Timothy Bolger

Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

Miller Place Woman Drowned in Pool

A 54-year-old woman drowned in the pool in the backyard of her Miller Place home on Tuesday night, Suffolk County police said.

A family member found Erin Attard unresponsive in the semi-in-ground pool at 8 p.m., police said.

She was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, where she died.

Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation but believe the incident is non-criminal.

Queens Woman Charged With Fatal DWI Crash on Long Island

A Queens woman was arrested for vehicular manslaughter after driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 61-year-old man on the Northern State Parkway in Albertson, New York State police said.

Silvia Ibanez, 42, was driving a Toyota Rav4 westbound when she rear-ended a Toyota Camry near Exit 29A at 10:15 p.m. on Monday, police said.

The second driver, Juan Collado of Manhattan, died of injuries suffered in the crash.

Ibanez was taken to North Shore University Hospital, where she is being treated for serious injuries. She was charged with driving while intoxicated and second-degree vehicular manslaughter.

Police are continuing the investigation and ask any witnesses to call them at 631-756–3300.

Terryville, Garden City Park Armed Home Invasions Probed

Nassau and Suffolk county police are investigating a pair of armed home invasions that occurred a week apart in Terryville and Garden City Park, authorities said.

In the first case, two masked assailants entered a Superior Street home in Terryville at 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, flashed a gun and demanded jewelry from a victim, whom they then punched, Suffolk police said. The suspects fled with jewelry and a phone.

In the other incident, two men forced their way into a Garden City Park home on Hillside Drive South at 8:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, after one of the men engaged a 61-year-old woman in small talk about her dog, and then grabbed her in a bear hug as she entered the side door of her home, Nassau police said.

The suspects pushed her to the floor of a bedroom and threatened to kill her if she turned around and looked at them, police said. Once the house was quiet, she called 911 and discovered money was stolen from an upstairs closet, police said.

Third Squad detectives released sketches of the suspects in that case. They were described as 5-foot, 10-inches tall and in their early 20s. One was Hispanic and the other was black. Detectives are continuing the investigations.

East Farmingdale Fatal DWI Crash Suspect Charged

A 39-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash with an alleged drunken driver in East Farmingdale over the weekend, Suffolk County police said.

Tomasz Myszke of Copiague was riding a Suzuki southbound on Wellwood Avenue when he collided with a northbound Ford F-150 pickup truck that was making a left turn onto Conklin Street at 11:15 p.m. Saturday, police said.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup, 49-year-old Edward Okon of Melville, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He was not injured.

Okon is free on $25,000 bail and is due back in court Friday.

Major Case Unit detectives impounded the vehicles, are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this crash to call them at 631-852-6555.

Long Island Swelters Amid Heat Wave

Long Beach
Sunbathers on the sand in Long Beach on a recent afternoon (Photo by Joe Abate).

Parts of western Long Island may get on Monday the third straight day of sweltering temperatures of 90 degrees or above, the unofficial threshold to qualify as a heat wave, forecasters said.

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The heat streak came as the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat advisory from noon to 8 p.m. Monday for Nassau and western Suffolk counties as well as much of the New York Metro area. That’s because temps in the 90s combined with the humidity will make it feel like about 100 in some areas.

“It’ll be a close call,” Bill Goodman, an Upton-based NWS meteorologist, said of the heat wave designation.

Temps at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma hit 96 on Saturday and 90 on Sunday, but were only forecast to hit 88 on Monday. Goodman predicted that temperatures may rise into the 90s in parts of Nassau.

Thermometers fell two degrees short of 90 Friday on LI, but New York City is on its fourth straight day of temps in the 90s.

A 20-percent chance of thunderstorms forecast for Monday afternoon on LI are not expected to provide any relief. Tuesday is expected to hit the low 90s on LI, but the humidity won’t be as high so the heat index won’t be as bad, Goodman said. The region should get a break with temps in the 80s Wednesday through the weekend.

As for the heat advisory, NWS warned that the elderly, those with chronic health issues and those whose homes lack air conditioning should go to a place that has air conditioning. It also urged people who work outdoors to take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned area.

