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Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, March 5, 2018

Cross-country skier Jessica Diggins of the United States

Cross-country skier Jessica Diggins of the United States stretches across the finish line ahead of Stina Nilsson of Sweden during women's team sprint on Feb. 21, 2018, at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Credit: Getty Images / Matthias Hangst

Unfairly negative portrayal of IDA

The Newsday story “Calling for reform” [Business, Feb. 11] and information in the accompanying online database, “How 8 Long Island IDAs compare,” portray an unfairly negative picture of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency.

In September, a complete project audit report about the IDA from the state comptroller stated, “Hempstead accurately reported its project information.”

The comptroller found that the IDA’s board of directors “generally provides effective oversight of the Agency’s operations” and that starting in 2017, the IDA has required project owners to verify project employment and salaries. The audit also found that the IDA board indeed has terminated projects that failed to meet project goals.

Since its inception in 1971, the Hempstead IDA has provided an important public service in creating jobs, stimulating economic activity and improving the quality of life in our communities. We hope to continue this tradition.

Fred Parola, Hempstead

Editor’s note: The writer is chief executive of the Town of Hempstead IDA.

Route 347 amenities could have waited

I read Rick Brand’s column about the Nesconset Highway fiasco [“Where are funds for Rte. 347?,” News, Feb. 18].

For years, we’ve lived with construction resulting in five miles of a beautiful middle barrier, wall, walking and bike paths, landscaping and a needed third lane. Now the money has dried up, with two-thirds of the project not done. The primary need was to make it three lanes all the way.

The amenities could have waited until the third lane was completed. We could have lived with less costly walls, paths and dividers.

Howard Ende, Smithtown

Triplets also ran a Soho restaurant

Your excellent article on the triplet brothers did not mention that they owned Triplets Roumanian Restaurant in Soho for a time [“Band of brothers,” News, Feb. 20].

Upon arriving, you were sure to be greeted by one of the three. The menu was old-fashioned Eastern European food. After the meal, the talented servers got everyone to participate in a singalong. It was always an enjoyable night out for my family.

Alan Mark,Holbrook

Olympic competition united our world

Skiing is my favorite sport. Having grown up near Buffalo, winter is my favorite season. There was always plenty of snow.

After the Jan. 4 blizzard on Long Island, I discovered that I needed new cross-country ski boots. By the time they arrived, the snow had melted. I prayed for snow. But since then, no snow.

But then came the Winter Olympics [“Diggins leads U.S. to end gracious games,” Sports, Feb. 26].

I was thrilled when America’s Jessica Diggins, with teammate Kikkan Randall, won the women’s team sprint, the first Americans to win gold in cross-country skiing. While watching Diggins, my urge to ski returned. I tensed up and held my breath. When I saw her left ski cross the finish line, I felt like I was skiing with her. I gasped. I forgot all about my new boots.

Although some doping in recent years has tainted the Olympics, I was thrilled by the level of competition and the camaraderie of the athletes. I felt as if we’re all related. We’re all one world.

Tom Stock, Babylon

At Rikers Island, end solitary confinement

The United Nations has said that more than 15 days in solitary confinement should be prohibited. However, people on Rikers Island in the past have spent years in solitary confinement. For example, Kalief Browder endured roughly two years in solitary confinement over his three-year incarceration. Two years after his release, he committed suicide.

In 2015, the de Blasio administration prohibited the use of solitary confinement for people younger than 20 and mandated minimizing it for others. I argue for ending solitary confinement for all prisoners [“Mayor plans inmate move to 4 boroughs,” News, Feb. 15].

While this reform could increase costs through the need for additional correctional staff and counselors, it would be economical in the long run because it would raise inmates’ chances of rehabilitation, and reduce recidivism and psychosis.

The psychological, emotional and physical effects of solitary confinement often prevent people from being about to reenter society. Solitary confinement exacerbates pre-existing mental illnesses and drives people to psychological breakdowns.

When changing our current system, the de Blasio administration should model an approach similar to other nations. For instance, Germany typically limits solitary confinement to hours or days, with the maximum being four weeks. Implementing and studying similar measures at Rikers Island could be a turning point to help New York City modernize and humanize its criminal justice system.

Caitlyn Passaretti, Morningside Heights