Teen found dead at crash scene

Alex Haas had a boat cleaning business at Saquatucket Harbor and was regular crew onboard the PHRF boat CHINOOK

HARWICH - (8/11/05) The search for Alex Haas, the 18-year-old Brewster man missing since Sunday, ended in tragedy last night when his car was found at the bottom of a steep embankment off Great Western Road less than 2 miles from his home. Alexander Haas A body found near the car, although not positively identified, was believed to be that of Haas. Haas, a standout Nauset Regional High School athlete and honor student, was ejected from the car, said Harwich Police Chief William Mason. He apparently was not wearing a seat belt, but the car was so damaged it probably would not have mattered, said Harwich police Officer Robert Horgan, an accident reconstructionist.

It appears Haas lost control of the 1999 black Audi A4 while driving down Great Western Road just past Lothrop Avenue. A street sign just before Lothrop warns of a dangerous intersection. Skid marks reveal that the car swerved to the right, hit a tree and then swerved to the left across the road, Horgan said. As the car plunged 40 feet down the wooded embankment it spun around and hit some trees. Horgan thinks speed was a factor in the crash. Haas was apparently on his way home from a Chatham A's game Sunday night when the accident occurred. Cell phone records reveal the last call he made was at 10:15 p.m.

A search began earlier this week when he failed to return home. The break in the case came when a person walking along the bike path noticed skid marks along the road yesterday morning, Mason said. The person didn't connect them to Haas until they heard news reports later in the day that police were searching that area for the missing man, he said. The person went back to the scene and discovered Haas' car at the bottom of the embankment and then called police at about 6 p.m., Mason said. The car took down about four cement stanchions that line the side of the road when it went over the embankment. ''The car is pretty much demolished,'' said Brewster Police Chief James Ehrhart, who also responded to the scene.

Haas' parents, Bonnie and Stephen Haas, declined to comment last night but had said earlier in the day they were deeply concerned about their son's whereabouts. Mrs. Haas said she was staying strong for Alex's younger brother, Matthew, who will be a sophomore at Nauset Regional High School this fall. ''This is pretty much a nightmare,'' she said about her missing son. ''You never expect these things will happen to you.''

Yesterday afternoon police working with Haas' cell phone company to narrow his location to within a half-mile radius of a cell tower near Queen Anne Road. The tower picked up a signal from Haas' cell phone. The search team, which was made up of Brewster, Harwich, Chatham police departments, as well as state and environmental police, concentrated their efforts in that area. A helicopter was also used in the search yesterday afternoon. Haas' parents told police their son had a cell phone charger connected to the car, which would account for the phone still being on three days after his disappearance. Ehrhart said cell tower coordinates can only be obtained when a phone is on..

As word of Haas' death spread last night, his high school swim coach remembered the team co-captain as a competitive and talented athlete. ''He was a young man just starting his life and he had so much potential,'' said Katie McCully, who coached Haas during his four years at Nauset High. The swim team, lead by Haas, finished the year with a perfect 11-0 record. In February Haas was a member of the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay teams that qualified for the state tournament. At the tournament that same month Haas was on the 200 medley relay team and 400 freestyle relay team that took the state title. Haas also broke three relay records this year, McCully said. He loved the water, she added, and also excelled at sailing. He worked hard at everything, including academics where he was a ''fantastic student.'' He was also captain of the Nauset Sailing Team and placed second with his brother Eric at the Cape & Islands High School Sailing Championship this past June.

Alex took part in a regatta at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay on Saturday and told his parents that the sailing coach had high praises for his ability, Mrs. Haas said. The coach wanted him to come back on Sunday and race again, but he declined, saying he wanted to spend time more with his friends before they went to college, she said. Haas was due to enter the maritime academy next week. Rose Harrington of Orleans, a friend who was on the swim team, said she has been friends with Haas since middle school. They attended each other's graduation parties this year, and hung out after prom, she said. She described him as a ''happy person.'' Just one month ago Haas asked McCully to speak at a church ceremony where he was presented with his Eagle Scout badge - the highest honor in Scouting. ''It was a proud moment for me and a proud moment for him and his family,'' she said. Lynn Johnson, who has lived near crash scene for seven years said the road is busy during the day but lightly traveled late on Sunday nights. The posted speed limit is 40 mph. ''Unfortunately sometimes people travel too fast,'' she said. ''It's famous for accidents. I must have driven past here four times today and didn't see anything.'' Robin Lord can be reached at rlord@capecodonline.com. Jessica Alaimo can be reached at jalaimo@capecodonline.com. Sunday Editor Linda Halfrey contributed to this report. (Published: August 11, 2005)

Brewster teen missing since Sunday

Alex Haas cleaned boats at Saquatucket Harbor

BREWSTER - (8/10/05) The police are investigating the whereabouts of an 18-year-old Brewster man, who was last seen leaving a Cape Cod Baseball League game in Chatham at about 10:30 Sunday night. Alexander Haas has not used his cell phone, withdrawn money from the bank, or been in contact with family or friends since that time, according to Brewster Police Lt. Richard Koch. ''We have turned over rocks all day, but are coming up empty,'' he said late yesterday afternoon. Haas, who graduated from Nauset Regional High School in June, is due to enter Massachusetts Maritime Academy next week, Koch said.

Nauset school officials are helping in the search, as are Chatham, Harwich and Dennis police departments, he said. Haas, who lives on Cranview Road in Brewster, is 6 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and was last seen wearing a light-colored T-shirt, dark shorts and sandals. He was driving his father's 1999 black Audi A4 with Massachusetts license plate number 39CH39 when he left the Chatham A's game, Koch said. Haas was alone when he left the game, and his friends who were with him said he seemed fine and in good spirits at the time, Koch said.

Haas' parents, Bonnie and Stephen Haas, told Koch there had been no disagreements at home before he left on Sunday. They told police it was unusual for their son to leave home without contacting them. ''Every typical avenue we look for is empty,'' Koch said. Police have interviewed Haas' friends ''at length,'' searching for clues, and there is a ''fairly extensive network'' of friends and school officials looking for him, he said.

Koch said Haas' parents are ''holding up fairly well'' so far, but are very concerned. ''This is every parent's nightmare,'' he said. Anyone with information regarding Haas's whereabouts is encouraged to call the Brewster Police at 508-896-7011.

Rescued sailors cue creation of Hospital

HYANNIS - (6/25/05) Cape Cod Hospital's creation saga goes like this: In the beginning it was 1919, and a Danish barque shipwrecked off Harwich during a brutal snowstorm. The only sailors to survive were those who lashed themselves to the mast, to keep from getting swept into the frigid sea. But they paid a horrible price: The skin on their hands, frozen to the wood, ripped away as rescuers tried to get them off the wreck. Heavily bandaged, in great pain, the sailors were bundled onto a train bound for the closest hospital - in Boston. As fate would have it, on that same train was a man from Centerville by the name of Charles L. Ayling. He was appalled at what he saw, and on that long ride he vowed he would start a Cape Cod Hospital. Ayling put together a group of seven other members of the Hyannis Board of Trade. Together they raised $35,000, and with it they purchased Edward Gleason's rambling wooden summer home on Park Street, overlooking Hyannis harbor. On October 4, 1920, Cape Cod Hospital opened in that former home. The original hospital had 14 beds, two cribs, and apartments on the third floor for nurses. The first addition came just two years later, in 1922, a brick wing named for the founder; having a medical facility named "the Ayling Wing" might not have been the best choice to encourage positive thinking, but such was fate. By 1950 the original home was razed (the present-day building beside the hospital that houses administration, though named for Gleason, is not it), and in the decades to come the hospital would go through a dramatic, at times controversial expansion. Of the scores of things that can be said about the hospital's amazing growth, bringing it to the point where today it is clearly the most important institution on Cape Cod in both economic and social terms, one obvious fact rings true (even though it's not often mentioned): Cape Cod Hospital has not powered the growth of the Cape as a whole. On the contrary. The modern, diversified hospital is one of the clearest reflections of how much has changed around here since the day the Danish barque wrecked. . . . (For the whole story, see The Cape Cod Voice on the newsstand and sign up here to subscribe so you won't miss an issue.)

Ebb and flow of fuel prices affects Sandwich marina

SANDWICH - (6/16/05) Boaters could be spending more time in Sandwich this summer with the price of fuel expected to curtail some of the extensive boating travels seen in years past. According to Sandwich Harbormaster Greg Fayne, a decrease in the fuel business at marinas could likely impact the transient boat traffic taking place on the waterways. "People are likely to travel less but stay longer," said Fayne. The harbormaster said that while a typical trip for a Boston traveler in the past often included a visit to Sandwich before moving on to the Vineyard and Nantucket and finally heading home, this season, that same boater will be on the water for as many days without traveling as extensively. "The price of fuel is always in question," said Fayne, who estimates filling a 100-gallon tank on a 21-foot boat is roughly $270. "This year, it's even more in question."

Fayne said he is being "overly cautious" about the season, adding that the affects of the red tide situation will have some impact as well. "It's a trickle affect," said Fayne. "It starts with the local fishermen and it goes from there." The marina is in good condition going into the season, said the harbormaster, adding that the facility did not incur any extensive damage over the harsh winter. "We're fortunate because we're very sheltered from hard-hitting storms. We don't form the ice that other harbors do."

After a large project last year that included replacing docks with floating concrete structures, Fayne said projects are on hold this year with the hope that new office construction could happen next season. "We have to evacuate every time we have an exceptionally high-tide and that happens a couple of times a year," said Fayne. "We have to move all of the computer stuff and make sure things are safe." Because the marina is part of the town's enterprise fund, however, and is not tied to the tax-base, projects can only be performed when there is money to pay for them. "We're completely self-sufficient," said Fayne.

As the only marina on the canal, though, the Sandwich facility continues to be in serious demand, despite fuel costs and Mother Nature's unpredictability. Each of the site's 180 slips is spoken for and the marina has names on the waiting list going back to 1992. "The demand is phenomenal and the supply isn't expected to get any better," said Fayne. Herald Interactive Tools

Captain dies after charter boat capsizes

This is a very important lesson for all Harbormasters and boaters. Harbormaster Department Policy should require that:
  • absolutely no boat is taken in tow unless every passenger onboard is wearing a personal flotation device.
  • if it is determined that the vessel is taking on water all passengers should be taken off the subject vessel
  • a constant line of communication either visual, audible or radio shall be maintained during the entire towing operation
  • When towing small vessels (and in the night time) remove passengers if safety permits
  • NEW BEDFORD - (6/20/05) A 50-year-old boat captain died yesterday when his 25-foot commercial vessel capsized near Quicks Hole, a waterway separating Pasque and Nashawena islands in the Elizabeth Islands chain. Ken Murray of Fairhaven, owner and operator of the New Bedford-based charter fishing boat The Last Call, could not be resuscitated after being plucked from choppy Buzzards Bay waters. Murray's four passengers survived the incident and were taken by the Coast Guard to Menemsha station on Martha's Vineyard. Two were taken to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, where they remained in stable condition last night, Coast Guard spokesman Jay Cadorette said. The other two were taken to the marine safety office in Providence, R.I., to be interviewed by investigators. All four were visiting the area from Pennsylvania.

    The Coast Guard Woods Hole station received a mayday call at 11:45 a.m. from a mariner who said he had been towing a disabled boat to shore when the vessel began taking on water and rolled, forcing the five men into 60-degree seas. Two other boaters came to the aid of the passengers, one scooping up four of them who were wearing life jackets and another retrieving Murray, who was already unconscious and not wearing a vest. The Coast Guard dispatched an HH-60 helicopter, a 110-foot cutter and a 21-foot small boat from the Woods Hole and Menemsha stations.

    An EMT and rescue swimmer performed CPR on Murray at the scene, but efforts to revive him failed. His body was taken to the coroner's office on Martha's Vineyard. ''From what I understand, it's being considered a drowning, but we don't know what happened before he went into the water,'' Cadorette said. Quicks Hole slices between two private islands owned by the Forbes family in the Elizabeth Islands chain, which juts southwest from Cape Cod. It is a popular fishing spot, but the current moving between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound can be dangerous.

    Conditions yesterday were rougher than normal. ''It can be a hazard,'' said a spokesman from the Coast Guard Menemsha station. ''When you have such a massive amount of water going into a small area, it's like a washer.''

    Swells yesterday were measured between 6 and 8 feet when the small craft capsized, Cadorette said, and winds were whipping around 20 knots. The Coast Guard successfully recovered the boat.
    (Published: June 20, 2005)

    WATERFRONT TOWNS FIGHT 'STEALTH' LAW: Ban on higher nonresident mooring fees got little notice

    Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy, who moors his power boat at Marina Bay in Quincy, helped pass a law to make it illegal for communities to charge higher mooring fees to nonresidents, a measure that many towns oppose, saying they rely on the fees.

    STATE HOUSE - (6/9/05) Sen. Michael Morrissey of Quincy quietly helped pass a state law last year stipulating that coastal communities could not charge higher mooring fees to nonresidents. This year, however, news of the law is creating a splash at local waterfronts. ''The thing that seems to bother people is the way the legislation was passed; it was sort of an 11th-hour thing,'' said Mark Patterson, harbormaster in Scituate, where the $5-per-foot mooring fee for residents was raised to the $6 rate paid by nonresidents once the new law took effect. ''A lot of harbormasters feel they didn't get a chance to weigh in on it.'' Weymouth Harbormaster Paul Milone agreed. ''It got a lot of guys upset,'' Milone said. ''The process wasn't fair. They stuck it onto some transportation bill.'' In retaliation, a handful of coastal communities - including Hingham, which collects $60,000 to $80,000 a year in mooring fees - have decided to ignore the new law. Hingham and Boston are among the communities that continue to charge higher mooring fees to nonresidents. Some town officials have enlisted the help of Sen. Robert O'Leary, a Cape Cod Democrat who represents coastal communities, to help overturn the law. But Morrissey, who owns a 30-foot powerboat that he keeps at Marina Bay, says towns that charge nonresidents higher mooring fees ''have basically been gouging boaters.'' Morrissey argues that since boaters already pay an excise tax to the towns where they drop anchor, towns have no right to additionally charge them higher mooring fees. ''The out-of-towners that use the beach don't already pay an excise tax,'' said Morrissey, whose district includes coastal and inland communities. ''Boaters are contributing to the town and should not have to pay for a two-tiered system.''

    Local communities say they rely on mooring fees to pay for water services. Duxbury collects $32,000 a year from the boat excise tax and $117,000 in mooring fees, said Harbormaster Don Beers. He said nonresidents should have to pay their share for municipal expenses ranging from parking and public bathrooms to patrol boats, floats, gangways, piers and landings. ''Waterfronts are extremely expensive to manage and maintain,'' Beers said. ''Everything that leads to or is dependent on the waterfront is expensive to repair.''

    Hingham believes nonresidents should pay more to dock in town waters because residents already pay taxes to cover the cost of municipal services such as police and public works, said Hingham Town Administrator Charles Cristello. ''Towns do that for all kinds of fees,'' Cristello said, noting that residents and nonresidents pay different rates to go to the beach or play golf. ''What's wrong with that?'' Morrissey's law, -which was attached to an unrelated transportation bond bill, requires towns to put mooring fees in a designated fund, to prevent coastal communities from filling municipal coffers with the profits.

    So far, the attorney general's office has not acted against towns that have refused to comply with the new law. O'Leary said he wants to overturn the Morrissey-sponsored law because it went on the books without adequate public notice or discussion. ''It was done without a lot of debate, most of us were unaware that it happened,'' O'Leary said. Like Morrissey, O'Leary attached his bill on mooring fees as a rider to other legislation - in this case, the state budget. A House-Senate budget conference committee, which irons out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget, has the option of keeping or dropping the rider on mooring fees. That decision is expected to be made this month.

    Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger Transmitted Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Cells may forecast next outbreak

