We moved to Plainview more than 45 years ago to get away from the multistory congestion of Brooklyn. We wanted a community of single-family homes.

Since then, we have seen a number of changes that have to some degree urbanized our community. There are apartment dwellings such as The Villas and several buildings for senior citizens.

It's time to stop Plainview from becoming a South Florida-type community. As a senior myself, I say we should preserve what's left of suburban Plainview.

There is nothing country about the Country Pointe project ["Plainview housing could revive village," Letters, Feb. 25]. It's urban sprawl and shouldn't be built here.

Leonard Meisels, Plainview

Old schools should open to new life

Long Island is quickly becoming Lost Island, fueled by the shortsighted thinking of Levittown residents who would rather maintain unused and outdated school buildings in the unrealistic hope that children will one day return ["Island Trees shelves sale of shut schools," News, Feb. 28]. Isn't a 20-year wait long enough?

The demographics on Long Island tell a sad but true tale of young adults and families fleeing, and a school-age population shrinking. This will not change in the near future, or perhaps ever.

Those who spoke so vociferously against the proposal that these empty schools could be repurposed for senior housing should remember their antagonism as they approach age 55. Their legacy will be abandoned buildings in full decay, draining the tax rolls, spoiling the environment and benefiting no one. It could have been different if they had seen what could be, rather than hope for what will never be.

Senior citizens have high spending power to fuel the local economy; a lifetime investment in supporting religious institutions, civic, community and social organizations; and great pride in maintaining their property. The projected housing could have been a boon.

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Marie Palagonia, Levittown

R-word often halts needed discussion

Seeing that the NFL is debating barring the N-word -- and rightfully so -- I suggest the R-word should be retired as well ["Using racial slurs could be penalized," Sports, Feb. 23]. I'm talking about the word racist.

There isn't any other word in the English language with the same ability to stop meaningful dialogue and divergent points of view. People are called racist with no proof whatsoever.

We need to be able to speak truthfully about ideas if we ever expect to be a colorblind society.

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Steve Feuer, Oceanside

Widow now owes for MTA mistake?

The funniest part of the March 6 Newsday wasn't the comics, but a statement from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to the widow of a Long Island Rail Road retiree.

The agency said that because of an MTA error, her husband was overpaid for his pension and the agency had a duty to get that money back ["MTA to LIRR widow: We erred on pension, you owe us $26G," News].

Where was MTA and LIRR due diligence? When so many were fraudulently filing for disability, didn't that ring a bell to look closer at pension funds?

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Perhaps time would be better spent examining these things ahead of time, instead of trying to claw back money from an 79-year-old widow. What a shame.

Mary Genovese, East Meadow

Educate prisoners but charge them

I read a letter by a person who benefited from the college education program offered to prisoners ["In-prison study can change lives," March 3].

I give the writer a lot of credit for taking advantage of the program and turning his life around. However, I take issue when he claims that receiving his three degrees was not a free ride. He claims he paid dearly with 12 years of his life.

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I have spent a boatload of money educating both my children, and they still have student loans to repay. Does the letter writer have any student loans outstanding? How much out-of-pocket expense did he incur for his education?

Let me remind him that the taxpayer paid for his education. Prisoners should have to pay for their educations just like the rest of us.

Tom Vespo, Bethpage

Objection to new parking fees

As a business owner in Huntington village, I'm always looking for ways to increase traffic to my store.

This is a constant challenge, in that Huntington has a reputation for difficult parking ["Huntington OKs new parking fees," News, March 5]. Instead of providing incentives for people to come to the village, the policy-makers decided to increase parking-meter rates from 25 cents an hour to 50 cents or $1 per hour.

How on Earth did these people get elected?

Rick Meuser, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer owns Herrell's Ice Cream.