B. LEVIN, M.D.
Victorious Candidates Offer Thanks To Colleagues, Voters, and Families
To the Editor:
We have the opportunity to keep one part of the Writers Block right here in town, and honor Barbara Sigmund at the same time. The help of supportive citizens is all that is needed to make it happen.
Our neighbor, Polly Burlingham, went to the Writers Block auction on October 30, took a big risk, and bid $4,000, the winning bid, for the Sigmund Folly. Polly is the master gardener who has donated countless hours to keep the Sigmund Park on Hamilton Avenue flowering year-round. She thought that the Sigmund Folly deserved to be part of the Sigmund Park, and she was willing to go out on a limb to make that a reality.
Those of us who remember Barbara Sigmund know that she would have loved the wonderful imagination of Writers Block. She would have been delighted to have the whimsical Sigmund Folly grace her park. She would have loved the public-spiritedness and beauty of Polly's creative efforts at Sigmund Park.
In addition to the $4,000 purchase price, it's going to cost approximately $1,600 to move and reassemble the Sigmund Folly a total of $5,600. We are appealing to Princeton residents to contribute to Polly's community-minded endeavor. Please join those of us who have already contributed by sending a donation, made out to Borough of Princeton, with the check notation "Sigmund Folly," and mail it to Sigmund Folly, c/o Polly Burlingham, 28 Scott Lane, Princeton 08540. Donors will be invited to a special Installation party, details of which will be announced at a later date.
Any funds that are left over will go to the purchase of "Barbara's Bulbs," to be included among the plantings that Polly envisions for the park's future.
To the Editor:
Veterans Day will be observed this Thursday, November 11. A ceremony arranged by the Spirit of Princeton Committee will be conducted that morning in Princeton at 11 a.m. in front of the All Wars Monument at the corner of Mercer and Nassau Streets. The public is invited to attend.
Mayors Joseph O'Neill of Princeton Borough and Phyllis Marchand of Princeton Township will join area military veterans and the general public to pay homage to all who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States. James J. Kuzmick, a retired Marine Corps Colonel and a 1969 graduate of Princeton University, will be the featured speaker. He is a former Naval aviator with over 300 combat flight hours in the A-7 Corsair II attack aircraft. The Rev. Richard Armstrong, emeritus professor of Princeton Theological Seminary and a World War Two Navy veteran, will offer the benediction.
Veterans Day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day in commemoration of the armistice that ended World War One at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). At that time, the terrible carnage inflicted during the war (over 11 million casualties) was believed to have made it "the war to end all wars." However, following World War Two and the Korean conflict, President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 changed November 11 from "Armistice Day" to "Veterans Day." And in 1975, President Gerald Ford appropriately declared, "The important purpose of Veterans Day is a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."
The Spirit of Princeton Committee is a dedicated group of unpaid volunteers who organize the following civic events in Princeton: Memorial Day Parade, Flag Day, Independence Day Fireworks, and the Veterans Day Ceremony.
To the Editor:
A month ago my brother, Frank Pietrinferno, died. I realize now how little his friends know about the important work he had done in establishing the open space around his family farm at 1255 Edinburg Road in West Windsor. The farm is still called the "Blyman Farm" and it is for all of us to walk and enjoy now. What is unique about it for West Windsor is the view from the top of the hill.
Without his work that whole quadrant from Old Trenton Road to South Lane wouldn't have been saved from the next big developer coming over the hill. The 100-acre farm cut through the heart of it. The farm could have been a developer's keystone piece. Without it the other pieces were too small to assemble for big time development.
Frank waved a signed real estate contract from a developer under the Township's nose to finally get them to be reasonable about what they'd pay a farmer for his land. Then, he saw the whole thing through with the help of others he was close to. All the other pieces fell in place. For his work he became recognized as a "Special Friend of West Windsor Open Space."
At his funeral, I had asked that when residents take that walk to the top of the hill, above the stream called Bride Groom Run, they remember the vision of Frank and the Blyman family. They preserved that special place for almost a century. The original farmer, Joe Blyman, the former head of the Planning Board, would be proud. Up there you can't even hear a car on a nearby road. I encourage all residents to walk up there some time, up that farmer's lane to where the original house overlooked West Windsor. A friend of Frank's still keeps his bees there.
All too often the work we do is forgotten and the essence of the person disappears, especially during church services that I have attended, at funerals, and in obituaries. Prayer and stories of persons of organized religion just seem to take over. I encourage everyone instead to look for what was special about the person they lost and what made them proud of knowing that person as a human. We should come to celebrate that more often in our services. Stories of what the person did with each of us could be written down for the family and presented, rather than just a book of signatures of who attended.
