The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 7, 2010

Opinions

Town Meeting: shaping Carlisle’s future

On Monday, May 10, Carlisle will hold its Annual Town Meeting. This is your chance to learn more about, discuss and cast your vote on a wide range of issues that will impact Carlisle for years to come.

We should all endeavor to attend this critical meeting, whether we feel passionately about one or more issues on the Town Warrant, want to witness and participate in grass-roots democracy or wish to influence how Carlisle will evolve over the next decade.

Members of many town boards and committees have worked hard during the past year on a variety of issues, some of which are now being presented as Warrant Articles for our consideration. Given their significant volunteer commitment on behalf of our town, it is not asking too much for the rest of us to come together with friends and neighbors for just one evening to evaluate, discuss and weigh in on these important proposals.

After all, maintaining a vibrant community over an extended period of time requires that we take seriously our civic responsibility to attend Town Meeting and vote.

All registered Carlisle voters are encouraged to attend Town Meeting. Voters with young family members will be accommodated in the school dining area. There, parents will be able to participate in all aspects of the Town Meeting, including any discussions or votes, while letting their children enjoy their stay in a welcoming environment.

The 30 Warrant Articles up for consideration touch upon all aspects of Carlisle and could have important budgetary and other ramifications for our town. While the Mosquito has previously highlighted many of these issues, some of the more important and/or controversial Articles include requests to:

• approve a $23 million operating budget for the town;

• underwrite design and building feasibility studies at both CCHS and Minuteman Tech that, if approved, will lead to much larger expenditure requests in future Warrants;

• replace the Fire Department’s pumper truck ($410,000);

• determine whether the town wants to consider and potentially revise the status of the Community Preservation Act surcharge at a future Town Meeting;

• amend a number of provisions relating to zoning bylaws, including those related to the “Wetland/Flood Hazard District;” and

• adopt a “Stretch Energy Code” which would regulate the design and construction of buildings to provide for more energy efficiency.

Carlisle is a special town for a lot of reasons, including because so many residents care deeply about and volunteer their time and talent to maintain and enhance our community. Especially for those of us who don’t participate directly in our town government, the May 10 Annual Town Meeting is our one opportunity each year to be heard, show that we care about Carlisle and make an impact through our comments and votes. ∆

Tummy love

It is finally the merry month of May when a young man’s fancy turns to love. Well actually, no. This is New England, springtime, the 21st Century and a young man’s fancy, therefore, turns to food. Food is the language of love these days and, like love, comes in all shapes, forms and peculiar habits. But these days, “food” (whether it be in the person of beer, wine, tea, coffee, fresh produce, offal, organic, sustainable, local, chocolate, cheese, honey…) is in, hip, de rigueur; you name it, we crave it. The question is: where does one go to find love, to satisfy the almost stifling stimuli of ever more gregarious food passions, to ease the angst to be the first on your block to sample the most courageous/outrageous food sensation? Well, here are a few humble suggestions (assuming that you may have spurned your community or backyard garden plot).

Carlisle has a small, but prosperous farmers market with a host of local food entrepreneurs who are anxious to hear what you want to have on your menu this summer. The market will open with a seedling sale on May 22. This is your opportunity to present growers with a list of your favorite food fetishes and give them a chance to see what they can come up with. The market will officially open on Old Home Day.

To augment your farmers market and backyard garden bounty, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). CSAs are like community investment farms (not firms) where you get to reap the benefit of the farmer’s efforts and your ROI is in fresh fruits and vegetables. There are several CSAs in our neighborhood and they may encompass a broad table of options including fish, meat, eggs and flowers along with fresh produce. Some CSAs offer delivery, some require more financial/labor investment than others. Choose one that suits your family’s food interests, ability to commit time and your interest in knowing how and where your next dinner is coming from.

‘Underground Restaurants’: Underground restaurants are the hot new trend amongst serious foodies. Naturally, they are an EU import where eating well on the sly is an art form. “Restaurants,” sometimes discreetly disguised as dry cleaners, hair salons or dance studios, serve “home-cooked” meals of the highest quality frequently in support of locally-grown farmers or value-added artisans like brewers, wine-makers or fromageurs.

Obviously, patronizing the best local chefs (with whom you may already share a roof) is absolutely the first choice for prepared food. Boston and the neighboring ‘burbs are peppered with fine restaurants run by chefs who belong to the Chef’s Collaborative – chefs who work hard to plate locally and sustainably grown or raised food.

And how does one figure out how to access these culinary amenities? Slow Food Boston hosts an almost endless menu of taste-bud adventures in Boston and the surrounding suburbs. Events ranging from local pot-luck dinners with some of the area’s best cooks to sampling soirees at local restaurants and provenders are regularly offered. These events are generally inexpensive, a lot of fun and peopled by the local culinary cognoscenti.

Edible Boston is the field guide to food in the suburban Boston area and will lead you to the best entrepreneurs, CSAs, farmers markets and all things food-related. It is the trendsetter’s compendium of current gastronomy that is literate and worth saving for future reference. ∆

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