Times of Middle Country

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (at podium) joined labor leaders, builders, elected officials and more to announce a historic agreement that implements safety training standards on large construction sites. Photo from TOB

On February 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (at podium) joined labor leaders, builders, elected officials and more to announce a historic agreement that implements safety training standards on large construction sites.

Construction is a dangerous industry, representing an estimated 25 percent of all of workplace fatalities nationwide. In New York, annual statistics show that a construction worker is killed once every six days on jobsites statewide. In an effort to increase safety in construction across Long Island, industry leaders have agreed upon minimum safety training standards for all workers employed at construction sites over 35k sq/ft. Pictured are New York State Senator and Plumbers Local 200 Business Agent Mario Matera (first left of center in yellow vest); Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor/Councilman Neil Foley (first right of center) and Town of Brookhaven Councilman Michael Loguercio, (second right of center) also spoke at the press conference.

The legislation, which was adopted at the Town of Brookhaven’s February 22 Town Board meeting, requires all workers to have an OSHA 30 certification at jobsites over 35k sq/ft., and also that there be a Site Safety Supervisor at jobsites over 75k sq/ft., to further ensure accountability and increased safety standards on complex construction projects.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Daniel J. Panico said, “Today’s announcement marks the culmination of talks between the Town, the development community and labor.  It is proof that an effective thoughtful compromise can be struck when people sit down and talk to each other as opposed to at each other. I thank everyone involved in bringing us to this day, where the Town Board is expected to pass this law this evening at our public hearing.”

“As certified OSHA instructor, safety is first and foremost the number one priority for the members I represent”, stated Laborers Local 66 Vice President Vinny Alu. “Far too many workers are killed on construction sites simply because they are not provided the necessary safety training to do the job safely. An OSHA 30 certification is the minimum training any worker should be required to have before entering a dangerous construction site. I want to thank the Long Island Builders Institute and Supervisor Panico for working with us to address workplace safety. This will undoubtedly save lives.”

The law will require permit holders for large construction sites to ensure that their General Contractors and Subcontractors have a trained workforce, and that proof of each worker’s OSHA 30 certification will be documented and available upon the Town’s request.

Mike Florio, CEO, Long Island Builders Institute said, “On any jobsite, worker safety is first and foremost a priority and this agreement establishes a baseline standard for all construction projects.  Our goal is to see this standard adopted from one end of Long Island to the other, which will raise the floor for worker training and safety.  We thank Supervisor Panico and the town board for addressing this important issue and the Laborers Local 66 and Nassau Suffolk Building Trades for working together to craft this historic agreement.”

“Organized labor began with a focus on safety for workers on the jobsite,” stated Matthew Aracich, President of the Nassau Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council. “Today’s announcement has strengthened the core of those labor standards for the Long Island workforce. I commend the efforts of Laborers Local 66 and the Town of Brookhaven to adopt this policy for all jobsites. Having an alignment with representatives of the Long Island Builders Institute and Association for Better Long Island means the Building Trades Council and affiliates care equally about worker’s interests.”

“We would like to applaud Supervisor Panico, the Brookhaven Town Board, and all of their colleagues across Long Island who are committed to passing this measure,” stated Ryan Stanton, Executive Director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “The importance and value of a uniform safety standard on construction sites across Long Island cannot be overstated. The construction industry is dangerous by nature, and the requirement of an OSHA30 training standard is vital to ensuring all workers get to return home to their families at the end of the day. It’s been nothing short of amazing working in collaboration with our affiliates, contractors, development community, and local elected officials to deliver a safety policy that we all agree on and are excited about.”

Failure to comply with the law can result in fines of $1,000 and up to $10,000 for each day violations are found. Qualified third-party safety persons or entities that can provide certifications are permitted to be used to confirm compliance with the requirements.

Other union and labor officials who attended the press conference were Matthew Aracich, President Nassau Suffolk Building Trades Council; Ryan Stanton, Executive Director Long Island Federation of Labor; Vinny Alu, Vice President Laborers Local 66; Tim McCarthy, IBEW Local 25 Business Representative; Ray Fester, DC9 Painters Business Agent; Brian Kearney Jr., President SteamFitters Local 638; Mike Bourgal, Teamsters Local 282 Business Agent; and Robert Wilson, Operating Engineers Local 30.

