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In Focus: Long Island

There are times when one sound byte can tell a story. Or when a single tweet can give you all you need. But some times there are layers to a story. Some times there are complexities that need to be drawn out. When you want deeper, documentary-style storytelling, In Focus is your destination. This page is where you will find the most visually interesting and comprehensive multimedia reporting on Long Island.

Street Racer: The culture of speed on Long Island

Street Racer: The culture of speed on Long Island

For two years, Newsday has followed and filmed various Long Island drag racers. While some practice the sport legally, there exists a sub-culture of racers who do not. The consequences of those illegal street races have, at times, led to tragedy. For decades, there were three sanctioned drag strips on Long Island. But each has been shuttered, leaving many in the film to wonder, if Long Island still had a legal drag strip, would that curtail the amount of illegal racing?

The Last Trailer Park

The Last Trailer Park

Inside the last trailer park in Nassau County, a tight-knit community has dispersed after a spirited 9-year legal battle that the residents were never equipped to fight. Newsday followed the last remaining family as it struggled against a deadline to find an alternative to becoming homeless.

Miracle in 5th Period

Miracle in 5th Period

On the eighth day of classes in September, Wisdom Lane Middle School eighth-grader Jessica Lemus of Levittown suffered cardiac arrest during fifth-period science class, and her heart stopped for 7 minutes. This documentary details how everyone's life has been changed - especially hers.

The Cost of Corruption

The Cost of Corruption

A dumpster-diving whistleblower shed light on alleged corruption in the town of Oyster Bay. After two years reporting on the story, federal investigators have brought charges against Nassau's top politician and his wife, and a town's supervisor, in a case that began with a local restaurateur.

 In Love and Death

In Love and Death

During the hardest period of their lives, families turn to Vanessa Zenz, a funeral director, for comfort during their grief. Her sincere care for her job and the people she meets and takes care of is anything but ordinary.

Hopkins, Trinidad and 9/11

Hopkins, Trinidad and 9/11

The middleweight championship fight between Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad was scheduled for Sept. 15, 2001. When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the fight at Madison Square Garden was postponed for two weeks. Hopkins and other people who were at the Garden that night recall the emotions surrounding the event.

Warriors for life

Warriors for life

A pair of teams from a small, underestimated Suffolk town claimed state basketball titles side by side, a feat that had not been accomplished by a public school on Long Island. Thirty five years later the Wyandanch Warriors reconnect to tell their story.

A Winning Team

A Winning Team

Twins John and Joe Tardif were born prematurely and their parents were not sure they would survive. Now, 18 years later, Joe is an accomplished athlete who is a star player in baseball, soccer and basketball. John has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and cannot speak, but he is Joe's biggest fan and never misses a game.

Chris Weidman: The Fighter and the Father

Chris Weidman: The Fighter and the Father

Explore the professional and personal lives of the former UFC champion Chris Weidman through a parallel video experience. Using a unique, dual-view technique, the viewer can toggle between two timelines, Weidman the father and Weidman the fighter.

Out of the Shadows: Remembering the Negro Leagues

Out of the Shadows: Remembering the Negro Leagues

Newsday examines the history of Negro League baseball and the breaking of Major League Baseball's color barrier.

East End farmer seeks seed revolution

East End farmer seeks seed revolution

Stephanie Gaylor, of Invincible Summer Farms, collects and sells seeds in the hopes of making Long Island a hotbed of heirloom diversity.

Thanksgiving Across Long Island

Thanksgiving Across Long Island

From paper turkeys to hiding coins in the mashed potatoes, you never know what’s going to happen at a Long Island Thanksgiving. For 2016, Newsday asked nine families to share with us their traditions and dinner table for a YouTube 360-degree video experience. You can look around the room by dragging your mouse on your computer or tilting your mobile device right, left, up or down.

2016 in review

Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. Top politicians in Nassau were charged with political corruption, and key officials in Suffolk were convicted of other crimes. A local pizza delivery man shot to fame on “America’s Got Talent,” while we mourned the deaths of iconic entertainers including Carrie Fisher, David Bowie and Prince. 2016 has been a dramatic year. Here’s some of what we’ll remember.

