Letters To The Editor: June 11, 2020

Letters to the editor.

Support Climate Change Initiative


Those of us living on the bend of Cape Cod’s peninsula have already experienced enhanced erosion of our beaches, rising ocean temperatures wreaking havoc on our native species and an increased intensity of storms that announce that we are on the front lines of a climate emergency. Many voices have recently articulated the insight that our concurrent coronavirus crisis serves as a “dress rehearsal” for how we will meet the greater threat posed by climate change. Our only hope to mitigate climate change is to find the political will to make fundamental changes in the ways we live that are guided by science.

The global pandemic has also created an opening for clarity about what matters most: preserving a habitable environment for our children and grandchildren. Images from around the world reveal what life could be like and free our imaginations from the tyranny of “the way things are.” Perhaps, in the space created by clearing skies it may be easier for us to realize that our global way of life has brought us to the brink of catastrophe, and that we are being offered a moment for collective reflection — and the opportunity to chart a new, sustainable direction for Cape Cod.

There is a logical first step that residents of Cape Cod can take toward this goal. A local Climate Action Network has emerged in each town on the Cape as part of the Cape Cod Climate Emergency Initiative’s goal to place a citizen petition on the meeting warrant of every town. The Harwich Climate Action Network (CAN) will accordingly present the town of Harwich with a petition to adopt a new climate policy bylaw in the fall in recognition of the climate emergency that threatens our communities and our children’s futures. This bylaw would support the central goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero at the earliest feasible time. Its adoption would facilitate the development of policies to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuel dependency to green energy sources.

Residents of Harwich, please attend the fall town meeting to vote for the adoption of this article when it is presented. Residents of other Cape towns, attend your own town meetings to seize this opportunity to have an impact on preserving your children’s futures. In the meantime, use your time well: inform yourself about how climate change will increasingly impact our Cape Cod communities in the coming decades. A very informative source is nca2018.globalchange.gov. 

Susan Patterson

The writer is a member of the Harwich Climate Action Network.

Runyon For Practical Solutions


Like many young couples, my wife and I first came to Cape Cod as honeymooners. That visit sparked another love affair, one with Orleans, the place and its people. That courtship evolved quickly from brief visits to decades in a treasured family home.

More than 50 years later, the pace of change in our town has quickened, sometimes in worrisome directions. Meff Runyon’s service on the Orleans select board gives me great reassurance about the aspects of Orleans that are most important to me — homes and livelihoods for young families, excellent educations for their children, and a vibrant and varied community that shares and protects our land and waters on multiple fronts. 

Meff has values that match my own. His work in banking and finance fostered the growth of family homes (ours among many others), small businesses, and community enterprises. His service on the select board shows his skill in working toward sensible, practical solutions to knotty problems like affordable housing, clean water, and the threats of the pandemic. Our community’s future is safe in his hands.

Paul Davis

Candidate Up To Today's Challenge


For many years I have served with Meff Runyon on town committees and local Orleans nonprofits and have always been impressed with his hard work and extensive knowledge of Orleans.

The select board is critically important and requires full-time dedication. How fortunate we have been to have the benefit of Meff’s exceptional talent, background, and energy serving Orleans. He has been a protector of Orleans water and land, a promoter of commercial viability for our villages and an untiring advocate for educational opportunities for Orleans schools and future generations.

We're in an unprecedented time that requires critical and creative thinking along with practical financial expertise to steer Orleans through the rough waters ahead. Meff Runyon has the experience and financial background we need for today and the long-term vision we need for tomorrow to provide the best possible future for our residents, our children and our grandchildren. 

Navigating through the unknowns of the next few years we are very fortunate that we have the opportunity to re-elect such a knowledgeable, talented and dedicated individual.

Stephanie Gaskill

Candidate Knows Local Economy


I am writing in support of Meff Runyon’s candidacy for reelection to the Orleans select board. 

Meff has lived and worked in Orleans for decades and he and his wife raised their children here. I first saw Meff in the early 1970s at an amazing estate sale on Arey’s Pond. I noticed him because he and I liked the same items with ties to Orleans history. We both left happy.

I next saw Meff at the teller window of the Cape Cod Five in Orleans and learned his identity through his nameplate. Over the next 36 years at the bank, he rose from teller to branch manager to senior vice president. He knows business owners locally and regionally and how the Cape’s economy works.

