June 12, 2013

To the Editor:

The cost of holding two special elections for New Jersey’s Senate seat — and the importance of this election — merit a large turnout. Be sure you can vote as you wish to!

For the Tuesday, August 13 special primary: June 19 is the deadline to change party affiliation (if you wish to). July 23 is the deadline to register to vote or change address. August 6 is the deadline to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot. Note: your County Clerk must receive your application by this date.

For the Wednesday, October 15 special election: September 24 is the deadline to register to vote or change address. October 9 is the deadline to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot. Again, your County Clerk must receive application by this date.

Google “voter registration” plus the name of your county to find links to download the Voter Registration Application or the Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form for changing party affiliation. You will also find the address to which to mail the forms. For a vote-by-mail application, google “Vote by Mail” plus the name of your county. You can then download the form or call for more information.

If you have questions, contact the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area at lwvprinceton@gmail.com.

Please keep these dates in mind, assure your eligibility, and remember to vote!

Chrystal Schivell

Voter Service chair,

League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

To the Editor:

Not in Our Town (NiOT) compliments the Princeton Planning Board, Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, the AvalonBay developers of the former hospital site on Witherspoon Street, and others for the earnest effort they are making to create homes for an estimated 280 individual and family units that will serve these residents, their immediate neighbors, and the Princeton community at large.

NiOT is an interfaith, interracial social action group that has been working in Princeton for about 15 years. In addition to our programs, we have taken public, as well as private, stands on a number of issues that pertained to our mission, in particular its focus on issues around race. Examples are the community pool, the organization of the police department, keeping the Human Services Department and Commission, public rejection of the distribution of racial-hate and anti-semitic literature, and support of our Latino immigrant community.

Some of us have attended a number of the Planning Board hearings around the AvalonBay project. We noticed the absence of any direct reference to race or class, though we often felt it as an undercurrent in the room. These are certainly matters of importance for this project. It is long since time to be clear about them, whether looking at the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, or the creation of a sense of neighborliness and community within the development itself.

For example, from the information we have received, most of the 56 affordable units have been clumped together in the least desirable locations in the complex. This is contrary to what we expect the spirit of the project to be as well as what we understand state rules to require. This spirit could be better met if the affordable units were spread quite evenly throughout the development.

Also, the hospital site with its buildings has been a barrier between the Witherspoon-Jackson area and the Harris-Jefferson area, thus dividing a neighborhood that has been, historically, largely black — as well as, more recently, Latino — from a neighborhood that is largely white. But, as a hospital, these buildings served an important public purpose. Now, with the withdrawal of the hospital from this site, our community has an opportunity to create a use which helps to integrate the two sections and furthers the goal of respect for all persons, whatever their race and whatever their economic or social status.

We hope that a vision that includes connection among new and existing residents, appreciation for the history and well-being of existing neighborhoods, an integrative approach to housing decisions, and welcoming public spaces, will guide this and future development plans and implementation.

Fern and Larry Spruill

Bayard Lane

Wilma Solomon

Tee-Ar Place

Nancy Strong

Maple Street

Ann Yasuhara

Pine Street

Barbara Fox

Cedar Lane

Marietta Taylor

Hartley Avenue

Linda Oppenheim

South Harrison

Joyce Turner

Woods Way

To the Editor:

For the past three years all parties involved in the decision process to create a Community Center in the historic Valley Road School (VRS) have played a game of Catch 22. (The center would accommodate the space needs of the non-profit groups operating in Princeton.)

The Board of Education said, and rightly so, that the VRS-Adaptive Reuse Committee (VRS-ARC) did not have the funds to create a Community Center.

The VRS-ARC group said, and rightly so, that they cannot raise the needed funds unless the Board will sell/lease them the old VRS building.

Princeton Township committee said that it cannot get involved in the fate of a building that is owned by the Board. Borough Council stayed out since the VRS building was in the Township.

While this Danse Macabre was going on, the non-profit groups were homeless and the VRS building kept deteriorating, year after year. However, now that Princeton is one and the recent declaration by the Preservation New Jersey that the VRS building is one of the top ten endangered historical building in the State of New Jersey, it opens an opportunity to untie this Gordian Knot and create a much needed Community Center for the nonprofit groups active in the Town of Princeton.

To start the ball rolling the following three steps should be taken:

The Board will pass a resolution that it is prepared to sell/lease the VRS building to the VRS-ARC group, if and only if that group will raise cash or pledges of an amount over one million dollars in one year’s time.

The Town of Princeton will pass a resolution that it will provide engineering support and building maintenance and supervision needed to create the Community Center (all costs will be paid by the VRS-ARC group), if and only if VRS-ARC group will raise the one million dollars in one year’s time.

The VRS-ARC group will pass a resolution to ask major donors to pledge funds for the Center that will be due when the total pledges will be more than one million dollars, and the Board has sold or leased them the VRS building.

To implement the above, representatives of the Board, the Town of Princeton, and VRS-ARC must meet jointly to review the steps required to pass these resolutions and make this go through.

This is a win-win situation for everyone. The Board will no longer have to worry about the VRS building; the non-profit groups will have a home; Princeton will have a much needed Community Center; historic VRS will be restored to become an anchor of the greater downtown area of Princeton; it will be done at no cost to the Princeton taxpayer.

This can happen, all we need is everybody’s good will and the necessary money.

Ralph Perry

Random Road

To the Editor:

Stuart Mitchner’s evocative piece in Town Topics on June 5,  [“Light and Dark: Themes and Anthems for a European Tour”] really resonated with me. I was in Vienna in January 1955, when it was almost as ravaged as in The Third Man and utterly defined bleakness. Russian troops were all over the place, interesting to talk to. Then, when I was in the Army (1957-1958 in the Counter Intelligence Corps — contradiction in terms, one sergeant confirmed) in Nürnberg, in May 1958, my wife and I took ten days of leave on the beach in Rimini on the Adriatic. We heard nothing but “Volare” there and, though our 10 days were great, the song almost drove us out of our minds. Then, in 1976 we ordered a Plymouth Volare, which would have been our only American car in 55 years, but the order was delayed and we went for a Toyota wagon. Great luck, since the Volare turned out to be a total lemon.

Charles E. Townsend

Hickory Court

To the Editor:

We had pizza the other day: our usual order from the usual place. What makes this pizza meal worth writing about is that when we were done, we put the pizza box in the green bin that had arrived a few weeks ago. Joy! No more guilt about throwing away all that carton that can’t be recycled.

We have recently signed up for Princeton’s curbside organic waste pickup program — and we will never look back. The program is really well thought out: You get a wheeled green bin to put outside on Wednesdays, plus a small plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid to collect kitchen scraps on your counter top, complete with a pack of compostable-plastic liner bags.

I was a little worried about the green bin attracting pests (and was prepared for frequent sanitizing), but the liners for the scrap bin make that unnecessary: your kitchen scraps go into a bag, just like your regular trash, before it goes into the green bin. I love it! The scrap collector bin is small enough to put in our fridge, which will keep away the fruit flies.

The organic waste program accepts a huge range of kitchen waste (including meat and bones, used paper napkins, and paper food containers like those pizza boxes) as well as selected yard waste. After just a few weeks, my family has already drastically reduced the volume of its regular trash; once we learn to put all the accepted items in the scrap collector we will need a smaller kitchen trash can.

Regular household garbage generates methane (a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) in the anaerobic conditions of landfill sites. Its disposal costs Princeton nearly three times as much as organic waste disposal, while the organic waste comes back to us in the form of free compost for our gardens: what’s not to love?

Please consider joining this program: it’s a huge step toward a sustainable Princeton.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

To the Editor:

Our elected officials typically thank the electorate for electing them. They say it is an honor and a privilege to serve. How true. Few of the rest of us have the privilege of proposing to award ourselves a 33 percent salary increase only months after cutting staff, and while still discussing other staff reductions.

I applaud Patrick Simon for arguing against the increase; as he said, our council members knew what the salaries would be when they ran for office, and they knew that a reduction in the cost of their salaries was among the promises of consolidation. Yet they say, sanctimoniously, that they don’t want the money for themselves, but merely so others can serve? In that case, let the salary increases apply to their successors, not to those in office now!

In fact, if, as Mr. Bruschi suggested, council members’ salaries should be thought of as stipends to cover costs incurred in the course of their public duties, why not make that explicit? Eliminate the council members’ salaries altogether, and replace them with a system of formal reimbursement for expenses (with some very clear policies defining eligible expenses). Since reimbursements would not be subject to payroll taxes, the current budget of $60,000 would go farther. We might even save money. We would certainly weed out those who value their salaries over keeping their promises to the electorate.

Beverly Wilson

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

Under pressure from the press, Princeton’s police department has released a redacted version of a recent contract between the department and Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety regarding law enforcement in our community. Having such a contract as a proposal for mayor and Council action is a positive first step, but what’s missing is more involvement by our elected representatives and transparency.

Mayor and Council, not the police, have the authority to enter into contracts on the town’s behalf. Mayor and Council, not the police, are directly accountable to the constituents whom such contract affects. So it is mayor and Council, not the police, who should disclose the contents of any proposed contract, consider its public safety and budget implications, and take formal action to approve or disapprove it after disclosure and public debate.

After all, who runs our local government, the governing body or the police and the University?

