November 15, 2017

To the Editor:

On Friday, October 27, 2017, more than 1,000 costume-clad community members gathered on Palmer Square​ Green to join our annual Hometown Halloween Parade — a 30-plus year tradition of family-friendly Halloween fun right here in downtown Princeton. After the amazing Princeton University Marching Band entertained us on the Green, we paraded around Palmer Square to meet up with our friend and co-sponsor, the Princeton Family YMCA. Hundreds and hundreds of children participated in Halloween-themed fun and games, including face painting and the ever-popular trunk or treat. It was a wonderful evening in our community.

On behalf of the Arts Council of Princeton’s Board of Trustees, staff, and members, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to the town of Princeton, the Princeton Police Department, Mayor Liz Lempert, Palmer Square Management, co-sponsor, Princeton Family YMCA, KINDsnacks, Princeton High School student volunteers and to the thousands of people who attended.

In this year of ‘firsts’ for me as the Arts Council’s Executive Director, this was a truly memorable event.

Taneshia Nash Laird

Executive Director, Arts Council of Princeton

To the Editor:

Nearly 5,000 people visited our five-day display of 50 massive carved pumpkins, making “The Amazing Pumpkin Carve” the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s biggest event of the year and a local autumn tradition.

Our thanks to all who joined us for this fun celebration of the arts in our community, especially our sponsors, members, volunteers, artists, and supporters.

This year, we partnered with the Hopewell Valley Uniformed Firefighters Association IAFF Local 3897 and Hopewell Township Fire District No. 1, along with the Hopewell Valley volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, for the Third Annual Fire Safety Open House. We also teamed up the Hopewell Valley Historic Preservation Committee for the rededication of Woolsey Park, which proved to be a popular new location for the Carve right in the heart of Hopewell Valley, making this truly a community-wide celebration.

The outpouring of support makes this and future art-inspired events a successful part of the Hopewell Valley’s vibrant culture. We are grateful. Thank you so much for helping the Hopewell Valley Arts Council “celebrate art in the everyday!”

Carol Lipson

President

Hopewell Valley Arts Council Board of Trustees 

To the Editor:

On Friday, October 13, Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) held its annual Soirée Under the Stars at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton. The event raised close to $70,000 to support our Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for youth from low-income communities in Trenton, Newark and New York City.

More than 170 guests attended the event at Springdale Golf Club which included inspirational speeches by Axel Velazquez, a Summer Bridge student from Partnerships for Trenton, and our Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) Intern, Elisabeth (Liz) Juechser. The night included hors d’oeuvres and international fare; sangria, beer, and wine; and live music by the Logan Roth Trio. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2017 Frank Broderick Award to Reverend David McAlpin, Jr. ’50.

PBC empowers young people, primarily from under-resourced communities, to strengthen their social-emotional skills through experiential, environmental, and adventure-based programming. Our Summer Bridge Program is a week-long leadership development and academic enrichment program that provides three hours a day of STEM, STEAM, and project-based learning enrichment; several hours a day of ropes and challenge course work that builds critical 21st century skills like collaboration, creativity, communication, and cooperation skills; daily waterfront time; and student choice activities.

We are grateful to all our event sponsors and attendees. We are particularly grateful to Soirée Co-Chairs, Board Member, Christina Bailey and Advisory Council Member, Denise Fredericksen, and to Meredith Murray, Director of Development, for their hard work and leadership surrounding the very successful event.

Pam Gregory

President and CEO

November 8, 2017

To the Editor:

The AAUP [American Association of University Professors] is extremely concerned about the direction that the University has been taking for several years, and recent news has only deepened our concern. Continuation of the path that we are on can only lead to disaster. We believe that we must work together to put Rider on a new path, one that unites all the stakeholders.

On November 1, 2017, Moody’s downgraded Rider’s bond rating:

“Moody’s Investors Service has revised the outlook on Rider University (NJ) to negative from stable, reflecting continuation of thin operating performance, a material increase in debt which will result in increased debt service, and the uncertainty around the timeline and potential impact of Westminster campus (WCC) sale on the university’s enrollment and operating performance.”

