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OpinionLetters

Letter: Suffolk led way on e-cigarette rules

Town and village leaders, school officials and residents should know that the path of regulation of electronic cigarettes was forged in Suffolk County in 2009 ["E-smokes ban in buildings," News, Sept. 29].

At that time, Suffolk health officials had reported to lawmakers that the use of these devices -- most of which contain nicotine and other chemicals -- was on the rise.

That year, the county banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to persons younger than 19 and prohibited the use of e-cigarettes anywhere cigarette smoking is prohibited in the county, which includes schools and school grounds.

James L. Tomarken, Great River

Editor's note: The writer is the Suffolk County commissioner of health services.

Henican's column will be missed

Certainly I am one of many who will miss the sincere and thoughtful insights of Ellis Henican ["Jeter walks off right way," News column, Sept. 28].

Henican's reporting of current events and happenings on Long Island was always honest, as well as entertaining, without being malicious!

Patricia Rosalia, Levittown

History shows some wars can be avoided

Columnist Anne Michaud's interesting query regarding the inclinations of male and female leaders to fight wars ["Don't stereotype women leaders," Opinion, Sept. 25] raises the more pertinent question: When are wars, in general, justified? The only answer: If we genuinely regard life as precious, war is justified only as a last resort for defense, when threats are unquestionably imminent.

Aside from World Wars I and II, this clearly has not been the case in virtually all of our wars; they've been wars of choice. The invasion of Iraq was based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. The Vietnam War also was based on faulty evidence of two North Vietnamese torpedo attacks on our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. History has confirmed that the 1846 Mexican War was provoked by President James K. Polk, who wanted to acquire what's now California and New Mexico.

Similarly, the 1898 Spanish-American War was accelerated by an erroneous belief that the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana Harbor was deliberately caused by explosives planted by the Spanish. Recent research has called that into question.

A thorough investigation into preventable wars would, no doubt, yield more examples. Aside from supporting sanctioned UN actions, hopefully we can learn from history, regardless of which gender is at the helm.

Fred Barnett, Lake Grove

Jeter's talent and work ethic admirable

Derek Jeter has just said his final farewell and has gone out a winner ["The old pro finally lets down his guard," Opinion, Sept. 28].

He leaves with five World Series rings, and ranks sixth on the all-time hits list -- a player true to the game of baseball. But better than that, he truly was Mr. Clean. He was an all-around good guy on and off the field. He had a work ethic that drove him to play hard, to do his best and to treat all people with respect.

The Yankees really struck gold when they signed Jeter; it was the best hiring decision the team ever made. He conducted himself well and didn't disrespect America's pastime by doing things that would tarnish the game. He is a true role model.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village

Even treated sewage harms oceans

The United States needs a paradigm shift in the way it manages sewage ["Suffolk water safety," News, Sept. 9].

We can no longer afford to use our diminishing water resources to transport waste from toilets to facilities for treatment and disposal -- particularly when the disposed water also creates severe public health and environmental problems.

Degradation of coastal water is particularly concerning in the tri-state region because of the population density. Degraded quality is manifested through reduced fisheries and shell fisheries, increased beach closures, a lack of oxygen in water to support marine life, algal blooms that may be noxious, and plant deaths in coastal wetlands.

It should be a national priority to invest in developing non-water-dependent sewage treatment such as composting; chemical treatment of sewage solids; and, where possible, reuse of wastewater as "gray" or even drinking water. Gray water saved from bathing or clothes washing can be used, for example, to flush the toilet. We could recover nutrients for reuse or perhaps extract energy from the waste.

At a minimum, large wastewater flows should be dispersed so that they don't alter the physics of coastal waters.

We must preserve water resources for their highest use: drinking water.

Larry Swanson, St. James

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