The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 19, 2007

Halloween suggestions from Tall Pines

To the Editor:

For the past few years, we in Tall Pines have done the utmost to preserve the spirit and safety of Halloween.

Last year got out of control. We are concerned that what was once a community event for young children and their families to enjoy is now being threatened by unsupervised junior high and high school students. We would like to welcome back the children and their parents for whom this night means fun, fantasy and treats, and ask you to help in the following ways to keep it safe and fun for all:

1. Please don't drop off your children into any neighborhood — supervise them and enjoy the event together. 2. Phone the parent of your child's friend who they will be spending the evening with and determine not only their destination but who will be personally supervising them. 3. Remember, this year October 31 is a school night. If your child is of driving age, press them for all of their destinations.

Thank you for doing your part to keep Halloween safe and enjoyable!

The residents of Hutchins Road, Kimball Road, Swanson Lane, Wilkins Lane and Barnes Place.

Why Emerson can no longer afford Highland

To the Editor:

The editorial in the Mosquito's October 12 edition asks the question, who will step up to the plate to preserve the Highland Building? The editorial does not ask, but the residents of Carlisle may well wonder, why not Emerson Umbrella? Hasn't this stately old building with its high ceilings and generously large windows provided space for working artists for more than a decade?

Yes, and both the artists and the Umbrella organization have been most appreciative of that opportunity and we have cared for and about the building within our means to do so for all of that time. But the price of long-term repairs now needed to keep the building safe for any use, let alone the cost for real preservation, far exceeds the revenue that can reasonably be generated with the restrictions on use that have been specified by the lease.

No sale of products, retail or wholesale, no pick up or delivery, no parking, no teachingno activity which would disturb the neighborhood surrounding the school. We don't question the restrictions; they make sense given the Highland's location and condition.

The headline on a front page article in the same edition makes it sound as if Emerson Umbrella and the Carlisle Schools had taken up adversarial positions over the Highland's fate. In truth, constructive, cordial discussions have taken place over several months, during which time both parties became increasingly aware of the real needs of the building, most particularly as they relate to fire safety on an active school campus.

Recognition that the time had come for the artists to leave the Highland was a mutual decision and the letter we received from the School's Business Manager does not contain the word "evicted." Rather it suggests a reasonable timeframe and terms under which the artists may remain as tenants-at-will until an orderly departure can be arranged.

The Umbrella artists, even those who do not live in Carlisle, have come to appreciate the history and charisma of the old school on the hill and wish the town well as it ponders the Highland's long-term future.

Carrie Flood
Managing Director, Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts

School Committee member decries "tabloid" journalism

To the Editor:

It was with great disappointment that I read the headlines, articles and editorial in the Mosquito pertaining to the School Committee's discussion of the Highland Building. To be honest, in all of my years of reading the Mosquito, I have never seen such blatant inaccuracies, misrepresentations and slanted journalism.

Let's set the record straight. The Emerson Umbrella has leased the Highland Building from the school district for ten years. In exchange for the use of the building, the Umbrella was to assume its operating costs and make repairs. The lease expired earlier this fall.

In the negotiations for a new lease, the school district proposed a framework which the Umbrella found unacceptable and the Umbrella subsequently proposed a framework which was unacceptable to the school district. Ultimately both parties determined that it was in their organizations' best interest to part ways. At no time was an eviction letter (as was indicated in your editorial) sent to the Umbrella. The fact of the matter is that we could not come to terms with the Umbrella on a new lease; the old lease has expired and they are moving on.

The school business manager and I met with officials from the Umbrella to work out a plan for their departure from the building. The objective of the meeting was to ensure that there was an orderly transition for the artists and that the repairs to the building as required under the original lease were performed. The meeting was extremely cordial and productive. The word "eviction" was never used in the meeting.

In the absence of a tenant, the School Committee has begun discussing the best way to manage the building in the short-term. In the next month the School Committee, in order to save scarce taxpayer-funded education dollars, will deliberate on whether it is appropriate, in the short-term, to shut off the heat and water and seal the building. At this time, no definitive plan on mothballing the building has been developed nor approved by the committee.

The School Committee recently recommended that the Board of Selectmen establish an ad hoc committee to look into the future of the Highland Building. We urge the Selectmen to move on establishing such a committee.

It is unfortunate that the Mosquito chose to report on the issue in such a negative and slanted fashion. One can also surmise that the tabloid-like approach utilized by the Mosquito was intended to draw upon emotions, and rally those members of the community who are committed to preserving the building. Is this appropriate journalism? I think not.

The future of the Highland Building is a community-wide issue, one which requires a constructive dialogue and not the blatantly inflammatory headlines which blazed across last week's paper. Our community deserves better and more accurate reporting from the Mosquito on the issue.

