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After a million miles for science, the Knorr comes home

Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times

As the research vessel Knorr approached the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution dock Wednesday morning, it spun to flip its orientation and back into port.

The move wasn’t strictly necessary, Capt. Kent Sheasley later admitted. But amid the welcoming sounds of fireworks and the boom of blank cannon shells, the twirl wasn’t entirely out of place as the ship came home officially for the last time. Read more.

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Cape nonprofit groups eye smart growth

Cape Cod Times/Merrily Cassidy

The growth at WE CAN, a Harwich Port-based women’s empowerment nonprofit, has been nothing short of meteoric since it left its rented space above Bonatt’s Bakery and Restaurant and into its own home about a mile down Route 28 in early 2013.

What had been a slow and steady increase in demand took off, with more than 6,700 women calling or coming in for assistance in the first nine months of 2014 and more than 1,800 participating in one of its programs in the same span. The figures have tripled and doubled, respectively, compared to 2010 levels.

But before any of its growth began, and before it takes on any new program, its leadership asks key questions about the possible expansion: Does the community need it? Does the service exist elsewhere? If not, can we afford to take it on? Read more.

From victim to ‘strong survivor’

Every time Gabriela Rowland tells her story, her voice catches at the same point.

The line is one she used in court, when she gave a victim-impact statement before her abuser was sentenced to six years in jail. It’s one that she used at a domestic violence rally in April, at a memorial service for Jennifer Martel in August and at a candlelight vigil for domestic violence victims earlier this month.

More than any part of her story, the part that gets her is the one that most precisely sums up her life since she endured a week of abuse at the hands of her then-boyfriend, Justin Mustafa.

“I was once a victim,” she says. “Now I’m a strong survivor.”  Read more.

Cape nonprofit agencies rebounding from the recession

Marcella Hennigan, 6, of Dennis, far left, practices fifth position with other elementary ballet classmates at Cape Cod Conservatory. The conservatory's recent merger with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra has been mutually beneficial. Cape Cod Times/Christine Hochkeppel

Nonprofits on Cape Cod and across the country didn’t have the luxury of closing their doors during the worst of the recession. They were too busy providing health care, shelter and food to those whose livelihoods were suffering.

But as they survived, they suffered. They lost donations, their investments dipped in the stock market and many were forced to cut back on their programs or cut their staffsRead more.

Rustic Penikese Island offers refuge for troubled teens

In the midmorning of a cool and sunny September day, Noah, a 17-year-old Virginia native, is losing badly at Scrabble while camped out at a picnic table in the kitchen.

Clad in a fleece pullover, pajama pants and a pair of Crocs, he could fit into a scene from any home in America. But the cooking here is done by wood-burning stove. At night, the building is lit by kerosene lanterns. Much of the produce is from the garden outside, and the fish come from the cove.

Noah is one of two residents on Penikese Island, which for years has been the rustic backdrop for teenage boys getting control of their lives. Formerly a school, it’s now a treatment center where boys age 14 to 17 with mental health conditions and burgeoning substance abuse problems can get focus and clarity in a therapeutic setting. Read more.