February 27, 2019

James Cone

Princeton University Professor of Religion Elaine Pagels, Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Princeton Eddie Glaude Jr., and Tara Bedeau, attorney and former graduate student of James Cone, will pay tribute to his life and work and discuss his posthumously published book Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody: The Making of a Black Theologian on Thursday, February 28 at 6 p.m. The Library Live at Labyrinth event will take place at Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street.

February 26, 2019

To the Editor:

With 40 years of involvement in Democratic politics in Princeton and Mercer County, I am supporting Mia Sacks for election to Princeton Council because I believe that her proven abilities, her decade of service to the community, and her commitment to an affordable Princeton equip her to make a difference. Mia is widely recognized for her ability to listen, to understand all sides of an issue, and to help groups with disparate views find common ground. She is energetic, straightforward, and substantive.

Mia understands Princeton local government, how it works, and the challenges it faces. She has learned from the ground up, serving on numerous municipal, school, and community boards and committees. She is a member of the Planning Board and Master Plan Subcommittee and a former member of the Environmental Commission. She is well grounded in issues affecting neighborhood preservation, affordable and “missing middle” housing, and the traffic, parking, and design issues affecting the viability of our central business district.  She has long had a leadership role in Sustainable Princeton and can claim among her accomplishments the introduction of a program supporting sustainability, health, and wellness in the public schools. more

To the Editor:

Princeton is a unique town that is not without its challenges, one of which is perennial … parking. At recent meetings, local merchants shared that the new parking system is presenting real challenges, deterring potential customers, and causing a financial hardship for their employees. Though parking may not be the only challenge facing local retailers, it is something that as a town, we could better control. more

To the Editor:

OK—I get it. The Princeton First Aid Squad has needed a new home for a long time and locating the new headquarters across from the Municipal Complex/Police Department makes all the sense in the world. However, the new location also meant moving the “Municipal Gas Pump” to the adjacent property bounded by Terhune Road, Witherspoon Street, Route 206, and Cherry Hill Road.

When most of the mature trees were taken down last fall, my concern piqued, but maybe they were diseased with ash borer beetles? Nevertheless, strike one — the municipality would probably prevent me from removing established, large trees from my property. Then the surrounding privacy chain link fence was erected to obscure the public’s view from what’s being built and now I know why — strike two. Initially, what looks to be an above-ground gasoline storage tank was intrusive, but last week when two large steel support posts towering over the fence were erected, I sensed a significant problem. And now, the atrocious, commercially lit square canopy is just begging for a neon Exxon sign — strike three. more

To the Editor:

Regarding “Hundreds Gather to Protest Emergency” [page one story, Feb. 20 Town Topics]: This gathering focused on WHO wants to build a barrier on the Southern border and the PROCESS that is being used to try to achieve it.

It would be far more useful if the tens of thousands of IQ points gathered in Hinds Plaza were used to debate the real questions that must be answered: Would the American people be safer and have a better quality of life if the barrier were built or if it were not built? What are the upsides and downsides of the possible decisions?

An honest, beneficial debate would only consider proven facts and expert inputs, not be distorted by politics, personalities, and ideologies.

Arthur Stoller
Ironwood Road,Skillman

February 20, 2019

To The Editor:

We residents of Princeton, New Jersey live in a community that is the seat of a world famous institution of higher learning. Faculty, students, and others from all over America and around the world come to Princeton to teach, study, learn, and accrue knowledge. There is culture in Princeton, good restaurants, a good local school district, and a safe, clean community. Our taxes are high, but living and working in Princeton is considered a privilege. And yet, every time I drive across the intersection of Harrison Street and Nassau Street, with all the potholes, ruts, ditches, my car vibrates, shakes, and veers off to the side, dangerously. With all the taxes we pay in Princeton, with all the amenities, why is there an intersection that is emblematic of a banana republic, a country that is struggling financially, culturally, a country that is unsafe and unhealthy for the citizens who live there. I implore the local government of our community to fix, pave, re-surface that intersection so that crossing Harrison and Nassau is safe and secure for all drivers and that it is emblematic of the community of which we should all be proud.

Howard W. Silbersher
Governors Lane

To the Editor:

I am delighted that Mia Sacks has decided to run for Princeton Council and offer my enthusiastic support. I have watched her deep commitment to our town’s well-being in many capacities, and her ability to approach problems with an open mind, a listening ear, and a determination to find solutions that are a win for everyone involved.

Like Mia, I grew up here and returned later with young children to avail myself and my family of Princeton’s unique opportunities. I’m impressed with Mia’s dedication to the town she loves, and appreciate that her belief in Princeton’s greatness lies not just in its past or a simple nostalgia for “the way things were,” but rather in a vision for what Princeton can be. On Council, she will ensure that our town plans for the future in a proactive and progressive way. more

BELLE’S STORY: “You want people to respect you as a human being. And I do my best to respect others. When I look at a person, I look at God’s creation. I accept who they are, and I try to love everyone, even though I may not always agree with them. One of the problems is that people judge others before they even get to know them.” Princeton resident Ida Belle Dixon has a long history of finding the best in others. (Photo by Lance Liverman)

By Jean Stratton

How to tell Ida Belle Dixon’s story?

During her 100 years of living, she has witnessed history, and made her own. She has endured poverty and hardship, experienced joy and love, all the while sustained by her deep Christian faith.

She has chosen a life of service to others, helping children, families, friends, and relatives, making a difference in their lives that has continued through the years.

Known as Belle, Ida Belle, Mom Dixon, Mother Dixon, and Sister Dixon, she gladly answers to all of these appellations.

By whatever name she is known, however, there is no question that she is a true Princeton treasure. more

BEST FRIENDS: “I have invested in my dream. When people walk in here, they are a guest in my home. I welcome them to my casa, my home. We build our clientele by performance, and I take no one for granted.” Gennaro Costabile, owner of Casa Gennaro in Kingston, is proud to share the business with his legal partner and grandson, 5-year-old Jax.

By Jean Stratton

It’s not just about the food, but about the customers’ well-being. When they leave, we want them to feel like they can’t wait to come back!”

Gennaro Costabile, owner of the new Casa Gennaro restaurant at 4585 Route 27 (Main Street) in Kingston, works very hard to ensure that visitors to his restaurant are treated to a special dining experience — in all ways.

And indeed, they are. Many customers come every week, and it is Gennaro’s great pleasure to spend time with them. “I will serve them, and I enjoy being with my guests and talking with them,” he explains.

Gennaro has a long history in the restaurant business and a successful story to tell. A native of Italy, he came to the U.S. in 1983 after meeting his American wife-to-be in Venice, where he was working at a hotel. more

February 13, 2019

BEACHFRONT LUXURY: “Asbury Park Ocean Club is the first product of its kind in this market — not only in Asbury Park, but all of the Jersey coast,” says Jodi Stasse, Corcoran Sunshine senior managing director, who is leading sales for the new Asbury Ocean Club. Shown is one of the spacious light-filled living rooms at this new club, which features unobstructed ocean views.

By Jean Stratton

An exciting new beachfront opportunity for luxurious living will open in Asbury Park in June. Asbury Ocean Club is a collection of residential homes, a beach club, a boutique hotel, and a wide-ranging selection of amenities, all located at 1101 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park.

The property, developed by iStar and designed by Handel Architects and Anda Andrei Design, rises 17 stories above the ocean, offering an uninterrupted sweep of ocean views. more

February 6, 2019

To the Editor:

The last major untouched portion of the Princeton Ridge, 90 acres of meadow and forest at the crest of Mount Lucas, directly adjoins our street. But the Princeton Planning Board will hear a proposal this coming Thursday to build a large and intrusive housing development there.

The property owner is Lanwin Development Corporation, one of the largest and most aggressive in the state. Their site plan calls for 30 McMansions on half-acre lots, 100 feet from our backyards. It demands wetlands destruction, massive traprock blasting, and the loss of the finest old-growth hardwoods in central New Jersey. Herrontown Lane was designed in the 1970s as a small, explicitly environmental development, the first and only such project in Princeton: buried utilities, no streetlights, minimal disturbance, maximum preservation. The Lanwin site plan is utterly unsuited to the special conditions of the Ridge, and its approval will ruin our peace and privacy, cause serious runoff damage to our homes (and also the hundreds of townhouses along Blue Spring Road), add traffic to narrow, heavily-used Herrontown Road, and create a powerful precedent for the inappropriate development of Jasna Polana and Springdale Golf Course.

We invite anyone interested in the issue of overdevelopment in Princeton to attend the meeting. This hilltop, if preserved, could be the keystone for a spectacular greenway running from Rocky Hill to Lake Carnegie. And these 90 Ridge acres are historic as well as lovely: Annis and Richard Stockton of Morven courted there; George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Paine all knew it well. In later centuries, the Herrontown uplands sustained Dutch, Irish, and African American farmers. Now they protect dozens of threatened and endangered species. To save this last section of the Ridge is to save the best of Princeton.

Time and place: Princeton Municipal Building, Main Auditorium, Thursday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Anne Matthews and Will Howarth

Herrontown Lane

To the Editor:

I have been a regular commuter on the Dinky and a parking permit holder for a number of years, both for environmental and convenience reasons. Before the suspension of the Dinky, my one-way commute to upper Manhattan on a “good” day (when NJ Transit trains were not delayed) took two hours door-to-door. The replacement bus service has added another half hour to that commute, as the buses to the Junction leave earlier than the train did to allow for traffic on Alexander Road; there is a wait for the bus after my usual train back from the city (not the case when the Dinky was in service), and that bus then sits in rush hour traffic going back to the Dinky station. Luckily for me, I have grown children, and this extra commute time does not carry an additional childcare cost, though I’m sure it does for some of my fellow commuters.

Having recently renewed my permit, I have just learned that Dinky service will not be restored before work on Alexander Road begins. I can’t imagine what traffic will look like once that happens. And given that I live on the north side of Princeton and have to cross Washington Road to get to the Dinky station anyway, I won’t see any point in parking there just to be driven back to Washington to get to Princeton Junction. I’m sure many of my fellow commuters will feel the same way, and we’ll be contributing to the traffic trying to cross Route 1, which will exacerbate an already terrible situation.

Elizabeth Hamblet

Wittmer Court


HERE TO STAY: “To survive in business today, you have to adapt and offer convenience for people. We provide the convenience of an in-town establishment, where customers can stop in and quickly get what they need — cards, office and school supplies, printer cartridges, pens, FedEx shipping, etc. And of course, we also offer our commercial online business.” John Roberto, left, and Andrew Mangone, co-owners of Hinkson’s, The Office Store, look forward to the store’s 100th anniversary under the Hinkson’s name.

By Jean Stratton

Hinkson’s, The Office Store at 28 Spring Street, is not only a Princeton favorite, but it has become a tradition for many shoppers. Independently owned, it is one of the town’s few remaining genuine family businesses.

Co-owners (and cousins) John Roberto and Andrew Mangone actually grew up in the store. Roberto’s father, the late Bert Roberto, purchased Hinkson’s in 1960 from then owner Harold M. Hinkson. A much smaller operation in those days, the shop offered newspapers, greeting cards, and a small selection of writing supplies.

As time passed, the merchandise greatly expanded, and the store became an essential resource in town.

It has a long and storied history in Princeton, and is now about to mark its 100th anniversary under the Hinkson’s name. more

January 30, 2019

To the Editor:

On January 21, the Arts Council of Princeton welcomed our community to the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts for a series of discussions and activities in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am writing to extend my sincere thanks to our community partners who helped put the day together, and to all the attendees who made the day truly special.

The day began with a community breakfast, sponsored by Princeton University, which featured speakers Reverend Lukata Mjumbe, pastor of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, and Tracy K. Smith, poet laureate and professor and director of creative writing at Princeton University. In their own unique ways, they provided the audience with challenging, yet uplifting, interpretations of the meaning of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and why we hold a day of celebration in his honor.

Following the breakfast, community members of all ages enjoyed art activities presented by local organizations.  The Historical Society of Princeton, JaZams, and the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice all contributed to make it a thoughtful, interesting, and art-filled morning.  At the same time, participants completed a collaborative mural and the Princeton Family YWCA sponsored a successful canned food drive to benefit HomeFront.

The event concluded with a phenomenal performance by the First Baptist Church Choir. To have over 100 members of our community singing and dancing in our Solley Theater was the perfect way to end such a meaningful day.

My final thanks goes to the staff of the Arts Council, who once again produced a fantastic event, enabling us to bring together friends, neighbors, and strangers to share the life and lessons of a great American.