Missing from public discussion of the present document is clarity about precisely which crimes the police, as opposed to the University, will investigate. The document reportedly says “some” crimes will be investigated by municipal police. Really — which ones? And who decides?

Criminal activity fueled by alcohol abuse and sex occur relatively frequently in the younger University community than in the municipality generally. Will the University, concerned about its public image, properly investigate those crimes? Is rape on Prospect Avenue different if it occurs on campus at the intersection of Washington Road or instead, say, at the intersection of Riverside Drive — or at the High School or Westminster Choir College? Such selective enforcement seems patently unconstitutional. How could it be appropriate?

Also missing from the public discussion is the question of jurisdiction: where will municipal police defer to the University? Is the line drawn at the campus border? Or at any building owned by the University, even if located outside the campus, such as faculty and staff housing, office buildings, or University commercial locations on Nassau Street?

Also missing is participation by the Mercer County Prosecutor, the ultimate arbiter of local criminal prosecution. He hasn’t signed it. Does the prosecutor support the present proposal, and to what extent, or will he disclaim it? Rutgers University and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office were at odds in the Tyler Clemente investigation, with Rutgers administrators under threat of indictment. Why hasn’t our county prosecutor signed on?

These and other questions deserve greater public consideration than has been afforded to date by the release of a redacted police/public safety agreement. The municipality’s public safety committee should hold public hearings concerning the proposal and its implications for public safety in our community. Public safety should not be contracted away by the police for the benefit of any private institution without appropriate disclosure and review.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

I am writing this email as a recent visitor from England to the Princeton area. My husband and I stayed at the Inn at Glencairn as our daughter was graduating from Rider University. Our accommodation was delightful but our visit was marred by the unexpected and extortionate cost of taxis. We were charged $28 before tips to travel three miles; an unacceptable round trip cost of over $60 to go into and out of Princeton for the day. Luckily, there was a fairly regular bus service outside of our accommodation so we used that instead.

I have never seen a charging set up for taxis like the one used in the Princeton area; no meter is used but a fixed price, no matter where you are going, appears to be charged.

It seems to me that such extortionate costs must also be detracting from other businesses in the area; for example on at least one day we did not want to wait for buses in the rain so we did not shop in Princeton, as we were not willing to pay the taxi fares. It would certainly be a major consideration for us when deciding where to stay when visiting New Jersey in the future.

Sharon Cottam


To the Editor:

On Saturday night, June 8, I attended a spectacular performance by the Lustig Dance Theatre at McCarter as part of the 2013 Princeton Festival. Graham Lustig, artistic director and choreographer of this talented company, opened the program with an introduction to “Jangala,” a wonderfully creative rendition of Kipling’s Jungle Book danced to a selection of classical, traditional, folk, and pop Indian music. In all my years of attending dance at McCarter, I don’t remember being so thrilled with the originality of a piece.

After the intermission, when my friends and I wondered what more Lustig could give us, we saw three pairs of beautifully fluid dancers perform “Six Pianos”. Then there was a pause, and (almost to our disbelief) we heard classic jazz played right in front of our eyes by Emily Asher’s Garden Party Group. Lustig’s full company danced onstage to Emily Asher’s group’s inspired live music — “Hallelujah”, “I Want the Waiter”, “Just a Simple Melody”, Dedicated to You”, “Shake Down the Stars,” and “Darktown Strutter’s Ball”.

The entire audience got to their feet to give this fabulous program a riotous standing ovation. But that was the problem: the entire audience didn’t consist of enough people. Why did so many theatre-goers and dance enthusiasts miss this program? I wanted to call all my friends to come out and support this talented group; but alas, Lustig’s dance company only performed for the one night. Please, please, those of you in charge of the Princeton Festival, give this talented group the publicity they deserve before they perform again next year. The Princeton audience should be vying for tickets, just as they do for the opera. This is one dance program not to be missed.

Joyce Lott

Toth Lane, Rocky Hill

June 5, 2013

To the Editor:

Many people know about Valley Road School being named by Preservation N.J. as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey. And many of you have heard about our petition to put saving Valley Road School on the general election ballot on November 5. Please look for our red and white table at McCaffrey’s, Hinds Plaza and other locations to sign our petition.

Many people are not that familiar with the organization that is working to save Valley Road School and adaptively reuse it. We are a grass roots group of concerned citizens who think that Valley Road School represents an important part of Princeton’s history and contains fantastic spaces where nonprofit organizations serving Princeton can be creative and prosper.