    WOODS HOLE - (6/8/05) There is no good news for fishermen in the massive red tide bloom that has shut down shellfishing from Maine to Nantucket. But for researchers the biggest bloom in more than 30 years may yield enough information to help forecast the next bloom, the way meteorologists can predict the weather. In early May, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Deana Erdner was on board the WHOI research vessel Oceanus when the first of two northeasters blew in with high winds and big waves. The storms stirred up ocean waters, bringing nutrients from lower layers up to the red tide Alexandrium algae on the surface, feeding it like Miracle-Gro on a garden. Suddenly, scientists on the Oceanus had a bonanza of the toxic cells to sample and analyze. Erdner, a specialist in genetics, is attempting to catalog the distinct signature of each strain of the algae. The genes combine in configurations that scientists believe may be unique to the cyst bed where each originates in the spring and fall. Knowing the origin of the cells that help create algae blooms might help solve the puzzle of why they occur and what triggers massive ones like the current one. Genetic research on Alexandrium algae only recently became a reality after scientists figured out its gene map. ''We're really hopeful,'' Erdner said yesterday. ''We're hoping these samples are the ones that give us the answers.'' The last big red tide bloom in Massachusetts was in 1972 when Hurricane Carrie passed slowly through the Gulf of Maine, hitting a huge bloom in the Bay of Fundy. The strong winds blew the algae toward the Maine coast, where a southerly coastal current pulled the cells into waters off Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Substitute May's two northeasters for that hurricane and you have an identical scenario this year. The 1972 red tide bloom initiated the modern era of Alexandrium research and monitoring that has safeguarded public health for more than 30 years. Since then, there have been no fatalities reported in Massachusetts from red tide toxin. But that big bloom also seeded the ocean bottom with red tide cysts that awaken every spring, or sometimes in the fall, when water temperatures and sunlight are favorable for growth.

    Explosive growth
    Once they emerge, Alexandrium cells are capable of explosive growth, with each dividing into two cells every two or three days. A million cells can become 2 million in 24 hours under the right conditions. The cells are shaped like basketballs with whiplike tails. These propel toward the surface when they hatch out of the tough cyst case that protects them through a winter or two on the ocean floor. The cysts form as the previous summer's bloom wanes, after surface nutrients have been consumed or the temperature gets too warm. There may be a dozen or more cyst fields on the ocean bottom from Maine to Massachusetts that have been created during particularly dense blooms. Scientists worry that another may be forming in the western end of Cape Cod Bay right now. Samples taken from some of the cyst fields last year indicate there are a lot more of them than indicated in a previous survey in 1997, said WHOI associate scientist Dennis McGillicuddy. That may be one reason that the current bloom is so large. Another hypothesis is that conditions were favorable for growth this spring. Most of the nutrients that the algae need come from plankton. However, the largest cyst fields are located near the mouth of Maine's largest rivers. A strong spring snow melt combined with heavy spring rains dumped more river water than usual into the ocean - fresh water that was heavy with the organic sediment that algae love. The northeasters also fed the bloom. As plankton die off, they sink and are eaten or fall to the nutrient-rich bottom. When this layer gets stirred up by wave action, it also feeds the bloom.

    Computer model
    McGillicuddy, and other WHOI scientists working under senior scientist Don Anderson, are trying to build a computer model that can predict blooms based on environmental conditions. The key question, McGillicuddy said, is how rich in nutrients the surface waters must be to trigger the bloom. The sampling done during this bloom may provide an answer. An even deeper mystery is why the Alexandrium algae produce a toxin at all. It is a phytoplankton that uses sunlight to produce the food it needs. Some theorize it acts as a deterrent to the microscopic predators who graze on it. ''There's really no concrete ideas of why the toxin is there,'' Erdner said. But there must be a reason because ''it costs them energy to make it.'' Doug Fraser can be reached at dfraser@capecodonline.com.
    (Published: June 8, 2005)

    High water stokes hot tempers

    ''The creator put the water up, not Perry (Ellis)''

    MASHPEE - (6/7/05) Robert's Rules of Order went out the window last night at the selectmen's meeting. What started out as residents sharing their concerns about the high water level in Mashpee-Wakeby Pond during the public comment period of the meeting quickly became heated when board of selectmen chairman George ''Chuckie'' Green called for the meeting to move on. About 25 residents who live on the shores of the 700-acre pond attended the meeting to voice their concerns about the high water level, which has caused property and shoreline erosion. ''My house has incurred damage. And now with the boaters and jet-skiers out there, waves are coming into my yard and crashing into the house,'' said Wayne Carloni, who was one of about a dozen property owners who aired a complaint. The culprit, residents say, is the small dam that regulates the water flow from Mashpee Pond into the head of Mashpee River. The dam, which uses 2-by-4 planks to regulate water flow through the flume, used by herring to swim upstream, is overseen by Perry Ellis, the town's harbor master and herring warden.

