Push on for more access to public records

On May 28, 2015, I was privileged to testify before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on two bills that aim to improve the state’s public records laws.

Read the story here: Push on for more access to public records.

Read my submitted comments here: Sean Driscoll public records testimony.

Students aboard Corwith Cramer prepare for month-long journey

The SEA Semester ship Corwith Cramer is in Woods Hole for the first time in a year before it leaves for Ireland.  Steve Haines/Cape Cod Times
The SEA Semester ship Corwith Cramer is in Woods Hole for the first time in a year before it leaves for Ireland. Steve Haines/Cape Cod Times

This village is no stranger to ships of all shapes and sizes on its waterfront. Barely anyone strolling down the street blinks an eye at ferry boats, deep-sea submersibles or Coast Guard cutters launching or landing from its docks.

But even for Woods Hole, the sight of a brigantine’s mast poking above the rooftops is far from an ordinary sight. Read more.

Cash-strapped municipalities eye nonprofit groups

Cash-strapped municipalities eye nonprofit groups - News - capecodtimes.com - Hyannis, MA
In 2015, Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole paid about $145,000 to Falmouth under a PILOT agreement; its total tax bill would have been $1.1 million without its tax exemption. Joel Bissell/Cape Cod Time file


Heritage Museums & Gardens is worth $27 million yet doesn’t pay a dime in property taxes to its host town of Sandwich. Neither does Cape Cod Hospital pay Barnstable, nor does the 300 Committee pay Falmouth.

That’s because the institutions, like hundreds of others on the Cape and Islands, are nonprofit and aren’t required to pay tax on their property. Millions of potential tax dollars are lost to local cities and towns each year on the nearly $145 billion in untaxable land here, even though in many cases the organizations benefit from town services such as police, fire and road maintenance. Read more.

Father reunited with missing son

Father reunited with missing son - News - capecodtimes.com - Hyannis, MA
Kellan Leonard, 3, seen here in an October photo, had been missing since November, and was reunited with father Jeff Leonard of Falmouth on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Jeff Leonard

To the staff of the Chick-fil-A on St. Augustine Road in Valdosta, Georgia, the two women and the little boy were a down-on-their luck trio who would come into the restaurant for free Internet access and some cheap food.

When it became clear they had little cash to spare, managers would give them a free meal. Sometimes, staff members put their own money toward buying the food, said Michelle Weaver, a manager at the restaurant. After several weeks, the women started asking probing questions of the young staff — What’s your name? Where do you live? What’s your email address? — and the staff’s generosity waned. The Valdosta Police Department was called to investigate.

“It was just some suspicious activity,” Weaver said. Read more.