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OpinionLetters

More freight would mean more trains on LIRR tracks

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

A train at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal in

A train at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal in 2013. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

Something was missing from your editorial advocating more use of rail and barges to transport goods to Long Island and to remove thousands of trucks from overcrowded roadways [“It’s the rail thing,” Editorial, Aug. 5].

This is an admirable aim, but why didn’t the editorial explain that all those freight cars would have to travel over the Long Island Rail Road’s rights-of-way? Could this omission be because of neighborhood opposition to (vastly) increased freight service that would have to be limited to daytime between rush hours, weekends and overnight?

Could your editorial-page advocacy for this dovetail with your relentless advocacy for the LIRR Main Line third-track expansion? Of course, the LIRR is on record as having told communities in the area of that expansion that it does not plan to increase freight traffic. In a 2016 interview with The New Hyde Park Herald Courier, then-LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski was quoted as saying, “I can’t generate freight business. Businesses need to generate freight business, so this [the third-track project] will do nothing to generate more freight.”

Paul Landaw,Bellerose Terrace

U.S. should back UN measure on space

The Aug. 19 editorial, “The military in space,” ignored the most important aspect of President Donald Trump’s Space Force. It shows rightful concern about a growing and expensive military bureaucracy and about competition in space with other nations. But it did not express the substantial dangers of the use of nuclear energy in space. If weapons are deployed in space, they no doubt would be nuclear-fueled, creating a potentially lethal danger of radioactive materials reaching Earth.

The editorial did not mention the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space resolution in the United Nations. The resolution, supported by China and Russia but opposed by the United States, would expand the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to prohibit not only weapons of mass destruction, but any weapons in space. Every U.S. administration has opposed the resolution since it was first advanced in the early 1980s.

Our policy should be to support the resolution and work with others to broaden it.

Paul Arfin,Hauppauge

The writer of “U.S. is already superior in air, space” [Letters, Aug. 26] doesn’t seem to understand why a new branch of the military called Space Force is neither redundant or unneeded.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is worthless when it comes to making our moon a weapons-free zone. China has announced plans to build a base on the moon from which it would attempt to explore Mars. It could drop out of the space treaty and put missiles on the moon aimed at U.S. cities. The same could be done by Russia.

Space is the future battleground.

Jo-Ann Nowodzinski,Jericho

School security must do even better

The article “Making school safer” [News, Aug. 28] outlines steps proposed by Suffolk County superintendents to deal with security following mass shootings in Florida and Texas earlier this year.

The educators’ Blueprint for Action is a call to “Require the use of social/emotional screening programs to help identify emotional instability and apply appropriate interventions.”

New York State has mandated a mental health component in health classes and the introduction of social emotional learning elements to curricula, significant steps in recognizing mental and emotional issues that may plague young people. Many local districts offer character education, anti-bullying, and social emotional programs and training. In reality, though, officials might be hard pressed to find room for these valuable initiatives in the overburdened, standardized test-based curriculum.

Meanwhile, the federal government has rolled back protections and rescinded guidance that clarifies protections for transgender youth. And we remain mired in debate about school security and Second Amendment gun rights.

The Blueprint for Action is a good step, but we can and must do better. The lives of our children depend on it.

Victor S. Caliman,South Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer has been an adjunct professor of education at Adelphi University.

In Sea Cliff, plant salt-tolerant trees

The letter “On Sea Cliff waterfront, try another idea” [Just Sayin’, Aug. 18] described the loss of several sycamores there. Planting the wrong tree in the wrong space is common. Sycamores are susceptible to fungus and can attract insects. They have a moderate tolerance to salt air. Sea Cliff should test the soil and make sure the trees were planted correctly.

Salt-tolerant species would be a better bet, including several types of oaks, as well as black tupelo, paper birch or hackberry. Trees provide many benefits, including cooling, providing oxygen and sequestering carbon. There are several options before giving in to something man-made.

The key is to consult an expert in tree selection, planting and the environments in which species thrive.

Stephen Matuza,Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer is a certified arborist.

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