From what started as the Valley Road School — Adaptive Reuse Committee (VRS-ARC), we formed the Valley Road School Community Center, Inc. in 2011, which was approved as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS to receive tax exempt donations in 2012. Our board is made up of people who see Valley Road School as a wonderful opportunity to serve the town. They are: Kip Cherry, Trustee/President; Trustee/VPs Claire Jacobus, Anne Reeves, James Firestone, Ridgley Applegate; Trustee/Secretary Richard Woodbridge; Trustee/Treasurer Charles (Chuck) Creesy; and Trustees John Clearwater, Mary Clurman, Joanne Gere, Robert Gupta, and Walter Krieg.

Some trustees are associated with nonprofit organizations. Some attended Valley Road School. One use to be president of the school board. Some have special strengths in computer technology. We all believe that saving Valley Road School is the right thing to do and that it can be accomplished economically for $3-5 million. Our consultants are currently further refining this construction cost estimate.

Kip Cherry

President, Valley Road School Community Center, Inc.

To the Editor:

One Table Café is a “Community Supported Restaurant” welcoming people from widely diverse backgrounds to share an evening of wonderful food, friends, goodwill, and entertainment — all thanks to a host of restaurants and businesses in and around Princeton.

Located at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, in Princeton, One Table Café is now half way through its third year in operation. Seven months a year, on the third Friday, Trinity volunteers spruce up Pierce Hall and it fills with 100-150 diners who take part in a transforming experience sharing a nutritiously and professionally prepared meal — sourced locally — with people from all walks of life in the community, most of whom meet here for the first time. And the cost? Only what you can afford to pay. If you would like a fine night out in a restaurant environment with quality food, you are welcome. If money is an obstacle, you are welcome. If you have the means and can donate a little extra, you will help offset the cost of a meal for someone else.

The idea was conceived not long after the Rev. Paul Jeanes III was installed as the new Rector at Trinity. His challenge was “trying to find a way to have Trinity reach out to those around us. It’s not about getting people to become members of Trinity Church, but rather creating a stronger community of care and connection. We have neighbors we don’t know. We need to know our neighbors and we need to be a better neighbor.” With that as the message, a team of outreach-focused volunteers planned and strategized for eight months and finally, in January 2011, One Table Café had its debut. The key to its success, in addition to the very loyal diners and volunteers, is the profound generosity of the restaurant sponsors each month who donate menu planning, food, preparation, and their time on site in “Alice’s Kitchen” the night of the dinner — cutting, chopping, tossing, plating, trimming herbs — until all are served and after-dessert coffee is on the table.

All proceeds are donated to one of the following organizations, chosen by the sponsoring restaurant: The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Urban Promise of Trenton, Trenton Children’s Choir, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Global Aids Interfaith Alliance (Malawi) and the Cristosol Foundation (El Salvador).

Come join us for the September 20 dinner!

Sincere thanks for their generous community spirit to: Mediterra; Enoterra; Teresa’s Caffe; Terra Momo Bread Company; Witherspoon Grill; Blue Pointe Grill; Nassau Street Seafood and Produce Co.; Princeton Farmers’ Market; Salt Creek Grille; Emily’s Café and Catering; Mr. Carl DeFazio; D’Angelo Italian Market; Piccolo Trattoria; Hashim at The Orchard Café; Small World Coffee; Craft Cleaners and Mayflower Cleaners.

Diane Somers

Co-founder, One Table Café

To the Editor:

Recent letters objecting to the proposed AvalonBay development focus on the density. The writers complain that 280 units will overwhelm the surrounding neighborhood and cause traffic problems and school overcrowding.

The zoning adopted by the Borough allows 280 units. AvalonBay’s application complies with the density allowed by the zoning ordinance and is consistent with the Master Plan, which identifies the former hospital site as a unique opportunity for alternate development, including much needed affordable housing. The Master Plan specifically recognizes that high intensity uses have existed on the hospital site for many years. The Master Plan resolves any questions about intended density in relation to the neighborhood by stating, “Due to the current high density infrastructure serving this site, the property lends itself to a continuation of a greater density than that which is found in the surrounding residential area.”

Our community set the rules for development of this site and it is neither legal nor fair to change the rules after the application is submitted. During the hearings last year, thorough traffic studies of the AvalonBay proposal by both the applicant and the Planning Board’s expert concluded that it would not have a negative impact on traffic. The allegation about the impact on the schools is also without any factual basis.

As the review of the current AvalonBay plan commences, we should focus on obtaining the best development possible for Princeton and for the future residents of the site, and not have a fruitless debate about the number of units. That issue was settled in 2006.

Valerie W. Haynes

Mount Lucas Road

To the Editor:

The mayor and Princeton Council gave themselves a 33 percent pay raise this year on the grounds that a raise would ensure that more candidates would run for local office. Get real.

There was no lack of candidates for local elected office last year. The current mayor and Council hold office by campaigning within the Democratic political club, and used the club to beat back other Democratic challengers. What has been lacking in recent years, and again this year, is a voice for the community that is not beholden to the local Democratic club.

