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Alex Trebek passing a deep loss

Alex Trebek arrives at the 38th Annual Daytime

Alex Trebek arrives at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 19, 2011. The longtime Jeopardy! TV host has died on Nov. 8, 2020, after a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ

I am so saddened by the death of "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek ["Beloved ‘Jeopardy!’ host," News, Nov. 9]. His passing feels personal to me, as I avidly watched "Jeopardy!" Embedded in his words and actions on stage was a sense of honesty, unfailing courtesy, dignity, respect and, especially, an appreciation for the pursuit and celebration of knowledge. It is not far-fetched to say that he helped mold the character of a generation of viewers. Trebek’s courage was on display as he battled pancreatic cancer, given his slim chance of surviving. Yet each day he continued to inspire millions of people facing this grave disease as he allowed for an optimistic outcome. His hopeful attitude and courage helped me redesign my life to get through the deep emotional pain I experienced after both my parents passed away in the past 12 months. As I daily waded through the heartache, part of the courage and strength transmitted by Trebek became a lens through which I viewed and processed my pain. Eventually, I was able to reconcile my parents’ loss with the dichotomous nature of life, and recommit to a healthier, more generous view of reality.

Vasilios Vasilounis,


Shinnecock needs should be heard

Despite the drastic changes taking place in our country, one reality that has not changed and I believe needs addressing is the exploitation of the Shinnecock people through the removal and desecration of their ancestral land and burial grounds, the trampling of their contractual rights as a sovereign nation, as well as restrictions on their commercial enterprises. The Shinnecocks have inhabited Long Island for some 10,000 years and are staging a protest by way of an encampment on their aboriginal land in Southampton to protest issues that have impacted them since 1640 ["Shinnecocks begin weeks of protest," News, Nov. 2]. Native Americans comprise only about 1% of the U.S. population but have the highest levels of poverty, alcoholism, substance misuse and suicide, as well as high rates of diabetes. One goal of the protest is to meet with Southampton and state officials, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, to address the commercial obstacles with their signage, the development of a medical marijuana facility and three casinos. The Shinnecock Nation needs this revenue to address its urgent health needs.

Cathy Carballeira,


Editor’s note: The writer worked on a community needs assessment of the Unkechaug Nation in Mastic for the Stony Brook University Research Foundation.

Transit execs deserve some understanding

Larry Penner writes that Long Island Rail Road riders need to know when they can return to normal work environments ["LIRR riders deserve answers today," Letters, Nov. 6]. Pat Foye, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, and Phil Eng, LIRR president, cannot give those answers because the COVID-19 pandemic hit us all like a bomb. To criticize them for not keeping promises about new services seems unfair.

Their priority now must be preserving current service levels for when Manhattan commuting returns to normal levels and trains can accommodate those returning travelers. That’s why I believe the imperative now is to obtain funds from Washington to ease the MTA’s unprecedented fiscal crisis and prevent draconian service cuts. In a normal world, Foye and Eng could concentrate on opening new projects such as Main Line Third Track and East Side Access.

At least work on these project is continuing. It’s easy to criticize transit managements from afar. I am a retired LIRR manager, and in my 25 years there I lived through many crises — weather events, terrorism, electrical blackouts, service disruptions, accidents, labor unrest. Nothing compares to the COVID-19 crisis.

Andrew Sparberg,


Editor’s note: The writer is a transit historian.

Cuomo’s selective use of National Guard

I see that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to deploy the National Guard to airports to make sure peaceful people entering New York from a restricted state are quarantined, but he did not see a need to deploy the National Guard when there was rioting and destruction in New York City ["Some ‘hot spot’ rules to be eased, Gov says," News, Nov. 7].

Kenneth M. Hartmann,

Port Jefferson

Tax Foundation data not helpful

The article "Poor grade on taxes" [LI Business, Oct. 22] about this state’s high taxes cited Tax Foundation data, which I believe lead to a ridiculous conclusion.

The article points out that the best tax climates are in Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska, and the worst are in New Jersey, California and New York. Few companies are moving to those states, which have populations under a million and provide minimal services compared with New York. I believe New York and California have the country’s greatest corporations, and without these two states, our country would not be as great as it is today.

I believe the foundation’s findings are an insult to intelligent readers.

Paul Besmertnik,