December 4, 2013

To the Editor:

We write concerning the November 3 Half Marathon that took place here in Princeton and in response to Dr. Elizabeth Casparian’s letter to the editor from November 13. The marathon benefitted Ms. Casparian’s organization, HiTOPS. Thanking all those who supported the marathon, she writes: “This event highlighting adolescent wellness truly involved the entire community of residents, merchants, police, churches, schools, organizations, sponsors, runners and their families.” We are members of the clergy in our community, and we must say that the type of adolescent “wellness” that HiTOPS, through its TeenPEP sex ed curriculum, fosters is based on a far different type of morality than the one we try to share with young people in our community. This curriculum is highly questionable from a scientific vantage point and does not assist teens to achieve wellness and virtue as we understand those concepts.

Readers should not be deceived by innocent sounding labels and rhetoric. Anyone who imagines that the TeenPEP curriculum is merely about health and pushes no values agenda should ask to see the materials and evaluate them for themselves. We have personally looked at the curriculum and are reluctant even to mention some of the types of practices that our kids are being exposed to in the name of “adolescent wellness.” One of the methods of the TeenPEP curriculum, for example, is to promote “outercourse” as a way to prevent “intercourse” (Teen PEP Course Curriculum and Workshops, Unit 3, p. 8). The idea is that by encouraging teens to, for example, shower together or cuddle naked, then they would be less likely to engage in sexual intercourse. Does this make sense to you? It doesn’t to us.

In the Teen PEP curriculum, sex is reduced to a self-satisfying act without consequences; and access to family planning clinics that offer contraception and abortion provide the means to this end (Unit 5, p. 50-1; Unit 6, p. 65-7).

We believe that the entire approach known as “sexual risk reduction” exposes our teens to both physical suffering such as STI’s as well as emotional and spiritual pain. This is not our idea of adolescent wellness. While we believe that healing and mercy are available to us no matter what mistakes we may have made, we also believe that it is best not to encourage teens to engage in practices that cause needless suffering. We believe that a sexual risk avoidance approach to sexual education, of the type offered at least as an option in many other communities, is a far superior approach to ensuring the health and true wellbeing of our teens, and a curriculum based on this approach should be offered to parents as an option for their kids.

Rev. Michael T. McClane

Parochial Vicar, St. Paul Parish

V. Rev. John Cassar

Rector, Mother of God Orthodox Church


To the Editor:

Everyone who drives to and from Princeton during the holiday season is greeted with a radiant light that shines so brightly against the nighttime sky; the word of its presence and message has spread both near and far, all the way to the White House. The tradition, which began as a simple strand of a few hundred lights wrapped around a small Colorado spruce tree, has now developed into several thousands of lights intricately wound around the branches of a Blue Norwegian spruce tree that stands nearly 30 feet tall in the schoolyard at 53 Bayard Lane.

The true meaning of The Lewis School’s Tree of Light has inspired people all over the world. Students are proud to explain to anyone who asks about the Tree that each light shines as a symbol of hope and encouragement for learning different persons like themselves. They point out that the Tree is not a Christmas tree; it has no star or decorations. It only has lights that shine for the more than 30 million Americans who are struggling with learning and literacy — those whose “Gifts and Great Promise” have never been recognized; those who have been left behind.

The Lewis School of Princeton will host its 40th Annual Tree of Light Celebration on Friday, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the schoolyard at 53 Bayard Lane. Please visit for more details.

Attendees can still expect the same traditions offered every year — delicious gourmet foods and beverages, a holiday concert, student poetry readings, live musical entertainment, a silent auction, and of course, the tree lighting. The event is free and open to the public. All proceeds will benefit The Lewis School’s Annual Fund. Please dress warmly as some activities take place outdoor. Each year, our Lewis School students, faculty, and parents strive to raise greater awareness of those students who have not yet found the educational opportunity they need to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams. The Tree of Light is a celebration to be shared by all who care enough to want to affect change for the better in our world — especially in the lives of children who are our future.

We look forward to seeing you all again this year!

Cathy Byers Reimer

Director of Public Relations and Communications

The Lewis School of Princeton

MAGICAL MUSIC: Boys in fourth through eighth grade come from across the country and around the world to pursue a challenging musical and academic curriculum at the American Boychoir School. The Choir has long been recognized as one of the finest musical ensembles in the U.S. Here, members of the Choir are shown in one of its acclaimed performances.

MAGICAL MUSIC: Boys in fourth through eighth grade come from across the country and around the world to pursue a challenging musical and academic curriculum at the American Boychoir School. The Choir has long been recognized as one of the finest musical ensembles in the U.S. Here, members of the Choir are shown in one of its acclaimed performances.

Founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1937, The American Boychoir (originally the Columbus Boychoir) came to Princeton in 1950, and has been an important part of the cultural life of the town ever since.

Established by Herbert Huffman, the Choir is considered to be one of the finest choirs of its kind in the United States and among the finest in the world. It is currently under the guidance of Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz.

The objectives stated in The American Boychoir School’s original charter are as important today as they were in 1937.

“(1) To build character in young boys and prepare them for good citizenship.

(2) To provide an exceptional training program for musically talented boys, regardless of their religion, social or financial circumstances.

(3) To make this unique opportunity the motivation for general educational attainment.

(4) To help enrich the cultural life of the nation and to produce a musical organization that is recognized throughout the country as the finest of its kind.”

Special and Unique

“This institution is special, unique,” notes American Boychoir general manager Christie Starrett. “It is wonderful to watch a child’s development, and the Choir takes boys from any background. 60 percent of the boys are on scholarship. They might be from a family with no musical experience or from a home in which both parents are musicians, and then their voices are melded into this wonderful Choir.”

Boys aged nine to 14, in grades four through eight, attend the American Boychoir School. They come from across the U.S. and from abroad. Typically 45 to 50 boys comprise the student body, both boarding and day students.

In January of this year, the school moved to the Princeton Center for Arts and Education, the site of the former St. Joseph’s Seminary at 75 Mapleton Road in Plainsboro. Five buildings, including classrooms and rehearsal space, a chapel, and gym on 47 acres offer expanded space for academic studies and music rehearsal.

In addition to the Boychoir, the location is home to The Wilberforce School and the French American School of Princeton.

“St. Joseph’s was formerly an educational institution, and when we found it was available, it seemed like a good fit. It offered us the right kind of space,” says Dr. Kerry Heimann, PhD, the Choir’s assistant music director and accompanist. “The chapel is outstanding and can serve as performing space.”

Boys who are interested in joining the Choir and attending the school audition in an informal setting. No previous musical experience is necessary, explains Dr. Heimann. “We have very simple auditions. The boys don’t have to prepare music. We are interested in hearing their tone, range, and getting a sense of their personality and interest in music.”

Natural Progression

Even if their voices change, the boys remain in the Choir, adds Ms. Starrett. “We emphasize that the voice change is a normal part of life. It is a natural progression of a male human being.”

A fully accredited middle school education, with instruction in language arts, math, social studies, science, and Spanish, is available with the advantage of small classes for more individual attention. The boys’ day is long, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Music study and rehearsal encompass three to four hours a day, reports Dr. Heimann. “They study music theory, learn to read music, and also take a year of piano instruction.”

They also have physical education and exercise options, as well as a one-hour rest period during their intense daily program.

The curriculum of The American Boychoir School is uniquely structured so that the boys gain their education not only in the classroom but also during their tours and travel experience and their musical performances.

“Part of the learning experience is experiential learning,” points out Ms. Starrett. “The boys can read about the Alamo, and then actually be at the Alamo when they are on tour. They come away from the school not only as musicians, but as informed citizens.

“Also, another component of the boys’ education here is the school’s heavy emphasis on manners and character development. This is very important. The boys meet people all over the country and other parts of the world. They have to be able to converse and be comfortable with people of different backgrounds and cultures, and be courteous and polite.

