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The Long Island Press

Do This: Long Island Events May 31-June 7

The Space at Westbury hosts Billy Idol this weekend.

strawberryfest

Nassau County Strawberry Festival
The fruit-themed four-day fair started Thursday, but kicks into high gear this weekend with a fitting Beetles tribute band—Strawberry Fields—7 p.m. Saturday. Everyone’s favorite red produce will be sold in all forms—strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries and strawberry daiquiris. That’s all aside from the usual carnival rides, crafts and a pie-eating contest. Bellmore BOCES School, 2351 Jerusalem Avenue. North Bellmore. nassaucountystrawberryfestival.com 12-11 p.m. May 31, 12-6 p.m. June 1.

Zebra
Long Island’s own legendary saviors and purveyors of rock (via Louisiana), The Mighty Zebra will be shredding through nearly 40 years of hard rock and metal fueled by the superhuman guitar virtuosity of the beloved Randy Jackson. With Youth Be Told. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $39.50. 8 p.m. May 31.

The Strokes
Those infectious hipsters that everyone loves to hate/love bring their catchy choruses and addictive melodies to “The Cappler” for a performance that’s sure to have you waking up with your head pounding and brain singing “Last Night” on an annoyingly endless loop. Will they break out such classics as “Someday” and “Hard To Explain”? The elusive B-side “New York City Cops”? “Under Cover of Darkness”!?!? (Which if you haven’t You Tubed the Jingle Punks Hipster Orchestra’s version, you’re insanely missing out, btw. You’re welcome. Our pleasure.) Only one way to find out. Good luck with the scalpers. With Cerebral Ballzy. The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Ave., Port Chester. thecapitoltheatre.com 8 p.m. May 31

Billy Idol
This bad boy may be a Brit, but he lived for a spell in Patchogue as a wee lad before moving back across the pond and eventually helping popularize punk rock. That makes this show a bit of a homecoming for the singer of such hits as “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell” and “Dancing With Myself.” It comes as he’s reportedly working on his eighth studio album, Kings & Queens of the Underground, due out this fall. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $65-$95. 7 p.m. June 1.

Bethpage Polo at the Park Kickoff
Spectators need not be oligarchs to watch The Sport of Kings. Round up the crew, pack the cooler and spend the day tailgating on the polo field sidelines. And don’t forget to rock some Ralph Lauren gear. Bethpage State Park, 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale. bethpagepolo.com $5. 2 p.m. June 1 and every Sunday through Oct. 12.

New Nature Trail Opens
Hikers, joggers, bird watchers, nature lovers and families revel in the debut of a new trail along a glacial moraine that features wildlife such as red tailed hawks, red fox, flying squirrels, eastern box turtles, great horned owls, gray catbirds and downey woodpeckers. The three-mile trail is open during daylight hours. Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Rd., East Setauket. Seatuck.org, splia.org. Free. 10 a.m., June 4.

TheAnonymousPeople

The Anonymous People
A must-see documentary on an Island in the throes of a heroin epidemic. The Anonymous People aims to shed the stigma that surrounds those recovering from drug and alcohol addition by sharing the moving stories of those on the front lines. Sponsored by the Commack-based Center for Soulful Living, a holistic and counseling wellness center. Guest speaker: Jeff Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 7:30 p.m., June 4.

Patchogue: The Musical
Some towns on Long Island have mottos, like East Meadow’s “a small community with big ideas.” A few, such as Freeport, have songs written about them. But one village may take the cake now that it inspired its own theater production. Patchogue: The Musical will “musically reflect the diversity of feelings, thoughts, and ideas that thrive in Patchogue.” Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main St, Patchogue. Patchoguetheatre.com. $10. 7 p.m., June 4.

Switch Technique
This Philly-based Funk Force evolved from a Live Hip-Hop group to an old-school Funk Ensemble in the tradition of James Brown, recently adding an electric lead vocalist. Their sweet, upbeat grooves just may be the reason it’s always sunny in Philadelphia. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amaganset. stephentalkhouse.com $30. 10 p.m., June 5.
TheLoneBellow
The Lone Bellow
This soulful, country-inspired, Brooklyn-based indie folk group will be performing their self-titled debut released last year in their first of two stops on the Island. Those who miss this show can catch them at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amaganset the following night. The Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main St., Bay Shore. boultoncenter.org. $35. 8 p.m., June 5.

Local Showcase
There are more musicians on Long Island than just Billy Joel. Check out these feisty, new original acts: The Vinyl Plane, 2 Cent Sam and Czech Funk. The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $10. 7 p.m., June 5.

The Plastic Cup Boyz
Featuring comedians Will “Spank” Horton, Na’im Lynn and Lavar Walker, from the Kevin Hart Laugh at My Pain and Let Me Explain tour. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $37-$49. 7 p.m., June 6.

Joe Satriani
The former Deep Purple guitarist who, legend has it, taught original guitar hero Stevie Vai how to rock, is coming home to Long Island. Read more about the Carle Place High School graduate in a forthcoming profile in the Press. With special guest Sit Down Servant. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $59.50-$99.50. 7 p.m., June 7.

10,000 Maniacs
Natalie Merchant may no longer front the alt-rock quintet from upstate Jamestown, but the group is still producing albums and performing their hits, including “Because The Night,” “These Are Days” and “Candy Everybody Wants.” Give ‘em what they want! The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amaganset. stephentalkhouse.com $70-$85. 6 p.m., June 7.
JackJohnsonn
Jack Johnson
There are fewer fitting stars to lead off the summer concert calendar at our famed waterside amphitheater than this beloved Hawaiian beach-rock crooner. The would-be pro surfer-turned-guitarist/singer whose first five major-label albums went platinum visits local shores in the latest stop on the tour, promoting his recent, sixth release, From Here To Now To You. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com $55-$85. 7:30 p.m., June 7.

I Matter Project Reception
This empowering social impact art project for Long Island teens is a call to action to educate and inspire teens to make better life decisions and steer clear of destructive behavior, including substance abuse. If features large-scale portraits of students accompanied by brief statements of why they each matter. Huntington Public Library’s Main Street Branch, 338 Main St., Huntington. imatterproject.org/Huntington. Free. 2-4 p.m., June 7. Presentation at 2:30 p.m.

