November 30, 2016

To the Editor:

I applied to the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) to replace an existing fence surrounding my property in the Witherspoon-Jackson Historic District. As a result I received numerous recommendations/directives as to altering the height, location, material, and finish of the proposed fence that was contrary to my architect’s well thought out design. The HPC not only dictated style, but felt empowered to overstep existing zoning laws and demand changes that are already defined in current zoning regulations. Their feedback to me was random, and without any historic basis. It appears that this 20th district was enacted without any consideration of a master plan from an architectural historical perspective as to what the district should NOW look like. We, the property owners, received absolutely no “informed consent” as to what we would be permitted to do with our properties, even down to what design period we were to comply with.

I request that the HPC call an emergency meeting and while adhering to all of their bureaucratic rules, quorum restrictions, legal restrictions, and political correctness, advise the owners in this district as to what type of fence we are allowed to build since it is obvious the HPC feels we are unable and unqualified to do it ourselves.

The following is a list of fence designs based on time periods that could be implemented. HPC, please tell me which historic time period we must adhere to.

 1. Neanderthals: boundaries marked by human excrement.

 2. Vikings: spiked pylons.

 3. 1700s: piled field stone.

 4. 1850s: split rail.

 5. 1890s: wrought iron.

 6. 1900s: cast iron.

 7. 1930s: rusted bed springs, chicken wire, and milk crates.

 8. 1940s: barbed wire as in the American/Japanese internment camps.

 9. 1950s: veneered stone/brick.

 10. 1970s: Untreated natural wood (what the HPC is demanding that I use).

 11. 1980s: pressure treated lumber.

 12. 2000s: PVC plastic fences (currently very popular in our historic Princeton).

It amazes me that the 20th Historic District in Princeton was created without a single definition as to which historic period was to be emulated. We the property owners are forced to spend our money on architectural design, only to be required to modify it at our own expense based on totally subjective demands by the HPC that embarrassingly have no basis in any historic context. The very sad result of this new set of bureaucratic regulations in this district is that it preserves in perpetuity the blighted properties in the district, drives out existing property owners that have lived in the neighborhood for many generations, and devalues their single most valuable asset, their home. Let the committee get together and clearly define the design features that comprise this historic district. It will be a difficult decision. Every fence described above already exists in the neighborhood!

Anthony Vasselli

Lytle Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff team of HiTOPS Adolescent Health, I want to thank you, all of you, the entirety of greater Princeton for an amazing day on Sunday, November 6. The fourth running of the HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon is now in the books, and the incredible outpouring of support from the community was central to making this record-setting year particularly special.

The HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon (PHM) has become a marquee event in the region, the proceeds of which go toward helping HiTOPS reach over 13,000 youth with age-appropriate information about how to make positive choices and decisions about their health and relationships.

This was a record year, with 1,750 registered runners! More than 5,000 spectators and friends were on hand to support and encourage each runner as they made their way around the 13.1 mile course. Area businesses were bustling with peak activity during the typically slow early hours of a Sunday. The weather and fall foliage both cooperated to present historic Princeton in spectacular form.

Race sponsorships fuel the engine enabling HiTOPS to reach adolescents where they are, and with the information they need. This year’s major sponsors are: Orange Theory Fitness of Princeton, Trojan Brands, WPST, Coloplast, Specialized Physical Therapy, NRG, Novo Nordisk, and Fairleigh Dickenson University — School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. THANK YOU!!

The HiTOPS PHM is a private, charitable event, conducted in the public domain. HiTOPS takes very seriously the responsibility of well-representing the municipality of Princeton. We are grateful to the Princeton Council and Mayor Lempert for their continued support. It is a sincere pleasure to work with them and many others, such as the Department of Public Works, and the Princeton Police Department.

With further regard to the police, they deserve special thanks. Our main points of contact, Lt. Geoff Maurer, and Sgt. Tom Murray, who have been with the race from the start, employed incredible skill and experience creating a public safety “ballet” of sorts, keeping the roads open, the runners running, and everyone safe.

We are also grateful to the Princeton Clergy Association for working closely with us in planning, and helping us communicate with their respective congregations. We realize this event has the potential to impact the normal routines of a Sunday morning, and we made it a priority to make sure residents could get to and from their places of worship with as little inconvenience as possible.

While this is a serious, USATF Certified race, it’s first and foremost a charitable event with the goal of increasing awareness of HiTOPS and the importance of adolescent health education. The race also raises much-needed funds that makes a big difference in young people’s lives. We couldn’t possibly do it effectively without the help of over 250 volunteers. They pack and unpack boxes, they haul water and food, they set up, break down and clean up. They are the ones offering water and nutrition with a smile and encouraging word. They are the fabric of the race and we are eternally grateful.

Tracey Post

HiTOPS Board President

Bill Schofield

Interim Executive Director

Courtney Newman

Princeton Half Marathon Race Director

To the Editor:

Two recent projects in town deserve commendation. The shopping center parking lot was wonderfully remade and the lighting at night is superb. Thanks goes to the new owners who were willing to fund the make-over. Let’s hope the rents do not go through the roof to pay for it.

Secondly, the University did exactly what they said they would do in demolishing the old barracks on the Butler site on Harrison Street and turning it into a wonderful open space. While the long-term plans for the site are not settled, what they have done initially is wonderful. I am sure all the neighbors are thrilled with it.

Stephen Schreiber

Prospect Ave

ntu-twine-11-30-16

The senses are fully engaged at twine. The popular shop in Hopewell is visually intriguing with a wonderfully eclectic display of many and varied items. Scented candles offer a refreshing aroma, and popular music (including 1960s favorites, Sinatra, the Beatles, Billy Joel, and more, depending on the mood!) plays in the background.

The taste buds are tempted with caramels, Junior Mints, Peppermint Crunch, Tootsie Pops, Hanukkah Kisses, Candy Cane Pop Rock, and shortbread. In addition, touching the merchandise is not only allowed but encouraged. There are no ‘Do Not Touch’ signs at twine. In fact, the sign specifically states: “Remember, if you break it, we put it in the wrong place.”

“I want kids to be able to touch toys and pick up things,” explains twine. owner Melissa Cookman. “It’s important that this is a welcoming place, and that people feel comfortable. We want to set that tone. We have lots of kids who come in, and people can also bring in their dogs. We welcome everyone!”

Originally opened in November 2005, twine. recently moved to a new location at 8 Somerset Street, still in Hopewell. more

November 23, 2016

To the Editor:

The Witherspoon-Jackson Development Corporation (WJDC) was established in 1976. It is a 40-year-old organization with an impressive history of serving the Witherspoon-Jackson (WJ) neighborhood. Initially, with $90K in funding, its efforts focused on redeveloping the original Shirley Court into new affordable for-sale housing units. The organization later began purchasing and repairing existing neighborhood homes to sell to Witherspoon-Jackson families. WJDC also extended help to some existing property owners towards the payment of property taxes. Remarkably, the organization facilitated the purchase of 23 houses in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood by the mid-1980’s. Unfortunately, without sufficient funds in a competitive real estate market, the organization experienced a long period of dormancy.

In the past year, due to the many dynamics affecting the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, steps have been taken to revive the WJDC. Resurrected, the WJDC hopes to continue as a resource in addressing neighborhood issues of affordable housing, home ownership, maintenance, and supporting the residency of longtime families in the WJ neighborhood. This summer, interested members of the community met to discuss creative ways for the organization to explore the nature, use and type of existing properties through zoning or other measures in order to address diverse housing needs, economic development, and neighborhood services. At that meeting, a vigorous discussion ensued on the need for the neighborhood to secure a position in its physical planning and long term viability as a socio-economically diverse neighborhood, recently designated as the Witherspoon-Jackson Historic District.

Last month, WJDC was fortunate to have been granted $1.25M from Princeton University as a stipulation of the property tax lawsuit settlement. The grant will be dispersed over three years to help support WJDC’s general mission. WJDC appreciates the recognition of past accomplishments, is humbled by Princeton University’s faith in it as a revived organization, and looks forward to the active participation by the University as a member of the WJDC Board of Directors.