What is notable about the Moody’s report is that it is not citing environmental factors as the reason for its downgrade. It is clearly citing choices made by our leaders as the reason for its downgrade. These choices are 1) the decision to accumulate significantly more debt during a period in which revenue generation is compromised by various factors, including administrative judgments concerning tuition discounting, and 2) the decision to sell WCC and the (unknown) impact of such a decision.

We strongly encourage the board to consider these factors carefully. We have had significant concerns about the fiscal responsibility of this administration, and the statements in Moody’s recent report echo our concerns. Taking on significant new debt while revenue growth is relatively flat is imprudent. Likewise, the decision to sell Westminster Choir College was poorly planned, has been and continues to be an expensive effort, was based on unsupported claims of the cost of running Westminster, has entangled Rider in lawsuits, has generated much bad publicity, and is unlikely to produce the cash influx president Dell’Omo has claimed it will.

Student satisfaction and morale have been eroding over the last two years as reflected in the NSSE survey of student satisfaction. Dissatisfied students do not help in our attempts to recruit new students, and dissatisfied students certainly do not become alumni who develop into donors.

Faculty morale is at an historic low with distrust of the administration central to that low morale. The 2016 climate survey found morale across the campus much lower than in previous surveys. Our recent survey of members found 84.5 percent of all faculty dissatisfied with the direction of the institution, 66 percent considering leaving, 75 percent saying the administration does not value faculty research, 64 percent saying the administration does not value faculty teaching, and 62 percent saying that the administration does not appreciate faculty value contributions. One has only to speak to faculty to understand the level of anger, depression, and anxiety. Faculty members have been leaving in unprecedented numbers and not just senior faculty. There is hardly a junior faculty member who is not looking to leave. Faculty are the heart of any university, and it cannot bode well for the implementation of Rider’s strategic plan of starting new programs and majors that faculty expected to implement those programs no longer think Rider is a good place for a career.

We therefore call on the Board of Trustees to weigh these factors and consider whether or not we can change the path that we are on under our present leadership. We stand ready to work with you and other key stakeholders to put us on track to unite us all for future success.

Elizabeth Scheiber

President, AAUP Executive Committee

To the Editor:

For those seeking affordable housing in Princeton, a major hurdle has been surmounted. Applications, which can be completed in either English or Spanish, are now available online. The universal rental application can be used for any of Princeton’s Affordable Housing rental units. The properties covered in the form include Elm Court, Harriet Bryant House, Griggs Farm, Princeton Community Village, Merwick Stanworth, AvalonBay, and the Princeton Housing Authority (PHA) properties.

The application can be found and submitted online at www.princetoncommunityhousing.org.

Previously, an applicant was required to fill out multiple affordable rental applications, one for each property.

Using the online application, the application will be emailed automatically to each affordable housing office in which the applicant is interested. Within three weeks, the applicant will receive a notification of preliminary eligibility by either regular mail, electronic mail, or phone call.

Princeton Public Library offers free access to computers and the internet which enables applicants to complete and submit their forms online. Applicants can request assistance at the information desk on the second floor. Help is available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin.

Leighton Newlin

Chairperson, PHA Commissioners, Birch Avenue

Linda Sipprelle

Vice-Chairperson, PH Commissioners, Victoria Mews

To the Editor:

Each year, our volunteer group, Yes We CAN! Food Drives, reaches out to our community to help us provide a ‘Happier Thanksgiving’ for families in need by asking for donated turkeys so they, too, can share a holiday dinner. These are families and individuals who must supplement their food by utilizing the three food pantries of Arm in Arm (formerly The Crisis Ministry). The pantries in Princeton and Trenton offer free food and nutritional advice monthly to 2500 adults and 1000 children with low incomes, and those who are unemployed, handicapped, veterans, and the elderly. And, each year, the number in need grows.

This year, in addition to asking you to donate frozen turkeys at our turkey drive on this Saturday at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market, we are requesting you also donate the turkey “fixings” that we all love.
Our volunteers will be at our Yes We CAN! table at the Farmers’ Market on November 11 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., collecting such fixings as potatoes, gravy packages, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, pie ingredients or anything else you and your family enjoy on Thanksgiving. If you’d rather offer a cash donation, we will happily shop for you. My specialty, I might add!

By the way, if you haven’t been to the market, you are in for a wonderful treat. Over a dozen farmers bring their freshly-picked produce, while other vendors sell fresh baked goods, jams, local honey, and lots more. And, there’s always entertainment and food for the marketgoers.

Look for our Yes We CAN! banner on November 11 at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market, which is located off Alexander Road on Vaughn Drive, on the way to the train station. Parking is free. See you there.

Fran Engler

Publicity Chair, Yes We CAN! Food Drives

www.yeswecanfooddrives.org

November 1, 2017

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Jess Deutsch for the PPS Board of Education. We are very lucky this year to have so many qualified and enthusiastic candidates running for School Board, as Jess herself has said. I urge you to cast one of your votes for Jess; she is the only one with professional credentials in education; in this day and age it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone with expertise and experience run for office. She will be able to speak the language of the schools and uphold the mission with our school leaders.

Jess has deep roots in our community and, through her service on various nonprofit boards, has proven that she is an effective team player. I overlapped with Jess on the board of 101: and witnessed first-hand her creativity, willingness to work hard, and consensus building skills. Jess gets things done.

Jess’s kids went through our school system, and she knows firsthand its strengths and where it could be improved. Now, with her kids launched, she is in it for all PPS students.

Carol Golden

Snowden Lane

To The Editor:

As retired teachers of the Princeton Public Schools, we have experienced the difference a devoted, knowledgeable, fair, and compassionate school board member can make. We are supporting Beth Behrend in her candidacy for Princeton Public School Board, as she exemplifies all these qualities.

We have had the pleasure of teaching Beth’s children and working with Beth as a PPS parent. For many years we witnessed Beth’s enthusiastic dedication to our schools. Some of her many contributions have been: Riverside School PTO president, leadership role in funding and implementation of district-wide school gardens, organizing school residencies and assemblies, member of the district PTO Council, and room parent for numerous years. Beth is a hands-on volunteer, always seen digging in gardens, assisting teachers and students during school events, and someone who never declined cooking a turkey for Riverside’s Annual Kindergarten Thanksgiving Friendship Lunch!

During Beth’s campaign, she has worked tirelessly to gather input from parents, teachers, students, and the general community on how PPS can move forward, building and expanding its excellence. Beth understands the challenges of providing a superior education on limited funds, and with a fiscally responsible budget that does not burden Princeton taxpayers.

Although we are now retired, we continue to support Princeton Public Schools, and electing Beth Behrend will greatly benefit the students, schools, and community. We enthusiastically endorse Beth Behrend for Princeton Public School Board and hope you will consider voting for her.

Linda Bruschi

Schindler Drive, Lawrenceville

Mary Demarest Kelly

Dispatch Drive, Washington Crossing

To the Editor:

We write in support of Jess Deutsch for School Board. She has splendid qualifications: a deep background in education and counseling, two children who have gone through our system, the ability to listen, and a strong desire to serve all in our community.

We hope you will join us in voting for her.

Claire and David Jacobus

Cleveland Lane

To the Editor:

Our community is fortunate to have several good candidates running for open seats on the Princeton Public School Board of Education (BOE). As a current School Board member (writing only for myself and not on behalf of the BOE), I am familiar with some of the unprecedented challenges ahead for our school system. More than ever before our community needs leaders on the School Board who not only are equipped with the right expertise and skills to meet these challenges, but who hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical transparency, have the courage to make hard decisions, and have the willingness to be accountable for the consequences. Julie Ramirez is exactly such a leader and I support her for election to the PPS School Board.

