September 28, 2016

To the Editor:

Thank you for your article last week about local efforts to resettle refugees victimized by war in their country [“Helping Refugees Is a Way of Life for Local Citizens and Educators,” Sept. 21, page 9]. We should be proud as a community to see how many individuals and groups in Princeton are, by their small gestures, making life-changing differences for others.

I was mentioned as “the ESL teacher” for Nassau Presbyterian Church’s sponsorship of one Syrian family. But in fact our daily English classes — and indeed everything to do with this project — is the result of teams of people, both parishioners and others in the community, who have come together to volunteer their time and talents.

One extremely important arm of volunteers went unmentioned in your article. They are our Muslim and Arab-American neighbors who have quietly stepped up to make a critical difference. They have provided invaluable support, especially serving as Arabic translators at school registrations, doctor appointments, English classes, etc. Their sensitivity to the family’s needs has been a touching reminder of our common humanity and goodness. With a range of customs and traditions, we are richer for our reliance on one another.

Beverly Leach

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

I appreciate the family of Princeton High School Freshman Owen Gerrard Bardzilowski for their willingness to share the cause of Owen’s death [“Community Responds To Student’s Death With Deep Grief, Support,” Town Topics, Sept. 21, page one]. It’s important for survivors, family, friends, and community to understand the angst we all encounter, whether we’ve had suicidal ideations, acted upon them, or are among those left behind to ask “why?” after loved ones have left us.

It is too reductive for us to suggest this simply is an issue of mental illness, when here in Princeton suicide has become pervasive. Two of my friends killed themselves in 2015, four months apart, both local Princeton residents. We all know of other suicides in our area. The first I heard of just as I moved into town 10 years ago — of the mother of a special needs child — which touched me deeply being father to an autistic teen now at Princeton High School. We know too of suicides before and after this, in our town, 2008, 2011, 2014, among these another Princeton High School and another Princeton University student. And we know that within the last three years 10 students have killed themselves at nearby UPenn, and in nearly all cases no one expected anything was wrong. No danger signs. No red flags. Nothing.

There needs to be a conversation started, and delved into, and there need to be more safe sharing spaces, the type that exist at some area yoga studios, the monthly book club at Gratitude Yoga, the weekly Breaking Bread fellowship in the tiny side chapel of Nassau Presbyterian, among the friendships formed in the Princeton Yurt community, the Men’s Sharing Circles around town, and the classrooms of the Princeton Learning Cooperative. Also of course the open doors at Hi-TOPS, Trinity Church, and Good Grief. These are some of the bridges over our troubled waters. NAMI-Mercer’s annual Harvest of Hope will take place on October 1st, where Princeton High School students from the NAMI Stomp Out Stigma Club have volunteered every single year since the club’s founding — this too is a bridge. Safe spaces exist; we just need to open these doors, and let others in.

Some of us ask “What can we do?” What we should not do is blame ourselves, nor feel despondent that we did not do enough, nor that what we did not do makes it our “fault” — it’s never anyone’s ”fault” — this does not serve those we love dearly.

Instead, how about this? First, don’t wait too long to share your own story — so I openly share that I myself have suffered from severe anxiety most of my life, and periodically from debilitating depression, and yes this can be a struggle, yet I have come through it, and continue to do so. And second, the next time someone asks you “How are you?” respond honestly, so they can too. I’m feeling terribly sad, and my thoughts are with the Bardzilowski family, and the students of Princeton High School.

Adnan Shamsi

Nassau Street

To the Editor,

Electronic Waste, or e-waste, is a growing problem in New Jersey. The State’s Electronic Waste Management Act, enacted in 2010, mandates that manufacturers of electronics recycle a determined amount each year but the legislation has not kept up with the increased volume of e-waste being produced. As a result, municipalities are facing either paying for recycling or stopping collection as has happened recently in Burlington County. Additionally, many free e-waste collections by retailers have shut down or are charging a fee for items, some rather steep, and are not accepting equipment over a certain size.

The New Jersey Senate and Assembly have drafted bills A-2375 and S-981 to fix some of the provisions in the law; however, it is not clear if the provisions will be adopted into the Act. In the meantime, we hope that residents’ recycled computers, televisions, monitors, laptops and other electronics at Princeton’s annual S.H.R.E.D.D.temberfest event last weekend. If you were unable to make that event, the Mercer County Improvement Authority has two remaining electronic recycling events in 2017 on Saturday, October 1 and Saturday, November 19. The Municipality of Princeton’s Convenience Center on River Road is another resource for recycling most e-waste. It is very important to recycle these materials properly because they contain mercury, cadmium, lead and other materials that are toxic in small amounts.

Remember, the best way to reduce waste is to not produce it in the first place. Please consider the impact to the environment and the costs of disposal when making a decision to purchase electronics.

Heidi Fichtenbaum

Board Member of Sustainable Princeton and Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

Sophie Glovier

Vice Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

Christine Symington

Energy Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

I’m writing to support Liz Lempert’s re-election as mayor because her outstanding leadership and fiscal responsibility provide continuity so necessary for well-being in our community. Though she would be quick to reject individual credit, it is significant that Princeton has won many grants and accolades during her administration. These grants and honors underscore Liz’s commitment to all residents, providing new support or recognition in such critical areas as improving our environment and strengthening our family services.

As a result of Liz’s diligent work with dedicated staff and resident volunteers on clean air and traffic reduction initiatives, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission awarded Princeton a $196,000 grant for a bike-sharing program with the potential to reduce auto use in town. Developed in partnership with Princeton University, this grant provides bikes to share for community members, students, and non-residents, along with covered bike parking areas. To help address street safety and congestion, our town under Liz’s management has also received grants of $65,000 for a parking study and $300,000 for a “safe routes to school grant” for traffic signal improvements.

Extending family services has been another hallmark in Liz’s tenure as mayor. Under her watch The World Health Organization in 2016 presented Princeton with a citation as an “Age Friendly Community,” the first of its kind to be received in New Jersey. Additionally, her diligent staff generated proposals resulting in almost half a million dollars to Corner House and other social agencies in town for reducing youth substance abuse especially, and to lessening addiction and alcoholism at all ages.

An excellent manager, Liz Lempert’s skills of persuasion get residents involved. Community members speak with her and she shares their concerns with staff to transform that input into grant applications. The resulting awards, and not from town coffers, go far to address many urgent projects and services.

I hope you’ll join me on election day to vote for Liz Lempert for mayor for another four years, continuing to bring honors to Princeton, by providing new money, and not at taxpayers’ expense, for many urgent projects and services.

Doreen Blanc Rockstrom

Maidenhead Road

September 21, 2016

ntu_joecanals-9-21-16

CHEERS! “Bourbon is very, very popular today. Really hot! The brown spirits, including Scotch, are generally favored now, but especially bourbon.” Toni Carver, store manager of Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet in the Mercer Mall, is shown by a display of a variety of bourbon choices.

Whether the event is a cocktail party for 25, dinner for six, or a wedding reception for hundreds, Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet will provide the necessary advice, professional expertise, and quality products to make it an evening to remember. more

To the Editor:

We strongly support the candidacy of Liz Lempert as mayor of Princeton. We have a general interest in the fiscal health of the town and the quality of its services. Our specific interests are parks and open spaces, and special education; particularly autism education and treatments. Pamela has served on the Town’s Environmental Commission and on its Shade Tree Commission. In addition, she has served as president of the Marquand Park Foundation. Roland has served as investment director of the State for over 20 years and finally as State Treasurer, retiring in 2001. From time to time, we have brought our concerns to Liz, in her capacity as mayor, and she has always been open and attentive, and has always made positive recommendations. She has been directly involved with the care of Marquand Park, and she attended special occasions at The Princeton Child Development Institute, a school for autistic children that our family founded in 1970. She provides intelligence and commitment at the highest level to the citizens of Princeton.

Roland and Pamela Machold

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

Princeton’s Democrats might reasonably ask why they should consider voting for an aging, white, often grumpy, Protestant male — i.e. a stereotypical Republican.

Perhaps the beginning of an answer can be found in what I think it means to be Republican.

I am the son of a historian who met his future wife at Princeton Theological Seminary. Both cared deeply about people, language, and religion, both became teachers, and both were lifelong Democrats.

