Letters To The Editor, Jan. 9, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Voice Concerns To Coast Guard


Calling all mariners, residents, anyone concerned or affected by the Coast Guards intention to remove “C” buoy from Chatham waters: The Coast Guard is accepting comments at email D01-SMB-DPWPublicComments@uscg.mil. The presence of the Coast Guard is very important to the town of Chatham. Don’t let them continue to downgrade our status. Your voice matters!

Janice O'Connell
West Chatham


A Bond That Will Last


To all of our wonderful customers, friends and fellow merchants, we want to thank you for your 12 years of loyalty and friendship.

Without you it would not have been as enjoyable to work here. Some of you are like an extended family to us. We also have had a unique bond with our employees past and present, a bond that will always be cherished. The daily visits by our four-legged friends will also be missed. We have had such wonderful times here at 482 Main St. It is such an iconic location that has housed two great retail stores for many years. We hope to see you again soon somewhere on Main Street in Chatham.

Again, many thanks for your support and friendship. 

Mary Fouhy, Valerie Gulla, Virginia Theiss, Pat Maitland, Susan Perry and all of our other employees
Island Pursuit


An Historic Dining Experience


On New Year’s Eve, my wife and I celebrated my birthday by dining at the Captain Linnell House in Orleans. It has become a tradition for us as we enjoy dining there on special occasions.

It was a heartwarming sight to see so many other people having dinner at this painstakingly restored sea captain’s home in Orleans. Bill and Shelly Conway have done a remarkable job of preserving/restoring

this impressive, historic building. Over the years, they have generously sponsored fundraisers for non-profit organizations like the Academy of Performing Arts and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Just as they were nearing the finish line of their careers, it appeared that the sale of the Captain Linnell House was a done deal. However, the sale was not concluded and they have had to restart their restaurant business.

As we were leaving, we were reminded that the flashed glass panels around the front door are identical in color and design to those above the balcony door on the third floor of Crosby Mansion in Brewster.

Although Crosby Mansion is closed for the winter, the Captain Linnell House is open for business as usual.

Al and Gayle Williams


Who Benefits From Senior Center Site?


So…voters in the special town meeting approved a gift of land from Bill Marsh that is contingent on the annual town meeting vote to build a senior center on that land. No senior center, no gift of land. The vote did not achieve the two-thirds majority that will be necessary to approve building funds at the annual town meeting, presuming an override is required.

Everyone acknowledges that the property to be “gifted” is deficient for this purpose; it doesn’t meet the “minimum” site requirements originally used during all previous site evaluations. Why, then, accept this “gift?” That leads me back to the STM and what people had to say in favor of accepting the “gift.” First: several speakers, stated (and I paraphrase), “it’s either this or nothing.” A clear reading of that suggests that the speakers believed that this piece of land would be the only site that would be considered for a new senior center. Ergo, if we don’t accept this as the site for a new center, then there would not be a new center. Where did that thought come from? Look no further than Selectman Dykens, who in true dictatorial fashion, previously, and publicly, declared that this would be the only choice we would have. Secondly: Several folks who spoke at the meeting suggested that we should vote to accept the land because we were “protected” by the contingency. Somewhere, in their minds, they must have believed that the “contingency” implied there was no possible reason not to vote in favor of accepting the gift right there and then, because nothing was really going to be done until the annual town meeting, so what was the harm? The “harm” is that by voting to accept the land, neither the BOS, nor the town manager (through staff), will look elsewhere for a better site for the senior center, despite several good suggestions made at the STM by opponents to the “gift” site. Thirdly: at least one speaker proposed that the gift of land meant that we would have $750,000 in savings from the unrealized purchase price to spend on the expensive site development costs necessitated by the physical realities of the “gifted” land. That person shouldn’t do their own taxes; they certainly don’t understand that siting a new senior center on publicly owned land (elsewhere) bears no purchase cost, and, if properly sited, would also require a much-reduced site development cost. All of which means we’d have a better site at a lower total cost of development.

At the end of the day, shame on Selectman Dykens for threatening townspeople into accepting this poorly considered site by saying it was this or nothing. Shame on the BOS for accepting anything less than the very best location for the proposed new facility for our socially-deprived and financially-challenged seniors. Shame on Billy Marsh. If he really wanted to provide a gift of free land to the town, he would have given the property without strings. Then the town could have used it for anything, such as expanding the current conservation parcel and using some of the land for a beautiful park in the center of the soon-to-be “revitalized” West Chatham neighborhood. If it were a real gift, the choice of use should have been left to the town. It begs the question: who is really benefiting from the development of a senior center in this location?

Seth Taylor


Concerns About Chatham Airport


According to FAA recommendations, the airport manager and fixed-base operator should not be the same person, unlike in Chatham, creating a troubling major conflict of interest.

