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Huntington Station

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Suffolk County Police arrested a man Feb. 25 for driving while impaired by drugs with a child in his vehicle after he was involved in a crash in Huntington Station.

Suffolk County Police Patrol units responded to 911 calls of a person driving erratically in a white Honda in the Huntington Station area. A short time later, police arrived at a two-vehicle crash between the Honda and a 1999 Dodge Pickup Truck at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Longfellow Road at about 2:50 p.m.

After an investigation, police determined the driver of a 2015 Honda Accord, Mathew Moscowitch, was operating a vehicle while his ability was impaired by drugs. There was a five-year-old boy in the back seat at the time of the crash.

Victoria Nathan, 49, of Kings Park, a passenger in the pickup truck, and the boy were transported to Huntington Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Moscowitch, 33, of Staten Island, was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15-years-old or younger, otherwise known as Leandra’s Law, felony aggravated unlicensed operation, endangering the welfare of a child, and possession of a hypodermic needle. He was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Feb. 26.

The investigation is continuing.

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Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that seriously injured a pedestrian in Huntington Station early Thursday morning, Feb. 23.

Bibiana Flores Morales was crossing Depot Road at East 3rd Street when she was hit by a 2006 Ford tow truck traveling south on Depot Road at about 9:45 a.m. Flores Morales, 51, of Huntington Station, was transported with serious injuries to Huntington Hospital by Huntington Community Ambulance.  The tow truck driver, Scott Rumpel, 40, was not injured.

Motor Carrier Safety Section conducted an inspection on the tow truck, owned by HCM Marine Transport. Detectives are asking anyone about this crash to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

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Suffolk County Police arrested three women during a massage parlor raid in Huntington Station Friday, Feb. 2.

In response to numerous community complaints, Suffolk County Police 2nd Precinct Crime Section officers, Second Squad detectives, Suffolk County Police Criminal Intelligence Section detectives, Homeland Security officers, and Huntington Code Enforcement officers conducted an investigation into illegal activities at Ruby Spa, located on East Jericho Turnpike.

Flushing residents In Sun, 59, Bokim Cho, 61, and Young Kim, 64, were arrested at approximately 2:20 p.m. and charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, a Class E Felony under the NYS Education Law and Prostitution under the New York State Penal Law.

An investigation by Huntington Code Enforcement officers revealed numerous occupancy and town code violations. The investigation is continuing.

The women were scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Feb. 3. No attorney information was immediately available.

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Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating an assault during which a teenager was injured in Huntington Station Jan. 22.

A 16-year-old male was playing soccer at Manor Field Park, located at East 5th Street, at 2:22 p.m. when police said he was approached by a group of males who cut him with a sharp object.

The victim was transported by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad to Huntington Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the assault to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

A rendering of the Gateway Plaza development on the left, and on the top right, the envisioned artist residences on the corners of New York Avenue and Church Street. Image from Renaissance Downtowns

The effort to revitalize Huntington Station got out of the gutter this week, as Suffolk County approved $1.25 million to study the possibility of extending the Southwest Sewer District to cover part of Huntington Station, which would help push the area’s plan along.

Local officials, community residents, and organizations have been collaborating to improve Huntington Station and bring new life to the area.

The lack of sewers is one of the areas desperately in need of improvement to make revitalization possible, as the land north of the Long Island Rail Road train tracks in Huntington Station is served by the town’s sewer district, but the south side is not, which limits development and economic opportunities.

Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Huntington) said he was pleased with this development at a press conference Jan. 9 at the Huntington Opportunity Resource Center.

“This funding marks an important first step in the long-awaited revitalization of Huntington Station,” he said at the event. “Sewer infrastructure is important not only for economic development, but also to support small businesses, expand opportunity and improve the quality of life for all of Huntington. It is also critical to preserving our environment and protecting water quality.”

The fund will include a comprehensive report with an engineering and design plan to add sewer coverage along New York Avenue south of the train station by hooking up to the county’s Southwest Sewer District.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said reconfiguring the sewer lines is crucial to the success of Huntington Station.

“As we continue to build momentum in Huntington Station’s revitalization, it is important that we identify and address possible impediments,” he said. “The lack of sewers … is one of those impediments, and this grant will start the ball rolling toward solving the issue.”

The resolution was originally sponsored by County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport).

“Investing in sewers is the foundation of advancing the revitalization and will open the door to a bright future for the community,” he said. “With engaged partners in the town and community moving this forward, the sewers will enable Huntington Station to once again reclaim our strong sense of place and become an attractive downtown.”

According to the Town, the investment is the roadmap for the larger $20 million project included in the 2017 capital budget for the construction of sewers in subsequent years. The project is expected to lift the local economy, provide new housing opportunities, create jobs and increase property values.

Andrea Bonilla, community liaison for Source the Station, a group working to ensure the future of Huntington Station’s downtown is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, echoed the importance of this fund.