Many who know Julie have encouraged her for years to run for a seat on the School Board. She has unique professional expertise as a project manager and will bring this experience to our school community at exactly the right time. As a Board member I have seen innovative ideas and initiatives around racial equity, early childhood education, athletics, curriculum reviews, and more by our superintendent, faculty, and community. These ideas and proposals are all important for our children and all deserve to be addressed through the kind of thorough cost-conscious, results-oriented process that Julie can help to lead.

Serving on the School Board is one of the hardest jobs someone can volunteer for. The new Board members will face complex and difficult choices that will impact our community for years to come. We must elect collegial, compassionate people with high principles; people who are hardworking, forthright, and morally courageous. Julie Ramirez fits this profile.

Justin Doran

Winfield Road

To the Editor:

Michele Tuck-Ponder has given extraordinary public service to Princeton, and we wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for the Princeton School Board. She will bring to the Board the knowledge, leadership skills, and — most significantly — values of critical importance to the ultimate vitality of our schools and our community.

Michele is a public-school parent, a taxpayer, an attorney, and a former mayor. She understands that a school system cannot truly achieve excellence unless it promotes the achievement of all of its students. She also knows well that an unaffordable school system threatens the very diversity that enriches our schools.

Michele will work to support a school culture that embraces high expectations for all students while also preparing them to navigate a multicultural world. She will work equally hard to hold the line on budgets and to ensure that expenditures are cost-effective and serve our educational mission.

Michele’s government experience includes policy-related positions as aide to a United States senator, assistant counsel to the New Jersey governor, and mayor and member of Township Committee in the former Princeton Township. She was centrally involved in overseeing the feasibility study, design, and financing of the Princeton Municipal Complex and the negotiation and financing of infrastructure and siting for the Princeton Public Library. In the non-profit sector, Michele has served as an executive of Women’s Fund and the YWCA and a member of the boards of New Jersey After 3 and the Girl Scouts. She has repeatedly met the challenge of serving the public interest while conserving scarce resources. This background will serve well the School Board’s need to explore alternative sources of funding and carefully review the economics of our current commitments.

As enrollment grows, School Board members will be called upon to make strategic decisions about facilities, infrastructure, and the alignment of spending and mission. Michele will bring to these issues an ability to identify and ask the hard questions, well-known skills as a consensus-builder, and a deep commitment to a quality education for all students in our system.

Walter and Mary Bliss 

Beth and Jim Healey

Moore Street

Virginia Kerr 

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

As the director of the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center, I would like to extend my gratitude to all of the merchants and businesses in Princeton and Lawrenceville who displayed a BCRC Pink Bow in solidarity with local women affected by breast cancer. As an organization we received countless emails and comments from community members praising our effort to ensure that no woman feels alone in her fight. From the bottom of my heart, as a breast cancer survivor, longtime Princeton resident, and BCRC leader, I commend this wonderful community for your support during breast cancer awareness month.

Paula Flory

Director, YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer 

Resource Center

To the Editor:

If you care about education, veterans, and the environment, vote for Andrew Zwicker for the New Jersey Assembly on November 7. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, has ably represented District 16 for two years.

Using his professional expertise, Zwicker has championed the causes of education, particularly science education, the environment, and open space.

He sponsored legislation to establish science and technology fellowships, and legislation to make it easier for the military and veterans to go to college. His bill to forgive student debt when a student dies or is disabled was recently enacted into law.

Zwicker’s environmental accomplishments include introducing a bill urging New Jersey to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. This bill passed the Assembly. His bills to preserve farmland in the four counties he represents (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) were recently signed into law.

With Washington turning its back on education and protecting the environment, it is more important than ever that the legislators we send to Trenton reflect our values.

I urge you to reelect Andrew Zwicker for the New Jersey Assembly on November 7.

Carol Ann Welsch 

Lawrenceville

To the Editor:

I want to thank the person or persons who found the envelope I lost on Henry Avenue, and sent it back to me.

