August 16, 2017

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Recreation Commission, I would like to thank everyone that came out to be part of Princeton’s 11th annual Community Night Out on August 1, 2017. Community Night Out is the result of many months of planning by the Recreation and Police Departments, and this year’s event drew roughly 2,000 visitors to Community Park Pool.

One of the highlights of this free community event is the participation by many municipal agencies and community organizations, including: Corner House, Princeton Fire & Rescue Squad, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad, Sustainable Princeton, Princeton University Public Safety, Princeton Tennis Program, Princeton Health Department, Princeton Human Services Department, Mercer County Prosecutors Office, Princeton Girl Scouts, Access Princeton, Not In Our Town, Princeton Public Library, Princeton Fitness and Wellness, Womanspace, and Greater Mercer TMA.

The generosity of many sponsors is critical to the success of the Community Night Out. These sponsors include Princeton PBA, McCaffrey’s, Cross Culture, Princeton Pi, Ace Hardware, Let’s Be Heroes, Dacole Photo Booth, and Lily Yu (Zumba).

Community Night Out will be back in 2018 and will remain free, fun, and family-oriented for all to enjoy.

Ben Stentz

Executive Director of Recreation

August 9, 2017

To the Editor:

The Board of Trustees of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) would like to thank the owners and staff of One53 in Rocky Hill for their “Rose for a Cause” event that kicked off on July 14, Bastille Day. One53 raised $1,000 for HIP by donating the proceeds from every sale of a glass of AIX rose poured from an enormous 15-liter Nebuchadnezzer, and we are truly grateful!

HIP is an all-volunteer, community-based organization that provides transitional housing to working families in the Princeton area. HIP’s members are concerned about homelessness and the unmet need for affordable and low-income housing in Princeton. HIP is a 501(c)(3) organization that started assisting families in 2004.

Rose for a Cause was a wonderful example of local businesses and non-profits collaborating to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Carol Golden

Chair, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Mercer Street

To the Editor:

Mayor Lempert’s comments, recorded in the August 2 edition of Town Topics [“Mayor Expresses Position On School Board Bid for Westminster Campus”], concerning the acquisition of Westminster Choir College property are completely consistent with the autocratic approach to societal issues inherent in a one-party government. She appears to advocate acquisition of the property over a concerted effort to preserve an internationally recognized cultural gem. And, of course, the cost is no problem since Princeton seems to be able to exercise an unlimited ability to tax, without limit, property and business.

Although she acknowledges the fact that Westminster is a “treasured community asset,” it’s not treasured enough for her to seek a means of preservation. She would rather Princeton join the circle of vultures for its share of the carcass.

Absent is her offer of the prestige and influence of her office with local and area big business and Princeton University, with which she and others in our government have a connection, for a way to preserve this “asset.”

If Princeton prides itself on being aggressive about social issues, why is it willing to participate in the destruction of a cultural treasure?

If we let Westminster Choir College become a high school gym or another AvalonBay project, shame on us.

Marc Malberg

Autumn Hill Road

August 2, 2017

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Recreation Commission, I would like to thank Steve Allen and Curtis Webster of Blue Curtain Productions for their tireless efforts in bringing world class musicians to Princeton for free concerts at the Pettoranello Gardens (Community Park North) Amphitheater. This summer the crowd filled the venue to see two artists, Mystic Bowie and Sasha Masakowski on July 15, and for July 22 the concert featured Betsyada and Sammy Figueroa. Unfortunately rain forced the cancellation of the July 22 show but many people turned out anyway just for a chance to meet the artists.

The partnership between the Recreation Commission and Blue Curtain continues to be a fruitful one for the community. Blue Curtain concerts have become a staple of summer entertainment and as always the concerts remain free to all to enjoy.

Blue Curtain has consistently attracted world-class artists to our tiny amphitheater year after year, with little or no fanfare for their efforts. On behalf of the Recreation Commission and my colleagues, I sincerely thank Steve, Curtis, and the entire Blue Curtain Productions team.

Ben Stentz

Executive Director of Recreation

To the Editor:

As the pastor of Christ Congregation, an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Church — and as a friend and family member to many who have served in the military — I emphatically denounce the White House’s most recent policy denying transgender people the privilege and right to serve in our nation’s military.

