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Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of 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 May Cause Power Outages on Long Island

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A nor’easter may cause power outages when the storm brings strong winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding to Long Island on Saturday, forecasters and officials say.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the forecast calls for gusts up to 50 mph, water inundating some waterfront roadways, and minor beach erosion. More than an inch of rain is expected, officials said.

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects,” Upton-based NWS meteorologists said in a wind advisory in effect for Nassau and Suffolk counties Saturday. “Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.”

The first nor’easter of the season may bring the first blizzard of the season to New England more than two weeks before the winter solstice, AccuWeather News reported.

“Breaking waves of 3 to 5 feet could result in minor beach erosion, especially farther east,” NWS added in a coastal flood statement citing “wave action from strong northerly winds.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran issued a statement warning Long Islanders to prepare for possible power outages as a result of the storm.

“Residents are advised to secure all outdoor objects and avoid travel at that time, if possible,” Curran said.

Residents who lose power can report it to PSEGLI at 800-490-0075, by texting OUT to PSEGLI (773454), on the utility’s app, or online at www.psegliny.com/outages  

“PSEG Long Island personnel worked tirelessly to restore power to all customers affected by the severe storm last weekend and are ready to respond again to the rain and high winds expected to hit Long Island,” said John O’Connell, vice president of Transmission and Distribution at PSEG Long Island. “Our workforce is performing system checks and logistics checks to ensure the availability of critical materials, fuel and other supplies.”

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Suffolk Police to Release New Photos of Belt in Gilgo Beach Case

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart holds up a photo of initials on a belt found at a Gilgo Beach crime scene. (Long Island Press photo)

Suffolk County police plan to release additional photos of a belt recovered in the unsolved Gilgo Beach murder investigation, authorities announced a week before the 10-year anniversary of the case.

Police said the photos will be released at gilgonews.com, the website the department launched in January as a platform for background information and updates on the case, but did not say exactly when the new photos would be released.

“We are hopeful this photo will bring someone forward with information about its origin,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart has said of the first photo of the belt released earlier this year.

Police previously disclosed the evidence — the first new investigatory detail the department shared since the remains were found along Ocean Parkway in 2010 an ’11 — in January on the same day that Netflix released a trailer for Lost Girls, a movie about the case. The same day, police also launched their new website and announced they were approved to use genetic genealogy to put names to unidentified victims — a development that led to the identification of victim Valerie Mack in May.

The new evidence was a black leather belt embossed with the half-inch initials “HM” or “WH” in light blue lettering found at an unspecified victim’s dump site, police said. Investigators believe the belt was handled by the killer and didn’t belong to any of the victims, but they declined to release the belt size.

Police were searching for Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey woman reported missing in May 2010 from Oak Beach, when they discovered 10 sets of human remains—half of whom were also identified as escorts — along Ocean Parkway between December 2010 and April 2011. Gilbert was later found dead, but police and medical examiners have suggested she may have drowned in a marsh — although her family insists she was murdered.

Dec. 11 is the anniversary police finding victim Melissa Barthelemy, one of four young women found nearby one another in Gilgo Beach — a discovery that marked the first time Suffolk police confirmed they are looking for a serial killer since dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer.

Related Story: Did Police Name A Suspect in The Long Island Serial Killer Case?

Related Story: Who is The Girl With The Peach Tattoo?

Related Story: Questions Remain in Long Island Serial Killer Case

Related Story: Red Herrings Among Tips in Long Island Serial Killer Case

 

For more Long Island Serial Killer coverage visit longislandpress.com/tag/long-island-serial-killer

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Blue Wave Hits Tricky Political Waters on Long Island

A A driver participates in a pro-Trump demonstration on Long Island. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The blue wave of Democratic victories pundits projected for Election Day became a slowly rising tide amid the snail’s pace of counting an unprecedented number of absentee ballots mailed in due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the blue tide buoyed Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and sank Republican Donald Trump’s bid for a second term in the White House, on Long Island the inflow fell short, as the GOP washed away one local Dem. 

“There were rumors of a blue wave and perhaps it occurred in some areas, but the state Democrats ran head first into a red brick wall here in Suffolk County,” said Jesse Garcia, chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee.

Election results on LI were not unlike those nationwide, which resulted in Democrats losing a few seats in their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and coming up short in flipping the U.S. Senate from GOP control — although a pair of run-off elections in Georgia come January will prove pivotal.

On the Island, New York State Sen. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) was unseated by former Republican former Islip Town Tax Receiver Alexis Weik. Newly re-elected State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) noted that Martinez’s seat was one of two statewide that the GOP flipped.

“No other county in the state has more than one Republican state senator,” Boyle added. “Suffolk has four.”

Weik, who said she “didn’t think it was going to happen,” listed her priorities as repealing bail reform, reinstituting the recently repealed state law that shielded police disciplinary records from public scrutiny, and supporting local businesses.

In the race to replace retiring longtime state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Stony Brook), state Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) beat Democrat Laura Ahearn, the executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Parents For Megan’s Law and The Crime Victims Center.

“With all the votes counted, it appears that our campaign to turn SD1 from red to blue for the first time in over 100 years will come up just short,” Ahearn said. “Though disappointed by the result, I am heartened to know that our work over these past months will ensure that the issues facing our community will continue to be front and center as we all strive to make Suffolk County the best place it can be.  I am very proud of the work we all did together as we were just 2.7 percentage points away from flipping this seat, by far the closest this race has been in decades.”

In the 2nd Senate District race to replace retired state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), the former GOP minority leader, Republican Mario Mattera, a plumbers union official, beat Democrat Michael Siderakis, a former state trooper and police union official.

State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport), state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) all saw heavily Democratic-leaning absentee ballots reverse GOP wins in the early returns on election night. And state Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) beat former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, a Democrat, to keep the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) in Republican hands.

In state Assembly races across the Island, incumbents were re-elected, despite some close calls from state Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Huntington), state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), and state Assemblywoman Judy Griffin (D-Rockville Centre). Republicans also held open GOP Assembly seats with Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio winning Palumbo’s seat, Garbarino’s chief of staff Jarett C. Gandolfo winning his boss’s seat, and attorney Keith Brown winning a seat vacated by former state Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-Huntington). 

Democrats held an open Assembly seat when Gina Sillitti, who’s worked in Nassau and Town of North Hempstead government, beat Republican GOP yogurt business owner Ragini Srivastava to win the post held by retiring state Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-New Hyde Park).

Despite the tricky political undercurrents at play in races on LI, Democrats surged in the State Legislature. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said Albany’s upper chamber will have a supermajority, meaning it has the power to potentially override Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto.

“In 2021, we will begin our session with a historic supermajority,” Stewart-Cousins told reporters on Nov. 23. “And it will also be the biggest Senate majority conference in the history of New York state.”

Republicans remain optimistic that they can turn the tide and regain the state Senate majority in the next election cycle for state legislators. 

“In two years I hope we can get the Senate back,” Palumbo said.

Chairman Garcia agreed, predicting more flipped Democratic seats.

“Monica Martinez is the first of many to fall on Long Island,” Garcia said. 

But Democrats maintain voters will soon return Martinez to Albany.

“Monica Martinez will be back, if I have anything to do with it,” Jay Jacobs, who chairs the New York State and Nassau County Democratic committees, told the Press. “Her district has lost a great senator — for now.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Democrat Gina Sillitti, not Republican Ragini Srivastava, won the seat held by retiring state Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-New Hyde Park).

For more elections coverage visit longislandpress.com/elections

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Covid-19 Advisory Issued for 2 More Suffolk Restaurants

Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19 or novel coronavirus 2019 found in Wuhan, China

Multiple people with ties to another pair of restaurants on Long Island have been diagnosed with coronavirus and recent patrons may have been exposed, Suffolk County health officials warned Wednesday.

Anyone who visited Senor Taco Mexican Grill & Bar on Route 25A in Mount Sinai on Nov. 20 or 24 and anyone who visited Phil’s Restaurant on Wading River Manor Road in Wading River between Nov. 20 and 24 should monitor themselves for symptoms for two weeks and get tested for Covid-19, according to the Suffolk Department of Health Services.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The advisory follows a string of alerts about coronavirus cases tied to four other local eateries, including Tellers in Islip,  Friendly’s in Riverhead and two restaurants in Oakdale.

The advisory comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently ordered bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to close at 10 p.m. to curb the spread of coronavirus as the infection rate continues to rise in recent weeks.

For information on Covid-19, visit suffolkcountyny.gov/COVID19

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Palumbo Beats Ahearn in Race For LaValle’s Seat

L. to R.: Laura Ahearn and Anthony Palumbo.

New York State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) beat Democrat Laura Ahearn in the race to replace retiring longtime state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson).

Palumbo declared victory a month after Election Day once his lead in the early unofficial returns tallied from the in-person vote at polling places held up after Suffolk County Board of Elections officials counted the unusually large amount of Democrat-leaning absentee ballots mailed in due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The honor to stand here to succeed Senator LaValle is almost unspeakable,” Palumbo told reporters Wednesday during a news conference at Suffolk County Republican Committee headquarters in Medford.

Palumbo will be the new representative for the 1st State Senate District, which includes the East End of Long Island and eastern portions of the Town of Brookhaven, beginning in January.

The former Suffolk prosecutor won the seat over Ahearn, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victim’s Center, whose campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (R-Baiting Hollow) won the Assembly seat Palumbo vacated so he could run for state Senate. Giglio will be the new Assembly member representing the 2nd Assembly District, which covers the entire North Fork.

Related Story: Sen. Gaughran Defeats Smyth For Second Term

 

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GOP Challenger Weik Unseats Senator Martinez

L. to R.: Monica Martinez and Alexis Weik.

Republican former Islip Town Tax Receiver Alexis Weik ousted freshman New York State Sen. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) a month after Election Day once absentee ballots were counted.

“It’s such an exciting day today, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Weik told reporters Wednesday during a news conference at Suffolk County Republican Committee headquarters in Medford.

Martinez, a former Suffolk County legislator and school administrator, may already be plotting a rematch in the 2022 election.

“Monica Martinez will be back, if I have anything to do with it,” Jay Jacobs, who chairs the New York State and Nassau County Democratic committees, told the Press. “Her district has lost a great senator  for now.”

Martinez represents the 3rd Senate District, which stretches from Hauppauge to Mastic and includes the eastern two-thirds of Fire Island. She was the lone state lawmaker on Long Island to not win re-election this cycle.

The senator was one of the so-called Long Island Six, a bloc of Democratic state senators from the region, who were pivotal in helping flip the balance of power in the chamber from Republican to Democratic leadership in 2018. 

Despite the loss, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) recently announced that Democrats won enough seats elsewhere to have a super majority, which gives them to power to override the governor’s veto.

Two other local senators, Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) and Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), who appeared to be losing close contests on Election Day, were re-elected last month after the unusually large amount of absentee ballots mailed in were counted.

Related Story: Sen. Gaughran Defeats Smyth For Second Term

 

For more elections coverage visit longislandpress.com/elections

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Long Island Cultural Events December 2020

long island cultural events
M. Ward plays The Landmark on Main Street on Dec. 11. (Photo by Cavie78)

From (virtual) music and comedy to book readings and history exhibits, check out these 10 Long Island cultural events this December.

 

DAN ABRAMS & DAVID FISHER

The ABC News legal correspondent and bestselling author will virtually discuss via CrowdCast their new book, Theodore Roosevelt For The Defense: The Courtroom Battle To Save His Legacy. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free. 7 p.m. Dec. 1.

 

PAUL LOREN’S HOLIDAY CHEERS

This New York-based singer, songwriter, and soulful crooner performs a virtual event to bring fans holiday tunes in the comfort of their own homes. My Father’s Place, 1221 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, myfathersplace.veeps.com $10-$15. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3.

 

RACHEL FEINSTEIN 

This nationally touring comedian’s credits include three Comedy Central specials, as well as appearances on HBO’s Crashing, Bravo’s Odd Mom Out, and Adult Swim’s Venture Brothers. The patio at Governor’s Comedy Club, 90 Division Ave., Levittown, govs.com $22. 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 5.

 

JEN ATKIN

The celebrity hair stylist will virtually discuss via CrowdCast her new memoir, Blowing My Way To The Top, in conversation with Hillary Kerr, co-founder of WhoWhatWear. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 6 p.m. Dec. 8.

 

M. WARD

Catch the virtual album release concert for this Portland-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist, whose latest American record is titled Think of Spring. Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main St., Port Washington, landmarkonmainstreet.org $16. 9 p.m. Dec. 11.

 

ELVIS: SEEN/UNSEEN

Priscilla Presley and long-term Elvis associate Jerry Schilling will be sharing intimate stories, personal photos, and rare home movies. One of the most unique concert experiences of recent years has returned with all-new, never-before-seen footage and amazing live onstage performances. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, thetheatreatwestbury.com $100-$151. 8 p.m. Dec. 12.

 

JAMES PATTERSON AND NELSON DEMILLE

The two bestselling authors will virtually discuss via CrowdCast Patterson’s new releases, Deadly Cross and The Last Days of John Lennon. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free. 7 p.m. Dec. 14.

 

THAT MOTOWN BAND

This tribute act will livestream while playing all the hits you know and love – from “Rescue Me” to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” along with classic holiday favorites. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach, whbpac.org $15. 8 p.m. Dec. 17.

 

ART ON THE MARQUEE

Long Island’s first digital marquee exhibition is a rotating series of artist-created videos, GIFs, animations, and digitally created still works that will be presented on the marquee of the theatre building. Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main St., Patchogue, patchoguetheatre.org Free. 8:20 p.m.-12 a.m. daily through Dec. 31.

 

F-14 50TH ANNIVERSARY

This new special exhibit celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the F-14 Tomcat, one of the most iconic Navy fighter jets ever built on Long Island and of all time. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, cradleofaviation.org $14-$16. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thurs.-Sun.

 

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Multiple COVID-19 Cases Linked To Tellers in Islip

Tellers in Islip

Multiple people connected to Tellers steakhouse in Islip have been diagnosed with coronavirus and recent patrons may have been exposed, Suffolk County health officials warned Wednesday.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services advised anyone who visited Tellers on Nov. 16 or 17 that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, should get tested, and should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after visiting the restaurant. Officials said they alerted the public immediately upon discovery of the cases through an investigation.

“On Nov. 16th, an employee tested positive for Covid with no symptoms,” Bohlsen Restaurant Group, the parent company of Tellers, said in a statement. “The employee was immediately put into quarantine. Anyone who was in proximity to that employee was also sent home …  All employees who could have been exposed to the employee were required to test and not return to work until they provide a negative test result.”

A Suffolk health department spokeswoman was not immediately able to say if the additional case or cases connected to the restaurant were staff, patrons, or others.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Tellers is the latest in a string of restaurants that officials have issued virus advisories about, including Friendly’s in Riverhead and two eateries in Oakdale.

The advisory comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently ordered bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to close at 10 p.m. to curb the spread of coronavirus as the infection rate continues to rise in recent weeks.

Suffolk Health Commissioner Gregson H. Pigott told reporters during a news conference Friday that the county’s 4 percent positivity rate is the highest since May. The county also had more than 500 people test positive, the most since April.

The current seven-day average COVID-19 infection rate is 3.3 percent, according to the governor’s office, which predicts cases will continue to rise after Thanksgiving and into the New Year if the public does not wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings.

Suffolk urged residents seeking information on COVID-19 to visit suffolkcountyny.gov/COVID19.

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NYPD Sgt. Charged With Shooting Wife’s Trainer in Seaford

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

A New York City police officer from Seaford was arrested Wednesday for allegedly shooting his wife’s personal trainer after the cop caught the two cheating last year, according to Nassau County prosecutors and reports.

A grand jury indicted NYPD Sgt. Justin Ellis, 35, on a felony charge of assault. The trainer, 30-year-old Patrick Catania of Point Lookout, was also indicted on charges of attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, and criminal trespass  all misdemeanors. 

“[Catania] had a relationship with the woman who’s married to the police sergeant, a romantic relationship,” Catania’s lawyer Jason Russo told the New York Post.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that Ellis came home to find Catania trespassing at Ellis’ home, which Ellis shares with his wife and children. An argument broke out, Catania tried to assault Ellis with a baseball bat, and Ellis shot at Catania twice, striking him once, according to the indictment.

Both men called 911. Catania, who suffered a chest injury, was treated at a nearby hospital. Both men surrendered Wednesday to Nassau police. The sergeant was reportedly suspended without pay.

Judge Fran Ricigliano released both men without bail. Ellis faces up to seven years in prison and Catania faces up to four years, if convicted. Ellis is due back in court Jan. 7 and Catania is due back Jan. 8.

Ellis’ attorney could not be reached.

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Parts of Long Island May Enter COVID-19 Yellow Zone This Week

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned parts of Long Island may enter a yellow zone on Sunday.

As coronavirus surges in some communities on Long Island, parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties could see added New York State-mandated restrictions this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Sunday.

The governor did not say which areas may be deemed a precautionary yellow zone — capping restaurant patrons to four per table and requiring weekly testing of students and teachers, among other measures — as part of the state’s Cluster Action Initiative. But he did mention the highest infection rate on LI was in Brentwood at 6 percent.

“You see by community the variance,” Cuomo told reporters during a news conference. “It’s not what’s my state infection rate, it’s not even what’s my regional infection rate — what’s your community infection rate? Look at the difference even on Long Island: You go from Massapequa 3.6, Freeport’s 4.5.”

The seven-day average COVID-19 infection rate for the Island was 3.23 percent as of Sunday and the statewide positivity rate for the same time frame was 2.89 percent, according to the governor’s office.

Parts of the Five Towns were included last month in a yellow zone due to a spike in high infection rates in that area that later decreased. The next level is an orange zone warning in which non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care, are closed and schools are required to be remote-only. The highest level of restriction is the red zone in which only essential businesses open and dining reverts to takeout only as it did between when the virus peaked in March.

Outside of New York City, the infection rates that trigger the zones are 3 to 4 percent for yellow, 4 to 5 for orange, and 5 to 6 for red, but the rates must be maintained for a 10-day average to bring state action.

Cuomo said the state infection rate could hit 10 percent in January if New Yorkers aren’t careful.

Between now and January, there will be increased social interaction, and the consequence, I believe, will be an increase in the rate of cases,” Cuomo said. “The only question of how much and how fast is up to you.”

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