July 3, 2013

To the Editor:

The Planning Board’s first hearing on AvalonBay’s new application began in pathos when chairperson Wanda Gunning thanked municipal staff for meeting an impossible schedule for reviewing the application. She noted that some of them (paid with our taxes) had “stayed up all night.”

They deserved thanks. But not for a moment did any member of the Planning Board chastise AvalonBay’s chief attorney Robert Kasuba for imposing such a brutal schedule for review on the municipality.

Will Princeton excuse the Board? How could they dissent? — they’re operating under the bullying terms of the Consent Order (4/18/13), which they may not even have read when they gave permission to sign off on it. Princeton Council did the same thing.

Why is the Consent Order outrageous? Read Point Four: “… if the Planning Board approves the [present] Application and litigation is filed challenging that approval, AvalonBay, at its option, may continue prosecuting this current litigation while, if it so chooses, defending the Application in the subsequent litigation [AvalonBay first filed a lawsuit on 2/19/13 against the former Planning Board for its 7-3 denial of “Plan A,” 12/19/12]. If the Planning Board denies the [present] Application or [!!!] imposes conditions on the approval of the Application that AvalonBay opposes, AvalonBay, at its option, may continue with the current litigation [on Plan A] while, if it so chooses, filing litigation challenging the Planning Board’s denial of the Application or conditions imposed on an approval of the application ….”

So: AvalonBay threatens further litigation against the Planning Board if it doesn’t like any new Conditions of Approval? Is this a loaded gun, or what?

Conditions of Approval are routinely attached to Approvals. What if AvalonBay “opposes” the Condition proposed by both the Site Plan Review Advisory Board and the Princeton Environmental Council (PEC) that AvalonBay build to Energy Star standards, version 3 (issued by the Environmental Protection Agency), no matter what? Or the PEC’s proposed Condition that AvalonBay provide a minimum of 200 bicycle spaces (less than one bicycle per unit)? What about SPRAB’s proposal for opening a public archway through Building 2 to the piazza? And many more proposed COA’s to make this gargantuan hulk a smidge more acceptable.

This Planning Board has little leeway to request modifications, much less deny the Application. Last week, according to reports published elsewhere, Mayor Liz Lempert dismissed a notion that the Planning Board hearings were a mere formality and said that these Planning Board hearings were no different from others. But as AvalonBay told the Planning Board (6/27), it held private meetings with the mayor, attended variously by at least four members of the Planning Board, plus the chairs of SPRAB and the PEC. Was AvalonBay’s new plan pre-approved — no matter what they planned to submit (submission on 5/20/19).

When SPRAB formulated its report without municipal staff input, Bill Wolfe made the right judgment: “This sets a very bad precedent.” The Planning Board needs some guts.

Cara Carpenito

Maple Street

CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

In a rut after the long winter? Are those gray days getting you down? Spring will be here soon, and maybe it’s time to shake things up, stir the ingredients! A new look, a new hair style, perhaps a new color for the new season?

All of these are available at La Meche Hair Design, which recently moved to the Village Shopper, 1340 Route 206 in Skillman.

Formerly located at the Montgomery Center for many years, the salon has a brand new sleek, contemporary look in an attractive, light-focused setting.

“I wanted to have a very clean look,” explains owner Joanna Kulikowska. “The products are hidden on shelving behind the mirrors, so it is very uncluttered. My father, husband, and brother all helped me with the design and renovation.”

Good Foundation

Ms. Kulikowska has been affiliated with La Meche for 16 years and a partner for 10. In November, she became sole owner. Originally from Poland, she came to the U.S. at the age of 16, knowing no English. She learned quickly, and eventually attended Mercer County Community College, majoring in accounting — certainly a good foundation for any business.

In time, her interest shifted to the hair and beauty industry, and she became a licensed cosmetologist. The creativity involved in cutting, styling, and color appealed to her. “My father was an artist, and my mother was very artistic, and I’ve always liked the visual aspect of things.”

The right hair cut, style, and color can make all the difference, she notes, and that is the specialty at La Meche, which means “lock of hair” in French.

“We do everything for hair — cut, color, style, and straighten. Some people still like perms, and we offer that too,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “A lot of people with curly hair want it straightened. The really popular hair style today is long and straight. Especially with young people, but also with women in their forties.”

On the other hand, Ms. Kulikowska especially enjoys cutting and styling short hair. “I specialize in that. I love short hair. You can do a lot with it and have a lot of different styles.”

When helping clients with a style, she takes into consideration facial structure, hair texture, and life-style. “I always ask clients how much time they are willing to spend on their hair,” she explains. “They may bring in a picture of a hair style that looks simple, but in reality, it requires time to get that look.”

Fashion Statement

Some people just don’t have the time or inclination to style their own hair, she adds. “We have clients who come in once, even twice, a week for a blow dry.”

What is major in nearly all hair salons today, of course, is color! “Color is huge,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “Almost everyone wants it. It’s even starting with younger girls, if their parents allow it. It’s like a fashion statement. It’s certainly not just to cover gray.”

Color products are safer than in the past, she points out. “Many have less or no ammonia now. With color, the idea is to look as natural as possible, and there are new techniques and color formulations to achieve that. Ombre is very popular now, and is a hand-painted technique, starting at the top of the head, and gradually lightening the hair throughout its length. It goes from darker to light, and is best on dark hair.

“Balayage is another method, similar to Ombre, and is hand-painted from the roots out. It is multi-dimensional and gives a very natural look.”

Traditional highlighting is also very popular, and there are many ways to achieve color  variations throughout the hair. Also, these days, many brunettes are opting for red highlights, adds Ms. Kulikowska.

All ages, and both men and women, are choosing color today, and typically, they come in every four to six weeks for touch-ups — or a complete change!

Linkage Meu

For those who may have had a bad do-it-yourself color experience, La Meche offers corrected color treatments. Doing it yourself is  not quite as easy as the ads and commercials indicate, and a professional not only has the experience but can offer knowledgeable advice about appropriate color for the client’s skin tone and overall coloring.

Special conditioning treatments are also available, notes Ms. Kulikowska. “We recently started offering Linkage Meu, a 3-step salon treatment, including aromatherapy. It provides instant smoothing, conditioning, improves the quality of the hair, and lasts five weeks. It’s very good for excessively dry hair and for hair that has been blown dry too much or improperly.

“Also, for people with thinning hair problems, I suggest they use Biotin, a vitamin helping hair, nails, and skin.”

La Meche is a family-oriented salon, she points out, and clients include women, men, and children. “Our staff is very focused on service. People want to be taken care of. They want to feel welcome. We give superior attention to each client.

