November 20, 2019

To the Editor:

The Princeton Board of Education (BoE) has just mandated that its members may not publicly question School Board actions and policies, resolving that:

“Board members will serve as ambassadors for their district, emphasizing the positive aspects of the district.”

School Board members are not elected to represent the schools. They are elected to provide oversight for the community. How much oversight can be exercised if all communications must pass through the superintendent? more

To the Editor:

For the last three years, President Dell’Omo and the Rider University Board of Trustees have pursued a disastrously conceived program to sell the Princeton property where Westminster Choir College — one of the colleges of Rider University since the merger in 1991 — has resided since 1932. Its purpose is pure greed for the cash that the University might gain from the sale of real estate, regardless of the consequences for a college that is one of America’s greatest choral institutions.

The resultant destabilization has alienated students and their parents, faculty, and alumni. Widespread negative publicity has damaged Westminster’s image so badly that new enrollment has dropped by 60 percent, stellar members of the faculty have left for more secure positions, and alumni giving has evaporated.

Now since that strategy failed, Rider administration has announced what can only be perceived as a vengeful plan to abruptly move Westminster Choir College by fall of 2020 onto the Lawrenceville campus of the University. There the facilities are completely nonexistent for the proper practice, teaching, rehearsal, and performance needs of a music conservatory. Such a move will certainly result in the demise of the college. more

To the Editor:

The Arts Council of Princeton would like to extend its sincerest gratitude and appreciation to everyone who turned out in force on Saturday, November 9 for the Journey mural reveal and dedication. The mural, created by Marlon Davila, the fall 2019 Anne Reeves Artist-in Residence, is located at the corner of John Street and Leigh Avenue.  A special thank you to Mayor Liz Lempert and members of Princeton Council who joined us for the dedication of this mural, which celebrates the artistry and creativity prevalent in our town.

This project would not have been possible without the support of Timothy M. Andrews, who has generously underwritten the Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence program. The Arts Council of Princeton also acknowledges mural sponsors Studio Hillier, Kucker-Haney Paint Company, Jerry’s Art-a-Rama, and Smith’s ACE Hardware for their support of public art in Princeton. Great thanks go to Lupita Groceries for providing the perfect “canvas” for our mural, and who, along with Local Greek, provided delicious refreshments for the mural celebration. And most importantly, thank you to Marlon Davila for sharing your art with the community and for reminding us of the importance of encouraging dialogue and following one’s passion.

Maria Evans
Artistic Director
Arts Council of Princeton

November 13, 2019

To the Editor:

After several false starts, the 3 Megawatt (MW) Princeton Solar Array was inaugurated on October 11, 2017. For the Array owner, NJR Energy Ventures (NJR), this project is a both a technical success and a stunning financial bonanza. For Princeton taxpayers, it is a fiscal debacle. Incentive payments and electricity sales worth nearly one million dollars per year, or more than 14 million dollars over the 15-year life of the NJR contract, will be collected by the array owner, NJR, instead of going to Princeton taxpayers.

The attempt to install a solar array on Princeton’s former municipal landfill off River Road began in 2011. Shortly after discussions started, Princeton officials hesitated and stopped the effort. The project restarted in 2015, but once again was paused due uncertainty, it was said, in the SREC market (a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate certifies generation of one million watt hours (MWh) of solar electricity).  Finally, when Princeton officials felt that the price of SRECs had stabilized, the project went ahead. more

To the Editor:

The staff and Board of Trustees of the Princeton Nursery School( PNS) wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Jim Levine and all the staff of the Arts Council of Princeton for opening their doors to the children of PNS last week. After losing heat in the school and faced with the need to close our program for the rest of the week for the boiler to be replaced, Mr. Levine welcomed our students and staff to the Arts Council. Due to last minute shuffling of their schedule, our teachers were given access to two large spaces to set up our supplies so we were able to seamlessly continue the preschool program for our students, including our daily hunger prevention program, in the warmth of the beautiful Arts Council building. Thank you for your patience and for helping us relocate our program so that our working families were not inconvenienced.

