Letters To The Editor: Oct. 28, 2021

Letters to the editor.

Help Stop Teen Vaping


The start of the school year and new routines brings new worries about teen vaping. These concerns are important, especially now, because smoking and vaping may put people at higher risk of complications from COVID-19.

One in three Massachusetts teens vape, and talking with young people about the dangers of vaping can make a difference. Learn more and watch videos at GetOutraged.org, part of a public information campaign from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Get Outraged! aims to spread the word that vaping products contain nicotine can damage a teen’s developing brain and are addictive. The campaign also shares tips on talking with kids about vaping and resources to help them quit.

Get Outraged! complements “Facts. No Filters.,” a campaign with videos and information about vaping for youth at mass.gov/vaping  by the department of public health. In addition, handouts about vaping and quit resource cards for youth are available free of charge at the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.

For more information and to help you educate young people about vaping, contact me, Colleen Kennedy-Mello, at the Southeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership, ckennedy@sevenhills.org  or 774-634.3955.

Colleen Kennedy-Mello, program manager
Southeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership
New Bedford


Fairer School Funding Needed


I continue to be amazed that there isn’t more discussion about the “You Guest It” article by Charles Gruszka in the July 8 Chronicle entitled, “A Different, And Fairer, Funding Formula For The Monomoy District.”

The focus of the article is on how Harwich and Chatham can better maintain the current level of quality education at Monomoy in a more equitable way. Key points on this issue include:

  • The level of school funding provides the basis for a quality education for students. To a large degree, you get what you pay for.

  • The MRSD estimates that the decline in enrollment for Chatham will continue to be greater than in Harwich and the cost to Harwich could potentially grow to 87 percent. 

  • This growing assessment will not be affordable to Harwich. Budget battles will intensify as Harwich tries to contain costs through annual increase limits.

  • The disparity of funding over the last 11 years should be shocking to both Harwich and Chatham. According to the MRSD figures, the cumulative savings to Chatham is over $16 million while Harwich paid a cumulative total of $34 million more.

  • Discussions of funding options and regional agreement changes need to continue. Two regional school districts, Manchester-Essex and Mount Greylock, have successfully incorporated other factors, such as income, property wealth, and population to create a more equitable assessment formula than one that uses just student enrollment.

  • Recently MRSD estimated that, if our regional agreement was modified to follow the Manchester-Essex formula, there would be a substantial shift in Monomoy School costs from Harwich to Chatham that would more closely mirror each town’s affordability.

The recently proposed changes to the regional agreement, whereby Harwich and Chatham would each pay the costs for their elementary school, is a start to making this relationship equitable. However, it should be viewed as only the first phase of necessary agreement changes.

Richard Gundersen


Sunday Program Is A Nice Respite


May I suggest watching CBS Sunday morning at 9 a.m.? It is the antithesis of other news outlets that have too much noise to absorb. I am not suggesting it is a place to get news updates, but rather an escape from the constant  lies and misinformation of everyday news. It has lighthearted segments of interesting people, such as this past Sunday featuring Jane Goodall, Wayne Gretzky, Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama, dumping young fish from a plane to replenish lakes in Utah that are not reachable by vehicles, and more. Each segment reminds one of the world out there that exists beyond the noise. It is a relaxing way to end your weekend. Check it out.

Ed Fried
West Chatham


Game Kicks Spirit Up A Notch


I am writing to express my appreciation and gratitude for the amazing first responders and middle school kids who came to play a spirited game of kickball this past Friday night under the lights at Whitehouse Field. Words to describe the mood of the evening? Exuberance! Enthusiasm! Joy! Mutual appreciation! And so much more. Thanks to Harwich and Chatham Youth Services, John Santoni for the awesome music and commentary, the Harwich and Chatham Police and Fire kickballers, and our stunning middle schoolers. Special mention to Ryan Clarke and Bruce Young for feeding us. And the Monomoy High School student volunteers. Here’s to many more events like this, where connecting and fun rule the day.

Sheila House
Harwich Youth Services


A Welcome Homecoming


First, full disclosure – I serve on the Committee to Elect Michael Herman to the Orleans Select Board. Having been a resident of three Lower Cape towns while employed in Orleans for 37 years, I wish to add that I have never had the opportunity to vote for a select person with Michael’s leadership potential, combined with his background both on and off the Cape. He is a fourth generation Orleans resident whose heritage includes a few former well-known Orleans businesses. Recently, Michael made the personal choice to return to Orleans in his midlife and thoughtfully apply his skills and experiences in support of the community’s growing list of necessary priorities. While away, Michael held high-level executive positions in the garment and fashion industries, traveling to over 150 countries and living in London and New York. He is also deeply rooted in charitable work, including his devotion to Habitat for Humanity, especially in times of crises. Now here on the Cape, he keeps busy as a USDA certified organic farmer, growing healthy vegetables sold locally, including at the Farmers’ Market. Plus, he serves on the town’s affordable housing trust. I applaud his homecoming, and his desire to serve!

Gordon Wright