Public libraries today are about much more than finding a...

Public libraries today are about much more than finding a good read, a reader writes. Credit: AP/Anita Snow

Several letters, including “Electrification won’t lower energy bills” [Opinion, Feb. 16], responded to the recent op-ed on the All-Electric Building Act [“A solution to crippling energy bills,” Opinion, Feb. 6]. They misrepresent the costs — and financial benefits — of electrifying buildings.

The writer who mentions $6,000 electric-heating costs in Maine based on data from the state agency Efficiency Maine Trust provides misleading cost estimates [“Electric future gives residents a shock,” Opinion, Feb. 12]. The high figure cited is based on electric baseboard heating, not on electrically powered heat pumps.

The letter also fails to mention that the Efficiency Maine Trust itself affirms that “developers and consumers are finding it cheaper to go all electric when building new homes.” The Long Island Power Authority shares that view, that cold climate heat pumps lower costs as they also significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Letters by natural gas promoters opposing building electrification repeat the harmful view that fracked “natural” gas is a bridge fuel to the future. It is not. Transitioning quickly to clean, renewable sources of energy is critical to avoid worsening climate chaos. The view expressed that electrifying buildings will cost more is similarly off base.

Passage of the All-Electric Building Act will help us fight climate change at the same time we lower energy costs. It should be included in the state budget.

— Jim Brown, Island Park

The writer is secretary of the Green Party of Nassau County.

North Hempstead Town is on the right track by speeding up permits for solar installations and electric-vehicle charging stations [“Vote for faster green permits,” News, Feb. 20], but some of these benefits must go to people who live in apartments.

To make the leap to buy an EV, people need a convenient way to charge it overnight and wake up to a full battery. Driving downtown and charging for an hour or two at the library or a restaurant isn’t enough.

Apartment complexes should be required to install charging stations for their residents. The Inflation Reduction Act will provide incentives for commercial installations of this and other climate-friendly technologies.

Hopefully, those, in combination with the fast-track permitting, will bring the benefits of EV ownership to apartment dwellers of North Hempstead and beyond.

— Alexa Marinos, North Babylon

Religion not always helpful to teenagers

A reader addressed the rising rates of teen depression and suicide [“Religion can help teen mental health,” Letters, Feb. 23], saying, “Adolescents engaged in practicing a formal religion usually have lower suicide rates and fewer feelings of depression, alienation and loneliness. Those who can guide adolescents in that direction have little to lose and everything to gain.”

I wonder if it has occurred to the reader that teens who are gay, lesbian or transgender are often depressed and suicidal because of religion, in that they have been told by their parents or clergy that the faith they were born into rejects them for who they are. Many can be traumatized by messages like “God hates you” or “You’re no longer a part of this family.” Our courts legitimize this blatant bigotry by ruling that those with “deeply held religious convictions” may legally discriminate against LGBTQ persons, including impressionable youth. All of this worsens their feelings of alienation and self-loathing, and contributes to the increases in teen suicides.

— Dr. Richard Schloss, East Northport

The writer is a psychiatrist and president of Long Island Atheists.

Libraries help people — that's what they do

The story on Long Island public libraries and their ever-changing role was informative and important.

Counter to what a reader wrote, public libraries today are about much more than finding a good read, much more [“LI libraries, schools have same needs,” Letters, Feb. 22].

Being relied on for questions and answers regarding social services is also a function of a public library and has been for some time. In fact, libraries have been providing this service to the public for many decades.

When I first manned the library information desk in the late 1970s, we also served people who were in need of nontraditional information or help. Homelessness, food and clothing insecurity, mental health issues, alcoholism, and substance abuse are just some of these issues. We didn’t have formal training for this.

In fact, a master’s degree in library science did not even touch upon non-traditional library service.

However the need for this type of service was recognized by the early 1980s, and Suffolk County libraries received an information and referral file filled with names of organizations and contact information. This was our resource list, and it was used.

Many times, we would make the call on behalf of the person or persons needing help.

Public libraries are there to help people. That’s what they do.

— Robert Konoski, East Setauket

The writer worked in public libraries for 45 years, as a reference librarian and director of adult programming.

Dementia patients can receive treatment

It is sad to see that actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, as it is for so many others “Family: Dementia diagnosis for Willis,” Flash!, Feb. 17].

I was particularly sad to see his family say that “there are no treatments for the disease.” I believe they meant to say it is not curable.

As a social worker and educator for over 30 years to caregivers of people with dementia, I must clarify that treatment for dementia is what caregivers do every day.

Managing the environment, employing optimal approaches and responses to challenging behaviors, and ensuring safety, structure and stimulation is the essence of the treatment. Also, certain medicines can alleviate behavioral struggles.

The diagnosis can overwhelm the person and family. All families need and deserve to be supported and taught how to become capable and confident caregivers. Because that is the treatment for dementia.

— Rochelle A. Pachman, Commack

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