January 24, 2018

To the Editor:

I am writing about unnecessary disturbance and pollution that could easily be avoided, to the benefit of all.

Today (January 17) Princeton had two inches of light snowfall. At the Barbara Sigmund Park on Hamilton Avenue, an employee of the Public Works Department attacked this tiny snow layer on the paths and sidewalk with a full-bore backpack leaf blower. It was audible 400 feet away. Its emissions and unburned gasoline could be smelled some distance away. I, who am two to three times the age of that diligent employee, used a simple push shovel to remove the sidewalk snow faster than the noisy leaf blower could do. With no carbon emissions either.

At a time when our town is, commendably, developing a Climate Action Plan, here is an opportunity to take a step to reduce emissions and provide other benefits. I ask the Public Works Department to cease using leaf blowers to remove snow, a very undesirable new use of these troublesome devices. They contribute to greenhouse emissions, are disturbing to residents, and are completely unnecessary.

Anthony Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

Editor’s Note: The writer is one of the founding members of Quiet Princeton.

To the Editor:

According to research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting, the percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the United States doubled over nearly a decade. Last year at Carrier Clinic alone, we experienced a 26 percent increase in the number of adolescent hospital admissions. The unfortunate number of recent teen suicides, sadly, supports these startling statistics.

So, how do we save our kids?

We listen. We create opportunity for conversation. We reach out to experts. We approach help with an open mind. We don’t judge.

Dr. Anthony Marino, Carrier Clinic’s chief of adolescent medical services, recently said, “It’s more important to listen than to lecture, and to be as honest as possible … to let them know that things will be as good as we can work together to make them … to create in advance a supportive environment that lets kids express their fears … to let them know that we’re here for them.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

At Carrier Clinic, we applaud the superintendents of the Mercer County public school districts for hosting a public program to start a countywide focus on mental health. It isn’t easy to face the heartbreaking and alarming reality of teen suicide. And we agree with this team of educators that we must stop “fruitless finger-pointing” in order to remove the veil of stigma and get the teens in our lives talking about mental health.

While adults may not always be able to understand why a teen would consider or attempt suicide, it is important to approach the need for help with an open mind. There is help through treatment for teens who feel hopeless. Starting with a call to your family doctor or pediatrician is key to initiating this process. Additionally, there are many local and national organizations that can provide a list of support and resources in every community. There is no need to suffer in silence — or to ignore a teen’s need because as adults we are ashamed of their illness.

Available treatment options are varied and include outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatments. Teen suicide can be a result of an underlying mental health issue or the experience of overwhelming feelings with the perception that there is no solution. It is through the appropriate treatment that what a person is truly feeling, thinking, and dealing with can be addressed. Seeking treatment is not a demonstration of weakness or personal failure, but the most rational and compassionate choice.

Acknowledging the need for help, seeking treatment with a professional, connecting to community support groups, and accepting that this is no one’s fault are all steps in the right direction. We must show our children that when that path seems daunting, we will be there to support them. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, talk to your parents, a doctor, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a trusted adult, or call the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-8255.

Donald J. Parker

President and CEO, Carrier Clinic

To the Editor:

The only surprise coming out of this article [“Leaders Make Plans to Counteract Tax Bill,” page one, January 17] is the implicit recognition by “progressive” leaders such as Mayor Lempert that taxes matter and that given their druthers, most people would rather pay less than more, especially so in New Jersey with the highest property taxes in the nation coupled with high income tax. Instead of blaming the tax law as “unfairly targeting” states such as New Jersey and New York, and instead of looking for ways to “counteract” the tax law, why not honestly and directly step up to the issues — our taxes are too high! Oh, and our new governor has stated he wants to raise them even more!

If you want the taxpayers to continue supporting this high burden, make the case honestly as to why you think so. Otherwise, do the honest thing and reduce our taxes. Don’t look to weasel out by foisting our high tax rate on those states that are able to live on a smaller diet of their taxpayer dollars. Otherwise, look for the exodus from high tax rate states to continue. People will vote with their wallets and their feet!