I cast my first presidential vote for George McGovern, a man whose faith in human decency caused him to trust that public sector employees would tend to act in the public interest — with the result that government would tend to be a force for good.

Forty years in banking, finance, and real estate have broadened my perspective, making me much less trusting. I have watched in stunned disbelief as fortunes are
accumulated by people whom my principled banking employers would not have permitted to come through the door; as large organizations thrive despite wasting appallingly large sums of money; and as adventurers earn obscene profits by acquiring and gutting old line businesses — cheapening product lines, discharging legions of employees, and shipping production facilities offshore.

And I have watched with increasing dismay as government divides our nation, impairs our economy, obfuscates causes and effects, flouts our laws, and enriches the officials who claw their way to national prominence. In a pattern that is as old as time, federal, state, and municipal officials extract more and more tribute from the populations they govern. Grand sounding laws are enacted. Regulations are imposed. With each new law and regulation we become a little less free. Problems fester; hiring becomes increasingly impractical and/or unaffordable; favored entities are enriched; out of favor entities are savaged; curtailed access to private sector credit throttles our economy; and our elected officials respond by promising more of the same.

I agree that big business is often predatory, but so is big government. The premise of big government is that people are pirates at heart and that, if left to themselves, the strong and the wily will prey upon the weak and the gullible. That may be so. But why would anyone believe that the solution is to submit to government by the pirates? In the private sector I at least have the freedom to choose which products, if any, I wish to buy. Government decrees, by contrast, are compulsory. They usually benefit few but their sponsors. And, more often than not, despite grand sounding titles, they compound existing problems.

I would greatly prefer to lead my own life, make my own choices, bear the costs of my many mistakes, impose as little as possible on my neighbors, and grant my fellow citizens the freedom to do the same. That, to me, is the essence of what it means to be a Republican.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

This summer we celebrated The Fresh Air Fund’s 140th summer of serving children from New York City’s low-income communities. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to our extraordinary Fresh Air volunteers, hosts, and supporters in Central and Southern New Jersey for their dedication and commitment.

Fresh Air host families open their hearts and homes, and share the everyday joys of summertime with their Fresh Air friends. I am inspired by the commitment of our local volunteer leaders, many of whom are also hosts. They
volunteer to interview prospective host families, help recruit new families, and plan special activities. I would also like to thank the individuals and local businesses who so generously give their time and resources to make The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program throughout Central and Southern New Jersey a great success each year.

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities. Each year, nearly 7,000 children enjoy outdoor summer adventures through visits with volunteer host families along the East Coast and Southern Canada and at The Fund’s five overnight camps in Fishkill, N.Y. Fresh Air children also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs.

Contact Colin Reinstedt at (212) 897-8970 or visit www.freshair.org to learn more about hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund.

Fatima Shama

Executive Director, The Fresh Air Fund

To the Editor:

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is to be commended for advocating the stockpiling of food and other necessities against the day when these might become unavailable. [“Hughes Urges Residents To Prepare for Emergencies,” Town Topics, Aug. 31, page 6]. I hope all who can will respond to his message and set up emergency supplies of their own.

The goal of stockpiling a three-day supply can be attained by nearly everyone. But it is only a token amount of preparation. There are many threats that would cause greater shortages for longer durations.

The British people have been told that they are only nine meals away from chaos. The German government has recently advised its citizens to have a ten-day supply of food and water(!) on hand for emergencies. Our Mormons require each family to stockpile a year’s food, in preparation for the next year that the crops fail. When they formulated this rule, no Federal or State government was able to provide emergency supplies. On a large scale, there still isn’t any government that can (remember Katrina?).

Now a local government official has implicitly admitted as much, and by doing so now has also implied that the likelihood of an emergency has increased, and the time for action has arrived. We need to fully understand that we are individually responsible for our own survival in a large-scale emergency and that we should be personally prepared for it.

