Alec Rich


Trump to Host Hamptons Fundraiser This Weekend 

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump spoke at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Friday, July 28, 2017.

President Donald Trump plans to hold two high-dollar campaign fundraiser events in Southampton this Saturday, the latest effort by the campaign to expand its war chest ahead of Election Day. 

The visit is similar to a Trump fundraising event held in Southampton last August, as access to events featuring the president will cost anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 per person, according to CNBC. Proceeds from the events will go toward Trump Victory, a fundraising committee for both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. 

Although Trump is not scheduled to arrive until the weekend, his son Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top Trump campaign and RNC fundraiser and Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, attended a dinner on Thursday night. Tickets for the dinner reception started at $2,800 per person, and rose to $50,000 per couple to participate in the dinner, according to CNBC

Tickets to attend Trump’s Saturday afternoon event start at $50,000 per person for photo ops and access to the president’s remarks, with $100,000 tickets also being sold to attend a roundtable discussion and meet-and-greet. The second event later on Saturday costs up to $500,000 per couple to gain entry, according to CNBC

The fundraiser comes after the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee raised $165 million in July, compared to the $140 million raised by the Biden Campaign and Democratic National Committee, according to The Washington Post. In both May and June, Biden led Trump in fundraising numbers following the former vice president’s own virtual high-dollar events. 

As of June 30, Trump has $113 million cash on hand as compared to Biden’s $109 million, according to the Federal Election Commission. 

The visit also comes amidst Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s continued enforcement of coronavirus safety precautions, including the limiting of gatherings to 50 people, social distancing and mask wearing.

Related Story: Trump Tweets Support For Long Island Pizzeria Amid Flag Controversy  

Related Story: Montauk Key To Trump Taking Over Family Empire, Niece Writes

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Nassau Pols to Question PSEG-LI Reps Following Days of Isaias Outages

LIPA crews working to restore power after Superstorm Sandy. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

A special committee of the Nassau County Legislature will reconvene next week for the first time in more than a year to call on PSEG Long Island representatives to explain the utility’s response to mass power outages in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. 

The Superstorm Sandy Review Committee plans to meet at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 with both PSEG-LI representatives and the county’s Office of Emergency Management, with the goal of making recommendations to fix response issues raised in the last few days. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach), chairwoman of the six-legislator-committee, said the committee is convening to not only review the problems of this week but also to “get ahead” of storms that may hit Long Island in the coming months. 

“We want to do this now because of the fact that so many people have complained that they’re out of service for a number of days,” Ford said. “Some of the legislators and other people have said that they have not been able to get responses from PSEG, and I’m sure that they are overwhelmed by a storm that was so early in the hurricane season and the damage that it has done.” 

After striking Long Island on Tuesday, more than 420,000 PSEG-LI customers were left without power, a situation that was only compounded by communications issues. As of Thursday morning, more than 160,000 homes and businesses were still without power. 

Ford said the committee will focus on lapses in communication by PSEG, which she sees as one of the main issues in the power company’s storm response over the last few days. 

“I think if you could tell people that ‘we could get you back on by Friday at 5,’ it may not be something that somebody would like, but even though they’re angry, they know that it will be resolved,” Ford said. “Nothing’s worse than when they said, ‘well, we don’t know when we’re going to get you back,’ and so many people are stuck in their homes because of the virus.” 

Ford added the committee will not only make suggestions for improvement but may also make recommendations to the state legislature, as the state is responsible for power companies. 

The committee, which held its first session in August 2018 and last met in May 2019, was formed with the stated goal of using the lessons learned after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to plan and strategize for future disasters. Along with Ford, the committee is comprised of Legislators Steven Rhoads (R-Bellmore), James Kennedy (R-Massapequa), Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), Debra Mulé (D-Freeport), and Josh Lafazan (I-Syosset), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

Lafazan called the breakdown in communication by PSEG Long Island “absolutely unacceptable,” and said he hopes the committee is able to get answers from the company following struggles from a storm that “could have been a lot worse.” 

