It’s always striking how right after the Press staff painstakingly ranks the most significant Long Island news stories of the year, we find few of those stories are among the most read.
What follows, dear readers, are the top 10 local news articles that you clicked on the most throughout the span of the last 12 months—some of which are more predictable than others.
As always, thanks for reading, folks!
10. Long Island Slammed With a Foot of Rain
Roads turned into rivers. Homes far from shore flooded. More than 13 inches of rainfall in and around the Town of Islip within a few hours, shattering records. All thanks to a freak storm Aug. 13 that fell short of causing enough monetary damage to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency clean-up aid for those affected.
9. Ronald Bower Released on Parole After 23 Years
It’s a story we’ve been following for a decade. Ronald Bower, the man who a growing number of law enforcement officials believe was falsely convicted of heinous sex attacks in Nassau and Queens, was freed from prison. Now, his family sets their sights on clearing his name, and ultimately, exoneration.
8. Missing Syosset Woman Committed Suicide
An intense search was launched when 22-year-old Jasmine Joseph of Syosset was reported missing in February after telling her parents that she was studying at New York Institute of Technology’s Old Westbury campus library. While many feared that she was a victim of foul play, the investigation came to a tragic end when police determined that she took her own life in her Nissan Altima. It turned out that she had stopped attending classes months earlier.
7. Shooting at Garden City Lounge Wounds 2
It’s not hard to see why this shocking crime got so many clicks. A shooter fired a shotgun into a crowd of people at Mint Restaurant & Lounge outside Roosevelt Field Mall in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 16, and when the smoke cleared, two men were wounded. Emmanuel Barnett, 21, of Cambria Heights later died of a gunshot wound to the head. Police later apprehended the suspect, Tyshaun Phillips, also 21, of the Bronx, who has pleaded not guilty to murder and is awaiting trial. The incident came after a gunman shot two people, killing one at a lighting company near the same mall six months prior, and a falling display rack at the mall on Christmas Eve 2013 sparked scares of a shooting.
6. Ex-Freeport Principal Admits Having Sex With Teen
This one is beyond disturbing. A former middle school principal, John O’Mard, met a 16-year-old boy on Grindr, a dating app for men, and had sex with the teen. Later, the principal is found to have lied about having prior criminal convictions on his job application.
5. New Documentary Takes Standardized Testing Common Core Battle to Big Screen
Standardized: Lies, Money, and Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education by filmmaker Daniel Hornberger brought out a cast of characters that included two Long Island teachers, Lace to the Top founders Kevin Glynn and Anthony Griffin. The film captured how the standardized testing industry has corrupted public education in the wake of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, funded by President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative. Some recognizable LI faces in the film included Bellmore mom and advocate Jeanette Deutermann, East Islip mom GiGi Guiliano and Oceanside teacher Marla Kilfoyle, a founding member of BATs, aka Badass Teachers.
4. News12 Journalist Sean Bergin Suspended Over On-air Remarks
News 12 Long Island and fellow Cablevision-owned Newsday didn’t bother reporting on the controversy stirred up when then-News 12 reporter Sean Bergin was suspended for comments he made on air while broadcasting about a suspect gunning down a New Jersey police officer. Bergin surmised that the “underlying cause” of anti-cop sentiments is “young black men growing up without fathers.” He said that his former employer later offered him one day of work weekly doing light features and no hard news. He declined.
3. 2 Long Island Hospitals Designated for Ebola Treatment
Since campaign season is over and no more Americans have been infected, it’s been a while since there has been much attention paid to the largest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in history. But, back in October, at the height of the panic, readers were hungry for news about the fact that New York State officials designated eight hospitals to handle potential Ebola patients—including two on LI. They include Stony Brook University Hospital and North Shore LIJ.
2. News12 Anchor Judy Martin Found Dead
When the 49-year-old Emmy Award-winning News12 Long Island journalist was found dead in her Halesite home earlier this year, the sad news unleashed a wave of grief from her fans, colleagues and sources. The accredited yoga instructor, who founded WorkLifeNation, taught business professionals how to reduce stress on the side. She was later determined to have died of natural causes.
1. How Long Island is Losing its War on Heroin
Despite authorities repeating years ago that LI could not arrest its way out of the deadly heroin epidemic, both arrests and overdoses continue to rise—same as comparable stats have nationwide. In Nassau, where lawmakers passed a law in 2008 requiring police to post a database alerting the public of the location of heroin arrests, that task went unfulfilled for three years. And despite efforts aimed at treatment and prevention, complacency has allowed the scourge to continue claiming young lives.