Rashed Mian

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Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: [email protected] Twitter: rashedmian

Critics Blast Bill Authorizing Sale of Users’ Internet Search Histories Without Consent

search history

Joining a chorus of criticism from privacy advocates and ethics experts, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on President Donald Trump Sunday to veto a controversial bill passed by Congress allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell customer data to advertisers without their consent.

“Signing this rollback into law would mean private data from our laptops, iPads and even our cellphones would be fair game for internet companies to sell and make a fast buck,” said Schumer. “An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that their private information should be just that—private—and not for sale without their knowledge. That’s why I’m publicly urging President Trump to veto this resolution.”

The bill passed in the House of Representatives last week 215 to 205, despite Democrats opposing the measure and 15 Republicans voting “no.” It narrowly passed the U.S. Senate a week earlier. Republicans argued that the bill would put ISPs on fairer ground with Internet giants like Facebook and Netflix, two companies that already gather vast amount of personal data. The difference between those social media networks and entertainment companies and ISPs, however, is that internet providers can see everything a user does online, while Netflix is monitoring behavior within its ecosystem.

The measure effectively prevents the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from adopting rules it previously put in place last October restricting ISPs from profiting off their customers’ search history. If President Trump signs the bill into law, as expected, internet providers such as Optimum or Verizon FIOS on Long Island would be able to sell customer data—search history, what online stores you visit, etc.—to marketing companies.

“What’s going to happen is you’re going to see more and more targeted ads when you surf online,” said Mark Grabowski, internet law and ethics professor at Adelphi University. “So, for example, if your kid’s teacher emails you that he’s struggling in Algebra, you might see ads about tutoring services. If you do a Google search for flights to Paris, expect to see ads from airlines and hotel websites. You get the idea.”

Grabowski noted that “someone can’t buy your specific internet history,” and that companies purchasing your history won’t know your identity.

“There’s lots of misinformation about this—although it’s still bad news,” Grabowski added. “In short, nothing is changing. You didn’t have online privacy to begin with, so you’re not losing anything.”

When asked specific questions regarding whether it currently shares consumer data with advertisers and the bill’s ramifications on the company’s current privacy policy, Altice USA, which owns Cablevision, passed along a statement from The Internet & Television Association cheering the bill’s passage.

Steps taken by Congress to “repeal the FCC’s misguided rules marks an important step toward restoring consumer privacy protections that apply consistently to all internet companies,” the statement read. “With a proven record of safeguarding consumer privacy, internet providers will continue to work on innovative new products that follow ‘privacy-by-design’ principles and honor the FTC [Federal Trade Commission]’s successful consumer protection framework. We look forward to working with policymakers to restore consistency and balance to online privacy protections.”

Verizon did not respond to a request for comment.

Privacy advocates vehemently objected to the proposed law.

“Should President Donald Trump sign S.J. Res. 34 into law, big internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group, said. “They will watch your every action online and create highly personalized and sensitive profiles for the highest bidder. All without your consent. This breaks with the decades long legal tradition that your communications provider is never allowed to monetize your personal information without asking for your permission first.”

Anyone with possession of an internet user’s search history can glean vasts amounts of insight into that person: potential health problems, political leaning, sexual orientation, purchase habits and more. Marketers can then place advertisements on webpages based on a user’s search history.

“Reversing those protections is a dream for cable and telephone companies, which want to capitalize on the value of such personal information,” Tom Wheeler, former FCC chairman under the Obama administration, wrote in The New York Times. “I understand that network executives want to produce the highest return for shareholders by selling consumers’ information. The problem is they are selling something that doesn’t belong to them.

“Here’s one perverse result of this action,” he continued. “When you make a voice call on your smartphone, the information is protected: Your phone company can’t sell the fact that you are calling car dealerships to others who want to sell you a car. But if the same device and the same network are used to contact car dealers through the internet, that information—the same information, in fact—can be captured and sold by the network. To add insult to injury, you pay the network a monthly fee for the privilege of having your information sold to the highest bidder.”

Consumers have become savvier in recent years to protect their personal information by turning to encrypted messaging services and Virtual Private Networks (VPN), the latter of which can disguise where a person is using the internet. One company offering such protections, NordVPN, said it saw an 86-percent surge in inquiries in the first few days after Congress passed the law.

