Jennette Barnes | CAI

Jennette Barnes


Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. She feels grateful every day to see life through the eyes of people who share their stories.

Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to WCAI. She wrote for The Boston Globe for five years and twice worked at The Standard-Times of New Bedford, where she began as a reporter, rose to the position of editorial page editor, and later returned to write long-form projects.

Jennette got her start in journalism chasing politicians as a member of the New York State Capitol press corps, and then landed in Rhode Island, where she learned the art of community news at The Warwick Beacon.

Her work has received numerous New England journalism awards.

A series she pitched for The Standard-Times on Portuguese-American culture became the book A Nossa Vida: The Portuguese Experience in America. She loves learning about cultural heritage of all kinds, especially if it involves a bakery.

She is a mom, a kayaker, and a serious public television fan.

Ways to Connect

Liz Lerner

When COVID-19 vaccines arrive on Cape Cod, Barnstable County health officials want to see childcare staff and people who are homeless among those who get high priority, even though, to date, they are not specified on the prioity list set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaira Harik, deputy director of Barnstable County Human Services, said that in addition to health care workers and people in long-term care, early vaccines should go to people who are homeless and to workers at childcare centers.

Jennette Barnes / CAI

This spring, precautions against COVID-19 closed some of the few showers open to people who are homeless and living outdoors, including one in the basement of the Duffy Health Center in Hyannis.

Now, with a little ingenuity and some help from the state, showers are back — in a special trailer that meets COVID-19 protocol.


Thirteen research groups and government agencies have formed a consortium to share information about white sharks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, and Cape Cod organizations are among them.

Melissa Doroquez /

As millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, many Native Americans and their supporters will commemorate the National Day of Mourning.

Held in Plymouth since 1970, the annual event is both solemn and political. It remembers the murder and oppression of Native Americans — and the theft of their land — by European settlers. It also serves as a protest of modern-day racism.

Kisha James, granddaughter of the founder and a senior at Wellesley College, said attendance has grown to more than 1,000 people a year.

Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School Facebook page

Local school districts selected for the state’s COVID-19 testing program are making plans to roll out their testing protocol, which could vary substantially from one district to the next.

At Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich, students will get the nasal swab right in the nurse’s office. Results are ready in 15 minutes with no special equipment.

COVID-19 Test Site Locator Map - Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

State money for COVID-19 testing is starting to arrive in Barnstable County from legislative earmarks.

The county Department of Health and Environment plans to establish its own testing sites.

Department director Sean O’Brien said the first batch of funding is $300,000 secured by Rep. Dylan Fernandes in the supplemental budget in July, and it must be used in Falmouth, which is in Fernandes’ district.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

For the past five winters, three Martha’s Vineyard churches took turns sheltering the homeless on different nights of the week. But those pop-up shelters relied mostly on elder volunteers, and they closed abruptly in March because of COVID-19.

This fall, a committee went looking for a new location. What they found could change the island’s approach to homelessness.


Demolition of the main emissions stack at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is scheduled to begin Wednesday as part of the ongoing decommissioning of the plant, which closed in May, 2019.

Liz Lerner

Gov. Charlie Baker is urging schools to bring children back to the classroom, and a Cape Cod public health official says the idea appears to be backed by science.

“Our governor and his team remain science-based and empirical in their approach, which is laudable and very welcome here,” said Vaira Harik, deputy director of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services.


A earthquake that hit Buzzards Bay Sunday morning is one of the strongest in decades to strike the area.

Initial reports put the earthquake at a 4.2 which was downgraded to a 3.6.

Liz Lerner

State Senator Julian Cyr says COVID-19 is now spreading in the community on Cape Cod, not just in isolated situations.

“We are no longer in a position to say that we are not seeing evidence of community spread at this time, particularly on the Mid Cape,” Cyr said.

Jennette Barnes

Sixty people demonstrated at the airport rotary in Hyannis and another 50 in Falmouth Wednesday, calling for every vote to be counted in the presidential election.

The rallies were among hundreds planned nationally as part of an effort called Protect the Results.

Liz Lerner

Police are concerned about two things this Halloween: unsafe gatherings and the vandalism sometimes associated with the holiday, according to Chatham Police Chief Mark Pawlina. 

Liz Lerner

A spike in COVID-19 cases reported Monday and Tuesday on Cape Cod largely stems from one indoor event, according to State Senator Julian Cyr.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

Halloween is Saturday, and many parents are wary of letting their children trick-or-treat because of COVID-19. But there’s nothing spooky about another fall ritual — picking out pumpkins.

At Coonamessett Farm last week, five-year-old Maureen Shannon and her brother Grady, 4, were drawn to the chicken barn, with its flock cluck-clucking in the outdoor pen and, inside, two small goats eyeing visitors with curiosity.

Sarah Mizes-Tan

The public panel overseeing the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is asking lawmakers to change the panel’s voting rules.

Members of the 21-seat Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel said it’s been hard to get anything done, because the law requires them to have 11 votes to pass a motion, no matter how many people are present.


Two competing petitions are calling for action on Barnstable High School Principal Patrick Clark’s administrative leave.

One asks the Barnstable School Committee to reinstate Clark, whom Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown placed on leave for undisclosed reasons in September; the other asks Clark to sign a release so Mayo-Brown can make the reasons public.

David Bigelow

Once, there was a famous shark, and a boat that inspired one of the most famous movie lines of all time. The Orca, the fishing boat from Jaws, is long gone, but an effort is underway to bring the vessel back to life.

Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

Today is legally Columbus Day in Massachusetts, but a movement is gaining steam to abandon the holiday and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.


Barnstable High School parents, alumni, and other members of the community urged the School Committee on Wednesday to find a way to bring back the principal, Patrick Clark.

Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown placed him on leave in late September for undisclosed reasons.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

A small group of parents and school staff got up early enough on a recent Saturday to make it to North Falmouth Elementary by 8:30 a.m.

They came for a morning of work, setting up outdoor spaces for kids to play and learn.

Liz Lerner

Now that summer is over, the results are in: Although some businesses remain under strain, the tourist season was busier than expected, according to the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

Local restaurants are greeting Gov. Baker’s loosening of coronavirus restrictions with careful optimism.

Starting Monday, the rules allow patrons to sit directly at a restaurant’s bar — instead of just at high-top tables near the bar — provided they order food.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

With a week to go to finish the 2020 Census, workers are knocking on doors to find people who haven’t replied.


Some are reluctant to answer because they live in an illegal apartment, or because someone in the home is in the country illegally. Others don’t fill out the Census for their seasonal home — which they’re supposed to do.


And some people just aren’t going to troubleshoot if there’s a problem.

Nantucket is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, and officials are concerned about risk factors that could feed the outbreak.

The 40 people diagnosed on the island in a 10-day period ending Sept. 16 represent more than a third of Nantucket’s cases for the entire pandemic.