Letters to the Editor, Aug. 8
Don't Hide New Senior Center
The “Triangle” land proposed in the letters column (July 25) was a poor choice. Instead of hiding the council on aging senior center out of sight in Chatham’s backwoods, place it in a prominent downtown location where our elders can enjoy beautiful views, either by acquiring a home along Chatham’s extended waterfront or dedicating a parcel of land from the town-owned golf course near downtown. Land given in trust to the town for conservation purposes must be so respected in order to assure future donations to the town for such purposes.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
The author of the “Abolish Airport Commission” letter two weeks ago may be within his First Amendment rights, but that does not mean that he is required to write the truth. The letter is a blatant accusation of corruption within the airport commission, the selectmen and the airport manager, without a shred of evidence to support it. Phrases like “in the pocket of…” are demeaning to the citizens who serve the town by continually striving to make Chatham Airport a safe and welcoming destination for visitors from near and far. In the past six years the airport has been under intense scrutiny by a small group of airport opponents, and no wrongdoing, financial or otherwise, has ever been established; this despite hundreds of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. Conversely, according to a recent study by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Chatham Airport contributes over $13 million each year to our local economy, which helps to keep our Chatham taxes enviably low. So, don’t believe everything you read in Letters to the Editor.
Chatham Seniors Aren't Neglected
I would like to respond to the Letter to the Editor titled “Time for the Majority to Speak.” It should be noted that I am 61, live in town and have been following the debate on the new senior center. That one is needed is not a question to me. However, the writer claims that seniors are the “core of Chatham and feel that we must be at the center of life in our fair town.” She goes on to say the Little League Field should be used for the new senior facility and the kids moved elsewhere, as the community center and close to town location is the only option. She feels that we must give our seniors the respect and love they deserve. From what I have seen, the seniors are viewed with respect in town and while some feel some of the studies are money not well spent, the town is working hard to finally find a solution. My assumption is that there will need to be compromise, either on location, cost or both.
As the eventual location and funding for the new senior center will need to be approved at town meeting (and the first attempt failed) I find that the argument that seniors are in the majority and as such should get what they want not exactly convincing. Nor is this attitude going to build support from the rest of our community once it is time for this to come to a vote. This is especially true if in fact the community center grounds does become an option. To me, the entire community would then be affected, and this is not the way to go to win over the rest of the community.
Town Has Outgrown Senior Center
Thanks to the Chatham COA for providing Fit Fun and Fall Free, an exercise class offered twice a week to 15 seniors. We know we have benefited from taking the class and wish the space was larger so more of the people on the long waiting list could also benefit. Besides limited space to exercise, parking is also a problem at the present COA. We have outgrown our senior facility and need and deserve one that will better meet the needs of Chatham's seniors.
Susan and Martin Buoniconti
Why No Notice Of Ban?
Why were homeowners and all residents on the Mill Pond and Little Mill Pond not informed of the ban on swimming and shellfishing after the storm knocked down a power transformer on Homestead Lane? Wasn’t this a public health incident that should have been communicated directly to affected residents via a written notice or robocall? We live on the Mill Pond and only heard about it mid-closure through word of mouth and only saw news that the ban has been lifted in your (weekly) newspaper.
The Library's The Place To Be
We would like to thank the librarians at the Brooks Free Library for taking such good care of us during the tornado.
Right after we got to the library, a lot of phones started beeping. A nice librarian told us that we could all go play in the basement. In the basement there were games, coloring supplies and books to read. The best part was the popcorn and Oreos they gave us.
When we left, our mom explained that there had been a tornado. A lot of trees had fallen down, which was weird because it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary was going on when we were at the library.
What we learned was that, if there is going to be a tornado, the library is a great place to be!
Thank you library staff for all your help.
Mia (age 6), Gracie (age 4), and Olivia (age 3) Vallarelli
Commends Harwich For Response
Hats off and three cheers to the town of Harwich for their swift and comprehensive response to the recent tornado that swept through our township.
Everyone involved was cool-headed and we witnessed a community in action quickly resolving the issues involved.
Also, a thank you to Eversource for their efforts to restore power.
