Good Deeds Confirm Faith In Town
I am writing to tell the story of the man and Chatham residents who saved my Christmas and confirmed my faith in the joy of living in Chatham.
I was shopping on Main Street on Christmas Eve Day and lost my wallet. I discovered this when I went to pay for an item at the Candy Manor. The salesperson, Robbie Carroll, kindly told me to pay the next time I was in the store. Good Deed #1.
I then went to the shop where I last had my wallet, the Snowy Owl. The barista told me that a man had found it on the sidewalk, and would bring it to me. While I questioned that choice, I rushed home. The decision of the clerk at the Snowy Owl, turned out to be Good Deed #2.
I thought I may have missed the finder at my house and so I went to the police. And there was Good Deed #3. The man had turned my wallet in to the police. This kind stranger was still in the parking lot as I walked out of the station with my wallet. I was able to thank him, but do not know his name to publicly thank him.
Many of the members of our community have written in over the past few weeks, in rebuttal to the negative letter to the editor of Dec. 20. I agree with every letter written in response, and write today only to say these acts of kindness on Christmas Eve confirmed that the Chatham I joyfully moved to 35 years ago is alive and well. There is not a day that I don't feel blessed to be part of this community.
Ellen Downing Gould
Don't Forget The Volunteers
Much has been much written recently about the value young working families bring to a community and how a wealthy, tourist and real estate-driven economy must find a way to ensure a place for them. With that said, I would like to add to the conversation something that transcends age, wealth and residency, and that is volunteerism.
Vibrant communities thrive on diversity and citizenship. When property ownership is viewed only through the lens of financial benefit the community suffers. It loses its heart, its soul, its very essence. Investments are not concerned with a community’s historical and cultural riches. Only investment in the community can halt the slow erosion of that sense of place — where home is.
What our town needs is participants — people who become a part of the fabric of the community. In addition to the young working families who provide the services we all need, Chatham cannot run without volunteers who provide seemingly limitless talent and experience from which we all benefit. There are about 45 volunteer committees and boards in Chatham and as many non-profit groups. If monetized, the thousands of hours donated by volunteers translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor value. In addition, many groups raise significant funds to complement town budgets. These benefits should not be forgotten in conversation about what makes a community.
Many of our organizations are comprised of older volunteers who have willingly given years of their time. Chatham needs a flow of young working families who will one day serve important roles as they become the next generation of volunteers to help sustain our many organizations. Without participants in our schools, our committees, our non-profits, and our businesses, shorelines will not be the only things where erosion will take a harsh toll.
Reconsider Senior Center Decision
I urge the town of Chatham to reconsider Middle Road in South Chatham as a location for a new senior center. It is inappropriate for several reasons.
Middle Road residents already have the transfer station, septic plant and Commerce Park to contend with as abutters. The road is narrow and hazardous, particularly with the "S-curve," the other blind curve and competition for road space from trucks bound for the transfer station as well as other large vehicles.
The small scraps of undeveloped conservation land in the area should be left for their intended purpose. The enlargement of the septic plant has already decimated a huge area of untouched woods. Does more land really need to be clear cut and developed? Really?
As a previous writer suggested, the DPW property is underutilized, and has space for parking. It is in a far more convenient location, does not require destroying wildlife habitat, and is on a suitable road.
If the town is truly intent on preserving land for conservation purposes, do we really need to destroy it in order to save it?
Especially The Tree
Thank you to the Chatham Squire for once again sponsoring the Carnival Caper as part of First Night. And thank you to Steve Daniel, Tommy Doane, Kristen Doane and others for handling the registrations. Also, thanks to the Chatham Police Department and Harding Daniel as an excellent tree and Larry Capodilupo for being the starter for the race.
The Carnival Caper Committee
Response Reaffirmed Decision
On Monday, Dec. 3, my wife (Jessica), our three cats (Rondo; Lexi; Ginger), our puppy (Hoopa) and I moved to a modest rental cottage in Chatham. Jessica grew up visiting the Cape with her family, while I have only had the pleasure for the past six years. After a modicum of debate, we decided to leave the hustle-and-bustle of the tri-state and start a family and our own small businesses in the Commonwealth we have come to love. Honestly, my mind was made up years ago when I experienced First Night in Chatham and then First Light in Provincetown back-to-back.
As avid readers of The Cape Cod Chronicle (and patrons of The Squire and The Red Nun), we have known about the struggles for young families as well as the efforts of the Cape Cod community to build a growing support system. This fact ignited our brains’ risk-taking sections and we began to plan: Jessica is a therapist and is building a small practice; I am Mr. Fix-It and will freelance as a business/project consultant.
