May 11, 2016

To the Editor:

With heartfelt thanks and on behalf of a grateful community, members of the Witherspoon Jackson Historic District Committee (WJHDC), wish to acknowledge Mayor Liz Lempert and members of Princeton Council for making the WJ Neighborhood the 20th Historic District in Princeton. We also want to acknowledge Elizabeth Kim, Julie Capozzoli, and the entire Historic Preservation Commission for their advocacy, leadership, and commitment in search of truth, fairness, and equality.

Historically a segregated neighborhood, the WJ Community today is Princeton’s most affordable, culturally diverse, and eclectic area of town. It is a warm and welcoming village of interesting homes, people, places, and businesses. Our vision is to use this foundation to make the neighborhood more livable, friendlier, more beautiful, more fun, and more desirable.

We understand that while many were in favor of the historic designation, there were those who were opposed. We are calling on all residents, to ask for their input, ideas, support, and cooperation regardless of the position you may have held. The fact is, we as neighbors should focus on our similarities rather than our differences as we work together for what is best for our community. We all now reside and/or own property in an historic district and should take pride in that fact. We also believe that “taking ownership” of our newfound status is critical. Communication can make the neighborhood more responsive to homeowners and residents, and being organized will serve us better when working with municipal leadership on present and future plans such as zoning, variances, and site planning. Our neighborhood is now and will continue to be a work in progress. We can and will have a say in its continued development … how it looks, how it feels, and how it grows.

We are also very interested in identifying and working with landlords and the municipality to be more accountable to quality of life issues, being good neighbors, maintenance and upkeep of properties and curbside appeal. To that end, during the month of August we are planning to work in conjunction with the Joint Effort Safe Street Project and the municipality on a WJ Weekend Cleanup Campaign. We hope to engage the entire neighborhood in weeklong events that will celebrate WJHD, and include an art exhibition, community forums, an historic walking tour, block party, and youth sporting events. Witherspoon Street was once, and will again be a promenade with unique shops, boutiques, outdoor cafes, and other amenities that will serve the interests of residents and visitors alike. As an extension of Nassau Street, the central business district, and upper Witherspoon Street, the neighborhood will welcome walkers, bike-riders, joggers, and tourists who will experience the history and story of a proud neighborhood and its people. It will present a unique perspective of an historic district within one of America’s most historic towns. We look forward to continuing our journey from the past, through the present, and into the future for both our beloved neighborhood and the town of Princeton.

Shirley Satterfield, Daniel A. Harris, 

Yina Moore, John Heilner, Thomas Parker, Bernadine Hines, Kip Cherry, 

Jacqueline Swain, Leighton Newlin

The Witherspoon Jackson Historic District Committee

To the Editor:

Like cars and other items, buildings often become “tired” with time and use. Princeton has many “tired” buildings. When economics, function, energy inefficiencies and/or depreciation come into play, teardowns are often necessary. Princeton does not need to waste lots of time and money rewriting Princeton’s Zoning to slow or stop tear downs.

A simple way to curtail the larger new houses that are replacing the “tired” smaller houses is to incorporate an upfront new construction fee paid at the time permits are pulled for added space. Because building bigger does not necessarily cost more, developers of spec houses currently have an incentive to maximize the allowable area of a house. If developers and or homeowners building had to pay an upfront (sliding scale — the more you add, the more you pay) fee for building larger than what is there, it is very likely they instead would consider quality and or efficiency over quantity.

Times have changed, needs have changed, how we use space and what space we actually need has changed, materials have changed, and building systems have changed. This added with the costs for annual maintenance, heating, and cooling is a current serious dialogue for buildings. Princeton has many architects who would love to sit down with developers, building owners, and homeowners and derive creative functioning, energy efficient and well specified smart buildings to replace (or rebuild) the “tired’ buildings with an incentive to keep the total new area nothing more than what it needs to be. Yes, it is possible these clever, smarter buildings could cost more per square foot like how efficient well-designed cars cost more than the inefficient, clunky SUV’s we are seeing much less of.

Jon Drezner

Architect, Battle Road

To the Editor:

I experienced a small measure of cautious relief from the recent decision by the Princeton Council to retain the services of a consultant to “take a hard look at residential zoning in the town,” as Town Topics reported in its May 4 edition [“Growing Teardown Trend Brings in a Consultant for Zoning, Planning Study,” page one],

The proposed teardown of a property adjacent to my own house in the vicinity of Mountain Avenue a couple of years ago prompted me to formally raise the matter with our Zoning Board of Adjustment. Unsurprisingly, my entreaty was summarily voted down and work to demolish the preexisting residence with an outsized replacement commenced without delay.

More interesting, though, was the feedback that I received at the time from Township Planning Director Lee Solow who declared in letter that my own 2500 square foot house built circa 1950 was “obsolescent.” Being a trained planner myself, this terminology struck a chord because in the world of property development it does not mean quite the same thing as it might if one were talking about an older model car or temperamental dishwasher.

The notion of obsolescence is technical vernacular with a specific legal meaning and it was deployed to devastating effect during the 1950s and 1960s to open the way for so-called slum-clearance projects in cities across the country. Applied to the whole of Princeton today, a not insignificant number of local homes would presumably be duly designated because they are unfashionably small or architecturally not of the moment.

The apparent — or at least potential — reversal of political sensibilities on this issue is, therefore, extremely consequential and I commend both Mayor Lempert and the Township Council for their evolving understanding. However, we should probably brace ourselves. If you think the pace of teardowns has finally reached an untenable level, I suspect that over the next few months there will be a mad rush to rapidly demolish an even larger number of perfectly livable homes around town as both sellers and developers sense that the permissive window to cash in is starting to close. The sensible course of action is therefore to impose a local moratorium on home demolitions while the newly announced comprehensive zoning review proceeds.

Maurie J. Cohen

Morgan Place

To the Editor:

Our May 6 Formal Dinner Dance for adults and teens with special needs was a truly memorable Journey to India! We are grateful to the many people who made it possible.

Thanks to our new DJ Steven Knox. Steven has reenergized our monthly dances, but he and his dad Dan really outdid themselves at the Formal. Thanks, too, to Cross Culture for the wonderful Indian menu and to McCaffrey’s bakery for the truly gorgeous desserts. And, as always, we are so grateful to our friend and very talented photographer Jaime Escarpeta.

Over the past decade, the synergy between Princeton Special Sports, an all-volunteer non-profit group, and the Princeton Recreation Department has made sports, social, and most recently, arts programing available to our friends and neighbors with special needs. Thank you to PRD staff Vikki Caines, Stacie Ryan, and especially Joe Marrolli for all of their hard work. Thank you, too, to the town leaders who showed their support for our community by joining us at the Formal: Jo Butler of the Princeton Council, Joanne Rogers of the Recreation Commission, and Recreation Executive Director Ben Stentz.

The Formal takes a lot of planning and work over many months. Thank you to Hana Oresky, Radha Iyer, Joe Marrolli, Susan Simonelli, Ann Diver, and Katerina Bubnovsky for bringing Journey to India to life. Thank you, too, to the adult volunteers who helped us set up, chaperone, and get everything cleaned up after: Oleg Chebotarev, Liz Cutler, John Diver, Sethu Iyer, Patrick Jackson, Abitha Ravichander, Maureen Rourke, Andy Santoro, and Valerie Walker.

It is always our student volunteers who make the Formal so successful. Thank you to these outstanding students: Matthew Ams, Maddie Bitterly, Charlie Doran, Tom Doran, Talia Fiester, Laura Harmon, Barbara Kaminska, Jack Lynch, Barrett Miller, Lauren Morelli, Rhea Ravichander, Declan Rourke, Yinhao Sheng, Grace Sheppard, Marli Siciliano, Sierra Steinberg, Haley Velazquez, Charlotte Walker, Eli Wasserman, DeAnna Weir, and George Yeung.

Our last dance of the season will be our annual pool party, dance, and BBQ at the Princeton Community Pool on June 3. Swimming will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by BBQ and dancing from 7:30 to 9 p.m. For more information or to register, go to or

Deborah Martin Norcross

Co-President, Princeton Special Sports

To the Editor:

I encourage voters to reelect Jenny Crumiller to Princeton Council. Jenny is an intelligent, kind person, who works hard and listens to all sides respectfully. I support her stands on many issues, but as a doctor who practiced for many years first as an internist, and later as a pathologist, I am particularly pleased that Jenny has been a strong advocate for an ordinance to require Princeton’s employers to provide paid time off for employees who are unwell or whose children are unwell. This makes sense both for the wellbeing of both employees and also for general public. Such a measure will decrease the spread of communicable diseases by keeping adults and children home instead of in the workplace or in schools.

I hope readers will vote for Jenny so she can continue good work on Council.

Lilia Belov, MD

Monroe Lane 

To the Editor:

Leticia Fraga and I have worked closely together on the Community ID Cards and other community efforts over the last two years. I’ve been impressed by her dedication, energy, and reliability but that’s just the beginning. She’s stepped in to take a leadership role in organizing the ID Card effort as she has with the many other community organizations with which she’s involved, for example, as vice chair of the Human Services Commission. I can’t think of anyone to better represent the diverse needs of the Princeton community on the Princeton Council.

Bill Wakefield

Prospect Avenue

To the Editor:

Anne Neumann and her family are established residents of Princeton, and Anne and her daughter attended Princeton schools. Anne’s contributions to Princeton municipal affairs and her plans for a livable Princeton have earned my support.

Anne has pledged to help neighborhoods in Princeton retain their character at a time when many residents are concerned with insensitive development and overdevelopment. The tax burden of new development will affect all Princetonians. But Anne is well aware that some neighborhoods will bear the burden of new development in terms of density and traffic. Anne will, therefore, call for a delay on all new development near AvalonBay until AvalonBay’s effects on roads, drainage, sewers, and our school population are clear.

Anne is a champion of the town of Princeton, host to one of the nation’s most prestigious, well-endowed, and powerful universities, that has been unwilling to pay what Anne and many Princeton residents believe reflects its fair share of the financial burdens it imposes on us. Anne is knowledgeable and unafraid to take on the contentious issues of town and gown, including a Council member and mayor with ties to Princeton University.

Please see Anne’s creative ideas for preserving Princeton’s character and fostering an environment friendly to local residents and taxpayers — not shoppers who descend from tour buses — on her website Please join me in voting for Anne Neumann!

Cecil Marshall

Moore Street

May 5, 2016

To the Editor:

Press reports have suggested that Princeton University’s tax remittances may increase significantly as a result of a lawsuit challenging the tax exempt status of some of the University’s buildings and activities.

The stakes are very high for the University. Its influence is considerable, but the climate is changing and a judge can do whatever he or she wants to do. As we are reminded daily, the “1 percent” are not very popular these days. Connecticut’s efforts to tax Yale’s endowment income suggest that the definition of the “1 percent” is broadening. Given the risk to the University of an adverse ruling, an out of court settlement seems likely.

Should there be such a settlement, the magnitude of our towns’ potential tax windfall would be significant. Voters should expect candidates for mayor and Council to specify what they would do with the incremental tax revenues.

My own position is simple. Incremental tax receipts, whether resulting from a ruling against the University or from a negotiated settlement, should be used exclusively to reduce property taxes. Millage rates should be reduced to the point at which there would be a dollar for dollar substitution of windfall revenues for existing tax levies. Windfall revenues should not be squandered on new projects and programs.

Voters should also expect candidates — at least those of us who are free of conflicts of interest — to express our views as to what an acceptable settlement might look like. Here, too, my position is simple: the negotiation should not be limited to money.

Preserving Princeton’s essential small town character is one of my top priorities. I would therefore favor a settlement that includes changes in prospective land use. We might, for example, seek to persuade the University to deed restrict Springdale Golf Course, setting it aside, in perpetuity, as open space — and abandoning the right, conveyed in current zoning, to construct a row of ten story buildings on one of our town’s defining green belts.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Bruce Afran, we seem likely to be offered one of life’s rare opportunities for a redo. Let’s make the most of it.

Peter Marks

Moore Street

Editor’s note: Mr. Marks is running for mayor in the Republican primary.

To the Editor:

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I saw Jenny Crumiller’s husband Jon at Ace Hardware. He mentioned that they had participated in the “Let It Go: Princeton Community Yard Sale” and that Jenny had decided not to charge for anything. I immediately asked jokingly if they had put up a sign saying “Free stuff! Vote for Jenny!” We then agreed that there is no such thing as “free stuff,” and went our separate ways.

This brief conversation reminded me why we need to re-elect Jenny to Princeton Council. “The truth is there is no free parking. Someone has to pay for it,” Jenny said at a Council meeting in September 2015 during a discussion of the costs to the town of providing a subsidy for two hours of free parking to every Princeton Public Library cardholder.

Princeton Council is currently reviewing the budget, looking for ways to cut $150,000 so as to pare down an increase in property taxes.

Residents should be aware that only about 23 cents of every dollar collected in property taxes goes to the town. The Princeton School Board controls the lion’s share of our tax dollars, more than 50 percent and growing, and Mercer County gets the remainder. The largest increases in property taxes are beyond the control of Princeton Council.

We need a frank assessment of the choices available to residents, and Jenny will provide just that. She has an impeccable record of supporting progressive values — visit to read what she has done for Princeton and what her goals are for the future — but we also need the unvarnished and sometimes unpopular truths that Jenny is willing to articulate.

Jenny will help us make budget decisions that support our values and get us the most for our money. She will listen to us, tell us the truth, and do her best to make wise decisions for our future. Vote to reelect Jenny Crumiller to Princeton Council!

Joanna Dougherty

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

Princeton is a wonderful town and we are all lucky to live here. I’d like to suggest an addition that I feel could benefit the community — a dog park. Many other communities have this resource but the closest entail (no pun intended) a 15-20 minute ride from here.

The benefits are many. Besides offering dogs a place to exercise and socialize, an additional gain is the sense of community that a dog park fosters. I strongly feel that this would be a positive feature for Princeton to offer. Neither a fenced yard, nor a 3-hour walk offers the benefits of a dog park.

I’m hoping that by writing this letter, others who are interested may jump on the bandwagon. The Princeton Recreation Department is the office that handles local park offerings. Please speak up if you also may be interested in Princeton opening a dog park.

The concentration of resources in local parks seems primarily devoted to athletic fields. No question, this is important. However there are other uses of open space that could also greatly benefit our community.

Patty Koch

Florence Lane

To the Editor:

A response [“Another Point of View,” mailbox 4-27] to my letter about the pretty but highly invasive plant known as lesser celandine contained serious errors that need to be corrected. I wish we could always trust someone like Mike McGrath, the host of the You Bet Your Garden radio program mentioned in Ms. Haag’s letter. He may be knowledgeable about gardening, but when he writes about lesser celandine and other invasive species, he can display a seemingly willful ignorance about herbicides and ecology.

Contrary to his assertions, there are wetland-safe versions of the herbicide glyphosate available from companies other than Monsanto, and sometimes an aggressively invading plant can be more harmful ecologically than the small, targeted, very dilute and very effective dose of herbicide needed to prevent its spread. Western medicine, which few people are suggesting we do away with, is a useful analogy here. As one who has lived and written about the pleasures of non-chemical methods — using loppers, cardboard, and mulch to vanquish bamboo and English ivy — I usually find ways to avoid herbicides. Lesser celandine is an important exception.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

I have known Tim Quinn for over a decade and I support his candidacy for Princeton Council. I first met Tim when I was working as director of development at Princeton Public Library. It soon became apparent to me that Tim loved Princeton and had a deep understanding of our diverse town. He was equally comfortable interacting with trustees, Town Council, donors, and library customers from all walks of life. He was a strong advocate for providing services to library customers and the town in general. His exemplary work at the library during super storm Sandy highlighted his dedication to our town. His leadership was instrumental in keeping the library open during the days following the storm, when thousands of people in Princeton were without power.

He brought a similar passion to his work on the Princeton Board of Education and his steadfast leadership during his time as president of the Board helped our school district through a leadership transition, among other challenges. My two daughters, and many other families in town, benefitted from his leadership.

Tim is a great listener, collaborator, and values the opinions of others. He is deliberative and gathers information before reaching a conclusion about a particular topic. Having considered an issue, Tim is able to explain complex policy matters in a way that makes sense. His understanding of local institutions, businesses, and Princeton’s history inform all of his work.

