The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 25, 2007

Carlisle is not Bedford

To the Editor:

On May 12, a meeting was held to discuss the merits of affordable housing for Carlisle. The presenters lauded Bedford's program which has exceeded the state's mandated target of 10% of a town's housing stock being "affordable." The audience was made up (mostly) of affordable housing advocates for Carlisle, who applauded Bedford's efforts as important to the vitality of the community.

The meeting, I guess, was like preaching to the choir. I would characterize what I've read about 40B and affordable housing as "change for the sake of change," unless you are a realtor, developer or builder. In that case it's "change for significantly greater profits." Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against realtors, developers, builders, or profits. After all, without them, I wouldn't have lived on Elizabeth Ridge Road for the past 18 years. But the kind of change driven by high density 40B development is both irreversible, and in my opinion, undesirable.

As Betsy Fell pointed out in her editorial in the May 18 Mosquito, Carlisle is different from Bedford. Cities and towns have their own distinct "personalities." Bedford is different from Chelmsford, which is different from Lowell. Each has its own personality and appeal. All are significantly different from Carlisle, however. One important difference is infrastructure, meaning they have city water and sewers and we don't. Before we embrace high density as a good thing, let's stop and think about what we have to lose.

If I had wanted to live in Bedford, I would have bought there. I didn't. I wanted to live in Carlisle. Let's not turn Carlisle into Bedford or Chelmsford or Concord or Lexington. On the down side, it will cost millions to build sewers and water service and new schools; on the plus side, we'll have traffic lights at the MacDonald's and Starbucks; who needs Ferns anyway? If you think it's too far in the future to be concerned about, just wait until next year when the Coventry Woods abutters' wells begin to run dry, and then tell them that 40B and affordable housing is a good thing.

Kerry Kissinger
Elizabeth Ridge Road

School building options

To the Editor:

The condition of the Spalding Building and the crowding on our campus are pressing issues for the community. Please join the School Building Committee on Thursday, May 31, to hear about building options, to provide feedback, and to tour facilities.

We wish to make available as much information as we can about existing conditions and about the options we have before us, along with cost estimates. With feedback about what the community wants, we will arrive at a recommended plan and ask the voters in the fall for funds to commission a design so that we may move forward soon.

To accommodate as many citizens as possible, we will offer two forums, one at 9 a.m. in the school cafeteria and one at 7 p.m. in the Clark Room at Town Hall. Guided tours of the buildings will be offered at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This is a very important decision for the town. Please participate.

Christy Barbee
Chair, Carlisle School Building Committee

New neighbor troubles

To the Editor:

I want to echo the concerns of James H. Furneaux's recent letter regarding bear behavior. We'd only recently moved to Carlisle when our new neighbor, the local black bear, boldly introduced himself by breaking into our screened porch. You can only imagine our shock when we awoke one April morning to find the porch screens ripped out, patio furniture knocked over, and the contents of still-packed boxes strewn across our backyard. (FYI: the boxes did not contain edibles, we don't have bird feeders, and we hadn't put out the garbage.) Around 7:30 p.m. that evening, the bear returned. We could see the shadow of his body and hear his labored breathing, as he made his way through the bushes at the rear of the house, while our family dog frantically tried to scare him away.

The debate over whether we can coexist with bears is not complex, if you define what is in the best interest of public safety and the well-being of the greater community. Few people would ever want to see wildlife harmed, but the bear in question has been deemed by qualified officials as a "nuisance" bear. It has become conditioned to human habits, and is beginning to demonstrate "unnatural" behavior. The aggressive destruction to our property was frightening. As the parents of a small child, it was alarming. We remain concerned about the safety of our child playing in his own yard, as well as for the wellbeing of other area children. One of the state officials we reported the attack to pointed out that while black bears rarely attack people, we should nonetheless wam our neighbors of the encounter, and advised us to raise our child to be bear-aware, "like you would for a camping trip."

This advice was unnerving. The last time I checked, I was not living at Baxter State Park in Maine, but in a suburb twenty miles from downtown Boston where children should be able to play safely in their own backyard without fear of such encounters. I hope it will not take a human tragedy to ensure that common-sense action prevails.

Kimberly Selig
Hartwell Road

Meet candidates for Meehan's seat at Dems picnic June 3

To the Editor:

Our Fifth U.S. Congressional district will have a rare and important opportunity soon to elect someone to replace Representative Marty Meehan, who is resigning to take the position of chancellor of UMass Lowell. Interested Carlisle residents are invited to meet the leading candidates for Meehan's seat, including Niki Tsongas, Jamie Eldridge, Eileen Donaghue, and Barry Finegold, at the Carlisle Democratic Town Committee's third annual picnic on Sunday afternoon, June 3, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Comjean residence, 314 River Road. We invite our friends and neighbors to join us and our State Senator Susan Fargo and State Representative Cory Atkins for a lively afternoon of politics and mingling with other politically concerned and connected Carlisle residents. We will also be celebrating 20 years of grassroots activism by seven of our committee members. Children are welcome. I hope to see you there!

Susan Stamps
Cross Street

War economics

To the Editor:

According to the National Priorities Project (, Carlisle's share of the cost of the Iraq war was $23,100,000 as of Monday, May 21, 2007, and this number continues to grow wildly with no end in sight.

This exceeds Carlisle's likely share of the cost of a new Concord-Carlisle Regional High School if it were built today.

Thank you, Mr. Bush, for committimg our nation to this horrendous debacle.

Al Powers
East Street

Deignan thanks voters

To the Editor:

I would like to thank all the voters of Carlisle who elected me to the Board of Health. I am ready for the responsibility and the hard work ahead. I will work diligently to help the board with the challenges of keeping Carlisle safe and healthy.

Chris Deignan
Forest Park Drive

Thanks to David Negrin

To the Editor:

We would like to extend a special thank you to David Negrin. David, former well-loved art teacher at Carlisle School, continues to support our school and community post-retirement. He graciously donated countless hours to the custom design of the "dancing huskies" tie-dye T-shirt for the annual CSA T-shirt sale. The design came out absolutely fantastic and is already a huge hit with kids and parents alike. David volunteered his time to help raise money for the kids and school that he loved and continues to love so dearly. It is community members like David that make Carlisle such a special place to live. Thank you, David!

CSA T-Shirt Sale Committee

Carlisle School Association Book Fair

To the Editor:

Thank you to all of you who helped to make the 2007 Carlisle School Association book fair a success. It could not have happened without the help of all the volunteers. All of your efforts are so greatly appreciated! We would like to acknowledge the Carlisle School Association's Cultural Enrichment Committee for sponsoring the visit from illustrator Kevin Hawkes who was truly wonderful. A special thank you to Steven Caney who mesmerized his audience with his creativity, clever ideas and humorous stories-. And finally thank you to the students, parents, teachers and staff members who purchased books and made the fair a great success.

Denise Nyman
Shelley Walton

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito