2018-03-07 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Wetland Designation

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
February 28, 2018
Basil Seggos, Commissioner
NYS Department of Environmental
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
Re: Support for Wetland Designation
Ridgewood Reservoir
Dear Commissioner Seggos:

Please accept my official public comments in regard to my support for designating the Ridgewood Reservoir as a Class 1 Freshwater Wetland. As you know, I have had the privilege of being an advocate for the preservation of the Ridgewood Reservoir. In 2014, I along with other elected officials, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo expressing concern (about) the proposed plan by the NYC Parks Department to breach the berms of the Ridgewood Reservoir. In response, your agency changed the designation, which saved over $6 million dollars and most importantly restarted the wetland study.

As you know, the Ridgewood Reservoir is truly a unique site which consists of natural and largely undisturbed habitats for many species of animals. There are eight unique ecological zones which encompass 156 bird species and 175 species of plants, including three that are endangered in New York State. Its cultural significance was recently underscored when the reservoir was added to the State and National Historic Registers through the efforts of the many civic organizations, including Queens Community Board 5.

I support and strongly endorse your agency’s formal determination to map all three basins at the Ridgewood Reservoir as Class 1 Freshwater Wetlands. This will ensure that the reservoir is preserved for future generations. I want to thank you and Governor Cuomo for your leadership in this important environmental initiative. It is also important to acknowledge the wonderful work of community groups and not-for-profit advocates like Community Board 5, H2O, and many other residents who supported this policy.

Catherine Nolan
NYS Assembly

Florida’s Blood Orange

To The Editor:

On February 14, 2018 a Florida high school student by the name of Nikolas Cruz chose to abuse the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms. Yes! We are given the right to bear arms as American citizens. We also have the right to use our arms to give our enemies a hug to prevent any harm. This is the 18th school shooting this year and the world doesn’t seem to be alarmed. We cry for a little while, then we move on. Isn’t one of the Ten Commandments “Thou Shall Not Kill?” However some people choose to kill at will. Isn’t it ironic that gun control laws are not in control when two people are pointing a gun at each other. It’s hard to know who is in the right of justice. So when one student chooses to open fire on unarmed people, clearly this is not a gunfight. This kind of violence was an attack! 17 people died and if you ask for a reason why, you will get 17 lies. Being how this shooting took place on school grounds, here are a few lessons that should be learned. For starters to understand that our differences and appearances don’t define us, nor should it divide us. Tougher gun laws do not slow down gun manufacturers. To be at peace one must leave his “piece” at home. Bullets are made to kill! It’s not the guns that kill. It’s a damaged, hurtful heart which causes bullets to rip through and destroy families, communities within America. However with family members friends, prayer and love we can begin the process to heal one another.

Kenneth Beverley

Preventable Tragedy

The Parkland, Florida shooter had a history of violent behavior. Police were called to his house many times, but they did not arrest him because the school board had an agreement with the police not to arrest any students. The FBI received a viable tip indicating he wanted to shoot up a school, but the lead was not pursued.

The following are incredible: A student saw the shooter in a stairway loading his rifle, but did nothing to try to stop him when told “things are going to get messy around here.” The student left the building, did not call 911, but informed a teacher. The teacher drove the student to a baseball field, and then went back to the school to check it out, but the shooting had started. Why did the armed deputy sheriff assigned to protect the school stand around during the shooting? If true, why did three police officers arrive at the school and take cover behind their vehicles, and not enter the school?

Arming teachers who are not trained to be police officers could be disastrous. What happens when a police officer enters a school during a shooting and encounters a teacher with a gun?

We should increase the age to purchase a firearm to 21. Most school shooters are under 21. We have to improve the background check system. Schools need to lock all entrances, and install shatterproof glass and alarms. A heavily armed security guard should be stationed in every school.

Donald Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

NRA-Supported Electeds

To The Editor:

There are no words to express the horror and shock over the killings and injuries sustained by those at the Parkland, Florida high school on Valentine’s Day. Wonderful people, most of them children, were victims of this act of terror. The lives of the families of the victims and the community at large are forever changed by this terrible event.

This is not the first time that such carnage has taken place. There were the church killings in Texas and South Carolina, the murders that took place at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Las Vegas and Orlando massacres, and the many school killings at places like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The list of tragedies goes on and on.

There seems to be no end in sight. Many school districts are now conducting student drills of what to do and where to go should a shooter invade school grounds. Students and parents live in fear. This is America?

Most of these shootings follow a familiar pattern. A deranged person uses firearms, oftentimes assault-style semi-automatic weapons, which can kill and injure a large amount of people in a short period of time. This type of weapon is for use by the military, not for everyday citizens and certainly not by people who have severe mental problems. These sick individuals often bring enormous supplies of ammunition to their attacks as well.