I started this letter Dec. 14, with the intention of being a snarky reaction to the letter “Why Pay To Keep Young Families In Chatham?” and then put it aside to finish unpacking so we could feel “at home.” On Dec. 21, we read the replies to the letter detailed above and I decided to trade snark for gratitude. As you can imagine, we felt a little dejected after the letter. Frankly, it detailed and dismissed us, a not-wealthy couple wanting to start a family and provide service in a community we love.
I thank you, Candace Hammond, Molly MacGregor, Lauren Barker, Scotti Finnegan and everyone who replied, strengthening the sense of community which washed Jessica and I ashore.
Did The Grinch Steal Holiday Lighting?
As I drive around Chatham it is very embarrassing to see no holiday lighting on our town buildings, as other towns at least decorate with wreaths or greens. Buildings on Crowell Road have none, the police station and town hall annex have none. Even the fish pier is dark, where in Provincetown they light the monument for their fishermen at sea!
The triangle looks bare without our lighted tree and the new tree in the park can hardly be seen. We need to put money in our budget as a town to do better for our residents and First Night visitors – how sad!
May I also suggest that the park and rec commissioners read the Kate Gould deed, as way too much has been put in that park when it was deed restricted by the Gould family for a purpose: green space to enjoy!
Also they need to be reminded, as does all the town, that the rotary, Sears Park on Seaview, and Veterans Field are memorials that need to be honored and respected!
Three cheers to our fire department who light up our lives nightly with their beautiful decorations. Way to go!
Chatham, Natick: A Comparison
I was personally horrified at Ms. Nelson’s letter in The Chronicle. I also live in Natick and Chatham and can proudly say I do not know Ms. Nelson or her husband.
We owned our home in Chatham for 26 years and have been amazed at the type of community Chatham is. I don’t want to get into the facts of the need to keep young people on the Cape since that has been rebutted by all the letters and posts on the internet. Over the 26 years we have spent some time every week, year round, in Chatham. I have watched the town redo its infrastructure: the town hall annex, schools, police and fire stations, community center, DPW garage and now the plans for a new senior center, while keeping the tax rate at $4.85 per thousand with a triple-A bond rating. Both my homes are very similar in assessed value and size and my taxes in Natick are $6,200 compared to $2,400 in Chatham.
I hope Ms. Nelson is aware that Natick just appropriated $15.6 million to replace a sub-fire station which now houses one fire truck and three men per shift, and this should only increase our taxes $66 per year, whereas Chatham replaced its central fire station for $11 million. When the Natick station is completed I am sure we will need more firemen and new equipment. Natick also approved a new middle school for $110 million to service 1,000 students whereas Monomoy built a new high school to serve 700 students for $64 million with a much larger reimbursement from the state. Oh, Ms. Nelson, this will increase the tax on my home by $300 to $400 per year for the next 20 years. I realize Natick has a full-time population of over 30,000 which requires a larger budget, but these comparisons show how well Chatham is managed.
I sure hope Ms. Nelson spends more time looking into Natick as she complains about Chatham appropriating some money to help young families stay here. So many of these young residents have to work at least two jobs to survive to be able to enjoy what I love about Chatham. Unfortunately we sold our house in Chatham this summer but I want to thank all the locals and hardworking people in town for making these years so enjoyable. We miss you all.
Alan E. Steinberg
Appreciate Memorial Scholarship
As I look back on 2018, one of the things that I most appreciated was receiving the Brewster Memorial Scholarship. I am currently a fifth-year pharmacy student with one year to go before graduation, and am looking forward to giving back to my community as a pharmacist.
My sincerest thanks to the Daley family and other contributors for awarding me this scholarship, and I highly encourage other local students continuing their education to apply for this scholarship next summer. Applications can be found at the Brewster branch of Cape Cod Five.
Three-town Sidewalk Needed
There have been numerous articles about sidewalks in The Chronicle over the last six months. The efforts to improve safe walking in Harwich Center and Harwich Port are worthy of consideration. However, one of the most dangerous roads in Harwich to walk on is the Head of the Bay Road between Chatham and Orleans. Many years ago there was a proposal to connect these three towns with a sidewalk and bike trail which would have included scenic views of Pleasant Bay and Ryder’s Cove. There was a sidewalk included in the new Monomoy River bridge. Unfortunately, it is a sidewalk to no where.
More Info Needed On CBD
There was a very interesting article in your “Minding Your Business” column on Ideal Health, distributors of CBD. The list of the health benefits of CBD is impressive but I would like to know if there is definite evidence resulting from medically approved tests for these benefits. I hope so, but if not, the claims are misleading.
Comments Capture Controversy
I hate to keep the controversy alive regarding Beverly Nelson’s insulting letter as printed in The Chronicle, but…
To put the entire issue into perspective I thought I would relate the experience a good friend who lives here year round had during the summer season a few years ago. She was standing in line at the checkout counter at the Stop and Shop in East Harwich and heard a gentleman behind her say to his wife, “I sure wish the natives would shop at night,” loud enough for my friend to hear. To me, that statement captures the “better than thou” attitude directed at us due to the arrogance of excessive wealth and free time. Sigh!
