carlisle Mosquito