October 2, 2019

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Adam Bierman for Princeton Council and to report what I feel is the political chicanery that is depriving all of us voters, and Adam, of a transparent and open candidate’s debate. Let me put this in context.

Local Princeton elections have a proud history of having town hall type debates. These forums are a chance for the community to get together and discuss significant issues with their local candidates. They allow the aspiring contenders to gain insight, understanding and appreciation for their constituents’ concerns.

It is also a two-way dialogue where the candidates are tested for their speaking style, command of the issues, and grace under pressure when potentially unexpected questions are thrown their way.

There is no substitute for this face-to-face dialogue. It is real engagement; one cannot hide with a stale canned speech. In this isolating and digital age, meeting face-to-face is more important than ever to get the community pulse on issues that truly matter to people, like our tax rates, affordable housing, or how much the latest corruption/public health scandal at the River Road facility is going to cost taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the October 22 Princeton Council forum will not continue the open, transparent tradition.

Due to logistical issues, it will be held in the tiny Princeton TV studio with no live audience. The losers will be openness and transparency for the citizenry. Adam’s opponents, I have heard, were too busy to set a date for the event earlier. When they finally did set a date, no large venues were available. Could this have been a premeditated political calculation? Here’s a thought, does anyone else have a venue they want to offer for a robust, audience-filled debate?

P.S. I would like to thank Chrystal Schivell and the League of Women Voters for their support of our democratic ideals and the tenacity in finally being able to get this forum scheduled even without the voters.

Walter J. Krieg
Laurel Road

September 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Cokie Roberts, journalist and ABC television and NPR radio anchor and commentator, died of cancer this week after a legendary career. It is also as an exemplary human being and loving family member that we, and many others living in Princeton and Mercer County, will remember her and deeply mourn her death.

The two of us knew Cokie best as the sister of Barbara Boggs Sigmund, who served as mayor of the Borough of Princeton from 1983-1990. As she was dying of cancer, at 51, Barbara wrote a volume of poetry, An Unfinished Life, that included a poem about her sister reprinted below. She noted that it was written at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, November 9, 1989. Its title, “Cokie in the Hospital.” more

To the Editor:

Cokie Roberts was a classmate of mine at Wellesley in 1964. When I moved to Princeton, I became a political advisor and campaign manager for her sister, Mayor Barbara Sigmund. These two women, along with their wonderful mother Lindy Boggs, were so successful in the most competitive of arenas not because they were women but because they were good.

In Barbara Sigmund’s campaigns for U.S. Senate and Borough mayor, Cokie was at her side with humor, advice, and counsel. This family and their search for the good has changed Princeton in the last 40 years. Many of today’s Mercer County public officials came into public life because of this family. Cokie had a critical role in that transformation.

Your good deeds will follow you.

Beth Healey
Moore Street

To the Editor:

I was saddened to read in the media last week about the death of veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, and even more distressed to learn that the cause of her death was complications from breast cancer. Besides being a prolific journalist and a pioneer for women in the profession, Ms. Roberts also had a tie to the Princeton community. Her sister was Barbara Boggs Sigmund, founder of Womanspace and mayor of Princeton Borough from 1983 until her death in 1990. Sadly, Mayor Sigmund also died of complications from cancer.

With all that in mind and Breast Cancer Awareness Month fast approaching, I wanted to write to call attention to the great work of the Princeton YWCA’s Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC), located on Rosedale Road on the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s campus. The BCRC provides comprehensive resources and programming to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, survivors, family members, caregivers, and “anyone in between.” Further, and most importantly for those with limited financial resources, BCRC programs are provided free of charge. more

To the Editor:

On September 14 and 15 a dozen volunteers attended STREAM School at the Watershed Institute Jacob’s Creek in Hopewell Township and Zion Crossing Park in Montgomery Township in order to learn how to conduct stream habitat assessments for the purpose of evaluating and documenting the health and water quality of a stream.

STREAM (Sourland Team of Resource and Ecology Assessment Monitors) School is sponsored by the Sourland Conservancy, the Watershed Institute, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and NJ AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program and partially funded by a 2018 Watershed Institute Grant.

The purpose of STREAM School is to cultivate a cadre of volunteer stream monitors, most of whom will monitor Sourland streams and track their health over time. The collected stream data will also be sent to NJDEP’s water quality-monitoring database, “Water Quality Exchange” (WQX). more

To the Editor:

As a Democrat, I have been laser-focused on the national political scene, working to do everything I can to make sure Trump is defeated in November 2020. But in New Jersey, November 5, 2019, is also an important election.  We must elect Democrats to municipal and state office who will counterbalance, to the fullest extent possible, the destructive policies of this Republican administration on our environment, on our voting rights, on the fairness of our immigration system and our elections, on our civil rights, on the very integrity of our political institutions.

In Princeton, two Democrats, Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros, are running for the two open seats on Princeton Council. I am an advisor to their joint campaign, and I strongly urge you to support them in their goal to ensure that Princeton is a fair, welcoming, well-planned, and environmentally sustainable community; one that is governed with transparency and accountability. Mia and Michelle offer a valuable combination of progressive politics coupled with practical wisdom and innovative solutions. more

To the Editor:

While it is difficult to say that there is a consensus on the butterfly mural being affixed to the building at the corner of John and Leigh, it is I believe fair to say that in general the W-J neighborhood is not against the use of public art.  What was stressed in the recent [HPC and W-J] meetings was indeed a consensus that the neighborhood wants to be involved in the concept, design, and application of public art projects at the beginning of the process.

My personal takeaway from the meeting was that most of the people who were not in favor of the mural did not necessarily have a problem with its application but rather thought that the first application of this sort should represent the African American experience; the basis for the historic designation.

It is my belief that the Latino experience and history in Princeton, while not on the same scale as the African American experience and history in Princeton, also has significance and I have no issue with it being expressed through the use of public art as long as there is community engagement and agreement on “the process.” more

To the Editor:

My girlfriend and I are frequent walkers of the D & R Canal…so beautiful, pristine, serene, lots of wildlife, turtles, blue heron, so calming. Unfortunately, there are many on the canal who do not know the “rules of the road.” I’m speaking to the cyclists. We are often walking while they ZOOM by from behind, on our right, on our left, in the middle without announcing themselves and practically sideswiping us as they pass.

Might I offer a suggestion…when we bike, anywhere, we use a bell or a yell signaling “on your left” to let the walker know we are approaching. It just seems like common courtesy to do this, rather than scaring the dickens out of the walker by zooming by at a high rate of speed.

I would like to see a sign posted by the D&R, to assist cyclists in this endeavor. Something like…”If you have a bell please use it to notify walkers, if you do not, please give a yell upon approach.”

Robert O’Brien
West Windsor

To the Editor:

We need someone on the Board of Education who looks for ways to avoid spending all through the year, not just in a mad scramble during budget season, when it turns out that revenues and expenses for the coming year are not going to balance.

The district’s ordinary personnel costs have been rising faster than the district’s ordinary revenues for years. One-time extraordinary revenues have let the administration and the Board avoid making hard choices, but that can’t go on forever.

We need Debbie Bronfeld to continue her efforts to get the growth of costs down to a rate the available revenues will be able to support, while continuing to provide a high-quality education to every student in our schools.

Please re-elect Debbie Bronfeld to the Princeton Board of Education.

Rod Montgomery
William Patterson Court

September 18, 2019

To the Editor:

Candidates for the Princeton Board of Education will meet in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Princeton Community TV on Wednesday, October 2 at 7 p.m. Monument Main, 1 Monument Drive, Princeton. Questions will be taken from the audience. Video of the forum will be broadcast on Princeton TV and posted at the League’s website www.lwvprinceton.org and on VOTE411.org.

The League is also planning forums for candidates for Princeton Council and the 16th Legislative District. Final arrangements will be made as candidates work out their schedules. Stay tuned: keep an eye on the League website and Princeton TV! You may send questions for the candidates to lwvprinceton@gmail.com. more

To the Editor:

My public life began when then Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed appointed me to the Cable Television Committee in the 1990s. The first task of the committee back then was to establish a permanent studio to serve as a location where local residents could learn to shoot, edit, and cablecast local access programming. Using funds collected from cable fees and made available to the committee by the governments of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, we able to acquire equipment and secure a few rooms in the Arts Council Building to be the first home of Princeton’s TV30. more

To the Editor:

Mark your calendars! Election Day is Tuesday, November 5, and the polls will be open from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. I write to provide Vote By Mail information and highlight the Democratic Party ticket in Mercer County.

You may apply for a Vote By Mail Ballot at the County Clerk’s office in Trenton, 209 South Broad Street, or by downloading an application at the NJ Division of Elections website at www.state.nj.us/state/elections.  Mail your completed application to the Mercer County Clerk (209 South Broad Street, PO Box 8068, Trenton, NJ 08650), up to seven days prior to the election or better yet, deliver it in person at the County Clerk’s office up until 3 p.m. on November 4. more

To the editor:

With the start of the school year, our thoughts turn to children’s learning and development. We know the importance nurturing children through reading and singing to them, engaging them in play with colorful objects, providing sound nutrition, and involving children in other activities that will enhance their early childhood development. That’s why I hope readers will join me in urging Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman to cosponsor legislation being introduced by Reps. Castro (D-TX) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) that would bring early childhood development (ECD) to children all around the world. more

September 11, 2019

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned, representing Not In Our Town Princeton, a multi-racial, multi-faith racial justice organization, have concerns about the proposed purchase of an armored tactical vehicle by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. This type of highly specialized vehicle costs about $300,000 and its usefulness is quite limited. In addition to the cost, we are most concerned about how it will be used.

Over the past generation, there has been a tendency for civilian police and sheriff’s departments to use military style tactics, weapons and vehicles. The change in policing methods comes at a financial and social cost to the community. This cost is both in the expense of tactical vehicles and equipment, but more critically, it is the cost of the disengagement of law enforcement from the communities being served, in particular communities of color. The people in the community and on the street are no longer known as individuals but are seen as dangerous and as opponents. More powerful weapons and equipment are requested to deal with those opponents. Innocent people are at risk and lives are lost from SWAT teams breaking into the wrong address and injuring or killing innocent people; citizens have died in standoffs in which buildings are destroyed or entire city blocks burned down. Once military-style weapons systems have been purchased, there is an incentive to prove the value of the purchase by using the equipment. And difficult situations such as armed standoffs and hostage negotiations, which require a range of exceptional skills and patience to defuse or neutralize, instead become an opportunity to use extreme force with little regard to the surrounding community. more

To the Editor:

I am a former board of trustees chair of Princeton Community TV, and am writing in support of the town continuing to fund the station. The bulk of PCTV’s funding goes toward supporting the creation of original programming that serves the local community. In these times when local media outlets are vanishing because they are no longer commercially viable, PCTV provides a unique outlet that will only become more important as other local sources of information dry up. The state of our democracy is already perilous, and we need to preserve (and preferably expand) independent, local voices such as those fostered by PCTV. more

To the Editor:

I am proud to write in support of Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Dafna has a unique ability to make decisions in the best interests of the students, while always being mindful of budgetary and tax impacts. Dafna has proven her commitment to our students and to the community during her recent term on the Board. Her many accomplishments demonstrate how deeply she engages in everything she does. It is impossible to enumerate all Dafna has done in a brief letter. Some of her achievements for the school district include:

Dafna was instrumental in the passage of the later start time at PHS, which has been proven to improve students’ health.