Robert Earl Keen
Americana singer/songwriter from the Lone Star State known for both story-telling as well as fun bar songs, Robert Earl Keen is an alt-country rock icon and master of the live performance. Break out the cowboy boots, pour a sarsaparilla and saddle up for such hits as “The Road Goes onj Forever,” Corpus Christi Bay” and “That Buckin’ Song.” The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com. $40.50-$65. 7 p.m., June 7.

Big Revamp of Pentagon’s Troubled Mission to Find Missing Soldiers Looks a Lot Like Old Revamp

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon, March 14, 2013. (DoD photo)

With Congressional pressure and media scrutiny intensifying, the defense secretary came out with a bold plan to fix the Pentagon’s struggling mission to recover remains of missing service members: reorganize the effort into a new agency.

“This new organization provides an efficient management structure for pursuing our goal of obtaining the fullest possible accounting for all missing Americans. Resolving POW/MIA issues is of the highest national priority and we will continue to work vigorously toward this end.”

Those remarks easily could have come from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in March when he announced just such a change. But they were actually made two decades ago, by then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin when the Pentagon first tried restructuring the bureaucracy as a way to solve troubling issues with the effort. Another consolidation, accompanied by similar rhetoric, happened in 2003.

The Pentagon spends about $100 million annually to recover and identify missing service members from the Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II, but identified just 60 last year – far short of the 200 per year mandated by Congress starting next year. A ProPublica and NPR investigation found that the mission was hampered by outdated science, overlapping bureaucracy and poor leadership.

On March 31, Hagel said that the two major agencies in charge 2014 the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, or J-PAC, and the Defense Prisoners of War and Missing Personnel Office, or DPMO 2013 would be consolidated into one to streamline the inefficient, duplicative process.

This latest restructuring is the broadest one yet, taking on the science used to make identifications and creating public-private partnerships, but it’s unclear whether it will be a reorganization just on paper like it was in the past. Indeed, the two long-troubled, soon-to-be combined agencies, J-PAC and DPMO, are themselves the product of the earlier consolidations.

Critics on Capitol Hill, in family advocacy groups and among former employees of the agencies all said that in order to have meaningful, lasting impact the changes must go beyond bureaucratic reshuffling to instead include new leadership.

“Any time you have a change that is truly philosophical it’s very difficult to accomplish that if the people being tasked with it still believe in the old ways of doing things,” Cmdr. Renee Richardson, a former DPMO staffer, said.

Given the “stories we’re being told, there definitely should be some people who are fired,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was one of the vocal critics on the Hill, said in an interview earlier this year.

Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michael Lumpkin, who is spearheading the changes, said at the time of the announcement that the new agency will be fundamentally new and different, ridding the effort of “outdated, institutionalized thinking.”

But asked if anyone was being held accountable for the problems that led to the need for changes, Lumpkin referred to a “structurally flawed” system rather than leadership.

The agencies’ current leaders might stay a part of the new as-yet-unnamed agency. Although the positions of DPMO director and J-PAC commander will disappear along with the organizations when the new agency is formed in the next 18 months, Lumpkin said, the people who held those positions “may be reclaimed” in the new organization.

The only personnel changes that have been announced are a director for the new agency who will report to the under secretary of defense for policy and an Armed Forces Medical Examiner who will be in charge of making identifications and overseeing the scientific operations of the lab. The latter strips Tom Holland, J-PAC’s longtime scientific director, of his primary authority, but Lumpkin wouldn’t comment on whether Holland would be a part of the new agency.

ProPublica and NPR reported that under Holland’s leadership, the laboratory has not used DNA as the first step in identifying remains, even though DNA has been the centerpiece of similar efforts worldwide for more than a decade.

Lumpkin did say that Hagel was putting the director of the new agency under the Office of the Secretary of Defense because he wanted someone he could hold accountable for the mission’s responsibilities – what Lumpkin called “a single belly button.”

The civilian leadership of DPMO and J-PAC has been entrenched for decades. Holland has been there since 1992. Johnie Webb, the deputy commander for external relations, has been with J-PAC since 1983. The current director of DPMO, retired Brig. Gen. W. Montague “Que” Winfield, was the first commander of J-PAC.

Complicating matters, for years J-PAC and DPMO have battled each other for territory, authority and responsibility.

Ann Mills-Griffith, founder of the lobbying group National League of POW/MIA Families, described the infighting as “destructive bickering.”

“It’s such a noble mission…every person wants the same thing,” said current J-PAC commander Gen. Kelly McKeague. “Where it breaks down – and this is where I shake my head – is the ‘how.'”

There was also feuding within J-PAC. There have been dozens of complaints about management and a hostile work environment – and employees who left with cash settlements.

With the struggle to make more identifications, Mark Leney, a former J-PAC anthropologist, said it’s hard to discern what “are technical difficulties of a unique mission to execute and what are ordinary issues of poor management.”

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating problems with the MIA effort, an inquiry that, according to several people who have been interviewed for it, is expected to address management and leadership issues.

The new agency will also face questions about mission priorities.

The Pentagon has long focused its recovery efforts on troops missing from the Vietnam War, a decision that experts say might not be the best use of its resources now. In fiscal year 2013, for example, J-PAC spent 65 percent of its field mission budget in Southeast Asia, but identified just nine Vietnam veterans.

In part, this is because the soil in Southeast Asia is so acidic it eats away at bones, essentially dissolving them. Several current and former J-PAC scientists have said that time might have run out there – there just may not be bones left to find.

Still, it remains politically delicate to cross advocates for Vietnam vets, some of whom have accused the government of covering up the existence of live POWs.

Mills-Griffiths, the most prominent and well-connected advocate for those missing from Vietnam, has long pushed to keep Vietnam at the forefront of MIA recovery efforts. Hagel personally thanked her at his press conference announcing the reorganization, and many of its features were recommended by her.

In a memo to Hagel, Mills-Griffiths blamed J-PAC’s decision to not increase field operations in Vietnam in part on a “misplaced focus by some on remains recoveries related to WWII as a means of increasing the number of IDs.”

Lisa Phillips, founder of WWII Families for the Return of the Missing, said, “We want exactly as Congress mandated. The fullest possible accounting of all POW MIA services members, regardless of the circumstances of the loss.”

Mills-Griffiths, whose brother is among the missing from Vietnam, has said the MIA effort was started for Vietnam vets, so families from other wars need “to stand in line“2013 raising the ire of advocates for World War II and Korean War veterans. But she has also said it isn’t a competition. Efforts on behalf of one war’s veterans shouldn’t be at the expense of others, she said.

Some families of troops missing in Southeast Asia have fought the disinterment of almost 10,000 troops buried as unknown casualties of the Korean War and World War II. That discord led to a 2009 DPMO memo saying that exhuming the graves of unknowns and using DNA to try to identify them should take a back seat to finding remains of service members still lost on the battlefield.

Lumpkin said the new agency would pursue more disinterments, but didn’t provide any details. J-PAC currently only exhumes remains in about 4 percent of the cases in which such a step is recommended. The average disinterment costs about $1,000 – significantly less than field operations.

Some families of missing troops from World War II and their advocates are hoping they will benefit from the move to embrace public-private partnerships, which could free their loved ones’ cases from the government’s grasp and allow them to move forward faster.

Do This: Long Island Events May 24-31

Rascal Flatts

The Monkees
HEY! HEY! Three of the four orginal Monkees, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork reunite for a two-week sprint of a tour.  Mega hits like “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a believer” paved the way to their deserved 2014 induction into the American Pop Music Hall of Fame. Not only did they earn a spot in the hall, but they topped the public vote for potential inductees, beating out fellow icons like Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel, The Bee Gees and Buddy Holly for the coveted top spot. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. Paramountny.com. $64-$145. 7 p.m. May 25

Hot Texts
Prospect Heights hot spot set to boast an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink lineup with live jazz, country, rockabilly and folk performances. Featured talents this evening are Amanda Bloom Group, Moot Davis, Hudson Hornets and Jon Glover. The Way Station, 683 Washington Ave., Brooklyn. Waystationbk.blogspot.com. $5 suggested donation. 6:30 p.m. May 27

Phil Lesh & Friends
Living legend Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh gathers a remarkable super-group on a four-day New York run. Two Port Chester shows are sandwiched between two Central Park appearances, giving anyone interested ample opportunity to revel in their glory.  Phil’s “friends” this time around include rock god Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Medeski, Joe Russo, and John Kadlecik. The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Ave., Port Chester/Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, 5th Ave. and 72nd St., Manhattan. Thecapitoltheatre.com/ centralparknyc.org. $49.50-$995. 5 p.m. May 28 (Central Park), 6:30 p.m. May 29 (Capitol Theatre), 6:30 p.m. May 30 (Capitol Theatre), 3 p.m. May 31 (Central Park)

Dan BandThe Dan Band
Head vocalist Dan Finnerty A.K.A the wedding singer in Old School and The Hangover leads this unlikely cult favorite, born from a drunken karaoke rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” While comedy is the goal, this act is no joke. They’ve aired a concert special on Bravo that was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and have made tons of TV appearances. Not to be missed. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. Paramountny.com. $31-$49. 7 p.m. May 28

George Vecsey
Long time sports columnist for The New York Times, George Vecsey spills all of the dirty and wonderful secrets of the professional soccer world in his new book, Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer, a witty but informative report spanning across three decades of game play. Live vicariously through Vecsey as he paints his recollection of street parties of Spain, blowing horns of South Africa, and countless other cultural nuances. Speaking and signing copies, just in time for the fast-approaching 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. Bookrevue.com. Free admission. 7 p.m. May 29

Kansas
Celebrating 40 years of revolutionary rock n’ roll success. Kansas stores more hardware on their wall than Home Depot with eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums, one Platinum live album and a million-selling gold single. Still inescapable hits like “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry On Wayward Son” blare through radio waves daily, solidifying Kansas’ already undeniable staying power. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. Thetheatreatwestbury.com. $52. 8 p.m. May 29

Buckcherry
Bad boy front man Josh Todd and all of his guiltily pleasurable, delicious sleaze- belting rebel anthems “Lit Up,” “Too Drunk,” and infamous party starter “Crazy B*tch.” With vocal chops rumored to physically unzip groupie jeans and cause irreversible cringing in conservative moms. With special guests Fozzy & Heaven’s Basement. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. Paramountny.com. $36.50-$59.50. 7 p.m. May 30

Deep Banana Blackout
Just as hearing a puppy cry is sad, watching soulful funk standouts Deep Banana Blackout have a blast on stage is a blast. Consisting of Long Island and Connecticut natives oozing charisma, talent, and infectiously inviting jazz riffs that triple-dog-dare you not to smile. With Pleasure Drones featuring Will Bernard, Eric Kalb, Jeff Hanley, and Moses Patrou. Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn. Brooklynbowl.com. $15. 6 p.m. May 30

Keys n KratesKeys N Krates/ Break Science
Two of electronic music’s most unique and exciting live acts gear up to take over the Grand Ballroom. For lack of another adequate description having been invented yet, Keys N Krates have been dubbed EDM’s only “trap band,” as they perform current original club bangers “Dum-Dee-Dum” and “Treat Me Right” using exclusively keys, drums, turntables, and live sampling. Likewise, NY born and bred hip-hop inspired duo Break Science delivers an electrifying set utilizing Adam Deitch’s break-beat style drumming coupled with Borahm Lee’s innovative keyboarding and Ableton Live expertise. With Shiftee and Alex English. Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St., Manhattan. Websterhall.com. $15. 10 p.m. May 30

Rascal Flatts/Sheryl Crow/Gloriana
Nothing encompasses the atmosphere of summer on LI quite like a Jones Beach tailgate/show combo. The most awarded country group of the decade Rascal Flatts headlines this star-studded bill as part of their Rewind Tour following the release of tour-titled album. Boasting celebrated and decorated supporting acts that could be hard to follow, Gloriana sets the tone as an opener, followed by nine-time Grammy winner and “If It Makes You Happy” singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow boasting new music from her most recent album “Feels Like Home.” Jones Beach Amphitheater, Bay Pkwy. Wantagh. Jonesbeach.com. $30-$440. 7:30 p.m. May 30

Greater New York Pet Expo
Pets, bring your humans to shop for you, learn about you and maybe even adopt a buddy for you! Visit with a coliseum full of exhibitors offering up goodies in the forms of prizes, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, agility and obedience demos, and so much more. Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale. Nassaucoliseum.com. $12. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 31

