Long Island Press

The Long Island Press

The Target – July 2013

The Target - July, 2013


The Target - July, 2013YEEZUS

OFF TARGET After releasing an album where he compares himself to Jesus, the ever-humble Kanye West and Kim Kardashian name their child North West because reportedly, “Nothing is north of north.” So this kid is not only doomed from the start as the child of two of the most self-absorbed people on the planet and having a mother famous for her sex tape, she’s going to have to deal with being named after a cardinal direction in the playground wars. The only shocker? The kid’s name isn’t spelled Knorth.


BULL’S EYE In a huge victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows the federal government to deny same-sex spouses the benefits granted to straight couples like Social Security, pensions and joint tax returns, is unconstitutional. President Barack Obama called the ruling “a historic step forward” on Twitter with the hashtags #MarriageEquality and #LoveIsLove but our favorite Tweet came from Bette Midler: “Surprise benefit of gay marriage to me? Thousands of weddings where they play ‘Wind Beneath My Wings!’” Gay marriage = a win-win.


PARTIAL SCORE In an effort to stimulate public discussion on its site, Facebook decides to implement clickable, searchable hashtags, similar (read: identical) to Twitter’s. If your posts aren’t set to private, and you include a hashtag in your status update, don’t be surprised to see a few likes from random people you don’t know, only now that’s not just limited to your friends list. Now, when one of our “friends” makes a particularly insightful post and attaches #yoloswag to the end of it, we’ll be able to compare it to the rest of the world’s efforts. Thanks, Facebook.


OFF TARGET A man who hired a female escort and fatally shot her on Christmas Eve 2009 after she refused to have sex with him is acquitted of murder by a jury of his peers—in Texas. Ezekiel Gilbert’s defense argued that his actions were justified because under Texas law, deadly force can be used to recover property. While prosecutors argued the law didn’t apply in this particular situation, the jury sided with Gilbert, who was cleared of all charges and released. So, that whole secession thing…is that still on the table?


PARTIAL SCORE Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot and a slew of other companies drop Paula Deen in a desperate attempt to distance themselves from bad PR after the celebrity chef admits she used the N-word to describe a black suspect after an armed robbery at the bank where she was working as a teller in 1987. Deen, who has apologized multiple times publicly for her actions nearly three decades ago, has already lost millions in endorsements and her contract with the Food Network. Deen’s sons call what’s happening a “character assassination” and author Ann Rice compared it to “a crucifixion.” Of course, none of this would even matter in Texas.


PARTIAL SCORE Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer, more famously known as the “you’re gonna like the way you look” guy, was fired after a dispute with the company’s board. This leaves Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” virtually unopposed in the rugged-yet-distinguished-old-guy-on-TV category. We’re sure that’s got to count for something.

Sound Smart at a Party – July, 2013

Space Tweet

Space Tweet

Ever wanted to tweet E.T.? Instagram ALF? Now you can… for a price. Space tech start-up Lone Signal is using radio waves to send people’s 144-character messages to planets near red dwarf star Gliese 526—17.6 light-years away. The first message is free, while each subsequent text message costs one credit, and a photo costs three credits. Those interested in messaging their intergalactic relatives can buy four credits for 99 cents, or 4,000 credits for $99.99. Would-be space tweeters beware: Social media spam could invite alien invasion. And don’t hold your breath on quick replies. Any returning messages won’t arrive until 2050, giving humanity plenty of time to unfollow pissed-off extraterrestrials.

[colored_box color=”yellow”]If the Sun were the size of a beach ball, then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and the Earth would be as small as a pea.[/colored_box]

Fluffy Cows

Fluffy Cows

It’s hard to imagine, but cows, high on the list of favorite farm animals, are being improved upon. Fluffy bovines from an Iowa farm went viral recently, causing the Internet to collectively coo over the cuddly looking cows. But don’t think that the glossy coats of these cows—used in show rings at state fairs—come easy. Like any beauty routine, it takes a lot of time (and blow dryers and hair spray) to give a cow that glamorous glow. In other bovine news, scientists at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland are trying to breed burp-less cows, because cow burps contain methane, which contributes to global warming. Wouldn’t it be easier to tell cows that burping is rude?

