January 10, 2018

To the Editor:

As physicians living in Princeton with children in local public schools, we are encouraged by the district’s decision to move the daily start time from 7:50 to 8:20 a.m. at Princeton High School. There is convincing evidence that later start times — allowing for increased and higher quality sleep — significantly improve adolescent physical and emotional well-being, including academic and athletic performance. It is for this reason that we are asking Princeton Public Schools to work toward an 8:30 or later start time for older students.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sleep deprivation is one of the greatest public health problems in the United States. It impacts millions of people — especially adolescents — causing widespread and well-documented negative consequences to society as a whole. Lack of sleep is associated with adolescent stress, poor academic performance, and an overall decline in social and emotional health, at a time when we already face alarming rates of adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicide.

In 2014, the AAP released a policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” recommending that middle and high school students start school at 8:30 or later to reflect the natural shift in adolescent circadian rhythms. In 2015, the CDC published research about school start times that echoed the AAP’s recommendation and found that nearly two-thirds of adolescents in the United States are chronically sleep deprived.

The August 7, 2017 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes common obstacles faced by proponents of delayed start times. These include concerns about transportation, scheduling of athletic and other after-school activities, as well as a lack of awareness about the link between sleep, school start times, and adolescent health outcomes. The report urges those resistant to later start times to study the compelling research behind this policy recommendation. We hope decision-makers in our community will do the same. More information can be found at www.aap.org and www.CDC.gov.

We also support other recent district initiatives that help alleviate stress and improve the overall health of our students, including changes to the homework policy, healthier cafeteria food options, and updates to the health and physical education curriculum. We hope the PPS superintendent and the Board of Education will implement the AAP’s 8:30 or later start time recommendation for both PHS and JWMS, in the near future, and we encourage the community to support the efforts of our school district to put the health of our children first.

Stephanie Chorney, MD, FAAP

Race Street

Phil Ludmer, MD

Caldwell Drive

David Nathan, MD, DFAPA

Jefferson Road

Abigail Rose, MD, MPH

Wheatsheaf Lane

Bruce Rose, MD, ACM-ASIM;
Helen Rose, MD, FAAP

Linden Lane

To The Editor:

What a joyous feeling I got when riding down one of our Jackson-Witherspoon Neighborhood streets — Lytle Street — and seeing the pretty red ribbons placed down the entire street for holiday decorations! It just showed a sense of neighborly togetherness. I recently went on a bus trip to Bethlehem, Pa. to see the wonderful Christmas decorations throughout the “Christmas City” and I thought of our Lytle Street. Thanks to our Lytle Street neighbors for spreading joy!

Minnie Craig

Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

A friend visiting from out of town helped take recycling to the curb last week. Upon wrestling with the cans, he tripped and tumbled into the street. Within seconds, Jefferson Road traffic came to a standstill and people came running out of every car to help us older people. They were wonderfully caring, got Bob up and checked him for injury, helped us back into the house and saw that he was comfortable. They even finished taking out the recycling! X-rays later proved that Bob had cracked two ribs in his back; he has been on medication for pain, but is now back home and doing well.

We both extend a heartfelt thank you to the many who helped!

Berit Marshall

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

We write in appreciation of Patrolman Christopher Best of the Princeton Police Department, who saved our unoccupied house from a massive flood by his timely intervention very late on Christmas night, and later gave us critical information on what to do next — call our insurance company about engaging an emergency remediation service — that we would not otherwise have known and that made a big difference to the condition of our house when we returned from out of town. We are deeply grateful for his professionalism, skill, and generosity. To homeowners more than a thousand miles away, he provided invaluable help and support under very challenging circumstances.

Nancy and Burton Malkiel

North Road

To the Editor:

I was in Leonia, New Jersey last weekend, where I learned that the town does not allow tear-downs unless the house can be proved uninhabitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such a law existed in Princeton, before this town is covered with beige McMansions?