Scripture says this: “So God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female, God created them.”

If, like me, you believe all humans were created in the image of God, then we can assume that God’s existence does not conform to binary definitions of gender. Either God has no gender or God is all genders at once, meaning God is above-gender. In other words, God is transgender.

Indeed, I would stake the claim that our transgender family and our gender-fluid neighbors bear a particularly strong expression of God here on earth.

So, Beloved Bearers of God’s Image, while the U.S. military might deny you the privilege to serve, we offer you our congregation as a community where you can serve the world. If you are feeling unsafe, we offer our church as a sanctuary. If you are overwhelmed by ignorant bigotry, we offer our faith that you are eternally and unconditionally loved just as you are, because we believe God made you to be you.

God’s Peace,

Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright

Minister, Christ Congregation, Princeton

July 26, 2017

To the Editor:

I attended both the W. Windsor meeting and the Princeton Town Council meeting that dealt with Rt. 1 construction. No one at either meeting said anything about Alexander Road. The recent Town Topics [“Council Casts Votes In Favor of Measures on Group Home and More,” pg. one, July 12) reports “… and the extension of the queue before entering the jughandle turn at Alexander Road.”  The jughandle on Alexander is at Canal Point Blvd. The circumference of the jughandle appears to be adequate to me at the present time. Why does more land have to be purchased, at taxpayer expense, to do something that appears to be unnecessary? If Canal Point Blvd. were to be extended, that is an entirely different question.

There is a jughandle by the turn to the Hyatt but that seems to be for Black Rock, etc. traffic only.

I believe what Anne Levin meant to say was that the jughandle at Rt. 1 and Fisher Place is proposed to be extended.

I do not feel the Town Council is aware of what they have approved, by approving the resolution on July 10. They have approved a “cross-over jughandle” from Harrison St. to Rt. 1 North. This will create more congestion because vehicles will have to stop twice, not once! Once to cross Rt. 1 and then, again, to cross Harrison St. At the WW Town Council meeting it was incorrectly stated that this new jughandle would be like the one at Menlo Park.  That jughandle is tilted to the left (northward), so there is no recrossing involved.  This jughandle would be tilted to the right (southward).

Furthermore, cars exiting going south would be directed to Fairview Rd. and Washington Rd.

Vehicles going north on Rt. 1 who want to use the Sunoco station or make a U Turn would have to go to Scudders Mill Rd. to make a U Turn. Didn’t the DOT try eliminating left turns before and the results were negative? Is that what DOT wants to experience this time, also?

I have received assurance from Heather Howard that she would look into this problem and report back to me.

I am sorry that I did not receive any notice about any public hearing in Princeton about the Rt. 1 proposal and am grateful that the West Windsor Bicycle  & Pedestrian Alliance notified me.  I came to the  Princeton Town Council meeting to hear and discuss the elimination of the contract with ARC for maintenance services and Anne Levin didn’t even report on that part of the meeting, despite the fact the meeting ended extremely early!

Dan Rappoport

Copperwood

Editor’s Note: The part of the meeting referred to in the last sentence can be found on the Town Topics website www.towntopics.com.

July 19, 2017

To the Editor:

AARP New Jersey calls on U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez to maintain their strong and public opposition to the Senate’s health care legislation. It provides tens of billions in tax breaks for drug and insurance companies, while dramatically increasing costs and reducing coverage for Americans age 50-plus.

Specifically, the legislation:

• Would allow insurance companies to charge older people an age tax or five times — or even more — than everyone else. On top of that, it reduces tax credits. Together, these changes could cost you tens of thousands of dollars more a year.

• Would strip away Medicaid coverage from more than half a million New Jerseyans and leave our seniors at risk of not getting the care they need.

• Would let states waive protections for those with a pre-existing condition like cancer, diabetes or asthma.

• Would cut funding for Medicare — leaving the door open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers.

AARP will hold all 100 United States Senators accountable to our members. In New Jersey, we urge Senators Menendez and Booker to continue to oppose the Senate bill and stand with Garden State residents.