“During a time of crisis quite frankly, utilities have to be at their best and the lack of communication in which my office has been fielding literally hundreds of complaints and trying to answer for folks, the utilities should be able to give those answers in the first place,” Lafazan said. “So the communication breakdown for whatever is the contributing factor here needs to be remedied immediately.” 

Lafazan added that an important population his office has worked to help in the last few days is senior citizens, many of whom only have landline phones and are in need of electricity to power health-related devices. 

“So many seniors in my community utilize oxygen and need power, and have devices that rely on power and need to be charged,” Lafazan said. “These seniors, they need to have their calls answered and they need to have their needs met immediately during a crisis.” 

In addition to the county hearing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the state Department of Service to investigate “failures” by PSEG Long Island and Verizon, who PSEG blamed following the storm for poor phone, text and internet connections. Several members from Long Island’s Democratic state senate delegation also called on New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate PSEG Long Island, Verizon, and the Long Island Power Authority. 

A spokesperson from PSEG Long Island did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Related Story: For Some, Long Island Power Restoration Will Take Days

Related Story: Long Island Reports Strongest Isaias Gust In NY Metro Area

Related Story: Tropical Storm Isaias Wreaks Havoc on Long Island

Related Story: Pols Call For Probe of PSEG-LI Isaias Response, Communication Trouble


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College Knowledge 2020 Webinar: Academic Experts To Teach Higher-Ed Prep

L. to R.: Andy Lockwood, Tom Ehlers, Patty Ziplow, and Catharina Kleuskens.

The coronavirus pandemic is teaching college students a lesson in disruption, but four Long Island experts in navigating the college admissions process will lead a crash course in preparing during an upcoming free webinar.

The webinar, titled College Knowledge 2020, will feature private college advisor Andy Lockwood, test preparation and academic expert Tom Ehlers, clinical social worker Catharina Kleuskens, and college counselor, advisor, and educational consultant Patty Ziplow. 

Lockwood is a best-selling author and founder of Lockwood College Prep, based in Glenwood Landing on the North Shore, where he has worked with clients from across the country and around the world. A member of the National Collegiate Advocacy Group and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Lockwood is also a graduate of Wesleyan University and St. John’s Law School. In addition to his work as a college advisor, Lockwood specializes in financial aid. 

Ehlers is the president and founder of Method Test Prep, which has offices in both Plainview and Mineola. More than 1,500 schools worldwide currently use Ehlers’ online ACT and SAT program. A graduate of Princeton University, Ehlers has also worked as an educational consultant with various school districts across the country that are looking to improve their college admission test scores. 

Kleuskens has worked in the clinical social work field for more than 20 years and is currently based in Merrick, where she specializes in childhood anxiety and works with families through adolescence and teens. She is also a graduate of the University of Sittard in the Netherlands and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Adelphi University. 

Ziplow is co-founder of a2z Admissions Consulting Group, LLC and is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. Having served as a director of admissions and in other top administrative roles over the last two decades, Ziplow earned her educational consulting certificate from the University of California, Irvine. 

The webinar, hosted by Schneps Media, the parent company of the Long Island Press, is scheduled for 3 p.m. on August 12 via Zoom. To register, visit us02web.zoom.us For more webinars, visit schnepsmedia.com/webinars

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Pols Propose Renaming Nassau Police Headquarters For First Black Commissioner

Nassau lawmakers proposed renaming police headquarters on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Photo by Alec Rich.

Nassau County lawmaker proposed renaming the Nassau County Police Department Headquarters in Mineola in honor of the department’s first Black commissioner, William J. Willett.

The proposal marks the second time in a week that a resolution has been introduced in the legislature to rename a county building after a notable Black public servant. Nassau Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), presiding officer of the GOP-led county legislature, said Willett was a “trailblazer” and a “role model” for the department and the community, which is why he was chosen to name the headquarters after. 

