June 5, 2019

Kam Williams

Prolific Film and Literary Critic Dies

Over the past two decades, film and literary critic Kam Williams published nearly ten thousand articles and reviews.
Throughout his nearly 22-year career as a writer, he was most known for his film reviews and celebrity interviews for websites such as RottenTomatoes.com and over 100 publications around the world, ranging from local papers like Princeton, NJ’s Town Topics to international news chain Metro.

A prolific journalist, he also wrote countless book reviews, editorials, and a novel that will be published posthumously later this year.

Mr. Williams, who was a resident of Princeton, NJ, died Thursday, May 30 from prostate cancer. He was 66 years old.
Born Lloyd Joseph Williams in New York City and raised in St. Albans, Queens, Mr. Williams was commonly referred to as “Kam,” a nickname short for “Kamau,” a name given to him while he was a student at Brown University, by famed Jazz musician Sun Ra.

Mr. Williams’ path to a career in writing was circuitous. He was a graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School in New York City and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Black Literature in 1974. While receiving his Master’s in English from Brown University in 1975, he first attempted a career in screenwriting at Chicago’s WTTW, a PBS affiliate TV station.

However, Mr. Williams had a diverse set of interests and diverted his attention from writing for business and entertainment law, receiving his J.D. from Boston University in 1978 (along with Bar membership in MA, PA, CT, NY, and NJ) followed by an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980.

Mr. Williams’ first wife, the late Kristina Barbara Johnson (who had previously been married to sculptor J. Seward Johnson II, the grandson of Johnson & Johnson Co-Founder Robert Wood Johnson I), introduced him to art dealing and the antique business in which he subsequently deployed his corporate and legal knowledge for over a decade.

Mr. Williams had a colorful personality and a commanding presence, according to friends and family. He was a tall African American man with freckles and wore his bright-red hair in a large Afro hairstyle that was immediately noticeable in a crowd.

His diverse life experiences and base of knowledge (he was a polymath who read a book a week) made him a compelling conversationalist and led to a brief but recurring guest appearance on the radio show, The Howard Stern Show.

It was that experience that later sparked his career in journalism when a family friend and writer at the Princeton Packet, a local newspaper in his hometown Princeton, NJ, recommended that Mr. Williams write a film review of Howard Stern’s 1997 biographical film Private Parts.

Mr. Williams’ intense work ethic and glowing journalistic reputation led to extensive work interviewing celebrities associated with upcoming film and book releases, including Quentin Tarantino, Denzel Washington, Mel Brooks, Russell Simmons, LeBron James, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, among many others.

Mr. Williams was also a staunch supporter of civil rights-related causes, publishing countless Op-Eds on the topic and later joined the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee.

Outside of his writing career, he had a deep passion for music and boasted a large collection of albums. He enjoyed long daily walks in nature, was an avid sports fan, and a passionate Little League baseball coach. He was also an enthusiastic participant in weekly trivia nights with a large group of friends at a local bar in Princeton, NJ.

He is survived by many friends, four siblings (Lawrence, Daryl, Teresa, and Rod), and his second wife of 25 years, Susan, and stepson, Nicholas.

A memorial service will be held at the Princeton Garden Theatre on June 29.


Thomas B. Hagadorn Sr.

Thomas B. Hagadorn Sr., 60, of Princeton passed away on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at his home in Seaside Park.

Thomas was born and raised in Princeton. He graduated from Princeton High School in 1977. He served with Princeton Engine Company No. 1 for many years, serving as their Chief In 1985. After joining on with Clean Harbors Environmental Services in 1988, he moved his family to Maine where they lived for 12 years. Clean Harbors brought him back to New Jersey where he became Director of Health and Safety and eventually Vice President of Health and Safety. He and his team took part in the clean-up of some major disasters including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Deepwater Horizon, just to mention a few.

Preceded in death by his parents James Randall and Florence (Swinnerton) Hagadorn, and his brothers Richard and Christopher Hagadorn; he is survived by his son Thomas B. Hagadorn Jr; his daughter Melissa Hagadorn and her husband Devin Feder; his grandchildren Trenton and Hudson Feder; his former wife of 28 years Nancy Hagadorn; his partner of the past seven years Holly Byrne; his brothers Randall and Jeffrey Hagadorn; his sister Suzan Sanders; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be on Friday, June 7, 2019 from 1-3 and 6-8:30 p.m. followed by a funeral service at 8:30 p.m. at The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Ave., Princeton, NJ 08542.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.

May 29, 2019

To the Editor:

We write as longtime Princeton residents and experienced professionals in the area of municipal planning and community design. In recent years, we have joined our community in watching with dismay as less-than-optimal decisions have been made that negatively impact the future of our town. We are concerned about the absence of thoughtful, fact-and-design-based decision-making, for aspects and areas of our community in great need of attention — from parking to zoning to affordable housing to infrastructure improvements and many other areas that require appropriate planning.

We believe that Mia Sacks is the candidate most equipped, through background, experience, and proven service to Princeton, to address these deficiencies in municipal leadership. Mia has spent an extraordinary amount of time working to develop a sophisticated working knowledge of our town’s physical character, economic dynamics, political and legal structure. She is well-versed in the fundamental elements of municipal governance — public policy, infrastructure, municipal finance, transportation, education, and land use. more

To the Editor:

We write to support Michelle Pirone Lambros’s candidacy for Princeton Council.

Unlike all other Council members or candidates, Michelle is a business-person, with much experience and proven expertise in negotiating large budgets and contracts (both in the United States and abroad). She has extensive capabilities in communications strategies; her capacities have obviously been acknowledged by executives in Kuwait, Mexico, and elsewhere. These are necessary skills in managing “Princeton” — but also in dealing with Princeton University (whose payment-in-lieu-of-taxes comes up for renegotiation in 2021); the University’s needs for our municipal services (such as fire-fighting) increase as the University expands. Michelle has the important, broad, and long-term experience in the public world where multiple voices must be heard and reconciled — and directed towards the best public good. more

To the Editor:

Frequently we have difficult choices to make for government elections, in this case for Princeton Council. Today we find ourselves in an unusual circumstance. We have a Council with small amount of experience and with lots of energy. Focusing that energy requires experience. Second to the mayor, Tim has the experience to help lead on a number of the issues confronting the town. He has been and can continue to be a positive, knowledgeable force and a consensus builder working with the other Council members. While all members of Council are congenial, they are all opinionated and strong willed. Tim has the management skills to bring different opinions together to reach a common solution.

Institutional memory is also important. While fresh ideas are important, context is also important if not necessary. Tim has served on a number of boards and committees. This experience allows him to provide gravitas to the meetings with the newer Council members. more

To the Editor:

Sitting out back Friday night May 24, I was actually stunned. Around 5:30, there was hardy any noise at all in the Edgerstoune neighborhood. No leaf blowers, stone grinders, or chainsaws.

I was afraid to say anything to Katie for fear of jinxing it. But it actually went on unabated, to my amazement. I said to myself: wouldn’t it be nice if we had local leaders who could make this happen more often?

Michael Moffitt
Russell Road

To the Editor:

As the Community Outreach Coordinator of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, I want to thank Town Topics for sharing the news of the upcoming Pride Parade [“First Pride Parade in Princeton Planned for Saturday, June 22, pg. one, May 22]. We are eagerly preparing for this event.

As the Center’s resident lesbian feminist and longtime activist in the LGBTQIA community, I am thrilled to have been an integral part in the evolution of this significant moment in Pride history.

I am proud that we are organizing this event, which is historic not only in that it is the first Pride Parade in Princeton but also in its striving to bring together multiple communities following the route through the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood of Princeton.

All are welcome to register, march in the Parade, and/or have a booth at the parade’s after party on the grounds of the Princeton YMCA/YWCA. The registration form and more information can be found at www.rustincenter.org/pride-parade.

Carol Watchler
Community Outreach Coordinator, BRCSJ

To the Editor:

Addressing the Princeton mayor and Council, Princeton Planning Board, and the Ad Hoc Committee, the undersigned residents of Hibben Road and Mercer Street request denial of the request by PTS to redevelop the Tennent-Roberts campus into 105 two-bedroom apartments for student housing.

The redevelopment process is usually driven by a municipality in order to achieve a public purpose that cannot be met by zoning. The study did not start with the exercise of what the town would want to promote on the site in terms of use and scale, but rather the process was initiated in response to a strategic decision by PTS to relocate their students. In essence, this process has tried to legitimize “spot zoning.” The proposed development is simply too large for the site. Currently this would represent a plus-30 percent overage versus current approved zoning. This project is outside any previous redevelopment applications based on the area being declared a redevelopment zone, which is a first for Princeton. While this theoretically allows for greater flexibility for the community, as submitted it clearly contradicts the guidelines in the Princeton Master Plan, which stress institutional compliance with existing zoning. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to give my wholehearted support for Princeton Community TV and to show how important it is to continue funding for our valuable community resource.

I have followed the development of “TV30” for many years, since it started out from a small office in the Arts Council of Princeton to its current facilities with a modern studio, equipment, classes and dozens of talented, dedicated people who create the outstanding programs covering topics important to our community. more

To the Editor:

As the Democratic primary looms, Princetonians are asking themselves: What skills should a Council member have to effectively govern our town during this particularly challenging period?

In our opinion, the primary responsibility of a council member is a fiduciary one. Someone with financial skills is a must. We want our tax dollars spent wisely, and we need someone with experience in business. Michelle brings a wealth of international business experience to the task of managing Princeton’s finances. In the U.S. and abroad, she oversaw multi-million dollar projects, managed six-figure infrastructure contracts, pulled off public-private partnerships with multiple vendors on time and under budget. more

To the Editor:

As current and former members of the Princeton Council, we are pleased to write in enthusiastic support of Tim Quinn’s bid for re-election to the Princeton Council. We served with Tim and know him to be a great leader and thoughtful listener dedicated to improving our community. 

We were continually impressed with his service on Council. He came ready to work, focused on bridging divides and building collegiality, and was not afraid to ask tough questions and make hard choices. He has focused on budget strategy, land use, equity, environmental and transportation matters, and always signs up for difficult assignments with an eye towards improving quality of life in Princeton. For example, he has drawn on his experience on the School Board to develop joint services with the school district, volunteered to be the first Council liaison to the Civil Rights Commission, helping to strengthen its important mission, and serves on the Planning Board and Neighborhood Character Committee, working to preserve our neighborhoods and Princeton’s unique sense of place.

After this year, Tim will be the most senior member of Council and the only member to have served more than two years. Given all the challenging issues facing Princeton, we need Tim and his experience on the Council. We are proud to endorse him and hope you will vote for him in the June 4 Democratic primary.

Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Bernie Miller

To the Editor:

Princeton Community TV (PCTV) is another of Princeton’s jewels in jeopardy. It broadcasts on Comcast Channel 30 and Verizon FIOS Channel 45. Many people don’t fully appreciate its importance. When cablevision was set up, in return for the use of the public right-of-way for hanging its cable, it was agreed that cable television would pay a “rental fee,” and that free public and governmental access channels would be supported by this fee.

When cablevision came into its own, I was very aware of all this because my Dad, Bill Cherry, was a physicist at RCA who had worked on the color TV, and he was also a member of Township Committee. He was chosen to become chair of the Cable TV Committee and to negotiate an agreement for free public access, which has been in place ever since. Over the dinner table, my Dad would talk about the importance of public access as a source of freedom of speech and discourse about all kinds of issues. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to enthusiastically support Mia Sacks for Princeton Council.

Mia’s depth of experience in social justice is evident from her remarkably impressive professional resume, but I know Mia in a different context: as a supremely committed, civically-engaged Princeton resident. Mia and I met seven years ago when our children started school at Littlebrook together. As a new Princeton resident, I quickly came to realize that Mia was the person to turn to with any question about local governance. Wondering about the supplier of our public school lunches? Mia was on the committee that worked to identify a more nutritious, environmentally responsible meals provider. Want to learn how to lower the district school buildings’ energy use? Mia was chair of the Princeton Green Schools Coalition and brought state officials to town to present options. Curious about the town’s new sustainability plan? As a Sustainable Princeton board member, Mia has been an integral part of developing the Climate Action Plan for Princeton. Want to learn about the schools’ focus on wellness? Mia helped write the new PPS Wellness Policy and has been working with Wellness Committees in the individual schools to conduct CDC health and wellness evaluations. Unable to stay at the school board meeting/town council meeting/planning board meeting until midnight to hear the outcome of the debate? Text Mia: she undoubtedly stayed to the bitter end, and has an expert’s understanding of all the policy nuances. more

May 22, 2019

To the Editor:

My friend and longtime colleague on the Planning Board, Tim Quinn, is running for a new term on the Princeton Council. He richly deserves to be re-elected. Many in the town are aware of Tim’s years of public service, first in and for the schools; secondly on the Planning Board; and thirdly on both the Planning Board and the municipal Council. Over the years in these roles, he has accumulated a deep understanding of the breadth of issues that face the residents of Princeton. My best knowledge of him comes from his involvement in the sometimes long and sometimes challenging — but always interesting — Planning Board meetings. He always shows up; he has always done his homework and thought seriously about applications; he listens; and when he speaks his calm, quiet voice is very clearly heard. Outside of the public sessions, he has worked with Board members and residents on master plan proposals and zoning initiatives, which have given him a context in which to consider the significant decisions to be made by Council.

Some people lead with strident voices. Others lead more gently, depending on the depth of their knowledge to analyze and persuade. To me, this describes Tim, whose knowledge of our town is wide and valuable to the rest of us. We can depend on his intelligent decision-making. I trust and admire him and urge you all to vote for Tim Quinn in the June 4 Democratic primary.

Gail Ullman
Maple Street

To Mayor Lempert and Members of Council:

For months we have endured the intolerable and dangerous traffic congestion at the intersections of Cherry Hill, Mt. Lucas, Terhune, and Valley Roads. The closure of Terhune Road at Route 206 and the relocation and significant expansion of the fueling station have made already bad traffic conditions far worse. Now that the town Council has relinquished the option of turning left onto Route 206 from Terhune, it is imperative that the town achieve a safe left turn from Valley Road onto Route 206. This would relieve some of the congestion at the intersection of Cherry Hill and Route 206 and also on the section of Mt. Lucas Road leading up to Cherry Hill. more

To the Editor:

The municipality appreciates and understands the concerns raised by neighbors. We have taken a number of steps to help mitigate these concerns including changing the scheduling so municipal and other agency vehicles do not fuel during the morning rush. There have been some violators of this policy, but we have taken steps to rectify the situation and do not expect it to happen again. In terms of the vehicles entering the facility from the wrong side, this is unavoidable as some vehicles have fuel tanks on the passenger side. more

To the Editor:

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to review and compare the positions and goals of the candidates for Princeton Council in the 2019 elections. Adam Bierman’s heartfelt and optimistic perception of Princeton’s directions and needs, and his willingness to examine the public’s questions and concerns, has, in my mind, elevated him above the other candidates.

So, Adam, I am writing today to express my support for your campaign and to let you know of my intention to vote for you in the upcoming elections and to share my beliefs in the benefits that your policies and abilities will bring to Princeton with my friends and neighbors.

I firmly believe that it will be truly beneficial for Princeton residents and those who work and visit here if you are elected.

Walter J. Krieg
Laurel Road

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Princeton Public Library held another successful Annual Book Sale May 10-12, and we were delighted to welcome booklovers from near and far. All the proceeds raised will help to expand the selection of books and other media in the library collections.

This event depends on the dedication and collaboration of many people. We would like to thank our colleagues and Friends at Princeton Public Library, and our wonderful volunteers who worked for months sorting and pricing thousands of books in preparation for the sale, and worked so tirelessly throughout the weekend.

Lastly, we would like to thank the Princeton community for generously providing us with book donations all year, and supporting our store and sales as loyal customers. To find out more about the book store and donating books, please go to www.princetonlibrary.org/booksales and check the website for details of our next sale.

Claire Bertrand & Jane Nieman
Co-Chairs of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library Annual Book Sale

To the Editor:

I have a question. Is it every American’s birthright to vote?

According to Socrates (translated from Greek) “Only those who had thought about issues rationally and deeply should be let near a vote.” In the mind of one of history’s greatest teachers and thinkers, mob rule threatens democratic society. Socrates knew that it would be easy for people seeking office to appeal to the mob’s desires and give easy answers to complex problems. Does any of this sound familiar?

In our system of government, every citizen is entitled to vote, and education is the only weapon we have against demagoguery. However, in the state of New Jersey, education is one of the most segregated institutions. Affluence, aka District Factor Groups, determine knowledge. Inside each school district, curriculum, teachers’ knowledge, and lesson plans are held captive. more

To the Editor:

Who doesn’t want to save on taxes? We all do. Nevertheless, I urge Princeton Town Council to fund Princeton Community TV for 2019 and beyond. I was dismayed to read in your recent article (Town Topics, April 24, pg. one] that the Council is considering eliminating funding for this invaluable resource.

PCTV, led by its dedicated executive director, George McCullough, does a phenomenal job of producing local programs, training and (perhaps most important) providing average local citizens with a “voice.” Over the years, this TV gem has welcomed female entrepreneurs, new authors, local vets, the unemployed, students, and scores of others who wish to share their knowledge or learn about TV programming. In short, it is a model of how best to educate, inform and motivate community members to make the world a better place.