Since there was no return address, I can’t thank you personally, but I want you to know I am very grateful for your thoughtfulness.

I just hope you read Town Topics!

Jean Stratton

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

It was an amazing night at the Princeton Family YMCA’s 2017 Centennial Awards For Healthy Living hosted in the Y’s gymnasium last Thursday evening. I want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful honorees who let us recognize their extraordinary work in making our community healthier and stronger: Rachel Dultz, MD, medical director of the Breast Health Center; Blandine Lacroix, VP for obesity marketing, Novo Nordisk; Kim Pimley, chair, Princeton Healthcare System board of trustees and community leader; Dr. Keith Wailoo, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University; Ross Wishnick, Princeton Human Services Commission chair and founder of Send Hunger Packing Princeton; and the Princeton Clergy Association, represented by its co-chairs Rabbi Adam Feldman and Rev. David A. Davis.

And a huge thank you to our inspiring Centennial Awards co-chairs Tracy Sipprelle and Cameron Manning and Silent Auction co-chairs Mana Winters and Ruth Wells. They, along with our Steering Committee members and our terrific young presenters, put on yet another memorable and uplifting presentation. And of course, much appreciation to our very generous sponsors and donors who supported the occasion and made it such a FUN party!

I am thrilled to report that our collective efforts raised more than $110,000 to support the YMCA’s work in strengthening the foundations of our community. At the YMCA, we are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, to promoting healthy living and to fostering a sense of social responsibility — and we are truly grateful to our supporters who help us to ensure that every individual has access to the essentials needed to learn, grow and thrive.

Merilyn Rovira

Chair, Board of Directors

To the Editor:

Some recent articles and letters about Sunrise’s revived proposal to build an assisted-living and memory-care complex on the narrow strip of land between the Princeton Shopping Center and Terhune Road have emphasized the desirability of extremely fire-resistant construction. Others have endorsed approval of the project without apparent realization that it is intended for assisted living and for memory care rather than for more generally defined senior housing. In previous letters to Town Topics I have expressed my own concern that the shape and size and location of the lot make any kind of residential use far less than optimal because of inevitable proximity to and disturbance by activities at the shopping center. Those reservations remain, and I also recently… and belatedly … reacted to the fact that the tentative plans show that apparently at least 80 percent of the main portion of the lot would be covered by either buildings or pavement. Counting the area of the unused panhandle portion of the lot that reaches down toward the park would artificially lower the covered-area percentage somewhat, but such a calculation is not germane to what the project would do to drainage in the area. Whoever is to be responsible for determining whether the project is approved is probably already fully aware of this limitation, but I suggest that those not directly involved who have been expressing support for approval make some allowance in their enthusiasm for the rather dramatic change it would bring about in the asphalt-to-greenery ratio on that strip of locally elevated land. To a novice in hydrological matters, it appears that virtually all the rain that is now absorbed within the boundaries of the lot would be deflected to adjacent roads and properties to possibly serious effect on road and basement flooding.

John Strother

Grover Ave

October 25, 2017

To the Editor:

As long-term Princeton residents with children who are attending or have graduated from Princeton Public Schools, we know firsthand how integral our children’s experience in Princeton Public Schools is to success in their lives. We believe that investment in our town’s public education system is critical and remain committed to ensuring that future generations receive the same excellent education.

However, as an active part of this vibrant community, we know there are many faced with the imminent possibility of having to leave due to financial constraints. There are numerous issues impacting the entire community that the newly elected board will have to contend with — from the reported growth in student enrollment, to the contract with Cranbury up for renewal in 2020, to the multi-million-dollar facilities referendum expected to go to voters next year.

It is vital that our Board of Education take its mission to represent taxpayers seriously, remembering that a higher tax burden can undermine our community’s commitment to a socioeconomically diverse population. We need Board members willing to ask hard questions, even when unpopular, and analyze all aspects of the budget — keeping in mind the impact to the entire community. We believe Jenny Ludmer is that candidate.

