To say that 1994 was a monstrous and defining year in music is an understatement.
“Grunge” was in full swing. “Alternative” and “indie” rock flooded the airwaves. Punk and punk-inspired ethos reverberated from amplifiers, not just within countless garages, but across arena-sized stages.
The very spirit of rock was seemingly undergoing a resurgence, a rebirth, a resurrection. New bands, fueled generally by pure, authentic rage, angst and hell, frustrated boredom, exploded. Older bands along the same vein re-emerged, were re-discovered or continued to be ignored (which in some cases was sort of a good thing since nearly every once-overlooked, secret killer band were now open to being lip-synced by drunk Danny Ponces whenever they came on the jukebox at pretentious bars). It was that rare moment in music where the anti-heroes became mainstream—in a way, delivering this colossal, sonically distorted F-You to the entire system itself.
Lollapalooza was in its fourth year. Woodstock ’94 happened. Kurt Cobain killed himself.
1994 also birthed a slew of albums that now, 20 years out, can easily possess the titles “Quintessential,” “Epic” and “Classic.” These were not just big chart-toppers—well, they were, in many cases, catapulting groups from near obscurity to international stardom seemingly overnight—but rather, many of these records captured, as most truly great albums somehow do, the very essence of the time, its aura, its being, its, for lack of a better word, zeitgeist.
They’re just really, really great fkn records lol—and as time moves along, as it always does, they somehow, impossibly only get even better.
A few of them released that year:
Green Day’s Dookie. Weezer’s self-titled “Blue Album.” Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Alice In Chain’s Jar of Flies, Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, Sonic Youth’s Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, Built to Spill’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by fkn Pavement.
Jeff Buckley’s Grace was dropped. Beck’s Mellow Gold. Parklife, by Blur. Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell and Under the Table and Dreaming by Dave Matthews Band (if we’re going to add in some mega-chart-toppers, though obviously not in line with the third graph of this article).
Also that year, was Live’s Throwing Copper.
Though not as groundbreaking, immortal, or perhaps even as respected (sorry) as some of the aforementioned drops, the 14-song collection by York, Pa. quartet Live, was, for many then-high school and college students, the soundtrack of that year. Or at least, it was a cherished part of it.
The disc was loaded with hits. Rockers “I Alone,” “Selling the Drama” and “All Over You” (not to mention the stage presence, theatrics and vocal emotional intensity of Live’s lead singer and songwriter, Ed Kowalczyk, who often performed shirtless) propelled the disc to multi-platinum status.
The album remains one of that year’s biggest sellers (more than eight million copies) and is forever inextricably seared into the soundtrack of countless dorm rooms, whether you were a fan or not.
“Lightning Crashes” was perhaps its most sparkling gem, or at least the one most ingrained into the minds of those around to hear it. Catchy, bizarre and haunting, the number was a slow burn that caught fire somewhere along the way before exploding and becoming completely engulfed in flames—Kowalczyk in a controlled feverish fury by its last few chords—before it simply disappears in an ill-fated attempt at wiping away the chaos that had just been unleashed.
Though wiping away the chaos, and pain, of his 2009 split with his former Live bandmates, Kowalczyk has been embracing his future as a solo artist.
Currently touring in support of his second and most recent solo record The Flood and the Mercy—and celebrating the 20th anniversary of Throwing Copper—he’ll be searing new infectious songs into the minds of all those in attendance Saturday, August 2 at The Paramountin Huntington, creating new memories to a new soundtrack, one forged from the saving turmoil of his split with Live, and also in celebration of his heartfelt and timeless music.
Of course, he’ll be pouring his soul into Throwing Copper’s hits, too—conjuring up all those feelings, all those emotions, all those priceless swirling colors and nights out and friends and loves and irreplaceable moments that so defined 1994 for so many.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ver Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter’s bed in his childhood home in Sag Harbor hangs a signed photograph of fellow Marines whom Jordan saved before he was killed in Ramadi, Iraq on April 22, 2008—one month after he was deployed.
Jordan was standing guard at an entry control point at a security station that morning when a truck bomber barreled toward the station. He and fellow Marine Corporal Jonathan T. Yale opened fire until the truck exploded, killing them both. Jordan was 19 years old.
“These guys were not just brave warriors that dressed up in camo,” said his father, Christian Haerter. “They were once children and teenagers who enjoyed the same things.”
Jordan Haerter is one of three fallen U.S. Marines from Long Island whose bedrooms were photographed by New York City-based photographer Ashley Gilbertson for his book, Bedrooms of the Fallen, which was released last month. Since 2007, Gilbertson has taken photographs of the bedrooms of service members from around the world who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bedrooms of 40 men and women—the same number of soldiers in a platoon—between the ages of 18 and 27 are featured in the book. The haunting black-and-white photos of untouched bedrooms provided windows into lives the men and women who called these rooms home.
“I made this book to act as a way of remembering the 40 service members who are included and the thousands of others who aren’t,” Gilbertson said.
Gilbertson started the Bedrooms of the Fallen project after taking photographs in Iraq from 2002 to 2008. His 2007 book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, is a collection of photographs from the war in Iraq.
“The longer I worked in Iraq, the more often I would come home thinking that the readers were paying less and less attention,” Gilbertson said. “I started working from home, photographing memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and so on. But I felt those photographs were missing the central idea: absence, the things these soldiers left behind.”
Gilbertson said he got the idea for Bedrooms of the Fallen from his wife, who suggested taking photos of soldiers’ bedrooms after seeing photos of fallen service members in The New York Times.
