April 1, 2020

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Dina Shaw’s candidacy for Princeton Council. I have had the privilege of knowing Dina both as a PTO colleague and as a friend since 2003 when she moved to the neighborhood. Over the years, I have watched Dina dive into any project she takes on with a positive attitude and with boundless energy.

As president of the Littlebrook PTO, she recognized there was a need for after school programs and launched a new platform of activities that resulted in robust offerings for all children. Next, Dina was president of the John Witherspoon Middle School PTO. As co-treasurer of the PTO during Dina’s tenure, I personally felt a true sense of purpose and accomplishment as we raised funds to guarantee that all children at JW could attend the Washington, D.C., field trip, regardless of financial need. more

To the Editor:

We are writing on behalf of the Princeton Family YMCA to share our story and to assure you that we are doing all that we can to endure through this crisis.

At the YMCA, four core values — honesty, caring, respect and responsibility — are embedded in all that we do, but today they are being tested like never before. We can tell you with confidence that they are deeply ingrained in our Y’s culture and community and they will be the foundation by which we navigate this unimaginable challenge and successfully come out on the other side.  more

To the Editor:

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new and unprecedented challenges for our entire country and our own Princeton community. Schools are closed through April 30 but likely longer, and possibly for the rest of the school year. For the 500 Princeton children on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program this has had a significant impact. For many of them, the food they receive at school is the only food they can rely on. The school district is helping fill the “weekday” food gap, but the Free and Reduced Program doesn’t provide weekend meals for the children of Princeton. Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPPrinceton) does!

In keeping with our mission, we have agreed to provide weekend meals for ALL of these 500 Princeton school children through the end of the school year if needed. We typically provide weekend meals for approximately 150 children in the four elementary schools, the Princeton Nursery School, and Princeton Charter School. We also support Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School with snacks, and lunches to the Princeton Recreation Department camps during the summer. more

To the Editor:

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: a time to call attention to the problem of child abuse and neglect in our community. The children who have been subjected to abuse by their caregivers are often further traumatized by removal from their home and parents.

CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties trains and supervises volunteers to advocate for these children while they are in the foster care system. CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are appointed by judges to insure that the best interests of foster children are addressed until they find a safe and permanent home.  more

To the Editor:

We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support McCarter received since announcing the cancelation of the balance of our season. This was a difficult decision to make, however we recognized early on that in order to do our part to flatten the curve we needed to darken our stages and keep our audience members safe.

The motto “The show must go on!” is core to our mission and our character. It is very challenging to break out of that mindset, but sometimes the show cannot go on. Theatres and performing arts organizations around the world were forced to close in response to the current situation and McCarter was no exception.

What is truly exceptional is the response from our audience. Our patrons have rallied around McCarter with kind words, ticket donations, and other support. We want to let you know just how much everyone at McCarter appreciates this outpouring of support. When we asked our patrons to consider donating their tickets to support our general operations, the response was overwhelming. more

March 25, 2020

To the Editor:

This has been another challenging and heartbreaking week. Your daily life has undoubtedly been upended by coronavirus, and you are likely making painful economic and personal sacrifices in the interest of public health. We know from the experience in other countries that staying at home and practicing social distancing will work. They are our best existing tools to slow the spread of this disease. “Flattening the curve” is necessary to give our first responders and medical care system the time they need to gear up to deal with the incoming volume of sick people, and to give our scientists the time, hopefully, to invent an effective treatment.

The next few weeks are going to put our patience to the test. Everyone should prepare themselves for what the experts tell us is going to happen: even though we are at home, washing our hands, keeping our distance, watching our favorite businesses close, losing our jobs, not going to school or work, and not visiting with friends, the number of cases in Princeton is going to go up. The number of cases is likely to go up exponentially during this time. This is for a number of reasons: 1) more testing kits and testing facilities are coming online. More tests will produce more confirmed cases; 2) coronavirus is extremely contagious and has been spreading in our community. Recent research (www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces) from a team of scientists including those at Princeton University has shown that the virus can live in the air and on surfaces for hours; and 3) the virus can lay dormant for up to two weeks before making you sick. We should not expect to see any evidence of our collective sacrifice until after more than two weeks of staying at home and practicing social distancing. We must have faith that our efforts are working even when we will not immediately be seeing results. more

To the Editor:

As we honored Albert Einstein on his birthday recently, let us remember his commitment and work as an activist for the rights of African Americans. He was also a friendly presence in our historically African American Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood at a time when Princeton still segregated its schools, restaurants, and other places of business. In 1937 when Marian Anderson, the world-renowned opera star, performed at McCarter Theatre, she was refused a room at the Nassau Inn. Einstein invited her to stay with his family and they remained close friends.

