WCAI News

Justine Paradis

Newlyweds Rachel and David Shepard were making dinner at home on Nantucket. In many ways, it was a typical house. It had electricity and running water. True to Cape Cod, it was even shingled. But it was also what’s called a ‘Tiny House’.

" A normal house," Rachel said, "except it’s built on a trailer. So it’s mobile, and the trailer limits the size. It’s twenty feet long by eight feet wide."

Marine mammal strandings are common along the shores of Cape Cod. The National Marine Life Center in Bourne is one of several local organizations who care for stranded marine mammals, recently taking in 30 of the hundreds of cold-stunned turtles that stranded this year along Cape Cod beaches. And yesterday, volunteers from the Center also released a rehabilitated seal pup named Scout at Scusset Beach in Sandwich. Our Reporter Brian Morris was there, and has this report.

A New 'Bike Bus' Comes to the South Coast

Nov 27, 2014
Courtesy photo

For most people, commuting to school means a simple car pool or a school bus. In Fairhaven, one elementary school has taken commuting to a new level with an organized student bike commute every Friday. They’re calling the new program, the “Bike Bus.”

The Bike Bus began with the new school year in September. More than fifty kids and their parents turned up in the center of Fairhaven to ride their bikes to school on the bike path.

Photo by Louisa Hufstader

It’s a moonlit August night on Martha’s Vineyard, and deep in the woodlands on the island’s south shore, wildlife biologists Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin are setting up a weighing station for northern long-eared bats.

“Martha’s Vineyard and Long Island are among the few places where you can still find a northern long-eared bat,” Johnson said.

Scott Lebeda

  No, those aren't bananas in those boxes. The New England Aquarium and other organizations who are knee-deep in cold-stunned turtle rescues and have run out of the traditional plastic boxes used to transport the stranded animals. 

The record has nearly doubled from last year with reports of close to 1000 turtles washing up on Cape Cod shores this year. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning more than 190 turtles were packed up with the help of volunteers and shipped off to Florida, North Carolina and other Southern destinations.

Brian Morris/WCAI

Local cranberry growers recently finished harvesting this year’s crop from bogs in Wareham, Carver and other area locations. Witnessing the harvest is a quintessentially New England scene, as millions of the bright red berries are corralled into flooded bogs before being loaded onto waiting trucks. But behind that postcard image is a lot of critical science that growers need to keep up on.

There’s good news for Fall River. Mega-online retailer Amazon.com has its eyes on the economically-struggling city as the site of a new fulfillment center – a place to stock and ship the thousands of items it sells each day. Fall River has everything Amazon could want, including convenient highway access, appealing tax incentives, and a large available work force. 

Brian Morris/WCAI

 During the last few months, we’ve reported extensively on the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford, currently under construction and scheduled to come online early next year. When completed, it will serve as a staging area for Cape Wind and other offshore wind turbine projects. But recently, state and local officials have found themselves at odds over what to call the terminal. Locals thought it would be the “New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal”, but state officials have other ideas.

Brian Morris/WCAI

The Family Pantry of Cape Cod operates out of a nondescript building in an industrial section of Harwich. It’s open three days a week, and offers a lifeline for many Cape Cod residents and families who come here to stock up on much-needed food items. Recently, frozen bluefish fillets have been added to that list. 

Brian Morris/WCAI

New Bedford’s textile mills once churned out fabric 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some of the old mills have been torn down, but others survive as artist spaces, outlets and apparel manufacturers. About a half dozen of the red brick structures have been restored and turned into high-end apartments. Manomet Place in New Bedford’s North End is one example. 

Brian Morris/WCAI

Driving through New Bedford along Route 195, it’s hard not to notice the long red brick buildings on either side of the highway. These are the old textile mills, built mostly in the early 1900’s. They’re a familiar part of the landscape, but many people don’t know the stories these buildings have to tell: of the immigrant workers who came here by the thousands; of the working conditions they faced; of a textile industry that exploded in New Bedford and then faded just as quickly; and of the present-day debate about whether to save these buildings or tear them down. 

Brian Morris/WCAI

A new solar energy farm in New Bedford is designed to power more than 200 homes. But this particular solar array sits atop a Superfund site. And it's taken a lot of coordinated effort at the local, State and Federal levels to make the project happen. 

On a crisp and clear Friday afternoon, more than 5,000 sleek new solar panels slant skyward at the 11-acre Sullivan's Ledge site in New Bedford. With New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and others looking on, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touted the fact that a polluted site could now be put to good use.

Brian Morris/WCAI

The popular PBS TV show “Thomas and Friends” has sparked the imagination of young children for generations.  Each summer, railroad amusement park Edaville USA in Carver hosts a “Day Out With Thomas” weekend that includes a ride on a train pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine himself. And the experience is about to get a whole lot bigger. Construction is underway on Thomas Land, a new Thomas theme park on the grounds of Edaville. The new park isn’t much to look at now, but by this time next year, it’ll be the biggest Thomas Land in the world. 

Each summer, vacationers come to the Cape in droves. Many pay a summer premium for the visit, staying in local hotels and inns. But some people are here not to vacation, but instead for seasonal work, for school, or  for a special activity. A few summer programs offer these visitors housing. But not all can afford to, which means the burden of housing falls to Cape Cod families.  Perhaps no organization relies on locals more than the Cape Cod Baseball League. But it’s not just the players who benefit from the experience of living with a host family.

Cape Cod has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the United States. In response to the prevalence of the disease on the Cape, a Mashpee resident has opened up a Lyme disease wellness center, one of the first of its kind in the nation. He wants there to be a place where people who suffer with long-lasting symptoms of Lyme disease – often called chronic Lyme  can go to get the help they need.

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