To Clap or Not to Clap

Swedish scientists have found that the length of applause depends on mob rule and has nothing to do with the quality of a performance. Think the next concert or play you attend deserves a standing ovation? Simply keep on clapping and everyone else will follow the lead. But, with great cheers comes great responsibility. The scientists also found that just as it takes one or two people to start applause, one or two people can stop clapping and end applause.

Guinness Is Good For You

Bathing suit season is here, which means beachgoers are looking for low-calorie beverages this summer. Among them? Guinness Draught. It has fewer calories than orange juice and the same amount of calories as skim milk. Twelve ounces of Guinness has 125 calories, while orange juice and skim milk have, on average, 155 calories and 125 calories. This is because, compared to milk and OJ, Guinness has zero fat, more plain water content and fewer proteins and sugars. Guinness also has fewer calories than a lot of other beers, including Coors and Budweiser, because it has 4-percent alcohol content per volume versus the 6-percent of other beers. Most of the calorie content in beer comes from alcohol.

Letters to the Press – July 2013

Letters to the Long Island Press - July, 2013

Letters to the Long Island Press - July, 2013

[colored_box color=”blue”]RE: Woman’s Body Washes Ashore at Gilgo Beach

I have a feeling a horror film will one day be made called ‘Gilgo Beach.’

Jeffrey G. Koch via Facebook[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”grey”]RE: Princesses: Long Island

I was shocked to see that adult women behave this way…and even more appalled that they live right here on Long Island…shame on them and shame on Bravo.

Marie Naumann, via Facebook[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]I left LI 7 yrs ago 4 much higher paying job/affordable housing in CLE of all places! But miss LI terribly

@kimlaw662 via Twitter[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”grey”]The federal government has been accused of collecting data on all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data such as parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, etc., so they will have the knowledge to concoct all kinds of charges if they want to target anyone. They feel that they have the authority to do this in Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which gives them license to take all commercially held data about us. What happened to the Fourth Amendment in our Constitution, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures? This amendment was also violated in the Boston Marathon bombing when they searched private homes without a warrant. Welcome to 1984, where Big Brother wants to watch every move that we make. We must also remember that trading away civil liberties for security results in the loss of both freedom and security.

Janet McCarthy, Flushing via email[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]I really didn’t mind Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale’s participation in Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s “Flush the Johns” dog-and-pony-show featuring the names and photos of 104 men who chose to break the law and were arrested by undercover police officers for patronizing prostitutes. Except for the facts that there was no Client No. 105 named Eliot Spitzer, and also that Dale refused to identify the hotels where these crimes took place, so I could avoid staying at any of them myself. Then I read the “Law & Order” interview with Dale [Long Island Press, June, 2013]. In it, we are told that his NCPD is a “depleted department” with a “shortage of cops” that “doesn’t have the manpower” to “direct personnel to problem areas.” And Dale himself is directly quoted as saying, “We don’t have enough people…we don’t have the personnel…we are so short right now.” Given all that, I just think Nassau police ought to be spending more of their time on more serious—and violent—crimes. But I do believe that if the police spend any time arresting prostitutes or pimps they should—in fairness—also arrest the men who patronize them.

Richard Siegelman, Plainview via email[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”grey”]Hasn’t the time come for New York to step into the 21st century and follow the lead of 46 other states to make some level of consumer fireworks legal for sale and use in the state? Kentucky, Maine and Michigan have recognized two factors related to consumer fireworks: first and foremost, the products are safer today than they have ever been before, and secondly, the sale of consumer fireworks can raise some badly needed revenue for the government.

Everyone loves fireworks. People love to watch Major League sports, but they also love to play sandlot sports. The same holds true with fireworks. People love to watch professional displays, but they also love to shoot their own backyard fireworks, too.

New York legislators have the power to change the fireworks laws and take New Yorkers out of the shadows of uncertainty and illegality, and bring New York to parity with 46 other states that permit the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks. This is long overdue.

Bill Weimer, Phantom Fireworks Vice President via snail mail[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]Love that my hometown paper, @LongIslandPress, made national headlines with their #WarPowers scoop

@sparrowmedia via Twitter[/colored_box]

2013 Long Island Press Power List

Long Island Power List 2013

Long Island Power List 2013 Cover

The process of selecting honorees for the Power List is so highly secretive even the NSA doesn’t know who’s on it until it comes out. Okay, that’s probably not true. The point is we typically play it pretty close to the vest.

The Power List issue has particular meaning to the Press staff as it was actually our debut issue in 2003. Although we began publishing bi-weekly as The Island Ear in 2002, the Power List in January of 2003 was our official start in the alternative publishing world. From the beginning we sought to identify the people who impacted life on Long Island and shaped its image. From our first introductory editorial in 2003:

“We were looking for more than mere celebrity or financial clout. We wanted those who made the most of their resources, whatever those resources were. We tended to reject those who held big titles but used them to little effect… We insisted on real Long Islanders, not pseudo-Islanders with country homes in the Hamptons.”

The original list included lesser-known figures like independent music promoter Christian McKnight and DOT acting director Tom Oelerich, alongside highly visible and prominent leaders such as former Senator Alfonse D’Amato and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang. Topping the list that year (as his son James would in later years) was Cablevision founder Charles Dolan. And even though Robert Moses was deceased for more than two decades, we even put him on the list. (We have since revised this policy. Only the living may appear.)

Our strategy hasn’t changed much, and—for better or for worse—neither has many of the names. Therefore, in order to prevent the list from becoming stale with perennial “Power Listers,” we created the Power List Hall of Fame for individuals who made the list five times. It’s like raising a star athlete’s jersey to the rafters. But instead of a jersey, we commission a caricature likeness of this individual that is sometimes flattering and sometimes, well, not so much.

Coming into this year, however, we faced a problem. There were so many Power List Hall of Famers continuing to expand his or her influence that it has grown increasingly difficult to exclude them. After many intense negotiations, (i.e. a couple of beers) the Press decided upon a significant rule change. From this point forward Hall of Famers will once again be considered for selection among their peers with the exception of those who are being inducted within the year.

It’s important to understand when considering this list as a whole that it is not a wish list but a mirror. Every year we point out that the list is predominantly filled with white men. Once again, 2013 offers no exception.

It is, however, interesting to note that the composition of this year’s list might be looked at as somewhat of a bellwether with respect to our economy. There is broad representation of the healthcare field from research and technology to hospitals and advocacy. As usual, there are far too many political people on the list and still more who are likely incredulous that they were not included. But this too is a reflection of Long Island, a place where politics is inseparable from daily life.

Lastly, a note on our editorial prerogative. Every year there are a few people who had the power to inspire this newspaper. Take, for example, Andy Stepanian, who embodies activism and speaks truth to power so softly it humbles the most outspoken among us. Or Gerard Depascale and Liam Neville, who took on a giant to shine light in the darkness and clear a path for others to follow. They lost their battle but won our hearts. Theirs are the stories we ache to tell throughout the year and we thank them for allowing us to do so.

For all those who are reading this issue and wondering whether or not your name will ever appear on the Power List, a few words to the wise: Those who lobby for inclusion on the list never make it. (We’re petty like that.) Also, substance wins over style.

Enjoy the list.

Jed Morey
Long Island Press Publisher



June ’13 Pink Slips: Dolan, Fogle, Rana – You’re Fired!

[colored_box color=”red”]James Dolan

Of course it was fun while it lasted but it was doomed to fail, admit it. As long as James “Guitar Hero” Dolan is in charge of both the Knicks and the Rangers, New York sports fans—who deserve a break from this bombastic blowhard—will have to pay the price. And pay they must—through the nose. So the Knicks are back in their “rebuilding” mode (but with the constraint of killer contracts Dolan approved), the Rangers face another postseason upheaval, and the strongman at the top who should be sent to the showers or somewhere south where ice hockey is a rare phenomenon continues to trample on our dreams. How telling that after the Knicks lost to the Pacers in Indianapolis, when the aging Knickerbockers ran out of gas for good as we knew they would (but dared not admit it to ourselves), Dolan didn’t deign to speak to the fans, let alone duh media, but boarded his jet to watch the Rangers skate to a losing season. No, his time was too precious. But come season-ticket renewal deadline, you can bet we’ll hear from the mouth of that megalomaniac again until somebody stuffs a basketball in it—or a puck.