As early as 1931 Einstein was an advocate for racial justice, backing a campaign to defend the Scottsboro Boys, Alabama African American teenagers falsely accused of rape.

In 1946 Einstein and Princeton native Paul Robeson, international performer and human rights activist, worked together on a federal anti-lynching campaign. Einstein continued to invite Robeson to Princeton, publicly supporting him through Robeson’s difficult blacklisted years. more

To the Editor:

In an earlier crisis, FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” How disappointing and sad it is to walk through a supermarket and realize the extent of hoarding, when we should be concerned instead about the welfare of our entire community and not ourselves.

Peter Madison
Snowden Lane

To the Editor:
In a time that is unlike any other in my 68 years of age (and 17 of those years living in Princeton), conversations with friends and neighbors turn again and again to the subject of leadership. I’m grateful for the leadership of our current elected officials, and I support strongly the bid of Mark Freda to succeed Liz Lempert as mayor of Princeton.

My family and I have known Mark for close to a decade, but in a nonpolitical context. Our acquaintance came about because of our joint involvement in aiding a family in crisis. His willingness to give of his time and expertise impressed me, but his integrity and judgment made me especially glad to have the opportunity to work with him in some small way.  more

To the Editor:

We write in strong support of the candidacy of Leticia Fraga for Princeton Council. As a member of Council Leticia has worked tirelessly to address issues of social inequity that exist in our society, including in our town. She has worked on behalf of providing a quality public education for the children of Princeton and for housing that is affordable for all economic levels of our society, including seniors who want to age in place.

Leticia’s voice has been an important one on issues of civil rights and the status of Princeton as a welcoming community. Her experience leads her to recognize the need for a vibrant downtown, and she leads the municipality’s Economic Development Committee.

We ask you to join us in supporting the leadership and unique voice of Leticia Fraga for Princeton Council.

Ruth And Bernie Miller
Governors Lane

To the Editor:
Now that governments have imposed total shutdowns to slow the COVID-19 virus infection rate, let us pray that we will have bought enough time for our health care system. But the economic consequence to the country may well be apocalyptic.

The Federal government is racing to fund a rescue package up to $4 trillion. That amount may equal 30 percent of the GDP!  But even at that amount the Feds can’t do it all. What can we do for ourselves at the local level?  more

To the Editor:

At the last two monthly meetings of the Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee, I brought up the need for some missing street signs and a guide rail to be installed. Those signs mentioned were: a four-way intersection sign on Jefferson Road going downhill before the Terhune Road intersection; a stop ahead sign on Herrontown Road going towards River Road; a three-way intersection sign on Mt. Lucas Road going north before Poor Farm Road; replace the three-way intersection sign that mysteriously disappeared on Mt. Lucas Road going south before Poor Farm Road; a guide rail on Mt. Lucas Road going north between Campbell Woods and Poor Farm to prevent drivers and cyclists from landing in the ditch; and perhaps a controversial sign — a no left turn sign from Ewing Street onto State Road during rush hours.

Town Engineer Deanna Stockton was able to help my, make that everyone’s, cause by addressing these concerns with the Department of Public Works (DPW). The first three signs mentioned were installed in less than two weeks! I feel overjoyed by the promptness of the DPW to my request.  more

To the Editor:

In addition to all the other worries on my mind right now about COVID-19, I’m worried about the local businesses and nonprofits in town that have had to temporarily shut down due to the outbreak. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are easy ways to help support them, even while practicing social distancing. Many restaurants are offering curbside pickup, more local retailers than you might think have online ordering, and local nonprofits make it easy to donate or get a membership online.

My wife and I decided to commit to make at least three purchases from a local business or nonprofit every week until COVID-19 is under control and stores can reopen again. If we all do the same, we can help keep Princeton’s small businesses and nonprofits going through this crisis. more

March 18, 2020

To the Editor:

We got the hand-washing message down: do it and do it for 20 seconds!

