On Shurtleff Road…
To the editor:
I would be remiss not to correct a couple of the comments in “A Holdout Survives on Eastham’s Shurtleff Road” in the Aug. 31 Independent [front page].
First, about Tom Ryan’s comment that large homes are “incongruent with the neighborhood” and that “they separate the small homes — mostly of year-round people who invest their lives here — from the sunset”: The number of smaller homes on Shurtleff Road that are occupied year-round is about four. The rest of the smaller houses are summer homes or rentals.
Compare this to the larger houses. Of five recently completed larger homes, four are year-round residences — people investing their lives here.
Second, we all like Sue Beyle, and she is welcome to keep her property any way she wants to. But about those who knew Noel Beyle wanting her to keep it as it is, I believe a poll of the neighbors — who all knew Noel — might not confirm that.
…and Noel Beyle
To the editor:
Thank you for featuring Noel and Sue Beyle and their stalwart home on Shurtleff Road.
As a kid, I spent many a memorable summer a few doors down from the Beyles’, at the Simmons cottage. It was a ranch not unlike the Beyle bivouac, whose steps to the beach sported a suggestion of a handrail with rickety two-by-fours painted yolk yellow. Though bay-front, water views were limited to distant glimpses of the ghostly target ship, spied through brambles and beach plums that grew wildly between house and bluff edge.
Like most of its modest midcentury peers, the Simmons cottage has long since been razed, replaced by one of the outsize soulless things on this exposed stretch of bayside. How remarkable, then, is the scrappy Old Cape oddity that is the Beyle home: a misbegotten mouse on a block of shortsighted and selfish lions.
Noel was unique in the pantheon of Cape chroniclers. He was a vital if irreverent contributor to our understanding of this precious place. His booklets — many of them written acrostic-style: A is for Asparagus, B is for Beach Plum — were equal parts nostalgia, trivia, humor, local history, folklore, and good old-fashioned small-town gossip.
Alongside other local historians of the era — Phil Schwind, Jim Owens, Marion Vuilleumier among them — Noel contributed to our love of Eastham. Many of us grew up on his colorful and quirky chronicles of the town’s rich yet often overlooked history.
Like his endangered home, Noel’s writing was a cheeky homage to an Eastham that was slowly slipping away. He was most prolific during the 1980s, when rampant development threatened to erase much of the town’s character. Forty years on, as we see renewed pressure on this place, Noel’s writing and his esprit are more important than ever to preserve and appreciate.
Eastham and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Loving the Bike Path
To the editor:
Thanks to Elias Schisgall for an excellent article on the bumpy history of the Cape Cod Rail Trail extension [“4 Years On, Uncertainty Lingers at Bike Path’s End,” Aug. 17, front page].
I am a tourist here, and perhaps it’s not my place to comment on local matters. But I’ve been coming here for the past 32 years, and I ride the Rail Trail every chance I get. It sure beats being stuck in traffic on Route 6.
I was at the public meeting in 2018 in the Wellfleet library and have to confess that I didn’t think the extension would take this long to finish. Congratulations to the opponents for their successful delaying tactics. Where I live in Hadley, Mass., opponents delayed our trail redesign for eight years before it was completed, and now everyone loves it — even former opponents. The same thing will happen in Wellfleet, I’m sure. Except with inflation, it will cost twice as much as it would have in 2019.
The die is cast when it comes to the eventual use of bicycles as an equal mode of transportation, along with walking and public transport. Throughout our state and nation, spending on bike infrastructure is on the rise, and the naysayers are on the decline. People want safe places to ride their new e-bikes.
Opponents can slow progress down, but they can’t stop it. People who live on the Cape should know that you can’t hold back the tide. I’m hopeful that soon the Rail Trail will get back on track.
Ronald Reagan’s GOP
To the editor:
“If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” — Ronald Reagan, 1964
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” —President Donald Trump in a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, 2021
Donald Trump’s scorn for democracy is blatant, and his followers in Congress, along with his fellow Republican presidential candidates who continue to support him no matter what, bear no resemblance whatsoever to President Ronald Reagan’s Grand Old Party.
The Truro DPW Plans
To the editor:
After reading Robert Panessiti’s Aug. 31 letter to the editor [page A2], I followed his suggestion and watched the Truro Finance Committee’s Aug. 25 meeting at which the DPW project was discussed.
Weston & Sampson, a consulting firm engaged by the town, has proposed a new structure with an estimated cost of $34.6 million to be sited on land adjacent to the police and fire facility. The select board has endorsed the site. A group of citizens, calling themselves the DPW Study Group, has proposed an alternate plan consisting of new and repurposed buildings on the existing site for what they say would be considerably less money.
There is a glaring omission in the plan to relocate the DPW. The current Town Hall Hill facility has a gas pump used by DPW vehicles and by the town’s police cars and fire trucks. Relocating the DPW would involve constructing a new gas pump for these vehicles. That would be very shortsighted thinking, as internal combustion vehicles are likely in their twilight years and will be replaced by electric vehicles. A new gas pump might be obsolete within 10 years.
Moreover, were the current DPW site to be abandoned, there would be a cost to taxpayers for site remediation that would add significantly to the $34.6-million price tag of the proposed DPW relocation.
Mr. Panessiti correctly notes that the DPW Study Group was not elected or appointed and is not subject to the Open Meeting Law. But should we disparage ideas that do not come through those channels? Such is bureaucratic thinking at its worst. A good idea can come from anywhere and at any time.