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

To the Editor:

On June 4, Rock Brook School held its third Annual Rock Brook Celebration …. An Evening of Two-Step and Honky Tonk. The fun evening included country line dancing, live music, barbecue buffet, and an auction. For more than 40 years, Rock Brook School has provided exceptional special education services to children, as well as support for families and professionals. We are so proud of our students and the hard work of our dedicated staff.

I’d like to take a moment to recognize all who helped make the event possible. Thanks to all the families and businesses that contributed prizes for our auction. A special thanks to Rock Brook parent Laura Jones who contributed Yankees/Red Sox tickets for our special raffle as well as several additional auction items. Our gratitude to the Blue Wave Ramblers for the fantastic music; and Debbie Figel for calling our country line dances. Much appreciation to The Lodge at Montgomery for hosting our event; and Mary the Queen of Pork for catering the affair. Also, credit to our students and staff for creating the lovely theme-oriented décor.

And finally, I’d like to thank our guests, sponsors, and donors. Your generosity helps Rock Brook School continue its legacy of quality education, providing supports, and ensuring success for children with communication and learning difficulties.

Mary Caterson

Executive Director

June 7, 2017

To the Editor:

Princetonians should be proud to accept responsibility for doing as a municipality what the federal government has spurned: the Paris Accord of 2015. “Climate Mayors,” including our Mayor Liz Lempert, are now 187 mayors representing 52 million Americans. They have all stated a commitment to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”

This group is spearheaded by Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles. The governors of California, Washington, and New York have initiated a separate but parallel group, all of them aiming to hold global warming to not more than 1.5 degrees Celsius annually and to reduce carbon emissions annually as well.

At least nine states have joined with these cities to resist the follies at the top of the federal heap. These states include Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, and Rhode Island as, night by night, more officials choose to oppose by bathing their capital buildings in green, as Paris did on the first night of this massive failure for the planet.

We ask Princetonians to follow Mayor Lempert’s lead and commitment to slowing the speed of disastrous climate change and global warming. As the noted anthropologist Jane Goodall has recently said, we must have time to invent solutions to the problems we have haplessly made since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. We live in what has been called “the Anthropocene Epoch”: as homo sapiens we have the power to destroy ourselves and everything else on our globe; as Elizabeth Kolbert has written in The Sixth Extinction (2014), no living creature before us has ever had that power. To the fullest extent possible, Princetonians must heed the strictures of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World Wildlife Fund, and many other comparable groups in the U.S.

We have great confidence in Mayor Lempert, Princeton Council, and Sustainable Princeton to lead us all in understanding what we must do next, and all the time.

Sophie Glovier,

Drakes Corner Road 

Heidi Fictenbaum,

Carnahan Place 

Daniel A. Harris,

Dodds Lane 

Grace L. Sinden,

Ridgeview Circle

Matthew Wasserman,

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

Leticia Fraga will bring a sharp, focused, and independent mind to Princeton Council. In a town largely Democratic it is important that issues both large and small be vetted honestly and with great transparency. How easy it can be at times when there is lack of opposition to rubber stamp ideas and policies without really taking time to fully understand their impact and implications. Leticia’s unique understanding of community partnerships will serve her well by allowing more voices to be heard and greater inclusion in a town that desperately needs it.

As Princeton goes from a town to a small city, managing its growth will become crucial. Our schools, our traffic issues, our affordable housing and our affordability, our diversity, our accountability, our law enforcement will all be challenged to respond to a variety of needs in the days ahead.

Leticia’s fresh perspective, her background in outreach and education, her sensitivity to human concerns, and her understanding of the application of civil rights will round out our panel of municipal leadership to provide across the board accountability.

Serving on council requires commitment and dedication and concern for others. It is time consuming and at times full of stress. Leticia has demonstrated the unique ability to remain cool under pressure and takes the necessary time to both examine and look deeply at issues with regard to causes and effects. She will exhibit great care and thoughtfulness when making decisions and will speak truth to power when necessary. I expect her to be a strong voice for what is right in our town and also a strong voice against what she believes is wrong.

It is with great confidence that I endorse her candidacy, her commitment, her knowledge, and her level of expertise and understanding. The time is right for her and she is right for the time.