Dark Star OrchestraDark Star Orchestra
Grateful Dead historians and enthusiasts make up this tributary ensemble, offering tastes of Jerry circa 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Sure to entice Dead Heads young and not so young. Many set lists are built to emulate that of past Grateful Dead shows, allowing fans to vividly dip into their memory banks and recall the entire essence of the experience. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. Thespaceatwestbury.com. $35, $50. 7 p.m. May 31

Zebra
Why: ‘80s hair metal trio and pride of Long Island, Zebra returns to the homeland to rehash the hyperbolic wails that did not ask for, but rather demanded prominence in the same era that birthed the likes of Twisted Sister and White Snake. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. Thetheatreatwestbury.com. $52. 8 p.m. May 31

Poetry Reading

Celebrate Walt Whitman’s 195th birthday at an evening reading with Walt Whitman Birthplace Association’s 2014 Poet in Residence, Li-Young Lee, the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, his most recent being Behind My Eyes. “Meet The Poet” Reception to follow with book signings. Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington. www.waltwhitman.org $10 5 p.m. May 31.

7 Memorial Day Weekend 2014 Events on Long Island

Patriotic parades aplenty will be marching through many Long Island downtowns in homage to America’s fallen soldiers throughout Memorial Day Weekend, which simultaneously ushers in the unofficial start of beach season.

The result is more events—both heavy- and light-hearted—that one person can possibly attend, even in a three-day weekend. So we’ve narrowed it down to seven notable picks for what to do.

And as a reminder, the last Monday of May was originally called Decoration Day, when friends and family would put flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers after the Civil War. It later became a federal holiday dedicated to Americans lost in all wars.

2014 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach
Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh
bethpageairshow.com
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday May 24-25
Witness the aerial acrobatics of the Blue Angels, the Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the Navy Leap Frogs as well as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey. Civilian stunt plane tricksters include the American Airpower Museum Warbirds, GIECO Skytypers, the Air National Guard and the Red Bull Air Force, to name a few. Grab a spot on the beach, anchor your boat in the bay, or try out an air-show cruise via Freeport Water Taxi and Tours.

World War II Veterans Medal Ceremony
American Legion James Ely Miller Memorial Post 833, 51 Juniper Ave., Smithtown
10 a.m., Sunday May 25
A U.S. Navy veteran who took part in D-Day will be presented with the French Legion of Honor Medal, the highest decoration bestowed by France. WWII veterans will receive various medals, including the Bronze Star and Air Medal, for service in Ardennes, Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan. Veterans or next-of-kin from Suffolk County will be honored.

The Beach Huts Reopen
Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach, Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays, Smith Point County Park in Mastic, Cedar Beach in Babylon, Venetian Shores in Lindenhurst, Tanner Park in Copiague
Thebeachhuts.com
Friday, May 23 to Monday, May 26
Among the many perks of living on an Island in the summer is being able to get meet friends and family for dinner and drinks while taking in some live music at oceanfront venues like the Beach Huts (OK, Venetian Shores and Tanner Park are bayfront, but the sentiment is the same). This holiday weekend’s lineup boasts some of LI’s best local bands performing covers and originals. Parking fees apply at the county beaches. Babylon town beaches charge non-residents, but Cedar Beach, for one, is free after 5 p.m.

Navy and Marine Helicopter Landings:
Eisenhower Park, Merrick Ave and Park Blvd, Park Fields 6A, East Meadow
Nassaucountyny.gov
Navy Landing- 10 a.m., Marine Landing 12 p.m. Saturday, May 24
United States Naval and Marine teams show off during air and land demonstrations. Once demonstrations are over, machinery is available for an up-close look.

Brookhaven Fair
Bald Hill, Farmingville
brookhavenfair.com
12-10 p.m. Saturday, May 24 to Monday, May 26
$20 advance, $25 at door
Magic Show, petting zoo, karaoke and Sunday night fireworks.

Make Plans to Visit the 9/11 Museum
200 Liberty St., Manhattan
www.911memorial.org
For those who missed the news, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center opened to the public this week. But, don’t just show up and expect to get a tour. Visitors are required to reserve tickets after choosing dates on the museum website. Yes, this one may require a trip across the East River, but it’s worthwhile.

Sunday Funday at Flynn’s
1 Cayuga St., Ocean Bay Park, Fire Island
Flynnsfireislandny.com
1 p.m. Sunday, May 25
The barrier beach’s premier hot spot is back, throwing some of the biggest parties in the area all weekend and summer long, but they may be best known for their Sunday Funday with King Wellington and DJ Epic. Don’t miss out on the first wild Flynn’s party of the year!

Making the Most of Your Kitchen Space [Sponsored]

Using the full potential of your kitchen space is part and parcel of a successful redesign.

In most homes today the kitchen has really become the heart of the house. It’s not only where food is prepared and served, it’s also a comfortable gathering place for friends and family.

But it’s no fun for the cook if the kitchen is so cramped there’s barely elbow room between the sink, the stove and the countertop. Or the overhead lighting casts shadows on the dishes being washed. And it can feel pretty dismal if the appliances look ancient, the cabinets are out of style, and the floors are old and stained.

Fortunately, Brian Curry, Alure Home Improvements‘ certified custom kitchen designer, is there to help homeowners make the most of their kitchen space. Born in Farmingdale, he grew up watching his father renovate their home and later he worked for his uncle, a general contractor, so he learned how to read blueprints at an early age. He knows how to transform a claustrophobic kitchen into a modern, free-flowing space that invites good cheer, good times, and of course, good food.

Click here to learn more about Alure Home Improvements

In order to do what he does best, he first has to understand clearly what the homeowners need as well as what they want. It’s more than a question of style, although that is definitely important—and Alure’s kitchen showroom is full of inspiration. Curry has to know how the clients entertain, how they use their kitchen as a workspace, even if the kids do their homework at the kitchen table.

“All that gives me an insight into how to design the overall room,” he says.

Along the way, he also discovers what they don’t want.

“For probably eight out of the 10 kitchens we do, I’ll ask the client what they dislike about their kitchen and they’ll say, ‘The kitchen!’” he says with a chuckle.

The homeowners may have issues with the room’s design, the outdated products, or the overall layout. For one recent project, he relocated the kitchen to an entirely different part of the house so it could spread out more as well as make it easier for the homeowner to bring in the groceries from the car in the driveway. Some people tell Curry that they want to entertain more in the kitchen, so the solution is to add a center island with stools that can fit under the counter so when the family is together for the holidays, they can all sit and talk—maybe even chop onions—while someone stirs the pot on the stove.

