Letters To The Editor: April 2, 2020

Letters to the editor.

The Importance Of Scooping


Dear dog walkers,

Of the things focusing our attention on personal, community and national health right now, a key one should be the health of the Cape Cod fresh water supply source. The Harwich watershed includes Thompson’s Field where human and canine family members exercise.

Thompson’s Field is a woodland and field conservation area used year round. The Harwich Conservation Trust states, “The mosaic of woods and fields were preserved primarily to protect groundwater flowing toward the adjacent public well field.”

Do dog walkers need to pick up feces, bagged and not bagged? National environmental health, safety officials respond with one voice to the overarching question: Yes! Some known transmittable ingredients in feces that humans contract: hookworms, roundworms,tapeworms, threadworms (a.k.a. pinworms,), e-coli, and campylobacteriosis. 

Dog feces are not fertilizer; dog feces do not benefit soil; dog feces are as high as third on the list of contributors to contaminated water (ponds, lakes, river and drinking water); disease is spread between dogs and to humans. In 1991, the EPA deemed pet waste in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. 

Please use bags provided at each entrance to the park; use it each time your dog poops. Please take that pink or blue bag with you to the nearest trash bin. Please don't leave them in the fields; see health reasons above.

Judi Sitkin

Please Do The Right Thing


Fourteen days, two weeks, a fortnight. It seems like it was ages ago that we were together, eight of us, to celebrate our youngest son’s birthday. There was hugging and kissing all around, good food, good drink, good laughs, sharing a lovely weekend with the ones that we love. There were some serious moments also, as we discussed the rapidly progressing coronavirus, AKA COVID-19. My wife and I are very fearful for the safety and health of both of our sons and their wives, all of whom are on the front line trying to wage the fight against this viral storm and care for those who have fallen victim to it. 

Our sons call us several times and our daughters-in-law will text during the course of the week to check on us. Because they are medical professionals, we ask them what it is going on, what do they see occurring and what do we need to do to help “flatten the curve” of devastation cause by this viral storm. The things that we hear mentioned on TV are the things we should all be doing to help all of those that we know, and all of those that we do not. As painful as it is, we all need to maintain a “social distance,” we all need to wash our hands, we need to avoid making unnecessary trips—limit shopping trips, wear gloves if you have to go to the store, use disinfectant wipes on carts and baskets, on your car door handles and steering wheel, wipe your cell phone if you used it in a public place.

If we all work together to weather this storm, performing the simple tasks described earlier, we are buying time for all of our front line healthcare professionals to take care of the overflow of sick patients they are facing on a daily basis. To avoid running out of face masks completely, healthcare professionals are re-using their masks instead of throwing away after each patient. If you have spare dust mask respirators that you use around the house, consider donating them. Our youngest son told us that some anonymous donor left three boxes of respirators outside the door of the practice he works in. Our sons and their wives have encouraged people who sew to make masks.

Fourteen days ago, our familiar world was a different place. It is surreal to see businesses, libraries, community centers, theaters, restaurants closed or take-out only. We can weather this storm. Help your neighbors where you can, support our local businesses where you can. Everyone be safe. Everyone be healthy. Everyone, please do the right thing

Ernie Stricsek


Treat Each Other Well


Trump’s partisan response to the coronavirus is responsible for the skyrocketing number of victims and deaths. The administration has a record of giving more federal support to red states. Undoubtedly if the epicenter of of the crisis was Houston or Indianapolis, money and supplies would be freely flowing to them.

This is nothing new for the administrations. For example, in Market, Andrew Keshner reported that households in Republican “red” states are projected to see an average 1.6 percent increase in remaining lifetime spending in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, while households in Democratic “blue” states will see an average 1.3 percent.

Trump is a vain, narcissistic nightmare. Republicans motivated by fear and self-interest refused to remove him from office. Now this ghoulish presence is leading what could be possibly World War III against an invisible enemy. Does anyone believe George Bush or Barack Obama would have allowed this?

There is no solution in sight. As individuals we can donate to the less fortunate, volunteer, write to elected officials and thought influencers and, most importantly, treat each other as we wish to be treated. 

Kathleen Mogg

Astounded By Relief Details


What was Congress thinking? I was astounded when I read that the $2.2 trillion economic package will give a $2,400 check to couples with little or no earned income and an adjusted gross income up to $150,000. I was even more astounded when I read that couples with little or no earned income and an adjusted gross income up to $198,000 will also get a check though on a sliding scale. The amount of earned income is as simple as looking at line 1 on the 2019 Form 1040. That amount should have been taken into account, along with AGI, in the calculation of payments to those couples.

Certainly, couples who have lost their jobs and incomes because of COVID-19-related issues deserve compensation. But for those whose AGI will not likely be adversely affected, it is an inappropriate and unnecessary windfall at the expense of the less fortunate and future taxpayers who will have to shoulder the financial burden of this package.

An opportunity is at hand for those who can afford it to give their checks to charity or to someone less fortunate.

George Myers
Chatham and Venice, Fla.

Airport Commissioner Should Resign


In a highly unfortunate letter, pilot René Haas of the Chatham Airport Commission launched an attack upon a respected member of our community who has selflessly and tirelessly contributed to the town’s welfare. Mr. Haas could just have simply disagreed on issues, but, no, instead he personally targeted an individual who has done more to benefit us than he could ever hope to.

