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Moses Weindling, of West Hills, who's father Benard was a Holocaust
survivor, tours the museum with his daughter Ariana, 13, after
Congressman Steve Israel spoke during a program commemorating the 75th
anniversary of Kristallnacht. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo credit: Steve Pfost 
by Erin Geismar

Steve Israel sees links between Kristallnacht, U.S. spy courts


Rep. Steve Israel said Sunday there are similar “strains” between the United States’ secret wiretapping courts and the role judges and legislators played during the rise of Nazi Germany 

His comments came during an event at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, in Glen Cove, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the violent pogroms against Jewish communities in Germany, Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia.

Read the full story:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces projects fortifying critical coastline at a Beach Water Purification Plant in Long Beach. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo credit: Howard Schnapp 
by Erin Geismar

Cuomo: Long Beach to get $13M flood barrier


New York State will spend $13 million to build more than a mile of flood barriers to protect the Long Beach wastewater treatment plant and other critical infrastructure — the first cutting-edge technology to harden the Long Island shoreline since superstorm Sandy.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Sunday announced plans for a 4,400-foot-long adjustable seawall and bigger bayside bulkheads.

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 Crew members pose for a photograph beside their Vietnam War era Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse, rebuilt by Long Island, N.Y. Vietnam veterans. (Nov. 8, 2013) Photo credit: AP 
by Erin Geismar

Vietnam War-era copter restored on LI goes to museum


QUANTICO, Va. — They stood smiling together at the National Museum of the Marine Corps — graying men who came of age during the Vietnam War — posing before one of the green-hulled birds of their youth.

The moment in history for the UH-34D combat helicopter they were so emotionally attached to had arrived. During the war, it had rescued American soldiers and taken the wounded to hospitals. And over the past few years that the men helped rebuild it, the helicopter helped rescue them from the anguish of war that had followed them home.

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New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. speaks to
the press outside Oyster Bay High School. (Oct. 15, 2013) Photo credit: Barry Sloan   

State education forums spark controversy on LI


Controversy is swirling over advance selection of speakers and admittance restrictions to education forums this week on Long Island featuring state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., with some angry parents saying they will demonstrate outside high schools where meetings are to be held.

The forums, Tuesday at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket and Wednesday at Mineola High School, are among about a dozen statewide that King and other state officials had described as opportunities to air concerns over revved-up student testing, the rigorous Common Core academic standards, teacher job evaluations and protection of student data.

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Clever Devices, a Woodbury based company, designed the new NICE Integrated Systems (NIS), which is a GPS-based technology that will give NICE managers and customers real time information on buses. (Nov. 6, 2013) Photo credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz 
by Erin Geismar

NICE bus awards $8M for rider info system


The Nassau Inter-County Express bus system has awarded an $8 million contract for computer systems that developers say will make the fleet among the most technologically advanced in the world.

The new NICE Integrated System will use global positioning systems and other state-of-the-art technology to provide real-time information on the exact location of all of Nassau’s 314 buses. Officials say that capability will help address many of NICE’s most nagging problems, including late buses and malfunctioning onboard audio and visual announcements.

Read the full story:

LI company shows off new NICE bus technology
by newsday via YouTube on 8:29 PM

A file photo of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo credit: Getty Images  
by Erin Geismar

LI addiction experts seek role for health insurance


A Long Island nonprofit that pushed for sweeping changes in the tracking of prescription painkillers signaled Sunday that health insurance companies should play a role in addiction recovery.

The group’s leader made the remarks at the 24th Annual Peter Sweisgood Breakfast held by the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Hauppauge.

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A file photo of Smithtown Councilman Thomas J. McCarthy. (Aug. 15, 2013) Photo credit: Ed Betz 
by Erin Geismar

Former LI lumber yard to be converted to apartment complex


Town board members have unanimously approved a zoning modification allowing a developer to pursue plans to construct a three-story apartment complex in the downtown of the hamlet of Smithtown.

