A EDGE JR.
To the Editor:
On behalf of the YWCA Princeton, I want to thank the Princeton community for so generously supporting "Noche de Danza A Latin Extravaganza," a gala event on May 12 to benefit the YWCA's ESL Literacy Initiative. The well-attended and festive evening at The Tournament Players Club at Jasna Polana raised funding important to the YWCA's comprehensive ESL Literacy program that encompasses the services of the Child Care Center at the Valley Road School as well as ESL Literacy classes.
The YWCA Princeton extends special thanks to June Pecora, Pamela Bristol, Mb Barber, Susan Carril, Jane Dennison, Suzanne Dyckman, Margee Harper, Alisha Hastings-Kimball, Judy Klitgaard, Marie Matthews, Suzanne McCroskey, Harriette McLoughlin, Doodie Meyer, Barbara Purnell, Carol Salus, Marge Smith, Barbara Straut, and Andrea Taylor for their special talents, hard work, and dedication as part of the benefit committee.
The executive chef at Jasna Polana, Ryan Dionne, Scott Anderson of the Lawrenceville Inn, David Erolano of Chambers Walk, and Karen Child of Village Bakery presented a carefully chosen and finely crafted four-course gourmet dinner steeped in Latin flavors. The YWCA also appreciates the in-kind contributions of the Flower Station, Kale's Nursery, Mb Barber Designs, McCaffrey's Wine and Spirits, MSM Graphics, Salsa Georgia Dance, Starbucks Coffee, and The Winged Pig.
The YWCA Princeton's ESL Literacy Initiative serves low-income, limited literacy, non-English speaking families, especially mothers and their children, in the Princeton area. Proceeds from the fund-raiser will help provide early education and cultural enrichment to pre-school children at the Child Care Center at the Valley Road School to assure that they achieve school success and kindergarten readiness. Many of the families in the program receive scholarship assistance that will be supported by the May 12 event.
For adult family members, The YWCA's ESL Literacy Initiative provides classes at minimal rates so that participants can attain greater self-sufficiency and be active educational partners with their children.
The YWCA Princeton deeply appreciates the generous support of corporations, foundations, and agencies which have helped to fund the ESL Literacy Initiative, including Bristol Myers-Squibb, Family and Children's Services of Central New Jersey, Grad Group of YWCA Princeton, Healing House, J. Seward Johnson Sr. Trust, Losam Fund, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Mercer County, PNC Bank, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Rotary Club of Princeton, The Fred C. Rummel Foundation, The Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation, Starbucks Foundation, Tyco International, and United Way of Mercer County.
On a personal note, as I have recently assumed my responsibilities with the YWCA Princeton, I am deeply moved by the extensive involvement of the community with the worthwhile work and life-altering programs of the YW. I am particularly gratified to see the eagerness with which corporations, volunteers, members, and supporters embrace the many undertakings of the YWCA to provide opportunities for women and their children to learn and grow.
Thank you, the Princeton community, for your open hearts and generous support.
DIANTHA JOHNSON ALLENBY
To the Editor:
On May 7 the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) enjoyed a spirited Kentucky Derby Day Party to benefit the PSRC. Many thanks are in order for making this day a great success, especially to the board of trustees and staff for all their hard work. We are very appreciative of our corporate patrons and sponsors, and wish to thank them publicly. McCaffrey's Markets, the Princeton Packet, Acorn Glen, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Patriot Media, Pennswood Village, PNC Bank, Princeton HealthCare System, RBC Dain Rauscher, Stonebridge at Montgomery, Buckingham Place, and Mason Griffin & Pierson all gave generously.
We are also grateful to those who donated prizes for our silent auction and festivities: Bon Appetit, Chico's, CJ's Variety, Inc., Construction Management Services-Cliff Tyler, EY Staats, Forest Jewelers, Go for Baroque, Kitchen Kapers, Luttmans Luggage, J. McLaughlin, Masala Grill, Nassau Club, Personal Paperwork Solutions, Peterson's Nursery Garden Center, Piccadilly, Princeton Public Library Store, Ricchard's Shoes, Simon Pearce, Ten Thousand Villages, The Cafe, The Ferry House, Thomas Sweet, Wegmans, The Winged Pig, Zazendi.com, and many individual donors from our board and community.
Thanks go also to The Occasional Dixieland Band for their great music.
The success of this event will help the Princeton Senior Resource Center to continue to provide enriching cultural, educational, health, and social service programs that benefit the seniors of our community, as well as their families and caregivers.
To the Editor:
Reading letters from those who have opposed the municipal parking garage and other construction surrounding Princeton's beautiful new library, it appears to me that most of them live within walking distance of downtown. I can understand why some people might want to preserve the downtown for themselves. But I'm not sure that sentiment has been shared by the merchants and restaurateurs who have lost business due to the parking difficulties experienced by those of us who cannot walk from our homes to downtown Princeton.
Now that the municipal parking garage has been mostly completed, I would like to comment on how much I have enjoyed using it. Having a sheltered, affordable place to park without fear of being ticketed for overtime parking has made my frequent visits a genuine pleasure, rather than a chore. I look forward to the completion and opening of the plaza next to the library and to the restaurant and stores that will be behind it.
The plaza, storefronts, and apartments are already much more attractive to me than the ugly old parking lot that was in that location for so many years. I'm also grateful that the Borough Council will not be allowing smokers to ruin the outdoor experience for those of us who are allergic to smoke.
Despite my mostly positive experience with the new municipal garage, I do have several suggestions that I believe will further improve it for minimal cost.
Motorists who enter the parking garage from the library side, and who are driving mid-size or larger cars, cannot get close enough to the ticket dispensing machine to reach it without opening their car doors, thus slowing things down. Motorists who are lined up behind cars trying to exit the garage on the library side usually block other motorists from using the Spring Street exit. There are simple solutions to these problems.