“He was a true leader and he was committed to the residents of this county, he was committed to his brothers and sisters in law enforcement and to this police department,” Nicolello told reporters during a news conference Thursday outside police headquarters. “He was the guy you would go to [in order] to get things done. So I cannot think of anyone better to name this building after.” 

Last week, Nassau Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Syosset) introduced his own legislation seeking to rename the county building at 240 Old Country Road in honor of the nation’s first Black congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm. Both proposals come amidst national protests against systemic racism that have also played out on Long Island since May. 

Willett, who was born in Glen Cove, first joined the department in 1953 as one of just a few Black officers working there. Over the course of his nearly 50-year career with the department, he held numerous different positions including as deputy chief of patrol, inspector, and deputy commissioner. Appointed commissioner in 2000, Willett retired in 2002 and passed away the following year after a battle with lung cancer at 71. 

Joining Nicolello at Thursday’s press conference included members of Willett’s family, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Town of Hempstead Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, several legislators, and Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. Ryder, who served as deputy commanding officer with the Asset Forfeiture Bureau while Willett was commissioner, called Willett a “true hero” who he learned from each day. 

“I got to know him more as a person, and someone that I saw go through the ranks, and then go and lead us in this department in tough times,” Ryder said. “His leadership, many of things that he taught me then, I use those same things today.”  

Ryder also announced that he would grant Willett the title of detective, the one position Willett never had but wanted, once the building is renamed. This was well-received by Willett’s daughter, Rachelle, who noted that her father, “loved his job, his people, his police officers, and his county.” 

Curran, who called Willett a man of “unshakable integrity,” said she looked forward to signing the bill once it is voted on, which Nicolello said will take place in September. Nicolello also acknowledged that the bill’s passage would make the police headquarters building the first county building named for a Black figure, thereby eclipsing Lafazan’s Chisholm bill that has yet to be considered by the full legislature. 

But as calls for change that go beyond the renaming of buildings continue to resonate among members of the community, William Biamonte, Democratic minority caucus chief of staff, said in a press release that “memorialization must not be a substitute for systemic change.” 

Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Elmont), who was not in attendance at the press conference, said he was “very happy” with the bill to honor Willett, but also urged Republican legislators to consider recent proposals by the minority caucus. Those include the creation of a third-party misconduct complaint hotline, studying alternative approaches to mental health responses by law enforcement, and the mandating the use of body cameras by officers. 

“I’m very thankful to the majority for taking this very first important step,” Solages said. “And I’m asking them to also consider the legislation presented by my colleagues if they truly want to address systemic issues in the department and beyond for the benefit of all individuals.” 

Related Story: Nassau Pol Proposes Renaming County Building For Nation’s First Black Congresswoman

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Long Island Shark Week Continues With Fifth Consecutive Day of Shark Sightings

Nassau County police Marine Bureau officers are performing shark patrols. (Photo by Kevin Kane)

A shark sighting off the coast of South Shore Long Island was reported Friday for the fifth day in a row, prompting the Town of Hempstead to close off swimming from Civic Beach to Town Park Lido West Beach.

The latest shark was sighted off Lido Beach after 3 p.m. by Hempstead’s “Shark Patrol,” which began using jet skis and bay constables Thursday to supplement the ongoing search work of lifeguards on the shore and Nassau County Police Department boats and helicopters. Eight shark sightings off South Shore beaches between Monday and Wednesday, including at Nickerson Beach and Long Beach, prompted the hefty response by local officials.

On Thursday, the Town of Hempstead permitted regular swimming at Atlantic Beach and East Atlantic Beach, but only knee-deep swimming from Civic Beach to Lido West Town Park Beach. Meanwhile, in the Town of Oyster Bay, a shark sighting at Tobay Beach in Massapequa led to the closure of ocean access Thursday.

