The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 16, 2009

Help us help you

To the Editor:

Next week, every household in Carlisle will receive two copies of the “Official Town Needs Survey.” As we’re all aware, the U.S. and Carlisle are changing in terms of financial values, economics, employment, politics and demographics. Through this survey, we as a community are assessing our changing needs and priorities – what is important to us and what do people want to change in terms of education resources, transportation, housing and community connections.

We are asking every resident 21 years or older to take about ten minutes to complete the survey and return it to us by Thursday, February 12, so your opinions can be heard and counted. The results of this survey will help set priorities in the coming years. The more people participate, the more meaningful the results will be.

Surveys may be returned to Town Hall, Ferns, Gleason Library, or by postage-prepaid mail. Individual responses will not be tracked, but the general results will be published and available to all. More information about the survey process and objectives can be found at the Carlisle town web site at Thank you for helping us help you!

The Carlisle Town Needs Survey Team

John Ballantine, Alan Cameron, Jim Elgin, Verna Gilbert, Kathy Mull, Camelia Rosca

Thanks for going the extra mile

To the Editor:

I would like to take a moment to thank the Council on Aging, Carlisle Police Department and the Carlisle Fire Department for the support that they gave to my friend, Maggie O’Brien, which enabled her to remain in her home for as long as she did.

It’s one thing to do your job – it’s another to do your job with compassion and integrity – which is what you all have done so well.

This town is fortunate to have each and every one of you. My heartfelt thanks for all of your acts of kindness.

Deborah Lamburn-Toher
Curve Street

A cougar in Westford?

[Ed note: The following was submitted in response to the recent report of cougar sightings in Carlisle (“Two separate mountain lion sightings remain unconfirmed,” Mosquito, December 3.)]

To the Editor:

I live in Westford. My house is next to Long Sought For Pond, known for its abundant wildlife from fishers, green herons and loons alike. These animals aren’t always seen, but it’s not uncommon to see most animals native to southern New England if you know where and when to look. Often I will check out the tracks in the sand next to the pond. Usually it will be deer or the neighborhood dogs that leave behind signs. However, one morning a few years back, before a morning canoe ride, I spotted huge cat tracks, similar to those of a bobcat. I didn’t think much of it until I came back from my canoe ride and found some of the biggest scat I have ever seen, segmented and loaded with bones and fur. I shared the interesting news with my wife. (We are both professional naturalists, so this is actually very exciting for us.) Could it be from a cougar, a mountain lion, here!? We looked at the tracks for further confirmation and sure enough, unlike dog tracks, you can’t draw that “X” through the paw.

Later that evening we were watching the news and what was the highlight? You guessed it, a mountain lion in Westford. It had been spotted by multiple people in the neighborhood and made the headlines. We collected the scat, and made numerous calls to animal control and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to have them test the scat for authenticity, but nothing ever came of it.

Maybe we will never know whether the cougar came to town, because it was never officially documented. But for us, we have reason to believe.

Brian and A’ndrea Cutler
Groton Road, Westford

[Brian Cutler is a teacher-naturalist of the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and also for Mass Audubon Society - Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.]

Good wishes from your police

To the Editor:

The members of the Carlisle Police Association would like to thank all those residents who took part in our 15th annual Christmas Tree Pickup, which ran on January 10. The program was once again a huge success. We visited over 140 houses, going door to door removing trees and bringing them to the Department of Public Works to be discarded.

Your generous donations and continued support truly makes Carlisle a great community to work for.

We wish you all a safe and happy New Year.

Inspector Andy Booth
Carlisle Police Association

School fundraising for a Steinway

To the Editor:

You may already be aware of the added dimension that beautiful music brings to our school and town. And the more beautiful the music, the more we can appreciate its invaluable inspiration to all of our children and community. You may also know that there is no musical instrument richer in tone or more enduring in quality craftsmanship and invested value than a Steinway piano. The school’s 1924 Steinway piano has been making beautiful music for 80 years and has served the community well. Unfortunately, its days of beautiful music making are coming to an end. Its interior and exterior are in such poor condition that it is no longer appropriate for concert use. Consequently, we are embarking on a fundraising mission to buy a new piano and return the beauty of a Steinway to our school and town. To that end, we have created an “88 Keys” fundraising program, corresponding to the number of keys on a piano. Members of the community are encouraged to “purchase” keys to assist us in our fundraising efforts.

In order to meet our goal of purchasing the Steinway piano we have selected (Steinway Model B), each of the 88 keys will cost $750, making up the total cost of the piano, storage equipment and maintenance. Donors may choose to donate the cost of a full key or more, or may pool their resources with other donors to purchase one key. Please note that any donation amount is graciously accepted. A pledge form is available online at or from the Music Department. A poster with 88 keys is hanging in the Corey Auditorium lobby so that everyone can follow our progress as we fill in the keys toward reaching our goal.

Ideally, we would like to have our new piano in place in time for the Carlisle Public School Music Department concert series in June 2009, and we hope you will all participate to the fullest extent possible. We will purchase the best possible instrument for the school at whatever amount the community is able to donate. Thank you in advance for your participation and support of music in our community.

Please contact us with any questions you may have about this program.

Megan Fitzharris Harlow, choral director; Deana Saada-Smith, band director; Angela Monke, general music teacher

Bird Count fill-ins thanked

To the Editor:

When I was down and out with a virus on Christmas Bird Count day, January 4, our long-time crew of birders, plus a few new additions, stepped in magnificently and made it a little less painful to be watching the feeder outside my dining room window instead of tramping around Carlisle. I am especially grateful to Susan Emmons for taking over as compiler, running the midday countdown and doing a flawless job preparing all the spreadsheets needed to document the Count. The efforts of Leslie Thomas were essential to cover a large territory in south-central Carlisle, produce on cue the real local rarity – a Red-headed Woodpecker – and, with Katharine Endicott, to host the midday countdown and chili luncheon.

Alan Ankers covered Towle Field for me, and in the process turned up two Yellow-rumped Warblers (in addition to Eric Darling’s off South Street), unprecedented in Carlisle this time of the year. A cell phone call from Don Southall cheered me up around noon with a tale of a snipe, a first for the Carlisle Count, that his son Greg flushed up near River Road. In spite of a long day in the field, that evening Tom and D’Ann Brownrigg went to Wolbach Farm in Wayland to represent Carlisle at the Concord Countdown, and my thanks also to Tom for writing up for the Mosquito (January 9) this annual snapshot of bird life in Carlisle. Finally, I thank my wife Marilyn for preparing the noontime meal, served at our neighbors’, Leslie and Katharine.

Ken Harte
Estabrook Road

Thanks to the Brownies and Girl Scouts

To the Editor:

Holiday spirit and cheer surged through the efforts of the Brownies and Girl Scouts. On December 16, Brownies from Troop #72666 sang at Village Court. The girls added to the cheer by bringing refreshments for the seniors. This spirit continued as the Girl Scouts of Troop #72645 and one Scout from Troop #72644 caroled at the doors of other seniors on the cold weekend of December 13/14. All of the seniors who heard both the Brownies and Girl Scouts were thrilled and appreciated the extra effort that was taken to make their holiday special.

The Carlisle Council on Aging would like to thank all who contributed to helping our seniors, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year. If you are not a volunteer now, but have a little bit of time to help a neighbor, please call the Council on Aging to find out how you can make a difference!

Thanks to all these special young ladies and their wonderful troop leaders!

Angela Smith
Carlisle COA Outreach Coordinator

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito