To the Editor:
Concerning Louis Edge's letter (Town Topics, May 5), it is Mr. Edge, not I, who presents misleading information. His quote from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes only one point: the apparent connection between the number of deer on the East coast and the number of blacklegged ticks (the insect that carries the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease). There is no mention of any connection between deer and Lyme disease itself. And for a good reason.
As I wrote previously, "It's the mice, not the deer." Of all the blacklegged ticks on the east coast, only a relative few harbor the spirochetes. Which ones? "Transmission of the Lyme disease spirochete is from blacklegged ticks which have ingested the spirochete from its primary reservoir, the white-footed mouse" (New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, 1990).
"The deer don't get Lyme disease, nor do they carry the spirochetes. The deer don't become ill, and their blood is a poor source of the spirochete" (Telford et al., 1988).
So if you contract Lyme disease, almost certainly it wasn't from a deer, but from a white-footed mouse. There are plenty of places where deer are seldom seen, but Lyme disease is common. Why? Around most human habitations, Lyme disease resides in the plentiful mice and the ticks they support.
What does the CDC actually tell us about Lyme disease? Recently, it reported a 40 percent rise in Lyme disease, and that the disease is acquired from tick-carrying rodents (USA TODAY, 5/6/04). According to epidemiologist Erin Staples of the CDC, "the majority of Lyme disease cases are acquired in a person's own backyard. It's best to prevent infection in the first place by wearing insect repellent and doing daily tick checks."
Newly available bait boxes can be placed around houses. When tick-carrying rodents enter the box, they're doused with insecticide that kills the ticks. It also helps to clear leaf litter from a yard and to put a border of gravel or wood chips around the perimeter of a yard as a buffer between forest and lawn.
Clearly it's time to stop blaming deer, and concentrate on the effective ways to combat Lyme disease.
CHARLES K. BOWMAN
To the Editor:
I would like to urge support for Roger Martindell in the Princeton Borough Democratic primary on June 8.
Several qualities make his candidacy especially appealing to longtime residents like me. He has consistently promoted joint Borough/Township initiatives to deliver more effective municipal services at reduced cost. For example, for many years he has promoted joint police and dispatch services within the larger community. He has the commitment and the experience in federal, state, and county government to bring about more of these joint services. With the Princetons facing unusually great tax pressure for the foreseeable future we badly need municipal leaders who bring know-how and imagination to this problem.
Also, Roger is not doctrinaire or beholden to any particular group. He is pragmatic and independent-minded, questioning conventional wisdom, challenging assumptions, and seeking public debate on issues facing the community. He stood alone asking for careful consideration of the downtown project, insisting that Borough Council should have the estimated costs of the project before giving their approval, and he assumed quite rightly there would be all kinds of unseen extra costs, which indeed there were. He alone also voted against the Borough's 2004 tax increase. We sorely need this kind of local representative who questions priorities, is legitimately concerned about cost overruns, and can handle our resources and future growth responsibly. He has his ears open to what the people of Princeton want.
To the Editor:
A great thanks to the generous people of Princeton, Cranbury, West Windsor, Hamilton, Montgomery, Pennington, and Ewing for the success of the April 18 Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis at the Princeton Battlefield. The generosity of our community is demonstrated by the prayers, the concern, and the $100,000 raised by the participants. The entire amount will be used to fund research efforts to treat and cure this fatal disease. Thank you!
The newspaper is not large enough to list everyone who contributed but we will try: Dow Jones, the Distler family, the Caricato family, the McQuaid family, Futures and Options for Kids, the Witten-Nappi family, the Huber family, the Hartman family, the Wislar family, and the student jazz quartet from PHS. The delicious sandwiches were prepared and donated by the Vacarro-Everman family; the XS Energy Drink was donated by Deanna Jefferson.
The public and private school students set the course, distributed sandwiches, cookies, and tee shirts, and cleaned up the park. They organized dress down days and managed the publicity by posting signs everywhere.