Stephanie Hunsinger

State Director AARP New Jersey

To the Editor:

Ninety percent of all flowering plants in our gardens and farms are dependent on pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies. Unfortunately, recent years have seen a 60 percent global decline of our bumblebees and 80 percent of migratory monarch butterflies. Thousands of gardens have been planted around the country to support our bee and butterfly populations in observance of this dangerous phenomenon. Without bees and other pollinating insects, entire ecosystems are imperiled.

The Princeton Battlefield Monument at Monument Hall is part of the global pollinator project, a nationwide initiative to combat the enigmatic disappearance of critical insects from our fields and gardens. At the Monument, volunteers from Friends of Princeton Open Space, the Contemporary Garden Club of Princeton, Isles, Inc., Corner House, Princeton Public Works and Morven Museum and Gardens have planted and watered pollinator plants donated from the Contemporary Garden Club of Princeton, Princeton Day School, D & R Greenway, Littlebrook School, and Morven Museum and Gardens.

We would like to thank Mayor Lempert for supporting the Monument project and we encourage you, like so many have done, to use your gardens to save the bees so that the bees can save us. For more information go to AdkAction.org/pollinatorsmonarchlab.org and bees-decline.org.

Jody Erdman

Mountain Avenue 

July 12, 2017

To the Editor:

I’m just writing to recognize McCaffrey’s for their ongoing support of the DOORS Golf Challenge, a charity golf event that was held at Cherry Valley Country club on July 10. For the third year, McCaffrey’s signed on as a sponsor to this event. Jay’s Cycles also contributed with a donation for our silent auction. These gifts will help this parent-run organization provide after school and summer services to children and adults with autism. DOORS supports the programs of the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center in New Brunswick (www.doorsnj.org).

As a parent of a child with autism in Princeton, it means so much for local businesses to support our causes. Many thanks to McCaffrey’s and Jay’s.

Jim Christy

Leigh Avenue

To the Editor:

The state budget battle took many twists and turns this year, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge the final funding bill and the members of the legislature who fought tirelessly on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Specifically, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Senate President Steve Sweeney, who fought to increase wages for direct support professionals (DSPs) in the FY18 Budget. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on DSPs for the hands-on supports and services in the community, but without a wage increase for the last ten years, it has become increasingly difficult to find and retain employees. This, compounded with starting wages of only $10.50 an hour, makes staffing programs a real challenge and starts to jeopardize the availability of services. Senate President Sweeney made this matter a priority and fought to ensure $20 million remained when the dust settled and the final budget document was signed. On behalf of individuals with I/DD and their families in the state, we would like to thank the Senate president and the members of the New Jersey Legislature who helped make this increase a reality.

Thomas Baffuto

Executive Director of The Arc of New Jersey 

and Chair of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage.

To the Editor:

July 13 is National Summer Learning Day, sponsored by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to raise awareness about the importance of summer learning experiences. The NSLA notes that summer learning loss, the phenomenon where young people lose academic skills over the summer, is “one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate.”

Many of us with sufficient means prevent summer learning loss in various ways: we enroll our children in summer enrichment programs or camps; take them on trips to new places where they learn history, geography, and civics; and supervise their school-assigned summer reading. Unfortunately, many young people lack these options. Economic inequality, communities with limited resources, parents who work multiple jobs to make ends meet with little free time — these are just a few of the reasons that low-income young people do not enjoy the same opportunities.

At the Princeton-Blairstown Center, we are working with young people to combat summer learning loss. Each summer, 500 students — primarily from Trenton and Newark — come to our 264-acre campus in Blairstown, New Jersey for our week-long Summer Bridge Program, free of charge. They spend three hours a day engaged in hands-on literacy; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and project-based learning; an hour and a half in waterfront activities (swimming/canoeing/kayaking); and three hours a day working on their social-emotional skills through ropes and challenge course activities that focus on leadership, team-building, communication, and problem-solving skills.

