Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

Nor’easter Brings Strong Winds, Power Outages and Coastal Flooding to Long Island

A powerful nor’easter that hit Long Island on Monday left brief power outages, South Shore beach erosion and lingering coastal flooding in its wake, making some local roads temporarily impassible for drivers.

Mecox Bay in the Hamptons had the strongest wind gust in the tri-state area, clocking in at 69 mph. The gusts and nearly 40 mph sustained winds downed branches, trees and power lines, leaving thousands without power at times. Although only about an inch of rain fell on the region, high tides that were forecast to be up to three feet above normal, inundating low-lying water front areas.

“Crews will continue to work throughout the day to restore service to customers without power,” PSEG Long Island said in a statement Tuesday morning, when the utility reported it had restored service to more than 26,000 of its 1.1 million customers. More than 1,400 homes and businesses remained without power before noon Tuesday.

The nor’easter moved north across upstate New York and New England after it hit LI and the New York Metro area. The high wind warning was lifted but a coastal flood advisory remains in effect for Nassau and Suffolk counties through 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Although the storm is over for the region, rain is forecast for Tuesday night before skies clear up Wednesday through the weekend, with temperatures in the 40s dropping into the 30s after sundown and during the day on Saturday and Sunday.

Damage left in the storm’s wake included downed power lines that resulted in the temporary closure of Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow late Monday, among many other local streets. Roads temporarily closed due to flooding included several lanes on the Wantagh State Parkway, Fire Island Avenue near Pier 44 in Babylon and a lane of Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst. The storm was also reported to have caused erosion at Atlantic-facing beaches.

Nor’easter Forecast to Bring High Winds, Rain and Flooding to Long Island

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for Long Island.

A nor’easter forecast to hit Long Island late through Tuesday morning is bringing heavy rains, coastal flooding and wind gusts that may reach up to 70 mph that are downing branches, trees and power lines.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high wind warning for all of Nassau and Suffolk counties from through 1 a.m. Tuesday, when sustained winds of up to 40 mph are expected. The agency also issued a coastal flood warning during high tide Monday. Up to two inches of rain are likely, although twice that amount is possible, forecasters said.

“The strongest winds are expected Monday afternoon and evening,” Upton-based NWS meteorologists said in a statement. The agency clocked the high wind mark at 55 mph as of Monday afternoon.

Nassau and Suffolk county officials urged residents to stay off the roads unless it’s an emergency and take items inside that can become dangerous projectiles in the strong winds.

Much of the New York Metro area is under the same high wind warning. Forecasters warned that the winds and gusts can down utility lines, causing outages, in addition to making travel difficult.

The coastal flood advisory was issued for oceanfront and bayfront areas for the entire South Shore and East End of LI, when tides are expected to be above average, with a slight possibility of major flooding in isolated locations, potentially resulting in some waterfront road closures and structural damage, the agency said. Beach erosion and waves washing over dunes is also expected late Sunday night into Tuesday.

The storm system is expected to clear the region by Tuesday afternoon, when skies are forecast to clear up with temperatures in the 40s.

Riverhead Physician Assistant Gets 5 Years for Selling Rx

A physician assistant from Riverhead was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison after he admitted to writing prescriptions for large amounts of addictive painkillers in exchange for cash.

Michael Troyan, 38, had pleaded guilty in June at Central Islip federal court to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone. One of his co-conspirators, former Southampton Town Councilman Bradley Bender, was sentenced in June to 24 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

“For years, Troyan supplied Bender and others with phony prescriptions for huge quantities of oxycodone pills, which Bender filled and illegally exchanged for cash and steroids with another co-conspirator,” said Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “The oxycodone pills were then re-sold to drug abusers, sustaining the destructive abuse of opioid analgesics in our communities.”

Prosecutors said undercover investigators captured Troyan on video writing phony prescriptions for oxycodone and receiving large quantities of cash between November 2011 and October 2015.