WJDC leadership is particularly grateful to the Eleanor Lewis Estate and the 27 plaintiffs, most of whom are Witherspoon-Jackson property owners. Represented by attorney Bruce Afran, they challenged the status of the University as a non-profit organization in its payment of municipal property taxes. Because of the generosity and courage of these plaintiffs, many property owners throughout Princeton will benefit. The settlement also stipulated the dispersal of funds for a tax relief program for those who qualify for the NJ State Homestead Rebate Program, for which the application deadline is November 30, 2016.

While the projected sum of the lawsuit settlement to the WJDC provides a real boost to advance the organization’s efforts to address various issues from program development through to implementation, WJDC will still need to develop a vigorous financial plan and engage in fundraising to address the rising costs of real estate, some of which are tenfold since the founding of the organization.

On December 1, 2016 WJDC will hold its first meeting of the full board of directors and advisory board. We look forward to the challenging work ahead under the guidance of a diverse, experienced, expert, and energized group of volunteers who will be dedicated to addressing a broad set of neighborhood needs and aspirations. We invite the community to join us in this journey and ask for your support.

Henry Pannell, Joan Hill, 

Penney Edwards-Carter, Yina Moore

To Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Prieto, and every member of the New Jersey State Legislature:

Regardless of whether one voted for Trump or Clinton, one cannot ignore the reality of Trump’s victory. Despite all the money his opponent spent, all the organization she had, all the establishment support she enjoyed, and all the predictions of the media, it was not enough to defeat the will of the people who sent a loud and clear message that the status quo of politics-as-usual, that benefits only the few at the expense of everyone else, was no longer acceptable.

In case things evaded your attention or you’re oblivious to what is happening in your own state, the people here in New Jersey are also sick and tired of the same politics-as-usual.

It might be time for all of you in Trenton, both Democrats and Republicans, to get together and solve the biggest and most urgent problem facing all New Jerseyans, which is property tax. Property tax reform cannot be achieved without a reform of the benefits currently enjoyed by the public sector employees.

It’s time to level the field and bring all public sector benefits in line with the private sector. It’s unreasonable to ask the average citizen, who can hardly afford health insurance for him and his family, to pay for an annual $30,000 platinum plan for a public sector employee. It’s also unconscionable to ask an average citizen, who lives or will be living on social security, with or without a 401k, to pay pension benefits of public employees for the duration of their lifetimes and of their beneficiaries’ lifetimes. A silver plan and a 401k should be sufficient for public sector employees and will be in line with what the private sector offers. It will save the State billions of dollars every year and will reduce property taxes.

Unfortunately, there is no logical reason for this inequality. The only reason is pure greed, corruption, and lack of courage to tackle those problems that will ultimately bankrupt our state if no action is taken. If you already have over 200 billion dollars of unfunded pension liabilities that you cannot pay, how will you ever be able to pay it by adding to that liability? Even public sector employees should wise up and accept smaller and guaranteed benefits instead of accepting the promise of much larger but illusive benefits.

Politicians pay large amounts of money for advice on how to get elected and re-elected. I am giving you simple and free advice that will guarantee you will get re-elected forever if you follow one simple rule: Serve the people, not the special interest groups. If you think you are invincible and this rule does not apply to you, I suggest you look at what happened to Hillary and the Democrats nationwide and think again.

George Kneisser Sr.

Executive Director, Citizens for Property Tax Reform

To the Editor:

The English Tea, given in support of Trinity Church Choirs’ 2017 trip to England, was a happy event on November 6. Guests enjoyed a traditional English tea of savories and sweets as well as a short concert by the choir. The combined Trinity choirs will be singing daily services for a week each at Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedrals. Thanks to all who enjoyed this afternoon with Trinity Church members and choir.

Pegi Stengel

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

My grandson and I reached an agreement today. He is going to be my guide and interpreter in the foreign land I suddenly feel my country to be.

I am a progressive Democrat. My grandson, 17, is a conservative Republican. We’re both appalled by how the other’s side is acting. He, his conservative family (parents and sister) and I are living under one roof, and for the past months we all agreed to not discuss politics. That is no longer possible.

We have to talk.

