Councilor Column

Written By Jessica Rapp Grassetti

Red sky in the morning sailors take warning of yet another named storm. It was about a month ago when Hercules blew into our Town causing coastal flooding and erosion and now on the heels of Quintus, which dumped over a foot of heavy wet snow, Rex paid us a soggy visit. Seneca is next on the named storm list and with only four weeks of winter remaining here’s to hoping we don’t receive a visit from Zephyr.  About the only good thing to say about all of the snow is that the children and a few adults have enjoyed the great sledding conditions at Barn Hill at the Cotuit Highground Golf Course!

Many calls were received from residents concerned over the timing of removal of snow from our sidewalks.  According to the Town of Barnstable’s Snow and Ice Policy, sidewalks, in general, are undertaken after the road plowing has been completed. The Town is required to begin sidewalk clearing no later than 48 hours after the conclusion of a storm.  The sidewalks along the Hyannis and Osterville Main Streets are an exception in that they are cleared concurrent with plowing, due to their high-traffic business districts.  All other sidewalks are cleared during the same timeframe.  In other words, no Village is done before another; they each have individual contractors and the sidewalks in Cotuit, Hyannisport, and Barnstable Village, etc. are all cleared at the same time. If you have specific concerns or complaints about snow or ice removal in your neighborhood call Barnstable Department of Public Works snow line 508-790-6331.

Those of us not on Town sewer are mindful of the stress that is put on our on-site septic systems, from clothes and dishwashers to lengthy teenage showers. We abide by the old adage: If it’s yellow let is mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.  According to the Cape Cod Commission’s website, wastewater management is one of the most significant regional concerns affecting Cape Cod. About 85 percent of the wastewater flow from homes and businesses on the Cape use individual on-site septic systems that drain directly into the groundwater, running underground through watersheds to our coastal areas. In many watersheds, coastal water quality has become impaired.

On January 30, 2013, the Department of Environmental Protection directed the Cape Cod Commission to prepare an update of the 1978 208 Section Plan to address the critical degradation of Cape Cod’s water resources.  Over the last year, the challenge has been to integrate the large amount of information into a stakeholder driven process that will ultimately produce a feasible, affordable plan with the specificity warranted by the amount of information and work done over the past 35 years.

Through the development of a Regional Wastewater Management Plan and an update to the Section 208 Area-wide Water Quality Management Plan, the Cape Cod Commission is introducing residents and policy makers to the science, challenges, and the potential solutions for managing wastewater in an efficient and cost-effective way. The Commission has been invited to the February 27th Town Council meeting to brief the public on the continuing efforts to address this critical concern.

During these gray days many people can suffer from the blues.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that can occur in the winter. It’s cold, there’s snow and ice preventing us from taking our daily outdoor constitution and the sun has gone south. Some suggestions for coping with this form of seasonal lethargy are getting out in the open air for half an hour every morning where the natural light will help with keeping the body clock in check. Try to get to the gym or take a swim both of which helps to increase serotonin levels that can affect mood. And maybe those Valentine chocolates, in moderation, are a good thing as research has shown that people who suffer the winter blues often crave a natural amino acid called tryptophan, contained in some foods, including chocolate. Tryptophan is involved in the manufacture of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which the body produces when exposed to sunshine. If you are struggling with the blues make sure you seek professional help.

I’ll be looking for the early signs of spring in the green shoots of snowdrops and the purple finches singing their mating songs.  Hope springs eternal!

Please take the opportunity to stop by and communicate any Village or Town issue with me at the Cotuit Library on the second Wednesday of every month, 3-5pm no appointment is necessary. The next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, March 12th.  I can always be reached at 508-360-2504, through the Town Council office 508-862-4738 or at my email: I look forward to hearing from you. Your Town Councilor, Jessica

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