Letters to the Editor, Dec. 21

Help Along The Path To Eagle


The people I would like to thank for helping in the completion of my Eagle Scout project are: My Mom and my Dad, Scoutmasters Alex Carlson, John Donlan and Jarrod West, the Scouts of Troop 77 Brewster, especially Daren Kapolis, Mike Lach and Colin Leonard of Harwich Conservation Trust, and Jason Gourdine of Mid Cape Home Centers.

Carl Furner



Retain Current Senior Center Site


Chatham should give serious consideration to staying at the present site for the rebuilding of the senior center.  The location is certainly superior to the Middle Road site and could accommodate a two-story, 16,000-square-foot building quite comfortably.  If the site is an acre, or 43,560 square feet, and the building footprint is 8,000 square feet, that leaves 35,560 square feet of land, which could accommodate 89 cars.    The facility would probably only need 40 parking spaces, which leaves 19,560 square feet of land for landscaping and usable outdoor space.  Chatham is wed to low density, but it is certainly not required here.

Phil Richardson

Chatham and Tiburon, Calif.


Heartened By W. Chatham Reaction


I want to commend David Burns, Gloria Freeman and Elaine Gibbs for their thoughtful, well-researched, and persuasive presentation to the Chatham Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Dec. 12, opposing the Mass DOT’s plans for West Chatham. The DOT obviously has more to gain in moving forward with a project than in scheduling another meeting with Chatham citizens and with making crucial information more available by not burying it in fine print.

Despite my friendship with Mrs. Freeman, I could not see anything wrong with two roundabouts because I suffered from the misunderstanding that these would be like the modest one at the intersection of Main Street and Old Harbor Road. The research of the West Chatham Association proved how huge, disruptive, and unnecessary this project would be.

It was heartening to see that the BOS did not reject their presentation, but promised to send their evidence to the State with a request for another meeting to be held forthwith.

Carol Kolb

South Chatham


Thanks For Skillful Care


As the yuletide season approaches, I should like to express my deep appreciation to the entire staff at Liberty Commons who provided such skillful care to a very difficult and terminal situation. Bill Bodganovich, as the leader of Broad Reach Healthcare and Liberty Commons, you are to be congratulated in developing such a competent, caring staff that provides such wonderful care to many individuals here on the Cape. Merry Christmas to the entire Liberty Commons team.

Hal Kraus



Kids' Activism Gives Hope


I was angered when I got my mail Monday (Dec. 13)  to find a  large card  from Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance with the advice to call Senator Cyr  and ask him to withdraw his support from the bill that would make  Massachusetts  a Sanctuary State. It would cost taxpayers $8 billion, we are told. I am sure everyone else in Chatham must have received  the same card.   I wonder how much money is being spent on these mailings.

I  promptly phoned Cyr’s office applauding him for being a co-sponsor  of the bill.    Governor Baker spoke of having the Commonwealth as a Sanctuary State.  Several other states are selecting “sanctuary status.”

The same day I received the card an article in The Boston Globe wrote  about  10- and 11-year-old children in a Sunday school program who selected the immigrant situation as their social justice issue. Focusing on a prison in the area where “illegal immigrants” are being detained, the kids brought signs of support that they had made.   One, made by a 10-year-old boy, especially impressed me: “No human being  is illegal.”

This gives me hope.  Our future is secure in the hands of these boys and girls, who are growing up to be caring individuals.      

Juliet R. Bernstein



Fire And Rescue Dept. Details


In light of the tragic passing of beloved Nancy Olson and the Thanksgiving fire at a Chatham Bars Inn property requiring the new ladder fire-truck, we might take a moment to thank our Chatham firefighters, always ready and able-bodied to be at our service.

The Women's Club of Chatham Civics Group toured the new Chatham Fire and Rescue Department last fall where Deputy Chief David DePasquale and Fire Lt. Justin Tavano presented a formal lecture in their education meeting room. Chatham now has a much larger year-round population with 34.3 percent over 65, while other younger folks are now choosing to work from home. CFD does not transport to Fontaine Medical Center. Some folks think by calling for an ambulance they will automatically be rushed into the ER. Yes, significant medical issues such as stroke, chest pains, trauma go right to Cape Cod Hospital. Less critical cases are treated on the spot by the paramedics.

Seventy-five percent of fire deaths happen in homes without smoke detectors. Smoke inhalation is often more damaging than the flames. CFD is ready to help when residents experience falls, need help with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, baby car seat installations, blood pressure checks, and fire code inspections.

