Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 50
Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
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Mailbox

Chicklets, Post Office Branch Closing December 31; Public Urged to Contact Center Management

Meg Cox Leone
Laura Strong
Margery Cuyler
Myrna Bearse
Cille Longshaw

Leaf Collection Problem Could Be Met Through Sustainability Program

Grace Sinden
Ridgeview Circle

Leaf Collection Issue Inspires “Ode to the Sycamore Leaf”

Chrystal Schivell
24 Monroe Lane

PCLT Enabled to Help Students, Parents, Educators Thanks to Past Contributions

Daniel F. Oscar
President & CEO

Senior Resource Center Benefit Helps Human Capital Campaign

Albert Stark, Trustee & Event Chair
Dave Saltzman, President
Susan W. Hoskins, Executive Director

Legalization of Marijuana Would Permit Police to Focus on More Serious Threats

William Stephenson
Governors Lane


Chicklets, Post Office Branch Closing December 31; Public Urged to Contact Center Management

To the Editor:

I’m writing to share some news of an unfortunate event that I hope can be averted. As of December 31, Chicklet Books, the “fun and funky bookstore” at the Princeton Shopping Center (PSC), will be gone, and in its place there will be another doctor’s office. Gone as well will be the convenient “pocket Post Office,” which is especially appreciated this time of year.

I have nothing against doctor offices. Nor against PSC management, which up to now has included a mix of shops and eateries I visit often. Also, the Center features multiple free community events each year and maintains the property nicely. However, the mall is owned and operated by George Comfort & Sons of Madison Ave., New York, which boasts of handling a portfolio of properties totaling 9.6 million square feet. I am guessing that the owners don’t care so very much about what Princeton folk think, unless it were to affect their bottom line.

Mall management worked with Chicklet Books to make the big space affordable for proprietor Deb Hunter until a full-price tenant could be found. Now that one has been found, she expects to leave. But the economy is horrible and there are multiple smaller stores standing vacant at the Center. I know that Deb would love to downsize Chicklet Books and move to one of these. But mall management doesn’t seem willing to work out a deal she can live with.

I’m writing this as someone who cherishes the community values of Princeton. I love having a nearby place like Chicklet that is full of good books, supports local authors wholeheartedly, and is generous in letting local groups from yoga classes to knitting circles occupy the space at no charge. By myself, I know I can’t change this, but if enough people care, we have a chance.

If you are like me, and the others who signed this with me, and feel that losing Chicklet and the post office would adversely affect your quality of life, then take a minute to do this: In a tone of total respect, please call or write the management of the Princeton Shopping Center right away and tell them you value this current tenant, and that losing Chicklet Books would decrease your trips to the mall and/or your satisfaction with its offerings: email PrincetonShopping.Center@verizon.net (note: there is a period between Shopping and Center) or write to Princeton Shopping Center Management Office, 301 N. Harrison Street, Princeton, N.J. 08540.

Meg Cox Leone
Laura Strong
Margery Cuyler
Myrna Bearse
Cille Longshaw

Leaf Collection Problem Could Be Met Through Sustainability Program

To the Editor:

As a former member of the Princeton Environmental Commission and Princeton Health Commission, I was particularly interested in the letter of December 8 (“It’s Time to Rethink Massive, Messy, Machine-Driven Collecting of Leaves”). This is an environmental, economic, as well as a public safety issue.

The annual cost of collection of leaves in the Borough is $200,000. The cost for the Township is about $500,000 annually. The letter stated: “The mechanical grinding and turning required at the compost center consumes five times more fuel — $30,000 worth for the Borough alone — than is used to haul all the leaves and brush to the site.”

These costs can be reduced if more of the leaves were dealt with on site. There are broad areas of the Township where houses are on large and/or wooded lots. For those with wooded properties, it is usually simpler to have the leaves blown into the woods where they enrich the soil than it is to dump them in the roadway for collection that is costly to taxpayers in labor, energy use, machinery cost and maintenance or replacement, as well as affecting air quality from heavy machines for several months of each year. There is also a safety hazard with piled leaves on narrow roadways.

Even on smaller lots without natural woods, an out-of-the way spot can often be found where the leaves can be left for Mother Nature to greatly reduce the volume before the next fall season and recycle the nutrients without any help from the homeowner. Leaf shredding helps to speed this process but is not essential. The resulting product can be used to condition soil in gardens, protect plants in dry summers and cold winters, or it can just be left alone.