Because my grandson holds the strongest views opposing mine, I decided to start by talking to him. I told Oliver, first, that I love him more (incalculably) than I disagree with him and that that will always be true. I told him I need him to help me understand what his side believes and fears, because I can’t understand it on my own. I have asked Oliver to be my guide as the country heads wherever it is on its way to now. He has agreed.

Our starting point will be a daily exchange of a) news stories and b) things we’ve heard or seen in the course of the day that especially anger us about the other side — he at school, I among colleagues or on the street. He will explain what I bring to him. I will try to do the same. Our intention is for this to be an ongoing arrangement. We also intend to disseminate what we learn from each other among our friends.

It is an exchange. Oliver and I anticipate tension. I know I will learn from him. I hope he will learn from me. If you love someone on the other side, you might consider such an agreement with them. If a lot of us do this — starting right now — it might make a difference. We need to.

Kate Hughes Del Tufo 

Ober Road

To the Editor:

On November 24 our great country will pause to observe a national tradition of expressing gratitude. While you might find it amazing to think a guy can be grateful for his mother-in-law, I feel compelled to share the many fine qualities of selflessness expressed by a woman who won’t be sitting with us around the Thanksgiving table this year.

It is clear that we are living in troubled times. Fame, opportunity, and wealth would seem to rush at a small percentage of our population, while too many experience tragedy, loneliness, and frustration. Brother David Steindl-Rast, author of Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness, asked this probing question that reminded me of my mother-in-law, “Do we find it difficult to imagine that gratefulness could ever become our basic attitude toward life?”

It was impossible not to be inspired by the shining example of everyday thanksgiving and selfless love exemplified by my mother-in-law, Inge Minc. How did she develop this kind, compassionate, and easily flowing love? While she never spoke about it to me or my wife, it was as if adversity compelled her to make an early choice between an expansive or narrow life. Perhaps she intuitively knew the old saying, “if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.”

Certainly nothing in my suburban and sheltered childhood could help me imagine the significant challenges that Inge faced as a young girl when she and her family found themselves trapped in Germany during World War II. There was the terror of air raids along with near starvation conditions. Fortunately, she and her family survived to make the voyage home to Brazil. In 1968 they left Brazil for the promise of a better life in America.

I will always appreciate the significant contributions Inge made to our family. On countless occasions she cared for our kids when my wife and I had to work or when we needed time for ourselves. Her family dinners were replete with sumptuous food prepared by a woman whose only earthly riches were her family.

Those who don’t have an Inge to share the holiday with might consider joining community members for an hour-long service on Thanksgiving Day at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Princeton (csprinceton.org).

Steve Drake

Tenacre — A Ministry of Christian Scientists

To the Editor:

Your front page article [Community Leaders Speak to an Anxious Crowd at Post-Election Gathering,” Nov. 16} about the post-election Community Leaders gathering has some very ambiguous language in paragraph four.

Without quoting anyone in particular the reporter states that Princeton is “considered” a Sanctuary City.

This is an issue of significance. If Council has voted to make us one, there are likely major ramifications going forward. Sanctuary Cities are a clear violation of Federal law. Love Obama or not it’s indisputable that this was a law that our current president chose to ignore. Soon we will have a new sheriff in D.C. town who is unlikely to take such liberties with federal law.

If we insist on designating our town as a Sanctuary City, Princeton is likely to lose federal funding for all Town programs. They must be cut back or funded with additional taxpayer monies.

“Considered” is not the word Town Topics should use in describing Princeton’s status as a Sanctuary City. We are or we aren’t one … and the distinction is about to become relevant.

Nelson Obus

Russell Road

Editor’s Note: After being contacted by Town Topics, Mayor Lempert said this: “We are a ‘welcoming community’ and Council voted to make Princeton part of the Welcoming America network. Police Chief Sutter issued an order back in 2013 clarifying the role of our police in protecting local public safety. Here is a link to the order: www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/1_-_princeton_police_detainer_order.pdf. The order makes it clear that the role of the police department is to protect public safety, and that to be effective, the police must foster trust within the communities they serve so that victims and witnesses feel safe in coming forward to report crimes.

To the Editor:

On November 10, Dress for Success Mercer County (DFSMC) held its annual Cocktails for a Cause event at Greenacres Country Club. This year’s theme, Designing the Future, celebrated the women who have had the courage and determination to take steps to make a better life for themselves and their families. At Dress for Success it all begins with a suit, but we are so much more. We are support, we are encouragement, and we are an opportunity for women to learn, grow, and design a better future.

Empowering women to achieve economic independence is what drives the staff and the volunteers at Dress for Success every day. Since 2007 more than 4,000 women have been through our programs. This year alone, we will have served more than 1,000 women.

At DFSMC, we understand the challenges faced by low-income, underserved, and underrepresented women seeking to break the cycle of poverty. Through our personalized career development programs, we support women through every stage of their professional development, starting with their job search and leading to sustained employment. We are the only community program that responds to the career development needs of this vulnerable population.

Our Cocktails for a Cause event was an incredible success and I would like to congratulate this year’s honorees Dr. Jianping Wang, president of Mercer County Community College, PNC Bank, and Hamilton Jewelers.

The services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of the community. A tremendous thanks to our Designing the Future sponsors, guests, event committee, and all of the individuals and businesses that contributed auction prizes. Your generosity will help Dress for Success Mercer County continue its legacy of providing quality programming and support to women who are ready to enter and thrive in the workforce.

Melissa Tenzer

Executive Director

November 16, 2016

To the Editor:

I want to thank the people of Princeton for re-electing me as your mayor for a second term. And I especially want to thank my amazing campaign team, including Mildred Trotman, Dwaine Williamson, Roger Shatzkin, Wendy Kaczerski, Scotia MacRae, Helen Heintz, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, and Peter Wolanin; and my running mates, Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller and Councilman-elect Tim Quinn. I also want to thank my opponent, Peter Marks, who ran a strong and civil campaign.

Much of our attention since November 8 has been focused on the outcome of the presidential race, and I continue to hear from residents of their desire to more fully engage in our community through involvement in local government. I welcome your participation.

We currently are soliciting applications for our volunteer boards and commissions. We need commissioners for the newly created Civil Rights Commission, and well as volunteers for a variety of boards ranging from zoning to social services. For an application and more information, go to: www.princetonnj.gov and click the blue box labeled “Volunteer Opportunities.” Please submit your application by Friday, December 2 in order to be considered for appointment in January.

Princeton is fortunate to have a community with a wealth of expertise and talent, combined with a spirit of giving back. I look forward over the next four years to working with my colleagues on Council, our incredible municipal staff, and with all of you in the community to address the many challenges facing us, and to make Princeton an even greater place to live.

Liz Lempert

Mayor Elect, Princeton

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Central New Jersey businesses, organizations, families, and community groups who stepped up to the plate to help hit heart disease and stroke out of the park at the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s 2016 Central New Jersey Heart Walk. The fundraising and wellness event, which was held on Friday, September 30 at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder in Trenton, was the first-ever night time Heart Walk in the state.

I’m happy to announce that the event raised over $413,000 for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Donations to the Heart Walk support such life-saving efforts as funding research and education, advocating for better health, improving patient care, and reaching at-risk populations.

Nationally sponsored by Subway and locally sponsored by NRG Energy, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, NJM Insurance Group, WIMG 1300 AM, and WWFM 89.1 FM/JazzOn2; the Central New Jersey Heart Walk encouraged participants to learn more about heart disease and stroke risks and to take the steps to help prevent these diseases in our community.

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 about the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, please visit www.heart.org.

David R. Hill

Chair, Central New Jersey Heart Walk, Princeton

To the Editor:

Our town of Princeton has many organizations, all of which are trying hard to be helpful in one way or the other. I know, because I try to reach out to as many as I can. There is one that stands out from all the others in my mind — HomeFront. These families need us desperately. Their children need to grow up in a home! There are so many people who have no homes who are right here in our own back yard. HomeFront helps.

Let’s all be aware!