The Arts Council has been a long time supporter of our mission at PNS, providing affordable quality preschool education and support services for economically disadvantaged students and their working parents. We are so thankful for this partnership and your willingness to help a neighbor in need.

Rosanda Wong
Executive Director of PNS

Danielle Bentsen M.D.
President, PNS Board of Trustees

To the Editor:

The traffic in and around Princeton has become nearly unbearable and it could have been avoided had our municipal officials thoroughly considered the implications of the broad plans and put themselves in the average resident’s shoes by negotiating harder with the NJ DOT and Mercer County who are leading the Alexander Road project. But, in reality, it began with the municipal gas station/First Aid Squad building and the closing of the Terhune/206 intersection, which has created a permanent, monstrous traffic jam. And, the latest “restriping/resigning” of Cherry Hill Road at 206 has made little difference without also creating dedicated left-turn signals. Another half-baked initiative.

Nevertheless, the Alexander Road bridge closure has made travel in and out of Princeton nearly impossible by creating long lines of traffic on Route 1 and surrounding roads. Why couldn’t the majority of this project been completed during the summer, when schools are closed, Princeton University is in recess, and many people are away on vacation? While it would have still been an inconvenience, it would have been less so and the work would have likely gone more quickly at that time of year. more

To the Editor:

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, a time to focus on the impact of Alzheimer’s in New Jersey and help family caregivers get the help that they need. With over 600,000 people in New Jersey touched by Alzheimer’s, this disease impacts us all! In New Jersey, 2 in 3 people (68 percent) now say they know someone with Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly impacts memory thinking skills and behavior so severely that it eventually interferes with a person’s daily life and ability to complete even the “simplest” tasks.

• Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. There is currently no cure or way to slow down its progression.

• Aging is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease with most people showing signs and symptoms at age 65 or later. more

To the Editor:

Princeton is the leading academic center in the state with Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Westminster Choir College.

Westminster, one of the four jewels of Princeton, is being forced out of Princeton by Rider University.

For two years Rider attempted to sell Westminster to a Chinese commercial company for $40 million; the Chinese recently cancelled further negotiations. Then Rider announced that Westminster will be moved out of Princeton to Lawrenceville at the end of the 2019/2020 academic year, and that it is negotiating for the sale of the property but refusing to identify the new buyer.

Princetonians need to come to the rescue of this jewel of Princeton and raise their voices, “keep an independent Westminster in Princeton.” more

To the Editor:

I wish to say a quick thanks to those who supported me and our shared vision of being a vibrant and affordable Princeton for all.

I will continue to be a community advocate. We are neighbors with the same basic interests that go beyond partisanship. We all want Princeton to be livable through enhancing the quality of life, affordability, and the maintenance of excellent public schools at a reasonable cost. I will always take a position on town matters, and speak out if and when there is less than optimal decision making. I will be striving for independence, competency, transparency, and fiscal prudence.

In every corner of Princeton I met with people, looked them in the eye, shook their hands, and shared my thoughts on issues. I didn’t worry about their party affiliation, and many didn’t worry about mine. It was simply shared conviction that brought us all together. I enjoyed canvassing all streets of Princeton and many times instead of talking I listened, with my critical thinking cap on, always keeping my mind open and willing to change it. more

November 6, 2019

To the Editor:

The Princeton Public Library’s annual Beyond Words benefit was a sparkling success thanks to all the Library staff, volunteers, sponsors, attendees, caterers, suppliers, singers, musicians, guest speakers, the Nassau Presbyterian Church, and the Spring Street Garage. It was a delightful party, a fitting celebration of the Library, which does so much good for our community. And it was a successful fundraiser, due to the teamwork and generosity of all involved, which will help the Library thrive and continue to be a beloved resource for all.

The Friends of the Library thank the community for their support and look forward to continuing the Beyond Words tradition next year.

Helen Heintz
President Friends of the Princeton Public Library

To the Editor:

The Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is grateful to the Mayor and Council and all who attended the October 21 Special Council Meeting on Transportation to show their support for traffic calming as well as safe biking and walking infrastructure in our town.

