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Queens Chronicle

Letters To the Editor

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Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005 12:00 am

Long Overdue

Dear Editor:

Regarding your story, “Cross Island Parkway Honors Army’s 100th Infantry Division,” this is long overdue praise for these brave men. My father was a comrade of Sam Resnick in the 100th Division and a German Jew by birth. Fighting and marching with the 100th, my father had the strange experience of liberating his hometown, Ellwangen in Baden-Wurttemburg.

Interestingly, although seeking justice for the guilty, my father approached his hometown with fairness. Considering that he and his family had just gotten away from Germany in 1938 and had been subjected to much humiliation and scorn, it is a message that I would like to convey to our troops today.

I have had the honor of representing my father in Ellwangen, as the town has come to terms with its past and I will never forget when a young woman came up to me with regards from her grandfather.

Apparently, this man, an electrician, had been arrested after curfew, but my father knew him and knew that he was a decent man and secured his release. As my father represented the U.S. Army, he understood that America stands for great principles, not just great power.

Michael Levi,

Brooklyn

Save Hospital

Dear Editor:

We, the people of this area, are deeply concerned with regard to the actions of the president of the Hospital Union 1199, Dennis Rivera. The Daily News, on April 6th, had a column that Rivera, has donated $826,000 to the campaign accounts of state officials and, in return, the New York State Legislature funded $80 million to be programmed for nursing homes in Westchester County to increase salaries, improve benefits and provide extra training.

Why do the people of Forest Hills deserve less? Why are Parkway Hospital’s new pending owners, who have invested millions of dollars to restore the hospital, being forced to close its doors?

The people living in this area cannot afford to lose this hospital. We have over 200,000 people in this area from all over the world. We have the highest density of diverse foreigners in the Community Board 6 area. We have apartment houses on the north side of Queens Boulevard near Parkway Hospital that shelter over 1,000 people in one high-rise building (Kennedy House).

Parkway Hospital is the only hospital that fronts the Grand Central Parkway and is close to our airports. Parkway Hospital is a critical unit in the lives of the residents of this area in times of this national emergency dealing with terror. With the Catholic diocese hospitals slated to close, what can the residents look forward to in dealing with medical emergencies?

If Parkway Hospital is forced into bankruptcy and closure by the 1199 union, what will happen to the union members of Parkway Hospital? Many of the employees are in their 50s and 60s. Who will hire them if Parkway is forced to close its doors?

For the past 45 years of our lives, Norbert Chwat and I have been devoted to the Forest Hills area. Why is this happening? My medical background goes back to 1963 when I was hired before Parkway Hospital was built as its personnel director and public relations director and dealt with all union negotiations during my years with Parkway. I also opened LaGuardia Hospital (now North Shore in Forest Hills), consulted regarding nursing homes and established the Medical Intern Program at LaGuardia Community College.

In July 2004, Dr. Robert Aquino assumed management of Parkway Hospital as president and chief executive officer. At that time, Dr. Aquino began the process of purchasing Parkway Hospital in good faith. Dr. Aquino added 100 new employees, over 90 physicians rejoined the hospital, the employees wore new uniforms and were proud to be working at Parkway. Many departments in the hospital were refurbished and new equipment was brought in to accommodate the patients.

We cannot lose Parkway Hospital. The people of Queens County are in danger if this hospital is forced to close after 42 years.

Estelle Chwat, co-president,

Forest Hills Action League

Conflict Averted

Dear Editor:

A potentially delicate conflict was recently averted when the School Construction Authority withdrew its application to build a 444-seat Early Childhood Center at 211-06 48th Avenue, in Bayside, where the Jewish Center of Bayside Hills building is currently located. This was a case in which the power of the people actually prevailed.

The Bayside Hills Civic Association was prepared to go to whatever extremes to see that this controversial sale will never take place, going so far as enlisting the assistance of Councilman Tony Avella and a BHCA board member (Jerry Iannece), who is also the chairman of Community Board 11, while at the same time Bayside Hills residents were reminding their neighbors to attend the scheduled public hearing of Community Board 11 to oppose the building of a preschool on that site.

As a matter of fact, I personally was prepared to request at the next BHCA board meeting that I be allowed to formally announce opposition to this plan to the City Council and the School Construction Authority, but all this was rendered moot by the decision of the SCA.

I would be remiss in saying that it is difficult to be in opposition of anything the members of the Jewish Center of Bayside Hills wish to do because they were such a vital part of our neighborhood’s history, dating back to 1952, and always served our community well.