As the parent of three young children in Princeton Public Schools, Jenny has a direct interest in making sure our schools are excellent. Her willingness to serve on the Complete Streets Committee — a municipal group tasked with ensuring our streets are safe and accessible to riders of all ages and abilities — exemplifies her commitment to the wider community. Jenny’s background in scientific analysis will assist her in applying a rigorous process and well-reasoned approach to finding solutions.

With her vision, passion, commitment, and most importantly — her unwavering integrity — we believe Jenny will continue to work tirelessly, as she has since moving to Princeton, for the entire community. We are confident Jenny will help to find solutions that balance the interests of young families who want the best education for their children, with those of older residents who desire to remain in the community that has become their hometown.

If you are looking for a candidate who will truly represent ALL of Princeton, on November 7, please join us in voting for Jenny LUDMER — LAST on the ballot, First for Princeton!

Archana Nimgaonkar, Jack and Uschi Taylor, Ann Marciano, Elaine Wilson

Caldwell Drive

Ken and Jen Carson, Nancy Tsai

Herrontown Road

Amie Thornton and Craig Carnaroli,
Josephine and John Werth, Betsy Denny

Bertrand Drive

To the Editor:

We heartily encourage Princeton voters to join us in voting for Julie Ramirez for the Princeton Board of Education on November 7.

Over the last year we have worked closely with Julie on a volunteer initiative for our school district. Julie has deeply impressed us with her passion for doing what’s right for children in the Princeton Public Schools, how she always combines that passion with pragmatism and good sense, and how she harnesses those qualities for effective leadership.

That Julie joins these traits so effectively is a testament to her most relevant qualifications to serve on the school board: a breadth of knowledge and experience in our schools at all grade levels, as her four children (in grades 5, 7, 10, and 12) have attended Princeton Public Schools since kindergarten; and her 20-year career as a financial systems project management professional.

The operations of our school district are complex, and the board faces significant challenges in the coming years. With her professional experience in large-scale project management, it will be second nature for Julie to help prioritize the actions and decisions that our district needs to take, to find ways that the district can achieve greater quality with constrained resources, and achieve measurable, meaningful results. These skills will prove invaluable on the school board, especially as Princeton Public Schools embarks on the capital improvements needed to serve our community’s growing enrollment.

Perhaps more than any other quality, Julie has impressed us with her work ethic. Even while working and raising four busy kids, Julie is always one of the most determined, steadily reliable, and thoughtfully engaged person involved in her volunteer commitments. When you work with Julie, you get both quantity and quality.

These are just some of the reasons we support Julie’s candidacy for School Board, but there are more: her commitment to transparency, her concern for students of diverse backgrounds and needs, her desire to see the district continue to innovate around how it serves all of its students, and more. Julie Ramirez is exactly the kind of leader we need now on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Please give Julie your vote on November 7.

Amy Craft

Poe Road

Anne Desmond

Tee-Ar Place

To the Editor:

New Jersey voters can learn non-partisan information about candidates in the League of Women Voters’ online guide at www.VOTE411.org. By entering their address, voters can find out if they are registered and the location of their polling place, see their ballot, and compare the responses of candidates to League questions. Voters will also find interpretations of ballot questions, including the pros and cons for supporting them.

Launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund in October of 2006 and introduced state by state, VOTE411 is a “one-stop-shop” for election-related information. The League hopes that voters seeking information about races — from governor to school board — will take advantage of the website.

Chrystal Schivell

League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, 

Monroe Lane

To the Editor:

How wonderful that six people are running for the Princeton School Board! Democracy is about choices and I am happy that I have that in this School Board election. One of my votes will be for Michelle Tuck-Ponder. I have worked with her during my 22 years in elected office and after that too. She has been consistently prepared, honest, and knowledgeable. We didn’t always agree on some issues but we respected each other and civility always reigned. I stress that because her stellar resume informs you of the breadth of her academic and professional experience, and of her community involvement that will be of value to the School Board. What is not easily evident on any resume are the “people” skills that are essential to being a superior School Board member, or for that matter, being a productive member of any board.