Christopher Capurso

This unscrupulous 22-year-old unlicensed tow-truck driver from Franklin Square faced grand larceny charges after police arrested him for allegedly scamming legally parked motorists in Nassau County by taking their vehicles and holding them for ransom. Capurso called his company Bumble Bee Towing, but he stung drivers again and again, police say, by posting fraudulent no-parking signs in commercial areas that read: “Customer/Tenant Parking Only 24 Hours—7 Days a Week. Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner’s Expense…. Cars released by appointment only.” The cops called it extortion. Capurso probably called it easy money—allegedly taking advantage of drivers’ desperation by making them fork over hundreds of bucks to get their cars back when they did nothing wrong.

Toru Hashimoto

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto needs to restudy his history of World War II and learn the truth—not the deceptively self-serving propaganda dished out by hard-line Japanese revisionists like those in his own Japan Restoration Party. First, he denied that the imperial Japanese military had used sex slaves in the 1930s and 1940s—dubbed “comfort women” by the Japanese soldiers for what they provided them (without admission of what it cost the women who were forced to comply or die). Not so, Hashimoto! Then he defended the practice as an honorable way to enforce discipline among the Japanese troops fighting in China and on the Korean peninsula. Wrong! He also suggested that GIs stationed in Osaka these days should visit commercial sex establishments in order to reduce the number of rapes and sexual assaults outraging his residents. Wrong again! Rape should not be condoned—it should be prosecuted. And if Americans in uniform are the perpetrators of these despicable acts against Osaka citizens, they should do serious time in jail—not in a brothel.

Denny Grijalva

Taking a backhoe and a bulldozer to one of Belize’s most significant sites of Mayan civilization is so stupid, so outrageous, so egregious that Denny Grijalva, owner of D-Mar Construction whose heavy equipment did the dirty deed, owes the world an apology. The landowner who let Grijalva’s idiotic work-crew turn the Mayan pyramid on his property in Noh Mul into road fill should be severely punished. But it’s Grijalva who didn’t instruct his workers to respect their heritage. This archaeological site was the ceremonial center for a community that once numbered 40,000 people living there between 500 and 250 B.C. As Dr. Jaime Awe, director of Belize’s Institute of Archeology pointed out, the ancient Mayans used stone tools to erect these buildings. Grijalva should be forced to rebuild this pyramid by hand.

Ryan C. Fogle

The tabloids called Ryan C. Fogle “James Blond” because Russians nabbed him wearing a very cheesy blond wig and busted the diplomat for being a U.S. spy. Russian officials said that Fogle, who was a secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was in reality a CIA agent attempting to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer reportedly specializing in the Caucasus. Russian state TV showed security forces pinning Fogle to the ground. He was busted wearing a baseball cap attached to an unconvincing blond wig with another brown one in his knapsack. Fogle looks like an amateur. If our country can’t provide better undercover disguises for our intelligence agencies than that, the federal-budget-busting Sequester has to end because we’re in worse shape than we thought.

Roger Davis

Zombie Industries CEO and marketing director Roger Davis must be one sick dude. The California entrepreneur showed his wares at the recent National Rifle Association convention in Houston. One of his “products” was a life-sized shooting target called “The Ex,” which featured a busty mannequin in a skimpy bra who “bled” when shot, presumably by bullets fired from wounded former boyfriends with some serious rejection issues to work through. Because the damsel dummy drew the wrath of anti-violence groups, Zombie changed the name to “Alexa.” Davis had to do a total recall of a mannequin target that was even more offensive and disturbing. Called “Rocky Zombie” but referred to as “Barry” by one of the company’s vendors at the NRA trade show who was quoted in BuzzFeed, this torso looks like President Obama, with an open bleeding mouth, short cropped hair and green skin. It was on display for two days until the NRA asked the vendor to remove it. Judging from his reaction to all the negative publicity, Davis loves the attention but we wonder how he’d feel if he had to watch a replica of himself blown to bits. It’s nut jobs like him who give gun ownership a bad rap.

