Letters To The Editor: Oct. 3, 2019


Help For Successful Launch


The villages of Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans have a heart for giving. So does Hyannis! Protect Our Past, the newly formed not-for-profit organization which is focused on changing the tide of the current trend of losing historic properties, was at the receiving end of such generosity. I want to publicly thank the following businesses that gave selflessly for the recent launch of Protect Our Past: Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham Light Liquors, Chatham Liquor Store, Chatham Orpheum Theater, Chatham Perk, Chatham Village Market, John M. Nickerson, Photographer, Larry and Vic, musicians, Maps of Antiquity, Shaws, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, and the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club.

Of course there are many individual helping hands to thank as well. It is an honor to live in and to work on this project in this community!

Ellen Briggs


Turn Focus To Backstage


When one goes to the theater, one sees a carefully prepared play. Costumes are appropriate, the sets are nicely built and painted and add to the story, and the furniture and props make everything a beautiful picture. Just beyond the curtain, however, it’s a different story. There is sawdust, workshop machines, scattered props. It is not a pretty picture.

A windmill is a piece of art. It stands tall, and the blades turn beautifully in the wind supplied by nature. I love looking at windmills. It’s difficult to imagine the huge investment in steel for the posts, in resin for the blades, etc. And it’s difficult to look forward to what to do with the pieces when they no longer work properly.

Frankly, I love not having a monthly electric bill. But there is plastic on my roof, plastic that was not so environmentally produced, or environmentally to be disposed of when it wears out.

As a world we must focus on the “backstage.” We must develop ways to manufacture the steel, the plastic, and the other materials in an environmentally safe fashion. We can do this—we were smart enough to go to the moon. We are smart enough to fix the ugly parts of producing “clean energy”—but we have to put our focus there now! Otherwise, reduction of fossil fuels will be minimal as they are used to produce our “clean” power instruments, and our landfills will be taken over by obsolete turbines, destroyed solar panels, etc.

I will say it again and again: we owe this to our children, and their children, and their children…

Karen McPherson


Yet Another Reason To Celebrate


Residents, visitors, businesses, organizations and town employees came together recently to Celebrate our Waters in Orleans. A weekend of perfect weather certainly contributed to the success of this event but it was all the people that made it possible. On behalf of the board of the Orleans Pond Coalition, we wish to most heartily thank those individuals, businesses and organizations that gave so generously of their time, effort, and expertise to make this celebration possible.

Orleans is, indeed, fortunate to have extraordinary managers and staff working for our municipality. Thank you to Nate Sears, the natural resources department and all of DPW for all the logistics, organizing and preparatory work that went into the events including the ever popular Paul Fulcher Memorial Bonfire. We thank Orleans Fire and Rescue and Police for keeping us safe, directing traffic and standing by in case of any problems. From our town clerks to our beach staff, no “ask” was too large and everyone jumped in to be helpful.

Who knew there were so many fun things to do on our waters? Orleans Yoga provided awe-inspiring early morning beach yoga at Nauset while Goose Hummock got us out on Town Cove in kayaks, SUPfari taught us how to “rise and shine” on a paddleboard, Cape Kayaking toured us down the River to Little Pleasant Bay, Orleans Sweeps and Sculls introduced us to the technical skills of rowing, and Pleasant Bay Community Boating and Arey’s Pond Boat Yard got us out on Pleasant Bay for a sail.

We thank Orleans Conservation Trust and the Payson Family for the educational and inspiring tour of Pochet Island, Bob Prescott for leading dawn and dusk bird walks, Friends of Bakers Pond for leading a walk through conserved land around that beautiful pond, John Fallender for holding a model boat regatta on Crystal Lake, Tom Finan for leading the Bike Tour de Orleans Waters, the Boyces for sharing their cranberry bog, and Addison Art Gallery and its artists for arranging plein air painting and hosting a gallery reception to highlight beautiful art depicting the waters we love.

The Family Fun Tent was a huge hit for the second year in a row thanks to the participation by Susan Bauer, Lucy Gilmore, Dianne Fromm, Mal Bornemeier and Jan Crabtree, Krill Carson, Wellfleet Bay Audubon, Woods Hole Group, Silent Spring, and the Friends of Rock Harbor. Thanks, too, to the Orleans Cultural Council for judging the sand sculpting contest, the Centers for Culture and History in Orleans for providing tours of the CG36500, John Knowles for touring the Jonathan Young Windmill. And a huge thanks to all the volunteers, helpers, and hosts who managed to keep it all going.

A final thanks to our residents and visitors who came out to join us in the celebration. May we all take some time each day to stop and admire, appreciate and celebrate the waters that make Orleans a special place that brings such joy to our lives.

Judith Bruce, Jamie Demas, Eileen Godin
Celebrate Our Waters Co-Chairs


Feels Misled About Skydiving


We’re being misled about skydiving to the serious detriment of our town.  Here’s why:

False: Skydiving is safe in Chatham.  Wrong.

True: Our town is considered congested, especially in the summer. The FAA does not allow skydiving in congested towns. There’s already been a skydive plane crash in a neighborhood, and skydivers have landed in unsafe locations. One diver has been seriously injured.

False: Some of us bought homes near the airport and should have known better.  Wrong.

True: Skydiving was a Johnny-come-lately. The vast majority owned homes before it arrived.

False: The FAA will demand its subsidies back if we continue to ban skydiving. Wrong.

True: The FAA has seldom, if ever, “clawed back” its grants. Even if it did, wouldn’t it be worth it to save lives, as well as the peace and charm of our town? 

False: The airport commission operates openly and objectively with rotation in office.  Wrong.

