June 20, 2012

Family businesses, especially those that have stood the test of time, are rare today. Princeton has provided a congenial setting for a number of such firms over the years, but not many remain today. An exception is Hamilton Jewelers, located at 92 Nassau Street.

And not only has it marked 24 years in the Princeton location, it has a centennial celebration this year — 100 years since its 1912 beginnings in Trenton.

Irving Siegel purchased the business in 1925 for $15,000, and Hamilton Chairman Martin Siegel takes time to reflect on what it has meant to the family. “I started to help my dad in the business when I was 12 years old. I never thought of doing anything else. I came into the business formally in 1955, and now my son Hank is President and CEO. It has meant more than I ever expected to have the family business continue. It’s the dream of a father, passed on to a son and grandson.”

Excellent Quality

The business thrived over the years, and today, there are five stores; one each in Lawrenceville, Red Bank, two in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Princeton location.

Hamilton is known for its extensive selection of fine jewelry, estate and antique jewelry, watches, and giftware. Its own “Hamilton Collection” has become a signature part of the store’s inventory, and it is known for excellent quality at reasonable prices. Many of the pieces can be customized for additional personalizing.

Finding the latest and finest examples of quality jewelry often requires traveling to far away place, notes Vice President Donna Bouchard. “We bring in things from all over the world. We had a collection from India, and Hank was just in China. He finds the most amazing items.”

Having an eye out for inventive designs and the latest techniques is important in a fast-changing world. “We have tried to adapt our business model to best suit the needs of our clients, and we will continually embrace new technology and ideas to always improve our service and offerings,” points out Hank Siegel.

“The big change has been in the technology,” adds Ms. Bouchard. “A lot of people now shop on-line. We started our website 15 years ago, and it’s a thriving part of the business.”

“We try to be on the cutting edge of what is going on,” notes Martin Siegel. “We offer new and innovative ideas to our customers.”

Range of Styles

In addition to its signature Hamilton Collection, the store has always offered the creations of the finest jewelry designers, some exclusive to Hamilton.

Timepieces from internationally renowned watchmakers are a highlight at the store and available in a wide range of styles, all featuring the finest craftsmanship combined with modern technology. Hamilton’s in-house workshop features several certified Swiss watchmakers and master jewelers to provide high quality service for jewelry and watches.

Antique and estate jewelry and watches are another important feature at Hamilton. This distinctive selection is of special interest to those who appreciate pieces which carry the added dimension of untold stories of times past.

Giftware includes china, crystal, sterling silver, home accessories, and more. In addition, a Business Gift and Insignia Division is available for corporate gifting, and a VIP e-mail program delivers timely event announcements and exclusive product offerings.

With Father’s Day and graduations ahead, watches are always a welcome gift and can be engraved, notes Ms. Bouchard. “For girls, a first strand of pearls, gold hoop earrings, or diamond stud earrings are all good gifts.”

Even with all the fashion changes over the years, certain items can be counted on — diamonds, gold, and pearls, she adds. That string of pearls remains the jewelry of choice for many women. Pearls continue to endure and fascinate.

Happy Business

“This is a happy business. People are often celebrating special times in their lives,” points out Ms. Bouchard. “And they love jewelry! There is so much history to it. It was once used as currency in trading, and for some people, it serves as an amulet to bring good fortune or prevent bad times. It’s something you wear. It says a lot about your personal style and what you want to express.”

“Jewelry has been worn over the centuries as an adornment and as a symbol of love and caring,” adds Martin Siegel. “It is also a lasting gift that can be passed on as an heirloom from one generation to another.”

Hamilton offers items at a wide price range, to suit just about any pocketbook. Pearl bracelets start at $25, and the Hamilton Collection offers pieces, including silver, under $50. Then, there are those exceptional items in the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The Siegels have always emphasized the importance of service, adds Ms. Bouchard. “We are set apart by our service and our attention to detail. Every one of our associates thinks about the relationship, not the immediate transaction. It’s the development of a long-term relationship that is important.”

Personal Greeting

As Mr. Siegel notes, “When my father took over this company in 1925, he started a custom of personally greeting each visitor. This warm gesture established the spirit of friendliness you find today at every Hamilton store.”

Ms. Bouchard has also been impressed with the Siegels’ employee involvement. “The business is very personal to the Siegel family. They pay attention to every detail. There are 125 employees, and Hank knows each one and has a personal relationship with every employee.”

Giving back to their communities has also been important to the Siegels, and Hamilton has supported numerous charities and organizations over the years. Currently, they have initiated “100 Days of Giving” in commemoration of their 100th anniversary. The program encourages all Hamilton associates to volunteer their time to an organization of their choice in their community. They volunteer one work day of service to the charity, and receive a full day’s compensation from Hamilton.

Hamilton is hoping to yield 100 full days of commitment to a wide range of organizations.

“For 100 years, we have enjoyed the support and loyalty of our communities,” says Hank Siegel. “We are proud to offer a way for our company and associates to give back. It was important for us to construct a program that could be relevant for each associate, while supporting the overall needs of our neighborhoods.”

Hamilton is also planning a series of other events to commemorate their anniversary.

The store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 8, and Saturday 12 to 5. (609) 683-4200. Website: www.hamiltonjewelers.com.


SENIOR SERVICES: “We are trying to create an atmosphere of home and an opportunity for residents to age in place,” says the staff at Brandywine Senior Living Center at Princeton. Shown (left to right) are residents Gloria Pyne, Theresa Farkas, and Doris Bishop, taking part in the “Roots of Love” horticulture class.

Princeton is fortunate to have many choices of living arrangements for older adults. From independent to assisted living to long-term or continuing care, the options are abundant.

Choices can diminish for older people generally, notes Ellen Reid, Director of Community Relations at Brandywine Senior Living at Princeton. “We offer our residents a variety of opportunities and flexibility at Brandywine, and they appreciate these choices.”

Brandywine Senior Living at Princeton opened in October 2011 at the former site of Buckingham Place, 155 Raymond Road. Brandywine, which operates 24 senior living communities in five states in the mid-Atlantic and northeast U.S., purchased Buckingham Place’s assisted living and memory facility. The Buckingham Place adult daycare program is still in operation at the Raymond Road location.

As a leading provider of quality care for older adults, Brandywine offers assisted living, including nurses on-site 24 hours every day, as well as a special “Reflections” program for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s-type conditions. It also provides short-term respite care and rehabilitation care.

Life-style Choices

The entire Buckingham facility was renovated, with new decor, featuring the Brandywine signature green and gold colors, as well as new artwork. 124 residents can be accommodated in comfortable studio or one-bedroom apartments, with a number featuring kitchenette including refrigerator/freezer, and microwave.

The attractive outdoor landscaping offers colorful gardens and plantings, and walkways for residents.

Life-style choices, including activities, trips, flexible dining times, abound at Brandywine. “We have all-day restaurant dining, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” points out Ms. Reid. “This is a program unique to Brandywine and enables residents to select whatever time they wish to eat.”

In addition, there is a private dining room in which residents can entertain friends and family for special dinners or parties.

These opportunities for choices help to validate the residents as individuals, adds executive director Holly Minnis. “They decide what they want to do. It’s up to them.”

