Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Restaurant Week
Vol. LXV, No. 39
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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No More Killing Deer: Township Should Consider Other Remedies

ill Laznovsky
Mandon Court

Too Much Homework, Teacher Pressure Created Writer’s Block, Math Anxiety

Barbara Glassman
Pipersville, Pa.

“Clean Up After Your Dog” Signs Needed to Remind Lax Owners

Claudette Ramsey
Linden Lane

Battlefield Should Not Be a Pawn In a Dispute Between Two Groups

William Myers
Highland Park

Former PHS Teacher and Tour Guide Never Considered Princeton Two Communities

William Roufberg
Kendall Park
Editor’s note: Elias Boudinot was president of the Continental Congress from 1782-83 when Princeton was the seat of government. The Congress met at Nassau Hall.

Projected Fate of Borough Post Consolidation Dooms Zoning Board, Borough Hall, Police

Ronald Nielsen
Humbert Street

PRS Students Learn TV Production Skills Through Partnership With Community TV

David Gray
Heather Lane

Fresh Air Fund Offers Thanks On Behalf of Children It Helps

Jenny Morgantau
Executive Director

Tips on How to Vote for Candidates Who Don’t Belong to Voter’s Party

Linda Sipprelle
Nassau Street


No More Killing Deer: Township Should Consider Other Remedies

To the Editor:

Many in Princeton hoped that with the end of the Marchand era, saner heads would prevail regarding deer management. Unfortunately, Animal Control Committee has recommended that White Buffalo be invited back to cull the herds. After over ten years of trapping, netting, tagging, collaring, injecting, monitoring, and counting Princeton’s deer, what exactly are the results of this company’s experiments in non-lethal population control? It appears that in the end brutally killing thousands of deer was their only solution. And now they may be back on the gravy train to resume the carnage. (Donating EHD-tainted venison to food banks won’t be doing the homeless any favors, either.)

Has Township Committee even considered viable alternatives to killing the deer? According to the EPA, an effective immunocontraceptive vaccine, GonaCon, or GnRH, developed by the US Department of Agriculture, was approved and registered a few years ago for non-lethal deer and wildlife management. This drug has been in research and development for almost two decades and has been successfully tested in several states. There is no reason why it could not work here as well. No longer can elected officials claim that they have no choice but to exterminate deer. All it takes is leadership, vision, and compassion for animals, all of which seem to be in short supply in Princeton Township.

I urge everyone to contact Township Committee and demand the utilization of this vaccine to humanely stabilize the deer population, and finally put an end to the senseless annual slaughter.

Bill Laznovsky
Mandon Court

Too Much Homework, Teacher Pressure Created Writer’s Block, Math Anxiety

To the Editor:

Listening to Princeton professor Angel Harris talk about the black-white academic achievement gap on Radio Times prompted me to share my daughter’s experience in Princeton public schools. By the time we moved to Bucks County after third grade, my daughter, who then tested into the gifted program and is now a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering at MIT, was suffering from writer’s block and math anxiety. Most of her African American classmates had given up trying by the first or second grade. Why?

Parental anxiety and pressure for ever more homework were complied with; pleas for less were ignored. These very young children were sent home with complex projects and assignments that could only be completed with help from hovering parents, of which I was one. The child whose parent did not have the time was doomed to failure.

My daughter was still learning to read in second grade yet was supposed to write regular book reports, hence the writer’s block. Her third-grade teacher “did not have time” to teach the multiplication tables during the school day; we were expected to drill her on those at home. Math tests emphasized speed. This teacher, who left for grad school at Harvard the following year, believed that doing the times tables very quickly was a mark of excellence, and made this very clear to her students, hence the math anxiety.

Ever more homework and pressure do NO child any good.

Barbara Glassman
Pipersville, Pa.

“Clean Up After Your Dog” Signs Needed to Remind Lax Owners

To the Editor:

I feel that signs are needed to alert residents to the law to “Clean Up After Your Dog.” Princeton has a huge turnaround of residents from school year to school year. Some of them may not know of this law. Then, there are the year round residents who choose to ignore it. For the most part, the majority of folks with dogs are considerate and do clean up.

Nowhere do I see the violation of this law more then at the back of John Witherspoon Middle School. I live in the neighborhood, which is a major dog walking route for folks from blocks away. I have a student at the school. On a daily basis, when I walk our dog, I am appalled at the disregard for the students by owners of dogs who choose to not pickup after their dogs.

At last week’s dance as well as during the carnival next day, students and parents had to walk in the grass behind the school on the way to both events. On several occasions I’ve even seen dog waste on the sidewalk around the school.

By way of this letter, I am asking the offenders to please consider that children walk through the grass. It’s a school. If you didn’t know about the law, you do now. If you do know and still leave the dog waste, I’m asking you to please cleanup for the sake of the children. With dog ownership comes responsibility. Dog waste is not something that has to be a problem for the residents of Princeton. It’s simply following the law: “Clean Up After Your Dog”.

Claudette Ramsey
Linden Lane

Battlefield Should Not Be a Pawn In a Dispute Between Two Groups

To the Editor,

This is in reference to the dispute over the Institute for Advanced Study’s plans to construct housing in the vicinity of the Princeton Battlefield Park. The predetermined purpose of a recent study was to prove that fighting occurred not only on the disputed tract but on Institute grounds. Whatever the intentions of the study, the conclusion is erroneous.

The Oldens and the Clarkes unanimously refer to the battle as occurring on Thomas Clarke’s Farm. Veterans visited the Battlefield as late as the 1844 Whig encampment; the Clarkes, who occupied the site until the 1860’s, often showed visitors the location of the fighting, as did many veterans and their families. In 1848, Benson Lossing visited the Clarkes and produced a sketch illustrating the fence-lines involved in the battle. There is a solid and indisputable provenance for the Princeton Battlefield. The descriptions of the terrain in first-hand accounts are clearly in contradiction of this study; the two are irreconcilable, without exception.

The efforts to preserve this Battlefield have been so successful that the two fence-lines which stood at the time of the battle and for well over a century afterwards may be seen as two linear streaks in some aerial and satellite photographs of the Battlefield Park, including certain Google Earth images. That the western fence-line may be delineated by trees that once grew along it is testimony to the care of the Clarke Family, the Hales, and of Moses Taylor Pyne in preserving the site. The American Army was formed in the field between these two fences, with the British formed behind the eastern fence, parallel to the bike path, separating the properties of William and Thomas Clarke. The painting “A View of the Battle of Princeton” by James Peale, who fought in Mercer’s Brigade under Capt. John Hoskins Stone, is an admirable representation.

The Battlefield has been so well preserved that it is analogous to a piece of laminate placed over an old map, where the laminate is pristine and the unprotected portion faded nearly to oblivion. To misplace the scene of the action not only dishonors generations of those who, for over two centuries, took care to preserve the site of Washington’s stand, but those who fought and died there. It is analogous to moving the site of a grave in order to build over it, except that the circumstances have been reversed. Only peripheral action occurred on the disputed tract and virtually none on the Institute grounds.

There is no need for revisionism due to myopic Princetonians or geographically-impaired Revolutionary War veterans. This is an American Battlefield, where the character and personal bravery of George Washington and his “band of brothers” should be celebrated; the integrity of the Battlefield has been compromised by this study. It should not be a pawn in a dispute between two private organizations.

William Myers
Highland Park

Former PHS Teacher and Tour Guide Never Considered Princeton Two Communities

To the Editor:

I taught history for thirty years at Princeton High School. Then I mentored staff at the Princeton Charter School.

From 1960 to 1990 I conducted three hour walking tours of town and gown.

As the tour guide, I explained the political and geographical division between Borough and Township; it never occurred to me that Princeton was two communities. The school kids, the merchants, the real estate people, the library, the cemetery, the visitors … recognize one Princeton, this fantastic place, the former home of three U.S. Presidents: Elias Boudinot, Grover Cleveland, and Woodrow Wilson; all knew of one Princeton.

Let’s consolidate.

William Roufberg
Kendall Park
Editor’s note: Elias Boudinot was president of the Continental Congress from 1782-83 when Princeton was the seat of government. The Congress met at Nassau Hall.

Projected Fate of Borough Post Consolidation Dooms Zoning Board, Borough Hall, Police

To The Editor:

Over two centuries ago, our forefathers fought a revolutionary war in order to have a say in how they were governed. Many others have fought and died to achieve the same end: a vote that would matter. Since then, we have enjoyed the benefit of their sacrifices. But now we are being asked to approve consolidation of the two Princetons, an act that would reduce the ability of Borough voters to influence local government and would deprive us of the total Borough representation in our elected Council we now enjoy.

We in the Borough would still have the vote but it would be a hollowed-out version of our current one. Township voters outnumber Borough voters by about two to one. Under our system of one man one vote, this means that no matter how the elections are held, by ward or at large, the majority or all elected officials after consolidation will come from the prior Township. And we can expect the Township taxpayers to reward their current officials for such a coup as annexing the cash-generating Borough by continuing their tenure in office indefinitely.

