A firefighter was injured battling a blaze that ravaged a...

A firefighter was injured battling a blaze that ravaged a home on Park Avenue in Lakeview and caused minor damage to two others Sunday, July 30, 2017. Credit: Facebook / Lakeview Fire Department

Seniors should plan for Medicaid cuts

With health care reform on hold, now is the time for older adults to act to protect themselves, their families and their assets [“McCain: Unite to fix Obamacare,” News, July 29].

Seniors can expect an increase in health care costs and a decrease in government benefits, including Medicaid. Medicaid home care benefits will likely be cut dramatically. Most older adults wish to age in place, and these benefits allow seniors to remain at home and qualify for necessary care.

Spousal refusal will likely be on the chopping block. Currently, when one spouse becomes ill, he or she can transfer assets to the well spouse and qualify for Medicaid immediately. Federal law has allowed this because, as a matter of public policy, we do not wish to bankrupt and impoverish a senior whose only transgression is having a spouse with a long-term illness. A reform bill will likely kick these decisions to the state level, allowing New York to eliminate spousal refusal and impose a look-back and penalty period not just for Medicaid institutional benefits but for home care benefits as well.

Jennifer B. Cona, Melville

Editor’s note: The writer is a lawyer specializing in elder law and estate planning.

Gun owners must act to protect kids

Police called the tragic death of 15-year-old Derek Cosme accidental [“Boy, 15, accidentally kills self with gun,” News, Aug. 4].

“Unintentional” would be more appropriate. When a child is killed with a gun, it is never an accident. Guns should be unloaded and properly secured, with ammunition stored separately. It’s up to adults to be responsible and make sure kids can’t get to their firearms.

As a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization formed after the 2014 school shootings in Connecticut, I participate in a program called BeSMART. It teaches adults five safety steps: secure guns, model responsible behavior around guns, ask whether there are guns in homes where your children play, recognize the signs of suicide and depression, tell your peers to be smart about gun safety.

I never want to hear about a child losing his life the way Derek did. We all need to be better at preventing this senseless gun violence.

Caren Ray-Arnone, Port Washington

‘Solar panel’ fire? Not quite

An Aug. 1 news brief was titled “Firefighter hurt in battling ‘solar panel’ blaze,” and a caption under the photo of a burning house described “a ‘solar panel’ fire in Lakeview.”

Although the initial call for help cited “a solar panel fire,” four paragraphs into the story, a fire chief was quoted as saying the fire originated in a garbage can next to the house.

How many people glanced at the article and came away thinking solar panels are a danger? How many put flammable and possibly combustible materials in their own garbage cans?

Would it not have been more accurate to have a headline reading “Trash can fire destroys one home, damages two others and injures a firefighter”? I do not have any connection with the solar panel industry.

David Zipkin, Bay Shore

Bail for arrested driver was only $100

I couldn’t believe the July 28 news story “Driver steered with elbows to text, had weed, cops say.”

Who let this person go on $100 cash bail after a Southold officer alleged that she drove while holding a cellphone in her hands and steering with her elbows?

She also allegedly drove with a suspended license and was in possession of marijuana.

Why hasn’t anyone else objected to how this incident was handled?

Franklin Edwards IV, West Islip

Expansion is right move for pine barrens

As someone who has worked to protect properties in Mastic and Shoreham through the proposed expansion of the legal boundary of the central pine barrens, I’d like to respond to developer Gerald Rosengarten’s confusing July 27 letter, “State interference with solar farm.”

Rosengarten would like to build a solar farm in Mastic and objects to a comment by Assemb. Steve Englebright, the sponsor of the expansion proposal. Rosengarten writes that he doesn’t own pine barrens land and calls Englebright’s contention that he does “erroneous.”

Of course, the state lawmaker was merely projecting that if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signs this important measure into law, then Rosengarten’s property would be in the pine barrens, and Rosengarten would be entitled to pine barrens credits as compensation.

The assemblyman’s legislation constitutes nothing more than an appropriate, logical and modest extension to the existing legal boundaries of the pine barrens to encompass densely forested land that has ecological and hydrological value in the Forge River watershed.

Perhaps more to the point, Rosengarten’s property is ecologically indistinguishable from the forest on the north side of the street, situated within the legally defined pine barrens zone.

John Turner, Setauket

Editor’s note: The writer is a conservation policy advocate for the Seatuck Environmental Association, an advocacy organization.