Officials have primarily attributed the increase in sightings to warmer water. Paul Sieswerda, executive director of the marine research organization Gotham Whale, said at a press conference Wednesday that his organization has received “more than double” the number of shark sightings around the Island this summer than in past years.

While officials have yet to determine whether the sightings are of the same or multiple sharks, a widely circulated photo of Manhasset resident TJ Minutillo reeling in an 8-foot bull shark off Nickerson Beach on Saturday night confirmed beliefs that many of the recent sightings can be attributed to that species.

Related Story: Lido Lifeguards Report Shark Sighting of “Significant Size”

Related Story: Shark Sightings at Long Island Beaches Force Swimmers Out of Water For Second Day in A Row

Related Story: Shark Patrols Launch on 3rd Straight Day of Shark Sightings on Long Island

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Shark Patrols Launch on 3rd Straight Day of Shark Sightings on Long Island

A Nassau County police helicopter flies over Jones Beach State Park. Photo by Kevin Kane.

The Nassau County Police Department launched helicopters to perform shark patrols along South Shore Long Island beaches amidst a third consecutive day of shark sightings. 

Police boats are also being used to help lifeguards monitor the situation from the shore while police choppers make multiple passes throughout the day along the coastline to search for sharks and alert beachgoers if they spot any. 

“If anything is spotted coming too close to shore or displaying erratic behavior, our pilots will get that info to all area beaches and lifeguards no matter what jurisdiction,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Wednesday morning during a news conference at Nickerson Beach in Lido Beach. 

About two hours after Curran’s announcement, a shark sighting reported off the coast of Nickerson Beach prompted the closure of swimming access at all ocean beaches in the county, Town of Hempstead, and Long Beach. Curran’s decision to increase patrols came on the heels of two prior days of shark sightings on the South Shore, which most led to the closure of Nickerson Beach, Jones Beach State Park, and Long Beach. 

As Long Islanders continue to frequent area beaches amidst an ongoing heat wave, Curran advised visitors to only swim up to their waists and remain close to the shore for their protection. Curran added that visitors should try to swim in groups and especially avoid swimming alone at dawn or dusk, when sharks are most active.  

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder noted that there have been just 12 confirmed shark bites in New York waters since 1837, making the likelihood of an attack slim. The most recent shark bite occurred on Fire Island in 2018 following a 70-year stretch of no shark attacks in local waters.

Ryder added that all visitors should listen to the directions of their respective lifeguards as air and marine patrol units continue to watch the coastline, and warned that swimmers should still use their best judgement. 

“That does not mean that they [patrol units] pass and they did not see a shark, that shark could still be there, so you have to be attentive,” Ryder said. “Just use some common sense, stay close to the shoreline right now while it’s warm, and we’ll see how this all plays out.” 

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin also held a press conference Wednesday morning at Lido West Town Park, where Connor Byrne, a town lifeguard from Rockville Centre, reported seeing a shark about five feet away from the coastline on Tuesday afternoon. 

“I’ve never seen a shark so close to shore,” Byrne said. “The lifeguards did a great job of getting everyone out and making sure everyone was safe.”

Paul Sieswerda, executive director of the marine research organization Gotham Whale, said his organization has monitored sharks off the South Shore throughout the summer, and has received reports of several different species of sharks in the area so far. 

“Some of the sharks have been hammerheads, spinner sharks, thresher sharks and animals that tend to be at the surface,” Sieswerda said. “There are a number of other sharks out there that stay below that have been there forever like sand tiger sharks, spiny dogfish, smooth dogfish and those are just natural sharks that pose no threat to humans.”  

Sieswerda said Gotham Whale has received “more than double” the number of shark sightings this summer than those in past years, but noted that the sharks that normally occur in the area and are searching for fish. Sieswerda also said many sightings have occurred in the Ambrose Channel, which is just south of Brooklyn and Staten Island.  

Also addressing heightened fears following the rare shark attack death of a woman from New York City off the coast of Maine on Monday afternoon, Sieswerda said shark sightings on Long Island “should not be conflated” with that event. 

