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New way to vote at Town Meeting

To the Editor:

It’s that time again! Town Meeting is fast approaching and I would like to remind residents of some important facts.

The first night of Town Meeting is traditionally held on Mondays. Due to scheduling conflicts, the first night of Town Meeting this year will be a Tuesday, May 2. 2017. Because of the number of Warrant Articles, we will most likely need a second night (Wednesday, May 3, 2017) to complete the Warrant.  

In an attempt to speed up the counting process, this year voters will receive a colored piece of cardboard at check in to hold up when voting.  Voters need to hold on to it for the entire meeting. When a vote is called voters will be asked to hold up their hand and keep the card elevated so that the tellers can count your vote. Many other towns have found this technique to be helpful so we have agreed to try it and see if it helps us get a quicker count. If you misplace your card please hold up your hand as you have done in the past and your vote will be counted. Please do not lower your hand (and card) until the tellers indicate the counting is complete in your section.

Once again we will have the cafeteria open for use by parents with small children and anyone who feels more comfortable in that room.  

I encourage you to go to the Town Website (Carlislema.gov) and review the Warrant before the meeting to familiarize yourself with the issues to be discussed.

We look forward to seeing you at Town Meeting and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  I can be reached by telephone at 1-978-369-6155 or by email at chinton@carlisle.mec.edu.

See you Tuesday, May 2, 2017!

Charlene M. Hinton, 

Town Clerk

Support for Article 19

To the Editor:

We are writing to call your attention to a very important project for our community and the Fire and Police Departments.   Funding for a comprehensive Public Safety Communications System includes new antenna towers on Town Land, co-location on existing antenna towers, connectivity among the towers, new antennas, as well as new communications equipment for Police, Fire, DPW and School staff, plus the replacement of our Dispatch Communications Console.

Article 19 seeks funding for $2.96 million to complete this project. It is hoped that the cost will be closer to the low budget estimate of $2.4 million. We understand that this is a significant expense in a difficult year financially, but:

a. the need is critical (for the safety of first responders and Carlisle citizens);

b. the need has been known for several years;

c. the system design is the result of two years of careful analysis and development;

d. there have been no significant investments in the communications system for a decade.

We hope you will attend Town Meeting to hear the details of this project and have your questions answered. As your public safety officials representing your interests and those of Carlisle’s public safety personnel we request your support for Article 19 at the Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 2.

David R. Flannery

Chief of the Fire Department

John Fisher

Chief of the Police Department

Vote yes for housing diversity

To the Editor:

Pursuant to a Citizen Petition at last year’s Town Meeting, the Planning Board appointed an Advisory Committee to develop a bylaw to allow an Accessory Apartment (AA) in a “detached” or “accessory” structure. The current Bylaw allows, via a Special Permit, an accessory apartment as a separate living unit within the main home. The proposed amendment liberalizes the bylaw to allow an AA, again via Special Permit, within a detached structure on the same 2+-acre lot as the main home. Taking the lead from similar bylaws in neighboring communities, the proposed amendment restricts such AAs to properties where both the main home and the detached structure have been in existence for at least ten years. 

Approval of this Bylaw amendment will provide several positive benefits for Carlisle residents: 1. More opportunities for in-law apartments; 2. By allowing for income from a rental apartment (or alternately, the rental of the main home), it will allow residents who might otherwise have to move to remain in Carlisle; 3. By permitting smaller independent residences, it will provide needed housing diversity to meet the needs of residents; and 4. Protective provisions including limiting AAs to existing structures help preserve property values and neighborhood character. 

Article 31 also includes definitions for “dwelling” and “Guest House” that the Building Commissioner has noted will reduce ambiguity in the existing Bylaws and should reduce issues with enforcement.

We urge you to attend Town Meeting on Tuesday and vote in favor of Article 31.

Accessory Apartment Bylaw Advisory Committee

David Freedman, Rob Misek, Steve Pearlman

Vote yes for solar standards

To the Editor:

Despite the state’s encouragement of solar installations throughout the Commonwealth, our current zoning bylaws provide no explicit guidelines for the permitting of solar facilities on residential properties in Carlisle. The Solar Bylaw Advisory Committee (SBAC) was appointed by the Planning Board after last year’s Town Meeting to address this gap. We have worked for many months to craft a bylaw amendment that establishes a permitting process for both roof- and ground-mounted solar facilities, and broadens Carlisleans’ ability to install and use solar energy while protecting the interests of both neighbors and the community at large. 

The proposed bylaw amendment on Tuesday’s Town Meeting Warrant incorporates suggestions from the Building Commissioner, the Planning Board, the Selectmen, Town Counsel and interested citizens who have attended the many public SBAC meetings over the past 9 months. The bylaw amendment also has the support of the Energy Task Force, the Conservation Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Historical Commission. We urge you to attend Town Meeting on Tuesday and vote in favor of Article 30.