Judge Denis Hurley ordered Troyan to forfeit $710,290 and added three years’ supervised release as a part of his sentence.

Ex-Merchant Marine Academy Staffer Admits Taking Bribe

U.S. Merchant Marine AcademyU.S. Merchant Marine Academy
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

A former official at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point has admitted to steering contracts to preferred companies in exchange for bribes.

John McCormick pleaded guilty Friday at Central Islip federal court to receiving a bribe as a public official.

“The receipt of bribes on government contracts threatens the quality of the work being performed and the integrity of the contracting process,” said Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Prosecutors said the 60-year-old Atlantic Beach man was a planner and estimator for the Department of Public Works at the academy when he submitted fake bids on maintenance and repair contracts he supervised to steer the contracts to companies that paid him bribes in October 2014.

He was arrested shortly after investigators recorded him accepting a bribe, authorities said. Two other academy employees and several contractors were also arrested in the investigation, which is continuing.

Judge Arthur Spatt ordered McCormick to forfeit $60,000 in bribes he received. McCormick is scheduled to be sentenced May 19. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

West Islip Man Killed in Crash

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)

A 76-year-old man was killed when he crashed his car in his hometown of West Islip on Friday night.

Suffolk County police said Walter Kneibert was driving a Toyota Camry eastbound on Sunrise Highway when he exited the highway onto the Service Road, lost control of the car and struck a utility pole west of the Robert Moses Causeway at 11:25 p.m.

The driver and his 72-year-old wife, Ruth Kneibert, were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was pronounced dead. Ruth was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Third Squad detectives impounded the car, are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this crash to call them at 631-854-8352.

Flanders Man Charged With Raping 2 Girls

Shawn D. Reid
Shawn D. Reid

A 26-year-old Flanders man was arrested Thursday for allegedly raping two girls ages 6 and 7, Southampton Town Police said.

Shawn D. Reid was charged with two counts of first-degree rape.

Detectives released few details of the case other than to say that the suspect was arrested following a 10-week investigation with the help of Suffolk County Child Protective Services and the Southampton Town Police Community Response Unit.

He will be arraigned Friday at Southampton Town Justice.

Donald Trump Sworn in as First President from NY in 72 Years

Donald Trump was sworn in Friday as 45th president of the United States, becoming the oldest and richest incoming commander in chief ever and the first from New York in 72 years.

The inauguration of the 70-year-old billionaire real estate mogul and former reality TV star marked the return of Republican power to the White House and the end of Democrat Barack Obama’s two terms in the highest office in the land—a transition cheered by Trump supporters and protested by the incoming administration’s critics.

“We are literally transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump said as rain began to fall in nation’s capital. “January 20th will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation once again.”

Trump beat Republican Ronald Reagan’s record as oldest incoming president by a year. Reagan was 69 years old when he took office in 1981. And Trump, who claims his empire is worth $10 billion but Forbes magazine estimates to be $3.7 billion, is by far the wealthiest incoming president.

The Queens native and Manhattan resident is the first New Yorker to move into the White House since Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat who served from 1933 to ’45—the only American president in history to serve three terms.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Vice President Michael Pence, the former governor of Indiana, shortly before noon on the steps of the Capitol Building moments before Chief Justice John Roberts led the swearing-in ceremony for Trump.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic minority leader, called for national unity during brief opening remarks before the ceremony while some protesters clashed with law enforcement in the capital.

“We Americans have always been a forward-looking, problem-solving, optimistic, patriotic and decent people,” Schumer said. “Whether we are immigrants or native born…we are all exceptional in our commonly held, yet fierce devotion to our country.”

Trump, who rehashed much of his nomination acceptance speech in his remarks, at times echoed Schumer’s sentiment, although only time will tell how long until Trump returns to the usual combative style that has defined his career and campaign.

“From this day forward a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward its going to be only America first,” Trump said.

–With Rashed Mian

El Chapo Extradited from Mexico to Long Island

el chapo
Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Lorea (Photo by Day Donaldson)

Infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was extradited to the US on Thursday, when Mexican authorities turned him over to American investigators upon his arrival at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

The leader of the violent Sinaloa Cartel, who was alleged to have made $14 billion, was taken to a high-security prison in Brooklyn. He pleaded not guilty Friday at Brooklyn federal court to charges of leading a continuing criminal enterprise, participating in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, weapons charges and money laundering.

“Guzman Loera is accused of using violence, including torture and murder, to maintain an iron-fisted grip on the drug trade across the U.S./Mexico border that invaded our community and others across the country,” said Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “As a result, Guzman Loera made billions of illicit dollars.”

Prosecutors said the 59-year-old cartel leader oversaw the manufacturing, smuggling and distribution of mass quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in cities across America since 1989. In addition to ordering hundreds of murders to collect debts, silence witnesses and warn Mexican authorities against charging him, he also oversaw the killing of thousands who were caught in a war with the rival Juarez Cartel from 2007 to ’11, authorities said.

Capers said authorities decided to try El Chapo in New York City following a years-long investigation that turned up about 40 witnesses and strong evidence, including several multi-ton drug seizures related to the case in Brooklyn and on Long Island. The case, if it goes to trial, will detail the drug pipeline from Mexico to the streets of America, he added. But the extradition was somewhat unexpected.

“We weren’t aware it was going to happen, but we were ready,” Capers said of the extradition, which US prosecutors requested of their Mexican counterparts last year. “We planned for it.”

He and other investigators echoed one another in repeating that El Chapo will not escape from prison, as he has repeatedly in Mexico over the years.

The charges against El Chappo were the result of a joint investigation between federal prosecutors in Miami, Brooklyn and the U.S. Department of Justice’s anti-drug unit, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies. Additional charges previously filed against him by other federal prosecutors are pending while the investigation is continuing.

Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Florida, dubbed El Chapo “the most notorious criminal of modern times.”

Roosevelt Teen Charged With 2 Murders

Malique Shelton
Malique Shelton

A teenager was arrested for two murders and a robbery in Roosevelt after he recently led Nassau County police officers on a chase when he fled on a dirt bike, authorities said.

Malique Shelton, 16, of Roosevelt, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, robbery, reckless endangerment and fleeing an officer.

Homicide Squad detectives said Shelton gunned down 37-year-old Royston Hall on Wagner Avenue on June 22, 2016 and also fatally shot 33-year-old Gerber Hernandez on Ellison Avenue on Nov. 18, 2015.

Police said Shelton and a second suspect who has yet to be apprehended additionally robbed a Chinese food delivery driver at gunpoint on Margaret Drive on Nov. 22, 2016.

Investigators linked him to all three crimes after an officer spotted Shelton riding a dirt bike erratically on Park Avenue, driving on sidewalks and driveways before he got away on Jan. 4, police said.

Shelton was apprehended Wednesday at the corner of Mollineaux Avenue and Washington Avenue. He will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Centerport Man Dies in Upstate NY Snowboarding Accident

Brian Conners
Brian Conners (Facebook photo)

A 25-year-old high school football coach from Centerport who died following a snowboarding accident at an upstate New York ski resort over the weekend is being mourned on Long Island.

Brian Conners died of injuries suffered Saturday morning on the expert trail at the Highmount-based Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in the Catskill Mountains, The Daily Freeman reported. New York State police are investigating the incident but haven’t released further details.

Conners was a 2009 graduate of Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, where students and faculty held a moment of silence in his honor prior to the boys varsity basketball game on Wednesday evening. He went on to coach boys varsity football at Smithtown High School East and was preparing for a career as a teacher.

Wake services for Conners will be held 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday at M.A. Connell Funeral Home, 934 New York Ave. in Huntington Station. A funeral mass for Conners will be held at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.  

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