The CFD works closely with the Coast Guard and has a certified swift water rescue team for ice, ponds, and even cruise ship evacuations. Technical rescues cover 66 miles of coastline, 28 land-locked ponds, and even for sharks swimming too closely to our surf boarders and wind sailors! The CFD is the only cape fire department to

have 12 members SWRT certified. CFD had two certified FEMA members who responded to the Hurricane in Texas.

The tallest building in Chatham is 35 feet, and a new ladder truck with 100 feet reach is needed to reach that height. A rescue boat helps when needed on ponds. The CFD wishes residents to never hesitate to call the CFD when needed even if worried about billing issues related to ambulance transport; the billing department works with

Medicare for reimbursement. Med flights and motor vehicle accident responses are the highest priorities.

I learned so much from the lecture, and thought this letter to editor might be helpful to others.

Joan Aucoin


A Gift For The Holidays


Doug Jones beat Roy Moore. Yes, Virginia (Alabama, actually), there is a Santa Claus (and hope). Merry Christmas!

Mike Rice



A Downtown Senior Center


Chatham needs to better serve both young families (an endangered species) and our growing elderly population.

Who is speaking up for the young families who are not staying or even considering living in Chatham because of the high cost of living here?  Can we make the quality of life here worth their while, at the same time finding some ways, now being considered by the planning board, to accommodate their living needs?

We have an unusual opportunity to look simultaneously at the well-documented requirements for a new senior center, because we have a school administration seeking to re-purpose Chatham's elementary school.  The school is owned by the town and leased to Monomoy Regional School District, which is considering divvying up the elementary school children between Harwich and Chatham.

We should not be sending our seniors off into the woods beyond the Chatham town dump. We should not be busing our K-2 students seven miles to the Harwich Elementary School.

We need to be looking at building a true sense of community in Chatham close to downtown where all generations, including caretakers of seniors and parents of little ones, can come together in close proximity.

We have that possibility.

The parcel occupied by Chatham Elementary School and the fire department, with its outstanding EMT service, is 6.6 acres.  The abutting former water department building site is .9 acres.  Total already owned by the town: 7.5 acres.

Across the street are Monomoy Community Services, the existing community center and ball field,

together with the post office, Monomoy Theatre, and within walking distance, CVS Pharmacy, Chatham

Village Market, the Orpheum Theatre, Ben Franklin, and all the churches.  Many people would be able to park

once and do many of their errands by foot. 

Just what a community needs and where its seniors, its very young students and all their families can best be served: on Depot Road.

There are issues that need addressing.  Can the restrictions on the deed for the water department lot be amended by the heirs to allow new construction?  Could overflow parking be accommodated there within the existing deed restrictions? Could the imbalance in elementary class sizes between Chatham and Harwich be addressed voluntarily?  Last week's Chronicle stated that only four of 12 Harwich families seeking enrollment here were allowed to transfer to Chatham.  Why not permit all? Chatham Schools used to take in $1 million annually, at $5,000 each, from school choice students who chose Chatham precisely because it was small. That doesn't pay full costs but it does help pay to fill existing classrooms.

Why not run a shuttle bus between Harwich Elementary and Chatham Elementary, with a few stops in between, to make it easier to get to Chatham?

If Chatham cannot attract enough elementary students, could one wing of Chatham Elementary be dedicated as part of a new senior center?

Let's make downtown the center of our community for all.

Michael Westgate

Ann Westgate



Historic District vs. Sidewalks


I found it very interesting, ironical and utterly predictable that many of the same people who were so concerned about the loss of historic charm with the addition of a sidewalk on Stage Harbor Road – despite the many true safety issues – are now opposing the creation of a registered historic district for that road.

I don't have to speculate about what the real issue is in both cases.

Linda Simonitsch



Grateful For Preservation Opportunity


At the Chatham Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Dec. 14, we requested a height variance for the iconic historical windmill built in 1930 by my great uncle Herbert Briggs. Its structure is significant not only in design but also in use of salt-encrusted timbers rescued from shipwrecks off of Wellfleet, other salvaged materials and whaling artifacts. Cape Cod carpenters worked hard to create this unique windmill which has served as a landmark along Chatham Harbor for decades. Fortunately our request was granted so it can be moved on to our property which was originally owned by my Uncle Herbert. Our goal is to restore it as fully as possible.

We have so any people to thank for supporting this project: the Chatham Historical Commission, the Chatham Conservation Foundation, all those involved in the Chatham Building Department, the current owner of the 66 Briggs property and his team, our neighbors, plus the multitude of people in Chatham who are passionate about preserving the remaining historical structures in this village. Watching neighboring historically based homes being torn down or altered beyond their original architectural charm has been heartwrenching. We are so grateful that we now have the opportunity to preserve the Briggs windmill.

Ellen Briggs