May 17, 2017

To the Editor:

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

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

At DFSMC, we understand the challenges faced by low-income, underserved, and underrepresented women seeking to break the cycle of poverty. Through our personalized career development programs, we support women through every stage of their professional development, starting with their job search and leading to sustained employment. We are the only community program that responds to the career development needs of this vulnerable population.

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

The services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of the community. My heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors, in-kind donors, guests, and volunteers. Your contributions help Dress for Success Mercer County continue its legacy of providing quality programming and support to women who are ready to enter and thrive in the workforce.

Melissa Tenzer

Executive Director

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Ryan

Bayard Lane

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deborah Martin Norcross

Co-President, Princeton Special Sports

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Taylor

President, Rider Chapter of the American Association of University Presidents

May 11, 2017

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

Whitney B. Ross, EdM, PhD

Executive Director, Trinity 

Counseling Service, Stockton Street

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timothy J. Shields

Managing Director, McCarter Theatre Center 

To the Editor:

I am a member of the Shade Tree Commission (STC) and went this morning to look at the tree that fell yesterday (5-2-2017) on the roof of a house on Mercer Street. The roof caved in and killed a dog in the house. I was curious what kind of tree this was and it turned out to be an ash tree.

For the past year, the STC has been trying to increase public awareness about the emerald ash borer (see, an insect that will kill 99 percent of the ash trees in Princeton if left untreated. We have about 2,000 ash trees on our streets, and we estimate an even larger number on private properties and public lands such as parks, the University, and open spaces. The property on Mercer Street and the surrounding properties are full of ash trees, some of them very old and already in very bad condition. Some very big trees are close to Mercer Road. The ash tree that killed the dog seemed to have snapped midway. The wood of ash trees is very brittle and this characteristic makes these trees so dangerous in severe wind conditions like yesterday.

I hope you can pay some attention to this event.

Welmoet van Kammen

Member of Shade Tree Commission

To The Editor:

The annual Communiversity springtime celebration was, yet again, a wonderful day of arts, crafts, activities, food, and drink. Kudos to the Arts Council of Princeton and everyone involved in coordinating this event.

As my family enjoyed the afternoon, we were struck by the commitment of Sustainable Princeton to the event. We witnessed Molly Jones and Christine Symington of Sustainable Princeton sorting through trash to ensure the event’s refuse was properly disposed of and all recyclables were separated.

Princeton is a town with outstanding events and admirable citizens. We are fortunate to live in a town with individuals and organizations so committed to ensuring a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment.

Ron Menapace

Owner, The Farmhouse Store, Heather Lane

To the Editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to Louis Slee’s letter of May 3 [“No Parking Study Should Be Undertaken Without Reference to Transportation Planning for Town”] regarding the town’s parking study. He is correct that there is too much traffic congestion on main streets. Ralph Widner has data that will show that most people who drive in Princeton do so to get from one town to another town, neither of which is named “Princeton.” I don’t believe there are any groups in town who advocate for the construction of a bypass any longer.

What is needed is adequate parking. Tineke Thio of the local Bicycle Advisory Committee has documented that there are 4,200 parking spaces (Quakerbridge Mall has 10,000) and 1,179 are in the three garages. The question is if 4,200 and 1,179 represent adequacy. To determine that, we need to know how many spaces are used by employees. Then we can determine if the remaining quantity is adequate.

I would like to see employers provide satellite parking facilities like the University does and expand either the Free B or the schools jitney buses to service the employees who work downtown. This will free up parking spaces for shoppers. If it turns out that these spaces are not used as frequently as before, then there would be more space for bike lanes. If we can accommodate shoppers by providing more off-street parking and bicyclists (by creating a lower level of bicycling stress) then everyone wins.

Dan Rappoport

Princeton Bicyclist Advisory Committee

To the Editor:

We want to give public thanks to a few individuals who do so much for life here in Princeton:

First, to Robert Landau, for letting us set up in front of his store on a Sunday to get out the vote for gubernatorial candidate, John Wisniewski — who broke Bridgegate, prevented the sale of the Turnpike, has ratings of 100 percent from Planned Parenthood, and 0 percent from the NRA.

Second, to Kip Cherry, for her valiant persistence in protecting the Princeton Battlefield for all of us.

