8 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • NOVEMBER 2020
IN THE NEWS
WEB BRIEFS LI AT A GLANCE
7 LI JUDGES FORCED TO RETIRE
New York State court leaders ordered the seven oldest
judges on Long Island to clean out their chambers
at the end of the year as the judiciary cuts payroll
to solve a coronavirus pandemic-induced budget
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the state Office of
Court Administration (OCA) administrative board
declined to recertify the judges, who are all older
than 70. State law requires septuagenarian jurists
biannually apply for recertification between ages 70
and the mandatory retirement age of 76.
The LI judges — three in Nassau County, three in
Suffolk County, and one appellate justice — are
among 46 statewide older than 70 whom the OCA
has declined to recertify.
The seven are Judge Antonio Brandveen, Judge
Jeffrey Brown, and Judge Thomas Feinman in
Nassau, and Judge Stephen Lynch, Judge
Vincent Martorana, and Judge
Robert Quinlan in Suffolk.
The seventh is Presiding
Appellate Term Justice
Thomas Adams, who
hears appeals on cases
in the 10th judicial
district that covers
Nassau and Suffolk.
LI NATIVE WINS NOBEL PRIZE
American poet Louise Gluck, who was raised on Long
Island, won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature for
works exploring family and childhood in an “unmistakable…
voice that with austere beauty makes individual
existence universal,” the Swedish Academy
said on Oct. 8.
Academy Permanent Secretary Mats Malm said that
Gluck, 77, a George W. Hewlett High School graduate,
also a multiple winner of U.S. literary awards, was
“surprised and happy” at the news when it came
in the early morning hours U.S. time. She gave no
comment to journalists gathered outside her home
in Cambridge, Mass.
A professor of English at Yale University, Gluck first
rose to critical acclaim with her 1968 collection of
poems entitled Firstborn, and went on to become
one of the most celebrated poets and essayists in
ISLIP TOWN TO GET COUNCIL DISTRICTS
The Town of Islip will divide into council districts to
settle a federal lawsuit in which minority residents
sought representation on the town board, which is
lacking under the current at-large system.
The plaintiffs argued that the town’s largely minority
communities of Brentwood, Central Islip, and Bay
Shore do not have a voice on the town council, which
is comprised of white Republicans who live in the
town’s wealthier waterfront communities. If the five
town council members were designated to represent
specific communities instead of sharing responsibility
for all 333,758 town residents, the local lawmakers
would be more responsive to the constituents, the
The use of council districts, known as the ward
system, is used by
three of the 13 towns
on Long Island—Hempstead,
North Hempstead, and Brookhaven.
Under the settlement, two seats up for election in 2021
will be for two districts, including one that will cover
Brentwood, which is mostly Latino. Candidates for
the other two districts will be on ballots in 2023.
SUFFOLK MAY RAISE SMOKING AGE
Suffolk County lawmakers are considering a proposal
that would raise the age to buy cigarettes,
cigars, vaping products, and other tobacco goods
on the eastern half of Long Island from 21 to 25.
It would be the strictest law of its kind nationwide.
If enacted, the county would fine retailers caught
selling such products to anyone younger than 25.
“The smoking age should be increased in order to
protect Suffolk County’s young people from making
such a significant decision until such time as
their brains are fully developed,” according to the
bill authored by Suffolk Legislator Samuel Gonzalez
(D-Brentwood). That’s because the prefrontal
cortex — the part of the brain responsible for rational
decision-making — isn’t fully grown until age
25 and smoking impacts its growth, studies show.
Suffolk raised the age from 19 to 21 in 2014 and Nassau
County followed suit in 2018. New York State
raised the smoking age from 18 to 21 in November
2019. And a month after that, President Donald
Trump raised the smoking age nationwide to 21.
RVC DIOCESE FILES FOR CH. 11
The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for bankruptcy
Oct. 1 after more than 200 lawsuits were filed
priests on Long
over the years.
Attorneys for the
victims blasted church
leaders for the move, which
the critics characterized as a legal
delay tactic, while church leaders maintained
that the filing was necessary as litigation
costs pile up. Church operations are expected
to continue as normal during the proceedings.
“With the passage of the Child Victims Act, the
failure of the diocese’s insurers to honor their
contractual obligations and the number of suits
filed to date, it has become clear the diocese would
not able to continue its spiritual, charitable, and
educational missions while shouldering the increasingly
heavy burden of litigation expenses
associated with these cases,” Bishop John O. Barres
said in a video posted on the diocese’s website.
Roman Catholic Dioceses across New York State
have also filed for bankruptcy, including those in
Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse, after the Child
Victim’s Act went into effect last year, allowing
survivors’ attorneys a window in which to seek
justice for decades-old allegations of abuse that
were previously time-barred under the statute of
limitations. The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which
has more than 1.4 million baptized Catholics on LI,
previously filed a motion to try to overturn the
Child Victims Act.
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