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Letter: Not all Sandy checks distributed

I was disturbed to read that New York Rising Housing Recovery officials said that all Sandy victims who had completed their applications by January had received their checks ["Sandy victims urged to register for funds," News, March 18].

I received an award letter in October, but I am still waiting for my money. Just because an official says it, does not make it true.

I have been repeatedly told my name is on the list, but no one can tell me when I will get the check. I know I'm not the only one.

Anna Ambrosia, Island Park

Nassau labor deal costly over time

According to "Inside Nassau labor deals" [News, March 23], detectives could receive a 40 percent pay increase over four years. Did anyone estimate the resulting rise in the cost of pensions?

This all seems like the usual sellout of taxpayers. The idea of guaranteeing cost of living allowances is absurd. If an allowance is included, why not tie it to the Social Security adjustment each year?

Shall we compare the proposed deal to the real world of private industry? During the past recession, many companies reduced pay to retain employees. When companies recovered, there was no catch-up in pay. People were happy just to keep their jobs and receive small increases.

Private industry has almost entirely eliminated pensions because businesses realized they were committing to the unknown. With people living longer and retiring at a relatively young age, the same scenario is likely to be repeated in many municipalities.

Alan Gasner, Woodmere

'21 and over' law adds burden to biz

I am disappointed with the outcome of Suffolk County's decision to raise the age to buy cigarettes ["Suffolk's new age to buy cigs: 21," News, March 19].

In my opinion, this was a feel-good initiative to promote political careers.

It is not that I support smoking at any age. Since students can still be in high school at 18, raising the legal age to 19 in 2005 was appropriate to curb underage smoking in our schools. Changing the law to 21, however, essentially goes against the legal adult age for voting, enlisting in the armed services and other rights in the United States and much of the Western world. The law against selling alcohol to anyone younger than 21 hasn't stopped high school students from drinking.

How will this law be enforced? It's left up to the businesses of Suffolk County. Why should we be responsible for policing this bill?

If the legislators who voted for this bill truly wanted to make a difference, they would have amended it to say that the use or possession of cigarettes by anyone younger than 21 will be punished by a fine or community service.

That would have the added benefit of balancing the county budget in no time.

Dorothy Castaldo, Smithtown

Editor's note: The writer owns a 7-Eleven franchise in Commack.

Skeptical about Jones Beach plan

Regarding "Boost for the beach" [News, March 20], the state is planning to spend $65 million to restore iconic Jones Beach to its original grandeur. State government should never do a project like this unless it's clear from the beginning that residents won't be responsible for failure and have our taxes raised to make it work.

You and I know a $65-million makeover using union laborers will double or triple easily.

Attendance at the beach has been decreasing year after year. Why? The $10 fee for parking is absurd.

I came to Long Island in 1950, put a towel around my neck and thumbed a ride to Jones Beach. Parking was just 25 cents. Lower the fees, and more people will come to enjoy the beach, use the concession stands and raise the revenue.

Life was good then and not expensive, but today people have changed and the government has changed. The beaches are now filthy because people litter, and because there is no enforcement of laws. People abuse the best beaches on Long Island.

Nick Giroffi, Hicksville

Methadone programs can beat addiction

I wrote this based on my personal experience and in the hopes of helping other addicts ["Law would give addicts best chance at recovery," News, March 10].

Heroine is such a gripping drug, it knows no bounds, it will swallow you up and spit you out. When you hit rock bottom from a heroin or opiate habit, the hole is nearly impossible to climb out of. There is a mental aspect to any addiction, but with opiates there is also a physical withdrawal that is unbearable.

There is an ongoing misconception that methadone treatment just hooks the addict on a new drug. This is false. Technically, it's a drug, but if it's administered in the correct manner, it has extremely beneficial medicinal qualities. Therefore, I consider it a medicine.

People are starting to come around as they become more educated on opiate addiction and as exposure to its treatments increases. In turn, they are realizing methadone treatment is necessary. If the patients get it in a controlled environment, are provided ample tools -- group meetings, assigned counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, vocational counselors -- and are completely active in recovery, then treatment programs work.

Michael S. Daniels, Garden City