Posts in Award-Winning

Bullies Worse Than Virus: Southampton Family Navigates Brutal Backlash From COVID-19 Diagnosis

Dressed in a medical gown, mask and face shield, Stratis Morfogen had poked his head into his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom to check on her — when he saw tears streaming down her face.

By way of explanation, she simply handed him her phone.

“F you, Bea! I have to quarantine because of you,” one TikTok user wrote. “Bea this is your fault!” another said on Instagram.

And then came the comment section — brutal, relentless finger-pointing at the Southampton eighth-grader who had tested positive for COVID-19 less than two days earlier and complied with contact tracing.

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Protests and Pandemic Lead Bridgehampton Photographer Back Home

Six days out, one day in.

For Lori Hawkins, the words became a mantra. They were her schedule, a repetitive routine. A source of comfort and reassurance, stress and depression. An escape, a homecoming, her sense of normalcy.

For the last six months, that one sentence defined her life. And it has led to the most fulfilling photography series of her 20-year career.

“I feel like I’m creating my best work ever,” Hawkins said from her home in Bridgehampton. “I feel like I’m more focused on telling stories.”

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25 Years Later: A Look Back At the Sunrise Wildfire

It came like a great storm.

The skies darkened, smoke filled the air, the noise almost deafening. When he saw the flames, Dean Culver dropped to the pavement, too far from his car to seek proper shelter.

And then, in an unexpected move, the flames jumped.

In an instant, the wall of fire leapt from treetop to treetop, skipping over the 400-foot-wide asphalt span that is Sunrise Highway — its 200-foot-tall flames unable to burn the road, or even lick the army of firefighters flattened up against it.

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A Spiritual Equine Connection: Shinnecock Nation Welcomes Horses Into Community

Late on a recent Tuesday night, six strangers stepped foot on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation — at first, slowly and cautiously, taking in their new surroundings.

Bubba stuck close to Red, the wise old man of the group, while Benny broke out on his own, keeping with his independent nature. Clancey made no attempt to hide his inherent stubbornness and Roxy, whose affection is not easy to win, kept to herself.

Last, there was Rooney, typically sweet and laid back, despite being the largest of the group. But lately, he’d seemed angry and depressed, reeling from losing his longtime home and the family that loved him.

When he met Shinnecock tribal member Shane Weeks, that was all over. The Belgian draft horse knew he was home — together with Red the Appaloosa, Bubba the miniature horse, Benny the donkey, Clancey the mule, and Roxy the mare.

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East End Hospice Turns Bereavement Support Group Toward COVID-19

In my 10 years of reporting, this is one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever experienced.

I cried over and over again writing it. My editor cried reading it.

As I’ve learned, the bereavement and trauma coming out of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, but the stories of loss are eerily similar, marked by a sudden illness and a rapid decline — their family and friends left behind in the chaos.

To Maribeth Edmonds, and Lauren and Eileen Weinclawski, the way in which you shared your stories, with such raw honesty and openness, was staggering. You will help others understand the weight of this pandemic, opening their eyes and hearts to a world that is impossible to understand — unless you’ve lived it.

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Not Safer at Home: Domestic Violence Hotlines Field Dramatic Volume Increase

The sudden uptick in calls to The Retreat’s 24-hour emergency hotline startled Loretta Davis, executive director of the safe haven for domestic abuse victims. And even stranger were simultaneous upticks at the four remaining agencies across Long Island that same day.

The surge in calls motivated Ms. Davis to reach out to the local paper — and when my editor asked me to take the story, I immediately accepted.

But not before my body went hot, and my hands started shaking, and I felt an all-too-familiar trauma response that I thought I’d left far behind.

I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I know firsthand how impossible it can feel to leave, and the subsequent terror that you will be found — fears that, I’m sure, are only amplified against the backdrop of an international pandemic.

But I promise you, there is a way out — and you are not alone.

At the bottom of the article, I’ve included a list of resources: emergency numbers and a sample safety plan, as well as a checklist to help you determine whether you’re in an abusive situation.

If you are, I know that you have the strength within you to leave. And it is my hope that this story helps at least one person do just that.

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B. Smith, Dan Gasby Pen Honest, Revealing Account Of Their Struggle With Alzheimer’s

In 2013, B. Smith was diagnosed at age 64 with Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks. Of the 5.2 million people living with Alzheimer’s today, two out of three are women, and African-Americans are twice as likely to suffer from the disease.

Ms. Smith and her husband, Dan Gasby, spoke candidly about how they would proceed, and one decision was certain: it would be in the public eye, as her life had been thus far. She would be a spokesperson for all Americans struggling with Alzheimer’s, but especially for black women.

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Ancient Sport of Falconry Takes Flight

Practiced for almost 4,000 years — and once known as “the sport of kings” — falconry is far from a hobby. It involves using a wild hawk, eagle or falcon to hunt, return prey back to its master, and then accept a return to captivity. Many consider it an art form, one that requires dedication, finesse, intricacy and skill, not to mention long hours.

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