“Gravity” Wins Seven Trophies, “12 Years a Slave” Takes Best Picture at Academy Awards

(LOS ANGELES) — The outer-space drama Gravity won a leading seven Oscars at the 86th annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles, but it was brought down to earth by 12 Years a Slave, which took home the night’s most prestigious award: Best Picture.

Going into the race, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave were the two pictures that most pundits predicted would win, and when Gravity started scooping technical awards left and right, it appeared that the momentum was on its side.

But even though Gravity‘s Alfonso Cuaron was named Best Director towards the end of the evening, 12 Years a Slave emerged victorious. On the podium, director Steve McQueen said, “I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”

12 Years a Slave also won Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o, in her first film role. “When I look down on this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid,” said the Kenyan actress, who called her work on the film “the joy of my life.”

As for the rest of the field, there weren’t any big surprises, since many of them had been predicted for weeks. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were named Best Actor and Supporting Actor, respectively, for their roles in Dallas Buyers Club. They were both first-time winners.

Cate Blanchett took home her second Oscar, winning Best Actress for Blue Jasmine.

Frozen was named Best Animated Film, while its ubiquitous anthem “Let It Go” was named Best Original song, beating out the likes of U2 and Pharrell Williams.

McConaughey, who lost 45 pounds for his role as a man with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, gave a long, complicated but entertaining speech in which he explained that he needs three things every day: someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and someone to chase. He said he looked up to God, and looked forward to his family. As for who he chases, he said it’s his hero, who he describes as a future version of himself. He explained, “Every day…my hero is ten years away. I’m never gonna be my hero, I’m not gonna obtain that, and that’s just fine with me, because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

“So to anyone of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, and look forward to and whatever it is we’re chasing,” McConaughey concluded, “To that I say, ‘All right, all right, all right!’ And just keep livin’!”

Leto, who played an HIV-positive transgendered woman in Dallas Buyers Club, said during his speech, “This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world for you.”

As for Blanchett, during her speech, she thanked her fellow nominees profusely, and then said pointedly, “Those of us in the industry that are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are ‘niche experiences,’ they are not. Audiences wanna see them, and in fact, they earn money!”

Host Ellen DeGeneres represented a huge turnaround from last year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, who offended many with his off-color humor. She was her usual warm self, poking gentle fun at the stars in the audience, but was never mean or “edgy.”

The talk show host, who changed outfits three times during the telecast, also was huge on audience participation. She ordered pizza for the hungry stars, bringing in an actual delivery guy with a stack of boxes and passing out slices on paper plates. She then passed Pharrell’s hat around to collect the money for the meal, shaming the bigger stars, like Brad Pitt, into throwing in even more money.

She also snapped selfies with various stars. One in particular, which included everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Bradley Cooper to Meryl Streep to Angelina Jolie, became the most retweeted photo in Twitter history.

Music was a huge part of the telecast, which wrapped up around midnight. While Ellen didn’t sing or dance, U2 got a standing ovation for an acoustic performance of their nominated song “Ordinary Love,” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Pharrell Williams, wearing his famous hat, got the audience — including Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Lupita Nyong’o — up and dancing to his #1 hit “Happy,” from Despicable Me 2. Karen O of the alternative rock band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed “The Moon Song” — from the movie Her — with Ezra Koenig of the band Vampire Weekend on guitar. And Idina Menzel belted out “Let It Go,” even though John Travolta completely and shamefully mangled her name while introducing her.

Pink sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as part of a Wizard of Oz tribute. Bette Midler sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” as part of the “In Memoriam” segment paying tribute to those we lost over the past year, including James Gandolfini, Harold Ramis, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple and Sid Caesar. Ramis’ close friend and collaborator Bill Murray also gave Ramis a special shout-out onstage.

Posted On 03 Mar 2014

Study: Sleep Machines May Damage Your Baby’s Hearing

(TORONTO) — Parents beware: If you use an infant sleep machine to help put your baby to sleep, you could be upping your child’s chance of developing noise-induced hearing loss.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics says cranking the volume on those machines — which use lullabies or white noise to help block whatever’s happening in the world beyond the crib — can damage your child’s hearing.

Researchers at the University of Toronto tested 14 popular machines and found that at a distance of 30 centimeters, three of the machines were louder than 85 decibels — the workplace safety limit for adults.

Doctors recommend lowering the volume and putting the machines farther away, to ensure your babies will be able to hear you when they’re supposed to.

Posted On 03 Mar 2014

Oscar Pistorius Pleads Not Guilty as Murder Trial Begins

(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial kicked off in a South African courtroom on Monday, with the Olympian pleading not guilty to fatally shooting his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, 27, is accused of premeditated murder after shooting Steenkamp to death at his home in Pretoria, South Africa, last Valentine’s Day. He insists he shot her by accident, mistaking her for an intruder.

As he entered court, Pistorius — dubbed “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs — walked past Steenkamp’s family.

After he entered the courtroom, Pistorius received a hug from a photographer and handshake from a police officer.


Posted On 03 Mar 2014

Apple Bringing iPhone Experience to Cars with CarPlay

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Some iPhone users will soon be able to chat with Siri while they drive. Apple is introducing CarPlay, a hands-free integrated software system that will run through the driver’s smartphone.

It will be plugged into a car through a lightning cable connection and made available first in vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Jaguar and Hyundai.
Drivers can access contacts stored in their iPhones and have features like Apple Maps, Siri, Voice-to-text, music and more.
The new system is being announced at this week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Posted On 03 Mar 2014

Cuomo calls for Common Core reforms


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for reforms to the plagued rollout of Common Core.

“Newsday” reports that in a new television ad set to air throughout the state this week, Cuomo says the changes are needed so that students won’t be hurt by the new standards. Cuomo supports Common Core but says teachers must be better trained and students and parents better prepared for the new curriculum.

The governor’s move comes after parents and teachers expressed outrage over the past few months over the troubled rollout by the New York Education Department.

Nassau Comptroller fined

The Federal Election Commission disclosed that Nassau Comptroller George Maragos must pay a $5,000 fine for failing to keep his campaign fund accounting straight in his failed 2012 U.S. Senate run. The FEC filed a complaint after finding Maragos misreported his personal loans to his campaign in the first three months of 2012.
Before the June primary, Maragos reported lending his campaign $40,960 for a total outstanding of $1.1 million. But in August, after he lost, he amended the filing for the first three months of the year to say he actually loaned himself nearly $835,000, for a $1.9 million total — and paid himself back $800,000 of it.
In his negotiated FEC settlement —  — Maragos blamed the error on “inexperienced staff” who entered “net” loan figures instead of totals.

Two busted for robberies


Suffolk County Police have arrested two men in connection with a series of commercial burglaries that have taken place at various locations on the south shore of Suffolk County since September of 2013. Proceeds from these burglaries included ATM machines and cash.

Fifth Squad detectives conducted an investigation into six commercial burglaries that occurred at the following locations:

•           September 22, 2013 – BP Gas, 386 Commack Road, Deer Park

•           October 28, 2013 – JG Deli, 147 East Main St., Bay Shore

•           November 5, 2013 – Citgo Gas, 1310 Fifth Ave., Bay Shore

•           November 18, 2013 – Express Hero Shop, 2116 Union Blvd., Bay                        Shore

•           December 2, 2013 – Ella’s Market, 14 Washington Ave., West                              Sayville

•           January 12, 2014 – Citgo Gas, 283 West Main St., Patchogue

Forensic evidence recovered by Fifth Squad detectives at the scene of one of the burglaries, and analyzed by the Suffolk County Crime Lab helped develop leads which led to the identification of the suspects.

Chanin Dennis, 44, of 46 East Locust Ave., Central Islip and Arthur Henderson, 53, of 10 Rosewood Ave., Central Islip, were arrested yesterday and each was charged with six counts of Burglary 3rd Degree. Both suspects are being arraigned today at First District Court in Central Islip.

Detectives from the Suffolk County Police First and Third Squad’s, along with Nassau County detectives are working in conjunction with the Fifth Squad. Dennis and Henderson are implicated in similar-type burglaries in Lynbrook, Valley Stream and Bellmore. Charges are pending for those burglaries.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Fifth Squad at 631-854-8552 or call anonymously toCrime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Bayville woman shops while son is left in the car



Suffolk County Police today arrested a Bayville woman who left her 4-year-old son unattended in a car while shopping in Huntington Village.

Second Precinct Police Officer Peter O’Brien responded to a 3:08 p.m. call in which a witness reported a young child left unattended in a vehicle that was parked in the Wild by Nature parking lot located at 369 West Main St., Huntington.  Upon arrival, Officer O’Brien observed the child in the backseat of a gray Toyota Yaris that was locked and not running.  Witnesses stated that the child, who was in the car with a dog, had been in the vehicle approximately 20 minutes prior to police arrival.  The outside temperature was approximately 37 degrees at the time of the incident.

When the children’s mother, Marcela Monaco, 39, of 17A Shore Ave., Bayville, returned to the vehicle, she was arrested and charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Monaco will be held overnight at the Fourth Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on March 3.

A notification will be made to Suffolk County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services Bureau.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Patchogue couple leave kids in car while shopping


Suffolk County Police today arrested a couple who left their three young children unattended in a running, unlocked car while shopping in Patchogue.

Fifth Precinct Police Officer Marc Sforza responded to a 6:22 p.m. call in which a witness reported young children crying in an unattended vehicle that was parked in Gateway Plaza parking lot located at 499 Sunrise Highway North Service Road.  Upon arrival, Officer Sforza observed a 6-month-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, and an 8-year-old boy, in a 2012 Hyundai Accent that was unlocked and running.  The children had been in the vehicle approximately one hour before the parents returned from shopping at Marshalls which is located within the shopping center.  The outside temperature was approximately 31 degrees at the time of the incident.

Donald Hayes, 33, and Sarah Hayes, 34, both of 15 Terrace Lane, Patchogue, were arrested and charged with three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Both are scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on March 3.

A notification will be made to Suffolk County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services Bureau.