CARLO VEGA Mt. Lucas
REV. FRANK STRASBURGER
JEAN A. STARKS
To the Editor:
My name is Carlo Vega, and I am a freshman at Princeton High School. I enjoy skateboarding, except skateboarders in town have one current problem: we don't have a skate park! I have had many run-ins with the law and have been threatened by my vice principal to have charges pressed against me, all for skateboarding. Some people have brought up the skate park idea at Borough Council meetings, with no success. Most people just think of skateboarders stereotypically, the Bart Simpson-style, drug addict types, and thus pass on the idea of opening a park.
We are just looking to express ourselves in a physical way that represents us as individuals. With Skaters Alliance closed, skateboarders no longer have a regular hangout anymore. The next closest skate shop is 45 minutes away. I have asked police officers and principals if there is anything we can do to improve this process, but all they usually suggest is getting people to sign a petition for it, which has been done numerous times in the past.
Skateboarders and rollerbladers in Princeton regularly deal with this problem in town. I hope this letter will bring us closer towards ending this constant feud.
To the Editor:
Today we received the letter we get every year from the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad thanking us for our annual donation. One line set off an alarm: "Our current year's fund drive is the lowest that we have seen these past four years."
We've always thought of hospitals and rescue squads as one of those things you just give to like the Red Cross and the United Way. The day the Borough Police rang our doorbell to let us know our daughter was on her way to the Helene Fuld Trauma Unit, that investment paid off many times over. We hadn't given that much but the Rescue Squad gave us our daughter's life. Had they been less well equipped or less well trained, she might well not have made it.
You don't need a rescue squad very often, but when you need one, you really need it. Unfortunately, our daughter won't be the last person whose life depends on the quality of our town's emergency response team. They were first-rate for us but they can't remain at that level unless we support them.
You may never need the EMTs but some of your neighbors certainly will. Please, take out your checkbook now and send a generous donation to the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad, 237 North Harrison Street, P.0. Box 529, Princeton 08540.
THE REV. FRANK STRASBURGER
To the Editor:
I am sure I'm not the only customer at McCaffrey's who has noticed the appalling working conditions the checkers face every day during the winter. As each customer leaves, the doors open and a winter blast comes in that places the checkers, particularly the two serving the "ten or less" customers, in terribly cold conditions. The checker serving me yesterday was wearing boots, a sweater and her winter coat, and her hands were still blue with the cold. In view of this I urge those of us shopping at McCaffrey's over the next two weeks to act out our holiday feelings of "good will to all men" by stopping by the service desk and telling the management that we are interested in them doing whatever is necessary to place the checkers out of the winter drafts.
Surely McCaffrey's can find a way to do this. The other supermarkets in the area have done so.
To the Editor:
I voted with my fellow Regional Planning Board members recently to approve the Open Space and Recreation Element as an amendment to the Princeton Community Master Plan. While this is important and widely supported by the Princeton community, I am concerned about the need for affordable senior housing, not to mention affordable housing for the many people who work in Princeton. As sites have been acquired for open space, there are very few remaining tracts available for affordable housing.
The community's goal of preserving 25 percent of Princeton land as open space has been met. Yes, additional expenditures should be made to acquire linkages between parks, improve existing parks for recreational use, and maintain our current open space areas. But we should not continue to acquire parcels of land for more open space that could accommodate multi-unit affordable housing.
The Planning Board created three overlay zones to encourage the construction of senior housing. While this was a beginning, we need to creatively work with our local non-profit housing agencies to designate and acquire the few remaining sites for affordable housing, not open space. Otherwise, we will risk losing the economic, cultural, and age diversity that made Princeton so attractive to many of us.
To the Editor:
Eight years ago 40 people attended the first bilingual Health Fair in Princeton. This year, 642 people came to John Witherspoon School, for the eighth Health Fair/Feria de Ia Salud, sponsored by the University Medical Center at Princeton, Hispanic American Medical Association (HAMA), and the Latin American Task Force. Patients watched Mexican folk dancing while they had flu shots, health screenings, and discussions with doctors, dentists, lawyers, and representatives of community agencies. It was a festive atmosphere, with more than seventy English/Spanish bilingual volunteers helping, delicious refreshments, and a wonderful array of prizes, but it was also vital for several patients who found out they had serious conditions needing urgent attention.
