Letters To The Editor: May 14, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Sidewalk Needed For Safety


A number of years ago the town authorized the installation of a sidewalk on Old Queen Anne from Stepping Stones to Main Street. This is the only stretch on that road that does not have a sidewalk from Lakeshore Drive to Main Street. It is dangerous to walk one side of the road. You are to always face traffic when walking on a road, but there is little escape if a car was coming toward you.

I have asked many times about the delay and each time there is a different excuse. The current one is that not all residents on that stretch have hooked up to the sewers and they don't want to cut through the sidewalk when they do. I believe we are mandated to hook up, but this does not seen to have happened. 

So, I think for the safety of walkers, the sidewalk should be put in now and if needed cut through later. There are cut-throughs where the sidewalks have been in place for years. It is not a big deal.

Please consider doing this for our safety.

Karen Riesterer

Deflection Is His Strategy


This past Sunday, May 3, President Trump appeared at a Fox News virtual town hall held at the Lincoln Memorial. He commented, “They always said, Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln.” He followed with, “I believe I am treated worse.”

His caparison with Lincoln, also a Republican, was absurd and totally missed the mark. Toward the end of the very blood Civil War, Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” and, that we should “bind up the nation’s wounds." This is in comparison to Trump’s many divisive statements, blaming others, while he once said, in response to question on virus testing, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

Ira Seldin

Grateful For Market, Volunteers


I want to thank the people at Chatham Village Market for their help. On Sunday morning I sent an email to the market listing the items I needed.  That night I received a reply that they would take care of it on Monday.  I got a call Monday afternoon that my order was ready and I paid for it with my credit card. When I asked how I could show my appreciation by tipping the person who shopped for me (I received everything I ordered), I was told they couldn’t accept tips.

I also want to thank the folks at Chatham Emergency Center for picking up my order and delivering it to my house. As an elderly person practicing self-quarantine, I am deeply grateful for their volunteer service to the community during this time of a public health crisis.

Barbara Segall
South Chatham


Wear A Mask, It's The Law


The commonwealth should make funds available to city and town police departments to hire laid-off healthcare workers to stand in high traffic pedestrian areas reminding people to wear face masks. They should hand out a mask to anyone without. Police who are fearful of people’s reactions to enforcement can stand at a respectful distance as a strong reminder that masks are now the law in Massachusetts.

Owners of stores who do not enforce the face mask law for employees and customers alike should receive citations and fines.

Michael Westgate

Candidate Sees Big Picture


With confidence, I recommend Andrea Reed to election to the select board of the town of Orleans. I have known Andrea for several years, particularly with reference to her work on the planning board and the zoning bylaw task force. I am a member of the task force, which is charged with reviewing the zoning bylaw for amendments and additions necessary and advisable. Eventually, after discussion, the amendments are vetted by the planning board and then carried forward to the select board and town meeting.

What sets Andrea Reed apart as a visionary is her brilliant ability to see the "big picture." To do this, she has a grounding in the history and past culture of the town, a unique glimpse at the present problem, and a forecaster's view of the likely development of the town. These skills carry through her work on the planning board, they brand her as an Orleans citizen with a well-reasoned idea of what should happen and what is likely to happen. These skills are those which mark a leader, a worker, an energetic and an articulate person ideally suited to a seat with the select board.

Michael P. Marnik

Unite To Support Senior Center Site


I am a supporter of 1610 Main St. site for the COA center. Before Bill Marsh acquired that property, it was owned for 80 years by the Sibley family and before that by Reuben Smith, a Chatham sea captain. Many were disheartened when the 1865 home on the property was demolished, but very pleased that Marsh offered to gift the land to the town for the COA center, a fitting legacy for the Smith and Sibley families.

The warrant article for an alternative site on Monomoy Regional Middle School land now jeopardizes whether Chatham will ever have a new COA center after a decade of searching for a viable location. Even assuming the middle school site is considered superior and town meeting approves that site by a two-thirds vote, the matter does not end there.

First, the Monomoy Regional School Committee is likely to adhere to its original decision not to declare the land surplus. Should the committee decide otherwise for any reason, there is a much greater hurdle that must be overcome. Town Counsel has pointed out that the select board must determine and give notice that the land is no longer needed for school purposes, which town meeting must approve by a two-thirds vote. Does anyone expect that will happen given the board’s unanimous opposition to the middle school site and the substantial support for 1610 Main St.?

With two warrant articles proposing alternate sites, there is little chance that either site will achieve a two-thirds vote, with the result that seniors will have to wait for a town meeting without competing sites. After that, seniors will wait several more years until the center is designed, bid and constructed, all the while with construction costs escalating.

Now is the time for all Chatham citizens to come together and support 1610 Main St. as the best and perhaps the only way Chatham seniors will enjoy a new COA center within the next several years.

George Myers
Chatham and Venice, Fla.

Withdraw Senior Center Alternative


Friends who signed the petition for a feasibility study were surprised and disappointed to learn that building a senior center on school land costs substantially more than building in West Chatham. Proponents of building on school land claimed that it would cost millions less. Whether miscalculation or skullduggery, proponents failed to deliver on their promise. Selectmen acted wisely, deciding not to build on Stepping Stones Road, preserving school land for educational purposes.   

Selectmen listened when the school committee and superintendent expressed concern over the safety of middle school children riding their bikes in the vicinity of a busy senior center. Neighbors objected to the impact of a large public building and parking lot on their quiet residential street. The densely wooded site requires clear cutting and extensive bulldozing to fit in the 11,000-square-foot building and 55-car parking lot. Site limitations put a majority of parking spaces far distant from the building for seniors to comfortably negotiate. 

