Letters to the Editor, April 13, 2017

Questions Need For Chatham PAC


I write in response to the letter from Rick Leavitt describing a new group called Chatham Citizens for Responsible Government (CCRG), which is self-described as a Political Action Committee, a PAC.  The letter also stated that CCRG “pledges to work diligently for a responsible town government, fairly addressing the needs of one Chatham.”   That’s not what PACs are generally organized to do.

According to the Commonwealth’s legal definition (MGL Chap 55, Sec1), a PAC is a type of Political Committee which is organized to “receive contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate, or candidates...or for the purpose of opposing or promoting a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment, or other question submitted to the voters.” Simply put, a PAC raises money to promote its interests. 

So, what are the interests of CCRG?  What is this “one Chatham?” If the latest postings from this group are an attempt at cohesion and an effort to fairly inform us on critical matters, they are falling far short of their stated purpose. And we are in for another ugly campaign and biased opinions masquerading as fair discourse.

For Chatham government that represents your interests and what you think is right for our town, as always it’s best to do your homework and consider all sides of an issue.

DeeDee Holt


Impressed By MRHS Program


As a parent of four children in the Monomoy district, the oldest of whom is starting at Monomoy Regional High School in the fall, I attended the high school’s recent program of studies night with great interest. I was extremely impressed with the depth and breadth of courses offered, and particularly with the care and thought that went into structuring the program. I also was excited to learn about some of the innovative steps the school is taking, such as the Global Studies program, the Jawsome Power Hour, and even the You Are Important wall. It’s clear that the team is creating an environment that encourages all students to succeed, and I look forward to my children being a part of that. Many thanks to Mr. Burkhead, the guidance team, and the department heads for the hard work they put in and for sharing this exciting program of studies in detail with the parents in attendance.

Joy Jordan



Chatham Needs Bigger Airport


Jared Fulcher's letter of a Chatham he knew in the 1980s stirred a bit of  nostalgia in me of Chatham in the 1940s. As a young child who lived in the "India Rubber House" on Holway Street (1935 -1944) before moving to Cedar Street, life was simpler, the town was smaller in terms of population and residences, and it seemed as if everybody knew each other; veritably, neighbors all.  Perhaps, even a kinder, gentler time.  I loved the air shows at the airport in those days.  Piper Cubs came roaring in to drop their flour "bombs" on stationary or moving targets, and zoom off in big swooping turns over Lover's Lake to resume another "bombing run." Such fun and excitement drew crowds.

Property values have long been affected by the airport – any airport – regardless of any skydiving activity, so that's a given, regardless of the group dedicated to stop skydiving at the airport.  (Slippery slope, readers; airport itself may be next.)  We live near an airport here where occasionally a pilot performs loops and stalls with no complaint by residents who take advantage of the tax break on their new homes at assessment time;  they knew what they were buying into.

This native "Chathamite" subscriber opines that Chatham needs a bigger airport.  I envision a need  to service in particular those castle-building folks who have moved and are moving into Chatham, of whom Jared wrote.  An extended runway would be necessary to accommodate multi-engine planes perhaps owned by some of those very folks and others of like ilk who visit.  Maybe the property  between end of the current runway and Main Street to include Job Lot could be taken by eminent domain to provide for such a runway, possibly long enough even for jet assisted take-offs.  This socioeconomic endeavor thus would enhance Chatham's coffers via landing fees, fuel deliveries, maintenance and repair services, a great breakfast or lunch at Hangar B, etc.  And perhaps more importantly,  a Medi-Vac operation would be a great asset with a helipad located there near the new fire station, ideally situated at the elbow of Cape Cod to service the Lower as well as Upper Cape communities.  Just think of the positives and myriad possibilities rising out of a problem presented by a group of disgruntled folk.

John M Stevenson

Gettysburg, Pa.


A Far Better Town Than This


One of the many valid points my nephew Jared Fulcher made in his April 6 letter is that “Chatham once had two lumber yards, two auto parts stores, a bowling alley and its own school district.” We already had community cohesion because Chatham belonged to the families that lived, worked and went to school here. Today it’s about the marketing brand, selling out the authenticity of community for the storyland colony with guaranteed resale property values.

Sixty percent of houses are non-resident taxpayers and that number is only going to increase. Of the 40 percent of resident taxpayers how many are people who retire here with their off-Cape retirement portfolios secure and no children and grandchildren here directly affected by local economic pressures?