The services were provided and funded thanks to the generosity of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Claire Kohn, HAMA, Princeton Health Care Systems, Princeton Health Department, Henry J. Austin Health Center, Community Action Service Center, and the New Jersey Commission for the Blind. Refreshments and prizes were donated by Avon Cosmetics, Halo Farm, Holsome, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Johnson and Johnson Corporation, La Mexicana, McCaffrey's, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Pelusa Travel, Princeton Arts Council, Princeton Department of Human Services, Princeton Public Library, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Taste of Mexico, Thomas Sweet, Tortugas Mexican Restaurant, Wegmans and many of the participating health-care providers.
I would like to offer special thanks to the Medical Center clinic staff, for their remarkable skill, efficiency and warm enthusiasm in all the shots, tests and screenings they provided at the Health Fair, to the doctors and support staff of HAMA for their dedication in coming each year to give tests and private consultations in Spanish, and, finally, to the very hard-working LATF committee which organizes this event. Thank you, everyone; muchas gracias a todos.
To the Editor:
Given recent articles and letters about how construction is proceeding in our district's schools, we felt it important to offer Princeton residents and your readers an alternative perspective based on our experiences at Johnson Park School. Our experiences have been ones that have presented challenges, but we've been pleased with district officials' responses to our concerns.
For example, near the start of the school year, when, as a result of our roofing project, classroom teachers reported noxious fumes, our principal at once telephoned our superintendent of schools, and her immediate response was, "Close the project down."
Following that, our district's facilities director worked with our principal, representatives of our instructional staff, and an officer of the township health department to ensure that we addressed that and other issues related to our roof. The outcome was that, as some additional roofing difficulties arose, our district's project manager, our principal, and our staff members were able to resolve the problems quickly.
With goodwill and forthright concern on all sides, we found from this experience that we could address environmental matters effectively. This became necessary when we discovered mold in our music classroom (a situation that was unrelated to construction).
Again, district officials were prompt and clear in their actions. Our pupils' and our music teacher's health came first, so our music room was closed down and sealed off, and our district brought in a reputable firm to analyze the situation and remediate the problem.
Did each of these matters cause us concern? Of course. Were district officials as concerned as we were? Yes, they were. With a common outlook Let's get the problem solved we were able to attend to the difficulties with reasonable alacrity and move on.
Do we still have problems? Yes, we do, but most of them relate to design matters. In general, we're disappointed with our district's architectural firm, with whose representatives we shared concerns and from whom we received assurances about ameliorating those matters over two years ago. Nevertheless, those in charge of the plans ignored some of our issues.
Recently, district officials convened a forum at our school to allow us to express our ongoing concerns. Although we face constraints in resolving the matters that still dismay us, because of the progress of construction, we were, within those limitations, able to achieve some relief.
Are we disappointed that we won't have and can't get all the changes we sought? Yes.
But, we're satisfied that our district's administration is committed to helping us end up with the best facility possible, given cost, environmental, and engineering limitations. Why wouldn't that be their goal?
As anyone who has built or renovated a home knows, there are inevitable problems along the way. Certainly this has been true with our school's renovations and expansion, but we've been pleased that our district has been responsive to our concerns.
We express our thanks to our district's superintendent of schools, Claire Kohn; our facilities director, Gary Weisman, and his assistant, Thomas Goodwin; to Epic's current project manager for our school, Wade Roberson; and to school board members Charlotte Bialek, Anne Burns, and Walter Bliss (the latter our board's liaison to Johnson Park School), for attending various meetings at our school and for supporting those of our requests they thought reasonable. From here on out, we hope our friends and colleagues throughout Princeton have the same experiences we've had.
For the Johnson Park School PTO Executive Board:
To the Editor:
I write this in support of the arts in general and the Arts Council in particular. This is not a good time in our country's history for the arts. Witness the fact that at our national level, we see a country engaged in war and nation building with an addiction to tax cutting and fiscal "accountability." On the State level we see budgets that are blind to the arts. Locally, the public school boards, forced into cost-cutting modes, slice away all but the three "Rs." The arts are assigned the lowest priority since artistic creativity is the hardest subject for teachers to score and the hardest for college admissions officers to evaluate.
