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Top 10 Most-clicked Long Island Press Local News Stories of 2018

10. Remains Scattered on LI Linked, ID’d As Actor’s Son

Ali A. Fakhri, left, was found dead on Long Island. His father, Jamil Fakhri, was a popular Pakistani television actor.

A human skull found in Ronkonkoma two years ago belonged to a an actor’s son whose torso was discovered at a Melville landfill seven years prior, the Press first reported this summer.

9. Small Craft Brewing Sets Sail in Amityville

Brothers Gerald and Greg Sims opened Small Craft Brewery in Amityville.

In lighter news, one of Long Island’s newest craft breweries, the nautical-themed Small Craft Brewing in Amityville, opened its tasting room to much fan fare in March.

8. Bald Eagles Soar Over LI Once Again

Bald eagles soar over LI once more. (Shutterstock)
Designated our national symbol in 1782, bald eagles once blanketed America with hundreds of thousands of nesting pairs. Their rising numbers on LI drew much interest.
 

7. 5 Long Islanders Competing in 2018 Winter Olympics

From left to right: John Daly, Matthew Gilroy, Devin Logan, Justin Krewson and Matt Mortensen (Team USA photos).
Long Islanders watched with great interest as five hometown heroes were among 242 members of Team USA who went for the gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics this February in PyeongChang, South Korea.
 

6. UFO Investigator: LI Sightings Soar

From left ti right: A photo of an alleged UFO sighting in East Setauket, a Holstville woman’s sketch of a craft she says she saw near her home, and a photo of another alleged UFO, this time in Port Jefferson.

Also drawing interest was the fact that Suffolk County led New York State in the number of UFO sightings reported during the 2001-2015 period. Nassau County ranks fourth.

 

5. NY’s Biggest Dumping Bust Nabs 24 on LI

www.houstondwiattorney.net
Photo by www.houstondwiattorney.net

Two dozen suspects were arrested on Long Island in what New York State officials billed as the largest bust of its kind cracking down on illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste.

 

4. Democrats Win NY Senate Majority After LI Upsets

constitutional convention
The New York State Capitol Building in Albany.

Democrats unseated three New York State Senators on Long Island and picked up a fourth seat previously held by a Republican, which flipped control of the chamber from the GOP to the Dems.

3. Nassau Cops Accused in Drug Ring, Casino Robbery Plot

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

In one of the most shocking cases of the year, three Nassau County police officers were among 11 people arrested in four indictments alleging a local drug dealing ring and a thwarted Long Island casino robbery plot, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

2. Judge Orders SCPD To Turn Over Shannan Gilbert 911 Tape

Shannan Gilbert
Shannan Gilbert

A Suffolk County judge ordered police to produce the recording of the 911 call made by a woman whose disappearance led to the discovery of the Long Island Serial Killer’s dumping grounds. But as of this post, police were still appealing the ruling and have yet to turn over the tape.

  1. Netflix Making Lost Girls Movie About Long Island Serial Killer Case
    Lost Girls, a movie based on the nonfiction book of the same name chronicling the unsolved Long Island Serial Killer case, is set to be turned into a movie, Netflix announced in May. After this post, the crew was spotted shooting scenes on LI.
     

Top 11 Long Island Stories of 2018

11. JUSTIFY WINS TRIPLE CROWN

Justify wins the Belmont Stakes. Photo by Mike Lizzi.

For just the 13th time in history of the Belmont Stakes, a horse won the Triple Crown in June, on the 150th anniversary of the race. Under the watch of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and under the guidance of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Justify’s name will forever run deep in Belmont. As Larry Collmus, calling the action live for NBC Sports, said as Justify soared past the finishing gate: “He’s just perfect, and now he’s just immortal.”

10. SHARK ATTACK

Lifeguards at Watch Hill on Fire Island rescue a swimmer caught in a rip current on July 3, 2015 (Photo by Timothy Bolger)

For the first time in 70 years, a shark bit a swimmer at a Long Island beach in July, triggering a frenzy of paranoia not seen since Jaws debuted in 1975. Another shark is believed to have bitten a second swimmer a few miles away, but only one incident was confirmed by a shark tooth that was left behind. The injuries were minor, but the fear it sparked was real.