Lindsey Forden

Mercer Street

To the Editor:

Regarding the April 25 Council meeting and the need to resolve the municipal budget, I’m assuming Council members are aware of the April 13 article in U.S. 1 that reported that Princeton’s high property taxes are due partly to the fact that the town has more municipal employees than other area towns. For example, Princeton has one employee for every 127 residents compared to Hamilton which has one worker for every 162 residents. It seems a hiring freeze or rollback is in order for our local government as the council noted. I’d add that a reduction of employees should be achieved before anyone cries out for more money from the University.

Anne Witt

Lake Lane

To the Editor:

We are fortunate to have many qualified people running for Council. Leticia Fraga, however, is uniquely qualified to address some of the critical issues facing our community.

Affordable housing in Princeton becomes a bigger challenge every year as home prices rise. Working people have already been forced to leave the community because they could no longer afford to live here and the situation is getting worse, not better.

Princeton also needs a police and community relations committee to foster dialogue between our citizens and law enforcement. The controversy concerning the recent arrest of a Princeton University professor shows how badly this discussion is needed.

To address these needs effectively, Council needs a person with deep roots in the parts of our community that are most affected and understands their needs. That person is Leticia Fraga. She worked tirelessly on these issues and demonstrated the ability to work with people from all walks of life and to get things done.

Lewis Maltby 

Stone Cliff Road

To the Editor:

Women’s earnings are ever more important to their families. More than 40 percent of children under 18 live in households where the mother is the sole breadwinner. Yet, women still earn 79 cents to every dollar earned by men. This means that women who are often working multiple jobs and caring in many cases for children and older family members, are still not able to provide the financial support needed for their families.

It also means that many are not properly able to save for their own retirement futures.

As an AARP volunteer, I urge you to support S992, The New Jersey Pay Equity Act. SIGN THE BILL, Governor Chris Christie.

Elaine Muschal


April 27, 2016

To the Editor:

Princeton’s Council needs the skilled, experienced, and fiscally responsible leadership of Tim Quinn. As former members of the Princeton Board of Education, we saw first-hand his consensus building, and genuine respect for our town. His leadership on the Board helped save Princeton’s pre-K program and improved its focus on vulnerable and under-represented students. He helped Princeton buck the state trend of charging for sports participation or reducing arts and music in schools. Instead of taking the easy way out, he steered the Board toward thoughtful and fiscally responsible solutions to budget pressures.

Tim is a civic-minded and collaborative leader. We urge Princeton residents to support Tim Quinn for Princeton Council.

Anne Burns

Baldwin Lane

To the Editor:

It was a heartening moment on Wednesday night when a majority of the Princeton Planning Board refused to be coerced into supporting an ill-conceived subdivision of a narrow lot fronting onto Jefferson Road. Despite badgering from the applicant’s attorney, Planning Board members led by Jenny Crumiller, Liz Lempert, and Timothy Quinn courageously argued that “as of right” was never meant to sanction the drawing of zig-zag lot lines that violate very clearly stated guidelines. Instead of setting a dangerous precedent for the carving up of neighborhoods to maximize developers’ profits, the Planning Board fulfilled its mission of being a true steward for the community it serves.

Martin Kahn

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

We are supporting Jenny Crumiller in the upcoming Democratic primary election. Jenny has a strong record of promoting progressive values, from her decades-long support and involvement with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Princeton Committee, her anti-war activities, her opposition to the use of torture, and her support for progressive Democratic candidates, to her current work on the Council.

Jenny brought forth Princeton’s resolution supporting the Anti-Corruption Act, which is federal campaign finance reform legislation. Princeton became the first town in New Jersey to pass this resolution, which now has growing support across the country. She also introduced an anti-fracking ordinance and a resolution opposing the pipeline on the Ridge and calling for additional safety measures. She has supported anti-wage theft measures as well as policies limiting local police involvement in immigration enforcement. She is pro-environment and supported the composting program as well as preserving open space on the Ridge.

As the newly consolidated town was forming its new police department, she brought the ACLU-NJ in to consult with the council and promote recommended police practices for the department. She compelled the police to include race and gender statistics for police stops in their monthly police reports. She promoted a police ride-along program so that Council members as well as members of the public could ride along on a police shift to promote transparency in policing.