“The most used piece of real estate in the kitchen is the area between the kitchen sink and the stovetop or range,” Curry says. “I’ve been in people’s homes where they have only 18 inches—and that’s their preparation space!”

With his custom redesign, he tries to maximize that preparation space as well as add room to the left and the right of the range top.

According to Curry, a frequent request for a customized kitchen in a ranch-style house involves taking out the walls separating the kitchen from the dining room and the living room to create a large, inviting common space.

“A lot of times homeowners will have hardwood existing floors in those rooms,” Curry says, “so they like to carry that through the kitchen to make it consistent.”

The downside to that solution is that hardwood floors are vulnerable to the wear and tear of traffic in what is without a doubt the most heavily traveled portion of the house.

If the redesign allows, Curry recommends porcelain tile installed on a mud base because it’s both scratch- and stain-resistant.

“It’s a great product that is going to last a solid 30 years if it is installed properly,” he explains.

From start to finish, including consultation, demolition, and total transformation, these customized kitchen projects can take four to six weeks. For a typical kitchen with 200 square feet and about 30 linear feet of cabinets and countertops, the median cost of a complete redesign and renovation can run about $60,000, Curry says. Generally, the prices tend to range from $30,000 to $150,000, depending on the scope of the work and what the homeowners desire.

“We do things a little differently than a typical general contractor,” Curry says.

With Alure, homeowners work with a talented designer and a crew of top-notch professionals, including licensed electricians and licensed plumbers, as well as diligent demolition experts and experienced cabinet installers. Just as important, before the project starts, the homeowners have a realistic idea of how much the job will ultimately cost, based on the scope of the project, the actual work involved, and the finalized design. There aren’t any unexpected surprises, Curry says.

“You know where things are going and how things are being built,” he explains.

Click here to learn more about Alure Home Improvements

For example, a typical general contractor may provide an estimate only for his work on the project but leave it up to the clients to choose the cabinets and the countertops.

“When a lot of people start a kitchen renovation with a typical general contractor,” Curry says, “they might think they’re getting a great price, but they forget that all the little odds and ends can amount to a decent sum of money.”

When Alure customizes a kitchen redesign, no detail is too small for consideration.

“We’ll actually map out what’s going to go inside of what cabinet,” Curry says. “Some people might have a five-gallon spaghetti pot that they cook their pasta in, and we’ll make sure that it has a place to go. That’s really what it comes down to. We make sure that everything has a place, and that nothing is left on the countertop!”

And that’s why homeowners are happy to know that they’ve made the most of their space, thanks to a job well done by Alure.

2015 Audi A3 Tops List of Luxury Sedans [Sponsored]

The 2015 Audi A3 has critics swooning. Stop by NY Auto Giant's Atlantic Audi and Lynbrook Audi and drive one home today.

According to the folks at Business Week, Audi has surpassed BMW as the luxury car dealer of 2015. By introducing 17 either new or revamped models just for 2015, Audi was primed to jump into the #1 spot in luxury sales for the first time this February.

The 2015 Audi A3 compact and Q7 SUV were by far the biggest sellers. Car and Driver magazine describes the Audi A3 as a “great-handling, attractive sedan with an upscale interior and luxury features not generally expected in this segment.” It comes standard with a 170-hp 1.8-liter turbo four with front-wheel drive and six-speed auto. You could opt to upgrade to the 220-hp 2.0-liter four with a six-speed auto and Quattro all-wheel drive.

Click here to learn more about NY Auto Giant

Car and Driver deems the Audi A3 superior.

“Steering is precise and the ride is composed; fit and finish are superb,” it reports.

Motor Trend magazine finds itself infatuated with this sedan.

“What a cutesy little car!” they reported upon test driving the 2015 Audi A3. “It bewilderingly weighs just 44 pounds less than the biggest and portliest-in-rodeo Regal, but will fly on country back roads with a crisp throttle pedal that could pass muster for a naturally aspirated engine (under load), a happy-to-be-manually shifted transmission, and enthusiastic transient response.”

Consumer automobile research site Edmunds.com praises the Audi A3’s interior as consistent with the Audi brand in looks and feel.

“The cabin’s design and materials are up to the lofty standards Audi has set for the industry, meaning everything fits tightly, moves with precision and looks and feels top-shelf,” it declares.

Click here to learn more about NY Auto Giant

Priced in the low to mid-$30,000 range, this is what Long Islanders shopping for luxury vehicles to make tracks up and down the Long Island Expressway have been longing for. Compact, powerful, sleek, and a beauty to behold, Audi A3 drivers will be the envy of LI roads.

Lucky for Long Islanders in the know, two dealerships right here on the Island are equipped with the inventory to put you in the A3 of your choice. Fully equipped with financing options to help you buy or lease, both Atlantic Audi and Audi Lynbrook have the customer service know-how to get you acquainted with the car of your dreams and to help you drive away happy.

Give Justin Haynes of Audi Lynbrook or Paul Cunha of Atlantic Audi a call or stop buy one of their luxury showrooms today!

Do This: Long Island Events – May 19-24

The Faint

The Faint
Don’t call it a comeback. With a reinvented creative process, The Faint has injected passion and fun back into their punk rock-esque artistry. Their newest album, Doom Abuse, is raw and unpolished in a good way. Meant to be conceived holistically rather than track-by-track, it seeks to implore exploration and curiosity within accidental recurring themes, unveiling a rare and genuine insight into the subconscious minds behind the music. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., Manhattan. Boweryballroom.com. $25. 8 p.m. May 19

Barbara Williams
Signing and speaking on behalf of her new instructional hockey book, Positive Power. Williams is a Suffolk County Long Island Sports Hall of Fame inductee and also the first female skating coach in the National Hockey League. Ideal for young hockey players ages 7-14 aiming to get an edge over their competition by learning from the best. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. Bookrevue.com. Free Admission. 7 p.m. May 20

Conor Oberst
Better known as the thought provoking lyricist and singer with the voice sweet as a bowl of oranges for Bright Eyes, Oberst remains equally if not more sentimentally driven as a solo act. Album release celebration event for his latest venture, Upside Down Mountain. Strummin’ pain and bliss and everything in between with his fingers. Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th St., Brooklyn. Roughtrade.com. $20 at the door. 7 p.m. May 20

