Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Live in Wellfleet

Yesterday my first impulse, when we got to Newcomb Hollow, was to think of you all, and especially those far away from Wellfleet, and wish I could bottle the day. Take a look:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Think About Planet Earth Way Before Earth Day?

After an unseasonably cold week, milder temperatures show up in the forecast, and Dyer Pond will become even more appealing to our B&B guests. Sven and I still walk there when it’s cold at the ocean. Did you know the weatherman predicts snow for Friday? No doubt, the snow will contain more of the radiation that rode the winds across the northern hemisphere from Japan last week as rain. Oops! Sorry for that gloomy thought. I find myself thinking a lot about the modern world these days and the consequences for humanity of nuclear disaster, toxic chemicals in food and water, and other not-so-cheerful topics.

Did you know “most people use around 10 personal care products every day, with an average of 126 different ingredients,” most often not good for us? Environmental Working Group further emailed yesterday, “We'd like to believe that the government is policing the safety of all of the concoctions we put on our bodies, but it's not. Instead, these unregulated products pose uncertain dangers for our health and our environment.”

Strange. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

I don’t understand why our government doesn’t advocate for an environment free of toxins. Why can’t Michelle Obama take the obesity/diabetes issue a step further by mentioning recent research that indicates exposure to endocrine disruptive chemicals in the womb may play a role in the epidemic?

When I was a child, Smokey the Bear taught America not to litter. Over the past fifty years, consumerism has taken hold and corporations rule. Poor Smokey has been completely muzzled.

The more I read, the more upset I become.

New permits for oil rigs were handed out last week to potential polluters although the issue with BP's well has not been fixed. GMOs are not the answer, no matter what Monsanto may claim, and GMO seeds are spreading on the wind, endangering organic crops. (Check out the opinions of non-corporate specialists here.) The chemical industry defends BPA, a known endocrine disruptor, and will fight hard to defeat any effort at revision of the Toxic Chemicals Act, soon before Congress. Plastics end up in the stomachs of sea turtles, as well as in the fish we eat.

To make matters worse, most media outlets are owned by corporations, and in-depth reporting on the environment does not get much airtime.

But the Internet remains free and allows us to stay informed. We can read blogs like AttainableSustainable and make the necessary changes in our own lives, one day at a time. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families offers Top Tips for Keeping Toxic Chemicals at Bay. Writer Jennifer Margulis tackles the subject of "pretty poisons" at Mothering Outside the Lines.

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday about food dyes. Chris Wragge asked this morning on CBS's The Early Show,"What is artificial food dye doing to your kids?"

Dare we hope regulation is on the way, that public opinion will force change?

If I am posting about this topic, it's because I know many of you are thinking along the same lines. Yesterday Irene emailed: “Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. License runs out in 2012. NRC considering renewal through 2032. Check out Wikipedia. Now is the time. We should protest and insist that it be closed. There is no evacuation route on the Cape that would safeguard residents against nuclear fallout.”

It’s true. No valid evacuation route exists. As another blog reader commented on my post about closing Pilgrim nuclear plant, “What’s the plan? Swim east?”

In Wellfleet, Harriet, posted similar thoughts to Cape Cool Blog.

I was a member of the protest generation but did not protest the Vietnam war because I used to believe in the United States government. Then I moved to a foreign country and found myself obliged to defend American policies. Now I’m older and wiser. I have grandchildren, and I’m ready to protest.

Do you feel the same way? Are you ready to join the protest lines?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NStar Lays Claim to Power Lines

Last fall, after the summer crowds had departed, fence posts suddenly popped up along roads bordering the power lines, including Long Pond Road, shown above. What was going on? My neighbor Marla Rice tried to find out. NStar told her fences were going up across Cape Cod, wherever there was access to the power lines. Apparently people have been dumping old furniture and garbage. (You seen any dumped furniture in Wellfleet? Me, neither.) In the event of an emergency, it was important to keep dirt bikes out. (Bikers can simply walk around the fences, if they see fit, trampling native vegetation.) Further, there had already been a "bad incident" out west where two trucks blocked access. NStar has a "mandate" to control vegetation. Marla added that the NStar official said his company intended to "work with homeowners and give them the keys." She checked with John Connor and did not pursue the issue when he confirmed. "I hated the look and feel of them," Marla added. I can only agree. I checked at town hall, and NStar did not consult with any Selectmen. The utility company simply made up its mind and acted.