9. NASSAU’S NEW GOP BOSS

Joe Mondello, left, and Joe Cairo, right.

After a record 35 years leading the Nassau County Republican Committee, it was hard to imagine anyone else but Joe Mondello in the post. But shortly after the party suffered losses in last year’s local elections, news broke that President Donald Trump made Mondello ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. Mondello’s right-hand man, Nassau County Off-Track Betting Corporation President Joe Cairo, took over for the former party leader.

8. RETURN OF MY FATHER’S PLACE

Outside the original My Father’s Place in Roslyn. (Photo by Steve Rosenfeld)

Thirty-one years after the closing of My Father’s Place, the legendary music venue in Roslyn credited with helping nurture the early careers of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and other rock royalty, owner Michael “Eppy” Epstein reopened its doors this year at the Roslyn Hotel. True to form, Eppy is continuing on with the tradition of booking top-notch original acts at the reincarnated club.

7. RAYNOR UNSEATS HOOPER

Left to right: Taylor Raynor and Deputy Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead).

Long Island voters sent 30-year incumbent Deputy Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) into retirement when they elected community activist Taylor Raynor to replace her. Hooper had been the third in command of the Democrat-led Assembly. Raynor’s stunning upset came when she won the Democratic line in the September primaries and later sailed to victory on Election Day.

6. ANTI-GANG ACTIVIST LOST

Evelyn Rodriguez (White House photo)

Evelyn Rodriguez, whose daughter was one of two teens that MS-13 killed in a high-profile double murder two years ago, channeled her grief into becoming an anti-gang activist. President Donald Trump invited her to the State of The Union address and a discussion on the gang on Long Island in May. Sadly, she was fatally struck by a driver during a confrontation just before a candlelight vigil and march scheduled to honor the memory of her daughter in September.

5. CORRUPTION CONUNDRUM CONTINUES

From left: Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and ex-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

Ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was acquitted of federal corruption charges, but still faces a separate case in Nassau County court. His co-defendants, Former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Mangano’s wife, Linda, saw their case end in a mistrial. Dean Skelos, the former state senate leader, was convicted a second time but will serve his prison sentence while appealing again. And that’s only scratching the surface of local politicos landing in criminal court this year.

4. LIRR PRESIDENT RESIGNS

LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski addresses media on May 24, 2016. (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

Embattled Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski resigned in May and was replaced by MTA Chief Operating Officer Phil Eng. The news followed reports that the LIRR — the nation’s busiest commuter railroad — had its worst performance in 18 years in 2017. Nowakowski led the LIRR for four years. 

3. #METOO ON LI

Ex-New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

In one of the most stunning developments of the #MeToo movement, just hours after The New Yorker published a story detailing allegations of domestic, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, he resigned. Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas was appointed special prosecutor to investigate, but declined to bring charges. Some of the alleged incidents reportedly occurred in the Hamptons.

2. 4 LI-BASED AIRMEN KILLED IN IRAQ

Aircraft from the 106th Rescue Wing depart F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in preparation of Hurricane Sandy. (Official U.S. Air Force Photo by TSgt Eric Miller/Released)

Four members of the New York Air National Guard’s Westhampton Beach-based 106th Rescue Wing were among seven U.S. service members killed in March in a helicopter crash in Iraq. They included Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs of Port Jefferson Station, 39-year-old Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso of Commack, and Capt. Christopher Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City.

1. LI DEMS FLIP NY SENATE

State Sen.-elect Kevin Thomas, at podium, speaks at a news conference after
Election Day. L to R are James Gaughran, Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, state Sen.
John Brooks (D-Massapequa) and Anna Kaplan. (Long Island Press photo)

The most impactful story of the year arrived on Election night, when results showed that Democrats unseated three veteran Republican New York State senators from Long Island and won a district vacated by another. Republicans had long held that the Senate was their lone check on Democrat power in the progressive state’s capitol. How the Dems will wield their newfound power will be closely watched.

