January 15, 2020

“PUTTING PEOPLE TOGETHER:” Patty Thel leads the combined choral groups from Trenton Children’s Chorus and Princeton Day School Middle School at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event at Princeton University. (Photo courtesy of Patty Thel)

By Donald Gilpin

Patty Thel’s roots in choral music go back to her childhood in the Southern Baptist church.

The Westminster Conservatory Children’s Choir program director and founder and Trenton Children’s Chorus director grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where her parents took her to church three times a week, and at home the whole family improvised at the piano and organ. “Mostly hymns — that’s where their heart was,” she said.

Thel has come a long way from the Fayetteville Baptist Church, but through many years of teaching music, she has remained devoted to choral work and literature, along with an experience that goes far beyond the words and the music.

“The thing for me with choral music over the years is about being truthful and devoted to the work as much as possible and also conveying to the students the message brought to them through the literature,” she said. “In teaching you’re trying to teach music, but also teaching young people how to be well rounded human beings and how to be sensitive to other people. more

To the Editor:

Do you live on a residential street in Princeton that has 2-hour or 3-hour parking or resident permit parking that is within a 15-minute walk of businesses on Nassau Street? If so, be aware — employees of Princeton businesses may soon be allowed to park all day on your street. And if you live near Princeton High School, high school students may soon be allowed to park all day on your street.

The Permit Parking Task Force is planning to present a report to Princeton Council that will propose allowing employees to park on these streets. 

I have been attending Task Force meetings. I have been impressed with the Task Force members’ hard work and good intentions. Unfortunately, in my view, the Task Force is going in the wrong direction. more

January 8, 2020

To the Editor:

As the executive director of Trinity Counseling Service, I feel a profound professional as well as personal loss as a result of Rabbi Adam Feldman’s death. As I joined hundreds of family, friends, colleagues, and parishioners at Rabbi Feldman’s funeral last Sunday, the theme of devoted friend, passionate colleague, and connector continued to emerge. People used phrases like “master of relationships,” and talked about the power of Adam’s ability to listen and join with people from all faith traditions and backgrounds. They talked about his investment in community partnerships as well as his commitment to constructive, civil discourse as a means of both connecting and healing. His commitment to modeling collaboration, partnership, respect, and support for others were hallmarks of Adam’s way of being in the world. He exuded gentle strength that was powerful. He could also be feisty, which was part of his charm. more

To the Editor:

I am delighted that Mark Freda has decided to run for mayor of Princeton. I had the privilege of serving with Mark in 2012 when I was one of the Borough Council’s representatives to the Consolidation Transition Task Force. Mark chaired the task force and we served on multiple subcommittees together. I quickly became a fan of Mark, both personally and professionally.

We were handed a road map that needed to be transformed into tangible product that would allow a consolidated government to be operational on January 1, 2013. Mark’s experience in government and his deep roots in the community were invaluable as the process unfolded. More than that, however, his leadership skills were outstanding. Although consolidation had passed overwhelmingly in both the Borough and the Township, it remained a delicate and controversial issue, and implementing the reality of consolidation meant working around the landmines of rules, regulations, various departments, and personnel. more

To The Editor:

Rider University’s attempt to impress the public that moving Westminster Choir College (WCC) students to Lawrenceville in the fall of 2020 is a done deal continues a misinformation campaign to get the public to believe that nothing more can be done to keep WCC in Princeton.

This is not a lost cause, and it is not a done deal. On the contrary, there are currently three different lawsuits challenging Rider’s legal rights to grab WCC for monetary purposes.

These suits will take a few years to resolve, cost a lot of money, especially to Rider which is losing money on it every year, and, by the time the issue is resolved, WCC may be an empty shell, unless the Princeton public will unite to support keeping it in Princeton. more

January 1, 2020

FAMILY TIES: “We have thousands of different tiles in the showroom, and we also have exclusive lines that are available to us in the area. Tile is very durable, and its easy maintenance is another advantage.” Jack (left) and Darlene Flood, owners of A Step in Stone, are shown with their son Brian, who is operations manager. A display of glass and stone mosaic tiles is featured in the background.

Tile can be a wonderful addition to your home. It is handsome, durable, and versatile. Appropriate for many rooms in the house — from bathroom to foyer to kitchen and beyond, it is both eye-catching and functional.

Enhancing both floors and walls, its myriad designs and styles offer choices for everyone’s taste. For sure, tile is a winning decorative choice.

No one knows this better than A Step In Stone. Recently marking its 15th anniversary, this special tile emporium, with its spacious showroom, is known both for its superior selection of tile from all over the world and its exceptional customer service.

