Newsday.com's Top 10 Long Island stories of 2010
There was no shortage of riveting stories on Long Island in 2010, with tragedies on the roads, mysteries at the beach and one small fire that caused one massive problem on the rails.
Below, in reverse order, are the top 10 stories that captivated Long Island in 2010.
10. Alexis Pilkington's suicide; Bullying on LI
Across Long Island and the nation, bullying online, in schools and on college campuses was a problem that wouldn't go away. The suicide of 17-year-old Alexis Pilkington, a recent graduate of West Islip High School, on March 21 first gained attention because of anonymous negative comments on her Facebook page and on Formspring.me. While Pilkington's parents have been adamant that cyberbullying did not push their daughter over the edge, since her death classmates have spoken out about cyberbullying and boycotted social networking sites.
9. FBI raids LI homes after Times Square bombing attempt
The Times Square bomb plot was one of the nation's most thrilling stories in 2010, and it spread to Long Island when the FBI raided homes in Shirley and Centereach while seeking evidence connected to the alleged plotter, Faisal Shahzad. Sources said Shahzad used cash he received in Ronkonkoma to help carry out his plot May 1, when he abandoned his SUV filled with propane tanks, gasoline and fireworks in Times Square. At his sentencing, Shahzad gave a chilling speech, saying "the war with Muslims has just begun."
8. Shinnecock gains federal recognition; Casino on LI?
It's been an exhausting wait for the Shinnecock tribe, which in October became the 565th federally recognized tribe in the country. Though the ruling was met with obstacles and objections from other tribes, the 32-year wait came to end and the tribe celebrated in December with a trip to Washington D.C. Now, Long Islanders will wait and see if a casino is born with several possible sites already being discussed.
7. Long Island's wrong-way drivers
It's a frightening problem that has plagued Long Island's roads in recent months. Since November, more than 10 drivers -- all allegedly under the influence -- have been caught driving the wrong way. One crash killed an off-duty NYPD officer, others caused injuries and some were pulled over before any harm was done. Officials in both Nassau and Suffolk have ramped up efforts to keep DWI drivers off the roads during the holiday season.
6. Bad weather torments Long Island
Almost 2 feet of snow blanketed Long Island at the end of last year, and there was no shortage of weather woes in 2010. More snowstorms rocked the Island in the new year, as well as an epic nor'easter in March that left Riverhead under water. Although Hurricane Earl proved to be a bunch of hot air, it cost Long Island millions in preparations. Finally, New York City residents watched an unexpected tornado tear through their neighborhood in September and another huge snowstorm swept through Long Island after Christmas.
5. Jeffrey Conroy sentenced in Marcelo Lucero's death
The stabbing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was one of the top stories in 2009, but the sentencing of his killer, Jeffrey Conroy, remained a hot topic in 2010. Conroy, 19, was convicted in April and sentenced in May to 25 years in prison for the hate-crime slaying in Patchogue that received national attention. Six other teens received lesser sentences for their roles in the slaying while Conroy became the first person to be convicted of a hate crime for a death in Suffolk.
4. Camp Anchor tragedy
Three young camp counselors died July 15 in a single-car accident on the Meadowbrook State Parkway when their car flipped off the road and hit a tree. They were on their way to Camp Anchor in Lido Beach, which hosted special-needs children and adults. Sisters Jamie and Paige Malone and Michael Mulhall were mourned in their communities, at their schools and at the camp in one of the most tragic events of 2010.
3. The LIRR fire and commuting catastrophe
Every Long Islander has a horror story to share about their commute. Traffic jams and train delays are a part of life ... but this? On Aug. 23, an electrical fire brought down the Long Island Rail Road's switching system at Jamaica, causing a week of delays, cancellations and absolute havoc for the nation's busiest railroad system. In the fall, the LIRR installed a new computerized system, which caused more headaches with a reduced schedule on two weekends, but promised hope of a more hassle-free commute for the future. After the December 26 blizzard, the LIRR first suspended service and slowly restored throughut three days. On the day all scheduled trains were finally running, it raised fares by over 10 percent.
2. John White's sentence commuted
Two days before Christmas, John White, convicted of manslaughter in the controversial 2006 shooting of Daniel Cicciaro Jr., was freed. Governor David Paterson said the Miller Place man deserved to have his sentence commuted because the situation needed to heal. The Cicciaro family reacted with disgust.
1. Mystery of 4 bodies found near Gilgo Beach
Our top story of 2010 will remain on everyone's minds as the calendar flips to 2011. When Suffolk detectives uncovered human remains wrapped in burlap Dec. 11 and Dec. 13 off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach, a mystery unfolded that captivated Long Island. Police said a serial killer may be the culprit, but an expansive search up and down the South Shore yielded little evidence. None of the four bodies have been identified as the case remains open.