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Letter: Keep Guns – Like The One I Carried In Vietnam – Off The Streets

After the horrific massacre of 20 innocent children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, a majority of Americans support stricter gun laws regarding assault weapons and background checks. The dysfunctional US Congress, however, is unlikely to make progress due to perceived power of the NRA, which is supported by gun manufactures and survivalists.

It is time for each state to take appropriate action that can best protect our children and other citizens. In his State of the State speech, Governor Cuomo took the first step by proposing to close loopholes in the state’s ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines, as well as universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Cuomo said this is not taking away people’s guns, noting that he owns a shotgun for hunting. Nor is it taking away people’s handguns to protect their homes. It is an effort to keep military weapons, like the one I carried in Vietnam, out of the hands of the general public. If gun advocates must use military weapons, like the AR-15 or the Bushmaster, I suggest the use be restricted to secure gun clubs where they can be stored and used for target practice.

I also believe that common sense gun control legislation must be combined with appropriate support and resources for the mentally ill. It will take years, if not decades, to get dangerous assault rifles and oversized magazines out of circulation, even with aggressive buy-back programs, which virtually eliminated similar massacres in Australia. Better mental health programs are not only the humane things to do, but in the long run they will also reduce overall costs to society. It is cheaper to support the mentally ill versus the cost of incarceration and the risk to public safety.

Phil Heckler

Hicksville resident

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com