Ariel Castro & Michael McGrath

Neighbors of Ariel Castro say Cleveland Police knocked on his door “20 times but they didn’t take it seriously.” What had the neighbors seen over the years? Naked women on dog leashes crawling in the dirt; a lady holding an infant and pounding on a window begging for help. Castro allegedly kidnapped three women between 2002 and 2004, and held them hostage until finally Amanda Berry, 27, who’d been kept in captivity for almost a decade, managed to break through the front door and flee in pajamas and flip-flops. Castro, 52, a former bus driver, has signed a 10-page confession detailing the horrors he subjected those women to, officials said. Michael McGrath was sworn in as Cleveland’s 39th police chief in 2005. Maybe it’s not fair to make him take the fall for his department’s long-running failure to find these women but the buck must stop somewhere. And it’s probably revealing that none of the women was a wealthy white girl from the suburbs. Still, we hear you can get a search warrant for anything these days. Surely, the Cleveland brass should have encouraged the officers on the beat to snoop around 2207 Seymour Avenue a little more, especially if neighbors were on record begging them to follow up their complaints. Castro is a bad man, and the cops in command did a bad job.

Sohel Rana

Called “the most hated Bangladeshi,” Sohel Rana is the irresponsible owner of a garment factory building that collapsed in a cloud of dust and calamity in a gritty suburb outside the southeast Asian nation’s capital. The Rana Plaza, as the hellhole was officially called, killed more than 600 workers who had no choice but to stay on the job despite the warnings of a frantic engineer who saw a dangerous crack in the unsafe structure the day before the catastrophe. The factory employees knew that if they didn’t show up, they wouldn’t get paid. Tragically, these workers wound up paying with their lives instead, crushed under tons of steel and concrete. Bangladesh has some of the lowest wages in the world, luring corporations like Benetton, the Gap, the Children’s Place and even the Walt Disney Company to the impoverished country. Rana, who rode around on a motorcycle with a gang of bikers riding behind him for protection, has also been implicated as an illegal drug kingpin. He reportedly used his muscle to acquire the property by force, obtain inspection permits despite blatant problems, and reap the profits from exploiting the defenseless. After the collapse, Rana fled to the Indian border, where he was arrested. Demonstrators in Bangladesh say there are many other factory owners just like him, so let his trial serve as an example, and may he be sentenced to sew warning labels on apparel until his fingers fall off.

Robert Rector & Jason Richwine

Economists Robert Rector and Jason Richwine at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation did a hatchet job on immigration reform by coming up with a scary study that says granting a path to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented residents would cost the public some $6.3 trillion. As the Daily News put it, “their distortions are breathtaking.” And their false conclusion deliberately damages the hopes and dreams of generations of people who work hard and deserve better—and are counting on Congress to finally come through for them. Rector and Richwine supposedly added up the costs of services these immigrants would use if they came out of the shadows and compared that with how much taxes they would pay; in other words, Heritage considers them all takers and deadbeats, not the founders of future startups and entrepreneurs. Granting work permits to the undocumented puts them on the road to prosperity. Many reports from think tanks that don’t have an axe to grind have documented how the U.S. will prosper if these people can get the green light. We think Rector and Richwine should switch jobs with some of these undocumented workers for a week at least and file a new study based on their actual experience. Maybe then these two privileged white men wouldn’t be so quick to condemn much-needed immigration reform as that dreaded word “amnesty.”


Long Island Kosher BBQ Festival Draws Thousands

    Kosher Barbecue Championships Grand Champs from Atlanta, GA.
Kosher Barbecue Championships Grand Champs from Atlanta, GA.

Thousands of people descended on Westbury last weekend to cheer on nearly two dozen competitors vying for the top spot in the Long Island Kosher Barbecue Championship and Kosher Food Festival.

BBQ fans came hungry for the second-annual festival, which featured competitions in a number of categories, including best ribs, beans, chicken and brisket. Competitors even battled for booth decoration and best team name.

“Your own creativity is the limit,” said Michael Glickman, a volunteer from Temple Beth Torah, where the festive crowd gathered to visit multiple tents of delicious kosher barbecue foods.

Ten of the 22 teams were Long Islanders, while others grill-masters came from as far away as Georgie and Florida for the competition. The field of competitors was made up of first timers and veterans, such as Eric Devlin, who helps run barbecue events across LI.