True: It’s heavily weighted toward the very few who are or have been wealthy enough to own planes and who pay nothing to take off and land, or those who support the expensive status quo. And at least three or four members have served too long.

False: The airport brings revenue to the town coffers.  Wrong.

True: It sits on over 100 acres of prime land in the middle of town and pays no real estate tax. All revenue goes to the airport manager alone.

False: The Airport Commission follows all FAA recommendations.  Wrong.

True: As one example, the FAA discourages the airport manager and the fixed base operator from being the same person, unlike the case here.

And, finally, do the airport manager and pilots all live in Chatham? If not, isn’t it disingenuous of them to support skydiving since they are not subject to its danger and nuisance, or to Chatham taxes?

Jerry Flannelly


Looking For 'Skip Hit' Info


On Tuesday, Sept. 24 between 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., my car was involved in a “hit skip.” Allen was walking the dogs on Cow Yard town landing when a woman with two King Charles spaniels driving a white Lexus backed into my Red Volvo and left without stopping. We have a witness who saw the accident and have filed a police report. If you know of someone with two King Charles spaniels driving a white Lexus in Chatham, please contact me at 216-849-9551. I am looking for the person to take responsibility and not to prosecute.

Leslie Yerkes


Airport Plan Will Destroy Town Character


My name is Amy Hinesley. I am a junior at Monomoy Regional High School and a resident of Chatham. More specifically, I live next to the Chatham Municipal Airport.

I believe our airport reflects the atmosphere that is the heart of life in Chatham. It is a place where people gather to eat or spectate the planes taking off all throughout the year. Local residents regard it as someplace we maybe do not often find ourselves in, but love its relaxed vibe as we stroll by.

To expand this airport would not only be in direct contradiction with the comforting respite from chaotic life that is Chatham, but additionally the mission statement of CQX. It explicitly states, “the airport is a safety-minded, community-based, environmentally-friendly aviation center and a good neighbor.” Larger planes pose a greater safety risk to the community members of Chatham and anyone who resides here part-time. Also, this expansion would greatly increase our emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, which pose various health risks, can wreck the air quality of our small town, and is awful for the lush environment that we enjoy.

My home is less than 500 feet from the airport. It is against everything this town means to its residents to disturb our population with large engines, especially with our great elderly community. In a small town where the permanent residents are limited and the history is unlimited, should community not be the first priority for us? Personally I believe that is what Chatham is all about.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with one question. Without any benefits to the income, residents, atmosphere, environment, or community of Chatham, why would anyone think it to be acceptable to destroy the beloved character of our beloved town with this disastrous plan?

Amy Hinesley


Examining Selectmen's Conflicts


An open letter to Chatham’s selectmen:

Should one or more of you recuse himself/herself from skydive deliberations and votes under any of these circumstances?

  1. If you made a comment that homeowners should not have bought homes near the airport, even though skydiving started after they bought—thus betraying possible prejudice.

  2. If you have any kind of direct or indirect business connection to the airport, including exhibiting there—thus also betraying possible prejudice.

  3. If you are not versed on the 22i FAA exemption that allows prohibition of skydiving in congested areas like Chatham, which congestion Town Counsel has affirmed (with the airport still receiving FAA capital funding)—thus appearing not to have done adequate research.

  4. If you have in any way pressured the board to participate in what has become a series of unnecessary court hearings (soon to be five!), essentially defending the danger and nuisance of skydiving here—well, your actions appear to be counter to the best interests of the citizens of Chatham, and maybe you should just not be on the board.

 J. Denis Glover


Airport Plan's Unintended Consequences


I am concerned about the new master plan at the Chatham Airport. Full disclosure, we live on Great Hill. Yes, we knew about the airport when we purchased in 2005. Since then the airport's character has dramatically changed. So, no, we did not purchase knowing commercial charters would land every 15 minutes starting at 5:30 in the mornings and evenings all summer. Now the apparently unsupervised airport commission wants to again change the character of our airport by making it available 24/7, expanding usage, noise, and risk. They want to spend millions of tax dollars, and negatively affect town residents, with the Barnstable airport less than 20 miles away.

One of the reasons given comes from the poorly conceived report on the economic value of the airport, which assumed all landings at the airport bring tourist dollars, create jobs and benefit local businesses. It did not account for how many of those landing here are going to other towns. It did not consider how many of those flying in are already seasonal owners or renters who would have driven here anyway. We shouldn't upgrade based on that report.

It is the "unintended" consequences that have impacted Chatham residents the most. Aircraft are not monitored now, and larger planes than intended regularly land in Chatham. We see and hear them. We must be concerned about the negative impacts and unintended consequences of this latest proposal.

David Smith


Chatham's Real Pumpkin People


On the last Saturday of September, a group of people assembled to unload over 2,500 pumpkins from an 18-wheeler truck to support the charity missions of the First Congregational Church. It was hard work. It was also an amazing day— 10- and 12-year-old kids worked side-by-side with people their grandparents’ age and everything in between. We had local children, teens, church members, random adults who walked up and offered to help, and a couple from Illinois shifting pumpkins from the truck onto pallets. There was laughter, kidding, and good cheer in addition to the hard work and sweat. The truck driver said he’d never seen anything like it.

Thank you, everybody! Special thanks to the boy and girl scouts of Chatham: Cub Pack 71, Boy Scouts Troop 71, Girl Scouts troop 71, Girl Scouts troop 80727, their parents (who helped) and their leaders (who helped). Also, thanks to the Monomoy High School Key Club. It was a beautiful expression of community and generosity. We from the church are deeply grateful for your help.

Alison Kaar
Chair, Missions Committee
First Congregational Church of Chatham