December 5, 2012

To the Editor:

Recently I learned that a graffiti outlaw wrote an expletive on signage at the entrance of Princeton Township. Even though this sign will most likely be removed and replaced with a new one when the consolidation becomes official, I firmly believe that the graffiti should be removed as quickly as possible. I have written letters to two members of Princeton Township Committee that I sincerely hope will result in the quick removal of the graffiti. Studies have shown that when graffiti goes uncorrected it creates more graffiti.

Ethan C. Finley

Princeton Community Village

FARMHOUSE FAVORITES: “There are furniture stores and gift stores. We combine the best of each, and many of the items we carry are exclusive to us. You won’t see them everywhere.” Kristin and Ron Menapace, owners of The Farmhouse Store on Palmer Square, are shown near a display of the store’s popular accent pillows, scarves, and intriguing miscellany.

The Farmhouse Store at 43 Hulfish Street is barely a month old, and customers can’t wait to see the latest items.

It is easy to understand why. The attractive store is filled with a variety of intriguing “conversation pieces,” from jewelry to furniture. And much, much more!

Opened the end of October by Ron and Kristin Menapace, it is the second Farmhouse Store in New Jersey. The first was opened in Westfield by Mr. Menapace’s brother.

Originally from Hillsborough, Ron Menapace had worked in the pharmaceutical business, and lived in California before changing careers.

Center of Town

Impressed with the success of The Farmhouse Store in Westfield, he decided to embark on a new adventure, and opened a similar shop in Princeton. “The big difference coming from the corporate world to this is the connection we have with the community here,” says Mr. Menapace.

Adds his wife and co-owner Kristin Menapace: “We wanted to be in the center of town, and Palmer Square was a perfect match for us. We want to make the store unique to Princeton.”

They certainly have! From jewelry to lamps to rugs to scarves, pillows, and throws to clocks and candles, dishes, trays, and mugs to farm tables, hutches, and rocking chairs, decorative stars to greeting cards to fingerless mittens, the selection is never-ending.

“Our signature is our barn wood,” explains Mr. Menapace. “We use barn wood from farm houses to make furniture, and the Farmhouse Store makes its own furniture. It can be custom-designed as to color, finish, size, etc. In just a very short time, we have already sold farm tables, coffee tables, and benches.”

The range of furniture includes beds, cabinets, and hutches with different finishes. There are also handsome upholstered and slip-covered sofas and chairs. Floor lamps featuring both wrought iron bases and hand-blown bases, with beaded fabric shade catch the eye; and accent pillows, including charming farm motif and “Flying Pigs” design, are great gift ideas. Serving dishes in the shape of artist’s palette, and small orange and black cheese trays with “Princeton parking violation” design are fun to add to your entertaining mosaic.

“Many of the items are small batch artisan goods. You will find uncommon treasures,” points out Kristin Menapace. “We have unusual artwork from an Atlanta artist who emphasizes inspirational sayings with her work.”

Front Porch

For example, wooden picture frames with the following sentiment:

“It was the barn for the square dance on Saturday night.

It was the front porch to rock on.

It was the trim that said the hard work paid off.

The only thing worse than tearing down an old building

Is not re-using the wood that created its beauty.”

There are specialties for children, such as “100 Gathered Thoughts (For My Beautiful Child)”, featuring note pads with tear-off sayings.

It is also not every shop in which you will find money pots! The collection of Taramandi Etruscan money pots, hand-thrown in Italy, feature bright colors and designs. As the attached message explains: “Once the first coin is dropped, the money pot must be fed until full, upon which it must be smashed whilst making a wish. Money pots bring good fortune, and can hold up to $500 with nickels, dimes, and quarters.”

Jewelry, from delicate to dramatic, is a big favorite at the store, and includes a complete selection, with many pieces in silver. Unusual pendants feature genuine pressed flowers, leaves and herbs.

Wine stoppers and wind chimes, dish towels and glasses with states of the U.S. motif, clay pottery, soup mugs with scenes of Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and other NYC favorites, silk flowers, amazing “Gurgle Pots” — fish-shaped pitchers in all colors that actually gurgle when filled with water … the list goes on and on.

Great Resource

“We have something for anywhere in your house,” says Ms. Menapace, “and we are a great resource for hostess and housewarming gifts.”

The wide price range will also please customers. From $1.99 for a little sequin bracelet to $2000 for furniture, and everything in between. Examples include scarves, which start at $13.99, the all-important cheeseboard with dipping bowl and knife at $34.95, cheese platters made from rustic wood scrub boards under $20, and miniature vases at $19.99.

“My little daughter loves to bring me dandelions, and we never had a vase small enough for them,” reports Ms. Menapace. “Now, we have very tiny vases, which are just fine for dandelions!

“I really enjoy talking with all our customers,” she adds. “I like to know where they’re from and what they’re looking for. Personal service is very important, and either Ron or I are always here.”

The Farmhouse Store offers complimentary gift packaging and wrapping, and is open Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 to 8:30, Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 688-0777

INSPIRED DESIGN: “Jewelry is very personal. It’s a special part of a person’s life. People have always loved to adorn themselves with jewelry to add beauty.” Beth Judge of Beth Ann Designs in Hopewell is wearing one of her own designs, a pendant with a Peruvian opal set in sterling silver accented with an orange garnet.

Creating beautiful jewelry is the specialty of Beth Judge. And she is very aware of and grateful for her ability and talent to create.

“I love doing this, and I consider it a gift given to me that I am able to do what I love.”

A graduated gemologist, goldsmith, and award-winning designer, Ms. Judge opened her new studio and showroom, Beth Ann Designs at 20 Seminary Avenue in Hopewell in November,

The beauty and creativity of design has always had a magnetism for her. “As a girl, I was always interested in art, and I loved to make things. I started designing jewelry at age 16, and I had a wonderful mentor, my high school teacher. He was also a jewelry designer on the side. I went on to get a BA in fine art, majoring in metals.”

Bench Jeweler

Before going into business for herself, Ms. Judge honed her skills by working for other jewelry firms in the area. “I was a bench jeweler for retail stores, and I did repair and custom design,” she says. “I always wanted to make my own jewelry, and I have been doing that for the past 12 years.

“When the opportunity to open here came along, it was just what I wanted, which was to be in a more accessible location. This space was small enough to show my work in an intimate setting, but also with room for my workshop. My stones, my raw materials are right here in my workshop. I have a huge selection of loose stones. I can tell a customer exactly what is possible, and it was also important for me to offer a very comfortable setting for clients to sit down and talk about what they want.”

It is indeed a charming showroom for Ms. Judge’s creations. Display cabinets are filled with her one-of-kind necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, and brooches. Her pendants are a specialty, featuring graceful designs reminiscent of feathers or leaves that seem to float in the air. She is even able to create reversible pieces, such as a pendant with orange and blue enamel in sterling silver on one side, and sterling silver cut-out with black background on the other, on a carnelian chain.

“I really like to work with stones,” she notes. “Right now, I am working on a pendant with a pink drusy stone, with tanzanite.”

Ms. Judge creates all of her pieces in her workshop in the back of the studio, where, as she says, “I enjoy the creative process of visualizing something and then having it actually in my hand. I also very much like working with someone to create a design for them, whether it is new or a re-design of an older piece.”

This can often begin with a drawing, and Ms. Judge will frequently have questions for the client. “When and where will they wear it? To a formal or informal occasion? With an elegant dress or with a T-shirt and jeans?”

Expert Craftsmanship

Ms. Judge has a full selection of her pieces — including the first pair of earrings she made at 16 — on display, and they reveal expert craftsmanship and are aesthetically beautiful. A series of delicate and graceful bracelets are particularly intriguing. “They are hand-forged silver with one-of-a-kind stones, and hand-made settings,” she points out. “The stones vary and can include malachite and dalmation stones, among others.”

A more dramatic large link bracelet features candy stripe jasper with sterling silver, and is sure to be a conversation piece. An especially lovely amethyst necklace includes sterling silver, accented with gold, and with a drop of ametrine.

“I also have a lot of freshwater pearls,” notes Ms. Judge. “They can be dyed, and I often include them as part of a piece. I also try to make things as versatile as possible. For example, I could have a pendant on a strand of pearls, or it could be placed on a gold chain, and work as well with either.”

An award-winning designer, Ms. Judge has received the highly prestigious DeBeers award for design three times, twice for her brooches, and also for a necklace when she was still a student. One of the brooches  was eventually auctioned by Christie’s.

On Saturday, December 8, Ms. Judge, in collaboration with jewelry designer Sheila Fernekes, will host a reception, “Holiday Adornments” at Beth Ann Designs Studio.

“This is an opportunity for people to come and see the studio and showroom and our work. Sheila specializes in beaded pieces, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc. We will have refreshments, and people can browse and buy and ask questions. It will be from 10 a.m. to 4, and it’s a chance to find some great holiday gifts, which we will put in a box and wrap for you.”

Appraisal Work

Ms. Judge’s pieces are within a wide price range, with earrings from $35. Some of her silver bracelets are $179. She notes that there has been a sharp increase in the price of metals today. “Over the last four or five years, the price of gold has become extraordinarily high, and two years ago, the price of silver doubled. This is certainly a consideration for customers, and for me in how I approach a design. Of course, I will always be adding new pieces, so there will always be something new for people to see.”

In addition to her designs, Ms. Judge, as a gemologist, does appraisal work. “I will look at the stone under the microscope, and check for inclusions (little lines or marks).

“I really enjoy everything — all the different aspects of my work,” she adds. “I believe that what I can offer no one else in the area does. I wear so many hats. I’m a designer, with extensive background in repair, custom-design, and re-design of older pieces. I am very encouraged since I opened. The word-of-mouth has been great, and I have developed a base of many regular customers. I look forward to introducing even more people to my work.”

Beth Ann Designs is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment. (609) 466-6467.

November 28, 2012

To the Editor:

It has been months since the Planning Board approved the Institute for Advanced Study building application to construct 15 units on a piece of the Princeton Battlefield the IAS owns. As a Trustee of the Battlefield Society, I was horrified and pictured bulldozers cutting into the battle ground. With the vote, I was re-energized and sought ways to make people aware of this significant historical loss. I saw the battlefield differently.

It could not be business as usual for me and fortunately thousands of others who felt the same way. At this time of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that so many have come out to support the Princeton Battlefield Society. From Veterans groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, descendants of the men who fought the Revolution, history societies, students, enthusiasts, and all the other Americans who see what is to be lost and what is to be gained, I have met with many of them and am so grateful for the chance.

I do not know today what the future will hold for the Princeton Battlefield, one of the “11 Most Endangered Historical Sites” in the country. It still amazes me that the IAS, a good organization, wants a black mark like this on their record. Regardless, the Battlefield Society will continue to work to preserve our American Heritage. We will schedule period-appropriate educational, theatrical, and musical events. Maybe the IAS will see the battlefield differently too.

J. Carney

Glenwood N.J.

To the Editor:

I wish to express concerns about the proposed redevelopment of the Princeton Hospital site on Witherspoon Street. I believe realization of the proposal from AvalonBay would represent a disaster for the broader Princeton community, and for the Witherspoon Street neighborhood in particular. In brief, here are my concerns.

The Reed Plans: The plan from Avalon Bay fails to meet the letter and spirit of the plans developed through the leadership of former Borough Mayor Marvin Reed in the mid-2000s. The Reed Plans were developed with extensive community involvement and represent an exciting and once-in-a-generation opportunity for Princeton to bring forth a green/sustainable/open community development that would inspire and lead in the region and world. The AvalonBay plan, in contrast, gives nearly zero consideration to the Reed Plans. AvalonBay instead offers Princeton a throwback to the cookie-cutter strip mall attitude of the 1970s that leaves so much of America with orphaned developments of designed obsolescence. Princeton should collaborate with a developer capable of meeting the letter and spirit of the Reed Plans using sustainable methods that will leave a wonderful legacy for decades if not centuries.

Potential Contamination: The hospital site has the potential of having significant hazardous wastes that must be remediated. Many older hospital sites have mercury contamination, as well as radiation leaks, broken sewer/septic lines, and leaking fuel tanks. I heard rather unsatisfying statements at the recent Planning Board meetings to address these concerns. The present citizens of Princeton, and those who will live in the new apartments, must be assured that development will occur only after a full and open process of environmental testing, with the follow-on remediation as required.

What struck me during the recent Planning Board meetings was the clear voice of the many citizens in attendance who oppose the AvalonBay plan. In essence, what brings the people together in their opposition is that the AvalonBay plan in no way meets Princeton standards. Instead, AvalonBay proposes to introduce a soulless structure into a unique town whose history in people and buildings is world class, and the envy of nearly every community in America. Princeton deserves far better. Should you, the Planning Board, insist that the developer of the hospital site maintain the letter and spirit of the Reed Plans, I conjecture that nearly all Princeton citizens will be wholeheartedly in favor. Please stand firm in your commitment to the Reed Plans.

For those interested in the ongoing discussions, please attend the Planning Board hearings December 6, 10, and 13. It is important that all voices be heard.

Stephen Griffies

Maple Street

To the Editor:

The University had a recent meeting with members of the community seeking advice in the selection of a new president to replace Shirley Tilghman. Their comments confirm that Princeton is not much different from other college towns that don’t know how to deal with the “elephant in the room.” Relationship failures between town and gown should not be laid at the feet of President Tilghman nor should we ask the Trustees to pick a president whose prime responsibility is to smooth over those relationships.

The problem as I see it has to do with the missions of the two entities. The mission of the University is to be the best University in the world. By contrast, towns don’t seem to have a mission other than to satisfy the wishes of the electorate with plans that are limited to preserving the status quo. The contrast in planning efforts between the town and the University reveals the tremendous disparity. The University should not consider moves that are harmful to the town even though certain conflicts are to be expected. It appears that the town considers that its mission is to constrain and prohibit growth and expansion.

I am not optimistic that town and gown will reach accord on all issues. It would be helpful if the town rearranged its priorities so the missions were compatible and that the dialogue move beyond the issues of “payments in lieu of taxes” are whether The University has the right to relocate the Dinky.

As a proud Princeton Alumni, I want our next president to be a great educator, in the mold of Woodrow Wilson. I think Shirley Tilghman has been a great president and I am glad she didn’t come from the world of politics or business.

Jeremiah Ford III, AlA

Ford 3 Architects, Nassau Street

To the Editor:

I write in anger. Driving home today along Faculty Road, I approached two deer standing right in the middle of the road. Fortunately, there was plenty of time to slow to a halt, but the car coming in the opposite direction didn’t slow down for a second, struck and hurled one of the deer to the side of the road, and sped on undeterred. On its back, the deer’s legs spasmed as if it were dying. I turned around and parked and was surprised to find the animal, a big handsome two-pronged buck, back on his feet, but badly injured and severely hobbled. There was nothing to do but watch it suffer and wonder whether it can survive and recover. I am tired of hearing that these beautiful creatures are pests. It is we who are the pests, especially ones who would cause such needless, cruel, and sickening suffering. I can only hope that others who saw or who will read of this will pay closer attention to our much-ignored speed laws, which are there for good reason, and will show deeper respect to the other creatures that live in our small community.

Jerome Silbergeld

Philip Drive

To the Editor:

As time has passed since the impact of Hurricane Sandy, we have been able to contemplate how very fortunate the residents of Elm Court and Harriet Bryan House are to live in Princeton. Elm Court (EC) and Harriet Bryan House (HBH) are affordable apartment buildings managed by Princeton Community Housing.

We would like to express our gratitude for the kind and patient response of the Princeton Borough and Township Police to our senior citizens in the midst of a very trying time for our community during our weeklong power outage.

This past Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our annual “Thanksgiving Sunday Dinner.” In keeping with tradition, police from both municipalities, along with members of their families, were here to serve the meal to our residents. This unique celebration is the highlight of the year and also serves as a warm hearted kick-off to the holiday season.

On behalf of all EC and HBH staff, we sincerely thank the members of the soon to be united Princeton Police for their outstanding service. Their dedication and commitment to ensuring the safety of our residents is truly commendable.

Kerri Philhower

Fay Reiter

Ed Truscelli

To the Editor:

A letter writer (“Future Taxes Will Go Up,” Mailbox, Nov. 7) is concerned that due to high property taxes the “middle class in Princeton will be forced to either reduce their standard of living or sell their houses and move to another town.” Perhaps he doesn’t realize that many towns in New Jersey have similar property taxes. One reason is the high cost of our public schools. The New York Times reported on 5/26/11 that New Jersey ranked third in the nation in spending per student, behind New York State and Washington, D.C. In 2011 Princeton’s school taxes increased 5.46 percent. Our town may well rank in the upper reaches of state spending per pupil.

Each Sunday the New York Times lists properties in New Jersey that are for sale and their property taxes. Here are three nearby: a house in Hillsborough (9/23/12) for $367,000 with taxes of $8,085; a house in Hopewell Township (9/30/12) for $560,000 with taxes of $11,415; a house in East Brunswick (9/23/12) for $590,000 with taxes of $17,460. By the way, these towns don’t have a university to make contributions.

Princeton University is not the cause of and shouldn’t have to be the solution to our increasing tax rate. But it is right that the University makes a payment for tax-exempt rental properties where there are children who attend public school. Princeton’s newly elected officials need to better inform the public of the reason for our high taxes, namely, the high cost of our public schools.

Anne Witt

Lake Lane

To the Editor:

At the November 15 Planning Board meeting that focused on AvalonBay, I was deeply shocked by the behavior of Mr. Ron Ladell, a vice president and attorney for AvalonBay. He comported himself with a serious lack of respect for the Board and repeatedly spoke to it in a hostile manner. He tried to take control of the meeting and instructed the Board on how they should proceed. He, a corporate official of the applicant, interrupted the Board in what I can only describe as a bullying manner, attempting to intimidate it. After a premature adjournment, he stormed out of the meeting with his retinue while the Board was debating whether to re-open the meeting. Members of the Board showed remarkable calmness in the face of this unacceptable behavior.

The planning process requires a careful consideration of proposed developments. An applicant should at a minimum accede to the discipline of the Planning Board. If unwilling or unable to show proper respect, an applicant should be notified that their proposal will be dismissed with prejudice. A municipality must not allow itself to be bullied or intimidated. The Planning Board must not be afraid to require civility and cooperation of applicants merely for fear of providing reasons for an applicant to file a lawsuit.

The municipality, its boards, and this community must consider the consequences of having a hostile and litigious developer construct and operate one of the most important building projects in our town.

Anthony Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

November 21, 2012

To the Editor:

Is lack of respect for appropriate procedure part of Avalon’s method? People I know who attended the November 15 AvalonBay hearing at the Planning Board (PB) were distressed by Mr. [Ron] Ladell’s bullying, disrespectful manner. When Gail Ullman requested him to cede a possible hearing date to the long-postponed Arts and Transit application, he bluntly refused. Ms. Ullman had to remind him to show more respect for the Planning Board process. Mr. Ladell is pushy: he hoards the microphone, as main presenter for AvalonBay and one of its attorneys, and gets double exposure.

At the Princeton Environmental Commission meeting on October 24, Anne Studholme, attorney for AvalonBay, almost shouted at Aaron Kleinbaum, legal director for the Eastern Environmental Law Center, “You’re lying!” — an intemperate, unprofessional charge. Later, she physically pushed Mr. Kleinbaum; he was forced to respond, “Take your hand off me.” One PEC member felt compelled to ask Ms. Studholme, “Have you no respect?” Another member asked that the record show that “the Attorney for Avalon Bay exhibited extremely rude behavior during this meeting” (PEC minutes).

The PB meeting heated up again when site contamination issues arose. Mr. Ladell seemed strident when he told the Board to reverse its decision on November 12 asking Borough Council and Township Committee to pass resolutions requesting a review of existing documents concerning possible contamination by an independent party (as the PEC had recommended). Mr. Ladell offered to bring his own environmental consultant — but Maser Consulting has already been exposed for concealing information, and AvalonBay is not unbiased. To its credit, the Board denied Mr. Ladell’s demand; Ms. Trotman and Mr. Liverman vocally supported Ms. Ullman’s determination to retain an independent party.

AvalonBay has consistently dismissed the public health concerns of Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods (PCSN) as “allegations.” The people I know in PCSN are interested in public health, not the so-called “scare tactics” Mr. Ladell accused them of at the Board hearing. Someone must ask: why do the hospital and AvalonBay oppose an independent investigation? Mr. Ladell later berated PB attorney Gerald Muller when, at the end the hearing, he inadvertently closed before announcing legal notice for the December 6 hearing. He actually stamped out (“We’re leaving!”) — and then snuck back to grab two private talks with Mr. Muller — at the dais and in the hallway

We should be concerned that rules of impartial adjudication are observed and that Robert Simon, representing PCSN, gets equal time. “These hearings are meant to be non-adversarial,” Mr. Simon said. Given Mr. Ladell’s contentious habit of filing lawsuits (as in Highland Park), we should remember one of PCSN’s axioms: a municipal body that fears lawsuits will never get the buildings and the zoning that it wants and deserves. Let’s hope Mr. Ladell can civilize his manner.

Robert Dodge

Maple Street

To the Editor:

The Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC) would like to clarify a point made in a letter from Jane Buttars (“Planning Board Should Deny AB Application,” Mailbox, Nov. 14) that ran on November 15, in which she noted the PEC’s recommendation to the Planning Board regarding Avalon Bay’s proposed development on the former hospital site. We recommended that the board consider requesting an independent environmental review of the proposal, given the concerns raised about potential soil and water contamination on the site, and, if the review deemed the testing inadequate, that the Board request adequate testing from the developer. Ms. Buttars pointed out that asking for such testing “from the developer” would not constitute an independent review. We agree. We understand her interpretation of that phrase, but we’d like to clarify that our intention was not to ask the developer to provide the testing, but to have testing performed by an independent party.

Matt Wasserman

Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission

To the Editor:

I could never find the correct words to express my sincere gratitude. There were so many Princeton residents who decided to trust me. I do not take this vote for granted. I will continue to work for a united, diverse, safe, welcoming, and lovable Princeton.

This could not have happened if it was not for a great support staff that really did most of the work. Special thanks go to Walter, Peter, Doreen, Helen, Sue, Dan, and Jon. Every campaign has it’s ups and downs. We were lucky that we were all able to get along and to understand the big picture. Princeton is truly lucky to have Liz Lempert as the next mayor. The council members: Jo Butler, Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Bernie Miller, and Patrick Simon will work for the interest of good local government. I wanted to thank my family for always supporting me. I wanted to thank Dick Woodbridge and Geoff Aton for running a positive campaign. I am hoping they will stay involved and help the new government.

Now there is work to be done. We cannot do all of the work alone. We need support. Please consider joining one of the Boards and Commissions in the new Princeton. I have always believed that Princeton is a melting pot of gifted talent, please share this gift with all of us. By all of us working together we can continue to make a difference.

Lance Liverman

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

I want to thank all those Princetonians who voted for me in the election on November 6. I have worked for consolidation for my entire political career, so it is very rewarding to have been elected to serve on the new Princeton Council to help make what I have long advocated a reality. I will work for a better Princeton for all of our residents, and to maintain the high standards set by our municipal government.

During my ten years of service on Princeton Township Committee I have learned that it is the many volunteers that serve on our boards and commissions that do much of the hard work that prepares those of us that represent you as elected officials to have the background and insight to deal with the issues that affect our community. Our new Princeton will need the expertise and enthusiasm that our volunteers have shown in the past. I urge you to take an active role in guiding our new community by applying to serve on a board, committee or commission.

It has been an honor for me to serve you and I look forward to a bright future working together with my fellow Council members. Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me. I give my word that I will work hard to repay that confidence.

Bernie Miller

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

I would like to warmly congratulate Mayor-elect Liz Lempert for a well-earned victory on November 6 and for running a clean, spirited and issues oriented campaign. Congratulations also to Heather, Jenny, Jo, Patrick, Bernie and Lance for a great race. In the spirit of cooperation, I pledge to do whatever needs to be done to make consolidation work.

I also would like to thank the many supporters and contributors who came from across the entire spectrum of the community to help our non-partisan effort. We received roughly 40 percent of the vote and I believe we added some much needed diversity to the local conversation.

Geoff Aton deserves special credit for running a fantastic race as our only candidate for the six person Council. It’s like being the Maytag repairman in a town where everyone owns a Kenmore.

It is always a privilege to run for public office. The campaign was hard fought, the choices were clear, and we did our best.

Now it’s time to transform the promise of the Consolidation Study Commission into reality and make the Town of Princeton a better place for future generations.

Richard C. Woodbridge

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

While Hurricane Sandy caused considerable disruption to our community when it struck several weeks ago, the soon-to-be consolidated Princeton stood tall and responded efficiently and effectively. While emergency response may not be one of the key reasons why residents voted for consolidation, having a consolidated emergency response was a clear benefit to the Princeton community in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

I want to thank our Emergency Operations Center team: Bob Gregory, the town administrators, police forces, public works, engineering, and fire departments for coming together and working as one during the hurricane response. The Princeton First Aid Squad, the school district and Princeton University were also critical members of our emergency response team. With a single operations center, we dramatically improved our communications and thus our ability to respond to clearing roads, marshalling our resources and communicating to our residents. One communication component was our periodic reverse 9-11 message delivered by our IT Director, Bob McQueen, who did a great job in keeping our residents updated.

I want to extend a special thanks to our clerks office led by Linda McDermott and Kathy Brzezynski. It was this office (with Recycling Coordinator Janet Pellichero assisting) that was on the front lines through calls and emails from residents and they met the challenge with poise and empathy and assisted wherever they could. It was also the clerks office that responded quickly in establishing emergency voting locations due to power outages and helping the election take place with minimal disruption.

Princeton University and the school district helped our community immensely during the storm. The University provided food to our staff and provided a rest and recharge location on campus for residents. They also were vitally important in establishing Jadwin Gym as an emergency voting location. The school district worked closely with the community to establish the temporary reception center at the John Witherspoon Middle School as power outages continued.

While we certainly have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week, there will always be areas to improve and work to be done. It is with great sadness that we lost an important member of the Princeton community in Bill Sword during hurricane Sandy. Many residents were without power as we approached 10 days after the hurricane. We will be holding a de-briefing this week with the goal of continually improving our response in the next storm and communicating our concerns to our partners (read: PSE&G) about improving communications with the community when the next storm arrives. Until then, be safe and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Chad Goerner

Mayor, Princeton Township

To the Editor:

Thank you to the voters of Princeton for electing me to the new municipal council, and thank you to our local campaign team, supporters, and canvassers. In particular, while many people helped to make the campaign a robust effort, I would like to particularly note my personal appreciation to Walter Bliss, Helen Heintz, Dan Preston, Peter Wolanin, Jon Durbin, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, Sue Nemeth, Caroline Hancock, Owen O’Donnell, Margaret Griffin, James and Connie Camner, Valerie Haynes, Liz and David Cohen, Peter Lindenfeld, Mary Clurman, Elizabeth Bates, Claire and David Jacobus, Pamela Hughes, Andrew Koontz, and Bill Scholfield. I especially appreciate the wonderful support and education I received from my running mates, Liz Lempert, Bernie Miller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Jenny Crumiller, and Jo Butler. I would also like to thank the Republican candidates Dick Woodbridge and Geoff Aton, who waged an engaged effort and furthered the spirit of electoral contest in Princeton. And a special thanks to my spouse, Marc Weiner, as well as to our family and friends for their support.

I appreciate the trust placed in me by the people of Princeton, and I look forward to serving on the new council. As we unite to form one Princeton, I will work with the new mayor and council and with the community to realize savings for the taxpayers while sustaining and improving current services. I look forward to being part of a more responsive and open and transparent consolidated municipal government, to working to improve municipal emergency management, and to developing more collaborative relationships with our key institutional stakeholders.

Our new local government is a collaboration open to all members of the community, and we will especially need to hear from diverse points of view as we come together to form one town. We are still taking applications to serve on our local boards, commissions, and committees, and I encourage all interested citizens to apply. You can find the application online at I look forward to working with you, and appreciate your support.

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and in all of Princeton’s all-too-frequent power outages, communication was key. I’d like to commend the almost-merged Township and Borough officials for frequent updates from their reverse 911 notification system. And special kudos to Krystal Knapp of Planet Princeton and Greta Cuyler of Princeton Patch, whose constant stream of wide-ranging critical information, provided online at all hours of the day and night, was absolutely invaluable — a real community service.

It can be tricky to receive these communications when power is out. The reverse 911 messages are by phone. If you can’t rely on a hardwired landline when power is out, I recommend registering a cell phone number online at (link to Register for Emergency Telephone Notifications from the homepage).

If you’ve been thinking about getting a smartphone, I highly recommend it, as mine was an essential lifeline for my family in this crisis. Through the good graces of the always-reliable Verizon Wireless and a generous friend with a generator, for constant recharging, I could always get the news and be in touch with friends and family. I had never before understood why anyone would want to use Twitter, but became an instant convert in this emergency. With a Twitter feed from Planet Princeton and Princeton Patch, I knew pretty much everything I needed to know. I cannot thank them enough.

Amy Goldstein

Snowden Lane

POPULAR PLACE: “I had been wanting to have my own place for a while, and the opportunity came along when the Red Oak Diner was available. The timing was right.” Jeff Delaney, new owner of the Red Oak Diner & Bakery, looks forward to bringing his restaurant experience to the longtime Montgomery diner.

Diners are fun. They’re often reminders of times past — stopping in with friends for a malt, cheeseburger, and French fries when you were a teen. They can be a perfect place when you’re in a hurry, with just time for a piece of pie and cup of coffee. They’re a great stopping spot to bring the family after a movie or sports event.

And, they can be so much more.

Take the Red Oak Diner & Bakery at 1217 Route 206 in Montgomery. Under new ownership, it offers a wide variety of choices, from typical traditional diner fare to entree specials for lunch and dinner, as well as Greek and Italian specialties, and seafood, such as shrimp scampi and broiled salmon.

“I thought this place had a lot of potential, and it’s a great location,” explains new owner Jeff Delaney. Based on his long experience in the restaurant business with his family, he brought with him definite ideas of how he envisaged the diner.

Complete Menu

“It goes beyond diner food. We are looking to add to the menu and keep it varied and fresh. We will include daily specials — with entree, soup, or salad and dessert. A complete menu. I believe the specials will set us apart. It will be quality food, quality service, and affordable prices. We want to provide a family atmosphere, and we have a children’s menu.”

Recent dinner specials, which are updated daily, include roasted pork loin, roast lamb, roasted tilapia, shrimp scampi, leg of lamb, baked pork chops, broiled salmon, and the always popular meat loaf. These specials (with soup or salad and dessert) range from $11.95 to $15.95.

Similar choices, also with soup or salad and dessert, are available for lunch, starting at $7.95.

“Baked pork chops are very popular,” says Mr. Delaney. “And, people always want the meat loaf — you can count on that! They also like the salads, especially the Greek salads, and the pita specials. People are definitely interested in healthier eating today. We try to get things locally, and the freshest ingredients are essential”

Big Sellers

Other favorites are the Greek specialty spanakopita, the traditional turkey club sandwich, and the array of hamburgers (from $5.15) and deli sandwiches. Baked ham on rye, grilled cheese, tuna melt, and the famous Reuben are all available.

Breakfast is offered throughout the day and night — eggs of every kind, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, and French toast are always big sellers.

And, certainly, the ice cream sodas, shakes, root beer floats, and various pies, cakes (including cheese cake), Danish, muffins, and brownies are here to stay at Red Oak.

Customers enjoy the friendly low key setting and atmosphere, reports Mr. Delaney. The diner is larger than it appears at first glance, with seating for more than 100 at the counter, restaurant-style tables, and booths. Many regular customers are coming in often and new faces are arriving too, he adds.

Busiest Times

“We have gotten very busy. The dinner crowd is getting busier, especially on weekends. Breakfast and lunch are very much in demand on weekdays, and brunch is popular on weekends too. A pattern will become evident, too, and we will see what are the busiest times with the most numbers of people.

“The customers are all across the board,” he says. “All ages, families, singles — everyone. The majority are local but we also have people who stop in when they are on the road. People often come to a diner because they are in a hurry, and they want a smooth and positive experience. What is so important is that we offer a seamless experience for customers. We want them to get service right away and have everything go smoothly. We strive to have the best staff, people who are well-trained, experienced, and welcoming.

“The pride comes from being able to provide quality food and have customers smile and be happy when they leave, and say ‘That was great!’ The compliments are really coming in, and we are so encouraged. It’s such positive feedback. People are really noticing the difference.”

Red Oak Diner & Bakery is open seven days 6 a.m. through 9 p.m. Hours will expand. (609) 430-8200. Website:

November 14, 2012

“It was not hard to find the polling location. Usually we go to Community Park School but since the power was out, we went to John Witherspoon School. It was not difficult to find, everyone was talking about changes. I was very excited with the results and so was my family. I was not surprised with the results locally either.” —Rachel Basie, Princeton

“I found my polling place, as they were very good about letting us know where to go. And the results were as expected. I nailed the predictions. It wasn’t even close, and I knew it wouldn’t be.” —John Barrett, Princeton

“Our polling place was the same, so it was not a problem. And I was really happy with the results.”  —Marilyn Zagorin, Princeton

“I just turned 18, and this was my first time voting. It was pretty cool. I went with my mother and since she has voted plenty of times, she knew where to go. I thought Obama would win, I’m happy. Obama is helping schools and students with financial aid and I’m a student at Rider University.”  —Justice Healy, Princeton

“I was advised at Jadwin Gym, where I work, that my voting location was at Riverside School. It was very easy to find and convenient. I’m cautiously optimistic about the national election results. I feel there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed affecting a lot of people. I hope more courageous conversations will be held, to make decisions and solve problems. I’ve lived in Princeton for a year and am still getting myself up to speed with local politics.”  —Sean Morey, Princeton

To the Editor:

As I write, the Planning Board has just voted to ask Borough Council’s agreement to retain Sovereign Consulting to review the AvalonBay (AB) Environmental Impact Statement and related documents. That EIS contains serious misrepresentations, as indicated by Aaron Kleinbaum, legal director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, in a series of letters to the Planning Board and the Princeton Environmental Commission.

To its credit, the Planning Board understands the public health issues at stake. But if the review does no more than evaluate the documents thus far submitted, it will be inadequate. Mr. Kleinbaum has called for an independent investigation of the MRRO site, including soil samples that test for contaminant leakage and sewer overflows, before construction — not simply a review of documents to date. Mr. Kleinbaum has recommended sampling throughout the site, including testing underneath the garage. Steve Miller of the Princeton Environmental Commission has noted that the technology exists to test soils underneath concrete, and he supported such testing of the garage at its meeting on October 24 2012. The shortcoming of the Princeton Environmental Commission’s recommendation to the Planning Board is that it recommends “independent testimony … regarding whether the testing was adequate” (not new testing), and “To the extent that it is concluded that the testing was inadequate, we recommend that you request adequate testing from the developer.” The developer? — AvalonBay? hardly an independent party.

Indeed, Avalon is so lax in its environmental practices, and so glib on its website about supposedly sustainable measures (13 pages of fluff) — that AB’s corporate leadership has been called to task. On April 11, 2012, the Office of the Comptroller for New York City, which manages pension funds for its employees, issued a memorandum to AvalonBay shareholders setting forth substantive reasons why AB has “lagged behind” its peers in the commercial rental market: inadequate reporting on greenhouse emissions, water conservation, waste minimization, energy efficiency, and other environmental and social impacts (full text available from Daniel A. Harris).

We don’t know the scope of work the Planning Board requests, nor what Sovereign Consulting will recommend. We must hope that its proposals insist on an absolutely clean building site and that any further consideration of AvalonBay’s application by the Planning Board be postponed until such a clearance is given. Indeed, Sovereign will not be able to complete its work prior to November 15, when AB will demand that the Planning Board approve their site plan for the garage. But the Planning Board has ample legal grounds to deny this minor site application on the basis of insufficient evidence (as well as New Jersey case law upholding the rights of municipalities to deny developer’s applications on the basis of concerns about public health). Next step: if Sovereign cannot responsibly complete its report until after December 15, when the supposed “clock” for a Planning Board decision runs out, then the Planning Board will be absolutely within its legal rights to deny AvalonBay’s application on the grounds of inadequate and insufficient information.

Jane Buttars

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

I want to thank the people of Princeton for electing me as your mayor. And I especially want to thank my amazing campaign team, including Walter Bliss, Sue Nemeth, Chad Goerner, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, Helen Heintz, Bob and Betty Fleming, Peter Wolanin, Dan Preston, Jon Durbin, Anne Burns, Sarah Lewis Smith, John Cashman, and the newly elected members of council: Jo Butler, Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Bernie Miller, and Patrick Simon. I also want to thank my opponent, Dick Woodbridge, who has a long record of service to the community and who ran a strong campaign. Now that the election is over, it is time for us to come together for the benefit of the community. As mayor I will listen to everyone and represent everyone.

Consolidation presents us with a tremendous opportunity to both save money and improve the job we do. I look forward to working with the new council and the community to seize upon these opportunities and to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

We are still collecting applications for our volunteer boards and commissions. Volunteering as a commissioner or board member is a great way to give back to our town, and the work will be especially interesting and rewarding in the coming years in light of consolidation. For an application and more information, go to:

Liz Lempert

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor,

I am writing to thank the voters of Princeton for voting in the recent election. Despite the difficulties caused by the storm, Princeton once again proved itself an engaged and involved community by still making it out to the polls. I appreciate the support I received and will be honored to serve on the new Princeton Council. I look forward to working with the community to achieve the promise of consolidation: fiscal savings, enhanced services, and a more efficient government.

To that end, I encourage all those interested in participating in the consolidated government to apply to serve on one of the municipal boards, committees, and commissions, all of which will be reconstituted in the New Year; applications can be found at

Heather Howard

Aiken Avenue

To the Editor,

I want to thank Princetonians for electing me to the new Princeton Council. It is an honor to serve you. Our new beginning presents a golden opportunity for positive change. With our new mayor and fellow council members, I will work diligently to fulfill the promises of our united Princeton.

Jenny Crumiller

Library Place

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I want to thank the citizens of Princeton for their support of the open space tax ballot question in our recent election. The outcome was compelling: almost 77 percent voted “yes” for a blended open space tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which will continue to raise the same amount of annual funding, post-consolidation, as the two municipalities together raised before.

The open space tax has already helped us to preserve almost 290 acres of land, as well as to develop athletic fields at Smoyer Park. Friends of Princeton Open Space looks forward to working with the town of Princeton, the state Green Acres fund, our non-profit partners, and generous individual donors to put the open space tax funds to good use protecting land in the future.

We are grateful to live in a community that is so supportive of open space preservation.

Wendy L. Mager, President

Friends of Princeton Open Space, Inc.

To the Editor:

On behalf of the district election workers whose districts were moved to Jadwin Gym on Nov. 6, I would like to express sincere appreciation to Princeton University and, in particular, to Kristen Appelget and her staff for their very generous assistance and hospitality.

They helped in a number of important ways. They set aside plenty of parking for workers and voters, and had people there in the wee hours of the morning to guide us. They arranged all of the voting machines and furniture into a well-organized set-up for the seven districts. And, most importantly because of this year’s redrawn districts and because of the storm, they had complete lists of registered voters and guided them to the correct voting places. They even supplied generous nourishment for the tired election workers.

Our heartfelt thanks!

John Schivell

District Election Judge, Princeton District 20