He found the families of deceased service members through Faces of the Fallen, a database created by The Washington Post of service members who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
SOME GAVE ALL
Jordan’s parents, Christian Haerter and JoAnn Lyles, said that they were a little perturbed when Gilbertson contacted them about the project, but went along with it anyway.
“I thought it was a little strange, but I understood the impetus of whole thing,” Christian said. “It must be a pretty common thing for families to actually leave the bedroom as it is. It took courage to even clean the change he left lying around.”
One of the soldiers who were saved by Jordan was Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos of Yarmouth Port, Mass. Nicholas’ father came to New York to attend the ceremony in which Jordan was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in February 2009.
After Nicholas was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan on July 23, 2009, at the age of 21, Lyles attended his funeral in Massachusetts, and Gilbertson photographed Nicholas’ bedroom as well.
The posters on Jordan Haerter’s walls show his passion for flying airplanes. He took flying lessons at East Hampton Airport while attending Pierson High School in Sag Harbor.
After Jordan flew solo for the first time at age 16—before he even got his driver’s license—the back of his shirt was cut out and signed by fellow pilots as part of a tradition. That piece of his shirt, too, hangs on his bedroom wall.
Lyles said although Jordan wanted to join the military, he did not want to be a military pilot.
“He said he wanted to keep flying as a ‘novelty,’” she said. “That was his word for it. A ‘novelty.’”
Jordan was his parents’ only child—a fact that Lyles said allows her to keep his room untouched.
“Anything that makes Jordan name known and remembered beyond me is good for me,” she said. “Everyone needs to realize who we think are heroes were regular people. I don’t think people know that.”
Across Long Island, in East Northport, is another fallen soldier’s bedroom that Gilbertson photographed. This bedroom belonged to Marine Cpl. Christopher Scherer, who was killed by a sniper on July 21, 2007, in Karmah, Iraq. He was 21 years old.
The walls of Christopher’s bedroom are still covered in posters and stickers representing local sports teams, especially those of Hofstra University and Northport High School. Christopher’s mother, Janet Scherer, said that in one of the last phone calls she got from her son, he spoke about how much his room meant to him.
“My husband was looking for work down south, so we were thinking of moving, and at the time Chris was deployed,” she recalled. “He said it was lot of hard work to get the room just the way he liked it, so we’d better tear the walls down and take them with us.”
Christopher played varsity lacrosse at Northport High School before graduating in 2004. Only five months later, in November, he officially became a Marine. He was stationed in locations all around the world during his years of service, including Japan, Guam, Singapore, Kuwait, and finally Iraq.
Timothy Scherer, Christopher’s father, recalled an incident in which Christopher’s sisters younger twin sisters, Katie and Meghan, cried over the fact that they would be older than Christopher once they turned 21.
“Something you do as a parent is take care of not only your own grief but also your spouse’s grief and your children’s grief, even on happy occasions like a 21st birthday,” Timothy said. “Even the happy times get taken away.”
Gilbertson’s photographs added a personal aspect to the stories of soldiers who fought overseas, Janet said.
“He really tapped into that emotion,” she said. “That’s my son’s bedroom. That’s who he was. That’s how he grew up.”
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
The third soldier from LI in Bedrooms of the Fallen was Marine 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester of Rockville Centre, who was killed Sept. 3, 2004 by a roadside bomb that killed three other Marines in Qaim, Iraq. He was 25 years old and had been on his second tour in Iraq.
His mother, Marianna Winchester, recalled that many photographers and reporters came to see Ronald’s bedroom after his death.
“Everything blended together,” she said. “So many photographers were here, and so many newspaper reporters were here. I told them ‘You can use whatever you want because all I have are his memories.’”
Being a Marine ran in the family. Ronald’s maternal grandfather, Dominick Gatta, was a Marine who served in the Pacific in World War II, and his uncle, Rocco Gatta, served in the Corps during the Vietnam War.
“I suppose he wanted to carry on the legacy of what his grandfather had done, or as he said ‘what real Marines were all about,’” Marianna said.
She also said that Ronald insisted on wearing a Marine uniform costume for Halloween when he was only two years old.
“He wore the costume again when he was three and four, and I would just take out the hem,” she said. “Finally it just didn’t fit anymore, and I told him ‘You can’t wear this uniform anymore.’ I wonder if that’s something he kept in the back in his mind.”
Serving in the Corps wasn’t Ronald’s only passion. He played football as an offensive lineman during his years attending Chaminade High School in Mineola and the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he graduated in 2001.
Ronald always used to call tails on each football game’s opening coin toss. Marianna said that, since his death, she finds coins on the ground, always with tails facing up, and that she keeps all the coins she finds in a canister.
I’ll be walking the dog and I’ll say ‘Dear Ronnie, I haven’t heard from you in a while,’ and a few minutes later, I’ll find a nickel or dime or quarter or penny, but never on heads,” she said.
Marianna said that Ronald kept all of his belongings from the Naval Academy and the Marine Corps in his room just the way he liked them.
“I would say to him ‘You know we need to clean up some of this stuff,’” she said. “And he would say ‘Leave it alone. Someday I’m going to get married and I’m going to come back and show my son or daughter so they can see what I was all about.’ He would call it his shrine. He would say ‘Leave my shrine alone because I want them to see me as a hero.’ And he was a hero.”
PICTURES OF HOME
The reaction of soldiers’ families to Gilbertson’s request to photograph their bedrooms is usually positive, the photographer said.