Solar Bylaw Advisory Committee

David Freedman, Steve Hinton, Richard Kane, Ed Rolfe, Claude von Roesgen

Important tick information

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Dr. Jean Barry for the much needed information concerning the status of Lyme disease in our area. The more information available, the better!

I would like to add one more piece.  With the standard Lyme tests, Elisa and Western Blot, being highly unreliable, several physicians from the Mid-West have chosen to try another route. They have started testing for the co-infections (vector-borne disease) and are having much better results. Personally, I tested negative three times with the standard tests. After asking my physician to test for the co-infections, the results were positive and the appropriate treatment was given.

Several specialty labs have made these tests available. Quest Diagnostics and Pharmasan Labs are two sources that are widely used. I urge anyone who has been bitten to check again! Thank you.

Gale Constable

Lowell Street

PTO says thanks

To the Editor:

The Carlisle PTO sends out heartfelt thanks to Larry and Robin at Ferns for selecting us as the featured non-profit at their recent Taster’s Choice evening. Ferns’ Wine Explorers Series was established to showcase the wide variety of wines hand-selected by Michael Gillan and available in the store. The monthly series also highlights a local nonprofit to benefit from the evening’s proceeds. 

It is with the help of businesses like Ferns that the PTO is able to support curriculum enrichment programming and faculty and staff grants. We couldn’t do it without you! Thank you, Larry and Robin, for making our community a better place to live.

Amy Caggiano 

Carlisle Parent Teacher Organization

Keep Town Clerk position an elected one

To the Editor:

We are puzzled by several of Town Administrator Tim Goddard’s arguments for making the Town Clerk an appointed, not an elected, position. He explains that “the position has become more complex. Nobody could just put their name on the ballot and step into the position.” Yet every few years we elect people to Congress and to the American presidency who intend to do just that, yet there is no call to have them appointed by a board. Mr. Goddard goes on to say that an appointee could come from outside of Carlisle; what evidence does he possess that indicates our town lacks the talent pool for the position? As for his statement that the Town Clerk is not accountable, elected officials are accountable to the voting public—recall measures were passed a year or so ago at Town Meeting to deal with accountability issues.

We like the idea of town employees having skin in the game; that they are affected by their actions and responsibilities in the government as all residents are. The nice thing about our democracy is that we get to vote for who speaks for us, and we don’t believe that the Selectmen and/or Town Administrator wish to substitute the choice Carlisle citizens select by ballot by one they would appoint by committee. 

Laurie Aragon and Sol Garfunkel

Red Pine Drive

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

To the Editor:

A few phrases come to mind: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, or a solution looking for a problem. Carlisle has had an elected Town Clerk for over 250 years. Unless we have missed something, we are not aware of any concerns from elected officials or town residents suggesting that we need to change the position of Town Clerk from elected to appointed. Where and why is the need? Yes, things are more complex now than hundreds of years ago but any of our interactions with the Town Clerk’s office have been efficient and pleasant. Having a Town Clerk who is a resident means they know Carlisle and the special features and rhythms that make Carlisle the place that it is and in which we choose to live. As an elected position, a resident Town Clerk will also understand and go the extra mile to assist with inquiries and requests that may be a little out of the ordinary. In the recent past the Clerk’s position was contested by two highly-respected town individuals. We are confident there are many qualified resident candidates for the position in the future. We plan to vote against Article 29 on the Town Warrant at Town Meeting.

Heidi and Vaughn Harring

West Street

Take the Cultural Council survey

To the Editor:

We are fortunate to live in a town and a state that makes a commitment to grassroots cultural activities. The Carlisle Cultural Council, through funding provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, awards over 20 grants annually, whether it be for a puppet show during school vacation or support for a community chorus. The enabling state legislation ensures that we will receive a minimum of $1,000 each year for grants; last year’s amount was over $4,800. Some people believe that these funds may disappear with the slashing of the National Endowment for the Arts but this is not the case because the funds are not related.

As part of the state legislation, every three years the Carlisle Cultural Council conducts a survey of residents’ priorities. This short survey monkey is available on line during the month of May at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCSGL6Z and the link will also be available at the town web site. It takes less than three minutes to complete.  Paper surveys will be available at Town Meeting, as well as places and events around town.

I encourage everyone to lend us three minutes and complete the survey. Please give us your opinion so we can use these results to help shape our priorities for the next three years. 