Police car. Stock photo

Suffolk County Police  arrested a man on Feb. 25 for driving while ability impaired by drugs following a
motor vehicle crash that killed a pedestrian in Coram.

Raymond Hubbard was in a wheelchair crossing the roadway in front of 541 Middle County Road when he fell out of the chair onto the westbound lane, where he was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Nicholas Doxtader at approximately 10:15 p.m.

Hubbard, 33, of Coram, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Police officers at the scene determined that Doxtader was impaired and placed him under arrest.

Major Case Unit detectives charged Doxtader, 25, of Centereach, with Driving While Ability Impaired/Drugs.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555.

By Samantha Rutt

Suffolk County Water Authority hosted the next installment of its WaterTalk series on Feb. 20 at Amityville Public Library. The event allowed customers to learn more about their drinking water and engage in open dialogue with their water provider. 

“Our drinking water continues to be a topic of discussion in the media, and we believe it is important for residents to have an open dialogue with their water provider to learn more,” SCWA Chairman Charles Lefkowitz said.

The WaterTalk series features a panel of experts who discuss various topics, including the quality of drinking water, the implementation of new infrastructure to enhance water service and quality, and the importance of conservation. 

SCWA’s water quality and lab services director, Tom Schneider, and customer growth coordinator, John Marafino, represented the authority at the event. 

“Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public benefit corporation operating under the public authority law,” Marafino stated to open the meeting. “We serve about 1.2 million customers, and we began operations in 1951. We operate as a nonprofit, and we’re one of the country’s largest groundwater suppliers.”

Following the opening remarks and brief background of the authority, Schneider made a PowerPoint presentation to discuss the current infrastructure plans around the county, touching on water main management and emerging projects, and pump station projects.

Water quality

During Schneider’s presentation, attendees could ask questions, some of the most frequently asked centered around drinking water quality and what the authority adds and detects within our drinking water. Concerns for fluoride inclusion and potency arose from several attendees. Schneider eased the worry by explaining what the water authority does to regulate water quality.

“We add very small amounts of chlorine to our water. The chlorine kills any germs or bacteria that might be present in the water mains and as the water is delivered to you. The water as it comes from the ground is free of harmful bacteria,” Schneider said. “We also add a chemical called [hydrated] lime. The water we pump from our aquifers is slightly acidic, which can damage the pipes in your home over a long time. [Hydrated] lime makes the water less acidic, protecting the pipes in your home from corrosion.”

Schneider continued explaining the danger of the bacteria that are commonly found in untreated water:

“It’s keeping water safe. You don’t want to grow bacteria — bacteria is the stuff that will get you sick. There are no bacteria in the groundwater, and we want to ensure that the distribution system is safe. That’s why the chlorine is added, by law.” 

The director recommended using filtration systems like ones built into refrigerators for those who are more sensitive to the added chemicals.

Schneider continued his presentation by touching on the groundwater laboratory — what it is, what it does and how it tests Suffolk County’s groundwater.

“We are consistently considered the largest groundwater laboratory in the country because we have 600 wells. We have 600 wells on 240 pieces of property,” Schneider explained. 

“We test samples at the wellhead. We’re testing what’s in the source water and what’s in the groundwater before we do anything to it,” Schneider said. “Last year, we did 91,000 samples for about 190,000 different tests. We tested for 414 different parameters, more than what’s regulated. We have such a great laboratory, we have a lot of technical equipment, we have a lot of good scientists, we’re doing more than what’s required.”

He mentioned that if there is an environmental concern near any of SCWA’s wells or if traces of a regulated constituent have been found at a well site, SCWA will test at a greater frequency.

Schneider explained that when wells are in need of remediation, SCWA will use treatment systems, such as granular activated carbon, to remove contaminants from the water supply so the water SCWA serves always meets state and federal regulations. 

In addition to the monitoring that SCWA does on a regular basis, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services also routinely performs tests of the public water supply at the wellhead and at various parts of the distribution system. The purpose of all this monitoring is to ensure that the highest quality water is served to consumers.

