Letters To The Editor: March 7, 2019

Seals, Not Dogs, Are The Problem



While I found the author’s point well presented and the issue of dog waste on the beaches is one worthy of conversation, I think that Chatham has a much larger problem on its hands.

The letter cites that "one gram of dog waste can contain 23 million coliform bacteria,” which can cause adverse side effects in humans.

Most of the unwanted results of the presence of coliform is a result of actually drinking the water.  I trust that most summer beach-goers bring their own bottle water and do not rely on the ocean as a source of sustenance.

With that said, I believe that the real problem on our hands stems from the 50,000 seals who have decided to make Chatham their summer home.

An average seal can produce up to 500 grams per day of coliform bacteria.  If the numbers are correct that means that Chatham waters are being polluted with 25 million grams of waste per day.

If one gram of waste contains 23 million coliform particles, then the end result of water pollution caused by the seals is almost incalculable.

I think that most would agree that our beaches are one of our most precious resources, and while a negligent dog owner may perhaps cause the occasional nuisance, I think that as residents we have a more pressing matter at hand.


Matt Fitzpatrick




Relief From Demo Scare



In response to Mr. Alfred Roberts' letter (“What's Being Lost In Chatham,” Feb. 28):

"Reports of the demolition of 528 Training Field Rd. have been greatly exaggerated."

After reading Mr. Roberts letter regarding our home at 528 Training Field Rd., my wife and I ran from the house intending to block the advancement of any and all bulldozers Mr. Roberts reported he heard advancing on our exceptional residence – thank the good Lord we, in the heat of the moment, remembered that there were no bulldozers advancing on our quaint, charming, quirky, full of character historic home as we are simply asking the Chatham Historical Commission to allow us to finish an existing attic on the non-historical portion of our home. Imagine our embarrassment!

We are happy to report that as long as my charming wife and I draw breath and call 528 Training Field our home, it will always remain as is and complete with all its ineffable charm. We are also happy for Mr. Roberts' love of historical homes and hope that he and his wife can stop by some time and walk through our home again. It sounds as if we have something in common with our love of antique homes.


Dave Miller

Ashley Baker




Theater Needs A Harvey Intervention



Some 50 years ago my parents and I attended Monomoy Theatre’s production of the classic comedy “Harvey.”  The lead role starred Ohio University drama student Spencer Steenrod playing Elwood P. Dowd, sweet-natured but gullible companion to a six-foot invisible rabbit or pooka named Harvey.  According to Wikipedia, a pooka is a furry creature of Celtic folklore considered a bringer of good or bad fortune. You can imagine the hilarious mayhem that ensued.

It’s been decades now since Harvey came to town but still my husband John and I  attend as many Monomoy Theatre shows as possible.  We’ve seen Neil Simon comedies and Shakespeare classics, whodunnits and farces, and we’ve especially enjoyed the spirited dancing and singing that infuse all of their Broadway musical recreations. Much credit is due to the sure-handed guidance of art director Alan Rust of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School.

Each summer’s crop of talented students brings new energy to our town. Besides putting on eight different shows each season, they have marched in our Fourth of July parades and invited us to afternoon teas in their patio garden.  Chatham visitors, merchants, and residents alike – we have all benefited from their presence.

But nothing is forever and the most precious things may also be the most fragile. Suddenly, our community is faced with the possibility of losing this most valuable cultural treasure. With the theater property and its buildings already under agreement to an unknown buyer, it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.

Consider the following lines from a recent production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” delivered by Monomoy’s esteemed guest artist Bernard Cornwell playing Prospero.

“These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air.” (Act IV, Scene 1).

I pray those words are not prophetic.  We need a miracle to keep Chatham's longtime Monomoy Theatre tradition from slipping into oblivion. Perhaps even the divine intervention of a friendly pooka named Harvey.   

And it can’t happen too soon.


Dottie Mitchell Evans




Harwich Can't Afford Pet Cemetery



At the 2016 Harwich Town M, people thought they were merely approving a land transfer for a pet cemetery to be put on a commercial street.  It was Article 57. The vote was 104 in favor and 38 against. That year there were 10,793 registered voters, so only a tiny fraction of voters cared about this issue.

In 2018  voters rejected a proposal to spend nearly $600,000 to fund a crematorium/reception/office building, yet that proposal is still in the capital plan. This topic continues to be controversial.  Hundreds of people on a local town social media page have disapproved of the way things were handled as the facts came out.  The cemetery commission misappropriated funds designated for the maintenance of human cemeteries to make a garden on a parcel of valuable commercial land.  A gazebo was purchased,  pathways and irrigation installed without voter approval.  

It was never said that pets were not to be buried there, only ashes.   Incidentally, the term “cemetery” is only to be used for those places where humans are interred.  

Three local papers have recently weighed in with their versions of the situation.

There are three articles addressing this topic to be brought up at town meeting in May.

Here’s what’s important.  We in Harwich are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent trying to create a sewer system.  The school district gets more expensive each year. We cannot afford a project such as this pet memorial garden.

This issue needs to be put to rest.  Show up at town meeting and vote.


Anne Stewart




The Importance Of Music Education

Thank you for the excellent article on “Band Guy” Gordon Napier. I was beginning to think that music teachers were extinct, or at least on the endangered species list.

I was 16 years old when I “washed ashore” in Chatham in the early ‘70s and did not fit in at all. Music saved my days, and it was music teachers like Nate Wordell and Bob Hayes that turned me on to that music, music that I still listen to today and have turned my children and grandchildren on to. I didn’t realize how important music programs are in our public schools at that time, but I do now.

In many schools, when something has to be sacrificed for one reason or another (usually lack of money), music programs are almost always first on the chopping block. It’s nice to know that’s not the case around here.


R. Sheppard II
East Harwich