As swimmers on the South Shore take caution moving forward, Sieswerda said the most important thing to do in the event of an encounter is to move slowly back towards the coast. 

He said, “They’re attracted by splashes and anything that looks like an animal is in distress so move carefully and slowly towards the shore.” 

Related Story: Lido Lifeguards Report Shark Sighting of “Significant Size”

Related Story: Shark Sightings at Long Island Beaches Force Swimmers Out of Water For Second Day in A Row

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Massive Turnout for Eisenhower Park Back the Blue Rally

Police separate a crowd of rally attendees and counter-protesters at a Back The Blue Demonstration at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on July 25, 2020. Photo by Mira Lerner.

A sea of more than 1,000 people holding “thin blue line” and American flags packed Eisenhower Park for a Back the Blue Demonstration that was met by a small counter-protest on Saturday.

The rally, which was sponsored by the nonprofit organization Law Enforcement Officers Weekend, drew visitors from police departments across Long Island and New York City, along with community members and supporters from local pro-police organizations. Speakers who railed against claims that police are a problem included Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott, the police union leader who represents the county’s rank-and-file officers and argued the county is immune to issues of discrimination in law enforcement — a notion local protesters and activists in recent weeks have rallied against.

“We don’t have these problems here in Nassau County,” McDermott said. “We have tremendous relationships in all communities, including the minority communities, and they trust us and we worked on that. We fostered these relationships.” 

The rally was the latest in a series of recent demonstrations in Wantagh, Port Jefferson, and elsewhere in defiance of nationwide protests — including more than 100 on LI — against police brutality over the past two months since Minneapolis police officers allegedly murdered George Floyd in May. The pro-police demonstrators instead denounce efforts to defund the police by reallocating part of some law enforcement agencies’ budgets to fund social services programs.

McDermott said county leadership, including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, have “abandoned” the community by failing to stand up for police “day in, day out.” 

Back The Blue rally attendees fly Blue Lives Matter flags. Photo by Mira Lerner.

Amidst those also showing support for President Donald Trump with flags, hats, and shirts, retired NYPD lieutenant and criminal justice professor Darrin Porcher encouraged visitors to “stand up and fight in the voter’s booth” in November. He added that many elected officials are driving a false narrative that “police officers are going out there to kill citizens.” 

Among other speakers at the rally was Genesis Familia, who lost her mother, NYPD Detective Miosotis Familia, in 2017 when she was killed by a shooter while sitting in her mobile command unit in the Bronx. Familia said police officers like her mother sacrifice “so much for their friends and family and to protect New Yorkers,” which is why she appreciated the support of those at the rally.  

“[Miosotis] was an amazing human being and she was taken from me and those that loved her and that knew her for the blue uniform that she proudly wore,” Familia said. “And I just want all Americans to remember that all these cops out here protecting us are human beings with families and friends and loved ones who need them to come home.” 

Familia concluded a speaker lineup that underwent several changes prior to Saturday, most notably with the removal of controversial musician Ted Nugent. Nugent was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at the rally, but faced significant community backlash from local leaders late this week and was reminded of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 14-day quarantine executive order before opting out late Friday. 

About an hour into the demonstration, several dozen counter-protesters, primarily from the activist groups Black White Brown United and Long Island Peaceful Protesters, arrived outside the rally area. Once moved by Nassau police officers to a designated “free speech area” nearby, numerous attendees of the rally went to confront the protesters, including several who evaded police officers attempting to separate the groups. 

Police supporters at a rally in Eisenhower Park. Photo by Mira Lerner.

As tension mounted following several scuffles between the two groups, two lines of police officers moved in to keep the groups apart. Competing “All Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” chants were a common theme throughout. 

Matthew Williams, 38, of Amityville, and a member of BWBU, said one of the group’s main reasons for coming to the rally was to demonstrate that they are not anti-police, but “anti-police brutality.”  