I’m a candidate and challenger for Princeton Council this year. I seek support from all quarters: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. And I am not running in order to give myself a pay hike. If elected, I pledge not to take one.

We can all agree that we who run for office don’t do it for the money. We offer our services because of our commitment to the community.

That commitment, shared by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike, has been tarnished by mayor and Council’s present proposal to give themselves a steep pay hike during their first year of office. And it has been further tarnished by the disingenuous argument that they seek the pay hike not out of self-interest but to help the rest of us.

Princeton voters deserve leadership that is forthright and plain-spoken and not disrespectful of the electorate’s intelligence.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

As a runner in Homefront’s five kilometer race, I know I speak not only for myself but for the many other participants in the June 2 event, when I express my sincere appreciation to Homefront for its outstanding work.

To have the opportunity to meet some of the dedicated Homefront employees and to hear their inspiring stories about individuals who through self-discipline and hard work developed job skills that changed their lives was a memorable experience. Thank you Homefront for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate in a concrete way our appreciation for all you do for homeless people and their families.

Linda Sipprelle

Commissioner, Princeton Housing Authority

May 29, 2013

To the editor:

Imagine a child trying to learn, study and play when he or she is inadequately nourished and distracted by hunger every day. The negative effects of chronic hunger on children are particularly acute in the classroom, and pose immense educational challenges.

Over 400 children in our Princeton Public Schools — approximately one out of eight students — experience hunger and food insecurity first-hand. While they are provided with meals on weekdays during the school year by the school breakfast and lunch programs, these children are at greatest risk over the weekends, when there may not be enough food in the home.

Send Hunger Packing (SHP) is a grassroots, public-private initiative in Princeton that aims to send these children home from school on Fridays with a backpack full of kid-friendly, nutritionally sound food to ensure that they have meals over the weekend. For just $31,000, SHP can feed every hungry child in grades K-5 on weekends for the next school year — or just $160 per child.

Join us for our inaugural fundraising event on Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m. at the Garden Theater in Princeton. Send Hunger Packing will proudly present the critically-acclaimed documentary film A Place at the Table, featuring Jeff Bridges and Top Chef Tom Coliccchio, and host a discussion afterwards with the film’s co-director Lori Silverbush. Ticket prices start at $50. To purchase, or to make a donation, please visit sendhungeroacking.ticketleap.com. 100 percent of your ticket price will go directly to fighting hunger in Princeton.

These food-filled backpacks will make an immeasurable difference in the lives and education of our community’s children. As school board members, we urge you to support this important cause, which depends almost entirely on private donations. No child in our schools should ever suffer from hunger, and we know that by nourishing the neediest children in our public schools, we give them a chance to learn and thrive in school and in life.

Molly Chrein, Andrea Spalla

Members of the Board of Education

of the Princeton Public Schools

To the Editor:

AvalonBay’s hospital site redevelopment plan involves fitting 280 residential units into a site that’s relatively small in comparison to the surrounding neighborhood. Look closely at the illustration that depicts the difference in size between the surrounding neighborhoods and the hospital site. Then imagine squeezing all of the surrounding units from either neighborhood, and adding many more, into the hospital site:

1. The total number of existing dwelling units in the outlined portion of the John Witherspoon neighborhood represents only 72 percent of the 280 units proposed by AvalonBay.

2. The total number of existing dwelling units in the outlined portion of the Jefferson-Moore-Harris-Carnahan neighborhood represents only 58 percent of the 280 units proposed by AvalonBay.

Consider what impact shoehorning a large number of units into a small site will have on traffic, infrastructure, schools, and the environment. This development will forever change the fabric of our community and neighborhood. There are no do-overs on this one. I encourage people to get informed and involved by attending the Planning Board meetings on June 27, July 11, July 18, and July 25.

Kim Frawley

Jefferson Road


To the Editor:

We welcomed and appreciated the recent presentation given by AvalonBay at Community Park School.

New developments often cause controversy. In this case, it is evident that AvalonBay has responded to many of the concerns of neighbors and interested parties. Modifications that were suggested have been incorporated into the revised plans.

As longtime Princeton residents, we believe that the AvalonBay development will be an enhancement to the town. We are particularly pleased that 20 percent of the project will be dedicated to affordable housing.

It is our hope that the approval process proceeds quickly and without obstacles.

Charlie and Shelly Yedlin

Beech Hill Circle

To the Editor:

Affordable housing units in AvalonBay’s new plan appear not to be equitably distributed throughout the development. AvalonBay must correct its error or shortsightedness before the Planning Board holds hearings on the application. The corporation should announce appropriate corrections to the public.