Jim Levine
Arts Council of Princeton

To the Editor:

As an environmentalist, when I walk around different Princeton neighborhoods I’m really depressed to see how many people are making the mistake of putting their recycling in plastic bags, or lining their recycling bins with plastic bags. PLASTIC BAGS CONTAMINATE THE RECYCLING STREAM, ensuring that many of the recyclable cans, bottles, No. 1 and 2 plastic containers and paper go instead to a landfill. When people put their recycling in plastic, they are undoing not only their own good work in taking the trouble to segregate recyclables and put them out for collection, but that of their neighbors. PLASTIC BAGS MUST NOT BE PUT IN WITH RECYCLING THAT IS COLLECTED CURBSIDE. Plastic bags can be recycled separately in 17 locations in Princeton that are listed on Sustainable Princeton’s website. Residents who generate more recycling than their current buckets can hold can get up to four more FREE at the Department of Public Works, 27 North Harrison Street (behind the fire house), Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Please neighbors, I know you are trying to do the right thing; don’t make this one fatal mistake!

Wendy Mager
Cherry Hill Road

To the Editor:

When the county tapped Princeton to pilot curbside collection of organics back in 2011, I was skeptical, despite being a strong supporter of environmental initiatives in town. It seemed inefficient — the heavy truck chasing down green carts scattered around town, the hour-long drive to distant composting centers struggling to stay open, the considerable staff time spent promoting and coordinating.

I was less than impressed because I knew there was a better way, having lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, yardwaste is collected in rollcarts with double or triple the capacity of the small green rollcarts used for Princeton’s organics. The large rollcarts accommodate not only leaves, sticks, and clippings from the garden, but also any foodscraps residents wish to toss in. It’s all collected once a week, and the foodscraps are so diluted that they are barely noticeable in the windrows of composting yardwaste just outside the city. more

To the Editor:

Given how valuable the Dinky is to our community, how can we accept the fact that New Jersey’s public transportation company has found it to be too small to matter?

Is it not time for those of us who cherish it to alleviate NJ Transit’s pain by stepping up and creating a public private partnership to run the Dinky as it should be run?

Alain Kornhauser and Elizabeth Monroe
Cleveland Lane

IGNITING PASSION: Princeton Montessori School (PM) Music Teacher Alex Mitnick takes an unconventional approach to music education, engaging his students with lots of movement, drumming, rock bands, and the opportunity to create songs and musical productions of their own. When he’s not at PM, Mitnick, an Emmy Award-winning children’s performer, can most likely be found working on his own TV show, “Alex & The Kaleidoscope.”  (Photo courtesy of Alex Mitnick)

By Donald Gilpin

“We nurture potential and seek to ignite each child’s passion,” states the Princeton Montessori School’s (PM) website. “That’s exactly what happened to me,” said PM Music Teacher and Emmy Award-winner  Alex Mitnick, who also has his own TV show, Alex & The Kaleidoscope, on New York City Public TV.

“I was in an environment with a school director who allowed me to do what I wanted to do, and it really did ignite a passion that I have for music and kids,” he continued. “I don’t know if it would have happened anywhere else. I’m able to write songs and produce shows in my little laboratory here, and that slogan informs all the work I do.”

In his 19th year at PM and currently teaching music to students from third grade through middle school, Mitnick is working on an original musical about the life of Maria Montessori to celebrate the 50th anniversary of PM. The musical, which will debut on April 12 and 13, involves the entire school, Mitnick said.  more

January 23, 2019

To the Editor:

At the end of January, the state Senate will vote on a bill that would diminish the local voice in the care of trees and shrubs, particularly those in the right-of way along streets, including trees on private lands whose branches extend over the right-of-way and those in municipal parks.

The Vegetation Management Response Act (S2505) would do this by exempting public utilities and cable television companies from needing to comply with municipal laws and, more generally, from taking local vegetation management priorities or concerns into account. The Assembly recently passed the bill (A2558) with nearly unanimous approval.

The bill is presented as if it is urgently needed to prevent disruption of electric power supply during extreme weather events. But the mandate and the authority to carry out vegetation management to ensure reliable electric supply was granted to electric utilities more than a decade ago under state statute and rules. This bill is not needed for that purpose. more

To the Editor:

We are now one year after the #MeToo movement began, but for so many, justice does not exist. The YWCA Princeton is focused on building a safe, economically secure future for women and girls. Our mission, which is to eliminate racism and empower women, can only be accomplished when we secure a future that is free from social inequities. Every action counts and now is the time that we need you to step up.