“At first I thought it would be too hard to them,” Gilbertson said. “But over time, I found that these people want to talk about their kids, their lives, their memories. In the end, I’m happy about doing this project if only to have given the families a kind ear. You spend seven years side by side with soldiers in Iraq, but I’ve never felt more like a war photographer than when I’m in these bedrooms.”
Photographs from “Bedrooms of the Fallen” have been featured in the New York Times Magazine and the Nederlands Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover in Amsterdam.
We live in an online era when the world is interconnected as never before. People can say things on the Internet that they might never tell someone face to face. When it’s praise, it’s a blessing. But when it’s a negative comment, it’s a horse of a different color.
To Sal Ferro, president and CEO of Alure Home Improvements, online criticism is an opportunity to transform a complaint into a compliment—and forge a better relationship with a client than existed before.
Of course, he loves hearing from people when they rave about a job well done because that “makes me feel warm inside!” Who wouldn’t? But he also knows that, thanks to the Internet, “You’re going to hear things and see things that you don’t want to.”
Yet he won’t shy away from those kinds of remarks. In fact, rather than ignore them, he sees criticism as a blessing in disguise.
“We look at it as an opportunity to communicate and to get better,” he says.
The most important thing is to address their criticism directly, he believes.
“You don’t run from it,” he says. “I learned a long time ago that we’re not perfect. I don’t think there’s a perfect company out there. But I do have one advantage over them: Our intentions are perfect!”
Achieving perfection remains the goal.
“When you’re sincere about your intentions,” Sal explains, “you do have an opportunity to do something about it.”
He tries to engage constructively with the customer online in order to demonstrate to the rest of the online community that the employees at Alure Home Improvements stand behind their work. His people are willing to own up to their mistakes and are determined to find a way to create a better result.
“You’ve got to turn the complaint around and use it in your favor,” Sal says. “You take care of that client and show them that you appreciate that they reached out to you and voiced what their concern was—and show that you’re a standup company willing to do something about it.”
Long Beach International Film Festival
Celebrities expected to attend this third-annual seaside cinema showcase include Joan Jett, Daniel Baldwin and others—maybe even Billy Crystal. That’s aside from all the independent movie releases from around the world, film and music events, Q&A panels with award-winning filmmakers and directors and more. Events include the “Shorts on the Beach” Film Series at The Allegria Hotel. Features, shorts, documentaries and more will also be screening at the Madison Theatre at Molloy College in Rockville Centre on Saturday and Sunday. Although the festival kicked off Wednesday, there’s plenty to do with the Long Island International Film Festival last month now over, the Hamptons International Film Festival not until October and the Gold Coast International Film Festival not until November. Various locations, times and prices. longbeachfilm.comThrough Aug. 4
Yellow Ape Film Festival
This is not your parents’ film fest. Ten local filmmakers will compete for the “midnight-hour audience” with flicks that range from quirky comedies to disturbing slasher movies. Plus comedy acts, burlesque dancers, drag performances, Elvis impersonators and live music. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $15 Members, $20 Public. 7 p.m. July 31
We knew she wouldn’t forget about us. Miley will hit the Long Island’s biggest stage less than three months after she cancelled her Bangerz Tour due to an illness. She’s back with the provocative hip and tongue gyrations and eccentric outfits that have catapulted her to unbelievable heights. Only in America! She’ll perform hits such as “Wrecking Ball,” “We Can’t Stop” and classics like “The Climb” and “Who Owns My Heart.” Get the Twerk Meterready. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale. nassaucoliseum.com. $20-$109.25. 7 p.m. Aug. 1
Big Head Todd & The Monsters
This Colorado-based blues-rock group will give the Island a taste of their mountain-flavored tunes while touring to promote their 14th album. With opening act Ryan Montbleau. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $30-$50 7 p.m. Aug. 1
Country music star and winner of last year’s Celebrity Apprentice, Trace Adkins is bringing his own brand of honky-tonk to the island. A character actor wrapped up in dungarees and a cowboy hat, Adkins knows how to entertain with his wildly popular songs like “This Ain’t No Thinkin’ Thing” and “Ladies Love Country Boys,” while leaving his audience with lumps in their throats with his portraits of home country life. To paraphrase, You Don’t Wanna Miss This. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $45-$85. 8 p.m. Aug. 1
Nine Inch Nails / Soundgarden
This is the first time Soundgarden is playing on LI in three years—not including the Seattle grunge rock band’s front man, Chris Cornell, doing solo shows in the city—and it’s been twice as long for Cincinnati industrial rock icon, NIN. This time around, both Cornell and NIN leader Trent Reznor are co-celebrating 20 years since seminal releases—Superunknown for the former, Downward Spiral for the latter. With opening act Oneohtrix Point Never. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$29.50-$117.65. 7 p.m. Aug. 1
This singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania is touring to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the multi-platinum-selling album Throwing Copper, by he and his former alt-rock band Live that he founded in the late 1980s. The group split up six years ago, but Kowalczyk’s kept the music alive, and been churning out new material ever since. Don’t miss this chance to catch him and Live’s hits in such an intimate setting. Trust us. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $25-$45. 8 p.m. Aug. 2
Bob’s son is keeping the reggae revolution alive! A multi-Grammy Award-winning musician with deep roots in rock and reggae, with the dreadlocks to back him up, his unique blend of music, spirit and soul will have all those in attendance basking in the transcendental delivery of those sunny beach jams at the peak of this summer. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org. $75, $90, $105. 8 p.m. Aug. 2
Ballroom with a Twist
This stage show will feature professional ballroom dancers from Dancing With The Stars, as well as fan-favorite contestants from So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the biggest names in both singing and dancing perform together live. For fans of TV talent shows, “Ballroom with a Twist” is a can’t-miss event. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $39.50-$70. 7 p.m. Aug. 2
