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Letter: Leave green space in Eisenhower Park

I read that Nassau County intends to build a $2.5-million asphalt testing plant in Eisenhower Park ["$2.5M lab in LI park," News, Aug. 10].

Can't the county leave the green spaces alone? As a 55-year resident of the county, I've seen more and more structures built in Eisenhower Park, which was set aside for residents' recreational use.

The county recently built the Twin Rinks ice skating facility on top of what had been the traditional sledding and kite-flying hill. Now it wants to build an asphalt testing plant. No way does this industrial purpose coincide with the concept of park. Leave our green spaces alone.

Audie Kranz, East Meadow

Danger crossing on H'stead Turnpike

I know Long Island drivers are terrible, but the pedestrians are a huge problem ["Enforce pedestrian safety regulations," Letters, July 30].

A bus recently stopped on Hempstead Turnpike about 40 feet from a traffic light. A woman and young children got off, carrying items for Eisenhower Park. Instead of walking to the traffic light to cross, they started across where the bus let them off. The woman was running, and the children had trouble keeping up. Luckily, no one was injured.

A short while later, as we were approaching a red light on Hempstead Turnpike, a woman stepped off the sidewalk, about a car length from the corner, and ran through the slowing cars to cross the street.

These were two incidents in less than a mile, separated by less than five minutes. Perhaps the public service ads reminding us to cross at the corner need to be put back on the air.

Mary Johnson, North Bellmore

Recently on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow, near the Nassau University Medical Center, I saw a women pushing a stroller and pulling a young child as they crossed in mid-block and against the light. Was this ever a disaster waiting to happen. This woman sets a poor example for children.

I believe that officials must seriously enforce existing laws and issue public service announcements.

Elaine Beckerman, Westbury

Missing a generous, funny Williams

What a shock to hear of Robin Williams' death ["A genius who touched us all," Editorial, Aug. 13]. He was a great artist, and this is a great loss to the entertainment world.

While touring Italy and visiting Venice in the early 1980s, my wife, son and I had the pleasure of meeting him one night in Piazza San Marco. He walked by our outdoor table, and I invited him to sit with us and have a drink. He obliged us and, when he learned that another guest at the table was from Virginia, he proceeded with an impromptu dialogue imitating the Virginia native the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

This continued for an hour. When Williams left, he mistakenly gave the waiter a 50,000 Lira note for a 8,000 Lira bill and told him to keep the change. When he realized that it was not a 10,000 Lira note, Williams gave my son his autograph written on a paper napkin with the message, "Send 40,000 Lira quick."

A funny individual with a quick wit and a generous heart.

Frank De Mita, Glen Cove

Robin Williams' apparent suicide has shocked the nation. The death of this rich, famous and funny man brings to light the important fact that mental illness, addiction and suicide do not discriminate.

Risk factors for suicide include: mental disorders, in particular, depression or bipolar disorder, alcohol or substance use or dependence, previous suicide attempts, family history of attempted or completed suicide, and a serious medical condition or pain. Suicide risk tends to be highest when someone has several risk factors at the same time.

It's impossible for us to know exactly what Williams was thinking or going through at the time of his death, and many are left asking why. If we continue to educate ourselves and learn from this tragedy, we can hopefully save a life.

If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts, call The MHANC HELPLINE at (516) 505-HELP (4357) or the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-(800)-273-TALK (8255) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

Michael J. Chambers, Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.

Confederate flag isn't hate symbol

Comparing the Confederate flag to the swastika is a remarkable misinterpretation of history ["Swastika, Confederate flag both hate symbols," Letters, Aug. 7].

While the swastika was a symbol of a government plan to exterminate a race of people -- and anyone else it found offensive -- the Confederate flag was not. Far from wishing to exterminate slaves, Southern states depended on them to a great extent. At that time, many Southerners felt a greater loyalty to states rather than to the Union, and they fought for their way of life and the right to self-government.

The Confederate flag is part of our history -- one symbol of a terrible and destructive war to preserve the Union and to free slaves. It is no more a symbol of hate than was the Union flag a symbol of hate. Being intimidated by one remark into taking down a flag is a pitiful example of the loss of freedom of speech now prevalent in this country.

Carole Laurencelle, Huntington