New Riverhead Facility Aims To Curb Crime, Address Mental Health


RIVERHEAD, NY — After a dramatic uptick in mental health issues sparked by the pandemic, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon and elected officials are set to unveil a new facility in Riverhead Thursday aimed at addressing the escalating need — and curbing crime.

The new facility, to be located on East Main Street, will help East End and Long Island residents with mental health concerns and address a gap in mental health services caused by providers plagued by backlogs, Toulon said.

Officials at a press event Thursday will discuss statistical data regarding crime and mental health and how availability of mental health services could prevent crimes.| read more ››

Helping our Youth Write the Next Pages of Black history


During Black History Month, we stop to consider not only the progress we have made towards equality in this country, but also the ongoing issues facing our Black youth every day.

Historically, young Black males are incarcerated at a higher rate than others. While about 8 percent of the school-age population in Suffolk is African American, Black men currently comprise approximately 41 percent of the inmates under 21 years old in the county jails.

Recent statistics on our youth are even more troubling. We are seeing young people turn to a life of crime at alarming rates, and, without support, they often are unable to get out. A recent report by the nonprofit New York City Criminal Justice Agency found that 48 percent of the 16-year-olds arrested since the Raise the Age law took effect in October 2018 had been rearrested for new crimes by January 2020. These are horrifying statistics that I seek to change| read more ››

Power & Politics Full Show: Gun violence and new congressional maps in New York


President Joe Biden traveled to New York City this we to discuss ways to deal with the deadly gun violence plaguing the five boroughs and beyond.
And Gov. Kathy Hochul signs off on new congressional maps that give Democrats a heavy political advantage over Republicans. Is this a course correction or gerrymandering at its worst?
Joining News 12’s Rich Barrabi are Suffolk Sheriff Errol Toulon and former state Sen. Jack Martins.| read more ››

Riverhead Correctional Facility Lit Up in Blue in January to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

The Riverhead Correctional Facility.

January 2022 is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which coincides with the Department of Homeland Security’s annual “Blue Campaign” - a national public awareness effort to educate the public to recognize the signs of victims of human trafficking. To raise awareness, the center façade of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility in Riverhead will be lit up in blue light throughout the month of January.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office have embraced the Blue Campaign over the past few years. “Human trafficking is happening in Suffolk County and in communities across the country,” said Sheriff Toulon. “Most often these victims are women who are vulnerable due to a substance abuse issue and who may have had several traumatic experiences throughout their lives. It’s not uncommon for youth in the foster care system to fall victim to traffickers, but men and women from all backgrounds can become victims.”| read more ››

Democrat Sarah Anker Declares Victory in Suffolk Legislature Race


Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) declared victory Monday in her reelection bid in the Sixth District, defeating Republican challenger Brendan Sweeney and denying Republicans the ability to form a veto-proof "supermajority."

Anker won by 63 votes after a recount of ballots concluded Monday, according to unofficial results.

She had been down by nearly 1,200 votes on election night but caught up in absentee ballots in the weeks that followed.

Anker, 57, said she began working on her resume after initial results came in on Nov. 2.

But in an outcome she described as "close to a miracle," she held onto her seat in a largely Republican district during a "red tsunami" that propelled the GOP to pick up three legislative seats.

"I’m a political anomaly," said Anker, who was elected to a sixth full term, which will be her last under county term limits.| read more ››

In this Joint Effort, a Fresh START for Suffolk Inmates Begins with the Right Outfit


A new clothing drive is seeking donations to provide inmates leaving the Suffolk County prison system with dress attire so they can pursue career and educational goals.

Suffolk law enforcement and local nonprofit officials gathered Wednesday at Legis. Bridget Fleming’s (D-Sag Harbor) office on the East End to help announce the launch of the clothing drive, spearheaded by Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon’s office through its Sheriff’s Transition and Re-entry Team, or START, Program. The program, which began in February 2020, is partnering with the Brentwood-based New Hour for Women and Children-LI and the Riverhead-based Sound Justice Initiative for the clothing drive.