Every style, size, design, color, and texture is on display. Ceramic tile, stone, glass, mosaic, porcelain, and metal are among the categories available, all conveniently arranged for customer accessibility.

 more

COMPREHENSIVE CARE: “People are smarter about dental care today and good oral hygiene. If they are careful about this, they will have a better outcome and better luck with their teeth.” The specialists at Prosthodontics of Princeton include, from left, Alexander S. Drew, DMD, MS; Steven C. Isaacson, DMD; and Suzanne B. Reinhardt, DMD; who are all skilled in helping patients achieve the best oral health.

By Jean Stratton

The first step is to make an appointment. Whether it’s a toothache, missing tooth (or teeth), or just time for a checkup, Prosthodontics of Princeton is there to make sure the treatment is appropriate, timely, and thorough.

Located at 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-4, the practice, owned by Steven C. Isaacson, DMD, was originally founded by his father George Isaacson, DMD.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Steven Isaacson went on to obtain a specialty degree in prosthodontics at Temple University School of Dentistry, with emphasis on reconstructive dentistry, including implants and cosmetic dentistry.

The opportunity to work with his father has continued to inform his practice, and, as he says, has given him a chance “to continue the tradition of integrity, detail, and thoughtfulness that my father instilled in me.” more

To the Editor: 

I am writing as a new member of Princeton Community TV who wishes that this valuable service to the community continues. I’m so sad that it took me so long to join, for I have wanted to for years but never made the time. I’ve been a guest on a few shows as a director and playwright. It is such a professional organization, and I was honored to be interviewed.

Now that I have made the time and have the inspiration to host my own show for kids on PCTV, I found out that the money from the town isn’t going to be given. I completely disagree with the thinking of those in charge of the purse strings. There is a huge need for more community organizations that bring together positive, creative people from all walks of life and all different ages to work together, especially to learn from one another. I have gained valuable skills from just a few workshops and gatherings at PCTV that I couldn’t have received anywhere else. I have learned how to work professional video cameras, create content that is worthy of an ever-increasing discerning audience, and gained valuable knowledge from those in the filmmaking business. Just having access to the professional equipment and technical guidance has not only helped me produce my own show but, as a theatre/film public school teacher, I am proud to be able to take this ever-changing modern technical knowledge and pass it onto future generations. more

To the Editor:

Single use plastics pose a serious threat to our health and environment, polluting our drinking water, clogging our storm drains, and littering our open space. State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein have cosponsored a statewide bill, S2776/A4330 that would prohibit the provision or sale of single-use plastic bags, single-use paper bags, and polystyrene foam food service products, as well as limiting provision of single-use plastic straws.

The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, New Jersey Audubon, New Jersey Environmental Lobby, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, and many others have been working closely with sponsors to strengthen the bill through amendments that incorporate lessons learned from plastic pollution ordinances passed in 100 New Jersey municipalities and 8 other states.  The bill only has a few more weeks to pass before the legislative year ends – otherwise they will have to start from the beginning.

Please call or email our state legislators, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and State Senator Christopher Bateman to let them know if this is important to you.

Sophie Glovier
Drakes Corner Road
Heidi Fichtenbaum
Carnahan Place

December 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Princeton Human Services thanks donors for their contributions to its 21st Holiday Gift Drive. Princeton Human Services had its most successful Holiday Gift Drive this year thanks to the overwhelming number of donors who contributed. This year, the department distributed gifts to approximately 305 kids aged 12 and under.

The department would like to thank the Princeton Police Department, the PBA Local 130, the Princeton Recreation Department, Stone Hill Church, Lucy’s Kitchen & Market, Goldberg Segalla, JM Group, and Princeton Anesthesia Services for their support and contributions to the Holiday Gift Drive as well as municipal employees, police officers, and the many Princeton residents who made individual donations and sponsored children in our drive.  more

To the Editor:

This is not a political moment in our nation. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

This is not an event to celebrate. This is a solemn moment to finally acknowledge what our great country has lost.

This is not opposition to a candidate, a person holding office as we speak, or even a specific party. This is recognition of our Constitution and the protections therein.

This is not a gathering meant to vilify any individual. This is a movement meant to move us all forward to regain our national stature, both at home and abroad.

As we journey together as a people on this arduous and painful but ultimately rewarding path back to the rule of law in our great country, we at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice are proud to gather with a strong coalition of allies as well as with our greater community to organize this rally — one of hundreds collectively across the nation to amplify our patriotic voices and affirm our strong belief in the very foundations of our democracy. more

December 18, 2019

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Human Services Commission, we would like to publicly share with our neighbors in Princeton and the larger Mercer County region, our deep appreciation of the bravery and kindness of our migrant neighbors and friends.  We fully support their integration into our communities and applaud their efforts to find a better, safe, and secure life for their children and families. 