Leighton Newlin

Birch Avenue

To the Editor:

After several months of planning and discussions, we are pleased to announce the commencement of a new and free breakfast program that will begin on Tuesday, June 27, at the Witherspoon Presbyterian Street Church. The collaborators of this new initiative includes Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen, Princeton Human Services and Send Hunger Packing Princeton, the Witherspoon Presbyterian Street Church, and the Trenton Department of Parks and Recreation. First, we’d like to acknowledge our gratefulness to the Church for their enthusiastic willingness to host the breakfast all summer long. And second, we’d like to thank Trenton’s Fiah Gussin, Trenton Parks and Recreation, for the support she has provided in helping us get the program approved by the USDA.

The meals will be available from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday throughout the summer. They are available for youths 18 years of age and younger. The meals need to be consumed on the premises. The address is 124 Witherspoon Street, the corner of Witherspoon and Quarry Streets. Children will be greeted at the door.

This new program is an exciting addition to the already robust and growing sources of food and meals in our Princeton Community. More information can be obtained by calling the Human Services office at (609) 688-2055.

Larry Apperson

Cornerstone Kitchen

Ross Wisnick

Send Hunger Packing Princeton

May 31, 2017

To the Editor:

McCarter Theatre Center’s Annual Gala on May 6 marked the 40th anniversary of this major fundraising event. Over that span, luminaries and legends such as Luciano Pavarotti, Carol Burnett, Gregory Peck, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Bob Newhart, and Lily Tomlin have graced our stage in support of the theatre.

This year longtime friend of McCarter, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, performed for a packed-to-the-rafters theatre as the centerpiece of the evening.

Lending their support to this year’s Gala as Presenting Sponsors were BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Community Investment Strategies, and WIRB Copernicus Group. Our Gold Sponsors include Bloomberg Philanthropies, CURE Auto Insurance, Drinker Biddle, Maiden Re, Mathematica Policy Research, Merrill Lynch, and PNC Wealth Management. We are deeply grateful for that support, and for that of many other corporate and individual sponsors and advertisers.

Special thanks go out to our Gala Committee and to Gala Committee Co-Chairpersons—Ed Matthews and Vilma Keri, Chris Foglio-Palmer and Doug Palmer, Reggie and Aliya Browne—who orchestrated a festive and glittering evening for our guests. We would also like to thank Sebastian Clarke of Rago Arts and Auction Center for conducting our live auction and Viburnum Designs of Princeton for assisting with our centerpieces.

We also want to give a special thanks to Princeton University for their longstanding support of this event and the theatre throughout the season.

The proceeds of this event are used to support McCarter’s artistic and educational programming throughout our region. More than 100,000 people annually — from the five county region and beyond — see a show at McCarter or participate in a McCarter class or workshop.

We’re so deeply grateful!

Timothy J. Shields
Managing Director
Emily Mann
Artistic Director

To the Editor:

The Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund (LALDEF) would like to thank all those who helped make our May 24 Community Meeting on Immigration Issues such a success.

First and foremost we thank the 130 people who attended. We thank them for their recognition of these difficult times when people of conscience are standing together to support our immigrant friends and neighbors. For their desire and determination to do all they can at the local level to support those who share this space we call Princeton and Trenton. All this is more than appreciated.

Just as importantly, we thank the Nassau Presbyterian Church represented by the Reverend Dave Davis, Linda Gilmore, and Bill and Pam Wakefield. Their generosity in providing a beautiful meeting room, coffee and tea, A/V equipment, and arranging all the furniture was more than we could ask.

Finally, we thank our speakers: Princeton University Professors Alejandro Portes and Dan-el Padilla Peralta; Marisol Conde-Hernandez, a dreamer who is about to receive her law degree from Rutgers after many years of struggle aided by LALDEF; Steven Puac a graduate of our FUTURO mentoring program who will enter Haverford College next fall with a full scholarship; and two young women who found comfort in our No Estás Sóla (“You are not alone”) program for victims of domestic abuse.

If you would like to learn more about LALDEF or join in our work, please visit our website at www.laldef.org. There you can explore our service programs and advocacy efforts, and find contacts for volunteering, visiting our headquarters Casa de Bienvenida (Welcoming House), or making a donation.

Adriana Abizadeh
Executive Director
Leticia Fraga, John Heilner,
 Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Anastasia Mann,
The Board of Trustees of the Latin American
Legal Defense & Education Fund

To the Editor:

I hope that area Democrats will make a point of voting in the Primary Election in New Jersey on Tuesday, June 6.