For The Life Of A Duck
Recently I posted on Facebook a composite photo of shotgun casings and two dead ducks and wrote this caption:“Trying not to be judgmental of the sport (?), but one morning between Battlefield and Port Fortune landings I found 62 pastic shotgun casings and two blasted ducks.”
This story changed my mind about being judgmental.
John Carlin, a longtime friend, was working across the street on a building renovation. I stopped to chat with him on my way back from the beach. We could hear hunters shooting out by Harding’s Beach. I told him about how many dead ducks I’ve seen washed up on the beach. He said, “I’ve got a story for you.”
John lives on Cedar Street, about a mile from Stage Harbor. On his way to work on Dec. 30 he noticed a dark lump in the middle of the street, and thought it was likely a turkey hit by a car.
Getting closer, he saw it was a duck, alive but unable to fly. Adding drama to his story, a hawk swooped down and tried to fly off with the injured duck. John rescued the duck, cradled it in his ex-Marine arms, and brought it home. He put the duck in a cardboard box and drove to Wild Care of Cape Cod in Eastham. The rehab facility wasn’t open yet, so he left the box by the entrance, wrapped his business card in a $10 bill and stuck it in the door.
Later that morning he got a telephone call from Wild Care reporting that the duck had minor head injuries from the hawk, but an X-ray showed two pellets lodged in the duck’s wing and one leg. They gave John a code number to track its recovery. John didn’t call. He didn’t want bad news.
I agree with K. C.’s Facebook comment : How many birds suffer because this is someone's sport! Shoot clay pigeons to prove your skill.
Barbara Ford Doyle
The Case For Childcare Vouchers
The Chatham Economic Development Committee (EDC) is focused on ensuring the long-term economic sustainability of our town. In December of 2015, the board of selectmen (BOS) issued the following directive:
"Identify ways the town can encourage greater age diversity; maintain 'youth' of the town (create jobs and improve the demographic balance)."
After lengthy evaluation, in December of 2016 the EDC issued a memo to the BOS that specifically identified the main issue to be the exodus of and inability to retain or attract 18- to 44-year-old adults to the town of Chatham, and further identified two primary drivers of this shift: lack of gainful employment opportunities and a high cost of living (including housing). EDC recognized the inherent difficulty and long-term time-frame required for developing solutions for driving employment and housing supply, and initially focused on exploring solutions to mitigate the high cost of living for young adults and their families. At that time, the EDC identified childcare as the largest component of the cost of living (outside of housing) for young families, and determined it to be an issue for which the town could rapidly develop solutions that would have an immediate and significant positive impact on this critical demographic.
The EDC advised that the town "explore solutions to mitigate the cost of childcare," and provided a list of possible solutions that included, among others, increasing the existing annual funding allocations to Monomoy Community Services and to the Childcare Network Voucher program. As a result, both of these programs have seen modest funding increases, the benefits of which have been greatly appreciated by the local family recipients.
Recently, the BOS has further prioritized this initiative by implementing the Chatham 365 Task Force to more comprehensively address the sustainability issue. At this point, town staff is currently developing a proposal that would seek to provide families with pre-K student vouchers. The idea is in the concept stage and discussions will certainly contemplate whether a need-based or need-blind program would best serve the goals of the town. While anyone can agree that it is prudent and reasonable to consider income restrictions, the EDC believes that a need-blind program would not be “ridiculous” as suggested in a previous letter, and in fact we consider it quite reasonable and beneficial to our community as a whole to extend downward the age at which public education starts by one year in order to ease the cost of living burden on young families and enable more of the limited household budget to be devoted to housing.
The EDC favors reallocation of existing resources to fund this program, but it is important to understand that to fully fund a need-blind program for 30 vouchers at $6,000, the estimated impact on the tax rate would be approximately three cents, or $15 for a $500,000 home.
The EDC agrees with the BOS that Chatham should prioritize age diversity. A healthy, robust and vibrant community must be age-diverse to be sustainable in the long term. Because small business is the fabric of our local economy and is primarily comprised of local year-round residents and families, retaining this critical demographic is crucial for the future health of the entire community. In the same way as history, charm, and natural resources all contribute to our prized quality of life in Chatham, the EDC also finds high value in community, and will continue to diligently work towards finding responsible solutions to reverse this alarming demographics trend.
Find the full EDC childcare memo (and others) online at www.chatham-ma.gov/economic-development-committee, and a report by the Cape Cod Young Professionals at shapethecape.org.
Luther Bates, chairman
Chatham Economic Development Committee