Michael Eckstut

Trewbridge Court

“LET THEM EXPERIMENT:” Eliza Hammer (left) and Mary Robinson, teachers at the Princeton Montessori School and leaders of the after-school program, make sure that, as the students are engaged in experiences in problem-solving, “the teachers are having fun and the children are having fun.”

By Donald Gilpin

Imagine a school where children don’t want to go home at the day’s end.

Eliza Hammer and Mary Robinson teach in the classrooms of Princeton Montessori School during the day, then carry their enthusiasms and the Montessori philosophy into the after-school program they run from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

“We bring our passions into the classroom,” said Robinson.  more

SUCCESS STORY: Owners Jalil Fatollahi (left) and Maryam Mohammadi are proud to celebrate the second anniversary of Princeton Rug Gallery in Princeton. For many people, an Oriental rug is a very special addition to their home. It epitomizes tradition, quality, and beauty. Princeton Rug Gallery has a wonderful selection from all over the world.

By Jean Stratton

After two successful years at 830 State Road, Princeton Rug Gallery remains THE place for high quality Oriental rugs. Owners Jalil Fatollahi and Maryam Mohammadi are delighted that customers have discovered the superior workmanship and beauty of these special carpets.

“We are proud to be doing well when other businesses are closing in such numbers,” says Maryam Mohammadi. “Customers know they can count on our service, quality product, and our knowledge. While we are relatively new to Princeton, we are not new to rugs! We have 40 years experience in the rug business.” more

January 17, 2018

In 2016 I wrote, “Princeton School Board (PRS) Election/Huge Tax Increases Pre-ordained.” As the town now enters 2018, it is evident that predictions re: PRS cost growth will be exceeded and the problem will become a tax and fiscal crisis for our town. How so?

First and foremost, PRS per student costs are totally out of control and far exceed those of other high performing districts, even those in Mercer County. Costs up to 38 percent more on a $100 million budget. This grievously impacts the town’s ability to fund other priority needs. PLUS, the percent of real estate taxes allocated to PRS keeps growing.

Second, PRS current demographic projections and related plans to accommodate predicted growth will mandate a major bond issue to fund school construction for hundreds of additional students in several schools. Teachers and administrative personnel required will increase concurrently.

Third, actions that might eliminate or reduce both forecasted increases in enrollment and the scope of capital investments are not being fully explored and certainly not being aggressively pursued. Cranbury High School sending district, non-resident, and various ineligible students comprise a list of hundreds PPS is not required to admit.

Fourth and most important, the demographic data and trends used to justify the huge expenditures being planned are flawed. They ignore or place no credence in the possible impact of macro-scale programs which are being initiated or expanded at the federal level by the new administration’s secretary of education, including school choice, vouchers, charter schools, etc. These programs may reduce PRS future enrollments significantly, as there are large numbers of empty seats in area private schools of diverse character, plus under-enrollment and closure of many financially troubled schools, especially those with religious affiliations. Vouchers and school choice options alone could significantly increase enrollments and financial viability of many schools and enable reopening of several in our area.

Personally, I have spent over 30 years, most often as a pro-bono volunteer, involved in and strongly supporting both public and private education at all levels. In Princeton, I have always supported ensuring continuity of their treasured traditions of excellence! I am reminded of my first election campaign for PRS Board in 1992 and trying to “foster a climate for constructive change.” I recall very welcome and detailed, fact-based coverage of all candidates in our local media including my seven priorities listed below:

• Restore Board’s proper role — GOVERNANCE

• Get educational priorities straight

• Stop Board’s preoccupation with raising revenues (taxes)

• Start reducing and controlling costs

• Stop explosive growth in salaries and benefits

• Downsize administration

• Focus on performance and accountability

John Clearwater,

Governors Lane 

To the Editor:

As I was walking up Witherspoon Street, a little sign in the window of Lisa Jones brought home the hard fact that the greed so evident in the workings of the world at large, a greed we tend to associate with the unscrupulous acquisitiveness of mega-corporations, was at work on our little Princeton streets. Does a rent increase of 33 percent amount to an eviction notice for these four businesses who have thus been slapped for their contribution to the charm of our town? Ah well, so long charm, hello chains. So long the pleasure of uniqueness, hello the ennui of sameness. When out for a stroll a year from now, let’s pray the aroma of coffee wafts in the Witherspoon air. And turning the corner onto Nassau, let’s hope there’s a bookstore where the delight of discovery is within a glance’s reach.

Patricia Donahue

Hamilton Avenue

To the Editor:

Having been a victim of the recent fire at Griggs Farm (Building 33 on 12/27/17) I want to express my sincerest, heartfelt thanks to all the people of Princeton for their help and support for not only myself, but all the people displaced by this terrible tragedy. We are all sorry to have lost our homes, many possessions, and the life of our neighbor, Larisa Bartone, to the fire and now we face the enormous task of rebuilding our lives.

Because I came to this country 16 years ago with nothing but my talent, I am no stranger to starting over. Bless Princeton University for giving me the chance to capture their beautiful campus in my watercolors when I first arrived in Princeton and to be able to share them with the world.

I am grateful to be alive and still have my ability to paint, although I have lost my art studio as well. I was uninsured and have no savings, but I am confident thanks to the help of our landlords, Princeton Community Housing (PCH), Griggs Farm Condominium Association, Princeton Human Services Department, and the other local agencies that have cooperated in the organization of donations for our immediate needs. I also want to thank the Princeton Police and Fire Department, as well as the local Red Cross for their efforts that terrible night in the bitter cold.

Out of every tragedy comes a lesson for each of us. Personally, I never want to be without renters insurance again and I encourage everyone renting apartments or houses to make sure that they have this coverage. This has taught me that you never know what life will throw at you and even though we can’t predict the future, there are some practical things we can do that will help if a disaster, like this fire, should happen.

I lost some of my original art that I will only know in the future from the pictures that I took and it saddens me that I will never have them again. Because of this, I am going to be reaching out to the professional and amateur art community at large with the message, and hopefully the means, to raise awareness of the need to be covered by adequate insurance for their artworks, materials, and studios.

I also want to thank again those people, friends and strangers alike, who donated to me personally and PCH on the gofundme.com website (marina-ahun-artist-fire-fund).

Bless you Princeton, you are the Best!

Marina Ahun

formerly of Billie Ellis Lane

January 10, 2018

To the Editor:

Our community suffered a terrible tragedy on Wednesday night, December 27, when a fire ravaged a 24-unit apartment building we own at Griggs Farm. We mourn the loss of one life.

We are immensely grateful to all the first responders, including Princeton fire and rescue personnel, for preventing further tragedy and helping people to safety. We also gratefully acknowledge the municipality of Princeton for its ongoing support and for providing immediate transport and shelter for the victims at the Nassau Inn on Wednesday night. Thank you to Bob Gregory (director of Emergency Management), Elisa Neira (executive director of Human Services), and others for their assistance and support.

We have been working closely with the 34 displaced residents to help address their needs. As of Friday, December 29, PCH is providing temporary housing and some meals at a local extended-stay hotel for the 24 displaced residents who could not secure housing with friends or relatives. A daily breakfast is provided at the hotel, along with three light dinners per week. In addition, kitchens are available in the suites there, so residents will be able to cook meals.

The Princeton community has already rallied to our displaced residents’ support in a variety of sincere and spontaneous ways. We are coordinating with community organizations in several efforts for household donations and other fundraising. These include the donation site at Trinity Church (33 Mercer Street) for blankets, clothing, shoes, new toiletries, universal gift cards, and non-perishable food.

Because the damage from the fire is significant, it is expected that the reconstruction of the building at Billie Ellis Lane may take several months. We are thus asking all our neighbors, friends, and supporters to help us provide temporary housing for our renters during the reconstruction period and to assist the displaced residents with other immediate and ongoing needs. This includes assistance for those who have found temporary housing with friends or relatives but still need other support due to their displacement.

To this end, Princeton Community Housing has created the “Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund” to aid all those displaced. Donations may be sent to Princeton Community Housing, One Monument Drive, Lower Level, Princeton, NJ 08540. Please make check payable to Princeton Community Housing and note “Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund” on the memo line. You can also donate securely and immediately via credit card at princetoncommunityhousing.org. Gifts to PCH are tax-deductible, as PCH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

We are profoundly grateful for anything and all that you can do to help our displaced residents while we work as quickly and efficiently as possible to restore them to their homes.

Princeton has a big heart: we know we can get through this tragedy together, with your support. Many thanks from all of us! — The Trustees and Staff of Princeton Community Housing.

Edward Truscelli

Executive Director PCH Development Corporation

An Affiliate of Princeton Community Housing

To the Editor:

The fire on December 27 that destroyed 10 homes and displaced 35 people and took the life of one person was a tragedy. The SHUPP [Send Hunger Packing Princeton] group, the School Band, PCH [Princeton Community Housing], Princeton Human Services, and others have shown their kindness in so many ways. SHUPP has transferred $25,000 raised through a Go Fund Me campaign to the PCH non-profit corporation to offset some of the extraordinary expenses these folks have experienced.

A number of the people displaced have found places to stay with families and friends. Some are being housed in a local extended stay hotel. A group of volunteers met recently to sort donated food and clothing for these families. The compassion being shown by the Princeton community is commendable.

These affected people have lost a lot, if not all, of their possessions. Once their homes have been rebuilt, they will need furniture, kitchen supplies, clothing, and lots of household supplies. Starting with the food is a good beginning.

To the supportive families in Princeton, its a pleasure to witness your grace and your generosity.

Bob Rabner

Christopher Drive

Ross Wishnick 

Edgerstoune Road

SHUPP Board Members

To the Editor:

As physicians living in Princeton with children in local public schools, we are encouraged by the district’s decision to move the daily start time from 7:50 to 8:20 a.m. at Princeton High School. There is convincing evidence that later start times — allowing for increased and higher quality sleep — significantly improve adolescent physical and emotional well-being, including academic and athletic performance. It is for this reason that we are asking Princeton Public Schools to work toward an 8:30 or later start time for older students.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sleep deprivation is one of the greatest public health problems in the United States. It impacts millions of people — especially adolescents — causing widespread and well-documented negative consequences to society as a whole. Lack of sleep is associated with adolescent stress, poor academic performance, and an overall decline in social and emotional health, at a time when we already face alarming rates of adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicide.

In 2014, the AAP released a policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” recommending that middle and high school students start school at 8:30 or later to reflect the natural shift in adolescent circadian rhythms. In 2015, the CDC published research about school start times that echoed the AAP’s recommendation and found that nearly two-thirds of adolescents in the United States are chronically sleep deprived.

The August 7, 2017 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes common obstacles faced by proponents of delayed start times. These include concerns about transportation, scheduling of athletic and other after-school activities, as well as a lack of awareness about the link between sleep, school start times, and adolescent health outcomes. The report urges those resistant to later start times to study the compelling research behind this policy recommendation. We hope decision-makers in our community will do the same. More information can be found at www.aap.org and www.CDC.gov.

We also support other recent district initiatives that help alleviate stress and improve the overall health of our students, including changes to the homework policy, healthier cafeteria food options, and updates to the health and physical education curriculum. We hope the PPS superintendent and the Board of Education will implement the AAP’s 8:30 or later start time recommendation for both PHS and JWMS, in the near future, and we encourage the community to support the efforts of our school district to put the health of our children first.

Stephanie Chorney, MD, FAAP

Race Street

Phil Ludmer, MD

Caldwell Drive

David Nathan, MD, DFAPA

Jefferson Road

Abigail Rose, MD, MPH

Wheatsheaf Lane

Bruce Rose, MD, ACM-ASIM;
Helen Rose, MD, FAAP

Linden Lane

To The Editor:

What a joyous feeling I got when riding down one of our Jackson-Witherspoon Neighborhood streets — Lytle Street — and seeing the pretty red ribbons placed down the entire street for holiday decorations! It just showed a sense of neighborly togetherness. I recently went on a bus trip to Bethlehem, Pa. to see the wonderful Christmas decorations throughout the “Christmas City” and I thought of our Lytle Street. Thanks to our Lytle Street neighbors for spreading joy!

Minnie Craig

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

A friend visiting from out of town helped take recycling to the curb last week. Upon wrestling with the cans, he tripped and tumbled into the street. Within seconds, Jefferson Road traffic came to a standstill and people came running out of every car to help us older people. They were wonderfully caring, got Bob up and checked him for injury, helped us back into the house and saw that he was comfortable. They even finished taking out the recycling! X-rays later proved that Bob had cracked two ribs in his back; he has been on medication for pain, but is now back home and doing well.

We both extend a heartfelt thank you to the many who helped!

Berit Marshall

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

We write in appreciation of Patrolman Christopher Best of the Princeton Police Department, who saved our unoccupied house from a massive flood by his timely intervention very late on Christmas night, and later gave us critical information on what to do next — call our insurance company about engaging an emergency remediation service — that we would not otherwise have known and that made a big difference to the condition of our house when we returned from out of town. We are deeply grateful for his professionalism, skill, and generosity. To homeowners more than a thousand miles away, he provided invaluable help and support under very challenging circumstances.

Nancy and Burton Malkiel

North Road

To the Editor:

I was in Leonia, New Jersey last weekend, where I learned that the town does not allow tear-downs unless the house can be proved uninhabitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such a law existed in Princeton, before this town is covered with beige McMansions?

Peggy Skemer

Robert Road

January 3, 2018

To the Editor:

When I read in a past issue of Town Topics that Larry Ivan had died [Obituaries, Dec. 6, pg. 39], I had a lot of remorse. Although I stopped going to the Princeton Community Park Pool in 2005, I was a patron for 20 years and during that time had a lot of contact with Larry Ivan. In my opinion he was a person of honor and profound integrity. I extend my deepest sympathy to his family.

Ethan Finley

Princeton Community Village

To the Editor

Every year in December, I tally my family’s carbon emissions from things like heating our home, driving our car, the food we eat, our purchases and (ouch) our air travel. The CoolClimate network has a fairly detailed carbon calculator that steps you through the process; it is an illuminating exercise. Carbon offsetting happens in the form of a check I send to Cotap, an organization that promotes tree planting and sustainable agroforestry.

This year I’m sending additional carbon offsets to Sustainable Princeton, which has embarked on a two-year mission to build a community climate action plan for our town. I reckon supporting this important work has greater impact in the sense of larger, faster, and local carbon reductions; I hope you will consider doing the same.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

SMOOTH SLIDING: “ShelfGenie is most commonly used in the kitchen and pantry, although it is also helpful in a variety of other spaces. We can work within any size and style kitchen, including older ones. Our philosophy is to maximize the available space and make it more convenient.” Benjamin R. Rozenblat, owner of the ShelfGenie Glide-Out Shelving System franchise in central New Jersey, is shown beside a display of the varied products.

By Jean Stratton

Benjamin R. Rozenblat is a big fan of the ShelfGenie Glide-Out Shelving System. He is so convinced of the value of this product that in 2010 he opened his own franchise serving central New Jersey.

After a career as a mechanical engineer, he decided he wanted a change, and opening a franchise turned out to be a new adventure.  more

December 20, 2017

To the Editor:

The results of last year’s Stanford Challenge Success survey of student experiences at Princeton High School are alarming:

Forty-seven percent of students reported that a stress-related health or emotional problem caused them to miss more than one day of school.

Fifty-six percent reported that a stress-related health or emotional problem caused them to miss a social, extracurricular, or recreational activity more than once in the past month.

Sixty-one percent of students surveyed experienced stress induced headaches, and 33 percent reported difficulty breathing in the past month

These statistics, and what they indicate about the imperiled health and well-being of our young people, are a concern not just for our schools, but our whole community.

Earlier this year, Corner House brought together other representatives from the municipal government, local public and private schools, Princeton University, Trinity Counseling, and student members of Princeton’s Youth Advisory Committee to form the Mayor’s Task Force on Teen Stress. The goal of the task force is to engage parents and other community partners in supporting and complementing the schools’ efforts to tackle this health challenge.

As a first step, members of the Youth Advisory Committee have assembled a Teen Stress Resource Guide, a suggested reading list for parents, adults, and teens. This list contains book recommendations and links to online articles to better inform parents and aid in family conversation. The guide can be found on the town’s website: www.princetonnj.gov.