Local faithful and clergy will join hands for this Christian music festival starring Big Daddy Weave and The City Harmonic, Love & The Outcome, Je’Kob, Ike Ndolo, and Rust Iron Green. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $30. 3 p.m. Aug. 3
Impressionism Exhibit Reception
The opening reception for this exhibit celebrates the style of painting originating in France in the 1860s, defined as being characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and color. Brookhaven Arts and Humanities Council Phoenix Gallery, 139 South Country Rd., Bellport. brookhavenarts.org Free. 1 p.m. Aug. 3
This musical seeker and man of sizable talent is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who explores blues, R&B, rock and jazz. He’ll be playing such hits as “Lowdown,” “What Can I Say,” “Lido Shuffle” and “It’s Over.” NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50-$69.50. 8 p.m. Aug. 3
Hometown pop-punk heroes are making the long drive from their native Mt. Sinai to Amityville for their latest show to remind all the emo kids to cheer up. Check out this feature on the band in the Press from last summer. With opening acts This Good Robot, Here’s to You, The Space Pimps and Check Engine Light. Revolution Bar & Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com $15. 5 p.m. Aug. 3
Jack and the Beanstalk
The whole family will enjoy this musical version of the classic fairy tale. A young boy named Jack plants some magic beans, which grow into a giant beanstalk that reaches the sky. But when he starts stealing riches from the evil giant who lives on top of the beanstalk, Jack gets in a lot of trouble! Will Jack live happily ever after? Only one way to find out. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $14.50-$18.50. 11 a.m. Aug. 5
Dark Star Orchestra
Dead Heads, unite! Dark Star Orchestra paints a fresh, new picture of cherished, older memories, channeling the energy of Jerry and the boys of The Grateful Dead. Expect either a direct replay of a past set list or a mix straight out of the Dead’s storied catalog. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $39.50-$52. 8 p.m.p.m. Aug 5
John Fogerty & Jackson Browne
Nobody makes a flannel shirt look as fashionable as this “Fortunate Son” who’s coming to Jones Beach with Jackson Browne, two cool rock and roll legends with a legacy of great music between them that will surely stand the test of time. From “Bad Moon Rising” to “Centerfield” (with its plaintive plea, “Put me in, coach!”) Fogerty has earned 18 Gold Albums, 10 Platinum Albums and even been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gifted singer/songwriter Jackson Browne cemented his reputation decades ago with his third record, Late For The Sky, with its literate, heart-felt meditative masterpiece, “For a Dancer.” And now in time for this tour it’s been re-mastered and re-released, as Browne gets ready to unveil his 14th studio album later this fall, Standing in the Breach, which is sure to express his earnest advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, safe energy and the value of the arts—and the complicated affairs of the heart. No other popular performer today has successfully combined such an uncompromising level of emotional artistry with a compelling vision of social justice like Jackson Browne. Fogerty has been going down that long, winding “Mystic Highway” since he and his inimitable band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, played Woodstock, and he’s still knocking people’s socks off with his great distinctive voice, fantastic guitar work and an unstoppable bayou-boogie beat. Fogerty’s repertoire of hits never grows old. And to imagine him on a bill with Jackson Browne, each performing full sets with their own bands. Together, their music has been the soundtrack to generations. It promises to be a night for the ages. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$31-$72.15. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5
Kiss / Def Leppard
Eighty’s hair band rockers Kiss and Def Leppard storm the beach to rock n’ roll all night. These legendary bands promise to kick off a night to remember with Kiss’s notoriously over-the-top lighting and sound production and Def Leppard’s signature glam metal style that’s sure to provoke Hysteria for their 40-Year Anniversary Heroes Tour. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$31-$72.15. 7 p.m. Aug. 6
The Hillary Clinton book tour/pseudo-pre-presidential campaign-or-something-like-that is coming to Long Island. The former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator will sign copies of her new memoir, Hard Choices, but only for those who have a ticket to the event. Here’s what you need to know: Fans must purchase a copy of the book at Book Revue for a ticket. Each customer gets one ticket per book. The former First Lady is only signing copies of the book, nothing else. Customers who previously purchased a copy of the book from the Book Revue can return to the store with their receipt in order to get a ticket for the event. Whew! Plenty of guidelines. But this is a hot ticket, so what did you expect? Anyway, ask her if she’s running for president and let us know what she says. Maybe you’ll have better luck than our colleagues! The Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com. Price of book. 6 p.m. Aug. 6
—Compiled by Arielle Martinez, Spencer Rumsey, Rashed Mian, Nikki Donato, Jamie Franchi and Timothy Bolger
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s meddling with his corruption commission may have broken four New York statutes—and the lack of statewide response so far is “shocking,” claimed Tim Wu, the Columbia law professor who is running for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary on a ticket with Zephyr Teachout for governor.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Wu said that recent reporting in The New York Times about how Cuomo “hobbled” the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption revealed signs of criminal solicitation of official misconduct, conspiracy to perform official misconduct, obstructing governmental administration and hindering prosecution.
“The New York Times story has enough facts to make it clear that we have issues of solicitation of official misconduct,” Wu said. “But the fact that we haven’t seen any of the people who are actually in power in state government talking about this is, to my mind, shocking.”
Calling the contrast “stark,” he compared the reaction of New York to New Jersey, where the appearance of emails linking Gov. Chris Christie’s staff to the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal immediately sparked a slew of investigations involving the state legislature, district attorneys and the U.S. attorney’s office.
