Top 9 Long Island News Stories of The Decade

Montauk is the most expensive tourist destination in New York State, according to a recent survey. (Jaime Franchi/Long Island Press)

9. Bet on LI

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Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino in Islandia opened for business on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 (Long Island Press photo)

Among the many changes that New York State lawmakers made over the past decade that impacted Long Island — from legalizing gay marriage to enacting early voting — one of the most visible and controversial moves is allowing the region’s first casino to open in Islandia in 2017.

8. Medford Massacre

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David Laffer and Melinda Brady

The opioid epidemic took an especially violent turn when David Laffer murdered four people while robbing a Medford pharmacy of prescription painkillers to feed his and his wife Melinda Brady’s addiction on Father’s Day of 2011.

7. Isles Skate

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Islanders Captain Anders Lee carries the puck across the blue line during the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 26th, 2019. (Photo by Joe Nuzzo)

The Islanders shocked Long Island when the team’s owners announced in 2012 that it would move the NHL franchise from their original home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They’ve since announced a plan to move to a new arena they’re building in Elmont.

6. Gilgo Murders

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Ten sets of human remains have been discovered to date along Ocean Parkway, and the killer or killers are still on the loose.

When Suffolk County police searching for a missing woman found 10 sets of human remains in 2010 and ’11 — and later, the missing woman’s dead body — it launched what’s considered the largest serial killer investigation in the county’s history.

5. Dems Flip NY Senate

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The New York State Capitol in Albany. (Shutterstock)

Democrats unseated three veteran Republican New York State senators from Long Island in 2018 and won a district vacated by another. Republicans had long held that the Senate was their lone check on Democrat power in the progressive state’s capitol. It’s the Democrats first time running the chamber in a decade.

4. MS-13 Crackdown

ms-13LI chapters of the violent street gang were responsible for dozens of murders over the past decade, most notably a 2017 quadruple homicide in Central Islip that prompted visits from then-U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump. Suffolk authorities recently announced the largest crackdown on the gang in state history.

3. Shinnecock Win Recognition

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A traditional blessing for the grand opening of the building is conducted by local members of the Unkechaug & Shinnecock Indian Nations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation won federal recognition in 2010 following a decades-long push to be considered a sanctioned tribe.

2.Corruption Continues 

Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was convicted of abusing his power to enrich his son, Adam, who was also convicted.

LI’s long list of public officials convicted  of corruption over the past decade includes Ex-New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Ex-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, and Ex-Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota. Mangano and Spota are appealing.

1. Sandy Strikes

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Clockwise from top left: A radar image of Superstorm Sandy, an aerial view of the breach in Fire Island dubbed “New Inlet,” LIPA crews working to get the lights back on, a house on Fire Island that fell off of its pilings, one of the many felled trees, cars buried in sand in the streets of Long Beach, gas lines that extended for hours and blocks, and Red Cross volunteers helping survivors at Cedar Creek County Park in Seaford. Center from left: the splintered Long Beach boardwalk and a boat that floated onto the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

Superstorm Sandy prompted LI leaders to request $8 billion in federal aid. It caused 13 local deaths out of more than 200 nationwide. Most of LI was blacked out—in some places for weeks. Nassau’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant failed, flooding homes and waterways with raw sewage. Breaches tore through Fire Island and neighboring Westhampton Island. An ensuing gas crisis sparked lines blocks and hours long. Hundreds were left homeless. Some waterfront roads and boardwalks were destroyed. And its impact is still felt years later.