Peggy Skemer

Robert Road

January 3, 2018

To the Editor:

When I read in a past issue of Town Topics that Larry Ivan had died [Obituaries, Dec. 6, pg. 39], I had a lot of remorse. Although I stopped going to the Princeton Community Park Pool in 2005, I was a patron for 20 years and during that time had a lot of contact with Larry Ivan. In my opinion he was a person of honor and profound integrity. I extend my deepest sympathy to his family.

Ethan Finley

Princeton Community Village

To the Editor

Every year in December, I tally my family’s carbon emissions from things like heating our home, driving our car, the food we eat, our purchases and (ouch) our air travel. The CoolClimate network has a fairly detailed carbon calculator that steps you through the process; it is an illuminating exercise. Carbon offsetting happens in the form of a check I send to Cotap, an organization that promotes tree planting and sustainable agroforestry.

This year I’m sending additional carbon offsets to Sustainable Princeton, which has embarked on a two-year mission to build a community climate action plan for our town. I reckon supporting this important work has greater impact in the sense of larger, faster, and local carbon reductions; I hope you will consider doing the same.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue

SMOOTH SLIDING: “ShelfGenie is most commonly used in the kitchen and pantry, although it is also helpful in a variety of other spaces. We can work within any size and style kitchen, including older ones. Our philosophy is to maximize the available space and make it more convenient.” Benjamin R. Rozenblat, owner of the ShelfGenie Glide-Out Shelving System franchise in central New Jersey, is shown beside a display of the varied products.

By Jean Stratton

Benjamin R. Rozenblat is a big fan of the ShelfGenie Glide-Out Shelving System. He is so convinced of the value of this product that in 2010 he opened his own franchise serving central New Jersey.

After a career as a mechanical engineer, he decided he wanted a change, and opening a franchise turned out to be a new adventure.  more

December 20, 2017

To the Editor:

The results of last year’s Stanford Challenge Success survey of student experiences at Princeton High School are alarming:

Forty-seven percent of students reported that a stress-related health or emotional problem caused them to miss more than one day of school.

Fifty-six percent reported that a stress-related health or emotional problem caused them to miss a social, extracurricular, or recreational activity more than once in the past month.

Sixty-one percent of students surveyed experienced stress induced headaches, and 33 percent reported difficulty breathing in the past month

These statistics, and what they indicate about the imperiled health and well-being of our young people, are a concern not just for our schools, but our whole community.

Earlier this year, Corner House brought together other representatives from the municipal government, local public and private schools, Princeton University, Trinity Counseling, and student members of Princeton’s Youth Advisory Committee to form the Mayor’s Task Force on Teen Stress. The goal of the task force is to engage parents and other community partners in supporting and complementing the schools’ efforts to tackle this health challenge.

As a first step, members of the Youth Advisory Committee have assembled a Teen Stress Resource Guide, a suggested reading list for parents, adults, and teens. This list contains book recommendations and links to online articles to better inform parents and aid in family conversation. The guide can be found on the town’s website: www.princetonnj.gov.

I invite all members of the community to support the teens of Princeton by learning more about the stressors affecting their health and well-being, and please stay tuned for more ways to engage throughout 2018.

Liz Lempert

Mayor

To the Editor:

The Princeton Public School district is currently considering delaying the start time for both the high school and middle school. I recognize that such a move is remarkably complex and challenging for both the district and many families, yet I am proud that we are taking the time to consider this option. The health consequences for our children are so compelling, we simply must take action.

For decades, scientists have known that teens experience a pronounced shift in their sleep-wake cycle. As they enter puberty, adolescents become naturally wired to fall asleep later. So, it’s no surprise that research has shown that when school start times are delayed, our students sleep longer, are more alert, have higher attendance rates, and achieve greater academic performance. In addition, delayed school start times are associated with fewer car crashes and better mental health outcomes, including fewer suicidal thoughts for our teens. Convincingly, because of these health and academic benefits, a recent RAND report estimated the U.S. economy would gain at least $9 billion a year, simply by delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m.

