May 1, 2013
PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

It’s soccer here, but in the rest of the world, it’s football — not to be confused with our own American football. By whatever name, it is growing in popularity, and players of all ages and every skill level, are eagerly participating. Tibor Teleky, owner of the new Princeton Soccer Experience, which opened at 190 Witherspoon Street in early February, is himself a player, coach, and long-time soccer enthusiast.

“I have been involved in soccer a long time,” he explains. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and I have been and am coaching club teams, including the Princeton Football Club, among others. The Princeton Club has 24 teams, with all different age groups, starting at under 10.

“There was really a need for this kind of store,” he continues. “There is nothing like it in Princeton, and the interest in soccer is very strong now. Kids start playing in middle school and even earlier.”

Repeat Customers

Mr. Teleky, a graduate of Rutgers University and recipient of an MBA degree from Central European University in Budapest, has also worked in the corporate world with Merrill Lynch. He decided to pursue his dream to open a soccer shop, however, and he definitely wanted it to be in Princeton.

“I like the international aspect of Princeton, and I wanted to have the shop here and in the downtown, where there is a lot going on. People here are really interested in soccer, and I’ve already had a lot of customers in the short time I’ve been open, including many repeat customers.”

The shop features a wide range of soccer equipment, clothing, and accessories in a light and bright setting, which also features a large TV screen, showing soccer matches.

Items are available for men, women, and children, and include balls, warm-up clothing, soccer shirts, T-shirts, team jerseys, shorts, and shoes.

Light and Dry

Adidas is the main line available, but Mr. Teleky notes that he is developing the Princeton Soccer Experience’s own brand of dry-fit soccer shirts. “These are light and dry, and wick moisture away,” he explains. “They are very comfortable and cool.”

A variety of balls in different colors and designs, weights, and sizes, including the small “skill” balls, and size 4 for kids, are all available. Prices of balls range from $11.99 for skill balls, $17.99 for regular size, all the way up to $150 for a top-of-the line hand-stitched model.

Shoes, including the Adidas Predator F 50 and the Samba for kids, are among those available, at different price ranges, with a good quality shoe starting at $50. They are all in bright, contemporary styles.

“Most people have more than one pair of soccer shoes,” points out Mr. Teleky, “and we can definitely accommodate them.”

Shin Guards

Colorful fan scarves representing different teams are available, along with assorted accessories, including gym bags, shoe laces, shin guards, ankle protectors, pre-wrap, and ball pumps.

Mr. Teleky is also proud of the large number of trophies on display, won by teams he has coached.

“I had been thinking about doing this for more than two years, and I am so happy to see it materialize. I’ve met so many people since I’ve been here. I enjoy meeting all the customers and talking about soccer. I also look forward to expanding my selection as time goes on.

“In addition, my long-term goal is team sales. There are a lot of different clubs throughout New Jersey, and I’d like to become a soccer supply and service store.”

Princeton Soccer Experience is open Monday through Saturday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 4. (609) 580-1924.

April 24, 2013
POWER WORK-OUT: "We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out," says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

POWER WORK-OUT: “We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out,” says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

Spring is here — officially — even if the weather is still chilly. Nevertheless, bathing suit season is right around the corner, and it’s not too late to get those abs, upper arms, and thighs toned — and of course, the extra “avoir du pois” around the middle!

Help is at hand. Title Boxing Club Princeton has recently arrived on the scene, and it can provide just the workout you need.

“This is a full body work-out in one hour, and it can burn 1000 calories,” says owner and general manager Tiffany Perkins-Munn. “It’s group fitness, but with a trainer, so it has personal training appeal. Typically, there are 30 people in a group with one instructor. We use a 15/30/15 model. fifteen minutes of warm-up, including cardio, with jumping, running, and calisthenics. Then, 30 minutes of work on the heavy bags — jabbing, punching, kicking, and kneeing, with various routines under the guidance of the instructor. It’s important that everyone execute the moves properly, and people are more motivated with an instructor.

“The last 15 minutes are a cool-down period, doing exercises that strengthen the core, such as plank and others.”

Fitness Concept

Title Boxing Club Princeton is one of 102 franchises in 33 states across the country. With corporate headquarters in Kansas, it was established five years ago as a unique fitness concept by the Title Boxing manufacturing Company and former professional boxer Danny Campbell.

“Title Boxing is the largest manufacturer of boxing equipment,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn, who has a corporate background. Having earned a PhD in statistics and psychology, she had worked for Morgan Stanley on Wall Street for several years. Ready for a change, Ms. Perkins-Munn looked into franchise opportunities, and was impressed with Title Boxing Club.

“I like new challenges and opportunities, and I like them to be diverse. I’ve always had an affinity for working out, and my husband owned Grand Slam, a family recreation center in South Brunswick. I’m a statistician, and I ran the numbers for Title Boxing Club. I did a financial model, and then I went to the corporate office in Kansas. The corporation had a good working model. I liked it that it was organic, and they had a franchise development group and ideas of how to market it.”

After administrative training at the Kansas office, as well as hands-on boxing instruction, Ms. Perkins-Munn decided to open the facility in Nassau Park Pavilion at 485 Nassau Park Boulevard.

“I wanted to be in Nassau Park Pavilion,” she explains. “It’s a regional mall, and everything is here. People don’t mind driving a distance, and there is lots of parking, which is important.”

As the franchisor, Title Boxing Manufacturing Company requires 4500 square feet, and also oversees the look of the space, which is workmanlike and practical. “I call the look ‘industrial chic’”, says Ms. Perkins-Munn. “It’s spacious with gray walls and an open ceiling. This is a place where you can get something done.”

Row After Row

One is struck immediately upon entering by the sight of row after row of 54 100-pound punching bags (“Our hanging heavy bags,” says Ms. Perkins-Munn). This is a floor-bolted system, with the bags suspended on steel bars above. The franchisor provides each franchise with the large heavy bags, also small speed bags, gloves, and wraps, cardio equipment, including tread mill, AMT 3-in-1, and glide, as well as weights, balls, etc.

There is also a ring in which a member can work out one-one-one with a trainer, who wears special mitts.

The hour work-out is intensive, energetic, and focused. Ms. Perkins-Munn notes that the client target age is teens to late ’50s, but older clients are also welcome, as are people at all levels of fitness and boxing ability.

“We guarantee that if someone comes in three times a week for three months, they will reach their reasonable fitness goal. This is our 90-day challenge. They can lose weight and inches, tone up, strengthen their core, increase stamina and energy, improve coordination, and feel better, all the while having fun. Don’t forget that exercise is a great stress-reliever.

“Clients don’t have to know how to box,” she continues. “We will teach them. The structure of the class is the same, with clients of different levels all together. Beginners wear different color gloves, so the trainer is aware of their level, and can modify the exercise accordingly.”

Even if people have particular issues, such as knee or shoulder problems, they can still participate, she adds. “They can do modified exercises, but still get the benefit of the work-out.”

Membership Packages

Title Boxing Club Princeton will have 14 trainers, all of whom are certified. “They must be certified to work here, and then they receive further specialized Title Boxing training here,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn.

The Club offers membership packages on a monthly or yearly basis: at $59 a month, if the amount is fully paid for a year in advance, which also entitles clients to special discounts. $69 and $79 monthly payment plans are also available. The first class is always complimentary.

A special offer is available for those who sign up before the end of April. They will receive a free special starter kit, including gym bag, gloves, wraps, wrap bag, and T-shirt.

“We are very encouraged,” reports Ms. Perkins-Munn. “People are signing up, and we expect to have 31 classes a week, five classes every weekday, and three on Saturday and Sunday. Hours will vary day to day, but we will start early — 5:15 a.m. and the latest class will be at 7:30 p.m.

“This is an exciting new adventure,” she adds. “There are always surprises. You have to deal with a lot of moving pieces concurrently, but I always like challenges. I am enjoying meeting all the people and hearing their stories. I look forward to having lots of people join the club and get great exercise!”

(609) 759-1627. Visit the website for specific hours and further information. www.titleboxingclub.com.

 
ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

When they step inside, shoppers are reluctant to leave Artemis Boutique in Princeton Forrestal Village. As one customer said recently, “This is a hidden gem! Artemis Boutique is truly unique. You could spend hours here and find treasures in every nook and cranny, and in such a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.”

That is what artist and proprietor Jennifer J. Shortess has hoped to achieve. When she opened the boutique in November 2011, it was with the intention of offering an inviting showcase both for her own creations and the work of many area artists.

“Nearly everything is one-of-a-kind and made in America,” says Ms. Shortess. “This is an opportunity to exhibit the work of so many talented area artists and still create my own work. I love working with the artists, and I love giving them the venue to show their work.”

Ms. Shortess, who grew up in the arts and crafts community of Sugar Loaf, New York and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a multi-talented artist. She has worked in video and film, creates fused glass pieces in many designs, as well as jewelry, and is an accomplished photographer.

Open A Store

Opening Artemis Boutique actually came out of necessity, she reports. “I had taken a course in stained glass, and then I began making jewelry. I started in the basement, then the kitchen, and I actually took over the house with my artwork. Finally, my husband said ‘Open a store!’

“I liked the idea of being in Forrestal. It’s a good location, with convenient parking.”

An intriguing array of artwork, jewelry, decorative items, and accessories is on display. Jewelry choices include sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and crystals. Fused glass lamps, fused glass sculptures, suncatchers, and Tiffany reproduction lamps are the work of Ms. Shortess. Also available are handmade, handpainted silk and crocheted scarves, paintings, and photography. Woodstock wind chimes, Murano glass from Italy, and fragrant soap “rocks” are other special offerings.

Among the artists represented is painter Mary Endico, who specializes in water colors. “I’ve known Mary all my life, and I am proud and grateful that she has consented to allow me to sell a few hand-picked pieces,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her water colors have the bluest blues I have ever seen.”

A number of the artists whose creations are on display work in more than one medium, she adds. “The multi-talented Deborah Bowen offers handmade jewelry, fused glass, stained glass, and crocheted scarves. Ruth Hunt is unique in her creations of handbags made of duct tape — really! — and faux decorative cakes that really do look good enough to eat. The purses in black are Chanel-like, and no one can believe they are made of duct tape.”

Limited edition evening bags from Harrison Morgan Accessories and turquoise necklaces made by Mr. Guy for Harrison Morgan Accessories are all originals. A pink stole made of the softest alpaca fur is another statement piece by Harrison Morgan.

Private Collection

“Natalie Sarabella is known as the Rock and Roll Star of Christmas ornaments, and sells at Bergdorf Goodman, Frontgate Catalogue, and soon the Franklin Mint,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her work is stunning and also includes private collection paintings, jewelry, pillows, perfume bottles, and much more.

“And Michelle Sauber makes wonderfully pretty earrings, as well as her totally original ‘stemware’ wine charms to identify your wine glass, made out of antique and new buttons. Gina DiEnna creates all sorts of beautiful, stunning, and fun jewelry. We are now carrying her ‘Bling It On’ line of jewelry: Swarovski crystals in clay and beautiful big Swarovksi crystals in rings.”

These are just a sampling of the fascinating collection at Artemis Boutique. Ms. Shortess notes that the selection changes frequently, with new items arriving all the time. “We also carry men’s jewelry, such as cufflinks, bracelets, and tie tacs.

“Some of the items here are art for art’s sake, such as many of my glass sculpted pieces” she continues. “I was thinking of of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — when I created these.”

“I also like things to have multiple uses.” For example, her illuminated glass sculptures are electrified as lamps. They can also be inverted to have an entirely different look. In gorgeous colors, gracefully combining form and function, they are a real collector’s item.

Her collection of fused glass also includes soap dishes, coasters, and key rings.

Ms. Shortess’ photography is equally interesting and eclectic, and features many scenes of the southwest, as well as urban settings focusing on doors and windows, and unique glimpses into ballet.

Payment Plan

Artemis Boutique also offers a bridal selection including a range of items, from champagne flutes and hand-decorated wine goblets to custom-jewelry and keepsakes to registers/guest/gift books and photo albums. A lovely personalized gift is the wedding invitation presented in a custom-painted frame.

Prices cover an extremely wide range, from $5 to $5000, and everything in between. “I have glass drop ornaments from chandeliers for $5, which can serve as wonderful prisms,” notes Ms. Shortess. “There is really a piece for everyone’s budget. I am very competitively-priced, and we also offer a payment plan.”

Ms. Shortess’ emphasis on everything from the whimsical to elegant to dramatic reflects her own creative vision and the varying forms it can take. It was also a factor in her choice of Artemis as the name of the boutique.

“Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, and was an early feminist, a protector of women and children, and also of arts and crafts,” explains Ms. Shortess. “She was independent, and wanted to do her own thing.”

Ms. Shortess looks forward to introducing more customers to the intriguing selection at Artemis. “This is a new adventure for me, and I am thrilled with how it’s going. We have regular customers and great word-of-mouth. Now, I look forward to being able to continue to showcase the work of all the artists as well as my own. I very much like being able to support the area artists and offer customers an opportunity to see their work. And I certainly love being surrounded by beautiful things. The items here are handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind.”

Ms. Shortess notes that a special exhibition and reception will be held for area painter Kelly E. Reilly on Friday, April 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 12 to 7.

The boutique’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday noon to 3 and by appointment. (609) 454-5908. Website: www.artemisboutique.com.

 

 

To the Editor:

After attending the special council meeting that was to decide the fate of Police Chief David Dudeck, I came away more concerned, more confused. I do not understand how accusations such as were given to the public and residents could bring the perception to prejudge a man without a real trial. You would think an investigation would do, and Chief Dudeck would deserve that much. It’s obvious that the Chief’s accusations were born out of department infighting and disgruntled former officers. It is a well known fact, that the two former police departments did not like each other. And nothing has changed to this very day. Consolidation might be good for Princeton as a whole. But the two police departments are a story yet to be told.

Many people saw this dysfunction within the departments coming. Those that did not see it were the former Borough Council and Township Committee. At the meeting, I heard nothing except praise for Chief Dudeck, and higher praise from Council. Yet, Council chose to accept his retirement. I’ve seen bad officers in my life in the Princetons, but Dave Dudeck was not one. Chief Campbell. Chief Porter, Robert “Big Mac” Avenia, or, Harry Carney, Howard Sweeny, Anthony Pinnelli, Walter Eman — these were top-of-the-line officers and top-of–the-line men. Chief Dudeck is such a man as well. And I hope that his family realizes accusations such as the ones presented to them are just that, accusations. And in fact, they should be proud, and hold their heads up high.

Princeton has changed for the better in many ways. However, the present situation within the police union and department needs to be addressed. Appointing a new chief from within in today’s department is a bad idea. There is no way the residents of Princeton will see this other than promoting from within. This total situation is currently shameful and sad. Good luck Chief Dudeck.

Jerome McGowan

Redding Circle

To the Editor:

Every so often there is a flurry of letters to Town Topics deploring the use of leaf blowers. Other than allowing writers to vent their frustration, no result has ever come from these letters.

I tried to work with Sustainable Princeton, believing that they were concerned with quality of life and controlling pollution in our town. But nothing resulted from that either.

Yes, other towns have dealt with this issue. It would be wonderful if Princeton could do the same.

Peggy Skemer

Robert Road

To the Editor:

The fact that some find our kiosks too exuberantly democratic is no excuse for Council to accept the ‘partnership” proposed by the Chamber of Commerce and recently promoted by some of its corporate members. In this deal, which deprives the Community of a long standing forum open freely to all, the Chamber sells access to business directories that replace the kiosks. Local taxpaying merchants then buy advertising for inclusion, while Chamber members, some of whom pay no Princeton taxes, are included automatically. Merchants unable to afford the rates set at the Chamber’s discretion would be unrepresented in the directory.

Were the new directories on private property with the Chamber as owner or concessionaire, this economic discrimination would represent business as usual: one must pay to play. But they are not on private property; they are on the town’s major public thoroughfare at the busiest corners. There, they would inevitably be perceived by visitors, for whom they are primarily designed, as “official.” And those businesses, only, who had the means to buy their way in would be perceived as endorsed by local government, thus violating the strict neutrality government should observe in the marketplace.

Council needs to reexamine this issue. If the time has come to tame the kiosks somewhat, there are surely ways to do it that preserve their accessibility. The Chamber of Commerce ought still to have a way to advertise itself and its members. All it should need is a pushpin.

Leo Arons

Chambers Street

To the Editor

During the week of April 7-13 I was able to participate in what for me was a new kind of civic project — a “Read-Out”. A Read-Out is a public educational program centered on the examination of a particularly stimulating book. In this instance the book was The New Jim Crow by the legal scholar Michelle Alexander. Professor Alexander’s subtitle identifies her principal subject: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her book draws out some of the human realities behind the mind-numbing statistics of American penology, particularly as they relate to race. I never dreamed that America, with a twentieth of the world’s population, has a quarter of the world’s prisoners. I was startled and shamed to learn that a young American black has about a one-in-three chance of doing prison time at some point.

The venue for the event, which took place for an hour each evening between 5 and 6 p.m., was the Hinds Plaza on Witherspoon Street. The Read-Out had no official connection with Princeton’s remarkable public library, but it was highly appropriate that such a public education program should take place on the library’s doorstep. The Read-Out harmoniously shared the space with the plaza’s regular coffee-sippers and hangers-out. Each hour-long segment included a selected reading from The New Jim Crow, brief and informative talks by people familiar with issues raised by Prof. Alexander, and some thematically appropriate music and poetry. On the week’s one rainy evening, the program enjoyed the hospitality of Labyrinth Books’ basement reading room. To all my civic-minded fellow Princetonians who planned and executed this excellent Read-Out I want to express my warm thanks.

John V. Fleming

Hartley Avenue

To the Editor:

Why not honor earth day and choose an electric or gas company that offers renewable energy?

If you are like us, you may be wondering if it makes economic and environmental sense to sign up for green energy. At Sustainable Princeton’s April monthly meeting, we decided to try to answer that question. We invited representatives from several energy supply companies to speak. And, the bottom line is: yes, choosing renewable energy can help you cut your energy costs and/or live more sustainably.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

Many suppliers offer clean, renewable energy options in place of using fossil fuels. Depending on the company, you may have the option to purchase the actual energy or you may purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) which offset purchases of traditional fuels by funding investment in renewable energy. You may also be able to decide how much of the energy you buy is renewable — from 25 percent energy up to 100 percent energy. In our region, wind power from Ohio or western Pennsylvania is the most readily available source of renewable energy.