“We have many regular and long-time clients, who have been with us over the years. There has been great word-of-mouth,” she continues. “This is very individual work because every client is different and has different hair requirements. All of us have continuing education here. There are always new things coming along, new techniques, and new color formulations. I look forward to expanding the staff, including younger people. We will be up-to-date with all the new styles that young people like.”

“Mostly, I enjoy making every individual happy. They always have a smile on their face when they leave!”

La Meche is competitively priced, with cuts starting at $55 and color at $75. Gift certificates are available, and also special sessions, including make-up, for brides and bridal parties.

Walk-ins are welcome, and tea, cappuccino, soda, and light refreshments are offered.

Hours are Monday by appointment, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 8 to 5, Saturday 7 to 4. (609) 924-7800. Website: lamechesalon.com.

Asked at the vintage baseball game at Greenway Meadows Park between Flemington Neshanock and the Diamond State Club of Delaware.

TT Eve Mandel

“Barbecues and fireworks with my family are my favorite ways.” —Eve Mandel, Director of Program and  Visitor Services, Historical Society of Princeton, Yardley, Pa.

TT Ken Mandel

“It’s just a lot of fun. You have traditional barbeques, with hot dogs and hamburgers. But this is a way to kind of appreciate the original way the game of baseball was played. This is America’s pastime, and I get to learn what it was like in the 1800s when the sport was just beginning.” —Kent Mandel, player with  Flemington Neshanock, Yardley, Pa.

TT Joe Murray

“I’m a family guy, and I just like to take the kids to the beach and we make a long day of it.” —Joe Murray, player with the Neshanock, Yardley, Pa.

TT Guy Woelk

“The most interesting thing I can find is a band, and a picnic. And the picnic serving lots of hot dogs.” —Guy Woelk, Princeton


TT Weronika piechota

“I most look forward to going to Cape Cod with my boyfriend and his family. We have a picnic in Truro, and we watch the fireworks going off in the distance in Provincetown. We like to take lots of photos.” —Weronika Piechota, Princeton


TT Dan Sledgehammer

“My favorite place to go would have to be the beach or camping, and hopefully, they have fireworks. I do enjoy Point Pleasant. I love the beautiful beach.” —Dan Sledgehammer, player with Neshanock, Robbinsville, New Jersey

June 26, 2013

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the AvalonBay development at the old hospital site on Witherspoon Street for the following reasons:

1) It is smart growth being built in town where smart growth belongs.

2) It will bring 56 much needed affordable housing units to our town.

3) It will bring 224 rental units, some of which will provide housing that currently does not exist for people who work in our community and are not able or prefer not to buy a home here.

4) It is walkable to town and the shopping center and on a bus line thus allowing residents to take public transit or walk to and from work, shopping, and schools.

5) The density of the proposed development, while large, is much smaller than the current hospital. And there is significant public open space for community use that the current hospital site does not provide.

Yes, there are some things, such as garbage collection, that could become issues if we let them. But we do not have to let them. We can look at this development from a positive point of view — to the tax revenues it will generate to help offset our ever increasing property taxes, to the diversity in residents, and to the life that it will bring to the Witherspoon Corridor. Let us stop the naysaying and move forward and welcome this AvalonBay development into our community.

Barbara Trelstad

Firestone Court

To the Editor:

Local residents have established a non-profit agency to repair, renovate, and operate the previous Princeton Township Valley Road School as a community center for nonprofit service and educational organizations.

Located across from the municipal complex and the Community Park School, the building needs extensive maintenance to secure the value of the 26,000 square foot stone and brick facility. It is listed as one of New Jersey’s most endangered historic buildings. Community service agencies need classrooms not cubbyholes. Non-profit services should be accessible and visible to the community.

Our all-volunteer community group has made proposals to the Board of Education and municipal governments. We are an IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, and have made a comprehensive 230-plus-page proposal developed by volunteer experts, including the descendents of the people who built the building in 1919. The school board turned it down.

The land for the building was given to the residents of Princeton Township and was the only public elementary school never segregated in Princeton. Similar school buildings are operated as community centers across the United States and New Jersey. Public-private partnerships are being established as government services are reduced. We do not want another public facility in town closed and excluded from community use. Princeton Community Television was forced to vacate last Friday leaving the building locked and empty.

Residents of Princeton are currently signing petitions at the main entrance of McCaffrey’s and other places in support of the continued community use of the building.

Contact info@savevalleyroadschool.org. For copies of the petition e-mailed to you that you can sign and mail back.

We appreciate your support.

Ridge Applegate

Random Road

To the Editor:

What do you think?

Does Princeton need inexpensive public space for meetings, social gatherings, celebrations, exhibitions, concerts, and creative events? Or a black box theater or two — the kind of space that Off Broadway has used for decades for theatrical productions? Maybe there would be a resident dance troupe. How about a café with good coffee, and run by a nonprofit that employs local servers? And below-market office space where nonprofit local organizations can share space and equipment? It wouldn’t have to be a fancy building. Or even a new building.

The Valley Road School (VRS) offers itself as a community center, but so far, the town has not wanted it. Why not?

Is the structure sound? OK, there’s a crack in the rear wall, the paint is peeling, the roof and windows need replacing: the Township and the School Board have neglected the building for 40 years. But the University saved — and prominently uses — the old Nassau Street School near Thomas Sweet’s. It, too, was built by the town’s famed Italian masons: solid basic and beautiful workmanship. The Witherspoon School, now the Waxwood, on Quarry Street, has become an upscale apartment house. These buildings were once fixer-uppers. Now they are productive community anchors.

But is VRS salvageable? The VRS Association has petitions out to get the question on the ballot, so we can find out once and for all. We want a minimum of 1000 signatures. This week, while I was tabling for the petition, a structural engineer signed on. He had inspected the building with a Planning Board member and found it sound and eminently salvageable, but another firm was hired for the final estimate.

Can we afford the cost of renovation? A solar installation on the roof would ultimately pay for the repairs needed there. And the Economic Development Authority is looking for grantees for up to $2,000,000 for community projects that provide jobs: what a boon it would be for local construction workers to restore VRS, and at no cost to taxpayers.

Does Princeton need a vibrant community center, where residents stop by to work together on community needs — youth groups, counselors, a tax service? What community doesn’t need such a center?

So help the community: sign the petition that asks our government and yours to put the matter to a ballot. Better yet, take the sample ballot page from Town Topics two weeks ago and pass it around to friends and family before sending it in. Every vote really does count. Tell government to review this citizen initiative responsibly and publicly. Ask our Council: if we find the money, will they let us save Valley Road School?