In recent years I noticed Meff coming out of a yoga class in Orleans center. He has the mental and physical flexibility to look at problems from many angles. At meetings, Meff shows up, listens, briefly explains his stance and votes on issues. Refreshing.

I thank Meff for his willingness to run for re-election.

Susan Milton

Make Orleans A Better Place


I have been a supporter of Meff Runyon since he initially ran for selectmen. I spent time with him discussing his values and his vision to make Orleans a better place. I admire his passion for our town and his dedication for serving the people. He has an ability to listen, and comprehend other points of view on what is best for the town. 

I have been very impressed with his knowledge, involvement and support with workforce housing, water quality, town landing access, bike and pedestrian safety and a partner for small businesses.

Meff works well with the other selectmen and has spent hours patiently listening and helping build consensus. I believe our board of selectmen should openly express their opinions and concerns and have the skills to have difficult conversations. We currently have a board that does this. 

I, along with many others, appreciate the value Meff brings to this town. We are fortunate to have his devotion and service. I believe that Meff should be re-elected for another term. He will continue to work very hard to make Orleans a better place.

Sid Snow

Reed Qualified To Serve


As a former next-door neighbor of the Reeds, I know how energetic and involved Andrea Reed is in our community.  She has the essential experience needed for the select board due to her background in varied areas necessary for this position.  She worked as a curriculum specialist in both Cleveland and Shaker Heights, Ohio before working for the Nauset Public School system.  In addition to appointed public service positions in Ohio, Andrea has participated in local government in Orleans, mainly nine years on the planning board, including two years as chair person. 

Andrea has broad qualifications for the select board, but most important of all, she has a deep love of Orleans.

Jackie Stowell

Reed Is Committed To Orleans


Orleans voters have a great opportunity to elect a thoughtful, dedicated, and dynamic new select board member, Andrea Reed, on June 23. We wholeheartedly support her election so that her experience, qualifications and skills will strengthen the deliberations and actions of the Orleans select board.

We have witnessed Andrea’s commitment to Orleans while working together on many boards, committees and organizations in town. Andrea served on the planning board with John and was always prepared to make thoughtful decisions in the best interests of Orleans regarding its future development and local needs. We were both involved in the process to create a streetscape for downtown Orleans. While on the board of the Orleans Improvement Association, Pat worked with Andrea on a committee to help make these downtown upgrades a reality. Andrea’s love of our town and its beautification was always evident in our discussions.

We ask that you vote for Andrea Reed for select board because we know she can be trusted to have the best interests of Orleans at heart and is an innovative thinker who can lead us through new challenges we must meet for the Orleans community we want moving forward.

John Fallender
Patricia Fallender
South Orleans

Proud Of Senior Support


It was with delight and admiration that I witnessed the Monomoy seniors’ Last Lap last Friday night at Monomoy High School. This long-standing tradition has involved seniors driving circles around the high school, while staff and family and friends cheers them on. I was so amazed by the fabulous turnout by Harwich and Chatham firefighters and police, who set up an American flag on one of the ladder trucks and were there to support the kids while monitoring their enthusiastic loops around the high school. We live in a wonderful community. I am so proud of Monomoy and our towns that care so much about our kids, making senior year as special as we can during these challenging times. Bravo!

Sheila House
Harwich Youth and Family Services


Time To Move On


Several months ago, I signed a petition to explore an alternative site on middle school land for Chatham’s new senior center. The site on Stepping Stones Road appeared to be an excellent alternative and deserved a careful look. As a result of a feasibility study, Chatham residents now have more information.

The study shows that building a two-story senior center (the identical design proposed for 1610 Main St. in West Chatham) on school property will cost about a quarter million dollars more than building on 1610 Main St. Additionally, there are issues that no longer make the Stepping Stones site feasible. For safety and traffic reasons that seemingly have merit, residents on Stepping Stones Road oppose putting an 11,000-square-foot building and a 55-car parking lot in their quiet residential neighborhood. The town can’t legally force the school committee to change their decision to hold on to the school land for educational purposes, especially when a viable site is available in West Chatham. 