Experts in internet privacy acknowledged that consumers had little privacy even prior to Congress passing the bill. The FCC rule the bill repealed had not even gone into effect, and companies have long been gathering consumer data, but previously required permission before putting it for sale.

“Deregulation of internet service providers has been a disaster for Americans,” Adelphi’s Grabowski said. “ISPs haven’t delivered the promises they made when they begged Congress to end common carriage regulations in the ’90s. Twenty years later, we’ve gone from being a pioneer in internet service to now lagging behind developing countries in terms of access, cost, speed, privacy protections and more. And this situation will probably continue to get worse.”

‘Kevin Can Wait’ Star Kevin James Hitting The Paramount

Kevin James
"Kevin Can Wait" star Kevin James has scheduled three shows at The Paramount in Huntington in April. (Credit: Kevin James/Facebook)

Kevin James, the famed comedian currently starring in the hilarious CBS sitcom Kevin Can Wait, is hitting The Paramount in Huntington for two days next week as part of the venue’s popular comedy series.

James, a Mineola native, is all-too familiar with the local comedy scene, having gotten his start here. He’s currently filming his new show at the old Grumman aerospace facility in Bethpage.

The comedian’s career took off two decades ago when he starred in another CBS favorite, King of Queens, which ran for nine seasons. The series earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy series in 2006 for his portrayal as a deliveryman. The show was such a success that it’s still in syndication.

James has gone from standout in the local comedy circuit to sitcom star to big screen actor. He’s starred in several big-name films, including Paul Blart: Mall Cop, in which he played a hero security guard. The film grossed $183 million in the United States, and its sequel earned more than $100 million at the box office.

James is in such high demand, it seems, that he had to add a third show at The Paramount, for April 28.

On top of his current gig on CBS and his upcoming performances in Huntington, James is also working on a stand-up special for Internet-streaming giant Netflix, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Fans of Kevin Can Wait will also be happy to learn that the series was recently renewed for a second season.

The Paramount Comedy series starring Kevin James. April 6 at 8 p.m. and April 9 at 7 p.m. The Paramount in Huntington.

Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino Indicted On Wire Fraud, Tax Evasion Charges

ambrosino

The list of indicted elected officials in Nassau County continues to grow.

On Friday, Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino was arrested and charged with federal tax evasion in what federal authorities said was a scheme to divert legal fees to his own bank account.

Federal prosecutors on Friday unsealed an eight-count indictment charging Ambrosino with wire fraud, tax evasion, making and subscribing to false corporate tax returns, and failing to file a return or pay tax. He reportedly pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday afternoon at U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Ambrosino, a Republican councilman for more than 13 years, was also of counsel to Uniondale-based law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek from 2001 to 2015. Ambrosino’s Hempstead Town biography notes he’s currently of counsel to Rivkin Radler, which is also based in Uniondale. In 2011, he allegedly incorporated Vanderbilt Consulting Group, Inc., of which he was the sole signer on the account.

Ambrosino is also listed as a principal to Atlanta, Ga.-based Blue Rhino Capital, a “highly specialized private equity investment firm,” touts its website.

From 2013 to 2015, Ambrosino, 52, of North Valley Stream, allegedly moved legal fees intended for the law firm to the Vanderbilt Consulting Group account. His clients included the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency and the Nassau County Local Economic Assistance Corporation. Ambrosino allegedly deposited more than $800,000 of the $1.3 million he received in legal fees from the two agencies to the account, authorities said, which placed him in violation of his compensation agreement with the firm.

Since 2010, Ambrosino has served as Special Counsel to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who last year pleaded not guilty to bribery charges. Mangano’s wife, Linda, and ex-Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, were also charged in connection with the alleged scheme. Including these and others, Ambrosino is the sixth government official in Nassau County arrested or convicted within the past two years.

“Today’s indictment is a reminder of the obvious, that public officials are not exempt from paying their fair share of taxes and otherwise complying with the laws of the United States, just like any other citizen,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Bridget Rohde.

Various Democrats in Nassau pounced on the news of Ambrosino’s arrest.

“Today is another sad day for Nassau County as, once again, a public official is charged with federal crimes,” Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), a county executive candidate, said in a statement. “I join residents across our county who are sick and tired of career politicians acting as if the rules don’t apply to them. As Counsel to the County IDA and a Town Councilman, Ed Ambrosino is involved in various layers of municipal government and, if true, the alleged conduct cannot be tolerated for a public official.”