New Jersey is one of two states to elect a governor this year — the other is Virginia — and the stakes are high in terms of combatting and/or blocking the retrogressive agenda of the Republican president.

Of the many Democratic candidates on the ballot, I personally believe that one stands out: Phil Murphy, former finance chair of the Democratic Party under Chair Howard Dean, and ambassador to Germany in the Obama administration.

Because Murphy, who grew up in a working poor family, had a successful career in finance at Goldman Sachs, his opponents have accused him of buying his way into New Jersey politics.

That is just not true. Phil Murphy declared his intention to run early on. He has taken time to get to know local decision-makers all over New Jersey. He has paid attention to the issues and developed a progressive agenda to deal with the problems of the state. That is why he has the endorsement of every county in New Jersey, including our own, which he won by 90 percent in a secret-ballot vote.

I recommend voting for Phil Murphy for governor and for the Democratic candidates for state, county, and local legislative offices.

Scotia W. MacRae
Evelyn Place

May 17, 2017

To the Editor:

On May 10, Dress for Success Mercer County held its second annual Women’s Empowerment Breakfast at Trenton Country Club. Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, author, corporate leader, consultant, and educator served as our keynote speaker. Ms. O’Neale’s address “Discovering Courage in the Midst of Change,” was an inspiration and perfectly in line with the principles we hope to instill in our clients.

Celebrating 10 years, we are delighted to have served 5,000 women since opening our doors in 2007. Our organization may have started with a suit, but over the past decade we have grown into so much more. We are support, we are encouragement, and we are an opportunity for women to learn, grow, and create a better future for themselves and their families.

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 Women’s Empowerment Breakfast was a remarkable success and I would like to acknowledge this year’s sponsors which include Bloomberg, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Saul Ewing, Victory, Wawa, Capital Health, Fox Rothschild, LLP, investorsBank, PNC, PSE&G, Robert Half, Stark & Stark, and Royal Bank.

The services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of the community. My heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors, in-kind donors, guests, and volunteers. Your contributions 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

To the Editor:

I write following yet another racist event within our schools recently. An 8th grade student from John Witherspoon was caught by his parent after indulging in “pot brownies” with friends. When questioned where they got the illegal substance, the young man without hesitation named a black boy he goes to school with. A phone call from the parent alerted the black young man’s mother. The black student had had nothing to do with the event at all and texted the young man who named him asking him why. His answer was “_______ told me to, he said they wouldn’t ask any questions bc ur black”.

PHS senior Jamaica Ponder wrote a blog post on the situation and stated “Princeton, listen to me, we have a race problem.” She is unequivocally correct!

In April of last year, we were shocked with the revelation that some of our high school students thought that playing a game called Jews vs. Nazi’s was an acceptable pastime. Then this past March we were blindsided by a young woman in PHS posting on Snapchat “I’m on the bus with a bunch of n——s, help”. Now this latest event in our middle school. My question to my fellow Princetonians is WHAT IS GOING ON?

In a town of over 30,000 people where 78 percent are college graduates and 37 percent work in education, a town where we have always prided ourselves on and welcomed a very eclectic mix, where exactly have we lost our way?

I read the statement Superintendent Cochrane put out and I thought his message was a good one, quickly exonerating the innocent black young man and saying the other children that lied had had consequences imposed upon them. What still concerns me though is the collective, district-wide follow through. Words on paper are a good first step, but completely useless if not put to constant use.

Racism in our schools and our town is not to be tolerated. Allowing our youth to use hateful words or actions is shameful and appalling. And not taking a hard stance collectively to eradicate this behavior is completely unacceptable.

We, as parents, should know our job is to raise our children to be strong, capable and evolved. That includes raising them to be kind, tolerant, ready to be a productive adult able to move about in a world made up of many different shades, languages, religions, and cultures.

I beseech each and every one of us to look deep within ourselves to be sure we are part of the solution — not the problem. We, as adults, have an example to set — at home, at work, at school, on the practice field, in every facet of our daily lives. I truly hope we do not continue to fail!

Kelly Ryan

Bayard Lane

To the Editor:

What a fabuleuse soirée à Paris we had at the May 5 Spring Formal for adults and teens with special needs!