The sign above says Property of NStar. Actually, the land does not belong to the utility company. The utility company simply has easements. The real "property of NStar" is the ugly metal gate that defiles the landscape and National Seashore.

What do you think of the fences and metal gates?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wellfleet Pedestrians Applaud Sidewalk Upgrade ...

Anyone driving up Main Street, into Wellfleet, cannot miss the new sign about sidewalk construction. All I can say is, IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Preservation Hall Plans Gala Opening

Wellfleet Preservation Hall plans to open to the public on Saturday, May 14, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held at 5 pm, followed by a giant potluck dinner and a free dance party. Mark your calendars now! (Blog readers who live off-Cape, Chez Sven still has availability that weekend if you want to join the fun and need a place to stay.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dark Chocolate, Anyone?

Sven had a hankering for chocolate last night, so we drove down to Cumberland Farms. I do not keep chocolate in the house, because I’m a chocoholic. Mother must have dribbled Hershey's syrup into my Pablum. Actually, chocolate addiction runs in the family. My grandmother passed me handfuls of M & Ms when no one else was looking. My dad kept his own private stash of Lindt nuggets under lock and key. On weekly trips to the Giant supermarket in DC, I would trot right down to the candy aisle. Oh, chocolate, food of the Gods! The Mars Bars and the Milky Ways . . . the Snickers and the Three Mousquateers . . . the Mounds and the Almond Joys . . . the Fifth Avenues, the Babe Ruths . . . the Peppermint Patties! As soon as I got my allowance, I would bike up to the soda fountain for a chocolate ice cream soda with chocolate – not vanilla – ice cream and a cherry on top. I didn’t even have to give the lady my order. She recognized me as a regular: “Hi there, hon. One chocolate special, coming right up.” The soda cost 26 cents. With the change, I bought Hershey bars …

Trying to latch onto the recent health craze, Hershey has added Special Dark to its stable of chocolate treats, which is what was available at Cumberland Farms. A seal on the wrapper claims Special Dark is a “natural source of flavorful antioxidants.” Do not get taken in. I read the fine print. This new bar contains only 45% cacao and way too much sugar. In his book Anticancer, David Servan-Schreiber recommends at least 70% cacao to achieve any health benefit.

And, the place to go in Wellfleet, at this time of the year, for real dark chocolate? Wellfleet Marketplace, of course. It stocks two different brands, offering a choice of 70%, 77% or 86% cacao. Each bar costs around four dollars. Expensive! So expensive, I did not buy any.

Some people can break off small squares to eat like medicine. As I said above, I cannot resist eating the whole bar at one sitting. How about you? Are you able to incorporate dark chocolate into your diet?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bonus Post: LeCount Hollow, Today

What's New On the Bookshelf?

I reported on Suzanne Somers’s Knockout three weeks ago. Now on to David Servan-Schreiber’s Anticancer: A New Way of Life. David was a young psychiatrist in Pittsburgh when colleagues, testing a MRI machine, happened to discover a brain tumor. The Frenchman has it removed and begins a thorough study of cancer that culminates in this book. Servan-Schreiber makes it clear that cancer lies dormant in all of us, that lifestyle choices matter, and that disease can be triggered by environmental factors. Here’s what he recommends: changing our diets, heavy with sugar and bleached flours, to nutrient-rich, cancer-fighting foods. He bases this recommendation on new research on certain mushrooms, stone fruits like plums, olive oil, berries and more, all organic, of course. He demonstrates how Vitamin D3 can slow the development of existing cancer cells. He raves over the benefits of green tea and foods containing Omega 3. Meditation is also an important part of treatment, as is attention to the immune system and support from friends. What interested me the most was Servan-Schreiber’s assertion that toxic chemicals are making us sick, which Somers also believes. He advises readers to avoid polycarbonate plastics and inorganic-phosphate food preservatives but also suggests limiting cell phone usage. And, he fingers pesticides as a possible cause of his own cancer: “Between 1963 and 1970, from age two to age nine, I played in a cornfield, sprayed with atrazine, surrounding our country house in Normandy.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Should the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Be Shut Down?