“If you imagine that President Obama had been caught messing with something like this, we’d probably be hearing about it for the next 10 years,” Wu said with a laugh.
From the reporting he’s seen, Wu said that the actions of the governor’s staff calling for “subpoenas to be pulled back” by the ethics panel was “colorably a criminal solicitation of official misconduct” and when the deputized commission members agreed to act—such as deleting the campaign donors’ names out of the final report—then “it’s a conspiracy to perform official misconduct.”
When asked if Cuomo had done anything actionable, Wu said, “I didn’t accuse the governor himself because I haven’t seen any evidence that he himself did these…But you don’t know what a subpoena or a grand jury investigation might find.”
So far only U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan has continued his investigation into where the Moreland Commission left off after Cuomo disbanded the ethics panel in March, nine months into its 18-month tenure. Considering the commission had 25 members who, like Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, were current and former prosecutors of both parties, Wu said it was “surprising” that he hadn’t heard of “any rumblings” of further investigations, despite the “clear potential violation” of state law.
“You notice they took out the names of the actual donors and allies from some of the reports,” said Wu, who teaches state law. He likened their removal to someone calling up an official to “fix this ticket of my cousin’s” and even if the official declines to act “it’s still a crime,” Wu asserted. “The solicitation to bend the prosecution in favor of [Cuomo’s] allies and donors is itself criminal solicitation under Section 100 of New York penal law. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Both “determined anti-corruption activists with a track record in that regard,” as Wu put it, he and Teachout say they differ sharply from what they have called the business-as-usual “old boy” network in New York.
“Very clearly, Zephyr and I are not Albany insiders,” said Wu. “We represent a different type of government.” And to illustrate that point further, he said, he would break with tradition if they win the Democratic primary against Cuomo and his lieutenant governor candidate, Kathy Hochul.
“At this time in the state’s history we have such a problem with concentrated power that is unchecked that we need more independent statewide checks and balances,” Wu said. “And we envision that the lieutenant governor position should also play that role.”
Teachout, a Fordham constitutional law professor, spelled out how she and Wu differ from Cuomo’s Republican opponents, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, who have also criticized the governor for meddling with the Moreland Commission.
“We are traditional Democrats with 21st Century ideas,” said Teachout. “The big difference with Rob Astorino is that we believe in government itself. We believe in the important role of funding schools and funding basic social services. And we believe that in order to combat the corruption that is the root of Albany politics right now we have to change the way that campaigns are funded. Rob Astorino has not proposed that he would support public funding of elections.”
In their campaign, Teachout and Wu have asserted that Cuomo’s interference with the corruption commission demonstrates the “disease” that plagues the state’s democracy when politicians defer to their biggest campaign donors. Teachout and Wu say the remedy is significant campaign finance law reform.
Teachout says that she and Wu would “work for the public, not big ticket donors,” which would go a long way toward restoring ethics in New York.
On Thursday, the Times reported that Bharara, in a letter, warned that his office may look into possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering violations related to public statements made by former commissioners defending the governor. The statements went out the same day Cuomo finally addressed the report.
New York State will set aside $300 million for a new Superstorm Sandy recovery initiative to fund the elevation of more than 6,500 houses, most of them on Long Island, to prevent future flood damage, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in Freeport on Wednesday.
The optional state funding will be available through the State’s NY Rising Housing Recovery Program for 4,931 homes in Nassau County and 1,269 in Suffolk County. The eligible homes are deemed to be in the 100-year flood plain or are certified as a “repeated loss” by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are eligible.
“Don’t assume that Sandy isn’t going to revisit, even if it’s by a different name,” warned Cuomo, who is running for re-election. “I would assume the opposite. It is going to happen again, and our challenge is to be better prepared.”
The plan is similar to the $700 million federal Fire Island to Montauk Point project, which will pay for south shore home elevations in Suffolk County in addition to other storm-hardening projects. That long-awaited project is also backed by Sandy aid.
“While Sandy was the worst storm that’s ever hit in the memory of Freeport, it’s not going to be the last one,” said Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy. “Simply repairing our homes to their previous state can no longer suffice.”
Officials said the state has already paid out $350 million to 8,000 homeowners impacted by recent storms—1,400 of which are being required to elevate their homes. About 360 homeowners have decided to undergo full-reconstruction, which includes elevation. The remainder will receive $87 million to complete mandatory elevation, according to the state.
Homes eligible for the latest round of funding also includes those that haven’t been substantially damaged but are within the 100-year flood plain.
Cuomo made the announcement in front of a construction site at the home of Daniel Ehrick, a Freeport resident who is elevating his home.
“One thing was clear: I was not going to just patch up the damage and allow Mother Nature to turn my life upside down again just in a few years or maybe sooner, maybe later,” Ehrick said. “Instead, I wanted to make my house, my home stronger with the next storm in mind.”
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said that the town has also waived building permit fees for repairs and rebuilds of Sandy-damaged homes.
“These steps can save homeowners thousands of dollars and almost more importantly valuable time in the recovery process,” Murray said. “For two years I’ve seen the resolve of people who have decided to stay in the communities in which they have lived and loved. They’re rebuilding their homes and their lives.”
This is the second time in as many weeks that the state has announced new funding related to Sandy. Last week, the state promised $175 million for localities to pay for post-Sandy storm repairs, $145 million of which will go to Nassau and Suffolk counties.
To find out whether their homes are eligible, Long Island residents can call 1-855-NYS-SANDY (1-855-697-7263).
