Stranded turtles enjoy warm welcome in Quincy

A sure sign of winter in New England is the start of the sea turtle stranding season. On Wednesday, the first live, hypothermic sea turtles of the season washed up in Dennis on Cape Cod.

The two green sea turtles were collected by Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and transported to the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy. There, the sea turtles – with body temperatures around 47 degrees – were slowly rewarmed over several days. Normal temperatures are around 70 degrees for sea turtles. 

They also are being treated for other medical conditions, such as pneumonia and severe dehydration, which are the product of slowly becoming hypothermic over the past two months as ocean temperatures gradually dropped.

These sea turtles are mostly juveniles of three different species that visit southern New England waters each summer to feed on crabs. Many of those that get on the north side of Cape Cod are unable to figure out how to navigate out of Cape Cod Bay in the autumn. As water temperatures drop, they slowly become hypothermic and very inactive. If they are lucky, they get washed ashore.

All of these species are either threatened or endangered due to the impacts of human activities. Rescuing, rehabilitating, and eventually releasing these critically important marine animals has been a joint conservation effort of the aquarium and Mass Audubon for more than 25 years.

The first live sea turtles arriving on Nov. 15 is a late start to this season. On average, the first stranded turtles arrive during the first week of November. However, this fall’s record-breaking warmth until early November kept local ocean temperatures above normal. The cold weather snap of the past week has resulted in a drop of sea temperatures into the low 50s, which is the critical threshold at which strandings begin. Wind volume and direction are also important. Northwest or northerly winds of 10 mph or more help create enough wave activity to wash the floating, inert turtles to shore.

Sea turtles will continue to strand Massachusetts beaches until mid- to late December, depending on the weather. Prior to 2011, an average year yielded about 90 live sea turtles being rescued and treated, but over the last several years, that average has moved to more than 300.


End of an era: Riddle’s will close this weekend

By Susan Ovans

The Hull Board of Selectmen transferred the license to sell alcoholic beverages to the prospective new owner of Riddle’s Supermarket Thursday evening. The vote allows current owners Michelle and Michael Sears to move forward with the sale of the town’s only full-service supermarket.

The couple told the board they will permanently close the store Saturday in preparation for the Nov. 16 sale to James McInnis, of EAM Market, Inc., dba The Village Market.

McInnis currently owns two Village Market stores, one in Roslindale, the other in Scituate.

He said Riddle’s will become the third Village Market after he stocks and reopens the store, which he anticipates will take place in early December.

Selectmen Chairman Kevin Richardson told McInnis that the town is “excited to have you here” and said he believes the new store would be successful, as Riddle’s “loyal following” had demonstrated a “definite demand” for a Hull supermarket.

Richardson also thanked the Searses for serving the town well through the years.

Selectwoman Jennifer Constable urged McInnis to rehire Riddle’s employee base, many of whom had given the store long years of service and tried to stay on during the year’s decline.

McInnis said he’d put a hiring sign in Riddle’s window and would be accepting employment applications once the sale was completed next week.

WIN holds forum on town issues Sunday

Women in Nantasket (WIN) holds a discussion centered around issues of fiscal responsibility, inclusive leadership, and civic engagement in Hull on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. upstairs at The Red Parrot.
You are invited to join this group of local citizens which is currently soliciting input about the future of our town. This is a nonpartisan event. All ideas and perspectives are welcome. The event is open to the public.
WIN members care deeply about our community and its resources, believing that we all win when we are able to examine facts and data to help drive our conversation. We win by working together. Please participate.

More than 31,500 still without power after Sunday's storm

By Colin A. Young

About 36,000 Massachusetts homes remained in the dark Wednesday morning, more than 48 hours after wind-driven rains swept through, knocking out power to swaths of the state.

By midday, the outage number was down only slightly to 31,503, mostly National Grid customers.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported 35,983 outages as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, mostly in the Merrimack Valley and Essex County. While the agency said most customers could expect to have their electricity restored by mid-day, they cautioned that some outages requiring specialty equipment may not be fixed until Thursday night. The midday numbers showed the lights are still not on for many customers.

Most of the outages are in Andover, where 4,291 homes or about 30 percent of the town remained without power as of 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

On MEMA's tracking website, the agency said 3,565 customers were without power in Lowell, 3,064 in Methuen, 2,724 in Haverhill, and 2,365 in North Andover.

Andover, Boxford and Tyngsborough remain the most severely impacted, according to MEMA, with 25 percent or more of customers in those towns still without power as of mid-day Wednesday. South of Boston, Eversource reported 304 outages in Norfolk, 276 in Plymouth, and 119 in Wareham.

On Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters that the goal was to have full electric service restored by midnight Tuesday. Having power fully restored by midnight would be "terrific," Baker said Tuesday morning, and added that he's heard from people without power that it "is an incredible problem for them."

Baker and his wife left Wednesday for California, where they will vacation until returning to Massachusetts on Monday. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is acting governor while Baker is out of state.

According to MEMA, tree damage has been the primary cause of the power outages and 208 forestry crews are working with utility crews. MEMA said 398 utility crews are working on overhead lines, downed wires, substations, and damage assessment, and 94 additional contractor crews have been brought in to help.