Letters To The Editor: March 12, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Failure To Listen Has Repercussions


The recent letter by a self-serving, airport-connected Dennis writer stooped to a sad level of personal snideness.  Offensive attack on someone who has contributed so much to our town is uncalled for. It must stop.

Beyond that, the writer does not realize that since the 1930s the once modest, friendly airport and its expanded neighborhoods have changed radically. They’re not at all the same places. In response to that, reasonably concerned homeowners have a duty to press for airport reform, as they have tried to do.

Yet new proposals by the young, well-paid, outside Gale Associates gentleman—pushed in full-court press by an airport commission unsympathetic to homeowners—are alarming. Many Chathamites feel the proposals would harm the character, peace, property values, and, yes, safety of the town. (Incidentally, none has been approved or disapproved yet by the FAA, despite the Dennis writer’s incorrect assertions.)

But even more harmful is an emerging lack of listening and even a sense of obstinacy on the commission’s part, as well as that of a number of aggressive pilots, clearly rounded up from hither and yon. For example, I witnessed two childishly high-handing each other over their work to pressure the commission to defeat the selectmen’s recommendation for an airport advisory committee. These kinds of attitudes also must stop.

J. Denis Glover

Keep That Natural Wonder Alive


Mary Richmond’s “Under The Weather” article (Feb. 27) was a welcome antidote to the constant coronavirus news.

I particularly appreciated her including “The Land of Counterpane,” a beautiful poem, which is one of 66 poems from “A Child’s Garden of Verses” (1885) written by Robert Louis Stevenson after “Treasure Island” (1882).

Ms. Richmond and Mr. Stevenson share a positive outlook on life—love of and respect for the natural world, the ocean and its creatures, appreciating the freshness of walks on the beach and in the forests and finding genuine comfort in everyday gardens.

Both are keen observers of birds and animals and steady detailers of wildlife travels and wonderful imaginative chroniclers of childhood memories.

Stevenson was afflicted with poor health through his life and died at 44. He sometimes repeated themes of loneliness and the relentless battle between good and evil in his novels but still held that “The world is so full of a number of things. I’m sure we should be happy as kings.”

Joseph E. Coffey
East Orleans


Appreciates Outreach To Kids And Vets


Cape Rep Theatre has just wrapped another stellar season of YoCo and VetCo!

The Young Company (YoCo) created in 2017 by director Maura Hanlon provides professional theatrical training to Cape teens. In 2019, The Veterans Company (VetCo) was created by director and Vietnam veteran Art Devine to introduce local veterans to the art of theater. YoCo is a 100-hour-plus, eight-week training program and VetCo is a 10-week program. Both are offered free of charge, reflecting Cape Rep’s commitment to providing education for all members of our community.

Students are given a script that has been selected for its challenging language and adapted specifically for them by the ingenious Maura Hanlon. They learn dialect, physicality, character development, and stage combat from Cape Rep’s professionals. Both troupes learn in rehearsals held in the theater with a professional stage manager, lighting and sound designers, set builders, and costume designers.

Cape Rep has taken the initiative and given our kids and our veterans a gift. Thanks to a supportive community, YoCo recently performed three back-to-back sold out shows of “Once in A Lifetime.” This past weekend, VetCo did a marvelous job performing “Red Herring, A Workshop.” Post show talkbacks provided the audience with insight into the actor’s experience, their fears, and their triumphs.

These two programs serve a growing population searching for challenging, meaningful, artistic work. Thank you Cape Rep for having the vision and perseverance to continue giving back to our community with YoCo and VetCo.

Meri Hartford

Saddened By Diner Closure


It is with a heavy heart that I hear of the closure of Sandi's Diner in Chatham.  As a regular visitor from Ireland to my dear aunt and her great friends on the Cape, Sandi and Rose Mary have always looked after me with smiles and kindness. The diner was always a place of comfort and great pancakes! I will miss her “Two if by Sea” special which would keep me going for most of the day.

May I extend my best wishes to Sandi and her team—here's to great adventures ahead and lots of luck.

