2012-04-11 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Peninsula Must Stay

A copy of this letter was received by the
Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H.
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany N.Y. 12237

Dear Commissioner Shah:

We are writing you regarding Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens. As you know, this hospital has been operating for over 100 years and has been critical to addressing the healthcare needs of our community. Therefore, the recent announcement that the hospital will be closing has created great alarm in our community.

Residents in the area deserve some clarity on what process led to this decision, what role remains for the hospital, and what hope there is to maintain this facility in some capacity. It is critical that the healthcare needs of our growing community are met, and we believe the closing of Peninsula seriously jeopardizes the health and safety of residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel. It is the responsibility of the state Department of Health to address these issues. Therefore, we are requesting that your agency hold a public hearing in our community to discuss these legitimate public concerns.

As representatives of the Rockaways, we are concerned about the serious impact this will have on our community, including the employees of the hospital.

We hope you will take the time to hold a public meeting in the Rockaways to explain the full circumstances surrounding Peninsula Hospital, and how you will meet the healthcare needs of our community. Sincerely

Eric Ulrich, Councilman
Robert Turner, Member of Congress

Voters Choose Library

A copy of this letter was received at the Gazette. To the Editor:

On behalf of Queens Library, I want to thank the voters on the Rockaway Peninsula and Councilmember Eric Ulrich for allocating $700,000 in capital funding for improvements to Queens Library at Peninsula and for an automated library vender in Breezy Point. Through the participatory budget process, the community expressed their priorities on how a portion of their tax funds would be spent. We are so gratified that they feel their public library is important enough to merit their consideration.

I will be sending regular updates to the community on the progress of their projects and look forward to enriching lives on the peninsula.

Thomas W. Galante
President & CEO, Queens Library

Offshore Drilling

To The Editor:

In your recent edition, “Bob Turner, potential candidate for the Senate, made a claim that ‘the people of New York would suffer at the pump because the president and Senator Gillibrand actively opposed offshore and on-land projects that would have increased oil capacity in the U.S.’” Nothing is further from the truth. The U.S. is currently a greater net exporter of oil than importer. Oil prices are caused by global markets and it would take years for any result from Turner’s suggestion.The president doesn’t determine oil prices. In addition there are many offshore leases that have never been touched. The better investment that would reduce costs for energy and reduce our dependence on oil imports would be to invest in renewable energy such as wind, solar and electric cars. Doing away with the subsidies for oil companies who are raking in record profits— while gouging the public—would have more of an impact on prices than anything else in the short- and long-term. Let’s get our facts straight here.

Stewart J. Frimer
Forest Hills

Fracking Dangers

To The Editor:

There has been much discussion about the use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking when drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale areas in New York state. Governor Andrew Cuomo will have the final say as to whether to allow this controversial technology to be used.

Please contact him with your thoughts about this issue.

The gas and oil companies have been blanketing the media with ads proclaiming the safety of this process and the million jobs drilling supposedly will create. They are spending huge amounts of money, not only for their rosy ads, but also in the form of contributions to the campaign coffers of many of our elected leaders.

Many questions still remain unanswered about fracking and the fluid used in the process. Scientists, environmental and community groups in our state are asking:

1. Why is fracking fluid exempted from being regulated as hazardous waste when it contains many toxic and carcinogenic chemicals?

2. How close to watershed areas should drilling be allowed?

3. What will be the impact on public health and safety if fracking fluid seeps into water sources such as wells, reservoirs and waterways?

4. In other states, fracking fluid has contaminated wells and streams. What contingency plans have been put into place in New York if drinking water becomes contaminated by fracking fluid?

5. Why hasn’t a cumulative impact analysis and a health risk assessment been done to determine the effect that fracking will have on residents and communities near where the projected 65,000 wells will be operating?

6. Where will the billions of gallons of water required in the fracking process come from and what will happen in times of drought?

7. Why hasn’t a comprehensive plan been established to determine how the projected billions of gallons of wastewater generated during drilling will be disposed of? Will the wastewater, which contains residue fracking fluid, be stored in open pits or will it be trucked off to other destinations? No matter where or how it is stored, how will the wastewater be handled given its toxicity and radioactivity?

8. Does drilling using fracking and/or storage of wastewater from fracking procedures precipitate earthquakes? Areas in Ohio have experienced these events and many believe there is a link to the fracking process.

9. Natural gas obtained in the Marcellus Shale and other regions contain high levels of radon gas, a known carcinogen. How will things be monitored to make sure that the health of those receiving this natural gas are not threatened?

10. Just how many jobs and what kind of jobs will actually be created if fracking moves forward in New York and will these jobs benefit area residents?

Governor Cuomo should provide answers to these and other questions. I believe the responses will show that fracking is not worth the risks and that we need to move forward with renewable, safe energy alternatives like solar and wind power! This will create jobs that we need, while protecting our environment.