“Nassau County’s reputation is once again humiliated by the announcement of federal criminal charges against Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino,” state Assemb. Chuck Lavine (D-Glen Cove), who is also running for county executive, said in a statement.

“This arrest is yet another example of how corruption has infected every level of government—and why we need stronger penalties and oversight to fight it,” state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said in a statement. “It is no surprise that IDAs are once again in the middle of shady deals.”

Hempstead Town did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

According to Ambrosino’s bio on Rivkin Radler’s site, he is “a leading authority for companies on economic development, IDA and conduit issuer development transactions, and specializes in real estate development and municipal law.”

Newly Renovated ‘NYCB Live’ Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Unveiled

Nassau Coliseum

Just days before the new Nassau Coliseum opens to the general public, officials Friday unveiled the $165 million renovated arena to dozens of dignitaries and business leaders, marking a new era for Nassau County’s main entertainment attraction.

Nearly two years after the “Old Barn” shuttered its doors, officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the refurbished 13,900-seat arena and proclaimed the Nassau Coliseum reborn. It will officially reopen to the public on April 5.

“What a great day for Nassau County,” County Executive Ed Mangano told about 100 people gathered inside the venue on Friday, praising the arena as a “wonderful, state-of-the-art” building.

Construction on the revamped building began on Aug. 5, 2015, the day after Billy Joel closed out the arena. The renovation cost $165 million, and an additional $100 million will go toward further construction around the coliseum, which has been renamed NYCB Live Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Still awaiting development are a new parking garage and a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center building.

The most striking change is the arena’s exterior, which has been outfitted with rows upon rows of aluminum fins meant to evoke the imagery of Long Island’s famed beach dunes—with some on social media jokingly comparing its new, modernized facade to an otherworldly, extraterrestrial vessel. Those behind the coliseum’s redesign effort hope visitors will embrace its reincarnation as much as its beloved predecessor, once a venue so cozy, so familiar and welcoming, that fans often referred to it as a second home.

Inside the new Nassau Coliseum, which boasts 13,900 seats and cost $165 million to refurbish. Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

Among its other features are widened concourses, high-definition screens, brand new seats, new concessions boasting Long Island fare, and revamped restrooms. The developers have also dedicated eight seats to veterans, first responders and 9/11 victims that will always remain empty as a memorial to their sacrifices.

Bruce Ratner, CEO and chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, the arena’s developer, referred to the coliseum as the “Eiffel Tower” of Long Island. He promised first-class acts, beginning with Joel on April 5, that will “rival anywhere in the world.”

Ratner noted that Mangano “saw the future” of what a revived Nassau Coliseum would look like, and credited him and the county for playing important roles in bringing the project to life.

The coliseum renovation represents a high point for Mangano following a tumultuous five months, punctuated by his indictment on bribery charges last October, to which he pleaded not guilty. With an impending federal trial looming, it’s unclear if Mangano will pursue re-election this fall.

Developing a new arena, originally with the hopes of keeping its longtime resident NHL hockey team the New York Islanders in the county, had been a confounding issue for Mangano and his predecessor, Tom Suozzi, who’s now a congressman.

Mangano recalled the various attempts at reinvigorating or rebuilding a new arena, even acknowledging that “all did not enjoy enough support to make this happen.”

“It was clear the taxpayers did not want to fund this beautiful arena, I don’t know why,” he said, referring to a $400 million reconstruction that was decisively rebuked at the polls.

The remodeling finally came after years of debate over the future of the old coliseum and failed bids to have the decaying arena, which opened in 1972, replaced. The Town of Hempstead rejected an ambitious multi-use Light House Project, as well as a later attempt to have taxpayers fund an overhaul. With the Islanders lease at the arena set to expire, the franchise in 2015 officially moved to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the home of the NBA’s Nets.

Yet since then, the Islanders’ home attendance numbers have fallen and the Nassau Coliseum’s resurrection has sparked a resurgence of hope among some fans that the Islanders could return to Long Island and its former, now upgraded, abode.

Mangano reportedly met with Islanders executives last fall to discuss a possible return to the venue. Last month, Bloomberg identified Belmont Park in Elmont as another potential destination.

Though there were no blatant calls from Mangano on Friday for the Islanders to make a triumphant return, the void the franchise has left undoubtedly hung over the occasion.

“We’d like to see the Islanders come back,” Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonslaves, a Republican, told the audience.

