Positive Progress On Senior Center
The Jan. 4 special town meeting brought us one step closer to creating a viable new senior center. With the creative problem-solving skills of expert planners, a facility that meets the needs of seniors and fits the landscape can be designed. We cannot continue to criticize every site, thus never improving the situation for the intended population.
Imagine the loneliness, isolation and frustration that come when age and circumstances remove seniors from family and friends, take away their ability to be fully independent, and confine them. Isolation and loneliness are followed by depression and health problems. Since seniors are a large part of the local population and, when able, serve many needs of the community, it seems logical that the community would want to be sure they remain healthy and active by providing a social gathering place that offers companionship and enhances lives through meaningful activities and learning opportunities. Socializing with others keeps us all healthier and happier. Ask around. One of the best parts of life is sharing it with friends.
Senior Center Site Has Great Potential
A few years ago when talk began about a new senior center there was a restaurant near the West Chatham post office for sale. A letter to the editor in this paper stated that the traffic in the area was horrendous and the site should not be considered. As a West Chatham resident I did not agree with this evaluation . Evidently Cape Cod Healthcare did not either, judging the area safe enough to renovate the building into a valued medical center.
Across the street from our senior center site the medical center offers the potential not only for off-hour parking but emergency care and integrated programs.
The new roundabouts, clearly designated crosswalks and speed limits will make this an even safer neighborhood center. The shops and restaurants, conservation area, and bike and pedestrian sidewalk to Harding's Beach will meet the variety of interests for activities outside the building. I imagine painting and sketching classes in the conservation area with Bearse's Pond in the background.
I encourage you to visit the beautiful Eastham Library built overlooking a pond. It is an inspiring building with a similar topographical advantage our COA center will have at 1680 Main St. the best possible site.
Market Helped Make Holiday Special
On behalf of the Chatham Fire Department we would like to acknowledge the Chatham Village Market. With their generosity we were able to package and deliver meals to 17 Chatham families this holiday season. This annual food drive would not be possible without a very generous donation made by a local family who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you to all who helped us make this a special holiday for deserving local families!
Chatham Fire Department
Thanks To Turkey Trotters
The Lower Cape Outreach Council experienced many wonderful acts of community support and generosity throughout the past holiday season.
Closest to my heart as a Chatham resident is the Turkey Trot. This year, after 14 years of sunny Thanksgiving mornings, I awoke to rain and cold and thought for sure the event would be a disappointment.
The Turkey Trot not only realized a massive truck load of food for our nine Lower Cape pantries, but when all receipts were counted, we were the beneficiaries of $42, 250!
I want to thank Linda Redding and Mary Parsons who originated the Turkey Trot and still head up this wonderful event. I thank all the people who work with Linda and Mary to make it a Thanksgiving tradition for so many families and individuals. I thank the business sponsors who provide essential support and, of course, I thank the 1,950 people who registered for this year’s event.
As a result of the Turkey Trot, we will be able to provide nutrition and financial assistance to hundreds of local households that struggle to keep roofs over their heads and food on their tables. We will be able to provide emergency assistance when our neighbors need heat this winter or help with utility bills or repairs of boats and work vehicles. I am happy to add that we will be able to come up with tuition assistance for local workers who wish to update their skills or pursue entirely new job paths.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors…that’s what the Lower Cape Outreach Council is all about. Thanks to the Turkey Trot, we’re off to an excellent start in 2020!
Larry Marsland, CEO
Lower Cape Outreach Council
Don't Exclude Middle School Land
Voters were unfortunately given misinformation by the chairman of the board of selectmen at town meeting regarding the 31.8 acres at the middle school. It is not owned by the Monomoy Regional School District. It is owned by the town of Chatham. Both the Chatham and Harwich Middle Schools were under a 20-year lease as of Oct. 22, 2012.
According to the terms of the lease, Harwich apparently deemed their middle school surplus. It reverted back to the town of Harwich control, and is now being used as the Harwich Cultural Center. I believe Chatham can therefore deem two acres surplus, be excluded from the lease, and revert back to the control of Chatham to be used for the council on aging.
I don't understand why we didn't exclude it from the lease at the time of the regional negotiations, as that amount of acreage—a premium in Chatham—was not required for a middle school. During the 2012 negotiations, Harwich excluded their little league field from the lease that was on the high school property.
