Hyannis – [HN NOTES] — Barnstable Police quickly responded to a report of a shirtless male making obscene gestures at passing traffic near the intersection of Maple Ave and Sea Street yesterday afternoon.
A plain clothes Lieutenant was nearby when the call came in, setting up and keeping an eye on the individual from his unmarked patrol unit.
Small children were getting off a nearby school bus as the Lieutenant made the decision to confront the individual just before several other marked squad cars joined him in front of 93 Sea Street.
Police took the man’s information and ran checks for warrants… everything came back clean.
The shirtless male was visibly intoxicated as officers firmly suggested he return to his residence. Although the man wisely took the opportunity to slowly stagger home, he did defiantly turn back at one point, disrespectfully asking for the Lieutenant’s birth date.
Wisdom overcame drunkenness as the Lieutenant started to walk toward the man again explaining that he did not need to give out his birth date… the drunk’s question was quickly dropped.
Officers then focused on the next call which involved a bloody woman on the ground in the area of Winter Street…
… alcoholic beverages were also likely involved.
Although Hyannis children become accustomed to the routine sight of drunk, deranged, and disheveled individuals, police do their best to monitor and protect kids from harmful interactions with these individuals.
As a Hytown kid myself, dating back to the 1960s, I can say children in this part of Barnstable tend to be a bit more street wise than in other areas. Successful Hyannis kids learn how to stay safe and to avoid getting in trouble themselves. It’s amazing what we use to see while waiting for the bus. Negative news and images can affect children in different ways. Of the many children from my bus-stop, one was eventually stabbed to death and a couple others did time in prison… but the real story is that the majority of us stayed out of trouble all together. Two pursued law enforcement jobs. One even went on to work for the FBI. Many of my bus-stop age cohort actually went on to live very fruitful lives in other areas, learning early-on that better jobs and opportunities usually exist somewhere west of our beloved hometown.
Hytown kids are a special bunch. The ones who do stay here hold out hope for a more realistic town government and leadership that views downtown as an area with much more potential than being a Cape tourist town and home to numerous welfare agencies and institutions.
Hytown kids that stay know there are many good people in our neighborhoods… know there is a huge untapped workforce that can be enticed to stay with more promising careers as opposed to settling for summer jobs that make you wear pirate hats or serve drinks.
Right now, most Barnstable High School graduates have nowhere to go but away. We simply are not getting a good return on our investment. Good motivated kids often leave the area instead of suffering our difficult economy and high crime neighborhoods.
In a strange way however, growing up around drunks isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. We learn early about the ugliness of drunkenness and addiction. Most of us who manage to stay out of trouble and stick it out here know that Hyannis has the potential to be better and safer for the families of the future. We know it can be done.
With the right leadership, Hyannis can become a nice little city with a harbor… one that attracts enterprises that train and gainfully employ professionals right up from the entry level.
Merely focusing on our dying tourist brand is short sighted.
Hyannis has the potential to be much more than a city of the underemployed coexisting with a handful of nearby tour boats…
…and we’re certainly better than being known as the Mecca for drunken derelicts, who wonder shirtless, obscenely gesturing passing motorists…
It’s images like the one above that makes me wonder what can be done to make Hyannis an attractive, safe, and promising home for families once again.
There definitely are more job rich industries and enterprises, other than tourism, that can be courted by our leaders…
…but first we need to change our mindset…
The Kennedys are long gone and they’re not coming back; downtown is overcrowded, no longer the quaint desirable little harbor town it once was; the need for careers other than tourism has never been higher; also, there’s a dire need to reverse the local culture of drugs, booze and welfare cases.
If we fail to be more attractive to new young families, it will not be long before tourism dwindles to the point of no return.
Take a good look at HyannisNews.com and the reality of the pictures posted here. You won’t see many pleasant pictures of seagulls and beach umbrellas… at least not until the reality of Hytown changes…
The truth, if acted upon, is always the best disinfectant.
