A certain view

Without fail, each time we spend more than a day in another place, I have the desire to move there. The highlight reel: I’ve opined about living in Pacifica and Monterey; Ipswich, Chatham, and Gloucester; Boulder and Nederland; Philadelphia, New York City, and Seattle. But Maine. That’s where I really sink my teeth in. Trulia and Zillow get involved. As […]

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The City of Spindles

Sometimes when you live near history, you take it for granted. I was reminded of that during February vacation when I took the kids to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell. Growing up in Massachusetts, I was aware of the various mills in the state and the company towns that formed around them. It’s also hard to miss what happened to them when […]

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A night in Salem

Other than a handful of news and feature articles and the occasional freelance job, my writing production has flatlined. There are a few things rattling around the inside of my head–an essay here, a short story there–but nothing that makes me want to carve out some time to write for hours. The inspiration just hasn’t been there. Then last night […]

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Dance like nobody’s watching at Carlisle’s Friday Night Live

by Karina Coombs Brother and sister act at last month’s FNL. (Photo by Parissa Khayami) [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] If you are in middle school and looking for a fun Friday night, Carlisle’s hottest club is FNL. Located in the gym and exercise room at the Carlisle Public School (CPS), and sponsored by the Carlisle Youth Commission, this place has everything: dancing, a professional DJ, snacks and drinks, basketball, ping pong, games, monthly theme parties and more. First held in 1984, Friday Night Live, or FNL as it is known, is typically held the first Friday of each month from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and is open to Carlisle students in grades six through eight whether or not they attend CPS. Admission is $8 and snacks and drinks are available for purchase, with the proceeds from  both directly supporting the program. Registration is required for FNL and can be done online through the Carlisle Recreation Department. Students may bring an out of town guest provided the student’s parent or guardian stays as a chaperone. An emphasis on inclusion when it matters Middle school brings a lot of change for adolescents: new teachers, new responsibilities and expectations and new social pressures. Wanting to fit in and be included, such as invitations to social events outside of school—or a lack thereof—takes on greater importance as kids begin defining who they are apart from their families.

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Why I write for the Mosquito

by Karina Coombs [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] It’s not often that you get a chance to  reinvent yourself and when it happens in your mid-40s, and you thought those chances had all but passed, you take it. Newly arrived in Carlisle, I first met the Mosquito’s General Manager Susan Emmons on the playground of the Red Balloon preschool. We talked about what it was like to live in a small town before she casually asked if I’d like to write for the newspaper. Without her knowing it at the time, she offered me the opportunity to pursue a dream I had shelved long ago, as well as a way back into the workforce after seven years of being a stay at home parent. If you want to learn about your community, reading the newspaper is a good way to start. But if you really want to know how it ticks from the inside out, its myriad of boards and players and how they fit together, writing for the newspaper is the way to go. There are the big town boards to cover of course, followed by those lesser known before you get to the more obscure boards. Have I mentioned the subcommittees? Each of these is made up of volunteers: well-intentioned, smart and interesting people that make decisions every day about Carlisle and its 5,000 residents and nearly 30 million dollar budget. But for board […]

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Nature and technology meet at Gleason’s newest art show

by Karina Coombs   A series of ceramic scrolls from Bedford artist Carol Rissman. Rissman makes each tile from white or red clay before imprinting or stamping them with natural found objects. Pieces are then fired and stained. Tiles are selected individually for each scroll and mounted on a wooden backing. (Photo by Karina Coombs)     [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] Gleason Library’s Art at the Gleason opened its first show of 2017 with “Affinity: puzzles, sculptures, and photography,” featuring the works of Carlisle residents Dale Joachim and Bill Claybrook and Bedford’s Carol Rissman. The show runs until March 25. The beauty of found objects Nature’s influence is apparent when looking at the ceramic works of local artist, Carol Rissman. Since retirement, as a broadcaster and news director for a local NPR station (in addition to writing and editing for a number of publications), Rissman has turned what had been a hobby into a full time endeavor, making both functional and sculptural pieces at the Harvard University Ceramics Studio where she is a resident artist. Whether it is a stone, feather, leaf or some other natural found object, Rissman is attracted to the beauty she finds outdoors, incorporating it in unexpected ways into the mosaic and scroll tile pieces that make up her collection. “I’m happy to have this way of using them,” she says of the treasures she regularly picks up. Rissman’s pieces begin […]

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Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show, 2016

Back when we were dating, my husband and I first went to the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles show. We spent hours strolling up and down the street and in and out of the tents looking for things that “spoke” to us. We acquired an enormous porcelain industrial glove mold, an old glass hospital paper cup dispenser, and a metal View-Master […]

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Eastern Paint Turtle

This is our second summer in our house and living near water has meant spring and summers with a yard full of nesting Eastern Paint turtles. We've yet to ever see anything hatch and I'm not sure if that's because they are so small, move in the night, or are completely devoured by predators while still in the egg. With the number of empty eggs and holes on the back lawn, the latter is probably the most probable, but I'm sure at least a few make it.