Our DJ Steven Knox was awesome, as was our forever friend and photographer Jaime Escarpeta. McCaffrey’s provided a lovely dinner and PSS (Princeton Special Sports) parent Ashley Oppenheimer-Fink of A Touch of Magic blew us away with her gorgeous cakes.

This event has grown a lot from the small alternative “teen prom” it was when we started, which would not have happened without our partners at the Princeton Recreation Department. Special thanks to Joe Marrolli and Stacie Ryan. So much of what they do is behind the scenes, but they make everything possible.

This year’s theme was an ambitious one that we could not have accomplished without Abitha Ravichander, Hana Oresky, Katerina Bubnovsky, Radha Iyer, Rhea Ravichander, Sethu Iyer, and Valerie Walker. The unprecedented amount of time these already busy people spent this year enabled us to transform the Suzanne Patterson Center into a real City of Lights! Thank you, too, to the other adult volunteers who helped us set up, chaperone, and get everything cleaned up after: Eileen Bitterly, Stephanie Corrado, Liz Cutler, John Groeger, Sethu Iyer, Kevin Kane, Tom Kreutz, Andrea Lobo, Joe Marrolli, Joan Morelli, Alex Oppenheimer-Fink, Trudy Sugiura, Yasuo Sugiura, Wendy Vasquez, and Chiemi York.

It is always our student volunteers who make the Formal such a fabulous evening; we can’t convey adequately how important these kids are to our participants. Thank you to Matt Ams, Maddie Bitterly, Olivia Browndorf, Phoebe Elias, Talia Fiester, Abe Koffman, Ella Kotsen, Grace Lynch, Jack Lynch, Lauren Morelli, Cami Poniz, Gracie Poston, Rhea Ravinchander, Marli Siciliano, Declan Rourke, May Kotsen, and Charlotte Walker.

Our heartfelt thanks and au revoir to Ann Diver who has managed the PSS student volunteer program for the last 13 years, and to Joe Marrolli whose commitment to special needs programming has been extraordinary. We miss you both already! And une gracieuse bienvenue to Valerie Walker and John Groeger, who are taking over for Ann and Joe.

Our last dance of the season will be our annual pool party, dance, and BBQ at the Princeton Community Pool on June 2. Swimming will be from 6:30 to 7:30 (weather permitting), followed by BBQ and dancing. For more information or to register, go to princetonrecreation.com or princetonspecialsports.com.

People with special needs are our friends, our relatives, and our neighbors. Like the rest of us, they have varied skills, personalities, and interests. Yet there are still too few opportunities for them to contribute, and to interact and socialize with each other and with us. If you’re part of a community organization, if you have a job to offer, or if you just have an idea like the one that led to PSS 18 years ago, please consider this segment of our community. You’ll never regret it!

Deborah Martin Norcross

Co-President, Princeton Special Sports

To the Editor:

​The Rider chapter of the American Association of University Professors — our union representing nearly 500 professors, librarians, coaches, and athletic trainers — strongly supports the continuation of Westminster Choir College in Princeton as a treasured gem of our university. Alongside the Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College in Princeton, we have made clear to Rider’s Board of Trustees that Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo’s decision to “sell” Westminster makes no sense from an academic, aesthetic, moral, or business perspective.

We appreciate Town Topics’ coverage (“Faculty, Students Protest Sale of Choir College at Westminster Rally,” May 10, page one) of a student-faculty rally that took place on the Westminster campus on May 8. We realize that your readers, including residents and officials, have a significant stake in the fate of this priceless property.

As your story made clear, Dell’Omo’s Westminster ultimatum is not his only crisis. He has presented our union with a set of demands — to be rushed into place by what he says is a hard deadline of Aug. 31 — that would increase teaching load by one-third, erase support for research, effectively eliminate our enviably transparent system of promotion and tenure, and end the faculty role in academic decision-making. He demands cuts to pay and benefits amounting to approximately $10 million a year. That would average approximately $20,000 taken from each bargaining-unit member’s pocket each year.

In your report, there were three errors which should be corrected.

1. Julie Karns is described as ​“Board of Trustees President.” Karns is Rider’s vice president for finance and treasurer. She is an administrator and is not a member of our Board of Trustees.

