Harsher penalties should be ?imposed for illegal fireworks

I have come to dread the Fourth of July because of my inconsiderate neighbors.

After drinking beer and picnicking all afternoon on their front lawn they decide it's time to stage a mock war.

Year after year, as soon as it gets dark, they insist on setting off an illegal fireworks display in the middle of my street that lasts for hours.

They don't care that the smoke from these munitions fills the entire neighborhood and seeps into every home on the block. They could care less that the noise they make wakes sleeping children or keeps awake people who go to bed early because they have to get up early.

They don't care that the noise terrifies pets. They never come around to clean up the scraps of firecrackers or spent rockets that end up all over their neighbors' yards, both front and back.

These fireworks are dangerous. There is the real possibility that they could set one or more homes on fire, especially in the city where houses are close together.

The premature explosion of a firecracker can result in serious burns and even the loss of fingers or worse.

Who knows what an angry neighbor might do if pushed too far?

Let's be clear: It's against the law to have your own fireworks display. There are so many calls to 911 on the Fourth of July reporting these displays that police can't respond to them all.

To my knowledge when police do respond they don't issue citations to the offenders. It takes police away from their normal patrol duty and increases the probability that serious crime won't be investigated promptly.

Enough is enough. It's time for the police to start vigorously enforcing the laws against these illegal displays. It's time to put more severe penalties in place for violations of these laws.

It's time for New York state to stop the flow of these fireworks into our state by lobbying the states that permit the sale of fireworks to amend their laws to require firework venders to sell only to residents of their states.

There are more than enough professional fireworks displays that are put on over the several days around the 4th of July. The professional displays are far better that anything these amateurs can put on.

Michael Hall



Simon chose wrong place ?in which to criticize Bush

I enjoy reading Jeff Simon's articles. All of his commentaries and criticisms that appear in The News display a profound knowledge of the wide spectrum of subjects he covers.

The subjects include music, literature, movies, television and all things artsy. So, it is especially dismaying for me to see him display, on altogether too many occasions, his liberal political leanings and, in particular, his visceral dislike of President George W. Bush in articles where they really have no place.

I refer to his piece regarding television that appeared on July 7.

In it, he writes a paragraph comprised of a single, 50-word sentence, 35 words of which are contained in a parenthetical clause deliberately constructed to allow him to make a snide, back-of-the-hand remark about Bush.

It's an article about a new television program named, "Perception," and, I quote: "born as a reaction to a dumb-down era in which media everywhere kept searching for ever-lower common denominators and we had an eight-year president who set all known records for intellectual atavism." (italics mine).

Comments such as this are really unbecoming of Simon. He is in all other respects a consummate professional critic.

He is certainly entitled to write about his political beliefs and his obsessive (atavistic?) dislike of Bush, but I believe they belong on the editorial pages.

Charles Gelia



Bishops only responded ?to a political maneuver

Responding to a News editorial and various other criticisms of the Catholic bishops and their fight for religious liberty, I note there is something that is often not mentioned.

The timing of the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that the bishops oppose was entirely up to the administration. Why the administration chose to require such a mandate in an election year is a good question.

The bishops are responding to something that the administration initiated. Furthermore, why are there over 1,000 exemptions and yet the one offered to employers who seek a religious exemption is so narrow it causes a moral problem for many?

A further question is why mandate contraceptives that don't prevent a disease? Why not mandate coverage of cholesterol medications or high blood pressure medications?

Also, contraception is already often offered for free and is widely available.

The Affordable Health Care Act is a very complex law.

There are good parts to it, but there are some that were foreseen as being problematic and one of these is that it gives the Health and Human Services Department the power to create mandates - which then become law - like the one in question.

Mary Roaldi



Grisanti sets a high bar? for his colleagues to reach

I am writing regarding Sen. Mark Grisanti.

Grisanti represents what a politician should be. He is not in office just to hold an office and make a career, as many others. Grisanti is a politician because he believes in a cause and truly wants to make a difference.

I am a local business man who has suffered financially in dealing with a state agency.

When I could not get the consideration from this agency, I sought the help of the senator. I immediately knew in speaking with him that he was sincere and truly listening. And as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Grisanti sparked up new meetings and even his office staff in Albany was involved in monitoring and mediating the matter. He and his staff were there from beginning to end to see that fairness prevailed.

I have dealt with many politicians in my time and can tell you it is difficult to meet the standards that Grisanti holds.

It is nice to see that there are politicians that put people first, and to see first-hand that government is working for the small business owner.

I can't say enough. Three cheers, and hats off to Grisanti. Let's hope all politicians can follow his lead.

Anthony F. Bodami

Titan Wrecking and Environmental