We are pleased that support comes from a wide cross section of the public and represents different age groups, most neighborhoods of our town, and diverse modes of bicycle use. As Councilman David Cohen commented at the meeting, the public present was united in their strong support for traffic calming, reducing vehicle speeds, installation of more bike lanes, and better pedestrian crossings.

We would also like to thank Steve Cochrane, superintendent of Princeton Public Schools, for encouraging students to come to school on foot or by bike, in order to alleviate the traffic congestion with the closure of the Alexander Road bridge. To help make walking and biking to school more feasible and safer, PBAC has been working with Princeton’s two local bike shops to offer discounts to Princeton school students. more

To the Editor:

Each year, Yes We CAN! Food Drives collects food items on behalf of Arm In Arm so that everyone in our community, regardless of means, can share in the traditions of Thanksgiving.

Because turkeys will be available from other outlets, we are again collecting Thanksgiving “fixings” for the patrons of the three food pantries operated by Arm In Arm, a nonprofit organization in Trenton and Princeton.

Our volunteers will be collecting such items as stuffing mix, canned sweet potatoes or yams, canned green beans, canned corn, cream of chicken soup, packaged gravy mix, canned pumpkin pie filling, and poultry seasoning/ground cinnamon.  No cranberry sauce needs to be collected as several pallets are available from the food bank. more

To the Editor:

I suspect that a number of folks who live on the Princeton side of the Canal have parking permits at Princeton Junction and would welcome an opportunity to swap those permits for ones at the Princeton station during the Alexander Road closing. And there are at least as many residents of West Windsor and East who would love to use those Junction permits and the Dinky to get to work in Princeton rather than get snarled in the impeding traffic mess. Especially if the Dinky ride was free … paid for as just another appropriate cost of replacing the bridges. Have our elected officials, the University, NJ Transit, the Merchant Association, and/or … made any effort to investigate this opportunity that would remove (not just divert to create misery elsewhere) two cars from the congested roadways for each swap? more

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), I would like to thank all those who helped to celebrate our 50th anniversary on Sunday, October 20. Since its founding, FOPOS has quietly and steadily led the way for significant conservation of open space in Princeton by contributing over $4.5 million in public and private grants, as well as private contributions, to preserve about 1,000 acres of land. The open space properties preserved with FOPOS’s help include: the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Turning Basin Park, Woodfield Reservation, lands of the Institute for Advanced Study, Greenway Meadows Park, Tusculum, Coventry Farm, the Ricciardi property, and the All Saints’ property. more

To the Editor:

It was good to see that fighting climate change made the front page of Town Topics a couple weeks ago [“Environmental Forum, Sustainable Princeton Fight Climate Change,” Oct. 23]. There is a common confusion, though, between talk and action. The urgency expressed at the Princeton Environmental Institute’s Environmental Forum about the need to shift rapidly away from fossil fuel dependence contrasted starkly with what we see on the streets and barren rooftops of Princeton. The most visible evidence is pointing in the wrong direction, as internal combustion vehicles swell in size and number, and PSEG digs up our streets to install new fossil fuel lines. If news of Princeton fighting climate change were real, it would tell us how many solar panels had recently been added to schools, homes, businesses, and parking lots. It would tell us how many more teachers were hired with money saved through energy conservation. We would see trees being strategically planted and trimmed to maximize their carbon absorption and minimize their conflict with solar panels.

Along with the charismatic climate scientist Stephen Pacala, the most inspiring speaker at the Environmental Forum was George Hawkins, who spoke unabashedly of how government agencies can be innovative and efficient, and how he had made Washington, D.C.’s water, and even its sewage, a source of pride. Sewage, it turns out, can heat buildings, generate electricity, and fertilize crops. Princeton’s own “biosolids,” enriched and ennobled by its many Nobel laureates, surely deserves a better fate than to be incinerated with vast doses of fossil fuel and carted off to a landfill. more

To the Editor:

A town’s success depends critically on its ability to engage community members of all walks of life to be active participants in local government, and for volunteers to feel that they can make a difference. There is no magic formula for how to create broader participation. We must work to foster opportunities for engagement and when volunteers or members of our community become frustrated that they are not being heard we must work to re-engage them moving the narrative back to a positive one. When individuals are engaged in a community and contribute the results are magical. One example of an amazing volunteer is Dorothy Mullen. Dorothy embodies the spirit of inclusivity and was recently honored for her work as co-founder of the Princeton Schools and Gardens and founder of the“Suppers”program.

