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Letter: Violence task force helped many lives

I was surprised to read that Suffolk County's Task Force to Prevent Family Violence has lain dormant for three years after functioning continuously since 1988 ["Domestic violence: Task force allowed to lapse," News, Aug. 19]. I was proud to be a founding member and served for 20 years, including several years as co-chair.

This hardworking group consisted of representatives from the public and private sectors. Members came from health and human services, child advocacy, domestic violence agencies, law enforcement, legal firms, the courts and mental health providers.

We worked to find solutions that involved complex legal and human services, and which crossed agency lines. It cost very little, and probably saved money in improved coordination and cooperation on behalf of vulnerable families and children.

Integral to its effectiveness was that the task force reported directly to the county executive. I hope that the reconvening of this group by County Executive Steve Bellone portends a real commitment to dedicate the time, energy and effort requisite to rebuild a group that can make a difference in the lives of so many.

Jane Corrarino, Setauket

Long Island is the 'Land of No'

About a year ago, I moved back to Long Island after living in the Southwest for 10 years. During this first year back, I have tried to reacquaint myself with the Long Island lifestyle by keeping up with the news.

I have become rather disenchanted by the number of articles that document "concerned citizens" who pack various board meetings to voice their opposition to one residential or commercial development after another.

These well-organized groups opposed a fast-food restaurant near the Smith Haven Mall. They gave a thumbs-down to a 55-and-older condo development in Elwood. They told Suffolk County officials that a large unused tract on the Long Island Expressway service road in Medford would be inappropriate for a casino. They even muscled church leaders to abandon a plan to house immigrant children in Commack.

Doesn't anyone want to see new residential development and new sources of recreation on Long Island? From my perspective, the Island seems to be stuck in the same rut it was in when I left. I think most residents want to see healthy economic development, but not in their neighborhoods. And there lies the problem in the Land of No.

John Balestrino, East Moriches

Gunshots, police and race relations

Just wondering what the reaction would be if a black police officer, or a white officer, killed an unarmed white teenager ["Emotional service," News, Aug. 26].

All Americans should be wary of excessive use of force by our police. One of the first signs of a repressive government is a military police presence. One of the reasons for the American Revolution was the onerous stationing of British troops in American homes.

Joe DiBenedetto, Massapequa

Class size, wealth relevant to scores

The chart accompanying "Math rises, English falls" [News, Aug. 15] should have included more practical information. For example, the chart could have compared students' scores and ranked them by the average class size in each district. This might give us something to work with.

Also, the chart could list the scores by property wealth, which would show us something that would actually help explain poor grades: relative poverty.

This will continue to be a problem until we start looking at real information.

Deborah Virga, Farmingville

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher from the William Floyd school district.

Airlines should serve passengers

I use Long Island MacArthur Airport frequently to go to Florida, and I always fly nonstop if the airline offers such flights ["Touting MacArthur," News, Aug. 12]. The nonstop flights from MacArthur have been diminishing through the years, causing people like me to drive to Kennedy or LaGuardia airports.

That is part of the reason MacArthur is losing passengers. For example, Southwest Airlines offers just one or two nonstop flights a day from West Palm Beach, Florida, and the late one typically arrives in Islip about 8 p.m. Who wants that?

It is time we get the airlines to consider our needs and travel preferences. They nickle-and-dime you for everything. They should just present a fair rate, and their planes would be full. I do not think that people want to fly, land, wait two hours, board another aircraft and fly again. What should be a two-hour flight takes five hours!

Charles R. Costa, West Babylon