Letters To The Editor: Feb. 22, 2024

February 21, 2024

Breakfast Provisions Appreciated


The members of the MLK Action Team and the Nauset Interfaith Association would like to thank Dunkin Donuts (Route 137, Harwich), Eastham ACE Hardware, Eastham Hole in One, Friends Market, Orleans, Shaw’s Market, Orleans, Stop and Shop, Harwich and Sunbird in Orleans for their kind support of our annual MLK Holiday Breakfast Event. Many of our 175 community attendees commented on the fullness of the meal provided to them through your generosity. The event was greatly enhanced by the fellowship of sharing a bountiful breakfast with our neighbors. Thank you again to all who helped make that possible.

Karen Boujoukos, chair

MLK Action Team

Big Doings At Little Library


The South Chatham Public Library has a year-long schedule of events planned to celebrate its 150 years of service to the community. The kick off event was the distribution of 500 birthday cookies to First Night revelers in downtown Chatham. This was followed by a month-long food drive to benefit the Chatham Food Pantry. February activities have included planning with the Woodworkers Group of the Harwich-Chatham Newcomers Club to create free mini libraries which will be installed at each of the three South Chatham beaches this summer. Also during the month, the 90-year-old library building will be getting a new look. Thanks to the Community Preservation Committee and the voters of Chatham, a new roof and new siding shingles will be installed. The library will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 27 and will reopen Saturday, March 2. Lastly, February is the month of the library's annual fund raising effort. Love Your Library month helps the library raise funds necessary to meet its operational costs. Thanks to all who have already contributed. Tax deductible donations may be sent to the library at P.O. Box 436, South Chatham, 02659.

Barbara Boro

South Chatham

Decries Israel’s Actions


As a retired Navy Captain with 26 years of aviation service and a member of the legal profession as a criminal prosecutor for six and federal judge for twenty four years, I have associated with many of the Jewish faith, both professionally and personally. None of those associations were influenced or marred in any way by the difference in our religion faiths nor was religious faith a factor. I am in absolutely in no way anti semitic and condemn its practice.

However, long before the current war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, I was very much opposed to the behavior of Israel as a country and as a government. The founding of the State of Israel was a welcome and overdue addition to the world of nations. However, the subsequent constant denial of the rights of Palestinians, the internationally condemned creation of settlements on land not Israel’s to occupy, the persistent refusal to favorably consider a two-state solution, the arrogance then and now of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the ungrateful acceptance of vast amounts of American aid is unacceptable.

The October raid by Hamas is grotesque and condemnable and deserves retaliation, but proportionate retaliation. Grotesque also is the disproportionate killing of 28,000 Palestinians at least 19,000 of whom are reported to be non-Hamas innocent civilians, a majority of whom are reportedly women and children. As a recent example, how can one justify the indiscriminate killing of 70 or more innocent civilians to rescue two hostages? Further, the herding of most Palestinian civilians into purportedly safe areas only to come under murderous attack by the Israeli military is, in every sense of the word, criminal.

I am sorely disappointed that the Biden administration, which I have long supported, continues to fund the cruel excesses of the Israel government and its military. In doing so, I believe we are an accessory to perpetration of war crimes.

Ralph W. Smith

Harwich Port

Senior Wellness Needs Space


You may have overheard a neighbor mentioning they were heading off to a meeting of the Wellness Warriors. Five years ago I was asked to design a program in Chatham for seniors and Artful Living/Wellness Warriors was born. My intention in this program has been to share tips and tools for living our senior years in Wellness... perhaps becoming one of those Blue Zones on the planet. This year’s participation in this program was approaching 60 people and included members of our COA board, Friends of the COA board, our select board and the COA staff: a huge endorsement and evidence of support for the seniors of Chatham.

I brought in local practitioners from the community in various health fields: chiropractic, acupuncture, emotional freedom technique (EFT) for stress reduction, homeopathy, meditation teachers, qigong instructor, balance exercise program, care of the feet and foot reflexology, creativity with expressive artists in poetry and painting, brain health nutrition, and exercise opportunities such as Nordic Walking. We even included a walk in nature called Forest Bathing by the Japanese followed by a plant-based luncheon. We laid out a smorgasbord of wellness tools free for the taking. Seniors face challenges every day of loneliness, grief, isolation, ill health and financial concerns which can be true disruptors of Wellness.

We were challenged during this program by space limitations... parking in muddy, grassy, mud holes or finding ourselves double-booked for space at the Community Center since we had outgrown our space at the [Center for Active Living’s] Stony Hill location and Community Center bookings have continually increased. We certainly experienced great envy in reading the article of the gala opening of the Dennis Center for Active Living with its kitchen and ballroom space to easily accommodate a program such as ours. Those seniors in Dennis seem to have been elevated to a position of great importance in their community.

This need is never going to diminish; if anything, this is just an eye-opening vision of what’s on the horizon for Chatham now comprised of 53 percent seniors. We need to embark on a vision quest.: how are we going to grow these needed programs for seniors and where are we planning to house them?

Hopefully we will all get to experience a stage of senior wellness in our own lifetimes and it seems we should start planning for that now.