NWS also issued an air quality alert for all of Long Island due to increased ozone pollution levels. And anyone cooling off at the beach is warned that there is also a risk of rip currents.

Shannan Gilbert’s Mother Killed by Other Daughter, Cops Say

Shannan Gilbert
Shannan Gilbert

The mother of a woman whose disappearance led to the discovery of the Long Island Serial Killer’s dumping ground has been fatally stabbed by one of her other three daughters in upstate New York, authorities said.

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Sarra Gilbert, 27, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 52-year-old mother, Mari Gilbert, who was found dead in Sarra’s Ellenville apartment at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Ellenville village police said.

“Officers observed through the window what appeared to be a body on the floor,” Ellenville Village Police Chief Philip Mattracion told reporters Monday. When they entered the apartment, they found Mari on the living room flood and Sarra in the kitchen with blood on her clothing, he said. An autopsy determined that she died of multiple stab wounds.

Authorities also charged Sarra with criminal possession of a weapon. After her arraignment, she was ordered held without bail at Ulster County jail. She is due back in court Tuesday. sara gilbert

RELATED STORY: 5-year Anniversary of Long Island Serial Killer Case Brings Fresh Look

Investigators believe they have recovered the weapon, but Mari’s exact cause of death was unclear, Mattracion said. He added that the investigation is continuing.

Sarra’s sister, Shannan Gilbert, was an online escort who was reported missing from her last client’s home in Oak Beach in 2010. Six months later, police were searching for Shannan when they found the dead bodies of four other online escorts believed to be the victims of a serial killer who dumped them on the side of Ocean Parkway in nearby Gilgo Beach.

Over the following year, investigators eventually found a total of 11 sets of human remains along the parkway, including Gilbert’s, although only half of the remains have been identified and it’s unclear if their deaths are connected.

RELATED STORY: Chronology of a Mystery

Shannan’s family, who believe that she was also killed by a serial killer, has been suing the Suffolk County Police Department, which has suggested that she may have accidentally drowned in a marsh. Their attorney had a second autopsy performed on her remains. The findings suggested that she may have been strangled, but police maintain that her cause of death is undetermined.

After Backtracking, Dowling College Closes for Good

Dowling College to close
Dowling College in Oakdale (Long Island Press photo)

Dowling College administrators decided this week to close the Oakdale-based school down for good following on-again, off-again plans to shutter the debt-ridden 48-year-old private institution that’s losing its accreditation next month.

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Dowling’s board of trustees voted Tuesday against appealing a recent decision by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the college’s oversight agency, to withdraw Dowling’s accreditation on Aug. 31 following a two-year review. The college, which had been in partnership talks with international college affiliate Global University Systems (GUS), had announced in May its plan to close in June, but then reversed that strategy. This week, Dowling reversed course again, opting instead to shut down.

“We have made this very painful decision in order to minimize the disruption to Dowling students,” Michael Puorro, chairman of Dowling’s board of trustees, said in an email to students Tuesday. “We want to allow students and their families to make the best possible transition to other institutions.”

Related: Download The Ultimate Transfer Student Handbook: Everything You Need To Know

Dowling College’s enrollment dropped significantly

Founded on the site of the former William K. Vanderbilt estate overlooking the Connectquot River, Dowling, which also has a campus in Shirley, saw enrollment plunge from 6,379 students in 2005 to 2,453 by fall 2014 as it struggled to repay $54 million in debt, according to The Associated Press. Other small private colleges nationwide have also shuttered recently for similar reasons. Briarcliffe College, which has campuses in Bethpage and Patchogue, announced six months ago that it’s closing in 2018.

When Dowling first announced its plans to close, it sparked sadness and anger from current and former students, as well as faculty and staffers.

“I spent the whole day crying when I found out the news,” Jessica Glaz, a Dowling freshman, previously told the Press.

“They lied to everyone. They should have stopped admitting new students,” one staffer who asked not to be named had said.

Dowling gave three-day notice of its closure in the first announcement, then delayed shuttering its doors twice before holding a news conference announcing that it planned to stay open, pending a deal with GUS. But some students were suspicious.

“I can’t say I’m anything less than skeptical at Dowling’s ‘re-opening,’” said Aaron Henderson, a second-generation Dowling student who was a sophomore majoring in psychology and is now transferring to SUNY Fredonia. “With no professors and not a whole lot of students looking to come back, I can’t see why anyone would try to keep it open.”

Now that Dowling went back to its original plan to close, more than 400 professors who were laid off will continue looking for new work, and students will transfer to other colleges. What will come of Dowling’s two campuses, remains to be seen.

AG Sues Nassau Jail Medical Provider, Citing Inmate Deaths

Nassau County jail
The Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow.

Roy Nordstrom died after being refused hospitalization for chest pains. Bartholomew Ryan hanged himself despite mental health assessments. Kevin Brown died following inadequate treatment of seizures and hallucinations. And they’re not alone.

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The three men are among five who died since 2011 at Nassau County jail as a result of inadequate medical care, the New York State Commission on Correction alleged in documents obtained by the Press. The accusations sparked New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to file a lawsuit against the jail’s medical provider, Florida-based Armor Correctional Health Medical Services, seeking fines, an independent monitor over healthcare at the jail, and barring the company from bidding on contracts in the state. This case was announced Tuesday—a week after the fifth death at the jail this year and the 12th since 2011, officials said.

“Neglecting the duty to provide adequate care not only defrauds taxpayers, it compromises the health and safety of inmates, with sometimes fatal consequences,” Schneiderman said. “Failing to provide proper health services as required is completely unacceptable.”

Nassau County approved an $11 million annual contract with Armor in 2011. The state has ordered the county legislature, county executive, county sheriff, and Armor to review the corrections commission’s findings and begin corrective measures.

“Any allegation that Armor has failed to provide quality correctional medical care at the facility is simply false,” Armor said in a statement. “Armor has provided a substantial amount of data that simply is contradictory to any claim of deficient patient care. Armor is proud of its work caring for the inmates at the Nassau County facility, and will continue to do so as long as Nassau County wants it to do so. Armor also intends to vigorously defend against claims filed by the Attorney General.”

Representatives for Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato and Nassau County Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) did not return requests for comment. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s office issued a statement indicating that the county is hiring a jail healthcare monitor.

“While awaiting findings of the Attorney General, the county formed a team of health and mental health professionals to review the delivery of healthcare,” County Attorney Carnell Foskey said. “The county also hired a Commissioner of Corrections and the Department of Health placed a registered nurse in the facility to serve as a health contract monitor. The county is seeking to retain a correctional healthcare monitor until a provider is selected from the RFP issued earlier this year.”

The county had hired Armor amid Mangano’s push to privatize county services, including the bus system, sewers, and other work historically handled by government workers.

RELATED STORY: Nassau County Jail: Suicides, Healthcare Changes, Budget Cuts Prompt Calls For Oversight

Schneiderman’s lawsuit against Armor alleged that the company did not respond to inmates’ requests for care in a timely manner, failed to provide prescriptions to inmates as needed, failed to effectively diagnose inmates, failed to provide proper mental health services, failed to provide access to off-site medical specialists, understaffed clinical and managerial positions, and did not provide state-mandated reports to show it was addressing prior issues.

In the case of Nordstrom, the 47-year-old Shirley man died on June 11, 2011 after a physician wasn’t contacted despite the fact that he clutched his chest while complaining of chest pain, was having difficulty breathing, and collapsed, according to a state corrections commission investigative report. Instead, Nordstrom was wheeled back to his cell, until the next morning, when he was finally hospitalized, but it was too late. He was serving a 75-day sentence for violating an order of protection.

In Ryan’s case, the 32-year-old Iraq War veteran from East Meadow suffering from PTSD underwent two mental health evaluations, but wasn’t put on suicide watch on Feb. 24, 2014, two days after he was arrested for drugged driving, the state found. An officer who checked on him every 15 minutes found the ex-Marine hanging by a bedsheet from the cell bars, according to the report on his case.

