WCAI Series Reporting

WCAI brings you original in-depth reporting on issues facing the Cape, Islands, and South Coast: Wind Turbines, Education, Water Quality, Alzheimer's, and more.

Stories on this page have been tagged as "Series Reporting."

Click here for a list of all WCAI's series reporting.

Many of our series have won awards. A full list is on our Awards page.

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. 

Here for Work, Immigrants Face Violence

Sep 22, 2014
Sarah Reynolds

Friday is payday for many New Bedford businesses. That makes for a bustling Acushnet Avenue with money-sending shops on nearly every block. Transportes Vasquez sends money and other goods from immigrants in New Bedford to their homes in Guatemala. The owner, Luis Vasquez says on average, 500 people come by to send money every weekend.

Unauthorized and Paying Taxes

Sep 19, 2014
Sarah Reynolds

February and March is a busy time for the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford. It’s tax season. For the past eleven years, this community organization has participated in a federal program that helps low income people file their taxes. It offers free tax service to families making less than 52-thousand dollars a year. Williams says she gets all kinds of people coming in who fit the bill. And many of them are immigrants who are here illegally, like Luis Farfan. He stops by every year to file his tax return.

Not Licensed To Drive

Sep 18, 2014
stock photo

When Celia Alves first gets in her car to drive home after a long day of work, she prays.

Dear God,” she began, “I want to say thank you so much for this beautiful day and for your protection…”

Alves is not a nervous driver. She’s been driving a long time – for 24 years – most of those years on the Cape and in her native Brazil before that.

First Generation: Torn Between Two Cultures

Sep 17, 2014
Courtesy photo

Mara, of Falmouth, first came to Cape Cod with her parents when she was ten. These first generation immigrants who arrive when they’re young often are the ones who struggle most, as they have feet in two worlds. But two years ago, things got a little easier for some of them. A new presidential directive called DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – allows children who were in the U.S. before their 16th birthday to get work authorization and to defer deportation. Some opponents say the program amounts to temporary legalization, and they want it repealed.

Growing Old in Portuguese New Bedford

Sep 16, 2014
Sarah Reynolds

In a grey duplex on a narrow street in New Bedford, Margarida Xavier fixes a pillow on her living room couch and sits down. She’s 86 years old. She moved to New Bedford from the Azores in Portugal more than 50 years ago, but she still doesn’t speak much English. She’s lived alone since her husband died ten years ago. And it’s been lonely.

But every few weeks she gets a visitor – Lucy Oliveira, the Senior Services Coordinator with the Immigrants’ Assistance Center in New Bedford. Oliveira comes by once or twice a month to visit and to help Xavier read her mail. 

Nantucket, Microcosm of a Changing Region

Sep 15, 2014
Fr. Marcel Bouchard

Young immigrants have been crossing the border into the U.S. in record numbers over the past few years.  This summer, Governor Patrick offered Camp Edwards as a temporary place to house the youngest of them. People held rallies around the Cape in response – some opposing the plan and some showing support. The Governor’s plan may have struck a chord with Cape Codders since demographics are in flux here, too.

  Homeowners Feel Blindsided by Proposed Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 5 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."

BOSTON -- One of the longest and most anticipated Alzheimer drug studies in history is about to begin, and Dr. Reisa Sperling is wondering if people will come. It's called the A4 study, and Sperling is the project leader.

"I sometimes get very worried," she said, "who will we find that wants to come into a 3-year trial on the chance that they might develop Alzheimer's disease dementia?

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 4 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

Dr. Bill Klunk is a clinician and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, and he spent much his career finding ways to see Alzheimer's in people's brains.  

Sometimes, he said, he likes to tell people about his dream last day on the job -- that final day before he retires. And in the dream, he meets with Mrs. Smith in the clinic and he says:

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 3 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

As researchers work to find Alzheimer's treatments, they have a small, furry ally at their disposal -- the mouse.  And at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, they live in a lower level of the school, well below the series of labs upstairs where dozens of researchers are looking for ways to stop Alzheimer's disease.


In a new five-part series, WCAI senior reporter and editor Sean Corcoran looks at some of the most recent innovations related to finding a cure or preventative for Alzheimer's disease. Sean traveled to labs in San Diego, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York City.  On The Point he talks with Mindy Todd about reporting the series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments." Dr.

Alzheimer's Researchers Learning from Past Mistakes

Oct 1, 2013
Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 2 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

At his lab at UC San Diego, Dr. Steve Wagner takes from the lower shelf a clear, plexiglass box filled with small bottles. He needs two hands to carefully lift it.

Sean Corcoran

Part One of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."  

Harvard-Mass General researcher Dr. Rob Moir has a hypothesis about a small protein, or peptide, that the body makes called amyloid-beta, or Abeta. This is the stuff that's known to clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients with the disease's telltale plaques. But Moir's hypothesis is that Abeta may actually be part of our immune system.