March 31, 2015

To the Editor:

Friday the 13th was a lucky night for People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos (P&S/G&C). Enthusiastic supporters gathered at the Nassau Club to hear celebrated poet James Richardson read from his work and talk about his life as a poet.

It was also an excellent opportunity to share some news about changes for P&S/G&C. Our new direction will build on community partnerships sharing the programs and workshops we currently offer to adolescents and adults, many of whom come from environments plagued by poverty, violence, and failing educational systems to experience the power of literature and reading.

For our guests and supporters we want to say many thanks/muchas gracias.

Claire Jacobus, Pam Wakefield

Event Co-Chairs

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS), I would like to offer my gratitude for the overwhelming community support of the 2015 Illumination Ball, held February 28 at the Westin Princeton Forrestal Village. The sponsors, guests, auction donors, and committee members truly made the evening special and helped us raise much needed funds to sustain the variety and high quality of services we provide for the community.

Through video-storytelling crafted by Burke Wood of Burkewood Creative, the stories of the community honorees, the Mercer County Holocaust survivors, were shared with the audience and woven with the story of the corporate honoree, Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs. G TV, Appliance, and Sleep Center. The Holocaust survivors shared trials and triumphs — and taught us to appreciate and live life. Debbie Schaeffer, a third generation business owner, continues the tradition of her grandmother by serving the community and incorporating strong family values into her business plan.

A special thank you goes to our celebrity guest, Geoff Schwartz, offensive lineman for the NY Giants. Geoff brought the event to an exciting new level and continued the theme of heritage paving the way for the future.

Finally, this sold out event would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Gala committee, JFCS Board, staff, and volunteers. We hope to see you at next years’ gala, set for March 5, 2016 at the Westin Princeton Forrestal Village.

Linda Meisel

Executive Director,

Jewish Family and Children’s Service 

of Greater Mercer County 

To the Editor:

McCarter Theatre was delighted to present a Relaxed Performance of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery on March 18 to an audience of 427 guests. A Relaxed Performance is one that’s specially designed to welcome members of the autism community and others with sensory sensitivities, and their families. It was the third time McCarter has held such a performance and was our biggest turnout ever.

We are grateful to our partners from Eden Autism Services who advised us on how to make appropriate adaptations to our production and who conducted a training session for our staff and volunteer ushers. We would like to acknowledge the support we received from the New Jersey Theater Alliance. The Alliance assisted our marketing efforts and were in attendance on Wednesday. Thank you to our amazing cast for so eagerly agreeing to undertake this special performance. Lastly, we appreciate the friendship of Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen of Trenton’s Westminster Presbyterian Church who helped us welcome members of her community to the event and who arranged for transportation.

We also wish to thank The Karma Foundation whose generous support enabled this special performance.

It was an extraordinary evening of theatre for all involved and an event we hope to repeat in future seasons.

Timothy J. Shields

Managing Director, McCarter Theatre Center

To the Editor:

National Volunteer Week marks a special time of the year for The Fresh Air Fund, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to our wonderful Fresh Air volunteers, hosts, and supporters in Central and Southern New Jersey. Their continued dedication to our New York City children is exemplary for all community members and truly embodies the spirit of the 2015 National Volunteer Week, which is from April 12 to April 18.

Fresh Air volunteers work in several capacities throughout the year in 13 states from Virginia to Maine and in Canada to help make The Fresh Air Fund’s programs possible. Fresh Air host families open their hearts and homes, and share the everyday joys of summertime with their Fresh Air friends. Our local volunteer leaders — many of whom are also hosts — serve on our local committees, plan summer activities, publicize the program, and interview prospective host families. Additionally, individuals and local businesses give generously of their time and resources to make The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program throughout this area a great success each summer.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children since 1877. For more information on how you can help to continue this tradition of volunteering, please call The Fresh Air Fund at (800) 367-0003 or visit


Executive Director, The Fresh Air Fund

March 25, 2015

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned, are parents and members of the Princeton community. We are writing to urge members of the Board of Education and the teacher’s union (PREA) to end the almost year-long contract dispute that has been going on between the two parties. The PREA and Board of Education will be meeting again, face to face on Thursday, March 26. They have not met face to face in months. As the participants sit down to negotiate, we ask that both sides keep in mind the values of this community when bargaining. We are ALL stakeholders in the outcome of these meetings. So many of us moved here because of the stellar reputation of the school system. Historically, it has been a district where teachers were respected for their experience and knowledge and their commitment to our children and Princeton schools.

We implore both the Board of Education and the PREA to keep our children in mind during their meetings, and consider how the lack of a resolution has adversely affected them. Princeton is a community that treasures its public school system and its teachers. We want our spring activities back. This includes the Gettysburg trips, spring concerts, and AP review sessions, so that every child gets to experience the amazing opportunities that Princeton schools have to offer. A positive outcome to the negotiations can still be achieved in time to salvage the rest of the school year for all our children. We hope that both parties approach the negotiations on Thursday seeking an end and not a win.

Debbie Bronfeld, Dafna Kendal,

Daniel Harris, Joy Saville,

Andrea Sacchetti

Dodds Lane

Andrew Bush

Turner Court

Sarah Lewis Smith

Gulick Road

Jane Manners, John Collins

Wheatsheaf Lane

Grayson Barber

Locust Lane

Janice Fine, David Donnelly

Nassau Street

Inkyung K. Yi

Shadybrook Lane

Carol Golden

Snowden Lane

Beverly Kuo-Hamilton.

Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

As a parent with children in the Princeton Public Schools I have watched with deepening concern over the past several months as the contract dispute between the School Board and PREA, the teachers union, has festered. Without a new contract, teachers are now refusing, in many cases, to conduct after-school activities they have traditionally supported. Cherished programs at the schools are in jeopardy of being cancelled or delayed for lack of teacher participation — The annual 5th grade trip to Gettysburg, this fall’s 8th grade trip to Washington, the middle school’s participation in the high school’s own Jazz Festival, to name just a few. And yet I have no understanding of specifically what the two sides are fighting about. Nor do any of the other parents I’ve spoken with. To try to learn more I attended last week’s School Board meeting and came away utterly dismayed. My impression was of a School Board hunkering down and convinced of its positions without feeling the need to explain itself to the community. And of teachers who, in their anger, have backed themselves into a corner from which they now cannot or will not back down. With both sides seeming to be more interested in brinksmanship and ‘winning’ it is our children who are losing.

I would have some sympathy for the School Board if it had done a better job articulating what the issues were at the outset. I could understand if, at a time of growing healthcare costs, expanding enrollment, and limited budget resources, they need the teachers to make certain sacrifices. But if the Board members think they have communicated what this means in practical terms, I can assure them the message has not gotten through to the people who elected them — at least none that I’ve spoken to.

I would have more sympathy for the teachers too. An affluent school district like Princeton should be able to treat its teachers well and, if sacrifices are needed, it should have the courtesy to make them transparent enough for the whole community to understand and weigh against the tax increases needed to avert them before they are decided. But if the teachers thought that their refusal to support after-school activities would bring attention to their plight and pressure on the Board to end the impasse, they are also alienating many parents in the process — the very group they need support from most. So, in the end, I don’t have much sympathy for either side in this mess. But I do have growing exasperation at the inability of both sides — over the course of nearly a year of talks — to find the compromises that invariably will be needed from both the Board and PREA to reach resolution. I understand that representatives will be meeting this Thursday for direct discussions for the first time in months. I urge both sides, for the sake of the children in our schools, to COMPROMISE and REACH A LASTING AGREEMENT. If it doesn’t happen soon, the damage to our prized school system will grow exponentially. Enough damage has already been done. It needs to stop now.

Cliff Birge

Crooked Tree Lane

To the Editor:

Peter Madison’s letter [“Former Member of Planning Board Faults Frequent Lawsuits Initiated by Self Interest,” Mailbox, March 18] displays the same contempt for contrary opinion that he exhibited as a Planning Board member.

According to Mr. Madison, “a foundation of democracy” is our agreement to be governed by the “wishes of the majority.” That is sophomoric nonsense. Our Constitution is distinguished by the many protections it affords minorities. Our citizens are guaranteed certain inalienable rights. Those rights extend to property. “Democracies” that function as Mr. Madison suggests devolve quickly into tyrannies. “Majority rule” is the rallying cry of the mob and the argument of despots, both of which offer unverified claims of “majority support” to justify trampling over those with opposing viewpoints. Closely related is the heretical assertion that the “golden rule” is “he who has the gold makes the rules.”

Mr. Madison boasts that he and his fellow solons labor to divine the will of the “majority of Princeton residents” and to determine “what is best for the entire community.” What stunning conceit, and how utterly naive.

It is far from clear that all residents should be entitled to vote on all issues, or that their votes should be equally weighed. The Master Plan, e.g., seeks to preserve the “green belt” that was formerly known as the Township. Well and good, but should green belt residents be permitted to blight our downtown with high density fire traps that loom like vultures over established middle class neighborhoods? I don’t think so.

Nor do I think that municipal officials deserve our deference when they permit historic designations to be disregarded, public assets to be turned to private use, and national monuments to be encroached upon.

Does Mr. Madison not see the irony in our taxing ourselves to preserve open space, while he and his fellow [former] Planning Board members rezone Springdale Golf Course for ten story buildings?

Does he not appreciate the extent to which selective enforcement of the law — in our habit of delivering spot zoning to favored constituents — is encouraging a corrosive cynicism?

Yes, elected and appointed officials devote “considerable thought and time” to the affairs of our town — but they are not alone in doing so. For the rest of us, “self interest” is a motivation only to the extent of a desire to preserve, in recognizable form, a town that we consider to be special. When our municipal officials behave like tyrants or toadies, our only recourse is to litigate.

What is “sad” is not the fact of our litigation but the frequent need for it — and the mismatch between shallow pocketed plaintiffs and officials who too often mistake dollars for sense.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

To the Editor:

It’s decision time for Princeton: Will we continue in the forefront of sustainability efforts throughout New Jersey, as we do now? A plastic bag ordinance will come before council soon, and I urge the members to pass it.

In the November 4, 2014 election, Princeton overwhelmingly voted yea on a nonbinding referendum to ban the plastic bags distributed routinely by stores. This meant that we supported the idea and resolved to greatly reduce our use of plastic shopping bags. It was a bold, progressive decision; the only issue was that it had no teeth to it. Although many Princetonians have switched to reusable shopping bags, the majority still expect plastic bags for their purchases, and vendors are happy to oblige.

Now herein comes our opportunity: Many among us are concerned about the decay of our environment, but the problem is so overwhelming that we feel powerless to change it. Plastic bags, distributed ubiquitously with almost every purchase in the United States, end up polluting the land. There they leach toxic chemicals, which end up in our bloodstream, for up to 1000 years. They pollute the oceans, killing sea animals and washing ashore our beaches. This is something we can do something about. At the estimated rate of 500 plastic bags per person, a town of our size could spare the environment about 14,500,000 bags annually, and many more towns would follow suit.

Our new plastic bag ordinance, developed by Bainy Suri, environmental consultant to the Environmental Education Fund and New Jersey Environmental Lobby, among other organizations, will mandate that all stores in town charge 10 cents per plastic bag distributed. Research has shown that it is only with some sort of consequence attached that people will change their habits (in most cases up to 98 percent comply). Thus the likelihood of success of the ordinance is extremely high.

We all proclaim that Princeton is a unique place, a progressive and charming, clean town where many people visit, and many people want to live. Let us continue that legacy by leading the way in sustainability and putting this ordinance in place.

Suzanne Neilson

McComb Road

To the Editor:

I have been following the news regarding Lytle Street for a while [“Vote on Purchase of Lytle Street House Is Postponed by Council After Protests,” Town Topics, March 11, page one]. I live on Lytle and own two houses there. I recall when I knew ALL of my neighbors. For nearly five decades I have witnessed what gentrification has generally done to the community, specifically Lytle Street.

The municipality seems concerned about the Mary Moss Playground and the adjoining property currently owned by the Barskys. It sounds like the municipality would like to purchase the Barsky property, which Barsky will raze. This will allow the municipality to expand the playground by 60 percent. It seems the county will reimburse the municipality 50 percent of the purchase price if it is used as “open space.” This seems a wise economic investment for the municipality. However, it’s a severe blow to the human need for affordable housing.

The Task Force on Affordable Housing claims to have no options. Hendricks Davis is cited as saying “There is a tremendous need for affordable housing in this community, and not just in our neighborhood,” On the other hand, Council Member Lance Liverman supports the idea of the tear-down/park expansion. He cited other possible uses for the park. Actually, there are already activities in the park after hours: activities that are not something anyone in the neighborhood would support.

The Mary Moss playground is public land, right? The Barsky property, if purchased by Princeton will become public land, right? Wouldn’t the prudent land use solution be to rebuild/or renovate the houses already standing on that property as affordable housing?

The use of the publicly owned playground seems intrinsically tied to the privately owned Barsky property. The suggestion by Mayor Lempert, 75 years after the fact, that the lack of a filtration system in the playground’s pool is unhygienic is valid. If a sprinkler is in the planning/funding for an expansion of the playground, why not leave the playground as it is and use some of that funding/planning to provide a pool with a filtration system?

Six houses on Lytle Street have been or will be torn down/rebuilt. Only one was replaced with an affordable unit. Mr. Tash’s old liquor store, was torn down and replaced by Habitat for Humanity. In 70 years I have seen the community diminished, first, street by street (Upper John, Baker, Jackson Street, the alley behind First Baptist Church) and now, house by house.

I read some place where former Mayor Jim Floyd asked if the municipality can give consideration for the desires of the community members on these properties. He and I both know that the municipality has never really given more than lip service to the desires of this community.

As I said, once upon a time I knew all of my neighbors. The people who move in now, for the most part will not even share a “good morning” with me. They act like I don’t belong here. Gentrification/eminent domain kills a community.

Jacqueline L. Swain

Lytle Street

To the Editor:

This front page article [“Budget Waivers Would Allow District to Exceed 2 Percent Property Tax Cap,” Town Topics, March 16, page one,] starts with a question, reportedly posited by the Board of Education to the property tax paying part of the public, equating failure to support their ignoring the state’s property tax cap to our failing to support “all the education they (high school students) need,” and, by implication, anything else the Board considers part of that education, including whatever politically correct topic they want to insert; multi-culturalism, transgender issues, global warming, topic “au courant,” without regard for time lost for basic education. The Board then challenges us to oppose its ignoring of the reality of the economics of our times. There is a New Jersey State law mandating a “cap’” on spending, instituted for very economically sound reasons. There is a finite limit to the amount of money available from the taxation of the few, property tax, rather than all, income tax, as the source of funding for education. The question raised by the Princeton Board was whether or not the “average homeowner” was wiling to “guarantee that all students at Princeton High School … have all the teaching they need for a few dollars more on their annual property tax bill? What about the rest of the community as a whole? Property tax payers are challenged not to “begrudge the extra amount.” Could not the property taxpayers ask the Board not to “begrudge” re-nogiatiating contract terms to share the burden? The school system in Princeton has traditionally ranked well in New Jersey and nationally; however, I posit that its ranking has as much to do with the demographics of the community, both homeowners and non homeowners, as well as the incentives and support our students get at home, as it does with the amount of money we the taxpayers collectively threw at the system.

An additional and EXTREMELY important issue is the share of responsibility for this major component of property tax in Princeton. Our neighbor, Princeton University, is a private, for-profit institution, a property owner, a major commercial property holder and landlord, recipient of educational grants (perhaps including federal moneys?) whose graduate student’s children are educated in our schools, at our expense. It has an endowment in double digit Billions of dollars. However, it is exempt from property tax and condescendingly, and reluctantly, contributes, in lieu of taxes, an annual, negotiated sum that many consider very far below the value the University receives. It is a dominant force in local politics (moving the Dinky, our mayor having to recuse herself from issues concerning the University, for example), but not a dominant force in local financial support. As tyrannical as “taxation without representation” is, equally so is “representation without taxation.”

Enough is enough. Consolidation of the Borough and Township accomplished little in terms of tax relief and if the BOE exempts itself from the equation, the hoax is complete.

Marc Malberg

Autumn Hill Road

To the Editor:

The abrupt dismissal of Mark Johnson, Princeton’s animal control officer, leaves many unanswered questions. Recent articles in local newspapers have only added to the confusion.

We have lived in Princeton for many years. More than once we needed help from Mr. Johnson in dealing with wild animals on our property. He was always quick to respond to our call and to help resolve our problems. He checked any necessary containment devices daily as long as they were needed. Mark Johnson has been an asset to our community for two decades. It is difficult to imagine that he would issue a ticket unless he was exercising due diligence in carrying out the responsibilities of his job. It is not clear why he would be dismissed for issuing a ticket. It is essential for our municipal government to let the voters know what precipitated Mr. Johnson’s termination.

This matter should be taken out of the hands of well-placed friends and be addressed by the Princeton Council. Our officials must act as one for the benefit of a consolidated Princeton. They can begin by telling the public why a person with Mr. Johnson’s qualifications and outstanding work record was dismissed based on seemingly inappropriate influence on local officials. Mark Johnson should be reinstated as Animal Control Officer.

Barbara K. Brandt, Gunter M. Krauthamer

Longview Drive

Editor’s Note: This is one of several letters supporting Mr. Johnson.

TEAM WORK: “Sometimes, interior design can be an intimidating process, and people don’t know what to expect. At Sophia Rose Designs, our clients are very important, and they can count on us to help them. We are there for them, and are glad to take on all kinds and sizes of projects.” The Sophia Rose Designs team includes from left: Carly Tipton, owner Lisa Sprague, Sally Wood, and Barbara Shearn.

TEAM WORK: “Sometimes, interior design can be an intimidating process, and people don’t know what to expect. At Sophia Rose Designs, our clients are very important, and they can count on us to help them. We are there for them, and are glad to take on all kinds and sizes of projects.” The Sophia Rose Designs team includes from left: Carly Tipton, owner Lisa Sprague, Sally Wood, and Barbara Shearn.

Lisa Sprague, owner of Sophia Rose Designs, is embarked on a new adventure. In 2014, she purchased the longtime Saums Interiors business in Hopewell, and looking to put her own stamp on the operation, re-located it to Pennington.

“All my previous experience came together so I could take advantage of this opportunity,” explains the area resident. “I had spent 15 years working on various interior design projects and kitchen and bathroom remodels, including designing and coordinating numerous projects, from powder rooms to house additions to outdoor living space. I felt the timing was right to establish my own business.”

So, last October, Ms. Sprague opened Sophia Rose Designs, named for her two daughters, at 1 Tree Farm Road, located in a small shopping center on Route 31 North in Pennington.

The focus of her new business is kitchen and bathroom design, and she has assembled a professional team, including interior designer Barbara Shearn, as well as builders, contractors, and sub-contractors.

Staying Put

Ms. Sprague has a home contracting license, and coordinating the projects and working closely with clients is her specialty. “I’m the project manager. I work with the clients and coordinate everything from beginning to end, and I develop a strong, close relationship with the client.”

Homeowners are often opting to stay put and upgrade their existing space rather than move, she adds. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially popular remodels, and very important in terms of resale if the clients decide to sell later.

“Many people are remodeling instead of moving today. People are enjoying being home and entertaining at home,” points out Ms. Sprague. “Upgrades and new additions are very popular. The kitchen is the heart of the home. People just like to congregate there, and you want it to be warm, welcoming, and functional. Also, some of our clients are serious cooks, and it is important to them how things are arranged. We talk about this in the planning stages.”

Indeed, Ms. Sprague spends a lot of time with clients determining their life-style and the extent of time spent in the kitchen and their likes and dislikes.

“We offer a full range of design and decorating services, from planning and drafting to shopping and decorating. Lots of things are in fashion now, and it can be eclectic. For example, I’ve just been working on a kitchen with a rustic floor and contemporary cabinets.

“Also, there’s a new floor product, which is ceramic but looks like hardwood. It’s great for the kitchen or bath. You don’t have the problem of constantly having to wipe up any water that has dripped on the floor.”

Traditional Look

“Both traditional and contemporary styles are favored now, and you also see a transitional look, that is, a combination of both styles.”

Ms. Sprague notes that she continuously researches the latest advances in kitchen and bathroom design and products. “There are many, many wonderful choices today in cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, and also in paint, wallpaper, and window treatments.”

Both light and dark cabinets are popular, with maple wood cabinets a real favorite in the kitchen. “You can do so much with maple — paint, stain, and glaze,” she explains.

For countertops, granite is very popular both for its look and durability. Others include marble (especially for the bathroom), quartz, and Corian, as well as laminate.

In the case of backsplashes, which are so important in the kitchen, tile is always in demand, and other choices are granite and wood.

Among the cabinet lines available at Sophia Rose Designs are Kraftmaid Kitchen Cabinets and New River Kitchen Cabinets; in addition, Stanley Furniture, Sherrill Furniture, Robert Allen Fabrics, and Thibaut Wallpaper are offered.

Open and Spacious

Islands are a big item in many kitchens these days. “Many clients like to have an island,” points out Ms. Sprague. “They are so useful. You can do whatever you want with them. They can be used for storage, as a cook-top, or dining area — whatever you want.”

Kitchen design, as well as design generally in houses today, often focuses on an open, more spacious motif. Residents are opting for an uninterrupted flow from room to room. “A more open feeling is popular today,” observes Ms. Sprague. “One way to make existing space more effective is to take down a wall.”

The bathrooms of today are a far cry from those of years past. “Bells and whistles” abound, with choices galore. Lighting, cabinetry, countertops, and especially, the variety of showers offer customers tremendous variety.

“In the bathroom, we see a pull away from jacuzzis now,” reports Ms. Sprague. “Showers are very important today, with a lot of frameless models with more glass, and a big variety of shower heads, including waterfalls, cascades, and sprays.”

Helping the client to find the best kitchen or bathroom within their budget is a priority for Ms. Sprague. “Budget is a number one concern, and the cost of labor and materials a major factor. I help them select something within their price range. By the way, if you want to make a change with the least cost, it’s by painting.

“I like to work with the customers so much. I like to help make them happy, and I love winning their trust when they see we’re going in the right direction. The finished product is very important to us, and we’re involved every step of the way.”

Room Settings

“It is also very important for me to have good people working with me,” continues Ms. Sprague. “I am only as good as the team, and we have a great team at Sophia  Rose Designs.”

The attractive showroom offers a variety of room settings, and many samples, including wallpaper and window treatments, for customers to inspect. There is also a selection of retail items, focusing on home accessories, as varied as candles, lamps, and rugs.

“We plan to add a lot more merchandise, including artwork, dinnerware, etc.,” says Ms. Sprague. “We will also be offering Le Cadeaux Melamine dinnerware, appropriate for indoor or outdoor dining.”

Selected items are on sale, she adds, and Sophia Rose Designs also offers “Buy the Look” options, including accent furniture, artwork, mirrors, lamps, and design ideas to help customers plan their own room settings.

“For clients, a new bath or kitchen can be a dream come-true,” points out Ms. Sprague. “For us, every day is a new adventure. Nothing is really the same — different projects and different people. I am looking forward to establishing our business in the area. This is a great location, very busy, with a lot of walk-in traffic. We are sure people will enjoy visiting our showroom.”

Sophia Rose Designs is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 to 5. (609) 730-4171.


MILLION DOLLAR SMILE: “With our prosthodontics practice, we respond to many different situations. With our experience and confidence, we are able to treat complicated conditions and situations.” Dr. Steven C. Isaacson. D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt. D.M.D. of Prosthodontics of Princeton are pleased to offer their patients state-of-the-art dental care.

MILLION DOLLAR SMILE: “With our prosthodontics practice, we respond to many different situations. With our experience and confidence, we are able to treat complicated conditions and situations.” Dr. Steven C. Isaacson. D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt. D.M.D. of Prosthodontics of Princeton are pleased to offer their patients state-of-the-art dental care.

A missing tooth or teeth? A damaged, fractured, or worn tooth? Teeth looking a little “gray”?

If you can identify with any of these situations, Prosthodontics of Princeton may be able to restore that million dollar smile.

Located in Princeton Professional Park at 601 Ewing Street, it is the practice of Dr. Steven C. Isaacson, D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt, D.M.D.

Dr. Isaacson, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, is continuing the practice started by his father, Dr. George Isaacson in the 1960s. After a one-year general practice residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Steven Isaacson went on to obtain specialty training in prosthodontics at Temple University School of Dentistry, with an emphasis on reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry. He then joined his father’s practice in 1988.

Restoration And Replacement

Dr. Reinhardt, a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, joined Prosthodontics of Princeton in 2004, after extensive training in cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, including post graduate specialty training at the Manhattan campus of VA NY Harbor Health Care System.

Prosthodontics are dentists who specialize in the aesthetic restoration and replacement of teeth. Two or three years of additional training after dental school are required, where the dentists are educated in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many different dental conditions. These include crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMJ-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structure and/or teeth, and snoring or sleep disorders.

“Teeth can have problems due to extensive cavities or periodontal conditions, or injuries,” explains Dr. Isaacson. “Also, sometimes people have grinding or clenching problems, which can wear down teeth or cause TMJ. We do a full mouth evaluation and come up with a treatment plan with a number of different options.”

One of the major advances in dentistry has been the growing emphasis on implants, he adds. “Implants began in numbers in the 1980s, and this was a total change. Before that, bridges and dentures were used to replace missing teeth.”

Root implants are the most widely used type of implants, and can provide a base for a single tooth or support a bridge or a denture, he explains. They are close in size to a natural tooth. Implants are inserted into the jawbone, and offer stability because the bone grows onto the implant, and once the fusion has occurred, it will allow for more natural and comfortable substitutes for lost teeth than dentures or bridges.

Candidates for implants must have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone to support the implant, points out Dr. Reinhardt. “We now offer ‘Teeth In A Day’. In some cases, we can provide extraction and the implants in one day. It is exciting and really on the cutting edge.”

Brighter Smile

Another important part of the Prosthodontics of Princeton practice, and increasingly popular, is teeth whitening. Many people are looking for a brighter smile these days, and are opting either for over the counter products to do the job or the more thorough and professional procedure a dentist can provide.

Whitening will remove surface stains, due to coffee, red wine, berries, and the passage of the years, notes Dr. Isaacson. “We evaluate a patient to see if whitening is appropriate. For example, only original teeth can change color, not crowns. Whitening can produce great results. We follow the ADA guide lines, and we have not experienced any harmful side effects.”

He adds that whitening is not generally done on patients under college age.

Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt emphasize that they participate in continuing education to keep up with the latest advances in their field. “We attend education classes once a month. There are changes and advances in materials, techniques, implants, and medicine, etc. There are so many new materials coming along to help teeth to be strong and beautiful.”

Porcelain veneers (laminates), and bonding are just some of the possibilities available today to keep a smile looking great.

Both Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt look forward to continuing to help patients achieve the best outcome for their dental needs They do all they can to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment, and are pleased to have a very strong patient base. “Some of our patients are referred to us by general dentists, and we are very proud that most patients have been referred by other patients. We have a very loyal following.”

All Ages

Although the specialty at Prosthodontics of Princeton is reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt also treat patients for general dentistry. Their patients are all ages, including children. As they point out, “If someone needs restorative work, we can see other family members for general dentistry.

“I enjoy the patients so much,” continues Dr. Reinhardt. “It is wonderful to know that what you are doing is helping them and making a difference for them.”

“I like dealing with the people,” adds Dr. Isaacson. “I love all the different personalities. We really help to make people over, and it’s about trust. I try to explain about the procedure and help the patient become knowledgeable about what is happening. I feel a real closeness with them, and we can truly make a difference in their lives. It’s amazing when someone looks in a mirror and is so happy after the work. I am especially proud of being able to continue my father’s practice. We were a family of dentists.”

Prosthodontics of Princeton is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one Saturday a month 8 to 1. (609) 924-1975.


March 18, 2015

To the Editor:

As a former member of the Planning Board, for 12 years and Princeton resident for 35 years, it saddens me that some members of our community have lost their ability to compromise, a foundation of democracy where we agree to live together in accordance with the wishes of the majority.

The Planning Board volunteers and elected officials put considerable thought and time into each application, with particular consideration to the affected parties. Applicants often modify their proposals to minimize the impact of the proposed improvements. In spite of this, there are frequent lawsuits against the Planning Board and applicants initiated by self-righteous individuals who mistakenly believe that they are acting on behalf of all Princeton residents. It is alleged that a recent lawsuit concerning the Dinky relocation cost Princeton taxpayers about $200,000 in unnecessary legal fees.

Our representatives and residents have an obligation to do what is best for the entire community. Nearby Smoyer Park creates unwelcome noise for me on weekends but I appreciate the benefit of the park to the entire Princeton community. When individuals act purely in their own self-interest or that of a cause not supported by the majority of Princeton residents, then we can no longer claim to be an educated and considerate community.

Peter Madison

Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

I was pleased to see the African American community of Princeton recognized for Black History Month, even though this community has been a vital part of Princeton since the late 17th century and should be remembered every month of the year.

The Colored (as we were called) community were slaves who worked on large farms and in homes as domestic and agricultural servants. They were slaves to many early presidents and trustees of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University). In later years families came to Princeton to find employment and to build a vibrant community.

Because Princeton was a Jim Crow town, the African American population was not welcomed in many stores or restaurants or social establishments along Nassau Street, so there were many businesses and establishments in the area from Jackson Street (Paul Robeson Place) to Birch Avenue. African Americans also owned businesses on Nassau, Spring, and Hulfish Streets.

As a result of living in a segregated town there was an extremely active Colored business community — florists, barber shops, beauty parlors, candy stores, restaurants, clothing stores, taxi services as well as craftsmen, educators, lawyers, and physicians. Our families also served as laborers and domestics for many Princeton families, in private clubs that we could not patronize, and as cooks at the Princeton University eating clubs.

In 1948 the two schools in the Borough of Princeton, Nassau Street School and Witherspoon School for Colored Children were integrated — Nassau Street School became the elementary school and Witherspoon School became the junior high school for all students in the Borough. In the late 1960s the sixth through eighth grade students walked with their teachers from Witherspoon School, located on Quarry Street, to the John Witherspoon Middle School.

We attended four churches, had our educational, recreational, social, and athletic events at the Colored YM/YWCA and had business and social meetings and events at the three fraternal organizations. Our neighbors were Italian families who also served the residents of Princeton and contributed as laborers craftsmen, stonecutters, entrepreneurs, and store owners.

Now that the community from Paul Robeson Place to Birch Avenue has been, and continues to be, threatened by developers, the once close knit and thriving community will be extinct. Those of us who care about this community need to convey to others that we are not a community to be pitied for the injustices that our families endured for centuries, but to be supported for wanting to preserve a legacy of a proud and thriving community to whom Princeton is indebted.

ShirLEy A. Satterfield

Quarry Street

To the Editor:

My father died when I was 10, and it was a very lonely, awkward, and painful time for me. I am writing this letter in the hope that your readers will gain awareness and consider supporting this organization that I have recently joined. Good Grief provides unlimited, free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, brother or child through peer support programs, education, and advocacy.

Through Good Grief, I learned that one out of seven children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 15! I listened to the statistics and histories of the individuals who have been helped by Good Grief since 2004, and it truly moved me as I heard my story being told. When my father died, there really wasn’t anyone with whom I could share my feelings. I look back and wonder how it would have been if there had been an organization like this for me.

Due to growing demand, Good Grief has outgrown its location in Princeton. They are hosting a reception and fundraising event on March 26 from 6 to 7:30 pm at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street in Princeton. If this letter has touched a chord with you, please contact Malena Attar at (609) 498-6674 x8008 or email her at You can also see their website at

Please join us on March 26 and find out what we are all about.

Irv Urken


To the Editor:

Longtime Princeton residents, my husband and I have called upon Mark Johnson a number of times and he has always come through for us — a dead fawn on the yard, baby raccoons in the chimney, once bats in the attic, another time a bat in our office. Other town residents I know have had similar positive experiences. I now learn to my dismay that, according The Town Topics, “Mark Johnson Is No Longer Town’s Animal Control Officer” [page one, March 11].

How could this happen? It turns out that our relatively new Town Administrator Marc Dashield has offered Mr. Johnson, the animal control officer for Princeton for more than two decades, a separation agreement. Why?

Is it possible that Mr. Johnson is being punished for doing his job, implementing a controversial deer control program that nonetheless has the support of the majority of Princeton residents? What in fact caused this ridiculous forced departure?

It turns out that very shortly before Mr. Johnson’s employment problems began he gave two tickets for sabotaging Princeton’s deer control program to Mr. Edward Linky, an individual who appears to be well-connected to both the Princeton government and Mr. Johnson’s immediate employers in the Princeton government.

I think Mr. Johnson is owed an apology and immediate reinstatement. His forced departure is an insult to him and an affront to the many Princeton residents who have been grateful for his professional help over many years.

From my personal point of view, Mr. Johnson’s arranged departure is potentially expensive to Princeton taxpayers as well. Who is now overseeing to the deer control program? Where will Princeton find someone as competent and well trained and experienced as Mr. Johnson? How expensive would the search be? What competent person with options would be willing to work for a city that lets years of good service be ignored?

If it has not already been done by the time this letter is published, I recommend that those Princeton government employees involved in Mr. Johnson’s departure reinstate him and write him letters of apology.

If Mr. Edward Linky has not already done so, I recommend that he apologize to animal control officer Mark Johnson for having caused Mr. Johnson embarrassment and an unpleasant and inappropriate review process.

I recommend that the Princeton Council take up the question of whether any improper pressure was applied in securing Mr. Johnson’s ridiculous, harmful, and costly departure.

Finally, I recommend that the deer bait station near Mr. Linky’s property be moved. There is no point in continuing to annoy a person who seems to anger easily and apparently has, from my point of view, excessive and inappropriate influence on Princeton government personnel decisions.

Dawn Day

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor;

Those of us who have lived in Princeton for many years and come to know Mark Johnson even slightly have been impressed with his knowledge and handling of all the wild animals not only in Princeton but in New Jersey and how to deal with them.

Mark grew up travelling with his father and learning about his job from an early age. His father was an Animal Control Officer too.

Yes, if you were caught walking a dog off leash or not having a bag in your pocket he would give you a warning and you certainly listened to him. That was his job.

If you had a difficult marauder to deal with, Mark would lend a “Have-a-Heart” trap, set it, and then collect it later.

Any Princeton Animal Control Officer has a difficult job in our town. He will not only deal with bear, fox, coyote, skunk, stray animals, etc., but with citizens too. Some of us are more difficult to deal with than the animals he is so expert with. During his long tenure Mark has been able to balance this act. We should not be dismissing such a professional man for doing his job as he thinks best.

Could this have become a political problem decided with newcomers not familiar with our needs? I hope not.

Lindy Eiref

Dodds Lane

HEALTHY EATING: “We want Terra Learning Kitchen to be an eye opener. Our message is about eating healthy and eating seasonally. We saw an opportunity to offer healthy food at affordable prices at this central location.” Shown left to right is the Terra Learning Kitchen team: kitchen manager Margo Allen, Raoul and Carlo Momo of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Dorothy Mullen of the Suppers Program, and pastry chef Natalie Russano.

HEALTHY EATING: “We want Terra Learning Kitchen to be an eye opener. Our message is about eating healthy and eating seasonally. We saw an opportunity to offer healthy food at affordable prices at this central location.” Shown left to right is the Terra Learning Kitchen team: kitchen manager Margo Allen, Raoul and Carlo Momo of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Dorothy Mullen of the Suppers Program, and pastry chef Natalie Russano.

Reinforcing attitudes about the importance of home-cooked food and educating consumers about the negative consequences of processed foods is the goal of Terra Learning Kitchen.

Indeed, it is a “Kitchen with a Mission!”

“Our shared mission is to promote health by providing tasty whole food for a reasonable cost and educating our community about cooking nutritious food deliciously,” says Raoul Momo, co-owner of Terra Momo Restaurant Group and a founder of Terra Learning Kitchen (TLK).

“Terra Learning Kitchen is dedicated to educating the public about wholesome food and cooking, and how to make healthy food and delicious food the same thing. It offers a variety of cooking classes as well as healthy grab ’n’ go lunches and take-out dinners,” adds TLK kitchen manager Margo Allen.

Combined Venture

Located inside the Program Building of the Princeton Family Y, TLK is a combined venture of the YMCA, The Suppers Program, and the Terra Momo Restaurant Group.

Started in January of 2014, TLK has continued to evolve, and now offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner to go. Eat-in or take-out selections are available five days a week, as well as cooking classes and events focusing on cooking instruction, preparing the meals, and then enjoying the culinary results.

Parties of all kinds, celebrations, and corporate team building events are all popular options.

Delicious and nutritious is the key, point out Raoul Momo and Dorothy Mullen, who are supporters of TLK. Mr. Momo and his brother Carlo Momo are the owners of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, which includes such popular eating establishments as Mediterra, Teresa’s Caffe, Eno Terra, and Terra Momo Bread Company.

Ms. Mullen is the founder of The Suppers Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering healthy nutrition and emphasizing its importance in reducing a variety of illnesses and addictions.

Supper meetings are held in central New Jersey, when people gather to “cook together, eat together, learn together, and taste and feel their way to vibrant health using whole food,” reports Ms. Mullen.

Four Principles

“Four principles guide us to our mission,” she adds. “(1) the active practice of non-judgment, (2) whole food preparation, (3) no commercial messages, and (4) restoration of the family table.”

Much of this philosophy is evident at TLK, where the focus is on education about healthy eating as well as providing nutritious dishes.

“There is great need and growing interest for programs that help people understand how to eat better and more nutritiously,” says Mr. Momo. “We share a mutual goal of enhancing people’s well-being and healthy eating. We are very pleased to be adding another dimension to that experience through culinary education. We hear it all the time — people are eager to learn how to eat better and make choices that improve their health, as individuals and as families, without compromising taste.”

But how to do this when everyone is so rushed, trying to balance numerous obligations and tasks, and where budget is a never-ending consideration?

Easy accessibility to nutritious food at affordable prices is the key, believes the TLK team, and they want people to understand the consequences of fast food, processed food, and the health consequences that can result.

“At TLK, we prepare healthy food, all made from scratch, and we make it accessible and convenient for people,” says Ms. Mullen. “We are value-driven. I really come at this from the health angle of preventing disease and unnecessary suffering. Unhealthy eating can be a factor in obesity, diabetes, and other health problems, including addictions, especially in connection with processed food.”

Best Outcome

In the best outcome, healthy eating can ultimately help to prevent illness and reduce medical expenses.

TLK cooking classes include the basics, such as knife skills, soup-making, seasonal cooking, etc., notes Ms. Mullen. “Mini Chef” school is available for children, and it is never too soon for the youngest among us to discover the pleasures of preparing and then eating their culinary creations.

Food and kitchen accessibility — not just from vending machines, microwave ovens, and fast food establishments — is a major concern of the TLK partners. They believe there has been a growing “disconnect” between people and their food, and this has been apparent in the design and use of buildings.

“There was a time when public buildings like schools, libraries, and YMCAs all had proper kitchens. The cafeterias actually cooked food. These days public buildings are being built just with snack bars, warmers, and microwave ovens. This loss of kitchens from public spaces reinforces the sick idea in our culture that good food doesn’t matter, that cooking isn’t necessary,” notes the TLK team.

“What we stand up for by collaborating on TLK is the idea that there’s no separating the health of the people from cooking delicious food. Once you lose a couple of generations of people who know how to cook, it takes a big effort to reverse the mistake. There aren’t enough mothers and grandmothers — and fathers too — passing along skills and traditions, standards, and food values. What used to happen naturally and simply in families now requires complex solutions, including instruction.

“We did a very big experiment. The results are in. You can’t erase local food traditions and cooking from a culture without really bad consequences like diabetes and obesity and all these food-driven diagnoses.”

Back on Track

“Therefore, kitchens in public spaces have to be about more than just getting some food out wherever people gather. The culture needs them to be teaching and learning kitchens too because somehow we have to get our derailed train back on the tracks.”

“That’s why Terra Momo is collaborating with the YMCA and Suppers,” adds Mr. Momo. “The Y and Suppers have health missions, and Terra Momo prizes high standards for quality and sourcing of food. They come together in TLK, which is creating a higher bar and a model of what has to happen with kitchens in public spaces in order to turn around this massive, destructive trend.”

Menu choices at TLK include a variety of tempting dishes. The very popular Breakfast Burrito consists of scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and cheddar cheese; Frittata of the Day features seasonal vegetables and crustless egg quiche; the Smoothie of the Day offers fresh fruit and vegetables, and there is also Greek yogurt, homemade granola, and seasonal fruit compote.

Soup and chili are very much in demand, including turkey chili with ground turkey, kidney beans, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes; spicy vegetarian chili is another option and includes white beans, black beans, red and green bell peppers, and eggplant spiced with chipotle peppers.

Chicken and kale soup offers chicken breast with carrots, celery, onions, and Tuscan kale, and brown rice (optional).

Salads include Tuscan Kale with tossed almonds, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes in a white balsamic vinaigrette; also Chop Salad featuring local greens, feta cheese, radish, red onion, cauliflower, and crispy garbanzo beans, served with a choice of dressing; and Goat Cheese & Apricot, served over mixed greens with toasted almonds, and choice of dressing.

Noodle-less Lasagna

Tacos and enchiladas round out the menu, and include coconut and chili chicken or pulled pork carnitas on corn tortilla with such toppings as shredded local lettuce, pickled jalapenos, cheddar cheese, queso fresco, Mexican crema, and salsa verde.

Vegetarian enchiladas include corn tortillas filled with quinoa, kale, black beans, and mozzarella cheese, served with tomato sofrito sauce. Other choices are Chicken Cacciatore, Noodle-less Lasagna, including layered roasted zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, house marinara, mozzarella, ricotta, and kale. Turkey meatballs with marinara are another choice, among many others.

Prices range from $3 for the Frittata of the Day, $5 for chili, soup, salads, and tacos, to $8 for Chicken Cacciatore and Lasagna.

“We use only the freshest ingredients, focusing on locally-sourced and seasonally available produce,” says Mr. Momo. “We have a brand new kitchen space, which has been completely renovated. We are open to all the Y members and to the general public. We really want to be involved in the community. I enjoy serving the community. I live here, my kids go to the Y, and I’m really involved on a personal level.

“There is really nothing else like TLK in the area. We plan to have more cooking classes and more events in the All-Purpose Room. We’re excited, and we look forward to seeing our concept and vision grow.”

Terra Learning Kitchen seats 18 inside, and also offers outdoor seating and a picnic table in the garden in warm weather. Parking is free and convenient, and TLK is open Monday and Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 to 5. (609) 580-1664. Website: It is also possible to order online.

March 11, 2015
LOOKING GOOD: “We provide hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community, specializing in wavy, curly, and kinky hair,” explain Nelson (left), and Najwa Comeau, owner-operators of the new Makeovers Studio on Leigh Avenue. They look forward to introducing their services to many more clients.

LOOKING GOOD: “We provide hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community, specializing in wavy, curly, and kinky hair,” explain Nelson (left), and Najwa Comeau, owner-operators of the new Makeovers Studio on Leigh Avenue. They look forward to introducing their services to many more clients.

Helping clients to look their best is the goal of the owner-operators of Makeovers Studio at 21 Leigh Avenue. Najwa Comeau and Nelson opened the new hair and make-up salon in October, 2014. Both are experienced hair and make-up artists, and believed the timing was right to offer their special skills to the community.

“We think we are filling a need in Princeton for hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community,” explains Nelson, who has previously worked as a stylist in New York City, Philadelphia, and the Princeton area.

“We are about helping you to find ways to reinvent yourself,” adds Najwa, whose specialty is make-up. “A new look can give you new confidence!”

She was especially pleased to open the new studio at the location of her grandmother’s former salon, Burrell’s Salon/Impulse Corner.