Fully 68 percent of the affordable units (38 out of 56) are located on the two bottom floors. 27 percent (15) face north towards the concrete garage (Site Plan, sheets A-101 through A-104); the garage is barely concealed by trees for only part of its length (Landscape Plan, sheet 6). Residents in these northerly units will be in the darkest segment of the development — disturbed by traffic, illuminated by car headlights at night. The dark view from windows was indicated by Tom Karman, speaking for AvalonBay at the first public showing of plans on 5/22/13, when he euphemistically called the street-level walkway between Building 1 (which is an enclosed cube) and the garage a “shade garden.” No affordable units face the more desirable (because private) interior courtyard of Building 1, called a “back yard for residents.”

Furthermore, no affordable units are now designated for any of the three detached townhouses (12 units, 4 in each). Of the 9 percent of units (5) located in Building 2, whose south side opens onto the public park, none has direct access to the park (sheet A-101).

Current plans should be revised. Tenants in affordable units must not be penalized because they cannot afford market-rate units.

Princeton culture does not sanction denial of equal access. AvalonBay has an obligation to redistribute the affordable housing units, voluntarily, before all members of the Planning Board and municipal staff insist on this change. COAH practices require that affordable units be located in such a manner that the income level of tenants cannot be recognized by a glance at their doorways or, indeed, their income “floor.” Affordable units should be indiscernible from market-rate units.

While such a redistribution may chip a little from the enormous profit AvalonBay may gain, the corporation must honor its public image and the values it stands for. Indeed, their 2011 Sustainability Report states, “AvalonBay employs a diverse base of associates and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment” (page 19). The company should practice in Princeton what it mandates in its own workplace community. Respect for all tenants requires no less.

Jon Vogel, an AvalonBay vice president for development and this project’s manager, needs to do for affordable housing distribution what he has done for “green building” in this development — EnergyStar certification with demonstrated compliance with LEED Silver for Homes (“and maybe more,” he said on 5/22/13), rain-gardens, and the possibility of using grey water (as at Copperwood, the LEED-Silver development on Bunn Drive).

I commend these measures (though more should be done, particularly in salvaging materials from the old hospital). Heeding the claims of social equity requires equal attentiveness.

Jane Buttars

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

The Blue Point Grill has received much acclaim in our community as a premier seafood restaurant. Due in part to its deserved popularity, seventy-seven undergraduate students in an environmental policy course at Princeton University spent weeks preparing a comprehensive report on the sustainability of Blue Point Grill’s menu. This is an important issue because numerous studies have documented the extensive harm to ocean ecosystems caused by overfishing, bycatch, and other unsustainable practices.

Although we were pleased to find that 30 percent of the menu entrees used local, sustainably-sourced seafood and 50 percent used seafood that has the potential to be harvested sustainably with minimal environmental damage, we are concerned about the remaining 20 percent that consists of unsustainably harvested species.

We have mailed and emailed our report to the restaurant, and we have sought a meeting with the management of Blue Point Grill to discuss our findings and recommendations. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the management has been unwilling to schedule a meeting.

We believe that by removing the unsustainable items on its menu, Blue Point Grill can live up to its advertised commitment toward sustainability. At the very least, we would like the restaurant to flag the sustainable entrees on its menu so that diners can make an informed choice. We urge customers to help in this effort by requesting information from their server about the environmental impact of their dishes.  And, as always, we are eager to meet with the management of Blue Point Grill to discuss our report.

Cecelia Coffey, Sarah Jeong,

Gina Talt and 53 signatories

Editor’s note: The Blue Point Grill submitted the following response:

The Blue Point Grill has always enjoyed a healthy dialogue with our customers on the subject of sustainable seafood practices and it is a topic we live with every day. It came to our attention that the Princeton Ecology Department conducted a study on our restaurant and our menu and we were disappointed not to be able to schedule a follow up meeting.

Our company has developed long lasting relationships with fisherman & purveyors all over the world who work within the guidelines and are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).  Every MSC certified fishery has demonstrated that it maintains sustainable fish stocks, minimizes environmental impacts, and has proven to be a successful management program. We review reports weekly set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their report, Fish Watch is available in the lobby of Blue Point Grill for your convenience.

In business for over 30 years now, we take pride in the seafood that we offer and it’s sustainability for ours and future generations. By dealing with only certified purveyors who abide by all government fishing regulations and catch quotas, we stand by our menu and will continue supplying the Princeton area with the best seafood on the planet!

Jack Morrison

The Blue Point Grill

To the Editor:

The New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA), which has responsibility for maintaining the supply of water from the D&R Canal, is planning to dredge the roughly eight-mile section of the canal between Kingston and East Millstone over three years beginning 12/15/2013 and ending 2/10/2017. The goal is to improve the water flow along the canal which is now impeded by silt accumulated over more than 50 years. While we support the goal of this project and recognize the NJWSA’s efforts to meet the needs of many constituencies, we are concerned about aspects that will impact Griggstown and Rocky Hill particularly.

