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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017

Master Sgt. Jeremiah Clarson Jr. greets his son

Master Sgt. Jeremiah Clarson Jr. greets his son Jeremiah III after returning to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia on Oct. 12, 2017, after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Credit: AP / Rob Ostermaier

Be sure median plants can resist salt

After North Hempstead completes its replanting of the Hillside Avenue median in New Hyde Park, the town will have spent more than $200,000 [“A better idea blooms,” News, Oct. 12].

I suggest that the town do a cheap test to find out if there is salt in the soil. Winter road salt is guaranteed to affect plantings. Wet mist carries the salt to the leaves, stems or bark of the plants.

Switching to drought-tolerant plants is one thing, but salt tolerance is a whole different game. There are many salt-tolerant plants, such as seaside goldenrod, little bluestem, winterberry and others. Perennials also require maintenance to succeed.

Stephen G. Matuza, Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer is a certified arborist and municipal specialist with more than 45 years of experience in horticulture.

NFL protests should make people think

Many who have an opinion about the protesting NFL players start off by saying that they support free speech and the right to protest [“The American flag, the anthem and protests by athletes,” Letters, Oct. 1].

They then demand that the protesters lose their livelihoods, be branded unpatriotic or otherwise be punished for exercising these rights.

If you only support protests on subjects and through methodologies that you approve, then you do not support the First Amendment rights we are guaranteed.

Protests are supposed to make people uncomfortable and make them think. The point is that the experience of daily American life might not be the same for people in racial minorities as it is for the majority.

Cynthia Lovecchio, Glen Cove

Look even deeper at municipal hiring

Bravo to Newsday for casting a light on the worst-kept secret of Long Island politics — nepotism in municipal government [“Family members on payrolls,” News, Oct. 15].

If Newsday expanded its research to include friends, neighbors and business associates, I believe it would find that there’s hardly a public employee who has a job exclusively because of merit.

Chris Dillon, Centerport

A contrast in American public servants

Thank you for printing the picture of Master Sgt. Jeremiah Clarson Jr. greeting his son Jeremiah III in Virginia after returning from a six-month deployment in the Middle East [“Welcome home, Daddy,” News, Oct. 13]. The smiles on their faces are priceless! It’s a tribute to those who sacrifice so much for our country.

Unfortunately, the good feeling I got from this great photo was dampened by a story on the next page [“A guilty plea,” News, Oct. 13]. Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic leader, pleaded guilty to failing to pay nearly all of his federal income taxes for 18 years! He also owes state income taxes, despite making more than $200,000 a year! I wonder what Clarson makes for putting his life on the line for us. Terry and others like him are a disgrace!

Carol Taddeo, Plainview

State has a proper role in suicide cases

In response to “New York’s aid-in-dying advocates look to 2018” [Opinion, Sept. 28], as the Court of Appeals noted, New Yorkers already may refuse to be hooked up to life-prolonging machines. Lethal drugs prescribed to cause death are a very different matter.

The court also said, “The State pursues a legitimate purpose in guarding against the risks of mistake and abuse. The State may rationally seek to prevent the distribution of prescriptions for lethal dosages of drugs that could, upon fulfillment, be deliberately or accidentally misused.”

In Oregon, we don’t have to look far to find cases in which insurers denied coverage for prescribed chemotherapy but offered coverage for assisted suicide: Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup, Oregonians with cancer, were informed of this decision by the Oregon Health Plan.

We don’t have to look far for cases in which lethal prescriptions were given to people who were not terminal (having no more than six months to live). In 2016 in Oregon, at least one person lived another 539 days; another year, the longest was 1,009 days.

Assisted-suicide advocacy groups urge us to grant blanket legal immunity to all involved, but legislators owe a duty to all, not just the few who may think they are safe from mistake, coercion and abuse.

Diane Coleman, Rochester

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights organization that opposes assisted suicide.

We’ll go when Isles come home to Island

My wife and I enjoyed Islanders games at the Nassau Coliseum [“Isles hope home is in site,” News, Oct. 22].

Then the team moved to Brooklyn, and we got more interested in other teams by watching hockey on TV.

We’ll resume attending Islanders games when they move back to Long Island, instead of trying to be New York City’s second team.

Bob Sterner, Freeport