To ensure that the learning continues back home, each student is sent home with a book of his or her choice from titles such as The Boy in the Black Suit, Bird, Seedfolks, The Lion Who Stole My Arm, The Color of My Words, Return to Sender, Thaw, Do Not Pass Go, Tall Story, and many more. Research indicates that the best predictor of summer loss or gain is if a child reads during the summer. Additionally, public library use among low-income children drops off when a library is more than six blocks from their home, compared with more than two miles for middle-class children. Most of the young people we serve in Trenton and Newark live more than six blocks from a library.

All young people deserve opportunities for enriching and stimulating summer experiences so that they start the school year ready to learn and compete on an even playing field. In honor of National Summer Learning Day, I urge everyone in our community to support evidenced-based, high-quality summer programs like ours that help to reduce summer learning loss. Our children’s futures depend on it, and so do ours.

Sarah Tantillo, EdD

Board Chair Princeton-Blairstown Center

July 5, 2017

To the Editor:

We, members of the Princeton Progressive Action Group, in common with many other local residents, are alarmed at the increasingly pressing lack of housing that is available at middle income levels at Princeton. The municipality has begun taking steps to change zoning to reduce the size and control the look of new houses/additions. Making more stringent setbacks, height and coverage requirements could possibly make houses smaller and better-fitting into the streetscape, but these changes alone have not and will not make them more affordable.

We encourage the municipality to concentrate the next round of zoning changes on allowing and encouraging the “missing middle homes” described in the Progress Report of the Neighborhood Character Initiative and thus fulfilling the goal of our Master Plan to encourage diversity in our housing stock. Below are three specific suggestions for short-term actions that are easy to implement, have low or no impact, and will make a substantial difference:

1. Allow “flats” or secondary units that could be rented out by the primary homeowner in the former Borough, similarly to the former Township. The income from these flats can help residents stay in their homes longer by offsetting rising taxes or providing money for property maintenance and improvement.

2. Allow residents to convert existing houses with “flats” to two-family dwellings/duplexes or to build new duplexes. This will not increase the size of houses over what is currently allowed, or increase density since two families are already allowed to occupy these properties. The only difference is that instead of a $1.3 million house with a potential rental unit, there could be two separate units. Since the flat ordinance for larger lots requires one unit to be larger and one to be smaller, there will likely be a unit for sale at $950k and a smaller unit for $350k. We could finally get our desperately-needed homes for middle-income families and empty-nesters.

3. Reduce parking requirements: Current zoning requires 1.5 cars per dwelling unit. This means 2 cars for a single-family residence and 3 cars for a house with a flat. Often flats are not feasible because the property cannot accommodate the additional parking. Eliminating the parking requirement for a unit that is designed to accommodate aging-in-place could be a win-win for all.

In summary, we affirm that the neighborhood character we should protect comprises not just the buildings but the people who live in those buildings. We can start with these simple changes in the short term, while working on the long-term items of form-based zoning and neighborhood character guidelines.

Sent on behalf of the Princeton Progressive Action Group, co-signed by these group members:

Samuel F Bunting, Tineke Thio

Dempsey Ave

Jane Manners, 

Wheatsheaf Lane

Omar Wasow, 

Cherry Hill Road

Valerie Haynes, 

Mt Lucas Road

Jenny Ludmer, 

Caldwell Drive

Yael Niv, Suzanne Lehrer,

Franklin Avenue

Andras Ferencz, 

Green Street

Marina Rubina, 

Quarry Street

Melissa Lane, 

Princeton Avenue

Jeffrey Oakman, 

Valley Road

Carolyn Jones, 

Western Way

Andrew Thomas, 

Edgerstoune Road

Nat Bottigheimer, 

White Pine Lane

Kirsten Thoft, Ted Nadeau,

Linden Lane

Abel Smith, 

Leigh Avenue

Mia Sacks, 

Terhune Road 

Leah Boustan, 

Broadmead 

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Princeton Public Library held their Annual Book Sale June 23-24 and we were delighted to have so many book lovers from near and far join us on the first weekend of summer. The Book Sale is the culmination of months of work by dedicated volunteers, and depends on the generous donations of books from library supporters throughout the year.

