WCAI News

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.

Art by N. Currier via Wikimedia Commons

For the Wampanoag who have called coastal Massachusetts their home for more than 10,000 years, the founding of Plymouth in 1620, doesn’t feel that far removed, nor does its 400th anniversary bring reason to rejoice.

“We won’t be celebrating," said Ramona Peters, the chief historical preservation officer for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. "I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not many native people that will be involved.”

As Peters sees it, the Wampanoag story and the Pilgrim story -- they can’t be put on the same stage.

Brian Morris/WCAI

After sailing triumphantly up the Acushnet River last week, the restored 19th century whale ship Charles W. Morgan on Saturday was officially welcomed home by the City of New Bedford. The vessel was built in the city in 1841, and it helped launch New Bedford as the capital of the whaling industry. Although it’s been docked at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for the past 73 years, many New Bedford residents still think the historic ship belongs to their city. 

Cynthia Snow

 It’s still six years away, but already plans are being made in Plymouth for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower. All this month, a group of students from UMass-Boston are busy digging on the north side of Burial Hill Cemetery, site of the original Pilgrim settlement. It’s an archaeological dig, a collaboration between Plimoth Plantation and the university. They’re searching for parts of a wall – what they call a palisade – that surrounded the original Plymouth settlement

Luisa Hufstader/WCAI

A boatyard on Martha’s Vineyard played a part in the restoration of the historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan, which is visiting the Island as part of its 38th Voyage around New England. WCAI’s Louisa Hufstader spoke with the Vineyard Haven boatbuilder whose shop produced one of the whaleboats the Morgan carries on her deck.

WCAI/Brian Morris

Vineyard Haven harbor resounded with cheers, ship horns and cannon blasts as well-wishers turned out to greet the Charles W. Morgan when it arrived in Martha’s Vineyard from Newport, Rhode Island. The 173-year old vessel is America’s last surviving whale ship. It’s based at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and recently underwent a 5-1/2 year restoration there. The Morgan is traveling around New England this summer on its 38th Voyage, stopping at ports where it has strong ties. This is the first time the Morgan has sailed since its last whaling voyage in 1921. 

Brian Morris/WCAI

Many parents find they’re unable to spend enough quality time with their kids during the week. The pressures of work and other obligations often makes that difficult, if not impossible. This is especially true for parents and students at the Hannigan School in New Bedford. These students are attending classes at a facility two miles away from their regular school building, while it undergoes extensive renovations But a new program gives these students and their families a chance to re-connect on weekends by cultivating gardens together. 

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