Harwich News

Firefighters and police camping out during the rain, sleet and gusty winds this weekend weren’t left out in the cold by the community, which donated heaps of food, clothing, toys and cash to benefit local charities. Started in 2002 by a Bourne firefighter, the “Homeless for the Holidays” campaign now includes first responders from many Cape towns, including Harwich and Orleans. It is supported by a large group...

Family Pantry Helps Year-rounders Stay On Cape

By: Alan Pollock

Faced with low wages and high housing costs, many local families spend a huge portion of their paychecks on rent or a mortgage, leaving little for medical expenses, auto repair bills or other household emergencies. The Family Pantry of Cape Cod helps many year-round working families by helping defray their food costs, freeing up money for other necessities. And that, ultimately, helps everybody. Most Family Pa...

Commission Seeks Lease For Bell's Neck Cranberry Bogs

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town-owned Bells Neck cranberry bogs have not been worked for a couple of years, and town officials have been weighing whether to issue another lease or seek other options to cranberry growing. The conservation commission held a public hearing last week on the future management of the bogs within the Bell's Neck Conservation Area. Farmer Mark Coleman, who is chairman of the town's agricultural co...

HARWICH — The town has received a favorable financial assessment from Standard and Poor's on its ability to borrow general obligation and bond anticipation notes, but the strong financial standing was not enough to push the town's rating to AAA. The S&P Global Rating concluded that the town's long-term rating will remain at AA-plus, due primarily to pension liabilities. Selectmen on Monday night voted t...

Capital Plan Gets High Marks In FinCom/Selectmen Presentation

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — During a presentation to selectmen and the finance committee Monday night, the capital outlay committee and Town Administrator Christopher Clark received praise for the planning process conducted this year. But the pricetag facing taxpayers is certainly an eye-opener. Clark had told selectmen in an earlier presentation he is focusing only on the first year of the seven-year plan, defining the project...

Despite Moratorium, Town Could Be Open To Pot Sales

By: William F. Galvin

Special Town Meeting Suggested To Vote Ban   <Text> by William F. Galvin HARWICH — Selectmen should consider calling a special town meeting before April 1 to put in place zoning regulations on the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana, the town's attorney is recommending. If the town waits until the annual town meeting to act on a ban, there could be a gap between its approval by vote...

A Giving Tree That Lights Up Children's Faces

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Inside Ruggie's restaurant in Harwich Center there is a Christmas tree that lights more than the corner it sits in and the window that faces onto Main Street. It serves to light the faces of little kids on Christmas Day. “I call it the 'Giving Tree',” Matt Rocco, one of the owners of the restaurant, said this week. The tree is an outgrowth of a program started 17 years ago at The Children's Center...

HARWICH — Without really diving into the central issue of whether Monomoy’s two elementary schools should be combined or reconfigured to accommodate shifting enrollment, selectmen and the school committee last week debated who should be able to make that decision. Facing the potential for overcrowded classrooms at Harwich Elementary School and a relative shortage of students at Chatham elementary, the region...

HARWICH — The harbormaster's staff has been busy relocating this week in preparation for demolition of the frail building that has served the department for more than 40 years at the head of Saquatucket Harbor. Harbormaster John Rendon said this week the plan is for the old building to be demolished, likely on Dec. 18, to make way for landside improvements there and on the former Downey property. A constructio...

Selectman Jannell Brown Acquitted Of Assault

By: Alan Pollock

ORLEANS — An Orleans District Court judge last week found Harwich Selectman Jannell Brown not guilty of a single count of domestic assault and battery following a July 18 incident. The misdemeanor assault charge stemmed from an argument in which her accuser called police to report that Brown was refusing to give him his car keys and had slapped him in the face. Brown described the man as her former domestic ...

Expanded Uses Proposed For Community And Cultural Centers

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The need to expand services at the community center and cultural center was a clear message sent by selectmen Monday night to Town Administrator Christopher Clark and staff. The message comes on the heels of a few parents urging selectmen a couple of weeks ago to open the community center on Sundays and holidays for their children. The message certainly had the ear of selectmen. On Monday night board...

Selectmen Respond To Open Meeting Law Complaints

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Selectmen on Monday night rejected a charge by former board member Linda Cebula that they violated the Open Meeting Law last month. Cebula alleged the board violated the law by its agenda for the Nov. 13 meeting lacking “specificity” and a posting error for the board's interview/nomination subcommittee on Nov. 16. In the instance of the Nov. 13 meeting, Cebula stated selectmen provided “no indicat...