Barbara Straut

Longtime Princeton Windrows resident

To the Editor:

The Princeton Community Thanksgiving Day service at Princeton University Chapel is an annual tradition of about 70 years. The one hour service this Thanksgiving, November 24, will be at the University Chapel at 11 a.m. and will feature music by University Organist Eric Plutz, a community choir and singer Minister Carter, a reading of the President’s Thanksgiving Proclamation by Mayor Lempert, readings and prayers by clergy of various faith traditions, and Thanksgiving hymns, ending with a rousing singing of “America the Beautiful”.

People are urged to bring nonperishable food in non glass containers to donate to The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County. The Community Choir will rehearse at 9 a.m. at the Chapel and all singers of whatever age are invited to join forces to make a big sound. It is a great opportunity to sing in Princeton University Chapel.

Julia Coale

Princeton Clergy Association

To the Editor;

I congratulate Mayor Lempert on her re-election. She won decisively, and she did so with a campaign that was both decent and focused on issues.

I am grateful to Dudley Sipprelle for giving me a voice, to the Princeton Republican Party for ensuring that my voice was heard, to the more than 3,000 voters who gave me their support, and to the many Democrats who supported me at the risk of political oblivion. It was a privilege to represent all of you.

Princeton has some difficult choices to make. I continue to believe that our best hope of preserving our distinctive small town character is to stabilize our population, mitigate the worst of the state mandates, and get more control of our budgets and zoning.

I would like to think that the not insignificant number of crossover votes I received will cause Mayor Lempert and her council to consider more seriously the policies that I have suggested — with the hoped for result that our town can be restored as the sustainably affordable, inclusive, and diverse community in which I grew up.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

Thanks for the courtesy, Princeton drivers!

This past Saturday I rode my bike on my way to and from the Mayor’s Ride. (In case you didn’t know: Princeton’s cool Mayor Lempert, with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, hosts a bike ride every fall; you can enjoy some of Princeton’s parks at their most colorful, plus a cup of hot cider at Mountain Lakes House).

On this Saturday, no fewer than four motorists, at four different intersections, stopped their cars for me as I waited to cross the road, and waved me across. They did this, even though none of the intersections had signs prompting drivers to give the right of way to those on foot or on bike.

I want to thank these drivers, and all the drivers who have given me the same courtesy on other occasions. I can’t see your faces through the windshield, so I don’t know who you are. But I want you to know that it is immensely heartening to me that there are more and more of you who empathize enough with those on bike and on foot that you are willing to punctuate your trip with a short stop, to let us cross the road in front of you. You set a great example of kindness and courtesy, and I hope you inspire others to do the same. May your wheels, whether four or two, always roll smoothly.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

November 9, 2016

To the Editor:

Residents in the northern part of Princeton should be advised that the juvenile black bear sighted in August in the vicinity of Cherry Hill Road and Montadale Drive is still in the immediate area. While the media has lost interest in the story, the bear appears to remain stubbornly interested in our neighborhood. It has caused property damage and has raided garbage cans and bird feeders over the past several months, which begins to define it as a nuisance bear that is becoming habituated to humans. We have notified NJDEP/Fish and Wildlife and the Animal Control Officer, but it is largely up to us as residents to take steps to discourage the bear from deciding to make the Princeton Ridge its home.

We can make a difference by ensuring that there are no sources of food in our yards. Bird feeders are a prominent target as are garbage cans left out overnight and piles of acorns. Consider taking down feeders for now (the birds will be fine) and putting out your garbage cans in the morning rather than leaving them outside on the street. Do not leave pet food outside. This bear is capable of climbing a wire deer fence and breaking into containers in search of food. Fish and Wildlife has also advised that hanging towels or rags soaked with ammonia may also discourage bear activity. Bears are crepuscular, so they are much more likely to be active at dawn and dusk and less likely to be seen in broad daylight.

By taking these precautions, we can help persuade the bear to move on to other areas.

For more information on bear safety, see www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm.

T. Jeffery Clarke 

Balcort Drive

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) held its annual Rent Party on Saturday, October 22, where over 120 people gathered to enjoy food, drinks, and music while raising money to help HIP provide transitional housing with supportive services for working families who are facing homelessness and to provide emergency rental assistance for those who need a one-time payment for a security deposit or for back rent. A big thank you to all of our supporters, attendees, and the more than 30 sponsors of the event!