Two Nassau County lawmakers running against each other for higher office have proposed bills aimed at preventing the sale of dogs from abusive “puppy mills,” turning the issue into a political football.
The Republican-controlled county legislature’s rules committee voted 4-3 along party lines Monday to approve a bill that Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) proposed last month. The bill would prohibit the sale of any cat or dog younger than eight weeks old. Hours earlier, Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), who is running against Venditto for New York State Senate, held a news conference announcing that his version of the same bill would ban selling dogs and cats younger than 14 weeks.
Both bills are similar to one that the Suffolk County legislature unanimously passed last month prohibiting the sale of cats and dogs under eight weeks old. The anti-puppy mill bills come after the state enacted a law that allows local governments to more strictly regulate pet dealers.
Denenberg, who called the Republicans’ bill a “watered-down version” of the Suffolk bill, argued that Nassau would be encouraging animal abuse by allowing pet breeders to sell cats and dogs as early as eight weeks after they are born.
“The reason why puppy mills get such a bad name is that they try to quickly get puppies away from their mother so they can keep breeding as fast as possible,” Denenberg said. “All the reputable breeders keep their pets for at least three months.”
Diane Madden, the president and co-founder of the Hope for Hempstead animal shelter, worked with Denenberg on creating his version of the bill.
“Fourteen weeks will allow puppies to be socialized with their litter, and their mother will have time to correct her puppies,” she said.
Rogers, on the other hand, said that the American SPCA warns that waiting until pets are 14 weeks old would make it difficult for the pets to adjust to their new owners.
Both bills would prohibit pet retailers from buying animals from breeders that have received violations on recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports. Both bills also set regulations for the size of animal enclosures in pet stores and require that the enclosures be labeled with the breed, sex, birth date and breeder. But, the Republicans’ bill has an exception to the rule: if the animal has an implanted microchip that stores this information, then the enclosure label is not required.
The Republicans’ bill would create a $500 fine for a first violation and add $500 to the fine for each succeeding violation. The Democrats’ bill would create fines of up to $1,500 per violation.
Under both bills, the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs would enforce the law and the county SPCA would be able to inspect pet stores on the office’s behalf.
“The SPCA would be able to inspect these pet stores at no cost to the county,” Rogers said. “And if it doesn’t work out we can go to the legislature and say ‘Hey maybe we should tweak this law.’ But let’s get something right now.”
Venditto said in a statement that Denenberg’s bill was a political stunt, alluding to the fact that they are both running to fill the vacant seat in the state Senate’s Eighth District.
“The only difference between this legislation, other than the additional restrictions, is that Denenberg did not propose it,” Venditto said. “The same advocates who are condemning this law today supported it just weeks ago in Suffolk. It is shameful of them to put innocent animals in the middle of a political campaign.”
Madden countered that, although she did speak in support of the Suffolk law back in June, she still does not agree the eight-week standard.
“I would call the Suffolk bill not a victory but an accomplishment,” she said. “Someone had to get things started, and Suffolk County got things started.”
Barbara Dennihy, the New York director of Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), found another big difference in the bills. She told the rules committee during a public hearing before the vote that she is concerned about the fact that Venditto’s bill states that it would prohibit sales from breeders who “failed to cure” their USDA violations.
“That doesn’t give the breeder an incentive to do better,” she said. “It just gives them an incentive to get rid of the problem that they have now…In Suffolk, [pet stores] cannot use that breeder for a year after they have a violation.”
Venditto’s version of the bill is expected to come up for a final vote before the full legislature at their next meeting on Monday.
A jury has convicted Darrell Fuller for the 2012 murders of Nassau County police officer Arthur Lopez and carjacking victim Raymond Facey.
The verdict was handed down Monday around noon—it followed eight weeks of testimony from 78 witnesses, with the court proceedings sometimes packed beyond capacity with fellow policemen in a show of support for their fallen comrade.
Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, an eight-year veteran of the department and member of its elite Emergency Services Unit, was killed in the line of duty at approximately 11 a.m. October 23, 2012 during what started out as a routine traffic stop near the Belmont Park Racetrack.
He and his partner spotted a damaged silver Honda that was “running on rims” and suspected it was wanted for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident, authorities said at the time.
The officers followed the car, and it pulled over.
There was “a brief exchange of words” between Lopez and the driver—later identified as 33-year-old Darrell Fuller—before the driver left the vehicle and fired one round into Lopez’s chest, police Chief Steven Skrynecki said at the time, adding that Lopez wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest.
Fuller, of St. Albans, then shot and killed 52-year-old Raymond Facey of Brooklyn during a carjacking on the Cross Island Parkway near Belmont Park Racetrack and fled in his vehicle, which he then abandoned in Queens.
Fuller was later apprehended following a police manhunt. He was previously convicted of attempted murder in Queens and selling crack-cocaine in Nassau County, according to authorities.
Fuller, now 34, was found guilty of two counts of Murder in the 1st Degree, Murder in the 2nd Degree, two counts of Robbery in the 1st Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole and is due back in court on Sept. 5.
Fuller’s trial, which had begun June 9, had been a frenzied and emotional event for victims’ families and fellow Nassau police officers.
When the jury began deliberations Friday, dozens of men and women wearing blue polo shirts reading “In Memory of P.O. Arthur Lopez” packed the courtroom at Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola.
Reporters from local TV channels and publications lined up their cameras in front of the courtroom door, waiting and constantly asking the sergeant who was watching the door whether there would be space for them inside the courtroom soon.