I invite all members of the community to support the teens of Princeton by learning more about the stressors affecting their health and well-being, and please stay tuned for more ways to engage throughout 2018.

Liz Lempert

Mayor

To the Editor:

The Princeton Public School district is currently considering delaying the start time for both the high school and middle school. I recognize that such a move is remarkably complex and challenging for both the district and many families, yet I am proud that we are taking the time to consider this option. The health consequences for our children are so compelling, we simply must take action.

For decades, scientists have known that teens experience a pronounced shift in their sleep-wake cycle. As they enter puberty, adolescents become naturally wired to fall asleep later. So, it’s no surprise that research has shown that when school start times are delayed, our students sleep longer, are more alert, have higher attendance rates, and achieve greater academic performance. In addition, delayed school start times are associated with fewer car crashes and better mental health outcomes, including fewer suicidal thoughts for our teens. Convincingly, because of these health and academic benefits, a recent RAND report estimated the U.S. economy would gain at least $9 billion a year, simply by delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m.

While we can teach our kids to better manage time, we simply can’t redesign their biological clock. Instead, we need to respect our students during a uniquely vulnerable stage of their lives and do our part to maximize their success. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) all recommend that the start times for both high schools and middle schools be delayed until 8:30 a.m. or later.

For far too long we’ve ignored this research, forcing teens to wake earlier than they are wired, only to wonder why they are so stressed. Fortunately, we can now join schools all around the country in righting this wrong.

Jenny Ludmer

Caldwell Drive

December 13, 2017

To the Editor:

I appreciated the article about Clifford Zink’s book, The Eating Clubs of Princeton [“Book About Princeton’s Eating Clubs Details Architecture and Preservation,” page 5, Dec. 6]. The book illustrates the beautiful architecture of the Princeton University campus and describes the interesting stories around 16 unique entities, many over 100 years old. While the University now owns six of the lots, some with the original structures, 11 still operate as private clubs drawing members from Princeton’s undergraduate community.

Without any burden on our town’s schools or garbage collection services, 10 of the clubs pay property taxes that total over $665,000/year. Through diligent partnership with the University and TIPS training of the undergraduate officers, the clubs endeavor to be “good neighbors” and, in recent years, have required minimal intervention from the police as well.

Doug Rubin

Secretary of the Graduate Board, Charter Club

To the Editor:

Last Monday offered a stunning presentation during Not In Our Town’s (NIOT) monthly “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” at the Princeton Public Library on the necessary topic, “Is Truth and Reconciliation Possible in Princeton?” The panel, moderated by Professor Ruha Benjamin, associate professor of African American Studies, Princeton University, began with Shirley Satterfield, Fern Spruill, and Larry Spruill, leading spokespeople in the black community who gave deeply-moving personal histories.

Over 100 engaged Princeton-area residents heard firsthand narratives about growing up black: stories of discrimination in hospitals, mistreatment by faculty as our schools were first desegregated (1948), hatred and fear of police, the witnessing of the lynching of a family member.

When we then broke up into small groups to discuss what we’d heard, the Community Room became electric, animated to a pitch I had rarely witnessed as a “Continuing Conversations” participant. I was personally humbled by the presenters’ courage and commitment — offering up, yet once again, for (mostly) white ears and hearts, their knowledge of personal historical pasts, riddled still by trauma. They barely catch breath to acknowledge they’re “tired” of teaching those of us who don’t “get it.”

My concern is not that “things have gotten better,” rather, much remains the same. My group said/heard that Princeton parents of children of color still have deep fears about their children on the streets every day, despite much progress made in sensitizing law-enforcement personnel to recognize and reject racial profiling. We heard a former School Board representative say that many problems of the 1990s remain — although a dedicated group of people (many from NIOT) is working with school Superintendent Steve Cochrane and other school personnel to achieve an accurate, eyes-open understanding of white American violence against blacks in the school curricula, along with rebalancing of faculty. We (who are older …) discussed the strain of gathering socially with unfamiliar people — the un-comfort zone we must risk for us to make change happen.

Resisting the status quo is hard. Princeton was once known, well into the 20th century, as the “northernmost city of The South.” The very mixed legacy of Woodrow Wilson (who as president segregated “the races” in federal department buildings) indicates as much.