Ronald Nielsen

Humbert Street

ace-dusty-cat

FAVORITE FELINE: “I’d recommend getting a cat to anyone,” says George Smith, owner of Smith’s Ace Hardware & Housewares in the Princeton Shopping Center. “It’s great having Dusty in the store. He keeps the mice away, and everyone loves him.” Dusty, shown in one of his favorite perches, is the new “star” at the popular store. (Photo by Jean Stratton)

Family-owned and operated, Smith’s Ace Hardware & Housewares has been a favorite with customers since its opening in the Princeton Shopping Center in 2002.

Owner George Smith and his brothers are proprietors of four other hardware stores, including the original Yardville Supply Company opened by the Smith brothers’ grandfather. Yardville Supply is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. more

September 14, 2016

To the Editor:

Princeton has quite a diverse community, those with high incomes and those with low, those with high net worth and those with low, those with advanced degrees and those with none, those who are literate and those who are not, those advancing in age and those very young, those born in America and those born throughout the world. It is these differences and the fact the town embraces them that makes Princeton the special place that it is.

Liz understands these differences and makes every effort to support and celebrate them. By recognizing diversity, she recognizes that there are needs for all. While it is impossible to provide for all needs, she recognizes that regardless of the size of the town budget, it is constrained and that compromises need to be made and made fairly.

Liz, together with the Council, continues to make Princeton the place we all like to call home. While the Council does not agree on all issues and all solutions, it is Liz’s demeanor that sets the tone. With her leadership, all Council members have a voice and are free to express their opinions. The result is a consensus that leads to a resolution.

With Liz’s leadership, the Town encounters and resolves issues as they arise. In a diverse community, there are many opinions. Not all residents will be satisfied with every solution. But one just needs to look around and observe the Town and its people and its community and its activities to bask in its positive atmosphere.

Every day, Princeton is a community most desirable to live in and it’s in large part due to the leadership in our government. That’s why NJ Monthly ranked Princeton in the top 10 percent most desirable communities in New Jersey. It all flows from our Council members and the leadership they and the mayor provides.

Four more years is a good thing. Please join me in supporting Liz’s candidacy for reelection.

Ross Wishnick

Edgerstoune Road

To the Editor:

More than 22,000 people in New Jersey die each year from heart disease and stroke. But we have the power to dramatically reduce that number. Each of us can do that through more exercise and a better diet, and by supporting the work of the American Heart Association.

I’m asking members of the community to join me and NRG Energy in supporting the American Heart Association’s 2016 Central New Jersey Heart Walk, which will be held at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton on Friday, September 30. This will be the first nighttime Heart Walk and the first to be held at Arm & Hammer Park. Heart Walks are held throughout the country to raise awareness for the Association’s important work to educate the public on ways they can reduce their own risk of heart disease and stroke, and to raise funds that will support groundbreaking research.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans. The American Heart Association is committed to helping individuals and businesses foster a culture of health, and to providing science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public.

For more information on the September 30, 2016 Heart Walk at Arm & Hammer Park, please visit www.CentralNJHeartWalk.org.

David R. Hill

Chair, Central N.J. Heart Walk

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Family YMCA Board of Directors, we want to thank Town Topics for sharing the story in its last issue about the exciting projects we are undertaking to update the facility for our community. We have just one minor correction to note. As co-chairs of the 2016 Centennial Awards, the Y’s one major fundraiser, we want to clarify that the event will be Thursday, October 27, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Y in the Dodge gymnasium.

This year, our focus is Youth Development and we are recognizing individuals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to nurturing the potential of youth, and lead by example through community service, scholarship, philanthropy, and by putting others first. This year’s honorees are: Robert O. Carr, creator and founder of the Give Something Back Foundation; Thomas J. Espenshade, Princeton University sociologist, educator and researcher; Tonie Forbes, Esq., community advocate and youth; Lenora Keel, social worker with Princeton High School for 23 years; Joanne Parker, youth leader with the First Baptist Church of Princeton; and for our institutional recognition, Princeton Special Sports, a volunteer-driven organization providing children with opportunities to play youth sports in an environment tailored to their special needs and abilities. Our event is like no other: young people interview the honorees in advance and conduct the entire presentation. We also feature catering by Mediterra and a silent auction.

To receive an invitation or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit the YMCA’s website princetonymca.org. If you have any questions, please contact Denise Soto at (609) 497-9622 ext. 209. We look forward to another wonderful celebration of our community’s best!

