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.

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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.

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.

‘It’s my duty to speak up, to save the next person’

When Gabriela Rowland started dating him, he was full of grace and charm. He was the best man she’d ever meet, he told her, and he would always treat her right.

For nearly two years, despite some stormy times and a few short-term breakups, she believed that held true. He peppered her with rosy predictions for their future, which included children playing in a house with a big yard.

But at the end of June 2013, things went quickly, horribly downhill. Read more.