After a long hiatus, I’m reviving my old series, News that’s Fit to Print. Like many of my fellow AC writers, I am an avid follower of news events in my region and elsewhere, though I tend to pay more attention to stories that I don’t think get enough consideration. I’ve used this space to shine a little light on some of the things you don’t normally see on the front pages. I leave the Tiger Wood’s infidelities, natural disasters, and the healthcare debacle up to others and talk about the small stuff that’s really not so small.
The stories covered here all grabbed my attention and I think they warrant yours, too!
The front page of today’s Long Island Newsday featured a tragic event that happened Sunday evening. A young man by the name of Amiri Zeqiri, 17, was working the late shift at the Smithtown Dunkin Donuts. Around 9:00PM Amiri exited the back door of the store to throw out bags of trash he had just emptied from the bins inside the store. According to the report, the young man inadvertently fell into a cesspool that was missing its metal cover. Within an hour, Zeqiri was dead.
It was Amiri’s 14 year-old cousin, Faton, who first found him. “I see the sewer and I hear Amiri. He was yelling, ‘Help, help’, but I couldn’t see anything, so I ran for help.” Faton ran to a nearby pizzeria and called 911, and a worker there, Larry Maher, came outside to help. When he reached the hole, he could only see the top of Amiri’s head. Apparently, when he fell, he grabbed on to something sharp and eventually let go, falling to his death in eight-feet of water.
Young Amiri’s tragic ending was preventable. Not only was the cesspool uncovered, but the only light post in the back of the strip mall was not working. The darkness and the open cesspool proved a deadly combination for the young man. Newsday reports that the owner of the strip mall, JKH Realty Group of Woodside has been cited repeatedly in the past for problems regarding the property. I don’t normally advocate for lawsuits unless they’re warranted, but in this case I hope Amiri’s family ends up owning the place, though I’m sure they’d rather have their son back.
The Latest Terror on the Road
One of the biggest types of stories that I don’t think get enough attention are the ones that involve drivers, or what I like to call “terrorists of the road.” So many people lose their lives on our highways every year, and the majority of these deaths are caused by reckless or drunken driving. I’m simply amazed that this continues to happen in such epidemic proportions. It’s especially deplorable when children are involved. The following story happened here on Long Island, but I’m sure many of you have heard such stories in your areas, too.
An Islandia man, Yaw Gyimah, 50, was arrested Sunday evening under a recent law enacted in New York State. Leandra’s Law, named after 11 year old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a DWI accident in New York City, makes it a felony to endanger a child’s life under such circumstances. Gyimah was arrested after a traffic accident when it was found that he had been intoxicated. He was driving with his 4 year old son in the car. Luckily, the boy was not harmed. Gyimah had an outstanding warrant for violating probation stemming from a prior DWI arrest.
Unique Ad Campaign to Battle Homophobia within African American Community
A unique and innovative ad campaign was put forth by the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) organization and it targets homophobia specifically within the African American community. The advertisements come in the form of posters, all featuring young black men, with the words “I am gay” displayed prominently at the top. The folks at LIGALY see a strong correlation between the disproportionately high numbers of HIV infections among black gay men and how their lives have been devalued by the community at large.
The posters first appeared last week on LIRR train platforms and on the sides of buses throughout Long Island, and plans for widening the campaign are ongoing. The young men in the posters are portrayed in everyday situations: dining with the family, playing basketball, and even at church. LIGALY hopes the in-your-face message comes through loud and clear in the fight against homophobia. I do, too!
Altherr, Stacey and Strickler, Andrew. “Desperate Efforts couldn’t save teen.” LI Newsday 02. Mar 2010: A2-3. Print.
Altherr, Stacey and Whittle, Patrick. “”Cousin heard frantic calls for help from cesspool.” LI Newsday. 02 Mar 2010: A3. Print.
Dymski, Gary. “Police: Man drove drunk with son, 4, in car.” LI Newsday. 02 Mar 2010: A16. Print.