McCaffrey's Markets in Princeton and West Windsor promoted paper "roses" for $1 donations. Roses are the symbol of this disease because when little children say Cystic Fibrosis, it sounds like "65 Roses." Water was donated by Wegmans Market. Pennington Market also contributed.
The course was marked in colorful signs sponsored by Louis Russo, D.D.S., photographer Natalie Caricato, The Pediatric Group, Joanne Reiffe Fishbane D.M.D., Kenneth Goldblatt M.D., Medical Center at Princeton, Nassau Street Seafood, Mark's Trackside Auto Repair, Omni Environmental Corp., Cranbury Design Group, Antonia's Restaurant, Potters Alley, The Daughters of Penelope, Bear Sterns, Princeton Eyecare, Princeton Real Estate Group, Jersey Shore Radiology, Styling Station, Sports Medicine of Princeton, the First Washington State Bank, The Princeton Group, and the Gallup Road neighborhood.
We are hopeful that the awareness and money raised by this event nationwide will change the meaning of the initials CF from Cystic Fibrosis to Cure Found. Those of us with children with Cystic Fibrosis are deeply touched by the warmth and generosity of the community. Thank you again!
MARY, PAUL, JOHN,
To the Editor:
The non-partisan Concerned Citizens predicted that the user-unfriendly garage would not be attractive to the majority of Princeton citizens and likely would not be fiscally sound. We never imagined, however, that the misguided promoters of it would also limit its use only to those Ph.D.'s who could figure out how to get in and out.
The first day it opened I stood at the entrance and watched people arrive as one of three or four attendants stopped them to tell them how to pay for it. (A simple way used to be to simply touch a button and get a ticket and on exit you paid the cost.) Now, first you must decide if you are going to pay by cash, credit card (Visa or Mastercard), or the new Smart Card. Of course, at this point you don't know what a Smart Card is. You then get a ticket for cash, nothing for either card inserted which is stored on a computer until you come out.
When you leave you have to go to a machine near the entrance where you re-insert the credit card, the Smart Card, or ticket where you pay the cash into the machine. You take that new transaction item with you, try to remember where you left your car, and when you exit you then re-insert the credit card, the Smart Card or the ticket.
Lest this isn't clear, it wasn't to most people going through, nor even to several of the attendants I talked to. Oh yes, the Smart Card. That's a debit card that you can store money in by feeding cash or credit card into an adjoining machine (or at Borough Hall). Then, how do you know how much money is left in the card when you return two days later? Oh, says the attendant, you can insert the card into the machine and see what your balance is. Now you're in bookkeeping.
When I asked one attendant if they were going to continue having to educate each driver as they entered, he said yes, for some time. "Then most people who are regulars will understand." Except, of course, those tourists and occasional users. Library users get an hour free but have to make these same choices as they enter, in case they linger.
Borough Council had other options to consider for parking they never followed through on. Now, I think it is only fair that each incumbent, with ex-Mayor Marvin Reed as chairman, take a shift at the entrance for four hours each day and try to instruct visitors on the unclear and unnecessary imposition on the patience of garage users. (Oh yes, the attendant told me, no one is around after midnight to help straighten you in or out). If I'm wrong on any of this I'll go back for a postgraduate course. Oh, happy daze. Oh, misguided Borough Council. Oh, for a simple parking meter.
To the Editor:
As president of the Women's College Club of Princeton, I wish to thank the many area merchants who generously contributed merchandise or services to the silent auction held at our annual Scholarship Benefit Luncheon on May 3 at the Present Day Club. Because of the support of the business community and our members, we are able each year to award college scholarships to outstanding young senior women in our local secondary schools.
Our heartfelt thanks go to the following merchants for their donations: Amalfi's Cuisine, Lawrenceville; Chevy's Fresh Mex, Lawrenceville; Friends Salon, Hopewell; Good Time Charley's, Kingston; Hot Locks, Kingston; La Principessa Ristorante, Kingston; Pennington Quality Market, Pennington; Peppi's Hair Design, Rocky Hill; Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center, Rocky Hill; Robinson's Fine Candies, Montgomery; ShopRite, Lawrenceville; Wegmans, Lawrenceville; and Blue Point Grill, Just Because Florists, McCaffrey's, Metropolis Hair Salon, and Zorba's Brother Restaurant, all of Princeton.