Long Island's top 25 stories

Top news stories

Long Island's top 25 stories

Political corruption charges that shook a county and a political debate that drew the eyes of the nation. Those were just some of the local stories that defined 2016.

James Carbone

Disappointments, debuts, farewells

Best and worst in entertainment

Disappointments, debuts, farewells

See what our critics have to say about trends, surprises, breakouts and letdowns that made up the year in pop culture.

Netflix / Curtis Baker

Relive 2016 in under 6 minutes

Video Year in Review

Relive 2016 in under 6 minutes

See the memorable moments and stories Newsday captured on video this year.

Top LI pictures of 2016

Photos for posterity

Top LI pictures of 2016

A father and daughter embrace after surviving a plane crash. A whale becomes stranded in Moriches Bay. See the stunning and emotional images taken on LI this year.

Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Matt Davies' cartoons of the year

Memorable takes

Matt Davies' cartoons of the year

The cartoonist says choosing this collection is a challenge.

Matt Davies

Newsday's notable covers of 2016

Front and center

Newsday's notable covers of 2016

See a collection of the most notable Newsday covers of the year, chosen by the editors, from January through December.

Top photos around the U.S. and globe

Home and abroad

Top photos around the U.S. and globe

Memorable images from the Dallas police shootings, the conflict in Syria, the presidential election, the World Series and more.

AP / Carolyn Kaster

Stories that were 'so Long Island'

Local flavor

Stories that were 'so Long Island'

From a surprise Billy Joel performance to a Dunkin' Donuts wedding, these stories will have you shaking your head and muttering, 'That's so Long Island.'

Newsday / John Paraskevas

LI kids who found fame in 2016

Jeopardy! Teen Tournament

LI kids who found fame in 2016

2016 was a good year to get 15 minutes of fame for these select few local kids, including a young quiz show contestant.

Jeopardy Productions Inc.

Long Island

50 Long Islanders we lost in 2016

Notable deaths

50 Long Islanders we lost in 2016

A member of 'The God Squad,' a police sergeant killed in a shootout, and a school principal who battled cancer are among the Long Islanders we lost this year.

Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Long Islanders who made us proud

Making us proud

Long Islanders who made us proud

Read about a trio who rescued a father and his two children from their sinking boat and more tales of amazing feats and acts of kindness Long Islanders performed.

Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

LI celebs who made news in 2016

Famous LIers

LI celebs who made news in 2016

This year has been momentous for everyone, including some of Long Island’s favorite sons and daughters.

Invision / Jordan Strauss

Sports

That’s so 2016, the sports edition

Bizarre, unique stories

That’s so 2016, the sports edition

The year 2016 has been unlike any other.

EPA / Patrick B. Kraemer

Top sports photos of 2016

Picks of pics

Top sports photos of 2016

There are plenty of good photos taken each year at sporting events. Here are 46 we found particularly enjoyable.

TNS / Brian Cassella

2016 notable sports deaths

Passing on

2016 notable sports deaths

We said goodbye to athletes, coaches and personalities.

Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

Food

Best restaurants for cheap eats

Bargain bites

Best restaurants for cheap eats

It's been a banner year for cheap eats restaurants, with openings from Long Beach to Montauk inspired by cuisine from around the globe.

Daniel Brennan

Best restaurants for fine dining on LI

Winning meals

Best restaurants for fine dining on LI

Bay Shore was the big winner in 2016’s fine-dining sweepstakes.

Daniel Brennan

Biggest Long Island restaurant closures

Most notable closings

Biggest Long Island restaurant closures

This year’s closings included a pizza joint that was home to a 34-inch pie and a P.J. Clarke's spin-off that lasted barely a year.

Aaron Zebrook

The Island's best pizza: 10 pies worth the drive

Destination pies

The Island's best pizza: 10 pies worth the drive

This year, the list welcomes three new pizzerias, all of which make pies in the classic Neapolitan tradition.

Ryan C. Jones

The best cookbooks of 2016

Cookbooks galore

The best cookbooks of 2016

A great cookbook can keep you happily chained to your kitchen, or transport you to another place and time.

Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

Entertainment

Top 50 albums of 2016, ranked

Best music

Top 50 albums of 2016, ranked

It was the Year of the Surprise as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Frank Ocean all rolled out new albums with little to no notice.

Sony

26 of the best TV shows this year

Best TV shows

26 of the best TV shows this year

Critic Verne Gay ranks television's offerings in 2016 from 26 to No. 1, including a tie.

NBC/Justin Lubin

'Manchester by the Sea,' 'Allied' and more

Best movies

'Manchester by the Sea,' 'Allied' and more

See the movies critic Rafer Guzman is dubbing the year's greatest.

Amazon Studios and Roadside Attr/Claire Folger

They broke up in 2016

Celeb splits

They broke up in 2016

From Brangelina's split after 12 years together, to Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's breakup after a little more than a year of marriage.

AP

Stars who died in 2016

Celebrity deaths

Stars who died in 2016

Remembering the actors, leaders and icons we bid adieu, from Prince to Gene Wilder.

Getty Images / Vince Bucci

Newsday documentaries

The culture of speed on Long Island

Speed Racer

The culture of speed on Long Island

Some practice the sport of drag racing legally, but there exists a sub-culture of racers who do not. The consequences of those illegal street races have, at times, led to tragedy.

Fighter, activist, icon

Muhammad Ali

Fighter, activist, icon

From his outspoken demeanor around boxing to his political views, from his converting to Islam to his refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali is a transcendent cultural figure.

Business

Top companies to work for

Prized employers

Top companies to work for

The 25 best companies to work for are made up of a wide array of U.S. companies, including Airbnb, Facebook, Google and In-N-Out Burger.

Glassdoor

Worst jobs to have in 2016

The job market

Worst jobs to have in 2016

The list of the 10 worst jobs includes newspaper reporter, logger and taxi driver.

AP / Amy Sancetta

Mobile games you must play

It's a mobile world

Mobile games you must play

Our list of the best mobile games on the Google Play and Apple App Store right now.

Niantic

Lifestyle

'The Underground Railroad,' 'Swing Time' and more

Best books

'The Underground Railroad,' 'Swing Time' and more

2016 saw an embarrassment of riches on the literary front, in both fiction and nonfiction.

Doubleday

Best children's books

For the kids

Best children's books

The 10 best children's books of 2016 sure to engage any young reader.

Amazon

Property Taxes Map

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TAX BILL CHANGE
-$3M$4.1M

How fair are your Nassau County property taxes?

Type in your Nassau County address to see how your property taxes have changed compared to others, and what impact the tax grievance process has had.

Data updated April 18, 2018.

An 18-month Newsday investigation dug deep into millions of Nassau property records to reveal stark differences in tax bills and an assessment system weighted against the middle class and poor. Read the full story.

The map contains parcels that have paid taxes every year since the 2010-11 tax year for which geographic location information was available.

Production: Tara Conry | User Experience: Matthew Cassella | Development: Will Welch | Data: Matt Clark

Read more

Letters to the editor of 2016

Throughout the year, Newsday publishes hundreds of letters from our readers.

Here is a sampling of letters from 2016, with readers’ thoughts on everything from opt-out to political corruption, from local taxes to global disease. For our year-end review, we selected letters that best captured the news and sentiments of 2016.

Click here to see all of the letters we published in 2016 or click here to submit your own letter.

Nassau Tax Shift

Newsday / News12 Special Report

Separate & Unequal

An 18-month Newsday investigation dug deep into millions of Nassau property records to reveal stark differences in tax bills and an assessment system weighted against the middle class and poor.

Taxes for this Syosset home have gone up

$0
2011201220132014201520162017

Meanwhile, taxes for this home next door went down

$0
2011201220132014201520162017

Sound unusual? It’s not.

61% of Nassau property owners have appealed their property taxes and have typically seen decreases or modest increases.

While 39%have not challenged their taxes and have typically seen their tax bills soar.

Among those with tax bill cuts
were nearly 11,000 properties
the county valued at $1 MILLION+

The burden shifted onto others including more than 6,400 middle-or-low income senior and disabled homes with tax bill increases of $2,400 OR MORE.

Homeowners in minority communities, who tend to file fewer challenges, are now assessed at a level 17% higher than properties elsewhere.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

The county, schools, towns and other governments need to collect enough money to fund their budgets.