We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Princeton Public Library, who guided and supported us at every turn with knowledge, commitment, and enthusiasm. We are especially grateful to our friends in the buildings, publicity, and development departments. In addition, the Library Summer Teen Volunteers were a tremendous asset and helped us set up for the sale in record time. We would also like to acknowledge the generous support of our friends at Witherspoon Grill.

The many volunteers who so graciously gave their time and shared their love of books made this event a pleasure for all, and we enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside such a devoted team. And last but not least, we are deeply appreciative of our generous Princeton community who once again came out to support our library.

Jane Nieman and Christa Smith

Co-Chairs of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library Annual Book Sale

June 28, 2017

To the Editor:

Having just completed ArtJam 2017, I would like to take a moment to recognize the generous support of the entire Princeton community for helping us to make this year, our seventh, a tremendous success. The proceeds from our pop-up Art Gallery, which featured unique creations by over 130 artists, allows us to continue to maintain and expand the Therapeutic Arts program offered at HomeFront, empowering our clients to break the cycle of poverty.

We are deeply indebted to Palmer Square for once again graciously donating the space at 19 Hulfish to host our gallery. A special thanks to all the participating artists and donors who generously gave of their time, creativity, and support enabling us to create a truly outstanding visual and tactile display of unique creations. And we are grateful for the many volunteers whose immeasurable hours of effort made the event possible.

I would also like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the entire Princeton community and Princeton University alumnae for visiting and supporting ArtJam.

It is only through the continued support of our philanthropic community that we are able to achieve our goals and continue our mission. I look forward to welcoming you once again at ArtJam 2018.

Ruthann Traylor

Director, ArtSpace, HomeFront

To the Editor:

Given the recent exit of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, it is up to all of us to continue direct action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our own community. This is why I have joined the Keep It Cool campaign to reduce energy waste in Princeton this summer.

Retailers that run the air conditioning during hot summer months and open their doors to attract customers drive up costs, waste energy, increase local pollution, and stress the power grid. Keep It Cool (from generation180.org) gives consumers an easy way to encourage retail stores around the country to close their doors and stop wasting energy.

According to utilities experts, the average store with a door open over the summer wastes about 4,200 kWh of electricity, releasing about 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide and other substances — the same amount of pollution emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami. Some cities have already enacted laws requiring retailers to close their doors when the air conditioning is running. In 2015, New York City passed a law requiring closed doors as part of a sweeping sustainability plan geared towards reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Informed consumers want retailers to be good citizens. As a dedicated downtown shopper, I avoid stores that choose to prop their doors open while their AC is running, because I feel that their owners are showing lack of care for the climate. The Princeton community should support retail businesses, but also be dedicated to reducing waste and pollution. I encourage retailers to keep their doors closed to conserve energy, starting now.

Caroline Hancock

Laurel Road

To the Editor:

I am a proud alumna of Princeton High School, Class of 1983. I was saddened and concerned to hear of the suspension of an African American student at PHS on the basis of a work of art that appeared in the background of a photograph in the yearbook [“PHS Senior Suspended for One Day Over ’Offensive’ Yearbook Collage,” June 14, page 7]. Years ago, my own efforts to speak out about racial issues at PHS often earned me trips to the principal’s office, but no violation of my First Amendment rights. I am sorry to hear that PHS has chosen to punish rather than to support this courageous young woman. I hope that students of color at PHS will receive the support and education they deserve. Princeton can do better!

Ariela Gross

John B. & Alice Sharp Professor of Law & History

University of Southern California

To the Editor:

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was recently passed by the House and will be voted on soon by the Senate, will have painful and irreversible impacts on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who rely on the Medicaid program. Although many people know that Medicaid covers the cost of medical expenses for low-income individuals, they are less aware that it pays for the long-term supports and services that people with I/DD depend on. Medicaid provides more services than I can possibly list, but to name a few, it’s what allows people in New Jersey to live in group homes, attend day programs, and receive behavioral supports. The AHCA would lead to $834 billion in cuts over the next ten years and I can assure you that people with I/DD and their families living in New Jersey will feel the pain of those cuts. They will definitively see a reduced level of services, and in all likelihood, the elimination of other services entirely. Legislators in Washington need to understand that Medicaid’s home and community based services are “optional” for states and therefore are likely to be the first things that are cut. I urge New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to fight back against these proposals as the implementation of these cuts will decimate the services people with I/DD require throughout their lifetime.

