Letters to the Editor, Nov. 2

Put A Rest To Conspiracy Theories


In the wake of the pending release of the JFK assassination files that have been classified since 1963, I was reminded of my own interest in conspiracy theories, new and old. My wife and I drove across country to Monterey, Calif. from the Cape this summer, stopping in Roswell N.M. to visit the UFO Museum located there. It is an interesting place, filled with artifacts and a slew of true believers who inhabit the smallish building.

A friend of mine, a colonel in the Air Force, was given the unenviable task of writing the Roswell report in the mid-1980s. His charge was to interview all remaining individuals who allegedly witnessed the crash of a UFO had a ranch outside of Roswell, as well as descendants of those individuals. His report was exhaustive, and well done. Conspiracy theorists immediately debunked the report as government propaganda, and evidence that the government was in fact covering up the Roswell UFO sighting and the aliens that they recovered.

Another good friend, a government lawyer, was a very junior member of the Warren commission, the commission charged with investigating the events surrounding that terrible day in November 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I asked him if there was anything in the files being withheld from the public that would change the perception, or the reality about Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone assassin. He answered that in his opinion, there was nothing in the classified files that would make much difference. He commented that conspiracy people, those with an ax to grind, and those having an agenda, would always claim that it was a conspiracy, that the Russians did it, that the CIA did it, that the FBI did it, that the Mafia did it, or my personal favorite, that the Cubans did it.

Now we have a chance to see whether my friend is correct: whether there is something of a smoking gun in these last few documents that will be released in the next few months. I have put my paranoia aside, and reduced my skeptical level to almost zero, and hope (perhaps hopelessly) that the release of the remaining JFK assassination documents will quiet the extreme notions that exist about the assassination itself and responsibility for killing the president. Whatever was said and done during that terrible time, and classified, needs to see the light of day. We owe it to the legacy of a great president.

Roger Denk

Monterey, Calif.


Be An Angel For Local Kids


Holiday time is approaching quickly. We’d like to take this time to remind our caring community that The Chatham Children’s Fund welcomes your help. Although we assist families all year long, the holiday season is our busiest time. Take this opportunity to help make Christmas brighter for a Chatham child in need!

For many years, a large number of our local organizations, churches, businesses and private citizens have assisted our endeavors to make holiday wishes come true. Perhaps you’d like to join in this year! Adopt a child or children, donate a wish list item, or send a donation. We appreciate any help you can give us.

If you’d like to participate, 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.

Pat Vreeland, Children’s Fund Coordinator

Theresa Malone, Director of Monomoy Community Services

Ginny Nickerson, Chatham Angel Fund Administrator


Profile Stories Enlighten Community


Your volunteer profiles by Debra Lawless are fabulous.  Our team reads them with great interest and pride.  Your recognition of hard-working, creative, dedicated souls in our community who spend their free time and energy giving back to organizations such as the Atwood House and Museum/Chatham Historical Society helps to inspire others.  The articles provide an important public platform that thanks key individuals for their outstanding efforts.

Thank you and Debra Lawless for helping us recognize some of the many special people in our area.

Danielle R. Jeanloz, executive director

Atwood House and Museum/Chatham Historical Society


A Hurricane By Any Other Name...


In John Whelan's "Chatham on Foot" article he mentions the hurricanes that have affected the Cape the most over the years.  He mentioned the hurricane of 1938, but there was no mention of the 1944 hurricane, which did a lot of damage on the Cape.  At that point in time the storms were not named and the 1938 and 1944 hurricanes are often confused.  A few years ago the a local paper printed a picture of Libby's Chowder House, which was near Parker's River in Yarmouth, sitting in the middle of Route 28.  The caption under the picture was 1938 Hurricane....wrong!  There was a notice in the paper soon after correcting the caption to 1944 hurricane.