“The important thing is, it’s all fun,” said Jay Hack, of White Plains. “Technically it’s a competition, but everybody helped everybody else.”

Hack, who considers himself a “fantastic tailgater,” was making his first foray into the Kosher barbeque competition after hearing about it at his local synagogue. Those attending the festival raved about his marinated barbeque pineapple and deep-fried motzah balls.

Teams began to cook and set up their tents Saturday evening and worked through the night. All of the materials—utensils, meats, ingredients and barbecue grill—were provided by the temple to ensure that they were kosher.

Live entertainment from a local Jewish music groups filled the air as folks made their way to the barbecue team competition tents.

Competitors put their talents on display in front of Kansas City Barbeque society judges, kosher cooks, food jockeys and two celebrity judges, sports broadcaster Len Berman and competitive eater Don “Moses” Lerman.

When the grilling was complete, the judges tallied up the points and named, Grillin Tefillin from Atlanta, Ga., the Grand Champions.

This festival was dedicated to Temple Beth Torah Marvin Rembo, who had died less than a week before the event, which he lobbied for last year.

Canned foods and a portion of the proceeds were donated to local charities to support hunger relief on Long Island.

Fairway Market, Mid Island Animal Hospital, Long Island Cares and M’Yad L’Yad (Long Island’s Helping Hands) sponsored the festival.

Letters to the Press – June, 2013

[colored_box color=”blue”]

Well, now you know why people continuously drink and drive…

because like this monster, you get a slap on the wrist and go do it again [“Bethpage Man Gets 1 Year in Jail for Fatal DWI Hit and Run,” May 16]. Very, very sad. Will they finally figure out that they need tougher laws for animals like this!!!

Edna Clary Garcia via Facebook[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”grey”]Still feeling it, house in shambles but rebuilding slowly RT @LongIslandPress: Long Island Marks 6 Months Since Sandy

@DwightSchrute via Twitter[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]In bypassing the hype, ignorance and prejudice, etc., I am letting you know some of what I know, though not all that I think [“Letters to the Editor,” May]. Marijuana has been around a long time; the legislative history is well known and it impels the cartels. Colorado and Washington have their foot in the door so that those who wish may now have their pot and smoke it too, and also make brownies if they wish. The future of this situation for all depends on how it plays out in those two states. Hopefully, it will be for the good and be an aid in finding a solution to the war on drugs.

Charles Samek, Mineola via email[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”grey”]Do not second guess unless you can walk in the shoes of an officer [“Hofstra Student Killed by Officer’s Bullet During Robbery,” May 18]. It is easy for all of you to sit in your living room and “Monday morning quarterback.” Direct your anger at the judge who let the criminal out. Direct your anger at the social programs that don’t work and the funds that are just thrown at them. Direct your anger at the animal and his family for not raising him right.

Paul Carpentieri via Facebook[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]“What are they expecting” is the real ?? RT @LongIslandPress: U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect. Not Good.

@MakingMyPoint via Twitter[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]Jaclyn Gallucci’s article “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” [“Out There,” May] did an excellent job describing what rowing is all about. Her description of torrential downpours and waterspouts reminded me of a similar situation long ago with SRA’s Learn to Row program. Instead of waterspouts we saw lightning strikes bouncing off the water while my wife was sitting in a metal coach boat. One thing to always remember: rowing is, and always will be a water sport.

William Ober, Head Coach, Huntington High Crew Team via email[/colored_box]

[colored_box color=”blue”]Love that my hometown paper, @LongIslandPress, made national headlines with their #WarPowers scoop

@sparrowmedia via Twitter[/colored_box]

Long Island Press Wins 16 Press Club Awards

The Long Island Press won 16 awards from the Press Club of Long Island this week.

The Press Club of Long Island honored the Long Island Press with 16 awards for journalistic achievement Wednesday at the group’s annual media awards contest ceremony at the Woodbury Country Club.

The newspaper scored awards from PCLI—the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists—in an array of coverage categories for reporting on crime, the environment, health, education and sports, among other issues.

