Is Nassau County insane? The time frame for the school cameras, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on school days, is at least two hours too long ["Speed camera info full of U-turns," News, Sept. 7].

Having these cameras in use until 6 p.m. cuts into the rush hour, which will lead to snarls of creeping cars everywhere. Does Nassau want traffic jams all over the county?

The main reason for these cameras is the safety of the students, not to put money in the treasury.

Douglass Robinson, Levittown

As Newsday pointed out, state law says that instead of defined hours, flashing lights can be used. Since many people are unaware of school hours and days, wouldn't it make sense to install flashing lights, which could be coordinated with speed zone cameras, to be activated by whoever opens the school for activities -- the administrator, for example? This would easily eliminate any confusion as to when the speed limit would apply and also ensure that use of the cameras is justified.

Sometimes it seems so easy to overlook the obvious, and apparently Nassau County was sloppy in its implementation of this program. It is devoutly to be hoped that Suffolk County pays better attention.

Peggy Bruno, Middle Island

We're familiar with countdown timers that let pedestrians know how much time remains on the "walk" signal at crossings. There are also visual timers in some traffic lights to give drivers more information about the cycle.

I propose that the revenue generated by red-light cameras and speed cameras at schools be used to equip traffic lights with timers, to give drivers an even break.

Joseph Hobel, Garden City

Enact tax before re-entering war

Our national debt of more than $17 trillion precludes military involvement in the Middle East without a special tax to support it [" 'We're going to defeat them,' " News, Sept. 8].

We also should not go it alone, no matter what.

Margaret McCollom, Oceanside

Shooting range change needed

Newsday's editorial "Blame stupidity for Uzi death" [Aug. 29] said the tragedy "isn't about gun rights or restrictions."

You opine that the adults -- the 9-year-old girl's parents and the instructor -- acted irresponsibly. So, these adults should not have let a 9-year-old fire an Uzi, but a law prohibiting a 9-year-old from firing an Uzi would also be welcome.

It's frightening to think that I cannot depend on the law to protect my life from the behavior of those around me. I have to simply hope that the stupidity of parents won't put me in harm's way.

Frank V. Pesce, Westbury

I was greatly disheartened to read about the tragic accident at the Last Stop range. Expecting a young girl to withstand the jolt of the recoil, which resulted in the death of the instructor, is mind-boggling.

It reminded me of an unforgettable experience. When I was a 21-year-old soldier on a rifle range, an M-14 with a grenade launcher slid off my shoulder while firing, and the butt of the rifle struck me in the right eye. Fortunately, after I was rushed to the hospital, the skilled eye surgeon saved my sight.

The rifle instructor at the Last Stop, Charles Vacca, was not as fortunate. We need tighter regulations. The minimum age for firing should be raised to 21, and inspectors should periodically check to determine whether the regulations are followed.

Howard Chustek, Fresh Meadows

Shellfish risk is related to warming

The piece "Shellfish face risk" [News, Aug. 24] discussed the dangers posed to shellfish in the Long Island Sound because of acidification of the water. This is partly from nitrogen from human waste and runoff from fertilizers. The article, however, neglected to mention that in addition to the unique local factors, this is a global issue related to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate change.

According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is solid evidence that our carbon emissions are changing the basic chemistry of oceans, making them more acidic.

It's time for true solutions. Individually, we need to reduce our carbon footprint in whatever way possible. The largest impacts will come by each of us eating lower on the food chain, making our homes more efficient while switching to clean energy, and by reducing automotive emissions by transitioning to clean-fuel vehicles and driving less.

Locally, we will benefit from reducing the runoff of pollutants into the Sound through education and programs aimed at reducing the use of unnecessary and dangerous lawn chemicals, and properly managing human waste. And as part of the global community, we need to support clean energy, aiming to make Long Island a clean energy leader by rapidly implementing energy efficiency measures. We need to move away from dirty 20th century fuels, and toward sustainable energy from the wind, sun and Earth.

Bob DiBenedetto, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is the president of HealthyPlanet, an advocacy organization.


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