Rather than having leaders who focus on the existing job-weak tourism industry, one that only provides meaningful jobs for a very select few… perhaps it would be well to look into attracting businesses that provide more sustainable year-round positions.
I recently spent three years working up in the “Maritimes” of Canada. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have many similarities to Hyannis, like a workforce too large for the existing tourism industry… many high school educated job seekers in need of meaningful jobs and constructive direction… like us, people there tend to turn to booze when not employed… like us, they have a struggling fishing industry… like us, they have environmental limitations and regulations that prevent certain types of industries from settling there…
… but unlike us, areas of the “Maritimes” have managed to attract a large number of companies that provide a large number of year-round jobs that pay a liveable wage.
It wasn’t unusual to find companies looking to hire 20 to 40 entry-level workers in any given week. I looked into some of these job offerings and decided to try one.
I took an entry level job in a call center that provided customer service to a large US health insurance provider. After several weeks of training I was taking calls from hospitals and doctors processing health care payments. It wasn’t the highest paying job I’ve ever had, but it allowed me to keep up with weekly child support payments, rental payments on a nice apartment that allowed myself and a large dog… I kept a truck on the road, maintained auto insurance, health care was provided by both Nova Scotia and my employer… I worked less than 40 hours a week… the company also provided other perks…
As I learned more about working call centers, I became aware that some were even better to work for than others. I searched online and within a week I had a better job in New Brunswick… all the same benefits plus better pay… as well as the company perk of 50% off my home cable TV, cell phone service, and internet. This company also paid nicely for doing good work and for high achievement. There were opportunities to advance… I had vacation time and was able to work overtime to bank days off, which allowed me to travel back on extended weekends to spend time with my daughter.
My point is both these jobs provided me, a Massachusetts oppressed single father, with much better living conditions than Hyannis or even Boston ever could at the time. I was able to pay my bills and stay out of jail! Good times.
I would have stayed up in Canada, my daughter even had college opportunities there… but I came back here because my child made the decision to stay and study in the US. She is currently studying to be a much needed MD and surgeon. Cape Cod will be very lucky to have her back here…
So here I am again… living in my beloved hometown, a town on life support… one holding onto dying industries like tourism, a tired “Camelot,” long dead and buried…
Who in their right mind would choose to stay and struggle in such a backwards and out-of-date economy?
Being nearly 50… middle-aged, bilingual, with three college degrees currently means nothing here in Hyannis. If you’re not already involved in a career, usually in the public sector, you have to be creative… some work several jobs… others start a small business. The options are limited and the quality of life is far lower for the underemployed compared to the Maritimes of Canada.
Why is that?
The answer is simple. Some governments in the Maritimes foresaw the need for change and facilitated the development of basic careers that would sustain the population. They basically reinvented themselves.
The last call center I worked in employed over 1000 souls and was open 24 hours a day. You weren’t necessarily rich, but you weren’t poor or overworked either. You were comfortable.
There was a slightly larger population in Moncton, New Brunswick than Hyannis. Half the population spoke French, the other half was made up of “anglophones,” speaking English… There was significantly less crime… drunks making obscene gestures in public was unheard of… people had hope.
What did they have in Moncton that we didn’t have in terms of an environment suited for attracting decent entry-level jobs? Nothing.
Even after the conversion between dollars, the pay was much better than back here in Hyannis, the 2007 “All American City.”
Imagine if our government leaders could court and facilitate just one call center that employed 1000+ workers to consider Hyannis as a place to set up shop. How about a small one with just 500 + jobs? Do you think that type opportunity for our year-round population would bring positive change to the area?
It would be a start at least.
Just as a review, take a good close look at the photo above to see how things have been around here for too long under the “tourism mindset” of our current leadership in town government.
If we don’t change our current mindset we can expect more of the same and even worse. In fact, I predict things will likely get uglier around here.
That would be both unfortunate and unnecessary.
Robert Bastille, HyannisNews.com
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