Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 37
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
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Recalling Michael Kenwood’s Heroism, McCaffrey’s Generous, Timely Donation

Rosemary Shangle-Johnson
President,
Ladies Auxiliary of the
Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad

A Vote for Consolidation: Hurricanes Do Not Recognize Political Borders

Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP
Journeys End Lane

Sewer Workers Kept System Running, Averting Sewage Backup in Local Homes

Dawn Day
Member, Princeton Sewer Operating Committee,
Meadowbrook Drive

Princeton SchoolPlus Interested In Renting Space in VRS Building

Dr. Gala Rokhinson
Princeton SchoolPlus

Preserve VRS’s Grand Old Building; Don’t Cave In to a Disposable Culture

Noemi de la Puente
Carter Road


Recalling Michael Kenwood’s Heroism, McCaffrey’s Generous, Timely Donation

To the Editor:

We are devastated by the loss of PFARS volunteer, Michael Kenwood, who died while attempting a swift-water rescue during hurricane Irene. Michael Kenwood not only died a hero, he lived as one, too, with a record of volunteer service going back to his college days. Our hearts go out to his family, especially his wife, daughter, and parents. We hope his sacrifice reminds people that our first responders take serious risks protecting and rescuing us.

On the day of Michael Kenwood’s funeral, his squad mates along with other area first responders attended Michael’s funeral in Paramus, returning afterward to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad building where McCaffrey’s supermarket very generously donated food for those who attended. We would like to publicly acknowledge McCaffrey’s for its generosity, which was particularly kind since it came at a time when their store personnel were still dealing with damage caused by a loss of power.

Rosemary Shangle-Johnson
President,
Ladies Auxiliary of the
Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad

A Vote for Consolidation: Hurricanes Do Not Recognize Political Borders

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township must consolidate. Almost three weeks have passed since Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on our collective community including the tragic loss of life of a heroic EMT volunteer, flooding, and power loss. Our Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad serves both the Borough and Township; imagine the problems that would ensue if two separate first aid and rescue entities only worked within their respective borders. To summarize my ten years of study on crisis management in a sentence: unified leadership is vital for a community’s safety.

Princeton’s leadership structure is poorly designed for crises. Princeton Borough is donut-holed within Princeton Township, a difficult arrangement from an emergency management, health, and safety perspective. We have two separate police departments that must communicate and coordinate between two political entities during a crisis. Even worse, our elected officials, the people ultimately responsible for the health and safety of Princeton, are very much split. This cannot and should not continue. We need unified leadership. Putting the issue of consolidation to a public vote is a good first step in thinking and acting like one community. We are one community and here is our opportunity to prove it.

I urge everyone to vote for consolidation. Hurricanes and other disasters do not recognize political borders.

I am writing this as a concerned individual, not as a representative of the Princeton Regional Health Commission.

Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP
Journeys End Lane

Sewer Workers Kept System Running, Averting Sewage Backup in Local Homes

To the Editor:

The Princeton Community owes the people who keep our sewers in working order a big thank you for their performance during Hurricane Irene. In preparation for the hurricane, they filled up the gas tanks of equipment that would soon be needed and moved them to safe locations. They worked in 12-hour shifts for a week and kept the system running, bringing in emergency equipment as pumping stations flooded. There was not a single report of a home with sewage backup. They even got the FEMA forms in advance so that they could document the need for reimbursement for the many extra expenses caused by the hurricane (now estimated at $200,000). Altogether we could not have asked for a better performance from our sewer workers. We are very lucky to have them.

Dawn Day
Member, Princeton Sewer Operating Committee,
Meadowbrook Drive

Princeton SchoolPlus Interested In Renting Space in VRS Building

To the Editor:

I am extremely impressed with the Valley Road School as a place for nonprofit organizations. Spacious rooms with large windows are the perfect backdrop to the academic environment we at Princeton SchoolPlus are trying to create. We are very interested in renting the available rooms in this building, and since we realize that the building needs repair, we will be happy to offer volunteer manpower to help in the renovation of the building.

Princeton SchoolPlus runs a weekend enrichment program for K-12 students. Our program seeks to supplement the diet of the basic school curriculum and thereby enhance the students’ performance in the classroom and give them the confidence and desire to explore beyond it. 

Enrichment Mathematics for K-9 students is the core of our curriculum. Students are introduced to non-routine, mind-stimulating problems, which can’t be solved without original insight. In this respect, our approach differs from the conventional “algorithm-based-learning-by-imitation” model. We also offer such courses as Arts (drawing, painting, sculpture, and theater), Chess, Dance, and Enrichment Russian for beginners and advanced. Whatever the subject, our aim is always to instill in the student an enthusiasm for learning and to encourage creative, independent thinking.

Since starting in 2008, our school has grown from 25 students and 7 teachers to 112 students and 12 teachers. We are prepared to offer a bigger variety of subjects, including music, drama, English literature, and foreign languages when we have access to more classrooms. We think that relocating our operations to Valley Road School would give us that opportunity to expand and better serve our students. We are eager to move in as soon as possible.

Dr. Gala Rokhinson
Princeton SchoolPlus

Preserve VRS’s Grand Old Building; Don’t Cave In to a Disposable Culture

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of saving the Valley Road School, where I’ve worked as a volunteer and member of Princeton’s Public Access TV30. The brick, the archway in the center, the solidity of the walls — all are a testament to a different era. Yes, sometimes it leaks, or the heat doesn’t work perfectly, but I have always felt safe in the building and have always enjoyed walking up to it, in it’s WPA-Depression-era glory. It may be an eccentric building, but it adds character to the surrounding area. It is a landmark.

I exhort the School Board to take a page from the European playbook and salvage this magnificent old structure that can be a home to a variety of non-profit groups that will enrich the community. Please don’t demolish this grand building and add to the landfill issues we face. Don’t destroy a part of Princeton’s past. Don’t homogenize the landscape. And don’t cave in to our disposable culture and think that new is always better. In the same area you have buildings from three generations: The Valley Road School, the John Witherspoon Elementary School, and the sleek new Township Municipal Building — variety is the spice of life! And the spice of a Township’s landscape and architecture!

Please restore and preserve the Valley Road School Building for generations to come and allow TV30 to remain a vibrant force in the community.

Noemi de la Puente
Carter Road

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