This new PAC that espouses diversity, vibrancy and cohesion may sound reasonable but it is rooted in duplicity and deception. The illusion is that there will be prosperity if we follow the developer agenda. Main Street is already a bland monopoly cloaked behind anonymous LLCs, so West Chatham should become more of the same. How about Main Street going back into the hands of independent private ownership of people (not LLCs) who live and work here creating businesses that serve the needs of the local community? What would that look like? The Chatham we once knew!

Let’s get back to Mr. Leavitt’s PAC and his observation of “becoming alarmed by recent harmful trends seeking to divide Chatham.” Would he be referring to the monthly installments of disparaging letters from his cohort George Myers? Or could it be the harassment of Judy Patterson to get the Harding family’s ancestral land? Maybe he’s referring to others who have been physically threatened and had rocks thrown through their windows for daring to speak up.

After all we’ve been through with our former town manager’s contract not being renewed and the harbormaster being suspended without explanation followed by a gag order upon his return, we’re going to be fed this line about responsible government with integrity, transparency and fairness? How many people have left town employment since Ms. Goldsmith was put in place as town manager?

Carol Scott said in her April 6 letter “We are a town far better than this; let’s show it.” I hope this is true – but the facts prove otherwise.

Todd Kelley West Chatham


Comment On Election And Bombing


On Jan. 20 the United States finally had a spine infusion. The folks that think Obama should have had a third term should go past the red line and hold a baby.
God Bless America


Stephen McCarthy



Keep National Tone Out Of Chatham


I am concerned about the escalating nastiness in the race for Chatham selectman. There seems to be a concerted effort to vilify Seth Taylor. Seth has worked very hard for this town over the last three years, most particularly in defending our rights to Monomoy and its waters. It is fair to disagree with his positions or his delivery style but demonizing him is unjust. The tone and tactics of the recent presidential election ought not to be condoned in Chatham.

Ann Vick-Westgate



Group Not Just Airport Neighbors


In the Sunday, April 9, Weekend News update, The Chronicle, once again, refers to the lawsuit, brought against the town of Chatham by Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport, as an action taken by a group of airport neighbors.

CSCA was never intended to be that type of a group and that is not what it is. In fact, it draws its membership from concerned residents of the larger Chatham community.

You have been corrected on your misreporting several times and yet you persist in your misrepresentation of CSCA.

I can only assume that you think the people informing you of your mischaracterization of CSCA are not telling the truth or that you are failing to exercise journalistic integrity in an endeavor, by you, to help push your own agenda and support the narrative expressed in your recent editorial.

In this regard, whatever your reason may be, your reporting is fake news. That negative designation has become overused recently, but, in this case, it fits and is an appropriate and accurate characterization of the bias the Chronicle's reporting has made clear over time.

I am a member of CSCA. I am not a neighbor of Chatham Airport.

Sue Hilzenrath



Candidate Will Do The Right Thing


We who live in Chatham are very fortunate to have Seth Taylor as one of our selectmen.  Selectman Taylor does his homework on the issues facing us, and we can be assured that he speaks from a position of strength and knowledge.  He brings logic and reasoned arguments.  No suppositions, no opining – just evidence-based facts and sound conclusions, based on the well-being of Chatham. Seth always has a knowledgeable grasp of the issues, coupled with a strong sense of right and wrong, just and unjust.

Selectman Taylor also does not mind going a few rounds with the big guys.  He readily took on the federal government when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laid claim to almost 4,000 acres of ocean in the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge.  He has met with federal officials and legislators as he fought for Chatham’s right to manage a large portion of its backyard.  Again, reasoned arguments and sound conclusions with no posturing.  He is the genuine article.  He is authentic and true to who he is, and he has proven himself to be an effective steward of Chatham.

On the issues facing Chatham now and in the future, we can count on him. We know he has the ability to analyze information, as well as a high level of critical thinking. That’s what we need and want. Someone who is willing to do the right thing even when it potentially involves a cost, and even when self-serving outbursts will be targeted against his actions. He won’t disappoint us.

Bill Tuxbury

West Chatham 


 The Facts About Harwich Farm


Unfortunately, there is inaccurate information being circulated about my farm on Chatham Road in Harwich.

My initial due diligence included inquiries with the town of Harwich, the Farm Bureau, NRCS, and MDAR. All livestock onsite are using preexisting livestock areas. I cleared approximately a tenth of an acre on the three-acre parcel and a quarter acre on the six-acre parcel. I improved the original compost site with the inclusion of a berm to hinder runoff to protect the wetland resources, and I am not in violation of the “poundage” of animals allowable.