Henry Euler
Bayside, NY

Never Consulted

To The Editor:

Recently, Lorraine Grillo, president of the School Construction Authority got together with local officials to discuss acquiring property for an elementary school at the location of 39th Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets in Woodside.

My worry is that less than one and a half blocks of this proposed site contains two other elementary schools, St. Sebastian’s and P.S. 11, which is supposed to be expanded.

The people in the neighborhood were never informed or asked their opinion. With three elementary schools being so close to one another and a majority of these children being bussed in from other areas it will definitely pose a problem.

We’re talking at least 2,000 children or more.

I can’t believe that in all of Western Queens (District 30) there aren’t other sites which could be considered.

The people who live in this immediate area should have a say in what happens in their community.

I also recently heard the city is going to have a single room occupancy dwelling just yards away from the newly proposed school on 57th Street.

Also a needle exchange program will be instituted at Woodside Avenue and 63rd Street.

This area of Woodside seems to be the ideal dumping ground since it’s on the fringe of all the elected officials’ districts. Jim Condes Woodside, NY

Announces Candidacy

To The Editor:

Thank you (the community) so much for everything you’ve done to support my campaigns. There has been much political activity in Queens recently, especially surrounding redistricting and the new lines. I wanted to let you know that I have decided to seek re-election to the New York state Assembly. I will continue to work on an aggressive legislative agenda, making a difference for hard working families, seniors, our youth and all New Yorkers.

I will also be supporting the candidacy of Assemblymember Grace Meng for the open congressional seat in Queens. Congressmember Gary Ackerman, who will not be seeking re-election, was a true leader, ably serving constituents of Queens for over 30 years. I believe Assemblymember Grace Meng will continue that tradition. Grace is a wonderful person and skilled legislator who will be a strong voice for New York in Washington.

My calling is to work in my beloved Queens representing the newly drawn 24th Assembly district. The area is a wonderful part of our great city and includes neighborhoods stretching from Eastern Queens to Richmond Hill. And I know that if I run a strong campaign, with the help of people like you, I will be able to get out the vote and be able to be not only a strong advocate for the 24th Assembly district but help others, like Grace Meng, get elected to Congress.

I look forward to working with you and hope you will stay in touch.

Assemblymember David I. Weprin
D-Little Neck

To The Editor:

I remember being a teenager in the 60s and attending many youth dances in Queens. It was a time of good fun and I got to see and hear some good neighborhood bands. Now quite a few were held at Catholic churches throughout Queens. I remember attending dances at Incarnation, St. Joachim & Ann, Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens Village and also Presentation of the Blessed Church in Jamaica.

There was one constant—it was all supervised by priests, brothers and even volunteers from the Knights of Columbus and members of the parishes. This was done to ensure fights didn’t break out or at least to control any and all problems. It was always a safe place for us teenagers to hang out. I do remember we were being watched by the clergy to ensure when couples were dancing too close together we were asked not to get too close. I guess this was to impress upon us that our sexuality should not cross the line at our young age. But that was their job and I guess we thought that was funny at the time.

At these dances it was a time where young teenagers came into their own and there was this interaction between the sexes that helped us grow with respect for one another. It was a time where a boy could ask a girl to dance and did get to enjoy acceptance or suffer rejection but that is what growing up is all about.

Let me relate a personal experience at one of these dances. I was smoking a cigarette and saw this girl named Kathy I really wanted to dance with and the thing was you were not to dispose of the butt on the floor but in ashtrays at the tables. I therefore put it out with my shoe and placed it in my pants pocket. That was really stupid as I think about it. Anyway, I asked her to dance a slow dance and as we were dancing she noticed smoke coming up between us and as she backed away, my pants pocket was burning a hole and a friend who saw what was happening put it out with a soda he was drinking. Now that was really a most embarrassing moment, one of which I can laugh at now but not then. That truly was no way to impress a lady.

It is, I believe, those experiences that define who we are and what we hope to be.

I further believe that as music, modes of dress and styles change, the more things change the more some things remain the same. I feel teenagers of today are no different than we were in the 60s. To be a teenager is a hard time for growing up for it is the crossroads of adulthood. I do believe they need help along the way like parents and teachers who work hard to help the teenagers today by being good role models, mentors and with solid support groups to help them along the way. All this together makes the road they are traveling a little bit easier. I should know this because I did have this support that I feel did help me along the way a very long time ago. For, you see, my mother died when I was only 14 and my father had to raise me as a single parent when he was 72 years old. The help and support I received through my church and the adults I met through these dances helped me out a lot, not to mention, I had good teachers and a few who served as mentors who helped me through some most difficult times. There was even a time where I was being bullied and thought of taking my own life but didn’t. You see I had those in my life who cared about me and understood what I was going through. Who knows what would have happened to me if I didn’t.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, N.Y.

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