Raymond Facey’s widow, Juniepa Facey, left the courthouse hanging her head only moments after the defense finished its closing argument, wearing pins with her husband’s name on them.
“It’s almost two years, and it feels like yesterday,” she cried at a press conference Monday following the verdict, clutching onto her daughters Abbigail and Dahlia. “I think sometimes I feel like he’s going to come through the door and say it was a prank.”
She thanked God for giving her strength, singing: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
“We can’t bring daddy back, but it’s such a blessing that we know who did it,” said Abbigail Facey. “We know we got the right person, we know he’s guilty, and we can go home and rest assured that he’s not going to be able to hurt anyone else.”
“Make sure you remember this muck’s family can go visit him in jail, but the Lopez and Facey families have to visit a cemetery to visit their loved ones, and that will never ever change,” shouted James Carver, president of the Nassau County police union.
The mood was somber at the Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s Office following the verdict, said a spokesperson, with no celebration, but satisfaction following a lengthy trial.
“This is stark reminder of the danger that every single man and woman who wears a police uniform goes through every single day, and we have to remember that we should be very grateful for the service that we give us to keep this county as safe as they do,” Rice said at the press conference.
“Today a jury of Darrell Fuller’s peers found him guilty of the intentional killing of a police officer and an innocent motorist. By his actions, Fuller demonstrated that he had no respect for the law or for human life,” she said afterward in a statement. “I want to thank the men and women of the jury for their hard work. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and colleagues of Officer Lopez and Mr. Facey.
“May their loved ones find some peace and closure from today’s verdict.”
For years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been frustrated in its efforts to pursue hundreds of cases of water pollution—repeatedly tied up in legal fights about exactly what bodies of water it has the authority to monitor and protect. Efforts in Congress to clarify the EPA’s powers have been defeated. And two Supreme Court decisions have done little to decide the question.
Most recently, in April, the EPA itself declared what waters were subject to its oversight—developing a joint rule with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that sought to end the debate and empower the EPA to press hundreds of enforcements actions against alleged polluters across the country.
The new rule, for instance, explicitly defines several terms—tributary, floodplain and wetland—and makes clear that those waters are subject to its authority.
But the EPA’s effort has been met with immense opposition from farmers who say the agency is overreaching. An expansive online campaign organized and financed by the American Farm Bureau Federation has asserted that the new rule will give the EPA jurisdiction over farmers’ irrigation ditches, watering ponds and even puddles of rain.
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s president, Bob Stallman, said the proposed rule was the “the biggest federal land grab—in terms of power over land use—that we’ve seen to date.”
In an effort to address the concerns of farmers, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in recent weeks has been touring states in the Midwest.
“There are issues we need to discuss and clarify to get this rule right,” she said. “We have important work to do. All the silly contentions being brought up—that we intend to regulate dry ground or stock ponds or mud puddles after a rain—all that does is get in the way of our being able to have those serious discussions.”
The Clean Water Act of 1972 authorized the EPA to protect the “waters of the United States” from dangerous and or illegal pollution. But that term has been the subject of controversy and dispute virtually from the time the act was signed into law. Regulators and industry representatives are generally in agreement that the law applies to some of the nation’s larger rivers. At issue, however, are the streams that flow intermittently and the wetlands adjacent to these streams that dry up during the summer.
Legal fights over those streams and wetlands, current and former EPA officials say, have cost the agency time, money and effectiveness in the face of real environmental threats. Indeed, in recent years the EPA has allowed hundreds of cases of water pollution to go unpunished because it currently lacks the confidence that it can prevail in court.
Granta Nakayama, who served as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the EPA until 2009, found that between July 2006 and March 2008 the agency had decided not to pursue formal enforcement in 304 cases because of jurisdictional uncertainty.
In 2008, in an internal memo, Nakayama wrote that the uncertainty “results in delays in enforcement and increases the resources needed to bring enforcement cases.”
And so in 2007, when an oil company discharged thousands of gallons of crude oil into Edwards Creek in Titus County, Texas, the EPA did not issue a fine, pursue legal action or even require clean up. Similarly, after a farming operation dumped manure into tributaries that fed Lake Blackshear in Georgia, the EPA did not seek to hold the polluting company responsible—despite the fact that tests showed unsafe levels of bacteria and viruses in the lake, which was regularly used for waterskiing and other recreation.
“The proposed rule will improve the process for making jurisdictional determinations for the Clean Water Act by minimizing delays and costs, and will improve the predictability and consistency of the permit and enforcement process for landowners,” an EPA spokesperson said.
The EPA expects that improving efficiency in jurisdictional determinations will also save the businesses that they regulate time and money.
“Protecting water is important to the long-term health of the economy,” the EPA spokesperson said. “Streams and wetlands are economic drivers because of their role in fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy, and manufacturing.”
Two Supreme Court decisions in the last 15 years have been the cause of much of the uncertainty.
In a 5-4 ruling in 2001, the Court held that the Army Corps of Engineers could not require permits for waters based on their use as a habitat by migratory birds. The Court ruling also included language that seemed to assert that only wetlands with a “significant nexus” to traditional navigable waterways would be protected under the Clean Water Act. The Court did not make clear the meaning of the term “significant nexus.”
And in 2006, the Court, asked to determine whether a wetland needed to be adjacent to a traditional navigable waterway in order to be protected, wound up split, and reached no majority decision.
By the EPA’s own estimates, 2 million stream miles outside of Alaska are regarded as “intermittent,” and 20 percent of roughly 110 million acres of wetlands are considered “isolated.” As a result of the inability of the government to clarify the EPA’s jurisdiction over the last 15 years, these water bodies are currently unprotected.
