The recent tragedy at Medford Multicare Center has left a community devastated ["Lax oversight of nursing homes," Opinion, March 21]. Confidence in the nursing home -- and indeed in the care afforded many of its residents -- is tattered and understandably shaken.

This disaster has cast a dark shadow over the entire nursing home industry, but while the incident points to catastrophic mismanagement, it is important to remember that one bad apple does not necessarily spoil the bunch.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that many nursing homes on Long Island provide impeccable services.

I oversee the day-to-day duties of caring, hardworking folks who show up each day prepared to make a difference. My staff members choose to work in the nursing home because they are good at relieving pain, tending to injuries, lending an ear, and most important, being compassionate. These are noble pursuits.

Nurses, nursing assistants, porters, dietary aides, and the entire nursing home staff bring empathy and selflessness to their work.

Jill Smoller, Glen Cove

Editor's note: The writer is the administrator of the Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Zoning task force needs expanding

The suggestion from the Smithtown Town Board to create a zoning task force for the Kings Park industrial area is a simple-sounding solution to a more complicated problem ["Focus on a fix," News, March 18].

The ongoing zoning violations in Kings Park are just one of many concerns affecting Smithtown residents' quality of life. I believe we should discuss the environment, a master plan and smart growth development by establishing a Smithtown Planning and Development Association.

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This association would make recommendations to the town board and consider all of Smithtown, not just Kings Park.

Richard S. Macellaro, Kings Park

Let East Hampton pay to bury lines

I am a lifelong Long Islander and cannot afford to pay more in taxes and fees, especially for something that would not improve my neighborhood ["PSEG: You pay, we'll bury line," News, March 18].

An East Hampton resident group was quoted saying it was "a disgrace" for PSEG to advise them that if they want the electric lines buried, the residents can pay for it. The real disgrace is their suggestion to have the rest of PSEG's 1.1 million Long Island customers share the cost.

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Jeanette Bailey, North Babylon

Test burdensome for student-teachers

Newsday dramatically understated the demands for the edTPA, the new portfolio assessment now required for student teachers .

For example, Newsday claimed the video portions are scored for "positive, respectful response of students." In fact, the videos will be graded according to five detailed scoring guides that go far beyond these criteria. There are another 10 detailed scoring guides for other portions of the edTPA.

I can't share specific information with the public. As a public university employee, I was required to sign a proprietary, nondisclosure agreement with Pearson Inc., to read the assessment requirements.

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The implementation of the edTPA has been rushed and incomplete. It is a counterproductive, anxiety-producing burden for would-be teachers that has transformed what should be a full semester of learning into a semester-long exam. It requires full teaching expertise before student-teachers have had a fair chance to develop that expertise.

The new requirements also include a $300 fee from each student-teacher, which goes to a private corporation. The state Education Department should immediately remove the edTPA as a certification requirement.

Ken Lindblom, Shoreham

Editor's note: The writer is an associate professor and director of English teacher education at Stony Brook University.

South Nassau needs launch ramps

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New York's plan to spend $65 million restoring Jones Beach would be a perfect opportunity to build some ramps for small boats, such as sailing dinghies, Sunfish, rowboats, kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, paddle boards, etc. ["Boost for the beach," News, March 20].

The waters and winds in South Nassau are perfect for small, non-motorized boats, but there is no suitable place, accessible to the public, to launch with a trailer.

Perhaps Zach's Bay, the Field 10 fishing piers, the Short Beach boat basin or the Green Island toll plaza would be good spots. Thirty years ago, there used to be lots of sailboats in our bays.

John Eastlund, Wantagh

FDA doesn't have priorities straight

I just read that the United States must do with less effective sunscreen protection than other countries because the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved new lotions ["Better sunscreens left in the dark," News, March 21].

But the FDA had no problem fast-tracking a new and stronger version of hydrocodone -- and that was against many recommendations not to approve it!

What is wrong with the FDA?

Kevin Fox, Jericho