Grandmother’s Legacy

Doris Burrell opened the salon in 1947, and owned and operated it until its closing 12 years ago. The salon drew customers from all over the Princeton area, and as far away as Asbury Park and New York. Customers included a mix of ages and ethnic backgrounds.

“I enjoy carrying on the legacy of my grandmother and continuing what she started,” says Najwa. “She had the first business owned by a black woman in Princeton, and she inspired the careers of a lot of people. I helped my grandmother in the salon when I was a girl, and I liked to be there. I was always interested in hair and make-up.”

Najwa and Nelson completely renovated the space, removing walls, adding new lighting, and artwork. Many of the paintings are Nelson’s original work.

“Eventually, we hope to have an ‘Art Night Out’ once or twice a month, where people can come, enjoy the artwork, have refreshments, and spend time together with us,” notes Nelson.

In addition to her paintings, Nelson’s creativity extends to her hand-crafted jewelry, which is on display. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and anklets are all available for sale. She also creates silk pillow cases, which are noted for helping to keep hair styles in place overnight when one is asleep.

Hair and make-up services are the major focus at the studio. Both licensed cosmetologists, Najwa and Nelson keep up on the latest advances and techniques. Both had previously worked as make-up and hair artists at photo shoots for magazines, billboards, and fashion shows and events.

Open to Learning

As they point out, “It is very important to keep up with all the advances and new techniques in both the hair and make-up fields. We are always learning and always open to learning.”

“Nelson is a master stylist, and specializes in hair extensions and color,” continues Najwa. “She knows about many kinds of extensions, and also has special training for non-surgical hair replacements.

“The right system is important,” points out Nelson. “There are temporary extensions and semi-permanent ones. Extensions are very popular today.”

Straightening and relaxers are other services, and different kinds of techniques, including keratin treatments, are available. Steam treatment to restore moisture to hair is another service.

Dreadlocks and braiding are also offered, and in addition, wigs are available. “Sometimes, people have wigs for medical or religious reasons, while other times, they just want a change in their look,” reports Nelson.

Treatments for dry hair, thinning hair, and scalp conditions are also available, as is corrective care for those who have had a bad hair day or for do-it-yourselfers who have made color mistakes.


“Color is extremely important,” says Nelson. “One of my specialties is color for relaxed hair. It must be done properly.”

“Color is a “must-have” for many clients, and for many reasons,” adds Najwa. “Some people want to look as natural as possible; others want to go with a trend or make a statement, and be ‘out there! The sky’s the limit!”

Both Najwa and Nelson emphasize that it is essential that color be applied with careful attention and professional care.

“If you want to make a statement, come to us!” says Najwa, with a smile. “You can have a make-over, and your hair and make-up will reach a whole new level.”

Make-up lessons and applications are available, as well as make-up for weddings, proms, and other special occasions. “It should be occasion-appropriate make-up,” points out Najwa. “Make-up can change for different occasions and from day to evening; just as your wardrobe changes, your face can change. And there is an art to it.

“The idea with make-up, really, is to look like yourself, but enhanced. With instruction, you can learn to apply make-up in five minutes — the ‘Five Minute Face!’ Be sure to have all the products you need nearby and only the ones you will use. First, even out the skin, then groom the eyebrows, apply liner and mascara, blush, lip — and you’re done!

“Five Minute Face”

Najwa adds that skin type — color, tone, oily, dry, etc. — is important for make-up choices. Make-up can also change seasonally, as in summer or winter, and life-style is another issue.

“I teach a workshop on the ‘Five Minute Face’, and focus on office to evening,” she explains. “You go to work with day-appropriate make-up, and you can take that same face with you for an evening occasion. I’ll show you how to make it ‘evening’ without washing, just a little sprucing up to make it evening-appropriate, and you’re ready to go!

“What I enjoy so much about make-up is seeing how much everyone likes it. Make-up is fun. I work with so many ages, and it’s creative and artistic. We have young teens come in, and they may be experimenting with make-up for the first time. We want to help them with appropriate make-up and also to learn about proper hygiene with the use of make-up. It is also important not to keep make-up products too long, especially eye products. For example, you should get new mascara after three months.”

As in the case of the hair industry, make-up changes have exploded over the years, reports Najwa. “There are so many more shades and products and techniques today than when I first started.”

The clients at Makeovers Studio are all ages and ethnic backgrounds, and include a number of men, who are often experimenting with color, especially gray reduction, and eye brow grooming, notes Nelson.

“Generally, with hair, our bread and butter is style and blow dry, and frequently for clients who come in once a week.”

Three Generations

The salon is offering a $20 discount off hair services for first time customers.

Both Najwa and Nelson are pleased that the studio is off to such an encouraging start, including enthusiastic word-of-mouth communication.

“It’s wonderful to have the business here,” adds Najwa. “I grew up and went to school in this neighborhood. How many people can say they have a business in their home town? And there are three generations in town: my grandmother, my mother, and me. Also, my brother Shahid Abdul-Karim is a policeman in Princeton.

“I feel blessed to carry on my grandmother’s legacy, and also to work side by side with Nelson, who is so much like and just as talented as my grandmother.

“We look forward to growing the business and building a brand of quality that people can count on. We want to be a staple in the community. We believe we are helping people feel good about themselves. When they look better, they feel better, have more confidence and self-esteem. It’s very creative work, and the fun part is seeing how happy our clients are.”

Makeovers Studio is open Monday by appointment, Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 11 to 7, Thursday 10 to 8, Friday 10 to 6, Saturday 10 to 4. (609) 285-3721. Facebook: Makeovers Studio 21.

Piccolo Trattoria is almost too good to be true. This Ristorante Italiano is located in the Hopewell Valley Crossing Shopping Center just off Route 31 South at R Denow Road in Pennington. It offers an exceptional array of Italian dishes, including pizzas, pasta, and paninis, as well as appetizers, entrees, soups, and salads of all kinds.

Owned by Fami Elabed, it is one of three Piccolo Trattorias he has established, including two in Pennsylvania.

“This is my passion,” he says. “We’re set apart by our fresh ingredients, special recipes, and our presentation. We are brilliant at the basics! And we have many regular customers from all over the area and beyond. We are very popular with families, and we have a children’s menu.

Mr. Elabed’s passion for Italian cuisine, served to his guests as if they were his own family, is the driving force behind all three Piccolo Trattorias. At the age of 12, he entered the hospitality industry by working at a pizzeria and learning every aspect of the trade. After high school, he took the next step in his career by apprenticing under chefs who taught him the nuances of creating authentic Italian cuisine. And always, there was the underlying desire to own and operate his own restaurant.

Spacious Restaurant

This dream was realized in 2001, when Mr. Elabed opened the first of his Piccolo Trattorias, in Newtown, Pa., followed by the Pennington location in 2005, and then most recently, the restaurant in Langhorne, Pa.The spacious Pennington restaurant combines a pizzeria, bistro, and main dining room with seating for 170. Outside, patio dining accommodates 25 people, who can enjoy the attractive setting which features a large fountain.

The restaurant reflects an Italian ambiance with artwork and posters of Italian scenes decorating the walls. Handsome tile flooring is notable throughout the bistro, dining room, and pizzeria. White tablecloths, yellow and black napkins create an inviting setting for guests in the main dining room, while the pizzeria is more informal, with a relaxed down-to-earth atmosphere.

Lunch, dinner, and take-out are available at Piccolo, and catering has also become a big part of the business, “We bring the restaurant to your house,” reports Mr. Elabed. A complete variety of dishes is offered for every size and style of events, he adds.

“We also do a lot of corporate business, both catering at their locations and luncheons and dinners here.”

The menu at Piccolo is truly remarkable. The number and variety of choices offers a dish for every taste. Appetizers include the very popular Antipasto Rustico, with prosciutto, sopressata, sharp provolone, shaved reggiano, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, and grilled marinated vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. An assortment of calamari (fried and grilled) is another favorite, as are the restaurant’s signature crab cakes.

Daily Specials

Piccolo is known for its bronzini fish dishes. This popular Mediterranean fish is baked and filleted, and served with black olives. Chicken Amali is always in demand, and salmone alla Piccolo (grilled salmon over sauteed cannellini beans and spinach in a port wine reduction), and shrimp scampi are other favorites.

“We also have specials every day,” notes Mr. Elabed. “We find that some people like to have their favorite dish every time they come in, and others like to experiment and try something different.”

Popular pasta dishes include numerous choices, such as fusilli matriciana (pasta tossed with a tangy sauce with grape tomatoes, sauteed pancetta, onions, fresh basil, and fresh garlic); fettucine alfredo (egg noodle pasta in a creamy parmiagiano and pecorino romano cheese sauce, with chicken or shrimp); and homemade gnocchi ( homemade potato dumplings in a choice of gorgonzola cream sauce, vodka cream sauce, mariana bolognese or pesto sauce, with chicken or shrimp), among many others.

Piccolo’s apple walnut salad with gorgonzola cheese in homemade Piccolo classic balsamic vinaigrette is another very popular choice.

And then, there are the pizzas! Just about every possible pizza combination one can imagine is available. The Brooklyn Old World Pizza is Piccolo’s signature pizza, with its thin crust, special plum tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of parmigiano cheese.

“This is a real specialty for us,” says Mr. Elabed.

Homemade Bread

Many, many others are on the menu, along with the paninis, strombolis, and calzones, all Italian specialties.

Mr. Elabed points out that many gluten-free choices are offered. “We accommodate people who have special dietary needs, and we have many vegetarian dishes.

Homemade bread is also baked on the premises, and Piccolo is known for its popular garlic knots.

Desserts highlight homemade tiramisu and cannoli, among many others, including a variety of chocolate specialties. Cappuccino and espresso are available, along with a selection of other beverages.

Piccolo does not have a liquor license, but many diners bring wine or spirits to accompany their meal.

Prices at the restaurant cover a range, with appetizers from $7.99, paninis from $9, pasta from $11, and other entrees from $14.

Mr. Elabed is proud of the reputation he has established with his restaurants, and looks forward to continuing to please his customers’ palates. “We are in the hospitality business. Our goal is to make everyone happy from the time they come in until they leave, after having had a great meal. My passion is to make sure that whoever walks in is part of the Piccolo family. We welcome our guests. We want them to enjoy coming to dine with us.

“We also feel we are part of the community, and we always want to give back. I believe hard work pays off. We have established very high standards, and we continue to meet those standards. Customers can count on that. And I have a great staff, who give wonderful service. Many have been here since Day One.”

Piccolo Trattoria is open Sunday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday, Sunday until 11. (609) 737-9050. Website:

THE REAL THING: “We are set apart by serving authentic Mexican street food.” The corporate team of The Taco Truck includes from left, marketing director Stephanie Hague, owner Jason Scott, vice president of operations Nolan Woods, and owner Chris Viola. They are enthusiastic about their new restaurant, which offers authentic “taqueria” cuisine — the real thing!

THE REAL THING: “We are set apart by serving authentic Mexican street food.” The corporate team of The Taco Truck includes from left, marketing director Stephanie Hague, owner Jason Scott, vice president of operations Nolan Woods, and owner Chris Viola. They are enthusiastic about their new restaurant, which offers authentic “taqueria” cuisine — the real thing!

“Eat more tacos!” That is the motto — and the hope — of The Taco Truck, newly opened in the Princeton Shopping Center.

Chris Viola and Jason Scott had this great idea — bring the authentic Mexican “taqueria” street food, especially tacos, to the east coast of the United States.

“It was really Jason’s idea,” explains Chris Viola. “He had been in Mexico and had really liked Mexican street food. He wanted to offer customers here authentic Mexican tacos. While he was a businessman, he didn’t have restaurant experience, and that’s where I came in. I had gone to Cornell’s Hotel School, and then worked in food and beverage at Four Seasons.”

So, in 2009, the two entrepreneurs formed a partnership and established their first Taco Truck in Hoboken. They enlisted the expertise of experienced culinary professionals from Mexico City to create the authentic recipes, and then sent their truck out to various events and farmers’ markets in the area.

Brick and Mortar

Their tacos and related items (tortas, burritos, quesadillas, etc.) were such a hit that the partners were inspired to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Hoboken in 2010, and then add new locations to meet increasing requests from customers.

They established a very successful kiosk on Manhattan’s High Line, and opened restaurant/cafes in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Morristown, N.J.

The Princeton location is their most recent undertaking, and while only open since December 26, it has received excellent reviews, and has been attracting scores of customers of all ages, including many families, every day.

“Princeton is a great fit for us,” reports Mr. Viola. “We had been here with our truck for events at the university and McCarter Theater, and people have been very receptive. We liked the idea of the Princeton Shopping Center because it is central, and also the parking is so easy and convenient. We are so encouraged. We’re getting great comments from customers and also from the other merchants. We have great neighbors.”

As they enter the “south-of-the-border” Taco Truck restaurant, customers are first enticed by the appealing aromas of tacos in various stages of preparation. The friendly staff is quick to take an order, and also explain any Spanish terms on the menu that a customer may not know.

Among the most popular tacos are “pescado”, served with crispy catfish, red cabbage, pico de gallo, tartar, and chipotle salsa in flour tortillas; “aguacate tostada” with crispy avocado, black beans, sesame seeds, pickled onions, tortillas fritas, and chipolte salsa.

Toasted Sandwiches

Other favorites include “pollo asado” with grilled chicken, lime pickled onions, and roasted red salsa; and “al pastor”, featuring marinated pork, onions, cilantro, pineapple, and fresh green salsa; among other popular items.

Tortas are toasted Mexican sandwiches, explains Mr. Viola. “Not everyone knows this, and we enjoy educating customers about our food. This is a real goal for us.”

Among the sandwiches, which are served with white onion, pickled jalapeno, avocado, crema, and black beans, are “barbacoa” with braised beef and chipotle salsa; “carnitas” or braised sweet pork with cilantro; and “pollo asado” or grilled chicken.

Burritos, served with red rice and black beans in a flour tortilla, include “al pastor” with marinated pork, onion, cilantro, pineapple, and fresh green salsa; “pollo asado” or grilled chicken with lime-pickled onion, and roasted red salsa; and “verduras” (seasonal vegetables).

There is always a vegetarian choice among all the selections.

Guacamole, salsa, and rice and beans are favorite side dishes, along with street corn (on the cob with mayonnaise, cheese, chili piquin, and lime); and La Capital soup with chicken, rice, hominy, lima beans, carrots, corn, cilantro, and chipotle.

A popular salad features mixed greens, cheese, tomato, avocado, pumpkin seeds, crispy tortilla, and pineapple vinaigrette. Chicken, beef, pork, or fish can be added for an extra cost.

Customer’s Taste

Any of the items can be prepared according to the customer’s taste, regarding mild to spicy seasoning.

Authentic Mexican sweets feature “plantano’s fritos” or fried sweet plantains with crema and sugar; and “churros” — fried dough, cinnamon, sugar, and seasonal sauce.

Beverages include Mexican Coca-Cola (with no high fructose corn syrup), Mexican sodas, and fresh fruit waters, among others.

Prices range from $5 for one taco (most taco dishes include three tacos) to $8.75 for the top-priced burrito or torta. Sides and sweets start at $2.50, and beverages at $2. The children’s menu includes tacos and quesadillas for $3.50.

The Taco Truck also has a growing catering business, with off-site birthday parties, corporate events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., and the trucks are busy all year round. All sizes of events, from 15 to 500, can be accommodated.

Mr. Viola and Mr. Scott are committed to offering the freshest ingredients with a focus on healthy, high quality products. “We are set apart by our quality ingredients,” says Mr. Viola. “All of our meat is antibiotic-free. We support local farmers who raise their animals on a vegetarian diet without antibiotics or hormones. We get the freshest ingredients we can find and we try to make a positive impact on our planet every day.

“All our packaging is compostable, and we compost our left-over food and packaging three times a week. We compost thousands of pounds of food and packaging waste every year.”


Mr. Viola is pleased that customers, who are a cross-section of families, Princeton University students, high school students, and business people, share The Taco Truck’s focus, not only on healthy food, but on the health of the environment.

“Our four core principles are (1) hospitality, (2) authenticity, (3) sustainability, and (4) community involvement. Wherever we open, we focus on the community by being active in our neighborhood through ongoing community involvement. We feel very fortunate that the community has welcomed us in Princeton.”

At the shopping center, lunch and dinner are available seven days, with take-out and sit-down equally popular. Fifty diners can be seated inside, with outdoor seating expected to be available in the spring.

“I want our customers to enjoy the food and have a great experience here,” says Mr. Viola. “We have an opportunity to make a real impact.”

The Taco Truck is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (609) 580-1384. Website:

“This is just a great place. It is so welcoming. It’s a mixture of luxury, comfort, and simplicity. And, the English breakfast is amazing! My parents are from Manhattan; I’m from Vermont, and we love to get together here.”

This comment by April Stein is very typical of the guests who enjoy the hospitality at the Inn At Bowman’s Hill in New Hope.

Located at 518 Lurgan Road, the Inn, which is actually a high-end Bed & Breakfast, opened in 2005.

“We are open year-round, and are especially busy on weekends, when we are nearly always 100 percent full. The summer and Christmas time are also very busy,” says owner and Innkeeper Mike Avery.

Top 10

Located on a 5-plus-acre estate, this exclusive Bed & Breakfast is two miles south of New Hope, and very close to the 100-acre Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a very popular Bucks County landmark.

The Inn has been named in the Top 10 Most Romantic Bed & Breakfasts in the U.S. by five different organizations, including Forbes Traveler and Trip Advisor.

Guests enjoy walking on the pathways of this splendid estate, taking a dip in the heated swimming pool, lounging in the hot tub, watching the fish in the two koi ponds, and taking time to relax in the beautiful natural setting, amidst extensive woodlands and the sights and sounds of nature.

The Inn is a certified wildlife habitat, points out Mr. Avery. An abundance of flora and fauna, including white-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, snapping turtles, tree frogs, and large numbers of bird species, adds interest for many guests.

“An ornithologist from Cornell University was here, and either saw or heard 80 different species of birds,” reports Mr. Avery. “One of the things I sometimes forget is what a beautiful environment we live in. The natural beauty we have here — the animals, birds, and flowers.”

The landscaping is indeed lovely, replete with plants and flowers, and tranquil fountains. An orchid conservatory contains an array of beautiful specimens.

Optic Stars

The Inn provides eight rooms, including four suites, each with its own fireplace and private bathroom with heated, two-person whirlpool bath. “We have added two new suites this year,” notes Mr. Avery, “and we put in a corner tub with 300 fiber optic stars in the ceiling that twinkle, a shooting star, and also a steam shower with 11 shower heads.”

Spa services at the inn include a variety of different types of massage, he adds.

Born and brought up in England, Mr. Avery traveled extensively, and worked for more than 30 years with Bristol Myers-Squibb, headquartered in Princeton. Changing his focus in 2001, he purchased the Inn (then a private home) and totally renovated it, with a bow to his English heritage.

“Everything has been completely renovated,” he notes, adding, however, “There’s an old saying: ‘There’s nothing new under the sun; just new ways of combining things.’”

The result of his efforts is a handsome and impressive Inn that is a haven for adults of all ages. Not the least of its attractions is the full scale English breakfast, which in the early days of the inn’s existence, Mr. Avery cooked himself. He now employs the services of chef Anastasio, who prepares everything to order.

“Our signature English breakfast includes eggs any style, bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans, mushroom, and potatoes,” explains Mr. Avery. “We also offer pancakes, fresh syrup, fresh muffins everyday, and eight or nine different juices. Right now, the most popular juice is the orange and carrot combination.”

Soufflé Omelet

“We also offer eggs benedict and my own special soufflé omelet 70 percent of the guests choose the full English breakfast.”

They also like the fact that the eggs are from the inn’s own chickens, who live on the estate, and many of the tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables are grown on a nearby farm.

Chef Anastasio can accommodate guests with special dietary needs, adds Mr. Avery. “A lot of people have gluten intolerance now, and we have gluten-free items for them. Anastasio creates wonderful dishes for everyone.”

Attention to detail and mindfulness for each guest’s comfort is the key to the Inn’s success, believes Mr. Avery. “The four important words that describe what our guests experience here are: relax, celebrate, reconnect, and remember. Our guest’s privacy and discretion are our number one priority.

“We have a lot of people who come to celebrate their anniversary. Recently, a couple came to celebrate their 70th! We also had a 92-year-old guest with his 88-year-old bride.

“Some people are rekindling a relationship, and other people might come before they are going into surgery or about to experience some other major event.”

English Royalty

Guests are from all over the U.S. and also abroad, he adds. “We have people from Europe, Asia, and Australia. Our guests include English royalty, musicians, actors, and military officers. It’s a wide spectrum. I very much enjoy the diversity of the people I meet at the Inn. They are really, really interesting individuals.”

He adds that a surprising number of guests are people from nearby New Jersey and Bucks County. “We really get a lot of local guests, just looking for a relaxed or romantic time in a beautiful setting. We have a lot of excellent word-of-mouth and many, many repeat guests. A lot of people also find us on-line today.”

The Inn is also a focal point for executive retreats, he points out. The property is ideally suited for a small group of up to 15 persons, and an excellent setting for brainstorming, strategic planning, and high-level client interaction. “We have a great meeting room, and we get a lot of business from corporations on the Princeton Route One corridor,” says Mr. Avery.

New Hope and the surrounding area offer an array of activities for the Inn At Bowman’s Hill guests. Many fine restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities are nearby.

A classically-trained musician, Mr. Avery now especially enjoys playing blue grass, and can be found every Sunday night playing at the nearby Bowman’s Tavern. In October, he took a rare three days off to attend a blue grass festival in North Carolina.

Tending to the needs of his guests is a full-time endeavor, and as he says, “Maintenance must be 100 percent. Right now, we are in the midst of changing 700 light bulbs to LED. This will cut our lighting expenses.

“In this day and age, you are judged every day in the court of public opinion. We work very hard to please our guests, and this is a way to make people happy.”

In addition, giving back to others is an important part of Mr. Avery’s philosophy, This is particularly in evidence every Veteran’s Day, when six rooms at the inn are given free of charge to currently-serving military men and women and veterans. A special musical program is also presented for them.

“This is a part of the ‘Better Way to Stay’ national program,” explains Mr. Avery, “and it is something we look forward to doing every year.”

The Inn at Bowman’s Hill is open year-round. (215) 862-8090. Website:

To the Editor:

This Friday, an unlikely couple will meet at the local library: climate change and comic cabaret. This is not the sort of comedy that makes light of its subject, but rather seeks to give a ponderous subject the lift it needs to rise into people’s thoughts. No other subject challenges our contentment with the status quo like climate change, nor offers as much angst from which to forge comedy.

The environmental movement was built in large part on a fear of what is getting into our bodies. Chemicals, radiation — these are the nasties that threaten to invade. But climate change is driven by seemingly benign gases, invisible, odorless, with consequence often distant in place and time. The usual buttons that traditionally trigger our concern and a sense of urgency are not being pushed.

The challenge, then, is to help climate change make the leap from the intellectual to the visceral, from whence it might more constructively drive our thoughts. Facts and figures, grim forebodings, accurate as they may be, have not been sufficient. Better to find in the subject something rewarding, even pleasurable, and ultimately empowering. Comedy seeks to do that through a belly laugh.

To quote loosely from some of the cabaret’s dialogue: “In the future, our cars will run on irony paradoxide. English professors will publish research on what sorts of irony yield the most energy per page. The humanities: Power for the future! You see, there’s hope after all.”

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

Maz Hulk, beloved Mazda MPV born in 2002, died directly in front of Princeton Honda on Route 206 last Thursday. Its caretaker, Laura Hawkins, walked into the Honda dealership and pointed to the expired MPV — to the delight of several car salesmen. Five hours later, Maz was graciously towed and traded by Princeton Honda for an unnamed 2010 Honda Fit. Maz Hulk will be missed for her fake-wood dashboard, many cargo holding places, leg room for dogs, transport for small trees and humans, and reassuring bulk on U.S. 1. The Fit, with bigger hearted fuel economy and less-sweat maneuvering on Nassau Street, will still have much to live up to.

In lieu of contributions, it was Ms. Hulk’s dying wish for all 4-wheeled drivers to read and discuss This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, and to take seriously the critical world-wide need to transition to alternatives to fossil fuels. A request for group discussion on Klein’s book will go to Princeton Public Library. Local places for prayerful and non-violent action for our earth and inhabitants were also requested as part of her dying wish.

Laura Hawkins

Billie Ellis Lane

To the Editor:

In the article, “Advocates of Cycling Weigh Council’s Decision To Table Bike Ordinance” [page one, March 4], those interviewed seemed sincerely motivated to make life better not just for bike riders but for all residents of Princeton. They also seemed frustrated to various degrees by the tabling of the ordinance, and by extension by their inability to effect a desired change. As someone who has spent a career studying and practicing approaches to change in organizations, I humbly offer three suggestions borrowed from experts in the field:

1. Focus on interests, not positions, is one of the principles of negotiation offered by Sheila Heen of Harvard Law School. A particular bike lane on a certain street is a position, increasing safety and sustainability is an interest around which different people (with different needs) can construct a productive dialogue.

2. The late Edwin Nevis helped people understand that in change efforts, recognizing resistance and adopting a respectful attitude in working through it leads to useful outcomes. Assuming that the people who resist the change ‘just don’t get it’ likely impedes the change. Engage the resistance with transparency and curiosity rather than trying to overcome it.

3. Roger Schwarz, perhaps the preeminent living expert on how groups work best, suggests certain assumptions that are helpful in trying to be productive in a community. One of them seems pertinent to this situation: “People can disagree with me and still have pure motives.” Some of the quotes in the article suggest that the ‘advocates’ are starting to pursue this strategy by identifying information that the other side may not possess, but I would advise that they should be equally curious as to what new information those who spoke against the ordinance hold.

As an observer who has lived in Princeton for 11 years and travelled that stretch of Hamilton Avenue to work and back every weekday that whole time, I think that the current resolution is a useful compromise: ”Under the terms of the tabling of the ordinance, a bike lane will be added on the side of street where parking is already not allowed, leaving the existing parking on the opposite side.” I look forward to sharing the road with those who will use the new bike lane, and also enthusiastically anticipate the continued dialogue on safety and sustainability that will address all concerns of Princeton residents including practicality and livability.

T.J. Elliott

Gulick Road