Letters to the Editor, May 23

Letter to the Editor

Impact Of Road Rejection

What are the voters of Harwich thinking? Whose road is next to be voted down? When you don’t repair your infrastructure your values go down. Harwich has a quality reputation. Where is it going to go?

Bob and Sue Kraus

Wrong To Ignore Voters

I would like to add my opinion to Joan McCarty's letter in the April 25 edition of The Chronicle, "Take Back The Town." She is right on target. The town of Harwich should not spend money on a pet cemetery when there are so many pressing expenses. The cemetery was built without town approval. The citizens were ignored. Not long ago, I was shocked to read that the vote of the citizens to convert the middle school into housing was ignored and overruled by the selectmen. We are in dire need of housing and instead we have studios for artists. This shows a complete lack of respect for the democratic process. Why are our voices being ignored by the people we elect to run the town? There is something seriously wrong with this.

Virginia Doyle
West Harwich

Affordability Is The Issue

In reading the letters in the April 25 edition of The Chronicle, I could not agree more with Mr. William Montague. Mr. Montague pointed out something I've noticed, but never thought much of, that the "Spotlight Home of the Week" features a home that most people cannot afford. Ironically, the April 25 "Spotlight home" is just six figures, $795,000 for a two bed, 2.5 bath condo. Affordable, I think not. While I do not hold a philosophical opposition to "dream homes" (second or third, they may be), featuring such excess shelter unfortunately illustrates one of the biggest challenges to living on Cape Cod, affordable housing. 
A few months back, we received a postcard sent by a local real estate agency estimating the value of our home (not to mention they would be happy to represent and get us the best deal in a future sale). I was astounded the estimated value on the property was pushing $800,000 for a 1950s-era two bed, one bath cottage with a modest expansion to the original structure built in the late 1990s (now three bed, 2.5 bath). This price shock should not have been a surprise, as the two properties next door recently changed from original, year-round owners to new, second home owners. Both original homes were also 1950s-era two bedroom, one bath cottages, and as expected, were promptly demolished. Sure, the sale prices of the redeveloped homes, $980,000 and $1.1 million, respectively, may increase our property value over time, but going back to Mr. Montague's point, those prices are not affordable to most people living on—or wanting to move to—Cape Cod. 
What to do about this not-so-new, troubling trend? Maybe demolition delays used to temporarily protect historical homes could also apply to original homes that represent the authenticity of a neighborhood; in this case, cottages sprinkled along Ridgevale Road. Come to think of it, cottages are charming, usually authentic and most importantly, affordable.

Jeff Shaw
West Chatham

Saved From Dead Battery

Kudos to George Al-Hachem, owner of Round About Gas at the Chatham Rotary. After shopping at CVS this week I came out to discover my car had a dead battery. A jump wouldn't start it so I called George. Within minutes he himself brought a battery pack, started the car and I brought it to his station.
His marvelous staff put in a new battery and within 20 minutes I was home. I have been using George's services for our cars for many years and have always found him and his staff to be extremely accommodating, helpful and friendly. Thank you, George!

Gerry and Roger Di Gesu

Project Highlights Fishing Women

For years I have admired the skill, stamina and courage it takes for someone to fish for a living.
I am a local Chatham author working on a prospective book entitled, "Voices of the Sea, Stories of Women who Fish Commercially." I am looking to interview women who have taken on this role and tell their stories.
If you are interested in talking more about this project, please contact me at cgordon1213@gmail.com.

Carol Gordon
South Chatham

Many Hands Helped Gardens

Tim Wood’s article last week on the opening of Sylvan Gardens captured the excitement and enthusiasm of the completion of the community project to create an ADA accessible trail on this unique property.  Fifteen years of overgrowth of botanical, native and invasive species and storm damage on Rolf E. Sylvan’s commercial nursery/garden would have seemed a hopeless nightmare were it not for the enthusiasm of so many inspired volunteers and town staff. The voters of Chatham first voted for the creation of a management plan for Sylvan Gardens and later voted to spend CPA funds for the ADA accessible trail.  We, the people of Chatham, are grateful to the Sylvan and Abreu families who loved this property and wanted it to remain a woodland garden.
Completion of the trail is due to a large number of volunteers; I would like to mention a few. Amanda Sloan, landscape designer, donated her services to the project. David Whitcomb of Monomoy Tree Service, Craig Schneeberger of Cape Tree and Rob Morrison all generously volunteered, and Rellan Monson donated his mason skills to the installation of benches.
There have been many others working on this project that deserve our thanks. We are greatly indebted to Marc Hayman, DooDee Nowak and Mike Brown.  Marc and DooDee are neighbors of Sylvan Gardens and their dedication and cooperation has been so helpful. Mike Brown has been our most dedicated volunteer, giving hundreds of hours in caring for the landscape, without which Rolf E. Sylvan Gardens would not be the respite it is today.
Sylvan Gardens will always be a work in progress.  The Friends of Sylvan Gardens was formed to assist the town with the maintenance and care of the property.  Volunteers will always be welcome; please call Carol Odell at 508-945-3239 or Cathy Weston 508-945-5685.

Carol Odell, president
Friends of Sylvan Gardens

Watch Out For Animals

I was able to find your wonderful article about turtle crossings written last year online. It seems just as our lives shift into gear for spring, all the wild animals are rushing around mating, building nests and feeding their babies. I know how difficult it is in our busy spring time lives to remember to slow down and watch for animals by the roadsides while driving.
The Chronicle article recommends carrying a snow shovel in your car in case you come upon a snapping turtle (there is also a way to use your car floor mat), and if you stop to help a turtle cross the road make sure you take it to the side of the road it was traveling toward.
There are people to help if you find an injured animal. There is Wild Care of Cape Cod in Eastham, 508-240-2255, 9-to-5, 365 days a year, www.wildcarecapecod.org.
Friends of Cape Wildlife Hotline, 508-375-3700. This is a hotline for people to call after 5 p.m., if they have wildlife in distress. Access at www.friendsofcape wildlife.org. They offer advice over the phone.
Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, 508-362-0111, capewildlifecenter.com, is another option.
If you can safely take a dead animal out of the road, you may be saving another animal life by moving this food source away from traffic.

Suzanna Nickerson

Friends Grateful For Support

The Friends Board of the Chatham Council On Aging would like to thank all the residents of Chatham who came out on a cold and windy night to town meeting to support Article 15, the construction and outfitting of a new senior center on Middle Road. Unfortunately the article failed to pass.
We certainly understand and respect the voters who opposed this project because of location, size or cost. What we can’t understand are the insulting and mean-spirited remarks made by a member of the finance committee just before a vote was taken. She took the opportunity to make thoughtless and demeaning comments about our lunch programs, and questioned the necessity of our health and wellness programs. By her own admission she had only visited the senior center four or five times and only attended lunch once. This is hardly a valid sample. But her statements had nothing to do with opposition to the site based on location, size or cost. They were made solely to denigrate programs that serve to improve the well being of seniors, and insult staff and volunteers that provide these services.
When we appear again before voters to present a new plan for a senior center, and we will, we hope a more civil tone will prevail.
Friends of the Chatham Council On Aging are Judy Hanlon, president; Jan Fields, vice president; and board members Claire Balfour, John Rafferty, Paula Carroll, Jacquie Casey, Sal Gionfriddo, and Jill James.

Judy Hanlon, president
Friends of the Chatham Council On Aging