And finally, to Joanna Dougherty, for the two evenings she donated to helping us create campaign buttons. Joanna, guardian of the PCDO’s button-making machines, you’re a peach.

Princeton’s Funky Political Theatre

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

Lillian Israel

Willow Street

Carol Hoffman

Blanketflower Lane

Liz Roth 

Burton Circle, Montgomery

To the Editor:

I was dismayed to read about the possible fate of the Veblen house and cottage buildings in Herrontown Woods, as reported in Town Topics [“Resistance Grows as Houses Face Demolition,” page one, May 3]. As a restoration architect with over 30 years experience repairing and preserving old structures, I find the county’s posture to be bewildering, and apparently, close-minded. Freeholder Andrew Koontz claims in the article that demolition of these buildings is the “only option” available. This is rarely the case with buildings, even when in more advanced disrepair than the structures in question. Demolition is an irreversible last resort. I could argue that the buildings are in better condition than implied, or that the budget projections referenced are inflated, but as I understand the circumstances, the group FOHW (Friends of Herrontown Woods) is willing to undertake responsibility for the buildings and adjoining site, so why would the county object? There is no requirement to spend county funds under this scenario. The fact that an interested local group is willing to expend funds, time, and energy to retain and improve an existing resource of historic significance seems to me to be the very definition of a strong, healthy and engaged community. Why would this be discouraged?

Charles DiSanto

Mt. Lucas Road

May 3, 2017

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Arts Council of Princeton’s Board of Trustees, staff, and members, we would like to thank everyone — from the 250 participants consisting of artists, nonprofits, and merchants, to the hundreds of volunteers and the tens of thousands of visitors — who helped make the 47th annual Communiversity ArtsFest such an amazing event.

Communiversity ArtsFest is a town-gown celebration with something for everyone: live performances, creative artistry and crafts, interactive children’s activities, delicious food and drink. We appreciate the extremely talented visual artists who participated in many creative activities including the ACP Atelier in Palmer Square, which was the hub of the Arts Council-sponsored art activities; the ceramics and painting demonstrations at the Paul Robeson Center; the artists that set up their easels throughout Communiversity as part of Paint Out Princeton; the vibrant sidewalk chalk murals; and all the many forms of creative expression that make Communiversity such a unique and memorable event.

As a people-centered nonprofit with a mission of building community through the arts, we are grateful for the collaborations that allowed us to produce another hugely successful event. And so with much appreciation we thank: the students of Princeton University, University President Christopher Eisgruber and the Office of Community and Regional Affairs; Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert; Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes; Jennifer Spillane of the Princeton Area Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Princeton Police Department; Princeton Fire Department; Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad; Princeton Regional Health Department; Princeton Public Works Department; the Princeton Clergy Association; the Princeton Merchants Association; the Princeton Public Library; Mary Harris Events; our title sponsor Bai Brands; our major sponsors AT&T, Baker Auto Group, Palmer Square Management, Princeton Garden Theatre; and the local media. You can find a complete list of all of the generous Communiversity ArtsFest sponsors and in-kind sponsors at

Thank you all for your participation and help in making Communiversity ArtsFest 2017 a fun-filled, family-friendly event.

Taneshia Nash Laird

Executive Director, Arts Council of Princeton

To the Editor:

Opposition to the natural gas pipeline to run through the Pinelands of New Jersey has failed, but it’s necessary for New Jersey residents who do oppose it to keep fighting. One reason for the pipeline, according to a spokesperson for the South Jersey Gas Company, is to help create and protect jobs. Creating and protecting jobs is important to us all, but how important would this be if it means that the health of our residents is compromised and beautiful landscape is ripped apart. The pollution of our air and waterways affects not only the wildlife but us, too.

It is important for New Jersey citizens to know the fragile Pinelands hold an estimated 17 trillion gallons of the nation’s purest water. Also, when oil and gas operators clear a site to build pipelines, harmful pollutants are released into nearby streams. These are direct consequences of the pipeline that will affect us greatly.

Republican and Democrat state governors have opposed the pipeline. This is not a political issue, but a quality-of-life issue. While also a national problem, it’s one that can affect us closely if we don’t continue to act. Chris Christie’s successor will be elected in November, and this should be at the forefront of our minds when that time comes.

Samantha Gardner, 

Hoagland Drive, Montgomery

To the Editor,

In my letter in the March 29 Mailbox about Sunrise Senior Living’s prospective plans for an assisted-living/memory-care facility to be built between the Princeton Shopping Center and Terhune Road, my memory was in evident error about several things. Most significantly, my “recollection” of past commitments to keep the property undeveloped was not supported by records of the zoning history, according to a representative of the Sunrise organization who told me it has always been zoned residential. Prior to the approval and construction of the shopping center in the early 1950s, the entire area was undeveloped, and according to an even earlier and more suspect memory of mine, was devoted primarily to tree farming. Such ancient-history qualifications aside, I must accept the research-based input to the effect that from the time the area has been zoned, the plot between the center and Terhune has been considered residential. The most recent rezoning that I remember permitted multiple-unit housing at a density of 24 units per acre … unless I’m wrong again.

My memory also faltered as to the size and shape of the lot. Based on information from Sunrise, the depth of the lot between Terhune and the center is approximately 195 feet, not 150 as I remembered, and its frontage along Terhune is approximately 737 feet rather than 900 or more. The area of the near-rectangular portion of the lot on which the proposed buildings are to be located is approximately 3.3 acres. There is an “ell” extension of the lot at the end away from Harrison Street, about 1 acre in area, that runs down toward the town park and that is apparently unused in the developer’s present plans.

Having been corrected on some of the assumptions cited in my earlier letter, I remain skeptical as to the suitability of the lot for its proposed use. The tentative layout of the buildings provided by Sunrise shows the assisted-living building having a setback from the shopping center property line of what appears to be about 30 feet. My own interest in moving to such a location is vanishingly small, given my unavoidable conviction that I’d rather not live with the shopping center property line thirty feet from my back window. Other elderly people looking for a place to downsize to may admittedly not be as sensitive as I think I would be to such a conjunction. To paraphrase as accurately as I can, Sunrise believes its primary interest is in the welfare and satisfaction of its residents, which it says it will do its utmost to ensure even given the proposed facility’s proximity to the Princeton Shopping Center.

John Strother

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

I first came to Princeton in 1953 as a graduate student at the University and then as a a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. From 1958 to 1968 I taught at Brandeis University. I returned to Princeton in 1968 to join the faculty of the Princeton University Mathematics Department.

Princeton is a very special town principally because of the two great institutions: the University and the Institute for Advanced Study. These create a unique atmosphere and environment for study, research, learning, and teaching. This idyllic state was brought about, to a large extent, by the idealism, resourcefulness, and negotiating skills of one remarkable individual: Oswald Veblen. Veblen was an outstanding mathematician and a naturalist. He, together with Dean Luther P. Eisenhart and Professor Henry Burchard Fine, built up one of the greatest mathematics departments in the world. He convinced the Bamberger family to locate the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and he was very influential in formulating its mission. Veblen was keenly conscious of the esthetic, architectural, and natural environment which would inspire researchers and students. He was deeply involved in the design of Fine Hall (now known as Jones Hall) which, for over half a century, was one of the great centers of mathematical research and teaching. To Veblen the natural environment was essential for the excellence of academic life. He donated his magnificent estate, known as the Herrontown Woods together with his house to Mercer County. One of my fondest memories as a student and as a young faculty member is the walks and talks I had with colleagues, students, family, and friends in these woods. They were an essential part of the Princeton experience.

I am writing in strong support of the Friends of Herrontown Woods’ proposal to maintain and put to public use the Veblen buildings and grounds located on the edge of Mercer County’s Herrontown Woods.

Joseph J. Kohn

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Sturges Way

To the Editor:

Another parking study on how to solve Princeton’s downtown area parking issues? I don’t think so after attending a so-called workshop eliciting public input. The purpose was supposedly to make more parking available, decide how much to charge, and in which locations. A map showing the streets to be included is the first indication of the false premise for the study. Neither Spruce nor Library are in the downtown business district. Spruce is not a through street since it ends at Moore on one end and a park on the other past Linden and has very light traffic and no business establishments. These and the tree streets in that neighborhood are all zoned residential. They all have reasonable parking restrictions. To suppose the study could make more parking available assumes more parking is needed, required, and therefore in demand, but offers no proof in support of this assumption. The decision on how much to charge implies parking meters might be installed. That could be quite expensive and require a cost/benefit analysis beforehand for advance technology meters. In fact, there was a salesperson present who said his company had such meters to offer Princeton. Courts have regarded parking meters primarily as a revenue-raising measure for a municipality and meter installation requires a zoning ordnance. That could be the first step to permit mixed use allowing business entry into residential streets. Finally, no parking study ought to be undertaken without consideration and reference to transportation planning for the town and surrounding areas. There is ample parking in downtown Princeton. The real problem is too much traffic on the main streets. Expanded parking does not relieve traffic congestion.

Louis Slee

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

The health care bill pushed by the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has come back to life in an even more damaging form.

The legislation would hit people 50-64 with an “age tax” that could cost them up to $13,000 a year.

And the deal worked out behind closed doors would allow insurance companies to deny coverage or increase costs by thousands of dollars for people with pre-existing conditions.

Twenty-five million Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have a pre-existing condition, like cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure — including over 700,000 in New Jersey.

Coping with a pre-existing condition is painful enough. The last thing the government should be doing is telling insurance companies it’s okay to add to the suffering.

Who wins under this legislation? Big drug and insurance companies.

Let’s not go backwards by once again permitting insurance companies to punish someone for having a pre-existing condition. And, we can’t allow legislation to slap older Americans with an unfair age tax.

All but two members of Congress from New Jersey, Reps. Tom MacArthur and Rodney Frelinghuyse, have said they’d vote against the bill. They need to hear from their constituents about what a terrible idea this bill is.

Brian McGuire

AARP New Jersey

To the Editor:

A huge wave of people wearing green flowed from the D&R Greenway Land Trust to Hinds Plaza in Princeton last Saturday, a movement indicative of our community’s strong support for the environment. The Walk for Our World’s Green Future was a fun way for people of all ages to walk together and share their ideas about how to care for our world. As one sign said There is no Plan-et B!, so now is the time for everyone to take action.

The event was organized by a collaborative partnership of Climate Central, the D&R Greenway, and Sustainable Princeton. A special thanks goes to the leaders and staff of these local effective environmental organizations for planning and executing this walk, especially Molly Jones and Christine Symington of Sustainable Princeton who were amazing at organizing this green awareness event!

Thank you to Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert for her leadership and inspiring words at the rally and the fantastic support of the Princeton Police Department who kept walkers safe on the two mile trek through town. The Princeton Public Library was a terrific neighbor with Kim Dorman supporting the event and we are also grateful to the Arts Council of Princeton which accommodated the living art project imagined by Yamile Slebi and Kirsten Haley which was created at the rally and displayed through Communiversity. We appreciate the information on the science of local weather shared by Bernadette Woods-Placky of Climate Central and guidance on the changes we must all make to prevent further environmental deterioration from Sophie Glovier of C-Change Conversations and Molly Jones of Sustainable Princeton. Finally, a special thanks to Princeton Marching Forward and all the volunteers and businesses who helped to make this walk such a success. Together we can make a difference by each taking steps to preserve and protect our environment now, before it is too late. There is no Plan-et B.

Betsy Sands

Hageman Lane

April 19, 2017

To the Editor:

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, it seems fitting to express our appreciation to the Princeton Public Library and to Susan Conlon and Kim Dorman for their exceptional efforts and heartfelt dedication to organizing the Princeton Environmental Film Festival earlier this month. The event spanned one week of films, speakers, panel discussions, and Skype interviews on topics ranging from whales and solar power to “inconvenient truths” about plastic-filled oceans and dying coral reefs. At a time when environmental progress in this country may be more threatened than ever, we greatly appreciate this 11th annual festival that brings us together as a community of citizens who are concerned about the environment.

Alice Hay-Tolo


To the Editor:

This Wednesday evening at PHS we will hear the results of the Challenge Success Survey conducted earlier this year. PHS parents already know all too well what they are likely to show: our kids have too much homework. Academic pressure is endangering their mental health and putting them at risk for behavioral health problems. As we address this problem, it is important to keep in mind that our “race to nowhere” culture is more than a wellness issue — it is also a civil rights issue. By making course grades so dependent on work done outside of school, we are creating a tremendous bias against low-income and language-minority students. Many of these students have jobs; others do not have the necessary technology to complete assignments at home. Some may just be normal teenagers, who have taken on family responsibilities appropriate to their age and development unlike the typical upper middle class child, whose parents, or paid help, act as a pit crew providing all services necessary so that they can spend countless hours on homework. The talent and potential excluded by this homework regime is disproportionately that of poor and minority students.

It is no secret that public school is a powerful instrument of social reproduction, but shouldn’t we be working to mitigate this effect rather than contributing to it? Less homework is a step toward more equitable educational opportunity, in addition to being a much-needed mental health initiative. Parents may be concerned that the current system is needed to propel their students toward acceptance at elite colleges, but academically-motivated students now have myriad resources available to prepare themselves for high-stakes tests. An oppressive homework load is neither an appropriate nor an effective way to do it.

Bold leadership is needed to put the brakes on our academic arms race. We need school administrators to act quickly to make long overdue changes to the school schedule and the school culture. In Princeton, we don’t need to keep up with the Joneses — we are the Joneses — and we have a responsibility to make it possible for all of our kids to reach their full potential.

Carol Tate

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

Our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year — more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

The American Heart Association Go Red For Women movement, nationally sponsored by Macy’s and CVS Health, inspires women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities, and shape policies to save lives. United, we are working to improve the health of all women.

Through the outreach and efforts of Go Red For Women, about 293 fewer women in the U.S. die from heart disease and stroke each day. We Go Red to help create a culture of health for women and their families. Why? Life is why.

As chairwoman of the 15th Annual Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon, I want women across the state to be more aware of their heart health. The luncheon, set for Friday, May 19 at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, will help raise critical funds for the nation’s top killers. Let’s unite for a day of awareness, education, and inspiration.

Together, we can prevent heart disease and stroke. It’s time to put our hearts into it and Go Red For Women. For more information on the Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon, visit

Stephern Allison, DHSc, PA, MBA 

Chair, Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon

Vice President of Cardiovascular Services

and Care Management at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

April 12, 2017

To the Editor:

It’s easy to assume the recent renewed advocacy of actions to combat climate change (a euphemism for anthropogenic global warming) means somebody found another money-making scheme. But global warming has serious implications few talk about. Among the reticent are climate scientists who are justifiably circumspect because some reportedly lost their jobs when employers didn’t like their conclusions. So let’s take a look at what some conclusions may hold for our future.

In New Jersey, for example, coastal barrier islands will be flooded as the ice in Greenland and Antarctica melts. Based on the geological record, a sea level rise of more than 10 meters is eventually likely, turning Princeton’s canoe rental locations on the canal into saltwater seaports. As the ice in the Arctic melts, the albedo (reflectivity) of that ocean surface declines from about 75 percent to less than 10 percent, the water warms above 38ºF and may release a huge burp of methane (natural gas) from clathrates accumulated on the ocean floor over millions of years. Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) much more potent than the primary GHG, carbon dioxide, creating a (bad) positive reinforcing feedback loop.

The idea that the town of Princeton can somehow do something to reduce global warming is ludicrous; we can only prepare for its effects. First, if we cut back our fossil fuel consumption to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, that fuel will be used by others elsewhere, perhaps even generating electricity for our “environmentally responsible” electric vehicles. Second, there is no proven method of quickly and permanently sequestering great amounts of carbon dioxide. Proposed systems also require large quantities of fossil fuel, generating even more carbon dioxide. Third, the effects of atmospheric GHGs take a long time to peak after their release, more than 30 years in the case of carbon dioxide.

From the latter, we can expect that before any worldwide corrective actions bring results, global warming will significantly reduce the human habitat — the land on which food crops can be grown. The sea level rise previously mentioned will inundate and salinize important farming areas such as river deltas around the world. Rising air temperatures will make the American Southwest especially vulnerable. Not only will temperatures increase to the point where crops cannot grow in some areas, but the rainfall there may decrease, providing less crop irrigation water. Such a hot drought is an underlying cause of the current unrest in the Middle East. The ensuing famine could occur anywhere, even in New Jersey, and it may be prudent for us to prepare for it.

The world population is over seven billion, but the most optimistic learned estimate of the carrying capacity of the Earth, after the exhaustion of fossil fuels, has been two  billion people. Global warming will only reduce that carrying capacity. When an animal’s habitat is destroyed, that animal population declines or dies off. Why would this be any different for the human species?

