Mooned and Distraught
To the editor:
I have always been proud of being a Provincetown native as well as an employee of the Cape Cod National Seashore and of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., and I have enjoyed reading Provincetown’s local newspaper. But you cannot imagine how distraught I was to see the “full moons” in the Sept. 7 Independent.
I am proud of my hometown as the first landing place of the Pilgrims and of its famed diversity and open-mindedness. My parents served the town in several capacities. But the front-page photo of men parading in their “whites” (sparse underwear only) was devastating. What was even more humiliating was the picture of men riding their bicycles bare-assed.
What if my grandsons saw that? Or granddaughters? How would the U.S. presidents who have visited our famous town respond to this? What if all of the financially blessed visitors to my beautiful town and their children saw this openly accepted farce? Who can expect them to respect the first landing place or the Pilgrim Monument?
I am so embarrassed, as you should be. Enough. Please respect our National Park Service and Provincetown’s history.
Elizabeth (Lema) Perillo
How Much Help?
To the editor:
Joanna Buffington, a member of the Eastham Board of Assessors, asserts that “We have found no evidence that [the residential tax exemption] would help our housing crisis” [letter, Sept. 28, page A2].
While the RTE certainly doesn’t create housing on its own, it extends much needed help to Eastham residents, which does in fact address the housing cost crisis.
Buffington writes that, because Eastham has a lower percentage of vacation homeowners, the benefit would be “minimal — a few hundred dollars on average.” A few hundred dollars is a heat bill, a doctor’s bill, food for another month. I know plenty of working families that could use that kind of help.
Protecting the Planet
To the editor:
I very much enjoy the “Scuttlebutt” column, as Mike Rathgeber is always knowledgeable about the local waters. I occasionally find his environmental opinions disheartening, though.
In his Aug. 31 column [“Whiting, Whales, and Wind,” page B8], Rathgeber bemoans the building of wind farms close to the shores of Cape Cod. “I’m afraid a view of many windmills off our beaches … is going to become the norm,” he writes, “unless the pushback gets stronger.” He also mentions windmills’ alleged “adverse effects on the marine environment.”
Rathgeber is not alone in his opposition to windfarms. The Wampanoag tribe also opposed them, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times, because they would inhibit the tribe’s cultural practice of seeing an “unobstructed sunrise.” Perhaps Rathgeber and the Wampanoag would prefer the view of bigger, stronger, and more frequent hurricanes? Or the view of wildfire smoke or of Montpelier, Vt. and other towns getting swept away by floods? Because that’s what we’ll see more frequently as global warming gets worse — something windfarms and the renewable energy they produce are trying to stave off.
I’m a big fan of Not in My Back Yard. After all, what’s the point of having a back yard if you can’t enjoy it? But if protecting the view from your back yard is more important than protecting the planet, you should reconsider your priorities.
To the editor:
“Terrapin Protection Program Has a Record Year” [Sept. 28, front page] reminds us that ecological projects with very different goals can work synergistically.
Your article acknowledges that human activity can destroy the turtles’ saltmarsh habitat. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Duck Harbor basin, where a full-tree mulcher began clear-cutting acres of trees last spring in an early phase of the Herring River Restoration Project.
The project’s turtle- protection plan is limited to measures such as contractor education, seasonal restrictions, and reptile-exclusion fencing at construction sites. It does not cover the broad expanse of woodlands and shrublands that will be cleared with heavy equipment. It is likely that the mulcher at Duck Harbor basin has crushed many descendants and cousins of the reptiles that Audubon’s “Team Turtle” has been lovingly protecting. At best, their nesting sites have been severely disrupted.
The organization that drafted the Herring River Project’s turtle-protection plan has been tracking eastern box turtles in the range of the project for several years. Its December 2022 report states: “If initial discharges of brackish water begin during the hibernation or para-hibernation season, when animals are torpid or poorly reactive, significant mortality of known and unknown animals is likely to occur.” The project should take that information into account in finalizing the timeline for opening the tide gates in the new Chequessett Neck Road bridge to inaugurate the tidal restoration.
I hope Mass Audubon’s volunteers will find ways to protect their diamondback friends during the various phases of the Herring River Project. Perhaps they can find and move nesting turtles from the floodplain. That plan should proceed before the mulcher is moved from the Duck Harbor basin to the adjacent Herring River marsh to continue its clear-cutting mission.
Ronald A. Gabel
The Harbormaster’s Warning
To the editor:
Kudos to Provincetown Harbormaster Don German for his storm warning to Provincetown pleasure boaters on Sept. 8.
Being a recreational boater and not a professional captain, I find it easy to wait until the last minute before considering all the important items mentioned in the harbormaster’s alert that are necessary to secure my boat for bad weather.
This alert was well-timed and appreciated.
Provincetown and Stanfordville, N.Y.