WCAI Series Reporting | CAI

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.

Hayley Fager / WCAI


Changes in overseas markets have impacted what gets recycled and how. But when you put a drink can or a metal food container into your blue bin here on Cape Cod, there’s a good chance that it will be recycled into another metal product.

Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

Cape Cod has one of the highest number of sober houses per capita of any region in the state, a result of the draw of well-known addiction treatment centers like Gosnold. But the high number of sober homes can make relationships with the community uneasy.

Quality of Sober House Is Key in Journey of Recovery

Apr 10, 2019
Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI



On a sunny spring day, Joseph Schopplein was riding in a car with his boyfriend, on their way to get his monthly Vivitrol shot. Schopplein is from Mattapan, near Boston. But like many opioid addicts in the state, he’s come to Falmouth for treatment at Gosnold, one of the largest recovery facilities in Massachusetts.


Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI



Sober houses are places where addicts can continue their recovery after completing formal medical treatment. Falmouth has one of the highest number of these homes per capita of any town in Massachusetts, in part due to the presence of the addiction treatment center Gosnold. 

Pien Huang/WCAI

Aquaculture is on the rise in Massachusetts.  For many entering the business, shellfish farming seems like a more secure option than the marine fisheries.  But climate change looms as a long-term threat over the industry. 

Chef Scott Robertson: Try Jonah Crab at Home

Nov 14, 2018
Pien Huang/WCAI

As executive chef at Fisherman’s View Restaurant, Scott Robertson is a pioneer in the growing field of Jonah crab cuisine.

Pien Huang/WCAI

The lobster industry in southern New England has been on the decline for decades. As waters warm, some lobster fishermen are adapting by switching their catch to Jonah crab, a crustacean once considered a trash species.

Pien Huang/WCAI

New England’s fishermen are feeling the effects of climate change in fundamental ways, as fish populations respond to changes in the ocean environment. For scientists trying to understand this dynamic system, one big challenge is getting enough data. To address that problem, a number of scientific projects are building on an unlikely collaboration, enlisting data collection from the men and women who are out on the water most.

J-1 Visa Students Face Challenges Living on Cape Cod

Aug 31, 2018
Sarah Tan / WCAI

It’s just after midnight, and there’s almost no one on the streets of Orleans. But at a strip mall, a group of J-1 students are emerging from their shifts at the local grocery store to catch a special late night bus.

This is part of a three-part series called Cape Cod's Hidden Student Workforce. All of the pieces can be heard here. 


Foreign students in the U.S. on a J-1 Visa often have to pay several thousand dollars just to get into the country and find a job.  And if they run into trouble when they're here, their only recourse is to turn to a sponsor, who often manages several hundred students at a time. 

WCAI’s Kathryn Eident talked with Sarah Tan to learn more about sponsors in the J-1 program, and about a non-profit that’s interested in changing the program’s designation so that it could be better regulated. 

Sarah Tan / WCAI

It’s a muggy summer day at Pastor Matthew Boyle’s house in Harwich Port, and inside, the sound of Jamaican music sifts through the still air. Today is Jamaican independence day, and Boyle and volunteers are hosting a traditional Jamaican dinner for local J-1 students. 

Sarah Tan / WCAI

Perhaps you've seen them on the side of the highway, their bike lights flashing as you pass them in the night, or maybe they've rung you up at the grocery store and you've noticed an accent. They’re students from abroad, and they’re called J-1’s, after the type of visa they hold.  It's a cultural exchange visa, but it allows them to work while they’re here for three to four months. Every year, Massachusetts brings in the highest number of these kinds of J-1 students in the United States, and the majority are on the Cape and Islands for the summer.

Hayley Fager


If you drive around the Cape this time of year, you’ll probably hear the tree crews before you see them. Matt Mitko does residential tree removal, and he’s exhausted.

“We’re barely done with our winter emergencies and people are already concerned about hurricane season,” he said.

How to Get Ready for a Hurricane

Aug 10, 2018
Hayley Fager


On this page we've gathered information and resources to help you prepare your home and make a plan in the event of a major storm.