Emily GiffinEmily Giffin
From The New York Times best-selling author of Something Borrowed and Something Blue comes another beautifully written tale, The One and Only—a story of love and trust told through the eyes of a tragically relatable heroine. When the safety net of routine is ripped from beneath Shea Rigsby, will she land gracefully or get tied up? Emily Giffin will be speaking and signing copies. Book Revue 313 New York Ave., Huntington. Bookrevue.com. Free Admission. 7 p.m. May 21

Blackmore’s Night
Renaissance inspired folk melodies as authentic as they are joyous. Party like it’s 1599 with a modern twist with Blackmore’s Night. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. Paramountny.com. $48.50-$76. 8 p.m. May 22

Manchester OrchesraManchester Orchestra
In support of their third record, Simple Math. Andy Hull and the rest of Manchester Orchestra are back with vengeance, spilling their guts lyrically and compositionally to take listeners on a guided journey through all of the most human pangs and prides. With Balance and Composure and Kevine Devine and the Goddamn Band. Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th St., Manhattan. Terminal5nyc.com. $22.50 advance/ $27 day of show. 7 p.m. May 22

Rusted Root/The Wailers
Notorious happy-makers Rusted Root and The Wailers double-headline this love and good vibes fest, sure to send fans home smiling and exasperated, but forever thirsty for more. Rusted Root has laid countless tracks for feature films including Matilda and Ice Age as well as having performed beside powerhouses Carlos Santana and Dave Matthews Band. The Wailers continue their New York run lead by founding member Aston “Family Man” on the bass. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. Paramountny.com. $31-$60. 8 p.m. May 23

Jim Jefferies
Australia’s quickly rising shining star, stand-up comedian and television actor Jim Jefferies takes the stage offering up a taste of everyone’s favorite medicine: laughter. Writer and star of FX series, Legit, Jefferies knows what it is to couple content with performance in such a way that anyone with a pulse can get a kick out of. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. Thespaceatwestbury.com. $48. 7 p.m. May 23

Chelsea Hanlder
Chelsea Handler at the 2012 Time 100 Gala. (Photo credit: David Shankbone/WikiMedia Commons)
Chelsea Handler
Boisterous but lovable host of Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler turns up to sign copies of her new book, Uganda Be Kidding Me. Nobody gets into trouble more hilariously (or frequently) than Ms. Handler, so one can expect silver-lined misadventures galore between the covers of a memoir dedicated to her worldly travels. Her book signing is followed by a stand-up performance at NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. Bookrevue.com. Free Admission. 2 p.m. May 23

Men are from Mars Women are from Venus- LIVE
Actor Peter Story stars in this theatrical, comedic rendition of the best-selling book of the decade, Men are from Mars Women are from Venus by John Gray. For adults only. This witty, helplessly significant collection of scenarios is brought to life on stage in what Story calls “a delicious evening of entertainment.” The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. Thespaceatwestbury.com. $52.65. 8 p.m. May 24

Why Don’t We Know How Many People Are Shot Each Year in America?

Updated May 15, 2014 3:38 p.m.: The article was updated to clarify that CDC estimates for nonfatal, violent gun injuries “include only injuries caused by violent assault, not accidents, self-inflicted injuries, or shootings by police.”

How many Americans have been shot over the past 10 years? No one really knows. We don’t even know if the number of people shot annually has gone up or down over that time.

The government’s own numbers seem to conflict. One source of data on shooting victims suggests that gun-related violence has been declining for years, while another government estimate actually shows an increase in the number of people who have been shot. Each estimate is based on limited, incomplete data. Not even the FBI tracks the total number of nonfatal gunshot wounds.

“We know how many people die, but not how many are injured and survive,” said Dr. Demetrios Demetriades, a Los Angeles trauma surgeon who has been studying nationwide gunshot injury trends.

While the number of gun murders has decreased in recent years, there’s debate over whether this reflects a drop in the total number of shootings, or an improvement in how many lives emergency room doctors can save.

Doctors and researchers have been advocating for better gun injury data since the late 1980s. But fierce political battles over gun violence research — including pressure from congressional Republicans that put an end to some government-funded studies on firearms — has meant that we still don’t know many basic facts about gun violence in America.

“In the absence of real data, politicians and policymakers do what the hell they want,” Dr. David Livingston, the director of the New Jersey Trauma Center at University Hospital in Newark. said “They do what the hell they want anyway,” he added, “but in the absence of data, they have nobody to call them on it.”

An initial push to create a national database of firearm injuries in the late 1980s and early 1990s was slowed by the political fight over Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding for gun research, according to a history of the project written by researchers who worked on it. To make the effort more politically viable, as well as more scientifically rigorous, researchers decided to collect data on all violent deaths, not just firearm deaths.

And to cut costs, they decided to focus only on fatal injuries. Even that more limited effort has languished without full congressional funding — the database currently covers fewer than half of all states.

Most discussions of crime trends in America look back 20 years, to 1993, when violent crime of all kinds hit its peak. Compare 1993 to today, and the picture looks bright: The number of murders is down nearly 50 percent, and other kinds of violent crime have dropped even further.

The Department of Justice has estimates of nonfatal shootings that suggest a similar trend: Its National Crime Victimization Survey shows a decline, from an average of about 22,000 nonfatal shootings in 2002, to roughly 12,000 a year from 2007 to 2011, according to a Department of Justice statistician.

But over the same time period, CDC estimates show that the number of Americans coming to hospitals with nonfatal, violent gun injuries has actually gone up: from an estimated 37,321 nonfatal gunshot injuries in 2002 to 55,544 in 2011. (These numbers include only injuries caused by violent assault, not accidents, self-inflicted injuries, or shootings by police.)

The contrast between the two estimates is hard to clear up, since each data source has serious limitations.

Experts say that household data-gathering efforts, like the National Crime Victimization Survey, likely miss the Americans who are most likely to be victims of gun violence.

Shooting victims are “disproportionately young men of color who are living unstable lives and often involved in underground markets or criminal activity, and this is a group that is incredibly difficult to survey,” said Philip Cook, a gun violence expert at Duke University. “A lot of them are in jail at any point in time, or if they’re not in jail, they have no stable address.”

