February 20, 2013

To the Editor:

Last week, the Princeton community was treated to a wonderful Commonground lecture on raising resilient children, by Lenore Skenazy, author of the book Free Range Kids: A Commonsense Approach to Parenting in these Overprotective Times. She took the opportunity to highlight the ways that modern parents can promote activities and provide environments that help kids become “smart, young, capable individuals, not invalids who needs constant attention and help.”

Scouting in Princeton is a way that parents can implement Lenore’s ideas. Girl Scouting and Boy Scouting use progressive experiences to prepare kids for adulthood. They promote child-led experiences and provide multiple opportunities for kids to explore and engage the world around them, all the while cultivating leadership.

For example, girls in Princeton have yearly opportunities to attend camp with older girls, and learn to survive and thrive without modern amenities. Their time with their troop, both at camp and at their field trips and meeting places, enables them to bond, be in the company of other adult authority figures and contribute to both their own development and the larger community. All the while, the girls practice common sense, have opportunities to challenge their comfort zone, and learn valuable skills.

Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts provide a similarly rich experience through which boys participate in a broad array of activities and adventures. Through camping, hiking, service projects, and other outdoor activities, boys learn skills that will help them overcome obstacles and challenges with courage and character throughout their lives. As they grow as leaders, they learn cooperation and teamwork, as well as the importance of being active members of the community.

We hope that all parents will consider how Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts could benefit their children as they grow, experience, and master the world around them. Please join us!

And if your own childhood and adulthood has equipped you with an expertise that would benefit Scouts in Princeton, please consider joining our volunteer ranks to give back to your community and positively affect the next generation.

Karen Freundlich

Stanford Place

Tracy King, Laura Felten

Girl Scouts of Princeton

Bill French

Cub Scout Pack 43

Kevin Baranowski

Cub Scout Pack 1880

Patrick Sullivan. Adrienne Rubin

Boy Scout Troop 43

To the Editor:

Princeton has witnessed over 20 years of lamentable neglect and lack of stewardship of highly valuable real property commonly known as the Valley Road School. Isn’t it time for a united Princeton to seize the initiative in resurrecting this facility for beneficial use both in providing needed services to the community and achieving savings to the taxpayer? We really do know how to do it. Let’s get something done!

Having been involved in some depth with the Valley Road complex of community facilities, I could recount a multitude of misadventures and inaction by the Board of Education, Princeton Township, and a host of others as responsible stewards of community real property. Just a few examples follow.

For years, the parties argued about who owned what, who should pay, and how much. During the Township’s lengthy occupancy little was done to maintain or repair the facility in spite of continual complaints about its poor condition, employee health issues, and inadequacy for its mission. Having then justified the need, the Township built what some refer to as the “Princeton Township Taj Mahal,” abandoning the school to further neglect and disuse. Soon thereafter, PRS completed a monumental $85 million school construction program and floated a recent $11 million bond issue without addressing their dilapidated building or working with the Town to resolve final disposition of the Valley Road School. A book could be written!

The good news is Valley Road School and other municipal facilities issues are now before a united Princeton community. This creates a wonderful opportunity to use innovative funding and project delivery approaches now being widely employed nationally to build and renovate community infrastructure. Yes, the town’s infrastructure includes our schools, public parks, recreation facilities, and community centers right along with the sewer plant on River Road, Public Works facilities, and Firehouses. A spectrum of methods, including Public-Private Partnerships and many hybrids with or without private ownership plus non-profit private 501c3 entities, among others, are available.

The Valley Road School is an ideal candidate for creation of a Community Center by a recently established, local 501c3 non-profit for supporting service organizations through conversion and repurposing using sustainable adaptive reuse. This project for adaptive reuse will require modest or no taxpayer funding for conversion, operations, and maintenance and the multiple community service non-profit tenants will be self-supporting. Further, Valley Road School continues to house community service organizations even after relocation of Corner House to prime Class A space in the former Borough Hall. Note that the just voted $11 million bond issue for PRS funds significant projects of a similar character, especially repair, renovation, and repurposing, for existing underutilized or deficient facilities.

Most important, current beneficial use and occupancy will continue and additional use commence almost immediately while work for repair, conversion, repurposing, and new occupancy of currently unused space proceeds.

Let’s start a “new normal” for beneficial use and stewardship of our valuable community real property. Get common sense things done quickly, not 20 years too late with opportunity costs and taxes issue foregone.

John Clearwater, P.E.

Governors Lane

FRIENDLY FITNESS: “I want women to come in and feel they are trying on clothes in a friend’s home. I wanted to create an elegant and serene environment, where women will feel comfortable and happy to shop.” Liz Compton, owner of Perfect Performance Fitness & Dancewear, is enthusiastic about her new store.

FRIENDLY FITNESS: “I want women to come in and feel they are trying on clothes in a friend’s home. I wanted to create an elegant and serene environment, where women will feel comfortable and happy to shop.” Liz Compton, owner of Perfect Performance Fitness & Dancewear, is enthusiastic about her new store.

Perfect Performance Fitness & Dancewear at 25 Route 31 South, Suite 11B in Pennington is the place to go for work-out aficianadas and dancers. This new shop opened last August, and has a great selection of fitness and dancewear for all ages. Little leotards, tutus, and tights for tots, as well as a complete selection for adult exercise enthusiasts and dancers are all on display.

“This is a new adventure for me,” says owner Liz Compton. “I had previously worked in sales and marketing consulting, but when this space became available, I saw an opportunity for something different. When an opportunity presents itself, I don’t think you should let it go by. I decided to offer dancewear for kids and adults and fitness wear. My children dance, and I danced as a girl, and I am familiar with the dance world.”

In addition to her enthusiasm for tap dancing, Ms. Compton goes to the gym, and knows what is comfortable and conducive to good work-outs. “A lot of people in this area are pretty religious about their work-outs,” she points out. “And another thing, nowadays, women can wear work-out clothes all the time. This clothing is very versatile and comfortable, and quite acceptable to wear in other settings.”

A selection of regular sportswear, including sweaters, tops, and fun vests that can fold into a little bag, is available.

Fashionable and Functional

Indeed, the choices at Perfect Performance offer options that are versatile and interchangeable. Tops and pants are fashionable as well as functional.

“The Beyond Yoga line is really fantastic,” reports Ms. Compton. “The PrismSport line has a lot of colorful patterns, with little skirts that can be worn over tights or leggings. And almost all of our inventory is made in the U.S. A lot is cotton and organic cotton. We also have a lot of high performance fabrics. Color is very personal. Some people are most comfortable in dark pants; others like brighter colors, and remember, patterned work-out pants can hide bulges, ripples, and sweat!”

Ms. Compton also points out that she doesn’t carry a lot of the same items and that customers will not see her outfits elsewhere. “First, there is really nothing here like our shop. In a town like this, I didn’t want two women on the treadmill next to each other finding themselves wearing the same thing. I decided to get a big variety of clothes. For as many types of different body shapes, there is a piece of work-out clothing for someone. It’s important to find out what a person is comfortable in and what works for her.”

The dancewear section offers a selection of tights and leotards for girls and adults, as well as dance shoes, including ballet, tap, and ballroom, from Capezio and Block and others.

The shop also offers a selection of jewelry and accessories, such as SweatyBands headbands, handbags, travel bags, I.D. and cell phone cases from Cinda B?, and little clutches. Sports bras include “Coobics Bee” for total comfort, with one size fitting most. A variety of small items for children, including stuffed animals, ballerina music boxes, and little jewelry boxes, is also available.

Ms. Compton enjoys talking with customers and getting to know them and their tastes. “I like to talk with customers who come in, and I’ll often get information from them. I like to have their recommendations, and I do special orders. I’m still honing the inventory according to customers’ tastes, and I really love talking to them.”

Styles for Everyone

Prices are mid-range, she adds. Sports bras are $20; jewelry from $15, and regular sales are offered.

“What I especially want to emphasize is our personal service, and that women will be very comfortable here,” says Ms. Compton. “I want them to feel that they are buying clothes from a peer, who faces all the same insecurities and body issues they do. I am my client! I work out, and I sure know a lot about shopping! We have styles for everyone — whether they are serious athletes or those who just want comfortable, flattering clothes to enjoy life in.

“And, we’re still a work in progress. I look forward to the store evolving. I want Perfect Performance to be the place that people think of when they say, ‘Oh, I need a pair of work-out pants.’ And it’s super fun for me to go somewhere and see someone wearing something they got here. I am so encouraged already. We’ve only been opened a few months, and we have regular customers already.”

Perfect Performance offers gift cards, and gift packaging, and is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 12 to 8, Saturday 9 to 4. (609) 303-0320.

HEALTHCARE HELP: “We help clients manage their healthcare, go with them to doctor’s appointments and to the hospital, help explain a diagnosis and treatment, help clients with bill review, and defend them in disputes.” John Karlen, partner in Affinity Healthcare Advocates and Danielle Daab RN, MSN, RN Advocate, look forward to introducing people to the special assistance they can provide.

HEALTHCARE HELP: “We help clients manage their healthcare, go with them to doctor’s appointments and to the hospital, help explain a diagnosis and treatment, help clients with bill review, and defend them in disputes.” John Karlen, partner in Affinity Healthcare Advocates and Danielle Daab RN, MSN, RN Advocate, look forward to introducing people to the special assistance they can provide.

It’s always in the news these days. How does one handle healthcare? So many options are out there — “Obamacare”, numerous insurance plans with Plan A through Z, and for the mature population: Medicare and various supplementary healthcare advantage plans.

Figuring it all out is challenging, even if one isn’t sick! If illness is part of the equation, everything intensifies, and if it’s serious, fear becomes a factor.

As Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy MD points out, “Listening carefully to your doctor and asking questions about a diagnosis or test results can help you get better care. But here’s the problem: just when you should be paying close attention to what your doctor is saying, you may be stunned by the news you just received. That’s when having a health or patient advocate, who can write down information, and speak up for you, so you can better understand your illness and get the care and assistance you need, can help.”

It is a lot to handle, and the mission of Affinity Healthcare Advocates(AHA) is to help their clients navigate the healthcare maze at every level, by relieving them of some of the stress and worry during what can be a very time-consuming and confusing procedure.

Valuable Service

“It’s coordinating the process, explaining what needs to be done, explaining what the medical treatments and options are,” says John Karlen, partner in the firm with his wife Patty Karlen, chief operating officer. “By having an advocate, the patient will receive better treatment and care.”

“This is such a valuable service,” adds Danielle Daab, RN, MSN, and RN Advocate, who helps patients from their initial evaluation through their diagnosis and treatments. “This is a new adventure for me, a different aspect of nursing, and I am really looking forward to it.”

The concept began with his wife Patty Karlen RN, BSN,, reports Mr. Karlen. “She has been a nurse for 34 years, formerly at the Kaiser Hospital Research Clinic in Portland, Oregon, and then with Princeton Healthcare at the University Medical Center at Princeton. Most recently, she has been with Ingham County Well Child Clinic in Michigan.

“Patty saw the need to help patients who were challenged and confused by many of the areas involving their healthcare, and developed this idea of a support system for them. We are the advocate for the patient.”

Formerly president of Conventus, an insurance company in New Jersey, he is now partner in AHA, and oversees the business operation. “We are faced with an increasingly complex and rapidly changing healthcare system,” he explains. “There are many nuances to each disease and for each patient. With several new strategies of medical care available via medical innovation, the patient and family need to be fully aware of the remedies offered to them for the most efficient and best care.”

According to the National Advocacy Association, clients are typically people 65 and over, but one quarter are children, he adds. “Our standard customer is an individual who has been successful and is used to having professionals assist him or her. These people are accustomed to having financial advisors, lawyers when needed, bankers, etc. These professionals help them manage their life affairs.

12 Minutes

“People are living longer, and can often have more ailments as they age. They may have a complicated or chronic, medical situation, such as diabetes or heart issues. In previous times, a doctor had an hour to spend explaining the situation to the patient. Now, typically, a physician has 12 minutes to spend with them. The doctor hardly has time to explain the options.”

This is an opportunity for the AHA team to launch into action. In this case, the “First Responder” is the nurse in charge, Danielle Daab. As the program grows, other nurses will be included.

“Danielle was our first hire,” notes Mr. Karlen. “We currently have three nurses on the staff, and we expect this to increase as we expand. The RN can spend two to three hours during the initial visit and complete a comprehensive evaluation and questionnaire about health and family history. It’s an opportunity to get to know the person and their family, and of course, to learn about their medical conditions.”

Affinity Health Advocates will cover the Princeton area, as well as Ocean and Monmouth Counties. The initial evaluation is $150, and if clients sign up for the service, they pay an hourly fee, receiving a monthly bill.

Medical Conditions

“It’s very important to get the word out, and let people know about this important service,” says Mr. Karlen. “My dad is in Oregon, and he has an advocate, Kathy. She’s an important part of his life, and I actually think he prefers to see her more than me! I expect the relationship my dad has with Kathy is what will develop with Danielle and her clients. She will be the valuable consulting person to help them with their most complicated medical conditions. This is making a difference in their lives.

“I’m looking forward to getting letters from families, saying what a help we have been and that they can’t get along without Danielle!”

And, adds Ms. Daab: “The best thing is having an impact on someone’s life and having a good outcome. I love to meet a person and hear about their life and health history and their family situation, and then put all the pieces together to help them. I want to be of service to the patients. It’s important to listen to people.”

“There is really nothing like AHA in the area,” says Mr. Karlen. “In the future, health insurance might even cover this. We think of Affinity Healthcare Advocates as a bridge to better health. We improve the quality of life for our customers and their families through our network of experts.”

AHA is located at 116 Village Boulevard in Forrestal Village, and can be reached at (609) 951-2244. Website: www.affinityadvocate.com.

February 13, 2013

To the Editor:

Your recent article on nepotism in hiring for town positions was interesting to me. I take issue with the opinions of the elected officials as to the propriety of municipal employees hiring members of their families for jobs, particularly choice summer jobs, unless these positions have been equally available and advertised to all residents of Princeton and not the result of “insider information” available to those with that advantage. Perhaps, however, priority should be given to children of Princeton residents and taxpayers. That would seem reasonable to me.