The plan presented at a Public Meeting by the NJWSA on May 13 and available at www.njwsa.org/html/
canal_dredging.html, is to use hydraulic dredging, a giant underwater vacuum cleaner on a barge sucking a slurry of silt and canal water into a pipeline through which it will be pumped to a single “staging area” covering several acres on a property adjoining Canal Road approximately half a mile north of its intersection with Route 518 in Rocky Hill. There the silt will be separated and dried, then transported by truck to other sites for use as fill. The amount of silt to be removed is huge — estimated at 240,000 cubic yards (cu-yd), or 24,000 loads in 10 cu-yd dump trucks. The silt would cover the area of 10 football fields to a depth of over 12 feet. This staging area will essentially be an industrial facility and transfer station located in a semi-rural, residential area.

All the heavy trucks needed to remove the silt will have to pass along Canal Road. A waiver will be required to allow the trucks to exceed its present 4-ton limit which exists for a good reason: the road is narrow, uneven, and poorly constructed. The trucking will take place over 320 work days in three periods from August each year through the following January. This means that at least 75 standard dump-truck trips per day will be needed — a truck load leaving the site every 6½ minutes. In addition to the impact of the truck traffic on residents and commuters using Canal Road, there will be noise from the pumps needed to move the slurry, and odors from exposure of the silt to the air.

Under this plan, Griggstown and Rocky Hill will bear the brunt of this project for three years. We urge the NJWSA to relocate the staging area to a site with suitable road access not passing through residential areas. At the previous public meetings on the plan, other possible staging areas had been under consideration, including, at the southern end, areas in or adjacent to the Trap Rock quarry and asphalt plant on Route 603 (Kingston-Rocky Hill Road) where there are already roads capable of carrying the heavy truck traffic which connect to major transportation arteries.

We also ask residents of nearby communities to contact the NJWSA (by email at info@njwsa.org) to express their concerns about this, and any other, aspect of the plan.

Michael Bell

Coppermine Road

Spence Wilcox

Old Georgetown Road

Marc Knowlton

Canal Road

To the Editor:

We are writing to enthusiastically endorse Bill Humes’s proposal in a letter to Town Topics [“Princeton’s Dogs Need Their Own Space,” May 22] to create a dog park in Princeton. Every dog owner in our town feels their pet’s urgent tug on the leash that means, “Let me run! Let me run!” But we are required to deny them that exercise, caught as we are between the natural needs of a dog and the restrictive covenants of a community. The net effect is that we forbid them any physical activity more stimulating than a human-pace stroll, when they are just dying to enjoy the kind of energetic exercise we regularly engage in ourselves.

Bill Humes’s suggestion of creating a dog park is a straightforward, simple, easily achieved resolution of this conflict. A dedicated dog park does not intrude on or defile the recreational spaces others use in different ways. Many, many other communities have long since established such facilities. Now it’s our turn.

Eliot and Patti Daley

Dorann Avenue

To the Editor:

The Princeton recording studio of Learning Ally held its annual Record-A-Thon the week of May 13 to 17 at its facilities on Roszel Road in West Windsor. Our dedicated volunteers from all over New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania put in extra hours to record, check, and edit hundreds of hours of audio and hybrid audio/e-books for Learning Ally’s members who cannot effectively read standard print due to a visual impairment or print disability such as dyslexia.

As in past years, this event would not be a success without generous donations of food and refreshment from our Princeton-area business community including Alchemist and Barrister of Princeton, On the Border of West Windsor, Hoagie Haven of Princeton, Slice of Princeton, The Bent Spoon of Princeton, McCaffrey’s of West Windsor, Wegman’s of West Windsor, Brother’s Pizza of West Windsor, Salt Creek Grille of Plainsboro, Medical Packaging, Incorporated of Ringoes, and Business Bistro of New Brunswick.

Since our inception in the area as Recording for the Blind, we would never have been able to positively impact the educational and professional careers of thousands of people across the country without the continued support of the Princeton-area business community. For all of the volunteers, staff, and members of Learning Ally, we thank you for you continued generosity.

Barbara Greene, Dave Gravelle,

Tony Gruenewald, Christine Ranaghan, and Deirdre Ryan

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff of the Princeton Education Foundation, I would like to thank everyone in the Princeton community who supported our “Be True to Your School” Spring Gala and Silent Auction. We raised almost $50,000 net that will directly benefit our public schools’ teachers and students and will further our goal of supporting excellence in education in the Princeton Public Schools. Since its inception, the Princeton Education Foundation has contributed over $1,200,000 to the Princeton Public Schools for capital improvements, educational programs, and teacher support.

