Letters To The Editor: Nov. 7, 2019

Letters to the editor.

Changes Modernize Chatham Airport 


Recent letters expressing concern about new “instrument approaches” pretend to be authoritative but actually demonstrate a lack of understanding of the topic. This is not surprising, as the subject is complex even for aviators. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Concern: Lack of a control tower makes these approaches unsafe. Fact: the proposed approaches are by far the safest for small airports just like Chatham, the vast majority of which do not have control towers. These very precise GPS approaches are the “gold standard” and are in use by many thousands of airports without control towers. This is well documented in many aviation studies and articles.

  2. Concern: Aircraft will be flying lower over people’s houses. Fact: Aircraft will fly over homes in the final approach path at exactly the same altitudes that they do now, whether it be on sunny or cloudy days. This is counterintuitive, since the “ceiling” for the new approaches may be lower, but it is true. The reason is simply that all the proposed instrument approaches to Chatham require pilots to see the airport before they go over people’s homes near the airport.

  3. Concern: Now larger airplanes will be flying into Chatham. Fact: the approaches have absolutely nothing to do with the size of aircraft that can land at Chatham. There is nothing in the master plan update that enables or encourages larger aircraft to land here. Chatham Airport will remain a small-town airport primarily for recreational aircraft as it has been for many decades.

  4. Concern: These changes will create a lot more air traffic into Chatham, and thereby increase noise. Fact: The changes may allow a few aircraft to land when the clouds are between 300 and 600 feet, which they are unable to do today. This rare occurrence could not add more than 1 percent of additional traffic to Chatham. The additional traffic is more than offset by the low power setting on the aircraft and the fact that they are overflying 90 percent fewer homes. Remember, well over 90 percent of the traffic into Chatham occurs on “good weather” days, and these are completely unaffected by any changes being proposed.

More detailed explanations are available on the airport commission website, and I urge all those who are interested to read the documents as they are updated.

Rene Haas

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Chatham Airport Commission and a pilot.


Community Boosts Boosters Club Event


The Monomoy Booster Club would like to thank the many local businesses, organizations, and individuals who supported our recent golf tournament on Oct. 14 at Cranberry Valley. This is our main fundraiser each year, and it supports the Booster Club’s funding of special programs, equipment, and scholarships for Monomoy student athletes. Many thanks to all of the golfers who played in the tournament, as well as the following sponsors and supporters, as this event and the important work of the Booster Club wouldn’t be possible without them: Shark Level: Bass River Optometrics; Chatham Anglers; Cranberry Harvest Festival; Harwich Mariners; John Canto Paving and Excavation; Minglewood Homes Inc.; Reeves Fine Homebuilding and Remodeling; Talent Orchard; Zudy. Blue and Gray Level: A.M. Meincke and Sons; Cape Cod Chronicle; Casual Designs of Cape Cod; Chatham Fire Association; Harvest Homes; Joyce Landscaping; JW Dubis and Sons; King Landscape Service; Malone Landscape; McPhee Associates of Cape Cod; Moniz Home Improvement; and Robert B. Our Co. Cart Sponsors: Allen Harbor Marine Service; Atty. William Crowell; Benson Young and Downs Insurance; Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank; Chatham Works; Dennisport House of Pizza; Eldredge and Lumpkin Insurance Agency; Karen and Harold Fuller; GFM Enterprises; Ground Control Lawn Care; The Mason Jar; Mid-Cape Home Centers; Mondovi Dental; Law Offices of Riley and Norcross; Sam's Quality Painting; Schoolhouse Ice Cream; The Willis Family; and Where the Sidewalk Ends. Hole in One Sponsors: Morris O'Connor and Blute and Shepley Wood Products. Auction Donors: John Anderson/MRHS Golf; Ann and Fran's Kitchen; Bass River Optometrics; Curtis Babb; Cape Cod Beer; Cape Cod Jelly; The Cape Codder Resort and Spa; Cape Sea Grille; Chatham Bars Inn; Chatham Squire; Chatham Works; Cranberry Valley Golf Course; Dick's Sporting Goods; Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch; Harwich Junior Theatre; Harwich Port Golf Course; The Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley; The Hot Stove Saloon; Hyline Cruises; Newbury Street Salon; Pete's Landscaping and Property Services; The Ridge Club; Scargo Cafe; Steamship Authority; Stonewood Products; Three Buoys; and Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. Special thanks to Cranberry Valley Golf Course; Coca-Cola Products; The Hot Stove; Monomoy Regional School District; Monomoy Athletic Director Karen Guillemette; Monomoy Booster Club Golf Committee; MRHS student athletes; and Larry Souza. We are privileged to live in such a supportive and generous community! 

Simon Evans, president
Monomoy Booster Club


Don't Lose Sight Of Airport Benefits


When emotions run high, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we all benefit from the presence of a general aviation airport in Chatham. The Chatham Municipal Airport:

1. Supports public safety and disaster preparedness. Law enforcement and national security professionals use smaller airports because they’re more easily accessible, have lower costs and less congestion. Example: Eagle’s Nest Airport in New Jersey was one of the only ways to quickly and efficiently deliver supplies to the area after Hurricane Sandy.

2. Expedites faster emergency medical transport. Small airports allow patients and doctors to be moved quickly and efficiently.

3. Facilitates search-and-rescue operations, such as those carried out by the Civil Air Patrol.

4. Facilitates aerial photography and surveying, critical tools for the town, businesses, and individuals in our coastal environment. Examples: a. Documenting storm damage to town property, homes and businesses; b. Tracking coastal erosion, sediment transport over time, etc. for fishermen, boaters, and for planning purposes.