Reverse direction of the one-way driveway next to the library and have cars enter the garage to the left of the exit instead of to its right. This can be done by reversing the present library-side parking lot entrance and exit, so cars waiting to leave the parking building will be on the left, leaving the garage. Having the cars line up on the left, stops those cars from blocking the Spring Street exit for anyone parked above the lowest levels. An added benefit would be that the book and AV drop boxes can be located next to the library building instead of in their current location across the driveway. The increasing use of the municipal garage is a testament to its value in our community. With these minor adjustments, it can be even better.
A EDGE JR.
Human Rights Film Festival Brought More Than 1,000 Viewers to Library
To the Editor:
Violations of human rights occur just about everywhere one looks for them. Consequently, the subject of human rights is of central importance to every human being on the planet. We need to learn what our human rights are, engage in their evolution, insist on respect for them, and keep ourselves informed about local and international affairs relevant to them. In the final analysis, ordinary people define human rights, benefit from them, and instruct governments, world leaders, and international organizations on their observance.
It was in this spirit that the Princeton Public Library inaugurated the first Human Rights Film Festival from May 12 to May 15, where 1,080 people watched and discussed 15 films over the four-day period. As an institution dedicated to free public information and education, the Library seems an ideal forum in which to stimulate discussion on the subject of human rights; and the medium of film, so accessible and appealing, seems an equally ideal means of accomplishing this.
Thanks are owed to the organizing committee, the staff at the Public Library, the Friends of the Public Library, the local press, and the many members of the community who helped to make this so successful. I would also like to thank our co-sponsors: Global Cinema Café, Princeton University, ABC Literacy, Amnesty International-local chapter, P.O.V. (PBS), and National Video Resources for their generous contributions.
The films at the Festival covered broad territory. Yes, there was brutality and wickedness in the films, but there was also love, forgiveness, kindness, courage, and wisdom. We hope that after experiencing these four days of films, people will be inspired to be agents of positive change locally and globally. Perhaps this is what Einstein meant when he said, "remember your humanity and forget the rest."
We invite all to continue the conversation about human rights in a forum on Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Library. Please watch for more information.
Note: The following is an Open Letter to members of the Princeton Regional Planning Board.
To the Editor:
I have closely followed the activities of Princeton Future since its initial meeting in the fall of 2000. For the next two years I attended all of their public meetings, and was fascinated by the unfolding view of Princeton and the efforts of so many citizens to understand and solve the problems of the downtown. Now, as a member of the steering committee of Princeton Future, I have a deeper understanding of the goals and procedures of this citizens' group. Starting in September, they began to focus on the evolution of Witherspoon Street and the eventual development of the hospital site after the hospital moves. I have great respect for their public work.
Since the fall, Princeton Future's many public meetings and workshops have attracted a wide spectrum of ideas from the residents of the hospital neighborhood and the town. A volunteer Advisory Group drawn from these participants has worked hard and in good faith to draw planning guidelines and a range of concept plans for the site. This whole undertaking represents a high level of civic cooperation in addressing a complex problem that impacts us all. It is exactly this kind of broad-based, inclusive involvement of citizens that can lead to wise planning.
For these reasons I urge the Regional Planning Board to continue the public process begun at its April 21 meeting. The report to be given by Princeton Future on May 26 represents an important engagement by the public in the discussion of the hospital site. The public has spoken through all the meetings held by Princeton Future. This public voice should be given ample time to be heard before specific options are brought forth by other groups.
To the Editor:
On Saturday, May 14 at McCarter Theatre, ten students from the Trenton After School Program (TASP) appeared on stage in the 2005 First Stage Festival. McCarter's education director Christopher Parks and his staff drove to Trenton twice a week for four months to give TASP students drama and stage lessons, culminating in the live performance with professional actors.
McCarter Theatre did this for free.
Last year Passage Theatre gave us the same gift.
TASP students take swimming lessons at Princeton University; they're sent to overnight camp at the Lawrenceville School; and they recently raised $900 for Muscular Dystrophy children of South Jersey.
We have 75 students enrolled in kindergarten through seventh grade, and everyone receives financial aid.
Want to read more about gangs or why TASP kids aren't joining them? Go to www.trentonafterschoolprogram.org.
To the Editor:
Last week's news was that Princeton Borough Council was able to pass a new budget with spending at the same level as last year. Despite that remarkable feat, the Borough budget taxes are still going up $.05 per hundred dollars of assessed property value. When combined with the School expense budget increases, the Borough taxes are going up a total $.14 per hundred.
The Council and the School Board are congratulating themselves on a job well done. What is not being said is that the tax increase for home owners for next year is a whopping 8.8 percent. Have any of you received an 8.8 percent pay increase this year? Have you retirees received an 8.8 percent increase in retirement benefits this year?
I do not know a single person who is not distressed by what is going on with our taxes. We have received record tax increases over the past several years to pay for the school construction and now an additional 8.8 percent. When the Council and the School Board talk about "pennies per hundred" and "average assessed values" they hide the hard calculations.
There is one very quick and relatively painless solution that could hold down taxes is future years. It is time to end the duplication of government services for the 14,000 Borough residents and the 16,000 Township residents. Our community of 30,000 can barely afford one city government, and for us to have to support two is ludicrous. The merger could be phased in so that the pain to our dedicated community workers would not be severe, and in many cases like the police department the size of the combined force would be the same as the two individual departments. But surely, the best way to really care about our community expenses is to eliminate the duplication that created the Township and Borough Halls.
My bet is that the only vigorous defense of the two governments will come from the elected officials themselves.
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