If I climbed this small dune at Newcomb Hollow Beach and had Superman-vision, I could zero in on the closest nuclear plant to Cape Cod, Pilgrim, in Plymouth. I have never been in favor of nuclear power. After the events in Japan, I know that I am against it and hope Pilgrim will not get its permit renewed in 2012. (Read a good analysis of the situation in this article by Patrick Cassidy.)

Zeep, who reads this blog, sent the following information to share: “Here is the link that you must read to understand what is happening now in Japan, and has happened elsewhere in the past since the advent of the use of nuclear fission for weapons, two of which were dropped in the form of atomic bombs by the USA in Japan in 1945, that resulted in ending WW II. The nine nuclear weapon countries have more than 5,000 atomic bombs ready to use that would kill virtually all life on Earth if even one hundred or fewer were used to bomb targets anywhere on Earth. Likewise multiple failures of the over 400 existing nuclear power plants on Earth would likely have the same cataclysmic result but perhaps a slower death rate. Row row your boat merrily down the stream with stupid political leaders at the bull horn and suffer the consequences or speak out and take action as if your and your children's lives were at risk. They are!”

I was very moved by the statements made last week by a Russian scientist who cleaned up Chernobyl. Finally, here's a worthwhile summary in the Japan Times and a recommendation from the UN. The people of Japan need our help. Find out how you can help at Todd's Wanderings.

The predominant direction of the winds here in Wellfleet is from the West. If there were another accident at the Pilgrim plant, which is the same model as Fukushima Daiichi, nuclear fall-out would probably hit Cape Cod.

What do you think? Should Pilgrim be decommissioned?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Parkington Sisters at Gig With Springsteen!

Above, a vintage picture disc of Dancing in the Dark, with Pink Cadillac on the flip side. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while probably do not know that I am a Springtsteen fan, because I have never mentioned it. Now, at last, I have found a way to connect Bruce to Wellfleet, so I can scream it through cyberspace: I LOVE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!

Patty, the receptionist at Dr. Latimer’s office in Hyannis, is an even bigger fan than me, if that’s possible. She has photos of the Boss plastered all over her cubicle. I asked yesterday if she had heard that he was in Boston last weekend.

“I know!” Patty exclaimed, her voice full of the regret of someone who has won the lottery but discovers the dog has eaten the lottery ticket. “My husband called to tell me. Seems he played with two gals from Wellfleet.”

“The Parkington Sisters?”

“Don’t know. I’ll have to ask. Must have been the thrill of their life.”

Indeed. I was able to confirm, thanks to Kerry Dexter at Music Road, and yes, the lucky Wellfleet ladies were the Parkington Sisters, who played the first set at House of Blues for the Dropkick Murphys.

I used to work in radio and have a friend whose husband used to be Bruce’s road manager. We were sitting in the staff room, having dinner, before the first Born in the USA concert when Bruce walked in. My friend beckoned to him. He lumbered over.

“I crossed the ocean to meet you!” I blabbered. Not exactly true, but on such occasions you lose control of what comes out of your mouth.

Meeting Bruce was one of the biggest thrills of my life. I was stuck by the loyalty of his entourage. Everyone treated him with such love and respect.

I watched the first half of the show from the audience, but for the second half, my friend took me backstage. We danced in the wings with the wives of the band members. Quite a moment!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why We Must Not Take Water For Granted

Today is World Water Day. I hope everyone will allot a few minutes to think about the meaning of water. Here on Cape Cod, we live surrounded by water. Tourists come to swim, sail, surf, splash, paddle, wade, or simply observe water. In Wellfleet, we drink well water, pumped up from a sole-source aquifer, which the EPA New England Web site maintains we should protect. Our bodies are 55 to 80% water. We are told to drink eight glasses a day. I, for one, care about water. How about you?

If water holds such special meaning perhaps it’s because of the amniotic fluid that surrounds us before being born. We floated in it. Amniotic fluid protected us. Perhaps this early experience explains in part the outrage so many of us feel at the irreparable damage being done to the earth’s water resources? Perhaps it produces an unconscious urge to protect those resources?