Joanne Bergin

Incoming Board President for The Arc of New Jersey

June 21, 2017

To the Editor:

I would like to thank all the voters of Princeton who took the time to turn out and cast a ballot last Tuesday, exercising one of our most important rights and responsibilities in a democracy. I and my co-candidate Leticia are proud to be part of a strong Democratic Party ticket headed into the fall, and many of the races in November will be hotly contested, providing an opportunity for voters throughout Princeton, Mercer County, Legislative District 16, and all of New Jersey to express their commitment to each other and to the cause of responsible, caring, effective government for our community.

We will not take your support for granted, and intend to be active throughout the summer and fall, getting to know as many voters as we can, and making ourselves available to hear what issues are of greatest concern to the people of Princeton. We will continue to regularly show up at Bon Appetit on Wednesday mornings from 8-9 a.m., and McCaffrey’s on Monday afternoons from 5-6 p.m. in the upstairs seating area. Please do stop by and introduce yourselves, and/or share your views. Also look for us at the farmers market in Hinds Plaza on Thursday afternoons, and keep your ears open about house parties coming to your neighborhood, where we hope to engage with neighbors in every voting district in town.

To learn more about my priorities as a candidate, and to learn about upcoming house parties, please visit my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DECPrinceton. Princeton faces many challenges in the coming years, planning for change and preserving the wonderful character of our community, as we experience constant pressure for growth and development. We are blessed to reside in a highly desirable place to live, but in the wise words of the Jewish folk hero Nasrudin, “sometimes what seems like a blessing may be a curse, and what seems like a curse may be a blessing.” Let’s all pitch in together to make sure our blessings stay blessings.

David E. Cohen, AIA

Democratic Candidate for Princeton Council, 

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

I applaud Princeton Council’s initiative in taking the first step to improve how our town handles stormwater. On June 12, the Council adopted a new ordinance that requires at least some degree of modern stormwater management for any new development and for any increase in impervious cover to existing developments.

As the demand for larger homes continues to impact many Princeton neighborhoods, we have seen developers bulldoze away smaller homes to make way for larger homes. The upshot is greater flooding and pollution, not to mention wet basements and soggy yards for the neighbors.

The Council’s unanimous approval of the ordinance is a step in the right direction, but it only addresses new or expanded development. Unfortunately, most of our excessive runoff is from older developments that were constructed before we fully appreciated the consequences to downstream communities, to water quality, and to aquatic wildlife. We need to better control stormwater runoff from our existing commercial and residential developments by requiring that any redevelopment incorporate modern stormwater management measures. Based on the public testimony, the town is eager to start soon on a second-phase strategy.

We must be mindful of finding ways to allow water to soak into the ground, recharge the aquifer, and prevent flooding downstream.

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association should also be commended for its research and advocacy on this important issue. The association and council are both to be commended for forward-thinking action on the recently approved stormwater ordinance.

Scott Sillars

Patton Avenue, Member Board of Trustees for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

To the Editor:

The June 7 community conversation on race and equity was a much-needed step toward improving race relations in Princeton Public Schools. Thanks are owed to the event organizers as well as to the panelists who shared their time and points of view. And to the Princeton High School students who spoke: your comments deeply affected us. Thank you for your courage and for speaking truth to power; and please know that there are many parents and community members who want to work together to make Princeton Public Schools more equitable and just for all.

Jennifer Jang

Russell Road

To the Editor:

Every day, the United States alone uses or imports about 42 million pounds of synthetic chemicals. There are more than 84,000 compounds approved for commercial use in the U.S., most of which have never been tested for toxicity. A 2011 Policy Statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledges that the large quantities of chemicals that enter commerce could be harmful to children’s health and development. The contribution of many of these chemicals to human illnesses, such as cancer and asthma, as well as in breast cancer, obesity, and hormone disruption, is now being studied in the scientific community with great interest and concern. Many studies now show increasing levels of common household chemicals in blood samples (bio-monitoring) collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as in breast milk and other bodily fluids. According to umbilical cord blood samples tested, nearly all babies in the U.S. are born with synthetic chemicals already in their blood streams.

Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are an intensely studied area in the scientific community. Some have been strongly linked to effects on hormone signaling and adverse developmental outcomes in children. Many of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals surround us every day in the air we breathe, food we eat, and cosmetics we apply to our skin. Pre-teen and teenagers are among the largest groups of consumers of cosmetics and personal care products in the U.S. This raises concern due to rapid development during puberty and risk for future health issues. Cell phone and radiation exposure is also an area of growing concern for young people. Education in the area of environmental health is a needed tool in the ongoing efforts to grow healthy children in the U.S.

Over the past six weeks, I have had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of students at Princeton High School about the potential health effects of various environmental exposures, and sharing with them vetted, practical, and highly relevant information and resources to reduce environmental exposures. These students were bright, inquisitive, and self-aware, and I have no doubt that they will make us all very proud as they mature into healthy young adults.

I would like to thank Ed Cohen EdD (no relation!), Supervisor of Science preK-12 for Princeton Public Schools, for his ongoing support of this program, and Whole Earth Center for their generous financial backing. Community support is essential for making positive changes, and I am grateful to the Princeton community for embracing this important work. Knowledge is power!

Aly Cohen, MD, FACR, FABoIM

Applegarth Road, Monroe Township

June 14, 2017

To the Editor:

“Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing the new constellation.” —The Second Continental Congress, on the passage of the Flag Act, June 14, 1777.

With this resolution, the Congress not only authorized a new flag, but engrained in our collective mindset an unshakable truth — that we are one nation, united and free. And just five months before our American flag was formally created, General George Washington stood on the fields of Princeton, New Jersey, and made this vision a reality.

In the latter half of 1776, just months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our liberty was far from assured. Washington’s novice army endured a series of brutal defeats in New York, which led to the British capture of New York City. In the words of Thomas Paine that winter, “These are the times that try men’s souls … tyranny, like, hell, is not easily conquered.”

Washington realized that only he and his dwindling fighting force could revive the flickering flame of American independence. Embarking on an audacious campaign easily decried as foolish, Washington secured surprising victories at both Trenton and Assunpink Creek, New Jersey. Eager to capitalize on the momentum begun by his improbable Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River, Washington then dared to confront seasoned British soldiers at nearby Princeton.

In the frigid morning hours of January 3, 1777, citizen soldiers faced trained British regulars and engaged in furious fighting. Many American patriots fell. But, it was at that moment that “a tall man on a white horse could be seen galloping towards the scene of battle.” George Washington had arrived. Rallying his troops, Washington ordered the advance, driving the British from the field and securing a greatly-needed victory.

The valor witnessed at Princeton is a testament to the symbolism of the flag colors themselves: white for purity and innocence, red for hardiness and valor, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Today, we have an opportunity to save the land where Washington secured this victory at Princeton and honor the resolute American flag. In 2016, the Civil War Trust, through its Campaign 1776 initiative to preserve Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields, signed a landmark agreement with the Institute for Advanced Study to preserve 15 acres where Washington’s storied counterattack occurred.

This agreement allows the State of New Jersey and the Trust to transform this property into an outdoor classroom that can inspire all Americans to learn more about Washington and the purity, valor and vigilance of the American flag. Saving the Princeton battlefield – what better way to commemorate Flag Day?

ROGER WILLIAMS

Secretary of the board for the Princeton Battlefield 

Society, Committee member of TenCrucialDays.org and The Spirit of Princeton

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Anne Levin’s excellent article entitled “Quieting Noisy Leaf Blowers” in your June 7th issue. The increased cost of using rakes rather than leaf blowers is the reason residents are reluctant to change to “quiet landscaping,” say the two area landscapers interviewed. This has not been my experience but I am not looking to remove every single leaf. My landscaper worked with me to eliminate leaf blowing last fall by mowing over light leaf accumulations and directing them onto the beds. In heavier areas he simply used the mower to direct leaves into a pile, rake onto a tarp and haul to the curb. No more mulch blown away and no cost increase!