For a tax of less than $8 per person PER YEAR, given the attack on our media today, is this really where we want to save money? I hope not!

Toby Israel, Ph.D.
Walnut Lane

To the Editor:

Ensuring that Princeton remains a diverse and inclusive community is the central challenge we now face. I am supporting Mia Sacks in the June 4 primary because of her compassionate and proven commitment to this challenge to our community.

Having served on Princeton’s Affordable Housing Board and as chair of Housing Initiatives of Princeton, I am acutely aware of the needs of our most vulnerable community members. Princeton’s varied neighborhoods have long provided homes and shelter to families from many backgrounds. That diversity is a major reason why so many of us were drawn to live here. more

To the Editor:

On May 11, Princeton Community Housing (PCH) hosted our 2019 Home Springs Eternal Gala at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake, in celebration of the work of our honorees who help make Princeton a diverse and vibrant community and in support of our mission to provide additional affordable rental homes in Princeton. I am writing on behalf of the trustees and staff of PCH to extend our sincere thanks to the Princeton community for supporting the Gala and our mission. more

To the Editor:

As a fourth generation African American Princetonian, I’m supporting Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council. She’s the only candidate with a real grasp of the challenges faced by the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood (where her own mother grew up). Her campaign has been inclusive and sensitive to the needs of the African American community and the undocumented Latinx we call our neighbors. Michelle knows this part of town is underserved, and is campaigning on issues like mixed use zoning that encourages more small businesses, like a grocery store and a laundromat on this side of town. She sees the need for the urgent care clinic we were promised when the hospital left. more

HEALING TOUCH: “People come in for many reasons — assorted aches and pains, including headaches and backaches, also allergies, sinus problems, female hormonal issues, etc. Seventy percent of my practice is lymphatics, and 30 percent advanced technique massage, such as shiatsu.” Licensed massage therapist Jennifer Ruiz, LMT, is the owner of Amala Lymphatic & Massage Therapy in Lawrenceville.

By Jean Stratton

The common denominator for all my clients is that they are feeling challenged somewhere in their health,” explains licensed massage therapist Jennifer Ruiz, LMT, owner of Amala Lymphatic & Massage Therapy at 134 Franklin Corner Road in Lawrenceville.

“I use massage to guide the body to a place where it can self-heal, and keep the body in a healthy state.”

A 2001 graduate of The Swedish Institute of Health Sciences in New York City and recipient of a Forbes 5-Star Award for Excellency, Ruiz uses a multidimensional approach that integrates Eastern and Western philosophy and modalities. She was first licensed in New York, and she practiced in Manhattan for 13 years.

“Each state has its own requirements,” she points out. “In New York, you must get a license, and this entails a year and a half of full-time training to get the degree, and then passing the state exam to obtain the license. more

CREATIVE CONCEPTS: “The biggest part of the business is my creative design. All the pieces are one-of-a-kind, and I especially enjoy taking the client’s vision and bringing it to life with my creations.” Jewelry designer and goldsmith Robin Hepburn is shown at work, hammering a bracelet in the workshop of her Orion Jewelry Studio in Pennington.

By Jean Stratton

People like jewelry because it often represents a feeling or memory, something to commemorate. Perhaps a milestone event, a wedding, anniversary, or birthday.”

It can also be an heirloom passed down in the family that has special meaning. Or it can be a brand-new piece that is especially beautiful.”

Robin Hepburn, jewelry designer and goldsmith, and owner of Orion Jewelry Studio in Pennington, certainly knows about her subject. She is an expert in the field, and is about to celebrate her 30th year of business in Pennington. Now located in the Shoppes At Pennington, 21 Route 31 North, her studio is both her showcase and her workplace. more

May 15, 2019

To the Editor:

Bank Street is the most deplorable street in Princeton.  The sidewalks are busted, uneven, and repaired with asphalt, the pavement is potholed and pitched. The curbs are deteriorated, the trees have been mauled. It has a mass of overhead wiring and cable hanging from wood poles, that primarily served the downtown, with sodium cobra-head riot lighting from the ’60s. It is the most distressed street in Princeton with some of the most deteriorated and unkempt properties at the bottom end. For years, since Mayor Marvin Reed, the borough, and now the town has promised it would repair and upgrade this street. Now for more than 20 years this street has been allowed to deteriorate while millions of dollars were collected in property taxes by the 28 lots on the street. Since we have owned our house we have paid over $340,000 in taxes. more