These officials will be able to impose various burdens upon the Borough residents, from subsidizing Township trash collection to locating unwanted activities in the Borough. To achieve these ends, they will eliminate the Borough Zoning Board, which has kept the Borough from becoming just another city of bleak high rise buildings. The Planning Board will also have all Borough elected officials purged. In the aftermath of consolidation, we can also expect that the current Borough Hall will be demolished, so that there can be no physical reversion to a pre-consolidation condition.

The Consolidation Commission appears aware of the adverse consequences of consolidation to Borough residents. However, as their chairman has publicly stated, these are “concerns” that will, according to him, be negotiated after the voters approve consolidation. Really? Can you really expect the winners to renegotiate a deal after it was agreed to?

But wait. Suppose the chairman’s statement was made in recognition of the likelihood that ANY pre-consolidation agreements could be ignored post-consolidation, because the new government of a consolidated Princeton may not be legally obligated to honor agreements it has not made. Why should the Commission then waste time on such items? This lack of enforceability would also apply to other agreements. Instead of merging police departments and reducing their size by layoffs or attrition, the entire Borough force could be disbanded. Such a solution would immediately improve finances and appeal to the ruling Democrats who cannot bring themselves to take any action against existing unions (Borough police will not be around to strike). But it would leave the Borough with a reduced and less locally-experienced police presence.

To avoid losing the power of your Borough vote and all the consequences that loss will bring, use it to vote NO on consolidation on November 8, while you still can.

Ronald Nielsen
Humbert Street

PRS Students Learn TV Production Skills Through Partnership With Community TV

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my surprise at the treatment that Princeton Community TV is receiving at the hands of the Princeton Regional Schools. While I understand that the future of the Valley Road building is complicated, less complicated is the fact that our schools are teaching aspects of TV and Video Production and that Princeton Community TV is using, and growing, the skills that PRS students have developed. Princeton High School offers a one year course in TV and Video Production. What are students supposed to do in order to further develop their interests in this area? I’ve seen some of them working as volunteers at Princeton Community TV, using their technical skills to help produce TV shows. Why the Princeton Regional Schools should be seeking to evict this valuable community resource, rather than seeking ways to build a stronger, ongoing partnership, is a complete mystery. Princeton Community TV offers training and would, I suspect, deeply value the opportunity to engage students on an ongoing basis. Whether the building stays or goes, it seems the educational opportunities afforded by a partnership with Princeton Community TV would serve the school system well.

David Gray
Heather Lane

Fresh Air Fund Offers Thanks On Behalf of Children It Helps

To the editor:

This year, 85 New York City children found out once again just how special summer is in Central New Jersey. Fresh Air Fund hosts, volunteers, and local supporters dedicated their time and efforts to help these inner-city youngsters experience simple summertime pleasures, including afternoons of swimming, fishing at sunset, and roasting s’mores over a campfire.

None of this would be possible without Laurie Bershad, your local Fresh Air Fund volunteer leader, who works throughout the year to make sure host families and children have the opportunity to enjoy memorable summertime experiences together. I invite you to join her and the local Fresh Air Fund committee to help spread the word about the wonderful opportunity of hosting next summer.

On behalf of all of us at The Fresh Air Fund, including the thousands of children who benefit from the Fresh Air programs, I would also like to thank you for the terrific exposure you gave The Fresh Air Fund in Town Topics this year by featuring our Volunteer Host Family Program in your community. The coverage supports the efforts of Laurie Bershad and our local volunteer leaders to recruit more dedicated host families who open their homes to New York City children for up to two weeks during the summer. By sharing wonderful summer memories with your readers, you have helped to spread the word to other potential supporters, who keep our programs flourishing in your area. 

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to over 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. For more information on how you can help to continue this wonderful tradition of volunteering, please call Laurie Bershad at (609) 371-2817 or visit www.freshair.org.

Jenny Morgantau
Executive Director

Tips on How to Vote for Candidates Who Don’t Belong to Voter’s Party

To the Editor:

As a long-time poll worker in Princeton, I’ve noted that there is one question voters frequently ask. The question is, “Can I vote for a candidate who is not a member of the party in which I’m registered?” 

The answer is that in the primary election such as the one that took place on June 7, voters can vote only for a candidate of the party in which they are registered. If a voter is “unaffiliated,” he or she must declare at the polling station a party affiliation and can vote only for that party’s candidates. 

At the general election, however, such as the one which will take place November 8, voters entering the polling booth will see the names of all candidates for all contested positions from the various political parties listed in columns by party affiliation. The voter can then, if he or she chooses, “cross over” to vote for his/her preferred candidate from any listed political party for a particular position. The only stipulation is that the voter can vote for only one candidate for each position. 

Linda Sipprelle
Nassau Street

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