She fostered a fair and respectful relationship with the Teachers’, Administrative, and Support Staff Unions and led the contract negotiations which extended their contracts until 2020. more

To the Editor:

Princeton Council has just taken a major step forward to truth-telling and social justice, voting unanimously on Monday night in favor of the “Resolution Declaring that the Second Monday in October Shall Be Known as Indigenous Peoples Day” in Princeton. The Resolution is the result of months-long work by an ad hoc committee of the Civil Rights Commission, to whom much thanks should be given.

Here are some major points:

The Municipality of Princeton “offer[s] respect” to the regional indigenous peoples in our area, the Lenni-Lenape, around Ewing and Bridgeton (to the south), who once occupied a huge territory stretching from Albany to the Delmarva Peninsula before their forced removal to Ohio and elsewhere by Euro-Americans. The Resolution also “honors” them for their “practices of environmental sustainability,” their holistic understanding of the world, and “their cultural resilience throughout this nation’s troubled history.” And it acknowledges that European colonists built Princeton itself on this small portion of the vast ancestral lands known as Lenapihoking. more

August 28, 2019

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Recreation Commission, I would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers, participants and Recreation staffers who made the 2019 Kids ‘Splash N Dash’ Aquathon a great success on August 18. Nearly 50 children, ages 7-14, participated in the Aquathon this year.

The support of our community sponsors allows us to run the Aquathon at a very affordable price to all interested children.  Special thanks to Princeton University, The Bank of Princeton, Ace Hardware, Princeton Supply, SpeedPro Imaging of Mercer County, and Baldino Brothers for their financial support, and to both The Princeton Police Department and Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad for their in-kind support and services.

I would like to acknowledge the huge volunteer effort that helped make the event a success!  Led by Princeton Recreation Team Member Vikki Caines, more than 50 volunteers marshaled the events alongside a host of Recreation staffers.  In addition, Princeton Recreation Commission Chair, Darius Young volunteered his DJ services to provide music for the event.

We look forward to the Kids ‘Splash N Dash’ Aquathon again in 2020!

Ben Stentz
Executive Director 

GIVING VOICE: Barbara DiLorenzo, author, illustrator, and educator, teaches a variety of different art courses at the Arts Council of Princeton and in New York City, and has published two popular children’s books. (Photo courtesy of Barbara DiLorenzo)

By Donald Gilpin

Barbara DiLorenzo, author, illustrator, and art teacher at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) and New York Institute of Art and Design (NYIAD), has no doubts about the significance of her work as an artist and a teacher.

She emphasizes the power of students’ individual “voices,” and she demonstrates the technique and the persuasiveness that develops those voices.

“My teaching work reveals its importance daily,” she said. “As people age, they are afraid to call themselves ‘artists.’ Toddlers and preschoolers proudly announce that they are artists. Elementary school students feel that art is open to everyone. However, by middle school, students take note of who around them can draw realistically, and better than them. If allowed, they will talk themselves out of creative pursuits, mistakenly believing that artistic skill is bestowed magically to a chosen few.”

She went on to explain how she imparts her message and inspiration. “I have a standard soapbox speech that can’t be stopped once I get going,” she said. “I don’t let anyone escape my class without hearing that the more one practices, the better one gets. In the end, the goal isn’t who can draw the best. Instead, it’s who has practiced with that medium enough to allow one’s unique voice to come through. Voice is the goal. There is room at the table for everyone’s voice. Many times clumsy use of a medium clouds one’s voice. But once an artist has command of the tools and knows what to say — wow.” more

DEDICATED SERVICE: “We work very hard to train our technicians to provide the best service and do their job properly. Our customers know they can count on us for reliable and prompt help.” Kevin Tindall, owner and CEO of Tindall & Ranson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Company, is proud of his company’s long history and commitment to its customers.

By Jean Stratton

Reliability, prompt and courteous service, correct completion of the job — all this and more are provided by Tindall & Ranson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Company.

