She was among several women who had become heads of police precincts in towns nationwide since men had stayed away because high-ranking police officers often are the targets of narcotics traffickers, officials said. Marisol Valles García, a 20-year-old criminology student, became police chief of the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero, also in the state of Chihuahua, in October. Valles García’s predecessor was fatally shot in July of last year, and the town did not have a chief of police until she was appointed to the position. Silvia Molina, the top administrative official of the police department in Ciudad Juárez, the state’s largest city, was killed in 2008. Chihuahua has become the country’s most violent state, with more than 2,700 homicides so far this year and about 8,000 killings since 2008, according to CNN. The syndicate’s suspected leaders, brothers Romulo and Ferney Andrade Lazo, and Jorge Fabián Ramírez, were apprehended along with three men who have been named in extradition requests filed by the United States, where they are wanted in New York, according to EFE. The arrests took place in simultaneous operations in the departments Norte de Santander, Risaralda, Cauca, Cundinamarca and Tolima. The organization allegedly used couriers, as well as shipments of food, to smuggle the drug into the United States, according to EFE. In a separate operation, police also made the biggest heroin bust of the year on Nov. 28 in the city of Cali, where a suspect was apprehended after 31 kilograms (68.3) of the drug was found in his vehicle during a traffic stop, officials said. Mexico: Police Chief Hermila García killed Colombian authorities dismantle heroin ring MEOQUI, Mexico – Hermila García, who became the police chief of the town of Meoqui two months ago, has been fatally shot by suspected hitmen working for narcotics traffickers while on her way to work on Nov. 29, officials said. García, 38, headed the 90-member police force in Meoqui, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Chihuahua city, the state capital of Chihuahua. García was discovered in her car about 10 kilometers (six miles) from the town’s center, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Officials suspect narcotics traffickers played a role in her killing since García’s previous work experience included a stint as an investigator for the Federal Attorney General’s Office, officials said, according to CNN. García, who was single, had no children, officials said. BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Narcotics enforcement agents partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to seize 88.2 pounds of heroin and arrest 12 suspected members of an organization that allegedly trafficked the narcotic into the United States, officials said. The confiscation and apprehensions occurred during numerous raids in five departments on Nov. 28, according to the National Police’s drug enforcement division. The narcotic had a street value in excess of US$6 million, police said. Mexico: José Alfredo Landa arrested By Dialogo December 02, 2010 RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Police confiscated 40 tons of marijuana and 660 pounds of cocaine during a massive raid in the slums of Complexo do Alemão and Vila Cruzeiro on Nov. 28, officials said. “The military police alone seized 20 tons. The rest was done by the civil police [unit and other security forces that took part in the raid], a spokesman for Rio de Janeiro state’s Security Secretariat said, according to Agence France-Presse. One hundred twenty-four were arrested, 148 were detained and 51 died during the operation, which was carried out to suppress an uprising by drug-trafficking gangs, according to a statement released by Brazilian authorities on Nov. 30. “It is first time in Rio de Janeiro’s history that we have been able to seize this volume of illicit material and weapons in a single police raid,” said Marcos Maia, coordinator of police special forces. Police have launched a manhunt for hundreds of suspected narcotics traffickers suspected of hiding in the slums. Police loaded the narcotics into numerous vehicles on the streets of Grota, one of 15 slums that comprise Complexo do Alemão. Law enforcement officials also seized hundreds of motorcycles, 15 vehicles and an array of weapons that included handguns and military-grade rifles. “We will do whatever it takes so that the good guys defeat those who prefer to live lives of crime,” President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters earlier this week. MEXICO CITY – José Alfredo Landa Torres, who is the suspected leader of the La Familia cartel’s operations in Morelia, the Michoacán state capital, has been apprehended, officials said. Landa, known as “El Flaco,” 37, and three other suspects were apprehended after police surrounded a residence outside the city on Nov. 29, said Ramón Pequeño, the chief of the Federal Police’s counter-narcotics division, according to The Associated Press. Pequeño said Landa was found in possession of more than two dozen property titles and other documents that he allegedly was using to extort homeowners. Landa recently made news when he said La Familia would disband if the government could improve the town’s overall safety. Landa made his offer to government officials by leaving letters on the streets and emailing his proposition to journalists. La Familia, which officials have said is the nation’s primary trafficker of methamphetamine, gained nationwide attention four years ago when it tossed severed heads into a nightclub in the city of Uruapan in the state of Michoacán. President Felipe Calderón responded by deploying thousands of military personnel to the state. La Familia has engaged in numerous gunfights with law enforcement agents, including an ambush this past June during which the cartel killed 12 Federal Police officers.