To the Editor:
I am writing to express the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad's gratitude to the patrons, employees, and management of the Alchemist & Barrister for their generous donation through the Long Beard Competition and Guest Bartenders this spring. The $3,100 donated by all involved is a tremendous boost in our efforts to provide high quality emergency services to the Princeton community.
Due to recent flood damage, the loss of an ambulance, and a $40,000 shortfall in our annual fund drive, these contributions are especially valuable as the Squad plans for the future. We are projecting an eight to nine percent increase in calls in 2004, and our members are dedicated to providing the highest quality of emergency medical and technical rescue services to the Princeton community. To owner Tom Schmierer and everyone who had a role in this contribution, thank you for supporting our organization.
To the Editor:
On May 25 at 7:30 p.m., Mayor and Council will continue the public hearing on Princeton Borough's 2004 municipal budget, begun April 27 when approximately 40 persons attended, many making constructive and pointed comments.
Those attending the three-hour April 27 hearing suggested among other things:
Interestingly, other than demands for greater contributions from tax-exempt organizations, few suggested that the Borough consider increasing non-tax revenues to reduce the Borough's dependence on municipal taxes as the primary source for paying for municipal services.
Non-tax revenues, including parking rates and fines, deserve another look. Over the last 15 years such revenues have increased at one third the increase in the municipal tax rate. By raising parking fees and fines, Borough taxpayers can shift the cost of municipal government from the homeowner and renter to the those who use our streets, including especially persons from out of town.
Pending further adjustments in the 2004 budget, Mayor and Council have directed the Borough administration to hold 2005 appropriations to 2004 levels, and to produce a 2005 budget this September, so that the effect of proposals to keep 2005 spending at 2004 levels can be analyzed well before the 2005 budget year begins on January 1.
These are constructive first steps toward multi-year budgeting. An increase in non-tax revenues, tied to relief to the taxpayer dollar for dollar, would be a welcome additional proposal which I hope the community would embrace.
Traditionally, members of the community have not participated much in public hearings on the municipal budget. Perhaps that is changing in Princeton Borough. It is encouraging to see greater public involvement in our municipal budgeting process.
To the Editor:
I am a resident of Jefferson Road and on a daily basis take my life in my hands either walking or driving through the various streets that cross Jefferson. I have been both witness and victim to hundreds of close calls at the streets that cross Jefferson and have been on the scene of quite a number of actual collisions. I have seen cars on their roof and in people's gardens at these same junctions and can only wonder what Township officials are waiting for to put an end to this situation.
The STOP signs at these cross streets do not work, and it is well past time that the Township realized this. It is only a matter of time before someone dies at one of these junctions, and then we will see swift action.
Perhaps the Township would consider some preventive measures instead, like better STOP signs with flashing lights, speed bumps, or rumble strips before the STOP signs. The ultimate solution would be to make all the cross streets on Jefferson four way stops, with speed bumps or rumble strips, a solution that would also slow down the traffic and make collisions less likely.
[I hope they] do something constructive before one of my neighbor's children or one of my own gets killed in their own front garden.
To The Editor:
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Princeton High School Athletics Hall of Fame dinner, sponsored by the Friends of Princeton Athletics (FOPA) and the Princeton Regional Schools.
First, let me express my appreciation to Bob "Fitzy" James (PHS '62), FOPA president and Hall of Fame master of ceremonies; my lifelong friend and "Jugtown" neighbor, Marc Anderson, Hall of Fame committee chair; and the rest of the Committee and FOPA members who put together a professionally-staged event in a pleasant setting and relaxing atmosphere. For me, my wife, and some out-of-town guests, the evening was like a reunion, seeing so many people that we hadn't seen for a long time, as well as those that we see more often around town. Let us hope that this wonderful event will lead to the development of a solid Princeton High School Alumni Association, which, for the most part, has been non-existent.