Brown, a 47-year-old Far Rockaway man with known histories of traumatic brain injury, seizures and mental health diagnoses, died Feb. 10, 2014 after being jailed for petty larceny, according to his report. Despite officers witnessing Brown hallucinating and increasingly agitated, his care was lacking before he was found dead in his cell, the state said.

John Gleeson, 40, of Oceanside, died July 14, 2014 after the state said Armor’s staffers misdiagnosed a heart condition two months after he was arrested. The fifth case involved Antonio Marinaccio, 53, of Levittown, who reportedly died at the jail on May 2, 2015.

Aside from lawsuits from the attorney general and the families of the dead inmates, calls for changes at the jail have also been increasing. Lawmakers in the Democratic minority on the county legislature called for intervention, as did inmate advocates. One inmate died March 7, the same day that advocates held a news conference outside the jail in East Meadow to bring attention to the issues. Critics applauded the news that the attorney general filed suit.

“We are emboldened by Attorney General Schneiderman’s action and believe that our voices and protests are finally being heard,” said Dean Hart, president of Long Island Citizens for Good Government. “In our minds, there is no question that Armor Correctional Health Services has defrauded the taxpayers by taking public money and providing deficient services.”

Throne-Holst Beats Calone in East End Congressional Primary

From left: Anna Throne-Holst and David Calone.

Former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst won the June 28 Democratic congressional primary against venture capitalist David Calone by a 319-vote margin Friday after all the absentee ballots were counted, officials said.

Throne-Holst will go on to challenge freshman U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in the November elections. That race is for New York’s First Congressional District, which includes the five East End towns and the Town of Brookhaven. Throne-Holst had a 29-vote lead that was too close to call on primary night.

“I am deeply grateful to all who placed their trust and support in me,” Throne-Holst said in a statement. “I am truly humbled by the privilege it has been to get to know, share the concerns and my message with so many.”

Throne-Holst congratulated Calone, a former federal prosecutor, on a “spirted race.” In a statement, Calone thanked his supporters, who he urged to vote for Throne-Holst.

“We cannot continue being represented by Congressman Lee Zeldin, one of Donald Trump’s loudest advocates in Washington,” he said. “So I urge people across eastern Long Island to join me in supporting our Democratic nominee, Anna Throne-Holst, to replace him this November.”

Brookhaven Town Republican Chairman Jesse Garcia issued a statement condemning Throne-Holst.

“Anna Throne-Holst is a carbon copy of Nancy Pelosi, right down to her dishonest politics, ineffective liberal policies and utter lack of vision for the direction our nation should take,” Garcia said, calling Zeldin “the right leader for the job.”

Throne-Holst also looked to Election Day.

“ I look forward to working together with Democrats across the district to take back this important seat,” she said, referencing Zeldin unseating former U.S. Rep. Tim Biship (D-Southampton) two years ago. “Lee Zeldin has shown in every way how out of step and wrong he is not only for Long Island, but for the country.”

The Throne-Holst vs. Calone race was one of three Democratic congressional primaries on June 28. Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won a five-way race for the Democratic line in the campaign to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) in the third district covering the North Shore from western Suffolk into eastern Queens. Suozzi will face New York State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), who might face a primary, depending upon whether his challenger, Philip Pidot, is successful in court.

In the third Democratic congressional primary on Long Island last month, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) fended off challenger Ari Miraz, a publicist from Elmont. Meeks represents the fifth district, which includes part of western Nassau.

Hempstead Duo Charged in Fatal Shooting

From left: Manuel Howe and Delroy Carter

Two men were arrested for fatally shooting a 23-year-old man in the victim’s hometown of Hempstead over the Fourth of July weekend, Nassau County police said.

Manuel Howe, 17, was charged with second-degree murder and 25-year-old Delroy Carter was charged with hindering prosecution. Both men are also from Hempstead.

Homicide Squad detectives alleged the dup was involved in the shooting death of LaDaniel McCloud, who was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds on Laurel Street shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday.

Howe and Carter will be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead.

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