The steeple of the Universalist Church, now St. Christopher's, came  crashing down across Chatham's Main Street.  The original South Chatham Village Hall was knocked off its foundation where the current Village Hall is today.  Boats were piled up at Stage Harbor, away from the water.  The West Dennis church steeple pierced its roof.  On Route 28 entering West Dennis center near what is now Westies Shoes there was a cottage colony called "Toy Village."  The cottages were cute little mini houses nestled among the huge tall pine trees that snapped off, pretty much eradicating Toy Village.

I remember seeing a bridge washed out on Lower County Road in Dennis and a car with its front wheels hanging over the water.  Old Wharf Road in Dennis had cottages washed out and blown off their foundations, and after that it was called Hurricane Pines.

I lived on Crosby Lane in West Chatham and I remember a few of the neighborhood kids playing outside with the outside lights on and everything was dead calm.  That calm changed when I went to bed and when the house began to shake I was really scared.  The worst damage we suffered was having the barn door torn off.

There were trees down everywhere.  For me, the good thing was no school.

I am sure the confusion is that hurricanes were not named at that time and these storms, both bad ones, were only six years apart.  Now everything is named, which is overkill.

Ron Kelley

West Chatham


Weigh In On Intersection Changes


The next time you are driving east on Main Street toward our downtown village, please look up at the Unitarian Meeting House, with its elegant, tall Greek Revival columns and pediments and the large trees along Main Street. You can’t help but note its presence there on the hill with its sprawling green lawn and those magnificent dogwood trees just south of the property’s curve at the intersection with Queen Anne Road. It is a true Chatham icon.

Now picture it without the trees and with the lawn next to the Meeting House diminished possibly by as much as half and replaced with asphalt. The roadway size almost doubled.  That’s the design town officials are proposing for the Crowell Road and Main Street intersection.  If this doesn’t sound like Chatham to you, please pay attention and please let the selectmen know. The area is supposed to be staked, so watch for that too.

Sometimes less is more with the same goals being accomplished at a far less severe cost to taxpayers and to Chatham’s special character and historic integrity.

Gloria Freeman

North Chatham


Ultralight Aircraft Safety Concerns Raised


Federal Aviation Regulation 103.15 outright prohibits the operation of ultralight aircraft "over any congested areas of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.”  There are no exceptions or waivers.  On Oct. 6 Chatham’s airport manager ignored FAR 103.15 when he allowed at least two ultralight pilots to fly out of Chatham Airport and over Chatham’s residential neighborhoods.

In allowing the operation of ultralights over Chatham the airport manager enabled FAA safety regulations to be violated and placed Chatham's residents at risk. The operators repeatedly flew their craft over widespread areas of Chatham which are unquestionably congested. Last week the airport commission endlessly debated the safety of ultralights, but completely missed the point. The FAA has already determined that the operation of ultralights poses an unacceptable hazard to people on the ground. It is the philosophy of the FAA that while ultralight operators choose to accept the risk of their activity, the non-participating public on the ground is not given that choice.  It is the intent of the regulation to protect those people on the ground.

Ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any airworthiness certification standards or to have certificates of airworthiness.  Operators of ultralights are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate their craft.   A 10-year-old can legally build an ultralight in his backyard and fly it with no aeronautical training or experience. 

Once again the airport commission has demonstrated an unwillingness to confront its airport manager, and has failed to advocate for a safe and responsible Chatham Airport

David Bixby

West Chatham

Spooktacular Open House


The newly formed Harwich Children’s Fund hosted a Halloween Open House with the Harwich Youth Counselor this past Saturday evening. Approximately 40 to 50 Harwich Elementary School students and their parents were in attendance, taking part in cookie decorating, face-painting, crafts and more.

The Harwich Children’s Fund is a community-school collaborative offering support and referral services for Harwich youth. Areas of help include clothing, food, enrichment, school supplies and more.

We would like to thank our volunteers, and especially our four student volunteers, Julia Rioux, Emma Santoni, Caitlyn Germann and Lily MacAskill. These high school rock stars were amazing with the kids!

Stay tuned for our Holiday Open House the weekend of the Harwich Christmas Stroll!


Angie Chilaka, Chair, Harwich Children’s Fund

Sheila House, Harwich Youth Counselor