On Thursday, January 24 the YWCA Princeton will host a community forum on sexual assault and gender-based violence, right here at our building on 59 Paul Robeson Place in Princeton. We will be joined by Womanspace, #NotOnMyWatch, and Princeton University’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising unit. Both events are free and open to the public. More information can be found on our website, www.ywcaprinceton.org.

Join us in this fight, march with us, and believe survivors.

Judy Hutton

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Princeton

To the Editor:

I would like to suggest that Princeton consider returning to a recycling method that we used for many years before curbside pickup began. That is, a central collection station (which used to be at the Princeton Shopping Center) which could serve as a location for people to drop off organic compostables. With an attendant (as we had in the past), it should be possible to monitor what is dropped off and also cut fossil fuel consumption, since it does not involve large trucks driving all around Princeton. In fact, perhaps other municipalities/local shopping centers could follow suit if this were to prove successful. A shopping center with a grocery store is ideal because so many people go shopping for food and could conveniently drop off their organics at the same time. Perhaps a similar drop-off point could be set up (seasonally) once a week in conjunction with the farmers market near the Princeton Public Library, as well.

Anne Soos

Hun Road

FINANCIAL FUTURE: “We enjoy helping people. We really do care about our clients, and we help them prepare to be financially successful. We take our responsibility as advocates for our clients very seriously.” Michael G. (right) and Andrew E. Petrone are advisors with Petrone Associates, Inc., the company founded by their father, Thomas Petrone.

By Jean Stratton

Financial peace of mind cannot be overestimated. Volatility in the stock market, the government shut down, job insecurity — these are just some of the current challenges causing economic anxiety and uncertainty among many people today.

Whether it’s worry over the next paycheck, finding college funds for the kids, or confronting retirement needs, people are seeking ways to find financial security and establish a safety net. more

January 16, 2019

To the Editor:

There are many groups in Princeton who espouse fine civic concerns. I imagine that if several of them approached the authorities to suggest that we shut down the center of town for half a day in order to demonstrate peacefully, the idea would be dismissed out of hand. How ironic that the threat of some white supremacists standing in the middle of Princeton on January 12, 2019 to represent their own repugnant beliefs achieved this peaceful plan and more.

Lacking the white supremacists, the quiet demonstration by hundreds of townspeople, University people, and likeminded visitors, was a success. But we did not get to everyone’s civic concerns! I would be inclined to suggest that we do this again in a few weeks (minus the white supremacists), were I not concerned for Princeton’s beleaguered downtown merchants who lost revenue, and the taxpayer expense of the dozens and dozens of fine policemen who protected us all from each other.

Tobias D. Robison
Longtime Jefferson Road Resident 

To the Editor:

While the Dinky did lose 22 percent of its ridership after the relocation of the Station, 78 percent of its original ridership has remained and is holding strong!  Before the temporary suspension to help NJT with its Federal PTC retrofit deadline, ridership losses on the Dinky had leveled off despite the apparent allure of parking permits at the Junction. Princeton is slowing initiating it’s GoPrinceton transit campaign. The Dinky is now poised for some real growth.   

While there have a been a few days during the year where NJT unforgivably has had service problems, by-and-large the Dinky has delivered passengers day-in and day-out on-time at the Junction with just a short passenger hop onto waiting trains. There are a lot of advantages that Dinky riders enjoy over those who use Junction parking, hiking through the parking lot in the wind, rain, and snow, day-in and day-out. 

There are big problems with the substitute buses. Passengers get caught in traffic like everybody else, not to mention that big pause at the Alexander Street Bridge!  Use of the buses has added tremendously to commuter time and uncertainty for Dinky riders, and contributed to area congestion. more

To the Editor:

The Princeton organic recycling program’s last pickup will be on January 30, because the accepting farm kept finding too many non-organics, especially plastic, in the mix. There was a warning sent to all subscribers last fall which was not heeded, and the farm said NO MORE.

Suggestion: If the pickup people look into a green can and see unacceptable material, they should just flip open the top and not collect the contents. (It would be nice if they could leave a sticker saying “Unacceptable” or “Refused,” but they are busy and wearing gloves.)  

Sometimes the trash is put out by people who are not the owners/managers and may not be able to communicate with them directly. However, if the recycling is not picked up, the message should get through.

Ruth E. Scott
Governors Lane