“We came here to make sure that as much as you guys [pro-police supporters] love law enforcement, that you love your minorities in this country as well,” Williams said. “That’s our goal to make sure if you guys are so passionate about a uniform you can be just as passionate about a life in this country.” 

Williams said the group is looking to create a stronger dialogue with police in the community and work towards having some of their demands met. Among them include having school resource officers teach more about police brutality and racial profiling, mandating the use of body cameras, and creating internships for those in minority communities who are interested in serving their area as an officer in the future. 

Chantee Stover, 38, of Mastic Beach, and also a member of BWBU said the group just wants peace and “change in our society” that promotes equality. 

“I’m tired, it saddens me,” Stover said. “I just want better for our world. We could be doing so much more with our time and our lives than fighting racism and still fighting for equality. We shouldn’t have to.” 

Back The Blue rally in Eisenhower Park. Photo by Mira Lerner.

-With Fanni Frankle

Related Story: Ted Nugent Nixed From Long Island Pro-Police Rally Lineup After Backlash

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Ted Nugent Nixed From Long Island Pro-Police Rally Lineup After Backlash

ed Nugent performs live Sept. 24 during Hansen Fest aboard Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. Photo By: Lance Cpl. Danielle Prentice

Musician and outspoken conservative activist Ted Nugent will no longer appear at tomorrow’s planned “Back the Blue Demonstration” in Eisenhower Park, following backlash by community members and local elected officials.

Nugent, 71, was originally invited to sing the National Anthem at the rally, which is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Law Enforcement Officers Weekend. In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the organization confirmed Nugent would not perform, speak, or otherwise participate in the rally.

The purpose of this demonstration is to bring people together in support of the men and women of law enforcement,” the statement said. “While we whole heartedly appreciate anyonewho supports the men and women in blue, including Mr. Nugent, the controversy over his appearance is contrary to the objectives of the demonstration.

A board member of the National Rifle Association, Nugent has drawn intense criticism for decades, including for a 1990 Detroit Free Press interview where he defended the institution of apartheid in South Africa by stating “apartheid isn’t that cut-and-dry. All men are not created equal.” In recent years, Nugent has also come under fire for continued racist remarks, an anti-Semitic Facebook post, use of derogatory terms to describe Democratic leaders and for labeling Parkland shooting survivors as both “liars” and “poor, mushy-brained children.”

Both the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Benevolent Associations released statements condemning Nugent Friday afternoon, with James McDermott, president of the Nassau County PBA, stating that his PBA would not participate in or support a rally Nugent attends.

We are hopeful that tomorrow many will be able to hear the essential pro-police message that must be advanced in our county and our country,” McDermott said. Should the event go forward tomorrow without Mr. Nugent, we expect that all elected officials in our county will join with us and our residents to demonstrate their support for our dedicated members who serve and protect the public every day.

The community response against Nugent picked up Thursday night, when six Democratic Nassau County legislators including Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Siela Bynoe, Carrié Solages, Debra Mulé, Ellen Birnbaum, and Arnold Drucker issued a joint statement in which they called Nugent a “bigot,” and called for his invitation to be rescinded.

“During his life in the public eye, Ted Nugent has consistently espoused racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic bile,” the statement said. “The vitriol he espouses is an affront to the promise of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that is central to our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran posted her own statement to Twitter on Thursday night, in which she said there is “no room for bigotry or bias” in Nassau County by Nugent or others.

“Extremely disappointed that Ted Nugent, a man with a history of hate-filled speech, is invited to attend Saturday’s rally in Nassau,” Curran said. “Our Police Department is the finest in the Country and our officers deserve admiration in a setting that we can all be proud of.”  

On Friday afternoon, Curran confirmed in a statement that Nugent would not attend the rally, but said the reason for his absence is because he was “reminded of New York State’s quarantine orders and Nassau County’s protest protocols.” Travelers to New York from over 30 states with significant community coronavirus spread are required to quarantine for 14 days per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order.