If you feel as I do, speak up. Tell your legislators to protect our water. If citizens do not speak out, we will find ourselves without pure water, water-less.

I’m referring to the injection of toxic chemicals into the ground in Pennsylvania, New York, and Arkansas. (The goal of “fracking” is natural gas extraction but at what cost? Pollution of drinking water?)

I’m referring to the difficulty concerned citizens have with a similar issue here on Cape Cod, where NStar intends to spray up to five herbicides under the power lines. (There’s a moratorium in place through December 2011, but what bothers me is that the utility company doesn’t seem to understand why we protest. We do not want our water contaminated for generations when there are other options for the vegetation removal, required by Federal law.)

I’m referring to revelations in the documentaries Tapped, The Story of Bottled Water, and Blue Gold. (Did you know George W. Bush bought a ranch in Columbia, right over the largest aquifer in the world? Do you think that was a coincidence? Did you know that NestlĂ© "owns" water that used to be available to folks in Friberg, Maine, and puts the once available-to-all water in plastic bottles for profit? That, in Africa, Coke is cheaper than water?)

“It is all about the control and ownership of water.”

Water privatization. Do those two words together make you mad? They should. Water is a basic human right. It is necessary for human life on this planet. Clean water was declared a human right by the United Nations. The next time you drink a glass of water, or look out over one of Wellfleet’s pristine kettle ponds, remember just one thing: do not take water for granted.

What have you done for water today?

Monday, March 21, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Love Ballston Beach

A trip to Ballston Beach always brings a smile to my face. I skip rather than walk. I shiver with anticipation. Oh, the excitement! Here’s why:

1.) The access road winds through the pristine National Seashore.
2.) Any buildings along this road hark back to a time when Truro was mostly farmland.
3.) Ballston Beach is often deserted in the off-season.
4.) The beach itself is a beautiful shape and so peaceful.
5.) “Gil’s house” has not tumbled in yet.
6.) In the distance stands the Truro Hostel, a reminder that young people can still find cheap accommodation on the Outer Cape.
7.) The parking lot is close to the ocean and the air smells of salt.
8.) Beyond the hostel, there’s a hill with the sign explaining the storm of 1991.
9.) Sven and I have been observing the erosion here for quite some time and have seen some unusual configurations over the years.
10.) What can I say? This beach is special.

In the words of Truro artist and native Tom Watson, “Every time I go, I’m struck anew by its beauty. I have painted this beach many, many times but I still am unable to fully understand what is so fascinating about the meeting place of the three main visual elements – sky, land and water."

Today I read on Facebook that Safe Harbor has started a barrier beach dune restoration project at Ballston. It is definitely a beach worth saving. Want to help? Mac’s Seafood has contributed a $500 matching gift, so your contributions will get a definite boost. Find out why this beach is special to Mac Hay here.

Sven and I do not go to Ballston Beach in summer because it's in Truro, not Wellfleet. Are you familiar with Ballston? If so, why do you like going there? Do you know any successful restoration projects like the one Safe Harbor has started in Truro? What is your favorite beach and why?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's New On the Bookshelf?

In Project Happily Ever After, Alisa Bowman analyzes why she got to a point in her marriage where she wanted her husband dead and describes how she remedied this situation. I admire her candor and determination to save the marriage, no matter what that might take. The key to a successful marriage, it seems, is good communication. I appreciated the easy take-home tips and suggestions on how to rekindle romance. Reading this book will help a lot of married couples who have lost touch with their feelings for each other after the birth of children. I wish it had existed before I got my divorce. Watch Alisa Bowman talk about her book on the Today Show on MSNBC.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super Moon Rises Over Cahoon Hollow

There were seven cars at Cahoon Hollow this evening, owned by Wellfleetians, eager to experience the moonrise. Sven and I were listening to some fabulous guitar playing on NPR when, off in the distance, I spotted lights on the horizon. From a ship perhaps? Then I detected what seemed to be a mast, lit up. But, no. It was way too big to be a mast. Slowly, the moon emerged from low clouds, tangerine in color. Check it out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A March Day in the Life

How hard it was to wake up this morning at 7:15! We have guests who needed breakfast at 8:30, so I had set the alarm. At their request, I made French toast, to accompany organic fruit salad with yogurt. We chatted for an hour or so. Then they left for Provincetown, and I worked at the computer until my appointment with dramaturg Dan Lombardo to review a play I had written five years ago, an opportunity I won in the winter auction at WHAT. Back at the house, two boxes had arrived, goat milk soap from Alabu for cottage guests and liquid soap from Trillium Organics. (I love receiving amenities. It feels like Christmas!)