Long Beach Home With Tuscan Villa Feel Asks $1.7M

This four-story, two-family home filled with artistic details and within walking distance to the beach is listed for sale at 129 West Olive St. in Long Beach.

Built in 1915, this nine-bedroom home has seven and a half bathrooms and 5,200 square feet of living space. Its high ceilings, two terraces, and intricate, hand-crafted gorgeous details in every room gives the feeling of being in a Tuscan Villa.

The brick-faced, one-of-a-kind house comes equipped with an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, fireplace, and a fully finished basement. Outside, it has an attached two-car garage and a porch.

It’s located two blocks from the Long Beach Long Island Rail Road station and is nearby Long Beach Boulevard, which links the Long Beach Island—a barrier island protecting the South Shore of Long Island from the ocean—and its eponymous city to mainland Long Island.

As for the other two bridges off the island, the house is three miles from the Loop Parkway to the east and three miles from Nassau Boulevard to the west. And it’s within walking distance of downtown LBC, a lively seaside community that is the closest thing to California found on LI.

The house is in the Long Beach School District, which had its high school ranked No. 22 on The Washington Post‘s list of the Most Challenging High Schools on LI last year.

The asking price is $1,799,000, not including the annual property taxes of $13,754.

The real estate agents listed for the property are Todd Litz and Elaine Richheimer of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. They can be reached at 516-623-4500.

Who Serves The Best Brunch on Long Island?

Brunch Dining Cafe Restaurant Table Setting Salad

There’s probably nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than sleeping in and getting brunch and Long Island is sprinkled with plenty of great brunch spots to choose from.

Long Islanders voted Milleridge Inn as having the Best Brunch on Long Island in the 2018 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest.

Countless Long Islanders cherish this historic—and special—restaurant, event venue and gift shop village. The Milleridge Inn has remained an integral part of Long Island’s collective experience for more than 300 years, and its brunches deserve recognition at the top of this list because, quite simply, they are legendary.

Milleridge’s “Grand Sunday Buffet Brunch,” besides offering a vast selection of fresh, premium food to satisfy every appetite and featuring traditional breakfast specialties in addition to bountiful seafood and carving stations, have become intertwined with that history.

It’s a truly extraordinary place and a truly extraordinary meal.

To find all the other Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestof.longislandpress.com Winners in the 2019 Best of Long Island program will be announced in February. Nominations for the 2020 contest begin Jan. 1.

Milleridge Inn is located at 585 N. Broadway in Jericho. It can be reached at 516-931-2201 or milleridgeinn.com

5 Products To Help You Achieve A Better You

SOUNDS OF SLEEP
This unique sleep intervention uses sound vibrations to lull the body into a state of relaxation, making it easier to drift off to sleep and resulting in deeper sleep with fewer awakenings. Their carefully crafted playlist features songs with frequencies, tempos, and structure that are proven to be the most conducive to sleep and relaxation. Users can also upload their own tracks. $159 dreampadsleep.com

STRIKING OIL

Embrace the amazing wellness benefits of essential oils, which can help users have a healthier mind, body, and home, naturally. For example, peppermint oil can support the gastrointestinal tract and healthy digestion. Starter kit 11 oils and a diffuser is $160. thewelloiledlife.com

BOTTOMS UPThis company bills itself as offering the cleanest, safest, and healthiest water available, using a proprietary alkaline water filtration system that removes chemicals, heavy metals, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and Flouride. The water is mineralized with Coral Calcium and a special mineral that replicates the best alkaline spring waters found in nature. pHountain, Multiple locations, $2.50 per gallon. Phountain.com

READY, AIM, MASSAGE

With its uniquely calibrated frequency, amplitude, and torque, the Theragun was engineered to effectively treat sore lactic-acid-filled muscles and other muscle-related conditions. Additionally, it allows the activation of muscles and joints to achieve a broader range of motion. $399. theragun.com

OH SAY CAN YOU Açaí

Photo by Archie.