Nassau County will continue to protect our residents’ right to safe, peaceful protest as is guaranteed under the FirstAmendment of our Constitution,” Curran said. “However, we won’t tolerate blatant violations of the Governor’s quarantine order for travelers from high-risk states, which is designed to protect the health and safety of Long Islanders.

Nugent shared this story on his official Facebook page in response to the uproar.

“No worse crime than to be falsely accused,” he wrote in response. “The Marxist lying hating mob wins for now!”

Curran said Congressman Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana), who is also scheduled to speak at the rally, has been advised of the quarantine order.

Another figure to receive significant community scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s rally, Higgins was found to have used excessive force on a Black bystander and lied to investigators while working for the Opelousas Police Department in Louisiana in 2007. Higgins later stepped down from the department before receiving the results of an internal affairs investigation into the incident, according to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.

Among other expected speakers at the demonstration are Law Enforcement Today CEO Kyle Reyes, public speaker and retired Horry County, South Carolina, Chief Deputy Paul Butler, Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and retired NYPD Detectives Rob O’Donnell and David Chianese.

The demonstration, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow is also expected to draw a peaceful counter-protest, according posts from various activist groups.

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NY Steps Up Social Distancing Campaign Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases In Young People

Special Police Officers patrol the boardwalk at Long Beach on the first day that New York beaches were opened ahead of the Memorial Day weekend following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Long Island, New York, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced two new social-distancing measures meant to combat a spike in coronavirus cases among young people in recent weeks.

Along with the launch of an ad campaign to emphasize the risk of the virus young people, the governor said a multi-agency task force will work to investigate bars and restaurants in violation of distancing guidelines. Cuomo said many young people across the state are wrongly underestimating the virus’ impact on their demographic, which has led to a surge in cases in their age group.

“There is an attitude that young people are immune, you are not,” Cuomo told reporters Thursday. “From 21 to 30 the virus can kill you and if it doesn’t kill you, you can bring it home and give it to someone inadvertently and it can kill them. So they’re laboring under false pretenses.” 

The announcement follows data from the last two weeks showing a jump in coronavirus case rates from 9.9 percent to 13.2 percent among those from ages 21 to 30 statewide. Each of the five other age groups recorded either the same or lower rates of infection over the two weeks. Last week, local officials warned that the rate of transmission rose to 2 percent following Fourth of July parties, but the rate has since dropped back down to around 1 percent.

Calling the increase “significant,” Cuomo reiterated that local governments need to enforce proper safety measures, and indicated that he is willing to provide state police assistance to help local health officials if necessary. 

“Just because people don’t like the law that you’re enforcing, doesn’t mean you don’t enforce the law,” Cuomo said. “Send them [local health officials] with local policemen, if you need help we will get you help with the state police, but we have to enforce the law and the local governments have to do it.” 

The video ad campaign, which Cuomo plans to pass along to the Ad Council and run nationwide, will also be featured across social media on platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, according to Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa. 

Targeted specifically to people in the 21-30 age group, the 30 second ad features news headlines of young people who have lost their lives due to the virus, along with young people repeating phrases often used as an excuse to violate safety guidelines. 

“I’m young, COVID won’t kill me,” the ad says in part. “Famous last words, don’t let them be yours. Be New York tough and smart, socially distance and wear a mask.”  

The multi-agency task force, which will be headed by New York State Police and the State Liquor Authority, plans to use real time data as a means of sending investigators to the site of social distancing violations “as they happen,” according to the state’s website. Other investigators on the task force will include those from the Departments of Health, Financial Services, Motor Vehicles, Taxation and Finance, Insurance Fund and Agriculture and Markets. 

In Suffolk County, local leaders have clashed with Cuomo over their response to various social distancing violations over the last few weeks, but that has not derailed his intent to enforce distancing measures. 