Dorothy is a local civic hero. She has worked tirelessly to initiate a garden in our schools and to provide food-based education programs. She has profoundly changed how we view food at our schools and leaves a legacy that ensures her influence will be felt for generations to come. And she is informed by a strong desire to include everyone in the discussion about healthy food. When she discovered that I have a non-verbal autistic child at Riverside School, she organized an event to ensure that the special needs children and their families at Riverside received education and support to participate in the healthy food initiatives. The event helped bring families closer together and enhanced relationships with the staff and leaders of the school.

I want to extend a thank you to all the special individuals in our community who volunteer on commissions, boards, in our schools and with community groups. I hope our town will continue to follow the shining examples like Dorothy Mullen and that we can work to find ways to create more opportunities for all community members to engage in a dialogue with leaders.

Bainy Suri
Chestnut Street

October 30, 2019

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse the reelection of Greg Stankiewicz to the Princeton Board of Education.

Greg was elected vice president of the Board in January 2019. He has worked tirelessly with Board President Beth Behrend to increase transparency, bring the community into the Board’s decision-making process, and improve Board operations. For example, under their leadership, the Board created new local resident committees to advise the Board on critical issues such as enrollment and growth and schools capacity and hired a planning firm to actively engage our community in identifying all the options for addressing the overcrowding in our schools.

In addition to becoming Board vice president, Greg also joined the Facilities Committee in January 2019 and became chair, assuming responsibility for oversight of the implementation of the $26.9 million referendum. As chair, Greg opened the Facilities Committee meetings to the public and made referendum implementation data more easily available to the public. Under Greg’s leadership, the committee oversaw a number of successful renovations this past summer, including the installation of air conditioning in the high school gym and throughout Riverside Elementary School, and electrical upgrades at all four elementary schools. more

To the Editor:

To all the hippie HIP supporters attending Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) fundraiser on October 19, my colleagues and I from the HIP Board of Trustees offer a heartfelt and profound thank you.

The event attracted 150 people dressed as though they were going to a Woodstock concert 50 years ago. Instead they enjoyed ‘60s music and non-Woodstock gourmet food and beverage inside the beautiful home of Vanessa and Kenneth Shives, who served as hosts for the evening. The guests were greeted by a vintage Volkswagen Beetle (lent for free by a Highland Park, N.J., used car dealer) that was parked on the Shives’ front lawn.

The $70,000 gross, (approximately $60,000 net), dollars raised from those who supported the HIP Rent Party is dedicated for HIPs transition housing and emergency rental assistance program, helping families avoid eviction. Since HIP is an all-volunteer run organization with very low overhead, donations primarily go right to the heart and hearth of keeping people in their homes. more

To the Editor:

As a former elected representative on Princeton Council, I know that issues come at you fast on the municipal dais. In any given meeting, Council members may consider such disparate issues as invasive species, affordable housing, parking, personnel, streets and sewers, sidewalks, police and the municipal budget, just to name a few. Princeton needs elected officials who are committed to understanding all these issues from a variety of perspectives. Michelle Pirone Lambros and Mia Sacks have demonstrated that they are willing to work hard for the betterment of the entire community.

Mia has a professional background working at the intersection of law and public policy that will serve her well on Council. She is a member of the Planning Board and previously served on the Environmental Commission and other municipal advisory bodies. Michelle, an experienced entrepreneur, has used her skills to work with the Princeton business community. She serves on the Board of the Princeton Merchants Association and the Zoning Board. more

To the Editor:

I’m excited to see the positive impact that Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros will make on Princeton Council when you elect them on November 5.

Both have family history with generational ties to Princeton and I know they will represent all Princetonians. They bring progressive ideals, Democratic values, and a much-needed emphasis on planning for Princeton’s future.