East Hampton-based Salvatore DiCarlo, owner of a vacant former lumber yard on West Main Street, wants to erect about 60 apartments and 12,000 to 15,000 square feet of retail shops at the site, town planner Frank DeRubeis said.

Read the full story:

by Erin Geismar

Newsday’s longtime horse racing writer dies at 66


He was a man of the old school who loved horse racing, baseball and the cocktail hour. His writing style was a throwback, too, featuring long, complex sentences rarely seen on sports pages. When Paul Moran was at the top of his game, there was nobody better 

He got a million laughs with his often acidic wit, and had a knack for creating memorable images. He described jockey Angel Cordero waiting to pounce on a rival as “a wasp poised upon a leaf.” When Ireland-based Go and Go pulled a runaway upset in the 1990 Belmont Stakes, Moran began his story: “On St. Patrick’s Day in June, the wind was always at his back, and the road rose up to meet him.

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A file photo of an American flag. Photo credit: iStock  
by Erin Geismar

Suffolk receives $1.2M for homeless veterans program


Suffolk County advocates for homeless veterans are offering them housing help and other services after receiving a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The federal Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant was awarded last month to the Patchogue-based Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk Inc. to administer the program. 

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Roosevelt residents Jacob Dixon and Sharisse Carter stand in front of a brownfield site. (Nov. 8, 2013) Photo credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa 
by Erin Geismar

Roosevelt residents worried over hazardous waste site


Some Roosevelt residents, churchgoers and community advocates are concerned that a hazardous chemical found in the hamlet could have undesirable environmental and health repercussions.

The brownfield site, at 20 W. Centennial Ave., was used by various uniform and linen supply companies and was listed on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s registry of inactive hazardous waste sites in July 2005.

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Janison: Voter turnout disappointing in elections


Although it may mean little to the candidates or their parties, Nassau’s county executive race appears for now to have drawn a slightly less-anemic voter turnout than did neighboring New York City’s nationally hyped mayoral race.

In the immediate wake of Tuesday’s balloting, numbers from county election officials showed a turnout of close to 29 percent, with 272,584 of 945,417 active registered voters casting ballots for executive. In 2009, the percentage was a bit better than that, with 263,946 out of 905,599 voting in the race. 

Read the full story: 

Actor Billy Crystal announces the opening of the new DREAM COURTS located at the Long Beach Recreation Center in Long Beach. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo credit: Howard Schnapp 
by mandy.hofmockel

Crystal, hoops legend, help Long Beach, kids rebound


Comedian Billy Crystal was back in his native Long Beach Sunday to open two new public basketball courts as part of an ongoing effort to help his hometown rebound from superstorm Sandy.

Crystal was joined by a basketball legend Nancy Lieberman, who grew up in Far Rockaway, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and dozens of community residents and officials. Later more than 100 youngsters tried out the new courts by dribbling, shooting baskets and running back and forth on the orange and blue rubberized tiles.

Read the full story:

Paul Tromblee, 35, was arrested and charged in a robbery
spree that began Oct. 26 and included gas stations and retail
businesses across Suffolk County. (Nov. 9, 2013) Photo credit: SCPD 
by mandy.hofmockel
Cops: Manorville man charged in string of robberies


Suffolk County police have nabbed a Manorville man who they say has been responsible for a recent string of armed robberies.

Police said Paul Tromblee, 35, is suspected in the robbery spree that included gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills and Bohemia, a Jamba Juice store in Stony Brook, the Kissed by the Sun tanning salon in Islip, and a CVS pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma.

In the robberies, which took place over two weeks beginning Oct. 26, Tromblee pretended to make a purchase, then demanded cash, police said.

Detectives from the pattern crime unit used video surveillance, tips, and calls received on the Crime Stoppers hotline to identify Tromblee, who was arrested at 3:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon as he drove along Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven, police said.

Tromblee was charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery. At his arraignment on Sunday at First District Court in Central Islip, Tromblee was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond.