OK, judging by the rate at which new Açaí (pronounced ah-SIGH-E) shops are popping up across Long Island, this isn’t exactly a new trend. But it’s still surprising how many people have not caught on to this deliciously healthy snack alternative. For the uninitiated, the yogurt-like yumminess is made from the Açaí berry, billed as the healthiest berry on Earth. Multiple locations, sobol.com

Bayfront Huntington Home With Indoor Pool Asks $2.4M

Offering North Shore coastal living at its finest is this spectacular waterfront Mediterranean that is an entertainer’s dream listed for sale at 127A E Neck Rd. in Huntington.

Built in 1984 on a half-acre lot, this four-bedroom, five-bathroom home has amazing features inside and out, from its private beach, mooring, and unobstructed panoramic views of Northport Bay to the heated indoor swimming pool.

The house comes equipped with an eat-in gourmet chef’s kitchen, formal dining room, living room, den, office, three fireplaces, and central air conditioning. It has a fully finished basement that features a sauna, media room, and lower-level walkout. The second-floor master suite includes a private balcony.

Outside it has a three-car attached garage, waterfront deck, a multi-level backyard, and 125 feet of water frontage.

The property is within walking distance of Crescent Beach Town Park and Fleets Cove Beach Park and is nearby the Huntington Crescent Club. It’s about two miles from downtown Huntington and the Greenlawn Long Island Rail Road station. It falls within the Harborfields School District.

The asking price is $2,499,000, not including the annual property taxes of $34,985.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Michael Sadis of Signature Premier Properties. He can be reached at 631-692-4800.

What Is The Best Craft Beer Brewery on Long Island?

Breweries are increasingly plentiful on Long Island, lucky for us, and they all have their own ways of concocting beers with distinct flavors to provide a wide variety of choices for customers.

But if your tastebuds are looking for good quality brew, which local brewery stands out from the crowd? Long Islanders voted Oyster Bay Brewing Company the Best Craft Beer Brewery on Long Island in the 2018 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest.

Ever tried Oyster Bay Brewing Company’s Honey Ale? How sweet this happy hoppy experience is—just one example of the many tasty craft sensations served up by this year’s winner of The Best craft brew brewery on Long Island.

They’re overflowing with reasons to enjoy all their offerings! Are you thirsty yet? Look at the head of foam on that mug! Don’t you just want to pour that liquid amber ambrosia down your throat where it belongs? We bet you do.

And you know what? While you’re sipping—or guzzling—the master brewers at Oyster Bay Brewing Company are busy doing what they do best, so you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors at your favorite venue where their artistry is on tap!

Because beer is always more enjoyable when you buy it straight from the place that created it. 

To find all the other Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestof.longislandpress.com Winners in the 2019 Best of Long Island program will be announced in February. Nominations for the 2020 contest begin Jan. 1.

Oyster Bay Brewing Company is located at 36 Audrey Ave. in Oyster Bay. It can be reached at 516-802-5546 or oysterbaybrewing.com

Core Values This Holiday Season Can Teach Your Child

By Michelle Dell’Aquila

For many children, there is not any better time than Christmas.

The idea of receiving gifts is exciting and treasured by a child. The holidays can teach some core values that children can use the entirety of their life. Gift giving and the rewards that accompany gift giving are some of the most unparalleled benefits a child can receive.

A few of the internal benefits your child can receive by giving are:

Gratitude– A feeling of thankfulness is formed especially if giving to people in need. Children can see and appreciate the things they have.

Mindfulness– Giving cultivates mindfulness. Children become more conscious of their environment and the people in it and how those people act, treat them and are treated in return.

Compassion– Giving rather than receiving is an act of compassion or kindness. Children learn how to be kind to others which improves the quality of life of all involved.

Increase Your Focus On Giving Rather Than Receiving

A season focused on giving can be created in your household. One of the key questions you can ask your children is, “how do you want to give back this Christmas?”

