Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 50
 
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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RegionaláHealth Department Officer Explains Opposition to “Congo’s Law”

DAVID HENRY
Health Officer
Princeton RegionaláHealth Department

Corner House Students Express Thanks for Dodgeball Tournament and Concert

JAMES COLE
Corner House Student Board President

Annual Dance Party Will Raise Funds for Regional Scholarship Foundation

CAROL GOLDEN
Co-president
Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation
Princeton High School

Proliferating “No Hunting” Signs Seen as Waste of Labor and Waste of Paper

LEN GUSTAFSSON
Autumn Hill Road

County Executive Thanks Residents for Holiday Fund Drive Generosity

BRIAN M. HUGHES
Mercer County Executive

Goal of “A World Without Alzheimer’s” Abetted by Memory Walk Fund-Raiser

PATRICIA A. LOMBREGLIA
President & CEO
Alzheimer’s Association
Greater New Jersey Chapter

Transfer of Title for River Road Land a Poor Deal for Borough Taxpayers

ROGER MARTINDELL
Princeton Borough Council
Prospect Avenue

Morven Committee Thanks Supporters of Its “Festival of Trees” Fund-Raiser

DAPHNE TOWNSEND
VICKI TRAINER
Co-Chairs
Morven Museum & Garden
Preview Party Committee

Library Patrons Facing Competition for Parking at Spring Street Garage

BERT WOHL
Randall Road


RegionaláHealth Department Officer Explains Opposition to “Congo’s Law”

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my concerns about Assembly Bill A-4597, “Congo’s law.” The Bill has the express purpose of saving one dog and reducing the effectiveness of the current Vicious Dog Law in protecting the health and safety of our communities. My specific concerns are as follows:

1. The author of the bill, Assemblyman Neil Cohen, wants to get this legislation passed before the end of December without any detailed input from public health officials or municipal officials. What is the hurry?

2. Congo does not have to die. There has been a plea agreement available since July that would save Congo. The dog’s owners have chosen not to take the plea agreement.

3. The Bill would be retroactive to January 1, 2007. This means that any dog in any municipality in the State will be free from their designation as a potentially dangerous or vicious dog. How does this serve to protect the public if owners of these dogs no longer have to abide by the restrictions of the current law? This is Assemblyman Cohen’s way of saving Congo. The new law would allow Congo and the other four dogs that mauled the landscaper to be immediately pardoned and the result will be as if the mauling never happened. We have seen the pictures of the 96 bite marks requiring extensive surgery and the 65 rabies shots that the landscaper has experienced. This new law will reduce his situation to a mere accident. In fact it reduces any injuries or deaths caused by vicious or potentially dangerous dogs in 2007 to mere accidents.

4. The new law would allow people who have been injured by a dog the opportunity to sign away their rights and say that the attacking dog did not mean to attack them. In addition, if you do not report the dog bite to authorities within 90 days, you are not allowed to report it after that time. It is not a good idea to have a time limit on reporting a dog bite.

5. The law would put more emphasis on animal life than human life. We would have to view the matter of provocation from the viewpoint of the dog. Where are the professionals who have reviewed why dogs are provoked? This matter can be interpreted in any way since there are no real criteria, thus creating a legal quagmire.

6. The municipal court must prove these cases on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a higher standard than the current law and will paralyze legitimate enforcement to the detriment of public safety and health.

7. Owner control or responsibility is not even stressed in this law. Municipalities bear a higher responsibility to prove their case, while dog owners are given a free pass.

For these reason, I feel that Congo’s Law is a step backwards in terms of the public’s health and safety. Since this bill may be up for a vote on Thursday, December 13, we all need to ask our legislators to give it the thoughtful consideration it deserves so that more time can be taken to fully review the law and have a better balance of human and animal rights. As matters now stand this is proceeding too quickly in a highly charged emotional atmosphere to the detriment of public safety and health. Why should every New Jersey municipality and taxpayeráhave to suffer increased danger because of one bill based on one case that does not have to lead to the death of the dog involved. This legislation is not necessary in its current form and the real fate of Congo remains in the hands of its owners, as it has since July.

DAVID HENRY
Health Officer
Princeton RegionaláHealth Department

Corner House Students Express Thanks for Dodgeball Tournament and Concert

To the Editor:

Two Fridays ago, we, the Corner House Student Board, hosted the largest student-led event in Corner House history. Approximately 650 high school students attended the event, to play dodgeball and cheer on their friends. The event was a huge success because of the enthusiasm of the participants. Without the 46 teams (over 360 students) who signed up, the tournament would not have been possible. Further, almost half of the attendance was made up of loyal fans who came out to cheer on their friends and experience the palpable excitement in the gyms. One of the highlights of the evening was seeing the four major high schools in the area come together in one gym.

