AND MARGOT SOUTHERLAND
To the Editor:
As a new colleague of Harriet Bryan on the Princeton Community Housing board, I thank you for sharing the story of her 35-year-long commitment to assuring that Princeton welcomes people of all ages and incomes with decent affordable housing.
The number of volunteer hours that Harriet and other long-time PCH trustees Jim Floyd and Ted Vial have devoted to this goal is staggering. Others may want to help, but can't volunteer their time. Another avenue to take is to donate money. Federal programs, municipal contributions, local foundations, and generous donors will all help defray building costs for the 68 new apartments for seniors at Elm Court, but a funding gap remains.
Princeton Community Housing invites all who wish to affirm their support for affordable housing in our community to contribute towards the costs of developing the Elm Court addition. Tax-deductible contributions of any amount may be mailed to Princeton Community Housing, c/o K.M. Light, 245 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542.
To the Editor:
The bad news is that land in New Jersey is being developed at the rapid rate of about 50 acres a day. But, there is some good news to report. About a seven-mile drive from downtown Princeton is the new Plainsboro Preserve, New Jersey Audubon Society's most recently acquired nature sanctuary. We heartily recommend a visit. The entrance is off Scotts Corner Road, in turn off Dey Road.
The Preserve, over 630 acres (in effect 1,000 acres because of its juxtaposition with some Plainsboro open space), has hiking trails through multi-habitats available from dawn to dusk. There is also a snappy-looking Environmental Education Center, open daily except Monday, with a wonderful nature store (feeders, nature field guides, optics, etc.), exhibits, a lecture hall, reference library, reception area, and an expansive deck overlooking McCormack Lake.
The Sanctuary Director, Brian Vernacio, and his staff of naturalists, offer a variety of workshops, programs for children, and nature field trips, not only in the Preserve but also to various other locations within the state and sometimes outside the state.
If you enjoy the great outdoors, the Plainsboro Preserve is for you.
AND MARGOT SOUTHERLAND
To the Editor:
There are still too many deer in Princeton. They are roaming along our streets day and night, "recycling" our flower beds, and leaving lime ticks behind.
But it's not only deer. There are geese that make picnic areas slippery and nest-robbing squirrels controlling the songbird population. Two years ago, we trapped 15 of them in our backyard and shipped them to some distant woods. Something must be done. But, first, read what happened to me this year.
When I write, I sit in our upstairs octagonal bay window, a stately Japanese maple providing shade in the summer. But this tree also provides seeds for the squirrels to feed on. One of those squirrels knows me by now. It is the same one that pokes deep holes in my front lawn to hide its reserves. I tell it to get a safe deposit box at the bank in town but it only tilts its head and scampers on. Sometimes, that squirrel climbs to a branch close to my window. There it sits for many minutes observing me writing at the computer keyboard. Finally it looks as if it wants to ask me something.
"Why do you always scratch at the same place with your paws where you dont find anything to eat?"
"That's not the way to support yourself and save for hard times or old age," it continues in an almost patronizing way. Had it heard me talking like that to my sons?
"You must apply yourself, jump around, search here and there where it makes sense. That's the way to find good things." And off it jumps just to the next branch starting to munch on some seeds and looking over its shoulder to make sure that I got the point.
It does that three or four times, always returning to my window. Then it sighs and gives up on me and goes after its own business, leaving me behind to keep scratching the old keyboard. In gratitude, I put some walnuts out on the ground under the maple tree.
In the fall, when it gets cold outside as soon as the early nights approach, the roles are inverted. A mild light emanates from my warm office. Then, the squirrel comes up and sits there in the cold, looking and thinking, its head slightly tilted again. But as if to prove that it is not all on the wrong side, it jumps down to the lawn, retrieves a nut from one of those holes, and disappears in its nest of fall leaves high above in a tree, not without turning around and looking at me in triumph one last time.
I think I will let this buddy of mine stay here in town to share the world with meand I will learn to enjoy the wild side of Princeton for a change.
To the Editor:
Last week's mail brought to the parents of students in the Princeton Regional School District a written communication from the district concerning the status of the school construction in our various schools. I would like to comment on one specific item in this communication.
Here is that item. "Has an alternative to 'smelly' adhesives been found?" I truly wish the only problem with the adhesive referred to was an odor problem; however that is the least of anyone's worries. The product referred to is GenFlex Bonding Adhesive, a roofing adhesive. Detailed information is available on this product through something called a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
The MSDS for this product states that 50 percent to 75 percent of this product is toluene, 5 percent to 20 percent is hexane, and another 5 percent to 20 percent is heptane. The MSDS also lists two potential health effects for this product:
"Eyes: Vapors, fumes or particles will cause eye irritation. Symptoms include redness, swelling, tearing and blurred vision.
"Inhalation: This product is harmful or fatal if inhaled. Inhalation of vapors may cause irritation of the respiratory tract. Other symptoms may include signs of central nervous system depression involving weakness, dizziness, giddiness, loss of coordination and judgment. Severe over-exposure may cause coma and death due to respiratory failure. This product contains significant amounts of n-hexane, which can damage the peripheral nervous system and produce paralysis, numbness or tingling in the extremities."
I point this out since vapors and fumes from this product have been in both Johnson Park and Littlebrook Schools while students, staff, and teachers were in the buildings. This has occurred during roofing operations and also from containers thrown from the roof lying outside classroom fresh air intakes. The school district is aware of these dangers and past unsafe practices. Yet this is lightly treated as a "smelly" adhesive, and this type of work can't be done when schools are closed? That students were exposed to this once was a major mistake; that it has happened more then once in an effort to save dollars is unforgivable. Safety, not dollars or schedule, needs to be the top priority.
Honest communication is also needed. I believe the information on this issue from the school district is very misleading. I expect better from our s chool district. I also expect that I can send my children to their school without having to worry about their safety from this constructionevery day.