In addition to the all-volunteer HIP board who worked tirelessly to make the event a success, HIP has a bunch of people to thank: Lydia and Johan Pfeiffer for hosting us in the beautiful Grover Cleveland house; our incredibly talented caterer, Blawenberg Café; Tap Tap Caribbean/American Cuisines for the incredible desserts; Anne Fahey, for the fantastic invitations; Jennifer Cohan for vigorously planning and promoting the event; Pam Hersh for her appealing press release; Anna Brouwer for staffing the Giving House so expertly; our brave bartender, Ben Dixon; Applied Harmony, the awesome jazz band that serenaded us through the night; Paul Jeanes, auctioneer extraordinaire, and Derrick Avila and Abel Onofre for directing all of our attendees to parking.

And, last but not least, thank you to Mira DeMartino, Anja Zimmermann, and Ralph Neuneier, and the Bent Spoon for their generous donations to our live auction.

Our whole community truly came together … neighbor helping neighbor to keep our community diverse and vibrant!

Carol Golden

Interim Chair, 

Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Mercer Street

To the Editor

As generational residents of Princeton, we remember hearing our parents debate whether the two former Princetons could ever become one Princeton. Although our parents and grandparents did not live to see the merger, we are proud that we have experienced its success, which we attribute in large part to Mayor Liz Lempert’s diligent and even-handed guidance.

Mayor Lempert also has impacted our lives in other ways. In our capacity as presidents of Committed and Faithful Princetonians (CFP), a YMCA-based group committed to preparing youth for a life of high achievement, Mayor Lempert encouraged us to have CFP children participate in various issues important to the community, such as providing their input about changes to Mary Moss Park in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. Mayor Lempert also has supported other efforts, such as CFP’s community service project for landscaping at Redding Circle, commending the youth group on their hard work.

In general, Mayor Lempert has been great for the youth of Princeton. She has established a Youth Advisory Committee so that our leaders and officials can see our community through the eyes of our youth and respond to their input. Our mayor is not just a mayor but a friend to the community.

Larry and Fern Spruill

Oak Lane Princeton

To the Editor:

Each month, 4,000 people in Princeton and Trenton use the three food pantries operated by Arm in Arm, formerly The Crisis Ministry, to supplement their need for adequate food supplies for themselves and their families. These pantries offer free food and nutritional advice to those with low incomes, the unemployed, veterans, the elderly and, sadly, many, many children.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, the need for extra food becomes even more poignant. Who wouldn’t want a turkey as the centerpiece of their festivities? Unfortunately, Arm in Arm doesn’t have enough funds or donated turkeys to provide all those who wish one. Hence, the purpose of this letter. Yes We CAN! Food Drives, a volunteer group that collects food for the needy, is asking the community to donate either fresh or frozen turkeys for our neighbors. The turkeys will then be added to the supply and distributed to the clients by lottery number. The more turkeys, the more who will win a turkey (at no cost to them, of course).

Our Yes We CAN! volunteers will be collecting the turkeys on Saturday, November 19, from 9 to 1, on the final day of the season at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Should you wish to donate cash, our volunteers will buy turkeys on your behalf from a local supermarket.

Look for our Yes We CAN! tent at the farmers’ market, which is located off Alexander Road on Vaughn Drive, on the way to the train station. Parking is free. Thank you for your support.

FRAN ENGLER 

Publicity Chair, Yes We CAN! Food Drives, 

www.yeswecanfooddrives.org

To the Editor:

Recently I was issued an overtime parking violation in the Griggs Corner parking lot. It turns out that the new “improved” parking meters no longer grant a 10-minute grace period, unlike all of the other meters in Princeton. The ticket was issued at 11:59 a.m.; I was back at the car at 12:01 p.m.; missed it by two minutes, well within the ten-minute grace period that is no longer granted.

I discovered this the next day when I walked to the lot, found an expired meter and deposited a nickel. The meter displayed 2 minutes, counted down to 1 minute, then expired — no grace period.

