Today’s news:

Letters to the editor

Terrific for teens

To The Editor:

Parishioner Barbara Dattilo should be commended for starting a teen group at Our Lady of Grace Church in Gravesend.

The group was established in September 1997 with the support of Rev. Dominick F. Cutrone, pastor emritus, volunteers Steven Eriquez, Michele DeSeta, Debra Sbrigato and moderator Rev. James Tighe.

One of the original members, Patrick Cleary, is now one of the leaders.

Over the years, the group has performed many services for the church. The members serve refreshments at the annual Anointing Mass reception, serve soup at the annual soup supper, make greeting cards for the homeless at Thanksgiving, help at the annual Christmas fair, decorate the tree and altar at Christmas, send cards and toiletries to soldiers in Iraq, hold baby showers for unwed mothers at the McCauley House, organize a teen Mass and, occasionally, visit the residents of the Shorefront Geriatric Center.

Barbara is now assisted by Pastor Thomas F. Leach, Mimi Camera, Amanda Pizzuto and Frank Morale. Their meetings are held in the school cafeteria every Friday evening, where the teens can have discussions, play ping−pong, basketball and other activities.

Mary Ann De Luca

Gravesend

Keep him in charge

To The Editor:

As a longtime Canarsie resident with children in New York City public schools, past and present, the most important thing to me is my child’s education, not partisan politics.

Political differences in Albany should not ruin our children’s education, here in the city. Letting our school governance revert back to the old Board of Ed system because of petty politics would be a travesty.

I have seen the improvements in our schools, here in Canarsie, since the mayor was put in charge of the system. Though I do not agree with everything this mayor has done, I know these improvements show our schools are on the right path. Under the old system, there was zero accountability. You only have to look to our State Senate to see where that path leads.

I strongly support the Assembly’s bill to keep the mayor in charge of the public school system, and hope the Senate gets its act together in time to pass it.

Hilary Bucknal

Canarsie

Lexicon of hate

To The Editor:

Stanley Gershbein [“It’s Only My Opinion”], your 6−25 column got it right. Objection is to the word “marriage.” I don’t speak for all, but my reason is from the realm of linguistics.

There is enough ‘newspeak’ and politically correct speech polluting our lexicon. (I consider P.C., as being ‘political constipation’; you see something, you know what it is, but you can’t get the appropriate phrase out.)

Some terms soften the meaning: special needs’ child, man−made disaster, learning disabled. Others, make the terms harsher: death tax, evil empire. You can’t call someone fat, stupid or ugly.

Some terms just change with fashion. Decendants of the African continent have changed their self−identification a half−dozen times in my life: colored, black, Afro−American.

All these blur the distinctions and dull the precision of the language. They also add to the glossary that now becomes hate speech.

It would be better, if more uncomfortable for some, to adopt the habit of the boy who said the emperor is naked.

Andris Eiland

Gravesend

Stanley Gershbein responds:

There is one more thing about the glossary you mentioned that I find disturbing. There are many ethnic slurs for Jews, Italians, blacks, gays and just about every group on the planet.

If member of a group uses a particular slur against one of his brothers it gets laughed off, but, God forbid that someone, who is not a member of that particular group, uses that word. Then, it becomes hate speech and is dealt with as such.

Thanks for writing.

Release Gil

To The Editor:

Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by Hamas on June 25, 2006; three years ago today.

Hamas has refused the Red Cross access to him. Hamas continues to break every rule, allow Schalit’s parents and family to suffer, mercilessly, murder innocents and collect money from our government.

I ask the United States of America to stand up to these terrorists, demand Gil’s release.

Diane Hunt

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