Letters To The Editor: Sept. 10, 2020

Letter to the Editor

Do Something For The Environment


If you had the opportunity to do something for the environment, wildlife and your future that only took a bit of forward thinking and a small amount of effort, would you? If you don’t want to be swimming in, consuming, surrounded by, and overrun by ever mounting plastic trash, now is the time to support a Cape-wide ban on single-use plastic bottles.

Otherwise, someday we may say about the Cape, “What a waste!”

Heather MacKenzie


Act Quickly On Styrofoam Floats


I read William Galvin’s article about Styrofoam docks and floats. I applaud Ann Frechette, and her action to go before the conservation commission in Harwich. I also applaud the Harwich Conservation Commissions Chairman Brad Chase and Harwich Conservation Administrator Amy Usowskis’ interest in changing the problem of Styrofoam breaking down in our ponds and acting on behalf of wildlife and our rights to a clean and safe environment.

After last October’s big storm when boat floats broke apart into thousands and thousands of pieces in Stage Harbor in Chatham, I would have expected a quick and easy regulation update to make sure that this environmental disaster did not happen again. But Chatham float owners still have four years from Jan. 1, 2021 to remove their Styrofoam floats from our waters permanently.

With the constant day after day breaking down of Styrofoam into macro-plastic and then into smaller micro-plastics, Styrofoam’s use is inappropriate to maintaining a healthy environment. Styrofoam is not biodegradable but will photodegrade and eventually becomes a dust, too small to pick up and too small to filter out, that will remain forever both in our water and in our sand.

My hope is that the Styrofoam float owners be given no more than one year to properly dispose of open styrofoam floats and docks.

We in Chatham need to act decisively to get these styrofoam floats out of our waters as quickly as possible!

Suzanna Nickerson


Only Way To Save Country


No political party can save this country from the sorry state that it’s in. Only God, our creator, can do that.
Psalm 33:12 reads, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…”

America was founded primarily by Orthodox conservative Christians. Our founders believed that our success as a nation depended on our faithfulness to God’s eternal word. We, individually and as a nation, need to turn to God, and stay turned to God, and believe and practice what the Holy Bible says. Our success, or failure, depends on our fidelity to God’s word.

Audrey Thonus
Harwich and Mahwah, N.J.


Road Repairs Are Substandard


Why are Route 137, 28, and Old Queen Anne Road In such horrible condition? I realize there's a lot of work going on with the sewer project but the road "repairs" are substandard at best. Who is in charge of overseeing the proper repairs (temporary or not) are done and maintained properly?

Timothy Kent


Bicyclists Need To Stop At Crossings


The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a wonderful part of the Cape. It’s great to see people of all ages enjoying the beauty of it and getting some fresh air and exercise. However, it is becoming more dangerous, as many people don’t obey the stop signs where the rail trail meets the roads. These stop signs are clearly visible, most of which also have a sign underneath them to let the rider know that they’re supposed to dismount their bikes and walk across. 

More often than not bicyclists ride through the stop signs and have no concern about the vehicles driving by. They expect the drivers to come to a complete stop as they blatantly ignore these signs, risking not only their lives. Some of these are parents who are teaching their young children that it’s OK to disregard the rules and everybody around them.

It seems that this issue has gotten worse every year, and I’m afraid that it will take a fatality for something to be done about it. Is there a way to get something going regarding this problem, perhaps some type of physical barrier at each stop sign that would force the bicyclists to dismount and walk across the road safely? This is the only solution I can think of that would be effective, as everything else (including police postings) is not working.

Since tourist season is coming to a close, maybe this off-season would be a good time for something to be done before next year.

Colleen Baker


Retired Bogs Bring Benefits


I am writing in response to the Aug. 27 article (“A Record Cranberry Crop Forecast May Not Be Good News”) about the current challenges of the local cranberry industry.  For sure, the bogs are part of the fabric and history of Harwich and watching the cranberry industry decline is a loss on many levels, most harshly for the families who make farming cranberries their livelihood. We recognize it is a tough time with the oversupply of berries from Midwest and Canada driving down prices and small growers facing untenable economic forces.

It helps to know that growers have an option to sell their retired bogs/land to the town or local land trust and thereby protect land, water resources, wildlife and existing footpaths.  The town and the Harwich Conservation Trust have each been ready and willing buyers for these special opportunities to protect natural resources. When retired bogs are purchased for conservation, they can provide biodiversity, quiet places to observe wildlife, opportunities for scientific study, and outdoor activity which has become increasingly more in demand amidst current social isolation.

There also can be an unexpected, long-term benefit for the community.  One retired bog acquisition (HCT’s Robert F.Smith Cold Brook Preserve on Bank Street) is evolving into an ecological restoration project that will also reduce nitrogen in the water flowing to Saquatucket Harbor, thereby reducing sewering needs in the area. In 2017 town meeting voters approved $2 million for the restoration of the bogs upstream. By partnering with HCT, it is estimated the savings to the town to be up to $6 million according to the town's comprehensive wastewater management plan. That savings translates into lower wastewater bills for taxpayers and fewer road construction closures.

From natural resource preservation and tax payer savings perspectives, it seems like the town and HCT buying retired bogs can be a smart investment in our collective future. 

Gerie Schumann
Harwich Port


Cranberry Valley Corrections


I am writing in response to the You Guest It from Bob Connor (“Trouble Over Cranberry Valley Golf Course”) in the Aug. 27 edition of the Cape Cod Chronicle.

Mr. Connor makes one good point and that is having Chatham residents paying only slightly more than Harwich residents. They should pay the same as other non-Harwich residents. That is a matter for the board of selectmen to decide.

My husband took him up on his offer to provide copies of letters, his analyses, and comparisons with other courses. We found that he was misinformed and accepting secondhand information as gospel. For example, he asks the question “Who decides the number of members at CV?” He should know that it is not a private club; it is a municipal course open to all Harwich residents (as well as those from Chatham, Orleans, and Eastham). It is also open to non-members who pay a fixed fee per round.

CV uses the Chelsea system to allocate tee times to members. This system is widely used on the Cape. It tracks points for times played and allocates tee times based on the fewest points for a foursome. COVID-19 has reduced the number of tee times available for play. There are also more members here on a full-time basis because so many are working remotely and have chosen to stay on the Cape. With fewer tee times and more players, there are some groups that end up in “overflow,” including my group on occasion. Our friends in Dennis have the same issues. I understand the situation in Brewster has improved. At CV I have been able to play with friends and as a single a few times each week. But I do need to be flexible as to the time of day and the number of holes I play. I think all members are experiencing some degree of frustration about this issue but the bottom line is that the tee times are allocated fairly.

Cranberry Valley is a wonderful course which is highly regarded by golfers Cape-wide. It is well run and well maintained within the limits of its budget. I have been a member since 1989 and have seen many improvements over the years. I am also a member and past president of the Cape Cod Women’s Golf League, so I am familiar with all the courses on the Cape. CV is one of everyone’s favorite courses.

I would suggest that Mr. Connor attend meetings of the golf committee, capital outlay committee, finance committee, board of selectmen, etc. to understand how municipal government works.

Mary Ann Wall


EPA Should Drop 'Protection'


I would like to bring to the attention of your readers a national issue of critical importance. We have been entrusted with the care of a planet like no other. We continue to fail that trust, and this is evident more now than at any other time. During a raging pandemic that has killed almost 200,00 people, and using it as a convenient distraction, this administration is rolling back regulations put in place to protect the very natural resources necessary to keep us alive. Given the timing I wonder how many readers even realize this is happening. In all, under Trump, his administration is closing in on 100 total rollbacks, including but not limited to weakening limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from factories and cars, and other rules governing clean air, water, and toxic chemicals. One of the most recent assaults came on Monday, Aug. 17 when the way was cleared to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. And unless something is done, these assaults will continue.

Make no mistake, given time, these injustices will reach our own beautiful shores. Please, I implore everyone, to read up on these issues, and take action. Write to your congressmen and women, write to your newspapers, make sure everyone you know realizes what is happening. Write the E.P.A. and suggest they remove “Protection” from the name of the agency, since protection is no longer on their agenda and as such using it in their name is a means of deceiving the American people. Most of all, come November, vote. Vote early, and make sure your ballot is in on time to be counted.  The planet is counting on all of us.

Marcia Bromley
North Eastham


Law And Order, Really?


President Donald Trump has declared numerous times that he's all for law and order. Well, so far, seven of his ex-associates stood for law and order when they faced felony indictments in federal court. "All Rise." Does that count?
"Four more years" of the Republican Godzilla Donald Trump. Sounds like a prison sentence.

Mike Rice
South Wellfleet


Thanks For The Support


As I start my second year studying public history at Suffolk University, I’d like to offer thanks to the organizers of the Brewster Memorial Scholarship Fund, who chose me to receive a $500 scholarship this year. Their support, and that of the Daley family of Brewster, has helped make higher education possible for me.

I would also encourage other local students to apply for the scholarship in the future; information is available through the Brewster branch of the Cape Cod Five.

Lucy Pollock


Try It, You'll Like It


Anything new takes a little getting used to as I found when speaking to the board of selectmen last week. After an awkward start using the board’s new procedure for public comment, I warmed up to it quickly. 

I submitted my name to speak during the pre-business agenda comment period. But I didn’t have prepared remarks on the agenda item of interest, so I deferred when the chair called on me. Next time, I may prepare remarks for the first comment period and will keep them well short of five minutes as every citizen should. Indeed, speaking to an agenda item before the selectmen take it up has obvious advantages.

When the agenda item did come up, it was discussed at length by selectmen and town staff which gave me the opportunity to make some notes and draft a few comments for the final public comment period. Several other citizens apparently did the same and everyone who asked to speak was given the opportunity and no one was cut off. Summing up also has its advantages. Overall, it was a very satisfactory experience.

To anyone who thinks the new procedure undermines community participation, I simply say, “Try it, you might like it.”

George Myers
Chatham and Venice, Fla.


Heading Deeper Into The Abyss


For some time I’ve been wondering what happened to Dr. Fauci. I knew he had undergone minor surgery so thought that explained things. But no: It seems that Dr. Fauci has been sidelined by Dr. Scott Atlas. Not fired or replaced like countless others who dared to challenge Trump because that would have caused an uproar. Who is Scott Atlas? The man behind the recommendation that asymptomatic people need not be tested. Where was Dr. Fauci when this undermining of reality took place? Under anesthesia. Atlas apparently also dismisses the need for masks, says children do not spread COVID-19 and advocates herd immunity. You know — letting more people just die. “It is what it is.” What are this pundit’s credentials? Certainly not infectious disease or epidemiology. He is a radiologist who caught Trump’s attention on Fox News lately as he echoed Trump’s coronavirus misinformation. This is how the virus remains rampant, citizens die and democracy dies — when individual entitlement overpowers science, common sense, empathy and justice. We are deluded in America if we think we’re headed anywhere but deeper into the abyss.

Hall Cash
South Chatham


Wither Affordable Housing In Chatham


As they ran for selectmen in 2018, Cory Metters, Dean Nicastro, and Peter Cocolis all sought office on the promise of affordable housing.

“I am more concerned about retaining young people who have grown up here and have gone to Boston, other places, and want to return.” Cory Metters.

“I worry about the inability to keep young people in town. A lot has to do with jobs, but we can do something in the area of affordable and attainable housing.” Dean Nicastro.

“Housing is the most pressing issue in Chatham. We need to enable young people and young families to stay in Chatham. We do have a critical housing shortage for working families in Chatham, and it’s everybody, the fishermen, teachers, retail workers, and the interesting part is that seniors share that same problem. Seniors worry about maintaining their homes so they can stay in them.” Peter Cocolis

Despite occasional lip service to the issue of attainable housing In Chatham, none of these selectmen has done anything to follow up on their campaign promises. Yet each advocates the passage of the petition to allow for the development of the Monomoy Theatre land parcel. Despite the apple pie and motherhood notion that Chatham needs its legitimate theater, the petition is nothing more than a ploy to change the zoning bylaw to avoid the need for a variance for the construction of condominiums on the Depot Road side of the property.

If the petition receives the necessary two-thirds vote for passage, the Monomoy Theatre property will become the most densely covered piece of land in Chatham, with 24 proposed condominiums at an estimated $1 million market price for each unit. And those condominiums will be restricted for sale to those 55 years and older.

There is no guarantee that the Monomoy Theatre will ever be resurrected. There is no University of Ohio or University of Hartford waiting in the wings to operate it. Yet, if petition is passed, the condominiums will certainly be built even if the theater is not.

Whatever happened to attainable housing in Chatham? What are our selectmen thinking? Please vote against the petition at the upcoming special town meeting.

Bob Hessler
North Chatham


Take Back The Flag


I am sick and tried of getting upset when I see a Trump sign together with an American Flag. I don't know why we allowed the Trumpers to hijack our flag, but it's time we took it back! I hope anyone thinking of displaying a pro-Biden or anti-Trump yard sign will also display an American flag to show that, while we are disgusted with the behavior of this president, we love and support our country just as much, or more than, the see-nothing, hear-nothing, and believe-nothing Trump supporters.

Joseph Boro
South Chatham