And, indeed, there is much to do! A library stocked with best sellers, game room with pool table and slot machine, activity room with arts, crafts and cards available, book club, exercise, computer, cooking and art classes, gardening areas, daily on-site movies, as well as outings to museums and theaters are all available.

Residents also have the opportunity to act in the monthly plays held at the center, notes Stephanie Gaber, Director of Activities/Escapades Producer. “Curtain Calls is our once-a-month drama program. The residents audition to be in the play, and then they perform it for the other residents, family and friends. They love this!

“There is so much for people to do here. They love our ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ wheel game held twice a month, and there are real ‘card sharks’ for bridge, poker, and 21. We also have intergenerational programs with children from area schools and organizations. These are very popular, and the residents enjoy being with the kids.”

Special Events

Special events, such as residents’ birthday parties, theme parties, and Valentine’s Day parties for couples (a number of married couples live at Brandywine) are other amenities, she adds. “We had champagne, a strolling violinist, and the couples renewed their vows on Valentine’s Day.”

Entertainers, including “Seniors Entertaining Seniors” come to the center, and trips and outings are also available. “We go to museums, concerts, movies, theater, and to area places, such as Drumthwacket, Bainbridge House, Grounds for Sculpture, Terhune Orchards, Morven Museum and Gift Shop, and restaurants.”

In addition, amenities and services include basic cable TV, complimentary transportation to medical appointments in the area, weekly housekeeping (towel and bed linen service), full service beauty salon and barber shop, personal mail boxes, and a bistro with beverages and snacks available 24/7.

Residents are typically in their seventies up to 100-plus, with a median age of 82 to 83, notes Ms. Minnis. Brandywine gives them the opportunity to remain in their apartment, even as their health needs may change.

“Doctors, including primary care physicians, podiatrists, dentists, and wound care specialists, visit weekly, and we also have a psychiatrist and psychologist on-site. If someone needs a home health aide or ultimately, hospice care, this can be arranged. There are different levels of care available, and our team puts a health plan together for the residents, and continues to monitor their situation.

“Everything is as convenient as possible,” she emphasizes. “If they have an appointment with their doctor here, they don’t have to wait or drive to an office. It’s so much easier for them and their extended family. There is also a wellness center with portable X-ray and lab work service. Physical therapy is available. All our residents’ needs are met. Their apartments are checked every day to make sure everything is all right.”

Motivated and Engaged

“We offer an opportunity for people to be independent, and at the same time not to have to worry about cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and housekeeping, etc.,” points out Ms. Reid.

The Brandywine staff makes it all possible, and sets the tone, note the administrators. Most staff members have been with Brandywine or Buckingham Place for many years. “We are set apart by our staff,” notes Ms. Minnis. “The staff here is the best clinical staff I have ever seen. They are highly motivated and engaged. They really care about the residents. It takes a certain kind of person, and our staff members are patient, caring, and capable.

“In addition, prior to anyone being hired, they are subject to a complete and thorough screening and background check. This is extremely important for the welfare of our residents. We want them to have the best care possible, and they do.”

Deb Shane, Brandywine Senior Creative Director, stresses the importance of continuing training and education for the staff. “We have ongoing education, emphasizing new ways to learn and grow, and there is always something new happening. We want to keep things fresh, as we strive to make a difference in the residents’ lives.”

“I feel we are making a difference in their lives,” says Ms. Reid, and that difference can extend to the entire family, she notes. “When families come in to talk with me, they can be in crisis. It’s amazing what people are juggling today. I am so pleased we are able to help and share these moments in their lives.”

“I originally worked in long-term care,” adds Ms. Gaber. “There was very little assisted living then. This has been a big change, and also, the opportunity for activities has really changed. There are so many options and kinds of stimulation offered now. This is so important.

“I love coming to work,” she continues. “Older people have stories to tell and a history to share. We have fun together. It’s wonderful when someone says they had such a good time at an event or outing. I walk away with a really good feeling.”

For further information about Brandywine, call (732) 329-8888. Website: www.brandycare.com.


June 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone in the Princeton community who supported me in the primary campaign. Whenever I asked for your help or came to your door, you encouraged me and you made me feel welcome in your homes, regardless of whether we agreed on all of the issues.

Thank you also to my fellow candidates. I recognize the contributions that each of you has made and continue to make to the Princeton community. Together we shared a common goal to work for the betterment of our community, and that shared sense of purpose surpassed the competitive aspect of the campaign.

This was an unprecedented and historic vote, the first time we voted as one Princeton, and I am proud to be part of that. I am honored to have been chosen as a Democratic candidate for Council, and I remain committed to delivering on the promise of consolidation for our community, focusing on the safety and security of Princeton during weather and other emergencies, and nurturing more collaborative and productive relationships between our town and its key institutional stakeholders.

Finally, thank you to all who voted in the primary on Tuesday June 5. Through our collective participation, we recognized and expressed our differences while at the same time helping to set Princeton more firmly on its path to a promising future as one united town.

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

The Nearly New Shop (located above Redding’s, at the corner of Nassau and Chestnut Streets, and open since 1947) is scheduled to close at the end of July, by directive of the Head of Princeton Day School, which oversees the second-hand clothing shop. We and our friends deeply value the Nearly New Shop, and are distressed about the announced closing. We appreciate the shop as a way to recycle goods within the local community and often come there for economical clothing for both ourselves and our children. We love the cheerful ladies who manage the shop so wonderfully and have kept it going all these years. We especially appreciate the store as a pleasant and convenient center-of-town donation location for both clothing and other household goods — in fact, this is the only such donation location in central Princeton that is an actual store rather than a faceless “drop-box” for charity operations. Most important of all, we appreciate all the good the shop does in the community by providing truly affordable quality clothing and other goods to local people in need.

We ask the Princeton Day School to reconsider their decision to close the store. If it is simply no longer possible for the Princeton Day School to support the Nearly New Shop, then we hope this letter might inspire another institution, perhaps another local private school, to take over the shop and keep it going, rather than close it altogether.

Julie Landweber, Tom Hagedorn

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

New Jersey’s State Senate is considering a bill freeing private universities like Princeton from needing planning-board approval for expansion — like Princeton’s $300-million performing-arts classrooms. This means that any land the University can buy, it can exempt from property tax.

Since public colleges can already develop without municipal approval, private colleges shouldn’t need approval either, according to the bill. The approval process is often “quite time consuming and expensive,” the bill says. It can delay “important educational programs and facilities for students” and divert “critical funding away from educational purposes.” A university’s “vital public mission should not be unduly limited or restricted” by the municipality that hosts it.

But if the bill passes, couldn’t universities limit or restrict their municipalities? The new legislation tries to correct this new imbalance: exemption from planning approval “must be exercised in a reasonable fashion.” Private universities contemplating development must still “allow for input in order to minimize potential conflicts with local governmental interests.”

I no longer expect Princeton University to act in “a reasonable fashion,” however. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Vice President Durkee “allow for input” by saying “We’d be happy to look at that,” I’d be happy too.

Everyone in Princeton supports the arts. But the University’s proposed Arts “and” Transit “Neighborhood” still needs planning approval:

Would a new 75-seat dance studio, 75-seat black box theater, and 80-seat “orchestra rehearsal room” benefit us substantially?

Would bulldozing every inch of land between Alexander Street and the Dinky tracks, from University Place halfway to Faculty Road, improve our environment?

Would moving the Dinky station out of light traffic into horrendous traffic lessen our carbon footprint?

Could the University build its performing-arts classrooms somewhere else?

Even on Alexander, could it build those classrooms without moving the Dinky?

Would off-street parking much farther downhill benefit McCarter Theater?

Would a restaurant four blocks from Nassau Street help downtown merchants?

Suppose you answered every question in the University’s favor. Should the University’s expansion always be unrestricted?

To read the bill, visit www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S2000/1534_I1.PDF. And, for the names and phone numbers of our new District 16 legislators, see www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/districtnumbers.asp#16. Then you can really have input.

Anne Waldron Neumann

Alexander Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of The Spirit of Princeton Committee and the entire Princeton community, I would like to offer a most appreciative thank you to the dozens of committed volunteers who made the Memorial Day Parade festivities such a success. Through their efforts, the Princeton community was able to honor the nation’s veterans in a festive and dignified manner.

Kam Amirzafari, as chairperson of the parade, and Mark Freda, as vice-chair of the Spirit of Princeton, were the quarterbacks of the event. A special community service honor (Bud Vivian Community Service Award administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation) was presented to The Spirit of Princeton founders Herb Hobler and Ray Wadsworth, who still serve as chairpersons of the group. They donated the award money to The Spirit of Princeton, a charitable non-profit organization producing the Memorial Day Parade, Flag Day Ceremony, Independence Day Fireworks, and Veterans Day Ceremony.

The following groups and individuals gave their invaluable support to the parade (please forgive any omissions — everyone’s role was noteworthy): the sailors, marines, and airmen from Ft. Dix, McGuire, Lakehurst, and Weapon Station EARLE, Princeton Borough Administration, Princeton Township Administration, Princeton Borough Police Department, Princeton University, Princeton Borough Public Works, Princeton Recreation Department, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Operation Shoe Box NJ, bai Drinks, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Fire Department, Princeton Avenue Neighborhood, Princeton Rotary, Jackie Wadsworth, Commander Frank Sequin, Lorraine Simbala, Lee Wofford, Brad Ackerman, Nancy Kieling, Rod Hirsch, Bill Spadea, Teena Cahill, Linda Twining, Michael Marino, Eric Payne, Sherry Maclean Maurer, Jerry Maclean, Doug Dreger, Emma Dreger, Jack Dreger, Caitlyn Harms, Trevor Harms, and Karen Woodbridge.

We look forward to seeing the community at the Flag Day celebration on June 14, 2012, noon, at Princeton Township Municipal Building Plaza and then again on July 2 for the Independence Day Fireworks on the fields next to Princeton University stadium below Western Way.

Pam Hersh

On behalf of The Spirit of Princeton Committee

To the Editor:

Picture this: You’re driving down Route 1 south toward South Harrison Street. The light turns red, changed by an approaching ambulance. You’re first in line at the light and you turn right onto South Harrison, right into the path of an approaching ambulance. There is no “No Right Turn on Red” sign at the corner of Route 1 south and South Harrison Street. An unsuspecting motorist, not knowing that an ambulance driver has changed the traffic light, makes a right turn. An ambulance could be in the lane of the unsuspecting driver because the two right turn lanes on South Harrison, approaching Route 1 are jammed with traffic, so the ambulance swings around them into the lane for the traffic that heads north on Harrison Street from Route 1. Due to thick shrubs on that corner, a motorist would not see the approaching ambulance until actually turning the corner.

I wonder why the “powers that be” never thought of this potential for disaster? I’ve traveled that route twice now and it occurred to me each time that there was a major slip-up in the planning. This situation can be fixed by simply adding a “No Turn On Red Sign” at the Route 1 south corner at South Harrison Street. I find it impossible to believe that engineers who design the roads and install signs never saw this potential hazard.

There is a problem, a fixable problem. A sign could save lives.

Claudette Ramsey

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of all of us at the YWCA Princeton, I would like to thank Amy and Barry Rabner for their generosity in hosting the “Tantalizing Tastes of Tuscany” benefit on May 19. Due to their generosity and hospitality, more than $5,000 was raised for the YWCA’s Bates Scholarship Fund. This important program enables women and their families throughout Mercer County to take advantage of programs and services they would otherwise be unable to afford. In addition to Amy and Barry, I want to thank the many YWCA supporters who attended the event; evening chef Fred Mechini; and the numerous volunteers who worked to make this evening a success, including Margaret Coppola, Beth Crutcher, Ilyndove Healy, Karen Klein, Kyle Mechini, Lorine Murray-Mechini, Doodie Meyer, Maria Sypek, and Arthur Sypek.

Judy Hutton

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Princeton

To the Editor:

I want to thank the voters for choosing me as the Democratic nominee for mayor in last Tuesday’s primary. Special thanks to my campaign team, including Wendy Kaczerski, Bob and Betty Fleming, Claire Jacobus, Anne Burns, Sarah Smith, John Cashman, and Chad Goerner, and to all the volunteers who hosted parties, walked door-to-door, made phone calls, wrote letters, stuffed envelopes and waved signs. I’m proud we ran a positive, grassroots campaign that aimed to unify our community — it’s exactly the kind of campaign I plan to run for November.

I want to congratulate Kevin Wilkes on a hard-fought and well-run campaign, and thank him for his continuing service to the community. I also want to acknowledge Roger Martindell for his decades of service, and council candidates Tamera Matteo and Scott Sillars. Tamera offered fresh ideas and through her campaign gave voice to groups who have felt unheard. Scott continues to help make our government stronger by lending his financial skills to the Township’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee and the Transition Task Force.

Congratulations to all of the nominees for Council. I look forward to working with you to make consolidation a success.

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

I would like to thank everyone who came out in the Democratic Primary to support my efforts to become a member of the new Princeton Council. Although I was not successful in my bid for the nomination, I take great pride in the fact that we ran a positive and inclusive campaign. We were able to motivate many Democrats to get excited about local politics for the first time while also engaging longtime party supporters. The experience was very rewarding.

I would like to congratulate the six candidates who won the primary and congratulate Liz Lempert on becoming the Democratic candidate for mayor of the new consolidated Princeton. I pledge my support to the Democratic slate for the November election.

On a personal note, I would like to thank “Team Tamera,” which grew to include too many wonderful friends to name individually, but who all know how much I appreciate them! I would especially like to thank my family, Joe, Lucia, and Luke, for their unwavering support of my efforts.

Public service is a fundamental aspect of who I am, so I promise to stay actively involved in our community and to do the best I can to advance the community values that we all cherish.

Tamera Matteo

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

I have always been extremely proud to be a resident of Princeton. This is a community that values its uniqueness of accepting and respecting others of different view points. These recent primary elections of June 5 clearly exemplified the caring and trust this community has placed in their elected officials. I am humble and honored to be one of the chosen elected officials.

I pledge to continue to be respectful, thoughtful, honest, caring, and available to all members of our community. I pledge to work with any candidate chosen to represent you on the new Princeton Council. My dream is that the days of bickering and non-agreements simply to prove a point are over. My dream is that days of inefficient local government are over. My dream is the days of poor customer service from our municipal or elected officials are over. Your vote on June 5, should have sent a clear message that you want the new Princeton council to work. If you want these dreams to be a reality, we must keep fighting and vote on November 6, 2012, for the council members that are also dreaming of a terrific working Princeton Council. I would like to especially thank my lovely wife, Latonya Kilpatrick-Liverman, and my children Kelsey, Ashlyn, Savanna, and my mother Minnie Rhodes for sharing me with the Princeton community. A special thank you to Elizabeth Bates and Ross and Leslie Wishnick for hosting events leading up the election. I must also thank Walter Bliss, John Durbin, and Peter Wolanin for tons of logistic help. Last but not least, my thanks go to two treasurers who worked to keep all finances under control, Jacqueline Tillman and Adele Agin.

“Ready to Serve.”

Lance Liverman

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

Princeton approaches an historic moment as our two municipalities combine to create one town – one Princeton.

When I embarked on my journey to become the Democratic nominee for mayor this fall, my focus was to lead the Princeton residents toward the realization of the goals of consolidation: a leaner and more efficient government.

Obviously, losing the primary last week was not part of my plan. But in order to realize the full potential of municipal consolidation, I firmly believe that Princetonians must unite behind the Democratic mayoral nominee Liz Lempert and the entire Democratic slate in November’s general election.

I want to offer my congratulations and support to Liz and the rest of the Democrats who will be on the ballot in November. I will continue to devote my energies to ensure that consolidation and our future in Princeton respond to the hopes and promises for which we have campaigned.

I will continue to serve the residents of the Borough as their elected Councilman building the foundation for a strong and stable Princeton until my term ends in December. I will also focus on the restoration of Paul Robeson’s boyhood home on the corner of Green and Witherspoon Streets as a community resource center that will honor Robeson’s legacy while promoting public good throughout and beyond the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. This is a commitment I have made to the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church and I am excited to dig into the hard work of fundraising and construction.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of my friends, supporters, staff, and volunteers who have given me so much of their time and energy over these past couple of months. I am forever grateful.

Onward toward a united Princeton!

Kevin Wilkes

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township voters took the opportunity to retire me from local government at the end of this year by voting in greater numbers for other candidates in the Democratic primary election June 5. The vote occurred as I completed 23 years on Borough Council.

I have mixed emotions about the election outcome, as I wanted to pursue the promise of consolidation, which I have supported since the 1990s. But I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve all Princeton residents, taxpayers, and voters during three decades, continuing a family tradition.

In the time remaining, I intend to continue working to:

• Aggressively pursue property tax restraint

• Use consolidation to enhance municipal services at no cost increase

• Refuse to enter into consolidation with a “Township” or “Borough” bias

• Seek greater contributions in lieu of taxation from non-profits

• Improve the quality of municipal negotiations with community stakeholders

• Articulate middle ground — e.g., we can support the arts district AND the Dinky right of way; they are not mutually exclusive

• Insist on comprehensive, vigorous land use planning

• Analyze issues carefully, not relying on slogans or group-think

• Set the highest standards for local police, and hold them to it

• Advance the liberal ideals of the Democratic Party, with a libertarian bent

With thanks to all!

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

CAFÉ WITH A CACHET: “Everything here is gourmet, and it is all European inspired. We even play European music during the day.” Adriano Didonato, director of operations, is very enthusiastic about the new Bon Appetit Café in Princeton Forrestal Village.

Bon Appetit in the Princeton Shopping Center is a Princeton tradition. Established in 1964, it has always represented the finest quality in gourmet items from around the world, prepared food, and more than 250 different kinds of cheeses.

Now, owner Bill Lettier has extended its reach to Princeton Forrestal Village with the new Bon Appetit Café. “We had wanted to establish a new location, and we felt something was missing at Forrestal,” explains Bon Appetit director of operations Adriano Didonato. “There is the food court and full sit-down restaurants, but nothing in between. We thought there was a need for healthy gourmet food in a different setting. We could offer a café where you can get the best food, but not have to spend too long. It’s something different.”

The café, which opened last December, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with most of the food brought over from Bon Appetit’s flagship store in the Princeton Shopping Center.

“We already have a loyal group of regular customers, including lots of Forrestal office workers and store employees at lunch time,” says Mr. Didonato. “We get people from the gym, also shoppers, and many from Princeton. On Saturdays, we have a lot of families and kids, including many repeats.”

Big Draw

Bon Appetit’s popular sandwiches, salads, and pastries are a mainstay, but the café offers something new that has proved to be inspired.

“The really big draw is our crepes,” Mr. Didonato reports. “We make fresh crepes, and we’re the only ones in the area doing it. We wanted to offer something warm in the morning, and they have been a big hit. The inspiration for them really came from New York. We went and checked out a lot of restaurants that served crepes there. And we also wanted them to be reasonably priced. We offer both sweet and savory.”

Customers love them all! “These are the best crepes ever. They have wonderful flavor and taste great,” reports an enthusiastic customer.”

“The Classic” with two eggs, ham and Gruyere cheese, “The Monterey Jack”. including scrambled eggs, pepper Jack cheese, tomato, sour cream, and avocado; and “The Southwest”, with roasted chicken, cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, and chipotle sauce are all big sellers.

Those with a sweet tooth have even more choices: “Italian Banana” with Nutella, fresh sliced bananas, dusted in powdered sugar, and topped with whipped cream and strawberries; “Spanish Treat” with dulce de leche sauce, dusted with powdered sugar, and topped with whipped cream; also “White Strawberry”, including white chocolate sauce, fresh sliced strawberries, dusted with powdered sugar, and topped with whipped cream are all specialties.

Other equally irresistible choices include “Belgian Classic” and “Fresh Exotic”.

Signature Sandwiches

Also popular are the café’s sandwiches and salads. Classic sandwiches feature bread, wraps, croissants, and foccacia. Signature sandwiches are served on baguettes. Classics range from the ever-popular BLT to chicken curry or tuna salad to ham and cheese to turkey and lingon berries to grilled portobello, hummus, and roasted red peppers on a spinach wrap.

Signature sandwiches include “The Italian” with mortadella, ham, salami, provolone, lettuce and toasted red wine vinaigrette; “Grand Bleu” with smoked turkey, caramel, red onion, blue cheese, arugula, and arugula mayonnaise; classic club; and turkey, brie, and mayonnaise chutney, among many other choices.

Bon Appetit’s fresh baked bread is available, and the wide variety of muffins, cookies, Danishes, and also chocolate croissants are other treats.

Beverages include coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate, and chai tea, as well as organic juices, special sodas, such as Dr. Brown, and also Coke.

Corporate and box lunches are also offered.

A variety of items can be purchased, including teas, nuts, cookies, and candy, such as chocolate-covered espresso beans and chocolate-covered dried fruit.

Prices include $5.99 for classic sandwiches, $6.49 for salads, and $5.99 for sweet crepes.

