October 27, 2016

See below for the October 26, 2016 Princeton Zoning Board Meeting.

 Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.


William G. Bowen, who died last Thursday at his home in Princeton at the age of 83, not only shaped Princeton University, where he served as an economics professor, provost, then president for 15 years, but also the world of U.S. higher education, which he wrote about and influenced significantly throughout his long, productive career.

Mr. Bowen was Princeton University’s 17th president during an often tumultuous period from 1972 to 1988, overseeing the first admission of women and major expansions in academics. From Princeton he moved to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he served as president from 1988 to 2006, leading its support for the humanities, undergraduate and graduate education, the arts, and culture.  more


HOSPITALITY TO HOSTILITY: (L to R) Amir (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh), Emily (Caroline Kaplan), Isaac (Kevin Isola), and Jory (Austene Van) enjoy a cordial dinner before resentments surface and the mood turns dark in McCarter Theatre’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Disgraced,” at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre through October 30. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

If Ayad Akhtar’s characters had followed my grandmother’s warning, “We never discuss politics or religion at social occasions,” his 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Disgraced would never have been written.

Now playing in a riveting production at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, the 90-minute uninterrupted, four-scene exploration of identity, Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America, as seen through the interwoven lives of five New York City characters, was the most often produced play in the United States in the 2015-16 season.  more

October 26, 2016

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned members of the board of Princeton’s antiracism, interfaith organization Not in Our Town (NIOT), write to comment on the proposed ordinance that would once again establish a separate Civil Rights Commission in Princeton. The proposal is good, and NIOT’s members support it. At the same time, we have one strong suggestion for a change in the current draft.

As you know, the principal reason for a Civil Rights Commission is to increase awareness about continuing discrimination, ongoing stereotyping, and subtle forms of racism. The ordinance calls for the commission, among other tasks, to “develop mutual understanding and respect among all racial, religious, cultural, and ethnic groups in Princeton and work to prevent discrimination practices against such groups.” That’s all good.

The proposed ordinance also calls for the commission to “aid in seeing that no person is deprived of equal services in this municipality,” and it gives the commission a role — in appropriate cases — in informally resolving the complaints of persons claiming to be aggrieved. This provision is also good, but it leads to our strong suggestion.

Currently, and the proposed ordinance makes no change in this practice, any complaint about discrimination is filed with the Human Services Department of the town. Certainly that route to make a complaint is fine, and we ourselves have confidence in the Human Services Department. But we cannot assume, and Council should not assume, that each and every potential complainant will have confidence in any particular office of municipal government, nor should we further burden the Human Services Department by making it the sole repository for citizens’ complaints. Moreover, it’s conceivable that a complaint may even be against the Human Services Department, or there may be a perception that the staff would be hard pressed to make a finding against the very entity responsible for its livelihood.

Because of this potential, we believe that the ordinance should include an alternative route for complaints, a second way to file, so that any person who feels aggrieved may be confident and comfortable in making their complaint. Filing the complaint directly with the new civil rights commission seems to be the obvious alternative route, and there should be a paragraph added to the ordinance that authorizes the commission to accept complaints directly.

We applaud the Council for re-establishing this commission, and we look forward to its success as Princeton continues its effort to overcome any and all instances of discrimination. Providing an alternate route for complaints is yet another way to help assure that the aims of this ordinance will be met.

Ziad A. Ahmed, Barbara F. Fox, Ted Fetter, Fern Spruill, Wilma Solomon, Joyce Turner

To the Editor:

I moved to Princeton in 2007 with my family after living abroad in Europe for six years; my wife, Maria Sophocles, wanted to open up a medical practice in a community where we could be in striking distance of our parents, and we both needed to have access to top quality public education. Princeton was the obvious choice for us since we are from the suburbs of New York and Philadelphia respectively, and upon arrival in Princeton we enrolled our four children in Johnson Park. Today we have a sophomore in college, a senior and a sophomore at Princeton High School, and an 8th grader at the Princeton Charter School. Our children have benefited from the school system, and for nearly 10 years we have been collecting facts and opinions from friends, parents, and people in the community about what they believe are the strengths and areas for improvement in the Princeton Public Schools. While there are many great ideas, one of the greatest challenges is funding. I have decided to run for the Board of Education because I believe I can help find alternative sources of funding for the district without leaning on the existing tax base. Any community with a strong school system wrestles with how to maintain the quality without taxing its residents to death. And since Princeton has a large number of residents who send their children to private schools, and still others who are here primarily for the University, the tax question is even more difficult because not everyone is benefitting directly from the public school system. And yet, even with the current 2 percent property tax cap, taxes will double for residents in the next 35 years.

My proposal is simple: let’s raise an endowment. I have served on multiple boards in my professional life, and have raised money for the last 25 years. An endowment can tap into different donors than the Princeton Education Foundation and help provide a reliable income stream to complement other fundraising initiatives. There are many examples of great public schools that have created endowments, and there is no reason we could not do the same for Princeton Public Schools. If elected to the School Board, I will make this a priority. Since three of my children will still be graduating from PHS, I have a vested interest in improving the school system; as someone who hopes to retire here someday, I also have a strong desire to make Princeton an affordable option. An endowment is not the only answer, but most certainly could be part of the solution.

I hope on November 8 you will give me the opportunity to give back to the community and elect me to Board of Education.

Alex Martin

Hun Road

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse Greg Stankiewicz’s candidacy for the Princeton Board of Education. Over the past 30 years that we have known him, Greg has impressed us as a thoughtful and analytical thinker who is also a consensus builder. From his previous experience with the New York City Board of Education where he focused on issues of equity in funding, to his more recent work with non-profit community development financial institutions that served low income communities in New Jersey, Greg formulates opinions and makes decisions that are in the best interest of the whole community. Greg believes in the right of every child to receive an equal educational opportunity, regardless of race, socio-economic background, or intellectual ability. His previous experience will be very helpful in solving the growing student population issue that the district is currently facing. If class sizes continue to grow, it will become more difficult for teachers to teach effectively and for children to learn to the best of their abilities, especially those with learning differences. Greg would be a staunch advocate for his trusted constituency, the very children who represent our future. Princeton would be lucky to have an intelligent and hardworking individual like Greg Stankiewicz making sound decisions as a member of the Princeton Board of Education.

Betsy and Darma Ie

Carriage Way

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Debbie Bronfeld for the Board of Education (BOE) elections this November. I have known Debbie for over 10 years; as a volunteer at school and as a friend. She is a true supporter of the Princeton Public Schools and a true believer in our town.

During our children’s elementary years, Debbie volunteered as room parent, library volunteer, garden club, field day, and has been an integral part of the Board on PTO. During her years as vice-president of Community Service, she worked on service learning projects for each of the six grades at Littlebrook, food drives with themes that operated all year long, clothing drives and UNICEF. The communication between her and the teachers and the parents was vital in order to be so successful. During our children’s time at John Witherspoon and PHS, she was integral to the annual Book Fair, engaged in Super Saturday, and volunteered to help with Prom and PHS Band Events. Being a part of her children’s school lives, both as a parent and volunteer, she discovered that she really wanted to make a difference in school. She attended BOE meetings during the teacher contract negotiations as she wanted to voice her support for the teachers and for the programs for our younger children and those children coming up behind ours. She attended town meetings during the AvalonBay planning as the population entering would affect the population of our schools.

Her main platform is to preserve the quality of education for our students despite the growth in enrollment and the challenges of the school budget. She wants our school system to continue its success. And most importantly, she wants to ensure that each child is valued and each child is safe in our schools.

Beverly Kuo-Hamilton

Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

Having lived in the Princeton area for the past 12 years, I’ve always been impressed with the passion at which my fellow residents take up certain issues. I may not always agree with their opinions, but no one can deny the passion.