Another topic of concern addressed by the director was how safe is bottled water, a question the water authority has been addressing on a more regular basis. 

“Bottled water actually has less regulation than drinking water,” Schneider explained. “It’s not regulated by the EPA, it’s regulated by the FDA but they have different rules. They’re not required to test for a lot of the emerging contaminants like we do in New York state.”

“Now there’s the concern about bottles — so when they manufacture the bottle, the manufacturing process imposes plastic microbeads in the water when opening and closing the tap and also releases plastic in the water,” he added. 

Schneider urged everyone to be mindful of consuming plastics, reminding attendees that it is more cost-effective to get your own container and not deal with the waste from plastic.

“Plastic is not really recyclable like they say — it ends up in our landfills and oceans,” Schneider said.

The SCWA encouraged all interested residents to participate in their events in person or virtually, emphasizing the importance of understanding and safeguarding the community’s drinking water, as it is one of Suffolk County’s most precious natural resources.

Residents interested in attending a WaterTalk can register by emailing [email protected]. The WaterTalk is also accessible virtually through a link available on SCWA’s website for those unable to attend in person. For more information about the event, visit SCWA’s website, www.scwa.com.

Prepared by the Russell Family

Amy Hope Russell passed away peacefully Jan. 29, in the comfort of her own home, embraced in the arms of her loving family. She was born 96 years ago, July 19, 1927, on Maiden Lane, Port Jefferson. She had a great love of music, played guitar, piano, keyboard and viola. She played piano for the First United Methodist Church of Port Jefferson.

Amy loved animals, sewing, camping, cooking, gardening and birdwatching. During World War II she took the bus out to Camp Upton to dance with the soldiers and help with their entertainment. She traveled with her husband to Hawaii while he served in the U.S. Navy and she worked in the base offices, where she learned to drive a double clutch.

Amy is predeceased by her husband, Hon. Woodrow Russell USN Ret., sisters Florence Kennedy, Ruth Lucas, Evelyn Lucas, a brother Joseph B. Lucas Jr. and her parents, Joseph B. Lucas Sr. and Maude E. Lucas.

Amy is survived by her five children Darryl B. Russell, Nancy C. Rose, Kathleen L. Cash, Harry W. Russell and Carol A. Russell, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life for Amy Hope Russell will be held on Tuesday, April 16, at the First United Methodist Church, 603 Main St., Port Jefferson, with the services as follows:

10 to 11 a.m.: Pastor Chuck Van Houten officiating.

11 a.m. to 12 noon: Light luncheon/refreshments served on site.

12:30 to 1 p.m.: Interment at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Port Jefferson.

2 to 2:30 p.m.: Full military service at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton.

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Newfield’s Farrah Khatoun, Ben Rasmussen and Corey Giles with their Tournament Skills Champion trophy. Photo courtesy MCCSD

The Newfield High School robotics team, the Roverines, recently displayed their skill and dedication at the VEX Over Under Robotics Competition in Farmingdale. The Roverines earned the Tournament Skills Champion trophy while reaching the finals of the tournament. 

Newfield High School principal, Scott Graviano, was duly impressed with the work of the Roverines.

 “Their dedication, hard work and passion displayed were truly inspiring,” Graviano said. “To reach the finals of a tournament as competitive as the VEX Over Under Competition is a testament to the Roverines’ talent and commitment to excellence. We are thrilled to have them represent Newfield High School at the upcoming New York State championship.” 

The Roverines robotics team left no room for doubt about their abilities as they scored an impressive 257 points in the skills portion of the tournament. Their performance earned them the Tournament Skills title and set a new standard for excellence in the competition. The second-place robot trailed behind by 72 points, scoring 185 points. The performance earned the Roverines a well-deserved invitation to the highly prestigious VEX Robotics New York State Championship Tournament, which will take place Sunday, March 3, in Katonah. There, the Roverines will compete against other top-notch teams from across the state. 

For more information regarding the Middle Country Central School District and its students’ achievements, please visit the district’s website at www.mccsd.net. 

Photo from Deposit Photos

By Daniel Dunaief

In a nod to the herd immunity from a combination of illnesses and vaccinations in the population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is widely expected to reduce the recommended number of days of isolation after a positive test to one day from five days.