For now, the coliseum will go on without the Islanders, but has no shortage of other sports and musical acts performing in upcoming weeks and months.

The arena has already booked four events in its first week, including Long Island “Piano Man” Joel. Future acts include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which will hold its final-ever show here, Metallica, Roger Waters, Bruno Mars, and a much-hyped mystery performer in September.

The arena will also play home to the NBA development league team, the Long Island Nets.

Featured Photo: NYCB Live Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Long Island Press / Rashed Mian)

California Man Convicted in Slaying of Estranged Wife’s Boyfriend

Deon Ewers
Deon Ewers

A Nassau County jury on Tuesday convicted a California man for the November 2015 slaying of his estranged wife’s boyfriend in Valley Stream.

Deon Ewers, 51, was found guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He faces 25 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors argued that Ewers killed 34-year-old Majid Morris in cold blood, pumping five bullets into the man while he lay in bed.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Ewers was in a “fit of rage” when he flew from California to New York on Nov. 6. After arriving, Ewers went to his estranged wife’s home in Valley Stream under the guise of surprising her and their son, but instead turned the house into a crime scene after shooting Morris multiple times and fleeing the scene.

Ewers’ teenage son called 911. Morris was pronounced dead about an hour after the shooting. Ewers was arrested the next day in Oceanside.

Ewers claimed he was defending himself, but he did not convince the jury, which deliberated for less than a day.

Prosecutors said investigators recovered five shell casings, bullet fragments in the bed, the victim’s DNA on Ewers’ pants, blood smears on the sheets, and a bullet-ridden pillow.

Ewers will be sentenced May 4 before Acting Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz.

Oceanside Man Indicted in La Cosa Nostra Bust

la cosa nostra mafia

 

 

A 36-year-old Oceanside man was charged in a sweeping indictment along with nine other alleged members of the infamous La Cosa Nostra crime syndicate who stand accused of raking in millions as part of a racketeering and loan-sharking scheme.

Nicholas “Pudgie” Festa of Oceanside, an alleged La Cosa Nostra Bonanno family “soldier,” and nine other alleged mafia associates were arrested Tuesday, the climax of a years-long investigation into the organized crime family, federal authorities said.

Festa was charged in a loan-sharking scheme that contributed to the syndicate’s earning $26 million in illicit proceeds, authorities said. Other members of the gang were charged with murder conspiracy, illegal gambling, robbery and obstruction of justice, among other illegal acts over two decades. They were all expected to be arraigned at Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday.

Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget Rohde said Tuesday’s arrests highlight the mafia’s “continued presence in the community.”

“The mafia hasn’t stopped operating and the crimes these members are charged with today proves that,” added FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.

The indictment accuses various gang members of brutal acts of violence against victims for failing to pay back illegal loans or for retribution.

Ronald Giallanzo of Queens, an acting captain in the gang, beat a man so badly that he soiled himself as Giallanzo screamed, “Where’s the f—g money?,” according to the indictment.

Another member, Evan Greenberg of Queens, bragged about his ability to get people to pay up, the feds alleged.

“I get my sh—t. I blow up cars. I f—g knock on people’s doors. I pull them out of their f—g house,” he said, according to the indictment.

Investigators also accused Giallanzo of ordering a rival’s murder after he robbed his associates. Giallanzo allegedly traded gunshots with the victim on the streets of Howard Beach, Queens, on multiple occasions, the feds said.

The government’s investigation included the use of wiretaps, cooperating witnesses, and video surveillance. Most of the alleged crimes occurred in Howard Beach. “La Costra Nostra” is roughly translated from Italian to “our thing,” and representative of the five main mafioso crime families: Bonanno, Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese and Colombo.

Festa faces up to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in loan sharking. His Oceanside home is also subject to forfeiture, authorities said.

This is the second mob-related bust in six days. Last week, two reputed mobsters were indicted for allegedly robbing a Franklin Square jewelry store six years ago.

Pedestrian Killed in Centereach Crash

Suffolk County police are investigating a crash in Centereach Monday night that killed an 84-year-old man, police said.

The fatal crash occurred just before 9 p.m. when a woman driving a 2001 Ford Focus south on Mark Tree Road struck Dominick Geraci, who was standing on the side of the road, police said.

The Selden man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The 27-year-old driver of the Focus was not injured and remained at the scene, police said.

