Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 36
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
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Another Valley Road Alum Calls for Saving “Magical” Valley Road School

Carol Sinkler
Trenton

Out With the Old, In With the New? For VR School This Mustn’t Be True

Alice Hay-Tolo

Viburnum Court. Lawrenceville

Annual Backpack and School Supply Drive Gives Students in Need Brand-New Gear

Cynthia Mendez, ED
Anastasia R. Mann, chair
Princeton Human Services

We’ve Learned. We’ve Grown. We’ve Changed. We Can No Longer Afford Separate Governments

Marvin R. Reed
Former Mayor, Princeton Borough

Mayor Trotman Thanks Staff, Volunteers For Protecting Town During Hurricane

Mildred Trotman
Mayor, Princeton Borough


Another Valley Road Alum Calls for Saving “Magical” Valley Road School

To the Editor

The two Princetons are fortunate that consolidation provides us with a unique opportunity to manage more effectively the fiscal crunch that confronts all governments in New Jersey.

Valley Road School was a magical place for me growing up in Princeton in the 60s. We had caring loving teachers that were there for us. The respect for one another as well as for the teachers was always given from the principal, to the teachers, to the students. The teachers would always be there to guide, nurture, and discipline you in any way possible because you felt the care and love they had for you. I could name almost every one of them because they had such a profound impact on my life. In the summertime the teachers and my father Bob Sinkler even ran the playgrounds. I became a director at Littlebrook playground when I came of age because of their love and dedication. The values and ethics we received from our teachers were the same as our parents and many adults of the era worked together to keep our community safe and loving.

Valley Road’s history needs to be preserved and passed down to future generations. If you listen to the building you can still feel the love and even some of the children’s laughter of past generations. Our future generations need to hear that because love and care is getting lost in technology. People seem to be last on the priority list, when they should be first. Our society is crying out for love and we must answer the call. Our constitution states that when the people find that our direction has faltered then it is the responsibility of the people to answer the call. I truly feel many have answered and now is the time to act. Begin Now! Save Valley Road!

Carol Sinkler
Trenton

Out With the Old, In With the New? For VR School This Mustn’t Be True

To the Editor:

I am writing to express genuine and enthusiastic support for preserving the Valley Road School. This nearly century-old, historic brick landmark is worthy of restoring and transforming into a community cultural haven for organizations and non profits to occupy. In these difficult economic times why not allow the self-sufficient VRS-ARC convert this relic into a sustainable, energy-efficient building rather than ask taxpayers to pay the bill to demolish it? Surely there are alternatives for the Rescue Squad, Corner House, and Fire Department that are more cost effective.

Several decades ago I graduated from the Valley Road School. My classmates and I signed our yearbook called The Challenger and we challenged ourselves to chart the course of our future. We made a time capsule and tried to imagine what life would be like now, never imagining that the Valley Road School might be torn down. If we preach the need to be green, to be conscious of our carbon footprint, and to recycle and reuse, why not allow the current generation to see how an old building can be put to new use?

Alice Hay-Tolo

Viburnum Court. Lawrenceville

Annual Backpack and School Supply Drive Gives Students in Need Brand-New Gear

To the Editor:

This year the consolidated Princeton Human Services Department held its second Annual Backpack and School Supply Drive. Generous donors all across town contributed notebooks, paper, pens and backpacks. Thanks to their efforts, 105 Princeton children whose families are struggling to make ends meet will enter school this week with the same top-notch tools and brand-new gear as their classmates.

Members of the Human Services Commission are grateful to the families and friends who took time from their last precious days of summer to consider their neighbors. We appreciate your partnership! 

Cynthia Mendez, ED
Anastasia R. Mann, chair
Princeton Human Services

We’ve Learned. We’ve Grown. We’ve Changed. We Can No Longer Afford Separate Governments

To the Editor:

It’s easy to ask: If past referenda for municipal consolidation in Princeton have been defeated why should this year’s ballot turn out any different? A good question … but also a good answer: We’ve learned. We’ve grown. We’ve changed.

From past experience like ours and like others, the state has significantly broadened and liberalized the consolidation statutes to make it less complicated to combine municipalities.

This time we’ve gained from a full-scale professional study that included currently elected municipal officials as well as their administrators to provide candid, practical advice. The results show how best to redeploy staffs in a more direct, coordinated system.

Based on the new state law, the merger need not make unique aspects of each sector change. Existing ordinances can remain in effect for up to five years, with the possibility of continuation. Past debates over who leashes dogs, who parks on the street overnight, who has to build sidewalks aren’t needed. Separate sections of town can maintain and enjoy their differences even as they forge a more cohesive management for leaner days ahead.

And, as this study has shown, the different sectors are more alike than they have been before. The recent census showed similar population mixes. Tax rates in effect are practically identical. Potential savings are quite similar. We can gain together, not at one or the other’s expense.

Both municipalities face tough challenges:

More efficient, less costly policing should be in one combined department.

Fire and emergency services need to be reorganized, with major construction or replacement of outworn facilities.

Neither government houses its Public Works staff and equipment very well.

Townspeople expect far better access to public officials — web sites, electronic communication, on-camera meetings, and contact during emergencies.

A better managed single government can do this without duplication of costs.

I am proud of one of our community’s most recent accomplishments: the rebuilding of our public library. I presided over many of those decision-making meetings. I heard what people said. There were Borough residents who insisted that the library had to remain downtown. But, I also heard Township residents stand up and say that location is the center of my town too. And yet, there were some Borough and Township voters who said it was more convenient for them to pick up and drop off books at the alternate location, the Harrison St. shopping center. Regardless of who favored which location it wasn’t a Borough v. Township thing. We were able to agree and the result is one wonderful community center.

Towns like ours with so much highly priced real estate can no longer expect much in state and federal aid to balance our tax bills. To do it ourselves requires us to streamline local government into one frugal entity with as tight a management as possible. We can no longer afford separate Township and Borough governments.

Join me in pulling us together. Vote “YES” for consolidation on November 8.

Marvin R. Reed
Former Mayor, Princeton Borough

Mayor Trotman Thanks Staff, Volunteers For Protecting Town During Hurricane

To the Editor:

My highest commendation and sincere gratitude to all of you for your commitment and dedication in protecting the Princeton community during the recent hurricane event. I speak on behalf of the entire community when I say that we are so grateful and so very fortunate to have you — we are reminded that you risk so much to keep Princeton safe and secure.

From my heart...thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mildred Trotman
Mayor, Princeton Borough

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