When I signed the petition, I was not unhappy with the West Chatham location and design for a new senior center.  But I believed that the middle school location offered possibilities that should be looked at.  This has been done, and the facts are in.  It is time to move on. With more than half our year-round population over 60, Chatham’s seniors need a modern facility capable of housing vital services and programs unique to seniors. And I am fearful that if our citizens do not unite to make it happen on 1610 Main St., this critical project that has been talked about for over a decade will continue to be talked about and may never happen.

Supporting a senior center on 1610 Main St. is not a compromise but a good idea in its own right.  It’s a good idea that enhances the revitalization of the village center in West Chatham.  And it’s a good idea because irrespective of location, we are united in the belief that our seniors deserve a new senior center now.

George Michael Lane

Vote For Good Schools


The town of Chatham will be facing many difficult decisions over the next few years. I have been impressed by the work of many town officials including two incumbent school committee members who are seeking re-election. Nancy Scott and Jackie Zibrat-Long have the experience, talent and dedication that the town will need on the school committee over the next few years.

Both have served us well in the past and the combination of financial experience and classroom teaching make them a set of dynamic candidates.

I am a retired teacher who has seen many school committee members across the Commonwealth, but few have been as good as Nancy Scott and Jackie Zibrat-Long.

Bill Cullinane


Senior Center Not A 'Fad'


We’ve all seen the signs entering Chatham that advise our seasonal visitors to self-isolate for 14 days. But what about the seniors in town who have been isolating for almost 10 weeks since the lockdown?

Many of us are usually very active and involved in community activities.  But fear of contagion has kept us separate and alone. Scientific studies have shown that isolation is a real risk for seniors. It’s associated with higher rates of heart disease, stroke and dementia. A recent study I read indicated that lonely seniors have a 59 percent higher risk of not only physical decline, but also mental health decline. I am beginning my 11th week of isolation, and now understand how isolation can result in mental health decline, more worrying, more fear of the future and yearning for human interaction.  The COA staff have provided that human interaction, even it is only over the phone.

Fortunately, during these unprecedented times there’s a place that we seniors can turn to — our Chatham Council on Aging. Throughout the pandemic they, along with EOC and CERT workers, have been providing necessary services to those of us who are not comfortable being out and about with the public. In cooperation with town services they have even arranged for some seniors to be electronically connected to family members who live in other areas.

That is why it saddens me to read and hear some people say that the senior center is outdated, a fad, and no one uses it anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Almost 60 percent of our population qualify as seniors. We’re definitely not a “fad.” Seniors will continue to need the services of the COA for many years. I look forward to the day that I can return to the COA and take part in all the programs and services they offer. 

Barbara Segall
South Chatham

Candidates Up To School Challenges


I am writing this endorsement as a private citizen and not as a member of the finance committee. On June 25 we have an opportunity to return two experienced, committed and knowledgeable individuals to represent Chatham on the Monomoy School Committee. Both Nancy Scott and Jackie Zibrat-Long have served the children and taxpayers equally well. They are two of the three school committee members with private sector experience and also two out of three members who currently have students in school. We need that diversity on the school committee.

When schools reopen in the fall they will be forced to address a myriad of issues they have never faced before. Nancy’s background in finance will enhance the discussion and provide a much needed voice. As parents they understand the challenges of educating children under the requirements of COVID-19. Neither Nancy nor Jackie have any other agenda except to continue to support the excellent schools we have.

As a former superintendent of schools, I know the value of good public schools and the importance of having people who put students and teachers first, serve on school committees.

Florence Seldin


Together We Can Transform The World


Racism impacts everyone. Being born into a white supremacist society means we have all been socialized to not see it and thus be unwitting accomplices in holding it up. This doesn't make us bad people or mean we have to be unkind, violent to, or think poorly of black folks (which is only one way racism can be expressed), but it does by its very nature render us ignorant prior to substantial education.

We did not create the system or choose to be socialized into it. That is beyond our control. We do, by virtue of being here now, bear a responsibility to change it. Before we can work effectively to dismantle racism, we need to understand its insidious nature and the many levels at which it operates.

For those new to this work and wondering what can be done, I offer two books to begin: “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and “How to be Less Stupid About Race” by Crystal Fleming. Some great action steps are in “Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” at medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234. There are many other books, YouTube videos and classes on this subject. 