Even as most of the population has returned to a normal life after the pandemic — toughing through colds with relatively mild symptoms at work and staying home, for the most part, when symptoms become severe — the CDC had urged Americans to remain isolated for five days.

“Covid has diminished as a real threat for the majority of people,” said Dr. Sharon Nachman, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “The responsiveness between vaccinations and multiple events [such as infections] is reasonable to prevent hospitalization and death in most people.”

In addition, Covid treatments, such as Pfizer’s Paxlovid, have become effective in reducing the severity and duration of symptoms.

The CDC likely couldn’t have provided such guidance a year ago, but, for most people, the consequence of contracting the virus that altered the course of life for people for several years, has been less problematic for their health, doctors said.

Despite ongoing illnesses and symptoms, people have become less likely to test for Covid.

“Insurance companies used to pay for eight per month, but now, people just buy one [test box] at a time,” said Michael DeAngelis, the owner of Village Chemist in Setauket.

Dr. Sunil Dhuper, chief medical officer at Port Jefferson’s St. Charles Hospital, understood the CDC’s decision, with an important warning.

“The rationale behind changing the timing of isolation guidelines is based on looking at the evolving severity of cases,” Dhuper said.

“People who are younger get more mild levels of illness and recover,” he added.

Concerns for the elderly

“The disease is beginning to behave more and more like other respiratory viruses, but we are not there yet,” Dr. Dhuper cautioned, particularly for those who are over 65.

Hospitalization for people who contract Covid is 11.2 per 100,000 for people over 65, compared with 6.9 per 100,000 in the week ending Feb. 10, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The mortality for those over 65 from Covid is higher than for the flu, Dr. Dhuper said.

“We have to be a little cautious, sending a message to the community that you can continue to do what you want to do,” Dr. Dhuper said. “When they are around the elderly” people, particularly those who might have symptoms even if they haven’t been tested, should consider wearing masks or keeping their distance.

The incidence of Covid, among other illnesses, climbed after the December holidays and the start of 2024, as people traveled to visit with family or on vacations. Those numbers have come down, although the upcoming spring break from secondary schools and colleges raises the possibility that illnesses could climb again, doctors predicted.

Be careful of grandkids

While the public may not want to hear it, Dr. Dhuper expected that it might take another five years before Covid reaches a comparable level of potential risk to the elderly as the flu, which could also present a risk to people’s health.

Dr. Dhuper urged those who have symptoms to test themselves for Covid. Even if they don’t isolate themselves for more than 24 hours, they should be cautious around vulnerable groups.

Dr. Dhuper’s advice to grandparents is to “be careful when you’re around your grandkids, because they are like petri dishes, harboring tons of infections.”

While for many people in the community, Covid has become like white noise, it’s still causing medical problems and leading to some hospitalizations, the St. Charles doctor added.

Any change in isolation guidance from the CDC should come with an asterisk that “yes, we are changing the guidelines, but people should still exercise precautions,” Dr. Dhuper said.

Vaccination research

Amid discussions related to vaccines, Dr. Nachman added that several compelling papers have demonstrated that people who are up to date on their vaccines, including flu, are at lower risk for dementia.

The link between vaccinations and overall brain health is unclear, and it is possible that people who receive vaccines also have a lifestyle that reduces the risk of developing dementia.

“We have an aging population in New York, particularly on Long Island,” said Dr. Nachmman. “If we want to keep them healthier longer, getting appropriate medical care, including vaccines, is probably helpful.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on Feb. 23 that Tina White, 36, of Bellport, and Shawana Williams, 45, of Centereach, each pleaded guilty to unlawfully receiving thousands of dollars for filing separate, fraudulent Small Business Administration loan applications.

“At a time where people were falling ill to COVID-19 and struggling financially, these two U.S. government employees abused a system designed to assist small businesses in order to line their own pockets,” said District Attorney Tierney. “I want to thank the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for working with my office to investigate and prosecute those who would steal taxpayer funds.”

