Meetings are held remotely. Go to eastham-ma.gov/calendar-by-event-type/16 and click on a particular meeting to read its agenda. That document will provide information about how to view and take part remotely.
Tuesday, Aug. 25
- Conservation Commission, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 26
- Open Space Committee workshop, 3 p.m.; meeting, 4 p.m.
Will It Go Round in Circles?
The Route 6 Corridor Improvement Initiative study is moving forward past backups caused by Covid-19 and hopes to examine overlaps with Eastham’s Strategic Plan and the T-Time Initiative.
“We’re starting to put together some alternatives. We want to have a public information session to kind of vet those alternatives,” Eastham Town Planner Paul Lagg told the select board at its Aug 17 meeting.
Included in the alternatives are potential roundabouts at Massasoit Road and the T-Time property, raised medians with landscaped plantings, and protected left turns.
A roundabout at the T-Time location would facilitate traffic in and out of that property as well as provide opportunities for vehicles to change direction on Route 6.
“If we can work with a little bit of the T-Time property itself we don’t think we’ll really have to do any takings on the other side to get the siting for it,” he said.
While the study did consider reducing the number of lanes, Lagg said that was a “nonstarter” with the Mass. Dept. of Transportation.
“How does the state say that the traffic is different?” asked board member Arthur Autorino.
“It’s OK to do it in Wellfleet but it’s not OK to do it in Eastham?”
“If I had gotten a good answer to that I would share it with you, but we never did,” said Lagg. “It’s more of ‘This is the way it is’ and they’re not going to decrease the lanes. Why do we have to be a four-lane race strip only to slow down at the town line?”
Board member Aimee Eckman noted that the number of curb cuts in Eastham is about 10 times that of Wellfleet over the same distance, contributing to traffic backups with even a three-lane approach with a center turning lane, as traffic turning right would create backups.
The next phase will be to get public feedback. Lagg said a session for that purpose might take place in November or after the holidays.
Town Meeting to Kick Off
This year’s town meeting, postponed from its usual May 2020 scheduled date due to Covid-19, will be held outdoors at Nauset High School’s football field on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m., with a rain date of Sunday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m.
Saving Lives and Money
Fire Chief Kent Farrenkopf delivered good news at Monday’s select board meeting, reporting that his department had received the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline EMS Gold-plus award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks and strokes.
“I want to thank my staff,” said Farrenkopf. “They’re highly professional and highly trained.” Eastham’s fire dept. has progressively received the bronze, silver, gold, and gold-plus Mission Lifeline awards over the last five years, he noted.
“Kudos to my people and the professional level that they work at,” he said.
The initiative provides tools and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines, the chief noted.
Eastham’s fire dept. has received the Assistance to Firefighters grant for $47,715 to replace an air compressor used to fill breathing air. Since the compressor’s installation at the fire station in 2001, the manufacturer has gone out of business. “We can’t get the computer boards,” said Farrenkopf. “The last time they fixed it I think they had to go on Ebay to get an old one to put into it.”
The replacement compressor is expected to cost about $50,000, with the grant covering 95 percent of the cost. The town will be responsible for the remaining $2,400.
Do You Have an Appointment?
The select board voted unanimously to appoint Stephen Wasby to the planning board to fill a spot left vacant by Lauren Barker’s resignation.
Wasby’s appointment as a full member of the board was the subject of some discussion, as select board member Arthur Autorino at first asked whether the current alternate member, William Craig, should be advanced to full member status.
“What we’re saying is that when Lauren leaves, Steve comes in as a full time and not as an alternate,” said Autorino. “We bypass and change what we normally do.” Autorino agreed that Wasby was more experienced than Craig.
Board Chair Jamie Rivers supported appointing Wasby as a full member. “This board has a perfect opportunity to appoint someone who has a wealth of knowledge with regard to zoning, planning, the inner workings of the town of Eastham, and is very capable,” she said. “I think it would be a lost opportunity if we didn’t put Mr. Wasby on as a full-time member.”
The board voted to approve Wasby’s appointment subject to his resignation from the zoning board of appeals.
“My biggest concern was that we’re trying to have an administrative office at town hall that is welcoming and that people like to come to and don’t feel intimidated,” said Autorino “[Wasby] could in fact intimidate some of the applicants.”
Contacted Tuesday morning after the select board’s discussion, Wasby said he would behave no differently on the planning board than he has on the zoning board of appeals. He said he would continue to help applicants as well as call out problems. “This isn’t a tea party,” said Wasby. “This is serious stuff.”
The select board also appointed John Bumby to the historical commission by a unanimous vote. —Linda Culhane
The Middle School Will Go Hybrid
Principal Julie Kobold announced on Aug. 14 that she has changed her mind about bringing back all middle school students on Sept. 16.
After many people expressed concern about returning to classrooms in person, Kobold said she has adopted a hybrid model for the fall, so that students will be in the building two days a week and at home for three.
Kobold was able to bring everyone back with three feet between student seats, which is the minimum suggested by the state. But many people argued that six-foot distancing should be the standard to prevent Covid-19 infection, and with that standard, not all the students could come back to class at once.
“We had estimated a need for 33 cohorts in the original three-foot distancing plan,” she stated in an email to parents. “By extending physical distancing to six feet the number of cohorts rose to 42. The middle school does not have the space for that many cohorts. As a result, we are moving to a hybrid option, where students will be in the building two days a week and learn remotely three days.”
Students will attend on Mondays and Thursdays or on Tuesdays and Fridays. During in-school days, students will remain with their group and have four core subjects and two specials such as gym or the popular “Adventure Ed.” Wednesdays will be remote for all and “we will introduce a number of different academic opportunities on those days,” she stated. —K.C. Myers