Prashanth Jayachandran, 

Cameron Manning

Co-chairs

prof-in-educ_1

Martha Friend

Mark Eastburn at Riverside and Martha Friend at Littlebrook are two of five New Jersey finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. They are also the kind of elementary school science teachers who would make anyone want to start kindergarten all over again. They love the adventure of science, and they love working with young children.  more

September 7, 2016

To the Editor:

I was inspired to write in response to Anne Levin’s August 17 article [“‘Welcoming Week’ to Recognize Princeton’s History of Inclusiveness,” page 7] which prompted me to reach out to Elisa Neira, Princeton’s Human Services Director, who nudged me to write a Letter to the Editor.

In what can feel like a wildly fast-paced mobile and globalized world there is a strong need to find stable communities in our lives which ground and orient us.

As a recent immigrant from the Show-Me state, I arrived in Princeton eagerly anticipating my work at a local religious ministry. Yet I wondered whether I would fit in to this storied Ivy League community to which I initially felt no connection.

Author Charles Vogl in his book The Art of Community helped me think more expansively about community as “a group of individuals who share a mutual concern for one another’s welfare.” I’ve been delighted to discover that Princeton strives to bring people together and is a community determined to break down the walls that would try to divide us.

Who we are as a community is seen in the many volunteer and civic initiatives that help foster a genuine connection with one another. I found people who care deeply about justice and love for their fellow human beings at monthly meetings of Not in Our Town Princeton (niotprinceton.org), an interracial, interfaith group whose monthly meetings help build bridges of understanding. In the meetings I’ve attended, there have been thought-provoking discussions that have helped me to move out of my comfort zone, which is where growth happens.

Out of a desire to connect with the larger Princeton community, I convinced my crowd-adverse Brazilian wife to join the joyous throng in celebrating Communiversity Day this past April. Never before have I lived in a community with an Arts Council that collaborates with the town and a major university to pull off a multi-cultural event that attracted over 40,000 people.

Princeton is about to celebrate and welcome immigrants, refugees, and other new Americans this month. It’s prompted me to dig deeper and think about qualities that might define the perfect community for one and all. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: fulfillment, health, justice, intelligence, abundance, and the brotherhood of man.

The ideal community is also one where people feel unified and validated so that any group’s talents, skills and abilities can flourish. Here’s an uplifting thought in support of a perfect community written by Mary Baker Eddy: “Pure humanity, friendship, home, the interchange of love bring to earth a foretaste of heaven.”

Is there such a thing as a perfect community? Perhaps not…every community has its challenges…but I have no doubt that Princeton is the perfect community for me.

Steve Drake

The Great Road

August 31, 2016

NTU Stellitano 8-31-16

ALL SEASON COMFORT: “We are available for all jobs — large and small. We provide new heating and air conditioning units, and we maintain and service all units, even if they weren’t purchased from us. We service all makes and models.” Husband and wife team Gary and Sharyn Stellitano, owners of Stellitano Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., look forward to keeping customers comfortable in all seasons.

Comfort is the key at Stellitano Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. The goal of this long-time respected company is to keep its customers cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and comfortable in every season. more

To the Editor:

On the evening of August 24 the front lawn of McCarter was a sight to behold as more than 2,000 members of our community gathered to celebrate the beginning of our 2016-17 season. The 6th Annual Block party was a tremendous success as partygoers enjoyed the music of the Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra; took behind the scenes tours of our Matthews stage; enjoyed terrific food from the 11 restaurant vendors and food trucks or even had an ice cold craft beer in our beer garden. We can’t think of a better way to begin our season than by throwing open our doors and having a party on our front lawn!

Of course it takes many hands to make it all happen and I would like to thank the remarkable volunteers from Bloomberg L.P. who came out to lend a hand at our arts and crafts tables; and also offer thanks to the people at Art Sparks and Princeton Face and Body Art for donating their time, talent, and supplies. Thanks also to the members of the Princeton University Security staff who helped us with traffic flow and public safety. Thank you to our immediate neighbors who graciously accommodated the road closures needed around the theatre to make room for the food trucks and our other activities. Finally, I would like to thank and acknowledge the hardworking staff and volunteer team at McCarter. Everyone from our production crew to the education teaching artists look forward each year to the event and have a hand in making it a success.