The car was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

NYPD Det. Masturbated in Victims’ Rockville Centre Backyards, Cops Say

An NYPD detective was arrested Sunday following a string of public lewdness complaints in Rockville Centre in which victims described a man masturbating on their respective properties.

Village of Rockville Centre police arrested 46-year-old Robert Francis of Queens after receiving a call about a suspicion person. He was charged with multiple counts of public lewdness and trespassing. He was released on a desk appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned April 17.

Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario said Francis was forthcoming and had indicated he was in the midst of personal struggles. Francis is married with children, Gennario said. Why Francis decided to commit the alleged acts in Rockville Centre remained unclear. The locations of the incidents were Lakeview Avenue, Seaman Avenue, Brompton Road and Sherman Avenue.

The commissioner said he was “shocked” the suspect is a detective, adding that his agency immediately notified Francis’ duty officer. The NYPD suspended Francis following his arrest.

“He did show remorse,” Gennario said.

Village police had been investigating at least four public lewdness complaints since February with similar descriptions. The incidents occurred on Feb. 5, twice on Feb. 27 and March 24, all between 8 and 9 p.m. Each incident fit a familiar pattern, with Francis allegedly entering a resident’s backyard, signaling attention by aiming his flashlight at a window, and then exposing himself in front of each victim, Gennario said.

All four victims were teenage girls attending Rockville Centre high school. Gennario said they did not appear to have been targeted.

Police had difficulty establishing a profile early on because the girls were “very fearful,” the commissioner said, adding that they’d avert their gaze instantly before seeking help, making it difficult to paint a portrait of the suspect. Gennario said the darkness, combined with each girl’s shocked reaction, contributed to the suspect initially being falsely identified as “probably white.” Francis is black.

Police identified a sex offender who had recently moved away from the village as a potential person of interest but he was eventually cleared.

In response to the strange acts, police increased both marked and unmarked patrols in the area.

Gennario defended the decision to issue Francis a desk appearance ticket rather than having the detective formally processed through the court system within days of his arrest. Francis is a 17-year veteran whose most recent post was in Brooklyn.

“We in no way gave him special treatment because he was a police officer,” he said.

Former Jets Namath, Martin Raise Awareness About Head Injuries

Former Jets legend Joe Namath estimates that he suffered five concussions in his career. Decades later, another Jets great, Curtis Martin, remembers one particularly devastating hit that had him so dazed that he walked into the wrong huddle. Islanders hero Bob Nystrom said he suffered six concussions, including one that had the newlywed briefly forgetting his wife’s name.

These New York sports legends and others gathered at NYIT-Old Westbury this week to bring attention to the massive scale of head injuries in sports as part of the annual Head Injury Awareness Celebrity Sports Forum organized by the Hauppauge-based Head Injury Association.

The event, which coincided with Brain Injury Awareness Month, drew a large crowd that included high school coaches and various professionals.

Namath and his fellow athletes were part of a panel using their celebrity status to highlight the need for more research and education on concussions. Experts were also on hand to discuss new treatment options, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT, which is commonly associated with healing wounds.

“We need to discover more about our brains, we need to find out how to heal them,” Namath told the crowd. “So, let’s stay after that. Let’s stay strong and continue the efforts to healing the brain once it’s been injured.”

Namath is doing more than just lending his voice. He has also attached his name to the Jupiter, Fl.,-based Joe Namath Neurological Research Center, which has been experimenting with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injuries.

Namath has completed 120 so-called “dives” in the chamber, though he joked that the first two times he was ensconced in the tube-like machine were unsettling.

Dr. Barry Miskin, co-medical director at the research center, presented scans of Namath’s brain over the course of treatment that indicated improvements.

“Hyperbaric oxygen could be a really good treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury,” Miskin told the audience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2.8 million in 2013 were either hospitalized, visited an emergency room or died in the US from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the treatment for 14 ailments, though concussions are not on the list, which prohibits insurance companies from providing coverage for the treatment.

“Ultimate end game is to have the drug of oxygen approved,” added Miskin.

Other professionals discussed the misconceptions about concussion treatment, such as the long-held belief that patients should spend the first few days after suffering a brain injury resting in a dark room.

New research has indicated that light exercise is the best way to treat concussed patients, especially in young people who are generally more active. But people with post-concussion syndrome may require more advanced treatment.

“We recognize that every concussion is unique,” said Hallie Zwibel, director of sports medicine at NYIT.