According to the investigation and the defendants’ admissions during their guilty plea allocutions, on May 7, 2020, and July 6, 2020, respectively, White and Williams each filed COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications with the Small Business Administration in which they each claimed to be the owners of businesses in need of financial assistance due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

White claimed to be the Chief Operating Officer of an agricultural business, and Williams claimed to be the Chief Operating Officer of a medical services business. However, neither business existed. White received $6,000 and Williams received $4,000 as initial cash advancements while their respective loan applications were being processed. Both loan applications were ultimately denied, but White and Williams never returned the money they unlawfully received.

On December 21, 2023, Tina White pleaded guilty before Acting County Court Judge, the Honorable James McDonaugh, to Petit Larceny, a Class A misdemeanor. White paid restitution in the amount of $6,000, and was sentenced on December 21, 2023 to a conditional discharge.

On February 23, 2024, Shawana Williams pleaded guilty before Judge McDonaugh to Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree and Petit Larceny, both Class A misdemeanors. She paid restitution in the amount of $4,000, and was sentenced on February 23, 2024 to a conditional discharge.

Both White and Williams were represented by Michael Brown, Esq.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Katharine D’Aquila of the Public Corruption Bureau.

 

By Samantha Rutt

In a showcase of athletic prowess, high school athletes from across Suffolk County displayed their skills at the annual State Qualifier track and field meet on Feb. 14. With fierce competition and a spirited atmosphere, athletes gathered at Suffolk Credit Union Arena in Brentwood to compete for a chance to advance to the state championships.

The meet saw remarkable performances from several local athletes, with many students securing qualifying positions in various events. Notable among them was a standout from Ward Melville High School, senior Brian Liebowitz, who earned the top mark in the 1600 meters with a time of 4:26.02, qualifying for the state championships on March 2. His teammate, Jon Seyfert, a junior, also earned a spot in the state championships, finishing second in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:37.74. 

The Lady Patriots displayed exceptional teamwork as they finished in second place, securing a qualifying position in the 4×800-meter relay. The quartet of junior Melina Montgomery, freshmen Julia Schmitz and Elizabeth Wright, and senior Amanda Probst ran 9:31.24. 

“We stayed confident in our abilities and ran for each other,” Probst said. “We put in so much hard work, effort and time, and it truly was an amazing feeling to finally qualify. We knew we were ready and prepared, but to actually do so is an amazing feeling.”

As the dust settles on another thrilling meet, these athletes now focus on the state championships held at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, where they will go head-to-head with the best high school athletes from across the state. 

“I’m really looking forward to states and nationals, of course, to end this winter season on a high note, but now looking forward, I am really excited for spring season to begin,” Probst said. “It’s my final season with my team before I leave high school for college, and it makes me really upset thinking about leaving them, but I’m also excited for what’s to come this season. I look forward to seeing what my team and I will achieve.”

By Bill Landon

It was the elite 11 cheerleading teams who made it to the Suffolk County finals at Sachem East High School Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Class A and coed competitions looking to punch their ticket to the state championship round next month.

Centereach High School team dazzled the fans in their 2 1/2 minute routine followed by Commack in front of a capacity crowd. Smithtown East took to the mat for their time in the spotlight in a spirited routine clearly happy with their performance.

Ward Melville stole the show in the coed division with an inspiring demonstration scoring 92.6 to capture the Section XI crown and with it will make the journey to the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for the state finals March 2. 

Photo by Raymond Janis

Governor’s educational proposal dead on arrival

Here on Long Island, we love our schools, teachers and students. Our education system is the reason many come to the Island to raise their families because it contributes to strong, healthy communities and a balanced quality of life.

We should all be concerned that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s [D] proposed executive budget threatens our schools by ending the so-called “hold harmless” provision, which is a backdoor approach to cut millions of dollars in school aid. If the governor’s proposal is adopted, 56 school districts on Long Island will experience an instant decline in state funding. In Suffolk County, school districts will be out nearly $33 million in aid under the governor’s proposal.

These cuts would have a dramatic impact on our schools, students and communities. Additionally, cuts of this magnitude could result in larger class sizes, reduced staff, the elimination of athletic programs, extracurricular activities and clubs for students. These draconian cuts would also place additional burdens on Long Island homeowners, who already pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. The governor’s educational proposal is a lose-lose for Long Island and countless communities throughout the state.