The ability to listen, to be flexible, open-minded, accessible, and patient are vital skills that are not always apparent on paper. Michelle has these very important qualities. I hope that your thoughtful evaluation of the candidates will lead you to join me on November 7 in supporting Michelle Tuck-Ponder for the Princeton Board.

Phyllis Marchand

Montadale Drive

To the Editor:

Community and friends, please accept this letter to the editor as food for thought as you prepare to cast your ballots for new members to the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE). Having run for the BOE in Princeton years ago and now running campaigns for progressive candidates in different states around the country, I am interested to see the number of really good Princeton people wanting to serve our town, kids and families. However, with every election there are winners and candidates who didn’t get enough votes.

There are no losers when it comes to community service and wanting your school system to be the best and your students prepared to learn and to live. Anyone who takes the time to run a campaign, be a candidate, share a thoughtful educational message is to be applauded. Having said that, there are three available seats on the board and I want to encourage all voters to do as I did. Make every effort to meet the candidates, or contact them in some way to share your thoughts and to hear their vision for the district and if all else fails, go online to candidate websites and get a read on each of those seeking your support.

I am supporting Jess Deutsch and Beth Behrend for PPS Board and I’m asking those reading this letter to do the same. Jess Deutsch’s educational work, background, and expertise as well as Beth Behrend’s problem solving skills and legal insight will be major assets to what in my mind has been an effective Board. This endorsement means that I will work very hard to assist these candidates, but it also means after they are elected, I will remind Jess and Beth about their commitments and the hard work that still needs to be done. Princeton High School and to some degree all Princeton Public Schools are the best in the state. The challenge for these candidates and the district is to make sure that ALL students achieve and succeed to be successful contributors to society. I believe that Jess Deutsch and Beth Behrend are the best people to help us get there and therefore are my choice for the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.

Blessings and Putting Kids First,

John Bailey

Highway 27

To the Editor:

We are writing this letter in support of Beth Behrend, a candidate for the Princeton Public Schools’ Board of Education (BOE).

We know Beth primarily through our shared work to establish and improve PPS school gardens and garden-related curriculum. Beth was a leader in the garden movement for several years while she served as Riverside Elementary School’s garden coordinator and PTO president, and also as a board member of the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative. She was instrumental in finding creative ways to fund school gardens and played a major role in helping to integrate the gardens into the school curriculum.

Beth also created and directed the Healthy Children/Healthy Planet community fundraiser for the Riverside school gardens. This annual event raised $50,000 over five years and brought together many different constituencies to work toward a common goal: improving the health and education of children.

In addition to her garden work, Beth was a founding trustee and secretary of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, currently serves as secretary of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and has actively supported many local organizations that benefit our schools and our students.

As her record suggests, Beth has long been a passionate advocate for children and sustainability. She is highly dedicated, thoughtful, and meticulous. She respects diverse viewpoints, collaborates skillfully, and always thinks about the big picture. Her deep experience as a volunteer leader, as well as her legal training and career, make her an excellent candidate. The Princeton community would benefit tremendously from having her join the BOE.

Stephanie Chorney 

Race Street

Jennifer Jang 

Russell Road

Amy Mayer

Overbrook Road

Elizabeth White

Newlin Road

To the Editor:

On November 7, the New Jersey governorship and our whole legislature (40 Senators and 80 General Assembly members) are up for election. New Jersey is one of only two states with gubernatorial elections this year, and the rest of the country will be watching. This year, we ALL have to go to the polls and vote! We have to make sure our voices are heard and that we elect officials — legislators, sheriffs, freeholders, council members, board of education members — who truly represent us.

However, in this age of abundant data, it can be surprisingly difficult to learn who is running for office, and what their positions are on the issues. Do you want to contact your local candidates to ask their positions on issues they have not spoken about publicly? Good luck with that! All the state provides is the candidates’ names and postal addresses.

