May 11, 2017

To The Editor:

The annual Communiversity springtime celebration was, yet again, a wonderful day of arts, crafts, activities, food, and drink. Kudos to the Arts Council of Princeton and everyone involved in coordinating this event.

As my family enjoyed the afternoon, we were struck by the commitment of Sustainable Princeton to the event. We witnessed Molly Jones and Christine Symington of Sustainable Princeton sorting through trash to ensure the event’s refuse was properly disposed of and all recyclables were separated.

Princeton is a town with outstanding events and admirable citizens. We are fortunate to live in a town with individuals and organizations so committed to ensuring a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment.

Ron Menapace

Owner, The Farmhouse Store, Heather Lane

To the Editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to Louis Slee’s letter of May 3 [“No Parking Study Should Be Undertaken Without Reference to Transportation Planning for Town”] regarding the town’s parking study. He is correct that there is too much traffic congestion on main streets. Ralph Widner has data that will show that most people who drive in Princeton do so to get from one town to another town, neither of which is named “Princeton.” I don’t believe there are any groups in town who advocate for the construction of a bypass any longer.

What is needed is adequate parking. Tineke Thio of the local Bicycle Advisory Committee has documented that there are 4,200 parking spaces (Quakerbridge Mall has 10,000) and 1,179 are in the three garages. The question is if 4,200 and 1,179 represent adequacy. To determine that, we need to know how many spaces are used by employees. Then we can determine if the remaining quantity is adequate.

I would like to see employers provide satellite parking facilities like the University does and expand either the Free B or the schools jitney buses to service the employees who work downtown. This will free up parking spaces for shoppers. If it turns out that these spaces are not used as frequently as before, then there would be more space for bike lanes. If we can accommodate shoppers by providing more off-street parking and bicyclists (by creating a lower level of bicycling stress) then everyone wins.

Dan Rappoport

Princeton Bicyclist Advisory Committee

To the Editor:

We want to give public thanks to a few individuals who do so much for life here in Princeton:

First, to Robert Landau, for letting us set up in front of his store on a Sunday to get out the vote for gubernatorial candidate, John Wisniewski — who broke Bridgegate, prevented the sale of the Turnpike, has ratings of 100 percent from Planned Parenthood, and 0 percent from the NRA.

Second, to Kip Cherry, for her valiant persistence in protecting the Princeton Battlefield for all of us.

And finally, to Joanna Dougherty, for the two evenings she donated to helping us create campaign buttons. Joanna, guardian of the PCDO’s button-making machines, you’re a peach.

Princeton’s Funky Political Theatre

Mary Clurman

Harris Road

Lillian Israel

Willow Street

Carol Hoffman

Blanketflower Lane

Liz Roth 

Burton Circle, Montgomery

To the Editor:

I was dismayed to read about the possible fate of the Veblen house and cottage buildings in Herrontown Woods, as reported in Town Topics [“Resistance Grows as Houses Face Demolition,” page one, May 3]. As a restoration architect with over 30 years experience repairing and preserving old structures, I find the county’s posture to be bewildering, and apparently, close-minded. Freeholder Andrew Koontz claims in the article that demolition of these buildings is the “only option” available. This is rarely the case with buildings, even when in more advanced disrepair than the structures in question. Demolition is an irreversible last resort. I could argue that the buildings are in better condition than implied, or that the budget projections referenced are inflated, but as I understand the circumstances, the group FOHW (Friends of Herrontown Woods) is willing to undertake responsibility for the buildings and adjoining site, so why would the county object? There is no requirement to spend county funds under this scenario. The fact that an interested local group is willing to expend funds, time, and energy to retain and improve an existing resource of historic significance seems to me to be the very definition of a strong, healthy and engaged community. Why would this be discouraged?

Charles DiSanto

Mt. Lucas Road

May 3, 2017

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Arts Council of Princeton’s Board of Trustees, staff, and members, we would like to thank everyone — from the 250 participants consisting of artists, nonprofits, and merchants, to the hundreds of volunteers and the tens of thousands of visitors — who helped make the 47th annual Communiversity ArtsFest such an amazing event.

Communiversity ArtsFest is a town-gown celebration with something for everyone: live performances, creative artistry and crafts, interactive children’s activities, delicious food and drink. We appreciate the extremely talented visual artists who participated in many creative activities including the ACP Atelier in Palmer Square, which was the hub of the Arts Council-sponsored art activities; the ceramics and painting demonstrations at the Paul Robeson Center; the artists that set up their easels throughout Communiversity as part of Paint Out Princeton; the vibrant sidewalk chalk murals; and all the many forms of creative expression that make Communiversity such a unique and memorable event.

As a people-centered nonprofit with a mission of building community through the arts, we are grateful for the collaborations that allowed us to produce another hugely successful event. And so with much appreciation we thank: the students of Princeton University, University President Christopher Eisgruber and the Office of Community and Regional Affairs; Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert; Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes; Jennifer Spillane of the Princeton Area Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Princeton Police Department; Princeton Fire Department; Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad; Princeton Regional Health Department; Princeton Public Works Department; the Princeton Clergy Association; the Princeton Merchants Association; the Princeton Public Library; Mary Harris Events; our title sponsor Bai Brands; our major sponsors AT&T, Baker Auto Group, Palmer Square Management, Princeton Garden Theatre; and the local media. You can find a complete list of all of the generous Communiversity ArtsFest sponsors and in-kind sponsors at

Thank you all for your participation and help in making Communiversity ArtsFest 2017 a fun-filled, family-friendly event.

Taneshia Nash Laird

Executive Director, Arts Council of Princeton

To the Editor:

Opposition to the natural gas pipeline to run through the Pinelands of New Jersey has failed, but it’s necessary for New Jersey residents who do oppose it to keep fighting. One reason for the pipeline, according to a spokesperson for the South Jersey Gas Company, is to help create and protect jobs. Creating and protecting jobs is important to us all, but how important would this be if it means that the health of our residents is compromised and beautiful landscape is ripped apart. The pollution of our air and waterways affects not only the wildlife but us, too.

It is important for New Jersey citizens to know the fragile Pinelands hold an estimated 17 trillion gallons of the nation’s purest water. Also, when oil and gas operators clear a site to build pipelines, harmful pollutants are released into nearby streams. These are direct consequences of the pipeline that will affect us greatly.

Republican and Democrat state governors have opposed the pipeline. This is not a political issue, but a quality-of-life issue. While also a national problem, it’s one that can affect us closely if we don’t continue to act. Chris Christie’s successor will be elected in November, and this should be at the forefront of our minds when that time comes.

Samantha Gardner, 

Hoagland Drive, Montgomery

To the Editor,

In my letter in the March 29 Mailbox about Sunrise Senior Living’s prospective plans for an assisted-living/memory-care facility to be built between the Princeton Shopping Center and Terhune Road, my memory was in evident error about several things. Most significantly, my “recollection” of past commitments to keep the property undeveloped was not supported by records of the zoning history, according to a representative of the Sunrise organization who told me it has always been zoned residential. Prior to the approval and construction of the shopping center in the early 1950s, the entire area was undeveloped, and according to an even earlier and more suspect memory of mine, was devoted primarily to tree farming. Such ancient-history qualifications aside, I must accept the research-based input to the effect that from the time the area has been zoned, the plot between the center and Terhune has been considered residential. The most recent rezoning that I remember permitted multiple-unit housing at a density of 24 units per acre … unless I’m wrong again.

My memory also faltered as to the size and shape of the lot. Based on information from Sunrise, the depth of the lot between Terhune and the center is approximately 195 feet, not 150 as I remembered, and its frontage along Terhune is approximately 737 feet rather than 900 or more. The area of the near-rectangular portion of the lot on which the proposed buildings are to be located is approximately 3.3 acres. There is an “ell” extension of the lot at the end away from Harrison Street, about 1 acre in area, that runs down toward the town park and that is apparently unused in the developer’s present plans.

Having been corrected on some of the assumptions cited in my earlier letter, I remain skeptical as to the suitability of the lot for its proposed use. The tentative layout of the buildings provided by Sunrise shows the assisted-living building having a setback from the shopping center property line of what appears to be about 30 feet. My own interest in moving to such a location is vanishingly small, given my unavoidable conviction that I’d rather not live with the shopping center property line thirty feet from my back window. Other elderly people looking for a place to downsize to may admittedly not be as sensitive as I think I would be to such a conjunction. To paraphrase as accurately as I can, Sunrise believes its primary interest is in the welfare and satisfaction of its residents, which it says it will do its utmost to ensure even given the proposed facility’s proximity to the Princeton Shopping Center.

John Strother

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

I first came to Princeton in 1953 as a graduate student at the University and then as a a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. From 1958 to 1968 I taught at Brandeis University. I returned to Princeton in 1968 to join the faculty of the Princeton University Mathematics Department.

Princeton is a very special town principally because of the two great institutions: the University and the Institute for Advanced Study. These create a unique atmosphere and environment for study, research, learning, and teaching. This idyllic state was brought about, to a large extent, by the idealism, resourcefulness, and negotiating skills of one remarkable individual: Oswald Veblen. Veblen was an outstanding mathematician and a naturalist. He, together with Dean Luther P. Eisenhart and Professor Henry Burchard Fine, built up one of the greatest mathematics departments in the world. He convinced the Bamberger family to locate the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and he was very influential in formulating its mission. Veblen was keenly conscious of the esthetic, architectural, and natural environment which would inspire researchers and students. He was deeply involved in the design of Fine Hall (now known as Jones Hall) which, for over half a century, was one of the great centers of mathematical research and teaching. To Veblen the natural environment was essential for the excellence of academic life. He donated his magnificent estate, known as the Herrontown Woods together with his house to Mercer County. One of my fondest memories as a student and as a young faculty member is the walks and talks I had with colleagues, students, family, and friends in these woods. They were an essential part of the Princeton experience.

I am writing in strong support of the Friends of Herrontown Woods’ proposal to maintain and put to public use the Veblen buildings and grounds located on the edge of Mercer County’s Herrontown Woods.

Joseph J. Kohn

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Sturges Way

To the Editor:

Another parking study on how to solve Princeton’s downtown area parking issues? I don’t think so after attending a so-called workshop eliciting public input. The purpose was supposedly to make more parking available, decide how much to charge, and in which locations. A map showing the streets to be included is the first indication of the false premise for the study. Neither Spruce nor Library are in the downtown business district. Spruce is not a through street since it ends at Moore on one end and a park on the other past Linden and has very light traffic and no business establishments. These and the tree streets in that neighborhood are all zoned residential. They all have reasonable parking restrictions. To suppose the study could make more parking available assumes more parking is needed, required, and therefore in demand, but offers no proof in support of this assumption. The decision on how much to charge implies parking meters might be installed. That could be quite expensive and require a cost/benefit analysis beforehand for advance technology meters. In fact, there was a salesperson present who said his company had such meters to offer Princeton. Courts have regarded parking meters primarily as a revenue-raising measure for a municipality and meter installation requires a zoning ordnance. That could be the first step to permit mixed use allowing business entry into residential streets. Finally, no parking study ought to be undertaken without consideration and reference to transportation planning for the town and surrounding areas. There is ample parking in downtown Princeton. The real problem is too much traffic on the main streets. Expanded parking does not relieve traffic congestion.

Louis Slee

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

The health care bill pushed by the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has come back to life in an even more damaging form.

The legislation would hit people 50-64 with an “age tax” that could cost them up to $13,000 a year.

And the deal worked out behind closed doors would allow insurance companies to deny coverage or increase costs by thousands of dollars for people with pre-existing conditions.

Twenty-five million Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have a pre-existing condition, like cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure — including over 700,000 in New Jersey.

Coping with a pre-existing condition is painful enough. The last thing the government should be doing is telling insurance companies it’s okay to add to the suffering.

Who wins under this legislation? Big drug and insurance companies.

Let’s not go backwards by once again permitting insurance companies to punish someone for having a pre-existing condition. And, we can’t allow legislation to slap older Americans with an unfair age tax.

All but two members of Congress from New Jersey, Reps. Tom MacArthur and Rodney Frelinghuyse, have said they’d vote against the bill. They need to hear from their constituents about what a terrible idea this bill is.

Brian McGuire

AARP New Jersey

To the Editor:

A huge wave of people wearing green flowed from the D&R Greenway Land Trust to Hinds Plaza in Princeton last Saturday, a movement indicative of our community’s strong support for the environment. The Walk for Our World’s Green Future was a fun way for people of all ages to walk together and share their ideas about how to care for our world. As one sign said There is no Plan-et B!, so now is the time for everyone to take action.

The event was organized by a collaborative partnership of Climate Central, the D&R Greenway, and Sustainable Princeton. A special thanks goes to the leaders and staff of these local effective environmental organizations for planning and executing this walk, especially Molly Jones and Christine Symington of Sustainable Princeton who were amazing at organizing this green awareness event!

Thank you to Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert for her leadership and inspiring words at the rally and the fantastic support of the Princeton Police Department who kept walkers safe on the two mile trek through town. The Princeton Public Library was a terrific neighbor with Kim Dorman supporting the event and we are also grateful to the Arts Council of Princeton which accommodated the living art project imagined by Yamile Slebi and Kirsten Haley which was created at the rally and displayed through Communiversity. We appreciate the information on the science of local weather shared by Bernadette Woods-Placky of Climate Central and guidance on the changes we must all make to prevent further environmental deterioration from Sophie Glovier of C-Change Conversations and Molly Jones of Sustainable Princeton. Finally, a special thanks to Princeton Marching Forward and all the volunteers and businesses who helped to make this walk such a success. Together we can make a difference by each taking steps to preserve and protect our environment now, before it is too late. There is no Plan-et B.

Betsy Sands

Hageman Lane

April 19, 2017

To the Editor:

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, it seems fitting to express our appreciation to the Princeton Public Library and to Susan Conlon and Kim Dorman for their exceptional efforts and heartfelt dedication to organizing the Princeton Environmental Film Festival earlier this month. The event spanned one week of films, speakers, panel discussions, and Skype interviews on topics ranging from whales and solar power to “inconvenient truths” about plastic-filled oceans and dying coral reefs. At a time when environmental progress in this country may be more threatened than ever, we greatly appreciate this 11th annual festival that brings us together as a community of citizens who are concerned about the environment.

Alice Hay-Tolo


To the Editor:

This Wednesday evening at PHS we will hear the results of the Challenge Success Survey conducted earlier this year. PHS parents already know all too well what they are likely to show: our kids have too much homework. Academic pressure is endangering their mental health and putting them at risk for behavioral health problems. As we address this problem, it is important to keep in mind that our “race to nowhere” culture is more than a wellness issue — it is also a civil rights issue. By making course grades so dependent on work done outside of school, we are creating a tremendous bias against low-income and language-minority students. Many of these students have jobs; others do not have the necessary technology to complete assignments at home. Some may just be normal teenagers, who have taken on family responsibilities appropriate to their age and development unlike the typical upper middle class child, whose parents, or paid help, act as a pit crew providing all services necessary so that they can spend countless hours on homework. The talent and potential excluded by this homework regime is disproportionately that of poor and minority students.

It is no secret that public school is a powerful instrument of social reproduction, but shouldn’t we be working to mitigate this effect rather than contributing to it? Less homework is a step toward more equitable educational opportunity, in addition to being a much-needed mental health initiative. Parents may be concerned that the current system is needed to propel their students toward acceptance at elite colleges, but academically-motivated students now have myriad resources available to prepare themselves for high-stakes tests. An oppressive homework load is neither an appropriate nor an effective way to do it.

Bold leadership is needed to put the brakes on our academic arms race. We need school administrators to act quickly to make long overdue changes to the school schedule and the school culture. In Princeton, we don’t need to keep up with the Joneses — we are the Joneses — and we have a responsibility to make it possible for all of our kids to reach their full potential.

Carol Tate

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

Our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year — more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

The American Heart Association Go Red For Women movement, nationally sponsored by Macy’s and CVS Health, inspires women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities, and shape policies to save lives. United, we are working to improve the health of all women.

Through the outreach and efforts of Go Red For Women, about 293 fewer women in the U.S. die from heart disease and stroke each day. We Go Red to help create a culture of health for women and their families. Why? Life is why.

As chairwoman of the 15th Annual Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon, I want women across the state to be more aware of their heart health. The luncheon, set for Friday, May 19 at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, will help raise critical funds for the nation’s top killers. Let’s unite for a day of awareness, education, and inspiration.

Together, we can prevent heart disease and stroke. It’s time to put our hearts into it and Go Red For Women. For more information on the Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon, visit

Stephern Allison, DHSc, PA, MBA 

Chair, Garden State Go Red For Women Luncheon

Vice President of Cardiovascular Services

and Care Management at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

April 12, 2017

To the Editor:

It’s easy to assume the recent renewed advocacy of actions to combat climate change (a euphemism for anthropogenic global warming) means somebody found another money-making scheme. But global warming has serious implications few talk about. Among the reticent are climate scientists who are justifiably circumspect because some reportedly lost their jobs when employers didn’t like their conclusions. So let’s take a look at what some conclusions may hold for our future.

In New Jersey, for example, coastal barrier islands will be flooded as the ice in Greenland and Antarctica melts. Based on the geological record, a sea level rise of more than 10 meters is eventually likely, turning Princeton’s canoe rental locations on the canal into saltwater seaports. As the ice in the Arctic melts, the albedo (reflectivity) of that ocean surface declines from about 75 percent to less than 10 percent, the water warms above 38ºF and may release a huge burp of methane (natural gas) from clathrates accumulated on the ocean floor over millions of years. Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) much more potent than the primary GHG, carbon dioxide, creating a (bad) positive reinforcing feedback loop.

The idea that the town of Princeton can somehow do something to reduce global warming is ludicrous; we can only prepare for its effects. First, if we cut back our fossil fuel consumption to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, that fuel will be used by others elsewhere, perhaps even generating electricity for our “environmentally responsible” electric vehicles. Second, there is no proven method of quickly and permanently sequestering great amounts of carbon dioxide. Proposed systems also require large quantities of fossil fuel, generating even more carbon dioxide. Third, the effects of atmospheric GHGs take a long time to peak after their release, more than 30 years in the case of carbon dioxide.

From the latter, we can expect that before any worldwide corrective actions bring results, global warming will significantly reduce the human habitat — the land on which food crops can be grown. The sea level rise previously mentioned will inundate and salinize important farming areas such as river deltas around the world. Rising air temperatures will make the American Southwest especially vulnerable. Not only will temperatures increase to the point where crops cannot grow in some areas, but the rainfall there may decrease, providing less crop irrigation water. Such a hot drought is an underlying cause of the current unrest in the Middle East. The ensuing famine could occur anywhere, even in New Jersey, and it may be prudent for us to prepare for it.

The world population is over seven billion, but the most optimistic learned estimate of the carrying capacity of the Earth, after the exhaustion of fossil fuels, has been two  billion people. Global warming will only reduce that carrying capacity. When an animal’s habitat is destroyed, that animal population declines or dies off. Why would this be any different for the human species?

For sources, please visit my website:

Ronald Nielsen

Humbert Street

To the Editor:

On April 5, my husband and I had the privilege of attending the Paul Robeson lecture at Rutgers and hearing the renowned performer and activist Harry Belafonte in conversation with Robeson’s granddaughter, documentary filmmaker and producer Susan Robeson. Their stories impressed upon me how thoroughly and deliberately Paul Robeson was erased from the public consciousness for his audacity, particularly as a black man, to use his celebrity and international venues to speak out against racism in the United States and colonialism throughout the world. Unfortunately, in Princeton we have also allowed ignorance of Robeson’s life and contributions to persist in his hometown.

We need to bring more attention to Paul Robeson in Princeton schools and civic life. Fortunately, the Robeson House of Princeton, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is dedicated to restoring the Robeson house and to publicizing his amazing accomplishments. Our community needs to:

1. Support the Paul Robeson House of Princeton, 112 Witherspoon Street;

2. Attend events celebrating him, like the recent April 9 birthday commemoration at the Arts Council;

3. Emphasize his biography, performances, and writings in the Princeton schools, especially in Princeton and United States history classes.

Princeton should be proud to have Paul Robeson as a native son. Acknowledging the mistreatment of the man and his family needs to be part of the town’s and the nation’s truth and reconciliation efforts in coming to terms with racism. Honoring his courage and resolution must be part of our celebration.

Linda Oppenheim

Not In Our Town

To the Editor:

To the parents of the three boys that threw rocks at me this morning at the PU stadium:

Please, do not be friends with your children.

Know where they are going and who they are spending time with.

Take their computers out of their bedrooms.

Check their backpacks and purses often.

Friend them on social media, and check their messages and photos frequently.

Demand their respect for others.

Spy, yes, spy on them.

Be their parents; they have enough friends.

And by all means, make them take the PARCC test for practice if nothing else. Otherwise, they may end up back in the stadium throwing rocks for a lack of anything better to do.

Wendy Wilton

Longview Drive

DANCE DEFINITIONS: “We are offering high level, quality dance training which also provides creativity, choreography, and improvisation as part of the training.” Former professional dancer Dawn Cargiulo Berman (right), owner of The Pennington Studio, enjoys teaching Limon style dance techniques to student Madison Parker during Modern dance class.

Dawn Cargiulo, former professional dancer and owner of The Pennington Studio for Dance and the Creative Arts, has introduced an exciting new concept for dance and the arts. Combining both, she brings unique opportunities for exploration in creativity for all ages.

Opened in the Straube Center, 114 Straube Center Boulevard in Pennington, the studio offers a new direction, and emphasizes the interwoven aspect of all the arts. more

ASIAN SPECIALTIES: “We are set apart by our presentation, special recipes, fresh ingredients, consistency, and friendly service. We look forward to serving you. Aja means ‘welcome’ in Hindi,” says Cindy Lim, manager of AJA Asian Cuisine & Lounge. Shown in the entry way of the restaurant is a striking image of a dragon, significant in Chinese culture, as it symbolizes “good luck, power, and nobility,” says Ms. Lim.

AJA Asian Cuisine & Lounge, the new restaurant at 1736 Route 206 in Skillman, is looking forward to a long stay. The location has previously been home to several restaurants, which for various reasons, closed their doors after relatively brief duration. more

April 5, 2017

To the Editor:

After more than four hours of often rancorous discussion during the recent Princeton Public Schools budget meeting, I was extremely disappointed that no one directly addressed the critical question of why Princeton’s gigantic per pupil cost ($24,634) exceeds that of other high achieving K-12 districts in New Jersey, including our neighbors in West Windsor/Plainsboro ($18,677) and Montgomery ($19,155). When I multiply a $5,500 difference by 3600 students, I get a product of nearly $20,000,000, an enormous annual sum for a town of this size. One Board member briefly responded that economically disadvantaged children require more taxpayer funds without providing an explanation or any examples that would even be remotely acceptable in any workplace forum today. A list of 15 New Jersey K-12 public school districts that have been recognized for high achievement reveals that at least two enroll more economically disadvantaged students than Princeton. They are Montclair ($20,506) and Summit ($19,211).

Another discussion item at the meeting was the existing contract with the “sending” district of Cranbury. Can’t the PPS Board adequately explain why Cranbury only reimburses Princeton $17,000 per high school student while the average per student cost in this district is currently $24,643? Based on the budgets of many high achieving 9-12 regional high school districts in the state, the cost of high school students exceeds that of students in other grades. All of my figures and conclusions are sourced to data from the New Jersey Department of Education.

Once again, Princeton taxpayers must brace themselves for upcoming increases from all three of the very extravagant tax jurisdictions that control our lives, Princeton Public Schools, the municipality of Princeton, and the County of Mercer. Throughout my neighborhood, houses assessed at $500,000 or even less are being torn down with replacements valued at $1.5 million. When annual revenue for the three tax jurisdictions is instantly tripling from the very same property, why should it be necessary to increase the taxes of the existing, struggling homeowners? When we are already paying property taxes that are among the highest in the entire nation, every increase becomes substantial, at least to some of us.

Folks in Princeton often speak of “diversity” and “inclusion.” For retirees, seniors, and the rapidly dwindling middle class of Princeton, all that we get, time after time, is a door that is slammed in our faces, even after some of us have lived here all of our lives. If you do not understand the true meaning of words, don’t use them so frequently or you risk the appearance of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

Frank Wiener

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

Community discourse should always be respectful and compassionate: we all want the best for our kids. In the past months, much of the discussion around the expansion of the Princeton Charter School (PCS) has centered on the lack of diversity at PCS. While an unrepresentative student body is something that should be corrected, it seems to me that this issue has been blown out of proportion, to the point of tearing apart the fabric of our community. PCS parents and children are not racist, and the Princeton Public School (PPS) community would oppose the expansion even if PCS had been diverse. Let us not pretend that this is the issue at the heart of the disagreement, and let us not label and shame anyone in the community unfairly.

Many issues are at stake — the oversight of a school by an elected board and the ability of the community to democratically decide on how taxpayer money is used on the one hand, and giving families and children in our community a choice of schools on the other hand. In October 2015, Superintendent Steve Cochrane and the PPS district screened the excellent documentary Beyond Measure to a full auditorium of community members: teachers, parents, and students. The point of the movie was well taken: children are not made from a mold, and there is no one-size-fits-all school that is best for everybody. Even public schools that ranks extremely high in the state and country (as ours are) can sometimes, for a variety of reasons, be a poor fit for a child. Whether the alternative should be a charter school, a magnet school, or easier cross-enrollment in schools that one is not zoned for, it is good to have alternatives. Rather than calling others names and tearing up friendships, it would be great if we could all engage in kind, compassionate, and productive discourse about what alternatives are needed and what needs are not met by our public schools, and find ways to meet these needs while maintaining our excellent schools and respecting the democratic process.

These are very stressful and polarizing times. The PCS expansion is an important issue, but we should not allow it to divide us just at a time when we need to be united to fight much more significant threats to our society and democracy. It is all too easy to succumb to the (social-media facilitated) temptation to dehumanize others, but this is ultimately a losing strategy for everyone.

Yael Niv 

Franklin Avenue

To Superintendent Cochrane:

On behalf of Not in Our Town Princeton, we are writing to thank you for your letter addressing the public use of a racial slur by a white Princeton High School student about her fellow African American students. Your immediate, unqualified, public response made a clear statement to students and parents that this behavior is reprehensible and will not be tolerated in the schools.

We also applaud the vision you provide and the steps that are being taken to address seriously the racism that permeates our society. We appreciate that you mentioned the racial literacy programs Not in Our Town, among other organizations, have created and want to assure you that our members are ready to offer assistance and support for these efforts in the Princeton Public Schools. We believe strongly that the understanding that can be gained through racial literacy is critical for a just society. We hope that all members of the school community — students, faculty, staff, and parents — participate in this work that will benefit themselves, our community, and our nation. We encourage you to continue to be as proactively transparent as possible about the district’s ongoing plans to address racism. As a community, we need to be able to offer clear evidence of support to the students whose sense of safety is at risk.

Shelley Krause, 

Linda Oppenheim, Ted Fetter

Not in Our Town

cc: Board of Education members, 

Principal Gary Snyder, PHS PTO presidents

To the Editor:

Governor Christie has an opportunity to honor the struggles many of our veterans and their families face when they come home. The Wounded Warrior Caregiver Relief Act (S750), is awaiting the governor’s signature. This program would provide a modest state income tax credit for eligible, unpaid family caregivers, providing critical support for our Wounded Warriors who served in the military on or after the 911 terrorist attacks.

According to a recent AARP report, the vast majority of caregivers spend approximately $7,000 out of their own pockets each year to care for their loved ones. Caregivers support their families lovingly but could use some help. Without our army of unpaid family caregivers, our healthcare system would collapse.

We all must do our part to support our veterans. AARP is urging Governor Christie to do his part now us by signing this bill into law.

Cassandra Arnold

AARP New Jersey, Princeton

Jane Fremon, founder of the Princeton Friends School (PFS) and its head for the past 30 years, described the school’s central study theme for 2016-17: “All of us are tremendously excited about the ways in which the Roots and Routes theme will bring to everyone — students as well as adults — a heightened appreciation of the fact that people everywhere, throughout history, are deeply connected to the places they inhabit, are part of a long story that stretches back many centuries, and are active agents in the story of the future that is currently being written.” more

DELICIOUS AUTHENTICITY: “We are set apart by the authenticity of our food including our own recipes. We make everything from scratch, including desserts.” John Rajoo (right) and Gipson George are the owners of the new Chennai Chimney Indian restaurant, located at 19 Chambers Street.

One of the most popular Indian restaurants in the area opened in Princeton last August. Chennai Chimney at 19 Chambers Street has attracted a big following that continues to grow as more customers discover the distinctive flavors of its Southern Indian cuisine. more