Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 22
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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“Hysterical” Reaction to Beaver Incident Unfairly Targets Animal Control Officer

Brian Zack
Stetson Way

Letter to PRSD Protests Charging Fees For Scout Meetings in School Buildings

Karen Freundlich
Service Unit Manager, Princeton
Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Policy Shows Entrenched Attitude vs Wildlife

Geoff Peters
Battle Road

A Vote for Yina Moore in the Primary Represents a Vote Against Vested Interests

Dorothy Koehn
Oakland Street


“Hysterical” Reaction to Beaver Incident Unfairly Targets Animal Control Officer

To the Editor:

Beaver people, get a grip! Yes, it is unfortunate that two of these creatures were recently shot rather than relocated from a Princeton park, where their dam building was causing an excessively high water level. And yes, if laws were broken or procedures not followed, this must be appropriately addressed.

But the vituperation spilling onto the letters sections of local newspapers, directed personally toward the animal control officer involved, has itself reached extremely inappropriate and even hysterical levels. Writers have declared themselves “outraged” and “appalled.” One demands that, if the officer shot the animals merely because they were a nuisance, he should be “dismissed from his job,” asking entirely nonsensically “What will he determine to be a nuisance next? Squirrels? Geese? Your pets?” Another wonders “Is Princeton safe, then, for humans?” And still another hyperbolically opines that the officer has “no regard for the life of helpless animals.” I don’t know the officer personally, but in two animal-related encounters I found him entirely professional and appropriate. And it seems most likely, from what information is available, that his actions are entirely undeserving of the ad hominum attacks aimed his way.

I should mention that I am pro-animal rights — I am a strong supporter of Peter Singer’s approach to animal welfare.

Brian Zack
Stetson Way

*Editor’s Note: For reasons stated in this letter, Town Topics chose not to run the letters being quoted.

Letter to PRSD Protests Charging Fees For Scout Meetings in School Buildings

To the Editor:

Facilities fees for the 2011-2012 school year were on the School Board Agenda this past Tuesday night, which were tabled until the June 14 meeting. The following letter was sent to the Administration of the the Princeton Regional School District (PRSD) to protest a plan to imposes facility fees on the Girl Scouts meetings held in the school buildings:

“As our volunteer Service Unit Manager, I am writing to ask for the Board’s reconsideration of the policy of charging fees to scouting organizations for use of the Princeton Regional Board of Education facilities. Over the last decade, Princeton Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have been informally exempted from the PRSD facilities fees charges applied to other organizations. We believe that this was a sound action on the part of the Board, since the Princeton Service Unit of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ is an all-volunteer service organization whose participants using the facilities are exclusively students of the Princeton Regional schools. There are no local mandatory fees or dues to be a Girl Scout. The only qualifications are that national dues be paid ($12), and that a girl honor the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

“We have been told by our central Council offices that the PRSD fees would be very unusual. To confirm this, we have contacted each school district in the county (excepting Trenton), and found this to be true. Robbinsville attempted to charge fees, and stepped back after local publicity. Some districts do charge fees for weekend use, or if other special facilities support is required such as tech support, extra custodial time, etc., which is completely understandable. Some districts have shaped their facilities policies to specially call out Scouting as an organization exempt from facilities fees, such as Hamilton. Hopewell accepts service projects in lieu of fees.

“We currently have just under half of our 25 troops meeting in PRSD schools: three at Community Park, four at Littlebrook, one at Johnson Park, one at Riverside, and two at John Witherspoon Middle School. Half those troops have enrollment under 10 girls, so even a small fee is a burden. Only one troop is larger than 14. The others meet at independent schools such as St. Paul and Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, or Princeton Charter School, none of which charge for our use of their facilities to provide scouting to their students. We would appreciate your re-consideration of the matter before the end of the school year next month.”

If you were a Girl Scout or are the parent of a former or current Girl Scout and oppose the imposition of these fees upon the Girl Scout troops, (which are fully volunteer run and are open to every girl in Princeton), please contact Superintendent Judy Wilson jwilson (prs.k12.nj.us) or Board of Education Chair of the Finance Committee Charles Kalmbach (boe@prs.k12.nj.us).

Karen Freundlich
Service Unit Manager, Princeton
Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Policy Shows Entrenched Attitude vs Wildlife

With the senseless killing on May 13 of two beavers at Pettoranella Garden in Princeton Township, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJFW) has demonstrated its entrenched attitude towards so called nuisance wildlife.This lamentable approach to wildlife allows NJFW to kill or cull any animal it so deems a nuisance or danger to the public. As a result of this policy, NJFW has deprived the Princeton community of the chance to enjoy the first documented appearance of beavers in this area in decades. Many people, myself included, have been anticipating a first encounter with a native beaver as their numbers gradually increase in the Northeast. Once numbering in the tens of millions they were almost completely extirpated in the 19th century for the fur market. A century or more later they are returning to some of their former habitats, including Mercer County.

The telltale signs of beavers can be found along the banks of the Delaware River and its tributaries most of the year. Stripped willow branches with repetitive notching etched into the entire length of the stick in a circular fashion. On the ends one can see the sharp clean shearing work of the beavers’ incisors. Also look for bite marks on the lower portions of trees abutting the river’s edge.

Geoff Peters
Battle Road

A Vote for Yina Moore in the Primary Represents a Vote Against Vested Interests

To the Editor:

I am writing to ask the registered Democrats of Princeton to please come forward on June 7 to vote in the Mayoral primary election for a new and unencumbered voice of the people, Yina Moore.

I would also like to describe a scenario that took place at the Borough Council meeting last Tuesday night that will point out the reasons we would be remiss to elect Councilman David Goldfarb, who is also running for Mayor. While I and others watched and listened with astonishment, Mr. Goldfarb joined in the lineup of questions of the guest presenter, Mr. Posner, who was making a viable offer for a plan to both save the Dinky and to create the University Arts and Transit Neighborhood. While it was the purpose of the meeting to expect the Council to exact the tough questions relating to this proposal, it is a now known fact that Mr. Goldfarb’s relationship with Princeton University through his work precludes him from taking part in this or any University/Town issues (See last week’s Mailbox: “Councilman’s Connection with University Compromises His Ability to Serve Citizens”). What was even more astonishing was the way in which Mr. Goldfarb maneuvered his way toward taking part in the questioning, saying that “he was asking questions as a citizen not a councilman.” What?! Did he unilaterally set a new precedent which allowed him to do this — or was it in fact completely out of order?

We taxpaying citizens of Princeton must be vigilant and pro-active especially in light of the fact that it has been shown that our town has long been run by behind the scene vested interests. Mr. Goldfarb works for a law firm that represents Princeton University on land use matters. There is clearly a conflict of interest. Yina Moore is the right choice.

Dorothy Koehn
Oakland Street

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