However, I noticed that the 2 minutes seemed to go by too quickly, so I deposited yet another nickel and timed the countdown with my watch. The display started at 2 minutes as before, but in only about 40 seconds went to 1 minute, then 60 seconds later displayed “Expired.”

Then I did the math: the rate is $1.75/hour, which translates to 20.57 seconds/cent. So a nickel actually buys you 5 times that, i.e., 103 seconds, which is 1 minute and 43 seconds. Therefore although the meter displays 2 minutes, it actually gives you only 1 minute and 43 seconds.

A worse case occurs if one deposits 15 cents. In that case the display shows 6 minutes, but you only get 5 minutes and 9 seconds. So in the time it takes you to make a note of the time and walk away thinking you have 6 minutes, you actually have 5. Makes it easy to get an overtime parking violation.

Either way, I would call the meter display “deceptive.” (I’m guessing that the reason for the previously granted generous 10-minute grace period was to avoid this issue).

But wait, there’s more: it turns out that as of July 1 this year, the municipality of Princeton no longer operates the Griggs Corner lot (check www.princetonnj.gov/parking.html), but it does enforce the meter usage using the Parking Enforcement Unit. Does this make Princeton complicit in the deception?

Although my parking violation was dismissed, I still had to pay a $20 court fee. One might argue that all overtime parking violation fines (and court fees) should automatically be dismissed until this issue is addressed.

I have now spent enough time, effort, and money researching this. I leave it in the hands of the legal professionals and the politicians.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Diesso

Harrison Street 

P.S. I would like my $20 court fee back.

P.P.S. The phrase “Boycott the Lot” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

To the Editor:

The Princeton-Blairstown Center’s (PBC) second annual Soirée Under the Stars gala held Sept. 30 at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton raised more than $50,000 for PBC, and more specifically for our Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for at-risk youth.

PBC participant, Mehki J., an 8th grader from Trenton, spoke about his experience during the Summer Bridge Program and won the crowd over with his description of his time at the Blairstown Campus. The culminating event of the evening was presenting the Frank Broderick Award to Dr. William A. Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. The Frank Broderick Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, compassion, and selflessness — qualities that supported Dr. Broderick in his courageous efforts to achieve racial integration of PBC’s predecessor organization, the Princeton Summer Camp, and to mobilize those who advocated for racial integration of Princeton University in the 1940s.

PBC seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable young people through integrated experiential and adventure-based programming in schools and at our outdoor campus. We collaborate with schools, university partners, and community-based agencies to develop in youth a deepened self-awareness, responsible decision-making, teamwork, and leadership skills. Our volunteers strive for a future in which young people exhibit personal resilience and compassion, embrace expanded possibilities for their lives, and enact positive change within their communities and the world.

We would like to thank the 140 guests who came out in support of the work we do for vulnerable youth.

Thanks to our benefit committee: Minda and William Alena; Barbara and Fred Borsch; Victoria and Tim Bridges; Anita and Larry Chevres; Jill Dolan and Stacy Wolf; Denise H. Frederickson; Jane Fremon; Mr. and Mrs. Jotham Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Kaemmerlen; David Palladino; Angelica and Jason Pedraza; Nurit Pegrish and Scott Levy; Kay and Ev Pinneo; Peter T. Smith; and Linda and Ken Twining.

Special thanks to our benefit co-chairs, Christina Bailey and Praveena Joseph-de Saram, for all their hard work and leadership surrounding this very successful event.

Pam Gregory

President and CEO

November 2, 2016

To the Editor:

I have been actively involved in educating our community regarding the issue of gun violence prevention, a topic of the utmost concern for our children, our community, and the country.

Mayor Liz Lempert has been highly supportive of the efforts of those working to decrease gun violence. In addition, she has expressed her support for the gun safety technology initiative.

Therefore, I urge you join me in voting for her on November 8, 2016.

Sally L. Steinberg-Brent

Shady Brook Lane

To the Editor:

Bill Hare’s positive mind-set combined with sound decision-making ability would make him an excellent Princeton Board of Education member. Bill has the balance of skillfulness, spirit, and devotion to work as a team with the Board to create the best possible environment for Princeton students, teachers, and the overall community.

Diana and Ken Griebell

Moore Street