“At some level this is a very frustrating debate to be having because water is all connected at some level,” said Jon Devine, a senior attorney in the water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “What the Supreme Court’s decisions do is throw into significant doubt what is protected.”
As a result, in cases where a polluted waterway isn’t clearly under the EPA’s jurisdiction, the agency has sometimes spent thousands of dollars to model water flow and conduct studies to show that it is hydrologically connected to larger water bodies that are protected.
“It just causes an incredible waste of resources and rewards those who don’t really worry about compliance and punishes those who do,” said Nakayama, now an environmental lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington.
In past years, federal legislators have tried to introduce bills that address the ambiguity in the Clean Water Act’s language, but none have passed both the House and Senate.
In 2011, when Congress was considering a bill that made many of the changes that EPA’s current rule would, the American Farm Bureau Federation, as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, used a similar media strategy to kill the bill. The Coalition was made up of different industry groups that would be affected by the bill including mining associations and homebuilders.
The New York Times reported than an unnamed member of the Coalition said, “The game plan is to emphasize the scary possibilities. If you can get Glenn Beck to say that government storm troopers are going to invade your property, farmers in the Midwest will light up their congressmen’s switchboards.”
This time around, the pushback by farmers and others—called the “Ditch the Rule” campaign—has mainly taken place online. The Farm Bureau organization has created a separate website for the campaign and created shareable videos and infographics. The organization has also been effective in recruiting state farming associations to join the campaign. It has resulted in a blitz of social media posts and a steady stream of local coverage often favoring the farmers’ point of view.
“The campaign has energized our grassroots to participate,” said Don Parrish, senior director of regulatory relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Although the campaign does not have a large amount of money flowing into it, Parrish said it has really “struck a chord.”
Lisa Garcia, a former administrator of environmental justice at the EPA, said the effort by the federation is chiefly one of misinformation.
“The rule is not adding or expanding the scope of waters historically protected,” said Garcia, who is currently at Earth Justice, an environmental non-profit organization. She said the opposition she has seen fits “this pattern of just completely fighting against any new regulation.”
Parrish disagrees. He said that the tensions that are playing out are because “the EPA is trying to create regulations that do an end run around the Supreme Court and Congress.”
“[The EPA is] really reaching into areas that Congress clearly didn’t want the EPA to regulate. They did not intend to put EPA in the land use business,” he said.
Four unforgettable artists—Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker—will be performing Tuesday, July 29 at The Paramount in Huntington on their Under the Sun Tour, transporting all those in attendance back to a time when alt-rock was exploding and it was fashionable to wear flannels and combat boots throughout the summer.
Additionally, Under the Sun is teaming with SuretoneLive.com for the unprecedented livestream, to be webcast around the world, direct from The Paramount, slated for 7 p.m. that night. The first hour will include live streaming interviews with bandmates and other behind-the-scenes exclusives, with the groups set to conquer the stage at 8 p.m.
In other words, this is a gig not to be missed!
Touring more than 33 cities, this quadruple threat of musical legends will undoubtedly be memorable, replete with all the infectious number-one hits that propelled these acts into mega-stardom. The Under the Sun Tour has already been receiving high praises from critics at Billboard, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, among many other media outlets.
Singer/songwriter Mark McGrath of California alt-rock-poppers Sugar Ray wrote and bombarded the charts with such ear candy as “Someday,” “When It’s Over,” “Fly” and “Every Morning.” Having several multi-platinum albums, untold sold-out tours, and headlining cover stories in both Spin and Rolling Stone magazine, the gig will have old fans reminiscing and singing along to their favorite classics while converting the next generation of new fans.
Fellow SoCal-based pop-rockers Smash Mouth have sold more than six million albums in the United States alone, delivering such addictive 90s-era anthems as “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” “Then the Morning Comes,” “Walking on the Sun,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and, of course, super-mega hit “All Star.” In 2012, they released their sixth studio album, Magic, and its title track single soared once again to the top of the charts. The same year, they released the rock and roll cookbook Recipes from the Road, loaded with inspiring recipes that will not only please your ears but stomach as well.
From pop to folk to R&B to Southern rock, New Jersey’s Blues Traveler has entertained audiences for three decades strong. With more than 30 million fans worldwide, along with the Grammy award-winning tune “Run-Around,” Blues Traveler is truly unstoppable—and prolific. In 2012 the band released Suzie Cracks The Whip, further modernizing and evolving their style for an ever-growing legion of fans.
Will singer/harmonica virtuoso John Popper be wearing his trademark hat and harmonica belt as he rocks the ’Mount? Only one way to find out.
Uncle Kracker will also be bringing the noise, rocking out on such hits as “Follow Me,” “Smile,” “In a Little While” and “Drift Away,” capturing audiences alike and transporting them back in time. Although originally known for his role as the DJ in Kid Rock’s band, the Uncler’s solo career blossomed soon after and he ascended to the tops. Recently, he worked alongside Kenny Chesney and rocked the top of the country charts for more than a month. Constantly making appearances on popular television shows, Uncle Kracker’s live show is truly unforgettable.
This collaboration of artists is a must-see trip back in time that cannot be missed.
Also, fans can use an array of Twitter hashtags to commemorate Under The Sun 2014, including #UnderTheSunTour, #UnderTheSunTour2014 and #UTS, as well as these hashtags unique to the July 29th livestream event: #UTSlive, #WatchUTS, and #CountDown2UTS.