Letters to the Editor, April 4, 2019

Letter to the Editor

Reasons For Anti-discrimination Laws


In response to Commissioner Beaty’s question to ponder, I have a request for Mr. Beaty (and others ready to engage this topic). I invite you to please take the time to learn about the privilege that white men share. We have access to treatment both under the law as practiced, and in our culture as experienced, that is not granted in the same way to other groups. This is a demonstrable fact. This reality has prompted legal anti-discrimination responses, in attempt to address symptoms of the underlying larger problem that brings it to manifest. “Protected groups” aren’t receiving extra rights by attempting to get equal treatment. The goal of a society striving for justice is to eliminate the need for such adjustments. We can only get to that by tackling the very difficult challenge of ending systemic racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination that exist. I’ve had to unlearn many things I was told (and believed for years) in my own exploration of this topic. Some of the things I have found most helpful (in what I know will be a lifelong process in education) have included reading many of the scholarly books available on the subject, sitting in study circles despite my discomfort, and by taking the opportunity to learn about the “other” by direct interaction. We really are all good people inside, we just need to meet each other and together work for our mutual salvation.

Jeff Schwartz


Ban Shows Foresight


We are writing to support the proposed municipal plastic bottle ban for Harwich. The group Sustainable Practices of Cape Cod has documentation that 80 percent of across Cape beach cleanup debris is plastic.

With a municipal plastic bottle ban on plastic we have the opportunity to be an example to tourists and the rest of the country with respect to stewarding the environment.

Katherine and Pat Vacca
Harwich Port


Honor Pets With Cemetery


I write regarding the controversy over our pet cemetery. There seems to be objection to the peaceful placement of our pets’ remains.

This is surely a win-win for the town of Harwich. First, it is there, mapped out already, all the initial work and planning complete.

Second, the plan for a pet crematorium there has also been researched with a clear and present need. Currently the crematorium used for our pets is off Cape, a multi million dollar enterprise. It seems that suggesting the town not invade the private sector realm is a bit off the mark. What about having Cranberry Valley Golf Course and our harbors go to private ownership? I think we have more pet owners than golfers or boat owners. The sale of the property is shortsighted in that we need the space for this purpose. The cemetery would yield income from each plot sold just like our current cemeteries. The crematorium would be a steady income through the years. The cost would be recouped with profit going forward.

We love our pets in life, may we honor them in death.

Beryl Daley


Opportunity To Improve Safety


I'm hoping that with the closing of the upper parking lot for replacement of underground fuel tanks at the Chatham Fish Pier, the grass strip at the roadside above the lot will be renovated to get cars and trucks off the pavement on Shore Road. This will require some restructuring of the runoff drain in the middle, but this is the perfect time to do it and protect the safety of pedestrians and drivers on Shore Road. This section has long been an area of acute danger in the summer months.

Bonnie Hessler
North Chatham


Plastic Bottle Ban A First Step


In 1989 I was sitting on a dock in Tahiti, an island known for its beauty, and was appalled by the amount of waste floating in the harbor. I can only imagine what it looks like today with our exponential use of plastics.

When I walk the beaches of Chatham, I generally carry a bag to collect trash. Water bottles have replaced the Bud Lights that used to be the most frequent beverage containers I pick up. Many pieces of plastic and styrofoam also fill my bag. As these break into smaller pieces, they are ingested by birds, marine mammals, and fish. If we don't limit our use of plastics, our beaches will look like those in Tahiti. Birds and marine animals will continue to starve to death because their stomachs are filled with plastic pieces instead of real food. And I don't relish the idea of eating fish and shellfish whose diets include microplastics, increasing the probability that I would also be ingesting plastic.

The municipal plastic bottle ban is a beginning step to raise awareness and start the process of phasing out single use plastics. I encourage voters to support this at town meeting.

Laurie Gates
South Chatham


Plastic Impossible To Avoid


Why am I writing in support of the proposed municipal plastic bottle ban for Orleans?

I am a year-round resident, homeowner, and taxpayer. There are days when I feel as if I am drowning in plastic, especially bottles, despite my best efforts to reuse plastic containers at home whenever possible. When I take Nauset Beach walks and pick up plastic debris, even a half hour yields more than I can carry. Those of us who were children in the 1950s and before remember that sodas came in glass, as did the milk that was delivered to our doors. Both were returnable and reusable by the manufacturers. And, having watched the documentary film “A Plastic Ocean,” I have seen the horrific deaths caused when ocean dwellers unwittingly ingest enough plastic to choke them.