The Princeton Arts Council has positioned itself to address this serious cultural imbalance, both in its location and its curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to explore many creative outlets. They can sample the array of options or concentrate on a single interest. No public school system, even in the best of times, can offer such choices and such flexibility.
So far, in past planning board presentations, local resistance has been led by a few powerful leaders who have stifled any potential voices of support. Superficial issues like traffic, zoning, or planning have been cited. Behind it all, however, is the scar tissue formed by a history of ill-conceived incursions into a neighborhood that once housed a very cohesive and monolithic society. Palmer Square in the thirties, and Mayor Ray Male's "urban renewal" in the sixties, all demonstrated to the Witherspoon community that the boundaries of their congenial neighborhood were being rolled back without their consent. Now if you believed that these moves were done with sinister intent by the "white community" then it is fairly easy to conclude that the Arts Council is just another step in an effort to roll back the entire community. This is sheer nonsense.
Today, the comer of Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place is an ideal location for the Arts Council. You might even say that it is, and can be, a very effective bridge between communities. It is central to the greatest number of the population who would use it and it is one of the key cultural activities that will contribute to the greatness of this town.
I feel passionate about this because of my own personal childhood experience and development. I had the good fortune to go to a fine private school where I had an inspiring teacher who nurtured my creative skills. In the process, he led me to conclude that I should consider a career in architecture. I sometimes wonder what I might have done with my life without his inspiring guidance. I'm sure that I wouldn't have had as much satisfaction with my life as a banker, lawyer, accountant, or even a zoning official.
It frightens me to think that youngsters in Princeton might grow up without seeing that there are wonderful opportunities out there for people with creative talent. Put yourself in the mind of a 12-year-old, who wants to create something and is fearful that what he or she has in mind may not be appreciated by a world where video games, football, boy-girl issues, and parental pressures for job skills are front and center. This little acorn of creativity in a youngster needs to be encouraged and nurtured. The Princeton Arts Council is one such place where a youngster will be encouraged. The plans that the Arts Council proposes will be of enormous benefit to the people of Princeton well into the future and the time will come when all will wonder what all the fuss was about.
To the Editor:
The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors would like to thank the participants and sponsors of our First Annual Business Leadership Awards Gala for their support of this memorable event, held last week at the Tournament Players Club at Jasna Polana.
The Chamber is pleased to have had the opportunity to recognize a distinguished group of business and community leaders including David Holmes of the Eden Institute, Shirley Tilghman of Princeton University, and Peter Dawson of Leigh Photo and Imaging. It is their community and business involvement, along with the participation of countless others who are involved in the Chamber, that helps to make the Princeton region one of the best places in the country to live, work, and raise a family.
We would like to publicly thank the independent judges who selected Peter Dawson as the recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Professor Ron Cook, director of the Small Business Institute at Rider University, and Paul Belliveau of Belliveau Associates were diligent in their review of the credentials of the nominees, who were evaluated based upon standards set forth by the United States Small Business Administration. We would also like to thank the members of the Gala planning committee, who represented the Chamber membership and recommended David Holmes as Leader of the Year, and Shirley Tilghman as Innovator of the Year. All three are well-deserving of the awards that they received.
Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to Fleet Bank, Merrill Lynch, Princeton Communications Group, Bohren's-United Van Lines, and NAI Fennelly for their support in underwriting the awards. Their generosity helped to ensure that the proceeds from this event can be fully used to support the Chamber's expanding portfolio of programs and member services.
The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce is committed to promoting economic growth and enhancing the quality of life in the Princeton region. We are pleased to do this throughout the year by supporting our members with business networking and professional development opportunities, by advocating for the business community, by promoting the unique attributes of the region, and by encouraging economic development efforts that serve to strengthen the Princeton area's reputation.
We encourage residents to support business owners and employees in the Princeton region as they plan their holiday shopping. Remember to "Buy Local."