Musical Excellence

“The major pillars of the tours are cities,” continues Ms. Starrett, “but we go all over the U.S. and perform in small towns as well. The boys stay in private homes and have opportunities to be with people of different backgrounds, culture, etc. This broadens their horizons.”

The Choir is highly regarded in music circles as well as among the general public whose appreciative audiences greet the Choir warmly. The Boychoir’s standing as pre-eminent ambassador of American musical excellence is maintained through an extremely busy tour schedule, both nationally and abroad, and through frequent television and radio guest appearances.

The Choir typically schedules five tours during the school year, often for three weeks at a time. During the tours they keep up with their academic studies, completing assignments and homework. Nearly 100 peformances are scheduled throughout the year.

The Choir is also often invited to join internationally-known artists on stage, including great classical artists, such as opera stars Jessye Norman and Frederica von Stade, jazz headliner Wynton Marsalis, and pop icons Beyoncé and Sir Paul McCartney.

The boys also perform regularly with world-class ensembles, including The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Boston Symphony, among others.

The Choir’s legacy is preserved through an extensive recording catalog, which includes more than 46 commercial recordings. Its most recent release, Journey On, was hailed by Fanfare Magazine as “a fabulous recording, encompassing a remarkable range of music and styles, all of it performed with an astonishing accuracy and élan, conveying at every turn a sense of discovery and an utter engagement with the music.”

Upcoming Tours

The focus of the Choir’s repertoire is classical music, but the boys also enjoy performing lighter selections. “Ten percent of our boys sang with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra,” notes Dr. Heimann. “This was a very different musical experience.”

Upcoming tours and engagements include trips to various locations in the U.S. In addition, the choir recently returned from a concert tour to South Korea. Many Princeton residents look forward to the Choir’s annual Christmas concerts in the Princeton University Chapel and Richardson Hall in December, this year to be held Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15.

In addition, the public is welcome to attend Friday afternoon rehearsals held in the chapel at the Arts and Education Center.

Many Boychoir graduates continue in the field of music as adults, notes Dr. Heimann. “Some have gone into performing, teaching music, and arts management. Most retain a strong relationship with music and the arts throughout their lives.”

“During Alumni Weekend, a lot of graduates come back, and they enjoy singing with the boys,” adds Ms. Starrett.

Both Ms. Starrett and Dr. Heimann have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the mission of The American Boy Choir School and to watch the boys develop into superbly talented musicians and outstanding individuals. “Seeing the boys develop as musicians, become polite and cooperative people, and be aware of the world around them is a pleasure.”

For further information, call (609) 924-5858, or visit the website:


SINGLE SOURCE SOLUTION: “We provide quality home repair, maintenance, and management services for homeowners. We have a network of pre-qualified service providers. We put it all together for people: one call, one solution.” Ray Disch and Jim Baxter are co-owners of Total Home Manager, LLC., headquartered in Hopewell.

SINGLE SOURCE SOLUTION: “We provide quality home repair, maintenance, and management services for homeowners. We have a network of pre-qualified service providers. We put it all together for people: one call, one solution.” Ray Disch and Jim Baxter are co-owners of Total Home Manager, LLC., headquartered in Hopewell.

Imagine not having to worry about the leak in the roof, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow, waiting for the plumber, or painting the house!

This is exactly the scenario that Jim Baxter and Ray Disch, co-owners of Total Home Manager (THM), want to make available for you. You don’t have to move, you get to stay in your own house, and you are relieved of stress and strain and all those pesky details that accompany home ownership.

As its name suggests, Total Home Manager is prepared to take complete control of maintenance, repair, and management of whatever problems and needs arise.

Established by Jim Baxter of Baxter Construction and entrepreneur Ray Disch, it is headquartered at 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell.

Overall Solution

Formerly co-founder and owner of The Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, and currently a real estate broker with Callaway-Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, Mr. Disch saw the need for an overall solution to the various problems that arise in owning a house.

“I continually got calls from people who needed a plumber, electrician, carpenter, furnace repair, blue stone for their terrace, etc.” explains Mr. Disch “I kept referring lots of people to them, and I began to think ‘there’s a business here.’ We could be a resource for repairs, maintenance, and management.”

Mr. Baxter had been thinking along similar lines. “It seemed to be a great idea. We had been asked to do a variety of things by our customers, including small jobs, such as fixing steps, and other repairs. With Total Home Manager, we can do whatever people need, including cleaning the chimney and gutters, sealing the driveway, etc.”

Mr. Disch and Mr. Baxter had known each other for years, and each brought his particular set of skills to the enterprise.

“As a contractor/builder, Jim has people working for him, who we can call upon,” points out Mr. Disch. “We guarantee licensed workers, liability insurance, and workman’s compensation coverage. We vet everyone, and either they worked for Jim, or they are people we know. All the carpentry and handyman-type work is done by Baxter Construction.

“And in addition, since we give them so much work, they give us preferred pricing for our customers. It’s just so much easier for people. We send one invoice to the homeowner instead of their receiving multiple bills. We review the bills, and do all the work for you.”

Check List

This service is a boon for a wide range of people — from busy professionals to single homeowners to older people to those who never owned a house before — adds Mr. Baxter. “Each job has its own personal project manager. There is always someone overseeing the work. In addition, if people are away, we can watch the house. We have a check list, and we will do weekly inspection — to see if the water is leaking, if there is storm damage, etc. We’ll even start their car, clean the garage, take care of the pool, and watch over the pets.

“Also, when people are away, it can be a great time to do work in the house, including putting in a new kitchen, new floors, or other renovation or remodeling projects.”

The THM customer base is growing, report the owners, and more than 100 projects have been completed or are ongoing. Continuing relationships with customers is very important, notes Mr. Disch.

“Our business is relationship-based. The focus is relationships, not projects. We build lasting relationships with people. For example, a new homeowner moved to Princeton, and her husband was away. Super Storm Sandy was predicted, and she didn’t know how to start the generator. We took care of it for her.

“In another case, a woman had an incident when her door key broke in the lock. It was raining, and she was alone in the car with the kids. We had been doing work for her, and she called us. We had a key to the back door, and we got there within an hour.”

Among THM customers are people who travel, and are often away from home for long stays. “One of our customers went to Maine for three months, another to Florida for six months, and still another to Hong Kong for a year,” says Mr. Baxter. “They gave us keys to their house, and we took care of everything for them. In some cases, they might need a new water heater or sump pump, or they might decide they want landscaping services. We provide everything, and customers  appreciate the service, support, and level of trust that we offer them.”

Preventive Maintenance

Customers range from those wanting small individual repair or maintenance jobs to those who are involved in large, on-going projects. They are located in a 15/20-mile radius, and have included Princeton, Hopewell, Pennington, and Skillman residents, among others.

Studies have shown that preventive maintenance is many times more cost effective than reactive maintenance after something has failed, point out Mr. Baxter and Mr. Disch. THM offers four different plans for people who wish to have more comprehensive service and management coverage. These plans vary in scope, and there is a choice to fit every situation. The right plan can be customized to the customer’s needs, life-style, budget, and age of their house.

Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze plans offer varying degrees of service, but all provide home inspection, quick response time (immediate turnaround), preferred pricing, and opportunities for energy audits, concierge service, and a variety of optional inspections (lead paint analysis, radon testing, mold assessment, and insect/pest inspection).

“We also have budget plans that can span three to five years,” note the owners. “We know that not everyone can afford to do everything at once.”

Mr. Disch adds that his real estate work provides a nice connection with THM. “When I do a listing presentation, people will ask. ‘What do I need to fix before selling?’ I can help with this, and tell them what is worth repairing and what is not. So, it’s a nice synergy with construction, THM, and real estate. One call does it all.