On December 18, 1990, the United Nation’s General Assembly adopted a resolution concerning the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. We ask our neighbors in the greater Princeton and Mercer communities to join us in celebrating International Migrants Day this year by commemorating the often difficult journeys of our migrant friends.  more

To the Editor:

It’s good to know that the long and complicated settlement between Princeton and Fair Share Housing Center may be heading toward conclusion [“Town May Be Close to a Settlement on Affordable Housing Obligation,” Town Topics, December 11, p. 12].

Not too many people know that there has been proposed legislation in the NJ Legislature (S854 / A1897) to make large multi-unit dwellings more fire safe. This legislation was introduced after the huge fire in Edgewater, N.J., where 500 people lost their homes on a cold night in January 2015 in the large Avalon Bay wood housing development, causing serious displacement of families.   This event was preceded in 2000 at that site when the same company’s development under construction went up in flames, destroying nine nearby occupied homes and 12 cars. Large fires have occurred at other such sites in New Jersey  (Maplewood and Lakewood) and throughout the country as combustible wood framing is used in ever larger and taller multi-unit dwellings.  more

December 11, 2019

To the Editor:

Well, it isn’t working is it? Leaf piles!

Driving home from the airport last Sunday through the first real (though luckily not major) snow of the season involved dodging around leaf piles of all sizes along the streets of Princeton. Later, the salting trucks were out, facing the same difficult situation.

It seems that when the printed pick-up schedule comes in the mail many homeowners do not read it, do not keep it in a safe place for future reference, or simply decide to ignore it.

Landscapers could be instructed to put the leaves they collect into bags instead of piling them at curbside. Alternatively, households that contribute to the potentially hazardous situation might have to be charged for the removal of their leaf piles.

Elizabeth Danson
Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

I was sorry to learn of the recent departure of senior registered environmental health specialist Keith Levine from the Princeton Health Department. Health specialist Levine was a dedicated civil servant who displayed professionalism, knowledge, efficiency, compassion, and caring in the performance of his duties and was always attentive to that call no matter how busy he was.

Health specialist Levine was the only official I contacted who was responsive to the complaints of tenants of Elm Court and Harriet Bryan House when management was complacent about trash piling up in the trash rooms and other problems too numerous to mention.

He will be greatly missed by everyone who had occasion to solicit his help and Princeton’s loss will certainly be someone else’s gain. We can ill afford to lose people of this caliber in Princeton.

Linda Ricker
Elm Court

To the Editor:

“U.S. Students Fail to Gain Ground in International Test” is the headline of an article in the Wednesday, December 4, issue of The Wall Street Journal. The exam, called the Program for International Student Assessment, is given to teenage students around the world. The American results are nothing to be proud of. In mathematics, for example, the average scores of the ten leading countries, located in East Asia and Northern Europe, ranged from a high of 591 (China) to a low of 515 (Poland). The average score for the United States was 478.

This is nothing new. For years we’ve seen the scores of American students lag behind those of most other civilized countries in reading, mathematics and science. more

To the Editor:

In a federalist system like ours, information about the issues and conflicts faced in local jurisdictions is essential to self-government.

Princeton government has faced budget crunches recently and spinning off the Princeton Community TV and Media Center saves the government money.

Princeton Community Access TV and Media Center, which is funded through regional negotiations with companies like Comcast, serves our  community’s  information needs in the digital age. It is a physical space dedicated to programming created locally and offers residents an outlet to express their views on local issues.

In 2017, former N.J. Governor Thomas Kean asked the state to support public TV after the spectrum auction win. “Public TV network provides critical local news and public affairs programming and also supports New Jersey through community engagement projects.” said Kean, NJ.com commentary. more

December 4, 2019

ITALIAN TRADITIONS: “We are family-owned and operated, and we want to offer people a memorable dining experience. Everything is high quality, and we have special family recipes and the freshest ingredients.” Beniamino (left) and Alison Iovine, owners of Beniamino’s Cucina & Pizza, are shown with pizza expert Alex Iovine, known as the “Pizza Man.”

By Jean Stratton

Italian food is a favorite — and surely not just in Italy! It is on everyone’s menu, and whether it is served at home or in a restaurant it is always welcome.

“People love Italian food because it tastes good and is comforting. It’s ‘feel good’ food!” says Alison Iovine, co-owner and front end manager of Beniamino’s Cucina & Pizza. “It is also healthy, with fresh ingredients, focusing on the Mediterranean diet, with lots of vegetables. We are so happy to share our great menu with customers.”

And, lots of enthusiastic customers are enjoying lunch and dinner at the new restaurant, which opened at the Montgomery Center, 1325 Route 206 North, in July.

