Monday, March 9th, 2015
Kayla Vitale’s heart stopped for more than 15 minutes as she was being transferred from one hospital to another after overdosing on heroin. “I wasn’t supposed to live,” she said recently
Now Vitale is five-months sober – and sharing her story. She hopes that her near-death experience will help prevent others from suffering a similar – or worse – fate.
Vitale is from Staten Island, where heroin death rates are 30 percent higher, per capita, than the city average. Experts believe heroin use skyrocketed following the 2012 passage of the I-STOP law, which made opiates harder to get.
Opiate addicts were forced to look elsewhere in order to feed pill habits, with many moving onto heroin, experts say.
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Two years after Superstorm Sandy, many Staten Islander residents are still struggling to recover. Ongoing rebuilding efforts leave little time or resources for holiday celebrations.
Project Hospitality and The Food Bank for New York City are stepping in by distributing Thanksgiving turkeys – and all the trimmings – to families hardest hit on the South Shore.
Monday, February 11th, 2013
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
It’s a frigid morning on Staten Island’s South Shore, with the temperature struggling to crack 20 degrees as a stiff wind buffets the Eltingville neighborhood. The elementary school students showing up at P.S. 55 are cocooned in puffy jackets, gloves and hats as they jump out of warm cars and onto the sidewalk towing large backpacks, some adorned with the face of Justin Bieber, others with the logo of the New York Giants.
Amidst an ongoing school bus strike, it’s a fairly orderly scene on this Tuesday. Parents drive up to the curb, let their children out and move on to the rest of the day. Directing traffic, and gently scolding the occasional parent who pulls a U-turn on Koch Boulevard, is Mike Reilly, a former New York City police lieutenant who is a few days shy of his 40th birthday.
Reilly is outside the school each morning mostly to mitigate traffic. But, as the co-author of a controversial school safety plan that calls for the Department of Education to use retired cops armed with guns to protect city schools, he’s also found himself in the middle of the contentious debate over gun control and student safety that has erupted in the wake of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.