Cap on tax deductions could hurt nonprofits' bottomlines

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A change to the state's tax code last year, designed to close part of a $37 million budget shortfall by capping tax deductions, may cause a ripple effect in the budgets of nonprofits across the state.

The change caps all deductions, including donations to charity, at $27,500 reducing the tax incentive for Mainers to give to nonprofit organizations.

Brenda Peluso, director of public policy for the Maine Association of Nonprofits, says it is too early to tell what the impact will be right now, because donors who gave during 2013 are finding out now that they are not eligible for a tax deduction on large gifts.

"I have heard some people say they are going to double down, reduce their contributions to make up for their losses in 2013 in 2014," stated Peluso. 

Subpoenas to be issued in document shredding case

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and several employees who have refused to testify regarding document shredding within the agency are being hit with subpoenas.

Sex offender faces additional charges against children

AUGUSTA, MAINE (NEWS CENTER) -- A registered sex offender who was living in the town of Clinton now faces additional charges, including gross sexual assault on a child. 

Timothy Hayes was indicted last week in Kennebec County on fourteen charges, including gross sexual assault on a child under the age of twelve.

Hayes was indicted on that same charge in Somerset County last month, where a second incident involving the same child allegedly occurred. 

In total, Hayes faces 16 charges in Kennebec and Somerset counties. In addition to gross sexual assault, the charges include unlawful sexual contact and prohibited contact with a minor. 

Kennebec-Somerset District Attorney Maeghan Maloney told NEWS CENTER the fact the man was already a known risk makes this case especially bad. There are a total of seven children affected by this case. 

Lawmakers take up Cold Case bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The bill that would create a Cold Case unit within the Maine Attorney General's office had its first hearing before the Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Relatives of murder victims whose cases have never been solved turned out to support the bill. Alice Hawkes brother, Darien Richardson's parents, Mary Tanner's brother. Those are just three of the 120 names on the list of the state's unsolved murders.

Veteran's Court: Serving those who served our country

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- For those who serve returning to civilian life can be hard. Sometimes the reintegration process is harder for some than others causing some veterans to fall onto hard times and in some rare cases in prison. In Maine, a special Veteran's Court has been created to help those veterans. Unfortunately, it lacks funding and the staff to keep it going. 

A bill going through legislature would provide additional funding and staffing to keep the court going. 

Sheriff Randall Liberty of Kennebec County helped get the program off the ground. A veteran himself, he knows the struggles of returning from war. 

Sheriff Liberty said, "It's heartbreaking really because I saw those marines and soldiers serve and I saw the things they did for our nation and it's very difficulty for an 18 or 19 year old to be sent into that environment."

State honors Legislator-Veterans

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There was another ceremony in Augusta today to honor Maine veterans. But this one was a bit different. This ceremony was honoring veterans who are also members of the Maine Legislature.

There are 35 of them, and that's about twenty percent of the whole Legislature. Most are Vietnam Veterans, but there was one Korean War vet, along with others from the cold war years and several veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Governor and Adjutant General James Campbell praised them for their service.

The state's Bureau of Veterans Services will be holding a lot of ceremonies this year. They say 2014 marks the fifty-year anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War, and the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.

Maine closing small area to crab, lobster harvests

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The state Department of Marine Resources is closing a small area at the mouth of the Penobscot River to the harvesting of crabs and lobsters for at least two years as a precautionary measure over concerns about possible mercury contamination.

The closure, which takes effect Saturday, involves about 7 square miles and extends from Wilson Point across to Fort Point and north into the river. It applies to commercial and recreational fishermen.

Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a news release Tuesday that the closure comes in response to information received in November about mercury contamination in muscle tissue from lobsters found in the area.

He says officials will conduct seasonal monitoring of mercury levels and decide after two years whether to reopen the area.