First-place prizes winners included Editor-In-Chief Christopher Twarowski for environmental reporting with “Ripple Effect: Bethpage’s Toxic Plume Creeps Closer to Contaminating More Public Drinking Wells” and Managing Editor Jaclyn Gallucci for crime and justice reporting with “Identifying Princess Doe: 30 Years After A Girl Was Found Beaten to Death, Advances in Technology May Finally Bring Her Identity—And Killer-to Light.”

The paper won five second-place prizes, including one for education reporting with “School House Lock: Budget Troubles and Declining Enrollment Are Forcing LI Elementary Schools to Close,” by News/Web Editor Timothy Bolger and Staff Writer Lindsay Christ.

Senior Editor Spencer Rumsey, former editor Michael Patrick Nelson and Twarowski took home another for business reporting with “Paper Tiger: Under Cablevision’s Control, A Once-Feared Newspaper Has Become A Puppet; A Look Behind the Curtain.

Twarowski and Rumsey also landed a government/politics reporting prize with “Hell or High Water: Despite NIFA’s Rejection, A Federal Criminal Case and Plants in Crisis, Mangano Forges Ahead With Sewer Privatization.”

In the health reporting category, Jackie Salo won with her story, “LI Schools Struggle With The Rise in Teen Suicide,” while Dave Gil de Rubio picked up an arts reporting award for “Westbury Music Fair: An Introspective Look at LI’s Storied Venue, Past, Present And Future.”

The Press also won nine third-place honors, including “Turf War: Is SCPD Playing Politics by Backing Out of the FBI’s LI Gang Task Force?” By Shelly Feuer Domash, Bolger and Twarowski, which ranked in the crime and justice as well as the in-depth report categories.

Also scoring was: A breaking news story, “NY Islanders Skating to Brooklyn in 2015,” by Twarowski, Rumsey, Bolger and Staff Writer Rashed Mian, “Major Concern: LI College Grads Face Uncertain Economy—And Future,” by Kevin Ryan for education reporting; “River Keepers: Protecting The Future of The Carmens River from Brookhaven Politics, Fears And Falsehoods” by Rumsey for environmental reporting; “Up All Night: With Not Enough Hours In The Day And Technology That Never Rests, Students Are Sleeping Less Than Ever Before, But at What Cost?” by Gallucci and Lea Weatherby for health reporting; And “Local Olympians: LI Hopefuls Go for The Gold in London,” by Salo, Mian and Alyssa Mellilo in the sports news category.

Rounding out the list were two videos: One accompanying the Ripple Effect story, by Twarowski, Mian, Scott Kearney and Sal Calvi for in-depth report; And for community news, a video by Mian and Twarowski accompanying Superstorm Sandy coverage.

John Tortorella Fired as Rangers Head Coach

John Tortorella (Photo credit: YouTube/HockeyWebCaster)
John Tortorella (Photo credit: YouTube/HockeyWebCaster)

Heads are starting to roll at Madison Square Garden four days after the New York Rangers were knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The organization announced Wednesday that head coach John Tortorella was “relieved of his coaching duties,” President and General Manager Glen Sather said in a news release.

The Rangers bowed out of the playoffs in disappointing Game 5, losing to the Boston Bruins 3-1 after they staved off elimination two days earlier in a spirited overtime victory after falling behind in the series 0-3.

Tortorella, the top winning U.S-born coach in NHL history (410 victories), was named the 34th coach in team history in Feb. 2009.

He arrived at the Garden with a Stanley Cup Championship on his resume. Tortorella guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 46-win season during the 2003-2004 campaign, claiming the franchise’s first title in its history.

Tortorella also served as an assistant coach for the Rangers in the 1999-2000 season.