Jenny is currently a strong supporter of the earned sick leave ordinance, brought to Princeton by the Working Families Alliance, which would require Princeton employers to provide paid time off when employees are sick or need to care for a sick family member, a fair and humane measure that in our view is required by human decency.

We agree with these positions and that’s why Jenny has earned our enduring respect and our strongest support in this election. We encourage fellow Democrats to vote for Jenny on June 7.

Beth and Jim Healey

Moore Street

To the Editor:

When I hear that someone is running for Princeton Council, the skeptic in me naturally wonders: Why? It’s an often-thankless job that probably pays about $3 an hour.

I didn’t have any questions when I heard Leticia Fraga was running. I’ve known Leticia for more than 10 years, and her life’s work has been about helping others — bringing together people to make her community a better place. Her reward is simply the inherent satisfaction that comes from solving problems.

If that all sounds a little too sentimental for your political tastes, please understand that Leticia also has the experience and is willing to do the hard work to get things done. Her career includes serving as a professional civil rights enforcement investigator and facilitator, resolving cases that saved taxpayers hundred of thousands of dollars. As a volunteer in Princeton, she has helped launch programs that have provided meals to underprivileged children and ID cards to underrepresented adults.

In short, Leticia combines a “can do” attitude with a natural knack for relating to people from all backgrounds. If you want a Council member who is interested in accountability, affordability, and social justice, vote for Leticia Fraga in the Democratic Primary on June 7.

Chris Johnson

Benjamin Rush Lane

To the Editor:

I will choose Anne Waldron Neumann for Council in the Princeton Democratic primaries on June 7. A long time Princeton resident, Anne has produced tangible results in affordable housing, zoning, lowering taxes, and so forth.

I have great respect for her generosity, her fierce intelligence, her indefatigable determination to attain success in progressive causes that are dear to her heart. Anne does her homework. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of all sorts of topics relatable to the important issues of this town. Like all of us, she welcomes changes that benefit the town and its people.

Anne understands how important town-gown relations are; however, she will fight for what is only fair, no strings attached. And this is why Anne Waldron Neumann has my vote, hands down.

I encourage you to check her impressive resume and progressive goals at her website

Sandra Jordan Bierman

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

We read avidly Stephen Hiltner’s letter in the April 13 issue of Town Topics [“By Taking Our Local Nature’s Problems Seriously, We Also Build Community”]. Our garden yard and woods are filled with the “little yellow flower,” definitely an invasion.

However, the solutions suggested by Mr. Hiltner are not good ideas. Checking further with You Bet Your Garden, I learned: Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate, is not toxic, but the surfactants and other so-called ‘inert’ ingredients can wipe out frogs, toads, and other amphibians. So while attempting to eliminate one invasive plant we could be inadvertently killing fragile species that are being threatened already. In addition, Roundup may not even be effective against lesser celandine: a few years ago I tried it on a small patch and the plants barely blinked and then continued to thrive.

I agree that it would be helpful for everyone who sees first signs of lesser celandine to dig them up and throw them in the trash, not the compost pile. That seems to be the only effective approach not harmful to wetland species.

Rev. Carol S. Haag

Ridgeview Circle

Prof in Educ

ARTIST, TEACHER, PERFORMER: Steve Kramer reflects on his exciting career as performer and teacher—from jazz clubs, wedding bands and the “Ice Capades” to Littlebrook and Riverside Elementary Schools.

The resume of Steve Kramer, music teacher and band director at Littlebrook and Riverside Elementary Schools, goes on and on, with jobs in schools, colleges, multiple facets of the music industry, and the bakery business too. The list of celebrities he’s played with, pictured in photos with him on his website,, looks like a list of Who’s Who in the world of popular music over the past 30 years.  more

April 20, 2016

To the Editor:

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and the Board of Rabbis of Princeton Mercer Bucks condemn the beer pong game of “Jews vs. Nazis” that took place in Princeton. This activity demonstrates that there is still a great deal of work to do in educating people about the horrors of the Holocaust.

At the same time, we recognize Jamaica Ponder for her courage in speaking up and alerting our community to this disturbing incident. We have watched for too long as people have remained silent when such actions occur. We are grateful to all those who are working to ensure that these type of episodes do not occur in the future. We are happy to assist in any way that we can.

Jewish Federation 

Princeton Mercer Bucks,

Board of Rabbis 

of Princeton Mercer Bucks

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am writing to inform you that after 16 years, seven as executive director, Clare Smith is retiring this spring from Morven Museum and Garden.

With her commitment to historic preservation, her ability to attract the highest quality staff, her boundless dedication and gentleness of character, Clare has led Morven from a young to a maturing museum. The significant milestones achieved during her directorship include:

• Morven’s audience has increased significantly to an annual visitation of 15,000. Recent annual growth of 32 percent has been the product of increased programming, marketing, and collaborations.

• Recent exhibitions have been “game-changing” and underscore the Museum’s ongoing commitment to excellence. The Pine Barrens: A Legacy of Preservation, Coastal Impressions: Painters of the Jersey Shore, 1880-1940 and the current Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Couple of an Age have helped transform the museum and raise awareness of this important statewide resource.

• Morven annually offers over 100 public programs including the exceedingly popular recent lectures associated with the Lindbergh exhibit and extending to the July 4th Jubilee, Morven in May, a monthly book group, horticultural classes, and a wonderful collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton that incorporates special access to Morven’s unique history and site.

• Lastly, under Clare’s direction Morven has fostered collaborations with local non-profit groups whose missions focus on underserved populations and includes Isles, Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, and TASK. She has been a determined advocate for them and others, as well.

These are just a few examples of how Clare Smith’s commitment to excellence has contributed to the strong trajectory of success Morven is experiencing.

I know you join the Board in extending our grateful thanks to Clare and every good wish for her well deserved retirement. We will miss her.

Georgia T. Schley

Morven Board President

To the Editor:

This April 22 is the 46th Earth Day! It all began in 1970 when millions of people called for environmental reforms resulting in the introduction of recycling, keeping plastics, glass, and paper from our landfills for reuse and recycling.

Where is Princeton almost 50 years later?

As the first town in New Jersey to offer curbside food waste pick up, we have moved beyond traditional recycling and created a model program that other towns are copying and adopting. In its first five years, the Municipality’s Curbside Organics Program diverted more than 500 tons of organic matter from the landfill, turning it into beautiful soil.

Princeton residents and retailers have also recycled almost 5 million plastic bags since last year through the ABC’s Recycling Campaign, diverting some 7 tons of plastics from the landfill. The ABC’s is a joint effort between Sustainable Princeton, the Princeton Merchants Association, The Municipality of Princeton, and McCaffrey’s grocery store.

Thanks to the advent of recycling and programs like those mentioned above, we estimate that Princeton now either composts or recycles approximately half of what we would have sent to the landfill on the first Earth Day in 1970.

Where do we go from here? To answer that question, Sustainable Princeton has formed The Zero Waste Working Group comprised of local restaurant owners, retailers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

With your help, the working group looks forward to making measurable change between now and Earth Day 2017. We’ll begin by offering six ideas to get us all started toward a Zero Waste Princeton.

1. Commit to a zero waste mindset — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost.

2. Let it Go by hosting a Yard Sale on April 30th as part of the town wide Let It Go event. Sign up on the Princeton Public Library website.

3. Just say no to sending food waste to the landfill. Food scraps are a commodity to be turned back into soil. Residents can join the Curbside Organics Program by calling (609) 688-2566. Retailers can contact a number of compost facilities to pick up their food waste. And, those of us who compost in the back yard, should keep doing exactly what we are already doing!

4. Be Careful with Compostable Tableware — If you are in the Municipal Curbside Organics program, our current compost facility is unable to take compostable tableware such as cups and utensils. Keep putting food and uncoated paper waste in your organics bin — but please, while we’re working out details, direct anything else to recycling or trash. Be watching for more curbside composting information coming soon!

5. Watch for a How to Recycle Brochure to be published soon to help answer your questions about what goes in which recycle bin and where residents can take those hard to recycle items for recycling.

6. Stay tuned for updates about food waste compost options for Mercer County including AgriArk, a locally owned clean compost facility in Hopewell which is already turning food waste into fertilizer. Also, watch for a potential BioGas Facility in Trenton.

We look forward to working with you to reduce, reuse, and recycle to move our town closer to zero waste!

Diane Landis 

Executive Director, Sustainable Princeton