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

To the Editor:

Why is Princeton overrun with traffic? Nearly 80 percent of our workforce, over 24,000 people, drive in from outside every day. Census data shows that the former Borough is home to more jobs than all of West Windsor. Every surrounding township sends more people into Princeton each day than the other way around. Moreover, there are tens of thousands more car trips entering Princeton for non-work reasons each day since our town is an arts, dining, shopping, and entertainment hub.

What can we do about this reality? Princeton needs a better balance between the number of jobs and the amount of housing. Most Princeton residents work in town. In the combined Princeton, nearly 27 percent walk or bike to work and 12 percent of households don’t own cars at all. In the former Borough more people walk to work than drive. Unfortunately, most of our workforce can’t afford to live within walking distance and is instead forced to drive in on congested roads, harming the quality of life for everyone. Other college towns like Ithaca, N.Y. have a near identical number of jobs (around 30,000) but allow far more residents to live within walking distance, taking thousands of cars off the roads compared to Princeton.

We shouldn’t fear that more housing will worsen our traffic. The traffic is driven by the fact that we’re the number one job center in the region and the number one entertainment hub. The proposal currently before the planning board to replace the old hospital with 280 apartments is a good start on our housing needs. We have every reason to expect that it will take more cars off the roads than it will add. If our peer college towns can do it, so can we. I believe it will be an asset to the town and should be approved.

David Keddie

David Brearly Court

TT Steve Rounds

“It was quite a surprise when I was sitting here washing dishes and a bear walks through our yard. Mark Johnson of Animal Control thinks it was a young male looking for territory. Also, we have a cottage in New Hampshire and we see bears fairly frequently up there, so the girls were not totally surprised. While we were on a trout fishing trip up on the streams, a bear came and took our backpacks away right next to us.” —Steve Rounds, Princeton

TT Emily & Allie Rounds

Emily: “It’s crazy. I think it’s awesome. I never really imagined a bear coming to Princeton. And they started last year, and I think it’s really cool.”

Allie: “Well, I was pretty scared about it at first, but then I got used to it. He was a very peaceful bear. They posted a sign over by the river where it went to get a drink.”

—Emily and Allie Rounds, Princeton

 TT Eva & Matthew Tramontana with Madeline and Mason

Eva: “I don’t know what I think. I just hope they don’t come into my house.”

Matthew: “Yep, that’s pretty much how I feel.”

—Eva and Matthew Tramontana, with Madeline and Mason, Hopewell, New Jersey

TT Carol Rosenthal

“I don’t leave my screen doors open anymore.”

—Carol Rosenthal, Princeton

 TT Tom Heebink

“Who needs the zoo when you can come to the Rounds’ house!” —Tom Heebink, Belle Meade, New Jersey

SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

Nestled in the woods near The Institute for Advanced Study is a hidden gem. Located at the tip end of Springdale Road, Nassau Swim Club has been welcoming members for nearly 50 years.

“We are a small safe family community,” reports Anne Merrick Mavis, board member and director of marketing. “Families return year after year for the friendly atmosphere, great swimming, and good company. My kids, now 15 and 13, love it. This is a place that they look forward to. They spend all day here. It’s their summer home.”

A private, cooperative, board-run organization, Nassau Swim Club offers 200 memberships to families and individuals. Its community atmosphere is enhanced by members taking part in the club’s operation. As Ms. Mavis notes, “Members take on two responsibilities when they join. For example, mowing the lawn, getting the pool ready, or helping with barbecues, picnics, etc.”

The club has several social events throughout the season, including its Memorial Day opening, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and various other occasions, including a silent auction fund-raiser for the pool.

Princeton and Beyond

“We have a ‘Night Under the Stars’ with a special dinner, also a Texas Barbecue and a Movie Night, when we set up a big projector outside,” reports Ansie Monaghan, president of the board.

Members include people from Princeton and beyond, she adds. “They are people from all over the area, with different backgrounds, and we might not meet each other if it weren’t for the pool. It’s nice, too, because the kids are often from different schools, so they make new friends, as well as seeing people they already know.”

Adults are pleased that there is always a designated two-lane lap area in the six-lane, 25-foot pool, except for three hours — 8 to 11 a.m — when the swim team practices.

Children of all ages enjoy the opportunities geared to their level. A baby or wading pool is available to kids five and under. Its location beside the main pool is a plus, points out Ms. Mavis. “When my children were small, I could be with the 2-year-old in the little pool, and also keep an eye on my older child in the regular pool.”

In addition, chairs and tables are set up in shady spots surrounding the pool area.

A 13.5-foot diving well is another feature, which is also available for water polo.

Two life guards and one supervisor/life guard are always on duty. They are 15 yeas old or older, and have received life guard-, first aid-, CPR-, and AED- certified.

Small group swimming lessons are free to all ages, including adults.

Focus on Fun

The club’s swim and dive teams are part of the Princeton Area Swim & Dive Association (PASDA) and teams consist of boys and girls six to 18. They compete against teams in the area, and are at all ability levels. Various meets are held, including a championship meet at the end of the season.

The focus is on the enjoyment of swimming and the pleasure of being on the team. As the club statement notes: “At the conclusion of a meet, individual swimmers are ranked and awarded ribbons. The individual swimmers’ combined scores result in a winning team. We have a number of very good swimmers, but the emphasis is on fun and being part of the team. We believe that creating an atmosphere where kids are enjoying the activity keeps them interested. We encourage team members to come to practice daily, but we understand when other summer commitments take priority.”

Team members are required to have completed the deep end test and have a desire to have fun, continues the statement. “No previous experience is needed to join the team. Parents of participants are asked to volunteer to work at three of the meets, either home or away, and to bring a baked good for the home meet. You will also be asked to work one event at the championship.”

Regulations for the dive team are similar to those for the swim team.

General pool regulations require that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult (except for team members). Those over 12 may be unaccompanied, if they have passed the deep end test, and have signed parental permission.

Children often go on to become life guards as they grow up, says Ms. Mavis. “My son Andrew, who has come to the pool since he was four, will be a life guard this summer.”

Unique Atmosphere

Supervisor David Adlai-Gail, 19, has been with Nassau Swim Club since his very earliest days, and has a singular history. He came as a baby, began swimming at two, but as he reports, he actually came before he was born. “My mom came to the pool when she was expecting me!”

Nassau Swim Club provides a unique atmosphere that results in long-standing memberships, points out Ms. Monaghnan.

“It’s such a special place. You can always count on it here. It will always be the same relaxed, tranquil environment, as well as a place to make new friends. We want to keep it this way and have it continue to be this special place where we are able to offer the joy of swimming and an atmosphere of simplicity. And, it is a joy to be part of an organization that teaches children the love of water.”