Making this situation even worse, much of this critical education aid is being siphoned off to pay for the state’s astronomical and growing commitment to the migrant crisis, to which over the past two years the governor has allocated $4.3 billion. Clearly, the governor and the leadership in the Legislature are incapable of managing this crisis in an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking families and students. This cannot be tolerated. Funding must be dedicated to school services for the benefit of families who play by the rules, pay the property taxes and have the right to a quality education.

As lawmakers, parents and concerned citizens, we must make our voices heard in opposition to the governor’s elimination of the “hold harmless” provision, fight to restore education funding to our schools and put our children’s needs and education first.

Anthony Palumbo [R]

New York State Senator, 1st District

Skin cancer prevention for winter season

The winter season brings cold winds and snowy weather, but it also can bring damage to your skin. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages your skin year-round, not just during the summer months.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., yet most cases can be prevented. UV radiation from the sun and indoor tanning lamps are the primary cause of skin cancer, and reducing your exposure can significantly reduce your cancer risk. Even on cold, winter days, UV radiation from the sun can cause damage to your skin, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation, increasing the damage caused to your skin.

Sun protection is necessary every day, regardless of the weather or time of year. Sun safe practices such as applying sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses and long-sleeved clothing, and seeking shade whenever possible, can help prevent skin cancer.

The Cancer Prevention in Action at Stony Brook Cancer Center works to build awareness about the dangers of UV radiation and promote the benefits of sun safety through education, awareness and policy support to reduce skin cancer rates on Long Island.

To learn more about Cancer Prevention in Action, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com or contact us at 631-444-4263 and [email protected].

CPiA is supported with funds from Health Research Inc. and New York State..

Cancer Prevention in Action

Stony Brook Cancer Center

Pro-life, pro-choice issue from a gender fairness perspective

Not surprisingly, in contemplating the pro-life/pro-choice debate, women as a group are pro-choice and men pro-life. This is demonstrated in multiple polls and although not absolute gender adherence, there is a statistical difference. No doubt this is because women bear the physical reality of pregnancy and childbirth and almost always of raising and paying for the child that two people created. A man’s role of planting the seed does not match their female partner — whether consensual or not. No wonder there is a clear distinction between how women feel on the issue versus men.

What if there was a way to make men share in this responsibility. Not to duplicate pregnancy, that’s biologically impossible. But to share in raising that child and paying for it. Would that change how men feel and vote? Fact of the matter there is a way: DNA identification. What if everyone had to submit a swab for DNA identification. Then every father who shared in creating a child could be held responsible to raise and pay for him/her. My point is not whether this is right. It is simply: Would this change the way men vote on the issue?

David Roy Hensen

Miller Place

Peace is possible

As Quakers, we believe that peace in the world is possible, as Mary Lord, Quaker, of the American Friends Service Committee, reminds us: “We are called to live into the peaceable kingdom, and in that living discover the joy of a better way of life — in harmony with the Earth and one another. Peacemaking is not only possible but practical every day” (Friends Journal, June 1, 2007). Peacemaking requires that we acknowledge the background of all participants, actively listen to what has been learned, then consider the elements of agreement.

Our peaceful sentiments have been called naive and even unpatriotic. However, which is the greater naivety: To believe that the difficult but productive path of using diplomacy and strengthening international law is the path of safety, or to believe that wars and their weapons of mass destruction resolve conflicts and make us safe and secure?

The path of “winning the war,” as though it were a game, is, as history shows, the more naive perspective. War brings a horrific cost in human life, in property, in cultural treasures, in the fouling of the Earth and killing of its creatures. The aftermath invalidates the notion that wars bring about resolution, as evidenced by continuing warfare in the Middle East, Ukraine, Myanmar, Somalia and elsewhere.

Because Quakers believe there is good in everyone — people always have the capacity to be their best selves — we believe it is worth the effort of taking the steps of peacemaking to avoid the horrific costs of war and to provide the hope of establishing a just reality that sows the seeds of peace for future generations.

Carolyn Emerson

Clerk of Conscience Bay Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, St. James