5. Offers a staging area for community events. The airport’s annual open house in June brought over 3,000 people together for a day of family-friendly, free fun. It’s at events such as this that some youngsters get that glint in their eyes about airplanes and blue skies, leading them to a future as pilot, astronaut, or some new profession we can’t yet imagine!

Let’s not lose sight of these benefits while grappling with the challenging minutia of the airport master plan.

Stella S. Ross
Chatham, Storrs, Conn.


A Clarifying Pond Issue


In September Hinckleys Pond turned clear.

Hinckleys Pond of Harwich is an integral part of the Herring River waterway. Cleaning up the pond has a positive effect on the health of the entire system. Thanks to these efforts we are combating the persistent and detrimental issues of algae and cyano-bacteria.

On behalf of the Hinckleys Pond Association (HPA), an organized group of pond neighbors, we are grateful for the many years of coordinated effort by the town of Harwich and its committees and staff. We thank Christopher Clark, town administrator; Heinz Proft, natural resources director; Amy Usowski, conservation agent; the conservation commission; the community preservation committee (CPC); all those who worked to develop the comprehensive wastewater management Plan; the Harwich Conservation Trust; and all of the people in Harwich who had the foresight to recognize the importance of preserving our natural resources.

Anne Gaudet
Deb Selkow
Robyn Michaels
Hinckleys Pond Association


During Delay, Address Problems


“We told you so!”

This is the second delay since construction started on the West Chatham Roadway project. Why wasn’t HSH (design engineers) or town staff overseeing that the gas lines were properly placed?  But, while we wait, can’t someone demand Lynch Construction correct those terrible bumps (they left) on the Route 28 west lane?  Is that the best road surface they can apply? Their temporary sidewalk is also a hazard.

David E Burns, MD
West Chatham Association


A Halloween To Top Them All


We have live in the Elkanah Street Neighborhood in Chatham (a.k.a. Halloween Central) for 31 years.

This year brought the greatest amount of trick or treaters ever, 500 and more. It was orderly and the trick or treaters were polite and frequently funny (wishing us Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving). There was a large range of ages, as usual, from babies to teenagers, a lot of smiles, and some truly original costumes. Who would have thought a boom box would come around with the candy drop being the cassette tape opening?

It was like a homecoming for generations in the street.

We welcome this happening and are very grateful to the groups who donate candy to help make it doable every year and to the police who keep the street safe for all revelers.

Linda Dunne


Selectmen Need To Address Airport Polarization


I'm deeply, deeply saddened, even outraged, over the totally unacceptable meeting two weeks ago among the airport commission, the airport manager, and Gale Associates, the well-paid 16-year consultants, which aren’t even listed among leading airport experts. Every Chatham homeowner should be equally outraged.

The actions by these “agencies” were disgraceful—frequently rude, uninformed, stonewalling, and even abusive to the large group of townspeople present. It would be too painful and time-consuming to run through the long list of egregious grievances. But praise goes to the five or six outstanding, well-informed citizens who spoke bravely and expertly, often to be rebuffed. For example, the airport manager simply refused to answer some questions—and even left the meeting for 20 minutes, apparently to meet with an interviewer in the hall!

Concerning the commission, I’m reminded of two statements by Thomas Paine: “A body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by any body.” And, “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

The selectmen must act now. They have no choice but to reconstitute the commission into a body of three individuals with only one having any kind of flying background, as required. For years I’ve observed that those who did have that experience also had a major conflict of interest. A new airport manager and airport consultant would complete the needed reform.

Also by Paine: “The nearer any disease approaches to a crisis, the nearer it is to a cure.” We’re at a crisis! The immediate strong corrective actions by the selectmen, who unfortunately do not attend these important meetings, would begin the cure. The time has come. The polarization in Chatham on airport activities and the lack of proper governance cannot continue.

J. Denis Glover


Styrofoam Fouls Chatham's Beaches


Two weeks ago my sister called me to tell me that Stage Harbor was covered with bits of blue Styrofoam.

Although Chatham has voted for a limited ban on Styrofoam take-out containers and packaging peanuts, they did not go so far as to limit or put restrictions on Styrofoam use by the fishing industry or boating industry.

Every winter there is at least one beach and body of water in Chatham affected by boat docks/floats that break from their moorings and get broken apart. The wood that we see when the floats are in the water are only a frame for Styrofoam. Styrofoam, considered a soft plastic, polystyrene, is buoyant and helps keep the dock afloat, but it breaks apart easily with a fingernail, knife, or wave action. It breaks down into tiny non-retrievable plastic bits called micro plastics.

Micro plastics are now found in our food, water, raindrops, and dust. They are not biodegradable and are endocrine disruptors, meaning, basically, that they affect our hormonal system and the hormonal systems of animals. These micro plastics are responsible for the death of much wildlife, because these pieces often cannot move through an animal's digestive system.

So far I have not found any restrictions or regulations for Styrofoam use on the water.

Much of the Styrofoam left now at Stage Harbor is mixed in with very deep seaweed or is too small to pick up. In other words the Styrofoam just falls apart and mixes with the sand when touched.

A temporary solution could be to require that the Styrofoam be covered in heavy duty plastic wrap before it goes onto our beaches or in our waters, although a natural, more permanent solution should be found for the future.

Suzanna Nickerson