February 12, 2014

To the Editors:

As a former president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), I would like to address a trend I have noticed in letters various members of our community have sent in support of the three Democratic candidates for Princeton Council in recent weeks. Some have ascribed the current tense atmosphere on Council to the fact that certain members refuse to accept municipal consolidation and move on with the business of governing our town. One tongue-in-cheek letter proposed secession of the tree street neighborhood from our newly united community! I strongly disagree that any members of the governing body reject consolidation. I know all of our Council members personally and can attest that all supported unification when it was under consideration, and still agree that it was the right thing to do.

I would like to offer an alternate explanation concerning friction on the Council in recent months: I believe there are differences in attitude and governing style between members of the former Borough Council and Township Committee, and each has strong opinions about whose preferences should prevail; this is in no way the same thing as wanting to turn back the clock or undo consolidation, rather it is a natural and proper process of accommodation that could have been predicted, and must be worked through in order for consolidation to succeed. If I had to summarize in a sentence what those stylistic differences are, I would say that former members of Borough Council tend to have an idealistic, process-oriented approach to governing, while former members of Township Committee generally have a more pragmatic, results-oriented approach. Both points of view have their virtues, and I would argue that we have a better government thanks to having both represented on the Council. Without the pragmatists, nothing much would get done, but without the idealists, community engagement and public support for the actions of Council would falter. There is a great old Tom Hanks movie from 1985 called Volunteers, which perfectly captures the tension and synergy between these contrasting styles of doing good – I urge you all to check it out.

This letter is not a plea for support of any individual council candidate. I hope my observations will help shed some light, and elicit some sympathy for all our public servants working through this challenging adjustment period. I suspect the pragmatists in the community already support the more pragmatic candidate(s), and the idealists support the more idealistic candidate(s). My hope is that there are many others out there like me, who value the presence of both, and will vote to keep a balance on the Council. And above all, I hope that members of the community will come to more fully appreciate that we are one town now, and that differences of opinion on public questions, even when they may roughly follow old municipal boundaries, do not constitute a rejection of consolidation. To assert that they do is to perpetuate old divisions and delay the synthesis of a new, vibrant, and united Princeton.

David E. Cohen

PCDO President 2009-10

To the Editor:

We are writing to support Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller for Princeton Council. While independent-minded, Bernie and Sue are able to work effectively together to produce positive results for our community.  They have worked to keep municipal taxes flat, negotiated with Princeton University for a significant payment-in-lieu of taxes, and led a successful transition to a consolidated government — producing real savings for our town.

These results don’t come by voting in “lock-step,” but by productive and civil debate. Bernie and Sue are cognizant of the fact that when you don’t get your way, you have to accept the vote and as a member of a governing body, make the decision work. You can’t hold government hostage.

It’s time to move forward, meeting our challenges with professionalism and resolve. Bernie and Sue will use their problem solving skills to tackle the difficult issues of the present while keeping a sharp focus on the promise of Princeton’s future.

Sara and Lincoln Hollister

Ridgeview Road

To the Editor:

The token efforts made by taxpayer-supported Sustainable Princeton to address future problems may be inadequate and misdirected. The following examples come from my hand-out, whose distribution at the January 29th meeting was not allowed by the Princeton Public Library:

• Rain Barrels were distributed to some residents for use in watering their lawns. The director of Sustainable Princeton informed me that the barrels were not for use in growing vegetables, but only for lawns. Sustainable lawns? Lawns originated in merrie olde England, where owning some land that did not have to be cultivated for food or used for grazing was an early display of wealth. In our era where living standards are declining because of the exhaustion of available crude oil, should lawns really have a priority call on resources in Princeton?

• Composting is certainly going to be a useful activity in the future. I compost my vegetable garden wastes on site in the downtown area. But the system promoted by Sustainable Princeton, to put your compostables in a plastic can, have them collected weekly and driven to Delaware to be processed misses the point. It wastes money and precious petroleum, and relies on actions of people far away. You pay to haul it away, and again if you want to get the compost back for your garden. This misallocation may make its participants feel good, but does not address the need to relocalize critical future resources.

• Giving awards, as Sustainable Princeton does, may give the recipients a false sense of achievement and divert us all from acquiring useful knowledge and skills for the incipient future. See John Michael Greer’s 1/15/2014 blog.

• Using Sustainable Princeton meetings to allow peddlers of various so-called “green” products to offer wares and services that exploit the purchasers’ emotional vulnerabilities seems to be of dubious real value. These products are all promoted because someone can make a buck from them even if the claims made for them are suspect (remember ethanol?). There are no hucksters for anything that does not offer profit opportunities, even if it really matters, such as growing vegetables, self-composting garden wastes, saving seeds, and working cooperatively with neighbors. Nor are they offering sustainable local solutions to other challenges, such as blackouts, unavailable fuels, no in-town hospital, and a vanishing willingness of non-local governments and people to provide aid should we need it (Katrina or Sandy, anyone?). PSE&G has notified Princeton residents that in the event of a power outage, backup generators may have insufficient natural gas pressure. That’s the future, and our efforts may be better rewarded if directed toward community self-reliance.

• “Environmental” films or books matter little unless they inspire us to act intelligently.

But does it really matter? Perhaps not. Runaway global warming may now also be inevitable, and could come sooner. If so, humans may become extinct from starvation because extreme heat destroys parts of the food chain. See Dr. Guy McPherson’s October 2013 lecture at DePauw University.

Ronald C. Nielsen

Humbert Street

To The Editor:

We write in enthusiastic support of Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth for Princeton Council because we believe that they will provide the kind of leadership our consolidated Princeton needs as we move forward.

Both have the professional and service backgrounds that make them highly qualified to do this work and both have shown themselves to be thoughtful and collaborative.

We live in a wonderful community. We are all currently benefitting from the accomplishments of consolidation. Unless we can deal with fundamental issues in a broad, conceptual, non-threatening and non-accusatory way, through our elected representatives, we will eat out the core of what we have placed our faith in and worked so hard to achieve.

Claire Jacobus,

Cleveland Lane

Carol Golden,

Snowden Lane

February 7, 2014

To the Editor:

I am once again struck by the tremendous generosity of our community. On January 18 Eden celebrated its 26th Eden Dreams gala at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. Considerable thanks to the Dreams committee, led by Peter Franco and Mary Ann Guarrieri for all of their hard work and effort to bring this magnificent event to fruition. Also, heartfelt thanks to the many individuals, corporate sponsors, and in-kind donors who contributed toward this outstanding event. Without their help Eden Dreams would not be possible. I commend the greater Princeton community for its continued support in helping Eden to improve the lives of children and adults with autism. The funds raised at Eden events help us to continue to provide the highest quality of services for our students and adults so that they can continue to be contributing members of our community. Fundraising is especially critical to Eden’s adult programs where government funding falls short of the true cost of operations. Events like Eden Dreams allow us to sustain our first rate residential and employment programs and celebrate the essential support of Eden’s friends and families.

Again, thanks to all those who help keep Eden’s dream alive by making it possible for children and adults with autism to learn, grow, work, and lead productive lives. I will be retiring from Eden at the end January. It has been an honor to serve as president and CEO of this remarkable organization.

Thomas P. McCool, EdD

President and CEO, Eden Autism Services

To the Editor:

As I was walking to work this morning, I passed a hybrid electric delivery truck, bikers using the bicycle Sharrows, and people walking with their goodies in reusable bags. The scene was heartening. We’ve come a long way as a town in just a few years. I wondered though, as the New Year dawned, how might Princeton further embrace sustainability?

To answer this question, I gathered some of Sustainable Princeton’s visionary volunteers to come up with a list of sustainable New Year’s resolutions for our town to aim for in 2014. One volunteer laid out her vision from the start, “I want Princeton to become the most sustainable suburb in the Mid-Atlantic.” So with that big goal in mind, we made our list. We envision:

Recycling bins on every downtown sidewalk;

The green Curbside Organic Waste bins in front of every home and business;

100 home energy assessments conducted by June 2014, and at least 25 Princeton homes completing the recommended energy upgrades;

A community that buys local first because it is good for our economy and the environment;

Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables on the plates of every public school student, less plastic water bottles sold at school and an uptick in recycling at all public schools;

100 percent of shoppers using reusable bags rather than single use plastic bags that clog our oceans and sit for years in the landfill;

A sustainable vision for the town shared and acted upon by the government, schools, businesses and residents;

Princeton earning Silver Certification as a Sustainable Community from Sustainable Jersey;

50 new Sustainable Princeton volunteers to help us reach our goals and;

A vibrant, walkable, bike-able, earth-friendly, sustainable community to live in.

If you want to meet the people in our community who are making these goals a reality, there are two upcoming events you should attend at the Princeton Public Library: The Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards on January 29 at 7 p.m. and The Great Ideas Breakfast on January 31 at 8:30 a.m.

Diane M. Landis

Executive director, Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

I am one of eight residents challenging the Planning Board’s approval of AvalonBay’s Plan B through a legal appeal. Both sides have submitted briefs and the final public hearing is scheduled for Thursday February 13 at 2 p.m. in Trenton’s Civil Court.

A diverse group of residents joined forces to create the Association for Planning at Hospital Site LLC (APHS), and legal expenses to date have been paid by over 70 individuals. While APHS recognizes the need, and supports the redevelopment of Princeton’s old hospital site, we feel this should only happen after all concerns have been addressed — concerns that impact the entire town, the surrounding schools, and not just one neighborhood.

The Planning Board approved AvalonBay’s scheme without resolution, and in some cases, consideration, of substantial issues. Despite residents’ participation in the “process,” our legal appeal remains the only opportunity for critical improvements.

Since the redevelopment’s issues are complex, we developed an informational video, which can be viewed at www.APHSLLC.com. We’re concerned about the shortcomings in Princeton’s planning process in general and seek improvement to AvalonBay’s scheme in three major areas:

1. Size: we seek a reduction in bulk, mass, and footprint of the buildings, so that the development complies with all of the design criteria in the MRRO Zone ordinances.

2. Sewer: the developer, not the town, should pay for upgrading the overburdened sanitary sewer, which backed up into Henry Avenue homes on multiple occasions while the hospital was in operation.

3. Environment: we seek a commitment to resolve the outstanding environmental issues, including demolition process issues.

As an example of not prioritizing the health and safety of residents, the Hospital and AvalonBay didn’t disclose during the Planning Board hearings that an incinerator operated on-site for decades. That took a Princeton resident filing OPRA requests with NJ DEP. Why should such research rely on voluntary efforts by residents?

At the January 27, 2014 Town Council meeting, AvalonBay described the incinerator’s use for paper only. However, a 1990 document from NJ DEP contradicts this by calling it a “Pathological Incinerator” and a floor plan dating back to 1948 shows an incinerator room. Only now is AvalonBay considering soils testing for unspecified heavy metals — and this only if the incinerator room’s drain line shows cracks when scoped. As for all of the other drain lines that could have carried hazardous substances over the years — still no promises. APHS demands that independent expertise be retained to supplement the town’s professional staff in all phases of review, testing, and inspection related to demolition.

In the bigger picture, it’s time for our government to change its current “planning process.” The rezoning of this site was controlled by the hospital, without qualified checks and balances by our government. No fiscal impact analysis was performed on what is one of the largest construction projects Princeton has ever seen, with the potential for cost and tax implications hurting us all.

Yaron Inbar

Harris Road

To the Editor:

When it comes to election time in Princeton, it’s rare to have a choice. I am excited that we have one this year. I hope we have choices every year. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about — choice.

When I voted for consolidation, I was not voting for having the same town council year after year. I voted for choice, for different voices, for change. I voted for positive, energetic, forward-looking representation. I was, and am sick of, the “we did it this way, you did it that way” mantra. I happily acknowledge that Princeton Borough and Princeton Township have rich histories.

But now let’s get on with it and ensure that THE ONE AND ONLY PRINCETON has a rich future.

That’s why I am supporting Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller. Sue and Bernie worked hard for consolidation. They believe in one Princeton; they believe in representative, responsible government. Sue and Bernie ask tough questions and expect accountability. Sue and Bernie respect opposing opinions, and will work collaboratively to move forward. And they have the track record to prove it. I believe Sue and Bernie are the voices we need for the new Princeton. I encourage all Princeton residents to support the Nemeth-Miller team for Princeton Council.

Anne Burns

Baldwin Lane

To the Editor:

Last night we had the privilege of hosting a coffee for local Democrats in our Jugtown neighborhood to meet and talk with Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller, candidates for Princeton Council. Despite temperatures in single digits, people came from near and far, and our little living room was packed to standing room only. We had a mix of voters who were lifelong residents of Princeton, to new residents of just five months duration. We had folks who were retired; we had young families.

To this gathered assembly Sue Nemeth and Bernie Miller spoke long and eloquently about why they want to serve. Miller, an incumbent with a long and distinguished resume, had much to say about the continuing challenges facing the council during the ongoing consolidation, a process that has been historically successful, but all too often drowned out by infighting on the council, a distraction which has actually cost taxpayers in time and money. That the council has been successful despite a few members still wanting to fight old fights (even to the point of still pitting Borough against Township) is a tribute to Bernie’s steady leadership in tandem with our Mayor Liz Lempert.

Sue Nemeth, who is bravely challenging an incumbent in her own party (not an easy thing to do, witness the recent petty act directed at her at the PCDO), has an equally impressive resume both in her professional life as a community activist, and in public service on countless boards, as deputy mayor of the former Princeton Township and on the PCDO Executive Committee. Hearing her speak on her specialty, financial matters, was illuminating and we both felt that Princeton will be lucky to have her serve on the Council. Sue displayed an impressive grasp of the challenges that lie ahead, real issues that include establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Princeton University, supporting the police department in their progressive community outreach, and realizing tax savings by keeping an eye on the big picture.

Last night Bernie spoke with old friends who knew him well, and Sue made them her friends and admirers as well. It was a stirring evening, as warm inside as it was cold outside.

James and Constance Camner

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Jo Butler for reelection to the Princeton Council. She has earned my respect and admiration for her tireless effort on behalf of the people of Princeton.

Through her independent sense of inquiry, investigation, and transparency, Jo Butler holds our local government and administration more accountable to the public. Her thoughtful, independent voice contributes constructively to the public debate of local issues, and to the spirit of checks and balances in our municipal government.

Her work as a member of the municipal council centers around keeping Princeton safe, attractive, and well-maintained, and keeping costs contained. Having worked with her, I realize that she expects the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and transparency of all of those who serve the public, including herself.

For these reasons I support Jo Butler’s candidacy whole-heartedly, and I ask my fellow Democrats to endorse her as she campaigns for reelection to the Princeton municipal council.

Patrick Simon

Democrat, Member, Princeton Council

To the Editor:

Every year the Princeton University men’s basketball team has a tune up game with a Division III college as a preliminary step towards playing the rest of the season against colleges in the Ivy League. It frequently happens that when the team has its once a year tune up game against a Division III school, Princeton always wins in a one-sided victory. In my opinion the cost of admission to the tune up game should be less than $12. I also think that earnest consideration should be given for the tune-up game to be played against a Division II college team.

Ethan C. Finley

Princeton Community Village

January 29, 2014

To the Editor:

Snow and freezing temperatures could not suppress the contagious and exuberant spirits of Judy and Bill Scheide the evening of January 25, when they invited the Princeton community to share in the celebration of Bill’s 100th Birthday. The event was held in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus with proceeds benefiting Westminster Choir College. The participation of the Westminster Symphonic Choir in the program added to the richness of the event and demonstrated the wide-ranging talent of the group. On behalf of myself, and I’m certain the other members of the capacity audience, I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to Judy and Bill for an inspiring and memorable evening. Their continued generosity and commitment to the community through a love and appreciation of music is a precious gift.

Linda Sipprelle

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

We live in a time when civility in public life is in short supply. Members of Congress leading the Tea Party were willing to shut the federal government down at great risk to our society and economy. At the state level, high ranking officials stand accused of bullying local officials to further the political ambitions of the governor.

Princeton has mostly managed to conduct its municipal business in a civil fashion. However, we respectfully disagree with those intent on rehashing issues that have already been decided by the voters. Consolidation has given us the ability to ease the strain and expense of governing a divided community. It is time to move forward.

We’re supporting Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth because they have demonstrated the utmost professionalism and encouraged constructive civil debate that produced remarkable results for Princeton. They campaigned tirelessly for a united Princeton and managed a smooth transition that protected the interests of taxpayers and dedicated staff alike. In their previous roles they also negotiated successfully with Princeton University, achieving the first ever payment-in-lieu of taxes for the former Township. They’ve set an outstanding example of the highest standards for civil discourse; they’ve proven it need not be acrimonious or accusatory to get results.

We stand ready to campaign enthusiastically for Bernie and Sue for Princeton Council and encourage you to join us!

Alison and Anton Lahnston,

Elm Road

Janet Baxendale,

Moore Street

Liz Fillo, Marsha Levin-Rojer,

Charles Royer

Drakes Corner Road

Frank and Grace Sinden,

Ridgeview Circle

Carol Ann Meier,

Hickory Court

To the Editor:

Informed decisions require knowledge of the topic, constructive questions, transparency, open-mindedness, and the most important and uncomfortable component, which is the discussion of difficult issues. The new Princeton is still in its infancy and informed decisions by the elected officials are the key to making this a successful transition.

Lively discussions in Council in the past year have involved contracts, conflicts of interest polices, and fiscal responsibility. These are tough issues that need to be aired in a professional and objective manner without personal attacks or pre-determined outcomes. Open debate needs to be a welcome part of the decision-making process. We rely on our public officials to have this open discourse that is needed to properly run the town.

Jo Butler has a proven record of pushing for informed decisions that are critical to the prudent use of taxpayer dollars. Jo served on the Transition Task Force (TTF) and four of the TTF subcommittees, she has a strong background in finance, she continuously asks the hard questions, she removes items from consent agendas for more detailed and transparent discussions, and she is willing to listen and learn from her constituents.

Princeton has the opportunity to be an excellent case for consolidation, but to make this case, we need a Council with dedicated public servants like Jo Butler who consistently advocates for informed decisions.

Beth Ogilvie-Freda

Fisher Avenue

To the Editor:

We have experienced Jo Butler as a smart, conscientious Council member who is committed to open and effective government — first on Borough Council, now on Princeton Council. She is an independent representative who really listens carefully to the different opinions of constituents, and we have been impressed by her willingness to consider alternative ways of thinking about local issues. Jo speaks her mind openly about these issues, even when others disagree. That’s particularly important when all Council members belong to the same party.

Although Princeton is a diverse community, at present all members of Princeton Council are Democrats. We are Democrats, too. We think it is essential for members of a one-party government to be open to many different approaches as they attempt to solve community problems. It’s important that Council members not only welcome the introduction of fresh and diverse ideas, but also that they avoid any semblance of “group-think” in their decision-making. Government is weakened when behind-the-scenes groups make decisions that reflect one way of thinking. Decisions that are not open to public input are questionable decisions. Government is strengthened when representatives act independently, give consideration to different opinions, and learn to work together to solve community problems.

We are fortunate to have Jo Butler on Princeton Council. She is a principled individual and an independent thinker who is committed to good government, and her continued presence on Princeton Council deserves our support.

Francesca Benson, George Cody

Bainbridge Street

To the Editor:

The Tree Street residents have spoken — on January 1, 2015, we will officially de-consolidate from Princeton. The newly formed municipality, called Princeton Arbor, will hold elections this November for three people to serve as the Arbor’s initial Council of Elders (a motion to call it the Council of Alders has been rejected after being considered too cute). All interested parties should submit their applications in care of the Director of Elections at Arbor Hall.

No formal job description has been developed, but it is expected that the jobs will be similar to those in Princeton. It is, however, noted in Arbor by-laws that the Council of Elders is strongly encouraged not to form sub-allegiances that may lead to a homogenous voting bloc within the Council. Arbor founders believe that such voting blocs ultimately lead to a less representative form of government in which decisions are made by the few, rather than by the many.

As a working model for independence, potential nominees are encouraged to study the service record of Jo Butler, who has served with distinction on the Borough Council and more recently on the first Council of the consolidated Princeton. In her tenure Jo has shown herself to be an effective advocate for open government, a tireless worker on every committee on which she has served, and above all an independent voice. The Arbor would be well served to have three people of Jo’s caliber serving as Elders following the election.

There have been continuing rumors that the Arbor is looking to annex the road on which Jo Butler lives so that she can serve on the Council of Elders. While appealing, state regulations prohibit such an annexation.

Jim Levine

Linden Lane

Un-elected, un-appointed, un-named

(and perhaps un-wanted) representative of Princeton Arbor

TT Ania Jurkowski 1-29-14

“In the first place, I’m going to go with chicken soup. I love chicken soup. With that, I’m going to have mashed potatoes and baked chicken. For a drink, I would say hot tea with honey and lemon juice.” —Ania Jurkowski, Ewing

 TT Maddie Peake 1-29-14

“I love the Minnesotan chicken wild rice soup. And I love hot chocolate and these homemade breadsticks that mom makes.” —Maddie Peake, Twin Cities, Minnesota, member Princeton University women’s ice hockey team, Class of 2016

TT Cassidy Tucker 1-29-14 

“Hot chocolate, chili. I like chicken pot pie. Things like that.” —Cassidy Tucker, Plymouth, Michigan, member Princeton University women’s ice hockey team, Class of 2017

 TT Brianna Leahy 1-29-14

“Hot apple cider, I like butternut squash soup, and homemade chili.” —Brianna Leahy, Waterloo, Ontario, member Princeton University women’s ice hockey team, Class of 2015

 
January 15, 2014

To the Editor:

On the front page of the January 8 Town Topics [“Miller and Nemeth Join Forces for Council Run”], a Princeton political elite is quoted as saying ”There is some discord on Council. Everyone is aware of it.”

That statement relies on a normative assumption about local politics, that there should be little or no discord, where all municipal political elites “get along.” You know, “go along, to get along.” That, apparently, is the type of local governance the elite group thinks is best for the newly consolidated Princeton.

Me, I don’t think so.

Going along to getting along is just so much groupthink; rather, I like the dialogue, I like the debate, I like the challenge to the status quo. And if that involves difficult personalities, so be it. That’s how I see it, and that’s how James Madison saw it. At times like these — when human nature interacts with politics — I like to consult the Federalist Papers, as Hamilton, Jay, and especially Madison, understood something about what happens to human nature when you contextualize it in the frame of self-government.

The real story of America, and especially of the newly-consolidated Princeton, is self-government, and the proper goal of electoral politics is to populate the devices of self-government. The issue is not with whom the power base of the current council will best get along, but rather, who, between the three so-far-declared candidates, is best to bring a spirit of checks and balances to municipal level self-government.

In this passage from Federalist #10, first published on Friday, November 23, 1787, Madison discusses the relative virtues of a “pure democracy” and a “republic” form of government, or as we might say today, direct versus mediated democracy. The discussion is largely academic in that the very size of the country, even in the 1780s, made direct democracy all but impossible, but because it was the Athenian model of governance, it was used as an ideal form as the Founders crafted the Constitution. In this discussion, Madison considers the “small number of citizens” who administer government; this, in modern terms, is the political elite of a small town:

… a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention;

If all of my elected representatives go along to get along, which is what it seems the loud elite is up to, then leave me out of it. I’ll vote for the more independent voice, not because James Madison wants me to, but because I believe in self-government, and I believe in the spirited, turbulent, contentious spectacles that sometimes municipal-level self-governments must be.

Marc Weiner

Harriet Drive

 

To the Editor:

The way we deal with fallen leaves in Princeton is not sustainable financially or environmentally.

In 2010 it was estimated that it cost the then-Township and Borough a combined $700,000 annually to collect leaves. As this fall ritual has come to an end again, we should not continue to use the kind of resources we do in expensive heavy machinery and maintenance, fuel, and labor to collect and haul away tons of leaves. There is also a safety hazard to children and others with large piles of leaves, especially on narrow roadways and those with no sidewalks. A good part of these leaves can be kept on site. Following are some alternatives:

A) On wooded lots leaves can be raked or blown into the woods, enhancing the soil rather than being placed on roadways;

B) On non-wooded or smaller lots, often a small corner can be found to place the leaves for composting where Mother Nature will transform the pile over the winter to a fraction of its original volume. This resource can be used to enhance gardens or just be left alone;

C) The previous process can be greatly enhanced by leaf shredders to further reduce volume and/or to spread finely shredded particles on lawns to improve the soil.

Homeowners and their landscapers should be better informed about these alternatives. Apparently, we will need an ordinance to control these wasteful costs, primarily for areas where leaves can readily be left onsite.

This issue has been discussed publicly for at least a decade. It needs some focus now since the wheels of implementation grind slowly.

Grace Sinden

Ridgeview Circle

 

To the Editor:

We are writing to strongly endorse the candidacies of Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth for the Princeton Council.

One year into the consolidated Princeton, we are still in a critical time of transition and need strong leaders who can work constructively and responsibly to find solutions that work for the community. Bernie and Sue are just such leaders — committed advocates who have proven that they can get things done for Princeton. For example, they have worked effectively to craft balanced solutions on consolidation, creating the Princeton Ridge Preserve, rebuilding the Community Park pool complex, and negotiating productively with Princeton University.

Bernie and Sue are independent thinkers who always ask what is best for Princeton, solicit differing opinions, and find bridges to excellent outcomes. We are excited to support these candidates.

Amner Deleon, Anne Burns, Carl Brown, Carol Golden, David and Claire Jacobus, Gail Ullman, James and Connie Camner, Joan Bartl, Julia Coale and Joe Stonaker. Kevin Royer, Liz Erickson, Margaret Griffin and Scott Sillars, Ross Wishnick. Stacy Mann, Suki and Matt Wasserman, Susie Wilson, Wendy Kaczerski

 

To the Editor:

In 2014, year two of the new consolidated Princeton, two seats on the Princeton Council will be up for election. As the President of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) and as the Chair of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee, we are writing to encourage all Princeton Democrats to consider serving their community by running as a candidate for Council.

An open-house meeting will be held on Sunday, January 19, from 1 to 2 p.m. at 210 Moore Street. This is an informal opportunity for Democrats interested in running for Princeton Council this year or in the future to get advice and learn about the process including how to get on the ballot, and the local party endorsement process.

Princeton Democrats should join the PCDO or renew their membership by March 16 to be eligible to vote at the PCDO’s March 30 local endorsement meeting (dues are annual per calendar year, $15 suggested and $5 minimum). Membership information, online payment form, and a downloadable form are available at www.princetondems.org/join.

Jon Durbin, President

Princeton Community Democratic Organization

Peter Wolanin, Chair

Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee

 

“Italian food is comfort food. It tastes good. I could eat it seven days a week!”

Ben Sanford, manager and co-owner with chef Joe Egitto, of Cugino’s Italian Specialties in Pennington, loves what he does. “I just like the idea of food. I’ve been in the food industry for 14 years, and we are very enthusiastic about Cugino’s.”

The Italian Specialty shop, located at 2566 Pennington Road (near the Pennington Circle), has become a popular gathering place for customers from all over the area. Its wonderful displays of tempting Italian specialties and gourmet items are an irresistible combination, and many diners come more than once a week.

Cugino translates to “cousin” in Italian, an appropriate name for the establishment whose owners are indeed cousins. They grew up enjoying Italian dinners at the Egitto family home in Staten Island, and the idea of having their own restaurant took hold early on. “I always liked cooking,” explains Mr. Egitto. “My mom and dad were both good cooks, and I paid attention. I really always hoped to have my own restaurant.”

Italian Market Place

When the opportunity to open Cugino’s came along, he and Mr. Sanford did not hesitate, and it was a very hands-on family effort. They designed and built most of the interior themselves, laying the wood floor and spackling the walls to look like an old Italian market place. The rustic wooden tables holding the imported gourmet items were built by Mr. Sanford’s father, and Mr. Sanford and Mr. Egitto installed the tile in the L-shaped countertop.

“This is such a great location, and we wanted it to have an old-school neighborhood shop feeling. The atmosphere is definitely reminiscent of Italy.”

Cugino’s is primarily a take-out establishment, but seating for about 10 is available at a counter and a nearby table.

Then, there is the food! “We use the freshest ingredients, and we try to get local products whenever they are available,” point out the owners, who also recently opened Cafe 72, an American-style restaurant in West Trenton.

“At Cugino’s, all our retail items are from Italy or New York. Everything is very high quality, and it is extremely important to maintain the quality of the products. Consistency is a high priority.”

Cugino’s is home to all sorts of fresh options and indulgences. The menu offers a variety of panini sandwiches, pasta bowls, personal pizzas, and numerous fresh salads.

Many Favorites

“Eggplant parmesan is very popular, and our antipasto platters, and paninis are stand-outs for us,” reports Mr. Sanford. Among the many panini choices, some favorites include the Italian Combo with capocollo, Genoa salami, sopressata, mortadella, prosciutto, provolone, romaine, tomato, and Italian dressing; the Bruschetta chicken with grilled chicken, bruschetta, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella; and the eggplant parmesan, including breaded eggplant, marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella.

The variety of individual 10-inch pizzas offers many favorites. The San Genaro includes Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions, pomodoro, and fresh mozzarella; the “Grandma” offers pomodore, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, and garlic. There are also vodka, white, meatball, and vegetable pizzas, among others.

Grilled chicken and chicken and tuna salad can be added to the many salads available. Especially popular is fig salad with mixed greens, prosciutto, and sun-dried figs. Also favored are antipasto with mixed greens, Italian meats and cheeses, olives, and roasted red peppers; grilled chicken Caesar with romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan reggiano, homemade croutons, and roasted chicken. Cugino’s house salad features arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and roasted peppers.

Other popular dishes include stuffed portabellos, manicotti, chicken rollatini, lasagne Bolognese, Chef Eggito’s father’s homemade meat balls, and prosciutto-wrapped artichokes.

There are also very popular daily specials, including, Monday: Italian meatloaf; Tuesday: roast pork panini; Wednesday: shrimp chef selection; Thursday: veal chef selection; Friday: fresh fish selection.

Assorted pastas, sauces, a variety of Italian cheeses, 15 different kinds of olives, and Italian-style breads (arriving daily from New York) are also favorite take-home or sit-down choices. And, coffee, cappuccino, latte, and espresso are all on the menu. “We have a local coffee bean roaster,” points out Mr. Egitto.

Ahead of the Event

“Catering has become a big part of the business,” adds Mr. Sanford. “We do all sizes of parties and events, and we get very busy for the holidays, especially with lots of Christmas Eve dinners, and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day. It is best to order catering three or four days ahead of the event.”

Catering specials include panini trays, antipasto platters, pizza platters, and fruit and cheese trays, among others.

Tiramisu, Italian cookies (including Mostacciola specialty cookies), biscotti, assorted Panettone for the holidays, pizelle waffle cookies, specialty Perugina chocolate, and Torone nougat candy appeal to customers with a sweet tooth. The selection of Italian gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars, honeys, jams, and gift baskets all provide wonderful hostess or holiday gifts.

Food prices are typically $7 to $12 for sandwiches, salads, and pizzas.

“We want to remain a simple place, not at all pretentious,” says Mr. Sanford. “This is our creation, and we choose everything very carefully. We are definitely hands-on owners.”

Adds Mr. Egitto: “Cugino’s is very special for us. I love cooking and also being out with the customers. They appreciate our years of experience and what we are trying to accomplish.”

Cugino’s is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 to 5. (609) 730-4100. Website: www.cuginospennington.com.

 

January 8, 2014

TT Julian Nathan Auggie Preziosi Benjamin Drezner

Julian: “I like it when my mom makes whipped cream. I like to scoop it and eat it. I like being with my friends.”
Nathan: “Eat cookies and drink hot chocolate and go sledding or sit and do nothing.”
Auggie: “Sit down and chill out and watch some Hardcore Pawn. It is a really good show.”
Benjamin: “Drink hot chocolate, go sledding and hang out with friends.”
—Julian Drezner (left to right) Nathan Drezner, Auggie Preziosi, Benjamin Drezner, Princeton

TT John Will Reardon

John: ”I like to have snowball fights with my brothers and sisters and build snow castles and forts.”
Will: “Sled and throw snowballs.”
—John (left) and Will Reardon, Princeton

TT Paul Reardon

“As a father of four who has an office job on Wall Street, I love to snow blow my driveway and all of my neighbors’ driveways and even the sidewalks on our street. And of course I’m out here sledding and snowboarding with our kids.” —Paul Reardon, Princeton

 TT Jeramy Sallade Marshall Borham

Jeramy: “I like to go sledding. I like to drink my mom’s hot chocolate and load marshmallows in it.”
Marshall: “I like to go sledding and I like to drink hot chocolate in front of the fire.”
—Jeramy Sallade (left) and Marshall Borham, Princeton

 TT Yael Tuckman Hayley Sullivan

Yael: “Playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, making snowmen, and playing on my trampoline. Oh, and going in my hot tub.”
Hayley: “Playing on the trampoline, playing in the snow, playing board games, play with my brother, catch up on any homework you have to do.”
—Yael Tuckman (left) and Hayley Sullivan Princeton

TT George Sullivan

“Sit at home and watch my favorite TV shows, take the batteries out so no one can change the channel, play games on the iPad and then sleep.” —George Sullivan, Princeton

 TT Peter Lydia Max Choi

Peter: “Sit home, drink hot chocolate, and play video games.”
Lydia: “Go outside in the snow even though it’s really cold. I like to come back inside and drink hot chocolate with family.”
Max: “I like to be outside: snowball fights and sledding.”
—Peter (left), Lydia (middle) and Max Choi, Princeton

 

To the Editor:

More and more people are complaining about Princeton University moving the Dinky station, but few do anything about it. That’s a pity because the University’s new arts classrooms can be built without the move. Then we’d keep a right-of-way on which, within three or four years, energy-saving light rail could glide all the way to Nassau Street. Moreover, there’s still time, while court cases are pending, to help stop the move.

Here’s why you should help. Over the summer, the University’s new president, Christopher Eisgruber, assigned Kwame Appiah’s The Honor Code to all incoming freshmen so it could be discussed throughout the year. Appiah, a Princeton professor, argues that changing ideas of honor more than morality (or both honor and morality) ended dueling and slavery in Britain and foot-binding in China. In fact, he writes, these social revolutions were fueled by a growing sense of shame, honor’s opposite.

Is Appiah’s historical account persuasive? If A happened before B, did A cause B? If some public-spirited Englishman wrote about the immorality and the national dishonor of African slavery in British territories, did changes in a widely-held honor code lead to abolition? I find Appiah much more persuasive in his general arguments about the nature of honor. And he does suggest to me why simply complaining might help save the Dinky and its right-of-way. Let me call especially on Princeton University’s tenured faculty to complain, those professors most committed to living here and least dependent on their employer’s favor.

Appiah suggests that people who share an honor code belong to an “honor community.” They enforce their code themselves by ostracizing those who deviate from it. Honor helps drive human behavior because few of us can endure shame, because our happiness depends on our peers’ esteem. Princeton’s tenured faculty are in both our honor community and in Nassau Hall’s.

As our peers, tenured professors honor what we honor: they also value a walkable, energy-saving, civic-minded community, not one in which their employer acts unilaterally to serve its own interests. And, as Nassau Hall’s peers, they can hold the University to a higher moral standard. We can all accord the University what Appiah calls “recognition respect,” recognizing its intrinsic qualities of scholarship and power. But we can withhold our esteem until it meets our moral standards, until its scholars help bend its power toward responsible development.

What does honor do that morality alone cannot, according to Appiah? We can act morally all by ourselves. But it takes a sense of honor to drive us beyond doing what is right. “It takes a sense of honor to feel implicated by the acts of others,” Appiah writes. Honor makes us insist that something be done when others do wrong.

Please ask any tenured faculty members you know to take time to complain about moving the Dinky. Then complain to them if they don’t.

ANNE WALDRON NEUMANN

Alexander Street

 

EATING RIGHT: “This is a totally different approach to integrating nutrition, de-stressing, and attitudes toward food,” explains Veronique Cardon, MS, director and facilitator of The CogniDiet program. “It is cognition, de-stressing, healthy nutrition, and exercise. People will feel so much better.”

EATING RIGHT: “This is a totally different approach to integrating nutrition, de-stressing, and attitudes toward food,” explains Veronique Cardon, MS, director and facilitator of The CogniDiet program. “It is cognition, de-stressing, healthy nutrition, and exercise. People will feel so much better.”

“I  have been on a diet so many times, but the weight always comes back.”

“I know all about calorie counting, fat content, portion control, so why am I still not losing weight?”

“I have spent so much money and so much time struggling on diets, but nothing has changed.”

“I am so tired of yo-yo dieting. I want to change my life-style.”

If these comments sound familiar, it may be time to consult Veronique Cardon, MS about The CogniDiet(TM) program. Not a quick fix, this program is not about calorie counting and getting on the scale. It is about changing one’s attitude toward food and approach to eating. It is a life-style change.

“People need to eat less and move more,” says holistic nutritionist Ms. Cardon, who is the creator and facilitator of The CogniDiet(TM) program.

Extensive Knowledge

With a Masters of Holistic Nutrition from the Clayton College of Natural Health and a commercial engineering degree from the University of Belgium (Brussels), Ms. Cardon worked as a nutritionist at the Princeton Integrative Health Center for four years.

Previously, she had worked as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry in New York, and gained extensive knowledge about neurology, brain chemistry, depression, obesity, diabetes, and addictions, including smoking.

In addition, Ms. Cardon had struggled with over-eating and the stress accompanying a demanding career for many years, finally stabilizing herself by following a healthy diet, exercise, and controlling stress levels.

Because of this background, she decided to share her own experiences with others and try to help them establish a healthier life-style and attitude toward food.

Her program is based in part on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. “This is a science that helps people change the way they think and therefore behave. It focuses on helping people deal with anxiety, depression, and weight loss” she explains. “I studied this, and I thought if I could educate people about nutrition, cognitherapy could be adapted to focus on weight loss and alleviating stress.”

Ms. Cardon believes that we are in the midst of a “perfect storm” today. “Some of the weight problems have to do with the commercialization of food in the U.S. and the prevalence of processed food. The brain gets accustomed to this. It’s a perfect storm: the super-sizing and processing of food, and lack of activity.”

Every Five Minutes

The ongoing stress level in our high tech society today is another factor, she adds. “Long ago, stress levels rose when there was imminent danger. Stress rose when someone confronted a lion, for example, but then once the risk was over, the stress diminished. Today, people see the lion every five minutes!”

Whether it is job-related, being stuck in traffic, always being rushed — whatever the situation, people frequently find themselves anxious and stressed. And, as Ms. Cardon notes, when it’s under stress, the body craves carbs.

So, why do people eat when they are not really hungry?

You had a bad day: the boss didn’t appreciate your efforts; the kids were impossible; your boy friend found another! Maybe a little ice cream for comfort? Some potato chips? Whatever your favorite snacks to help you through the bad times and take the edge off.

These are all reasons why people eat when they are not really hungry — out of disappointment and unhappiness, also boredom and addiction. In addition, if you are in a hurry, you can pick up something on the run that more often than not is full of calories and is the least healthy choice.

Ms. Cardon wants to change this scenario. “So many people eat much more than they actually need, and the brain begins to expect it. The advertising today is all geared to getting people to want food, especially snacks. Snacks are definitely a culprit.”

Over Time

“We help the client change her attitude toward food and realize that ‘my current eating habits are not good for me.’ At CogniDiet, we think of losing weight over time, not a quick fix. I encourage the clients to have a goal. What are the benefits to them of losing weight? They learn to be more centered on what is good for them generally.

“Some people are involved in too many activities, for example. What is crucial? What is important, and also, what activities and projects can they say no to? This is a way of relieving stress. Every time you do something, the brain registers and remembers it. We need to rewire the brain.”

This requires determination and dedication and a 12-week program, points out Ms. Cardon. “It’s a step-by-step program to retrain the brain, and we go slowly. During this time, I can guarantee that clients will become more attuned to their body and hunger level. They will keep a record of what activities they are involved in, what they do, and when they feel tempted to eat, even if they are not really hungry.”

It takes 12 weeks to learn new skills, she explains. Weeks one to six will focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Emotional Brain Training. There are no diet or eating guidelines during the first six weeks. We will gradually introduce some healthy nutrition tips and activity level recommendations.

“Weeks seven to 12 will help you to solidify your brain skills and teach you more about healthy nutrition and active life-styles. We will equip you with the tools to maintain weight over the long term.”

Ms. Cardon offers both one-on-one and group (six to eight) sessions. Initially, she has an interview with the client to identify goals and establish a specific plan. Once a week sessions — one hour for individuals, two hours for groups — are available.

Strong Guide

“In the group, they learn from the other people, and they also share their own experiences,” she notes. “My clients are all women, generally 40 and up, and they have tried everything,” says Ms. Cardon. “One client said to me, ‘I’ve tried many times to lose weight, and this time I feel that I have a strong guide to help me.”

The fact that Ms. Cardon had struggled with her own weight problem as well as coping with stress resonates with clients. They know she understands their dilemma. “When they come to me, they really want to change. I’m asking them to do hard work, but they are ready, and they want to feel better. Everyone can have a plan, a strategy. We look at how she should shop and plan meals, even when she is very busy. I offer nutritional tips and also some recipes.

“During the second week, someone might report that they made one healthy nutritional decision. Maybe they had an apple instead of a cookie. I notice that the clients almost always have an ‘aha’ moment. They begin to feel better, are getting their energy and power back, and are taking charge of their life.

“The challenge is for them to find time to focus on it. This is a journey, and they must make it a priority. It’s a matter of exercising the brain. This is a life-long practice.”

“Loving Saboteur”

Also, advises Ms. Cardon, beware of the “loving saboteur”: those friends who urge you to have that second piece of chocolate cake, pecan pie, or other desirable second helping. This is a time to focus on what is best for you.

Changing one’s eating habits of long-standing is not easy, she acknowledges, but the benefits are so important to one’s overall health and well-being.

“This is a totally different approach of integrating cognition, healthy nutrition, attitudes toward food, de-stressing, and exercise. People will feel so much better. Also, when someone finishes the program, we have an on-going support group, offering on-going encouragement.

“I really enjoy feeling that I am helping people, and that they can benefit from what I learned from the struggle I have been through. I look forward to helping even more women, and making a positive difference in their lives.”

The CogniDiet Program can be reached at (609) 921-8980; or via email: thecognidiet@gmail.com.

Hours are by appointment. A pilot program is currently underway, with the full program to begin in January.