When you need a plumber, it is often for an emergency — such as a broken pipe, flooded basement, or inoperative toilet. These problems need immediate attention, and you want to know that you can rely on the plumber’s experience and expertise.

Tindall & Ranson, located at 880 Alexander Road, has established a first-class reputation for quality service.  more

August 21, 2019

To the Editor:

I own a small nutrition business in Princeton, and I am the producer and director of a health promoting show on Princeton Community TV (PCTV) called The CogniDiet Healthy Lifestyle Show with Veronique. I have been doing this since September 2018. My show is aired twice a month.

I am passionate about health education and host medical and wellness experts, often local, to talk about issues ranging from how to prevent type 2 diabetes, to fatty liver, to the power of meditation. I had cognitive behavioral therapists, endocrinologists, rheumatologists, Reiki experts, healthy cooks, and cancer survivors on my show. They are an inspiration to the community. more

To the Editor:

Our society has been trained to believe that obtaining a high SAT score, getting into a great college, and, of course, making as much money as possible (greed), are the true signs of success. What society fails to recognize and more importantly teach, is empathy and compassion.

My daughter’s boyfriend, who is serving in the military, was eating in a Mexican restaurant on the West Coast. He is Puerto Rican and Guatemalan. He purchased his meal and sat down to eat it when two white people, a man and a woman, approached him saying “you need to go back to Mexico and die, you rapist drug dealer,” took his food, threw it on the floor, and left the restaurant.

What is happening at the border is a clearly reminiscent of what occurred in Europe in 1939. In the United States today if you have brown or black skin you are a target for hatred. History is clearly repeating itself here in the United States. more

To the Editor:

As a devoted reader of Stuart Mitchner’s weekly essays, I marveled at his “Celebrating Herman Melville’s 200th Birthday: The Word is Love” [Book Review, August 7]. Not only did he explain his happy obsession with Moby-Dick, he challenged Jill Lepore’s piece in the July 29 New Yorker by documenting Melville’s enduring marriage to Elizabeth Shaw. Further, Stuart cited the ultimate salute to Melville and the whale in Philip Hoare’s Moby-Dick Big Read of all chapters of the great work with gorgeous art and music which has received 10 million hits to date. This masterful essay was written by the only one of us among nine million residents of the Garden State to sport a MOBY license plate. Hats off to Stuart, long may he wave!

Scott McVay
Province Line Road

The writer, author of “The Last of the Great Whales” (Scientific American), formerly served on the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission.

August 14, 2019

To the Editor:

The Sourland Conservancy recently held its 16th Annual Sourland Mountain Festival and will hold its 8th annual Sourland Spectacular bicycle rally on September 7. Through these events, plus free guided trail hikes and the popular Hopewell Borough Train Station Series of Sourland-centric talks and presentations, the Conservancy advances its mission of advocating for the protection of the region, educating the public on its nature and history, and providing resources to encourage stewardship of our natural world. I encourage residents of the Sourland region and those who live nearby to visit the Conservancy’s website (www.sourland.org) and Facebook page to learn more about the valuable work being done, how you can help, or simply enjoy what the Conservancy has to offer!

Daniel Pace, Trustee
Sourland Conservancy

To the Editor:

Pedestrians are becoming bold, and they should be. They are boldly speaking out at Council meetings and planning board sessions, demanding more and safer pedestrian crossings. They are, in some cases, joining forces with bicyclists to advocate for bike lanes that will give cyclists a safe alternative to sidewalks.

Bold is good. But there is one place where being bold is not good for pedestrians. That’s inside those zebra-striped walkways that mark designated pedestrian crossings. Inside those crossings, the ones often marked by signs proclaiming that motorists must yield to pedestrians, bold is not good. As they approach and enter those crossings pedestrians should be tentative, defensive, and wary. The law says motorists must yield, but it doesn’t say they will yield. more