While we can teach our kids to better manage time, we simply can’t redesign their biological clock. Instead, we need to respect our students during a uniquely vulnerable stage of their lives and do our part to maximize their success. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) all recommend that the start times for both high schools and middle schools be delayed until 8:30 a.m. or later.

For far too long we’ve ignored this research, forcing teens to wake earlier than they are wired, only to wonder why they are so stressed. Fortunately, we can now join schools all around the country in righting this wrong.

Jenny Ludmer

Caldwell Drive

December 13, 2017

To the Editor:

I appreciated the article about Clifford Zink’s book, The Eating Clubs of Princeton [“Book About Princeton’s Eating Clubs Details Architecture and Preservation,” page 5, Dec. 6]. The book illustrates the beautiful architecture of the Princeton University campus and describes the interesting stories around 16 unique entities, many over 100 years old. While the University now owns six of the lots, some with the original structures, 11 still operate as private clubs drawing members from Princeton’s undergraduate community.

Without any burden on our town’s schools or garbage collection services, 10 of the clubs pay property taxes that total over $665,000/year. Through diligent partnership with the University and TIPS training of the undergraduate officers, the clubs endeavor to be “good neighbors” and, in recent years, have required minimal intervention from the police as well.

Doug Rubin

Secretary of the Graduate Board, Charter Club

To the Editor:

Last Monday offered a stunning presentation during Not In Our Town’s (NIOT) monthly “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” at the Princeton Public Library on the necessary topic, “Is Truth and Reconciliation Possible in Princeton?” The panel, moderated by Professor Ruha Benjamin, associate professor of African American Studies, Princeton University, began with Shirley Satterfield, Fern Spruill, and Larry Spruill, leading spokespeople in the black community who gave deeply-moving personal histories.

Over 100 engaged Princeton-area residents heard firsthand narratives about growing up black: stories of discrimination in hospitals, mistreatment by faculty as our schools were first desegregated (1948), hatred and fear of police, the witnessing of the lynching of a family member.

When we then broke up into small groups to discuss what we’d heard, the Community Room became electric, animated to a pitch I had rarely witnessed as a “Continuing Conversations” participant. I was personally humbled by the presenters’ courage and commitment — offering up, yet once again, for (mostly) white ears and hearts, their knowledge of personal historical pasts, riddled still by trauma. They barely catch breath to acknowledge they’re “tired” of teaching those of us who don’t “get it.”

My concern is not that “things have gotten better,” rather, much remains the same. My group said/heard that Princeton parents of children of color still have deep fears about their children on the streets every day, despite much progress made in sensitizing law-enforcement personnel to recognize and reject racial profiling. We heard a former School Board representative say that many problems of the 1990s remain — although a dedicated group of people (many from NIOT) is working with school Superintendent Steve Cochrane and other school personnel to achieve an accurate, eyes-open understanding of white American violence against blacks in the school curricula, along with rebalancing of faculty. We (who are older …) discussed the strain of gathering socially with unfamiliar people — the un-comfort zone we must risk for us to make change happen.

Resisting the status quo is hard. Princeton was once known, well into the 20th century, as the “northernmost city of The South.” The very mixed legacy of Woodrow Wilson (who as president segregated “the races” in federal department buildings) indicates as much.

Much work remains. Rabbi Hillel asks, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14). And Roberto Schiraldi, NIOT’s moderator last Monday, pointedly asked us, “If not here, where?” His question was reiterated by Professor Benjamin, who sharply observed that the word “re-conciliation” assumes that somewhere, in the deep abysm of time, we were unified, not sundered: truth-telling is the beginning of conciliation — yes, the truths some of us carry (too lightly) of being born into cultures of white supremacy and continue to benefit from those inexhaustible granaries.

Come to “Continuing Conversations” meetings (first Monday, every month, 7 p.m., Princeton Public Library, Community Room). You will find many others who want to tell truths, disburden, learn, attempt conciliation.

Daniel Harris

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

The front page article [“University Announces Development Plans,” Town Topics, Dec. 6] looks like it was written in toto by the public relations arm of the University. The piece is filled with vague but upbeat platitudes from University officials about the positive aspects of the plan while making it clear that the initiative is huge both in geographic footprint and enrollment increases.

Nowhere is anyone interviewed who has legitimate concerns about how this mega expansionary plan could disrupt the fabric of our community. I would deem this kind of journalism “unbalanced” without a counter viewpoint.

Thirty years ago when I first moved to Princeton and the University was lobbying for another of their “transformational” campus enhancements, a sage skeptic of their plans warned me that the University played a “long game” and was prepared to outlive all opposition.

I almost started laughing when I saw that all their new proposals were cast towards the year 2026, a truly “long game” until I realized that the time to begin seriously questioning this latest University-driven juggernaut, though a decade away from completion, is right now.

Nelson Obus

Russell Road

QUALITY CARE: “I have a broad area of practice. I do it all, and I love the diversity. With dermatology, we do a lot of procedures in the office. I can see the problem and then treat it properly. We see all kinds of patients — all ages, men, women, children, even babies.” David Nieves, MD, makes sure that all his patients receive quality care and attention.

By Jean Stratton

Too much sun is definitely not your friend, says dermatologist Dr. David Nieves.

“I want people to know there is no such thing as a healthy tan. It damages the skin. The best skin maintenance is to stay out of the sun. If not, take protective measures: wear sunscreen — at least 30 SPF or greater. Wear a hat, sit under an umbrella. Avoid unnecessary exposure.” more

December 6, 2017

To the Editor:

I am writing in reaction to the front page article titled, “School and Community Call On All Parties to Help Combat Hate” (Town Topics, Nov. 22). Clearly racism and hatred have no place in our schools, or frankly anywhere. I applaud the efforts of our community leaders to combat it. While I abhor the thought of racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic language being written into an assignment visible to all eigth grade students, what also struck me about this episode is the absence of reflection on the circumstances that enabled it to occur. Behavior is most often attributable to a combination of personal traits and situational factors. Likely the person who wrote the racist and sexist language does not behave as a racist and sexist in every situation, and obviously not every student wrote hate speech on the assignment. We do not know the motivations of the student or students who wrote this. While the most salient motivator may be that he or she is a racist and sexist teenager, I can also easily imagine that this student is a mischievous kid who saw an opportunity to create some havoc and chose to do so. To me, discussion of this issue ought to be as much about the circumstances that enabled this to occur as it is concern for finding the perpetrator of the vile language.

From what I have read locally, the assignment was sent home in the interest of speeding up data entry. Expediency should not be the driving force when determining whether or not to use technology to facilitate learning. Raising children in this digital age requires a heightened understanding of the capabilities of the technology we allow our children to use and appropriate safeguards to positively direct their use of it. It strikes me that in this instance, a casual use of technology to support a lesson provided the opportunity for abuse of the technology, and someone took advantage of that opportunity. This suggests a need for a conversation about how technology is used inside and outside the classroom so we can minimize the opportunity for abuse. Two salient recommendations I would offer are appropriate training for those involved with technology-assisted assignments, and rigorous standards for the use of technology to support learning. Either proper protocols were in place and not followed, or lax protocols created an easy opportunity for misuse. Neither scenario should be tolerated.

Greg Robinson

Clearview Avenue

To the Editor:

Is employment so high in Princeton and are wages so inflated that no one wants a job that pays $45 for just 90 minutes of unskilled work? The job is crossing guard at the intersection of Rosedale Road and the road that leads to Johnson Park School. It involves two shifts, one from 7:45-8:30 a.m. and the other from 2:45-3:30 p.m. You can apply on line at www.princetonnj.gov/employment.html. But Liz Lempert, our mayor, says the town cannot find anyone to fill the job. And without a crossing guard, children who live across the road from the school, less than a mile away, are forced to take a school bus when it is easier and faster to simply walk or ride a bike.

I just find it hard to believe that no one — no retired person, no student or student’s spouse, no one who just wants a little extra income — wants this job.

Gina Kolata

Hun Road

HOLIDAY MAGIC: Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service offers moments of magic at its annual Christmas Shop. “We look forward to inviting everyone to come and see our holiday specialties,” says owner and president Douglas W. Kale. He is shown by a display of handmade, decorated single-face balsam wreaths. Kale’s offers an array of handmade bows and other holiday decorations.

By Jean Stratton

Once upon a time, family businesses dotted the Princeton shopping scene, but now, with the changes in shopping habits, including the arrival of chain stores in town  and online shopping, these independently-owned businesses are slipping away. more

November 29, 2017

To the Editor:

We invite and encourage interested Princeton residents to submit an application to serve on a municipal board or commission. There will be several spots opening up at the beginning of the new year on many of Princeton’s boards and commissions, including but not limited to the Planning Board, the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee, and the Civil Rights Commission. There are currently more than 20 boards and commissions that advise the governing body on a vast array of issues.

Being on a board or commission is a rewarding way to make a meaningful contribution to our town. It does require a significant personal commitment, so applicants should consider their ability to commit their time and personal energy before applying. We are making an effort to increase diversity, and welcome applications from all residents of Princeton.

If you are interested in serving on a board or commission, please visit www.princetonnj.gov to submit an application. In the meantime, we encourage all potential applicants to sit in on monthly meetings. Even if you don’t have time to serve on a board, you are welcome to attend occasional meetings. All board, committee, and commission meetings are open to the public. The agendas, minutes, and some videos are available online as well.

Mayor Liz Lempert

Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller

To the Editor:

Princeton Child Development Institute, a school for children and adults with autism with nearly 50 years of service to the Princeton and surrounding communities, recently hosted ​Meadows Miler, our first 10K/5K and 1-mile fun run at Rosedale Park. The ​November 4 event was a fabulous success with approximately 500 runners and walkers participating on a crisp fall morning​. ​Over $30,000 ​was raised to support our programs​, which include an early intervention program, a preschool, a K-12 school, adult life and job skills programs, and group residences.

We could not have done this without the support of numerous organizations. Mercer County Parks Commission allowed us the use of their beautiful trail system. We were flooded with volunteers from Rider University, The College of New Jersey, L’Oréal, Apple, Trenton Elks Lodge and many other groups. Let Me Run, ​a nonprofit running program for fourth through eighth grade boys, sent a large number of participants to our event. Several vendors, including REI, Starbucks, the Gingered Peach, Eastern Mountain Sports, and Centercourt, provided food, drinks, and entertainment. Even the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders attended to add excitement to the race kickoff.

Meadows Miler was a chance for many of our students and former students to take part in their first run. Over 20 people with autism, both children and adults, enthusiastically participated with their families or with our PCDI staff. Most importantly, Meadows Miler provided evidence that when nonprofit and for-profit companies work together for the common good, anything is possible. We thank all of our participants, our volunteers, and the Mercer Meadows Park Commission for their support. Together, we not only made this inaugural run a success, we also raised awareness of autism and the amazing potential of children and adults with autism.

Patrick R. Progar

Executive Director

Princeton Child Development Institute

To the Editor:

The rain had stopped but the skies were still grey. I had been on automatic since waking. Coffee. Shower. Dress for work. Out the door. My senses dulled by the routine of a workday morning. Or, as Shelley, in his essay, “On Life,” put it: “The mist of familiarity obscures us from the wonder of our being.” But then the morning took a turn. On my way back to my car, I walked through Dohm Alley. I looked up at the “living hand” of John Keats and my eye followed the trajectory of his pen dripping water upwards into a fountain. I paused to look at each of the poets mounted in their mossy frames on the alley wall. And for a little while on an otherwise far from supernal morning, I felt a soft breeze from Parnassus. I hope this town, wealthy as it is, finds a way to make Dohm Alley a permanent respite from the traffic and the tourism. Traffic and tourism dull the senses, but a brief transit through Dohm Alley revives them.

Patricia Donahue

Hamilton Avenue

To the Editor:

The rain had stopped but the skies were still grey. I had been on automatic since waking. Coffee. Shower. Dress for work. Out the door. My senses dulled by the routine of a workday morning. Or, as Shelley, in his essay, “On Life,” put it: “The mist of familiarity obscures us from the wonder of our being.” But then the morning took a turn. On my way back to my car, I walked through Dohm Alley. I looked up at the “living hand” of John Keats and my eye followed the trajectory of his pen dripping water upwards into a fountain. I paused to look at each of the poets mounted in their mossy frames on the alley wall. And for a little while on an otherwise far from supernal morning, I felt a soft breeze from Parnassus. I hope this town, wealthy as it is, finds a way to make Dohm Alley a permanent respite from the traffic and the tourism. Traffic and tourism dull the senses, but a brief transit through Dohm Alley revives them.

Patricia Donahue

Hamilton Avenue

To the Editor:

We have listened for decades to Princeton’s downtown merchants complain about a lack of parking space in spite of efforts by the town that actually increased the number of spaces in the business district. Now we learn from an excellent parking study that the demand can be met by better utilization and management of existing spaces of which there are a surplus. But that does not explain why officials extended the study to include residential-zoned areas such as the Tree Streets where there are no businesses. Maps used in the study name an elongated stretch from Moore to Linden between Hamilton and Nassau as part of the downtown business district. This area is a distinct neighborhood of homes, some of them more than 100 years old.

Has the Planning Board targeted the Tree Streets for rezoning to mixed use to allow businesses in a residential neighborhood? That could be done with a decision to put parking meters on Maple Street or any other street and need rezoning to do. This would not increase parking spaces. But it does look like part of the plan to transform the village of Princeton into a city using economic development and increased population density as the way to go. This may happen anyway due to judges who consistently render decisions favoring real estate development over local control of growth. Sooner or later it becomes a numbers game counting winners and losers. Ask yourself whose ox is being gored. It may be the whole town.

Louis Slee

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

I am wakened every night by the sound of barking dogs left outside not far from my house. I love dogs and I certainly do not mind being awoken by them. My concern is this: it is cold and getting colder. Why are they outside in these temperatures? The other night I checked and it was 29 degrees. Now unless these dogs I hear are Huskies, Malamutes, or other dogs that prefer the cold, no dog (or cat) should be out at this time of year.

If you have animals, please protect them from all harm. If you know of an animal in distress, please talk with the people involved, or animal control, or the police. Animals give us SO MUCH. We need to care for them in a manner that is worthy of their love for us.

Gina Laidlaw

Cherry Valley Road

November 22, 2017

To the Editor:

This past Saturday evening we attended a wonderful performance of Tallis’s Lamentations of Jeremiah and other works at Bristol Chapel on the Westminster Choir campus. The excellent Westminster Choir student group Kantorei performed the works most beautifully.

Westminster Choir College and the Westminster Conservatory both greatly enrich the cultural life of our community and are key factors in making the Princeton High School instrumental and choral programs as strong as they are. If the choir college and conservatory are forced to close, it will be a tremendous loss to our town and surrounding communities.

Steven Weiss, Martha Himmelfarb

Madison Street

Bob Freedman, Sally Freedman

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

On November 7, I was honored to have been elected to the Princeton Board of Education. In this election, the candidates for School Board were a stellar group — smart, committed, thoughtful, and most important, willing to do the hard work to make our schools the best they can be. Because voters had such excellent candidates to choose from, I am particularly grateful to have been selected to serve.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the voters of Princeton for their confidence in me, to all those who took the time to learn about issues, engage the candidates, and express their thoughts and concerns. I look forward to serving on the PPS Board and working toward securing an excellent educational experience for ALL students.

Michele Tuck-Ponder

Laurel Circle