You may be able to save money with a green energy supplier. However, you should decide if you prefer a variable rate (which will fluctuate with the market) or fixed rate contract. Some companies offer both.

Your energy supplier may also benefit a non-profit organization, or help you or a friend earn money. Many companies will donate money each month to a charity of your choice as a thank you for your business. Others pay customers for client referrals.

Whatever you do, recognize that you do have a choice. If you do nothing, your current supplier will choose for you and the default is fossil fuels.

We urge you to look at the options and consider aligning your values with your wallet. It will certainly send a message that consumers want clean energy.

Happy Earth Day, everyone.

Alexandra Bar-Cohen

Snowden Lane

Annarie Lyles

Jefferson Road

Co-Chairs of Sustainable Princeton’s

Residence Committee

To the Editor:

In recognition of National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 21-27), I would like to encourage readers to celebrate the extraordinary people who donate their time to improve our communities or simply help friends or neighbors.

I urge everyone to take a moment to recognize volunteers by writing thank-you notes, sending flowers, taking them to lunch, or posting a tribute on social media.

The Oxford dictionary defines a volunteer as “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.” Yet being a volunteer is so much more. It’s about connecting with neighbors, schools, communities, and those less fortunate. It’s about people sharing their hearts, time, and knowledge to improve the lives and spirits of those around them.

VolunteerConnect would like to thank our skills-based volunteers, professionals who contribute their expertise and talents to area nonprofit organizations. Our skills-based volunteers have helped many community organizations advance their missions. Due to their efforts, the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton and Mercer County has a new Computer Exchange Program, Isles has a stronger communications plan, Habitat for Humanity of Trenton has a new website, and Dress for Success of Mercer County has streamlined its technology needs.

I also invite readers to become volunteers in the coming year. Help a neighbor plant a garden, pass out water at a local 5K, coach a team, become a board member, or share professional skills to make a strategic impact at one of the 40,000 nonprofits in our State. Let’s embrace the volunteer in all of us!

To learn more about skills-based volunteering, please go to our website at www.volunteerconnectnj.org or call (609) 921-8893.

Amy Klein

Executive Director, VolunteerConnect

To the Editor:

We would like to thank all the individuals, volunteers, YWCA Princeton English as Second Language (ESL) students, organizations and community business owners who shared their time, talents, and contributions to support this year’s International Community Day celebrating our community’s cultural diversity and ethnic heritage. More than 300 visitors enjoyed an afternoon of exhibits, live performances, food samples, performances and demonstrations, arts and crafts, free raffle prizes, and children’s activities. The ESL Program offers more than 40 classes in basic literacy, multi-level core classes and enrichment classes in conversation, pronunciation, grammar and writing, and American culture and citizenship. Enrolled students are invited to attend free conversation groups, and a writing workshop. They also have access to Rosetta Stone software in our computer laboratory, may request a free tutoring service conducted by qualified community volunteers, and participate in trips to museums, area attractions and community organizations. The Program also offers free GED and Citizenship-prep classes. The GED classes are offered both during the day and at night.

A special thank you is extended to the following raffle donors that were instrumental toward the success of the event: Alchemist & Barrister, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Chez Alice, Cranbury Station Gallery, Crumbs for a Cure, EFES Mediterranean Grill, Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Fruity Yogurt, Godfrey Fitzgerald Salon, House of Cupcakes, infini-T Café and Spice Souk, JaZams, Jordan’s Stationery Store and Gift Shop, La Mezzaluna Restaurant, Landau, Le Petit Chef, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Lisa Jones Princeton, MTBC, McCarter Theatre, Monday Morning Flowers, Northwest Criterion Asset Management LLC, Princeton Record Exchange, Savory Spice Shop, Shop the Whole World, Small World Coffee, Tandoori Bite, Ten Thousand Villages, Terhune Orchards, The Ferry House, Tico’s Eatery and Juice Bar, Twist Yogurt.

Susan Burns, Inkyung Yi

Event co-chairs

April 18, 2013

JonCrossTall and slim with curly dark hair, Jon Cross has a craggy look that most actors would kill for. Add a gravelly voice and you’re tempted to wonder why Mr. Cross has spent his life in the restaurant business rather than on the stage. And then he tells you. As a matter of fact, he is in the acting business. When not tending bar at the Alchemist & Barrister (A&B), Mr. Cross might well be learning lines for a voiceover commercial, a film, or a stage play. Just don’t ask him for specifics, like most actors he’s a tad wary of jinxing his next part. Here in his own words, is what he is willing to say.

—Linda Arntzenius

“I was born in Los Angeles and grew up there until the mid-60s when my parents moved to the Princeton area. My father, Aaron Cross, was a developer and he was drawn to New Jersey because of the housing boom. He bought land and developed Rossmoor and Clearbrook at a time when communities for the over-50 age group were a new idea. My mother, Marian, ran the Lamplighter Christian Bookstore that is now next to Hoagie Haven. After I graduated from Princeton High School I went straight into the restaurant business. In fact, I’ve been working in the business since I was 14 and it has taken me all over, to St. Croix in the Caribbean, to Florida, California, and to South Carolina. I co-owned a bar/restaurant in Atlantic City for a time, called 12 South.

I settled back in Princeton in order to raise my son, Jon, who’s now 28. His mother, Patty, and I met at Good Time Charlie’s, where she worked for a while. It was a landmark in Kingston back in the day. We lived close to the Princeton Shopping Center where I had a small cafe, known simply as The Cafe. It’s now Camillo’s. When people around town or here at the Alchemist & Barrister recognize me but aren’t sure from where, it’s most likely from my days at The Cafe, which did a lot of business. I met a lot of people there.

My son now lives in Los Angeles and is an actor and sommelier. He combines both on his television show Through the Grapevine, which goes out on the Bite Size Network. He introduces wines for young people looking for good wine at a good price. He loves what he does and is very good at it.

That goes for me too. I love Princeton and especially working here at the A&B. Since I settled back in Princeton about five years ago — my Mom lives in Hopewell and it’s nice to be near her — I’ve been working on and off for chef/co-owner Arthur Kukoda. Artie and I go way back to when he was chef at Scanticon in Forrestal Village, and I’ve been coming to the A&B since before he opened 40 years ago. It’s a place that attracts a real cross section of the community, locals and people who’ve been at Princeton University and come back to visit. It’s a real bar. We get students as well as professionals and construction workers. And even though Artie’s constantly making changes to the restaurant menu and extending the space — a renovation of the dining room is in the works — there are some things that have stayed the same and people like that continuity. Besides Artie makes great food. When I’m here, I eat lunch and my favorite is Artie’s hamburger. It’s a custom blend of meats that I’m not sure I should divulge but it’s made with ground chuck, short rib, and hanger steak that is raised in the mid-West and is grain-fed. Artie tells me that if you want flavor, it has to be grain-fed.

Because of The Cafe and working at the A&B three days a week, I know a lot of people in Princeton. That’s how I got into acting. One day a fellow from McCarter Theatre came by for lunch at The Cafe and told me I had a great voice. He said I should do voiceovers. So I took him up on it. I did some commercial work. Then, one day, I met two filmmakers, brothers, who needed some voice work done. I was recommended and it worked out. One thing led to another and they offered me an on-screen role in their small independent film. Since then I’ve done a few films. In Benny the Bum, I played a bookie. I always seem to get seedy characters, but I enjoy playing bad guys. Having been in the restaurant business I’ve met a lot of characters with stories to tell and I can draw on that history. I hate to talk too much about upcoming projects in case I jinx the work, but I will say that I’m now working on a part in a play. I think of my late-blooming acting work as a hobby that has become a part-time career. It’s fun and I love it. Even as a kid, I admired actors and filmmakers, so it’s a great to get calls from casting agents. When they’re looking for ‘a world-weary older gentleman,’ they come to me. All the wrinkles I acquired in the restaurant business are finally paying off!”

April 17, 2013

To the Editor:

In response to “Calculating Who’s Green,” Mailbox, April 10, Sustainable Princeton is so pleased that Regatta Row is indeed the first street in Princeton to have each of its four homes turn food waste into rich beautiful compost! Congratulations!

We recognize that not everyone has the time or desire to maintain a compost pile in their yard, which is why the town has introduced “Princeton Composts” a curbside food waste pick up program. Since February, “Princeton Composts” has kept an average of 60 tons of food waste from the landfill, with 560 households already participating in the program. We need to keep these numbers growing!

We are watching closely for the grand prize winning street. Jefferson Road is still in the lead with 20 households participating in this program. Dodds Lane is a close second with 14 homes and Mount Lucas and Hawthorne are tied at 10 households each!

Through the Princeton Composts program, which is the first of its kind in the state, residents can throw bones, pizza boxes, paper plates, weeds, waxed cardboard, cooked foods and kitchen scraps into the curbside bin and roll it to the curb for a weekly pick up. Many of these items are not recommended for a backyard pile.

I have a family of five and “Princeton Composts” has been eye opening for us. Our trash bin is almost empty each week, other than styrofoam, tin foil and hard plastics that are not recyclable. And soon, we will receive our own dark, rich compost through “Princeton Composts” to spread on our vegetable garden.

Residents are encouraged to sign up soon at 688-2566 to keep “Princeton Composts” a growing part of our sustainable community.

Diane Landis

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

Wisely promoting energy conservation in his letter of April 3 [“Although the Tobacco Monster Was Slain, Fossil Fuel Monster Still in Growth Phase” Stephen Hiltner draws an interesting comparison between regulation of the tobacco companies (in the past) and regulation of the petrochemical companies (perhaps some day). The point of comparison is that both are initiatives intending to preserve and protect human health.

His piece is optimistic, because it suggests that the latter might actually take place, as did the former! Personally, I have seen no evidence of this to date.

S. Spitzer

Humbert Street

To the Editor:

In his April 10 letter about fossil fuels [“Recent Letter Comparing Tobacco, Fossil Fuels Full of Paranoia, Misinformation, Falsehoods”], Lewis A. Edge, Jr. cites questionable data about electric cars, and, along with some name-calling, takes exception to statements I didn’t actually make.

It is possible to love the mobility, power, comfort, and convenience fossil fuels afford, and yet also realize that the consequences of collectively burning those fuels is a destabilizing of the world’s climate, shorelines, and food supply. Inaction continues to force us deeper into this quandary of how to reconcile present lifestyle with future consequence. Mr. Edge’s term, “duplicitous,” characterizes the trap we’re in — nurturing our children’s futures while burning fuels that undermine that future.

Though Mr. Edge rightly points out that smoking, which I compare to fossil fuel use, has essentially no social benefit, there is much consumption of fossil fuels that fits that description — driving overly heavy and inefficient cars, unnecessary trips, overheated or overcooled buildings, inefficient lights illuminating unused spaces. Once one becomes aware of the downside of pouring climate-changing gases into the atmosphere (we’ve increased atmospheric concentrations a whopping 40 percent thus far) its easy to identify ways to reduce consumption.

In some ways, burning fossil fuels is far worse than smoking. Unlike the largely self-inflicted impacts of smoking, the consequences of burning fossil fuels cannot be undone in a generation or two, but are cumulative and persistent, impacting countless generations to come. It is the essentially irrevocable nature of the changes being wrought to oceans and atmosphere that makes action to shift course so urgent.

It’s important to note that the government didn’t force anyone to stop smoking, but rather made it increasingly inconvenient to do so. If any “forcing” is being done, it is the collective forcing of the climate in a risky direction and the forcing of future generations to deal with it.

Phasing in a price on carbon, using an approach that eases financial burden on lower incomes, will encourage advances in alternative technologies and speed their adoption. When disposing of exhaust in the atmosphere is no longer free, the freedom to consume will be reconnected with a responsibility for consequence. We’ll value these remarkable but flawed fuels more and use them less.

For one who grew up in the afterglow of America’s World War II victory, it’s baffling to watch the nation react to the threat of climate change with defeatism and denial. We could sit around waiting for the “as yet unidentified” perfect energy source, and hope that some other town or state or nation will make the first move. But some problems are so great that you have to take them on with the technologies and resourcefulness at hand, knowing that we’ll develop even better tools as we go along. And we have to remember that the government played a crucial and economically beneficial role in the nation’s past successes, and that it will necessarily play a vital role in this one as well.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

Thank you for the two recent letters raising the issue of the use of leaf blowers. As Jill Feldman clearly pointed out, these machines cause air pollution, make a lot of noise, and waste precious energy. It seems to us that leaves and cut grass can usually be more efficiently removed from lawns and sidewalks with old-fashioned rakes and brooms. (And how important is it to remove each leaf and each blade of cut grass?) Having moved from a large city to Princeton 11 years ago, we are puzzled — and disappointed — to note that it is noisier here, every day of the week, due to the near-constant use of power tools, including leaf and snow blowers, mowers, saws, etc. We would love to see their use limited so that we could more often enjoy the sound of the birds – and quiet!

Michelle DeKlyen, Jerome Silbergeld

Philip Drive

Discussions for Improved AvalonBay

Plan Should Be Conducted in Public

To the Editor:

Press reports from Mayor Liz Lempert and Councilman Bernie Miller that AvalonBay will propose a better site plan are heartening. To find common ground, we encourage AvalonBay to meet with area neighbors and Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods to discuss AvalonBay’s new vision for the former hospital site. No plans yet exist; the time is still ripe for community engagement to gain a progressive design.

A prime location for any developer, Princeton would be a major addition to AvalonBay’s “portfolio.” Our elected and municipal officials must ask more of AvalonBay than has apparently been proposed. They should insist that concept discussions for a development of this magnitude be conducted in public. They should ask AvalonBay to present, soon, a concept plan for public review and comment.

“They’ve agreed to lower building heights along the perimeter and increase heights toward the center of the site,” Mayor Lempert has written. Fine, but to what extent? Experienced Princeton architects and real estate developers think the following parameters reasonable: not more than four stories at the site’s center, a floor-area ration (FAR) of 1.35 (reduced from 1.52), and a significant reduction  density from the original 280 units. We’ve read of “up to five” buildings in AvalonBay’s new thinking, with townhouses along Franklin Avenue — and a street connecting Henry Avenue with Franklin Avenue. Positive news, but the street must be genuine, with a sidewalk, and entirely open to the sky, not tunneled through the garage.

We’ve read of a larger park on the corner of Witherspoon and Franklin, a better positioning for public space than previously proposed, and an optimal location for 12,000 square feet for local retail stores (really vital for the neighborhood’s economic and social health). We want Princeton officials to push for local retail so that residents can live sustainably rather than wasting gas driving to the Shopping Center every time they need something. Shops located around this public park would thrive at this location. Will AvalonBay agree to contribute to Princeton’s active policy of sustainability?

AvalonBay has “committed to green building.” We ask not only for Energy Star or LEED accreditation for the entire complex but for an energy-efficiency that is 30 percent better than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 requirements, with solar panels on the roofs, installed during initial construction, not later.

Princeton officials can devise meaningful incentives to help AvalonBay’s negotiators rise to the highest standards for a premium development. AvalonBay Princeton will contribute to the company’s brand. What will Princeton get in return?

Evolving a satisfactory plan that includes the public process will take time — and a cessation of litigiousness. Expedited deadlines for reviews by municipal staff, SPRAB and the Princeton Environmental Commission, as well as the Planning Board, ought to be normalized.

AvalonBay’s requests for substantially abbreviated time-lines (based on Princeton’s supposedly slack affordable housing record) lack justification. Princeton’s excellent record of providing affordable housing (including low-low income units) dates back to 1937, well before the Mt. Laurel decisions of the 1980s.

Alexi J. Assmus,

Maple Street

Daniel A. Harris,

Dodds Lane

Kate J. Warren,

Jefferson Street

Trustees, Princeton Citizens

for Sustainable Neighborhoods

To the Editor:

Re: “Council Split on Kiosk Question., Votes to Renovate One for Now,” p. 1, April 10: So, Bernie Miller, “asked several of his friends their opinions, and most say that the kiosks should be kept …. But he disagrees.” And then “The University supports the idea.” Why don’t we save all of the time that we waste on these pesky Princeton Council meetings and just ask Mr. Miller and the University what they want to do?

Lou Valente

Hunter Road

To the Editor:

On behalf of myself and hundreds of other attendees representing over fifty countries, I would like to thank YWCA Princeton for the outstanding International Community Day which took place Sunday, April 14 on the YWCA campus. A special thanks to our Assemblywoman Donna M. Simon, New Jersey Legislative District 16, for her gracious remarks opening the event and for her strong support of YWCA Princeton. The event was organized by the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at YWCA Princeton.

The event pulsated with joy as attendees of all ages participated in the raffle of beautiful and practical objects donated by local merchants, ate delectable ethnic food and watched traditional Spanish and Indian dancing, American country dancing, and martial arts demonstrations. Colorful and flamboyant displays of Japanese Ikebana and cultural and educational objects from Pakistan, China and Mexico created the ambiance of a virtual United Nations in Princeton.

Beverly T. Elston

Quarry Street

April 10, 2013
CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

Color is the key. In the hair industry today, it’s all about color. It is the major focus of nearly all salons.

“Hair color is a total fashion statement today,” says Tim Bricker owner, with his wife Kate, of B+B Hair Color Studio at 190 Witherspoon Street, Suite 4. “It’s just amazing how much color has evolved. The quality of color hair products has improved tremendously. It’s completely safe now. We have a super-nurturing hair color Nectayar from Europe that consists of all natural ingredients. Hair color actually improves the condition of the hair, and increases the shine.

“It can also add the perception of depth to fine hair. In addition, color can change and enhance the skin tone, and it can even appear to change the shape of the face.”

Mr. Bricker says B+B Hair Color Studio clients are all ages, “from 16 to 96!”, and  are both men and women. “Men often like to have gray blending, and they can look 10 years younger with this!”

Tone-on-Tone

For girls and women, the variety of choices is extensive. Blond highlights are always popular, but darker “chocolate” shades are also favorites. And, of course, color is still used to cover gray.

“What is really big now is tonal, tone-on-tone color,” report the Brickers. “It’s multi-dimensional, and gives a very natural look. We are definitely natural hair people here. Our focus is natural.

“Ombre is a popular look,” continues Mr. Bricker. “It can be achieved with hair painting or foils, and it is most often done on longer hair. The color is applied part way down, not at the top. Also, we specialize in cool color tones, and they are very popular. It can be light or dark, and it is basically the absence of red tones, so there is no brassiness. If it’s light, we think of it as ‘Fifth Avenue Blond!’”

For those unfortunate do-it-yourselfers who have had an unhappy color experience, the Brickers have corrective color treatments that can undo the damage.

Cutting and color go hand-in-hand, and Mr. Bricker was recently one of five top stylists from across the country, who trained with celebrity stylist Nick Arrojo (seen on the TV show What Not to Wear) in precision razor cutting.

“Precision razor cutting is good for all hair styles,” he explains. “It gives texture, movement, and lift to the hair. The way hair cutting is approached changes, with new techniques constantly coming along. We are always training and participating in continuing education.”

Ambassador Salon

“Also, we have recently partnered wth the Arrojo Studio in Manhattan, and we are an Ambassador salon for Arrojo. Only a select number of salons are chosen as Ambassador salons. We can send our stylists to be trained by his staff, and we carry the Arrojo products.”

The Brickers have trained other stylists throughout the northeastern U.S. As platform artists and master hair color specialists, they also style models’ hair at shows and events in New York City and elsewhere.

In business for 15 years in Princeton, they have always specialized in color and cutting. “I always loved the creativity of it, and I especially liked all the differences involved in hair color. I could see how complex it was,” explains Mr. Bricker.

While the majority of their clients have mid to long hair, the Brickers enjoy working on all lengths and types of hair. Curly hair provides its own challenges, and Mr. Bricker points out that color can enhance the curl, as it reflects the light.

Styling Products

For those with straight hair, he notes the current popularity of the curling wand, and also the variety of styling products that keep the style in place. “We believe the Arrojo products are the best because they are created and tested by hair dressers in the Arrojo studio in New York. This translates into a premium product that is completely user-friendly.”

Their recent move from their former State Road location has provided the studio with much more space, and it offers a very contemporary, sleek, and sophisticated look. “We wanted to be ‘Soho Sleek’! We feel like the Soho of Princeton,” point out the Brickers, smiling. “We are very specialized, and we’re all about being a boutique. We also wanted to be in downtown Princeton, and Witherspoon Street is great. It has lots of energy, and it’s where it’s happening.”

Their many long-time clients agree, and they are also intrigued by the studio’s high tech TV and iPad connection. “We have a big TV screen and can transfer the images to an iPad we give the clients’ says Ms. Bricker. “We can show them whatever style they are interested in. Even styles from celebrities at the Grammy’s and other events.”

“We pride ourselves on offering our clients the best service we can,” adds Mr. Bricker. “We enjoy making people look and feel better. They’re happier, and it makes a difference for them. We look forward to continuing to help our clients have the very best cuts and color.”

They also look forward to their upcoming grand opening event on April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nick Arrojo will be on hand to meet B+B Color Hair Studio clients and visitors.

Studio hours are by appointment Tuesday through Saturday. (609) 683-4455. Website: www.bbcolorstudio.com.

To the Editor:

The 82nd Annual Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale was one of the most successful ever thanks to the exceptional book donation from the family of the late Peter Oppenheimer. The “Oppenheimer Collection” was the centerpiece of this year’s sale and nearly sold out within minutes of the sale’s opening.

Our special gratitude goes to all 110 volunteers who unpacked, priced, and arranged the 60,000 plus books for the sale and to those who worked long hours cashiering. This year we also had help from volunteers from Princeton Day School, The Hun School, Lawrenceville, and Princeton High School. Their efforts lightened the work for the rest of our volunteers and we appreciate their help. As always, Princeton Day School provided a welcoming home for the sale, as they have for over 20 years and the PDS crew members took care of everything we could possibly ask for during the 12 days we occupied their school.

Next year we will feature the remainder of the Oppenheimer collection that was so popular. We urge all those who want to purchase these books to come on the first day of the sale.

Frances Reichl

Book Sale Steering Committee

Dear Editor:

I am a firm believer that the Town of Princeton government should be very proactive in preventing graffiti and correcting graffiti when a graffiti outlaw defaces private or public property.

At the present time there is graffiti on a stop sign and a yellow and black sign on Broadmead Street, and on the corner of Mt. Lucas Road and Princeton Avenue, a graffiti outlaw placed black spray paint on the wooden panel of a small bridge. I sincerely hope this letter results in the quick removal of the graffiti in both locations, and I hereby express the sincere hope that there are other Princeton residents who dislike graffiti as much as I do. I urge that any time someone sees graffiti anywhere in Princeton, that they place a phone call to Mr. Robert Bruschi the Town of Princeton administrator. In many parts of New Jersey, outlaws are winning the war on crime pertaining to graffiti. However Princeton is capable of winning that war.

Ethan C. Finley

Princeton Community Village

To The Editor:

In response to the Town Topics, April 3 article, “Do You Compost? Jefferson Road Does,” I would like to make a correction for Regatta Row. Our street is green! Although I am the only resident who is not using the Princeton green recycling program, I do compost. I have been composting in my backyard for over 20 years. With 3 bins going, my compost enriches the soil in my vegetable garden and perennial borders.

When calculating who’s green and who’s not, I think Sustainable Princeton should count the people who sign on to the Central Jersey Waste pickup, AND the people who do their own composting.

Regatta Row is Green! All of us!

Eunice Wilkinson

Note: From the story: “So far, three homes [on Regatta Row] are enrolled, so just one more to go to become the first street in Princeton to become entirely organic.”

To the Editor:

Our municipal officials must feel very secure in their positions. Their increasing comfort with dictatorial rule has been evidenced this year by a growing lack of regulatory restraint, a tendency towards selective construction and enforcement of the law, and a proclivity for willful deceit.

One of our mayor’s first acts was to renegotiate the PILOT paid by her husband’s employer — notwithstanding rules that prior officials have construed to require recusal in similar situations. I might be more forgiving had there not been so many recent examples of “recusal” being used to muzzle critics — notably when Jenny Crumiller was advised by Borough attorneys to recuse herself prior to the Planning Board vote on the University’s “arts less transit” neighborhood.

More recently, our mayor has boasted of $3 million in alleged consolidation savings. Her brazen lie was echoed by our town’s administrator and permitted by a compliant Council to go unchallenged. Krystal Knapp, alone among our local reporters, had the courage to reveal that $2.3 million of the alleged “savings” were pure fiction — the result of counting prior expenses but ignoring related offsetting receipts.

The catalogue of meddlesome rules and ex cathedra proclamations now includes a decree that leaves must henceforth be bagged (at a cost to Borough residents that has yet to be tabulated), and that twigs and branches must be neither longer than three feet, nor wider than specified diameters, nor stacked in more than three piles. Forgive me for reminding our mayor that we in the Borough were promised that consolidation would not diminish anybody’s level of service. Forgive me also for observing that the cost of bagging our leaves will greatly exceed whatever paltry tax relief property owners will receive as compensation for dismantling the Borough’s zoning protections.

And let’s not forget the needless assault on our police chief (for indulging in “locker room language”). We will all share in the likely cost of a future settlement. Our Council turned suddenly thrifty, however, when asked to defend their Planning Board against AvalonBay’s charge of bigotry. The interests of the hospital and the growers evidently trumped those of neighborhood residents — just as do the wishes of the University president who has resolved to kill the Dinky before her resignation takes effect.

The authoritarian trend recalls the scene in Dr. Zhivago in which Yuri returns home to find his Moscow house a shambles, inhabited by dozens of squatters, one of whom berates him for having failed previously to throw open to Moscow’s population what some might today call his McMansion. Is that really what we want for Princeton?

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

The letter written by Stephen K. Hiltner, published in your April 3 issue [“Although the Tobacco Monster Was Slain, Fossil Fuel Monster Still in Growth Phase”), might have been considered an April Fool’s joke if it had been published a couple of days earlier. He compared the use of tobacco with our use of fossil fuels. Aside from satisfying addictions and enriching tobacco companies, farmers and government tax coffers, there is no benefit to society from consuming tobacco. On the other hand, mankind has been using fossil fuels for warmth and cooking food for thousands of years. Aside from more than 6,000 products that are produced from petroleum, fossil fuels illuminate, heat, and cool our homes and power our businesses, factories, transportation systems and modern agriculture.

Unless Mr. Hiltner intends to disconnect his home from our public utility system, stop using a car and public transportation, and forego all of the other modern conveniences and comforts that are powered by fossil fuels, his letter is duplicitous. It’s also filled with paranoia, misinformation, and falsehoods. Rather than expanding our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, as Mr. Hiltner claims, we have been highly successful in reducing it. Since 2005, our nation’s population has increased more than 18 million, yet according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration our consumption of crude oil petroleum products has decreased by a billion barrels per year during the same period.

Notwithstanding Mr. Hiltner’s claims to the contrary, our domestic oil production has enabled our country to decrease its oil imports 41.1 percent since 2005. Domestic oil and gas production not only provide much needed employment for American workers, exploiting our own resources will help our nation wean itself from having to import energy from unfriendly, unstable, unreliable countries. Our nation has made considerable progress in developing and utilizing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, but those sources alone, because of their intermittency, cannot supply our needs without backup from other sources. Small, modular nuclear power plants that do not produce greenhouse gases and that can be produced in a factory and hauled to the installation site on a rail flatcar may help us power our electric grid until some new, yet undeveloped, source of power materializes.

Meanwhile, our modern transportation and agricultural systems will remain largely dependent upon petroleum until another, but as yet nonexistent energy source, is discovered. Gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel provide at least 25 times the energy density per pound of any other source of energy. Our most efficient lithium-ion batteries, capable of supplying the energy in 20 gallons of gasoline, would weigh more than 3,000 pounds. Aside from exorbitant cost, the carbon footprint from manufacturing a plug-in electric car is so high that it produces more greenhouse gases than driving a same-size gasoline-powered car 50,000 miles.

Anyone who is suggesting that our government should force us to “shift away from dependence on fossil fuels” ought to be offering affordable, practical alternatives; none of which I saw in Mr. Hiltner’s letter. Otherwise the “tough love” that he is advocating may mean our doing without the jobs, comforts, and modern conveniences that most of us enjoy.

Lewis A. Edge, Jr.

Cleveland Road West

April 3, 2013

To the Editor:

Historic Valley Road School, the portion along Witherspoon Street, now faces a very uncertain future. Originating from a gift to the inhabitants of Princeton Township, it needs significant repair. Currently it contains two tenants, Corner House and Princeton Community TV, both of whom are slated to move to the old Borough Hall around the end of May. Princeton Community TV has done a yeomen’s job of mopping up roof leaks and maintaining life in the building. In fact, if the choice was theirs they would prefer to remain.

In its six-page resolution on the reuse of Valley Road School (VRS), the School Board listed six areas where it felt that the Valley Road School Community Center proposal fell short. The first was representative of the tone of the entire resolution: “VRS-ARC, by its proposal, demands that the Board bear responsibility for undertaking any and all zoning law changes necessary to allow the proposal to proceed.” All completely untrue. Still, based on conciliatory remarks from members of the School Board before and after passage of the resolution, we concluded that the School Board was tacitly telling us to move forward with getting our proposed zoning amendment adopted.

This proposed zoning amendment was prepared for the School Board’s review in 2011. If it were to be passed it would allow the building to be adaptively reused as a center for nonprofit organizations serving Princeton. The proposed amendment also contains parking requirements that we think we can meet of 1 parking space for each 400 square feet of usable space, assuming that we can count street parking. So last week we took the first steps toward formally proposing our zoning amendment for passage — only to receive a vehement objection from the School Board.

The Board says that it is looking for a solution. And they say that they are concerned that they might need additional classroom space some day in the future, which could be accommodated in the new center. Their CURRENT plan, however, is to board up the building, and with every rainstorm, let deterioration continue, something a private owner would find completely unacceptable. Remarkably in an $84 million budget, the Board can’t find even a few thousand, or even a few hundred dollars, to patch a roof leak in a building for which they are the stewards.

The School Board says that they are worried about liabilities. They don’t seem to see the liabilities inherent in locking up the building and letting nature take its course. Even with a fence around it, it will be an eyesore and hazard — pools of water, mold, rodents, thieves, and kids tempted to explore. No doubt a deteriorating building also would have a negative impact on property values in the immediate area.

We still hope that the School Board will do the right thing and show its overall concern for the town’s well-being by allowing a citizen group to try to save the building. What does the Board have to lose?

Kip Cherry

President, VRS-ARC