We got the social proximity rules knocked: avoid!

But what about the obvious flip side: if avoiding large groups is potentially lifesaving, what are we doing indoors?
Faced with such momentous shifts in social norms as school closings nationwide, isn’t it worth asking: If social proximity is our foe, isn’t the outdoors our friend?

Shouldn’t we get a gardening program and get those kids outdoors? But wait, Princeton has that! more

To the Editor:

Here’s an edifying story about Princeton University’s response to the virus that is tragically plaguing our planet.

Thursday evening, March 12, an old friend of my family and mine from summers in Maine (“old” though, in fact, young — a Princeton freshman) asked my wife and me to store much of his college gear — books, racquets, golf clubs, clothes, artwork, and more books — until September because his first year of college was suddenly and shockingly over.

On the drive from campus to our house and back, my friend and I spoke about various things —rowing (his latest athletic love), his summer plans (doing an internship, helping out on the family farm in Virginia, spending time on the Maine coast); teen foolishness on Nautilus Island (no comment, but he was not involved); The Decameron (on which he’d just written a paper); his family (close-knit, intellectual, adventurous); and, of course, COVID-19 (the rogue elephant in the room). more

To the Editor:

As our Board of Education embarks on the journey to find a new superintendent and leader for Princeton Public Schools, we ask the Board to recognize the need for courageous and bold leadership to ensure that ALL of our students are supported and that we empower the next generation of leaders in our communities.

Princeton Public Schools needs a leader that can inspire and motivate us to think big and encourage an “anything is possible” dialogue around how to solve the challenges in our schools. At this time, more than ever, we need disruptive innovation in education and Princeton should be at the forefront, where we test and launch projects that use cutting-edge techniques and technology to build solutions in education.

We should strive to serve as a role model for using education to radically improve the world. We should not settle for incremental improvements, but aspire to being a moonshot factory of sorts in education. more

To the Editor:

Some health experts have advised people, like me, to stock up on critical medicines to get them through any isolation or quarantine they may face because of the coronavirus.

My doctor put in a prescription for just that reason, but since I wasn’t due for a refill, my in-network pharmacy said my insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. It said the pharmacy’s hands were tied by the insurance company’s rules. The pharmacy, however, would fill the prescription at full cost which, fortunately, I could afford.

But for those who can’t afford it and who could become quarantined and isolated, they may have to choose between going out and possibly infecting others, or forgoing their medications. Between prescription limitations and the need to stay in-network, the person who is trying to self-isolate, and can’t afford to pay full cost, is in trouble (as are we all if they have to break their quarantine). more

To the Editor:

One of the things I love most about living in Princeton is the trees. And our trees need help, because we are losing them at an alarming rate. Redevelopment, storms, elm disease, and the looming disaster of the emerald ash borer all make it especially urgent that we protect the trees we have, and plant new ones where we can. Trees sequester an enormous amount of carbon, and all of this is released shortly after they are cut down, especially when they are mulched. Conversely, a new tree takes carbon out of the atmosphere as it grows.

A few easy things anyone can do:

1. Cut overgrowing vines off your trees. Many vines are invasive, and can do serious damage. If you just cut a vine above the ground, the part in the tree will die. You don’t need to remove it from the tree. more

To the Editor:

This past Friday night The Dryden Ensemble performed J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion” at All Saints’ Church in Princeton as the final concert of their 25th Anniversary Season. It was a more than fitting way to end the season, performed with 25 musicians, many of whom were original Dryden ensemble members. This iconic work, one of Bach’s signature works, requires both a thorough knowledge of Baroque music and outstanding musicianship to be able to get through one and a half hours of a piece where every musician is continually exposed.

The Dryden Ensemble was more than up to the task, moving some of the audience to tears at its conclusion.

I have heard the Dryden Ensemble since its founding and remember with fondness concerts at the Princeton University Chapel with the late Dr. William Scheide, world expert on Bach, giving pre-concert talks to illuminate the pieces about to be heard. Played always on copies of period instruments, authenticity is a mark of the ensemble. Founder Jane McKinley, an expert on the Baroque oboe da caccia, assured from the beginning that there would be no compromises in this ensemble’s dedication to authenticity. more

March 11, 2020

To the Editor:

In this election season, I write to add my voice to the chorus singing praises of Councilwoman Leticia Fraga and supporting her re-election this spring.

