In your article "Not so NICE" [News, Jan. 12] about the low grades given to Nassau Inter-County Express by its riders, one of the few bright spots was an improvement in its Able-Ride services for the disabled.
However, no mention was made of the continuing absence of Able-Ride in a huge area: northeast Nassau County. This disturbing lack of handicapped services was inherited by NICE when it took over from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and it seems to have been forgotten about. In the meantime, disabled riders in all of the affected North Shore communities are deprived of this vital service.
These forgotten stepchildren of NICE deserve the same opportunity as other Nassau disabled riders to travel to work, medical appointments and wherever else they need to go. If NICE truly wants to improve its services, one of the first things it should address is restoring Able-Ride to all of Nassau County.
Barbara Shafferman, Wantagh
Editor's note: The writer is the parent of a disabled adult.
Abortion clinic buffers defended
"Clinic buffer zones argued" [News, Jan. 16] reports that the Supreme Court may strike down a Massachusetts law that sets a 35-foot buffer zone outside abortion clinics. The anti-abortion movement apparently claims that free speech requires getting in someone's face. Or, as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia calls it, not a free-speech case but "a counseling case."
These zones were created because some in the anti-choice movement are pro violence and intimidation. Scalia also said these people want to speak quietly in a friendly manner. Well, they can quietly mind their own friendly business.
The women going inside abortion clinics do not have bailiffs and other security personnel as a judge does. Proximity is not required to enjoy free speech protections.
Ed Miglino, Copiague
Towers are a good investment
I'm writing in regard to "$1M sought for key radio towers" [News, Jan. 7].
I believe it's a good idea for Suffolk County to seek $1 million in federal aid to strengthen five communication towers. This project could potentially save people's lives. County officials said emergency agencies had some problems communicating during superstorm Sandy.
It's better than the county using the money to give board members pay raises or something like that. The county should spend our money on more important issues, just like this one.
Paul LaMarca, Franklin Square
Tobacco still makes money for gov't
A simple solution to the problem of lung cancer, and other cancers attributable to tobacco use, is to ban the sales and growing of tobacco in the United States ["Surgeon general adds to list of smoking's ills," News, Jan. 17].
Unfortunately, just as smokers are addicted to nicotine, so are the various governments addicted to the tax money that the sale of tobacco generates.
Thomas Smith, Jamesport
I am appalled by the continuous barrage of commercials showing people sick and dying because they smoked. If our wonderful government is so concerned about what cigarettes do to citizens, the solution is very simple: Stop selling them.
Don't criminalize them, just keep them out of stores. The same way smoking was banned from public places for public health reasons, and restaurants are encouraged to eliminate trans fats, cigarettes should be kept out of stores.
The sole reason this has never happened is tax revenue. Greed comes before anything, even the health of the American people.
Gary Soccorso, Wantagh
Intermarriage column response not typical
When a small group of people is asked a question, there is a greater likelihood that the group is not representative of the community at large ["Asking the clergy: Does intermarriage threaten Judaism?" Act 2, Jan. 11].
Only four rabbis were questioned. One just has to look at the United Jewish Appeal-Pew Research Center report on American Jewry to see the high level of intermarriage and the consternation that it has caused throughout the entire Jewish community. The majority position stated in the column is not the majority view in the Jewish community.
It is also ironic to note that those who indicated that they are most accepting of intermarriage ignore the fact that their branch of Judaism decided to change the law to consider a child Jewish if the father is Jewish and the mother is not, which has not been accepted by others.
Jewish law has held from the beginning that the child's religion is solely based on the mother. This change by the Reform and Reconstructionist communities appears to be made in response to their belief that intermarriage does threaten the Jewish community.
Warren Hecht, Flushing
Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Queens Jewish Community Council.