I would like to thank everyone who helped make this event such a great success by participating. I would also like to thank the Princeton Borough Police Officers who came to ensure that the event didn’t get out of hand. Thanks must also go to David Staller, a Student Board member from Princeton High School, who was the chair of the event and who did much of the planning for the tourney. Finally, I would like to thank the chaperones from Colonial Club who also helped referee, Tim Prugar for making the bracket, and Jay Curtis for writing up the rules and helping to referee. All made this event run as smoothly as it did.

This past Friday the Corner House Student Board hosted the 5th annual Friday Night Live A Cappella Concert at the Princeton Public Library. Almost 350 students attended the event from Princeton High School, Stuart Country Day, Princeton Day School, and The Hun School. There were five performances, including four PHS a cappella groups (the Testosterones, Cloud 9, The Cats Meow, Around 8), and Shotgun, a rap artist who graduated from PHS last year. The event ran without hindrance in large part because of the help and support of the Princeton Borough Police and library officials. I would also like to thank the a cappella groups, the Stuart Dance Team, and Shotgun for their participation.

Without the participation of the various artists, the event wouldn’t have been possible.

The Student Board’s chairs for the event were Beth Breslaw at PHS and Brian Stoddard at Hun, both of whom also deserve thanks.

JAMES COLE
Corner House Student Board President

Annual Dance Party Will Raise Funds for Regional Scholarship Foundation

To the Editor:

The Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation (PRSF) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that gives need-based scholarships to Princeton High School graduates so that they may attend the college or vocational school of their choice. During its more than 30 years of operation, PRSF has provided nearly $1 million in college scholarship aid to PHS grads. Our recipients attend top colleges and universities such as Rutgers, Cornell, Howard, Hampshire, Skidmore, and Bryn Mawr. Others choose to enroll in vocational programs; some attend art institutes or music schools. Many who receive our scholarships become students at Mercer County Community College. We are very proud to support our students who are the first in their families to go to college. What all these students have in common is the determination to pursue higher education despite financial challenges.

Our community-based organization has long relied primarily on individual contributions, and we would like to thank all of you who donate to our efforts. While we are increasingly seeking support from foundations, corporations, and other sources, we still need your support in order to meet the growing need. This year PRSF is planning its third annual “Get Up & Dance” party to raise funds and awareness of the growing need in our community. The party, on Saturday, January 26 at Princeton University’s Cap and Gown Club, will feature fabulous food, music for dancing, and a silent auction. We invite the community to come out again this year to have fun and to help PRSF raise the funds necessary to support the PHS students from Princeton and Cranbury who need our help.

Please consider a donation, and please consider yourself invited to “Get Up and Dance!” For more information, email us at princetonrsf@gmail.com.

CAROL GOLDEN
Co-president
Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation
Princeton High School

Proliferating “No Hunting” Signs Seen as Waste of Labor and Waste of Paper

To the Editor:

Every year there are more No Hunting signs posted in Princeton. Why so many?

From my study I see nine bright orange-red stickers sticking in the eye. It’s a colossal waste, unless the hunters or the deer need to be reminded every few yards — a waste of nature, waste of labor, and waste of paper.

Stop this unnecessary cluttering of our neighborhoods, please.

LEN GUSTAFSSON
Autumn Hill Road

County Executive Thanks Residents for Holiday Fund Drive Generosity

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Mercer County residents for contributing so heartily to our holiday fund drive. Your generosity made Thanksgiving meals possible for more than 105 veterans and their families who were given grocery vouchers to Marrazzo’s market in Ewing. That spirit of giving by so many area residents and businesses will provide funds for additional festive meals as the holiday season continues. Many veterans have said that without your generosity, they might not have had a holiday meal at all.

So far this year, contributions from County residents amount to $4,200, which is about $1,000 more than last year. Monetary gifts large and small are still coming in, including donations from Colonial Cadillac in Trenton, which is giving to the cause a percentage of the cost of each car sold.

As County Executive and a Mercer County resident, I applaud all who give of themselves, especially during the holidays. By reaching out to our neighbors and those in need, we are helping to make the fabric of our community even stronger. I thank Mercer County residents again for their generosity and kindness to others this holiday season, and I encourage them to continue giving and to volunteer their time to their favorite worthy cause.

BRIAN M. HUGHES
Mercer County Executive

Goal of “A World Without Alzheimer’s” Abetted by Memory Walk Fund-Raiser

To the Editor:

As the Memory Walk 2007 fund-raising season concludes, on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter, I’d like to thank all of the Mercer County residents and community members who supported our Memory Walk event on October 7 at Educational Testing Service. We had a tremendous turnout of close to 1,000 community residents.