After a tragedy, there follows a loud public outcry for steps to be taken to stop these heinous acts. Unfortunately, the powerful gun lobby in our country, who contributes large amounts of money to certain candidates for elected office, manages to derail any proposed common-sense gun safety measures. Many politicians fear for their jobs because of the power and money represented by the gun lobby. In the 2016 election cycle, the National Rifle Association (NRA) contributed $54 million to candidates for public office who supported their views, including over $30 million to President Trump. Do you think that these particular officials are going to buck the NRA in any meaningful way?

I admire and support the students of the Parkland, Florida high school who are standing up and are calling for strong measures to be taken in the wake of the tragedy that they have experienced. This includes advocating for sensible gun control measures like enhanced background checks and the banning of bump stocks.

Yes, it is important as well to ensure that people who are severely mentally ill to the point where they want to harm and kill others get treatment for their disease, however, additional measures must be taken to ensure that these people have no access to any type of firearms. We must also adequately fund help for these troubled people and intervene as soon as we see signs of inappropriate and/or psychotic behavior.

Don’t wait until it is too late!

In the 2018 election cycle, the issue of how to prevent future episodes of gun violence will be a crucial issue for Americans to consider. The media must continue to keep this issue front and center and not allow it to fade until another tragedy occurs.

Our elected officials, as well as new candidates for office, must be held accountable. It is time to vote against those politicians who are dragging their feet and not supporting commonsense solutions to this most serious national problem.

Henry Euler

Frequent Letters Writer

To The Editor:

Your articles in last week's edition did not paint a complete picture of Ms. Groopman. She is a timely, accurate and concise contributor to the Gazette. This week's letter as all her letters are indicative of this. Furthermore, she has served as co-President of Astoria Center of Israel for numerous years. Her leadership has helped the synagogue thrive and enhance its betterment. As a side note, Ms. Groopman has traveled since her move to Little Neck back to Astoria for Shabbat and holiday services. I have known her almost six years. She has an open ear and warm heart—attributes that makes her a kind and giving friend. Diane Kosowsky

Church Vandalized

To The Editor:

I am appalled and find quite troubling that American Martyrs Church in Bayside was vandalized. Two religious statues were damaged by a suspect who was soon arrested. Bias attacks on any church I find quite sad. I, myself, have been to American Martyrs church a number of times for various events. I found it to be a beautiful church, and find it hard to understand why anyone would want to hurt this parish and its wonderful congregation. I hope and pray that this attack will not be repeated. And I hope that attacks on any religious faiths will cease. But I guess I’m dreaming.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Students True Heroes

To The Editor:

Recent Gazette articles showed the goodness and humility in people caring for others and that lifted my spirits after hearing about the appalling shooting murder of 17 students at that high school in Florida.

I deeply applaud the political figures who gave food to two food pantries; delivered Valentine’s Day’s packages to the veterans living in the veterans’ home in St. Albans; awarded student of the month honors to students of Christ the King High School, and of course for the sponsorship of the women’s bill of rights to help those who were victims of sexual abuse and assault. It is high time that this bill is enacted.

In addition, I agree with our governor that teachers must not be armed; it is not their job. Our mayor said that the NYPD has close relationships with the students of the schools in NYC.

I am proud of the children from that high school where the shooting occurred who are channeling their grief constructively and using political action, going to their state capital, marching on Washington and fighting for what is right—to ban assault weapons. They are our true heroes.

It is appalling to learn that the armed officer who was assigned to that high school in Florida did absolutely nothing to stop the murder and just stood there. He is guilty since by standing idly by he caused the loss of lives and he should not be given his pension at all. He is not worthy of that at all and should have been fired, not suspended, and then he resigned. It is appalling to learn that that same security officer knew about the behavior of that student who is the alleged murder and did nothing to tell the authorities.

I am also appalled to hear that there were about six deputies outside of that high school and nothing was done by them to enter the school and save the students. They are guilty, as you know.

I am proud of volunteers who give years of service to all kinds of people and especially those who are disabled themselves.

I agree with Assembly Member Simotas to tear down that billboard. Also glad that dental hygienists visited school children during national dental health month for children.

I am glad that the plan to move kindergarten children from LIC to Woodside was cancelled.

I am appalled at the discovery of a newborn baby thrown away in the Dutch Kills playground garbage can. Life is a blessing. Why must it be destroyed? Babies and children and human beings are not rubbish.

I am appalled to learn that there is a Supreme Court case about unions and that dues must be paid otherwise unions will not represent people. Unions are necessary. As a former union activist in my working years, I believe that without our unions we would not have teachers, firefighters, first responders, healthcare workers and nurses, sanitation and postal workers, and many, many other essential personnel. Does the administration want to destroy the union movement? My grandmother slaved in a sweatshop for 18 hours a day with horrible working conditions. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed working people. Coal miners also become ill and often are killed on the job.

I admire those who took part in the march and our governor’s speech. He would make an excellent president of the United States.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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