Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 17
 
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
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HiTOPS Salutes Sponsors and Patrons of Its Guardian Award Gala Benefit

JENNER BECK
MOLLY VERNON
HiTOPS Gala Co-Chairs

Community Thanked by School Officials for Voting to Approve Annual Budget

MICHAEL MOSTOLLER
Princeton Regional Schools Board President
ALAN HEGEDUS
Princeton Regional Schools Board Vice President
JUDITH WILSON
Princeton Regional Schools Superintendent

State’s Natural and Historic Heritage Jeopardized by Gov. Corzine’s Budget

BARBARA ROSS
Gordon Way


HiTOPS Salutes Sponsors and Patrons of Its Guardian Award Gala Benefit

To the Editor:

We would like to take this opportunity to extend a great big “Thank You” to everyone who helped make the HiTOPS 2008 Guardian Award Gala “Bridge to Tomorrow” a huge success. On April 11, HiTOPS hosted its Guardian Award Gala at Trenton Country Club.

Hundreds of guests came out to honor HiTOPS and the four Guardians — New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine; Jim Craigie, chairman and CEO of Church & Dwight; Chris Floor, a guidance counselor at Princeton High School; and Megan Thompson, an activist against sexual violence. Attendees heard stories of courage and strength from HiTOPS honorees, learned more about HiTOPS goals and plans for building a “Bridge to Tomorrow,” and danced the night away.

The event would not have been successful without the cooperation of our sponsors. The evening highlighted Church & Dwight Co., Inc. and The Kaplan Thaler Group, our Corporate Stars. Event benefactors included Ferrara & Company Advertising & Marketing, LLC, and PSE&G. Additional support was provided by The Bank of Princeton, Johnson & Johnson, and Capital Health System. As well, The Hillenbrand Family Foundation, Delaware Valley OBGYN & Infertility Group PC, Church & Dwight, and Megan Thompson’s family bought star and patron tables.

And, thanks to a generous anonymous gift, every penny donated to the Gala went to HiTOPS services and programs and not to event expenses.

We would also like to say “Thanks” to our fellow board members, HiTOPS staff, committee members, attendees, additional corporate sponsors, and in-kind donors. So many people played a major part in making a huge difference, allowing us to raise much needed funds for teens and their parents.

At HiTOPS, we believe that responsible decisions lead to brighter futures. We’re thrilled we could share our message in such a powerful and festive way.

JENNER BECK
MOLLY VERNON
HiTOPS Gala Co-Chairs

Community Thanked by School Officials for Voting to Approve Annual Budget

Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter addressed to Princeton community members.

To the Editor:

One definition of community is a group of people with common values. Throughout our community and across all generations we highly value education in our personal lives and in the greater scheme of our neighborhoods and society. We also understand and appreciate the exceptional education our children receive in our public schools, from the first day of pre-school through graduation day. Thus it was that as a community Princeton Regional Schools’ friends and neighbors went to the polls on Tuesday and overwhelmingly supported the annual budget.

We are deeply appreciative of the support that has been established for the faculty, staff, and board to move forward to the next fiscal year, and more importantly, to the next year of growth and academic success for all of our students. We thank everyone who seriously considered the issues and exercised their privilege of voting. We look forward to the next stages of our work together.

MICHAEL MOSTOLLER
Princeton Regional Schools Board President
ALAN HEGEDUS
Princeton Regional Schools Board Vice President
JUDITH WILSON
Princeton Regional Schools Superintendent

State’s Natural and Historic Heritage Jeopardized by Gov. Corzine’s Budget

To the Editor:

I feel strongly that state parks, especially the D&R Canal State Park, should not be closed, or partially closed, as called for in Governor Corzine’s proposed 2008-09 budget. I am on the towpath several times a week and rely upon the park for exercise, the enjoyment of nature, relaxation, and bird watching. I also walk and bird in other parks and natural places scheduled for closure. I live in a condo, and these parks, especially the D&R, serve as my backyard.

I am equally concerned about the job security of park interpreters and maintenance staff. The D&R’s historian Vicki Chirco and naturalist Stephanie Fox, both of whom are scheduled for dismissal, are dedicated to the park and the only source for its talks, walks, workshops, and outreach and school programs. Vicki and I are developing an exhibition of the history of the bridge and lock houses along the D&R; this exhibition is now in jeopardy. The budgets of most New Jersey state parks have been seriously inadequate since they were severely cut in the 1990s and never restored. Both programs and maintenance have suffered. Before that decade, the D&R had 41 employees; now it has roughly a quarter of that number, and if proposed budget cuts are made, the staff will be less than skeletal.

In my opinion, there must also be adequate and stable funding of New Jersey’s Green Acres Program, Historic Preservation Office, Office of Natural Lands Management, Fish and Wildlife Division, and Endangered and Non-game Species Program, and other vital divisions of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. These, along with the parks and wildlife areas and historic sites, are all basic to protecting and preserving New Jersey’s natural and historic heritage. If funding for any of these is decreased further there will be severe consequences: parks and agencies will be too weak to function properly, fewer tourist, license fee, and recreational equipment dollars will be spent within the state, federal funding will be jeopardized, the physical and psychological health of its residents could be impaired, our children will lose out on learning about the state’s historic heritage, and higher expenditures will be required later to restore the deterioration and neglect.

It is not that I am oblivious to the fact that New Jersey’s financial condition must be rescued, and I certainly have no easy answer for how this can be done; however, our parks, open spaces, and historic sites belong to us, and when they were acquired there were implicit agreements that they would be accessible, maintained, and interpreted for us. I firmly believe we should be able to enjoy them to their fullest while we are tightening our belts and addressing the other problems. 

BARBARA ROSS
Gordon Way

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