“You get groups of young people, it’s warm they’ve been locked up for a long time and they like to socialize,” Cuomo said. “But you don’t socially distance, you don’t wear masks, the virus spreads and it is happening. To young people, this is not the time to fight for your right to party.” 

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Nassau Pol Proposes Renaming County Building For Nation’s First Black Congresswoman

Shirley Chisholm, the nation's first Black congresswoman, represented parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in New York City.

A Nassau County lawmaker has proposed renaming a county building in honor of the country’s first Black congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm. 

Nassau Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Syosset) introduced the resolution Monday that would designate the county building at 240 Old Country Road in Mineola as the “Shirley Chisholm Building.” Lafazan said he decided to introduce the bill because the current moment “calls for action,” and he noted that despite the county’s 121-year existence, no major county government buildings are currently named after a Black historical figure. 

“When you drive through the county seat, the names we put on our buildings send a message about that county’s government,” Lafazan said. “And I think having choices of what names are on a building sends a really important message from Nassau’s government that all of our citizens belong here.” 

The proposal comes amid a national reckoning around systemic racism that has also played out on Long Island and beyond through protests since late May. 

The bill, which is co-sponsored by seven other legislators, including Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), also has the support of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, according to Lafazan. If passed, the “Shirley Chisholm Building” would continue to house county departments including the Board of Elections, Consumer Affairs, the County Clerk and the County Comptroller.

The bill also directs the Nassau Department of Public Works to install the requisite signage and a dedication plaque to Chisholm around the building within 60 days of its passage, and instructs the Department of Information Technology to update all online materials regarding the name of the building. 

Lafazan said Chisholm was specifically chosen not only because she is a “political hero” of his, but also due to her importance amongst activists on LI. Lafazan said many local activists he has spoken with have either directly worked with Chisholm or have parents who worked with her. 

“Shirley Chisholm is a figure who we can rally around and who can be uniting as somebody who fought for equality for all people,” Lafazan said. 

Born in Brooklyn, Chisholm first served as a New York State Assemblywoman from 1965 to 1968 before representing the state’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1983. The first Black woman ever elected to Congress, Chisholm also became the first Black candidate for a major party’s nomination when she ran for president in 1972. 

Travis Nelson, 21, a student and community activist from Hempstead, said Lafazan reached out to him in mid-June as the legislator looked for input on which Black individuals should be considered in the naming of the building. 

Nelson said the decision to name the building after a New York-based Black leader like Chisholm is an important way to “cement history in the community,” and said that selecting a Black woman to commemorate adds another layer of significance. 

“What we’re seeing as a part of this national movement is also a big push for Black womanhood to be recognized,” Nelson said. “And so in the wake of everything going on, for our county to start taking those preemptive measures in terms of rethinking, renaming and reshaping how we remember history, it’s pretty significant.” 

But when it comes to Chisholm’s connection to Nassau specifically, some members of the legislature would prefer to see the building named after a Black figure with stronger local ties. Chris Boyle, spokesman for the Legislature’s Republican Majority Caucus, said in a statement that the caucus would review the resolution, and added that while Chisholm is a “groundbreaking official,” the caucus may look to push for a more county-centric one.   

“If we are going to be naming buildings we may first want to recognize the legacy of the many African-American leaders and trailblazers from Nassau who made a difference in our county and world,” Boyle said. “From the Tuskegee Airmen to leaders in civil rights, government, and every other field.”

Despite those reservations, Lafazan said he is confident the bill will pass the legislature. But for activists like Nelson, adding Chisholm’s name to the building is just a small first step to addressing larger problems surrounding inequity and racism in the community. 

“What happens after this is furthering the conversation,” Nelson said. “We can rename things until kingdom come, we can paint all the murals, but if we don’t take that conversation and take those actions and attack the bigger problems in terms of the inequities and disparities that still exist in this country, then all of those things really do become just performance.” 

Related Story: Josh Lafazan: The New Kid in Nassau Legislature

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