There was a consensus among the athletes and health professionals that concussion awareness has increased exponentially over the last few decades, though they acknowledged it was important to continue educating parents, young athletes, and coaches.

“When I was in medical school, we may have mentioned two minutes of it,” said Jerry Balentine, vice president for Medical Affairs and Global Health at NYIT.

Martin, who played 11 season in the NFL, retired in 2006. Back when he was playing, he said, exiting the game for a concussion “was a joke.”

In the decade since, the NFL, which has been criticized for its response to concussions and resulting brain injuries in retired players, announced prior to last season that it would invest $100 million to support independent medical research on concussions. Current rules establish that players who appear dazed undergo so-called “concussion protocol” before they’re cleared to play.

As treatment options go, HBOT took center stage at this week’s forum, largely due to Namath’s celebrity. The treatment has so far garnered mixed-results. Some of the most high-profile studies on HBOT have been conducted by the US government, at a cost of about $70 million.

In three separate studies, researchers returned a conclusion that any improvements were attributed to a placebo effect. But other research has been move favorable, including one in Israel that found patients with prolonged symptoms registered significant improvements because of HBOT.

Miskin characterized HBOT as a potential game-changer.

Dr. Alan Sherr, owner and operator of Northport Wellness Center and founder of Hyperbaric Medical Solutions in Woodbury, agrees.

“There’s a wide range of tools that are available for people who have experienced concussion injuries,” Sherr said after the forum. He noted that HBOT for concussions may be “new to that world in this context, but not new to the world of science as it relates to hyerbarics.”

Dr. Henry Prince, medical director at Hyperbaric Medical Solutions, said one of the biggest themes of the event was that “finally concussions are being taken seriously and that the best way to move forward is through education.”

Prince appreciates Namath’s role in pushing science forward.

“He’s saying what we’ve been saying for a long time,” he said, adding, “hyperbaric oxygen therapy remains and incredibly effective and important tool for the treatment of concussions.”

Jon Reese is the president of Mike It Count, a nonprofit that provides a range of services to veterans, including house and education. He turned to Hyperbaric Medical Solutions after suffering through a Traumatic Brain Injury stemming from multiple sports-related concussions and challenges with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on Lower Manhattan, where he worked on Wall Street.

Reese spent years meeting with neuropsychologists and going through therapy and made a little progress. Last December he tried out HBOT and “it’s the healthiest I’ve been in 16 years,” he said.

“It’s an incredible journey,” Reese added.

Namath and his brethren noted that they’re grateful for the opportunities sports afforded them. That they’re now speaking out about the effects of head injury is not intended to preclude people from playing professional sports, they just want to ensure future athletes are armed with as much information as possible—something that eluded them when they were coming into their own.

“The only way that we’re going to make this world better for our children is through education,” said former Jet Marty Lyons. “We got to work hard at it, we got to work smart at it and we got to work together.”

(Photo credit: Steven Gaines/NYIT-Old Westbury)

Disclaimer: Hyperbaric Medical Solutions is a client of Morey Publishing, parent company of Long Island Press.

GOP, Trump Pull Obamacare Repeal Bill Amid Party Revolt

At a rally in Kentucky last week styled after President Donald Trump’s boisterous campaign events, the president’s supporters donned his now ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” ball cap and waved signs that proclaimed: “Promises made, promises kept.”

In Trump’s first true test of his mettle as a prodigious dealmaker, the president failed to deliver on his pledge to quickly and decisively repeal Obamacare. The president reportedly asked House Republicans to pull the bill just before it was supposed to go up for a vote.

The move to scrap the bill minutes before lawmakers were to vote marked a stunning defeat for Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), both brought together by their apparent disdain for Obamacare and long-held promise to kill the Affordable Care Act. The controversial legislation was billed as a palatable replacement to Obama’s legacy health legislation. The bill would have needed 216 votes to pass.

Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office late Friday afternoon, Trump said he was open to pursing new legislation in the future, predicting that Democrats would hop on board once Obamacare “explodes.”

“The best thing that we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode, it’s exploding right now,” Trump said.

“This is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan said shortly after the American Health Care Act was pulled under his recommendation.

“Obamacare is the law of the land and it’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s repealed,” he added, while characterizing their failure to reach a consensus as “growing pains.”