“We also see a time when we can have an impact on homeowner’s insurance. If they work with us to maintain the house, it could reduce the premiums on their homeowner’s insurance policy.”

“We are very encouraged,” adds Mr. Baxter. “We think we have the perfect answer for today’s world: a single source solution for complete interior and exterior home repair and management service. Call us for a complimentary evaluation.”

(609) 466-3355. Website:


November 27, 2013

TT Wok Marcia Okeke-Agulu

“Family — it’s a time when family comes together. Spending time with loved ones. It’s a time to relax, a time to get together, and reconnect over good food.”
—Wok Marcia Okeke-Agulu, Princeton

TT Olivia Geller

“I like Thanksgiving because I get to spend a lot of time with my family and the food is really good.”
—Olivia Geller, Princeton

 TT Andrew Brown

“Spending time with people you’re close to and really care about with nothing to do but, enjoy food and relax.”
—Andrew Brown, Lawrenceville

 TT Tian Huang Kai Song-Nichols

Tian: “Returning home to my family after being on campus all this time.”
Kai: “Cranberry sauce — it’s absolutely a food that you do not buy any other time of the year.”
—Tian Huang (left) and Kai Song-Nichols, Princeton University students

TT Sophia Madarrete

“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is family and food and being warm and cozy. I love getting together with my family and all my cousins and second cousins.”
—Sophia Madarrete, Princeton


TT Adrienne Seaver Tidds“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is spending time with family, being together for nice food, and being thankful for each other.” —Adrienne Tidds with son, Seaver, Skillman


To The Editor:

I would like to thank the voters for their support of my candidacy for Princeton’s School Board. I’m very humbled and honored to have been elected. I will do my best to justify the trust that has placed in me. I would especially like to thank the League of Women Voters and the Princeton Special Education PTO for their work in organizing the two candidates forums.

Tom Hagedorn

Chestnut Street


To the Editor:

While we fully supported Princeton’s plan to develop the Arts Center, we now feel duped — paying Princeton taxes and being marginalized by the University’s insensitivity. Why must we choose? The Dinky is a treasure, accommodating the daily commuters, the students, and all visitors to Princeton, making our roads less congested.

Why is Princeton tying up Alexander, closing streets, and collecting money for parking in the now distant Dinky parking lot? They have issued more handicap spots (eight to-date — the old parking lot only had two) that continually go empty while greedily securing more spots for permits. Now that the Dinky is no longer walking friendly, why is the University getting more callous and difficult?

Princeton University, keep your commitment to the community. Support the Dinky, forego permits until the Arts Center is completed and the Dinky is permanently located at the agreed position (925 feet, approximately, from the original location).

Doris Shea

Mercer Street

To The Editor

As one of the Princeton Rotary Club volunteers who prepared food for the HiTOPS half-marathon runners and spectators, I noted with interest the letter from Wai Far Bazar, Aileen Collins, and Joanmarie Zetterberg in your November 20th edition (“Parents for Sex Ed Choice Respond to Half-Marathon Benefitting HiTOPS”). They used the half-marathon event as a platform for expressing their opposition to the approach used by HiTOPS to prevent teen pregnancies and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The letter-writers and their organization are pressing for an abstinence-only approach to sex education instead of the more balanced approach favored by 85 percent of our nation’s parents, and utilized by HiTOPS, which also teaches adolescents how to prevent pregnancy and disease.

Countless studies by the Center for Disease Control, Journal of Adolescent Health, and other respected organizations have shown that abstinence-only education ultimately had “no impact” at all on rates of sexual abstinence. These studies have also shown that states, where sex education and health classes stress “abstinence-only” rank the highest in the numbers of underage pregnancies. Abstinence may be a healthy behavioral option for teens, but abstinence as a sole option for adolescents according to the Society for Adolescent Medicine is scientifically and ethically problematic. Moralizing, sanctimony, and withholding information about alternatives for disease and pregnancy prevention promote questionable and inaccurate opinions and can deny teens fundamental human rights to health, information and life.

When I reared my three children and five stepchildren through their teen years to become adults, I wish that I could have insulated them from the sexually-charged TV programs, movies, and popular song lyrics that permeate our modern society. They’ve turned out well, but it was tough going up against the power of the media. The best I could hope to do is to encourage moral behavior and abstinence but also make sure that they had other options to prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease in case they had chosen another path.

Promoting a specific moral viewpoint and withholding the kind of information and services offered by HiTOPS is inherently coercive and denies young people the information needed to make informed choices. The approach to sex education advocated by “Parents for Sex Ed Choice” reduces “choice” and has repeatedly been proven to result in more unwanted pregnancies and a greater transmission rate of STDs which may be incurable and/or fatal. That is a consequence that I don’t believe that most parents would want for their children.

Lewis A. Edge, Jr.

Cleveland Road West


November 20, 2013

TT Beatrice (L) and Bertha (R) Gordillo

Beatrice: “I had a turtle when I was younger. I named it Cocoa and it’s been my favorite pet so far. Cocoa was a yellowbellied turtle. And he used to be in my room but I got sick so I had to let him go at the park. And I still wonder what Mr. Cocoa is doing. I hope he’s very happy.”

Bertha: “My favorite pet is my dog Duke. He’s a Siberian husky and I had always wanted a husky. Duke is almost two years old. When we first got him he was a little bit sick but now he’s a very healthy and happy dog. I love him.

—Beatrice (left) and Bertha Gordillo, Hamilton

TT Lanny Jones

 “Well, it’s really always a Golden Retriever. I have had Golden Retrievers since I was 16 and growing up in St. Louis. And then we’ve had them, of course, here in Princeton. So, it’s been a succession of Golden Retrievers. The current one is named Mac and he will be six in February. He’s a wonderful dog. He comes with us on trips to Montana and is very well behaved, even riding cross-country in a small car. Everybody loves him, and he is an absolute icebreaker everywhere we go.”—Lanny Jones with Mac, PrincetonTT Kara Glasgold“I love the Portuguese Water Dogs because they are very loyal and friendly. They are also very protective, but for family dogs they are just great. I had a Golden Retriever growing up, but we have allergies in the family so we had to go with a non-allergenic breed. ”

—Kara Glasgold with Sadie and Gordy, Princeton


To the Editor:

We write in response to the November 3 Princeton Half-Marathon, which benefited HiTOPS, an adolescent health organization in Princeton, and the November 13 letter in Town Topics from Elizabeth Casparian, the executive director of HiTOPS, in which she thanks the Princeton community for supporting HiTOPS.

We are a group of concerned Princeton parents who were present at the half-marathon and who oppose the approach HiTOPS takes toward teen sexual health. Many in our community, including some marathon participants, merchants, religious leaders, and parents, were unaware of the controversial teaching on sexuality that HiTOPS promotes. Our organization, Parents for Sex Ed Choice seeks to:

1. Inform parents what HiTOPS and Teen PEP teach children, so that parents can make informed decisions about whether they wish to have their children participate in such programs.

2. Advocate for an alternative program in the schools, so that parents have a choice between two main approaches to sex education: the “sexual risk reduction” approach of HiTOPS/Teen PEP and the “sexual risk avoidance” approach of a program called Yes, You CAN, which meets the Core Curriculum Standards in the State of New Jersey and should be offered in our schools!

Anyone interested in learning more can contact us through our Facebook page: Parents for Sex Ed Choice.

Wai Far Bazar,

Greenbrier Row

Aileen Collins,

Guyot Avenue

JoanMarie Zetterberg,

Library Place


To the Editor:

Thank you, Princeton! The Historical Society of Princeton’s House Tour 2013 on November 2 was a great success. We are indebted to the 600 participants who came out on a crisp autumn Saturday to visit five icons of Princeton architecture. It was the perfect day for exploring history, architecture, and design with friends.

