Joan Rivers, Comic Legend and TV Personality, Dead at Age 81

(NEW YORK) — Joan Rivers, a comic legend known for her trademark snarky humor and long, wide-ranging career, has died at age 81.  

Rivers was undergoing throat surgery last week in New York City when she suffered cardiac arrest and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital.  Her daughter Melissa Rivers confirmed Tuesday that her mother was on life support. 

On Thursday afternoon, Melissa Rivers issued a statement saying, “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.”

Rivers added, “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”

Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, N.Y.  After graduating from college with a BA in English literature and anthropology, she worked a handful of different jobs before turning her attention full-time to show business.  It was her agent at the time who suggested she change her last name professionally.  She took his, and became Joan Rivers.

Rivers was already a successful stand-up comic in New York City when she began making TV appearances in the early 1960s, beginning as a guest on The Tonight Show, first when hosted by Jack Parr and then, Johnny Carson.  She quickly became a familiar television presence, appearing on comedy and variety shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show, and also released her first comedy albums.

Rivers briefly had her own daytime talk show in the late 1960s, on which Johnny Carson was her first guest.  Carson served in large part as a mentor for her for decades, showcasing her often on his show, and ultimately having her serve as frequent Tonight Show guest host.  Their friendship abruptly and very publicly ended when Rivers accepted an offer in 1986 to host a rival late-night talk show on Fox, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, and reportedly didn’t tell Carson ahead of time.

Feeling betrayed, Carson never again spoke to her, and instituted a Tonight Show ban that ended only when Jimmy Fallon featured her on his first broadcast as host, in February of 2014.  Ironically, Rivers’ late-night talk show lasted only a year before she was fired.  She later went on to host her own Emmy-winning daytime talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, from 1989-1993.

Rivers continued to perform stand up and was a near constant television presence until her death.  In 1994, she and her daughter, Melissa, began providing red carpet coverage and commentary for E! Entertainment Television, and became known for catty, often hilarious comments about celebrity awards show fashion.  In 2010, that trademark snark was showcased in the E! show, Fashion Police.  She was as popular in the U.K. as she was in America, appearing frequently on game and chat shows there, and receiving an invitation to the April 2005 wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Though never shy about offering her opinions on current events and pop culture, Rivers received increasing criticism in recent years for remarks, often about tragic news events, that many judged to be harsh or insensitive.  She sometimes explained herself, but seldom apologized.

Rivers was married twice; once for less than a year in 1955, and then to Edgar Rosenberg, from 1965 until his death in 1987.  Melissa is her only child.

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(Central Islip, N.Y., August 24, 2014) – The Long Island Ducks were defeated by the Somerset Patriots 8-5 on Sunday evening in the finale of a four-game series at Bethpage Ballpark.

Long Island took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an opposite field two-out, two-run homer from Adam Bailey off Patriots starter Gary Moran. Somerset trimmed the deficit to one in the second on a Corey Smith solo home run off Ducks starter Bobby Blevins.

The Ducks extended their lead back to two in the fourth on a run-scoring throwing error from Moran. The Patriots responded in the fifth with a two-run single from Ty Wright to tie the game at three.

Long Island regained the lead in the bottom of the frame on a solo home run from Lew Ford. However, Somerset plated five runs in the eighth to grab the lead for good at 8-4. Luis Montanez’s RBI double, Kevin Kotch’s RBI fielder’s choice and a three-run home run from Cory Harrilchak provided the damage. The Flock cut the Patriots lead to three in the ninth on a Bailey solo home run, but they would get no closer.

Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Blevins yielded three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven over seven innings. Moran allowed four runs over six innings on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Mike DeMark (7-2) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief despite walking two. Tommy Organ (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits in one-third of an inning of relief. Jon Hunton picked up his 41st save of the year by recording the final two outs of the game.

Cody Puckett led the Flock with three hits, while Bailey added two hits, three runs batted in and two runs.

Following a day off on Monday, Long Island hits the road for a three-game series against the Somerset Patriots on Tuesday night. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. from TD Bank Ballpark. Right-hander Jared Lansford gets the start for the Ducks against Patriots southpaw Matt Maloney. Fans can follow all the action online, with live streaming audio available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE.

The Ducks will return home on Friday, August 29 to kick off a four-game series against the Camden Riversharks. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., with the Bethpage Ballpark gates opening at 6:05. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Ducks Water Bottles, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Tickets for the game and every Ducks regular season home game are now on sale.

Rain damage in Brookhaven

These are the photos taken from Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle, these are photos of the aftermath of the damaging rain storm of last week.





Brookhaven, NY – Under the leadership of Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro, crews worked tirelessly to keep Brookhaven Town roads safe during and after the most severe rain storm in New York State history. According to the National Weather Service, some parts of Brookhaven received rain at a rate of two to four inches per hour for up to four hours on Wednesday, August 13th.

“This was a very rare event,” said Brian Ciemnecki, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Crews were in early Wednesday morning removing cars from roadways and working to keep roads passable, while administrators were coordinating how to address the most affected areas.

“We treated this rainstorm like a snow event,” Superintendent Losquadro said. “The same technology we used to track work orders during the winter allowed us to locate flooded areas and make the most use of our resources. Overall, the Highway Department responded to more than 225 separate locations during this storm. I cannot say enough about the men and women from this Department who came in early, worked straight through the night and into Thursday to keep Brookhaven Town roadways open.”

Precipitation levels varied greatly throughout Brookhaven, with Holbrook receiving 12.57 inches, Ronkonkoma 8.20, Farmingville 7.73 and Centereach 7.71, according to the National Weather Service.

“I’m 44 years old and I never saw rain like that in my life,” said Roland Jackson of Hallock Landing in Rocky Point. “When I left for work in the morning, I did not think I was going to be able to get back to my home. The Highway Department did a great job of getting pumps out to clear the roadway and in a well-coordinated effort took care of all the issues to make it safe for the thousands of residents that live off my road. I’m happy to say by the time I got home the roadway was completely clear of any debris or evidence of this historical storm.”


Gillibrand Pushes National College Sex Assault Bill

(New York, NY) — New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing a national college sex assault bill and SUNY is the first college system in the nation to get behind it. The bi-partisan bill would create a yearly survey asking students whether they’ve been victimized. Gillibrand says sexual violence affects one in five college women. The bill would penalize schools that try to cover up incidents or don’t support women who report sex crimes.


(Central Islip, N.Y., August 13, 2014) – The Long Island Ducks were defeated by the Sugar Land Skeeters 3-0 on Wednesday night in the middle game of a three-game series at Bethpage Ballpark.

Delwyn Young provided the only runs of the ballgame on a three-run homer to right field in the top of the first inning off Ducks starting pitcher John Brownell.

Skeeters starting pitcher Matt Wright (8-8) earned the win, tossing seven shutout innings five hits with three strikeouts. Brownell (12-7) took the loss, yielding three runs on three hits and three hits while striking out six. Gary Majewski earned his 21st save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning.

Joash Brodin led the Ducks with two hits.

Long Island concludes its three-game series against the Sugar Land Skeeters on Thursday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., with the Bethpage Ballpark gates opening at 6:05. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Back to School Lunch Boxes courtesy of SCOPE Education Services. Right-hander Bobby Blevins gets the start for the Ducks against Skeeters southpaw Steve Hammond.

Tickets for the game and every Ducks regular season home game are now on sale. Fans can purchase their tickets by visiting the Bethpage Ballpark box office, calling 631-940-TIXX or by CLICKING HERE. Those unable to make the game can follow all the action with live streaming video and audio available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE.IMG_2259.JPG

Robin Williams’ Death Highlights Rising Risk of Suicide

(NEW YORK) — The death of actor Robin Williams has highlighted the rising rate of suicide among middle-aged men, the most successful of whom are in no way immune to depression.

Williams had spoken candidly about his battle with depression and addiction over his four-decade career. He apparently committed suicide by hanging himself Monday, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. He was 63.

Nearly 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate among middle age Americans rose 28 percent between 1999 and 2010, landing suicide in the country’s top 10 leading causes of death.

The risk of suicide is highest among white people, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the overall suicide rate is about four times higher among men than among women.

About 90 percent of people who commit suicide are suffering from some kind of mental illness like depression, said Dana Alonzo, director of the suicide prevention research program at the Columbia School of Social Work. But not all of them know it.

“The vast majority don’t know they have depression — men in particular,” said Dr. Joseph Calabrese, who directs UH Case Medical Center’s mood disorders program. “And then when they are told that they have a depression, they are reluctant to accept it due to stigma.”

But depression and mental illness are no different than diabetes or heart disease, according to Calabrese, as there are clear cut symptoms and treatments. To be diagnosed with depression, a person has to feel deep sadness “most of the day, nearly every day,” he said. They are also unable to enjoy life and aren’t motivated to do things they normally enjoy.

Though depressed people may have suicidal thoughts, it usually takes drugs and alcohol to prompt those people to act on them, Calabrese said.

Calabrese said to watch out for three emotions in depressed individuals who may be having suicidal thoughts: helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness.

“If somebody is feeling hopeless about the future, they’re at very high risk,” Calabrese said.

Alonzo said not to be afraid to talk to someone who may be suicidal.

“I think one of the most common myths about suicide is…that the worst thing you can do is ask someone about suicide because it will give them the idea,” said Alonzo. “It’s one of the most helpful things you can do.”

Asking someone whether they’re thinking about suicide lets them know you care and won’t judge them, she said. Mayo Clinic suggests using a sensitive tone and asking questions about what’s going on in the person’s life and how they’re coping.

But it’s important to know that if your loved one does commit suicide, it’s not your fault, Alonzo added.

“I think that that’s actually an overlooked group,” she said of people who have lost loved ones to suicide. “They tend to experience more self-directed anger and shame for missing the signs that this was going to happen.”

There are plenty of resources available to people at risk for suicide and their loved ones, Alonzo said.

The Suicide Prevention Center Hotline is located at (877) 7-CRISIS or (877) or click here for its website.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 or click here for its website.

There’s even a relatively new texting line for people who would rather not talk on the phone called the Crisis Text Line. Text the word “listen” to 741741.

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Robin Williams’ Daughter Quits Social Media After Bullying

(NEW YORK) — Robin Williams’ daughter is taking a break from social media in the wake of her father’s death. Actress Zelda Williams, 25, says she’s stepping away after being subjected to what she calls “cruel and unnecessary” comments.

The longest message is on Williams’ Instagram account. Accompanied by a photo of a black and yellow Butterfly, Zelda writes, “I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not.”

Zelda goes on to explain, “In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary. There are a couple throughout, but the real private moments I shared with him were precious, quiet, and believe it or not, not full of photos or ‘selfies’. I shared him with a world where everyone was taking their photo with him, but I was lucky enough to spend time with him without cameras too. That was more than enough, and I’m grateful for what little time I had.”

She concludes, “My favorite photos of family are framed in my house, not posted on social media, and they’ll remain there. They would’ve wound up on the news or blogs then, and they certainly would now. That’s not what I want for our memories together. Thank you for your respect and understanding in this difficult time. Goodbye. Xo.”

On Twitter, where of course individual messages are limited to 140 characters, Zelda wrote, “I’m sorry. I should’ve risen above. Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye.”

Zelda Williams is the daughter of Williams and his second wife, Marsha Garces. Robin Williams died Monday of apparent suicide at the age of 63.

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