The debate over the bill has made apparent a deep-seated ideological split within the Republican Party. House Republican leaders acquiesced to a small minority in the party called the House Freedom Caucus. But some concessions, particularly the elimination of an ACA provision mandating “essential benefits,” proved too tough a pill for moderates to swallow. The party spent much of the last week in open revolt despite years of campaigning against Obamacare.

More than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, including 334,000-plus living in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The GOP plan would have dismantled much of Obamacare while absorbing popular aspects of the law that allows adults to stay on their parent’s plans until 26 and prohibits insurers from dropping people based on pre-existing conditions. Republicans also hoped to eliminate a part of the law mandating that all Americans have insurance or face a tax penalty and would do away with government subsidies. In an updated report issued Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office determined that 24 million people would lose health insurance by 2026 under the GOP alternative.

House GOP leaders postponed a scheduled Thursday vote that they hoped would deal a satisfying and symbolic deathblow to Obamacare on the seventh anniversary of its implementation. Later in the evening, Trump ceased further negotiations and issued a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum: support this bill or Obamacare will remain the law of the land.

On Friday, the bill’s survival remained in doubt with Ryan and other Republicans still deal making. While the House debated the measure on the floor, Ryan rushed to the White House to reportedly inform the president that they did not have the votes.

“We are confident that we’ve done everything,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said during his daily press briefing. Apparently, it was not enough.

House leaders sought to mollify obstinate Freedom Caucus members by agreeing to additional modifications to Medicaid and eliminating the “essential benefits” provision under the ACA. Meanwhile, moderate Republicans whose states expanded Medicaid under Obamacare pushed back at cuts to Medicaid amid concerns that the measure would not benefit their constituents.

The full-court press for votes included the president himself. He held private meetings with various members and warned that failure to support the bill would make them vulnerable at the ballot box.

As Republican lawmakers dealt with the blow of failing to bring the bill to the floor Thursday night, the Congressional Budget Office released yet another unfavorable outlook on the bill. The report found that savings would be less than originally predicted while the number of people who would lose health insurance remained mostly unchanged.

It’s unclear where Republicans go from here. Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, has said there is no alternative option, as the administration fully expected the vote to end up in their favor. Ryan on Friday said his members would reflect on the failed effort and consider their next step.

Republicans for years have tried to repeal Obamacare despite the former president holding veto power while in office. The November election turned out to be a game changer. Not only did Republicans secure control of Congress, but also Trump’s ascension to the White House gave them the edge they needed to push ahead with their grandiose plan to repeal Obama’s legacy health care legislation.

Republicans interpreted Trump’s election victory as national rebuke of Obamacare, given then-candidate Trump’s characterization of the health care law as disastrous. House GOP leaders seemed to have dismissed Trump’s popular vote defeat by three million or rising approval of Obamacare over the last several months.

A Congressional Budget Office report that found as many as 24 million Americans would lose insurance under the GOP plan was the first signal that the bill was in trouble.

The number of Long Islanders potentially in danger of losing health insurance was estimated at 133,324 and 152,631 in Nassau and Suffolk counties, respectively. In New York State, the estimate was 2.7 million—the equivalent of roughly the entire population of Long Island.

Just as Republicans were whipping votes to get undecided lawmakers on board, Quinnipiac released a gloomy poll that found only 17 percent of people support the health care bill, with 56 percent of Americans in opposition. A survey released a day earlier reported that Trump’s approval rating stands at a ghastly 37 percent.

The fight for an alternative to Obamacare took on greater urgency in New York after two upstate House Republicans pressed for an amendment that would shift county funding of Medicaid to the states.

The provision provoked a firestorm in Albany. Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the GOP members as traitors to their constituents in order to draw favor with the Speaker and other Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

Cuomo’s office throughout the week disseminated gloomy outlooks if the bill were to pass, including a loss of millions to nursing homes and hospitals on Long Island. In the South Shore district of Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), for instance, Cuomo’s office said three hospitals would lose a combined $14.6 million in funding. According to the governor’s office, under the Trumpcare proposal, New York would lose $6.9 billion over the next four years.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) disputed Cuomo’s findings while accusing the governor of resorting to scare tactics.

The long-promised Obamacare repeal worried some health industry experts on Long Island. Since the ACA was passed, the Island’s health care economy has increased by more than 25,000 jobs, with 218,000 people currently employed in the industry. Northwell Health, with more than 61,000 employees, is the largest private employer in New York State.

“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” a visibly disappointed Ryan said.