Four Corners: Surfing on Long Island

Tommy Bunger


As the buzzing shrieks of a track saw dissipate, Tommy Bunger emerges from behind a door covered in sawdust. His hands worn and tough, he lowers the respirator from his mouth and introduces himself. A second-generation surfboard maker, or “shaper,” as he calls himself, the 39-year-old has been crafting beauty out of fiberglass for nearly 20 years. It’s a family tradition. Tommy follows in the footsteps of his father Charlie, the owner of Bunger Surf Shop in Babylon. “I grew up surfing,” he says, leaning against a graffiti-ridden wall inside his factory, a dual garage-studio attached to an industrial complex off Sunrise Highway. Their family-run shop opened in 1962—the Bunger’s original factory burning down in the late 1980s and Tommy taking over shaping duties in the mid 1990s. “It’s been in my family for so long, since my father used to be a shaper,” Tommy says, in between stacking boards he’s planning on working on later. “Building the boards is a satisfaction you get out of making something that is mass-produced these days.” Tommy takes pride in seeing his creations enjoyed by kids and adults alike new to surfing. “[The boards] are all-custom, so you see people out there surfing, knowing that somebody’s getting a board that’s quality made right here on Long Island.”

Dave Juan


Dave Juan stands across from a row of surfboards propped up against a red brick wall at the back of Unsound Surf on East Park Avenue in Long Beach and attempts to explain the reasons for his shop’s success. “We’ve been around so long that we know so many of our customers,” the 37-year-old says. “Kids know they can come here, hang out and say, ‘What’s up!’” Pausing abruptly mid-sentence, he cracks a smile and greets a customer named Sean, who rushes over. A surfer for more than 20 years, Juan recalls that he bought his first board from his friend’s brother for $60 and hasn’t looked back. He and co-owner Mike Nelson opened Unsound in 1997. Floor space normally housing more boards, wetsuits and a host of surfing-related gear was laid bare due to Superstorm Sandy’s devastating wrath. Juan hopes to have the shop operating at peak condition by mid-month, when Unsound celebrates its grand re-opening. “The entire store was gutted, from ceiling to floor,” he says. “Mostly everything was gone.” Asked what he values most about running what has become a neighborhood institution, he joyfully explains: “The best is just seeing kids happy when they come in with their parents to get their first board!” He adds, “The smile on the kid’s face, that’s the best thing. There’s nothing better than that.”

Elliot Zuckerman


Elliot Zuckerman was exposed to surfing when he was just 3 years old. By the time he turned 10, he was catching waves at New York’s beaches during the summer and the winter. Now 59, Zuckerman credits his father and godfather for showing him the way. “As soon as I was able to walk, they put me on a surfboard, and I haven’t stopped since,” he says. Zuckerman’s passion for the sport and his knack for teaching others led him to start his own surfing school, Surf2Live, in 1978. Since then, it’s become an institution, of which Zuckerman is extremely proud. “I saw the ease that I was able to teach people a sport that I seriously love, and it just grew from there,” he says, from his large beach estate overlooking the northern coast of Puerto Rico. Besides the Long Beach native’s love for hometown surf, Zuckerman admits to being smitten by the flexibility of instructing vacationers in the warmer Caribbean climate during off-season. “Here, this is considered the East Coast’s Hawaii, the waves break on very shallow reefs and there’s a million variations on the breaks,” he says. Zuckerman also founded nonprofit Surfer’s Way, which has been exposing special needs children to the surfing lifestyle for almost 20 years. “It takes a long time to really get proficient at this sport,” he says. “But if you stick with it…anybody will be able to learn.”

TJ Gumiela
Photo by Matt Clark


TJ Gumiela, 22, shakes the water from his wetsuit and, with board in hand, leaps out of the frothy ocean of LI’s South Shore to meet a photographer. Born in Long Beach, Gumiela says he’s been surfing since he was six. “At first…I was boogie boarding,” he says. “I would stand on my boogie board, and my dad was like, ‘Oh, it looks like I’ve got to get him a surfboard now.’” In 2005, Gumiela became the first New Yorker to win the youth division of the Eastern Surfing Association East Coast Championships; he was just 15. “No one knew who I was, I was just some kid from New York,” he says. “I went through about 12 heats and ended up winning the event.” Gumiela had just returned from surfing in Hawaii; he annually visits Puerto Rico. But he says he has a soft spot for his hometown surf. “We don’t have waves every day, but when we do, they’re really good waves,” he says. Gumiela currently has five professional sponsors. Aside from competing, he also works at Skudin Surf, an all-ages surf school. When teaching kids, Gumiela recalls when he was their age. “People would say, ‘Oh, you surf in New York! Are there even any waves there?’” he laughs. “Now, people are going to know that there are waves in New York!”