While a municipal bylaw banning plastic bottles is not the cure-all, it is a big step in the right direction. We can serve as an example to our tourists and to the rest of the country, as stewards to our environment.

Elizabeth DeLima


Helping Children Feel They Belong


We moved to Chatham too late in my son's life to benefit from the programs offered at Monomoy Community Services. Though we’ve lived here but a few years, I regularly see or hear evidence of the good work they have done, are doing, and surely plan to continue doing, for the benefit of young families in the area.

Recently, that evidence included a group photo on the inside cover of the "Men of Monomoy" calendar produced this spring as a fundraiser. As I paused to look closely at the individual faces gathered on the deck, I observed that each one was shining with a spirit of joy and belonging. The feeling it gave me added to my list of reasons to be glad that I live here with my family. Another is the Chatham Community Center. There, my son and his friends – some of them are “graduates” of MCS – enjoy a growing sense of freedom, responsibility, and belonging.

Judy Carlson


Think Outside The Plastic Bottle


First of all, I must express our gratitude for The Chronicle. It is a gem of a local paper, a model for a wide array of articles and good journalism and a great sight to see in my mailbox, wherever we are. Thank you!

Referencing the article in the 27 March issue about the proposed citizen's petition in Harwich banning the obtaining/providing of beverages in plastic bottles and all the municipal official commentary therein, it's past time for officials and voters to think outside the (plastic) bottle. Thank you to Patrick Otton and Madhavi Venkatesan in encouraging Harwich town officials and the broader community to consider positive change.

Led by students in our regional high school's environmental club, the towns of Sudbury and Lincoln passed a ban on the sales of single-use plastic containing bottled water in 2017 and 2018, respectively, as well as a plastic bag ban in Lincoln. Lexington just passed a ban on plastic straws and styrofoam. Nobody has gone bankrupt from lost sales and behavior has shifted in a positive fashion. Reusable water bottle refilling stations are available to cyclists and pedestrians coming through Lincoln, as well as in the regional high school and K-8 school's hallways, gyms and cafeterias. In addition, there are more environmentally friendly alternatives for those who can't break their spending habit at the grocery store; still water is available both in a single-use paper carton and an aluminum bottle for purchase.

To Mr. Clark, does the chef at the community center need to use bottled water for his work or can he get it out of the tap to the same end? To Fire Chief LeBlanc, why can't firefighters have reusable bottles of water in a cooler instead of single-use for hydration in circumstances of heat-related injuries and/or cardiac events, with a fresh cooler being loaded as a matter of course when an engine returns to the station, as would be the case for single-use bottles? For DPW Director Hooper, same question? For road races, paper cups are often preferred by runners and many are biodegradable when they get tossed into the brush on a roadside; plastic bottles are and will be there for decades, almost good as new.

We changed behavior significantly in the early 2000s because someone took a plastic bottle, filled it with water, spoke of its "incredible health benefits" and voila. That change now means using 17 million barrels of oil and producing 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year to meet America's craving for single-use plastic bottled water, not to mention the three liters of water needed to produce a single liter of water in a single-use bottle. Our landfills take in an annual 38 billion single-use water bottles each year, with many more missing the mark, landing on a beach, roadside, in our oceans and waterways. Recycling options are drying up as I write. More than one million marine creatures are killed annually due to plastics waste in our oceans. And then there are our wallets, with single-use bottled water costing consumers $1.21 per gallon in 2013, versus $2 per thousand gallons from our tap, according to EPA statistics. What are we doing?

We all need to think outside of the plastic bottle. Years ago, we drank tap water from a paper, plastic or glass cup, a mug or a glass. We then succumbed to the convenience of single-use plastic and our environment is now showing signs of how that decision will impact global health for generations to come. We can and must reconsider whether driving to the store for this particular "convenience" is worth the cost in this circumstance.

Nancy Marshall
Lincoln and Harwich Port


Compassion, Expertise Appreciated


On Feb. 5, I experienced a medical emergency while driving my car early in the morning. Fortunately I was able to pull off the road and dial 911 without injuring myself or others.

I wish to acknowledge the exemplary services provided by the 911 dispatcher, the emergency response team of the Chatham Police Department and the emergency response team of the Chatham Fire Department. Each entity performed their tasks in a professional and efficient manner. Each responder showed compassion and expertise in their designated role.

This town is very fortunate to have these people performing these services.

I also would like to thank the unnamed good Samaritan who noticed my vehicle on the side of the road, stopped to inquire if I needed assistance and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived. This random act of kindness did not go unnoticed and I only wish I knew her name to thank her personally.

Thank you for providing a medium through which I can thank these wonderful people. 

Gail Eldredge