Haas has shown himself unqualified in judgment, temperament, and performance to serve the commission with equilibrium—and thereby brings shame to it. It pains me to say that such a member needs immediately to resign or to be removed.

J. Denis Glover

Help Emergency, Medical Professionals


A network of volunteers is hard at work making masks and face shields for the healthcare workers on Cape Cod. I'm receiving a donated shipment of 50 3D printed face shields from Chad Bennett in Charlestown. These will be distributed to the Chatham Fire Department, Cape Cod Healthcare, and Broad Reach. I was born in Chatham and my father was on the fire department there. Now that I'm older my classmates and their family members work there, so I want to do everything I can to help keep them safe. Additional volunteers are sewing face masks for medical workers, and a large number of masks are in production right now. We need every helper we can get to help keep our medical professionals safe through this crisis, as they are rapidly running out of critical protective equipment.

Dorothy Bassett

Visitors Can Help, Too


Cape Cod visitors and part-time residents, you’re back. The truth is that those of us who live here full time always have mixed feelings when you arrive. Many of us know that our livelihoods and income are directly or indirectly dependent on your patronage, your rental fees, and the property taxes you pay.  On the other hand, we selfishly grudge you the inconvenience of increased traffic, the lines in the stores, and loss of the solitary beauty of the natural surroundings that we had foolishly forgotten was not ours alone to enjoy. Some of us rightly resent when the very small percentage of you are impolite or treat us as inferiors. 

We know that you are here because you are scared. We are scared too, and we are even more scared now that you’re here, scared that infections will rise, scared that police, fire and rescue, and healthcare resources will be so stretched that we will all suffer. Since you are here, please know that we will try to be good neighbors and expect that you will try to be as well.  Mix your bike rides and golf games in with some volunteer work at the food pantry or with the council on aging. Reach out to a local family who can’t make rent this month because of lost jobs and do your part. Donate some of your resources to the local schools who are trying to keep their students engaged from a distance. Mostly we ask you for what I wished that I had said more politely to the young jogger who demanded a “thank you” from me as he crossed to the proper (against oncoming traffic) side of the road when he saw me coming: humility not privilege.

Sean Mulholland

Is This Any Way To Run A Town?


Is it any wonder that nothing is being done by our town government about the coronavirus? For at least five years, our selectmen and town manager have been responsible for every failure and/or mismanagement of just about every town project undertaken and have continuously blamed everyone else for those failures. Why should their track record change now?

Our airport, its uses, and its expansion are very contentious issues, to say the least. They still are and the selectmen have done nothing meaningful to resolve them. In the meantime, over $500,000 of town money has been spent on lawsuits. The selectmen blame the FAA.

The federal government still controls Chatham's portion of the National Monomoy Wildlife Refuge and negotiations have ceased. The selectmen blame our congressional and senate delegations for that failure. The Mitchell River Bridge, which took almost three years to build and detoured Bridge Street, still doesn’t work properly. The selectmen blame the weather and the state civil engineers who designed the bridge.

The long-awaited roundabouts in West Chatham still don’t exist and driving is challenging at best. The selectmen blame NStar, EverSource and Mass DOT for the delays. The selectmen’s handpicked charter review committee was disbanded for conduct unbecoming its members. The selectmen blame the committee members.

The selectmen’s decision to build sidewalks along Stage Harbor Road was another tragedy, and more town money was spent on lawsuits as the neighbors challenged the selectmen in court. The selectmen blame the Barnstable Recorder of Deeds.

The fish pier, a proposed three-month project, still is not completed with no end in sight. The selectmen blame the contractor. In an attempt to bolster Chatham’s fish and shellfishes businesses, our town has spent over $10 million to rebuild the Aunt Lydia’s Cove Fish Pier and over $4 million to rebuild the trap dock in Stage Harbor. Given the changing dynamics of our coast line, both may soon be unusable.

In the meantime, instead of formulating a long term solution to maintain the viability of our fishing fleet, our selectmen use a band-aid approach of dredging when the shoaling becomes a threat to boater safety. They blame the ocean and an unreliable county dredge for the shoaling problems.

Is this any way to run a town?

Bob Hessler
North Chatham


Officials Not Getting The Message


I am distressed: It does not appear that either our board of selectmen or our town manager are taking the extraordinary challenge that we are facing as a community very seriously, both economically and emotionally.

At the last selectmen’s meeting on March 23, it was business as usual that ended with more reporting on the 1610 Main St. feasibility study. Our selectmen are stubbornly and blindly supporting this $8.3 million project for an 11,000-square-foot senior center. How can they recommend such a large capital expenditure at this time, especially when we have other uncompleted projects such as the fish pier and trap dock? Selectman Metters was quoted “We’re moving forward as business as usual knowing it’s not business as usual.”

There is such uncertainty looking ahead. Will there really be a tourist season this summer and if so how strong? There is no way of estimating the town tax revenue from hotel and meals taxes. I am sincerely hoping to see more depth of understanding of our current situation and leadership from our board of selectmen & our town manager!

Chatham Bars Inn, The Wayside Inn and all non-essential businesses in town are closed—a huge message! Plus our restaurants only can do takeout!

I applaud our schools, churches and Monomoy Community Services for their support to all in our community who need and are getting their help. Perhaps a small group of citizens from both the private and public sectors should be engaged to provide leadership in this time of great need.

Oonie Burley