Emily Mann and Bill Lockwood have put together another fantastically compelling artistic season at McCarter. Beginning on September 9 with our first play, the world premiere of Bathing in Moonlight by Nilo Cruz, McCarter will be the place to be for engaging entertainment this season. We have a new production of A Christmas Carol, a great line-up of dance and music performances and plans are in place for another spectacular gala in the spring featuring a concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. We are grateful to be a part of this engaging and wonderful community, to have the support of so many in the community, and are so proud to be a home for the arts here in Princeton.

Timothy J. Shields

Managing Director

To the Editor:

I AM SO SICK OF BEEPING! I live on the block of Walnut Lane between Valley Road and the side street, Oakland. I love the (supposed) lazy days of summer. I love the natural sound of crickets and cicadas and the various birds that come to my feeders. I like fresh air, so my windows are open. We do not have air conditioning, thus my home is not locked up tight as a drum with a constant AC hum, both of which would assist in drowning out sound. (I won’t comment on a country where nearly every home runs ACs that significantly contribute to pollution and global warming … that’s another letter.) No, this letter pertains to noise pollution.

To my left is a construction site — a tear-down, now McMansion. To my right is the work being done on Valley Road. And in front of me, as of Monday, is a new curb and sidewalk. I understand that someone years ago had the bright idea to install back-up beeps to construction and other large vehicles as a safety measure. I understand that outdoor workers prefer to work early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler. BUT … we have had weeks on end of dump trucks, concrete mixers, caterpillars, front end loaders … engines idling, spewing fumes, empty dump truck beds having concrete dropped into them from above CLANG-C-CLANG-CLANG and the incessant BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. (It seems they never go forward!) The trucks begin at 6:45 a.m. and the beeping starts at 7 a.m … 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening!! I cannot sit on my outside patio and enjoy summer because of the McMansion noise right next to my ear. I cannot sit on my lovely enclosed porch to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner without being assaulted by noise. I can’t even avoid the noise by going to work … I have a home office.

Just take a drive around town and note the number of tear-downs and new construction …. I cannot be the only one with this complaint. I have a couple of suggestions. One: There should be an option to soften the caliber of the sound of back-up beeps when the vehicles are being used on an enclosed construction site. Two: the town or the company doing the work should put a notice in the mailboxes of local neighbors to let them know when said construction work is to be done. I was jarred awake Monday morning at 7 a.m. by a metallic grinding noise. I assumed they had begun grading Valley Road with one of those big machines. No. It was one man with a REALLY LOUD grinding machine, cutting the curb across the street. Couldn’t someone have dropped a note in my mailbox Friday afternoon saying. “Early Monday morning work will begin on the curb and sidewalk on your block”? Princeton is certainly ceasing to be a sleepy little town.

Jean Prall Rosolino

Walnut Lane

August 24, 2016

To the Editor:

Evergreen Forum (EF), a program of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC), is thriving. Course offerings just get more interesting (and numerous), and participant numbers keep rising. Well into its second decade, the Forum provides stimulating daytime study and discussion programs for adults living in the greater Princeton area. It encourages active participation for those who enjoy learning for its own sake. Course leaders are drawn from teachers and other professionals devoted to their subject and wishing to share their enthusiasm.

“Some of the ideas in this class may boggle the mind,” warns Evergreen Forum instructor Stuart Kurtz as he describes his upcoming course, What is Time? An Overview. “Time” is among the 24 courses being offered this fall by EF. Most courses, which begin at the end of September, meet once a week for two hours for six to eight weeks. Many classes are held at EF’s home base, the Princeton Senior Resource Center at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton; others will take place at convenient nearby locations.

Course descriptions and registration details may be found online at www.theevergreenforum.org, as well as in print brochures available at PSRC and area libraries and churches.