I can recall in the early days of the center, they had the great Cantor Liebowitz, whose son became a famous star of stage, screen and television. During the High Holidays, Cantor Leibowitz’s son, Steve Lawrence and his wife Edie Gorme, were a part of the congregation to the delight of everyone.

For many years, the Jewish center’s rabbi, Murray Stadtmauer, who is a U.S. Army chaplain, did us the honor of serving his benedictions at the annual Memorial Day ceremony and once again will be invited this year. From the bottom of my heart, I wish the remaining congregants of our synagogue all the best of luck with your merger with Bayside Oaks Jewish Center and with your attempts in selling your building.

I consider it unfortunate that this entire situation ever came up. Basically, we felt that the proposed school was improper for that particular location. Let’s put our heads together and figure out some other way to ease our schools’ overcrowding burdens. Perhaps, in the midst of this brouhaha, some viable alternatives have been suggested that the SCA can investigate.

Michael Feiner, president,

Bayside Hills Civic Association

True Costs

Dear Editor:

In response to the letter to the editor in your March 31st issue from the Wal-Mart spokesperson defending her company as “a contributor to the community,” how do you think Wal-Mart keeps its prices so low? By paying substandard wages to its workers, stamping out any attempt they make to unionize for better conditions and denying health care benefits for most of its employees.

So, who picks up the cost for uninsured health care patients and those who need additional public assistance to make ends meet? We, the taxpayer, that’s who. Now what is that Wal-Mart bargain price really costing you?

Coincidently, page 33 of that issue featured a piece by local pharmacist Frank Pantina urging people to support small, family-owned “mom-and-pop” businesses that truly contribute to the fabric of our neighborhoods, instead of further lining the deep pockets of the “profit above all” corporations destroying the kind of America I want to raise my family in.

Anthony Lopez,

Ozone Park

Time Master

Dear Editor:

The spring administration of ECLAS-2, for all students in grades 1-3, began on April 1st and will endure through May 27th, Chancellor Joel Klein has proclaimed. This notorious test is touted as providing a precise picture of each child’s language ability. Not only does it fail to do this, according to most experts, but it also requires that each child be tested individually while the rest of the class is abandoned without organized activity. For different grades it does different damage.

Twice a year for a stretch of two months this ritual is inflicted. That totals more than a third of the school year. During this time, money is saved by not hiring qualified substitute teachers. Unlicensed adults impersonate teachers in the classroom. While this marathon ECLAS is being meted out one child at a time, the rest of the class is neglected. Instead of instruction taking place, children as young as five, who for a variety of reasons lack reading, writing and thinking skills, are basically told to get lost on complex and unrealistic independent projects. They haven’t a clue what to do or where to start. After ECLAS and Klein’s other mandated standardized tests and school assessments, there is no time to learn.

Tests are a valid tool when they are the right test given the right way for the right reason. Do parents want teaching to be sacrificed to testing that in many cases either fails to measure what is relevant or measures what is not?

Do parents agree that although there is a direct link between the quality of instruction and the growth of test scores, there are other direct links also? Parents want Klein to find them now. What they don’t want is for their children to be forced to go to bed starved by ignorance.

Ron Isaac,

Fresh Meadows

Library Updates

Dear Editor:

April 10th-16th is National Library Week. It is an appropriate time to talk about what libraries mean to the Queens community and what you can expect from your public library in the near future.

Queens Library is on track to circulate more than 18 million items this year, in spite of shorter hours and several years of curtailed funding. That is more than any library in the United States has ever done. It is an indication of how important public libraries are to this community.

People in Queens want their children to be educated. They want to be informed. They want to do business efficiently. They want to know about health and exercise, parenting, sports, music and to read the latest novels. They rely on their public library to provide all this and more. And they know that their local branch of the Queens Library is the best deal in town.

Queens Library is pleased to announce some wonderful, new services about to be introduced. When the newly expanded Corona Branch opens on May 5th, it will incorporate technology that will revolutionize the way you use your library. Checking materials in and out will be handled by RFID Quick Service stations. It’s something like EZPass for the library. You won’t be standing on line with an armload of books; just stack up to 16 items on a pad, dip your library card and you’re on your way. We’re also adding wireless network access at 14 libraries this month, so you can bring your laptop to the library, get on the Internet and access our electronic resources as well.

Digital e-books are already a reality. You can download up to three books at a time to read—or listen to—and not have to worry about due dates or return trips to the library.

We’re enhancing classic library services, too. Look for the latest in leisure reading, the most authoritative reference information online and in print, knowledgeable information professionals to help you, free programs that inform and entertain.

Queens Library hopes to see you at one of our 63 locations in the very near future.

Thomas Galante,

interim library director,

Jamaica

Welcome to the discussion.