The House Tour is our most important fall fundraiser, and we are so grateful to the people who make it possible: our generous homeowners, who open their houses for the tour; David Schure, our House Tour Chair; the hard-working House Tour Committee, that organizes the event each year; and our House Captains and 99 dedicated docents, who heroically oversee operations at each of the houses the day of the event. We are particularly grateful to the enthusiastic agents of Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty for turning out, as always, in great numbers to provide support on the ground.

This year, we were touched to receive especially generous support from businesses in our community. Thanks to all 26 of our business sponsors: Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty and Hamilton Building Supply Company were our lead Bainbridge Sponsors for the event; Acorn Glen: An Assisted Living Residence; Alchemist & Barrister Restaurant; Baxter Construction; Ronica A. Bregenzer, AIA; T. Jeffery Clarke Architect; Glenmede; Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate; Greenleaf Painters; Hamilton Jewelers; Ann Harwood, Weichert Realtors;
Maximillian Hayden, Architect; Ivy Inn; Julius Gross Painting & Home Improvement; Knight Architects; MacLean Agency; McCaffrey’s; Pinneo Construction; Princeton Corkscrew; Princeton Van Service; Tobias Design; Van Note-Harvey Associates; Candy Walsh, Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty; Woodwinds; and Viburnum Designs.

We are also grateful to the Princeton Police and the Lawrence Township Police for helping us manage parking and movement at each of the properties, and to Princeton Public Works for clearing leaf piles in advance of the event. Last, but not least, we would like to extend special thanks to Avril Moore for hosting a tremendous reception at Tusculum at the end of the day. It was a perfect finish to a special day.

Finally, on behalf of the Trustees and staff at the Historical Society of Princeton, thank you to everyone who came out and participated on the Tour. Princeton’s support of this special event each year is truly meaningful. We look forward to 2014!

Erin Dougherty,

Executive Director

Eve Mandel

Director of Programs and Visitor Services

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the voters for reelecting us to serve on the Princeton Council. We are honored to serve our community and we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of all Princeton residents.

For all of their efforts on our behalf throughout the campaign, we would like to thank our supporters and especially our campaign team: Walter Bliss, Helen Heintz, Owen O’Donnell, Peter Wolanin, and Doreen Blanc Rockstrom.

To all of our constituents, as we prepare to begin our new terms, we would like take this opportunity to once again ask for your assistance in making Princeton an even stronger community going forward. You can reach both of us through the municipal website at Please contact us with your opinions, concerns, and suggestions regarding Princeton’s municipal government and services.

Jenny Crumiller

Library Place

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive


To the Editor,

I would like to make known the extraordinary volunteer efforts that have transformed Herrontown Woods in recent months. Located out Snowden Lane, up along the boulder-strewn ridge in northeastern Princeton, Herrontown Woods was Princeton’s first dedicated nature preserve, beginning with 85 acres donated in 1957 by the famous visionary mathematician Oswald Veblen and his wife Elizabeth. Once a popular destination, its beautiful trails were made nearly impassible in recent years by storm damage and invasive shrubs.

This summer, however, Kurt Tazelaar and Sally Curtis took on the task of clearing all the trails, not only in Herrontown Woods but in the adjoining Autumn Hill Reservation as well — an area totaling some 200 acres. Their passion and commitment to the task, putting in more than 400 hours over three months, is a testament to the transformative power of community spirit. Town staff, without the time and resources to keep Princeton’s nature trails open, thankfully gave this work the green light. For my part, having helped on some of the workdays, I can speak to the tremendous satisfaction that comes from clearing trails and making the beauty of the eastern Princeton ridge accessible once more, not to mention the significant bonus of physical conditioning for those of us who are gym-averse.

Also exemplifying the can-do community spirit at Herrontown Woods was a recent workday by members of the Rotary Club of Princeton, 12 of whom gave their time and energy to the removing of invasive plants and debris at the preserve. I had somehow managed to live in Princeton for ten years without knowing of the Rotary’s remarkable work, not only here and in Trenton but also on health-related projects internationally, in India, Africa, and northern Argentina. Rotary’s gearwheel logo represents the “meshing” of Rotary with other organizations for useful purpose, and they have meshed beautifully with the newly formed Friends of Herrontown Woods.

These investments of positive energy at Herrontown Woods are well-timed with an initiative by the municipality and local nonprofit organizations to develop a master plan for the eastern Princeton Ridge, which includes all the parcels recently acquired that complete preservation of a wildlife corridor all the way from River Road up to Bunn Drive and beyond.

The success of Kurt and Sally’s trail initiative depended on government acknowledging its shortcomings, and allowing skilled volunteers with a lot of devotion and resourcefulness to fill the void. This arrangement is modeled on the Friends of Princeton Open Space trails committee’s ongoing maintenance of Mountain Lakes Preserve. The Friends group for Rogers Refuge has worked similar wonders, through a mix of volunteer effort and professional services, raising funds when and if they are needed.

The same model needs to be extended to restoring the Veblen House and cottage as historic and potentially functional features of Herrontown Woods. In the void created by government inattention, those who care should be allowed to get down to work and save public assets. A proposal to do so awaits approval by Mercer County.

Stephen Hiltner

Friends of Herrontown Woods, North Harrison Street


To the Editor:

I want to sincerely express my thanks to the 35 percent of Princeton voters who cast their ballots for me on November 5 and wrote letters to the editor in support of my candidacy. I would also like to acknowledge the press for its coverage of my campaign and to Democratic organizations for their energetic (but flattering) efforts to defeat my candidacy.

Although I’m disappointed I won’t have the opportunity in this election cycle to work with Democrat Council members to address the significant problems affecting Princeton, including property taxes, problematic relations with Princeton University, traffic, and the lack of inclusiveness for our Latino residents.

I won’t be on Princeton Council, but you will see me in the community doing my best to address issues important to us all.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Snowden Lane


To the Editor:

I have been a community activist since 1970 when my husband Bill and I moved to West Windsor, but nothing has given me greater satisfaction than my involvement with Yes We CAN! Food Drives. This non-partisan group of volunteers collects donated food from shoppers at area markets. The fresh produce and canned goods are then used to restock the food pantries operated by The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County.

The pantries, located in Trenton and Princeton, provide free food each month for over 3000 low-income individuals, including families, children, the elderly, the disabled, and veterans. Our volunteers have collected 90 tons of food this year alone, which translates to 10 percent of all the food distributed by The Crisis Ministry.

Yes We CAN!’s primary source of donated fresh produce is the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. In fact, we have collected 21 tons of fruits and vegetables since the market opened for the season in May. Saturday, November 23, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., is the final market day for the 2013 season. Yes We CAN! volunteers will be collecting fresh produce and canned goods, along with frozen turkeys. I urge everyone to come out and have fun at the market, while helping others who face a questionable holiday season.

The market is located near the Princeton Junction Train Station on Vaughn Drive, off Alexander Road. If you’ve never been to the market, you are in for a treat.

Fran Engler

West Windsor


FINE FURNITURE: “Customers really like the simple clean lines of our furniture — the elegant and sleek look. We focus on both Scandinavian and contemporary furniture.” Roberto Hajek, owner of Contemporary Designs in Hopewell, is shown by a handsome solid teak dresser and queen size teak bed.

FINE FURNITURE: “Customers really like the simple clean lines of our furniture — the elegant and sleek look. We focus on both Scandinavian and contemporary furniture.” Roberto Hajek, owner of Contemporary Designs in Hopewell, is shown by a handsome solid teak dresser and queen size teak bed.

“People will come in and say ‘My parents got this piece from your grandparents, and it lasted forever. I want that furniture too, that same


Roberto Hajek, owner of Contemporary Designs at 33 West Broad Street in Hopewell, is very proud that he is continuing a family business. “My grandparents started the business in northern New Jersey in the 1960s, and then my parents brought it to central Jersey in the early 90s. First they were in Kingston, and then it was in the Montgomery Center.

“It was called Scandinavian Concepts then, and was mostly Scandinavian furniture,” explains Mr. Hajek. “Now, I am including both Scandinavian and contemporary pieces. I’m an independent ‘Mom and Pop’ store, which is becoming rare today. There aren’t many left anymore. It’s so many big companies today. But as a smaller shop, we can often be flexible about prices, and we have a very big price range.”

Contemporary Designs offers furniture for every room, including home offices. Featuring solid teak and natural cherry, as well as maple and walnut, it provides furniture, with sleek, sophisticated lines.

Highly Desirable

“Our furniture has an elegant, clean look. It never seems crowded or cluttered,” says Mr. Hajek. “It is both domestic and imported, including from Denmark and Canada, and it is high quality. Not many companies carry solid teak and cherry now, but these woods are very durable and highly desirable.”

Big sellers at the shop are bedroom, home office, and dining room sets, he adds. Increasing numbers of people are setting up home offices, and Mr. Hajek can provide customers with a variety of choices.

“Modular offices are very popular now. We can pretty much build the office the customers wants. It can be customized according to their space, whether it’s large or small. There are choices in teak, cherry (stained or natural), maple, and espresso, among others.”

Bookcases, desks, filing cabinets, hutches, and credenzas are all available.

Mr. Hajek points out that an eclectic look for furniture and home decor is popular today with many customers. “People like to mix and match. They don’t want everything to be the same. They may have new pieces and older pieces together, and it adds interest.

“We can really provide whatever they want. We can customize wall units with different woods and finishes. We can set up a TV stand with a hutch — there are just so many options today. It depends on the customer’s life-style.”


Whether it’s the intriguingly modern designs of contemporary furniture (including glass and stainless steel), a classic leather chair, incredibly comfortable upholstered sofas from Canada, cozy sofa beds, informal lounge chairs, children’s bedroom sets and desks, teak dining room table and chairs, or a handsome one-of-a-kind cherry magazine stand from Denmark, Contemporary Designs can provide it.

Mr. Hajek can also accommodate a young couple just starting out, or retirees downsizing. All ages find choices at Contemporary Designs.

“We really have a great price range,” he adds. “There is something for everyone’s pocketbook. For example, we have a bedroom set, with bed, dresser, and two night stands, for $800. Then, we have a teak bed for $1500. We have chairs at $45, $100, and $300.”

Customers are primarily from the Princeton area, but also from as far away as New York City, the Lake George area in New York, and Buffalo. “We do a big business on-line, and in addition to the furniture in our showroom, we have many brochures for people to look at,” points out Mr. Hajek. “We have great word-of-mouth, lots of referrals, and repeat customers.”

Family Business

“Also, I personally deliver the furniture. We offer delivery, set-up, and clean-up. It is wonderful to see how pleased customers are when they see the new furniture in their room. We have established a reputation, and people know they can count on us. There is continuity in our family business. You can rely on the quality of the furniture. Our products are built to order and built to last. They’re not just off the assembly line. They have outstanding style and quality.

“I also want to say that I am very proud of our family business and the opportunity to continue it. I am very fortunate and blessed to be able to do this. My parents and grandparents are so pleased.”

Contemporary Designs is open Monday through Wednesday by appointment, Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 11 to 6, Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 309-5388. Website: www.contemporary—

LIVING LEGACY: “I enjoy this work so much. It’s an honor to be a part of this mission and follow in the footsteps of a woman who is so inspiring.” Pamela Carroll, marketing director of Pearl S. Buck International, is shown by the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, Pa.

LIVING LEGACY: “I enjoy this work so much. It’s an honor to be a part of this mission and follow in the footsteps of a woman who is so inspiring.” Pamela Carroll, marketing director of Pearl S. Buck International, is shown by the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, Pa.

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for her memorable book, The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck was a prolific writer, author of more than 100 books, and more than 1000 publications, including papers and articles.

Pearl S. Buck International is a memorial to her legacy, and continues to further adoptions across the world and to support children in need through sponsorships.

Born in West Virginia in 1892, Pearl was the daughter of missionaries who focused their work in China. She spent the first 40 years of her life in that country, and while developing a deep regard for Chinese culture and tradition, she was also aware of the need for de-stigmatizing attitudes toward children of mixed heredity.

Pamela Carroll, marketing director of Pearl S. Buck International, a non-profit organization, notes, “Pearl was a blond-haired, blue-eyed child growing up in China. She felt apart, and often encountered discrimination. She wanted to spare other children from having that experience, and later in 1949, she founded Welcome House, the first adoption agency of its kind, to help find homes for multi-racial, multi-national children.”

Welcome House, whose mission focused on international adoption from mostly Asian countries and domestic adoption in Pennsylvania, has placed more than 7000 children, including those with special needs, in stable homes.

In 1934, Ms. Buck had returned to the U.S., and purchased Green Hills Farm with 48 acres in Perkasie, Pa. Part of the stone farm house dated to 1740 and part to 1825. Ms. Buck expanded the structure over time, and it was home to her and her family, including six adopted children and her second husband Richard Walsh.

In addition to Welcome House, she later established Opportunity House, which continues to be an important part of Pearl S. Buck International. This program expands opportunities for children and families who need health care, education, livelihood, and psycho-social support by means of sponsorship, particularly through a monthly donation.

The focus is primarily Asian countries, especially Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. In addition to a monthly donation, other options are available, including one-time or recurring special donations. These can support supplying drinking water to children and families in the Philippines, renovating orphanage bathrooms to provide warm running water for children to shower in Vietnam, building handicapped-accessible playgrounds in South Korea, and providing scholarships to poor, rural children living in remote areas of China, among other needs.

Since 1964, these programs have helped more than two million children around the world. As Ms. Carroll says, “One woman with one vision helped over two million lives.”

During the time Ms. Buck lived there, Green Hills Farm welcomed many visitors across a wide spectrum, including writers, artists, composers, philanthropists, civil rights leaders, religious leaders, and politicians, points out Ms. Carroll.

“Pearl had a powerful pen, and she also reached out to people in other ways, through speaking engagements and personal contact. She saw things that were wrong, and went home and acted. She could persuade people to help her cause. And she had such prominent friends as James Michener and Oscar Hammerstein, who lived in the area, among many others.”

Ms. Buck was a long-time advocate of cross-cultural understanding, women’s rights, and racial harmony. As early as 1940, she was a vocal supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.

The Pearl S. Buck House, a national landmark, promotes the legacy of Ms. Buck by preserving and interpreting her home to educate and develop multi-cultural appreciation, opportunities for children and families, and worldwide partnerships.

“I am so pleased to have the house open again,” says Ms. Carroll. “Ms. Buck’s presence and energy are still here. This is a living legacy. We are continuing what she started.”

The Pearl S. Buck House is one of 10 national historic landmarks in honor of a woman that has an intact collection, she adds. “Everything is as it was when she lived here, including her clothing. We have an Awards Room, featuring photos and many of the awards and honors she received, including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, gifts from presidents and world leaders, hoods from the 16 universities, including Yale, Howard, and Rutgers, which awarded her honorary degrees.”

Also on display is the manual Royal typewriter on which she typed The Good Earth and a paperback copy of The Good Earth from 1938, the first paperback to be published.

Ms. Carroll is very pleased about a new discovery that will eventually be added to the collection. “An unpublished manuscript has been discovered in Texas. It is a novel, The Internal Wonder, and the last one she wrote before she died in 1973. It’s planned for publication in October.”

Pearl S. Buck International sponsors many events, as well as tours of the House and the grounds. The 1827 red barn, now the Cultural Center, is used for corporate retreats and meetings. A permanent tent is available for special occasions, including weddings, proms, and other events.

A “Woman of the Year” award is another tradition, and honors a woman who exhibits the humanitarian efforts exemplified by Pearl S. Buck.

Award-winning gardens surround the House, and the water garden was designed by Ms. Buck. In addition, her gravesite is on the grounds.

A gift shop offers a wide range of items and souvenirs, including many which are Asian-inspired. Scarves, one-of-a-kind jewelry, rice china, books and more are all on display. A special corner features a variety of specialties for children.

Holiday tours and seasonal events, writing workshops, tours for groups, including school children, are available, and there are even reading group opportunities, notes Ms. Carroll. “If book clubs read a Pearl Buck book, it would be a great addition for their understanding to come here for a tour. Also, we offer box lunches and we have a tremendous amount of educational resources on our website. We have a grant from Wells Fargo so that local kids can come to visit. There are 22,000 visitors each year.”

New this year are Chinese and Korean Culture Camps. For children entering kindergarten through sixth grade, the camps will explore the culture and traditions of China and Korea, focusing on language, arts and crafts, sports and games, music and dance, food, and history.

Ms. Carroll continues to be inspired by Pearl S. Buck and the opportunity to focus on work that supports her legacy. “There are so many layers to this work. It is truly a global message. I was so inspired by a meeting held here before I came to work at Pearl S. Buck International. and I continue to be inspired. I look forward to encouraging people to come and see us. It’s a wonderful day trip. You can plan on being here two hours, taking the guided tour, which includes wonderful anecdotes, walking on the grounds, and enjoying the beautiful setting.”

Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 2. Groups of 10 or more need to make a reservation. Buffet or boxed lunch options are available. For further information, call (215) 249-0100. Website:


November 13, 2013

To the Editor:

Diane Ravitch’s recent Princeton speeches let down Princeton residents seeking thoughtful remarks on the state of education, who instead got inflammatory rhetoric.

Ms. Ravitch misrepresented the state of charters in New Jersey, and by implication Princeton Charter School (PCS). Unfortunately she declined our invitation to visit PCS before she spoke. Had she visited PCS, here is what she would have learned:

NJ Charters are Nonprofit Public Entities, Not Profit-Seeking Private Corporations: PCS and all New Jersey charters are school districts under state law and thus public entities. All are run by non-profit boards. Of the 87 schools chartered in New Jersey, only four are managed by for-profit charter management organizations. Our charters are subject to even more requirements than traditional districts. When New Jersey charters don’t perform, the state closes them.

PCS Does Not “Keep Out” minority and special education students: PCS and all New Jersey charters must and do accept all applications to enroll, and PCS admissions are determined by random lottery because of the overwhelming demand. Ms. Ravitch’s suggestion that we “push out” children who are more difficult or expensive to educate is unfounded.

PCS recruits for diversity and supports students: PCS students are incredibly diverse, representing many nationalities, races, and ethnicities from families with native speakers of 16 different languages. PCS has redoubled efforts to reach out to minority and lower income residents. Our parents and teachers go door to door and hold open houses in these communities to attract the broadest possible representation of students. Once enrolled, we provide support programs for every student in academic need, and free after-school facilities for families in financial need.

PCS fully supports special needs students: PCS has enhanced its special education services and classification policies. While other districts are busy declassifying students, PCS encourages the evaluation and support of all students with special education needs.

Rigor, assessment and accountability are good: Ms. Ravitch attacked President Obama’s efforts to instill in all public schools a well-defined, rigorous curriculum, testing to understand what students are learning, and more objectivity in teacher evaluation. PCS was founded by progressive Princeton parents and teachers who embraced these reforms, and makes no apologies for expecting the very best of our students and teachers.

Master teachers, not amateurs: Most outrageous was Ms. Ravitch’s blanket claim that charter teachers are “amateurs.” PCS recruits only highly experienced, fully certified teachers with a demonstrated record of excellence. Our teachers relish the challenge of helping all students succeed, and embrace testing to benchmark both student and teacher achievement.

The real ‘reign of error’ is Ms. Ravitch’s disingenuous attack on charters and teacher accountability on behalf of unions that oppose progressive reforms.

Even Ms. Ravitch concedes there are ‘good’ charters, and PCS is one of the very best anywhere. It is a shame she chose to electioneer on public property on the eve of gubernatorial and school elections instead of recognizing PCS as a model charter offering academic excellence for all, regardless of family resources.

Paul Josephson,

Hardy Drive, President,

Princeton Charter School Board of Trustees

To the Editor:

I want to congratulate Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon on their re-election to Princeton Town Council. Congratulations also to Princeton’s own Andrew Koontz for his re-election as a Mercer County Freeholder.

Our sincere thanks and best wishes go out to Barbara Buono, Marie Corfield, Ida Ochoteco, and Christian Mastondrea for the extraordinary efforts they put forth to represent us.

While the school board elections are rightly non-partisan, we want to extend congratulations to Andrea Spalla, Molly Chrein, and Tom Hagedorn for their re-election and election to the Princeton Public School Board and wish them all success as they and their colleagues work to provide the best possible learning environment for the school children of Princeton.

I want to give a special thanks to a number of colleagues who played a major role in helping get out the vote: Peter Wolanin, Sue Nemeth, Owen O’Donnell, Dan Preston, Doreen Blanc Rockstrom, David Cohen, all the members of the Democratic Municipal Committee, the PCDO Executive Board, and other friends and families around town who helped along the way for which there are too many to name here.

Finally, while we may not have won all the races we wanted to, I think we should be very proud of the ones we did, and the fact that New Jersey has its first ever African American Senator in Corey Booker! And how can we not be proud of the fact that “Marriage Equality” has become a reality in New Jersey, an issue that the PCDO took a strong leadership role on nearly four years ago!

As always there is much work for us all to do to make Princeton, the state of New Jersey, and America the best places to live.

Jon Durbin

President, PCDO


To the Editor:

At the public meeting of the task force dealing with traffic and transit issues in town, held last Saturday at the University, several attendees advanced the belief that the principal goal of the study effort should be broadened to become regional transit, focusing on a Princeton hub with lines radiating to other areas with reciprocal transit needs. The meeting showed that Princeton has the talent to contribute to such a challenge, in the person of Ralph Widner.

Although the transit element of this study focuses solely on the corridor from Princeton Junction to Nassau Street, Mr. Widner suggested what the beneficial impact on local traffic would be with a more comprehensive (perhaps partially light rail) transit network to include Plainsboro and West Windsor, even Lawrenceville and Montgomery. It appears that the zombie Dinky-devouring BRT scheme will soon be re-entombed, although another important element of a regional transit improvement plan could well start with a Bus Rapid Transit along Route 1, very logically connecting with the Dinky.

Rail costs seem daunting, however, considering that NJ Transit’s River Line cost some $100 million per mile (without electrification) to construct, and the tracks were already there, although it is a wonderfully useful service (I used it recently to go to Burlington to meet a friend for lunch). Shouldn’t we consider starting on a smaller scale? Like by determining the added traffic-mitigating benefits of improving service in the study corridor by converting the Dinky to light rail and extending it to Nassau Street and meeting more trains at the Junction? Already the Dinky carries a thousand riders — many not driving cars along Alexander — each way each day.

A while back I floated a plan to do just that and at what seemed to be at an unbelievably low cost, plus with financing identified. Let’s hear what the task force recommends and consider that as a reasonable first step in the still important broader plan to serve a Greater Princeton. If a new Dinky demonstrated that light rail in Princeton could be significantly more efficient to operate than the current Dinky, that fact could only bolster the arguments for adding rational light-rail extensions more widely, sooner rather than later.

Rodney Fisk

Birch Avenue


To the Editor:

Last Sunday HiTOPS presented the inaugural Princeton Half Marathon. We want to thank the many people and organizations that helped make this a wonderful community event for our town. An endeavor of this magnitude — 13.1 spectacularly beautiful miles, 1000 runners representing 26 states, 300 volunteers — was made possible because of the collaboration of many people and entities over two years of planning.

We thank Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Princeton Battlefield, and the Town of Princeton for allowing us to include their sites on the course. Mayor Lempert and the Town Council, Palmer Square Management, and the Nassau Inn worked early on with HiTOPS and the Princeton Police Department to plan and problem solve. The event would not have been as smooth without their collaboration, support, and counsel.

Arm and Hammer served as the cause sponsor, supporting HiTOPS in their goal to bring awareness about how health decisions made during adolescence affect the overall health of our community and the future success of our youth as they become adults. This event highlighting adolescent wellness truly involved the entire community of residents, merchants, police, churches, schools, organizations, sponsors, runners and their families. In addition to the seven distinct neighborhoods hosting water tables sponsored by NRG, it was thrilling to see so many people out cheering the runners and making the event fun and inspiring for everyone involved.

HiTOPS congratulates the top winners and each of the runners for going for their personal best. You are models of what community health looks like — happy, healthy, and enthusiastic individuals of every age, race, size, and ability.

For all of this, we are deeply and truly thankful and look forward to serving this community and bringing next year’s Princeton Half Marathon to you in 2014!

Elizabeth M. Casparian, PhD

Executive Director, HiTOPS


TT James Russo

“I’m thinking about a lot of the soldiers that I served with overseas.  I’m thinking about these older gentlemen that I see here today.  They really have stories to tell, and a lot of people should listen.”
—James Russo, Hamilton

 TT Lee Wofford

“Well, I had a great uncle who fought in the Japanese theatre, during the Second World War.  He was a soldier’s soldier.  As a veteran, we’ve all lost friends.  But it’s all about friends and family on days like this.  We’re very, very appreciative of the community coming out and supporting our veterans.  With veterans like Herb Hobler, it’s true that our generation indeed does stand on the shoulders of giants.”
— Lee Wofford, Master of Ceremonies, Plainsboro

 TT Herb Hobler

“I was thinking of a lot of friends from over the years. Especially Thurman, the man I talked about today. We trained together, we served together, and he finished his missions, but was killed on the way home.  So he never became a veteran.  But I have kept in touch with his family for years, and I still get choked up thinking about him.
— Herb Hobler, Keynote Speaker, Princeton

 TT George Wilcha

“As Herb was giving his speech about his experience in the Pacific and in World War II, I was thinking about this being one of the saddest war stories I have ever heard.  It’s very sad, but at the same time, I’m very proud of his service.”
— George Wilcha, Lieutenant Colonel, Princeton University R.O.T.C.

 TT Bill Hobbs & Adelina Harwood

Bill: “I was thinking about a young man who lost his life on a ship.  His name was Rex Connelly.” Adelina: “I was thinking about all of my uncles who were in World War II, and some of them did not make it back.  And I am thinking about my husband, who was in the Army.  I thought today’s ceremony was very touching and a very, very lovely commemoration of our country’s heroes.”
— Bill Hobbs and Adelina Harwood, both from Princeton


Standing at the bar has taken on a whole new meaning for many who are enthusiastically embracing The Bar Method!

This special workout program is now available in Princeton, with a studio located at 29 Emmons Drive. A franchise owned by Amy Clark and Jenn Tigue, it offers an unusual approach to fitness.

It is based on the technique developed by former dancer Lotte Berk, who after injuring her back, decided to combine her ballet bar routines with her rehabilitation therapy. She opened a studio in London, and helped sculpt the bodies of her students.

The Bar Method is an evolved version of the Lotte Berk Method, which had been brought to the United States, and was founded by Burr Leonard. Her flagship studio opened in San Francisco in 2001, and since then, more than 25 Bar Method studios have opened in California, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey.

Health Benefits

“We started out as clients,” explains Amy Clark. “We had both been going to other gyms, but this was so different.”

“It really changed our lives,” adds Jenn Tigue. “We feel better, look better, and we have made so many new friends. We are passionate about this. There are so many health benefits.”

It did indeed change their lives in many ways, and specifically as they changed careers, when they opened The Bar Method Studio. Ms. Clark, a dietician, and Ms. Tigue, a registered nurse, did not hesitate when they had the opportunity to open the franchise.

What sets The Bar Method apart from so many other fitness centers is its emphasis on creating a lean, firm, sculpted body. As the owners explain, “It combines the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy, and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.

“Its non-impact one-hour workout targets all major muscle groups, and improves posture,” they continue. “The result is a recognizable ‘Bar Method Body’, featuring sculpted arms, flat abs, a lifted seat, and elongated thighs. And we emphasize core strength, which is so important for good health, for posture, and for the back.

“One of the biggest differences in The Bar Method and other fitness centers is that ours was developed with the help of doctors and physical therapists, and our instructors go through six months training, and all are certified.”

Personal Attention

Classes are always under the guidance of one of the owners or an instructor, and are divided into three segments: a 15-minute warm-up with free weight exercises and push-ups; then intense leg and seat work at the bar for a half-hour; followed by abdominal work at the bar and on mats for the final minutes.

“All the exercises are doable for most levels, and we give people a lot of personal attention,” explains Ms. Tigue. “Also, all the exercises can be modified for clients with specific conditions, such as arthritis, injuries, etc.”

The classes emphasize safety, she adds, and in particular, joint safety. Exercises are low-impact, and the studio floor is carpeted to lessen joint impact.

The Bar Method classes alternate between exercises that demand intense bursts of energy and deep stretches, This format produces both high-caloric burn and firmer muscle mass, explains The Bar Method literature. Every exercise includes active stretching and strengthening, followed by additional strengthening to elongate the muscles just worked.

“Most clients who do The Bar Method regularly become slimmer and lighter,” notes Ms. Clark.

Participating in classes three to five times a week will produce the best results, and many students do this. But just getting a start will point a beginner in the right direction.

“We are very encouraged. We have many regular clients, and it is very inspiring to see how enthusiastic people are,” reports Ms. Tigue. “They are coming in at 5:30 in the morning! That makes me look forward to coming in at 5:30 too for their class. It is so satisfying.”

Correct Form

The Bar Method studio is spacious, spotlessly clean, and attractive. Two workout rooms (one large and one smaller) feature a horizontal bar around the room and mirrors. Mirrors are important so that people can see their form as they perform the exercises. Correct form is very important for the safety and success of the exercises.

In addition, a locker room with showers and inviting waiting area are available.

Bar Method participants are men and women, ranging in age from teens to those in their eighties, note Ms. Clark and Ms. Tigue. Class sizes vary anywhere from two to 25, with eight different classes throughout the day.

A number of different payment packages are available. A single class is $25, which is deducted if the client signs up for more. Savings are offered for packages, and a new client special includes 30 days at $175 for as many classes as the client wishes.

“We are so pleased to be doing this. We love the method, and we love to teach,” point out the owners. “People come to tone their body and are so pleased when they see results and realize they are doing something good for themselves. They look better and feel better. Many say that The Bar Method has really changed their lives.”

Of course, for best results, note Ms. Clark and Ms. Tigue, this should be part of an over-all life-style, with good nutrition and other healthy exercise.

“We have a very friendly and positive atmosphere here, with so many regular clients. Now we look forward to expanding our clientele, including more people from Princeton, and bringing The Bar Method concept to even more participants. And this is a great location, with lots of convenient parking.”

Hours are Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (609) 356-0244. Website:


POOLS AND PATIOS: Wayne Wilson (left), service coordinator and renovation supervisor, and Steven Gorlin, president of Gorlin Pools & Spas, are ready to help customers with a full spectrum of pool services — new pools, renovation and maintenance of existing pools, and hardscape and water features, as well as equipment, supplies, and patio furniture.

POOLS AND PATIOS: Wayne Wilson (left), service coordinator and renovation supervisor, and Steven Gorlin, president of Gorlin Pools & Spas, are ready to help customers with a full spectrum of pool services — new pools, renovation and maintenance of existing pools, and hardscape and water features, as well as equipment, supplies, and patio furniture.

A pool in the backyard is a dream-come-true for many homeowners, and more and more people are seeing it become a reality.

“Pools have actually been prevalent in New Jersey since the 1950s, and nationwide today there are six million in-ground pools,” says Steven Gorlin, president of Gorlin Pools & Spas.

Headquartered in Lakehurst, the company opened in 1999 and merged with the Princeton Pool & Patio Shop in April of this year. The long-time Princeton establishment on Alexander Street had relocated to Hightstown in 2005, explains former owner Wayne Wilson, who had become president and CEO, when his father Bill Wilson retired. The elder Mr. Wilson had owned the business since 1975, after having purchased the pool division from Princeton Fuel Oil.

“I started helping in the business when I was 14, says Wayne Wilson. “We began as a simple service firm, providing spring openings, closings, service and repairs, chemicals, patio furniture, weekly cleaning, and pool painting. When I became president and CEO, I proceeded to take the business in the direction of my passion: reconstruction, custom stone and concrete patios, tile, and the conversion of the old painted surfaces into the newer custom plaster surfaces.

Driving Force

“The business grew exponentially, and I had the honor of working for some very famous individuals, as well as at such locations as the Governor’s Mansion at Drumthwacket and also Morven. In 2004, I was notified by Princeton University about their targeted project for Alexander Street, and I purchased a new property in Hightstown. Then, during the recession, when the economy was rocked to its core, I had to contemplate where I wanted to go and how I could change the experience homeowners have with home improvement contractors.

“I approached Steven Gorlin, who had known my father, and who is chairman of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. He is a man of great integrity, much like my late father, and we agreed to merge our beliefs and businesses, and become the driving force of change in New Jersey. We still provide all the normal seasonal preparations, but in addition, we also offer new commercial and custom residential construction, waterscapes, such as waterfalls, custom in-ground spas, high technology fiber optic lighting, automated control systems, salt technology, and my passion of custom stone and concrete restoration services.”

Mr. Gorlin, who has been working in the pool business since 1969, is pleased to have a more prominent role in the Princeton pool market. “Previously, we had a small part of the Princeton market, and now since Wayne has joined us, we have the lion’s share. Now, our crews can stay in the area all day, not just come for one job.”

The combined efforts of Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Wilson create a professional and dynamic partnership. Customers can expect expert service — whether they are first-timers installing a new pool, renovating an existing one, or adding enhanced elements such as lighting and sound and improved hardscapes and waterscapes.

Safety Issues

The choices available today are amazing. All shapes and sizes of pools, options as to color, texture, and style of the surface and deck are seemingly endless. And new advances come along all the time.

“We specialize in higher-end pools, including customized Gunite (concrete),” explains Mr. Gorlin. “We are set apart because we are certified in the pool industry as (1) certified building professionals (CBP), and (2) certified service professionals (CSP). I am both, and all of my technicians are certified pool operators (CPO). They go through chemistry courses. There are real safety issues relating to pools regarding chemicals.

“Also, pool alarms are available now which can be programmed. For example, if a child should go into the pool at night, the alarm goes off, and flood lights come on.”

Advances in technology relating to pools continues at a rapid pace, he adds. “The technology of pools is catching up with the technology in other areas. Today, you can control your pool from your cell phone, including adjusting the water temperature, if it is a heated pool; controlling water features such as water falls, etc. Lighting is very popular now, and the pool can be programmed for color. There is a multiple array of colors in lighting, and it’s a great way to set the mood and tone for a party.

“We also do all kinds of water features — ‘water in transit’ (that is, moving water), including waterfalls with laminar jets. These are all popular.”

Pools are available with vinyl linings, pre-fab fiber glass, and Gunite, points out Mr. Wilson. 20 feet by 40 feet (30,000 gallons of water) is a typical size, but all sizes and shapes are available. Currently, rectangular pools are making a comeback.

“Vanishing Edges”

Textures and colors of the surface (bottom and walls) offer incredible variety. A lake or lagoon effect, a pebbled or sand look are favored, but there is really no end to the possibilities. Also, pavers and blue stone are very popular for decks now.

“Today, more people are enjoying the ambiance of the pool,” reports Mr. Gorlin. “They like to sit beside it, look at it, and relax, just as much as actually swimming. Pool parties are a very big deal. And there are so many features in pools today. For example, ‘vanishing edges’, in which three of the walls are higher than the other wall, creating an optical illusion. There is also a perimeter slot overflow. Water comes up over the pool and drops into a slot between the pool and the deck. It creates an unbelievable ‘mirror’ on top of the water.”

Of course, Gorlin Pools has a complete selection of all pool equipment, supplies, including automatic pool covers, and patio furniture.

“We also do weekly maintenance for 1200 people every month,” notes Mr. Gorlin. “Not all pool owners have the time or inclination to do this themselves, and as professionals, we check everything to make sure that it is operating correctly.”

Typically, the company focuses on residential pools but it also provides indoor pools for commercial use for hotels and other businesses.

“We have also put in pools at animal hospitals for therapy purposes for dogs and cats,” point out Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Wilson.

Gorlin Area

In addition to pools, the company provides in-ground spas and hot tubs, which are very popular with customers, who come from all over the area. Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Somerset, and part of Hunterdon County are all part of the Gorlin area.

Although most people typically like to have their pool open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, many others are keeping them open even longer, says Mr. Gorlin. “Some have the pool open even until Thanksgiving, if it is heated. And this is becoming more and more popular, as people enjoy being outdoors as long as possible.”

It is a priority for Mr. Gorlin to see that customers have the pool they want, and he works with them to achieve the desired outcome. “The best part of my day is working with my employees and customers. I’m a people person. I love to get to know someone and learn what they want in their backyard, and then I can make it a reality for them.”

Mr. Wilson is proud that he is able to continue the business his father began in another setting, and that many of the Princeton Pool & Patio customers are still with him. “I am also pleased that I am able to focus on reconstruction, and I want our customers’ pools to last forever. With our experience and professional expertise, we are really the best at what we do.”

For customers who want a new pool for the next Memorial Day, it is best to start the process now, advise Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Wilson. “There are so many components involved: choosing the style, surface, deck, getting permits, etc. Also, whoever you hire, make sure they are professional and licensed and certified. We hope you will work with us. We want Gorlin to be a household name in Princeton!”

Gorlin Pool & Spas can be reached at (732) 323-8200. Website:


November 6, 2013

TT Eugenie Brunner

“I would like to see a big high end shopping and restaurant emporium, like Eataly in New York City, that would draw people into town with beautiful restaurants and stores. I think the Post Office should move to the Bank of America location near Harrison Street.”

—Eugenie Brunner, Lawrenceville

 TT Ahmed Azmy

“A café or a good restaurant will be great on Palmer Square. The Post Office could be relocated to the old Borough Municipal Building.”
—Ahmed Azmy, Princeton

 TT Wayne Meisel

“Turn it into a beer garden and keep a satellite post office there.”
—Wayne Meisel, Princeton

 TT Pat Schlaefer

“A unique gift shop where you can get a really nice hostess gift or a special anniversary gift. A store like Simon Pearce or Lisa Jones.
I think the Post Office could go where the UPS Store is now.”
—Pat Schlaefer, Skillman

 TT Carolyne Fred Wass

“Princeton needs a really great diner, a place that has fantastic breakfasts.
The Post Office should go on Nassau Street in the space that used to be West Coast Video.”
—Carolyne and Fred Wass, Princeton