WCAI has partnered with the Cape Cod Times to bring you the series, "Are we ready? Examining hurricane preparedness on Cape Cod and the Islands."

WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Cape Cod Times reporter Cindy McCormick about how the new Nantucket Hospital is being built with storms in mind. 

The Hurricane-Resistant Home

Aug 9, 2018
Pien Huang/WCAI

What is a hurricane-proof house?

John Bologna, a structural engineer in Orleans, says it’s a concrete bunker with bulletproof windows, stocked with emergency pumps, backup batteris, and a 10-week supply of food.

Sarah Tan / WCAI

In West Tisbury, the town has over a thousand Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, stored in the town hall basement. They were purchased a decade ago through a grant from FEMA. One particularly hot summer day, I visited West Tisbury Emergency Preparedness director Russ Hartenstine, to test them to see if they were still good. 


Wikicommons / bit.ly/2MhkKni

WCAI has partnered with the Cape Cod Times to bring you the series, "Are we ready? Examining hurricane preparedness on Cape Cod and the Islands." WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with some of the Cape Cod Times reporters about what they learned in writing their stories for the series, including Doug Fraser, the Times' environmental reporter, who took a look at the dangers of storm surge in Buzzards Bay.

Kathryn Eident

The Cape’s unique geography is a draw for visitors and tourists, but it can also make the region especially vulnerable when a severe storm strikes.

So local authorities have assembled a one-of-a-kind local network, complete with its own radio system, that stands at the ready to help us weather storms more safely.

Hurricane Bob Was 'Not Much of a Test'

Aug 6, 2018
Courtesy Jeff Donnelly, WHOI

It’s been 27 years since a hurricane last hit Cape Cod.

And though that storm, Hurricane Bob, caused a substantial amount of damage, it was “not much of a test, because it was only a fairly minor category 2 storm,” said Jeff Donnelly, who studies hurricanes at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Bringing Back the Big Meander

Jun 25, 2018
Stephanie Guyer-Stevens

As part one of our three-part series, Voices Along the Herring River, we hear from ecologist John Portnoy. He lives in Wellfleet and is part of the group advocating for the restoration project. He became involved back in the 1980s, shortly after the original dike had been rebuilt.

'I Never Want to Leave'

Jun 25, 2018
Stephanie Guyer-Stevens

In part two of our three-part series, Voices Along the Herring River, we hear from Judy Ellis, who lives adjacent to the project area. Ellis and her neighbor are the only private property owners, out of 17 impacted by the project, who chose not to allow flooding on their land. Ellis is 73 and has lived in the same house for more than 20 years, surrounded by her finches, her wind chimes and her collections. 

'You Gotta Think About the Whole Picture'

Jun 25, 2018
Stephanie Guyer-Stevens

In the final part of our three-part series, Voices Along the Herring River, we hear from Mike Parlante. He’s an oysterman. As a child in Wellfleet, he explored the estuary from end to end. And as a young man, he became involved in efforts to keep the existing river clear of debris, to allow herring to continue making their annual journey upstream to spawn. He believes much can be done to improve the Herring River using just simple tools, shovels and rakes, and a respectful attention. 

Sam Houghton

The endangered North Atlantic right whale is facing extinction, with fewer than 450 left. The most significant cause of mortality for the whales is entanglement in fishing gear, including lobster trap lines. A lawsuit forcing the government to protect the whales may bring about a change in the way lobster fishermen have worked for more than a hundred years.

From Gallows Humor to Cutting Edge Technology

May 2, 2018
This four-bladed arrow can be used to cut fishing gear off entangled whales.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

The disentanglement team at the Center for Coastal Studies might be forgiven for some off-color jokes. Dozens of whales get tangled in fishing gear each year. The results can be grizzly – wounds that cut to the bone, infections, starvation – if not deadly. And attempting to free entangled whales is both physically and emotionally exhausting, not to mention dangerous. What’s not to joke about?