I am not a full-time resident but a vacationer since childhood. Nothing like good old Cape Cod.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Academy Plight Is Shameful
In response to an article in the Chronicle of Aug. 1, I am writing as one of the original founders of the Academy of Performing Arts to express my sadness and disbelief at the current state of affairs brought on by the board of directors. How is it possible for an $85,000 deficit to be so callously ignored except for finger pointing in all directions? How can a plan presented by the parents and approved by the faculty be ignored without even an acknowledgment or better yet an invitation for discussion?
In response to the faculty’s letter, chairman Greg Delory speaks of a new operational model for the school and a transition team to work on its development. I wonder whether he or any of the other board members have read the Articles of Organization filed in 1975 under chapter 80 with the Commonwealth or the amended version filed with the 501C3 application in 1976. And I quote: “The purposes of which the corporation is formed are as follows...to maintain classroom instruction at the academy level available to the public without discrimination; to furnish a showcase for the students of the academy and visiting artist of caliber for the cultural enrichment of the community.”
A tragedy has occurred on the Lower Cape and ultimately it is the students who will pay the ultimate price. A truly shameful situation.
Church Missing From Map
As a former resident, upon hearing a tornado had touched down in Harwich, I was most curious as to its exact path. Happily, The Chronicle this past week published a map designating precisely that.
Upon closer scrutiny, however, I noticed something missing.
According to the map, the tornado initially touched down near Parallel Street and then moved into Harwich Center, near the intersection of Sisson Road and Route 39. This also happens to be the site of the First Congregational Church.
Yet nowhere was it to be found. Monomoy High School and Brooks Park were, of course, duly noted, but not First Church, though it is arguably the most noticeable and historic landmark in town.
This is not to criticize The Chronicle. Virtually all mapmakers these days exclude houses or worship. A friend emailed me the other day regarding this phenomenon as it relates to perhaps the most widely used platform today – Google Maps.
“At the 500-foot scale,” he wrote, “they include community places of all sorts such as libraries, schools, police, cultural centers, even funeral homes and cemeteries, but not churches. At 200 feet,” he added, “they do include churches.” We can be grateful for that.
Broadly, it's as if houses of worship, even old and venerable ones such as that in Harwich Center (founded in 1747), have been effectively airbrushed out of existence.
This appears to reflect a significant cultural shift over the last 25 years or more. It's as if, as has been noted, the First Amendment has been rewritten to read “freedom from religion,” in contradistinction to its original wording, “freedom of religion.”
Watch Your Hands
Sharing a bit of post tornado humor that I wrote last week:
The newest Cape Cod “songbird”: bright yellow or green, rather large, makes loud noise early in the morning to waken you, creates droppings occasionally, voracious eater, can cause serious body harm/death if bitten by one, goes by the name of WoodChipper!
Park Problems A Microcosm Of Nation
Your recent article regarding the Chase Park labyrinth and complaining neighbors I believe represents a microcosm of the state of our “union.” A small group of people trying to offer a place of peace and quiet have been constantly tested by Mr. Walen and his quest to disrupt and drive participants away. I have heard him bully and berate a fellow volunteer yelling loudly that the labyrinth is “an abomination!” As a trained facilitator of labyrinths I did not imagine that such a response was possible. Is the problem that more people are using the park? Or does it go deeper? I am not writing this to pass judgment on Mr. Walen; that is derision, which leads to division. Rather I hope that he reads this and finds a way to open up his heart and allow himself to participate and support the labyrinth, in a peaceful manner. He may find it helps alleviate the need to disrupt all the good people who came to share in the community with words of support and wisdom, and to release all that keeps us apart.
Avis Chase left the land with good intentions. Let's fulfill that legacy by planting trees and shrubs along the perimeter of the park. Many trees have been lost due to recent construction and tornado damage. Sad to see, but now seems a good time to resolve abutting neighbors concerns, and create a beautiful park space by providing privacy and seclusion from both sides!
God Clearly Loves Food Trucks
It seems God’s answer to the town’s refusal to allow Mom and Pop’s food truck to participate in Mondays on Main was the wild tornado event!
An Attitude Of Gratitude
We write this brief note to acknowledge the truly remarkable clean-up effort following the recent tornado. The obviously highly coordinated efforts of the Town of Chatham, Eversource, and affiliated vendors should serve as a model of what can be accomplished when competent, dedicated individuals are at the helm. To all who participated, we express our gratitude.
Susan and Michael Rees