He is due back in court on Friday.

Police said they are still determining whether Tromblee was also responsible for recent similar robberies, and ask anyone with information about this case to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Runners participate in the Long Island Run for the Warriors along
Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst. It is the 6th annual Long Island Run
for the Warriors. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo credit: James Carbone  

Record number run Lindenhurst race to honor veterans


A record number of competitors took part in  Sunday's  Long Island Run for the Warrior race in Lindenhurst, honoring deployed soldiers and wounded military service members.

“It's for everybody who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It's the least we can do,” said Sgt. Ronald Hurtado, 32, of Staten Island, who spent 2007 conducting combat patrol in Afghanistan and ran the 5k race in his military uniform. Now an Army active duty recruiter in Patchogue, Hurtado said the race is an important way to recognize and encourage troops.

While last year’s run drew about 2,000 runners, this year brought out more than 3,000, said Tina Atherall, executive vice-president of the national nonprofit Hope for the Warriors, which hosted the races.

“People need this run and they needed a voice,” Atherall said. “It's a great weekend to support the military.” She attributed the increased number of participants to the community “embracing veterans.

Military mom Aurora Matos, 46,  of Babylon, who is counting the days until January when her Army son comes home from serving in Afghanistan, felt obligated to attend for first time.

“It's very important to support them. They give us freedom and are real heroes,” she said. 

Another mother, Paula Vidal, whose son served three Army tours overseas, most recently returning from Afghanistan in August, said she was there to pay homage to veterans.

“I'm here to make people aware of the sacrifices they commit everyday. They allow us to afford our freedom,” said Vidal, 58, of Lindenhurst, who had a clear view of runners from a nearby sidewalk. “This race becomes more important each year.

The race, in its sixth year, began at Babylon Town Hall with three events -- a mile, 5k or 10k runs. More than 300 people volunteered to help with the event, organizers said.

Hope for the Warriors raised more than $200,000 Sunday with all proceeds benefiting wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen, officials said.

The organization also aims to enhance the quality of life for post 9/11 service members suffering from physical and psychological issues.

Before the event, Marine Lance Cpl. Billy Ventura, 22, of Holtsville, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a hit-and-run accident in July in Selden, was honored for his military service. Later he rode a donated hand cycle.

Ventura had run the race twice in honor of his brother, Marine Cpl. Jerome Ventura, 23, who died two years ago from a reaction to medication while being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder at Marine Air Station Miramar, in San Diego. But the small custom-made bike allowed him to complete the race Sunday.

Being recognized felt “amazing,” Ventura said after crossing the finish line.

Suffolk County police are searching for the driver of a vehicle that
hit a police car, while it was investigating another car accident in
Babylon. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo credit: Paul Mazza 

Cops: Driver hits police car, flees, in Babylon


Suffolk County police are searching for the driver of a vehicle that hit a police car, then left the scene.

An officer was parked in the right westbound lane of Main Street in Babylon near Melbury Road at 1:20 a.m. Sunday handling a motor vehicle crash. 

His lights were flashing and his door was open when suddenly another vehicle, described as possibly a gold Nissan Maxima, hit the officer’s open door before fleeing the scene, police said.

The officer was not hurt, and police are searching for the driver.

Members of Artists in Partnership  and The Roadhouse Band pose on stage Saturday after the second night of the Kickin' Country Music Festival and Food Drive at the Long Beach Public Library. (Nov. 9, 2013)  Photo by Chelsea Katz  
by Erin Geismar

'Kickin' Country Music Fest' in Long Beach benefits food pantry


The halls of the Long Beach Public Library were hardly silent on Saturday night when The Roadhouse Band took the auditorium stage.

About 75 people filled the auditorium as the band blasted Americana and country favorites like “Proud to be an American” and “Footloose.” Before The Roadhouse Band started their set, Mick Hargreaves and Mike Bifulco brought their electric slide-steel guitar duo to the stage.

