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Long Island teachers score high

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Ninety-seven percent of Long Island’s public school teachers and principals rated “highly effective” or “effective” and fewer than 1 percent scored “ineffective” in the first-ever regionwide job evaluation results released Thursday by the state Education Department.
Only four-tenths of 1 percent of educators in Nassau and Suffolk counties were deemed “ineffective” in results for the 2012-13 school year — a figure that was even lower than the statewide average of 1 percent.
Moreover, 86 of the region’s 124 districts had no teachers or principals appraised as “ineffective.” Figures covered a total of 33,200 educators Islandwide.

Re-vote in Hempstead

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State Education Commissioner John King is calling for a special election to fill a seat on the Hempstead school board. 

Longtime school board President Betty Cross won the seat by a handful of votes back in May, defeating rival Maribel Toure.  However, Toure filed a petition, accusing Cross of coercion, fraud and misuse of the absentee balloting process.   King announced yesterday an investigation found “irregularities” in the absentee balloting regarding May’s election and ordered the results annulled. 

The special election will be held within the next 45 days. 

Melius son a person of interest in his shooting

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The adopted son of Gary Melius is now considered a “person of interest” in the shooting of the Oheka Castle owner earlier this year.  That’s according to “Newsday,” which reports investigators have been keeping their eye on 34-year-old Thomas Melius while conducting numerous interviews and studying thousands of pages of Oheka Castle business records. 

The elder Melius says investigators are focused on his son because of his drug-related past and claims there’s “not one shred of evidence” that links him to the shooting.  Gary Melius was shot in the head by a masked gunman outside of Oheka Castle in February. 

At this time, Thomas Melius is not considered a suspect in the shooting.

Deer a problem on Fire Island

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The iconic deer roaming the Fire Island National Seashore may be in peril, as the National Park Service weighs options to control the increased population with lethal and nonlethal methods.
With an estimated 300 white-tailed deer now living in about eight square miles of the national park portion of the barrier island, park service officials say the hungry creatures, which have no natural predators, are destroying native vegetation and threatening the rare Sunken Forest maritime holly forest — one of only two in the world.
The service is proposing reducing the Fire Island deer population either through reproductive controls, killing the animals with sharpshooters or a limited and controlled public hunt, or some combination of nonlethal and lethal methods. No target number for the reduction was specified.

Gillibrand dishes the dirt

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New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is taking aim at her male colleagues in her new book, “Off the Sidelines.” 

She reveals how some have made insensitive and even creepy remarks about her weight.  One quote reads, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky.”  She writes that after losing 50 pounds, another senator squeezed her waist and said. “don’t lose too much weight now.  I like my girls chubby.” 

Mixed response for Precious Pups

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A Riverhead judge has decided the fate of dogs being sold by an East End animal rescue.
The judge ruled that animals already at Precious Pups of Calverton can stay, but the shop cannot sell or transfer animals while the case remains in litigation.
As News 12 has reported, the facility was temporarily shut down after complaints by customers who say they were duped into adopting sick dogs.
The attorney general says Precious Pups has been involved in “fraudulent” practices. However, the group denies the charges.

Mt Sinai man busted for leaving 4 year old in the car

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Suffolk County Police today arrested a Mount Sinai man after he left his child in a locked vehicle for approximately 15 minutes in Selden this afternoon.

Sixth Precinct Sergeant William Robinson and Police Officer Robert Strandvold responded to Selden Plaza after a 911 caller reported a child locked in a Mercedes Benz in Selden Plaza, located on Route 25, at 1:55 p.m. A member of the Selden Fire Department was also flagged down by the caller.

A 4-year-old girl was sleeping in the backseat of the vehicle for approximately 15 minutes. The car was not running and the windows were open approximately ½ inch. Other members of the Selden Fire Department responded and were able to unlock one of the doors. The child was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for examination.

Sergeant Robinson and Officer Strandvold entered TJ Maxx, located in Selden Plaza, and located the child’s father, Juan Pablo Aguilar Varela, 32, of 4 Valiant Court. Aguilar Varela was arrested and charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child and is scheduled for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip on August 28. Suffolk County Child Protective Services was notified.



Crash seriously injuries Lindenhurst man


Suffolk County Police First Squad detectives are investigating a crash that seriously injured a man in Wyandanch last night.

Peter Vitetzakis was driving his 2012 work van eastbound on Long Island Avenue when he broadsided a 2000 Hyundai station wagon that was making a left turn from Doe Street to go westbound on Long Island Avenue at approximately 4 p.m. The collision caused the Hyundai to back into a 2007 Chevrolet work van driven by Richard Aylward.

The driver of the Hyundai, John Tedesco, 76, of Lindenhurst, was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip by the Wyandanch/Wheatly Heights Ambulance Company, where he is being treated for serious trauma to his body. Aylward, 38, of Holbrook, was also treated at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center for minor injuries. Vitetzakis, 45, of Westbury was not injured.

The 2012 work van and 2000 Hyundai were impounded for safety checks.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident and have not been interviewed to call the First Squad at 631-854-8152.

Cuomo losing endorsements


Gov. Andrewdownload (19) M. Cuomo’s hard-line stances with teachers over performance evaluations and public employees on contracts and pensions have led some unions to decline to endorse him for re-election.
Labor unions have been a traditional strength of Democratic candidates for governor, though the relationship is evolving, experts said. And Cuomo is far from being without any union support — individual private-sector unions, such as those in construction, are expected to endorse him. But the unions that have broken away underscore the trouble the governor is having with some core Democrat supporters and the political left, analysts said, although others note that some voters will view Cuomo’s tough stances with unions as a positive.
Last week, the state AFL-CIO, which represents 2.5 million workers and retirees statewide, declined to make an endorsement in the gubernatorial election after one union official said it “became clear” Cuomo would have lost a floor vote among its delegates. That mirrored decisions by the New York State United Teachers and Civil Service Employees Association to sit out the race because of deep divisions about Cuomo.

Stonybrook students move to Shirley

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Stony Brook University is leasing dormitories at Dowling College’s Shirley aviation school as part of a plan to address a chronic shortage of on-campus beds.
About 200 Stony Brook students moved into dorms at the Shirley campus this past weekend in preparation for the school year, which began Monday. Dowling had closed the dorms last year as part of a cost-cutting move.

Stony Brook had housed students at the aviation school in 1998, while a new dormitory was under construction at the Stony Brook campus, university spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said.