How LIRR crews safely remove snow

A Feb. 20 letter about Long Island Rail Road platform snow removal caught my attention [“Why so many to shovel snow?”].

The writer compared the 10 LIRR workers he saw on one platform in a news photograph to his 60-year-old female neighbor who clears her own snow.

I am writing to rebut this misimpression. The LIRR has 124 stations in 11 branches, all of which need to have snow removed. Some platforms are the size of a large ship.

A crew usually consists of two or three people operating snowblowers, each of whom has a “tap man” to signal when a train is approaching. Two watchmen also look east and west to warn the whole gang of approaching trains. A foreman is usually present, along with two people to shovel stairs.

This crew ensures that the job is done as fast as possible to keep the trains operating. This is the big picture. The same crew will clean five to 10 stations per storm. While cleaning each one properly, they also need to ensure their own safety.

Dennis Petersen, Franklin Square

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Editor’s note: The writer works for the LIRR.

Give water purity high priority

The good news is that Long Island’s environmental threats are now before Albany leadership [“NY pols eye $5B for water fix,” News, March 6]. The bad news is this is still the subject of political wrangling.

Politicians seek to horse-trade for projects, to gain partisan advantage for some cause or to advance their own agendas. However, the issue of water protection needs to be viewed as a public safety priority on the same level as police and fire protection. Any doubts about the urgency of protecting water supplies could be dispelled by serving tap water at the next political caucus.

It’s for that reason that groups as diverse as the Long Island Contractors’ Association, the Long Island Water Conference and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment are working together to support a proposal that would invest billions of dollars to protect our island, our region and our state.

Marc Herbst, Hauppauge

Editor’s note: The writer is the executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, located in Hauppauge.

Raise standards for nursing homes

A Newsday editorial page article, “Tugging at heartstrings” [From The Point, March 4], discussed proposed funding cuts to nursing homes in New York State.

I wonder whether anyone knows what’s really going on in nursing homes.

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My dad was in the system for more than three years. Members of our family were at the nursing home with my dad from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, and sometimes family members slept over.

From what I saw, the system is a mess. This nursing home was understaffed, and numerous people seemed undertrained. On occasion, we believed that staff members showed up to work stoned or drunk.

We complained to state officials on several occasions about the lack of staffing. Heating and air conditioning units were antiquated and sometimes didn’t work at all.

When these issues were reported to the state, and the state sent a representative to review, we were told that the nursing home was within the minimum standards established by New York State.

Proper funding is crucial for the survival and hopefully the improvement of the nursing home system. However, if New York State does not raise its minimum standards and improve nursing home oversight, it will just be placing a Band-Aid on a gaping wound that money will not heal.

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Louis Antoniello, Terryville

Bharara was making strides on corruption

Just when New Yorkers were beginning to see some positive action, with the arrests and convictions of dishonest politicians who were in power way too long, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is fired [“U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: ‘I was fired,’ ” News, March 12].

He was someone who worked to take the corrupt individuals down. This does not bode well for New York.

Gary Peckett, Baldwin