Second, what a thrill it was for me to witness the induction of so many worthy and notable athletes and coaches. They spanned the decades, from Albert Hinds '23 to Bram Reynolds '94, and included an Olympic gold medalist (Leslie Bush '65), a professional soccer player (Saskia Webber '89), a professional football player (Paul Miles '81), and a professional basketball player (Marvin Trotman '56). As for coaches and educators, they were, and are, legends Irwin Weiss (1940s-50s), Dick Wood '32, Tom Murray '54, and Mr. Trotman. The rest of the inductees All-County, All-State, All-Region, and some All-Americans exhibited, by example, the finest qualities of student athletes and team players. It was amazing and humbling for me to be among so many talented and genuine people. I encourage all people connected with Princeton High School to support FOPA, so that it may continue to build upon its hard work for the betterment of all the athletic programs and facilities at PHS and Princeton Regional Schools.
O. "BUFFALO" SMYTH, PHS '60
To The Editor:
The Spirit of Princeton will conduct the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags on June 14, Flag Day. This ceremony creates a dignified and solemn occasion for the retirement of unserviceable flags, according to the Flag Code, which states, "when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning. For individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration."
If your American flag is old, torn or moth-eaten, let The Spirit of Princeton dispose of it for you.
The drop-off box is located at The Flower Market, 26 1/2 Witherspoon Street.
Alternatively, those wishing to dispose of an old flag may bring it with them to a ceremony at Borough Hall at noon on June 14.
It you have any questions, call (609) 683-4008 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and ask for Ray.
To the Editor:
On Thursday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m., Princeton's Regional Planning Board will meet to hear the Arts Council's application for expansion. In its application, the Arts Council seeks every zoning variance applicable in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood.
For example, the size of the building will be doubled. The maximum lot coverage will be exceeded. Minimum building setbacks for both side and front yards will be violated. Inadequate arrangements are made for loading spaces and garbage pickup. No permanent provision is offered for off-street parking. The size and number of signs exceed what is permitted.
In short, the Arts Council's application disregards the zoning ordinances and the site plan regulations that would protect every other neighborhood in Princeton. Residents' attendance at Princeton Township Municipal Complex is needed to express concern regarding the Arts Council's application.
To the Editor:
Many of the letters to the editor about the expansion of the Arts Council in the Witherspoon-Jackson community are written in good faith. However, the history of our community should be well understood before assumptions and statements are made. First of all, many of the Arts Council's programs for this community are off site for children. Many adults in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood are not consistently invited to programs held in the building.
Second, the reason the building was constructed was to house the colored YMCA that existed in other buildings in the neighborhood before the building on the corner of Green and Witherspoon Streets was built. There were many other buildings and institutions other than the YMCA building and our churches where social events took place. Our history shows that this area between Jackson Street and Birch Avenue was designated for us; we did not choose to live in this area. (Many of our ancestors lived on Edgehill Road, Battle Road and other areas in Princeton.) This has been a community that served the more affluent families who only came into the Witherspoon-Jackson community to pick up the people who cleaned their houses, washed and ironed their clothes, and took care of their children.
Since we were not welcomed in stores and establishments beyond Wiggins Street, we had a thriving community of domestic workers, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, barbers, hair stylists, doctors, teachers, construction workers, cleaners, taxi drivers and lawyers. There was a school for colored children that had caring and well-informed teachers, four churches, and because our churches were places of worship, there had to be other institutions for activities and events. There were three fraternal organizations with their own buildings and several social clubs.
Our main concern has been the total disregard of the Arts Council's intent to build an oversized building on an already congested corner, the recognition for the name of the building, and for those in this community who, since the 1800s have been prominent figures in Princeton. There is no denial to move forward; just look at how Witherspoon Street will be improved from Wiggins Street to Birch Avenue. Our past has not been "bitter and difficult and ugly"; in fact the Witherspoon-Jackson area was a proud and productive community. It was the people through the years with their racist manners that made it bitter, difficult and ugly.