Raised here in Princeton, I have seen many people come and go from 08540, cycling in and out of public service. On some level, all of them want the best for our town. Some people, more than others, however, have what it takes to make a real difference.

For her dedication, patience, curiosity, intelligence, sensitivity, and willingness to work through tough problems, Ms. Fraga sets herself apart from the rest of the field. more

To the Editor:

As residents of Princeton New Jersey, I am sure we all know what a privilege it is to live in a community that offers culture, education opportunities, safety, a clean healthy environment, and more.

We also know the challenge parking our cars in town presents. We know that fees realized from parking generate much-needed revenue for the town. That being said, several months ago my wife and I parked our car at the Dinky parking lot, on a Sunday, thinking that parking at the Dinky lot on Sunday was free. We received no fine, or summons, for parking at the Dinky lot that Sunday. Maybe we were lucky no meter person did an inspection.

Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, we went back to the Dinky lot. Only this time, I noticed signs indicating that parking at the Dinky lot must be paid seven days a week. I dutifully paid the fee, but I was upset that there is a fee on Sunday. more

To the Editor:

I’m delighted to write this letter to support Dina Shaw’s candidacy for Princeton Council. I’ve known Dina for over 40 years and have been in close touch with her throughout the nearly two decades she’s lived in Princeton. I can say with unequivocal confidence that Dina is committed to continuously improving Princeton, and will bring a fresh voice and deep passion to the challenges our town faces in the coming years.

Dina’s professional success in finance, executive recruiting, and most recently as an entrepreneur, was in large part due to her laser focus on identifying opportunities, building constituencies, and achieving outcomes others may see as unattainable. Generous with her time and her ideas, Dina does not play political games, nor does she seek the limelight. more

To the Editor:

We write to enthusiastically endorse Leticia Fraga for re-election to town Council. We have known Leticia for at least nine years when she joined us on Princeton’s Human Services Commission. She immediately gave us new perspectives as we worked to address issues facing our town’s most vulnerable residents.

Based on her work as a nine year, full-time civil rights investigator in her home state of Washington, we chose Leticia to chair our subcommittee of Human Services that revived a stand-alone Civil Rights Commission which had enjoyed great success from 1968-98. While it became a subcommittee of Human Services after that, it gradually lost its independence and effectiveness. Revival as an independent Commission required listening to 18 former elected and appointed officials, research into what other towns do, and collaboration with Princeton’s current leadership to make it a reality in 2016. more

To the Editor:

The legislature is said to be planning to prohibit the use of plastic or paper checkout bags. Because of infirmities of age affecting both me and my wife, we have been getting our groceries delivered weekly by McCaffrey’s for several years, typically in four to six paper bags. If we have to provide our own non-disposable bags, in the simplest sequence I can picture McCaffrey’s would provide a cubby for our bags, and on our delivery days the shopper/delivery person would retrieve our bags and give them to a checker/bagger to use for our order when it is ready.

At delivery, the McCaffrey’s rep stands by while we empty the bags, and then takes them back to be returned to our cubby. All this assumes that McCaffrey’s decides to keep providing a delivery service under such constraints. It seems doubtful that they will, whereupon our option is to find someone who will shop for us each week, preferably at a time convenient for us and at a cost comparable to what McCaffrey’s now charges. more

March 4, 2020

To the Editor:

After two years of talks with Rider University, the Chinese company Kaiwen Education decided to not buy Westminster Choir College (WCC). The two main reasons are probably the lawsuits questioning Rider’s right to sell WCC, and that, since the proposed sale, the number of students dropped by almost 40 percent.

WCC is being decimated, and at this rate it will become a skeleton of its glorious past in a few years.

The above creates an opportunity for the people of Princeton to rise and support the work of the Westminster Foundation whose motto is, “Keep WCC in Princeton.”

Rider University needs to take advantage of this opportunity and to negotiate a deal with the Westminster Foundation to create an independent WCC. Rider’s decision to move WCC’s faculty and students into its Lawrenceville campus and to sell the Princeton campus is a move akin to shooting itself in its leg.

This decision can only end up in a financial disaster for Rider: more