Your reporter, Ted Cushman, was at Cape Cod's Atlantic shore last Sunday expecting to see the predicted 20-foot breakers battering the beach in a major coastal erosion event. Fortunately, however, the only thing being battered at Chatham, Mass., on the Cape's vulnerable elbow, was the beer-battered fish and chips. Light winds, warm sun, and a sparkling sea drew hundreds to view the beach, even though the water was closed to swimming because of strong rip currents. However, the worst problem in evidence was a scarcity of parking. The story was not so happy on the coast of Maine, however. At Acadia National Park, the Atlantic Ocean provided a reminder of its power and unpredictability: a 7-year-old child drowned when five sightseeing beach-goers were surprised by a sudden breaker and were washed into the surf, reports the Boston Globe (" Girl swept away in surf dies," by Emma Stickgold and David Abel). But as Bill's force diminished and the storm passed into far northern waters, there was little if any property damage to survey. In the Cape Cod towns of Chatham and Orleans, however, feathers are still a little ruffled from a brouhaha that broke out after an earlier summer storm in June, when heavy surf and high tides destroyed several old "camp" houses along the Chatham beach. Truro, Mass., contractor Mike Winkler, called in on an emergency basis to demolish and remove the damaged structures, was chagrined in July to find his crane stranded on the beach β€” not by sand or water, but by the refusal of neighboring Orleans to allow Winkler's machine to traverse the beach back to the mainland, reports the Cape Cod Times (" $800,000 crane stranded on Orleans beach," by Susan Milton). When Winkler missed a July 1 deadline to complete the deal, Orleans selectmen refused to extend their permit for him to cross the beach back, because of the risk to nesting endangered piping plovers and their eggs. Winkler finally got the go-ahead to move the crane on July 22 (" Crane coming off North Beach," by Susan Milton), but only after spending thousands of dollars deploying a different machine to do the work of the idled rig on another scheduled job. Winkler kept the situation in perspective, however, telling the Cape Cod Times, "At least we're safe and sound."