I’d like to highlight a safety-related issue that will be virtually impossible for anyone to take the other side.

It’s the epidemic that exists in our town with texting while driving. As an avid runner, it’s very likely you’ve seen me running through the neighborhood on a weekend morning. What I see, unfortunately, is an unbelievable amount of people who are texting while driving. This behavior needs to stop. There’s absolutely no excuse for anyone to ever text while driving. If you’re looking down at your phone, then you’re not looking at the road. I see people blatantly holding up their phones directly in front of their faces, believing they have a better chance of reading their phones in addition to seeing the road. I can assure you both cannot be seen at the same time.

My children will soon be getting old enough to ride their bikes around the neighborhood on their own. The fear I have of them being run over by a distracted driver will very likely prolong my letting them ride on their own. I see our police “hiding” out looking for speeding cars, giving out tickets. While I applaud those efforts, what steps are being taken to reduce distracted driving? Stand anywhere along a busy Princeton street and watch 100 cars go by. Tell me how many are texting. Something needs to be done. Mayor Lempert and town council, what are you doing to keep my family safe?

Bret Jacknow

Farrand Road

To the Editor:

It took a few hours to figure out why they would take our shoelaces and belts. Another day to comprehend why trash cans held paper bags, not plastic, why towel hooks behind bathroom doors swiveled to prevent their staying upright, why towel racks and shower curtain hooks were absent, why they confiscated bags with straps and disallowed hand sanitizers and Q-tips, why they observed us as we shaved, and why they inspected our rooms every 15 minutes, during the first 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Yet it took no time at all to see how a community of patients struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction or more could develop a bonding affinity and love for one another at the Princeton House In-Patient facility. Regardless of who we were, our professions, socio-economic background, gender, religious or sexual identity, or our propensity for self-harm, we were each like anyone else, and we are each like you as well. If you disagree, look into yourself deeply, we are none of us much different from one another. Two weeks ago I was terrified to walk into a ‘psychiatric hospital’ — yet it was no ‘cuckoo’s nest’ — rather a safe sharing space — and walking out with increased awareness and self-recognition is an affirmation of the importance of caring for our most crucial asset — our minds.

I lost two friends to suicide last year, both in Princeton, and last month mourned the loss of Owen Bardzilowski — one of two students lost to suicide within five years at Princeton High School. Whether or not you know someone with a mental illness, and regardless of your perception of your own mental health, I’m certain there’s a good reason why you should partake in a conversation on mental health and suicide prevention. Over 40 of your neighbors attended a community forum on suicide prevention this past Sunday in Princeton. Please get involved by sharing your own story creatively on November 12 at the IYCC Poetry Slam (www.iyiprinceton.com) and by supporting SPEAK OUT, Princeton Teens at their first community meeting on December 3 (www.speakoutprincetonteens.com). There is #NOSTIGMA in walking through vulnerability — isn’t THAT how we get to the door of courage?

Adnan Shamsi

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

Peter Marks, who is running for mayor of Princeton, is a lifelong resident and a problem-solver who understands Princeton’s current challenges — challenges that will determine our town’s future for years to come. Marks believes that current local policies are incoherent. Although support of “sustainability,” “diversity,” and “affordability” are voiced, there is no concern for the unsustainable burden of population growth which will result when the many huge housing developments are completed. Marks realizes that if this continued development is permitted, the character of our cherished Princeton neighborhoods and the small town feel of the community will be forever lost. To begin to solve the threat of over development, Marks, as mayor, will ensure that differing Borough and Township zoning regulations will be combined and rationalized after over four years of delay under the current administration. (Can you imagine that consolidation is still nor complete?)
I love Princeton and for this reason I’m supporting Peter Marks for mayor and I urge you to do so as well.

John Irving

Longview Drive

To the Editor:

Any leader up for our vote to continue in office should be asked two questions: What did you accomplish on our behalf in the past? What do you want to help us achieve in the years ahead? In my opinion, the answers that Liz Lempert can provide to each question more than justify both our thanks — and our votes — on November 8th.