Gail Tilton

North Chatham

Beware Excessive Housing Density


The South Chatham Village Association welcomes an affordable housing program, which addresses Chatham’s affordable/attainable housing needs, as a part of our historic village. That being said, we want to share our views regarding the RFP now in process soon to be in the developer’s hands.

The survey done to elicit Chatham residents’ preference for the type of affordable housing development design has been ignored. Multistory apartment buildings were the least popular. Unfortunately, South Chatham has no representation on the Trust and, therefore, no one to protect and preserve its rural character and residential setting. The town gave us Commerce Park which does not fit into the character of South Chatham; then the pumping station at the end of Route 137 ( a design that lacked concern for fitting in) ; and, for over 15 years we have been petitioning the town to assist in the clean up of Mill Hill Road which continues to be a hazardous waste site. You can see why we are so concerned about the Meeting House Road development and its proposed density. We specifically ask for a dedicated concerned citizens committee that is given a voice on the Meeting House Road property.

The South Chatham Village Association is not hung up on numbers, as was suggested at a recent meeting. We are concerned about density and quality of life issues and precedence. South Chatham has no ball field or adequate place for children of the families we plan to house to play and therefore, must be included in the RFP. We are concerned about traffic patterns which have not been addressed; sidewalks; quantity of green space; parking; management of the development; out -of-character mass and design; and, our community involvement in the final plans. We would like access to the study for our town that determined the amount of need for the affordable housing being proposed. We also very much want to be a part of the decision for what is best for South Chatham and all of our town.

If public opinion, such as ours, is ignored and the finished product is widely disliked, it will become much harder to place additional such projects throughout other parts of town as called for in Chatham’s Comprehensive Long Range Plan. We appreciate the hard work and time you have spent in trying to make this development the best it can be - safe, decent, and comfortable. Like you, we want to be proud of what new housing comes to South Chatham and to improve opportunities for Chatham’s affordable housing needs.

The South Chatham Village Association

Carol Gordon, President

This open letter was sent to the Chatham Affordable Housing Trust board.

Don’t Decry Density


Recently, during one of my Chatham Trivia sessions I asked the following question: Where in Chatham is the highest housing density? The answers ranged from various sections of Main Street, Seaview Street, the ‘Old Village,’ etc. No one correctly identified Crowell Road, which has 42 apartments at Chatham Housing for the Elderly [the Anchorage], 17 units of Congregate Care and two affordable family houses. Right on the corner of Crowell Road and Lake Street are another group of affordable rental apartments which are under the oversight of the Chatham Housing Authority.

In retrospect, as a former member of the Chatham Housing Authority, I was frequently asked , “Where in Chatham is The Anchorage?” It appears to me that folks often do not recognize density when they see it, or when they are aware of it, quickly become comfortable with it. If one considers not only the housing on Crowell Road but also the DPW building, the businesses and the two boatyards which are on one section of Crowell Road, it most certainly could be considered dense. However, Crowell Road seems to be functioning well.

Perhaps we should focus on the needs of the community which could be helped by the construction of needed housing rather than let unfounded negativity guide our decisions. Let’s concentrate on making it functional, attractive, cost efficient and a benefit to the entire community.

Let’s all look forward to what could be, and work together in a positive manner.

Bill Bystrom


Holm For Harbormaster


As a resident of South Orleans, I have no official input into Chatham’s search for a new harbormaster. But I know a good man when I see one, so I offer my input regardless of my residency. I have known Jason Holm for nearly 25 years and I have seen him work through the good times and the tough times, when the sun is shining and the seas calm and when the bar is breaking and the seas are huge. He is a superb seaman, a fearless surfman and an inspiring leader who knows the Chatham waters like the back of his hand. Humble by nature, he is fair in his decision-making and easy to work with and for. He has served Chatham well as assistant harbormaster for many years and now it is time for the town executives to elevate him to Harbormaster thereby ensuring the safety and fair operation of its waterways for years to come. Make Jason Holm Chatham’s next Harbormaster.

David Quincy

South Orleans

Supports Nauset Farms


We support Peter Gori - Nauset Farms in Orleans. Under his ownership, Nauset Farms has maintained the high quality and marketplace selections consistent with our local and seasonal residents’ needs. They support many local brands along with the popular national brands.

A reminder to our friend, Suzie Coon: Orleans is home to only around 6,500 permanent residents, as compared to around 170,000 in Cambridge.

Dave Ferraresi


Perspective On Wampanoag History


Bill Amaru's column on Orleans reiterated an old trope: that Natives crossed the land bridge to come to America. This is being discounted by newer scholarship. Winona LaDuke, preeminent Anishinaabe (an Algonquian people related linguistically, and culturally to our Wampanoag) calls the Bering Straits theory, the B.S. theory. Wampanoag people themselves have an entirely different migration story.

Also, while other native peoples hunted elk, it was not prevalent locally. Lastly, while Wampanoag did not have a written language in our sense, they did have wampum belts which functioned as mnemonic devices for recording history, alliances, and much more. It’s important to verify facts before continuing to spread the dominant culture's misinformation.

Lee Roscoe


Lee Roscoe is the author of Wampanoag Art for the Ages, Traditional and Transitional