2. “Speakers at the rally said that if the negotiations fail, an arbitrator would be brought in.”

​We wish! The membership of the faculty union h​as voted overwhelmingly to submit unresolved issues to ​binding arbitration if an agreement is not reached by the time the current contract expires on 8/31​, but Rider’s administration has ​formally ​refused to agree to this condition.​

3. “‘If the faculty sees the students are organized, they’ll negotiate,’ said Professor Joel Phillips.”

Because of missing context and faulty pronoun-antecedent agreement, this passage does not make clear: (1) faculty have been and remain eager to negotiate; (2) administrators have for nearly two years raised demands instead of negotiating compromises; (3) our union believes if the administration sees the students are organized, the administration will negotiate.

Art Taylor

President, Rider Chapter of the American Association of University Presidents

May 11, 2017

To the Editor:

The Stanford Study referenced in the Town Topics two weeks ago [“PHS Student Survey Reports High Stress,” April 26, page one] highlighted high numbers of PHS students who reported feeling stressed by schoolwork and who suffer from multiple physical symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. At Trinity Counseling Service, we receive calls about children and adolescents from all of our community’s schools experiencing these same symptoms. And I know from colleagues that communities all over the country are dealing with similar issues. People often ask: what more can we do to help?

Last Sunday at Communiversity, the Junior Board of Trinity Counseling Service set up a game of “Giant Jenga.” Potential stressors like “school,” “parents,” “work,” and “relationships,” were written on the Jenga blocks that people stacked on top of each other to create a giant tower. Blocks were pulled out, the tower balanced, until it eventually collapsed, and was rebuilt, again and again, by groups (children, adolescents, and adults) throughout the day. The metaphor, of course, was that stressors pile up, and we balance them, yet they can also weigh us down until we fall. But importantly, we can reinforce, rebuild, and move forward. People loved the game, and had fun playing together. I think that’s one thing we as a community need to do more of: find creative and fun ways to connect with our families, friends, and as a community. Because healthy connections build resilience — within ourselves, our families, and our communities.

The Stanford study and the Topics article were reminders of the importance of acknowledging challenges faced by members of our community. Trinity Counseling Service is here as a resource, working together with other community agencies and faith-based organizations. Research shows that at the most basic level, people want to feel connected, listened to, and supported, and it’s important to remember that we have many places to turn to in this community for support.

I think about and discuss issues related to mental health every day. The Stanford Study provides an opportunity to our entire community to think about these important topics together. I hope you will join me in recognizing the importance of mental health by continuing to talk about this study, and about mental health in general, with friends, family, and our community — perhaps over dinner or a game of Jenga.

Whitney B. Ross, EdM, PhD

Executive Director, Trinity 

Counseling Service, Stockton Street

To the Editor:

On Saturday, April 29, the popular children’s music artist Laurie Berkner appeared at McCarter Theatre to deliver a special acoustic “Relaxed Performance” concert to an audience of more than 400 people from our community. This marks the fifth season that McCarter has offered a Relaxed Performance for people on the autism spectrum or who have sensory sensitivities and their family members.

Relaxed Performances feature slight adjustments to the lighting, special effects, and music which allows for everyone to enjoy the magic of a live performance in a thoughtfully altered environment.

We are grateful to Laurie Berkner for creating a joyous, interactive morning performance for a family audience, many of whom have limited opportunities to enjoy a concert or performance together.

Last May, McCarter — in collaboration with five other theaters in the area — was awarded a Theatre Communications Group Cohort Grant, which will allow this “cohort” of theaters to program more Relaxed Performances, share best practices, and develop a public calendar of Relaxed Performance events in the region. These grants often have a seismic impact on the participating theaters, as well as the field at large, by building audiences through projects that lead to new, more frequent, and increased theater attendance and community participation.

We are also grateful for the contributions of Jazams, who provided fidgets — small toys for audience members to quietly fidget with while enjoying Laurie’s music. We also acknowledge our incredible volunteer ushers who received special training for this performance.

Finally, we thank The Karma Foundation for their leadership support of these Relaxed Performances at McCarter — they have generously funded this program since its inception. Hundreds of our area’s families have enjoyed a performance together in the last five years through the foundation’s dedication to the community!

We look forward to serving our community in this way for years to come.

Timothy J. Shields

Managing Director, McCarter Theatre Center