Accepted donations include new or cleaned professional attire such as slacks, shirts, leggings, sweaters, sports jackets, pants, shoes, dresses and handbags. Personal hygiene products and office supplies are also needed.| read more ››

Robert Calarco for Suffolk Legislative District 7

Rob Calarco

Robert T. Calarco has emerged as a leader with a solid record since his first election to the seat a decade ago.

Seeking a sixth and final term, Calarco, 42, of Patchogue, says his top district priority is the sewer project to connect 500 homes in south Patchogue. He vows to assist the county's effort to acquire and preserve part of the Avery Homestead in partnership with Brookhaven Town and continue striving to improve housing and public safety in Gordon Heights.

As presiding officer in the Democratic majority, Calarco is committed to following through on plans for police procedural reforms and fair redistricting, and making certain that opioid settlement funds are used, as intended, to fight addiction.

Republican Dominick S. Thorne, 54, of Patchogue, shows a devotion to policing and local emergency services, with which he's a longtime volunteer. But he lacks the incumbent's versatility on government issues.

Newsday endorses Calarco.|

Samuel Gonzalez for Suffolk Legislative District 9

Sam Gonzalez

Democratic incumbent Samuel J. Gonzalez relentlessly listens to and advocates for his community. This past term, he was the lone "no" vote in the legislature on the county's police reform plan, fueled by concerns from his constituents that it lacked an independent investigator to hold the department accountable.

This district was hard hit by COVID-19. Gonzalez, 60, of Brentwood, used his ties as a former labor union official to borrow trucks with screens and microphones to provide vaccination information in English and Spanish. That, plus other messaging and organizing pop-up vaccination sites, helped improve vaccine rates. His out-of-the-box thinking includes union certification programs for high-schoolers, non-train-station-oriented downtown development around 5th Avenue, and innovative multifamily housing solutions. He should see these through in his next term.

Republican Maxima Castro of Brentwood is not actively campaigning.

Newsday endorses Gonzalez.|

Al Krupski for Suffolk Legislative District 1

Al Krupski

Among the most crucial local issues for the North Fork is protecting water quality, and Albert J. Krupski Jr. knows that well.

Chronically poor drainage on roads during even moderate storms can lead to flooding and an endangered aquifer, and the solutions are expensive and time-consuming improvements to our drainage systems — the kind of work for which Krupski is well-prepared. The 61-year-old Cutchogue Democrat comes from a multigenerational farming family and has the legislative experience at the town and county level to tackle the tough challenges that bedevil Suffolk districts, from mind-boggling traffic to the promotion of affordable housing.

These and other thorny issues need a steady hand as the district becomes even more threatened by climate change and more densely traveled by visitors and newcomers.

Krupski’s opponent, Republican Remy Bell, 66, of Riverhead, is not actively campaigning, according to the Suffolk GOP.

Newsday endorses Krupski.|

Bridget Fleming for Suffolk Legislative District 2

Bridget Fleming

Bridget M. Fleming, 61, of Noyac, understands the risk that climate change presents to her ocean-adjacent district that stretches from Montauk to East Moriches, along with Shelter Island. That means pushing for ways to reduce Suffolk’s reliance on fossil fuels, including by expanding solar energy, and to mitigate the impact of extreme weather now by building up wetlands to help stem disastrous flooding from rising seas.

Her focus on new forms of transportation is warranted, including experimenting in micro-transit to make bus service more on-demand and tailored to riders’ needs, offering a way to get county residents out of cars and onto mass transit.

Fleming, who has served in town and county government and is a former prosecutor, has the experience to push these issues forward. She is also working on a run for Congress in 2022.

Her opponent, Robert J. Carpenter III, of East Quogue, is not actively campaigning, according to the Suffolk GOP.

Newsday endorses Fleming.|