The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 31, 2009

Heathcare claims questioned

To the Editor:

In the July 17 Mosquito Mail there was a letter on healthcare in which the writers repeated the discredited claim (a claim made by that paragon of truth and statistical analysis, Michael Moore) that there are “47 million” uninsured Americans. This was debunked in 2007; there’s no excuse for repeating it in 2009. The report this misconception comes from is Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2005 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Read this along with the Congressional Budget Office’s report: How many are uninsured and/or how long? It hardly requires hardcore investigative reporting skills to determine that the actual uninsured is around 8.5 million, many of these are in their early 20s (healthy and invincible). This is less than 3% of the population. The impartial Congressional Budget Office has calculated the cost of ObamaCare at $1.6 trillion over the next ten years. Kaiser Health News has reported there will be a massive tax increase for nearly half of Americans.

Another illuminating “read” for those pushing socialized, government controlled healthcare is the House’s “healthcare for all Americans” bill. This is the 1,018 page document released by the House Ways and Means Committee. Of particular interest is page 16 where you’ll discover that leftists are so greedy for what they want, which is control over our lives for the purpose of achieving equality of misery for everyone, that they can’t bother concealing what they’re about. Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage” there is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. A government administered health insurance plan will not compete with private health insurance plans, it will kill them.

A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny. So by all means, call your congressmen. These are the same folks who indignantly deny the charge that their socialist plans are socialist plans, but, because they despise the very necessity of having to appeal to people who are so backward as to resist socialism, they can’t even pretend to make the denials plausible.

Judy Jones

Lowell Street

Time to move forward with Highland

To the Editor:

Over the past 25 years the fate of the Highland School has been debated more than any other issue in town. At the May town meeting, we voted 233 to 93 to move forward with a phased refurbishment of the building. However, recent forum articles tell us that the issue of Highland School is still hot for some.

I have always been somewhat mystified by the intensity of the feelings surrounding the Highland debate. Other than its proximity to the current school – and the fire and safety issues – the building appears to offer many potential uses. Yet feelings persist.

The Highland Committee was formed by the Board of Selectmen in 2008, at the request of the School Committee, to evaluate all feasible options for future use or demolition. With several engineers and a construction cost estimator on the committee we attempted to study Highland’s fate dispassionately – looking at all the facts and issues.

Our recommendations were included in a detailed report to the BOS and presented to town meeting. We found that there were many potential uses and that the cost of renovating a roughly 7,200 gross square footage building to a net usable space of 5,600 was cost effective. The total estimated cost of refurbishment was $1.8 million or less than $300 per square foot, considerably less than new construction estimates. The Highland Committee also recommended that future uses and configuration of the space be addressed in the design phase of the project, after the building was stabilized and fire protected (phase 1).

The Town Meeting strongly supported our recommendations – preserve and refurbish – Highland in a two-phased approach with input by all. Funding for phase 1 ($445,000) is being provided by moneys from the town’s CPA fund.

I believe that Carlisle is finally ready to move forward with Highland. Next year we will probably vote on the next phase of the building’s 100 year service to the town. When Highland is ready for occupancy the town will have much needed space and much to celebrate.

John Ballantine

Fiske Street

Member of the Highland Committee

Dairy practices questioned

To the Editor:

I sincerely regret the dismay mentioned in response to my earlier letter. My sole intent was to voice my concerns for the animals in regard to the increasingly intensive dairy farming at Great Brook.

Mr. and Mrs. Duffy state, “Our cows move in and out of the milking barn, depending on their age and stage of lactation.” This amounts to only several moves in and out over a typical cow’s lifetime. Following each cow’s first nine-month pregnancy, her baby calf is immediately removed and she is led into the milking barn where she will remain most of her life in one spot. From then on, she is forced into a continuous cycle of pregnancy and birth in order to keep her lactating. Artificial insemination occurs in situ just two months after each calving. She remains tethered to her small station, pregnant and lactating, and is only removed temporarily to give birth. After an average of 2.5 lactation cycles, approximately 4.5 years old, she is sent to slaughter due to lower milk output. She is replaced by a younger cow from the “…approximately one-half of the dairy animals [that] are outside at all times.” Intensive farming techniques require such constant replacement of the culled animals.

The new milking barn will have little resemblance to those of the past with large stalls layered with hay. Instead, a 1400-pound cow will be stationed in an area about the size of a twin mattress.

We are told, “The new barn … will provide our cows in milk with the opportunity to roam freely and comfortably…” Subtracting out the area of 110 stalls, the calving pen, and the robotic milking areas from the barn’s total area (14,620 sq ft) leaves less than ¼ of an acre for 110 cows to roam “freely.”

Cows are designed to pasture. They are ruminants. Their natural food is grasses. They need to move about to prevent lameness and even mastitis.