According to FAA recommendations, the airport should be self-supporting as far as the town financial share is concerned, but it hasn’t been for years. This costs Chatham homeowners thousands of dollars to fund recreational use by a handful of pilots, many of whom do not even live here or pay town taxes. 

FAA standards require that the development of a new airport master plan include the community from the beginning. This has been totally ignored by the commission, which has even baldly submitted parts of the draft plan to the FAA without any early public input at all!  What does that say about their competence? A few weeks ago the selectmen themselves publicly raised concerns about the blatantly flawed process, but the damage may already have been done.

Consultants Gale Associates are paid $400,000 for creating this plan update.  Did they not know about the early public input requirement? What does that say about a firm which is supposed to be expert on all such requirements?

According to FAA requirements, there must be runway protection zones empty of homes and other buildings in case an aircraft misses the end of the runway. Such is not the case here—a condition putting unknowing homeowners and businesses at potentially disastrous risk.

According to FAA standards, the runway is not long enough for the instrument landings proposed by the airport commission. So a proposal is being floated to shorten the standard, possibly reducing airport safety even further.

And, finally, shouldn’t the airport management be required to give full financial disclosure to the town?  In fact, its reporting has been opaque and specifics redacted.

Is it any wonder there’s major controversy about the airport?

J. Denis Glover


Wildlife More Important Than Plastic


Since my childhood of the 1950s and 1960s, we have come from being a country where plastics were used on occasion to a country where plastics have invaded every single area of our lives.

We know now what many did not know during this transformation, that plastics are endocrine disruptors and dangerous to humans and animals, and that plastics are forever; they do not biodegrade.

Crosby Beach in Brewster is where I walk each day in November and December, looking for cold stunned sea turtles.

The same storms that have left blue styrofoam micro-plastics everywhere on Stage Harbor in Chatham have churned up the waters at Brewsters beaches as well, and every imaginable kind of plastic item is washing in on the same waves that carry the cold stunned sea turtles.

The very turtles that we are working so hard to save are washing onto our shores with our plastic garbage.

When I first started to compose this letter while walking on Crosby Beach, I spotted a candy wrapper in the seaweed. As I bent over to pick it up I frightened a hawk out of the reeds. It stuck, mid-air, in a gust of wind, its wings shining yellow with the sunrise. What beauty we will miss if we choose our love of plastic over our natural world.

Here on Cape Cod, Sustainable Practices LTD is working towards a commercial single use plastic water bottle ban. It may require a small shift for each individual to carry a refillable container, or to filter your tap water, or to clean a glass, or to drink out of a paper cup. But I think we can do it!

Suzanna Nickerson


Who Pays The Price?


Two wondrous acts of kindness started off 2020, then Trump ruined the next decade, and beyond.

In Harwich, a generous donor matched $20,000 needed to save “The Last Lot,” a critical piece to protect Coy’s Brook and Herring River wildlife, and to keep the land open for trail use, not development.

A Chatham benefactor gave the town two lots he owned for a new senior center, saving $750,000 for his neighbors and showed amazing civic pride and generosity.

Then, Trump begins a war with Iran. He’d predicted, in 2011, Obama would start a war with Iran, using words like, “because it’s the only way he’ll get reelected.”

Trump backed out of the Iran nuke deal we struck with our allies and others, a deal that restrained it from development of these WMDs for a decade and a half to two decades. T tried to bully Iran into submission. He failed.

Now the poor little rich boy with bone spurs has placed a target on every American and our allies. Does this remind any one of his abandoning the Kurds and ceding the border of Syria to Turkey and Russia? It’s as bad, likely, profoundly worse ... He made us vulnerable, less safe, not more.

Now, “Death by a thousand cuts?” Of who, whom? Who pays the price for T’s acts?

Sebastian Mudry
West Harwich


Wants Info, Options On Senior Center


If the Chatham Council on Aging has a legitimate, factual reason for a new facility, why didn't they use a current photo of the lovely building on Stony Hill Road? Saturday's Town Meeting provided cogent and accurate statistics for not using the land on Route 28. Those in favor offered opinions and feelings. At no time were we given statistical reasons why we needed another facility or why the present one is inadequate. We were given no other options that could solve the problem. Does anyone really believe spending $130,000 on a feasibility study (aka making an unsuitable piece of property suitable) will result in a negative assessment? And then who would have the winning bid to construct the project that could end up in the $10 to $12 million range? Because people oppose these articles does not indicate opposition to a new senior center. All we want is real information and other options to consider. Instead, the meeting felt as if we were being railroaded. Allowing non-Chatham residents to cast a voice vote (yes, we saw non-residents say "aye" when a voice vote was called) seems anti-American and possibly illegal. Why are these people allowed to have a voice in how our town runs its business?

Judy Renkawitz, Nancy Kucera and Anne Broderick