    Ellis attended last night's meeting but did not speak, which prompted two residents to storm out of the meeting, considering it a waste of time to voice their concerns without hearing from town officials about their plans to deal with the problem. ''We are taking prudent steps to ... lower the water level as fast as possible,'' said Green, who gave residents 20 minutes more than the usual 10 minutes allotted for public comment. But Green also said that he didn't plan to go into detail at that moment, nor call Ellis to answer the questions being raised. ''There's only so much water that can run down the river,'' he said. That's when members sitting in the audience began to loudly protest. ''You're a selectman. You're here to serve us,'' one resident said. ''You're out to lunch, Chuckie,'' said another. Green responded by saying, ''It's over. We're done,'' a comment that provoked even more anger. Town Manager Joyce Mason intervened, explaining that Ellis would remove an additional plank this week, once ''some sand buildup is removed'' that is partially blocking the dam.

    ''The creator put the water up, not Perry (Ellis),'' Green said, before calling a recess to allow the room to clear. While some residents asked that a plank be removed from the dam immediately, others questioned why there is a dam there in the first place. One resident asked who would pay for the damage, followed by another who argued that it was hypocrisy for the town to hold residents accountable for violating regulations pertaining to the alteration of landscapes, while allowing Ellis to ''mismanage'' the dam. ''We've been at this for 10 years and we've got very little response,'' said William Marsters, president of the town's lake management committee and a property owner on the pond. Before the meeting, Green told the Times that the town is working to limit the damage wrought by Mother Nature, but he also said residents should take into consideration the study done by Brian Howes, a Mashpee resident and professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Green said the study indicates that 926,056 cubic feet of water flows out of Mashpee Pond into the river every day. And, he said, Mashpee Pond happens to be at the center of a (water) ''zone of contribution'' that encompasses 4,018 acres, which means the pond is collecting water from areas far outside of Mashpee. Sean Gonsalves can be reached at sgonsalves@capecodonline.com. (Published: June 7, 2005)

    Friday, June 3, 2005

    City official pulls anchor: Harbormaster quits, cites lack of power

    QUINCY - (6/3/05) Quincy's harbormaster has quit, saying the job provides him with little authority in overseeing the city's 27-mile coastline. Andy Ayer, the part-time harbormaster since 2002, submitted his resignation to Mayor William Phelan, who refused to comment yesterday because he has not spoken to Ayer about his departure. ''I took an oath two years ago to promote boater safety and come up with a harbor plan for the city, and I feel I can't do either,'' said Ayer. ''If something happens, I don't want to be held responsible.''

    Ayer said a constant struggle to secure proper funding for the harbormaster's department was a key reason for his departure. His $15,000 budget for the current year was only recently approved after 10 months of delays, and he doesn't think the prospect of a cash infusion is any better in the coming months.

    All this, Ayer said, comes a year after state regulators told the city it was sidestepping state law by failing to keep better track of the boats moored in Quincy Bay. State Inspector General Gregory Sullivan told city officials in a letter last year that the virtual free-for-all for anchor spaces along Quincy's coast also posed a potential public safety threat. After city hall received the letter, Ayer was charged with coming up with a harbor plan, including a program to oversee mooring permits and a range of other issues. Ayer complained earlier this year that he needed at least $100,000 to start up the program, which was likely to include contentious mooring fees for boat owners.

    The issue of mooring fees has rattled the city's political cage for several years, with the city council shooting down a proposal that had Phelan's support in 2003. The issue resurfaced this year when Ayer, with the mayor's support, interpreted the inspector general's letter to suggest the harbormaster didn't need council approval to issue permit fees. However, the mayor signed a law this spring giving the council the authority to issue fees. Ayer didn't knock the mayor, instead suggesting that the council ''doesn't really want me there.'' ''All they want to do is what the boaters want, so I feel I'm the wrong person for the job,'' Ayer said. ,p>Ward 1 City Councilor Leo Kelly didn't disagree with Ayer's assessment: ''I'd have to say I am more interested in what the boaters want. He's right about that.'' Ayer's resignation leaves the city without a harbormaster just as boating season begins, although the police department's marine patrol unit is on the water. Ayer will continue as Quincy's shellfish warden, a job he has held since the early 1980s, and he will not leave his post as an inspector in the city's health department or as president of the city's employees union.

    ''I'm shocked - Andy's done a tremendous job with the multitude of hats he has worn,'' said Ward 5 Councilor Douglas Gutro. ''We're fast approaching boat and beach season, so we need a competent and capable person to step into that role.'' Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger Transmitted Thursday, June 02, 2005