Letters to the Editor, Nov. 3

Time To Help The Eldredges


The Eldredge Garage has been a Chatham landmark forever.  It has served the town as a livery stable, a gas and service station, for 38 years it was Chatham’s fire house, it’s been used as a staging area for construction equipment and movie sets, it has allowed truck turnarounds, wedding parking, motor vehicle storage, taxi service, beach shuttle service and public parking. The Eldredge family has asked for little in return for its service over the years.

I look at the Eldredge  family as one of Chatham's founding families and stewards of Chatham history. Now that the patriarch of the family has passed away the descendants are under pressure to pay some steep bills relative to the inheritance in a very short time. In addition, they are looking at an expensive  EPA exploration that’s probably needed as a prelude to listing the property. Without the means to appropriate the funds the family is vulnerable to making  an impulsive rash decision.

The property is perceived by some as the savior to our future of parking in downtown. Alternately it might become a new shopping strip,  or perhaps a few private homes,  maybe another gas station, a few condos, or a combination of them.

We should step in as a community and give assistance to the Eldredges (even temporary assistance)  that will allow them time to evaluate all of the potential offers  maximizing their return and at the same time presenting various scenarios to the town regarding this very strategic downtown property. Who knows, the town might just end up with a parking lot as part of the transaction.

Dan Desmond



Waited Long Enough For School Rehab


In West Harwich we have lived with an abandoned historic asset of the town, the West Harwich Schoolhouse. It holds  the potential for national recognition.

For 25 years we have waited for rehabilitation, for 25 years money that should have been spent on upkeep was spent elsewhere; $35,000 was allocated through town meeting several years ago  for replacing the windows to historic standards and yet this has not happened. Despite neglect the building is in incredible shape.

At town meeting this year the schoolhouse project was voted down by six votes and a filibuster of misinformation. The plume was raised as an objection, though all reports  and consultation with the health department pointed to an abated plume in that area. The schoolhouse  project sought CPC funds from the dedicated historic category, and with application for a matching grant from the state, costs were kept to a reasonable level . For some reason "cost effective" was seen as a detriment and someone called the state to make sure we never got that grant.

Now, five months later, what has happened? The school property has been used to store piles of sand, dirt, gravel and cut brush.

The parking area has stored a backhoe, town vehicles, drains and gas company trucks with cranes. The message seems to be  that if it is treated as a dumping ground, we will see it as a dumping ground. But in West Harwich, and I believe all of Harwich, we see possibility. We have the audacity to dream. By protecting our heritage and culture  we define our town by accenting its uniqueness which creates an economic driver and sense of pride.

So what’s up with the West Harwich Schoolhouse?  I don’t have the answer.  Is there a group that seeks personal gain, or group that wants no aspect of our culture sustained, or a group that has other plans? Is there a movement that no projects come from grassroots groups and only from top down government?  We will need to discuss these questions, but in West Harwich we have waited long enough. We are hopeful that town  government will soon see the possibilities  we see in the historic West Harwich Schoolhouse.

Sally Urbano

West Harwich

Finding Pride In Their Backyard


What an exciting day for Monomoy Middle School sixth graders during our “Finest Hours” unit field trip!  Under brilliantly blue skies we met with BM1 Seahagen and  Seaman Green at the Chatham Fish Pier.  The duo shared with us what inspired them to join the Coast Guard and described some of their training.  We were then given the incredible opportunity to have a personal tour of the current search and rescue boats.  We followed them to the Chatham Station and our students climbed the lighthouse and saw firsthand the incredible technology in the radio room. 

Our journey continued to the Atwood House Museum where we were greeted by several volunteers who shared their knowledge of our local history, everything from “Masters of the Sea” to how the fishing industry has evolved over the decades.  Kids were able to travel back in time  as they visited the “Old House” where they learned what life was like almost 300 years ago. 