Down-to-Earth

The café, which can seat 24, with its attractive, uncrowded setting, offers a friendly down-to-earth ambiance. Pictures of artisan cheeses and bread highlight the walls, and large baskets are filled with assorted products, such as Bon Appetit coffees. Windows face the large fountain across from the Westin Hotel, and outdoor tables will be available in the spring.

“We think we are set apart,” points out Mr. Didonato. “Everything we offer is made fresh every day, with fresh ingredients, and some items and sauces are exclusive to Bon Appetit. Our ambiance is different, with an artisanal European feeling. We have sponge-painted walls, and we definitely didn’t want to be crowded.

“We have a really good staff, including general manager Erin Miller, and we have all worked together to make this happen. It has been a real team effort. The original idea was Bill’s, but we all helped with ideas and the decor, etc.”

Mr. Didonato’s own Bon Appetit career began when he was 15. “I did everything and over time, I learned every aspect of the business, and did every job. The greatest thing I can say, as director of operations, is that it’s a big treat to put your own stamp on things and feel you can really have an influence on what happens.

“I try to plan carefully, and we want to keep on improving and expanding what we offer. We will have an ice machine in the summer, so we can have iced tea and coffee. It’s exciting to be involved in a new venture and to keep adding new ideas and items for the customers.

“We are very encouraged. We’re off to a great start, and we look forward to becoming a destination place.”

The café is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 to 6. (609) 454-5683.


BODY AND SOUL: “Gratitude Yoga integrates the physical practice of yoga with mindfulness meditation practices and the cultivation of compassion. Yoga is a vehicle for self-discovery and a means for increasing our awareness of the present moment, cultivating wisdom and compassion, and above all, opening our hearts to love and to serve others.” Gemma Farrell, owner of Gratitude Yoga, looks forward to introducing more people to the benefits of yoga.

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away,

A sordid boon!”

That was what William Wordsworth had to say in 1806. Imagine what he might think today!

Because of a world “too much with us”, many people are enjoying the calm and tranquility available in an hour session of yoga. It has been increasing in popularity, with practitioners participating in a variety of different yoga styles. The desire for calm and quiet is often the initial attraction.

“I just wanted to find a quiet place for an hour, where the phone wouldn’t ring,” says a Princeton resident, who has additionally discovered the benefits of exercise and toning the practice of yoga also brings.

Sustainable Exercise

One of the newest yoga studios on the scene is Gratitude Yoga at 27 Witherspoon Street. Opened last January by certified instructor Gemma Farrell, it offers several types of yoga in an attractive spacious setting at the back of the Holsome Tea & Herbs location.

“People have come to see yoga as a means of exercise that is sustainable,” points out Ms. Farrell. “It combines strength and flexibility, and it emphasizes the core. This is very important.

“There is also a spiritual component. It is very calming and tranquil, and we help our students to be in the moment and to be aware of their body. I love the opportunity to connect on this level and help people develop compassion and understanding of themselves.”

Ms. Farrell focuses on Vinyasa yoga, which emphasizes flow, she explains. She also combines it with aspects of other types of yoga. “Our current approach fuses the alignment precepts of Iyengar with the freedom and creativity of a Vinyasa flow practice, and incorporates the deeper release stretching and meditation aspects of Yin yoga.

Iyengar, power, hot flow, and Baptiste yoga are all available at Gratitude Yoga. Classes include gentle to strenuous, and students of all levels, from beginners to advanced, participate.

“There are typically 30 in my classes, and they are men and women and all ages, from teens to people in their 80s,” reports Ms. Farrell. Classes are usually one hour and 15 to 20 minutes, and are offered in the morning and evening, although there are some afternoon classes, including the popular noon lunchtime 45-minute session.

Seven Days

“Some people come several times a week,” she adds,” and some even come every day. Others come on a weekly basis. It varies from person to person.”

Teachers establish their own hours, and the studio is open seven days.

“Payment is by donation, and people pay what they are able to afford,” she explains. “We have a box for the donations.”

A pre-natal yoga class is also available, as are classes in Pilates, Tai Chi, and martial arts.

Ms. Farrell has been very pleased and encouraged with the response to her studio in such a short time. She is motivated to share yoga’s benefits with as many people as possible. “One of the most important things is helping students to keep in touch with themselves. We are so accustomed to projecting outward. This is a way to look inward and to become more comfortable and compassionate with yourself. And gratitude is so important. Out of the spirit of gratitude, we cultivate compassion for others.

“It is in the spirit of gratitude that I want to share the benefits of yoga so more people can experience it. In yoga, people can practice human connection.”

In addition to the yoga classes, Ms. Farrell is offering the “Gratitude Cleanse, a 21-day program to cleanse your body, open your mind, and awaken your heart.”

Inner Peace

The program, starting on June 1, is based on Ms. Farrell’s new book Gratitude Cleanse, which features daily instruction, nutritional information, yoga poses, spiritual reflections, and many raw vegan recipes. As she notes in the book’s introduction, “In addition to working with food to cleanse your body, you also may want to take these three weeks to incorporate other life-style habits that will promote well-being and a sense of inner peace.

“It is encouraging to know that we possess the potential for growth in many different directions. As you adopt some of the diet and life-style changes recommended in this cleanse, it may be helpful to recall the concept of seed potential. Recognizing and touching the positive seed within ourselves and others is the first step in promoting positive changes and in growing a compassionate, expansive, wise heart.”

For more information on the Gratitude Cleanse and Gratitude Yoga, call (732) 642-9721. Website: www.gratitudeyoga.org. E-mail: gemma@gratitudeyoga.org.

“Never be afraid to get in the game.”
—David Everman, Lawrenceville

Dhruv: “When you play a sport, you should play it with a fire in your heart. So you’re always strong and you never give up hope in what you’re doing.”
Ria: “Read the question through before you try to answer it.”
—Dhruv (left) and Ria Sharma, Princeton

“Make sure you know how you’re going to pay for everything you want.”
—Richard Harrison with daughter Alana, Montgomery

Avery: “I love you.”
Reece: “Stay focused.”
—Avery (left) and Reece Gallagher, Lawrenceville

“Take time to go fishing.”
—Jim Smirk with daughter Emma, Yardley, Pa.

“When you’re running in races: Don’t look back at the competition behind you.” —Jenna Cody, Cranbury

June 6, 2012

“We have a choice among some excellent candidates. I really think it’s a very strong group. Because this is the first consolidated election, I think there’s a higher level of interest than in the past. As I drive through Princeton, I see yard signs that you almost never see for primaries. The fact that people are aware and focused is fantastic.”  —Brian McDonald, Princeton

“I am pleased with the candidates, but I need to get a little more familiar with a couple that I am not familiar with yet. I do think that it is definitely significant as we are going into consolidation. We need some good people to make this change.” —Susan Colby, Princeton

“Yes and yes, I think it’s very significant because it’s the first government of the new Princeton. There are issues that need to be thought about from the former Borough and Township. I’m a Borough person, and am comfortable with those that I know. So I will probably vote that way.”  —Bill Moran, Princeton

“It’s extremely significant and really exciting. I think all the candidates are just so qualified. I’m still hung up about who to vote for on Tuesday.” —Carol Salus, Princeton

“I’ve not been paying close attention to the candidates. I always have faith that whoever is elected will do a good job. It’s significant for those who want to make it significant. There was dispute on both sides. It’s done now.”  —Tom Mellis, Princeton

“I’m thrilled that we have consolidation. It’s a time for new people to come into office.” —Kate Newell, Princeton

FAMILY FAVORITES: “We are a true family business. My parents have helped out, and also my husband’s parents and his sister and brother-in-law. Even the children are involved.” Jennifer Smit (left), owner with her husband Rudie of Olsson’s Fine Foods, is shown with family members, from left: Lauren, Charlton, Analice, and Niamh Smit.

Tangy and creamy Triple Creme, Australian Parmesan, Irish blue, semi-soft Pont L’Eveque, semi-hard Tumbleweed (cross between Cantal Fermier and aged cheddar), the unusual “Stinking Bishop” from England … all these and many more are available at Olsson’s Fine Foods at 53 Palmer Square West.

“We have more than 200 different cheeses, as local as Cherry Grove and as far away as Australia,” says co-owner Jennifer Smit.

The shop, which opened in June, 2011, has made its presence felt among cheese lovers. It has consistently received high praise not only for its quality products but also for its knowledgeable and friendly service.

“It can be an educational experience here,” points out Ms. Smit. “We love to tell people about the different cheeses. We also keep track of their purchases on green index cards, so we can make suggestions of other cheeses they might like to try. It’s also nice if someone wants to give a gift. We know what the person likes.”

Taste Sensations

Ms. Smit and her husband and co-owner Rudie Smit have had a long-lasting love affair with cheese and good food generally. They always enjoyed cooking, and when they traveled, they liked to explore new taste sensations, scouting out good restaurants and food and cheese shops.

“My husband is Dutch, and we travel often to see his family. Then, there is always an opportunity to find new cheeses and gourmet items,” notes Ms. Smit

Olsson’s has along history, she adds. Started by Chef John Olsson 25 years ago, it was located in the Trenton Farmers Market. Changing ownership over the years, it was eventually purchased by the Smits.

“Olsson’s was where we bought the cheese for our wedding,” reports Ms. Smit. “When we heard it was for sale four years ago, we decided to buy it. It was a way to take our passion for food and have it evolve into a new adventure.”

Moving to Princeton last year was an opportunity to expand the business, she explains. “We had a lot of customers from Princeton, and they wanted us to be open more often. Having the shop offers us opportunities to bring in cheeses we only dreamed about in the other store. We also sell to a number of local restaurants now and to Princeton University for targeted events.

“When we decided to move, we looked at a lot of locations, and we kept coming back here. We get new people in every day, and we have lots of regulars from Princeton and the area, including Bucks county. We find that many people in Princeton have a sophisticated palate. They have often traveled, and there is also a large international group here. They all enjoy cheese.”

Super Selection

The charming shop offers a super selection, arranged according to category (hard, soft, cow’s milk, goat and sheep), and with helpful identifying — and often whimsical — comments, such as “smooth and pillowy”, “sweet and salty”, suggestions for suitable wine pairings, and other useful information.

The Smits also provide background and history about their cheeses on the Olsson website, offering informative and entertaining “Cheese Thoughts”. For example, “We have a goat’s milk cheese that was once produced solely in the Garrotza area of Catalonia. Garrotza has a white interior with a very creamy texture that is surrounded by a natural mold rind. It has an unusual but mild flavor with a light acidity and a hint of hazelnut”

Another entry: “Port L’Eveque, a classic cow’s milk cheese made since the 12th century, today is still one of the most popular cheeses in France. Its cross-hatched, brine-washed, soft-ripened rind smells a bit pungent and earthy. This is wonderful semi-soft cheese, ready for tasting and bringing home!”

In addition to the cheeses, Olsson’s also offers a variety of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade soups. All are favorites including seasonal specialties, reports Mrs. Smit.

Red Dragon

“The Dragon”, with red dragon cheese, fontina, and bacon; “The Dutchman”, with vlastaas gouda, fontina, salami, and limon blueberry spread; and “The Traditional” with smooth fontina paired with aged cheddar are all in demand. “The Tuscan” and “The Newton” are other popular choices.

The soups include butternut squash with Griggstown Farm sausage; potato leek; tomato; carrot and ginger; and cheesy broccoli, among others. One or two different soups are available each day.

The shop is also filled with an array of tempting gourmet products, including unusual preserves and fruit spreads, organic red rice, English honey and almond cookies, and fig and oat biscuits that pair well with tea. Special chocolate sauce and European Nutella and the traditional Dutch toast-topping chocolate sprinkles are other intriguing items.

Turkish dried figs, apricots, and dates (also chocolate-covered figs) are big favorites, as is the variety of olives, nuts, crisp artisanal Italian flatbreads with olive oil and a hint of parmesan, and the European-style butter.

Wild Hibiscus

“We have wild hibiscus flowers to put in champagne glasses,” adds Ms. Smit. “When they are put in the champagne, the flowers open. It is a great gift.

“Another unusual item is an all-natural honeycomb from Savannah, Ga., which is very nice paired with cheese. We also carry Griggstown Farm and D’Artagnan sausages and meat, and fresh pasta, such as spinach, asiago, and roasted garlic ravioli and other varieties. The ravioli only takes four minutes to cook. In addition, we have small cheese platters to go, and bread from the Witherspoon Bread Company.”

Selected coffees, including espresso, cappuccino, and latte, are offered, as are hot chocolate and tea.

Cheese prices are by the pound, and customers are encouraged to taste before they buy. A small slice could be in the $1.90 range. Grilled cheese sandwiches start at $5, soups from $4.50, and special discounts are available every day. Gift certificates are also offered.

“We are so pleased with our welcome here, both by the customers and the other merchants,” says Ms. Smit. “People enjoy coming in and getting a grilled cheese sandwich and soup, and then taking it out on the Green in nice weather. We’re a small gourmet shop, specializing in cheese, and we hope to continue to build relationships. I enjoy meeting the customers and learning about them. We want to be part of the community and offer a community experience. And we hope even more people will come in and see us. We look forward to bringing in all the wonderful new products for customers to try, and we will have a new series of cheese tastings and classes soon.”

Olsson’s Fine Foods is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 8:30, Sunday noon to 5. (609) 924-2210. Website: www.olssonsfinefoods.com.


Every season is delightful at Blue Raccoon, but spring, with its focus on hope, new beginnings, and transformation, is especially notable at this iconic store. With its 20th anniversary coming up next year — a rarity these days when stores come and go so quickly — Blue Raccoon truly can be designated as “iconic”.

Opened in 1993, it moved to its current location at 6 Coryell Street in Lambertville three years later. “When we moved to this location, our lives changed,” says co-owner Nicholas Bewsey. “It was a bigger space, and we could add upholstery. Everything just exploded.”

Mr. Bewsey and co-owner Nelson Zayas had previously worked in retail in New York, and decided to open their own business in a new setting. “We had looked in several places, including upstate New York and New England, and we came to Lambertville at the invitation of a friend,” reports Mr. Bewsey. “We knew right away that this was the place.”

“And in all these years, I have to say I have not lost my respect, regard, and appreciation for Lambertville. This is a small American town. The people who live here shop here. They have made an investment to maintain the town’s authentic charm.”

Sensory Experience

And Mr. Bewsey and Mr. Zayas have also made an important investment. With their remarkable taste and the ability to present it so engagingly, they have focused on a selection that is both practical and imaginative. Everything in the store is pleasing to the eye, and it is obvious that much care and attention has been given to every detail.

“The setting itself is important,” Mr. Bewsey explains. “There are windows on four sides, and the store is filled with light. It enhances the environment we created indoors. We have always spotlighted the sensory experience: light, color, sound, and scent.”

The store is indeed richly textured. Colors abound, whether from hooked rugs, featuring vintage designs, Portuguese multi-colored dish towels, the collection of “Juicy” glasses in bright and cheerful patterns, a colorful new jewelry line, or in the selection of fine upholstered furniture.

Furniture continues to be a big seller at Blue Raccoon, and the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams line is one of the highlights. “We also carry Vanguard Furniture, and we have added DwellStudio,” says Mr. Bewsey. “They are inspired by old Hollywood, with a contemporary twist. The collection includes couches, chairs, and a nifty grouping of tables, consoles, and case goods.

“All our furniture is American-made, and we are now carrying a new selection of farm tables from Lancaster, Pa. that are very popular,” he adds. “They are custom-sized with 20 different paint finishes. Made of reclaimed barn wood, mostly cypress, they are very sturdy. A 6-foot table is offered at $1470, a very good price.”

At the other end of the spectrum is a line of chrome cocktail tables with bleached stone tops. With their six irregular geometric shapes they can be puzzled together to form a surface for drinks, books, or bud vases — whatever your choice.

Bread Boards

Clocks of all types and lamps (floor and table) are welcome accessories and always popular sellers. Kitchen items range from handsome wooden cutting, serving, and bread boards and salad bowls to tried and true flour sack dish towels (three for $12.50) and bar cloths — a good gift for a guy — to Stonewall Kitchen pancake and waffle mix and Maine maple syrup to cookbooks of all sorts, including Glorious Pasta from Italy.

Candles of every size and shape are in abundance, and they always make a welcome hostess gift. Elegant pear shapes in lovely colors and beeswax 9-inch tapers (sets of six) from Ohio that burn for 15 hours are on display, as are scented candles in attractive reusable glass jars in varied colorful designs.

Soap — Blue Raccoon has some of the best soaps in the world! Triple-milled, long-lasting, wonderfully fragrant, and beautifully packaged, they are irresistible. Cucumber and olive oil, rosewater, jasmine, lavender chamomile, all with shea butter, are unforgettable. And, then there is the enormously popular signature sea algae, with its refreshing, revitalizing scent.

“Originally, we had this in just for the summer, but it was so popular, people wanted it all the time,” reports Mr. Bewsey.

Photo frames, coasters, ceramic coffee mugs, CDs (the best pop and jazz), books, and artwork are other choices.

“We have the work of fine art painter and photographer William Sloan of Bucks County,” notes Mr. Bewsey. The black and white photographs on display are particularly intriguing.

“Whisky Stones”

Blue Raccoon always has an array of eye-catching items you don’t see everywhere else. A fun remembrance for Dad on Father’s Day is the “Corksicle”. As Mr. Bewsey explains, “You put it in the freezer overnight, and then place it in the wine bottle. It keeps the wine cool at the appropriate temperature.”

Along the same line is a set of nine “Whisky Stones”. These are also placed in the freezer, then added to the beverage of choice. They don’t melt, so there is no diluting of the drink. They are also available as a set with tumblers.

Gardeners will find items to help with springtime planting. High quality garden tools from England, special sturdy extra long cotton-lined rubber gloves, and gardener’s soap are all available.

Prices at Blue Raccoon cover a very wide range, from $1 and up. Many items are priced from $25 to $35. A furniture sale, including Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, is currently in progress through May 6.

Another important feature of Blue Raccoon is design. “Nelson does the design work, both in the store, and interior design in customers’ homes,” says Mr. Bewsey. “This has become a very big part of our business, and we have projects all over the area and beyond.”

After nearly 20 years in business in Lambertville, Mr. Bewsey and Mr. Zayas still look forward to the next collection and the next season. “You know that the next trip you take, you’ll find another good source and a great new item.

“We are so grateful to our loyal customers, many who have been with us since the beginning. We feel we always want to offer the best for them, and we want the store to look 100 percent every day. We find products that are different and priced properly. And always, we try to provide a welcoming environment that is fresh and engaging, and offers our customers a special touch of inspiration.”

Gift cards and complimentary signature gift wrapping are available, and hours are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5. (609) 397-5500. Website: www.blueraccoon.com. The website will soon offer a brand new look.

To the Editor:

Throughout the spring, the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative brought New Jersey chefs and farmers into two of the Princeton Young Achievers after-school programs to introduce children to flavors of local produce and to trace that produce back to the farm. The program was an extension of our Garden State on Your Plate program that provided school-wide tastings at Community Park and Littlebrook elementary schools last year.

We want to thank the chefs — Christopher Albrecht of Eno Terra, Gab Carbone of bent spoon, Craig Shelton of American Hospitality Group, Scott Anderson of elements, Linda Twining of TwinHens, and Stu Orefice and Rick Piancone of Princeton University — and farmers — Chris Turse of Double Brook Farm, Mike Rassweiler of North Slope Farm, Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm, Fred Bowers of Princeton Soil Institute, David Zaback of ZFood Farm, and Pier Guidi of Bamboo Hollow Apiaries — who made the program a success. With their help the children learned why eggs from pasture-raised chickens make the best ice cream, examined seeds and soils, learned about beekeeping and tasted the differences amongst honeys from different flowers. They also prepared a kale salad, seasoned a spring Garden State vichyssoise, and shook ice-filled balls to make ice cream — all of which they ate enthusiastically.

The students glimpsed the quality of New Jersey farm products while learning about the workday life of farmers and chefs. Amidst their experimenting, exploring, and exclaiming, we were heartened to see that some children showed a deep interest in food, agriculture, and the culinary arts. We ask that the Princeton community nurture that interest, as well as a love and appreciation amongst all of our students for the delicious and diverse bounty of the Garden State.

Fran McManus, Karla Cook

Princeton School Gardens Cooperative

To the Editor:

Congratulations to the winners of the Democratic Primary who will now proceed to the November ballot as candidates for Council in the newly consolidated Princeton. This is both an historic and a critical turning point in the history of our special community. Perhaps it is also time to change the tradition of our election decisions terminating in June as opposed to November. The one-party rule that has existed in Princeton for far too long has not served our community well. The result has been bickering and political infighting as opposed to problem solving. We are now faced with many challenges ahead: The implementation of consolidation, improving the relationship between town and University, rising taxes, and difficult business conditions for local merchants. Princeton deserves a government that reflects the best of its residents. This is one of the many reasons I am seeking a seat on Princeton Council.

As the only candidate outside the Democratic Primary winners, I have a very simple message for voters: Please consider using one of your six votes this November to support diversity, independence, and transparency. Give me a chance to work for good government by helping to make the five Democrats in the super-majority more effective, more responsible, and more focused on results.

I am a Progressive Republican who is married to a Democrat. I was honored to be appointed by Mayor Chad Goerner in 2011 to serve on the Princeton Township Zoning Board. The motivation for my candidacy is simple: To continue to serve and support a community I love. Nothing more. And nothing less.

Put Princeton before politics. It is time.

Geoff Aton

Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff of the Princeton Education Foundation, I would like to thank everyone in the Princeton community who supported our “Be True to Your School” spring gala and silent auction. We raised approximately $60,000 net that will directly benefit our public schools’ teachers and students and will further our goal of supporting excellence in education in the Princeton Regional Schools. Since its inception, the Princeton Education Foundation has contributed over $1,100,000 to the Princeton regional schools for capital improvements, educational programs and teacher support.

We are especially grateful to our lead sponsors, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, the W. Bryce Thompson Foundation, PNC Bank, Nassau Street Office and Georgeanne Moss, The Gould Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, and to our other major sponsors, The Bank of Princeton, Becker Nose & Sinus Center, LLC, and Parker McCay. Thanks also go to sponsors Anne Skalka & Associates, CPAs, Conner Strong & Buckelew, Dental Healthcare Associates – Dr. J. Craig Tyl, DMD, FAGD, & Dr. Michael Fogarty, DDS, Ellen T. Nita, State Farm Insurance, Issues Management, LLC, Princeton Shopping Center, Princeton University Store, Spiezle Architectural Group and The Pediatric Group. We were also supported by Charan Bawja (Broker/Owner), RE/MAX ONE, Princeton Orthodontics – Lewis J. Russo, Jr., DDS, PA, & Jonathan L. Nicozisis, DMD, MS, Fidelity Investments, Glamorous Eyebrows, Quakerbridge Mall, Gold Buyers at the Mall, Smith + Manning, McCaffrey’s Market, Mike’s Barber Shop Princeton, Palace of India Princeton, Peter LaBriola, Keller William Princeton Realty, Princeton Automobile Company, Robert J. Lopez, The Geller Real Estate Group of Gloria Nilson Realtors, Wiss & Company. Our silent auction was a big success thanks to donations from over 100 people and businesses. We are also grateful to have the support of many benefactors and patrons, who are also listed there.

We would like to recognize the hard work of our gala committee, which planned and executed this year’s event. Led by co-chairs Shazia Manekia and Aman Shergill and board of trustees event committee chair Claire Percarpio, the committee included Dorothy Bedford, Lakshmi Bhamidipati, Julie Capozzoli, Marie Elainea Carusone, Pooja Datt, Lindsey Forden, Victoria Hamilton, Lauren Kaltman, Heather Kisilywicz, Jean-Anne Madden, Carol Mills, Tracy Morgan, Jan Pierce, Shari Powell, Archie Reid, Sara Schaeffer, Jill Schwartz, Karin Siciliano, and Andrea Spalla.

Finally, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone in the community who participated in this important fundraiser by volunteering time, purchasing tickets, or bidding on items in our auction. Thank you for joining with us to say that public education matters!

Adrienne Rubin

Executive Director, Princeton Education Foundation

To the Editor:

Memorial Day has come and gone. The Princeton Battlefield Society held the largest re-enactment in a decade on the battlefield. Our veterans were remembered. Hundreds upon hundreds came from as far as Michigan, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and all over New Jersey. They all wanted to know what was happening with the IAS (Institute for Advanced Study) and the battlefield. So, I explained the society has gone to court to protect the battlefield from the IAS development. I further relayed that the society has contacted the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to review the application, since it appears the IAS wants to build on wetlands.

I am glad so many people came to the Memorial Day event. They learned something about history, about the American Revolution and also about modern government. They took our brochures and made donations for the legal defense of the battlefield. They will write letters to the governor, their representatives, the vice president and whoever else is necessary to protect the Princeton Battlefield. I think that may be the highest compliment to those who served, that the American people follow the process fought for on this very battlefield.

Joe Carney

Glenwood N.J.

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the apparently heartfelt message about HiTOPS in the May 16 mailbox. Although I can empathize with the feelings of the four people who signed the letter about what is happening in our society, I must respectfully disagree with their opinions about HiTOPS “moral neutrality.”

As the father of three, stepfather to five, and grandfather of four, I am only too aware of the challenges of rearing children in a society where explicit sexual messages are in the media, in our movie theaters, in popular song lyrics, on the web and even in the news. It would be naive to believe that we can insulate and isolate our children from all of that. HiTOPS is not to blame.

HiTOPS does not “promote” or “encourage” sexual activity between teens as the letter-writers assert. The mission of HiTOPS is not to teach or preach morality, as the letter-writers would obviously like to see. That, in my opinion, is the responsibility of parents and religious institutions. What HiTOPS does do is to inform teens, who have already made the decision to become sexually active or who may become sexually active, how to avoid STD transmission and pregnancy. HiTOPS also provides contraception, pap smears, and Gardasil vaccines for young men and women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer. Their other valuable services include emotional and psychological support services to fragile adolescent populations, including survivors of sexual assault and gay and lesbian youth.

If HiTOPS were to begin preaching and moralizing to the teen population that they hope to serve, the organization would come across as judgmental and sanctimonious. Doing that would cause its message to be lost on much of their target group and reduce the organization’s effectiveness. Rather than hand-wringing and sermonizing over the state of our society, HiTOPS is performing a valuable service to our community’s young men and women and their parents and has earned their respect. I also believe that HiTOPS deserves our community’s support.

Lewis A. Edge, Jr.

Cleveland Road West

To the Editor:

Newly retired in Princeton after years of teaching gifted children, I was in search of a way to keep intellectually active within my local community. This, of course, is not hard to do around here. But I wanted the intellectual rigor of a University-level experience without the requisite reading load which an audited course would entail. I found just what I was looking for at the Evergreen Forum. First, I took a course entitled Exploring Princeton Architecture. The course description read: “We will focus on the social, communal, and cultural settings in which Princeton’s buildings were commissioned, designed, used, preserved, viewed, and assigned meaning.” I was hooked. Armed with this new knowledge, I was able to bring an additional depth of understanding to my walks through the town and on campus. This course was taught by both a Princeton Museum Docent/Historical-Society guide and a recently retired Princeton University architect and director of that institution’s physical planning department.

This spring I took “More Shakespeare off the Page: As You Like It.” Again, I was drawn in not only by the teacher’s love of the play and knowledge of the theater as well as the Bard, but also by the interactive part of the class. We read and dramatized as we were learning the ins-and-outs of Shakespearean language, as well as seeing in depth the meaning of the play within the context of its time. All of this, while role-playing and learning to read the lines in an effort to express all their inherent meaning and emotion. The teachers in both courses asked us to do some additional reading, which was well within my expectations. Overall, I was impressed with the wealth of talent and knowledge that is part of the fabric of our community. So for all new retirees out there looking for additional opportunities to learn while enjoying themselves, I highly recommend The Evergreen Forum.

Nancee Goldstein

Vandeventer Avenue