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Friday, February 6, 2009

Opinions

Finish your Town Needs Survey now

Yes, I have filled out my Town Needs Survey. I have not sent it in or dropped it off at the Town Hall lobby, Gleason Public Library reference desk or Ferns Country Store yet, but I will certainly get it in before the deadline, February 12. And no, I wasn’t able to complete the survey in ten minutes. Instead, I wanted to take my time to give the correct answers, especially those coming from someone who has lived in Carlisle for a long time – going on 43 years.

When my husband and I and our young son moved to Carlisle in 1966, it was still somewhat of a farming town. I learned how to make bread at the monthly Homemakers Meeting at the Middlesex County Extension Service on Everett Street in Concord. During those early years, I taught a 4-H cooking class for middle school girls in my home, and eventually I joined the Carlisle League of Women Voters. Those were the days when Carlisle students who went to the high school were referred to as “those hicks from Carlisle who smelled of cow.”

These are just a few of the thoughts that came flooding back as I was responding to the questions in the 2009 Town Survey. Yes, the town has changed and so have I. And so have my needs as one of the senior citizens who make up 18% of the population of Carlisle. Nowadays, with so many Carlisleans working outside the home, and in many cases outside the town, one cannot always count on neighbors for special friendships or to always reach out in the time of need. More and more people are looking to the community to provide opportunities for care-giving, socialization, recreation and intellectual stimulation.

With a downturn in the economy, more of us will be counting on the activities and services and events that are provided by the Gleason Public Library, the Council on Aging and the Recreation Commission. The possibility of transportation into Concord to catch a train into Boston or to get to an appointment at a health care facility would be a benefit. There are many in town who would like a facility where people could gather for social activities. Preserving the rural nature of Carlisle with its open space and trails is of the utmost importance to many of us, as is the quality of our school system. These are just some of the ideas that can be addressed in the survey. By answering the questions and providing comments at the end of the survey, you will help our town officials understand the needs of the community and hopefully make the right decisions in planning for the future of Carlisle.

Belated New Year’s befuddlements

With the arrival of 2009 and a new lease on life in the nation’s capital, maybe it is a good time to think about what I can do to improve life at home and abroad (metaphorically, energetically and/or otherwise). But where to start is a nagging question. There are consumer relations, human relations, e-relations and a host of other issues. Oh, and political issues. 2009 could be remembered as the Year of the New Leaf if we could only figure out how to turn one over.

Shockingly, I have considered joining the Republican Party. They way I see it, the GOP can not possibly be in any worse shape. It is unthinkable that Sarah Palin could be a viable candidate in 2012. Wouldn’t a little diversity of thought, some common sense and a reality check be welcome in the national political dialogue as we move into the next administration? Move over Rush Limbaugh, your mike is off. Enough with the divisive strategies of the past eight years. Paul Krugman is right: It is not just W’s fault even if he did drive the junker into a stone wall. The GOP vehicle is fraught with design flaws. They have become the “nattering nabobs of negativity” that Agnew railed about and help does not seem to be on the way. Can anybody come to the rescue?

I remain adamant about learning to “text.” I won’t do it. Yes, I am digitally dysfunctional but that is not the point. Texting is a flawed method of communication. It is impossible to gauge the true intent of the sender, it is a grammar-don’t and falsely personal. In our hurry-up world, texting only makes a bad matter worse. We all have cell phones; we could (actually) talk, exchange pleasantries and get the message across all the while negotiating for the desired results instead of receiving a huffy ING (instant nasty-gram) due to an ill-considered choice of asinine abbreviations.

Now that I have a sidewalk/pedestrian pathway in front of the house, I have come to realize that I do not live in a secluded rural enclave and I could be a little more neighborly. I now see a lot more neighbors and a whole lot of other people I have never seen before. Apparently Carlisle is not ‘Lonelyville’ anymore and there is hope for better turn-outs at Town Meeting. I have met the Joneses and I will resolve to keep up (current appearances to the contrary).

Tax cuts or not, the only way to stimulate the local economy is to shop locally. Cheap goods are only going to bite our back-sides one of these days. Maybe if Vanderhoof’s does not have that lighting element, you will have to go to Rocky’s or Cheapo Depot. But without local entrepreneurs, Concord will look like Chelmsford or Lexington from which most local enterprises have been banished by one-size-fits-all merchandizing chains (viz. Starbucks, Bertucci’s, Domino’s, CVS). Tell the managers at Donelan’s or Crosby’s that you want to see more local or regional produce, coffees from regional roasters, meat from family farms. You will eat better, feel better and you won’t have to ask for help when the automatic check-out machine won’t listen to you.

In the current fiscal and political climate, action on the homefront seems de rigeur. Cleaning up my act, keeping the home fires burning and supporting “local” initiatives and personal connections that support “community” development seem like the best resolutions as we move forward.

 

 

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