We traveled forward to 1952 as the buses brought us to Orleans and the students were able to board the CG36500 at Nauset Marine East and hear from members of the Orleans Historical Society just how incredible  and miraculous that rescue was!  We were back to present day and met Chatham’s finest! Members from both Chatham Police and Fire Departments served us pizza, graciously donated by Ames Pizzeria, outside at the community center.  Students were able to meet our real-life heroes and thank them for their service to our community.  Lastly a Huge thank you to The Art of Charity Foundation of Chatham who generously offered to cover the cost of our field trip.  What a gift!  We live in such an incredibly supportive community!

Leslie Botsford

Elizabeth Bourget

Monomoy Middle School Sixth Grade English Teachers


Disappointed In Bank's Decision

It seems that TDBank, in deciding to close the Chatham branch, has taken into account dollars and not people. While Harwich Port or Orleans are not that far away geographically, the convenience of having “our” bank in Chatham has been overlooked. In the summer months especially, a trip to either Harwich or Orleans is a bit of a hassle. Let us hope that they at least provide ATM services more locally. It is a major disappointment – we will miss not only the convenience but the great people who staffed the Chatham TDBank. Maybe it is time to look at other options.


JP Cunniff

North Chatham

Citizens Should Challenge Authority


Chatham Selectman Dean Nicastro, supported by Chairman Jeffrey Dykens, seems to have forgotten a fundamental aspect of our democratic way of life when he said at the Oct. 11 board of selectmen's meeting that the Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport’s suit is "a direct assault on the authority of the elected and appointed officials of the town to make town policy."

Certainly the citizens elect selectmen to make decisions on their behalf. However, when selectmen make decisions based on flawed information and which break the law, according to citations by town counsel in a previous case, and ignore input from citizens, who will suffer from their choices, the citizens have a right to protest in a logical and orderly manner. This is exactly what CSCA did in a reasonable and systematic manner. The board of selectmen has now approved a third attempt to reject the CSCA suit on the basis of more arcane legal arguments, in order to prevent the suit from being judged on the merits.

The town’s efforts to prevent the facts from being presented, block the democratic process and is arrogant and disrespectful to the citizens.

Richard H. Nurse, PhD


Get Your Wings Here


The Chatham Children’s Fund, Monomoy Community Services, and the Chatham Angel Fund invite you to help Santa make his visit to Chatham’s children in need. For more than 30 years, a great number of our local organizations, churches, businesses and private citizens have assisted our endeavors to help make holiday wishes come true.

We so appreciate their ongoing help. Maybe you’d like to help too! We always need shoppers and wrappers as well as outright donations. Perhaps you’d like to make a wish list item a reality?

If you can help in any way please call Monomoy Community Services at 508-945-1501 or send an email to info@monomoy.org and we’ll connect you with a need. Make your holiday happier – be an “Angel” for a Chatham child.

Chatham, thank you for caring!

Pat Vreeland, Children’s Fund Coordinator

Theresa Malone, Director of Monomoy Community Services

Ginny Nickerson, Chatham Angel Fund Administrator


Challenge Not About Board's Authority


The Chatham Board of Selectmen's position on skydiving appears to have suddenly shifted into an entirely different direction. Acclaimed openly by Selectman Dean Nicastro and warmly supported by Chairman Dykens, the new grounds aren’t so much about skydiving as about the untenable theory that the board cannot be questioned or opposed—period.

Mr. Nicastro's statement occurred at last month's joint financial planning meeting. He passionately asserted that the Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport's suit is "a direct assault on the authority of the elected and appointed officials of the town to make town policy."

Strong, loaded language. And Mr. Dykens response was, "Well stated!" Isn’t this the position that the Superior Court effectively rejected almost a year ago? Why are the selectmen still wasting our money on it?

Previously, Mr. Nicastro had ardently endorsed the views of the board's chosen and heavily prejudiced Washington aviation lobbyist in supporting skydiving. But now he says that's not so much the issue as far as he is concerned. His issue now has primarily to do with his and the board's unquestionable power?

What have we come to? Have any of them heard of democracy? The legitimacy of the court system? Listening to the governed? Communication? Mediation? Transparency? Compromise? Maybe even humility?

Not to mention safety and the quality of life in Chatham?

And has our good board ever taken the trouble to sit down with CSCA and discussed the skydiving issue in an open and non-confrontational way? These are the things good town government is all about.

J. Denis Glover