After lunch, Sven and I loaded the car and off we went to the dump. Tracey Barry Hunt, of Winslow’s Tavern, happened to be in the Swap Shop when I dropped off an old coffee pot. She told me Winslow’s will open May 15th, that she has six more weeks with her kids before intensive work days demand all her time.

Back at the house, I worked in the garden, raking leaves and removing detritus from winter while Sven sanded a table. We were hoping to hear from potential guests, who had requested Seagull Cottage this weekend, but they never called back.

Then it was time for dinner, goat stew with potatoes. Over a glass of wine, Sven explained that France and England are pushing for intervention in Libya because that country is the main source of their oil. We talked about the current situation in Japan and how difficult it is to raise children these days, so much more complicated than when we were young parents. What does one say with regard to the possibility of nuclear disaster? How does one ensure food is safe for consumption? I would have been a nervous wreck with all the perils of daily life, and my kids would have sensed my distress.

Finally, we discussed the impossible dream of our current guests, who hope to retire and become innkeepers, not as easy a retirement as they seem to think. Innkeeping is hard work!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wellfleet Named Spring "Hot Spot"

The crocuses are out! That's a real sign of spring, one of my favorite seasons. It has been an amazing day here on Cape Cod, so mild, with the promise of spring in the air. Check out the article at Main St. where Wellfleet is listed as one of the best travel secrets for spring ...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's Up on Main Street?

During the night, Main Street will be even more deserted now that the parking of cars has been outlawed after 2 a.m. These puppets from Secret Garden do not seem to care. If only we could all be as joyful, what with the catastrophe unfolding in Japan!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Library Meeting to Focus on Upcoming Warrant

Above, a family frolics at Newcomb Hollow, over the weekend. When one has children, it is not always easy to attend evening meetings about the town. There are many proposed Articles for Spring's Town Meeting that are lengthy and/or complex this year and could affect the character of Wellfleet for many years to come. For this reason the Board of Selectmen is holding a special meeting to discuss all of the Articles before presenting them to Town Meeting or making recommendations. This special meeting will be held tonight at 7 pm, in the library. Unfortunately, I cannot make this meeting, although children is not my excuse. Here's hoping lots of Wellfleetians can attend!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Different Shades of Green

How green are you? It's easy to change habits and adapt new approaches to life that are not detrimental to the planet. In fact, going green has become trendy. Learn one tip a day at the blog Attainable Sustainable. If you live on the Cape, you might also want to consider attending Cape & Islands Green on the Lower Cape's "Merging Business Opportunities with Sustainable Business Practices," a series of three workshops organized by the Community Development Partnership. The first, on Conservation, is scheduled for this Friday, March 18th from 10 am to 12:30 pm at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Space is limited, so call to reserve today. The series costs $150.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are You Ready for an Emergency?

On the way back from Eldred's on Friday, Sven and I stopped at the Cape Cod Braided Rug Company to pick up our brand new dining room rug. Check out how beautiful it looks! The pattern is called Teaticket Variation, and the light-colored yarn is yellow, although it looks white in the photo. We have been thinking about the catastrophe in Japan all morning, trying to imagine what it was like for the people of Japan, and worrying about the threat of nuclear meltdown. The tsunami rolled six miles into the countryside. From Chez Sven to the ocean beaches is two miles, so that is three times as far. It's hard to imagine having a wall of water inland that way. The east coast does not have tsunamis, as a general rule. Anyone who has visited Cahoon Hollow Beach knows that there is a very steep dune, so were a wave to crash into it, that would be that, right? We have hurricanes on the Cape, and are due for "a big one." Were a hurricane to make a direct hit, the narrowest part of the Cape, in South Wellfleet, would suffer, as would Provincetown. I have never lived through an earthquake, but we have had hurricanes before. (Have you ever been in Wellfleet during a hurricane? If so, what was it like?) I worry about my son's family, since they live in Los Angeles, an area prone to earthquakes. No one likes to think of future disasters. What one needs to remember is provisions for such an emergency. My friend Melanie at Frugal Kiwi has that all wrapped up ...