Mia and Michelle’s work in the community has demonstrated their deep-seated commitment to prioritizing equity and inclusion in every area of our town. They are especially concerned about building resiliency into Princeton’s infrastructure so that our most vulnerable residents are protected from the increasing impacts of climate change. more

To the Editor:

We are writing in support of Susan Kanter, who is running for the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Susan would be an assert to the Board as she brings to the table the following:

  1. The rare ability to collaborate with people who hold different or opposing views.
  2. A deep commitment to listening, civil discourse, and problem-solving.
  3. The ability to make difficult financial decisions.
  4. A long track record of working on behalf of Princeton’s most vulnerable students.
  5. Fifteen years of experience as a leader in local community and school organizations, including the 101: Fund, the Princeton Children’s Fund, The Jewish Center of Princeton, the Princeton High School PTO, and the John Witherspoon Middle School PTO.

We urge you to join us in voting for Susan Kanter on November 5.

Jennifer Jang
Russell Road

Shazia Manekia
Windermere Way

Kristen Suozzo
Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

While I am a member of the Princeton Board of Education, I submit this letter as a private citizen and am not speaking on behalf of the Board of Education.

I am writing to support Dafna Kendal’s election to the Board of Education. Dafna and I met in the fall of 2015, when we were both running for a first term on the Board of Education. From the initial forum where we shared the stage, I was inspired by her passion to make the district a better place for every single student. Throughout our term, Dafna’s ability to transfer this passion into leadership that had a tangible, positive effect on the experience of all students in the public schools was masterful. more

To the Editor:

We provide this letter as a statement of our strong support for Debbie Bronfeld as she is running for re-election for a position on Princeton’s Board of Education.

We first met Debbie over 19 years ago when our daughter and her second son were each a month old. Since then we have had the pleasure of watching our children grow and flourish, in their own ways, in the Princeton Public Schools.

We think Debbie is a great choice for the Princeton’s Board of Education and here’s why. Since we’ve known her, her volunteer and employment choices always revolved around helping people. For example, she was the executive director of Dress for Success Mercer County, a not-for-profit organization that helps women become economically independent by providing professional clothing and the tools needed to succeed. More recently, she worked for Mercer Street Friends Food Bank as a program associate, first as a volunteer, then as an employee. Her responsibilities there included helping people sign up for food stamps, and providing seniors with needed food supplies. In addition, she ran a program that provided backpacks of child-friendly, non-perishable food that went home each weekend with children in 18 schools across Mercer County.  more

To the Editor:

This year Princeton voters registered as Independents and Republicans have a rare chance to vote in a competitive election for Princeton Council. Democrat Adam Bierman chose to run for Princeton Council this year as an Independent, putting three Democrats in the race the for two Council seats to highlight the need for non-partisan elections in Princeton. Princeton Republicans and Independents know most years the Princeton November election is old Soviet style with one unopposed Democratic candidate for each seat following a competitive Democratic Primary election. According to the Rutgers Center for Government Services, Princeton registered voters in 2018 were 55 percent Democratic, 10 percent Republican, leaving 35 percent as Independents or other party affiliations. If Democrats truly believe in one-person equals one-vote, then there is an urgent need for non-partisan elections in Princeton as 45 percent of registered voters are regularly excluded from the competitive Democratic Primary election.

I support Adman Bierman running for Council as he intends to represent all of Princeton by pushing for non-partisan elections.

Donald J. Cox, Jr.
S. Harrison Street

To the Editor:

Princeton needs representatives on Council with proven experience building community and making policy to stand the test of time.

Mia Sacks has worked tirelessly and without fanfare, building trust and delivering results for our community for over a decade. If you know Mia even just a bit, you already know she succeeds not by wielding power, but through empowering others.

Mia’s professional experience with nonprofit advocacy, leadership, and governance has prepared her to serve effectively on Council. She has a proven track record of competence and commitment, both here at home and abroad.

For example, as a program officer for public health at the Soros Foundation, Mia was responsible for overseeing the development, funding, implementation, and evaluation of public health projects throughout the former Soviet bloc countries. The scale, complexity, and impact of her programs, which disbursed more than $30 million annually, was remarkable, and required her to skillfully navigate intricate social and political systems. more