Ms. Mavis agrees, adding: “We really are set apart by the simplicity, the wonderful setting with the natural shade, and the cooperation among the members. What a privilege to be part of such a special place.”

Family and individual memberships are available at reasonable costs, including discounts for those over 55, students, and those from nearby Princeton University, The Institute for Advanced Study, and Princeton Theological Seminary. There is also a generous guest pass policy.

Members may bring their own snacks or lunch; a refreshment concession is operated by students on an intermittent basis.

The pool is open from Memorial Day through the second week in September from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (609) 436-0797. Website: www.nassauswimclub.org.


ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

A good roof over your head — that’s about as important as it gets. And when you consider this very significant investment, you certainly don’t want one that leaks or will not withstand the elements over time.

Russell Roofing, known for high quality products and workmanship, has recently been taking on many more projects in Princeton and the area. “We now have a branch office at 812 State Road,” says Russell Roofing project manager Dan Simpson. “We specialize in unique roofs, including slate, cedar shake, copper, and tile, as well as asphalt shingles. Many Princeton houses have slate roofs, and also a lot have skylights. We are a 5-star skylight installer, only one of 100 in the entire country.

“We offer a solar ventilating skylight, which just became available in March. The remote control operates by solar power. We already have many orders, and today, there is a 20 percent tax credit for the solar skylight.”

A family business, Russell Roofing was founded 20 years ago in Oreland, Pa., and its motto is: “If It’s Russell, It’s Right. Guaranteed!” Known for residential, commercial, and historic renovation, the award-winning company is proud of its high ratings from customers and professionals alike.

Master Elite

“We are a certified ‘Master Elite’ contractor with GAF, the largest shingle manufacturer in North America,” points out Mr. Simpson. “That status puts us in the top 2 percent of roofers in the U.S. We are also a 5-Star installer with CertainTeed shingle manufacturer.”

Russell Roofing handles all types of roofs for private residences, churches, universities and colleges, and commercial buildings. Its employees are highly qualified, having undergone stringent instruction and testing.

“All our roofers are certified and trained by Russell Roofing and the  shingle manufacturers,” explains Mr. Simpson. “All our employees are drug-screened, background-checked, and fully insured. Safety First is our motto, and this is a year-round business. We do put roofs up in the winter; but we’re very careful, and if it’s too windy, we don’t go up.”

Roof problems come in many forms, he notes, but improper nailing is the major mistake. “I have been surprised by the disregard for application that some roofers have exhibited on roofs we have to repair or replace, “reports Mr. Simpson, who is a certified roofer himself.

“Nailing is hugely important. We hand-nail all our roofs. We not not use nail guns. Hand-nailing requires great attention to detail. There is only one layer of asphalt between your home and Mother Nature. If the shingles are applied properly and correctly nailed, they can last as long as the roof underneath. The manufacturers have specifications which require the nails to be in a particular spot. A tiny change can cause a problem.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson comes to the customer’s house for a free consultation. This includes inspection of the roof, measurements, and a diagnosis. “After the diagnosis, I’ll put together a full, detailed proposal. Also, I can do on-the-spot repairs immediately if I see a problem.”

High Profile

The style, age, and size of the house can determine the appropriate roofing, he adds. “For example, long-lasting cedar shake is appropriate for a Tudor house, perhaps one that dates back a long time.”

Tile is very good-looking, and is often popular for southwestern or Spanish-style homes, he points out. It is also very long-lasting — perhaps 100 years or more — and Russell Roofing has installed tile roofs on some high profile buildings, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

“Slate is appropriate for older houses and large stone houses,” continues Mr. Simpson. “Slate, which can also last 100 years, is very heavy, and newer houses cannot bear the weight. In addition, however, there is synthetic slate now, which looks authentic, and is not as heavy.”

Complete attention to detail and personalized service is the hallmark of Russell Roofing, he emphasizes. “We believe in doing the job right the first time, and we do everything accurately according to the manufacturer’s specifications. We see the job through completely from beginning to end. We don’t stop work until the job is done. There is a foreman on the job every day, all day. A production manager also stops in every day, and the project manager comes as often as possible.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson oversees a number of different jobs. An average house takes three days for complete roof installment. Larger houses can take a week or more, he explains.

He is very proud of the quality work Russell Roofing provides. “During Hurricane Sandy, of the 16,000 houses with Russell Roofing shingles, not one shingle blew off. In an emergency, such as trees through a roof or solar panel, or shingles blown off in a storm, we come right away and put a tarp over it. Our job is to keep the house water-tight.”

Masonry Department

In addition to residential work, the company provides roofs for many commercial and institutional buildings including stores, office buildings, factories, warehouses, schools, churches, and municipal buildings.

Although the company’s major focus is roofs, it also installs gutters, siding, and windows. It has recently added a masonry department as well. “We would get calls for roof leaks that were actually coming from the chimney. The challenge really is trying to find the water — the source of the leak,” he explains. “It doesn’t always show up where the water comes in.

“We do chimney repair and replacement as well as stone and brick veneers.”

Customers can count on Russell Roofing for the highest quality and dependable service. And Mr. Simpson points out, “According to the Better Business Bureau, the average life of a roofing company nationwide is two years. It’s so often a race to the bottom: to see who can give the cheapest price. Russell Roofing is now in its 21st year.

“Our pricing is very fair and disciplined. It varies depending on the materials and the size of the job. We do live-job costing — everything is completely identified: the numbers of hours, numbers of workers, materials, etc.

“I knew right away Russell Roofing was the right company for me,” he continues. “I am proud to be associated with a company that believes in quality and doing the best for the customer with a superior level of service. “I’d certainly have them put a roof on my house!

“We look forward to continuing to be a contractor of choice in the Princeton area.”

For more information, call (609) 630-6300. Website: www.russellroofing.com.

June 13, 2013
“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: Princeton Summer Theater (PST) is an opportunity for young actors, directors, designers, and theater administrators to become part of a unique artistic community. Shown from left to right are members of the PST 2013 Company: Pat Rounds, Maeve Brady, Evan Thompson, Sarah Paton, Brad Wilson, and Holly Linneman. All are Princeton University undergraduates or members of the Class of 2013.

“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: Princeton Summer Theater (PST) is an opportunity for young actors, directors, designers, and theater administrators to become part of a unique artistic community. Shown from left to right are members of the PST 2013 Company: Pat Rounds, Maeve Brady, Evan Thompson, Sarah Paton, Brad Wilson, and Holly Linneman. All are Princeton University undergraduates or members of the Class of 2013.

There is nothing quite like it. The planning, the preparation, building the set, the rehearsals, the lighting, the costumes, the smell of the make-up, and finally, the thrill of seeing it all come to life in front of an audience on opening night.

Princeton Summer Theater (PST) has been providing these experiences since 1968, and will celebrate its 45th anniversary this season.

It is a unique summer theater company, organized and operated by young people, nearly all Princeton University students or recent graduates. They are from all over the U.S. and what they have in common is a love of the theater and the excitement of participating in this special undertaking, which is unlike any other.

Princeton University has a long history of encouraging theater. Its popular Triangle Club, its connection with McCarter Theatre, and the establishment of the James Stewart Theater — a tribute to one of its most famous alumni — are all testimony to its support of the arts.

Future Professionals

In the 1930s, members of the student-run Theater Intime introduced a summer theater at the University. Until the 1950s, the summer company was known as the University Players. In 1968, it became semi-dependent on Princeton University, and was renamed Summer Intime. Then, in the late ’70s, it became known as Princeton Summer Theater. Every summer, a new company of Princeton students and graduates comes together to present a season of four plays and one children’s show.

Dedicated to training future professionals in the theater, PST offers students and young professionals experience working in every area of theater production, from performance and directing, to design, to marketing to theater management. Some famous alumni include John Lithgow, Bebe Neuwirth, among others.

“This is such a valuable experience for us. It let’s us work on our craft,” says PST artistic director Emma Watt, Princeton Class of 2013. “It’s a co-op operation, run by current students and graduates. It’s full-time, and a real ensemble with a company of actors.”

Two weeks of rehearsal are required for each production, and presenting five plays in eight weeks is intense, points out PST communications director and Princeton University junior Maeli Goren. “We work from 10 in the morning to 10 at night. On the morning of opening night, we start rehearsing for the next show. There are a million surprises every day. This work is good work. We’re proud of it. We’re doing it for real.”

Members of the PST staff and company live and work together, and the University provides housing on campus. “I think this is the coolest thing because we all live together,” continues Ms. Goren. “You feel you are enveloped in this little bubble of creativity. One member of the company recently said, ‘I don’t think I have ever talked about theater with so many smart people in the same room before!’”

The artistic director is charged with selecting the plays for the season, and Ms. Watt has chosen, as she describes them, “a romantic musical, a southern melodrama, an adaptation of a famous novel, play and movie, and an Iraq war story.”


The season begins with the popular musical She Loves Me (June 20-30), followed by Crimes of the Heart (July 4-14), the ingenious spoof of The 39 Steps, and the Iraq War story, Time Stands Still (August 1-11). The last is to be directed by Ms. Watt.

“We look for ensemble-based shows that emphasize variety,” explains Ms. Watt. “I do like to have a play by a female playwright. In this case, with Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart.”

The children’s production How Thumbelina Found Her Wings (July 4-6, 11-13, 25-27, August 1-3, 8-10, at 11 a.m.), written by company manager Annika Bennett, is also in that category.

“We have four productions, five performances of each, and Saturday and Sunday matinees,” says Ms. Goren. “The audience here is subscriber-based, and we like to offer them something different. They like the variety, and they are very enthusiastic. People are so excited about us. We are the ones doing summer theater here. McCarter basically closes down in the summer.”

“I’ve been surprised at how excited the members of the community have been and the recognition,” says Sarah Paton, Princeton Class of 2013. A member of the company, who also appeared in PST’s 2012 season, she hopes for a career in the theater. “People see us on Nassau Street and say ‘Weren’t you in such and such play?’

“Another thing that is so special about PST is the opportunity to do all these different productions. I know it will take a long time in my later career to do such interesting plays again. This is a wonderful experience.”

Great Dynamic

Princeton University junior Pat Rounds, another member of the company, agrees and points out that “This is a professional group, and we’re getting paid to act. It’s a great dynamic, and we have this common goal of going from show to show very quickly and giving our best.”

It all begins, of course, with auditions. It has been correctly pointed out that “The first step to the cast party is the audition”. But the experience can fill the most confident actor with trepidation, and getting the part is an achievement indeed.

Ms. Watt is on the look-out for certain qualities in those who audition. “I look to see how the person is connected to his or her body and how they are listening to the words they are saying, and how that works together,” she explains.

“I look for someone who is having fun and likes to ‘play’,” adds Ms. Goren. “We will all be living together, and I want to feel I can spend time with this person. We have people coming from other schools to audition for us. As a young artist, it’s difficult. We can offer this great program. We will feed and house you, and you get a chance to act.”

Princeton Summer Theater is funded by contributions from various groups and organizations in addition to Princeton University, including businesses, corporations, individuals, in-kind donations, and the sale of tickets. The Princeton community is known to be supportive of the arts, and the performances are always well attended in the Murray Hamilton Theater on the campus, which seats 189 people.

The series of children’s workshops is another popular aspect of the PST season. “The kids love this,” says Ms. Goren. “It’s taught by the actors, and the kids get to interact with them. Also, after the performance of the play, there is an autograph session when the kids can meet their favorite characters.”

Main stage performances are Thursday through Saturday each week at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for students. The children’s show is $9. Subscribers pay $65 and save 35 percent for four reserved seats that can be used in any way: one for each play or all for a single performance. For ticket information, call SmartTix at (877) 238-5596 or visit www.SmartTix.com. Contact PST staff at (609) 258-7062 or via email: princetonsummertheater@gmail.com.

Curtain Going Up!

June 12, 2013

To the Editor:

The cost of holding two special elections for New Jersey’s Senate seat — and the importance of this election — merit a large turnout. Be sure you can vote as you wish to!

For the Tuesday, August 13 special primary: June 19 is the deadline to change party affiliation (if you wish to). July 23 is the deadline to register to vote or change address. August 6 is the deadline to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot. Note: your County Clerk must receive your application by this date.

For the Wednesday, October 15 special election: September 24 is the deadline to register to vote or change address. October 9 is the deadline to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot. Again, your County Clerk must receive application by this date.

Google “voter registration” plus the name of your county to find links to download the Voter Registration Application or the Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form for changing party affiliation. You will also find the address to which to mail the forms. For a vote-by-mail application, google “Vote by Mail” plus the name of your county. You can then download the form or call for more information.

If you have questions, contact the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area at lwvprinceton@gmail.com.

Please keep these dates in mind, assure your eligibility, and remember to vote!

Chrystal Schivell

Voter Service chair,

League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

To the Editor:

Not in Our Town (NiOT) compliments the Princeton Planning Board, Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, the AvalonBay developers of the former hospital site on Witherspoon Street, and others for the earnest effort they are making to create homes for an estimated 280 individual and family units that will serve these residents, their immediate neighbors, and the Princeton community at large.

NiOT is an interfaith, interracial social action group that has been working in Princeton for about 15 years. In addition to our programs, we have taken public, as well as private, stands on a number of issues that pertained to our mission, in particular its focus on issues around race. Examples are the community pool, the organization of the police department, keeping the Human Services Department and Commission, public rejection of the distribution of racial-hate and anti-semitic literature, and support of our Latino immigrant community.

Some of us have attended a number of the Planning Board hearings around the AvalonBay project. We noticed the absence of any direct reference to race or class, though we often felt it as an undercurrent in the room. These are certainly matters of importance for this project. It is long since time to be clear about them, whether looking at the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, or the creation of a sense of neighborliness and community within the development itself.

For example, from the information we have received, most of the 56 affordable units have been clumped together in the least desirable locations in the complex. This is contrary to what we expect the spirit of the project to be as well as what we understand state rules to require. This spirit could be better met if the affordable units were spread quite evenly throughout the development.

Also, the hospital site with its buildings has been a barrier between the Witherspoon-Jackson area and the Harris-Jefferson area, thus dividing a neighborhood that has been, historically, largely black — as well as, more recently, Latino — from a neighborhood that is largely white. But, as a hospital, these buildings served an important public purpose. Now, with the withdrawal of the hospital from this site, our community has an opportunity to create a use which helps to integrate the two sections and furthers the goal of respect for all persons, whatever their race and whatever their economic or social status.

We hope that a vision that includes connection among new and existing residents, appreciation for the history and well-being of existing neighborhoods, an integrative approach to housing decisions, and welcoming public spaces, will guide this and future development plans and implementation.

Fern and Larry Spruill

Bayard Lane

Wilma Solomon

Tee-Ar Place

Nancy Strong

Maple Street

Ann Yasuhara

Pine Street

Barbara Fox

Cedar Lane

Marietta Taylor

Hartley Avenue

Linda Oppenheim

South Harrison

Joyce Turner

Woods Way

To the Editor:

For the past three years all parties involved in the decision process to create a Community Center in the historic Valley Road School (VRS) have played a game of Catch 22. (The center would accommodate the space needs of the non-profit groups operating in Princeton.)

The Board of Education said, and rightly so, that the VRS-Adaptive Reuse Committee (VRS-ARC) did not have the funds to create a Community Center.

The VRS-ARC group said, and rightly so, that they cannot raise the needed funds unless the Board will sell/lease them the old VRS building.

Princeton Township committee said that it cannot get involved in the fate of a building that is owned by the Board. Borough Council stayed out since the VRS building was in the Township.

While this Danse Macabre was going on, the non-profit groups were homeless and the VRS building kept deteriorating, year after year. However, now that Princeton is one and the recent declaration by the Preservation New Jersey that the VRS building is one of the top ten endangered historical building in the State of New Jersey, it opens an opportunity to untie this Gordian Knot and create a much needed Community Center for the nonprofit groups active in the Town of Princeton.

To start the ball rolling the following three steps should be taken:

The Board will pass a resolution that it is prepared to sell/lease the VRS building to the VRS-ARC group, if and only if that group will raise cash or pledges of an amount over one million dollars in one year’s time.

The Town of Princeton will pass a resolution that it will provide engineering support and building maintenance and supervision needed to create the Community Center (all costs will be paid by the VRS-ARC group), if and only if VRS-ARC group will raise the one million dollars in one year’s time.

The VRS-ARC group will pass a resolution to ask major donors to pledge funds for the Center that will be due when the total pledges will be more than one million dollars, and the Board has sold or leased them the VRS building.

To implement the above, representatives of the Board, the Town of Princeton, and VRS-ARC must meet jointly to review the steps required to pass these resolutions and make this go through.

This is a win-win situation for everyone. The Board will no longer have to worry about the VRS building; the non-profit groups will have a home; Princeton will have a much needed Community Center; historic VRS will be restored to become an anchor of the greater downtown area of Princeton; it will be done at no cost to the Princeton taxpayer.

This can happen, all we need is everybody’s good will and the necessary money.

Ralph Perry

Random Road

To the Editor:

Stuart Mitchner’s evocative piece in Town Topics on June 5,  [“Light and Dark: Themes and Anthems for a European Tour”] really resonated with me. I was in Vienna in January 1955, when it was almost as ravaged as in The Third Man and utterly defined bleakness. Russian troops were all over the place, interesting to talk to. Then, when I was in the Army (1957-1958 in the Counter Intelligence Corps — contradiction in terms, one sergeant confirmed) in Nürnberg, in May 1958, my wife and I took ten days of leave on the beach in Rimini on the Adriatic. We heard nothing but “Volare” there and, though our 10 days were great, the song almost drove us out of our minds. Then, in 1976 we ordered a Plymouth Volare, which would have been our only American car in 55 years, but the order was delayed and we went for a Toyota wagon. Great luck, since the Volare turned out to be a total lemon.

Charles E. Townsend

Hickory Court

To the Editor:

We had pizza the other day: our usual order from the usual place. What makes this pizza meal worth writing about is that when we were done, we put the pizza box in the green bin that had arrived a few weeks ago. Joy! No more guilt about throwing away all that carton that can’t be recycled.

We have recently signed up for Princeton’s curbside organic waste pickup program — and we will never look back. The program is really well thought out: You get a wheeled green bin to put outside on Wednesdays, plus a small plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid to collect kitchen scraps on your counter top, complete with a pack of compostable-plastic liner bags.

I was a little worried about the green bin attracting pests (and was prepared for frequent sanitizing), but the liners for the scrap bin make that unnecessary: your kitchen scraps go into a bag, just like your regular trash, before it goes into the green bin. I love it! The scrap collector bin is small enough to put in our fridge, which will keep away the fruit flies.

The organic waste program accepts a huge range of kitchen waste (including meat and bones, used paper napkins, and paper food containers like those pizza boxes) as well as selected yard waste. After just a few weeks, my family has already drastically reduced the volume of its regular trash; once we learn to put all the accepted items in the scrap collector we will need a smaller kitchen trash can.

Regular household garbage generates methane (a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) in the anaerobic conditions of landfill sites. Its disposal costs Princeton nearly three times as much as organic waste disposal, while the organic waste comes back to us in the form of free compost for our gardens: what’s not to love?

Please consider joining this program: it’s a huge step toward a sustainable Princeton.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

To the Editor:

Our elected officials typically thank the electorate for electing them. They say it is an honor and a privilege to serve. How true. Few of the rest of us have the privilege of proposing to award ourselves a 33 percent salary increase only months after cutting staff, and while still discussing other staff reductions.

I applaud Patrick Simon for arguing against the increase; as he said, our council members knew what the salaries would be when they ran for office, and they knew that a reduction in the cost of their salaries was among the promises of consolidation. Yet they say, sanctimoniously, that they don’t want the money for themselves, but merely so others can serve? In that case, let the salary increases apply to their successors, not to those in office now!

In fact, if, as Mr. Bruschi suggested, council members’ salaries should be thought of as stipends to cover costs incurred in the course of their public duties, why not make that explicit? Eliminate the council members’ salaries altogether, and replace them with a system of formal reimbursement for expenses (with some very clear policies defining eligible expenses). Since reimbursements would not be subject to payroll taxes, the current budget of $60,000 would go farther. We might even save money. We would certainly weed out those who value their salaries over keeping their promises to the electorate.

Beverly Wilson

Terhune Road

To the Editor:

Under pressure from the press, Princeton’s police department has released a redacted version of a recent contract between the department and Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety regarding law enforcement in our community. Having such a contract as a proposal for mayor and Council action is a positive first step, but what’s missing is more involvement by our elected representatives and transparency.

Mayor and Council, not the police, have the authority to enter into contracts on the town’s behalf. Mayor and Council, not the police, are directly accountable to the constituents whom such contract affects. So it is mayor and Council, not the police, who should disclose the contents of any proposed contract, consider its public safety and budget implications, and take formal action to approve or disapprove it after disclosure and public debate.

After all, who runs our local government, the governing body or the police and the University?

Missing from public discussion of the present document is clarity about precisely which crimes the police, as opposed to the University, will investigate. The document reportedly says “some” crimes will be investigated by municipal police. Really — which ones? And who decides?

Criminal activity fueled by alcohol abuse and sex occur relatively frequently in the younger University community than in the municipality generally. Will the University, concerned about its public image, properly investigate those crimes? Is rape on Prospect Avenue different if it occurs on campus at the intersection of Washington Road or instead, say, at the intersection of Riverside Drive — or at the High School or Westminster Choir College? Such selective enforcement seems patently unconstitutional. How could it be appropriate?

Also missing from the public discussion is the question of jurisdiction: where will municipal police defer to the University? Is the line drawn at the campus border? Or at any building owned by the University, even if located outside the campus, such as faculty and staff housing, office buildings, or University commercial locations on Nassau Street?

Also missing is participation by the Mercer County Prosecutor, the ultimate arbiter of local criminal prosecution. He hasn’t signed it. Does the prosecutor support the present proposal, and to what extent, or will he disclaim it? Rutgers University and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office were at odds in the Tyler Clemente investigation, with Rutgers administrators under threat of indictment. Why hasn’t our county prosecutor signed on?

These and other questions deserve greater public consideration than has been afforded to date by the release of a redacted police/public safety agreement. The municipality’s public safety committee should hold public hearings concerning the proposal and its implications for public safety in our community. Public safety should not be contracted away by the police for the benefit of any private institution without appropriate disclosure and review.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

I am writing this email as a recent visitor from England to the Princeton area. My husband and I stayed at the Inn at Glencairn as our daughter was graduating from Rider University. Our accommodation was delightful but our visit was marred by the unexpected and extortionate cost of taxis. We were charged $28 before tips to travel three miles; an unacceptable round trip cost of over $60 to go into and out of Princeton for the day. Luckily, there was a fairly regular bus service outside of our accommodation so we used that instead.

I have never seen a charging set up for taxis like the one used in the Princeton area; no meter is used but a fixed price, no matter where you are going, appears to be charged.

It seems to me that such extortionate costs must also be detracting from other businesses in the area; for example on at least one day we did not want to wait for buses in the rain so we did not shop in Princeton, as we were not willing to pay the taxi fares. It would certainly be a major consideration for us when deciding where to stay when visiting New Jersey in the future.

Sharon Cottam


To the Editor:

On Saturday night, June 8, I attended a spectacular performance by the Lustig Dance Theatre at McCarter as part of the 2013 Princeton Festival. Graham Lustig, artistic director and choreographer of this talented company, opened the program with an introduction to “Jangala,” a wonderfully creative rendition of Kipling’s Jungle Book danced to a selection of classical, traditional, folk, and pop Indian music. In all my years of attending dance at McCarter, I don’t remember being so thrilled with the originality of a piece.

After the intermission, when my friends and I wondered what more Lustig could give us, we saw three pairs of beautifully fluid dancers perform “Six Pianos”. Then there was a pause, and (almost to our disbelief) we heard classic jazz played right in front of our eyes by Emily Asher’s Garden Party Group. Lustig’s full company danced onstage to Emily Asher’s group’s inspired live music — “Hallelujah”, “I Want the Waiter”, “Just a Simple Melody”, Dedicated to You”, “Shake Down the Stars,” and “Darktown Strutter’s Ball”.

The entire audience got to their feet to give this fabulous program a riotous standing ovation. But that was the problem: the entire audience didn’t consist of enough people. Why did so many theatre-goers and dance enthusiasts miss this program? I wanted to call all my friends to come out and support this talented group; but alas, Lustig’s dance company only performed for the one night. Please, please, those of you in charge of the Princeton Festival, give this talented group the publicity they deserve before they perform again next year. The Princeton audience should be vying for tickets, just as they do for the opera. This is one dance program not to be missed.

Joyce Lott

Toth Lane, Rocky Hill

June 5, 2013

TT Henry Von Kohorn

“Strictly speaking, I suppose Princeton is a suburb, but it doesn’t feel like one. Because of our diverse community and the overwhelming number of activities, especially when the University is in session, Princeton has an urban sensibility in a country setting — a combination which is truly special and unique.”

—Henry Von Kohorn, president of the Princeton University Alumni Association, Class of 1966, and a Princeton resident

 TT Jean Telljohann

“Like many Princeton Students, I fell in love with this town as an undergrad and dreamt of one day having a home here. I love the walkable scale of the town center, the number of parks and land preserves, the outstanding Public library and other public amenities, and the gentler pace compared to Manhattan. And McCarter Theater, of course! The community attracts wonderful people, too.”

—Jean Telljohann, Grand Marshal of the P-Rade, Class of 1981, and a Princeton resident

TT Judy & Bill Scheide

Bill: “Because this where I went to college for four years.”

Judy: “I love Princeton because it’s a college town, and everything about it is exciting and wonderful and in a college town you have many more opportunities for cultural exchange and cultural experience.”

—Bill, Class of 1936, and Judy Scheide, both long-time Princeton residents

TT Jack Morin

“In terms of why I like Princeton so much, I’d have to go back to the time I was first here, which was in February of 1963 when I was here on a weekend deciding where I wanted to go to college. Two months later, I decided that Princeton was the place for me. And I have been going to school or visiting here for exactly 50 years. I come back because of the sports, the theatre, the town, and old and long-time friends. In fact, our best friends have lived here since 1983. The variety that the town provides, like the sports and McCarter Theatre, is also very special. I also enjoy the beauty of the town and the Princeton University campus.”

—Jack Morin, New York, Princeton University Class of 1967


To the Editor:

Many people know about Valley Road School being named by Preservation N.J. as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey. And many of you have heard about our petition to put saving Valley Road School on the general election ballot on November 5. Please look for our red and white table at McCaffrey’s, Hinds Plaza and other locations to sign our petition.

Many people are not that familiar with the organization that is working to save Valley Road School and adaptively reuse it. We are a grass roots group of concerned citizens who think that Valley Road School represents an important part of Princeton’s history and contains fantastic spaces where nonprofit organizations serving Princeton can be creative and prosper.

From what started as the Valley Road School — Adaptive Reuse Committee (VRS-ARC), we formed the Valley Road School Community Center, Inc. in 2011, which was approved as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS to receive tax exempt donations in 2012. Our board is made up of people who see Valley Road School as a wonderful opportunity to serve the town. They are: Kip Cherry, Trustee/President; Trustee/VPs Claire Jacobus, Anne Reeves, James Firestone, Ridgley Applegate; Trustee/Secretary Richard Woodbridge; Trustee/Treasurer Charles (Chuck) Creesy; and Trustees John Clearwater, Mary Clurman, Joanne Gere, Robert Gupta, and Walter Krieg.

Some trustees are associated with nonprofit organizations. Some attended Valley Road School. One use to be president of the school board. Some have special strengths in computer technology. We all believe that saving Valley Road School is the right thing to do and that it can be accomplished economically for $3-5 million. Our consultants are currently further refining this construction cost estimate.

Kip Cherry

President, Valley Road School Community Center, Inc.

To the Editor:

One Table Café is a “Community Supported Restaurant” welcoming people from widely diverse backgrounds to share an evening of wonderful food, friends, goodwill, and entertainment — all thanks to a host of restaurants and businesses in and around Princeton.

Located at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, in Princeton, One Table Café is now half way through its third year in operation. Seven months a year, on the third Friday, Trinity volunteers spruce up Pierce Hall and it fills with 100-150 diners who take part in a transforming experience sharing a nutritiously and professionally prepared meal — sourced locally — with people from all walks of life in the community, most of whom meet here for the first time. And the cost? Only what you can afford to pay. If you would like a fine night out in a restaurant environment with quality food, you are welcome. If money is an obstacle, you are welcome. If you have the means and can donate a little extra, you will help offset the cost of a meal for someone else.

The idea was conceived not long after the Rev. Paul Jeanes III was installed as the new Rector at Trinity. His challenge was “trying to find a way to have Trinity reach out to those around us. It’s not about getting people to become members of Trinity Church, but rather creating a stronger community of care and connection. We have neighbors we don’t know. We need to know our neighbors and we need to be a better neighbor.” With that as the message, a team of outreach-focused volunteers planned and strategized for eight months and finally, in January 2011, One Table Café had its debut. The key to its success, in addition to the very loyal diners and volunteers, is the profound generosity of the restaurant sponsors each month who donate menu planning, food, preparation, and their time on site in “Alice’s Kitchen” the night of the dinner — cutting, chopping, tossing, plating, trimming herbs — until all are served and after-dessert coffee is on the table.

All proceeds are donated to one of the following organizations, chosen by the sponsoring restaurant: The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Urban Promise of Trenton, Trenton Children’s Choir, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Global Aids Interfaith Alliance (Malawi) and the Cristosol Foundation (El Salvador).

Come join us for the September 20 dinner!

Sincere thanks for their generous community spirit to: Mediterra; Enoterra; Teresa’s Caffe; Terra Momo Bread Company; Witherspoon Grill; Blue Pointe Grill; Nassau Street Seafood and Produce Co.; Princeton Farmers’ Market; Salt Creek Grille; Emily’s Café and Catering; Mr. Carl DeFazio; D’Angelo Italian Market; Piccolo Trattoria; Hashim at The Orchard Café; Small World Coffee; Craft Cleaners and Mayflower Cleaners.

Diane Somers

Co-founder, One Table Café

To the Editor:

Recent letters objecting to the proposed AvalonBay development focus on the density. The writers complain that 280 units will overwhelm the surrounding neighborhood and cause traffic problems and school overcrowding.

The zoning adopted by the Borough allows 280 units. AvalonBay’s application complies with the density allowed by the zoning ordinance and is consistent with the Master Plan, which identifies the former hospital site as a unique opportunity for alternate development, including much needed affordable housing. The Master Plan specifically recognizes that high intensity uses have existed on the hospital site for many years. The Master Plan resolves any questions about intended density in relation to the neighborhood by stating, “Due to the current high density infrastructure serving this site, the property lends itself to a continuation of a greater density than that which is found in the surrounding residential area.”

Our community set the rules for development of this site and it is neither legal nor fair to change the rules after the application is submitted. During the hearings last year, thorough traffic studies of the AvalonBay proposal by both the applicant and the Planning Board’s expert concluded that it would not have a negative impact on traffic. The allegation about the impact on the schools is also without any factual basis.

As the review of the current AvalonBay plan commences, we should focus on obtaining the best development possible for Princeton and for the future residents of the site, and not have a fruitless debate about the number of units. That issue was settled in 2006.

Valerie W. Haynes

Mount Lucas Road

To the Editor:

The mayor and Princeton Council gave themselves a 33 percent pay raise this year on the grounds that a raise would ensure that more candidates would run for local office. Get real.

There was no lack of candidates for local elected office last year. The current mayor and Council hold office by campaigning within the Democratic political club, and used the club to beat back other Democratic challengers. What has been lacking in recent years, and again this year, is a voice for the community that is not beholden to the local Democratic club.

I’m a candidate and challenger for Princeton Council this year. I seek support from all quarters: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. And I am not running in order to give myself a pay hike. If elected, I pledge not to take one.

We can all agree that we who run for office don’t do it for the money. We offer our services because of our commitment to the community.

That commitment, shared by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike, has been tarnished by mayor and Council’s present proposal to give themselves a steep pay hike during their first year of office. And it has been further tarnished by the disingenuous argument that they seek the pay hike not out of self-interest but to help the rest of us.

Princeton voters deserve leadership that is forthright and plain-spoken and not disrespectful of the electorate’s intelligence.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Snowden Lane