“We’re able to give people the opportunity to be exposed  to music that they might not necessarily go to the city to see,” said Johanna Mathieson-Ellmer, 64, one of the event organizers.  “We bring it here.

The library and Long Beach-based nonprofit Artists in Partnership Inc. held their second annual Kickin’ Country Music Festival and Food Drive this weekend to help celebrate Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. The country music celebration debuted three years ago but was canceled last year because of superstorm Sandy.

Admission was free but the audience was asked to bring canned food to go to the Long Island Cares Harry Chapin Food Bank. Mike and Lisa Bivona, of Wantagh, were the Long Island Cares volunteers for the night.

“We know Long Beach has been hammered pretty hard in the past year so we wanted to try and help,” Mike Bivona, 52, said about their decision to volunteer at the music fest, “and to listen to some country music.”

“We’re just trying to help people who are having a hard time right now,” Lisa Bivona, 51, added.

As of Saturday night, attendees had purchased about $300 worth of raffle tickets. Half of the money goes to the Friends of the Long Beach Public Library. The other half goes to Artists in Partnership.

The festival continues Sunday with family activities starting at 1 p.m. and Brooklyn-based bluegrass band Astrograss taking the stage at 2 p.m, followed by Walking the Line, a Johnny Cash and June Carter Tribute Band.

Mathieson-Ellmer, director of Artists in Partnership Inc., said the best parts of the Kickin’ Country Music Fest and Food Drive are the people.

“I love the music -- I love to meet the musicians, people that I never met before, I’ve never worked with before but I love the audience,” she said.

Geiger Lake Memorial Park in Wyandanch. (Sept. 26, 2013) Photo credit: Ed Betz  
by Erin Geismar

Babylon board OKs changes to construction contracts for Geiger Lake Park


The Town of Babylon has approved changing work orders for construction of a spray park in Geiger Lake Park.

The spray park opened in the summer, the first phase of a long-term overhaul of the 23.4 acre Geiger Lake Park, which sits in Wyandanch and Deer Park. The work is part of Wyandanch Rising, the town’s $500 million public-private initiative to revitalize the hamlet’s downtown. Plans for other areas of the park include basketball courts, a carousel, conservatory and botanical garden.

The 14,400-square-foot spray park and amenities cost more than $10 million, with the town using $1 million from a state grant, $1 million from a federal community development loan and bonding for $8 million.

Eldor Contracting of Holbrook had an increase of $65,000, bringing their contract total to nearly $434,000. Norberto Construction of Medford had their contract increase by nearly $75,000 to $2.5 million. Stalco Construction of Islandia had a nearly $15,000 decrease to their contract, bringing it to $3 million. Advanced Conservation Systems of Lindenhurst saw a decrease of $36,000 to set their contract at $258,000.

The town board approved the changes at a meeting last week. Supervisor Richard Schaffer abstained from votes on the changes. Schaffer, an attorney, said he works with the Plumbing Contractors Association, an umbrella group for Plumbers Local Union 200 companies, some of whom performed the work.

Jim Valentin, of Huntington, and his son Dante, 1, donated candy to radio station 94.3 The Shark's "Treat for Troops" drive, which collected 500 pounds of leftover Halloween candy at Play N Trade in Bay Shore to send to troops in Afghanistan. (Nov. 9, 2013) 
Photo by Brittany Wait  

Donated Halloween candy to give vets 'a taste of home'


Holding an empty pumpkin-shaped candy bucket, 1-year-old Dante Valentin reached for an overflowing box of Halloween candy, but he was there for the purpose of donating candy, not taking it.

Jessica Taylor and her husband Jim Valentin brought their son to Play N Trade in Bay Shore on Saturday to donate a bucket of chocolate bars and mini bags of Sour Patch Kids to the radio station 94.3 The Shark's inaugural "Treats for Troops" drive.

The rock radio station set up a booth outside the store to collect leftover Halloween candy to send to the troops overseas. Anyone who donated candy got a $5 gift card to Play N Trade in exchange.