Quiet Princeton, of which I am a member, is dedicated to improving our quality of life by removing and controlling sources of noise. We hope that reducing or eliminating the use of noisy polluting leaf blowers will gain momentum.

Carol Rothberg

Winant Road

To the Editor:

I am on the faculty of Westminster Conservatory, and a parent of two children in the Princeton Public Schools. It has become clear to me in my discussions with students and friends that for some, there is confusion about the difference between the two music schools on the Westminster Choir College campus.

There are two significant programs connected with Westminster: the college and the community music school. These are distinct operations, having differing relationships with the Princeton community.

Westminster Choir College, is the home of a world-renowned choir program. The symphonic choir sings regularly with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Great choral directors, opera singers, pianists, organists, school music educators, composers, and ministers of music have studied there. Many graduates teach and perform in schools, universities, religious institutions, and professional and community organizations throughout the country and the world. Initially founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1920, the college established its home in Princeton in 1932, clearly motivated by the desire to be close to metropolitan centers and great orchestras. Westminster merged with Rider University in 1991.

Graduates from Westminster Choir College regularly teach in our local schools and institutions. Currently these include, among others, Princeton’s Littlebrook and Riverside elementary schools, Princeton High School, The Chapin School, Westminster Conservatory, as well as independent music studios.

Westminster Conservatory is the community music school in Princeton where about 2,000 students of all ages from Princeton as well as from surrounding towns, come for private lessons in all instruments, chamber music, music theory, choir, early childhood music education, musical theater, jazz, a community orchestra, and several summer music camps. It also hosts the Honors Music Program, an enrichment program that meets on Saturdays throughout the school year. Westminster Conservatory is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

Since 1970, Westminster Conservatory has served as a musical home for students and for faculty. The school’s mission is to, “provide excellence in music instruction to a broad constituency of amateur and professional musicians and to promote the appreciation and performance of music within the community at large.”

I graduated with my masters in piano performance from Westminster Choir College and my mother, Phyllis Lehrer, has been a professor in the piano department for 45 years. I am hoping that this gem of a music school will stay in Princeton. However, the future of the college is unclear and therefore the community music school, made up of local students, needs a contingency plan.

Let us be certain that Westminster Conservatory, a community treasure that benefits us all, continues to have a home in Princeton. This will help to preserve Princeton’s preeminent reputation as a regional cultural center.

Suzanne Lehrer

Piano Faculty, Westminster Conservatory

To the Editor:

Four years in Princeton and 82,000 delivered supplemental meals later and Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP) is even more passionate, enthusiastic, creative, and driven to continue to grow the program. It started as part of a national movement to provide weekend meals to kids who live in a food insecure home. The requirements to participate were minimal, a simple request to participate was the sole qualification. There were and are three main partners: Princeton Human Services’ offspring Send Hunger Packing Princeton, Mercer Street Friends, and the Princeton School System. And for the same reasons the program started, the program has grown.

Today, in addition to the regularly delivered food bags consisting of two kid-friendly breakfasts and lunches, SHUPP has expanded the program to better meet the needs of our constituents. We now provide an additional, more robust package of food each month for the whole family. Summer break, which is more logistically challenging, is now a large part of the SHUPP mission. For some kids that means meals throughout the summers Monday through Friday. For others it means the continuation of weekend meal packs. And for those we can reach, it means the addition of fresh produce. And starting this summer, a brand new breakfast program is being launched for the benefit of all kids under the age of 18, a free meal at the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church.

This Send Hunger Packing Princeton Initiative could not exist without the generosity of the Princeton Community. Each year, in September, at Hinds Plaza, community members gather to celebrate and raise money to enable the program to not only continue but to grow. This year, as last year, the theme will be Fill the Bowls. The event features the work of local potter, Adam Welch, who will once again create custom bowls for the event. All who participate will receive one.

The benefits are clear. No one argues the point that “a child should be hungry for knowledge and not hungry for breakfast.” That’s SHUPP’s mission and thanks to our community, that’s what SHUPP’s been able to do.

Robert Rabner For The SHUPP Family

Christopher Drive