“Source the Station has been collaborating and working with the Huntington Station community for over four years,” she said. “We understand the importance of sewers for a sustainable revitalization of our community, and are excited to see this component come to fruition as we all continue to strive for a better future for all Huntington Station stakeholders.”

COPE Officer Angela Ferrara smiles with students in Huntington. Photo from SCPD.

By Rebecca Anzel

Suffolk County Police Department Officers Angela Ferrara and Jamie Wendt are no strangers to Huntington residents.

The 2nd Precinct’s two community-oriented police enforcement officers, otherwise known as COPE officers, are dedicated to working with and getting to know their community. Instead of focusing on enforcement and policing, Ferrara and Wendt attend community meetings to hear residents’ concerns, host events to connect with members of their community and even spend afternoons helping local kids with their homework.

“We want to help residents,” Ferrara said in a phone interview. “We want to make them safer, make their lives better. We love what we do. The COPE unit is here for the community and we’re always available for anyone that needs us.”

For their work connecting with residents in Huntington and bringing together the community with the Suffolk County Police Department Times Beacon Record News Media has named Officers Ferrara and Wendt as People of the Year.

“The COPE officers are phenomenally effective and popular in the community,” Police Commissioner Tim Sini said in a phone interview. “We want to make sure we break those barriers and always enhance the relationships that we have with the communities we’re tasked to protect. They are very much a part of the fabric of our community.”

The unit has been in existence for a long time, but it was redefined in 2014 as part of SCPD’s community policing model. COPE officers are tasked with building a trusting relationship with the communities the police protect. Sini said community partnership is a key aspect of SCPD’s mission and this unit is an integral part of that.

COPE Officer Jamie Wendt skates during an event. Photo from SCPD.

Ferrara has been a COPE officer since 1998. She left the 2nd Precinct between 2007 and 2010 to become an academy instructor but has been in her current position since she returned. Ferrara also leads the Police Explorers program, for kids ages 14 to 21 who show an interest in law enforcement careers.

Wendt is a Dix Hills native. She has been a COPE officer for about a year and also volunteers with local fire departments. Between the two of them, Ferrara and Wendt attend community meetings and events, and they plan their own as well.

Wendt organized a successful one in April — an ice skating event at the Dix Hills Park Ice Rink for children from the Tri Community and Youth Agency to teach them how to skate. She is a United States Figure Skating Association double gold medalist and has been coaching various skating disciplines for 19 years, so she said it was a fun way for her to share her expertise.

Tri CYA Regional Director Debbie Rimler said Wendt and Ferrara spend time with the kids whenever they can and always attend the organization’s events. The ice skating event attracted children ages 8 through 17, and they left asking when they could skate with the officers again.

Ferrara said events such as that one are her favorite because she gets to interact with the younger generation.

“I just love being around the children because they’re the future,” she said. “It’s rewarding to see the kids grow up and become adults too. If any of our guidance is helpful, that’s a great thing.”

Most recently, the officers participated in the SCPD’s Shop with a Cop event at Target. The department gives $50 gift cards to kids in the community who may not have the resources to purchase Christmas gifts, and officers take them shopping, helping them pick out toys and other presents.

“The faces on these children when they’re able to pick out gifts with a uniformed police officer is something special,” Sini said. “The event is such a great way to have our officers interact with and serve as role models for children while bringing holiday cheer to them.”

It is events like these that Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident, said is what makes the COPE officers so invaluable.

“Without Angela and Jaime, I don’t know where Huntington Station would be,” he said. “They’re so involved with our community, our kids — everything. They’ve become part of our family.”

Suffolk County Police arrested a Huntington Station man following a crash that killed a pedestrian in Huntington Station Sunday night, Dec. 4.

Ena Flores, a Huntington Station resident, was attempting to cross New York Avenue, near Lowndes Avenue, at approximately 5:05 p.m., when she was struck by a 2005 Nissan Sentra driven by Jorge Granados. Flores, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

Second Squad detectives arrested and charged Granados, 25, of Huntington Station, with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety inspection. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call Second Squad detectives at 631-854-8252.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson speaks in Huntington Station about the problems at Melissa tavern. Photo from Stephen Jimenez

Huntington Station’s Melissa Restaurant Sports Bar & Grill has officially run dry.

After local officials fought to close the establishment, which has been plagued with numerous criminal and violent incidents, the tavern willingly decided to stop serving liquor.

According to a press release, the owners of Melissa tavern, located at 1419 New York Ave., voluntarily forfeited the license to state regulators last week. The tavern owners could not be reached for comment, and it is unclear whether the establishment will remain a dry restaurant or if ownership will change hands.

Since July, Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) has been urging the New York State Liquor Authority to revoke the license to curb the safety issues taking place at and around the tavern.