"Jim's grandfather was a U.S. marshal in the Army," said Taylor, of Huntington. "We've always done anything we could to support our troops. And this keeps our kids from rotting their teeth. They have enough candy as it is."

Since the drive launched on Oct. 28, the radio station has collected nearly 500 pounds of candy, stored in 42 boxes that have filled the Play N Trade’s back room, according to store owner Richard Berezein.

"Anyone in the military already gets a discount when they walk into the store," said Berezein, 37, of Selden. "Why not give back to those serving us overseas, providing them with a little comfort from home."

Most of the candy donated came from a candy drive organized by Levittown’s Paul Rauch, a sophomore at MacArthur High School, and his class, said Berezein.

Simone Domonkos, account executive at 94.3 The Shark, said the U.S. Marine Corps will be shipping the 500 pounds of candy to troops serving in Afghanistan as soon as possible.

"We wanted to utilize Halloween candy that would otherwise go to waste, so we asked the public to donate treats for our heroes serving overseas," Domonkos said. "We'll be able to give these guys a small taste of home."

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said the two board members who voted against the 2014 budgets did not offer amendments. Photo credit: James Escher 
by Erin Geismar

Huntington Town board narrowly approves 2014 budgets


The Town of Huntington has approved its spending plan for next year by adopting operating and capital budgets for 2014.

The adopted $185.2 million 2014 operating budget calls for a net zero increase across the town’s 14 taxing funds. But there will be hikes in two of the top three funds. The general fund will see an increase of 3.6 percent, and there will be a 1.7 percent rise for the Consolidated Refuse Fund.

The Highway Fund will see a decrease of 4.65 percent. The budget calls for no reduction in services or layoffs; and raises will go only to those under a collective bargaining unit contract.

Spending is up 2.2 percent, but the amount to be raised by taxes stays at the same level as last year — $109,686,705.

“We spent a lot time putting this budget together; we got a lot of input and obviously the board thought it was fine and thought it was the proper budget for this next fiscal year,” said Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, also the town’s chief financial officer. “The two people who voted against it did not offer any amendments so I don’t know where their concerns are.

Both budgets were adopted 3 to 2 with Mark Cuthbertson and Susan Berland voting yes and Mark Mayoka and Gene Cook opposing the plans.

Cook cited discrepancies in the costs allotted for outside attorney fees and to settle various lawsuits against the town.

“I just didn’t believe the numbers and I couldn’t vote for something I didn't believe in,” Cook said.

The $8.8 million capital budget was also approved 3 to 2. The capital budget includes building a boathouse at Centerport Beach, $350,000 is earmarked for that expenditure.

Sunday’s skies will be partly sunny, with highs in the mid- to upper 50s, said Joe Pollina, meteorologist with the service’s Upton bureau. Photo credit: Weather Underground  
by mandy.hofmockel

Very cool week forecast for LI 


Long Island will see below-average temperatures and a rainshower early this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday’s skies will be partly sunny, with highs in the mid- to upper 50s, said Joe Pollina, meteorologist with the service’s Upton bureau. Lows on Sunday will be in the mid- to upper 30s, with mostly clear skies.

Monday will be mostly sunny, with highs in the lower 50s. An approaching cold front will bring a 40 percent chance of rain to the area on Monday night, with lows in the mid- to upper 30s, Pollina said.

The chances of rain taper off on Tuesday, with a 20 percent chance of showers that day, Pollina said. Highs will be in the mid- to upper 40s, with lows on Tuesday in the upper 20s to around 30.

Wednesday will bring mostly sunny skies, with highs only reaching into the low 40s. Partly cloudy skies will emerge Wednesday night, with lows in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Thursday will again be mostly sunny, with highs in the mid- to upper 40s. Lows on Thursday will be in the 30s.

A high pressure system will push the cold front offshore, leaving slightly warmer temperatures on Friday. Highs that day will be in the low 50s, Pollina said.


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