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Letters: Voices from a stormy Long Island

Gus Friedl, left, 87, of Brentwood, is assisted

Gus Friedl, left, 87, of Brentwood, is assisted with packing a box of food rations by a volunteer with the American Red Cross at a food distribution site set up for victims of Superstorm Sandy in front of the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge. (Nov. 1, 2012) Credit: Daniel Brennan

With such unprecedented devastation across the Northeast, the president and Congress should pass an emergency bill to suspend all foreign aid for one year ["LIPA estimate: 100,000 homes businesses devastated on LI and in Rockaways," News, Nov. 2]. This would allow us to avoid borrowing so much from foreign governments, and it would free billions to help our own citizens rebuild their lives, infrastructure and homes.

Chas Schiwautz, Westhampton

Cellphone service is very spotty on Long Island, and I would assume the whole Northeast is pretty much in the same boat. Text messages seem to work far better. It would be helpful if carriers would suspend charges for going over the allotted text message units.

Paul W. Coonelly, North Babylon

Newsday reported that Long Island Power Authority had only 1,268 people working on the lines, and possibly 1,900 more were added as the week went on ["Sandy: recovery amid ruin," News, Nov. 1].

However, on Facebook, LIPA is saying that since the storm, it has had 5,000 people working on the front lines.

I hope Newsday will hold LIPA accountable.

Brian Kalish, East Meadow

I agree with the comment that this storm can be an excellent learning experience and return families to a simpler time ["Notable on," Letters, Oct. 31].

It's especially important for children to see their parents thinking quickly and making adjustments. This also applies to business. Think of this as a time of opportunity to rethink, refocus, do things differently and stay positive.

Laney Liner, Plainview

In Babylon Village, remnants of a salt marsh lie under the soil beneath our house. Salt marshes once stretched all along the South Shore on Long Island. They absorb wave and tidal surges created by severe storms. Their underlying peat bogs act as sponges to absorb water.

Newsday's editorial "After Sandy, we can't go back" [Nov. 1] has me hearing the haunting spirits of those long-gone salt marshes calling, "What about us?" These buffers are mostly history. Only a small percentage of our salt marshes are left.

While waterfront-property owners reap the benefits of living there, the absent salt marshes beneath these homes can't function as an interface between land and sea.

Will future planners make sound (and bay) decisions that take our precious salt marshes into consideration? For me, smart growth means the grasses in salt marshes. We need to restore salt marshes where destroyed houses now exist. Indeed, we can't go back.

Tom Stock, Babylon Village

Now that Sandy is gone and we are suffering power outages, I can't help but wish that President Barack Obama had singled out one thing with the stimulus money: doing away with our archaic way of supplying power. Wires hang all over the place, instead of running underground.

He talked about shovel-ready jobs. Putting wires underground could have just about started the next day after he said it. What else would have been more shovel-ready and more needed? The money was shoveled to waste, and we are dangling at Mother Nature's mercy.

Bruce Mark, Hopewell Junction

Once again, the uniformed Nassau County police officers and detectives did, and still are doing, a great job during and after a disaster, superstorm Sandy. But once again, the upper management of the police department and Nassau County did not properly prepare for this storm.

There are still numerous traffic lights out at very busy intersections, with nobody directing traffic. With schools closed across the county, why didn't police management order the school crossing guards in to work to direct traffic at these intersections? This would free up police officers.

Don Hagan, Wantagh

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Nassau County police detective.

I have not seen one Suffolk police officer at any intersection directing traffic. My impression is that Suffolk County police are not doing enough to address the problems.

Darrin Berger, Huntington

Every Long Islander has had to sacrifice because of superstorm Sandy. But few have given as much as the hardworking, dedicated electrical workers who are restoring power to Long Island's homes, businesses, hospitals and transit.

Responding to crises is something that the linemen, cable splicers, substation workers, customer representatives and others do frequently -- not just when their neighbors face what may be the largest natural crisis in our lifetimes, but any time the power goes down.

Right now, thousands are working 16-hour shifts, back to back to back, in harsh and dangerous conditions. The families of these tireless workers also must sacrifice too -- vacations have been canceled, personal needs postponed, and moms and dads are home only a few hours a day.

In fact, many of our workers are themselves victims of Sandy and have been flooded out, have had trees come down and, ironically, are also in the dark. After hours in the field, often through the night, workers are coming home to a quick meal, taking care of their home and family, and getting a few hours of rest before going back in the field on little sleep.

Donald Daley, Hauppauge

Editor's note: The writer is business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049.

I love trees -- the Crayola spring greens and the rainbow fall colors -- but after the latest storm, I would like to see all the old stately trees that are are over 30 to 40 feet tall cut down, especially those that are hollow or rotten in the center. They could be replaced with smaller trees that will not cause the death, destruction and billions of dollars to replace homes, businesses, power lines, transportation means, etc.

This seems to happen every time we have a storm: Trees come down. People are without heat or food, or even their homes. If these trees were removed and replaced, we would greatly reduce the cost of damages caused by storms.

Judi Rettmer, Bellerose

It's truly amazing how electronically dependent we have become. We cannot fathom how to occupy our time in the dark, and the television/DVR/DVD-Blu-ray player/Wii to keep us busy. Read? Well, how do you do that in the dark anyway? You don't want to use up precious battery power. You try to read one of the handful of books you've loaded on the Kindle, but you've suddenly lost interest in the KGB-CIA battles during the Cold War.

You want to do something useful, but you're really hoping the lights come back on soon because you're bored to death in the dark. Husband is asleep, dog is asleep, daughter is reading, guinea pig is confused, parakeet is annoyed. What gives? I want to go online and post commentary about the Mets signing another third baseman (are they kidding?).

We are truly dependent on electronics. There was a time when this would have been penned. Literally. Now it's being "processed" on my laptop. Time to take the dog out before we go to bed. Then I just have to start the dishwasher (no, can't do that), get my things ready for work tomorrow (wait, no work), cover the bird (Why? He's already in the dark), and go to bed.

Nina Maria Scaringello, Mastic Beach