The specific legal question is “Do the Massachusetts General Law updates apply to the preexisting Wetlands Protection Act (WPA)?” The WPA itself contains a requirement for a Farm Advisory Board to review changes and updates to the laws and their definitions. The Farm Advisory Board has not met, reviewed, or updated the WPA since 1990. The Massachusetts General Law definition of “agriculture” was updated in 1995, an update that should apply to the WPA. The requested RDA is exempt from the WPA through this update. Rather than ignore the issue, we are pushing for the definition to be updated as required under the law, not only to protect ourselves, but also other farmers.

The current proceedings relate to 10 percent of the three-acre parcel; the remainder of the parcel is already recognized as a farm. We are cooperatively working with the NHESP, MDAR, DEP, the Farm Bureau, and the town of Harwich. Those are the facts.

Barry Dino Viprino



Harwich Middle School Is A Jewel


The Harwich Middle School is not a dead weight, but a sturdy, vibrant treasure of the town. Its traditional function has been as a gathering place for ideas and creativity, the education and recreation of multiple generations. Harwich has a unique potential to utilize this facility to create a “collaborative art/recreation/educational/performance center” on the Lower Cape. If it does, this would be an “air supply” for the spirit and quality of life for the entire Harwich community, not just a few. Harwich has an opportunity to shine by providing an innovative resource for all.

The Harwich Middle School is structurally sound and is already providing work spaces for local artists and craftspeople. Both the Lighthouse Charter School and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod will be renting its performance space. There is interest by the Cape Verdean Cultural Center to locate a museum there. This summer, one of the classrooms will be the location of a marine biology program for children. The gymnasium is continuously filled with adults playing pickle ball and others participating in town recreation programs. The field outside just had a temporary perimeter fence put up so that kids could begin playing baseball. Everyone who uses the facility pays rent, providing income to the town of Harwich. We are so lucky, compared to other towns, to have this wonderful, versatile facility within our boundaries.

Towns and cities all over the country turn to the arts to help revitalize their municipalities. A state agency, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has found that every $1 spent investing in the arts brings at least $5 in revenue to the community. Cultural tourism is a major force that brings revenue and vitality to any area that promotes it. There are many other studies that show the benefits of promoting and providing art programs in a community. Harwich has all the ingredients in its hands for enabling a positive force for all of its citizens.

There are those who think that the building should be renovated for housing. There are practical and financial burdens with doing that on this site, and there are vacant pieces of land in town which would be more suitable. There is a need for housing all over Cape Cod, so Harwich does not have a unique housing problem. It does, however, have a unique resource with the middle school – a building that is “ready to go” to provide income for the town and, more importantly, to foster productivity for the entire community.

There are many people today who still regret the tearing down of the Exchange Building in Harwich Center. What a gift the voters of the '60s could have given future generations if they had voted to keep the Exchange Building. Decades later, we still lament the loss of this jewel which was in our midst and taken for granted. Hopefully voters in Harwich today will recognize the jewel that is the Harwich Middle School, vote to keep this treasure open and available to all for many years to come.

Georgene Riedl

Harwich Port


Chili Heats Up Housing Groups

Greetings from Monomoy Regional High School! This was our second year of hosting the Hot Chili Contest and again we would like the proceeds to be divided between HECH and CECH.  Both groups are extremely worthy causes helping folks in our communities. All of the chili was absolutely delicious and our guests were wonderful. On behalf of all the students, we made a donations of $200 to both CECH and HECH.

Monomoy High School Spirit Committee, Human Rights Committee, Culinary Arts Students

Puzzled, Saddened By Skull Tale

I found myself upset and concerned with the recent article about the human skull found on the outer beach.
My first thought is, why didn't the person who found the skull bring it to the police station? Why was is dropped off at the Atwood Museum and then found several years later during a spring clean up?
How did the person who found the skull assume that its presence did not warrant formal investigation? There are many missing persons and I think a skull found anywhere deserved a critical look and thoughtful handling.
Compassion goes to the Native Americans whose skull was treated with such irreverence and lack of responsibility. The story puzzles and saddens me.

Janet Whittemore, R.N.


 Davis: A Positive, Common Sense Candidate

My husband and I are writing in support of Shareen Davis as a candidate for the Chatham Board of Selectmen.
Both of us firmly believe that Shareen will bring a common sense and measured approach to decisions made by the board, tempered by her “growing up” years in Chatham, as well as her experience as a businesswoman and mother.
Electing a candidate who positively welcomes visitors and summer resident, appreciates and considers the opinion and need of resident and is sensitive to our small business community appears to be a wise and logical choice for voters.

Tommy Doane
Linda Doane


Appreciation For A Job Well Done

I am writing this letter to thank Greg at the Chatham Recycling Center. Greg has kept the center looking neat and tidy and is fun to chat with.
Well done, Greg.

Betsy Abreu