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Writer? Innkeeper? I get this a lot these days from my brain, not so pleased whenever I spend time away from writing projects ...

Yesterday Sven and I bumped into two fellow Wellfleetians at Eldred’s Auction House in Dennis.

“Oh, so you’re back then?” Ginny Page asked, meaning, in Wellfleet.

“I’m back, sort of,” I responded.

My enthusiasm was muted by the reality of the work involved in the 2011 B&B season, which, according to the headline in the Provincetown Banner, is off to a wild start in terms of local bookings. There are still a few Tuesday classes to attend at Grub Street, due to snow days but, for the most part, I’m back, in body, anyway, and will welcome guests this weekend.

The problem is my reluctance at switching my writer’s hat for a bandanna – or, whatever one wears to keep sweat off the face while cleaning. In my heart of hearts I know it's a masquerade, that writing is my true vocation. (Note: I did not say profession, because for writing to become a profession, it must be a source of income.) True, everyone needs a day job, we live in a beautiful place, and our green guests are wonderful. Still, I prefer to work with words, rather than green cleansers.

My Grub Street experience this winter was top-notch. I took three stimulating classes and highly recommend all of them. The first, with Scott Heim, was Novel in Progress. The second, a power seminar with Michelle Hoover, left me wishing I could return to college at BU where she teaches. In the third, called Finding Your Book, Joanne Wyckoff led a group of ten women and one man on a quest to figure out what his or her non-fiction book might be.

What fun Finding Your Book was! Those six Mondays earned big hearts on my calendar. Classmates included a lawyer who specializes in adoption, two doctors, a life coach, a documentary filmmaker (Rescuing Emmanuel), and a woman writing a memoir about the cultural revolution in China. I learned a lot, including that a blog can be an important part of “Platform.” Every writer needs platform these days. And, I was not the only blogger in the class. Here are links to the blogs of three classmates:

• Kim’s Midnight Snark

• Linda’s Jewish Muse

• Lana’s What The Fox?

Friday, March 11, 2011

B&B Etiquette: When Questions are Not Appropriate

Innkeepers can expect to answer questions but should not be considered as the local go-to information source. Take the phone call I received yesterday, for instance:

CALLER: “I’m flying into Provincetown next week and need to rent a car.”

ME: “Are you staying at Chez Sven?”

CALLER: “No, but I had your number.”

ME: “So, where are you staying?”

CALLER: “At an RCI.”

ME: “Why don’t you ask them then?”

CALLER: “I don’t know how to reach anyone. Do you know if there are rental cars available in Provincetown?”

ME: “Usually, yes. At the airport. Enterprise, I think.”

CALLER: “I called and they said they were closed for the season.”

ME: “I suggest you call the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce.”

The woman hangs up on me, without so much as a thank-you. This is innkeeping, too. No wonder innkeepers burn out fast!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Letter to the Editor Published by the Banner

"Thanks go out to Cape Cod delegation members Cleon Turner, Sarah Peake, and Timothy Madden who, last week, filed House Docket 3587, An Act Relative to Vegetation Management. As citizens in Wisconsin grapple with legislators, Senator Scott Brown crosses the country, absorbed in memoir promotion, and Governor Patrick visits Israel, after trips to Colorado and the nation's capital, it was refreshing to have local legislators conduct business that truly matters to their constituents.

Reps. Turner, Peake, and Madden took steps to stop NStar from spraying up to five herbicides under power lines. (Federal law obliges the utility company to remove vegetation but does not require the use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.) Cape Cod has reason to rejoice because local legislators care about the potential contamination of our sole-source aquifer, from which we draw drinking water, listen to concerned citizens, and take action on our behalf. Bravo!

A day later, the Cape Cod Commission obtained a moratorium with NStar through December 2011. This is good news, but not enough. We need to insist that the utility company use alternative means of vegetation management. It is time for everyone to look into alternatives regarding their own use of herbicides as well. This week 40,000 scientists urged greater oversight over chemicals by federal agencies, mentioning subtle impact on the human body. I have learned so much since I started studying this issue in 2009 due to NStar's spraying plan. Traces of toxic chemicals in our bodies disrupt our endocrine system and lead to disease.