Currently, about five million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to increase dramatically in the next few decades as the baby-boomer generation continues to age.á Locally, that translates to about 10 percent of the more than 45,820 individuals in Mercer County over the age of 65 who may develop Alzheimer’s disease.áMemory Walk is our largest community-based awareness and fund-raising event.áThe money we raise helps us continue to provide and expand the services that our communities count on us for each and every day.

We are deeply grateful for the support of Educational Testing Service, and our heartfelt thanks go out to our dedicated community volunteers: co-chairs Jeri Bogan-Zielinski and Jim Caulfield, and Carol Bucca, Melissa Chalker, Michelle Curry, Lynda Kamer, Hilary Murray, Christine Ondocin, and Susan Pepe.

We are united with Mercer County in our vision to one day have “a world without Alzheimer’s disease.”

PATRICIA A. LOMBREGLIA
President & CEO
Alzheimer’s Association
Greater New Jersey Chapter

Transfer of Title for River Road Land a Poor Deal for Borough Taxpayers

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough’s December 4 decision to transfer title to the 126 acres of Sewer Operating Committee lands on River Road from the Borough’s name alone to joint Borough/Township name stated a worthy goal. But in the present political environment between the Borough and Township governing bodies, the Borough’s decision was made in disregard of any reasonable negotiating context.

Consequently, the Borough’s decision to transfer title to the SOC lands shortchanged the Borough taxpayer.

Now, those who voted for the transfer must negotiate several long-standing issues between the Borough and Township that have cost the Borough taxpayers millions of dollars, but do so without having the SOC lands available as leverage in the negotiations.

The long-standing issues include:

When will the Borough take meaningful, practical steps to collect the $2.1 million in bond reimbursement that the Township owes the Borough for joint projects, but which the Township has refused to acknowledge for many years?

When will the Borough take meaningful, practical steps to collect the $1.5 million in sewer connection fees that the Township diverted from a joint account and now owes the Borough, but which the Township has refused to acknowledge for many years?

When will the Borough take meaningful, practical steps to persuade the Township to transfer the open space in the Township purchased with Borough funds so that not just the Township holds title to those lands but the Borough and Township share title, another claim that the Township has refused to acknowledge for many years?

Given the Borough’s easy willingness on December 4 to accommodate Township demands for joint title to the SOC lands, the Borough’s continuing unwillingness or inability to pursue the above-identified issues with the Township brings the Borough perilously close to nonfeasance.

ROGER MARTINDELL
Princeton Borough Council
Prospect Avenue

Editor’s Note: When Borough Council voted 5 to 1 December 4 to give Princeton Township joint title to the Sewer Operating Committee’s land on River Road, the lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Martindell.

Morven Committee Thanks Supporters of Its “Festival of Trees” Fund-Raiser

To the Editor:

The Preview Party Committee for the “Festival of Trees” held at Historic Morven on Sunday evening, December 2, wishes to thank all those who braved the inclement weather to attend this event.

We would like to express our deep appreciation to our patrons and guests, and to recognize the following corporate sponsors: Robert Wood Johnson Community Hospital, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Heartland Payment Systems, Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Munich ReAmerica, PNC Wealth Management, Drinker Biddle, The Glenmede Trust Company, N.A., Henderson Sotheby’s, Long Motor Company, Volvo of Princeton/Bridgewater/Edison, and Terra Momo Restaurant Group. Their support enables Morven to continue the preservation of this national historic landmark.

Special thanks go to the decorators of the Auction and Gallery Trees done by business organizations, garden clubs, and members of the community.

The committee particularly wishes to thank the staff of Morven, the docents, and the Garden Committee for their unfailing enthusiasm and support of this fund-raiser.

Our best wishes to all for a happy holiday season!

DAPHNE TOWNSEND
VICKI TRAINER
Co-Chairs
Morven Museum & Garden
Preview Party Committee

Library Patrons Facing Competition for Parking at Spring Street Garage

To the Editor:

While considering use of the parking garage by patrons of the Princeton Public Library, it might be wise to consider what arrangements have been made, or will be made, for use of the garage by (1) the 24 apartments in Witherspoon House adjacent to the library; (2) the 55 apartments soon to be built on Spring Street around the corner from the Library; (3) the enlarged Princeton Arts Council building catty-corner from the Library; (4) the large extension planned for Judy King Interiors on the street behind the Library; and (5) the cars being displaced from the ground level, metered parking lot on Spring Street.

Parking for patrons of the Library might best be considered in the context of these many other needs and demands.

BERT WOHL
Randall Road

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