We are especially grateful to the Princeton Education Foundation’s lead sponsors, Georgeanne Moss, The Gould Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, and The Nassau Inn, and to our other major sponsors, Bank of Princeton, Educational Testing Service, Parker McCay, PNC — Palmer Square Office, Princeton Review, Project Builders General Contractors and Construction Managers, and St. Peter’s Healthcare System.

Thanks also go to sponsors Anne Skalka and Associates, CPAs, Beatrice Bloom, Weichert Realtors, Branding Science, Charles Schwab, Dr. Tyl and Dr. Fogarty, Issues Management, LLC, Princeton Chevrolet, Princeton Porsche, Princeton Radiology, Princeton Tutoring, BluePrint Research Group, Dessert Boutique, Gold Buyers at the Mall, Greg’s Landscaping, Lear and Pennepacker, LLP, Lindt Chocolate, Mike’s Barber Shop, Monday Morning Flower Company, Princeton Automobile Company, Princeton Eye Group, Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center, Princeton University Store, Redding’s Plumbing & Heating, Robert J. Lopez, The Geller Real Estate Group of Gloria Nilson Realtors, Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., and Studio Hillier. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of our Grant Donors and Operational Sponsors, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Church and Dwight, David Mathey Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., PNC Bank Foundation, and Terra Momo Restaurant Group. Our silent auction was a big success thanks to donations from over 100 people and businesses. We are also grateful to have the support of many individual benefactors and patrons.

We would like to recognize the hard work of our Gala committee, the group of dedicated volunteers that planned and executed this year’s event. Led by Co-Chairs Jean-Anne Madden, Shazia Manekia, and Grace Normandin, the committee included Molly Chrein, Pooja Datt, Nicole Doran, Edie Kelly, Jan Pierce, Sara Schaeffer, Ronica Sethi, Aman Shergill, Karin Siciliano and Monika Suri.

Finally, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone in the community who participated in this important fundraiser by volunteering time, purchasing tickets, or bidding on items in our auction. Thank you for joining with us to say that our children’s public education matters!

Adrienne Rubin

Executive Director, Princeton Education Foundation

To the Editor:

McCarter Theatre’s Annual Gala Benefit on Saturday, May 18th featured a smashing performance by THE MIDTOWN MEN that had the whole theatre dancing in the aisles (literally!). McCarter is so grateful for the support offered by its donors and by the Princeton community.

The evening was great fun and it was a pleasure to see so many people enjoying themselves while supporting this great institution. Thank you to our wonderful co-chairs, Judy Scheide and Tamera Matteo and the great team at Joss and Jules Catering for all they did to create a magical event for us. Our wonderful volunteers on the gala committee did an amazing job – their dedication and vision created a truly memorable evening.

We would like thank our corporate supporters for their stalwart support of the theatre and of this event. We deeply appreciate their support. The Gold level corporate sponsors, Cure Auto Insurance, and The Gould Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, have been supporting the work of the theatre for several years and we are proud that they continue to support our gala in this way.

In addition, we would like to say thank you to our amazing team at McCarter – from our production crew to our team of interns – the entire staff had a role in creating this spectacular event and did so with great professionalism and grace.

Like so many non-profits in our region, McCarter Theatre depends on private donations to help us fulfill our mission. Through this support, we are able to offer truly world-class entertainment in Princeton at very affordable prices. We are also able to offer educational and outreach programs to students and schools in Princeton, New Brunswick, Trenton and many other school districts in our area.

Thank you!

Emily Mann,

McCarter Theatre Artistic Director,

Resident Playwright, University Place

Timothy J. Shields,

McCarter Theatre Managing Director,

91 University Place, Princeton

To the editor:

As co-chairs of the 24th annual spring benefit for the Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area, we thank the hundreds of enthusiastic supporters who attended our luncheon at the Hyatt, as well as our benefit committee and the Planned Parenthood staff. With 500 guests and contributors, it was a tremendous success in raising funds in support of the services and programs of Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area.

We were pleased to have as our speaker Dawn Laguens, executive vice president and chief experience officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Nationally, one in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for professional, non-judgmental and confidential care. Planned Parenthood has earned this confidence as a nonprofit organization in Trenton for 80 years. The funds raised at the lunch will help ensure that our local affiliate can continue its vital work.

We urge the people of Mercer County who believe that every woman has a right to reproductive health counseling and family planning, regardless of income, to support Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood’s services include life-saving cancer screenings (including breast health services and pap tests), birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, HIV testing, vasectomy services, abortion procedures, sexual health education, information and health counseling. Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and keep women healthy.

Emily Firmenich,


Eleanor Horne,