When vetting available sites for the COA, I think this was an unfortunate oversight, as so much time has now been lost. We could have been voting on this location in May with far less controversy. The land is flat with no topographical issues, already owned by the town, with sufficient room for needed parking, likely allowing a less expensive and more user-friendly one story structure, with green space for outdoor activities, on a much safer and more easily accessible road, with virtually no impact on the middle school.
As I requested at the Jan. 6 board of selectmen meeting, this option should be investigated now in preparation for a potential defeat of 1610 Main in May.
Airport Meetings Crucial
Chronicle reporter Alan Pollock wrote a very important article about the Dec. 2 board of selectmen meeting and their reactions to the airport commission chair Peter Donovan’s update on the airport master plan. Unfortunately it only appeared on The Chronicle’s website. According to The Chronicle staff, it was an editorial accident and printing it in a subsequent hard copy would be “old news.” A correction notice with a link to the article did appear in a later edition, but it is doubtful many readers took the time or effort to track it down in this format especially during the holidays.
With the holidays and the special town meeting behind us, it seems this article would be a good way to start off the New Year by informing Chatham residents of the BOS’s concerns regarding the critical AMP. Respectfully, I encourage The Chronicle to reconsider their initial position and reprint the article in its entirety with an explanation for why it’s being published now.
Interested parties can view all BOS and AC meetings on Chatham’s town website (www.chatham-ma.gov/) under archived videos. However, attendance at the airport commission monthly meetings is crucial in understanding the complexity of the AMP. The next AC meeting is Monday, Jan. 27 and I encourage all to attend.
Editor's note: The Cape Cod Chronicle endeavors to publish news as it happens, but we sometimes make mistakes. The article in question remains available to read for free on our website.
Airport Depends On Ancient Technology
Almost all airports in Massachusetts and throughout the United States have implemented modern GPS guided approach procedures allowing for straight-in landings. Chatham Airport has not. We rely on old-fashioned circling approaches that create extra noise and are less safe.
That is why I am confounded by the notion that the airport commission would consider removing these modern GPS procedures from the airport master plan update which should seek to modernize procedures with today’s technology.
There are many documented fatal accidents that have occurred with the type of outdated, circling procedures that are currently in use at Chatham. It is high time that we followed the lead of almost every airport in the country by implementing these “LPV” procedures at Chatham Airport. Let’s bring Chatham Airport into the 21st century!
Dogs, Dancers And Generosity
Our deepest appreciation to Kim Roderiques for her wonderful event, Pirouettes, Plies and Pets. It was a beautiful evening of generosity and inspiration that will benefit local children and families throughout the year. Our community is fortunate to have Kim’s creative talents, endless energy and willingness to do the work necessary to make great things happen.
Families, Staff and Board of Directors of Monomoy Community Services
Questions Smoke Shop Permits
As I spend part of the year on the west coast, The Chronicle arrives in the mail. I just received the Dec. 26 edition on Jan. 7. It was with absolute disbelief that I read the article on the Royal Smoke Shop. Not one but three applications were approved for the same owners, the Patel family, by the Harwich Board of Health. Has the board lost its mind? Do they not follow the news that vaping has become an epidemic? Is this the kind of example that we wish to set for our young people? Yes, the legal age is 21. No one can be naive enough to suppose that false IDs would not be used.
The shop in Harwich Center is a stone's throw from Monomoy High School. The shop in West Harwich will bring the number of smoke shops to two, joining Fully Baked in the West Harwich Post Office Square. What is wrong with Harwich that we allow a surge such as this to pollute its citizens? Shame on the regulatory boards. This is a tragedy!
Now COA Project Can Move Forward
The board of the Friends of the Chatham Council on Aging would like to thank all the voters of Chatham who came out on Saturday, Jan. 4 to vote yes on the two articles that have moved the COA building project to the next step. In spite of concerns raised by many that having a special town meeting in January would not bring out many voters, nearly 700 people attended the meeting; 409 of them voted in favor of accepting the donated site, and just about all voted to approve funding for a feasibility study.
We invite you to visit us at our existing location at 193 Stony Hill Rd. during regular business hours and tour our building. Learn what goes on there, participate or become a volunteer. It will promote a better understanding of why we need a more modern and functional senior center for all the seniors in Chatham.
We hope to have your support again at the annual town meeting in May.
Susanna Foster, board member
Friends of the Chatham Council on Aging