One way they do this is by collecting property taxes.

Nassau officials have settled nearly 700,000 assessment challenges since 2010.

This saved challengers an estimated $1.7 billion in taxes.

But to balance their budgets, governments had to raise tax rates, shifting the burden onto those who didn’t grieve.

Tax bills of the typical property owner who appealed went up just $466, while the bills of those who didn’t increased $2,748.

Grievances & Bills

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

% of properties that appealed

49.5%

CHANGE IN MEDIAN FOR CHALLENGERS

$329

CHANGE IN MEDIAN FOR THOSE WHO DIDN’T

$1855

And nearly half of the estimated savings, $789 MILLION, went to owners of
$1 million+ properties.

Savings breakdown

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Top 25% Home Value

54M

3rd 25%

14M

2nd 25%

9M

Bottom 25%

5M

HOW DID THIS AFFECT YOU?

Read the Full Story

Reporter: Matt Clark Design: Anthony Carrozzo, Matthew Cassella Development: Jon Ingoglia Photos: Thomas A. Ferrara, Chuck Fadely Production: Tara Conry

USMMA students weigh in on sexual misconduct

Students weigh in on sexual misconduct

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy students participated in focus groups in 2013 and 2015, responding to questions about the academy’s handling of sexual assault and sexual harassment, its culture and USMMA’s leaders. Participation by midshipmen, as students at the Kings Point school are known, was voluntary and all responses were anonymous.

Focus group responses were summarized in reports about the 2012-13 and 2014-15 school years. Data on the 2013 focus groups do not indicate exactly how many students participated, but said between nine and 12 students took part in each of six sessions. Forty-three students participated in the 2015 focus groups.

The Defense Manpower Data Center, a military contractor, conducted the focus groups at USMMA, the only federal service academy operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Similar focus groups have been held at the other four service academies, all run by the U.S. Department of Defense. The reports on USMMA said the findings were illustrations of themes to be considered as the school reviewed its programming and could not be generalized to all midshipmen.

Read the full focus group reports | Read the Newsday/News 12 Long Island report

Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be republished in all media.

Rising sea levels could swamp Long Island homes

Rising sea levels could threaten thousands of homes and critical infrastructure on Long Island within a matter of decades.

The homes of 7,000 Long Islanders could be flooded within 35 years, thanks to rising sea levels, according to a new report. Within 100 years, nearly 165,000 Long Islanders could lose their homes as a result of permanent flooding.

Sea levels could rise by around one foot by 2050 — or sooner — and by three feet as early as the 2080s. Early in the next century, sea levels could be six feet higher than they are now, according to the report from the nonprofit research and policy group Regional Plan Association.

Several Long Island communities are considered to be the most at risk, including those along the Great South Bay and South Oyster Bay in the towns of Brookhaven, Islip, Babylon and Hempstead, the report said. A six-foot rise in sea levels could nearly destroy Fire Island.

Compare the maps below to see how rising sea levels could permanently flood various Long Island communities.

Long Beach

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

Move the slider — the vertical divider between each set of maps — left or right. Mobile users, the original image will appear stacked on top of the current image.

East Islip and Oakdale

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

Mastic Beach

before

after

Photo credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas (Aug. 29, 2013 and Oct. 23, 2014)

Fire Island

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

Town of Southampton

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

Greenport

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

Freeport

before

after

Photo credit: Regional Plan Association

What will you remember most about President Obama?

President Barack Obama has been many things in his eight years in office. As the nation’s first African-American president, he will always symbolize a historic breakthrough. His ambitious agenda — ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reforming health care, retooling the economy for the 21st century, resetting policy toward longtime adversaries such as Iran and Cuba, improving race relations, leading on climate change — proved controversial and produced uneven results.

Despite his campaign promise, Obama was unable to change the culture of Washington. The race to succeed him revealed just how divided America is — and the next president, Donald Trump, could reverse many of Obama’s policies, putting his long-term legacy in peril.

Share with us: What will you remember most about President Obama?

Tell Newsday

Thank you for your submission. It will be moderated before being posted.

Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be republished in all media.