The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 23, 2007



Honoring three who made a difference

There was a time in Carlisle, not so long ago, when some residents contributed so much to their town that everyone assumed they would always be remembered by their grateful community. Their names live on in lists of Most Honored Citizen, on meeting rooms in Town Hall, street names, school buildings, but their good deeds are lost in time as Carlisle grows and generations fade.

Three members of the Wilson-Andreassen family embody this spirit of public service and the Selectmen have acted to ensure that their names and contributions will be remembered. They have established a gift fund to honor Waldo Wilson, his wife Esther, and their daughter Sarah Andreassen, and plan to add commemorative plaques to the Fire Department, Police Department and Town Hall, three areas in which these extraordinary citizens made a difference.

Waldo Wilson was, for over 50 years, Carlisle's first Fire Chief. He laid the groundwork for today's modern Fire Department. The length of his tenure in public office is remarkable and his devotion to Carlisle is unmatched. Wilson also served as Town Accountant for 45 years, another extraordinary achievement.

His wife Esther's contributions were no less extraordinary, spanning over 50 years. She was the town's one-woman communications department that she ran out of her Concord Street home. She kept everyone in touch not only in emergencies involving the Police and Fire departments, but she also assisted ordinary citizens dealing with everyday life in a small town. When she retired in 1979, three people took over her job.

The Wilsons' daughter Sarah Andreassen inherited the family gene for public service. She took over as Town Accountant in 1975 when her father retired and in 1989 also became Town Clerk. She was the "go-to" person in Town Hall and worked long hours to keep up with the town's growing pains.

All three of these dedicated Carlisleans have passed on, leaving a better community for us and future generations. The Wilson-Andreassen Gift Fund will provide tangible references to the Wilsons and their daughter, reminding us of their service to the town. The fund needs support not only from older townspeople who remember the family, but also newer residents who recognize that this town was built by people who cared and gave selflessly.

To your pile of end-of-the-year contributions, please add one more generous check in honor of the Wilson-Andreassen family. Your donation is tax-deductible and should be made payable to the Wilson-Andreassen Gift Fund, Town Hall, 66 Westford Street, Carlisle, MA 01741.

I break for turkeys

Thanksgiving and turkeys usually go hand in hand, or for that matter, fork in hand, with some gravy and a few dollops of cranberry sauce.

Turkeys — the state bird and, had it been up to Benjamin Franklin, the national emblem instead of the bald eagle — were almost extinct three decades ago. However, a late-'70s restocking program by MassWildlife in southern Berkshire County took off and slowly grew the flock from 37 birds to an estimated statewide fall population of more than 20,000 birds.

In the last few years, turkeys have been seen roaming the streets of Brookline, Jamaica Plain and Cambridge, and in general, populating areas ranging from Plymouth (where the bird originally sparked a national tradition) to Concord and Carlisle. In Brookline, of all places, the naturally non-territorial birds took a liking to the area nestled along busy Beacon Street, between Trader Joe's and the stretch of stores and restaurants, where exotic dishes like curried turkey tips are among the more popular offerings on the menu.

On its website, MassWildlife (the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife) reports enthusiastically that "Turkeys are back in the Northeast, and they are here to stay, thanks to the support of members of the National Wild Turkey Federation, sportsmen and other interested conservation-minded citizens." And it concludes, "Under careful management, the future looks bright for turkeys; sportsmen, naturalists and other wildlife enthusiasts welcome their return."

With two designated hunting seasons allowed by permit in the state, a six-day fall season and a 24-day spring season, wild turkeys are becoming a premier game species for many hunters, and their hunting is widely touted by organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Foundation. According to turkey harvest data published by MassWildlife, hunters took some 3,373 birds during the combined hunting season in 2006, and the 2007 take is forecast to be similar in 13 of the state's 15 wildlife management zones. From the turkeys' point of view, the future might not look so bright after all.

Hunting aside, the turkeys' timing couldn't have been better in Carlisle, where just a few days before Thanksgiving, traffic on Bedford Road stopped for a few minutes as a glorious flock of more than two dozen turkeys calmly crossed the road, in small groups, from the heavily wooded side to the asphalt driveway of the Blue Jay studios. Ironically, I was on my way to check out the poultry shelves at Whole Foods. So, there I was, sitting in my car (front row) admiring the magnificent view and at the same time thinking of my nearing encounter with their "birds of a feather."

We have always known Carlisle to be the home of the mosquito, and of course we have a newspaper that bears its name and image. Speaking of bears, several bear sightings have occurred here, with a significant reduction in local honey production, perhaps as a result. But Eastern Wild Turkeys seem to take over our roads and backyards in a persistent, sometimes even aggressive way.

At this rate, wild turkeys could be the new Carlisle mosquitoes before we know it. Oh deer!


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2007 The Carlisle Mosquito