Letters to the Editor, Jan. 25

Negative Impact Of Skydiving


How unfortunate that Cape Cod elected officials are promoting aviation and skydiving interests (to benefit the few) at the expense of their constituents’ quality of life. We have watched similar scenarios unfold in communities across the country. If the Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport lose their judicial case against the town, you can rest assured the entire community will be the real losers when skydiving operations ramp up.
Here is what you can expect, based on our experience here in Boulder County, Colo., where skydiving has wrecked our quality of life. Multiple turboprop planes, including a 23-passenger Twin Otter, operate from sunup until sundown, on weekdays and every good weather Saturday and Sunday. The jump planes climb at full power throughout their ascent, lasting about 10 to 15 minutes, to reach jump altitude (13,000 feet above ground). Unlike other general aviation flights, the jump planes don't go anywhere, except in circles around your community. After dropping the skydivers they descend quickly to the airport, reload passengers and repeat. You can look forward to 12 hours or more of nearly constant airplane noise every weekend day.
The FAA’s role is to promote aviation and prevent noise regulations. Skydiving operations create a serious community noise nuisance –for anyone who would dare to spend time outdoors. So long as your town’s misguided officials accept federal airport grants, there will be absolutely no local control over noise regulations. Unfortunately, the only way to restore local control over your airport would be to forego the grant money – and that will require that you elect officials who will represent the best interests of the citizens.

Kimberly Gibbs
Boulder County, Colo.


Want Change? Get Involved


God must be rolling over in his grave with the unkind and uncharitable ways some parishioners of Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church are responding to the change our Catholic leadership made last July.
What is that phrase from the Bible? “Lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1-3). Here is a fellow soul who was uprooted from his home and community and sent to Chatham alone to “do God’s work.”
If something is not working, be as Jesus wanted, compassionate, humble and go talk with the man!
I am a woman who is a pro-choice, women-as-priest believer, views very different from mainstream Catholicism who would like to suggest get involved with the parish, be the change you want to see. I have.

Maggie French


Support For Toy Library

We are writing in support of the proposed Cape Cod Toy Library.  Deborah Wilsea has done an excellent job in researching and planning for a Toy Library to serve the Lower Cape communities and beyond.
This project would enhance the existing programs where families can engage with young children in open play environments.  We are fortunate to have facilitated playgroups in community centers as well as story times at local libraries.  The Toy Library would offer expanded opportunities for intentional learning through play in a year-round, accessible environment rich with educational toys and resources.  The library would become a hub of educational training and support for teachers and families.
This project would address the critical need to support and encourage young families to raise their children in the special place that is Cape Cod.
We encourage our communities to. Support this project!

Kathie Smith
Francie Joseph

Poetry Will Change Your Life


I write in response to the excellent article by Kaimi Rose Lum on the importance of poetry in our lives. Ms. Lum mentions "the power of words, of poetry especially, to move us and mark us forever." I have experienced this at least three times in my life when a poem has bored into my consciousness so deeply that it could not be uprooted. And it did change my life.
Poetry has been devalued in our public arena, relegated to "cruel" April when it explodes, Hallmarked, pedestaled for 30 days in remote corners. Inboxes overflow with one-a-day gems, literary vitamins meant to mitigate our battlefield existence. Poets read to small audiences. Yet, there remains a deep thirst among the people for these words. In the current atmosphere of alternative facts, fake news and propagandist language at the highest levels, the precise language of poetry celebrating truth and beauty in all its forms becomes more necessary than ever.
Let's listen to the poets. Muriel Rukeyser: "If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger." Rilke's last line in his Archaic Torso of Apollo: "You must change your life." And William Carlos Williams, a physician-poet, reminds us: "It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of what is found there."
Where can we find poetry today? Only a handful of newspapers publish it in a few small cities around the country. Exceptionally, The New York Times publishes one poem a week in its Sunday edition. You will occasionally hear it on PBS or NPR. Still, as recently as 10 or 15 years ago, a Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky was a regular on PBS. On the radio, WCAI, the local NPR station (94.3) responded positively to our request a couple of years ago and launched Poetry Sunday as a platform for the best of regional poetry. One of their annual pub nights is devoted to poetry. That will happen on Jan. 24 at O'Shea's in West Dennis from 5 to 7 p.m.
And of course, on library shelves. At Snow Library, not only in remote stacks, but front and center. Ms. Lum, associate director, who is passionate about poetry, has done an outstanding job in giving it the place it deserves. Check it out. To quote Kaimi: "It will change your life."