Support a healthy Cape Cod. Join the movement to reject herbicides and other toxic chemicals today!"

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Update on Local Theater ...

Yesterday Wellfleet Harbor Actors' Theater (WHAT) announced the plays that will be performed during the 2011 season, which begins March 25, at lower prices than 2010, and Payomet sent news of "Spring Fever," March 20th, at the Congregational Church, to benefit the Wellfleet Community Garden and the Truro AgFair. For full details, please visit the corresponding Web sites. Lots of fun in perspective!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What's New On the Bookshelf?

A friend mentioned Suzanne Somers’s new book Knockout, so I picked up a copy in one of those buy 2, get second at 50% off sales at Borders. While Knockout is not a literary masterpiece, I found the interviews with doctors who practice alternative medicine worthwhile. Living in Barnstable County, where the breast cancer rate is high, I feel we should all become better informed on how to avoid getting cancer in the first place. I was struck by the number of doctors interviewed who mention the damage toxic chemicals can cause to our bodies and DNA. I wish more scientists would speak up on this matter. In a Washington Post article dated March 4th, Lyndsey Layton reports that “40,000 researchers and clinicians urged federal agencies responsible for the safety of chemicals to examine the subtle impact a chemical might have on the human body rather than simply ask whether it is toxic.” It’s a relief to see people catching on. We need to eliminate toxins from our lives if we want to survive. One tip I gleaned from Knockout is that anyone with cancer should immediately remove all sugar from his/her diet. Have you read this book? Do you worry about cancer? Do you have friends or family members who have cancer? Are you a cancer survivor?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Hearing the Hum ...

I must admit to having been surprised by my own emotion as I drove down what I consider the homestretch – the half mile from WHAT to the turn-off at Old King’s Highway – after two months away. I felt excited to be back in Wellfleet, if only for a few days. My eyes ate up the familiar buildings – Narrowland Pottery on the left, Cumberland Farms on the right – then the long expanse of sand of what used to be PJs parking lot, still awaiting new pavement. I noticed the Mobil station will soon be functional again, a good thing because the town needs more than one gas station. Last Friday Sven and I took a dump break around 1. I paid a bill at town hall, picked up two books at the library, then stopped at Wellfleet Marketplace for a gallon of milk, nothing exceptional, and yet I was happy. Our quiet little town seemed to hum to me: Glad you’re back! Glad you’re back! Glad you’re back! During this short excursion, I managed to connect with two friends and say hello to two blog readers. Later Sven and I drove past Long Pond, austere in its winter beauty. I must return to Boston for a couple days, but Sven doesn’t want to leave Cape Cod. Who could blame him?

Do you react this way to a place? How does it feel to see Wellfleet after a long winter away?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Newcomb Hollow, Today

Not many beachcombers at Newcomb Hollow this afternoon. When we reached the parking lot, we could see white caps in the distance. Would walking be an option? A couple with a dog were leaving when we arrived. One of the women told Sven there wasn't too much wind down on the beach. A lone surfer rode the waves. Ah! Walking again! Feels like an eternity since the last time ....

Friday, March 04, 2011

Mardi Gras Celebration Tonight!

Preservation Hall renovation is moving right along. Check out the beautiful driveway. Everything is done with such taste. How fortunate we are to have this community center!

The fence is down. The garden is being created as I write. Soon a director will be chosen. There is word everything will be free during opening week in April so Wellfleetians can sample what Preservation Hall has to offer. And, eight weddings have been booked already ...

If you feel like celebrating, don't miss Mardi Gras at the bookstore tonight, to benefit Preservation Hall: "Put on your dancing shoes and join Wellfleet Preservation Hall and DJ Lisa Brown, at The Bookstore Restaurant tonite, beginning at 7pm for a Dance Party in celebration of Mardi Gras. The restaurant will be open for dinner and will be serving New Orleans specialties. Kids are welcome, masks will be provided and best of all - proceeds will benefit Wellfleet Preservation Hall, your soon to open new community/cultural center."