Aisling Dunne
Dublin, Ireland


Alternatives To Recycling Sticker Hike


While I understand the full Chatham transfer station sticker price (which I buy) increase, I don't understand the huge increase in the recycle sticker. Seems like all that will do is cause many people to just throw their recyclable items in with their regular trash. Maybe instead look into saving money by closing the area for two days in the winter and keeping the Wednesday close in the summer? Not sure anyone really needs to be able to go to the station seven days a week.

Mark Parrent
South Chatham

Time To Take The Gloves Off


At the board of selectmen meeting on March 2, I appreciated the fact that the selectmen urged the airport commission to appoint a citizen’s advisory committee, as recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration.  However, their tepid remarks are not likely to change the mind of the AC which has rejected creating a CAC.  The AC is determined to push through their agenda without considering serious citizen input.  

If the BOS really supports a CAC, there are actions they can take. They could determine what legal options they have. They could pass a strongly-worded motion to create a CAC. They could do their homework and figure out what the costs are to the town if the AC pushes through its plan as described in the current version of the airport master plan update. Then they could agree to vote against those expenses. They could also assess what environmental damage the AC’s plans would cause, such as cutting down trees and contaminating vernal pools.

Three years ago the BOS had an opportunity to keep the AC more balanced by reappointing two AC commissioners who represented the broader interests of the town rather than just the AC. They did not reappoint them—they failed us.  Now they again have an opportunity to support the broader interests of the town.  I hope they will not fail us this time.

The AC has shown it is determined to have its way.  To have any effect, the BOS has to take off their gloves and fight for what is right for the airport and the town of Chatham.

Read Moffett

Airport Critic Incites Fear


As a member of the Chatham Airport Commission, I must say that Dr. Tompsett’s repeated attacks accusing commissioners of "obfuscating" and being "duplicitous" are indeed personal and serious.  While I will always defend Tompsett's right to express his opinion, his attacks must be refuted if we are to maintain confidence and trust in the actions and plans of the airport commission.  History says that if you repeat attacks enough times, and there is no defense, then there must be guilt.

Let us examine just a few of Dr. Tompsett’s statements made in letters and flyers which have been widely distributed. In one of the first flyers criticizing the master plan, under the heading “Plans,” the very first sentence states “Legalize the currently occurring landings of … commercial taxis.”

This is very frightening to the casual reader.  The clear implication is that charter aircraft are operating illegally today, and the commission is conspiring to make it legal.  Since he hates these aircraft so much, why has he not just called the FAA to immediately stop their operations?  Could it be that there is absolutely nothing illegal going on?  Could it be that his statement is simply false and calculated to create fear and distrust?  Could it be that the airport commission cannot legalize anything even if it wanted to?  In his latest letter to the editor, Dr. Tompsett asserts that the 3,000-foot runway at Chatham is not long enough for Pilatus PC12 aircraft to operate.  Then how can it be that these aircraft have been operating regularly in and out of Chatham for many years?  Surely the regulating authorities would have put a stop to such illegal and dangerous operations years ago.  Dr. Tompsett expects and hopes that the community should trust him.  Why are there so many contradictions in his own statements?

The airport commission is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the airport as it has been while making it quieter and even safer without increasing traffic, but Dr. Tompsett expresses that the town would be better off without an airport.  Clearly, it is he and not the commission that wishes to dramatically change the character of Chatham.  Is that what the community really wants?  I urge you to ask these questions and examine the financial and personal motives of those who would like to destroy our airport.

Rene Haas

A Nice Quid Pro Quo


It seems it was OK to cut down trees on the town-owned land on Middle Road for the COA project. Now, however, it's not OK to cut down trees on the town-owned municipal property on Stepping Stones Road. I'm not able to understand this issue. I believe it's important that newcomers to town know that 12.5 acres of town-owned land, with a deed restriction of watershed and conservation, was used to build the fifth ball field for the children of Chatham. In 1997 the taxpayers voted to amend the deed to accommodate the children. A nice thank you would be the release of the two acres on Stepping Stones Road for the COA.

Betsy Abreu