Having given the walking tour and shown slides of the African-American community in Princeton, and being one of many people in this neighborhood whose families have been in Princeton for generations, I strongly suggest that before any information is written about the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood that those who need to be informed talk with the many people in this neighborhood who will give you the correct information about an historic community and its residents who need to be respected, not patronized.
To the Editor:
The expansion of the Arts Council will not be a rebuke of the inglorious segregated past of Princeton. Rather, the unnecessary doubling of the size of the building will generate more burdens to the residents of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood in the short and long term. We will see the continued forced removal and gradual disappearing of the neighborhood in Princeton that has been most integrated. This process this disappearing act began with Princeton's urban renewal project called Palmer Square and the destruction of Jackson Street. The process continues today, not just with the Arts Council's expansion plans but with many other inter-related social, economic, and political factors and decisions that do not take seriously the needs and rights of the less affluent and less powerful. In the long run we will see the continued loss of racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity in this neighborhood because current residents and their children will not be able to afford to pay taxes and live here.
It is not hard for me to imagine the reason that the "Black Y" building was constructed. Many of the disparities that existed then are still present in Princeton and in American society more broadly. We have overcome some of the overt ills of the past but not all. Perhaps the most significant thing we have not yet achieved is the ability to be honest about the continuing legacies with which we struggle.
Let's be honest. The Arts Council needs a good and aesthetically pleasing renovation with some reasonable amount of additional space. It does not need to be doubled in size, to the detriment of the neighborhood, to the destruction of its history, and to the diminishing of the potential of its residents and succeeding generations to live here.
To the Editor:
This is a letter that I have been reluctant to write simply because of my continuing belief that good people will work together to arrive at a fair and equitable solution to an obvious wrong. Needless to say, my faith in the power of good people to do good things is shaken by the continuing determination on the part of the Arts Council to impose bad things on good people. In their public proclamations they portray themselves as good and charitable people working for the "disadvantaged" of the community. Admittedly a noble credo. But at what expense to the neighbors and the community?
The Arts Council is determined to build a "mega-building" in a "mini-neighborhood." We have all heard the voices of elected officials and our fellow citizens who express their outcry against "mega-mansions." How does the Arts Council pursue its quest for a "mega-building"? By insisting that the Regional Planning Board grant them variances from every possible zoning regulation, and such other variances and waivers of site plan regulations that may be required under the circumstances to build their building.
Unfortunately, many of the good people of the Arts Council are not seriously involved in arriving at an amicable solution to a serious problem. Peter Bienstock, a board member and spokesman for the Council, stated publicly that if the addition were proposed for a site across the street from his house, he, too, would be opposed (New York Times, Nov. 6, 1999). Many in the neighborhood welcome the Arts Council. But good people everywhere resent bad zoning violators.
To the Editor:
Over the course of many years the Arts Council's contributions to the Princeton community enriched the lives of young and old alike. Through a wide array of courses, programs, celebrations, and single events, this non-profit organization brought together a diverse array of our neighbors and colleagues to focus on the multiple dimensions of the arts. Accomplishing these objectives without appropriate facilities, indeed working around restrictions imposed by the WPA-era building, places a continual strain on teachers, pupils and the attending public. Since its construction and subsequent adaptations, Princeton has evolved with new immigrant groups, more students, and overall boasts a greater awareness of the importance of cultural and ethnic diversity.
That times change and broad community needs exist merit recognition by the critics of the proposed building. Parking is now feasible in three public facilities, all less than three minutes away. If need be, the streets immediately adjacent to the Arts Council could adopt a resident-only parking requirement, as exists elsewhere in the Borough. The scale of the new public library and parking garage suggests that the renovated and enlarged building will have an appropriate visual balance. Programmatic needs and building code requirements further underscore the urgency of moving ahead with the approvals. Further delays will only impoverish cultural life and opportunity for our residents. Especially for the hundreds of children benefiting annually from classes and programs, time is of the essence. They are children only once.
To the Editor:
Princeton's Arts Council offers area residents fine programs and adds greatly to our quality of life. I know; I have taught a writing class there since 2000 and served on the Arts Council's Literary Program Committee for several years.
Nevertheless, I oppose the Arts Council's expansion as currently proposed.
On May 20, the Arts Council will take that proposed expansion before Princeton's Regional Planning Board. There, despite final negotiations with the John-Witherspoon neighborhood initiated by Princeton Future, despite SPRAB's recommendation that the Arts Council's expansion reflect only its actual program, and despite a survey of nearly 200 Arts Council neighbors that showed 95 percent support for reducing the proposed 19,000 square foot building by 25 percent, the Arts Council will present plans very little changed from those that failed last year and changed not at all to reflect recent negotiations, SPRAB, or the survey.
Princetonians outside the John-Witherspoon neighborhood may think the neighbors' objections to the proposed expansion are due only to a history of racism. To me, they seem perfectly reasonable responses from a neighborhood asked to accept every possible zoning variance: lot coverage, setbacks, parking provisions, and the like. Much of the proposed expansion, moreover, is clearly unrelated to the Arts Council's modest program of teaching, performing, and exhibiting. And the rooms unrelated to the Arts Council's program are identified as having only one use: a theater lobby one board member identified as "meet-and-greet" space, a room dedicated to deliberations of the Arts Council's governing board, a Communiversity Room holding a library of as-yet unpurchased art books that should be shelved instead in a staffed area.
An organization ought not ask for zoning variances without first considering how to make the most efficient use of the space it seeks.
These single-purpose rooms, finally, are clustered at the Paul-Robeson Place end of the proposed new building, in or next to Michael Graves' signature rotunda. Which came first, the iconic rotunda and then the question of what to do with it, or the idea of a Communiversity Room and then a rotunda to put it in? One can sympathize with the Arts Council's trustees. How they must have yearned to expand and improve the Arts Council's facilities and give Princeton a major building on a prominent corner lot by its best-known architect. But no residential neighborhood should be forced to accept zoning variances on an already non-complying building merely to host an icon of postmodern architecture. Not mine, not yours, and not the John-Witherspoon neighborhood.
ANNE WALDRON NEUMANN Alexander Street
To the Editor:
We are afraid that people are not aware of how important it is to support the Arts Council in its effort to serve us better.
If the proposed renovation of the Arts Council of Princeton does not become a reality, the entire community will be poorer for it. We are in desperate need of a suitable venue for community performance, the practice of studio arts for adults and children, exhibitions, film screenings, and arts demonstrations.
The improved facility will bring with it a tremendous opportunity for the entire community to expand their cultural horizons as both practitioners and audience. What is more, an enhanced and more productive Arts Council facility can enrich Princeton in the material sense as well. It is an economic given that enhanced arts and cultural centers are good for the health of surrounding businesses. As has been amply demonstrated in other communities, a thriving arts center generates commerce, a critical need at a time when the proliferation of malls and suburban centers threaten the heart of downtown Princeton. Enhancing the local arts community will, in fact, help preserve Nassau Street as a thriving downtown and, as such, indirectly contribute to our tax base.
Over the years, many of us have participated in writing, music, community, and charitable programs, and enjoyed countless exhibitions and entertainments free films, concerts, and other programs at the Arts Council often under make-do circumstances because of the building's limitations. Arts in Princeton will be better in an improved setting.
The present building cannot accommodate the artistic programs so valued and badly needed in this community. In the past, events such as a community dance, writers' forums, art shows, and film screenings displayed the inadequacy of the present facility. With proper spaces for such enriched programs, the Arts Council could nourish cultural diversity and make a major contribution to the intellectual richness of this community. Arts in Princeton will he better in an improved setting.
Support of the Arts Council would define Princeton as a place where art matters.