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Letters: Participation awards give kids a thrill

My two sons participated in Little League while growing up in East Northport and collected trophies for participation as well as those for winning teams ["Feel-good awards have merit," Editorial, Aug. 18].

After the boys grew up and moved out of the house, the trophies sat in the basement until it was time to clean out 20 years of stuff before we retired and left Long Island. I tossed the broken ones, gave each son a huge trophy from his winning team, and donated the rest to a group that refurbishes them for teams in low-income communities.

It felt good, although when one of my daughters-in-law saw the trophy (along with around 20 binders of baseball cards), she almost fainted in horror.

Participation trophies should be given to the youngest children as a welcome to league play. Perhaps a few trophies for most improved, best sportsmanship and best effort should be added. After all, some children, whether with physical disabilities or just less natural ability, may never get to hold a trophy and break into a winning smile as a result! It's not always about the score.

Ellen Mesmer, Boynton Beach, Florida

In response to football player James Harrison's criticism of participation trophies for children, let's not get carried away.

Winners deserve awards, but they are no more deserving than the kid who struck out every time or the little girl who didn't know the right dance moves.

Receiving the awards and trophies should be cherished whether the kids are 4 or 24.

Mom and dad, brothers, sisters and grandparents should have the chance to applaud the kids. Whether their awards were received in preschool or college, I look at my kids trophies and I always smile, because I shared the joy of watching them earn them!

Jay Gorman, Brooklyn

MacArthur Airport shops are off-limits

How many people know of the shops at Long Island MacArthur Airport ["Piece of the action," News, Aug. 19]? If you are not flying in and out, you have no access to most shops. Most are beyond the security checkpoint. The Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame exhibit is also beyond the checkpoint. The corridor that displays all the photos of sports stars is desolate. Who benefits? Not the public. We have a friend whose husband's picture is on the wall and she has never seen it. How sad is that? The airport needs another large carrier that goes to places Southwest doesn't.

Camille Morselli, Islip Terrace

Tough Mudder races good for Old Bethpage

As a spectator of the recent Tough Mudder races, I thought Old Bethpage Village Restoration was the perfect venue ["'Mudders' slog through Old Bethpage site," News, Aug. 16].

Participants were respectful and stayed on the marked paths. Obstacles were set up in open fields away from the historical buildings.

The village needs support and free publicity. A few years ago, there was talk of closing it. I don't know why more local schools don't visit. If the Tough Mudder raises awareness and interest, I'm all for it. I hope the historians who had a problem would agree that events that bring awareness to the village can only help attendance.

Patricia Setzer, Farmingdale

School districts and budget surpluses

"School audit widens" [News, Aug. 18] reported that the Sayville district overpaid for staff cellphones. But why is the district paying for staff cellphones?

The problem is it is against a district's religion to ever cut, and a commandment to always increase, the budget. When ways to cut expenses arise -- for example, renegotiating insurance contracts -- districts find ways to spend/reserve money to hide from taxpayers that the budget is too large and could/should be cut.

Superintendents complain they need to overestimate expenses due to "unpredictability." Districts can hold a reserve of up to 4 percent of the budget, more than enough to cover unpredictability. Yet districts build up large surpluses on top of the allowed reserves. Superintendents also complain about the tax cap. The cap is not an issue because officials can exceed the cap if they can convince the community that it is necessary. The problem is that they can't make the case.

Armand J. D'Accordo, Northport

Editor's note: The writer is an accountant.

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