Much work remains. Rabbi Hillel asks, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14). And Roberto Schiraldi, NIOT’s moderator last Monday, pointedly asked us, “If not here, where?” His question was reiterated by Professor Benjamin, who sharply observed that the word “re-conciliation” assumes that somewhere, in the deep abysm of time, we were unified, not sundered: truth-telling is the beginning of conciliation — yes, the truths some of us carry (too lightly) of being born into cultures of white supremacy and continue to benefit from those inexhaustible granaries.

Come to “Continuing Conversations” meetings (first Monday, every month, 7 p.m., Princeton Public Library, Community Room). You will find many others who want to tell truths, disburden, learn, attempt conciliation.

Daniel Harris

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

The front page article [“University Announces Development Plans,” Town Topics, Dec. 6] looks like it was written in toto by the public relations arm of the University. The piece is filled with vague but upbeat platitudes from University officials about the positive aspects of the plan while making it clear that the initiative is huge both in geographic footprint and enrollment increases.

Nowhere is anyone interviewed who has legitimate concerns about how this mega expansionary plan could disrupt the fabric of our community. I would deem this kind of journalism “unbalanced” without a counter viewpoint.

Thirty years ago when I first moved to Princeton and the University was lobbying for another of their “transformational” campus enhancements, a sage skeptic of their plans warned me that the University played a “long game” and was prepared to outlive all opposition.

I almost started laughing when I saw that all their new proposals were cast towards the year 2026, a truly “long game” until I realized that the time to begin seriously questioning this latest University-driven juggernaut, though a decade away from completion, is right now.

Nelson Obus

Russell Road

QUALITY CARE: “I have a broad area of practice. I do it all, and I love the diversity. With dermatology, we do a lot of procedures in the office. I can see the problem and then treat it properly. We see all kinds of patients — all ages, men, women, children, even babies.” David Nieves, MD, makes sure that all his patients receive quality care and attention.

By Jean Stratton

Too much sun is definitely not your friend, says dermatologist Dr. David Nieves.

“I want people to know there is no such thing as a healthy tan. It damages the skin. The best skin maintenance is to stay out of the sun. If not, take protective measures: wear sunscreen — at least 30 SPF or greater. Wear a hat, sit under an umbrella. Avoid unnecessary exposure.” more

December 6, 2017

To the Editor:

I am writing in reaction to the front page article titled, “School and Community Call On All Parties to Help Combat Hate” (Town Topics, Nov. 22). Clearly racism and hatred have no place in our schools, or frankly anywhere. I applaud the efforts of our community leaders to combat it. While I abhor the thought of racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic language being written into an assignment visible to all eigth grade students, what also struck me about this episode is the absence of reflection on the circumstances that enabled it to occur. Behavior is most often attributable to a combination of personal traits and situational factors. Likely the person who wrote the racist and sexist language does not behave as a racist and sexist in every situation, and obviously not every student wrote hate speech on the assignment. We do not know the motivations of the student or students who wrote this. While the most salient motivator may be that he or she is a racist and sexist teenager, I can also easily imagine that this student is a mischievous kid who saw an opportunity to create some havoc and chose to do so. To me, discussion of this issue ought to be as much about the circumstances that enabled this to occur as it is concern for finding the perpetrator of the vile language.

From what I have read locally, the assignment was sent home in the interest of speeding up data entry. Expediency should not be the driving force when determining whether or not to use technology to facilitate learning. Raising children in this digital age requires a heightened understanding of the capabilities of the technology we allow our children to use and appropriate safeguards to positively direct their use of it. It strikes me that in this instance, a casual use of technology to support a lesson provided the opportunity for abuse of the technology, and someone took advantage of that opportunity. This suggests a need for a conversation about how technology is used inside and outside the classroom so we can minimize the opportunity for abuse. Two salient recommendations I would offer are appropriate training for those involved with technology-assisted assignments, and rigorous standards for the use of technology to support learning. Either proper protocols were in place and not followed, or lax protocols created an easy opportunity for misuse. Neither scenario should be tolerated.

Greg Robinson

Clearview Avenue