Michael Fitzgerald
Carlisle School Committee member
Autumn Lane

Highland is a "political hot potato"

To the Editor:

How is it that only five citizens in the Town of Carlisle can make the decision about a treasure such as the Highland Building — and possibly as low as three citizens if the vote was a 3:2 split? The future of the Highland Building should be a decision of the town and should be put to a vote that is not limited to only those choices put forth by the Carlisle School Committee (CSC). Yes, the CSC is driving a decision on something that has been languishing as the building deteriorates. However, I read this as "pass the buck." Take a political hot potato, determine a dictated set of options, make a deadline and give it to someone else to figure out.

The CSC is reported as saying they do not foresee needing the land for the next ten years; it is not contiguous to anything to serve as a playground, and its likely intended use will be parking. Am I to understand that the town's most prominent example of turn-of-the-century architecture is to be torn down for a parking lot?

As Tim Hult articulately pointed out, it is highly unlikely anyone will vote to restore or move Highland when we have funding needs for a new Spalding Building and a new high school in our future. The artists are soon to be evicted who were willing to make repairs with a lease term longer than one year. So now the building will sit empty, available to vandals with no one checking on it for leaks and burst pipes in the winter.

I will come clean. I am a preservationist at heart — land and architectural. I had a wonderful fifth-grade year in a sunny second floor Highland classroom adjacent to the room of the then new and now retired Mr. Tate.

But back to the CSC. Five members gave the town only two choices — one unpalatable and one expensive. I only wish they could be as decisive in addressing the other situations at the school.

Heidi Harring
West Street

Come to the auction and support technology needs at the school

To the Editor:

I would like to strongly encourage people to attend the CEF Auction on November 2. The Carlisle Education Foundation will target its funds for technology. For the past year, I have been on the Technology Committee at the school and it is obvious there are a number of needs in this area.

Teachers would have their students using computers in class more often if they were available. Currently, the school has three carts of laptops, where a full cart provides a laptop computer for each student in a class. These carts are shared across nine grades, with four classes per grade. The goal would be to have a cart per grade. How many of us use computers in our work everyday? Our children need to learn how to use computers as tools for their future.

The school has four ActivBoards now. These are "white boards," something like chalk boards, that are connected to the teacher's laptop and the internet and can also be drawn on. The figures, diagrams and examples drawn can then be saved as a file to be sent to the class for notes or improved upon the next day in class. The Concord Public Schools and the Concord-Carlisle High School have ActivBoards in every classroom. These boards are changing how kids are educated.

Our network will need to be replaced. Last year, it got to the point that no more computers could be added to the network. Members of the Technology Committee, along with the IT staff at the school and a consultant for the school network, worked hard to alleviate this roadblock. More computers can now be added, but we will reach the limit again in the near future.

The Carlisle Education Foundation has provided over $600,000 worth of technology to the school since its inception in 1990. Please support the CEF and our school. Come to the auction! Enjoy a night out with your friends and neighbors.

Ginny Lamere
Technology Committee

Who to contact about Billerica power plant

To the Editor:

A six-stack power plant is on the drawing board for Billerica. If the plans are approved and the plant is built, then air quality and health may be adversely affected in surrounding towns, including Carlisle. If you disagree with these plans, the time to act is now, before the deadline for public comment expires.

Here is some information on the plan: Here is a group that is opposed to the plant:

If you do not want the possibility of future asthma, heart or lung issues, then please call or write now. Your letter to Secretary Ian Bowles (address below) must arrive

before Thursday, October 25. Please ask for a public hearing.

Secretary Ian Bowles, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114-2524. Writing to Susan Fargo, Gov. Patrick, your local town manager, health department, elected officials and state representatives can help too.

Leo Manning

Thanks for cancer research donations

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the communities of Concord and Carlisle for the generous support of the boys varsity soccer fundraiser game held on 10/13/07 in the CCHS stadium. This game was held to honor the life of Lois Wells and raise funds for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Parents baked treats; players from the entire soccer program sold tickets; signs were placed on sidewalks; the choir from Grace Chapel sang the National Anthem; the Lions Club allowed us to use their facility for concessions; flyers were hung in business windows; Ferns even sold tickets to the event — our entire town embraced this effort, across the generations. We are thrilled to announce the proceeds from this event, to date, are over $7,000 for the Lois Wells Fund at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Donations for cancer research are still welcomed and may be sent to CCHS Soccer @ 500 Walden Street, Concord, MA 01742 or placed in a donation bottle at the CCHS boys varsity game on Friday, October 19 @ 7p.m. in the CCHS stadium. Please join us on 10/19/07 to cheer on the team! The community response and support is most appreciated.

Ray Pavlik, CCHS Boys Head Coach
Pat McCarthy, Emily Collins, Nicole Benicasa, Karen Verrill, Cheryl Baggen and the CCHS Boys Varsity Team

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito