Top Long Island stories in 2011
Long Island stories that have made big headlines this year.
Click on the poll tab above to vote for 2011's biggest story.
11. Earthquake rattles Long Island
The strongest earthquake on the East Coast in 67 years shook Long Island and more than a dozen states along the Eastern Seaboard, emptying office buildings of workers, briefly disrupting transportation and rattling nerves.
Video | Photos | Strongest quake in 67 years
People stood outside after an earthquake jolted the Nassau County Executive and Legislative Office Building in Mineola. (Aug. 23, 2011)
10. SAT cheating scandal
Current and former students of Long Island high schools were arrested and face criminal charges for allegedly cheating on college admissions tests, according to police. Students allegedly paid test takers to impersonate them and take the SAT and ACT exams between 2008 and 2011.
Videos | Photos | Full coverage | Map
Joshua Chefec, left, Adam Justin, background center, and George Trane, right, are escorted from the Nassau County district attorney's office. (Nov. 22, 2011)
9. $3B pension tab
Long Island's governments, school districts and public agencies will be billed more than $3 billion to finance the pensions of public workers in the next two years, according to a Newsday analysis.
Pension costs ballooning | Look it up: LI's contributions
A school bus on Long Island.
8. LIRR, LI Bus woes
Long Island Rail Road commuters faced several frustrations in 2011, starting in January when a pair of major snowstorms disrupted service on several branches. Later in the year, riders dealt with service disruptions due an Amtrak derailment in June and a lightning strike in October. The LIRR suffered another blow just days later when details of a disability claims scheme emerged.
Meanwhile, MTA officials on April 27 unanimously voted to end the MTA's contract with Nassau County to run LI Bus, clearing the way for a private operator to take over Nassau County's bus system.
Photos: Delays, cancellations | LI Bus hearings | Rider survey
Long Island Rail Road commuters wait for the next train with the LIRR cancellations still in effect in Jamaica, Queens.
7. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy
After Suffolk County began investigating his campaign financing, the County Executive Steve Levy announced March 24 that he would not seek re-election. Under an agreement, Levy was ordered to turn over his $4-million campaign war chest to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.
Photos | Videos | Levy's statement | Major donors | More coverage
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy marches down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue during the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. (March 17, 2010)
6. Nassau County's crime lab problem
After the Nassau County crime lab was placed on probation in December 2010, county lawyers on Feb. 18 ordered closed the drug chemistry section of the county's police crime lab. Investigators began probing who knew about the flaws in testing.
Crime lab shuttered | Victim's reaction | Videos | DA letter to inmates | More coverage
The forensic evidence lab at Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola is seen in an undated photo.
5. Rebuilding a home for the Islanders
Nassau County officials are under the gun to come up with a plan to build an arena for the Islanders and a minor-league baseball stadium. In August, Nassau voters defeated a referendum that would have permitted the county to borrow up to $400 million to build a new arena and a minor league ballpark at the Hub site.
Charles Wang: Ups and downs | Referendum results | Video: The plan | Full coverage
An outside view of the Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 29, 2010)
4. Mourning fallen cops from LI
Highway Patrolman Michael J. Califano died Feb. 5 after a traffic stop on the Long Island Expressway in which a trucker who is accused of dozing off slammed into the officer's stopped patrol car. Califano's death marked the first line-of-duty police death in the department since 1993.
Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf, 40, a husband, father of two and police officer for 12 years, was mistakenly shot dead March 12 by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer in Massapequa Park after responding in plain clothes to a scene where a knife-wielding man was shot and killed by other officers.
NYPD Officer Alain Schaberger, an East Islip native living in Westchester, was killed on March 13 after he was pushed down a concrete staircase as he attempted to handcuff a suspect in a domestic violence case in Brooklyn.
NYPD Detective Peter Figoski, a decorated police veteran and father of four, was shot and killed responding to a robbery in Brooklyn.
More Breitkopf coverage | More Califano coverage | More Schaberger coverage | More Figoski coverage | Nassau and Suffolk officers | Fallen NYPD officers from LI
Thousands gather outside St. Joseph's RC Church in Babylon for the funeral services for NYPD Detective Peter Figoski.
3. Tropical Storm Irene
Tropical Storm Irene devastated parts of Long Island in August, causing major flooding and power outages. FEMA flood maps placed more than 90,000 Nassau and Suffolk buildings in flood zones.
Video: Storm damage | Photos | Full coverage
Jamie Young, Shawn Pizzo and Mohammed Hasidi make their way down a flooded Smith Street in Patchogue after the area was hit by Tropical Storm Irene. (Aug. 28, 2011)
2. Long Island serial-killer investigation
Authorities continue their investigation into the deaths of 11 people dumped in the Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach areas. The first four sets of remains — found in December — were identified through DNA and are believed to be victims of the same killer. On Dec. 17, county police announced that the medical examiner positively identified the remains found in Oak Beach as those of Shannan Gilbert.
Videos | Map of bodies | Timeline | Photos | Glossary of terms | Full coverage
A state trooper with a cadaver dog searches vegetation in the median of Ocean Parkway between Cedar Beach and Gilgo Beach. (Dec. 16, 2010)
1. Four killed in Medford pharmacy shootings
On June 19, Father's Day, a shooter later identified by Suffolk County police as David Laffer, 33, roamed Haven Drugs in Medford in search of painkillers. Laffer killed two employees and two patrons, and he and his wife, Melinda Brady, who drove him to the store, were arrested three days later. Laffer was sentenced to life in prison; Brady received 25 years.
Photos | Video | The victims | Timeline | More coverage | Doctor shopping on LI
A surveillance image police displayed shows the suspect, David Laffer, in the shooting of four people at Haven Drugs in Medford.