Kristin Appleget, a good friend of Frank's, tells me that the site on that hill in West Windsor is now being considered as a place for scouting. How fitting for the place that its use may eventually celebrate the man who led a tribal dance there for the scouts on the edge of the Assunpink 40 years ago. His arrowhead collections from the banks of the stream are extensive. Does anyone else know that he was Mohawk, and even able to rejoin the tribe? How fitting. Let's let the scouts in that place know the difference one man with a vision can make.
To the Editor:
A huge "thank you" is due to Tracy, Ed, and Alex Shehab, who generously and graciously hosted Halloween Scavenger Hunt participants to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Mercer County. The Shehabs designed, organized and orchestrated the entire fun-filled afternoon, including bus transportation to and from Princeton and a buffet dinner at the conclusion of the Hunt. Our appreciation also goes out to all the Princeton merchants and passers-by who happily participated in each scavenger team's acquisitions at the spontaneous request of a costumed team member.
CASA is a Mercer County non-profit which trains community volunteers to gather information about and speak up in court for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Tracy Shehab is a CASA volunteer. In this world of strife, it is refreshing to see that good begets good.
To learn more about CASA, visit www.casamercer.org or call (609) 637-4910.
B. LEVIN, M.D.
To the Editor:
I write regarding the proposed installation of sidewalks on Snowden Lane between Rollingmead and Franklin. My family lives on Leabrook Lane. We have two children who attend both Littlebrook Elementary School and The Jewish Center for religious school. Our children walk to both schools. The trip to Littlebrook is all on sidewalks. Unfortunately, the trip to the Jewish Center includes the portion of Snowden in question, which does not have sidewalks. Many other families walk on Snowden to the Jewish Center from surrounding streets. As a regular walker on Snowden, I can say that a sidewalk is an absolute necessity for safety reasons. This is particularly true because the road curves at Franklin and Snowden, limiting the visibility. Thus, it is dangerous to walk in the road below that intersection. The Township is absolutely correct in its intentions to install a sidewalk.
I have read the letters to the editor alleging that the canopy trees would be lost and claiming that Snowden is a country road. However, as the Township noted, most of the large growth trees are on the other side of Snowden and therefore would not be affected. Furthermore, Snowden has become a thoroughfare with constant traffic that frequently exceeds the speed limit. If a sidewalk were installed, the sight of pedestrians, whose numbers would increase, would not only encourage drivers to slow down but would also act as a visible reminder to drivers that they are in a neighborhood.
Finally, if money is the issue which I believe it is there must be a way to equitably share the cost of the sidewalk. While new sidewalks would certainly raise the property values of the neighbors on Snowden, it would also improve the lives of all of us living on the surrounding streets. For these reasons, I would be willing to pay my share for the sidewalks and I suspect that others share my view. Perhaps spreading the cost throughout a larger area, such as a surrounding radius of a half-mile, would address the cost issue and result in a nominal charge to all of us.
Thus, I ask for the Borough and Township to recognize that the lack of a sidewalk on this portion of Snowden Lane presents a safety risk to pedestrians that must be addressed. The only real question is how to pay for this sidewalk in an equitable way.
To the Editor:
I am an eighth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School. Recently, several students tried to organize an event asking students to wear pajama bottoms to school. This is very similar to other John Witherspoon traditions such as "hat day" or "tie day." On October 21, about 10 to 15 students came to school wearing full-length pajama pants. The administration, which should have known about this in advance because of posters on the walls, reacted harshly to the students' clothing, and threatened punishment. They said the clothes were "inappropriate" because "they would give the boys ideas." I think it is illogical for pajamas to be against the dress code because extra skin is not exposed.
I hope that in the future, creative ideas the students have like "pajama day" will be allowed.
To the Editor:
Town Topics' article of October 20 regarding the Title IX lawsuit brought against the Princeton Board of Education by female softball and hockey players raises some serious concerns. You reported that "at a facilities meeting held by members of the School Board at the end of September, the school's attorney, Paul C. Kalac, made a statement that the district is not in direct violation of Title IX," but the inequality "may warrant a finding of unequal facilities" if brought to Court. Mr. Kalac is splitting hairs that simply cannot be split. Does Title IX provide for any lesser damages for "indirect" violations compared to "direct" violations? Either the conditions under which male and female student athletes compete are a violation of Title IX, or they are not; the level of "directness" just does not matter.
The Princeton Board of Education has been publicly advised by its own attorney that it is likely to be found in violation of Title IX, but has chosen to head down a course of costly litigation which could expose it to damage awards of at least $1.8 million, and would require the Board to pay significant counsel fees to the plaintiffs' attorneys if successful. The Board was not elected to waste taxpayer money, and this is money that could be better spent in other areas, such as making the corrections the families are seeking. By stubbornly forcing the Federal Court to review an issue where they are likely to lose, this Board is sitting on an "0-2" pitch, and about to strike out. And everyone, especially the students, will lose.