Update on Wellfleet's New Pharmacy

How many times have I gone to the CVS on Main Street in Orleans to pick up a prescription and received a less than stellar welcome from the customer service team! I think I’ve even “raised my voice” on occasion. In summer, you might as well bring a book to read while you wait, that is, if the traffic was moving and you managed to reach Orleans in a timely fashion ... Therefore, I am among those absolutely delighted by the advent of a spanking new pharmacy that will open in Wellfleet this spring. Seems there’s a 29-mile stretch without prescription drugs. That situation is about to be rectified. Last week Outer Cape Health Services sent the following update: “As part of the federal government’s 340B program, OCHS will receive significant savings on pharmaceuticals, savings which we’ll pass on to our patients. Not an OCHS patient? Not to worry. All members of the public will be able to fill any legitimate prescription at the new pharmacy, which means no more driving 20 minutes or more to access important medications.” And, the kicker? The temporary location for the next few years is at the foot of Old King's Highway, a two-minute walk from Chez Sven.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Breaking News: NStar has granted another moratorium through December 2011! (For details, see this Cape Cod Times article.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Press Release from Cleon Turner's office: "BOSTON -- Following a Cape-wide concern regarding NStar’s proposed use of herbicides to control vegetation along the rights of way from one end of Cape Cod to the other, State Representatives Cleon H. Turner (D-Dennis), Sarah K. Peake (D-Provincetown), and Timothy Madden (D-Nantucket) filed legislation that would require any public utility proposing to use herbicides to control vegetation on rights of way to negotiate with any municipality that desires to eliminate the use of herbicides on the right of way.

Massachusetts House Docket 3587, which mirrors a Maine statute that amended the Maine Pesticide Control Act of 1975, states that a community can initiate negotiations with the public utility for mechanical removal of offending vegetation in that community rather than use chemicals. The legislation requires negotiations in good faith and arbitration in cases where parties are deadlocked or promises agreed to are not kept by one side or the other.

A potential negotiated agreement would be that the community would arrange for the work to be done and NStar would contribute at least the amount of money they would have spent using chemicals. Another possibility would be that NStar and the community would share both work and financial responsibilities. Though that could mean that the community might bear some additional expense, it would also mean that the groundwater would be better protected by lessening the amount of chemicals sprayed over the Cape’s single source aquifer.

“Clearly, such negotiations and agreements will require municipalities to step up and undertake some part of the cost or some part of the physical labor to mechanically remove vegetation from the rights of way, said Turner. Turner also stated that “Cape towns and residents need to have much more serious discussions regarding eliminating the use of chemicals that have the potential of contaminating our drinking water. Our hope has been that NStar would respect the sensitivity of the Cape Cod environment and not use chemicals.”

Rep Sarah Peake, an original sponsor of the bill said, “This bill is all about local control. It strengthens the hand of every town on the Cape. I have been very frustrated that decisions regarding the use of herbicides rest almost exclusively with state and federal agencies. This bill will give our Boards of Selectmen and Town Councilors negotiating power and the ability to say ‘no’ to herbicides.”

“Though this is a county-wide issue,” said Senator Dan Wolf (D – Harwich), “this bill addresses the role towns should play in crafting creative solutions along the rights of way.”

"The protection of our drinking water supply is a vital concern. I see this bill as an opportunity for our local communities to have a say in the manner in which vegetation is controlled, if they so choose and have the resources to actively participate in the control process," said Representative Susan Gifford (R - Wareham).

"It is my hope that NStar will do what is right by working with local communities and property owners in the rights of way to meet our needs,” said Representative David Vieira (R – Falmouth). “This legislation encourages that dialogue to move forward."

"In order to avoid a repeat of instances where the use of chemicals was once thought to be safe, but turned out otherwise, I would rather be cautious than sorry," explained Representative Randy Hunt (R - Sandwich. "This legislation gives towns a say in how power line vegetation management will be conducted."

“Cape Cod is all about water. Using it, sharing it, and protecting it. This helps make sure we protect the water we need in the best possible way now and in the future,” said Representative Demetrius Atsalis (D – Barnstable).

The Proposed legislation includes an arbitration clause that will ensure all parties negotiate in good faith."