We must begin where we are. Let us transform our world together. 

Jeff Schwartz
West Harwich

Board Needs Fresh Voice


The last months have been unprecedented and extremely difficult. It has been a challenge to find cause/s for optimism. Thankfully, in Andrea Reed we have a candidate for the Orleans select board who has successfully raised our spirits with her fresh voice.   

Andrea has consistently been acting to make a positive difference. She is thoughtful, smart, and measured in her approach to problem solving, as demonstrated by her inclusive leadership on the Orleans Planning Board. She does her homework and can provide the select board with a full voting complement on every issue. Her broad experience in business, our schools and non-profits gives her tremendous understanding of the best ways forward for Orleans.  She has laid out a clear vision to move us beyond the current economic and public health crises.  

I would encourage you to check out her website at www.electandreashaw.com.  You will also find information about how to vote by mail if you can't make it to the polls on June 23.

I am also supporting current select board member Meff Runyon for re-election. His website (www.re-electmeff.com) also provides a wealth of information, as well as his accomplishments and views on upcoming issues.  

Gail Meyers Lavin

Candidates Demonstrate Leadership


I hope you will join many of us in re-electing Nancy Scott and Jackie Zibrat-Long to the Monomoy Regional School Committee.

Nancy and Jackie have demonstrated exemplary leadership in their combined 13 years serving our school-aged population. Their experience will be needed to navigate the challenges facing public education during these unprecedented times.

Let’s show our appreciation for their past and current commitment to the Monomoy Regional School District by re-electing Nancy and Jackie for another term.

David R. Whitcomb
West Chatham

School Com Candidates Dedicated


I write to voice my support for Nancy Scott and Jackie Zibrat-Long, the incumbents the two open Chatham seats on the Monomoy Regional School committee. As a past member of the MRSC, I know firsthand that Nancy and Jackie have the experience and knowledge necessary to guide the MRSC through these times of fiscal uncertainty. Both candidates have proven to be dedicated to the families of Chatham.

Stephen Davol

Runyon Deeply Appreciates Town


I am pleased to know that Meff Runyon is willing to serve a second term on the Orleans select board. I’ve known Meff for many, many years and, in all that time, I’ve been able to witness his deep appreciation for our town and all of its citizens.

After graduating from college, Meff went to work as a teller at Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank and rose through the ranks to become a senior vice president by the time he retired. His banking career gave him an expansive knowledge of financial matters — something that Orleans will surely need as we navigate through the financial stress resulting from COVID-19. As importantly, it gave him a great sense of the financial needs of our residents.

Meff also appreciates how important our natural environment is to all of us, both as residents and for our business community. It being the primary reason why we live here and why so many folks choose to vacation here. Meff has been an advocate for the preservation of open space for a very long time and has worked hard to protect it from development. 

Bob Wilkinson


Complexities Don't Escape Reed


I am voting for Andrea Reed for Orleans select board because she is competent, capable and creative.  Her nine years of service on the planning board built her deep understanding of town government and the challenges of responding to the diverse interests of town residents, local businesses, second-home owners and visitors.  Andrea’s involvement in the Orleans Community Partnership demonstrated her collaborative spirit and her listening skills. 

Andrea recognizes the importance of balancing the imperative to preserve Orleans’ special character with embracing the changes that will ensure the town’s vitality in the future. She understands the complexities of wastewater management, expansion of affordable housing, the capital needs of both the fire department and Snow Library, and the educational needs of students with challenging backgrounds.  

With her experience, empathy and enthusiasm, Andrea will bring a fresh perspective as the select board deliberates these and other critical issues.

Janet Taylor

Time To Come Together


Recent articles in The Chronicle have said it all. How should Chatham safely handle summer tourism this year? How will our merchants, their employees, our fisherman and tradesmen survive? How will the town budget make up for shortfalls in lost tourism revenue? No answer paints a particularly pretty picture, but it prompts me to ask the unpopular question: Can we finally stop bashing summer residents and visitors now? Can we embrace the notion we are seaside town of many loving constituents, each dependent upon the other? As the new saying goes, we may be separate at times, but we are all in this together.

Michael J Reilly
Bloomfield, Conn. and Chatham