“This is great news for the Huntington Station community and I applaud our police, civic leaders and residents who assisted the town in applying constant pressure to put an end to violence and crime at Melissa tavern,” Cuthbertson said in a statement. “For far too long, this establishment has been a detriment to the quality of life for Huntington Station and I am pleased to announce Melissa’s last call is history.”

Inspector Chris Hatton of the 2nd Precinct agreed this is a victory for safety in Huntington Station.

“Absolutely this is a positive step,” Hatton said in a phone interview. “We’ve had a lot of incidents there in the past several years both inside and outside the tavern. It did draw crowds that tended to engage in criminal activities.”

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Melissa tavern has been cited with 127 incidents in a five-year span, including a shooting in the parking lot this past March and a stabbing inside the establishment in September.

Cuthbertson worked with local officials and state offices to ensure the end of liquor sales at the tavern.

“Our first priority is public safety,” he said, “and I am pleased that the town had the support of the New York State Liquor Authority, the Suffolk County Board of Health and the Suffolk County Police Department.”

Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident, agrees that this is an improvement for the community.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said in a phone interview. “This is the best thing to happen to Huntington Station in a few years. Children can’t be exposed to the type of violence that was taking place there. It sends a message that this won’t be tolerated.”

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini speaks at an event in Huntington Station. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.
SCPD Police Comissioner Tim Sini listed facts like the ones above of officers curbing criminal levels in Huntington Station. Image by Victoria Espinoza
SCPD Police Commissioner Tim Sini listed facts like the ones above of officers curbing criminal levels in Huntington Station. Image by Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

Crime in Huntington Station is officially on the decline — and the Suffolk County Police Department has the numbers to prove it.

Law enforcement and town officials gathered at the 2nd Precinct Nov. 14 to update the community about decreasing crime in the area and efforts to help improve the quality of life for residents.

According to Sini, in the last 28-day period compared to the same 28-day period in 2015, violent crime decreased by 71.4 percent, and year-to-date, violent crime is down by 12.9 percent. Property crime is also down 11 percent year-to-date.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said intelligence-led policing and community policing are critical to their success in Huntington Station. He has focused on using crime and intelligence data to drive how the department allocates resources and develops strategies to make Huntington Station a safer place to live.

“It is impossible to achieve the results we’ve achieved without the true partnership of community members, local governments, county and state government,” Sini said at the press conference. “It’s very important we continue to collaborate to reduce crime and increase the overall quality of life for Huntington Station. We’re going to continue to be vigilant and fine-tune our community-led policing model.”

Sini said the statistics illustrate strides the department has made in the area.

“Those are significant numbers in isolation, but when you consider the fact that 2015 was a record low police districtwide, it’s very impressive,” Sini said.

Sini also stressed the importance of deploying enough county and state resources to Huntington Station to help curb crime.

“Me and my leadership team made a commitment to ensure that significant assets are deployed in the 2nd Precinct,” he said.

Assets include members of the Firearm Suppression Team, a mix of officers and detectives, who have worked to decrease gun-related violence, assets from the Highway Patrol Unit to increase traffic enforcement, members of the SAFE-T Team, which handles drunk driving enforcement, as well as additional foot and bike patrols in the area.

“This is a tremendous amount of work and a tremendous amount of resources put into this area,” Sini said. “It involved a lot of cooperation with our local officials, particularly at county, town and state level and of course engagement with the community.”

Sini said as a result of these additional assets from Aug. 8 to Nov. 12, there were 276 individuals arrested in Huntington Station, for a total of 398 charges. Greenlawn also has seen an impact from these efforts, with 25 arrests and 29 total charges. Nearly 1,500 tickets have been given out, 46 high-visibility checkpoints have been established — which helped lead to 10 arrests and 407 tickets. Ten targeted New York State liquor association inspections were carried out, which resulted in four arrests. The SAFE-T team alone responded on 41 occasions to the Huntington Station area for a total of 33 DWI arrests and five arrests for other charges.

Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said community members played a crucial role in the department’s success.

“Nothing would get done unless you collaborate,” Petrone said. “I think part of the reason that this is being done so well is because there is a community concern. There is community input. They are the eyes and the ears. They brought forth much information to us and the county. This is the only way we will really solve these problems.”

New York State Assemblyman Chad Luppinacci (R-Huntington Station) echoed Petrone’s statements.

“This is a very personal issue to myself, having been born and raised in Huntington Station,” he said. “I feel gratified that all the levels of government are working together. We also want to thank our businesses and civic associations who have been working along with us. We know Huntington Station is a great place to raise a family, for businesses to be welcome, and we want people to continue to feel safe.”

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a shooting that took place at Melissa’s Restaurant in Huntington Station this past Saturday, Oct. 22.

Second Precinct patrol officers responded to a shot spotter activation, which is technology used to detect when shots are fired, at the restaurant, on New York Ave. at 2:16 a.m. Several patrons reported hearing shots, shell casings were recovered and police determined shots were fired. Police said the suspect was described as an Hispanic male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt pulled tightly around his face.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.