Meanwhile, the CDC numbers are based on a representative sample of 63 hospitals nationwide, and the margin of error for each estimate is very large. The CDC’s best guess for the number of nonfatal intentional shootings in 2012 is somewhere between 27,000 and 91,000.

“Uncertainty in the estimates precludes definitive conclusions,” one group of medical researchers explained in a back-and-forth in a journal on internal medicine last year.

The FBI also gathers data on gun crime from local police departments, but most departments do not track the number of people who are shot and survive. Instead, shootings are counted as part of the broader category of “aggravated assault,” which includes a range of gun-related crimes, from waving a gun at threateningly to actually shooting someone.

There were about 140,000 firearm aggravated assaults nationwide in 2012, according to the FBI’s report. How many of those assaults represent someone actually getting shot? There’s no way to tell.

The lack of a clear number of nonfatal shootings has caused confusion.

A frequently cited 2012 Wall Street Journal article attributed the falling murder rate to advances in trauma care: “In Medical Triumph, Homicides Fall Despite Soaring Gun Violence.” The article based its conclusion — that “America has become no less violent” over the past two decades — on the CDC’s shooting estimates.

The article did not cite the other estimates of gun violence that show shootings trending down, or the level of uncertainty in the CDC’s own data.

Livingston, the Newark trauma surgeon, said that it’s “very nice” when journalists give trauma surgeons credit for saving more lives. “I think that improvements in trauma care clearly have made a great difference,” he said. “On the other hand, if you don’t know the extent of all of the patients, and all of the data, you can make some erroneous conclusions.”

At University Hospital, which treats the vast majority of shooting victims from Newark and surrounding towns, Livingston and other doctors decided to do their own research.

“It’s easy to count dead people. But counting people who are merely injured? The data was all over the place, and, frankly, terrible,” Livingston said.

In a paper published early this year, they looked back at their own hospital’s records and logged every gunshot wound patient from 2000 to 2011.

What they found was that the number of patients injured by guns had actually held roughly steady over the past decade. But the injuries were getting worse. The percentage of patients who came in with multiple bullet wounds had increased from only 10 percent in 2001 to 23 percent in 2011. The incidence of brain and spinal cord injuries almost doubled.

And though trauma care has advanced over the past decade, the mortality rate for gunshot wound patients in Newark had actually increased, from 9 percent to 14 percent.

With more severe gunshot injuries came increased costs. The researchers estimated the total cost over 10 years for their hospital was at least $115 million — and three quarters of that was unreimbursed, which meant that taxpayers ultimately paid the bills.

In total, the hospital had treated an average of 527 patients with intentional violent gunshot injuries each year: “unrelenting violence,” as the researchers termed it.

Are the trends that the Newark researchers observed an anomaly? Or are gunshot wound injuries across the county becoming more severe, as they have at this one hospital? The Newark researchers looked for national data and could not find it.

After the American Bar Association and medical and public health groups collaborated on an extensive campaign — with the message, “what we don’t know is killing us” — Congress did approve funds to begin building a National Violent Death Reporting System in 2002. The push was inspired by a successful effort to track highway vehicle accidents, which experts say has helped reduce the number of deaths from car crashes.

But until last year, the system had only received enough congressional funding to collect detailed data on deaths in 18 states. Then after the Sandy Hook shootings, Congress approved an additional nearly $8 million for database, though that still isn’t enough to detail violent deaths in all 50 states.

President Obama has asked for enough funding next year — $23.5 million — to allow the CDC to finally begin to collect violent death data nationwide.

As for tracking the number of Americans who are violently injured and survive, CDC spokeswoman Courtney Lenard, said simply, that “is something that may be considered in the future.”

Funding a CDC effort to track nonfatal violence is not the only path to getting a better answer. Livingston and Demetriades, the Los Angeles trauma surgeon, suggested that independent medical associations could also help collect national nonfatal gun injury data, supported by government funding, and perhaps by legislation. In order to get a clear picture of gun violence, injury data from hospitals should be combined with local law enforcement data about crimes, they said.

Another solution might be better FBI data. “In my opinion, the FBI’s UniformCrime Reports system should be changed so that it tracks nonfatal gunshot woundings in criminal assaults,” said Daniel Webster, a gun violence researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

“If the FBI could get local agencies to include nonfatal criminal shootings into its UCR system, you have the capacity to track information that hospitals couldn’t — distinguishing domestic shootings, from gang shootings, from robbery shootings.”

An FBI spokesman said that changes in data collection practices could be made through congressional mandate or through the Criminal Justice Information Services Division Advisory Process, which would require buy-in from an advisory board of local, state and national law enforcement representatives.

In the past, changes to UCR data collection methods have been rare, the spokesman said. But several changes have been made in recent years, including changing the definition of rape, and changing how data about hate crimes is collected.

Cook, the Duke University researcher, said that the first step should be to find out why CDC data shows a different trend than other measures, and clarifying whether the ways hospitals collect data — or changes in the willingness of patients with minor gunshot wounds to come to the hospital for treatment — might explain the disparity.

“We have a variety of other evidence that gun violence is going down,” Cook said. “By Occam’s razor, I’d have to believe that the simplest explanation is that the nonfatal woundings are going down, too.”

 

Alec Baldwin Arrested for Riding his Bike the Wrong Way

Alec Baldwin Arrested
Actor Alec Baldwin was arrested in New York City Tuesday morning for riding his bike the wrong way, according to reports. Photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)

Alec Baldwin, one of Long Island’s proudest sons, was arrested in New York City Tuesday morning for riding his bike the wrong direction, according to reports.

In Touch Weekly, which published photos of the incident, cited an “insider” who revealed to them the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

In the same report, the magazine quoted two witnesses giving contradictory reports of Baldwin’s mindset while he was being handcuffed. One said he was calm, while another said Baldwin “went Ballistic on the cops, screaming at them.”

The New York Daily News reported that the Massapequa-born actor “became belligerent” and voiced his displeasure with the officers. Apparently Baldwin didn’t have identification on him at the time and reportedly told police: “’Just give me the f—–g summonses,'” according to the News.

The tabloid reported that the former star of NBC’s 30 Rock was, indeed, issued a summons and released.

After Pledge of Sunlight, Cuomo Officials Keep Their Email in the Shadows

Andrew Cuomo
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, left, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, at MTA New York City Transit Headquarters on Oct. 24, 2013.