During the last three days, four police officers were killed in Honduras due to an unstoppable wave of violence, despite the military and police deployments ordered by President Porfirio Lobo, officials informed on February 19. In an offensive against organized crime and to reinforce the Police forces, Porfirio Lobo’s government sent 1,500 militaries to the most conflictive neighborhoods in the main cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, and the most violent in the world due to drug trafficking, gangs, and common crime. “Since February 15, four of our people have been killed: two members of the Special Cobra Corps, a Class 1 and a police officer,” Ministry of Security spokesman Héctor Iván Mejía, stated. On the evening of February 17, two Cobra members were killed in a shooting at a restaurant located in the Lomas de Toncontín neighborhood, in southern Tegucigalpa, while they were serving as bodyguards of a 17 year-old, who also died in the shooting. The teenager was the son of the former chief of the Investigative Police, Commissioner Ricardo Ramírez del Cid, and the attack was attributed to alleged gangs members. In the afternoon of the same day, unidentified individuals killed a police officer and his son on a soccer field at Residencial Plaza. On February 15, more unidentified individuals killed a policewoman while she was on a public bus near the National Stadium. According to the 2012 U.N. Global Report on Crime and Justice, Honduras is the most violent country in the world, without war, with a homicide rate of 92 per cent per 100,000 inhabitants, exceeding ten times the international rate. By Dialogo February 20, 2013 The situation is becoming very difficult for the Region; and what has been seen in Honduras is just a reflection of the complex situation that Central America is facing .From the North border of GUA-MEX up to the South border of Costa Rica with Panama, they deserve much more attention than expected.
The Ninth Squadron will be deployed in the Departments of Escuintla and Suchitepéquez The Eighth Squadron will be based in the Departments of Izabal, Chiquimula and Zacapa The First Squadron will be stationed in six zones of Guatemala City The Second, Third, and Fifth Squadrons will be based in the Department of Guatemala, and stationed in ten other zones of Guatemala City The Central American nation has emerged as a key transshipment point for South American drug trafficking organizations. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. The Fourth Squadron will patrol the Departments of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango Guatemala’s Ministry of Defense recently approved the formation of a nine-squadron unit to combat narco-trafficking and other criminal enterprises throughout the country: The Colombian National Army’s Seventh Division recently neutralized two bombs placed by a school, allegedly by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 36th Front. The devices could have injured civilians or Troops conducting patrols in the area. The Fourth Squadron will patrol the Departments of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango The Seventh Squadron will patrol the Departments of Huehuetenango and Quiché The Colombian National Army’s Seventh Division recently neutralized two bombs placed by a school, allegedly by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 36th Front. The devices could have injured civilians or Troops conducting patrols in the area. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) contained about 8 kilograms of explosives and were found planted along a trail some 50 meters from the La Hondonada School and two residences in the mountainous area of El Roble, in the Department of Antioquia. Soldiers didn’t allow students to attend classes while they dismantled the explosives. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) contained about 8 kilograms of explosives and were found planted along a trail some 50 meters from the La Hondonada School and two residences in the mountainous area of El Roble, in the Department of Antioquia. Soldiers didn’t allow students to attend classes while they dismantled the explosives. By Dialogo February 11, 2015 Colombian Army neutralizes two bombs left near a school by the FARC The Seventh Squadron will patrol the Departments of Huehuetenango and Quiché The Ninth Squadron will be deployed in the Departments of Escuintla and Suchitepéquez The Central American nation has emerged as a key transshipment point for South American drug trafficking organizations. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. Colombian Army neutralizes two bombs left near a school by the FARC Antioquia has been a frequent target of attacks by the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group that uses proceeds from narco-trafficking to fund its criminal organization. Guatemala’s Ministry of Defense recently approved the formation of a nine-squadron unit to combat narco-trafficking and other criminal enterprises throughout the country: The First Squadron will be stationed in six zones of Guatemala City The Second, Third, and Fifth Squadrons will be based in the Department of Guatemala, and stationed in ten other zones of Guatemala City The Eighth Squadron will be based in the Departments of Izabal, Chiquimula and Zacapa Antioquia has been a frequent target of attacks by the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group that uses proceeds from narco-trafficking to fund its criminal organization.
Thirty sixth-grade students at the California School, in Alajuela, graduated from the program on December 2nd. The initiative is part of a strategy aimed “to prevent drug trafficking,” ICD General Director Guillermo Araya Camacho said in an interview with Diálogo. “The goal of this program is for schools to have a tool to help them promote the development of skills in minors so they know the existing risk factors and psycho-social [development] that lead to involvement in risky conduct linked to drug trafficking, keeping in mind the importance of comprehensively broaching and preventing the crime of drug trafficking.” In addition to educating young people about the dangers of drugs, Costa Rican security forces are battling the narcotics trade daily. From January to September of last year, for example, security forces, including the Coast Guard, the police, and the SVA, seized more than 15,580 kilograms of cocaine and arrested 1,126 drug-trafficking suspects. The Alliance for Progress was created to stop what was visualized over more than 50 years ago by two statesmen. However the tentacles of organized crime and the bad policies of the governments, corruption, easy money have invaded our society. The educational solutions aimed at saving the Latin American block should be taken into account by creating (educational) strategies to resist the use and trafficking of drugs and their consequences. The ICD designed the program in response to the prevention strategies established in Costa Rica’s National Drug Plan, which raised “concerns about the alarming drug phenomenon and how this problem is affecting children, teens, and young adults in our society,” Araya stated. Teaching the consequences of violence Officials from the Air Surveillance Service of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security are using the Institute on Drugs’ (ICD) “Know how to choose, know how to win” prevention program to teach young students to resist abusing or trafficking narcotics. Developing and providing anti-drug educational programs is a cooperative effort for Costa Rican authorities. In addition to working with the SVA staff and the police force, the government has agreements with the Organization of American States and the United Nations to bolster the country’s drug-prevention programs. Drug gangs typically recruit young people between the ages of 15 and 24. About 10 organized gangs are battling for control of the drug market in the southern part of the country’s capital of San José, the website Costa Rica Hoy reported in October. By Dialogo January 13, 2016 Cooperative effort The “Know how to choose, know how to win” program includes lessons about the problems caused by drug use, the consequences of violence, and the best ways to make decisions and resolve conflicts. During the program, in which lessons were taught once a week for seven weeks, Air Surveillance Service (SVA, for its Spanish acronym) personnel also showed students how to deal with social pressures to use drugs; tactics they can use to control their emotions; and how to avoid criminal activities tied to drug trafficking. California School teachers and the parents of some students also attended the classes. Those programs are crucial because in Costa Rica, those who use drugs typically begin when they are about 16 years old, according to the report “Drug Trafficking and the Threat of Organized Crime in Costa Rica,” released by the Judicial Investigation Department. Drug gangs also recruit young people to participate in their criminal enterprises. Costa Rica also conducts other programs to discourage young people from joining gangs and the drug trade. For example, the “D.A.R.E.” (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program – an international program founded in Los Angeles in 1983 – encourages children and teenagers to stay away from drugs and illegal activities. The “Stay Safe” program teaches boys and girls how to protect themselves and avoid being victims of robbery, abuse, assault, accidents, and kidnapping. The ICD has provided training to all of the country’s regional Boards of Education under the Ministry of Public Education, so a core group of instructors are available in each region to teach the program. “SVA authorities are convinced that prevention is vital, and therefore they decided to join efforts and work together with the ICD to provide initial cooperation in schools in the area surrounding SVA’s headquarters in Alajuela, and later spread [the program] to other schools,” Araya explained. “A large part of the population has demonstrated the benefits of the prevention and promotional program.” “Criminal organizations, such as those involved in drug trafficking, use children and adolescents to distribute and sell drugs, turning them into victims of the criminal structures and leading them into regrettable situations,” according to an analysis from the “Know how to choose, know how to win” program.