To the Editor:
I thank everyone who helped me in my re-election campaign. Your efforts were extraordinary and deeply appreciated. Winning an election is a team effort and the victory could not have been accomplished without your dedication and organized commitment. Special recognition to treasurer Scott Carver; advertising and issues strategist Roz Denard; and fund-raisers and party hosts Pam Enslin, Beth Healey, the Gordons, and the Chughs. Young Dan and Ben Taub helped with our endorsement ad. I hope these students saw the positive side of politics and the respectable job of a public servant.
Compliments to our opponents Irene White and Paul Kapp. They ran an issue-oriented campaign, and I am sure all Princetonians appreciated the civility of this contest.
Lance Liverman was a perfect running mate and will be a wonderful addition to the Township Committee. I am happy and we are all very fortunate to have his service.
I have served Princeton Township for 18 years and am still as enthusiastic and committed to our community as I was when first elected. I have had difficult decisions to make and no doubt more are on the horizon. I pledge to be completely educated on each issue and give my time to the various sides before reaching a conclusion.
I have striven for balance and diversity in our community by weighing issues of open space and development, environmental priorities, and varied housing opportunities. I will continue to explore all avenues for grants to help lessen the tax burden and will endeavor to maintain the financially responsible budgeting that has earned Princeton Township a triple A (AAA) bond rating.
My accessibility to all will not diminish nor will my passion when I take the oath of office in January to "solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, and [to] perform the duties of Princeton Township Committeewoman faithfully, impartially and justly, to the best of my ability."
Thank you for your trust and for the honor to serve you again.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people of Princeton Borough for electing me to serve as a member of Princeton Borough Council for the next three years. I also want to congratulate Roger Martindell on winning re-election. I look forward to working with Roger as well as Mayor O'Neill and all of my Council colleagues.
In my campaign, I had the opportunity to speak to a great number of residents. I found that many shared the same concern that rising property taxes would force them to leave this wonderful community. As a Council Member, I promise to continue to work to rein in Borough expenses and control property taxes. We need to preserve the diversity and vitality of Princeton.
I would like to thank my Republican opponent, Evan Baehr, for his spirited run for local office. I wish him the best, and I am confident that he will remain politically active wherever his future takes him.
I also wish to thank Craig Provorny, Shirley Kauffman, Marvin Reed, Dorothy Mullen, John Borden, and Kristina Johnson for their help in my campaign. And I would like to express my deep appreciation to my wife, Laurie Harmon, for her love and constant support.
My heart is filled with gratitude and pure joy for the many Democrats, Republicans and Independents who cast their vote for me. This newly acquired responsibility is something that I take very seriously. I am looking forward to working with the current Princeton Township Committee and believe that I can help make a difference.
This campaign could not have happened if it were not for all of the financial support and words of encouragement I received from a number of different people. I want to especially thank Phyllis Marchand for being such an effective team player and a dedicated partner in this campaign. I want to thank Scott Carver for being so efficient as our treasurer. Special thanks to the following for going above and beyond the call of duty: Beth Healey, Pam Enslin, Paula and Noel Gordon, Dan Kirton, Dan Preston, Michele Tuck-Ponder, Minnie Rhodes, Carl Brown, Caroline Fury, Caroline Mitchell, Roz Denard, Suresh and Sudesh Chugh, Al and Phyllis Phox, and Viola and Robert Randolph. This campaign would not have been possible if it were not for my lovely wile, LaTonya Kilpatrick-Liverman, and my two daughters Kelsey and Ashlyn.
I thank all those who voted on November 2 to allow me another opportunity to serve Princeton Borough residents and taxpayers as a Councilman.
I also thank Kristina Johnson for hosting the Democratic fund-raiser, John Borden for serving as campaign treasurer, and my running mate, Andrew Koontz, for his leadership. They don't necessarily subscribe to all of what I do or say, but they have been wonderfully supportive.
I pledge to work to reduce the increasing tax pressure on Borough taxpayers, and I pledge to continue advocating for residents who are tenants, hourly wage earners, disabled, recent immigrants, or, for whatever reason, find it more and more difficult to live in our increasingly expensive and exclusionary community. These pledges will be best achieved not simply by demonstrating good will in dispensing municipal services, but by increasing the Borough's non-tax revenues, reducing non-essential municipal services, and promoting consolidation of services with Princeton Township. Nothing will do more to help Princeton Borough resist becoming a golden ghetto.
I would particularly welcome the opportunity to engage those residents and voters who, because they are registered Republicans, members of Concerned Citizens, or otherwise may feel they receive short shrift from the local political establishment. My door is always open.
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