I was impressed last summer to be contacted by a young Princetonian about a summer job through our mutual college vocational bureau. Evidently she wanted to find a job on her own merit, not through the contacts of her family and neighbors. I thought that this was admirable and tried to help her.

Sallie W. Jesser

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

The concerns about nepotism in the hiring of individuals to work for the Township could have been avoided if proper procedures were established and adhered to. Government agencies at every level fill positions by advertising in local and area newspapers as well as posting openings internally. To avoid actual or apparent prejudice or favoritism in selection of an individual, written procedures for vetting and selecting applicants must be adhered to.

This does not have to be a lengthy procedure. Its purpose is to ensure that the most qualified person is hired and to provide a record of the proceedings should an applicant challenge the hiring and possibly sue. The cost of one law suit will offset any minor costs involved. Mayor Lempert and Mr. Liverman were wrong in declaring that the hirings were proper. Princeton is not a “mom and pop” operation. In difficult economic times other individuals would probably welcome part-time work to supplement their income. We encourage our new consolidated government to institute and follow policy and procedures which avoid future controversies and improprieties such as this.

Jerry Palin, Sheila Siderman

Bouvant Drive

To the Editor:

On Saturday, February 2, at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, a group of over 120 young choristers lifted up their voices in song at the Sing with Us! concert that benefited Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Mercer County. The concert epitomized the idea of children helping children.

This amazing group of young singers, in middle and high school (grades 6-12), came from area community music organizations and houses of worship including Princeton United Methodist Church, Princeton Area Homeschool Choir, Nassau Presbyterian Church, American Boychoir, and The Trenton Children’s Chorus. Also lending their considerable talents and passion to the evening were a group of five young music education students from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, as well six students of the Westminster Conservatory.

The singers were led by nationally recognized composer and song leader Nick Page, who has put his unique creative stamp on the model of the sing-along, bringing the chorus and the audience together this night to sing powerful songs from around the world in celebration of many styles and cultures. Accompanying Nick and the chorus were pianist Philip Orr and bassist Sam Ward.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to so many who made this exceptional night happen. Led by co-chairs Sue Ellen Page of Nassau Presbyterian Church and Janet Perkins of Princeton Girlchoir, the Sing with Us! planning team of Lauren Yeh, Lori Woods, Yvonne Macdonald, Maureen Llort. and Denise Hayes made possible a very successful concert, the second in Nassau Presbyterian Church’s acclaimed Nassau Arts series. Also due special thanks are Nassau Presbyterian’s sound engineer, John Baker, and Debbi Roldan, a congregant, and tireless member of the CASA board.

The free will offering taken at the concert raised $2475 to benefit CASA of Mercer County. CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving children in Mercer and Burlington Counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. The mission of our program is that through trained community volunteers, these children will be assigned an advocate in court to ensure they receive needed services while in out-of-home placement and ultimately, a permanent home as quickly as possible.

With our spring training for child advocates just around the corner, we welcome those interested in making a difference in the life of a child. Visit www.casamercer.org or call (609) 434-0050 for information on upcoming one hour information sessions.

Randall Kirkpatrick

Director of Community Development,

CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties, Ewing

To the Editor:

On behalf of Special Olympics New Jersey, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the support of Governor Chris Christie and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno with the signing of Bill s1855. This Bill designates our organization as one of the New Jersey Charitable Funds residents may choose to endorse with a donation on their 2012 and 2013 New Jersey State income tax form. A special thank you also is extended to Special Olympics parent and Senate President Stephen Sweeney D-Gloucester, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, and Assemblyman Dan Benson, D-Mercer, who championed the passing of this Bill.

Special Olympics New Jersey will field a “Home Team” of 265 athletes with intellectual disabilities to the 2014 USA Special Olympics Games, which will be June 14-21, 2014. Under the new law, taxpayers will be able to include a contribution on their tax returns to the “2014 Special Olympics New Jersey Home Team Fund.” This Bill will provide every New Jersey citizen an opportunity to allocate funds to Special Olympic athletes, who represent communities from across the state, so that they may compete at the highest level.

With the signing of this Bill, Governor Christie, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, State Senate President Sweeney and many others who helped to pass this legislation have paid the very highest tribute to the Special Olympic athletes of New Jersey in their quest to compete at the highest level and represent the “Home Team.”

Special Olympics New Jersey is proud to host the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and invites New Jersey citizens from throughout the state to visit www.specialolym
pics2014.org to learn more about the Games and www.sonj.org to get involved with Special Olympics New Jersey.

We welcome everyone to join in the celebration of GENUINE JERSEY PRIDE and contribute to the “Home Team” as they train for the 2014 USA Games.

Marc S. Edenzon

President, Special Olympics New Jersey

To the Editor:

Four-hundred-plus enthusiastic participants braved the weather Monday, January 28 to attend the 15th annual Princeton Community Works conference held at the Frist Center on the Princeton University campus. Participants from more than 200 non-profit organizations across the state networked and gained insights and information by attending workshops. Our deep gratitude goes to Princeton University for its generosity as our host, to the Princeton Rotary for their significant administrative support, to the 23 workshop presenters who donated their time and talents, and to our keynote presenter, the Princeton Volunteer Fire Department, who shared with us the importance of recruiting, training, trusting, and practicing with your volunteers to ensure your mission is met. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to our dedicated, hard-working, all volunteer operating committee who made this conference a reality.

Marge Smith

Founder and Chair, Community Works

Montadale Drive

To the Editor:

As I prepare to leave the Health Care Ministry (HCM) of Princeton, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Princeton Community who has supported our work. Those of us who work in the non-profit sector think of ourselves as people who care for others, who serve others, and who support those in need. We don’t think of ourselves first as recipients of caring. Yet if it were not for so many in our community who cared for us, we at the Health Care Ministry would not be able to fulfill our mission of assisting the elderly to remain independent in their homes as long as that is safely possible. If individuals did not give of their time as volunteers, if donors did not give us funding, if foundations did not provide grants, if businesses did not give support, or if other organizations did not partner with us, we would not be able to give.

The board of trustees of the HCM has named Beth Scholz as our new executive director. Beth is very fortunate to work in a community that values service and caring. I’m sure it will not take her long to see and to experience the generosity of the Princeton community.

Thank you for all the support you have given to the Health Care Ministry throughout the 19 years that I have been associated with it.

Carol L. Olivieri

Executive Director

To the Editor:

February 11 marks the Princeton Fire Department’s 225th birthday, making it one of the country’s longest operating volunteer departments.

We should all praise the exceptional people who offer their time and energy over long hours of training and risk their personal safety to protect Princeton’s residents and property.

Sima and Edward Greenblat

Leabrook Lane

PP Marchand 2-6-13She is the longest-serving elected official on Princeton Township Committee. She indexed the Papers of Woodrow Wilson and the Letters of Samuel Johnson. She has run in 19 marathons. She continues to contribute to the community in numerous ways, by serving on boards and committees, and donating her time to a variety of organizations — all the while combatting a serious chronic illness, which has not diminished her drive or sapped her spirit.

Phyllis Marchand is one-of-a-kind, a role model for what women can achieve and how one person in a position of leadership while working together with others can make a difference for many.

A New Yorker, Ms. Marchand was born in Manhattan, and was the oldest of the four children of Morris (“Mo”) and Charlotte Steinberg. She was close to siblings Steven, Laura, and Susan, and also to both sets of grandparents who lived on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

“My father’s parents were born in Romania, and my mother’s father was born in Russia,” recalls Ms. Marchand. “My maternal grandfather took my brother Steven and me out on Sundays to a place of interest, such as on the Staten Island Ferry to go to the zoo, or on a trip to Bear Mountain. My brother and I looked forward to these outings, and so did my grandfather. Since he was not born here, he was always interested in visiting new places.

Millinery Manufacturer

“My maternal grandmother was educated, and played the piano. Music was an important part of my life, and my mother, who loved the opera, often took me to the old Met.

“My father was a millinery manufacturer, and had a company in Manhattan. ‘Phyllis’ and ‘Charlotte’ hats were two of their labels. He was also a big sports fan, especially for the New York Giants baseball team, and we’d go to the Polo Grounds to see them play. Later, after the Giants moved to San Francisco, I became a Mets fan. This has stayed with me, and I follow the Mets with a keen interest, staying up way past midnight to watch the games on the West Coast. I am also an avid fan of all the Princeton University teams.”

Growing up in New York City offers opportunities on a scale not found in many other places: Broadway plays at one’s doorstep; rides on the subway; watching the balloons blown up for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade; premier museums, opera, and many other cultural activities.

New York City children often develop an early self-sufficiency, and Phyllis was allowed to go on the subway by herself when she was 10; at 14, she went to Broadway shows with friends; she roller skated in Central Park, often skating to the park from her home on 86th Street on the West Side.

Phyllis also loved the movies, and was able to go nearly every weekend. She and her friends kept a careful eye on their favorite stars, clipping pictures from the movie magazines. “We all had photos of our favorites, and I especially loved Elizabeth Taylor and Arlene Dahl, and also Gregory Peck, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, and Robert Wagner.

“I also loved all the popular songs of the time, and the singers, including Nat King Cole, Eddie Fisher, and Tony Bennett.”

New Experiences

Phyllis attended P.S. 9, the neighborhood public school, through the eighth grade, where she had a particularly memorable experience with her eighth grade teacher, Miss Laubenheimer. “One day, she gave us an assignment, and asked us to write down everything we did that day. After she read what we had written, she said: ‘You have all failed!’ No one had spent any time reading a newspaper. She said we must take time — at least 10 or 15 minutes each day — to read part of a newspaper. She even showed us how to fold it, so we could read it on the subway. She was a very strict and tough teacher, but we also had interesting class trips to The New York Times and other places.”

Attending high school at the private Birch Wathen School on West 93rd Street brought new experiences. French, biology, and English literature were her favorite subjects. “I was also a cheerleader for the basketball team — this was a very small school,” she remembers. “We had only 28 students in our class. I was chair of the social committee too, and was in charge of the senior prom.”

Interestingly, Ms. Marchand’s political focus had yet to emerge. Other activities and pursuits kept her busy, and among her happiest childhood memories were the times at camp in Maine, where she spent several summers.

“I loved going to camp, and I loved Maine. I got a real sense of the outdoors. The camp was on a lake, and there was swimming, canoeing, and hiking. We went up to Mt. Washington. I really loved the camp experience, being with the other girls, the competition, and being a team member. There were kids from all over. My best friend there was from Kentucky.”

The family also rented a house in Long Island at the ocean, where Phyllis learned to swim, and she remembers very happy times there.

After graduating from high school, Phyllis chose Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. As she explains, “My high school had been so small, and Skidmore had 1200 students, so it seemed a good fit.”

Proper Behavior

Majoring in English literature, Phyllis also had time to serve as managing editor of the college newspaper, (as well as to join a “sit-in” at the local Woolworth’s to advocate for civil rights). In her major, she was especially influenced by English Professor Miriam Benkovitz, later author of several books.

“Miss Benkovitz had a PhD from Yale, and her specialty was 20th century English literature,” says Ms. Marchand. “I was so afraid of her! She was from the South and was very intimidating. One time, it was very hot, and when I went into her class, I took off my shoes. She immediately ordered me to leave the classroom. She was very strict about proper behavior.

“She was a wonderful teacher though, and very exacting and demanding. My love of Virginia Woolf was a result of the modern English course I had with her. l had many courses with her, and when I was a junior, she asked me to be her assistant, helping to grade papers, which I did for two years. We remained in touch after I graduated, and she was certainly one of the most interesting people in my life.”

After graduating with a degree in English literature as well as a teaching certificate (she had taught eighth grade English in Saratoga Springs as part of her course work) in 1961, Phyllis returned to New York City, and got a job with Crowell-Collier Publishing.

“They were doing a major update of their encyclopedia, and because they thought I had enough terminology in various areas, such as music, sports, biology, etc. to index the new articles, I was hired. I learned how to index from a wonderful mentor there.”

After working at Crowell -Collier for more than two years, she moved to Cowles Comprehensive Encyclopedia, which was associated with Look Magazine, for another indexing opportunity.

Reverse Commute

During this time, Phyllis had met Lucien Simond Marchand, who worked for D. Van Nostrand Publishing in Princeton. “Sy was from Forest Hills, but had been born in Holland,” she recalls. “We had met at a beach club in Westchester County, where we liked to play tennis, and now we were dating.”

They were married in 1964, and Mr. Marchand continued to work in Princeton, doing a “reverse commute” to the couple’s home on West 34th Street. After their son Michael was born, they relocated to Princeton in 1966.

It was an adjustment. Other than camp in Maine, and her years at college, Ms. Marchand had never lived outside of Manhattan. “I never knew about having a house and all that it entailed, but I met a lot of people through the Newcomers Club at the YWCA. I began to have friends of all ages and background. The Newcomers Club was very important to me.”

Two more children, Deborah and Sarah, were born, and Ms. Marchand remained home to care for them. Then, as she recalls, “In the 1970s, when the kids were about six, seven, and nine, someone asked me what I had done in New York. I said I had been a book indexer. This person was working at Princeton University in connection with the Wilson papers, and suggested I send my resume to Professor Arthur Link, the Wilson authority, who was editing the papers. At that time, they were looking for an indexer.

“I had very little American history background, but I ended up getting the job. The nice thing was that I could work at home, which was very helpful with the children, and this provided a flexible schedule. I was considered a consultant or Visiting Fellow, and I did this during the ’70s, ’80s, and into the ’90s.”

As Ms. Marchand points out, indexing is very painstaking, exacting work, and in the days before computers were commonplace, she did the work by hand, using index cards for every entry.

Numerous Activities

Ms. Marchand continued to work on the Wilson papers into the ’90s, and she developed a high regard for Professor Link. “Arthur Link was extremely influential in my life. When he would praise my work, it was very special and meant a lot to me.”

Ms. Marchand became involved in numerous activities in the community, including serving on the board of McCarter Theatre (in addition to attending concerts and performances), the PTO at her children’s schools, and playing tennis and bridge. “Occasionally, I wrote letters to the papers about issues in town, such as traffic problems and open space,” she notes.

As her circle of acquaintances and friends expanded, Ms. Marchand was sought out as a political candidate. “I knew Barbara Sigmund, who was mayor of Princeton Borough,” she recalls, “and she suggested I run for Township Committee. We had a meeting with Kate Litvack, who served on Township Committee, and others, and they thought it was a chance to have a candidate with no baggage and a varied background. They knew I had kids in school, played tennis, was a member of the Jewish Center, on the board of McCarter, and was interested in preserving open space and in other issues.”

She became a candidate in the 1986 election, and won, receiving the most votes of any candidate. “I went house to house, introducing myself and talking with people. I had opinions on the issues, including regional planning, and the deer problem was beginning to get attention. I found I liked being on Committee. I did a lot of preparation, a lot of reading, and was liaison with the Recreation Board and Corner House. There was interaction with Borough Council too. Barbara Sigmund was mayor, and there was a nice working relationship then. Barbara was the town’s biggest cheerleader.”

“Marathon” Skills

Ms. Marchand also spent a lot of time listening. “Different groups and individuals came to meetings,” she remembers. “The Boy Scouts came to learn about local government, neighbors came to speak for or against issues, others came just to observe and listen. It was a real cross section of the community.”

Her ability to listen to differing opinions is noted by many of those who served and worked with Ms. Marchand. “I had the pleasure of working with Phyllis the entire time she was on Committee and served as mayor,” says Ed Schmierer former Township attorney and now attorney for the recently consolidated Princeton. “She was a very dynamic and caring individual. Her leadership style was as a consensus-builder, who worked hard to do the best she could for the community. She was a tireless worker — she brought her ‘marathon’ skills to the local government arena. She ran hard, and accomplished a lot.

“Phyllis was a very good listener; she respected the staff and listened to their recommendations, and challenged them when appropriate. The end of the day, she made the decisions. She had a tremendous amount of energy and commitment to Princeton, and was an absolutely outstanding municipal official.”

Adds former Township Mayor Richard Woodbridge: “When I became mayor in 1991, Phyllis was very supportive as a Township Committee member and a very good team player. Her legacy is that she is tremendously dedicated to the town, and was a very good and effective mayor. Also, if it weren’t for Phyllis and Kate Litvack, there wouldn’t have been a Princeton-Pettoranello program. She and Kate did the ground work in 1989.”

Sister City

Ms. Marchand is very proud of the evolution of the Princeton Township relationship with its sister city Pettoranello, Italy. “It was a pleasure to see this develop, and it was a wonderful experience to travel there over the years and meet the citizens of Pettoranello.”

Eleanor Pinelli, former trustee and president of the Princeton-Pettoranello Sister City Foundation worked closely with Ms. Marchand during this time, and their association goes back even further. “Our friendship goes back many years because I taught her children when they were in the middle school. We worked together when Phyllis was mayor of Princeton Township, and I was a trustee and later president of the Princeton/Pettoranello Sister City Foundation. Phyllis was one of the mayors who founded the sister city relationship, and has remained a strong supporter of and advocate for the foundation and its mission.

“She was an excellent mayor, honest and forthright, a great speaker, who easily fielded questions concerning controversial issues because she ‘knew her stuff’. Phyllis was and still is always there when you need her, readily available and approachable. How she manages her daily busy schedule has always been a mystery to me!”

After serving as a Committee member since 1987, Ms. Marchand was elected mayor in 1989, and then again in 1994. During this time, she continued her work as a book indexer, both for Princeton University Press projects and many others, including books on the history of the Porsche car and a biography of Jefferson Davis.

During her tenure on Township Committee, she dealt with issues including preserving open space, affordable housing, traffic problems, and the emerging dilemma surrounding the increasing numbers of deer in Princeton.

“As mayor, I felt the Township mayor should be as visible as the mayor in the Borough. I tried to expand the activities, and I met with the County Freeholders and the state legislators in Trenton. There were issues about changing laws for hunting, getting support for the extension of Route 95, which would have diverted traffic from Princeton; also Route One traffic issues, and it was also important to build alliances throughout the region.

Open  Mind

“I am very proud of initiating the deer management program, saving open space, and helping to develop a diversity of housing, including Griggs Farm and market rate senior housing. I do believe to be successful in any endeavor, including in local government, you must have an open mind and be willing to listen and be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You need empathy, and you also need to be able to make decisions.”

These are all qualities that Bill Dressel, Director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, found in Ms. Marchand during the time they worked together. “In her capacity as mayor of Princeton Township, Phyllis was actively involved in the League of Municipalities as a member of the legislative committee, the resolutions committee, a member of the executive board, and as League president.

“I have a high regard for Phyllis. She is an honest individual, who, I think, exemplifies that which is best in local governing. I very much enjoyed working with her because she was in municipal government for all the right reasons. She was instrumental in advocating for regional and statewide policies, including property tax relief, sharing municipal services, and traffic regulation of heavy trucks on Route 206. Phyllis represented the League on statewide policies.

“She was also a charter member of the League of Municipalities Women in Government Committee, and a strong advocate for sustainable energy practices. It was a real pleasure working with Phyllis. She was always willing to provide hands-on help, and to be there to assist and get involved one-on-one.”

During the time she was on Committee and as mayor, Ms. Marchand participated in another equally demanding endeavor: running marathons, the first in 1982, when she was 42.

“I started running because I wanted to lose a pound or two, and I also ran as a surrogate for my daughter, who had committed to a run in her middle school, but then couldn’t make it because of illness. I ran a mile, and afterward, I realized I could run the mile, and I liked it. I joined the Mercer-Bucks Running Club, and met wonderful people.

Good Shoes

“I was basically a solo runner. I ran every day for enjoyment. Then, I entered the YWCA’s 3-mile race, then a 6-mile race, and I finished. Next came a half-marathon — 13 miles. Someone said to me, ‘If you finished this race, you could run a marathon.’ I thought about it and said to Sy, ‘I think I’d like to run a marathon.’ He said ‘Okay, just get a good pair of shoes.’

“Ultimately, I ran 16 New York marathons, two Boston, and one Philadelphia. One of the things I loved about running was that I could think things out, including about issues that were coming up with the Township. I was on the Planning Board, and ran by some of the sites under consideration. I could also report to Township Engineer Bob Kiser where all the pot holes were. It was first hand evidence.”

Ms. Marchand’s life changed dramatically in 2006, when she was diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. As she explains, “It then progressed to Sezary syndrome, and these are both different stages of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.”

She began treatment immediately, and was still able to continue as mayor. It was a rigorous schedule, but she was determined to fulfill her term in office. She did step down in 2008, after having served 21 years on Township Committee, and 13 years as mayor.

During her tenure on Township Committee and after, Ms. Marchand has received numerous awards and honors. Among them are the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, the  Elected Official of the Year from the New Jersey Municipal Managers Association, Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, President’s Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the Philip Forman Humanitarian Award from the American Jewish Committee, and she was recognized by the New Jersey Association of Elected Women Officials for her service as president of that organization.

Most recently in September 2012, she was honored for her “exemplary and inclusive tenure as mayor” by the Princeton Chabad. She has also been invited to speak to students at her high school and college about the role of women in local government.

Medical Intervention

Ms. Marchand continues to keep a very busy schedule despite a recent additional medical problem. “In 2011, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma,” she explains, “so in 2011 and 2012, I was battling two different lymphomas. I had chemotherapy and radiation at that time, and now the Hodgkins lymphoma is in remission.”

The non-Hodgkins lymphoma requires continuous and rigorous medical intervention, however, necessitating trips to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital two consecutive days each month for photopheresis blood treatment, as well as self-administered injections of interferon twice a week to boost her immune system.

Despite this, Ms. Marchand remains positive and engaged. She currently serves on the State D & R Canal Commission, the D & R Greenway board, on SIAB — the New Jersey Site Improvement Advisory Board, and on the county board of the Mercer Council for Alcohol and Drug Addiction. She is an honorary trustee of McCarter Theatre, and she is also an advocate for Planned Parenthood, the Coalition for Peace Action, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and Cancer Care.

When she did decide to step down from Township Committee, she was ready for a new life, reports Ms. Marchand. “Now, I could visit my eight grandchildren; I could do what I wanted when I wanted; I could read what I wanted, not what I had to.

“Music is important to me — I would have loved to meet Leonard Bernstein! — and I have enjoyed going back to the concert series at McCarter. I’m playing more bridge, and doing a lot more walking and hiking and an occasional run. I have time now to smell the flowers, and to visit friends here and elsewhere. I am enjoying old friendships that I didn’t have time for when I was mayor.

“I have also had an interesting experience with a program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School,” she continues. “Two first year medical students are teamed with a seriously chronically ill patient as part of their training. These two students, one male and one female, shadow or follow the patient to appointments and treatments, even at home, and get to know the patient as a person. The goal of the program is to sensitize new doctors and encourage them to put themselves in the patient’s shoes. What is it like to have a chronic illness? How does it affect your professional life? Your finances, your relationship with a spouse, family, friends, or with yourself? You’re not just a number on a chart.”

Memorable Quality

Undaunted by illness, she is, as her friend of long-standing Pam Hersh, vice president of Government and Community Affairs of Princeton Healthcare System, notes, steadfast and determined. “I have known Phyllis for 35 years, since I first came to Princeton, and I can list her most memorable quality. She has an incredible ability to hang in there. On a social level, this translates to an inability to leave — she has the toughest time leaving a party, leaving a meeting, leaving a conversation — much to the consternation of her husband who stands waiting with his coat on for an hour while Phyllis is trying unsuccessfully to say good bye.

“This same quality of always hanging in there through the most difficult political, professional, and personal challenges of her life is her most laudable quality. Nothing deters her from going forward and fighting the battles that are important for her to fight. One of the most fun and rewarding battles that we fought together (along with former Borough Mayor Marvin Reed and former Princeton University General Counsel Howard Ende) was saving the Garden Theater — certainly an endeavor that was well worth it for the University students, for the Princeton residents, and of course, for Phyllis, who rarely misses a movie at the Garden.”

Traveling has been a great pleasure over the years for Ms. Marchand, and she and her husband have visited numerous countries around the world — experiencing safaris in Africa, the fjords in Norway, the islands of Hawaii, and the pleasures of Pettoranello, among many other places. And she looks forward to more travels to come.

Facing a serious illness has given her a new perspective, says Ms. Marchand. “You only have one life to lead. I realize how wonderful it is to have a family. When I was going through chemotherapy, one of my daughters went with me to cheer me up when I was getting my hair cut very short before I lost it. It was hard, but she kept a light touch, saying: ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity’, quoting from Ecclesiastes.

“Basically, now I feel well, and every day is a gift. This experience makes you appreciate life even more. I feel blessed.”

February 6, 2013

To the Editor:

At last Thursday’s Hospital Ordinance Task Force meeting, the committee heard that Council did not approve their recommendation to reduce the allowed density (number of units) at the site if the buildings are demolished. The issue was the number of affordable housing units at “56.” Although some members of Council may remember otherwise, transcripts and memoranda nowhere support that the number “56” units of affordable housing was an original part of discussions. The discussions were around providing 20 percent affordable. The number “56” does not appear until 14 months from the hospital’s first presentation (memorandum from Lee Solow to Bob Bruschi, August 30, 2006, and Marvin Reed, Borough Council minutes, September 12, 2006). Mr. Reed was very straightforward: “development of the hospital site is a ‘density bonus,’ that of 280 units [of which] 56 will be low/moderate COAH-qualifying houses.” Note: the current ordinance allows “up to 280 units.” A developer may choose to build fewer units altogether.

For whom was the density bonus created? The hospital. The hospital, having now gone back on its promises to the Princeton community, no longer deserves any “density bonus.” It contracted with the one buyer who only builds closed private communities, contrary to Princeton values, and it sold off part of the land destined for a town park.

An architect specializing in designing redevelopments in single-family neighborhoods should work with stakeholders and the neighbors to create a site plan and massing diagram to inform the choice of density. However, there are yardsticks available which strongly suggest that a density of 280 units or 50 units/acre is too high.

1. Task-force architect Areta Pawlynsky stated the view of smart-growth advocate Urban Land Institute: more than 2 times the density of the surrounding neighborhood is too great a burden on a neighborhood. 2 times the neighborhood density in this case is 20 units/acre or 102 units.

2. Task-force architect Heidi Fichtenbaum, presented drawings to support the opinion that redevelopment in scale and character with the neighborhood gives a maximum density of 23 units/acre or 127 units.

3. If we were to set the density at that of the surrounding neighborhood, it would be 10 units/acre or 56 units.

4. Massachusetts legislation defines anything above 8 units/acre as smart-growth density for single-family neighborhoods. In the case of the hospital site, a density above 45 units is smart growth.

5. If we want to make the hospital a site for apartments, then anything above 20 units/acre or 102 units is smart growth under Massachusetts law.

Balancing the rights and needs of the surrounding neighborhoods with those who support the building of multi-rise apartment buildings to provide housing, particularly for grad students and postdocs at the University, is important. As former mayor Joe O’Neill said, increased density is a tax on a neighborhood. The major source of jobs within walkable distance of Princeton is the University. If there is a shortage of housing for those who work at the University, shouldn’t the University be pitching in here?

Alexi Assmus

Maple Street

To the Editor:

We have all contributed in many ways to help make Princeton what it is today. We all have a stake in its future. It is a wonderful town. I wish everyone could live here, but since that is not possible, we have to make choices and decisions, and the time is now.

Do we want to concentrate all new growth in a monstrously large development ONLY because it would render 56 affordable units? We should take the long view and realize that there are several sites that are ideal for apartments and will likely be built within a reasonable time, and that they would include affordable units as well.

The hospital was always considered an inherently beneficial use and was granted zoning variances time and again. Our neighborhood lost out every time as houses disappeared and the hospital kept growing, along with the traffic. Must we continue to pay forever, for having our neighborhood degraded and for having lost part of it? This condition is now being perpetuated because of the artful deal that the hospital struck with the town. We are once again at risk.

Yes, that is how many of us in our quiet neighborhoods surrounding the hospital feel. We live quite away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Princeton. 280 units built on the site would bring more than 500 persons to the neighborhood and would be severely out of balance for the surroundings. We have never considered our houses to be in the central district of town; only an outsider would describe our area as such.

I really hope that the Task Force will do what the Planning Board charged them with, revising the zoning at the site. The Task Force should not be hobbled at the outset with demands from Council, such as the requirement for 56 affordable units. The resounding rejection of the Avalon plan makes it clear that the spot zoning of the site is severely flawed. It needs revising to be in harmony with the surroundings — urgently.

Why was a task force appointed if they are to be told what their conclusions should be? Are all their meetings and efforts on behalf of a better Princeton in vain? It is up to us to make sure that whatever is built at the site blends in with the surroundings and is a credit to our town. This is the time and this is our chance to make it happen. We will have to live with the results. My wish list: Number one priority is fewer units. The buildings should be of reasonable size and separated, not running along a whole block. Stepped back from the sidewalk would be nice and a plaza which all residents and the public can use. Walking and biking paths should cross the area from road to road. No pool. All building should be done with approved green methods. A small convenience store would be nice so tenants could pick up a few items without getting into their cars.

Berit Marshall

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

This is to congratulate the awardees of the Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards, presented at the Princeton Public Library on January 23 by Mayor Liz Lempert and Princeton Environmental Commission Chairman Matt Wasserman on behalf of Sustainable Princeton.

Devotion to sustainability spans generations — from Robert Hrabchak, a student at Princeton Day School, who retrofitted an old car to run on electricity, to Grace Sinden, who received Sustainable Princeton’s first “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The other awardees are: Dr. Stephanie Chorney, citizen activist; John Emmons, science teacher at Community Park School; Martha Friend, science teacher at Littlebrook School; Jack Morrison, President of JM Group and owner of Nassau Street Seafood and the Blue Point Grill; Stu Orefice, Princeton University dining services director; Bill Sachs, tree expert; and William A. Wolfe, architect.

The awards put a spotlight on citizens who have contributed in a variety of meaningful ways to lighten our footprint on the planet. Following their example, we, individually and collectively, can play a part in our everyday lives through better recycling (including food waste made into compost), greater energy conservation, planting trees, growing vegetables, etc.

Bravo to these awardees who have contributed to sustainable actions and who are an inspiration to us all.

Chrystal Schivell

Monroe Lane

To the Editor:

Having the University’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes negotiated by the spouse of a University employee is a blatant conflict of interest. That this negotiation was done behind closed doors, with no involvement of other Council members, raises questions about its legality. That the negotiated figure was then presented to Council as a fait accompli, and that the majority of Council members quickly moved to cut off any deliberation or discussion of it and rushed to vote its approval, raises questions about their integrity. That these shenanigans took place at the very first meeting of our new town’s governing body casts a pall over what we might expect from our local government in the future. Shame!

Ken Fields

Secretary/Treasurer, Eleanor Lewis Fund, Linden Lane

To the Editor:

The proposal before the Princeton Council to prohibit underage consumption of alcohol on private property is a well-meaning initiative that nevertheless raises substantial concerns and therefore should not be lightly considered by the Council.

First, the move to expand the criminalization of alcohol use on private property would necessarily divert scarce municipal resources and attention where they might be better placed: with education as to the dangers of inappropriate or excessive alcohol use.

Second, an ordinance against underage alcohol use on private property provides an inappropriate “foot in the door” invitation to police to enter private property with “probable cause” to search for the source of alcohol use observed in front and backyards. This expansion of police power encourages official snooping that impinges on constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure which, in this post 9-11 age, is all too prevalent.

Third, such official snooping would most likely occur in the denser areas of town where the proscribed behavior would be more easily observed. If adopted, the ordinance will necessarily lead to the perception, generally accurate, that police enforcement will be targeted more at the John-Witherspoon neighborhood than at the Western Section or Riverside neighborhood, and their respective populations. That’s not a good message to send to our diverse community.

Fourth, if alcohol consumption on private property amounts to a real “drinking problem” in a certain area of town such as, say, educational campuses, an ordinance prohibition might be warranted to govern conduct there. But a blanket prohibition on underage alcohol use on private property throughout the community seems an over-broad and insensitive tool by which to unnecessarily enforce cultural values across a much broader population.

Lastly, with scarce tax dollars required to support important police activities, are we prepared to increase taxes to pay for enforcement of such an ordinance, particularly where the real consequences of inappropriate alcohol consumption can be policed by other means, such as summonses for disorderly conduct or noise ordinance violation?

In sum, the proposal before the Council sounds like an easy, paternalist way to govern, but it has many downsides that the Council should explore before adopting it.

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

The use of hyperbole, exaggeration, and false conclusions in David Keddie’s letter promoting AvalonBay style high-density apartments for Princeton (“We Should Welcome Increased Population,” Town Topics, Jan. 23) is the kind of free speech that should not be taken seriously by readers or political leaders concerned about Princeton’s future. Does the notion that increased population density is “the best thing we can do for our tax base” mean taxes will stabilize or decline? On the contrary, taxes will rise and the quality of life in the town will decline because increased density brings with it the need for more government services, increased traffic, accidents, and higher crime rates. The idea that traffic problems will be solved by enabling “hundreds and thousands” of people to walk the streets is a frightening scenario for pedestrians and current residents alike. The solution to housing needs careful planning implemented by improved zoning and architectural design that sustains the unique character of Princeton. We don’t need high density apartment houses designed and built by sardine can factories like AvalonBay.

Louis Slee

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

As I observe the constant flow — and hear the excited chatter — of people carting windows, doors, washing machines, and other materials out of our Habitat for Humanity Restore, I’m reminded that to “restore” is to make whole.

When Habitat for Humanity opened its ReStore, its purpose was to provide a place for residents of Trenton to purchase, at low cost, quality new and pre-owned building materials, appliances, and furniture.

As we prepared for Saturday’s Grand Opening of our ReStore, I’m deeply thankful for the support we have received from all of Mercer county. Homeowners, contractors, and building supply stores have generously donated both new and reusable items to stock the shelves of the ReStore. And, equally important, local residents are shopping at the ReStore. Despite their extremely tight budgets, they are optimistic. They are investing in their homes, their neighborhood, and their community.

On behalf of Habitat for Humanity, I invite all of you to come shop and/or donate gently used goods. Meet the ReStore’s dedicated staff and volunteers; explore the aisles of the ReStore and give us the opportunity to thank you for your support of a better and brighter future.

After you visit the ReStore, I invite you to explore the neighborhood’s revitalization. Drive past homes that have been refurbished thanks to two summers of WorkCamp which brought in hundreds of students to work alongside residents. During the week after school, stop in the Learning Lab where local students have an after school program that rivals the best in any neighborhood. Or remember to come shop at the farmer’s market during the summer. There are other changes too including a new pedestrian friendly crosswalk at the intersection of Olden and Clinton.

There’s much more than I could share with you about what’s good. And so much of it is captured in the doors, windows, and paint cans carted out of the ReStore and into homes, to make them better—to make them whole.

Tom Caruso

Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity, Trenton Area

To the Editor:

I support the suggestion made by Harvey Rothberg to keep the old names for Borough Hall and Township Hall, and I agree with his two reasons, namely ease of recognition and preservation of historic names.

Perhaps a generation from now people will ask why we have both a Borough hall and a Township hall. In finding the answer to that question they will learn a bit about Princeton history, and that will be a good thing.

Jane Kupin

Erdman Avenue

To the Editor:

Princetonians have two opportunities coming up to learn about one of Princeton’s early visionaries. The Veblen name is most commonly associated with Thorstein Veblen, the famous economist and social critic. But his nephew Oswald’s legacy shines as bright, extending beyond the world of ideas and taking multiple physical forms across our fair town.

Who is Oswald Veblen? Well, imagine Princeton without the Institute for Advanced Study, Albert Einstein’s long residency, the Institute Woods, and Herrontown Woods. Veblen’s vision, initiative, and persistence played an instrumental role in making all of these possible.

Called a “woodchopping professor” of mathematics, he combined a midwesterner’s bucolic sensibilities with the European heritage of his ancestors and his English wife Elizabeth. This combination can be seen in the many European scholars he helped bring to America during the Nazi rise to power, and the hundreds of acres of Princeton’s woodlands he worked to spare from development.

This combination, too, can be seen in the house and farm cottage he and Elizabeth donated to the county, which now stand boarded up at the edge of Herrontown Woods. The 1920s prefab house has European touches in its balconies, woodwork, and woodland setting.

This Sunday at 11 a.m., as part of the Princeton Public Library’s Environmental Film Festival, I’ll present a portrait of Veblen’s multifaceted legacy, and discuss efforts to save the house and farmstead they left in the public trust. More information on the film festival’s last weekend of films can be found at princetonlibrary.org, and additional information on Veblen is at VeblenHouse.org.

In addition, the Institute for Advanced Study is currently hosting an exhibit on Veblen’s legacy at their archive’s reading room (library.ias.edu/archives).

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison

January 30, 2013

To the Editor:

Bill and Judy Scheide are indeed “Forever Young” and the overflow crowd at the January 18 concert to celebrate Bill’s 99th birthday, and support the Community Park Pool, demonstrated by cheers and applause the esteem with which this much loved couple is held, as well as appreciation for the superb musicianship of the concert performers.

The English Chamber Orchestra, under the vibrant direction of Maestro Mark Laycock, began the program with Sir Arnold Bax’s Dance in the Sunlight, a lively, romantic and complex score. It was followed by Antonio Vivaldi’s Winter, brilliantly played by violinist Stephanie Gonley.

Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, eloquently and humorously narrated by Malcolm Gets, prompted an acquaintance sitting next to me to remark that her eight-year-old granddaughter, who plays the piano, would have learned a great deal and enjoyed this piece.

It was a pleasure to welcome pianist Andrew Sun back to Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium. His nimble “Variations on Happy Birthday to Bill Scheide” were made up of musical birthday greetings assembled by Samuel Barber for Mary Curtis Book Zimbalist’s 75th birthday. The piece was a recent acquisition by the Scheide Library and performed for the first time.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, completed the inspiring program. Through his mastery of the composition, Maestro Laycock, fluidly, energetically and skillfully inspired the English Chamber Orchestra to perform at their highest level. I know I speak for the community in expressing my sincere thanks to Bill and Judy for this memorable evening!

Linda Sipprelle

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Recreation Department and the Princeton Parks & Recreation Fund, we want to thank the community for its incredible support of the Community Park Pool, which was the beneficiary of last Friday night’s birthday concert for Mr. William H. Scheide. Our community was once again blessed with the opportunity to listen to wonderful music, support a good cause, and revel in the good will that always accompanies a Bill and Judy Scheide Concert.

The concert was a smashing success and all of the money received from sponsors and ticket sales will go toward continuing the Recreation Department’s mandate to keep user fees as low as possible in order to continue to provide access to all members of the Princeton community. The pool has become the town’s summer backyard, and the support shown last Friday night is compelling evidence of how important that is to the community.

The Recreation Department is grateful beyond words for this wonderful support.

Ben Stentz

Executive Director of Recreation

Peter O’Neill

Chairman of Princeton Parks & Recreation Fund

To the Editor:

The idea of guns in our schools is disconcerting at best, and untenable, at least. In addition to making school a pretty scary place for children to be, carrying a gun most likely will deter many fine teachers from practicing their profession. I am wondering if some type of a “Life Alert” device might be worn by adults in the school? While not a perfect solution, and perhaps, simplistic, it may be an effective one.

Robin L. Wallack,

Former President

Princeton Regional Board of Education,

Mercer County Board of Vocational Technology

To the Editor,

There is an ongoing discussion about the appropriate density for the former hospital site. Current zoning for the MRRO zone, created specifically for the site of the hospital buildings, is for 280 units or 50 units per acre, a number arrived at by estimating the number of apartments that could fit into the hospital towers. Many remember the community discussions over rezoning the site for residential use in 2004-06 — it was said that the density would be lower if the hospital buildings came down.

What is a reasonable density if the hospital buildings do come down? I would argue that we should look at the gross density currently permitted in zoning. In the former Township, density ranges from 1.8 to 12 units/acre. In Mixed Use zones in the former Borough, like the MRRO zone, the maximum density is 14 units/acre. Density in the hospital neighborhood is lower than this. Our zoning allows densities higher than 14 units/acre only if there is 100 percent income restricted or age-restricted housing. In the highly-acclaimed design for the Merwick and Stanworth sites, the numerous two to three-story buildings will be built at 14 and 12 units/acre. The university designed open space and playground areas for everyone’s use and pedestrian and bike path connections between the sites and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Much of the discussion has centered on the supposed benefits of smart growth — concentrating development in the center of towns. This does not mean, however, that the higher the density the better. Architects and planners advocate designing buildings in context with their neighborhoods. The minimum smart-growth density in Massachusetts is 8 units/acre for single-family units, 12 units/acre for two- and three-family units and 20 units/acre for multi-family apartments. The 20 unit/acre density — or 112 units on the former hospital site — is already more than double the density in the surrounding neighborhood.

The Task Force is moving in the right direction by considering 39 units/acre or 220 units for the site. Unfortunately, with densities over 35 units/acre you lose a sense of having individual buildings — you get massive bulk and long-runs of frontage like the plans that AvalonBay presented.

Personally, I believe that the density of the Merwick/Stanworth sites is appropriate for the former hospital site. The John-Witherspoon neighborhood, with Merwick/Stanworth on one side and the MRRO zone on the other, averages 14 units/acre. Let’s do the same for the MRRO zone: 14 units/acre or 78 units for the former hospital site. This density will allow for a development in keeping with the scale and character of the neighborhood, as required by Borough Code and the town’s Master Plan. It will allow for green open space and throughways for people to walk and bike through the block (like at Merwick/Stanworth). Green space, walkers, and bikers make town living highly sustainable. Higher densities will bring more traffic, the possible busing of elementary schoolchildren, lower property values and higher taxes for Princeton residents.

Ken Gumpert

Leigh Avenue

To the Editor:

As former mayors with spouses who worked at Princeton University, and as a Princeton professor who was married to a former mayor, we were surprised to see that two Council members had questioned whether Mayor Liz Lempert has a conflict of interest in meeting with University representatives to discuss the terms of the University’s 2013 contribution to the municipality.

Princeton has a long history of mayors with connections to the University. All of us in recent memory — Barbara Sigmund, Cate Litvack, Dick Woodbridge, and Marvin Reed — spoke frequently with University representatives and negotiated with them. It is part of the mayor’s job.

Paul Sigmund, Cate Litvack,

Dick Woodbridge, Marvin Reed