Papa Grande is a Met


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The New York Mets are giving veteran closer Jose Valverde a shot.

The amazins have signed the 35-year-old reliever to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  The three-time All-Star had nine saves and a 5.59 ERA in 20 games for the Detroit Tigers last season before being released in August.

Valverde has recorded 286 career saves in 11 major league seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Tigers

Meeting still on in Smithtown


A vote to appoint Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick to their elected offices scheduled for tonight won’t be canceled because of the snow storm.

Councilman Thomas McCarthy, deputy supervisor and now acting supervisor told “Newsday” that he has arranged transportation to safely get town officials to the vote.  Republicans Vecchio and Nowick were officially out of office Monday, after a memo late last week by conservative town clerk Vincent Puleo declared the seats vacant because the pair did not sign a written oath within 30 days of taking office on January 1st, as required by state law.

More winter weather

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Agencies on Long Island are preparing for the latest winter storm.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano will activate the County’s Non-Emergency Hotline at 6:00 a.m.  The Long Island Rail Road will be on a normal schedule. If the storm worsens during the day, they may offer extra afternoon service for those looking to leave work early.

Southwest Airlines has cancelled all flights through noon today at McArthur airport and more than 600 departing flights have been cancelled at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports.

Suspected bank robber busted


Suffolk Police yesterday arrested a man that robbed two banks and attempted to rob four additional banks within a seven month span in Suffolk.

Police report Officers were on patrol when they observed a 1997 Plymouth driving recklessly south on Mill Road in Medford.  The officers pulled the driver over on Mill Road and Granny Road and conducted a computer check which revealed that the vehicle was stolen.  After arresting the driver, James Johnson, 44, the officers noticed that Johnson fit the description of a suspect who was wanted for a number of attempted robberies in Suffolk County.

Further investigations revealed that Johnson, of 18 Fife Drive, Coram, was responsible for the following:

  • Robbing a Capitol One Bank in Center Moriches on August 9, 2013
  • Robbing a Chase Bank in Bohemia on January 25, 2014
  • Attempting to rob a Bank of America in Medford on February 5, 2014
  • Attempting to rob a Chase bank in Medford on February 5, 2014
  • Attempting to rob a Chase bank in Farmingville on February 11, 2014
  • Attempting to rob a Capitol One bank in Brentwood today

During the first two robberies, Johnson passed a note to a teller demanding money and fled once the teller complied.  In the last four instances, Johnson passed a note demanding money but left the bank without proceeds when the teller did not immediately comply with his demands.

Johnson is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip today.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.