By Adriana Núñez Rabascall / Voice of America January 27, 2020 Víctor Quintero works as a motorcycle taxi driver in Caracas, but says work has now become difficult because of long lines to buy fuel.“I’ve been to more than five gas stations, and there are lines everywhere. This is not normal in Caracas […]. It shouldn’t be like this. We are an oil-exporting country,” Quintero told Voice of America.Venezuela’s fuel shortage has reached the country’s capital, which had been spared the lines and rationing.During 2019, at least 18 out of 24 states in Venezuela have experienced a gas shortage, although Venezuela is an oil-exporting country and OPEC founding member. Caracas residents fear that restrictions on buying fuel will last longer.“We went to about six [gas stations], and the waiting time here was around 25 minutes. In general, [you need to] try [to fill up the tank] at gas stations where you see that they have gas, even when the tank isn’t empty. Why? There are many stations that can’t get supplied,” said Edward García, another Venezuelan citizen.Marvis Arroyo recalled that “the situation was associated with towns. But this rarely happened in Caracas. I’m seeing that the situation is getting difficult at several gas stations here in Caracas.”Experts consulted by VOA warn that the situation might get worse, as only two of the seven refineries in the country are operating and working at only 10 percent capacity.“The country has been depending on tankers coming from abroad. Nowadays, fewer and fewer tankers want to come to Venezuela because of the sanctions, and the incoming gas probably comes from the Russian company Rosneft,” said José Toro Hardy, an economist and former director of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).Pro-Maduro governors of some Venezuelan states say that authorities are taking measures to improve the gas supply. PDVSA hasn’t made a statement about the shortage noted in the Venezuelan capital.
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo June 18, 2020 In mid-May, in a joint operation with the Colombian Navy, Air Force, and the National Police, the Colombian Army dealt a hard blow to illegal mining in the Chocó department. The operation led to the destruction of three engines, three backhoes, and two mining production units that helped finance the criminal activities of the Manuel Hernández el Boche front of the National Liberation Army.In a statement, the Colombian Military Forces Joint Command estimated the value of the equipment at $300,000 and the loss of the criminal group at some $6 million as a result of the actions taken by the authorities.“[The illegal extraction of gold] enriches a few and generates extortion fee payments to various organized armed groups, this being the cause of violence and disturbances to public security, and most ironically, poverty and misery in the communities used for this illegal activity,” said to Diálogo an analyst from the Army’s Illegal Mining Brigade (BCMI, in Spanish), who asked not to be named for security reasons.Preparations for the operation“Thanks to information from military intelligence and the network of civic engagement, the location and quantity of equipment used for the illicit extraction of mining deposits (excavators, sorting machines, engines) was obtained,” the BCMI analyst said.With air reconnaissance intelligence and undercover agents, BCMI verified the information received. The unit then transported by air explosive expert personnel (to destroy the equipment found), terrain analysts, and environmentalists to carry out the operation.“The Navy component undertook fluvial infiltration in order to infiltrate military and police maneuvering units, which carried out the mission,” the BCMI analyst said. “At that point, areas were cleared and searched in depth to avoid compromising the safety of the people who were there; even though they do illegal work, they are not considered a military objective.”The operation was carried out within the framework of the Artemis Campaign against deforestation and to protect the environmental heritage that the Iván Duque government launched in 2019. During 2020, BCMI, with the support of the Military Forces, the Police, and the Attorney General’s Office carried out 124 joint operations and 274 captures. Authorities neutralized 117 illegal mines, 123 dredges, 26 construction machines, 354 motors, 72 motor pumps, 49 tunnels, 186 kilograms of explosives, and seized 90,320 liters of fuel.“The illegal exploitation of mining sites in Colombia has caused heinous crimes and irreversible damages to our ecosystem, especially in areas as biodiverse as Chocó,” concluded the BCMI analyst. “Safeguarding the natural resources of our country and the Chocó department guarantees the fundamental rights of the civilian population and the protection of the region’s fauna, flora, and water sources.”
AFTL files three proposed constitutional amendments June 1, 2004 Regular News Three constitutional amendment initiative petitions backed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and which affect doctors’ fees and malpractice records have been filed with the Florida Supreme Court for review.The requests to determine whether the amendments encompass a single issue and whether the ballot language accurately summarizes the proposed amendment were submitted by Attorney General Charlie Crist on May 11.The filing is the latest salvo in the battle between the academy and the Florida Medical Association. In March, the FMA had its proposed constitutional amendment limiting contingency fees in medical malpractice cases filed with the court. Oral arguments are scheduled on that amendment on June 8.The three AFTL amendments are:• Patients would have a right to see adverse incident reports relating to doctors and health care facilities they use.• Doctors who have committed malpractice three times, either determine in an administrative process, found by a court of law, or in binding arbitration, would lose their licenses.• Doctors would have to charge all patients the same rates, which would be the lowest rates they have agreed to accept from any purchaser, such as an insurance company or an HMO.After getting the amendments, the court ordered comments and briefs to be filed by May 24, reply briefs by June 1, and set oral arguments for June 7 — the day before the FMA amendment.Paul Jess, of the AFTL, said so far Floridians for Patient Protection, the political action committee backed by the academy and which is pushing the three amendments, has collected more than 450,000 signatures for each of the three amendments. “We are very close and on track to make the ballot,” he said.State law requires that just over 488,000 verified signatures be gathered, with a certain number split among a minimum number of congressional districts to ensure various parts of the state are represented. Practically speaking, Jess said that means backers must gather 600,000 signatures or more to ensure that enough are verified in the appropriate number of congressional districts.The secretary of state must also have received the verified signatures from the various local supervisors of elections by August 3, so petitioners must submit the signatures to the supervisors several weeks in advance of that date to allow time for signature verification.He also said he’s confident there are more signatures for the three AFTL initiatives that the FMA has for its single one.The amendment is being pushed by Citizens for a Fair Share, a political committee created by the Florida Medical Association. The amendment provides that in any medical liability case, the client must get no less than 70 percent of the first $250,000 awarded, not counting costs and expenses. Above $250,000, the client would get 90 percent of any award, after costs and expenses.Plaintiffs’ lawyers have said that will make it impossible for lawyers to take many medical malpractice cases, and injured patients will bear the brunt of coping with their ailments. Jess said the academy is looking forward to the oral arguments on that amendment. “We’re very confident that the Florida Supreme Court, after looking at the brief and listening to the oral arguments, will find that the FMA initiative violates the single subject rule and that the ballot title and summary are misleading,” he said.Likewise, Lisette Mariner, a spokesperson for the FMA, said that organization is ready for oral argument. She said the FMA sees the three doctor-related amendments as baseless.“We know these proposals have no merit,” she said.“That’s why they have been ready not to go through with their amendments and drop them if we drop ours.”She said the FMA has no such plans. AFTL files three proposed constitutional amendments
Five things you can do to change your career December 15, 2004 Regular News Five things you can do to change your career Peter Hobson You are a lawyer and something isn’t right. The jobs you held in the past were rewarding and the profession was fun for years. Now you aren’t so sure. Clients are becoming more ignorant and difficult to deal with during the course of representation, and the judges are sometimes even worse. At times when a judge rules a certain way in a case, you are at a loss to understand what he or she is thinking. You begin to think and feel as if maybe you don’t have your heart in the work as you did in the past. The reason could be “ burnout. ” Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis thing. Perhaps lately you have been reading too many of those legal thrillers. Whatever the reason, the question runs through your mind, “Do I still want to do this?” You ponder a career change and realize that you know nothing about changing your career or even where to go for help.Sorry, this is not a resource or a directory of where to go or whom to speak to about your possible change of careers. This is one lawyer’s advice about what to do if you want to switch gears professionally. Remember, a career change can be as simple as changing your focus to a different area of practice within the legal profession. On the other hand, it can be as complex as allowing your license to lapse and obtaining a license to drive a semi-truck instead. Know Thyself I would suggest that you determine what makes you happy. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, place the word “HAPPY.” On the right-hand side, place the word “UNHAPPY.” With respect to your career, begin by listing those characteristics that make you happy or unhappy. Once you have finished, see if the simple method described above doesn’t already state what you know to be true about you and your practice. While this may seem a trivial exercise, trust me when I assure you that you will look at this list as you continue through the exercise. You will be compelled to seek out what makes you happy and avoid that which makes you unhappy. I believe that happiness is an art at which we must work to attain. For some reason, this exercise always seems more fun than work. Create a Five-Year Plan For each year, specific goals and accomplishments should be set out for you. Make sure that the five-year plan includes not only professional and financial goals, but spiritual and personal family goals as well. Once this five-year plan is completed, understand that it should be shown to your friends and family for their input and that it will be updated periodically as events develop or you change. Bear in mind that the plan should contain all the things that make you happy.My first five-year plan was simple… I simply set out each year and placed the hourly fee next to each that I wanted to earn that year. Needless to say, even I saw that my plan needed to be expanded to include the areas referenced above.When I was offered my present employment, the plan was the blueprint for my analysis of whether to take the position, and today serves as my map for continuing to work in this position. Get Financial Issues in Order Sit down and prepare your personal budget, specifically identifying recurring monthly obligations. During this process try to eliminate expenditures that are not absolutely necessary.Once this budget has been identified and you are comfortable with it, try to estimate what you would need in terms of gross income, on a monthly basis, to meet this budget with a comfortable 15 percent margin. Then look for ways to stockpile six times that figure so that you have the ability to change careers and, for a period of six months, you can be assured that all of your necessary expenditures will be paid out of this capital. You may also have residual fees or income that can carry you over until your new income is consistent.I was fortunate to have residuals that carried me my first 12 months. Now I am requesting that my salary be appropriately adjusted as I have an understanding of my financial needs. Market and Sell Yourself Once the above steps are completed, you must realize that every new person you meet is your new prospective partner or employer. Prepare a resume that not only sets out who you are, but that is also a perfect picture of what you are and who you will be. Don’t be overly concerned about awards or publications; focus upon a clear statement of goals and what you enjoy doing.Sit down and study business opportunities within your community that you would like to work toward, and seek out those people that can introduce you to those opportunities. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met. Realize that the person may have more insecurities than you, and that he or she may appreciate the fact that you took the initiative to introduce yourself.Everyone that I meet, I approach them as if we could be doing business together next week. Albeit that may not happen, the other person has a great first and lasting impression of you. To Ensure Failure, Fear Failure You will find the best example of this by watching people help out with a capital campaign. It is human nature to fear scheduling an appointment to ask someone for money. What most people don’t realize is, that unless they ask the person for the money, they can’t get the money. Thus, their fear of asking assures them of failure. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and, as you apply for positions and interview for opportunities, you will find that rejection can cause despair. Realize, that even in despair, there is an opportunity ahead of you. The true message to be stated here is that if you focus on playing the game and not winning the game, you will enjoy the game much more and probably succeed at it. It is a reality of human nature that we sometimes fear failure when we attempt to achieve a new level or plateau.You know what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. You have prepared a plan that charges your course for the next five years. You have prepared yourself for six months of disaster. You are psyched for the challenge and understand that there is nothing that could be construed as defeat or failure. One final thought before you take off on this new opportunity: You have just prepared a plan to achieve a goal that is employed by almost each Fortune 500 company in America today when it attempts a new initiative. This may seem like a very simple plan, but it is also the most successful plan. Best of luck and enjoy your new career. Peter Hobson is a licensed attorney in Florida and Pennsylvania. After practicing in Tampa for 20 years as a sole, general practitioner, he accepted the position in 2001 as in-house counsel for Pepin Distributing Company, the Anheuser Busch wholesaler. He may be contacted via e-mail at PHobson@pepindist.com.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Anthony CapuanoA Selden Fire Department volunteer’s house went up in flames Tuesday night when a driver allegedly impaired by drugs crashed into it, igniting a blaze that was fanned by a broken gas line, a fire department official said.“It was a pretty hot fire,” said Selden Fire Department Chief Joe Leavens. “With a broken gas line, it was a gas-fed fire.”Suffolk County police said the blaze on Choate Avenue was sparked by the crash, which occurred just before 7:15 p.m. The driver, 35-year-old Anthony Capuano of Selden, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday on charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs and reckless endangerment, lost control of a red pickup truck, police said, and crashed into a natural gas line in the home.The firefighter’s family—his wife and two young children—were in an upstairs bathroom when they heard an “explosion” and then ran out to safety, Leavens said.The fire department responded three minutes after the call and found the flames burning the exterior of the home before it made its way into the house. The crash knocked down electric lines and ruptured both the gas line and water supply. The truck was also fully engulfed by flames. There was “extensive damage” to the house, Leavens said.The gas line rupture required firefighters to wait for National Grid to shut off the gas before they were able to fully get the blaze under control. The fire was put out 45 minutes after the incident, officials said.The firefighter, Michael Cosgrove, a 17-year veteran of the Selden Fire Department, was training when the call came in, Leavens said. The caller identified the wrong address but volunteers quickly realized they were dealing with a member’s home.“They’re upset because they lost everything,” Leavens said of the family. He described Cosgrove as “angry” because the fire was caused by “someone’s stupidity.”“We’re like family so whatever it takes we’ll do,” the fire chief said of assisting Cosgrove’s family.A judge set Capuano’s bail at $20,000 cash and $100,000 bond.“I got a call from several members of the community supporting Mr. Capuano,” the driver’s lawyer said of his client who was wearing a black jacket and blue and black pajamas during his arraignment.Results from Capuano’s blood test regarding the alleged drugs in his system are still pending.-With Timothy Bolger
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Why pick up any old thriller or romance novel when there are so many to read that are set right here on Long Island? Readers looking to learn some local history, immerse themselves in a real-life thriller, or dive into a world of make believe, there’s a book that will make LI come alive with imagination. Here are 10 of the latest beach reads, many of which are set on LI. For the Reader Looking for the Beachiest Beach ReadThe Widow Waltz by Sally KoslowHow could there be a beach read list with out the “beach read” book? The Widow Waltz takes to the Hamptons where Georgia Waltz, the widow of a New York City lawyer, is left with nothing after her husband’s death. After selling off most of her assets including her Manhattan apartment, Georgia and her two adult daughters get a new start living at their beach house in the Hamptons. This book is filled with humor, romance, and family bonding making it the must have in your beach bag.For the Reader Who Can’t Get Enough of Crime ShowsLost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert KolkerAs much as Gilgo Beach murders have been discussed in the last three years, there is still an heir of mystery around the events and lives of the victims, or “lost girls” as Kolker calls them. With impeccable narrative skill, Kolker weaves the story of the investigation with the lives of the victims, which reads like an episode of Law & Order or The Killing. In the end, this book will leave you questioning our own perceptions about prostitution and how that plays into the investigation of this serial killer.For the Reader who Loves Biographies The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac Griswold.Long Island may not be the first place that comes to mind when talking about plantations, but there is still a long and sordid history of slavery in the northeast, which few venture into. The Manor vividly and intricately relays the story of the Sylvester family who have lived and worked at their Shelter Island estate for more than three centuries and 11 generations. This is the fascinating story of one family who has survived centuries of wealth and struggle to become a staple, good or bad, in Long Island history.For the Reader Who Loved the Hunger GamesSo Close to You by Rachel CarterDon’t let the teen category dismiss this mystery meets sci/fi series (So Close to You is the first book) is an adventurous and imaginative take on the mystery surrounding the Montauk Project. Coaxed by her grandfather, teenage Long Islander Lydia Bently investigates her great grandfather’s disappearance while working on the Montauk Project 60 years earlier. Lydia finds herself sent back in time to just days before her great-grandfather’s disappearance and starts to uncover the real story around this local legend.For the Reader Who Watches Sports Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz and Peter SchragerThough not a Long Island native, Cruz does play for a beloved New York football team the Giants and his memoir spans his career. However, this is not just about finding the strength to be a great athlete. Cruz details his more personal struggles, his life leading up to going pro, and how certain choices made his career.For the Reader Still on a Great Gatsby KickZ: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann FowlerWhile the novel briefly takes place on Long Island, the Fitzgerald’s are a staple of LI history. It seems impossible to talk about books and the Island without bringing up a Fitzgerald. This novelization of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life and marriage to the famous writer F. Scott, author of The Great Gatsby, gives color and character to an otherwise unknown figure. Fowler does not shy away from some of the more tragic details of their lives, giving this novel a human touch. The glamour of the jazz age mixed with Zelda’s passion and mental instability make this a must-read this summer.For the Reader Who Loves the ParanormalLong Island Oddities: Curious Locales, Unusual Occurances and Unlikely Urban Adventures by John Leita and Laura LeitaYes, yes. There are some creepy places on Long Island. Late night drive-by Pilgrim Psych Center or Mary’s Grave are always a summer to-do list. But what about the mysteriously abandoned duck farm in Patchogue? How about visiting Popper the Poltergeist? While some of these may not be the scariest of stories, this is still a compilation of the weird, paranormal and sometimes comical places on Long Island. This quick read is perfect a late night beach trip around the bonfire.For the Reader Who Watches Girls Brooklyn Girls by Gemma BurgessThough not necessarily a Long Island-based read, think of it more as aspirational for all the recent college grads out there. This novel, a prime example of the new “New Adult” literary genre, follows the friendships, relationships and struggles of young women living in an apartment in Brooklyn. Though the plot sounds familiar, Burgess goes about the novel with humor, honesty, and an acute knowledge of life of 20-somethings, giving the novel a unique voice.For the Reader Who Loves Local HistoryMurder on Long Island: A Nineteenth Century Tale of Tragedy and Revenge by Geoffrey J. FlemingLong Island is no stranger to the gruesome and shocking. Murder on Long Island vividly conveys the events of a double homicide in Cutchogue in 1854. Nicholas Behan kills his employer and his employer’s wife after being fired for harassing a fellow worker. Though this is a short book, it covers a wide span of time leading up to the murders through the trial. This book tells a fascinating and little known piece of local history that will shock readers.For the Reader Looking for InspirationI’ll See You Again by Jackie HanceJackie Hance is the mother of the three daughters who died in the tragic car accident on the Taconic Parkway in 2009. In the wake of unbelievable heartbreak, Hance recounts the day of the accident, the struggles of her marriage, forgiving her sister-in-law, and how her neighborhood came together to help her family through their tough times. I’ll See You Again is inspiring and uplifting despite Hance’s experience and shows one can survive and strive even the worst of circumstances.