Adopting a tactic that has been used by officials ranging from Sarah Palin to staffers of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are sending emails from private accounts to conduct official business.

I know because I got one myself. And three other people who interact with the governor’s office on policy or media matters told me they have too. None of the others wanted to be named.

The tactic appears to be another item in the toolbox of an administration that, despite Cuomo’s early vows of unprecedented transparency, has become known for an obsession with secrecy. Emailing from private accounts can help officials hide communications and discussions that are supposed to be available to the public.

“Government business should never be conducted through private email accounts. Not only does it make it difficult to retrieve what is a government record, but it just invites the suspicion that a government employee is attempting to evade accountability by supervisors and the public,” said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, a frequent requester of records under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

Emailing from private accounts also may violate state policy. State employees are not to “use a personal email account to conduct State business unless explicitly authorized,” according to a policy bearing the governor’s name published by the Office of Information Technology Services.

The Cuomo administration declined to comment on whether any employees are authorized to use private accounts.

Back when he was running for governor, Cuomo pledged, “We must use technology to bring more sunlight to the operation of government.”

The governor himself uses a BlackBerry messaging system that does not save messages to communicate with aides, the Daily News reported in 2012. Under the Freedom of Information Law, those records would typically not have to be released because there is an exemption for internal deliberative material.

But emails with anyone outside of the administration—such as lobbyists, company executives, or reporters—usually have to be made public upon request. It is for those communications, with people outside the administration, that private email accounts have been used.

Last year, I was poking around on a possible story and filed some public records requests that sought emails from Director of State Operations Howard Glaser, a top Cuomo adviser. One day in October, just hours after filing a request with the governor’s office, an email appeared in my inbox from Glaser himself.

The email, inquiring what I was working on, was sent from a @glasergroup.net address rather than a government account. The note had a signature line about not using the email address for official business (even though it appeared to be doing just that). My interest was piqued.

So I filed a request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, asking for all records sent to and from Glaser’s private account. It is not supposed to matter if an email is sent from an official account or a private one: If it pertains to government business, it typically has to be released.

A couple of months later, the Cuomo administration responded with a terse denial: “Please be advised that the New York State Executive Chamber has conducted a diligent search, but does not possess records responsive to your request.”

I appealed, noting that I had in my possession a record responsive to the request 2013 Glaser’s email to me 2013 and included it as an attachment.

The administration upheld its original denial, now citing a retention issue.

“[T]he fact that this record is in your possession does not mean that the Chamber failed to produce a responsive record in its possession. Emails and certain other correspondence are not required to be preserved indefinitely,” the March letter said.

When I asked about the email this month, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi took a different tack, now disputing that Glaser was emailing me in his official capacity at all and calling the email “informal.”

“It would be inaccurate to characterize Howard’s email as official business—as he noted, your official business was being handled by the FOIL office, not him,” Azzopardi said.

But I have no personal relationship with Glaser, and my Freedom of Information Law requests focused only on his activities as a state official. When I recently asked Glaser about his email practices, he said, “I don’t use personal email to conduct official business.” He would not say how he defines “official business.”

In its letter denying my request for emails from Glaser’s private account, the administration cited the general retention policy of the State Archives. That policy says that “many email communications are not records and are therefore suitable for immediate destruction” but also that those emails which are records must be preserved.

So how does one determine which emails are “records”?

The governor’s office seems to take a particularly narrow view. The governor’s policy says that emails are only “records” if they are formal documents like press releases and nominations. Azzopardi, the Cuomo spokesman, said: “Official email is not required to be retained unless it meets the definition of a particular kind of record (eg—contract), consistent with the State Archives policy.”

But the Archives, which Cuomo’s office itself cited, takes a more expansive view, even as state law gives the governor leeway to determine which records should be kept.

Quoting the official definition of records, Archives spokeswoman Antonia Valentine said an email is a record if it is created “in connection with the transaction of public business (and provides) 2026 evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities (of an agency).”

In practice, Glaser seems to be either eschewing his official email account or promptly deleting messages of substance. When I asked for a 10-day sample of emails from Glaser’s official account, I got back little actual communication: 147 pages that are largely filled with newsletters, press releases, and the occasional terse email to set up a phone call.

The use of private accounts can result in even more roadblocks when an official leaves the government. (Glaser is reportedly leaving the administration in June.)

The issue has come up before.

In 2007, executives from the insurance giant AIG filed a public records request with the Office of the Attorney General, seeking, among other things, former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s communications with the press from the period when he had sued the insurance giant. That request was resisted for years by Spitzer’s successor as attorney general: Andrew Cuomo.

While Cuomo’s office eventually released emails sent from official accounts, it maintained that Spitzer’s use of a private account put any of those emails beyond its reach.

“[T]he reality is that the Office of the Attorney General lacks access to this account and possession of whatever e-mails it may contain, thus rendering them beyond the scope of petitioner’s FOIL request both practically and legally,” Cuomo’s office said in a 2009 court filing.

A judge ruled against the attorney general’s office, which has appealed. Seven years since the original request, the case is still in the courts and Spitzer’s private email account—which he was known to use in his capacity as a state official—has never been searched for records.

Lawyers for Spitzer joined the case this year, arguing in a March filing that because Spitzer is now a former employee and a private citizen, the Freedom of Information Law doesn’t apply.

Beyond the governor’s office, the state is reportedly moving toward an email system that would automatically delete emails after 90 days except for those marked by users to save.

It’s not clear how that process would work or how the state will ensure that records are not destroyed. The Office of Information and Technology Services declined to provide the memo describing the new policy, requiring that I file a formal public records request to get it.

Transparency advocates have criticized 90 days as too short a period because emails may only become relevant months later after a scandal or other event.

A document on the IT office’s website references the possibility in a state email system for “recovery of deleted mailbox contents for the length of the retention period”—another capability that would not exist for officials using private accounts.

Across the river in New Jersey, private email accounts are at the center of the Bridgegate scandal.

The infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email was sent from a Christie aide’s Yahoo account to another official’s Gmail account. That tactic held off public access to the email for a time.

In December, the Christie administration claimed it did not have records in response to a request from the Record of Bergen, N.J. The emails became public later, only after the officials were subpoenaed by the state Assembly.

If you have gotten emails from the private account of an official in the governor’s office or other state or city agencies, email me at justin@propublica.org.