Letters to the Editor, Jan. 12
Cooperative Effort Warms The Heart
It warmed my cold winter heart to read your Dec. 29 piece “Chatham Selectmen Back Eldredge Garage Purchase” and learn that there is such remarkable private/pubic cooperation on acquiring this property for the town. I urge the selectmen to arrange the financing as soon as possible so that all Chathamites and visitors can avail themselves of this in-town treasure
Hidden Problems With Airport Contract
In his letter last week, Airport Commissioner Mike Geylin said there is no evidence of a "conflict of interest" in the latest airport management agreement. He didn't look very hard.
The management agreement allows Cape Cod Flying Circus to profit from airport operations while its owner also acts as the airport manager. Under Massachusetts aeronautic regulations an airport manager is a public official who is responsible for the observance in the operation of the airport of all applicable laws governing aeronautics and the rules and regulations. CCFC is a private for-profit company operating at the airport.
The state's ethics law seeks to prevent conflicts between private interests and public duties in order to foster integrity in public service and promote the public's trust and confidence. Tim Howard is both owner of CCFC and the airport manager. This is an inherent conflict of interest and the agreement is also contrary to FAA guidelines which strongly urge separate contracts for each . Had the airport commission allowed public comment I could have pointed out a number of instances where the manager's business interests have conflicted with his public duties.
The agreement also violates certain state and federal airport regulations. It extends the control of the airport by the airport manager's private business to a total of 30 years. It grants exclusive use of certain airport lands to CCFC and all airport income to the business, not the town, not the airport. In the rest of the world this is a lease. Under Massachusetts law leases of airport land beyond 20 years require town meeting approval. This was not done in Chatham. And diversion of airport income to a private entity is prohibited under U.S. law and FAA grant agreements.
As for the complex and secretive finances of the many airport hangers, after four years of questions and public records requests none of Chatham's citizens have a complete picture of who pays and who profits. Airport officials have gone to some lengths to hide these deals from the public. What I do know is that of the nearly 40 hangers leased by pilots, neither the town nor airport gets one dime.
Editor's note: The recent airport contract is for 20 years, with a 10-year option to renew.
Time To Stop The Sniping
I am appalled at the continual sniping of the anti-airport malcontents in their repeated letters to The Chronicle. They insult the integrity of Tim Howard, the airport manager, and the many fine members of the board of selectmen and airport commission. The letters are filled with falsehoods and innuendo. Why are we wasting so much ink on this topic? Have you noticed that the letters mostly come from the same four people again and again?
There are many problems in this world. Chatham Airport is not one of them.
Atwood Museum's Best Year Ever
We thought you should know that the Atwood House and Museum recently set another record on Saturday, Dec. 31, with over 600 visitors in a five-hour period contributing to this past year's record-breaking total number of visitors!
Special thanks to Ron Clarke and all of the First Night volunteers for making sure that our visitors had plenty of transportation and knowledge about our event. Additionally, we decided to run a last-minute sale in the shop with extra discounts for members. This sale created many new members as Ginny Nickerson convinced shoppers that a museum membership has many worthwhile benefits.
Ryder and Margaret Martin charmed the crowds with their magical train display and Roland Kelley and Donnie St. Pierre entertained the Pendleton Rescue exhibit visitors. Betsey Stevens and Nancy Wright greeted and counted visitors and provided information, while Linda Shannon was busy in the lower level processing last minute new memberships. Kevin Wright was a masterful conductor of traffic flow and I did my best to pitch-in wherever needed.
What a terrifically upbeat way to end the year as we doubled our number of visitors for the entire year over 2015. The amount of activity that takes place at the Atwood House and Museum year round is a result of the enthusiastic and ongoing support of our volunteers. Wait until you see what we have in store for 2017. The Chatham Historical Society Board of Directors and I wish to thank our entire team, members, and visitors for making 2016 such a success!
Danielle Jeanloz, executive director
Atwood House and Museum
Chatham Historical Society
The Warm Side Of The Holidays
Harwich Port is well deserving of its new slogan as “the warm side of the Cape.” It was never more so than in the coldest, darkest month of December. The Garden Club of Harwich spends November and December decorating our town for the holidays and several gentlemen deserve a special “thank you” for their help with this undertaking. Their generosity and community spirit put the warmth in our new slogan.
Leo Cakounes from the Cape Farm Supply and Cranberry Company cut down and delivered a truckload of greenery from his property for members to fill the new streetscape gardens. Leo’s holiday giving makes it possible for our streets to look festive and fresh throughout this season.
Tom Cummings, manager of Star Market on Sisson Road, was happy to help us with over 50 fresh wreaths, given to us at cost. These are the wreaths you see on public buildings throughout town. They make our community look very welcoming.
Lincoln Hooper and his department of public works crew took time from their already busy schedule to fit in hanging 100 wreaths on telephone poles throughout town. This is no small undertaking, yet they did it with good humor and efficiency.
Leo, Tom, and Linc and his crew, epitomize the community spirit of this town. The Garden Club of Harwich heartily thanks them! If you see any of these fine gentlemen, take a moment to tell them how much they are appreciated.
Diane DiGennaro, president
The Garden Club of Harwich