Yes, it’s time to rethink the massive, messy, energy devouring, machine-driven collection, transportation and processing of leaves that should be a resource rather than a community deficit year after year. Princeton needs to address this matter in a more advanced way as part of our sustainability program.

Grace Sinden
Ridgeview Circle

Leaf Collection Issue Inspires “Ode to the Sycamore Leaf”

To the Editor:

This “Ode to a Sycamore Leaf” is in response to the letter regarding leaf collection (“It’s Time to Rethink Massive, Messy, Machine-Driven Collecting of Leaves”) that was published in the December 8 Mailbox.

Large as a dinner plate, tough as leather,
You resist decomposing, no matter the weather.
Blown by a leaf blower into a pile,
You don’t wait for pick-up but fly off with a smile.
Three or four times you’re put back in the street
To sail off again — an incredible feat.
You need bagging or mowing or crushing by hand
To stop your incursions on each neighbor’s land.
No other leaf is so labor-intensive;
I agree with Steve Hiltner: you’re very expensive.

Chrystal Schivell
24 Monroe Lane

PCLT Enabled to Help Students, Parents, Educators Thanks to Past Contributions

To the Editor:

In keeping with the traditions of the season, Princeton Center for Leadership Training (PCLT) wishes to thank all those who have made valuable investments in our organization in recent years. Your generosity has enabled us to impact tens of thousands of students, educators, and parents in hundreds of schools across the country. We also wish to thank those of you who have served as our critical friends. We have been inspired by your partnership and commitment to our work, and with great appreciation for your past contributions, we are reaching out now with the hope that each of you will choose to continue your support of PCLT through an end-of-year gift.

As we look ahead to 2011, we imagine a day when all children in all schools are immersed in safe, supportive groups of peers led by older mentors and, as a result, come to believe that adults and peers in their school care about them and want them to succeed. These beliefs are important prerequisites to greater academic achievement, reduced bullying, lower dropout rates, improved grades, fewer discipline referrals, and fewer high-risk behaviors. Your contribution will support evidence-based solutions that have demonstrated significant improvements on these social, emotional, and academic outcomes for youth.

We rely on the generosity of partners like you who care deeply about education and who, in your own work, have a critical impact on the lives of young people. Please visit www.princetonleadership.org/about/donate to make a donation to PCLT.

Daniel F. Oscar
President & CEO

Senior Resource Center Benefit Helps Human Capital Campaign

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) we would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who made our recent benefit at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center a huge success. The Capitol Steps performance was outstanding and provided a great evening of much welcomed laughter that brought together PSRC supporters and introduced new people to the great work PSRC does in our community. Proceeds from the evening will benefit PSRC’s Building Human Capital Campaign, which will help the organization meet some of the many challenges it will face in the coming years.

We are particularly grateful for the support we received from our Platinum Corporate Sponsors — The Gordon and Llara Gund Foundation, New York Delicatessen & Restaurant, Stark & Stark, The W. Bryce Thompson Foundation, and The Times of Trenton. Thanks to their great generosity, PSRC will be better able to continue to provide and grow services for older adults who are living longer, healthier, more active lives than any generation before them.

Special thanks also go to Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, and to all the Gold, Silver, Bronze, Benefactors, Patrons and Friends level donors who contributed to the success of this special evening. Thank you all.

Albert Stark, Trustee & Event Chair
Dave Saltzman, President
Susan W. Hoskins, Executive Director

Legalization of Marijuana Would Permit Police to Focus on More Serious Threats

To the Editor:

The Police Blotter (Town Topics, December 8) contains three separate instances where our law enforcement officers had to arrest individuals on various marijuana-related charges. Our criminal justice system will obviously now have to prosecute these cases when it could be devoting its efforts to significantly more serious criminal threats.

If marijuana were sold legally, and taxed, as is alcohol and tobacco, it could be controlled and distributed in a manner that would likely be much less harmful to the fabric of our society. Granted, using marijuana may be a bad idea. But then so is using tobacco and alcohol. The profitability of narcotic imports puts the industry in the hands of organized crime, much like the control of the alcohol distribution system was when we tried prohibition. If the product were legalized, it would drastically reduce the high-margin product’s economic value to organized crime.

Seems to make so much sense that it’s not likely to come about.

William Stephenson
Governors Lane

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