Letters To The Editor: Sept. 2, 2021

Letters to the editor.

Thanks For The Joy


A grand celebration of life has been taking place every Tuesday evening this summer at Brooks Park in Harwich Center. After last year’s dark season, the Harwich Town Band, under the direction of Tom Jahnke, has been playing its heart out. Audience members have been cheering, clapping, and singing along to familiar melodies.

Kudos to all who have given their time and their talents and brought Tuesday night joy to our town.

Gail Marshall


Eradicate Pernicious Invasive


Those 10-foot-high bamboo-like canes with dense green leaves and creamy tassel flowers all over town are Japanese knotweed, which is a fast-spreading and very difficult to eradicate invasive plant. Like many other invasive plants, it completely overwhelms native plants and establishes a non-native mono-culture, which does not provide sustenance for native birds and bees. Japanese knotweed also has an economic cost by growing through masonry and damaging buildings. It is widespread in the U.S. In the U.K, it is illegal to dump knotweed in the trash or landfill, and in Australia it is illegal to even have it on your property.

As stewards of our environment, we have a duty to counter the spread of this pernicious weed by eradicating it on both private and town land. Since the tiniest piece (less than half an inch) can regrow into a full-sized plant, dedicated bins are required at the “dumps” for knotweed waste, or citizens must incinerate, sun-bake in black plastic bags, or compost it in steel bins. Informational signage is needed at the dumps and fines are needed for illegal disposal.

The most effective way of dealing with Japanese knotweed is by injecting herbicide into the hollow stems in early fall, when the herbicide is drawn down into the roots. A very “neat” injector can be purchased, or there are licensed professionals. Please contact me at drmikeft@gmail.com for more information or to borrow an injector, but only for use on your property. Bear in mind that “one in time will save nine.”

Michael Tompsett


Businesses Again Should Tax Burden


Raising taxes is never a good idea. That is why I was shocked but sadly not surprised by the Harwich Board of Selectmen's latest money grab attempt shouldered, once again, on the backs of the local hospitality industry, putting forth raising the hotel/motel and short-term rental tax from 4 to 6 percent. The shameless and reckless fiscal mismanagement of this board is legendary. I remember all to well when they enacted the local option tax for food and beverage establishments several years ago. Now they are back at it again and should be stopped and held accountable.

Let’s keep in mind that in spite of that additional options tax, resorts and restaurants have managed to grow their business along with moderate price increases, so the town wins just because these businesses do better. Not to mention since the Wychmere Beach Club has added significant tax revenues to the town’s coffers with hundreds of very expensive weddings annually along with bringing significantly more people to Harwich who then spend money in town. If anyone took a close look at what the Wequasset Resort and Golf Club and Wychmere represented in tax revenues to the town, I would imagine one’s head would spin off! It’s all public record, so I encourage you to look. Once again the greedy selectmen now figure it’s time to go after the “golden goose.” It’s just incredible. Let's take a look at another source of revenue: the most robust real estate market ever with soaring prices which in time will mean huge increases in property tax. Then we have the meager and embarrassing $25,000 annually that is granted by this board to promote the seven villages of Harwich regionally, nationally and internationally. It’s basically nothing given what the town receives in tax revenues from the local tourist industry. As past chamber president, I recall having to go in on bended knee as all the chamber presidents do to plead for this money, and yet they always look to the hospitality folks to squeeze more from them while they refuse to give the chamber adequate funds to support the small-business community. As a side note, in the beginning of the pandemic and continuing today, Cyndi Williams, the executive director of the chamber, diligently shepherded the business community through this disaster with no additional funding from the town. Cyndi had live daily updates of where businesses could get the help from the state. Today and for several years now, Cyndi has to basically go door-to-door to town businesses asking for additional financial support to carry out the mission of the chamber.

The mere idea of raising any taxes is absurd. Again, this board should be ashamed! I love Harwich and love selling the vibrancy and all this wonderful town has to offer, but I am completely disheartened by this board. We need some fresh blood on the board. For the good of the town, I sure hope we get some, and fast!

Tony Guthrie
Robert Paul Properties


Kavanaugh Ready On Day One


Julie Kavanaugh is by far the best candidate for Harwich selectman. She has the most experience of the three who are running for the position, having served on the board and even chaired the board. To finish Steve Ford’s term, we need someone who can start working immediately to get the important work done for Harwich without wasting time “learning the ropes.” She has knowledge of the budgetary process, the costly sewer project, wastewater treatment and how to save the town money through state and federal funding, and the much-needed affordable housing. She attended the Housing Institute which was designed to educate municipal workers on how to fund and create workforce and affordable housing. Under her past leadership, Harwich saw the improvements to Saquatucket Harbor and Harwich became a Green Community, which gives the town eligibility for funding when making environmentally friendly purchases and repairs. We believe Julie will work hard for Harwich and save us time and money by being ready on day one.

Elaine Dickinson
Arthur Dickinson