Leo Thibault


Business Owner Gives Back


I enjoyed your Dec 14 Minding Your Business article featuring Chatham’s Mahi Gold store on Main Street.
Your readership will be interested to know that owner Brian Voelkel is an active member of our community. Brian is a member of the Chatham Athletics Association board of directors and for three seasons now has been in charge of 10 to 15 college age interns who sell raffle tickets, programs and assist in many ways supporting our Chatham Anglers baseball team at home games. Brian is a consummate professional, solid leader and a role model for these young people. Hats off to Brian.

JR Lewis


Sidewalks Vs. Historic District


Sounds like the Stage Harbor Road group is arguing out of both sides of its collective mouth – again. No, we don't want the more strict demolition standards of a National Register Historic District applied to us (Chronicle, Jan. 18), but yes, we want the Chatham Historical Commission to apply more strict, even irrelevant standards to reject the demolition application for 280 Stage Harbor Rd. (CHC meeting, Jan. 2). As it should, the CHC didn't buy it and approved the application.

Three years ago, a Stage Harbor Road group raised the issue of a historic district again, hoping to use it to block the Stage Harbor Road sidewalk that Chatham Town Meeting approved in 2007 and in 2015. Where is that sidewalk?

George Myers

Chatham and Venice, Fla.


A More Charitable Approach


I am not a member of Holy Redeemer parish; in fact, I am no longer a practicing Catholic.  But I feel invited to comment on Meg McCarthy's ads and letter because she has used The Chronicle to make a public issue of her dissatisfaction with the parish's new pastor.
The attitudes and expectations Ms. McCarthy demonstrates are puzzling.  Surely she is aware of how the  Catholic Church and its parishes work.  Surely she is aware that others (presumably including the bishop) have had concerns about issues at Holy Redeemer in recent years.  Surely she recognizes that any new person charged with taking over an organization with problems is likely to make a few missteps on the way to improving the situation overall.  Surely she knows that she is not the only stakeholder whose concerns must be addressed by the new pastor.
I wonder if Ms. McCarthy has considered working on an equal basis with other parishioners by joining the parish council or the finance committee to assist the pastor in assessing the parish's varied needs, determining priorities, and establishing plans and timetables for making needed changes.  That would seem to be a more charitable and productive approach than a heavy-handed public crusade against him.

Kathleen Muller


Districts Protect Loss Of Heritage


This comes under the heading of "no good deed goes unpunished."

We, the Chatham Historical Commission and I, when asked by some Stage Harbor Road (SHR) residents to help create SHR National Register District (NRD), knew it was going to be a tough sell. The Massachusetts Historic Commission, when we asked, agreed that “SHR is an eligible as a NRD," but more than 50 percent of homeowners need to agree to create a NRD.

SHR is one of or the most historic street in Chatham, I thought we could convince most of the majority of SHR residents, who don't live their full time, that it is a small price to pay for preserving the history and architecture of Atwood Road (that was the name before it became Stage Harbor Road). We have no authority over the interior design of “historically significant homes” but try to preserve the architectural design/integrity of the homes and streetscape; the SHR NRD would be similar to the Old Village NRD.

The SHR area/street includes the home of Col. Godfrey, who built the 1797 Godfrey Gristmill, now in Chase park. The original c.1800 Atwood School House, the Atwood Farm and other historic buildings and sites as well as some of the best examples of period architecture. I left out the Atwood House/Chatham Historical Society as the Historical Society voted against making "Atwood Road/Stage Harbor Road a National Register District.” (I fail to see why the "historical society" would vote "no!")

We are losing historically significant homes in Chatham at an alarming rate to real estate agents and developers/lawyers. They say they are just doing what their clients want. Well, that is why we need more, not less, historic districts, to help preserve Chatham.

Chatham is a most desirable place to live. Let’s try and keep it that way.


Frank Messina, chair

Chatham Historical Commission