The Good Government Coalition of New Jersey (ggcnj.org), a new non-partisan grassroots group that grew up in Princeton, recently launched a campaign to correct this problem. GGCNJ created a database designed to provide information on all statewide candidates (and many local candidates) running this year. Candidates are asked to state their views on a list of good government measures and supply personal contact information (email, phone, website, social media) as well as biographical information (occupation, education, previous public service). This information is then posted on the site so voters can make informed decisions.

GGCNJ is calling on all candidates to help by providing their information to the database — every candidate should want informed voters! (Email info@ggcnj.org to get an electronic survey form.) We also encourage all citizens to make use of this database before they cast their ballots.

GGCNJ’s broader mission is to strengthen democracy in New Jersey by working with residents across our state to bring greater transparency, accountability, and participation to our state and local governments. The Coalition has identified several areas in which the current political system in New Jersey is broken. Too much power is concentrated in too few hands. This leads to a system that is dominated by those with money and power who shape decisions in backroom deals, leaving the public shut out of the process. GGCNJ aims to ensure that government, at both the state and local levels, works on behalf of all of us. To find out more and to join us, please go to ggcnj.org.

Yael Niv, Nathaniel Daw

Franklin Ave

Julia Sass Rubin, Gregory Stankiewicz 

Raisa Rubin-Stankiewicz 

Jefferson Road

Kathleen Cassidy

Mt Lucas Road

Roger Shatzkin 

Chestnut Street

Karla Cook

Spruce Street

Kristen Suozzo

Prospect Avenue

Kristina Corvin

Leigh Avenue

October 18, 2017

To The Editor:

I have been a member of the YMCA for many years and have found the aerobic exercises in the basement very helpful. Lately I have such trouble navigating the steep staircase to reach the gym in the basement that I have been unable to continue with the exercises. However, a month ago, a new program called Senior Strong was offered (mainly chair exercises) in a different space on the ground floor. These workouts include light aerobic exercises, and exercises with weights, tubes, and balls to improve overall strength and coordination. These exercises have helped me very much. In earlier years and now again I thank the teacher, Virginia Soltis, very warmly. She is an expert and encouraging trainer with rare human talents.

There is a fly in the ointment. The new class on the ground floor is undersubscribed. In that circumstance, there is always worry that a space will be reassigned.

I would like to thank the administration of the YMCA for making it possible for people with limited mobility to take part in the their wonderful program. I very much hope that the YMCA will see the way clear for maintaining and expanding this life enhancing program for senior citizens.

Anne Morrison
Linwood Circle

To the Editor,

I write to strongly endorse Julie Ramirez, a candidate for Princeton’s Board of Education. I have known Julie and her family for ten years and am certain that she will do an exceptional job if elected to the School Board. With four children at Johnson Park, John Witherspoon, and Princeton High School; Julie knows our district well, is a passionate advocate for our public schools, and understands that job number one is to make sure that our children receive the highest quality education possible in an environment that gives every child, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to learn, grow, and realize their full potential.

Julie also understands that we need to do this in a financially responsible manner. As a seven-year member of Princeton’s Citizen’s Finance Advisory Committee, I know how important it is to our residents to have great services AND keep tax increases as modest as possible. The school district has a large complex budget and, with a growing student body and insufficient space in almost every building, the School Board faces historic challenges related to physical expansion, capital spending, and long-term operational budgeting. With her successful 20-year career in finance and project management in the private sector, Julie has a unique background and skill set that makes her particularly well qualified to serve on the Board at this critical and difficult time.

Our children deserve the best education we can afford and our taxpayers deserve elected representatives like Julie who bring professional expertise to the board, and who will preserve our schools’ excellence in the most efficient, responsible way. I strongly encourage you to join me in voting for Julie Ramirez (ballot position #5) for Board of Education on November 7.

Brian McDonald
Journey’s End Lane