This question opens the doors to a meaningful conversation about giving and kindness. The holidays are an excellent time to implement a season of giving that can grow to be utilized throughout the year.

Action is the key to giving. Talking to your child about giving and receiving and the reasons why have their limitations. Demonstrating the act of giving allows the children to see first-hand how it affects everyone positively. A few family giving ideas are:

Donating to a food bank
Sponsoring a person or family in need
Visiting the local hospital or nursing home
Letting the child pick a charity to support

There are many ways to give back. Serve food to the homeless, go through toys and donate any items your child has selected, donate monetarily, or buy presents for impoverished children or families. By giving, your child will begin to understand that kindness and caring help others.

Remember That They Are Kids

The holidays are a time full of wonder and excitement for children. No school, sweets, family, trips, and of course gifts, add to the chaos of it all. Try to keep some routine in their daily schedule and remember that events such as family gatherings or lots of sitting can be quite demanding of a child. Plenty of physical activity and sessions of downtime will keep frustration to a minimum as the season progresses.

They may not fully understand the gift of giving, but it is never to early to start. Giving back is a learning process for children that opens the doors to kindness, overall well-being, and gratitude. By giving, your child receives the best gift of all.

Michelle Dell’Aquila, M.A. is a licensed child therapist who is currently the director of CDA, a program geared for infants to 5-year-old providing developmental assessments, advice to parents at home and for teachers in school

Newly Built Bayfront Plandome Home Asks $11.5M

This newly designed and built Connecticut Stone and ship-lap Center Hall Colonial situated on a private road overlooking Manhasset Bay is listed for sale at 29 The Terrace in the Village of Plandome.

Built in 2018 on a 1.6-acre lot, this six-bedroom home has seven bathrooms, four half bathrooms, and 9,201 square feet of living space. It’s scenic location offers year-round sunset views and a dock permit.

The house comes equipped with an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, library, office, powder room, three fireplaces, and central air conditioning. The fully finished basement features a gym, sauna, wine room, family room with fireplace, a bedroom and one and a half bathrooms. Outside it has a three-car attached garage, patio, and deck.

The property is nearby the Plandome Country Club, Sands Point Preserve and other parks and golf courses. It’s less than a mile from the Plandome Long Island Raul Road station and also convenient to the downtown area. It is located in the Manhasset School District.

The asking price is $11,500,000.

The real estate agent listed for the property are Rosemary Barrett and Brian Barrett of Laffey Real Estate. They can be reached at 516-627-4343.

Suffolk Makes Revenge Porn A Crime

Revenge porn, the act of sharing pornographic images of people online without their consent, is now a crime on eastern Long Island.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed a bill into law Monday that makes sharing revenge porn a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine.

“Smart phones and social media have ushered in a new era of photographing and videotaping that make it easier than ever to capture what should remain personal moments,” Bellone said. “However, sharing and distributing that content without consent is more than just an instance of poor judgment. It’s a criminal act that can have widespread implications affecting one’s life and mental health.”

Forty states, Washington, D.C., and New York City already have such laws on the books, but similar legislation stalled in the New York State Legislature.

In Suffolk’s law, violators will also be subject to civil judgments where they may be held liable for compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and more.

The nonprofit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) estimates nearly half of young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 have sent nude or seminude photos of themselves to others; two thirds have received sexually explicit photos of others. Revenge porn occurs when these sexually explicit photographs are shared without individuals’ consent, including photographs taken without consent as well as images intended to be shared exclusively within personal relationships. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be victims of revenge porn.

“Victims of revenge porn are often embarrassed or afraid to come forward, but we know these crimes can lead to serious consequences for victims, such as cyberbullying, emotional distress and isolation, even suicide,” Suffolk County District Attorney Sini said. “With this legislation, we’re sending a message to victims that we are here to protect them and sending a message to would-be offenders that the act of disseminating someone else’s intimate images without their consent is, in fact, a crime.”

If someone may be a victim of revenge porn, please call the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at 631-853-5602 or email SCDAPhotoExtortion@suffolkcountyny.gov to report the incident.