None of these drawbacks exist at the West Chatham site. 1610 Main St. has important advantages for seniors, staff and village neighbors. It overlooks Bearse’s Pond with access to walking trails around the pond and 10-acre Samuel Hawes Conservation Area. 1610 Main is adjacent to Captain Harding Park and faces the newly redesigned, traffic-calmed, pedestrian-friendly village Main Street currently under construction. A senior center at 1610 Main, within easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and medical center, enhances West Chatham. 

School land proponents were given a fair hearing; in fairness to seniors, they should withdraw their premature town meeting article and join with the community now in providing a modern senior center in West Chatham. 

Rick Leavitt

Paying It Forward


Here is a happy story:

On Sunday, April 26, I was next in line at the Stop and Shop checkout (six feet away). The gentleman ahead of me had a Happy Birthday balloon. I commented about it and said, “Hang on tight,” and “shades of Friday night band concerts.” A pleasant, brief conversation ensued. He turned with a wink and the balloon pulled him out of sight.

As I tried to pay for my groceries, the clerk said, “Oh, no, he left $20 for your groceries.”

I hurried out to give him his $4.27 change, but to no avail. He may have been taken swiftly away by his balloon. Thank you, Santa Balloon Man!

B.T. Storer
South Chatham

Candidate Has Strong Vision


As a longtime resident and (retired) business owner in Orleans, I champion Andrea Shaw Reed for a position on Orleans' select board.

For over 20 years, I have worked with Andrea on a variety of committees including the Orleans Community Partnership, Old Firehouse/community center development and streetscape committee. She has a strong vision for how Orleans needs to move forward. She was and continues to be a guiding light for the about to be completed downtown redesign.

Orleans in 2020 faces enormous challenges on every front — economic, climate, social, educational — every facet of Orleans is impacted by COVID-19. Orleans needs forward thinking, insightful, and creative leadership. In my professional and personal association with Andrea, I have seen all of these qualities.

Elaine Baird


Columnist Eases Fear And Doubt


In this unusual time of uneasiness and doubt, Mary Richmond’s “Seeds of Hope” (May 7) is a welcome elixir of natural wisdom. The incessant coronavirus hysteria has almost made people’s fear of dying interfere with their everyday living.

Ms. Richmond’s walk in the spring woods becomes a few safe moments away from the pandemic advisories and melodramatic news reports. It’s a beautiful reminder that we are like trees in the forest. Some will grow tall. Some will “zig zag” and bend. Some will die.

Along the way, Ms Richmond urges us simply to take hope from “pointy” lettuce seeds and returning pond toads and to learn patience from our own gardens. She recognizes the bond between planting our little seeds and keeping our big dreams. Bravo!

Joseph Coffey
East Orleans


Selectmen Need To Be More Responsible


What is going on?  So much political chest thumping and manipulation of town meeting and the warrant, when people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.  The idea of having a town meeting as early as June 22 is irresponsible.  People are expected to choose between voting and their health?

The Chatham Board of Selectmen met on Thursday night past.  The meeting was noticed, but few people remembered it.  The blatant manipulation of the order of warrant articles was stunning and offensive.  One selectman made it clear that he will do anything to defeat Stepping Stones — including attacking the character and motives of over 500 citizens who signed the Stepping Stones petition.  The right to petition is a constitutionally defined power. It is tragic for any town official to characterize his constituents as creating a “sideshow” and criticize them for exercising their right and trying to do the right thing for not only the COA, but all townspeople.  Citizens who participate in the democratic process should not be subjected to such attacks or condemnation.

The feasibility study on both 1610 Main and Stepping Stones is clearly skewed. Numerous questions remain unanswered, including why a certified plot plan with boundary measurements was never completed as part of the feasibility study.

The games need to stop.  Our selectmen must be fiscally responsible and focus on the pandemic, unemployment, and the loss of millions in revenue to the town.  All capital projects should be withdrawn at this time. I hope that voters will oppose all capital projects except for emergency situations until the economy turns around and we are back for full employment.

Jennifer Buck
North Chatham


Chance To Serve Chatham Seniors


Now is the time for Chatham residents to support our school committee, our selectpeople, the council on aging and the officials who worked hard over 10 years to develop a plan and place for the new council on aging building.

Main Street offers the town an appropriate site located near public transportation, restaurants, a medical center and local shops. The land will be donated and the site plan includes all that is necessary for a building that meets the needs of its elderly clients. I am one of those elderly people who at one time happily served on the board of the Friends of the COA

The area around the Main Street site will prosper and grow as the new senior center becomes the focal point for the West Chatham corridor. This is our chance to build a great senior center for a population that has been waiting for 10 years. 

Bill Cullinane

Plant Milkweed, Help Monarchs


It’s time to plant milkweed seeds. Again I am offering seeds, free of charge, to encourage and help the monarch caterpillar and butterfly.

Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed and with wild places disappearing the monarch need our help. Stop by 606 Main St. in Chatham, on the corner of Seaview and Main streets, I will leave some seed packets in a container under my showcase. You may also email me at suzannaaan@yahoo.com, and I can mail them to you.

There are three native varieties. Common milkweed grows to about four or five feet tall and has a light pink like flower. Butterfly weed is bright orange, and grows about two feet high. These two are drought resistant.

Swamp milkweed enjoys more water and the flower is the same as the other two varieties but is a darker pink than the common.

The milkweed plants attract all sorts of interesting bugs and provide a great deal of food for other species.

Each packet has about 25 to 35 seeds.

My best results have come from planting the seeds in pots with potting soil and transplanting them into the ground when they get a nice tap route growing.

Monarchs are truly amazing animals.  

Suzanna Nickerson