Owners Beniamino and Alison Iovine are delighted with the response. “We are very encouraged, and so pleased that everyone is enjoying coming here. We already have lots of regular and repeat customers. Once they come in, they always come back!” more

To the Editor:

I also attended the Mercer County Board of Elections meeting occasioned by the “discovery” of 800 missing mail-in ballots to which Scotia Macrae referred in her letter [“Spare No Expense to Safeguard Our Democracy,” Mailbox, Nov. 27]. In general, I agree with the observations and recommendations she offered. This year, the missing ballots didn’t make a difference in the outcome, but in a close election they could have if the “missing” were somehow not found.

Ms. Macrae raises the specter of potential Russian vote-tampering. The clear and present danger to our voting system is much more obvious, however. To quote cartoon character Pogo, “I have met the enemy and he is us.” That is, the processing, tabulating, and posting of votes are done by people. The possibilities for malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance are ever-present. The arbitrary rejection of mail-in ballots, including for supposed signature discrepancies, has been held unconstitutional in other states, but continues in Mercer County. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), I would like to thank the 100-plus members of the community who attended our OptOutside event on Friday, November 29 at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather; a great performance by the Andrew Yan Quintet, a jazz group comprised of PHS students; and a wonderful photography exhibit entitled, “The Beauty of Nature,” with beautiful images taken by Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart student Sam Mao. Friday kicked off our annual photography contest sponsored by REI, the outdoor gear and equipment coop that started OptOutside Friday, and closes all of its stores the day after Thanksgiving. more

To the Editor:

It appears that Rider University is now determined to close down the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College and move the whole college or whatever parts they can pick up and ship it all to Lawrenceville. This academically excellent college has educated so many singers, choir masters, musicians, and composers, and has prospered in its beautiful Princeton campus, but is now to be melded with Rider’s rather banal university, which only became a university when Rider acquired Westminster. It seems inconceivable that Westminster will ever again be anything like what we have known and admired for so many decades. more

To the Editor:

As we approach the end of the year, we wish to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the larger Princeton community for its sustained generosity and support of the YMCA mission. On behalf of the Princeton Family YMCA’s board of directors, we are truly grateful to the many people who are by our side, join us in advancing our work, and help us make the impact we strive to achieve. The list of individuals and organizations is long, and they include special people who participate as members, program participants, volunteers, donors, and advocates. As a cause-driven charitable organization dedicated to strengthening this community, we simply couldn’t do it without you.

Our 2019 Centennial Awards reception was another resounding success, raising $90,000 for critical programs such as Princeton Young Achievers and for financial assistance to ensure that everyone has a place at the Y. We are thankful to all who joined us in October and to our wonderful honorees. This year, we were also the beneficiary of an unexpected and extraordinarily generous gift from an anonymous donor who has transformed our field with a beautiful state-of-the-art basketball court and new surface for the playground — a gift to the entire community! Words are hard to find to describe how thankful we are. more

To the Editor:

Some things disappear because something much better takes its place and there is just no need for it anymore.  Ice boxes, disposable cameras, and flip phones are just a couple of examples.

But some things are timeless and beautiful just the way they are, and one of those things is our special downtown that adds sparkle and life to this community. There is nothing quite like downtown Princeton.

Walking into your local coffee shop and having the barista greet you by name and ask how your vacation was.  Stopping by the wonderful little gift shop and buying that friend a handmade mug or homemade soaps or leather goods for the holidays, instead of ordering something from Amazon. Getting that haircut at the little local barbershop or hair salon where you can chat with your friends and catch up on the local “news.” These are all small things that build a community. more

November 27, 2019

To the Editor:

You have the key to unlock the tool chest to rejuvenate and save the most basic foundation needed to support human life. “And what is that?” you ask. It is the vast and quickly diminishing community of native pollinators of bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, flies, and small mammals that work together to supply 85 percent of the main global crops that feed people — fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oils. This hardworking group also provides the food for many other animals, besides us, in the worldwide ecosystem. If they go, we go. And you can do something right now where you live to help them regenerate!

You can accomplish this, and it does not depend on the size of your yard, your balcony, your community garden, an empty urban lot, or on large corporate campuses. Plant and they will find you! You will discover the incredible beauty of the plants that are native to wherever you live and the knock-your-socks-off intricate and colorful patterns that our native pollinators are dressed in. Not even our most outstanding clothing designers can match the delicacy of detail on display. more

To the Editor:

On Thursday evening, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine offered a wonderful music performance to a very appreciative McCarter Theatre audience. It was a very wonderful evening with the Orchestra presumably being paid for their performance and with the audience showing their appreciation through their loud and extended applause. It was a wonderful example of a quid pro quo with presumably all parties, both audience and members of the Orchestra, receiving their just rewards. The difference between this quid pro quo and that receiving national attention is worth noting since the benefits provided by the Orchestra were not targeted at a single member of the audience but to the audience at large.

May we have many more such quid pro quos.

Joel S. Greenberg
Parkside Drive, Princeton