During her first term, Mayor Lempert steered us on a steady course through the legal and administrative intricacies of the first municipal consolidation in New Jersey in over a century. Almost as important: the president of Princeton University now meets regularly with the governing body to cooperate in planning for the future.

In matters of traffic and transportation alone, the pay-off is already measurable. The municipality and the university are hard at work to create an integrated, convenient local transit service to help people get around town and reduce vehicular traffic on our streets. Next spring a municipal bike share program will complement the university’s already popular service and help lessen traffic still further. The town has launched a “Complete Streets” planning process (in which the university participates) to provide for balanced convenience and safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike. Further, Princeton was the first community to initiate the state’s “Safe Routes to Schools” program and the first in New Jersey to take up the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” challenge. Result: a “Street Smart” local campaign is already in its early stages.

The list of current and future initiatives goes on:

• At the municipality’s urging, 20 percent of the university’s Merwick-Stanworth apartments are affordable housing open to non-university residents.

• Zoning and building regulations of the former borough and township are now under examination to determine how they might be modified and harmonized to protect neighborhood character.

• An analysis of ways to improve our downtown streetscape is underway.

•A comprehensive bicycle route plan is nearing completion.

Specific plans (the first in the state endorsed by the World Health Organization) are in place to help ensure that the community remains “age-friendly” as the numbers of seniors in our population increase.

In my view, even this partial inventory of actions taken and actions planned fully warrants a vote for Liz Lempert to keep us on track toward a still better future in an already wonderful town.

Ralph Widner

Elm Road

To the Editor:

All Princeton residents know our town is special! It’s safe, welcoming and walkable. Our schools, the Princeton Public Library, Princeton University and the Art Museum, McCarter Theater, and Labyrinth Books, among other entities, provide residents with standout educational, cultural, and intellectual opportunities. Peter Marks cherishes and wants to preserve these entities and can be counted on to do so. He was born and raised in Princeton, attended its public schools and understands and appreciates what makes our town the outstanding place it is and how to keep it that way.

As mayor, Peter Marks will halt over-development, preserve the neighborly character of neighborhoods, and enhance the green belt encircling the town. He will reduce onerous permit application fees and trim municipal spending by focusing on essential services.

Peter Marks is a problem solver with the vision, leadership, and dynamism that will ensure that Princeton stays the special town that it is today. Please join me in keeping Princeton special by voting for Peter Marks on November 8.

Doug Miles

Poe Road

To the Editor:

Over 2,100 homeless or formerly homeless kids went back to school with new clothes, new shoes, and new back packs filled with necessary school supplies because of the wonderful caring community we live in.

I am once again deeply gratified to report that HomeFront’s Back to School campaign was met with overwhelming support from Mercer County residents. Many individuals, corporations, congregations, and organizations contributed generously so that HomeFront kids were able to start the new school year with confidence and a feeling of fitting in.

HomeFront bears witness daily to families who are unable to house, feed, or clothe their children. While the back to school donations may seem like a small step, they contribute greatly to the children’s self-esteem, which is a critical foundation for their success. The donations also fit into a much bigger picture of getting these children to school and helping them to stay there to finish their educations — and ultimately for them to become productive, self-sufficient adults.

Thank you for all you do for these children. It is a delight to see their excitement as they begin their day with a full backpack and a new outfit. With your caring support, we are fighting poverty and have hope that we can end it one day.

Connie Mercer

Executive Director, HomeFront

To the Editor:

The Friends of Princeton Public Library held their Annual Book Sale on October 14-16 and enjoyed a beautiful fall weekend with booklovers from near and far. The Book Sale is the culmination of months of work by dedicated volunteers, and depends on the generous donations of Library supporters throughout the year.

We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Princeton Public Library, whose knowledge and commitment was crucial to the success of this event. We are especially thankful to the Development Department and Buildings Department for their guidance and wholehearted assistance, and to the Teen Advisory Board for their enthusiastic involvement. We would also like to acknowledge the generous support of our friends at Princeton Public Schools, the Arts Council of Princeton, Corner House, Princeton University, McCaffreys, and Witherspoon Grill.

The large team of book-loving volunteers who worked so hard and with such spirit made this event an absolute pleasure for all involved, from the youngest child picking out a book for the first time, to the knowledgeable collector searching for a special find. Thanks to our generous Princeton community whose support once again increased the amount raised for the Library. Even more heartwarming was the sight of the many Princeton residents heading home with bags full of treasures, and smiles.

Seva Kramer and Claire Bertrand

Co-Chairs of the Friends of the Princeton 

Public Library Annual Book Sale


DEFENSIVE FORCE: Princeton University football player Kurt Holuba heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, junior defensive end Holuba recorded a career-best 10 tackles and three sacks in a losing cause as Princeton fell 23-20 in overtime to visiting Harvard. Holuba was later named the Ivy Defensive Player of the Week for his performance The Tigers, now 4-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, play at Cornell (3-3 overall, 1-2 Ivy) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton University football team trailing Harvard 14-0 at halftime last Saturday in a clash of Ivy League unbeatens, it got a spark from an unlikely source. more


SUPER SAVER: Princeton University men’s hockey goalie Colton Phinney makes a save in action last year on his way to producing a program single-season record 1,058 stops and earning second-team All-Ivy League honors. The Tigers will be depending on Phinney to stand tall again between the pipes this season as they look to improve on the 5-23-3 record they posted last season. Princeton opens its 2016-17 campaign by playing at Michigan State on October 28 and facing the U.S. Under-18 team in an exhibition game a day later in Plymouth, Mich. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In his first two years guiding the Princeton University men’s hockey team, Ron Fogarty has preached patience as he has built the foundation to get the program back on the winning track. more


OPENING SALVO: Princeton University women’s hockey player Molly Contini controls the puck along the boards in a game last season. Last weekend, senior forward and assistant captain Contini starred as the seventh-ranked Tigers opened the season by topping Providence College 4-2 and 7-3 in a two-game set. Contini scored two goals in the opener and then added a goal and two assists a day later. Princeton, now 2-0, plays at Brown (2-0) on October 28 and at Yale (2-0) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After enduring weeks of grueling preseason training, the Princeton University women’s hockey team was primed for the regular season as it played a two-game set at Providence College to open its 2016-17 campaign. more

1st singles

YOUNG SINGER: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Samantha Singer hits a backhand in a recent match. Last Thursday, freshman Singer battled valiantly in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat to Kruti Navin of Ridge at first singles as PHS fell 4-1 to the Red Devils in the state Group 4 semifinals. The defeat left the Little Tigers with a final record of 17-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though Maggie Herring’s career with the Princeton High girls’ tennis team ended in defeat as she and partner Nicole Samios fell in straight sets at first doubles to Ridge in the state Group 4 semis last Thursday, she wasn’t hanging her head.  more


SEEING RED: Princeton High field hockey star Georgia McLean heads up the field last Thursday as fourth-seeded PHS faced eighth-seeded Lawrenceville in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament. Senior midfielder McLean and the Little Tigers fell behind 3-0 midway through the first half and couldn’t dig out of that hole as they lost 6-0  to the Big Red, the eventual county champion. The Little Tigers, who moved to 13-3-1 with the loss, will host Freehold on October 27 and play at Pennington on October 29 before starting action in the state tournament. PHS is seeded second in the North 2, Group 4 sectional and is slated to host a second-round contest on October 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Georgia McLean liked the way things were going early on as the fourth-seeded Princeton High field hockey team battled eighth-seeded Lawrenceville last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. more


STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School field hockey player Kiely French, left, marks a foe from Allentown last Thursday as the teams met in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament. Senior defender and captain French helped the second-seeded Panthers pull out a 3-2 win in overtime against the third-seeded and defending champion Redbirds. PDS fell 3-0 to eighth-seeded Lawrenceville School in the MCT title game on Saturday. The Panthers, now 14-4, will be competing in the state Prep B tourney where they are seeded first and host fourth-seeded Pennington in the semifinals on October 27 with the winner advancing to the title game on October 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Kiely French couldn’t stop smiling after the Princeton Day School field hockey team rallied to edge Allentown 3-2 in overtime last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. more


OVERJOYED: Princeton Day School field hockey player Sasha Sindhwani enjoys the moment after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as second-seeded PDS edged third-seeded and defending champion Allentown 3-2 in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday. The Panthers went on to fall 3-0 to eighth-seeded Lawrenceville 3-0 in the MCT title game two nights later. PDS, now 14-4, will be competing in the state Prep B tourney where it is seeded first and hosts fourth-seeded Pennington in the semifinals on October 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

On October 1, the Princeton Day School field hockey team battled Lawrenceville tooth and nail before falling 1-0.

Last Saturday, exactly three weeks later, the rivals met in the Mercer County Tournament championship game and it appeared that another tense contest was in the offing. more

David Cedeno and his teammates on the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team were on a mission as they hosted Golda Och in the opening round of the state Prep B tournament last Thursday.

“We were definitely excited because it is tournament time and all the momentum was coming into this game,” said senior midfielder Cedeno.

“What we want to do is to go out and completely out-work, out-score, out-possess the competition, and be the better team in every situation.” more


CHARGING AHEAD: Hun School football player Tucker Strycharz heads up field in recent action. Last Saturday, post-graduate Strycharz scored a touchdown and made an interception to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville School 46-13. The Raiders, now 6-0 and riding a 19-game winning streak, play at Peddie School (5-1) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Tucker Strycharz knows all about night games, having played high school football in Virginia where Friday night lights is the norm. more

Photo Credit: @stancesocks

Stay cozy this autumn with these colorful socks. 


AMH_D5_04663.RAFNo one has ever accused Tyler Perry of being short on ideas. The prolific writer/director has been the brains behind plays, movies, and television shows. But he would be the first to admit that he was not the source of inspiration for Boo! A Madea Halloween, the ninth in the Madea series about the sassy sermonizing granny.

The idea originated with Chris Rock, who featured a fake poster for a film with the identical title in his 2014 comedy Top Five. Because the joke went viral, Tyler decided why not get back in drag and make a movie to meet the demand generated by the buzz.

However, Boo! definitely has a different feel from the previous Madea movies. It is not a typical Tyler Perry morality play but instead is a rudderless, kitchen sink comedy that seizes on any excuse for a laugh. Madea is no longer a Bible thumping role model who interferes on behalf of an underdog in distress. True, one minute, she’s promoting old-fashioned values. However, in the next scene she is exposing her breasts to frat boys.

The film does have a rudimentary plot about Madea’s 17-year-old grand-niece, Tiffany (Diamond White). However the idea is presented at the opening of the film and promptly abandoned. It’s Halloween, and the headstrong high schooler and her girlfriends hope to attend a party at the Upsilon Theta frat house.

Since her divorced father (also played by Perry) will be otherwise occupied, it falls to Madea to babysit Tiffany, to make sure the rebellious teen never leaves the house. Madea arrives with an entourage of amusing misfits, including Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), Hattie (Patrice Lovely), and Uncle Joe (also played by Perry).

Soon, silly Halloween one-liners, non sequiturs, slapstick, and sight gags appear at a fast and furious rate. Unfortunately, many of the punchlines are likely to be lost on those unable to decipher the often inscrutable exchanges.

Good (**). Rated PG-13 for drug use, suggestive content, profanity, ethnic slurs, scary images, and mature themes. Running time: 103 minutes. Distributor: Lionsgate Films.