Ellen Gilbert

Stuart Road East

To the Editor:

I’d like to offer some corrections to an August 10 front page article about proposed revisions to Princeton’s tree ordinance [“More Discussion Due On Tree Ordinance at Next Council Meeting”]. I write as a botanist and former member of the Shade Tree Commission (STC) that generated the proposal. At the council meeting, ash trees were not characterized as invasive, and the arborist referred to one that might be attacked by the notorious Emerald Ash Borer in 10 years, not 30.

The proposed changes would make it much more expensive for homeowners to remove healthy, mature trees. The primary aim is to discourage, or at least compensate for, the clearcutting associated with Princeton’s epidemic of teardowns. Replacing a house on a small lot typically means removing all trees, since even trees beyond the new building’s (larger) footprint will be damaged by construction activity. The increased fees — $400 for roughly every 9” of girth, up to $1600 per tree — would provide funds for new plantings to compensate for the lost trees.

There’s clear public benefit here, but the new fees or replacement obligations will also fall on homeowners who may have valid reasons to remove a tree. The proposed changes penalize removal of our two most common invasive trees: Norway Maples, which compete with native species, and the Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) whose allelopathic root exudates interfere with gardening. The ordinance also penalizes homeowners who wish to install solar panels, grow a vegetable garden or plant wildflowers to feed pollinators. Shade is a wonderful thing, but creating an opening for beneficial plants not blessed with xylem should not be penalized.

Inflexibility is further evident in the decision to levy the fees on homeowners wishing to proactively remove ash trees. Trying to defend the STC’s proposal, the arborist claimed that a healthy ash tree “might” succumb to Emerald Ash Borer in 10 years. There’s no “might” about it. Barring a miracle, every untreated mature ash will succumb. In fact, penalizing proactive removal ignores the warnings of STC’s own Community Forestry Management Plan, which states: “An underlying concern is that municipal employees and private contractors may not be able to keep up with the demand for removal of dead and dying hazardous ash trees.”

Council was scared away from suggested improvements to the proposal by imaginary worst-case scenarios, misleading “slippery slope” arguments, and unnecessary appeals to emotion, as when native plant advocates were characterized as fanatics ready to “wipe out” people’s perennial beds.

The rigidity of the proposed changes, their focus on penalties rather than incentives, and their dependence on expensive nursery trees rather than selectively nurturing the “free forest” of volunteer trees that sprout in people’s yards, deprives the arborist of adequate enforcement flexibility. Large trees provide shade, cooling, habitat, but they also interfere with other social and ecological goods: solar panels, orchards, gardens. Surprisingly, Princeton’s Historic Preservation and Environmental commissions were not asked to comment on the proposed changes. The STC’s important defense of trees needs to be tempered by awareness of other sustainability goals.

(Public comment continues at council’s September 12 meeting.)

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

As parents, few things are scarier than finding out something is wrong with your baby, but that’s the news we received six years ago before our daughter, Evalyn, was born. It was then that we found out Evalyn had a congenital heart defect.

Many people believe heart disease only affects the elderly. Yet by age two, Evalyn had undergone two open heart surgeries, three cardiac catheterizations, a stent placement and countless other tests and procedures. While the journey is sometimes difficult, Evalyn is doing well thanks to breakthrough research funded by organizations, such as the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

But the need for more research is unquestionable. In the U.S., nearly 40,000 children are born with a heart defect each year. Many congenital heart defects are diagnosed in infancy and some, like Evalyn’s, can be detected prenatally. After diagnosis, there are medical treatments available to help the heart perform its best.

This year, Evalyn and our family will share our journey at the Central New Jersey Heart Walk. For the past four years, we have walked with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to raise funds and awareness for the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, heart disease and stroke. It is our hope that one day no family will need to learn their child has a heart condition.

Join us on Friday, September 30 at the 2016 Central New Jersey Heart Walk at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder. For more information, visit www.CentralNJHeartWalk.org.

Fred and Mia Carella

Volunteers, American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, Yardley, Pa.

To the Editor:

Today someone removed the “Bernie for President” sign from my lawn. I would like to think it was an impoverished Bernie supporter who couldn’t resist a souvenir. I prefer that to the idea that it was a supporter of one of the other candidates. I believe in tolerance of others’ political choices, although I enjoy discussions of why those choices were made.

Let’s have some respect for differing opinions.

Eileen Bird

Moran Avenue

August 17, 2016

To the Editor:

The fast response from observant neighbors, Princeton’s Police and Fire Departments, truly demonstrate that it takes a town to preserve a house.

Last week during the July 30 rain storm, the Barracks, thought to be Princeton’s oldest home, was inundated with water that (most probably) sparked the electrical system and caused a fire. The town’s swift response was able to contain the fire to the garage. The cottage is badly damaged but it will be restored and remediated to ensure its continued preservation.

Mayor Liz Lempert has made a commitment to look at the on-going storm water issues in the town. While I am fortunate to be the custodian of this wonderful and historical house, I am truly blessed to be living in an extraordinary neighborhood, in a great town with committed leadership. My deep appreciation to everyone who helped and opened their doors, sofas, and hearts.

Laura R. Jacobus

Edgehill Street

To the Editor:

I thought your readers would like to know a bit about the financial losses caused by the Carter Road Bridge Construction Project and the additional losses coming this fall because of Governor Christie’s work stoppage order of several weeks ago that has delayed the completion of the bridge for months.

I can tell you that all the farming/nursery endeavors that make our community here in Lawrenceville so special have been negatively impacted this summer. Cherry Grove Farm has lost thousands in revenue so far this year because of the bridge that cuts our farm in half severing our lifeline between the fields along Carter and Carson Roads and our main farmstead on Route 206. Our store revenue is down and by the looks of it the fall season will only be worse. Shoppers just cannot get there due to our bridge closing and other stoppages in the Princeton area. My neighbors running small vital businesses producing locally grown foods so important to our shoppers have told me that sales are way off compared to 2015.

Also as troubling are the potential health hazards resulting from the stagnant water pooling up at the bridge construction project. I do know that West Nile Virus mosquitoes incubate in standing water like the festering pool below the bridge. Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus also breed in similar environments.

These hazards are in addition to all the accidents I have witnessed this summer along the narrow back roads caused by cars driving too fast on roads that do not have shoulders and should not be used as detours.

Maybe, Brian Hughes, our county executive, can save the day and get the job done. I’m not holding my breath.

Oliver Hamill

Cherry Grove Farm, General Manager/owner

To the Editor:

Here’s my story.

For those of us who love fresh fruit and vegetables, summer is Nirvana: peaches, melons, tomatoes, corn, eggplants, and more, all sold at area supermarkets. But if you want food delivered directly from the farm to you, then visit the West Windsor Farmers’ Market, where 16 local farmers bring their produce every Saturday as it ripens throughout the growing season.

Thanks to Chris Cirkus and her volunteers, market day has become a family and community event. Tents are erected for the farmers and vendors, while shoppers mix and mingle as music and entertainment play in the background.

But, this isn’t the end of the story.

Not everyone can afford the price of fresh produce. Thanks to the generous donations from shoppers at the West Windsor market, Yes We CAN! Food Drives is able to purchase large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers and turn it over for FREE distribution at the food pantries of The Crisis Ministry in Princeton and Trenton. Over one thousand children and families each month know they can depend on the pantries for their spring, summer, and fall supply of fresh produce, and not just the soggy beans in a can of preservatives.

This generosity, however, doesn’t stop with the shoppers. The farmers themselves not only give Yes We CAN! a discount, but at the end of the market day, they often donate to us unsold cartons of their bounty. What a wonderful system — a win/win situation! Last year, our volunteers collected 13,500 pounds of fresh produce for the clients of The Crisis Ministry. This year alone, in five market days, we have collected enough donations to give the Ministry 4,200 pounds of fruits and vegetables, some of that from home and church gardeners. Thank you all, farmers, shoppers, gardeners, and volunteers.

With more and more families facing daily food challenges, we urge you to visit the West Windsor Farmers’ Market, located at Vaughn Drive, off Alexander Road near the train station. The market is open every Saturday from 9 to 1, with free parking. Yes We CAN! Food Drives collects produce every other Saturday. Our next drive is scheduled for August 27.

Come, enjoy, and donate. Your neighbors need your help.

Fran Engler

West Windsor Yes We CAN! Food Drives, 

Publicity Chair, yeswecanfooddrives.org