I hope that Great Brook Farm will consider changing direction to a more traditional, more animal friendly and more green way of family farming.

Jeannie Geneczko

Maple Stree

Prospera remembered

To the Editor:

Like Jeannie Geneczko, in her letter, I too have had thoughts about the cows at Great Brook Farm. When the model farm first opened, cows could be seen in the pasture. This idyllic scene did not last long.

Perhaps Farmer Duffy would consider letting “small companion groups” out to pasture on a rotating basis. I realize there are many obstacles facing the small dairy farmer.

How ironic that Prospera, a cow buried not far from the barn, was honored with a memorial stone. Prospera was born in 1949 and died in 1969.

It is sad that the modern cow is often only a numbered unit of production.

Dorothy A. Hall

Riverhurst Road, Billerica

Learning how to Eat Healthy

To the Editor:

Who would have ever thought that learning about how to Eat Healthy could be so much fun!

The Carlisle Council on Aging would like to thank all the “Live Longer, Eat Healthy, Eat Local” event participants. Ena Sandler, MS, RD, LDN, Emerson out-patient Dietitian/Diabetes Nutrition Educator provided an interesting, informative and practical approach on how to eat healthy. Amanda Rich-Shea and Aaron Kagan from Debra’s Natural Gourmet made two wonderful recipes and discussed easy ways to eat healthy and deliciously. Amanda and Aaron were very entertaining as well as educational! “Farmers” from Carlisle’s Farmers Market brought the most delicious produce/foods and beautiful and interesting crafts. Most of the “farmers” brought something wonderful to taste and enjoy, leaving everyone wanting more. It was extremely generous of all who participated to prepare for the event and spend the afternoon with those who attended. Attendees included: Tricia Smith of Carlisle Farmstead Cheese, Carolyn Shohet of Mill Iron Farm, Leslie Thomas of Sweet Autumn Farm, Ed Erny of Carlisle Honey, Annette Lee, Peter Constable, Françoise Bourdan, Cathy Hansgate, Susan Macone and Terry Golson (author of Farmstead Egg and For Goodness Sake Cookbooks). I would also like to thank St. Irene Church for their help and support.

If you missed this wonderful event, you can enjoy some of the wonders of our local talents by stopping by and visiting your Carlisle neighbors at the Carlisle Farmers Market (at Kimball’s Farm in Carlisle) from 8 – noon on Saturday. See for more details and to see a partial list of some of the wonderful goodies you can enjoy. Also Amanda and Aaron welcome Carlislians to stop by and say hello, at Debra’s Natural Gourmet in West Concord.

We are very appreciative of all the folks who participated and hope that maybe we can do this again in the future.

Angela Smith

Carlisle Council on Aging

Outreach Coordinator

Farmers Market needs community support

To the Editor:

Like this town, the Carlisle Farmers Market is unique. When Annette Lee and Gale Constable started the market five years ago, they had an idea for a small-town, neighborly meeting place. Unlike other nearby markets that signed up professional vendors and hire market managers, the Carlisle Farmers Market is small and run by volunteers. The vending fee is kept very low, and that allows people like myself to set up a table and sell a few dozen eggs, and children to sell home-baked dog biscuits (and then donate the proceeds to an animal shelter) and home gardeners to bring excess produce. Yes, we have a few “real” farmers (and their corn will be in this week!) but we also have cupcakes made by some nice girls. There’s also jewelry (support a Carlisle college student!), honey from Carlisle bees and cheese from Carlisle goats. You also might find fudge, quiche, a hand-made wallet and flowers.

The market is small and low-key, but it needs community support to survive. So, on Saturday mornings, between 8 a.m. and noon, on your way to the transfer station, or on the way back from taking your kids to karate, stop in and eat fresh-baked pastry while you shop. We look forward to seeing you!

Terry Golson

Stearns Street

Writer questions state bill H1728

To the Editor:

A fine of $2,500 and a jail sentence of one year - this is what you could be facing if you criticize anything about a person who self identifies as transgendered, should bill H1728 become Massachusetts law. This bill will write into the Massachusetts General Laws that “transgender” individuals are a protected class of people with the following extremely vague definition: “The term ‘gender identity or expression’ shall mean a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Shockingly, Carlisle’s legislators, Representative Cory Atkins and Senator Susan Fargo, have both signed on as co-sponsors of this radical bill and should be contacted if this bill troubles you. The bill is now under consideration by the Joint Judiciary Committee that will decide whether it reaches the floor for a vote. Contact Senate Chair Cynthia Creem and Representative Chair Eugene O’Flaherty to comment.

For in-depth information about this bill, please see

Sally J. Naumann

Lowell Street

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito