Lauds Contributions Of Chronicle's Szmit
On behalf of the Monomoy Regional School Committee, I extend my deepest gratitude for the extraordinary work done by Kat Szmit in her role as a sports reporter for The Cape Cod Chronicle.
Kat has been a beacon of light in our community, always seen on the sidelines at our sporting events – taking photos, following the games, keeping up with stats, interviewing players and coaches, and engaging with our students and families. She has also attended team banquets and sports award nights, and it goes without saying, everyone loves Kat Szmit, so much so that she was given an Ad Lucem award by the Monomoy Class of 2019 for her ongoing contributions to our school community.
It’s truly bittersweet to see Kat leave Cape Cod, knowing that we will no longer see her on the sidelines or at team banquets, but we wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors.
Thank you, Kat. You will never be forgotten!
Tina Games, chair
Monomoy Regional School Committee
Chatham Senior Center Can't Wait
Your suggestion to repurpose Chatham’s elementary school as a senior center is a bad idea. If and when – and it is a big if – the regional school committee together with Chatham and Harwich selectmen declare this school property surplus, that decision is years away. According to a recent Chronicle article, the decision to close Chatham’s elementary school could take as much as five years, leaving seniors out in the cold.
The place for Chatham’s senior center is in West Chatham Village on land donated to the town for that purpose. And the time is now. Opting out of donated land is like throwing away almost $1 million. Chatham’s large and growing population of seniors were promised a modern facility that meets their needs. They have waited patiently for a decade to see that promise come true.
Elementary School Issue Needs Discussion
My sons and nieces all attended the elementary school in Chatham. At that time the student population was much more robust then it is today. Would I have been upset if my kids attended a regional elementary school? No. It would still have been their school. It is not a situation of Chatham not having a school; we still would, it would just be regional. They would still be reasonably close and would be with the kids they would be following through until high school graduation.
Why should we be supporting a school building with so few students? Why should the town of Harwich be asked to spend $5,000 more per pupil on a Chatham student then the regional system pays for a Harwich student? Who knows if Harwich would even want to do this, but the idea should be broached.
And in the meantime, Chatham is in dire need of a new senior center. The current location in West Chatham is not an ideal location. Besides crazy traffic, there will not be adequate parking. The elementary building offers an ideal spot. We could save millions of dollars by not building a new building and rehabilitating the elementary building. So many pros. Adequate parking, food service, space for many activities, close proximity to the fire department in case of any medical emergencies. Just so many pluses.
I strongly feel that the people of Chatham should be discussing this issue. Our student population will not be growing. Housing prices in town pretty much prohibit young families establishing themselves and raising their children here, as sad as that is.
Young Sailors Offer Gratitude
I’m struggling to find the right words to express my eternal gratitude for all the people that have supported us thus far. When I first began this project I had no idea what we were in for. Countless late nights, never ending repairs, hundreds of emails, piles of paperwork, and a logistical marathon the likes of which we’d never experienced. With a tornado of projects underway and what seemed to be daily roadblocks slowing us down, it seemed, at times, impossible to make this dream a reality. But with all of this going on there was one thing that never slowed us down, never gave us doubt, and always kept supporting us without fail: our community. When growing up here I was always told by my mother, “Don’t do anything stupid, Jan, because the whole town knows who you are.” I always understood this and recognized the community that loved and surrounded me. That being said, I never truly understood the power of what that meant until I started this journey. The support was never ending. It’s because of this loving community that I was able to maintain my motivation. I did this just as much for myself as I did it for all of you. This community made me who I am today and I will forever strive to make you all proud. You are all my family. From the bottom of Ian's and my hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Stop Shirking Airport Responsibilities
The writer of a letter about closing the expensive, annoying Chatham Airport — so a wide swath of citizens, and not just a handful of privileged pilots, could benefit — makes a valid point. But, for sure, the town-shattering airport controversy will painfully linger until the select board stops shirking its responsibilities as the airport’s sponsors.
Airport Is Not A Private Club
The recent letter by pilot and former Chatham Airport Commissioner Rene Haas illustrates the attitude of the airport commission towards the public. We learned of the apparent intellectual superiority of private pilots; it takes $10,000 and 40 hours of flight time to become one. He likens pilots to heart surgeons, versus clueless dolts who dare question them. We're just too darn dumb to understand complexities of aviation.
Mr. Haas' statement "These individuals have not a shred of aviation knowledge but profess to know what's best for the Chatham Airport" safety is a glaring admission that what's "best" for the town is a pesky obstacle to get around.
It's pretty bold to dismiss anyone who challenges the current "unfettered" authority (town counsel words) as "airport haters." He lives over three miles from the airport, doesn't smell fuel on a daily basis, with Pilatus turboprops flying so low that his house vibrates, where he can see passengers inside the aircraft. Nor is his property in danger of being slapped with an avigation easement causing his home's value to plummet. This isn't just a neighborhood issue. The airport master plan impacts the safety, environment and quality of life of the entire town if implemented.
Chatham Airport is not a private club for pilots and the airport manager. Town counsel confirmed the owner/sponsor of the airport is the "town of Chatham," defined in the home rule charter as the "inhabitants" (that would be us, the taxpayers) and by extension the BOS we elected to represent our best interests. It's taxpayers who are legally/financially responsible for the commission's actions, not the AC, town manager or airport manager. The airport commission would benefit from a crash course on how to win friends and influence people. The autocratic, combative and divisive attitude is getting old.
Live A While In Her House
I am responding to Allan Brook's criticism of my opinion on the airport commission fiasco. Contrary to his mistaken belief, I did not “move” here. I would like him to know my family has been here for generations and has owned land bordering the airport the entire time. This goes back to the 1800s, before Mr. Berube even had the idea of an airport being located where it is now. I am wondering since he lives a few miles away from the airport, if he even realizes the issues folks have the right to complain about? Has he ever returned to his home during the day and had to leave because the stench of fuel permeated his home? How about the surrounding vegetation being burned? Has he experienced that? To that we can add the safety issues, the noise, and the avigation easements. I, along with many other neighbors, have the absolute right to complain about this more so than someone that lives a few miles away and has no idea of what a danger this airport actually imposes to those who border it.
Wreathed In Gratitude To Community
We would like to thank the community for supporting the Chatham Boy Scout’s fundraiser – selling holiday wreaths. A collective generosity makes possible a donation of grocery gift cards to the Chatham Angel Fund.
The troop normally sells wreaths at the Chatham Community Center’s popular holiday fair and P.A.R.K. bake sale which could not take place this year. We thank The Cape Cod Chronicle for designing and placing weekly ads in the paper and Chatham Works for sharing it on social media. Scout and former P.A.R.K. participant, James Vath, created an online order form and Scout Skyler Baker assisted with emails. Thank you all!
Scouts and their families took orders and collected pine cones to decorate 100 wreaths. Some people gave extra donations at the pick-up station and talked about Scouts and Eagle Scouts in their lives.
Michael Farrell, general manager of the Harwich Stop and Shop, and Lana Coleman in the floral department, again supplied enough wreaths in time for our schedule. Other area businesses prominently posted flyers which many people said is how they came to order a wreath. Several were bought as neighborly gifts, including those given to residents at the Chatham Housing Authority by a couple from Colorado and to Angel Fund families through a Florida couple.
While many others who helped along the way remain anonymous, the Scouts joins us in thanking everyone for the success of this community service fundraiser.
Judy Carlson and Jenny Wood
Chatham Troop 71
Thanks To Scout Elves
The Chatham Scouts – Boy, Girl, and Cub – would like to thank the friendly neighborhood elves who have been decorating outside of Scout Hall the past few holidays. It has been wonderful to see our scout home look so cheerful when we have not been able to enjoy the Hall ourselves.
Since March, due to COVID, for obvious reasons, entrance to Scout Hall has not been an option – we just drive by and wave! Some troops are "Zooming;" the Boy Scouts have been meeting outdoors; some troops have just decided to put Scouting on hold for this year. We have all learned to use our resources wisely to be the best we can. To have such kind, considerate, caring people as our neighbors step up and make our world a better place is truly in the spirit of good Scouting. We will be brave til once more we can enter Scout Hall and take last year's St. Patrick's Day's shamrocks out of the windows!
Consider Welfare Of Whole Town
My husband and I have owned property in Chatham since 1976 and have lived here full time since 2003. Chatham is a very special place and because of that, I feel that I need to speak up in opposition to the proposed airport expansion.
The airport is an asset to the town as it is currently. Adding structures and accommodations to allow for larger planes and jets seems completely unnecessary when we have a municipal airport a short distance away in Hyannis that can safely accommodate these planes.
Another major concern is the proposal to have an avigation easement on a minimum of 22 properties that would drastically reduce the property values of those homes. This is to say nothing about the homeowners being denied the basic right to feel safe in their own homes. The easement agreement states in part that planes would have the unobstructed use and passage of all types of aircraft in and through the airspace at any height or altitude above the land. Yikes! It also gives the right to aircraft to cause noise, vibrations, fumes, deposits of dust, fuel particles, fear, interference with sleep or communication or any other effects.
I understand that the airport commissioners are appointed by the selectmen who are our elected representatives. I would suggest that the commissioners strongly consider the welfare of the town in general and the homeowners in particular who would be so adversely affected by the airport expansion and if they do not do this, then the selectmen have the option of appointing other people to the commission.
Jean and Paul Greenough
Safety Top Issue With Nips
I'm baffled that people are still viewing the sale of nips as only a pollution problem. Here are some questions to consider:
If you find an empty nip on the road, do you assume someone just drank the contents?
If you find many nip bottles by your driveway, do you assume that many drivers are drinking while driving past your home?
If you seen people buying big bags of nips at local package stores, do you think they are taking them home?
Do you think they will be drinking them while driving?
Do you see local news reports of drivers arrested after drinking nips while driving?
Are you worried about drivers drinking shots of alcohol on our roads?
I hope our town won’t let the loss of profit for package stores overshadow the issue of safety on our roads.
Stores Will Survive Nip Ban
I am a resident of West Harwich. I walk daily in this area. Every few weeks I head out with a garbage bag and wear rubber gloves to pick up trash left by inconsiderate drivers. The last time my walk produced a bumper crop of 47 nip bottles. This is a disgrace. If the town Fathers think that a deposit on nips will discourage the disposal of these bottles, they are mistaken. The liquor stores will survive without nips but our environment will not. I hope that the citizens of Harwich will strongly encourage the board of selectmen to vote to ban nip bottles.