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HitchBOT visits Carlisle

hitchBOT visits the Old North Bridge, Concord, MA. (Photo by Tracy McArdle Brady)

After two plus months of summertime fun, I got back to work. Here’s my latest feature (also found here). (Photo by Tracy McArdle Brady) HitchBOT visits Carlisle and humans learn a lesson by Karina Coombs This past July, Tracy McArdle Brady and her family took part in a social experiment that was followed by fans, robot enthusiasts, news outlets and […]

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Giving city kids a summer to remember

My newest feature article from the Carlisle Mosquito. The link is here, with full text below. Giving city kids a summer to remember by Karina Coombs Running barefoot through the grass. Gazing at stars. Falling asleep to the sound of crickets. When summer arrives, many children in Carlisle will experience these simple pleasures. But for some kids, these experiences are […]

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Small business with big plans

My latest feature on a local entrepreneur can be found here. Full text below. Small business with big plans by Karina Coombs Caitlin O’Connor knows a lot about brand management thanks to her time at Proctor & Gamble (P&G). Countless hours spent driving her four children to various activities has also taught her a lot about life in the car […]

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Counting to zero, one kilowatt at a time

My newest feature article. We’ve already started making the switch to LEDs in our house thanks to this: http://carlislemosquito.org/index.php/news/28683 Counting to zero, one kilowatt at a time by Karina Coombs Residential electric rates have doubled since 1990, with the biggest increases in just the past ten years. In November, citing the rising cost of natural gas (used in the power plants that produce the electricity), National Grid increased its rates by 37%. NStar followed suit earlier this month and raised its rates by 29%. While many are bracing for larger bills, Energy Task Force member Claude von Roesgen is having a decidedly different experience, thanks to his home’s photovoltaic system. Instead of paying for the electricity he uses, von Roesgen is being paid for the electricity he generates through 36 roof-top solar panels. But after decades of energy conservation awareness, the absence of an electric bill is not his end game. Instead, von Roesgen is focused on getting the building to net zero energy, helping to reduce his carbon emissions. What is net zero? A net zero energy building (NZEB) is an energy efficient building that also produces as much annual renewable energy on site as it uses. The building becomes self-sustainable, yet most NZEBs remain on the electrical grid for storage needs. With a vacation home that is already a NZEB, von Roesgen does have some experience in this area. Now he is working on scale. That is because his […]

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Walden Pond

A great thing about living next to Concord (Massachusetts) is nonchalantly getting to take out-of-town visitors – with literary inclinations – to some pretty great local attractions. On an unseasonably warm and sunny Monday, we made an outing to Walden Pond and hiked the trail around the pond to find the original site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin. Not a bad […]

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Cranberry Harvest, 2014

This past weekend was the cranberry harvest at the Carlisle bog. A strange little berry, but it does make for a good photo. Growing up in Massachusetts I took this for granted as a kid and just wanted the harvest to be over. That meant winter was coming and the flooded and frozen bog would become our personal and free skating rink. Learning […]

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Stone Zoo, Stoneham

Today’s zoo trip was to the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. The facility is managed by the same organization as Franklin Park and one membership gets us into both.  It’s a funny little zoo and I ended up liking it a lot.  It’s on the small side and set across from a residential neighborhood on one end and what I assume […]

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Franklin Park Zoo, Dorchester

With one of the kids sick and school vacation coming to a close we decided to go to the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester.  The germs would be free range, if not the animals.  It’s been well over a decade since I was last at Franklin Park and while it looks better than it did back then, I realize I’ve […]

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Salem, MA

We decided to bring the kids to Salem today to check out the town pre-Halloween.  It was a little too festive; the crowds made it difficult to see its character and its characters.  I think we’ll have to make a return trip in a month that’s not October.  I’m eager to head back some afternoon and just spend a day […]

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Living in History

We have officially passed the one year mark in our Massachusetts house and have signed a lease for another 12 months.  Not a week goes by where I don’t miss the relative luxury we lived in while in Northern Colorado, but it’s getting better. If Colorado was my fat pants in terms of mind-numbing comfort and relative ease of living, […]

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Fruit Bearing Trees

We are going on our second year in the antique rental house.  And I can feel the familiar calling of fall now that the hard little pears are starting to fall to the ground with a distinctive thud.  I wish I knew what kind of pears they are or what to do with them.  We have two trees of the […]

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New England News

After a summer of sloth, my newest article just hit the web and features a local guy that designed and built a tiny solar house that can also be a tiny solar houseboat.  I don’t know how I would manage living alone in 128 square feet, but he makes it pretty enviable. It’s at the Carlisle Mosquito.

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Pilgrim’s Progress

Some out of state friends came to stay with us for five days and we became unofficial tour guides of Massachusetts, visiting the Freedom Trail and its nearby attractions, Harvard, MIT, the New England Aquarium, Crane Beach in Ipswich, taking a Duck Tour, and a trip to Plymouth to see Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II. Having grown up in […]

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