For sources, please visit my website:

Ronald Nielsen

Humbert Street

To the Editor:

On April 5, my husband and I had the privilege of attending the Paul Robeson lecture at Rutgers and hearing the renowned performer and activist Harry Belafonte in conversation with Robeson’s granddaughter, documentary filmmaker and producer Susan Robeson. Their stories impressed upon me how thoroughly and deliberately Paul Robeson was erased from the public consciousness for his audacity, particularly as a black man, to use his celebrity and international venues to speak out against racism in the United States and colonialism throughout the world. Unfortunately, in Princeton we have also allowed ignorance of Robeson’s life and contributions to persist in his hometown.

We need to bring more attention to Paul Robeson in Princeton schools and civic life. Fortunately, the Robeson House of Princeton, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is dedicated to restoring the Robeson house and to publicizing his amazing accomplishments. Our community needs to:

1. Support the Paul Robeson House of Princeton, 112 Witherspoon Street;

2. Attend events celebrating him, like the recent April 9 birthday commemoration at the Arts Council;

3. Emphasize his biography, performances, and writings in the Princeton schools, especially in Princeton and United States history classes.

Princeton should be proud to have Paul Robeson as a native son. Acknowledging the mistreatment of the man and his family needs to be part of the town’s and the nation’s truth and reconciliation efforts in coming to terms with racism. Honoring his courage and resolution must be part of our celebration.

Linda Oppenheim

Not In Our Town

To the Editor:

To the parents of the three boys that threw rocks at me this morning at the PU stadium:

Please, do not be friends with your children.

Know where they are going and who they are spending time with.

Take their computers out of their bedrooms.

Check their backpacks and purses often.

Friend them on social media, and check their messages and photos frequently.

Demand their respect for others.

Spy, yes, spy on them.

Be their parents; they have enough friends.

And by all means, make them take the PARCC test for practice if nothing else. Otherwise, they may end up back in the stadium throwing rocks for a lack of anything better to do.

Wendy Wilton

Longview Drive

April 5, 2017

To the Editor:

After more than four hours of often rancorous discussion during the recent Princeton Public Schools budget meeting, I was extremely disappointed that no one directly addressed the critical question of why Princeton’s gigantic per pupil cost ($24,634) exceeds that of other high achieving K-12 districts in New Jersey, including our neighbors in West Windsor/Plainsboro ($18,677) and Montgomery ($19,155). When I multiply a $5,500 difference by 3600 students, I get a product of nearly $20,000,000, an enormous annual sum for a town of this size. One Board member briefly responded that economically disadvantaged children require more taxpayer funds without providing an explanation or any examples that would even be remotely acceptable in any workplace forum today. A list of 15 New Jersey K-12 public school districts that have been recognized for high achievement reveals that at least two enroll more economically disadvantaged students than Princeton. They are Montclair ($20,506) and Summit ($19,211).

Another discussion item at the meeting was the existing contract with the “sending” district of Cranbury. Can’t the PPS Board adequately explain why Cranbury only reimburses Princeton $17,000 per high school student while the average per student cost in this district is currently $24,643? Based on the budgets of many high achieving 9-12 regional high school districts in the state, the cost of high school students exceeds that of students in other grades. All of my figures and conclusions are sourced to data from the New Jersey Department of Education.

Once again, Princeton taxpayers must brace themselves for upcoming increases from all three of the very extravagant tax jurisdictions that control our lives, Princeton Public Schools, the municipality of Princeton, and the County of Mercer. Throughout my neighborhood, houses assessed at $500,000 or even less are being torn down with replacements valued at $1.5 million. When annual revenue for the three tax jurisdictions is instantly tripling from the very same property, why should it be necessary to increase the taxes of the existing, struggling homeowners? When we are already paying property taxes that are among the highest in the entire nation, every increase becomes substantial, at least to some of us.

Folks in Princeton often speak of “diversity” and “inclusion.” For retirees, seniors, and the rapidly dwindling middle class of Princeton, all that we get, time after time, is a door that is slammed in our faces, even after some of us have lived here all of our lives. If you do not understand the true meaning of words, don’t use them so frequently or you risk the appearance of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

Frank Wiener

Loomis Court