Caren Ponty

Chair, Carlisle Cultural Council

Thank you, Carlisle Cultural Council

To the Editor:

As a singing member of the Concord Women’s Chorus (CWC), I would like to thank the Carlisle Cultural Council for their support of our upcoming concert “Fountain in a Wood: From Walden to Loch Lomond.” On May 13 at 4 p.m.in Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm Street in Concord, we will be celebrating the poetic connection between New England and Scotland with glorious music written for women’s voices. The Mosquito published a wonderful, recent article about this program and our organization—and I would emphasize that this concert provides the rare opportunity for residents to hear the world premiere of “The Tree House,” with poetry by Kathleen Jamie, one of Scotland’s most lauded contemporary poets and music by Beth Denisch, a local and critically acclaimed composer. It will be juxtaposed with unique settings of well-known New England poets such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Scottish ballads.

Thank you Carlisle Cultural Council and Carlisle Mosquito for your support!  Residents of Carlisle—come hear an afternoon that sings of the natural world, features the voices of women, and celebrates the creation of new music.

With gratitude and the hope to see many of you in the audience,

Judy Bose

River Road

Thanks from Book Fair committee

To the Editor:

Thank you to all who supported the recent Carlisle Parent Teacher Organization Annual Book Fair. From the many parent volunteers who worked staffing the fair to the students, parents and teachers who purchased books, we could not have done it without you. Special thanks to the PTO for providing funds to host author Anne Sibley O’Brien. Her presentations captivated the student audiences and inspired enthusiastic participation and excitement about reading, writing and illustrating. To the Carlisle Cultural Council, which provided funding for Ed the Wizard, much to the delight of our kindergarteners, we thank you. Donations made by Learning Express, Soccer Stuff, PTO, Kimball Farm and anonymous parents helped make the raffle interesting and attractive for a wide range of children. To the Mosquito, we are grateful for your announcements and media coverage of the events. Finally, a special thank you to Superintendent Jim O’Shea, and Middle School Principal Carrie Wilson, for participating in the pyjama story time. The excitement was palpable during that magical hour!

All the proceeds from the Book Fair and the sale of the raffle tickets go to purchasing new books to expand the school library collection. Again, we thank the Carlisle Community for their tremendous support!

Your book fair team,

Deborah Merz

Kathleen Hauser

Emily DiRocco

Carren Panico

Maya Bery, school librarian

Clarifications on the Town Clerk issue

To the Editor:

I’m writing today to clarify several misleading statements attributed to Tim Goddard in Betsy Fell’s article on changing the Town Clerk from elected to appointed. In order of occurrence in the article those are:

The function of the Town Clerk has become more involved, tedious and burdensome with increasing unfunded mandates by our State and Federal governments. It is not materially more complex today than historically as suggested by Tim Goddard in the Mosquito. There is simply a lot more work to be done. Additional staff is the means to address additional work load.

When the current Town Clerk came to the job, she neither had nor needed specialized skills. Her attention to detail, and training and experience as a certified public accountant, corporate officer and years of managing large accounting and computing staffs were the skills brought to the Clerk’s office. The written department procedures, Clerk Internet user groups, trice-yearly Clerk’s conferences and the help of dedicated election volunteers, all elements still available today, are what allowed the current Town Clerk to seamlessly operate the office from her first day in office. To suggest that there isn’t a sufficient pool of similarly qualified individuals in Carlisle today is simply incorrect. As an aside, there are two other residents of Carlisle who presently work in Massachusetts Town Clerk offices.

With respect to accountability, elected Town Clerks are infinitely more accountable to the public they serve than an appointed individual due to the three year election cycle. Further, if Town Election were somehow to elect a flawed individual, the Home Rule Petition passed at last year’s Town Meeting would allow their removal by the electorate from office in ~120 days.  

Finally, there is no technical reason, other than a lack of will on the Town’s administration’s part, that an Elected Town Clerk’s salary could not be adjusted to account for the notion of ‘step’ increases. Town Meeting votes the Elected Clerk’s salary. FinCom could budget for such increase if it was instructed to do so after proper review and approvals.  Will power, and not appointment, is the means to address pay equity.

While I’m not without bias on this topic, facts are facts, and having those is important when evaluating Article 29 at this year’s annual Town Meeting.

Steve Hinton

East Street

Dismayed to see the Rainbow Flag

To the Editor:

One of the saddest vistas I know is that of the beautiful rainbow flying as a flag to welcome and encourage the extremely dangerous behavior of homosexuality. Each time I go through the center of my town of Carlisle, I see such a flag and my heart cries out—why, Why?

Indeed, why is this flag being used to speak well of homosexuality and encourage the behavior? Where is the caring for people who for one reason or another have gotten into this behavior? And homosexuality is a behavior; no one is born homosexual.

Where is the truth? Where is the help for such people? It seems they are only helped down the garden path to some of the worst diseases known to man. Just look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for information as to how devastating homosexual behavior actually is. Then look at pfox.org for personal stories where ex-homosexuals speak out.

Knowing how many have contracted HIV and AIDs and even died as a result of homosexual behavior leaves me wondering why people would promote such behavior--—let alone churches such as the Unitarian Church and the United Church of Christ.

Sally J. Naumann

Lowell Street