October 23, 2019

To the Editor:

We are writing to enthusiastically support the re-election of Greg Stankiewicz for Princeton’s Board of Education.

One of Greg’s priorities is to strengthen the school district’s finances — a task for which he is well prepared because of his strong background in public finance. Greg worked as a budget specialist at the NJ Office of Management and Budget and wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Princeton on state and local finance.

Greg’s knowledge and experience are particularly important right now because the Board of Education may once again face tough decisions when planning next year’s budget, due to rising enrollments and the continual underfunding of the district by the state.

In his tenure on the Board, Greg has focused on ways to increase revenues and reduce costs for the district. He supported and helped facilitate the hiring of a firm to evaluate how the district and municipality can most efficiently share services. He also encouraged the district to join a coalition that convinced the legislature to provide additional state aid for extraordinary special education costs, which resulted in Princeton receiving an additional $1.7 million this year. more

October 16, 2019

To the Editor:

I’m a 14-year resident of Princeton Community Village, the oldest and largest of Princeton’s subsidized housing developments. One day, I found myself unexpectedly chatting with Adam Bierman, who explained that he was running for a Princeton Council seat. This was my first such encounter in the Village, which is located off the beaten path. It showed savvy to want to reach so many potential voters, but, more meaningfully, his coming out to meet me and my neighbors showed an awareness, sensitivity, and genuine concern for a less affluent population that might be otherwise overlooked. I was further impressed that he and I had a real conversation. He didn’t just want to tell me to vote for him and quickly move on, he listened carefully to what I had to say. He had my vote.

As a lifelong resident of Princeton, Adam lives his life embracing the spirit of a place that takes great pride as a center of learning. In Adam’s case, I particularly mean two things: valuing the ability to think for oneself, and using what you learn as a call to action. As an Independent Democrat, Adam Bierman would be an outstanding addition to the Princeton Council. He has insights into every aspect of life here. His commitment to all the people of Princeton is without question.

Erica Mosner
Princeton Community Village

To the Editor:

The recent defeat of the incumbent in June’s primary should be a wake up call to the mayor and Council, that there is a need for fresh ideas and new leadership.

Michelle Pirone Lambros is not only critical of the way major projects are being handled, such as the new parking meter implementation and the relocation of the fueling station, she is working on solutions. For instance, with the parking meters, she helped get the meter rates lowered from $2.25 per hour to $1.75, and the length of parking times from 2 to 3 hours in the central business district. Some other improvements, such as adding back the 10-minute grace period, were ideas she helped broker between the merchants who were so adversely affected by the rate increase during the 2018 holiday season and the town, which relies on parking revenue in the municipal budget. more

To the Editor:

We very strongly endorse Greg Stankiewicz and Susan Kanter for election to the Princeton Board of Education.

Greg and Susan have the commitment, personalities, and work ethic to continue to make our schools more equitable and inclusive. Both of them are passionate about these issues and have worked tirelessly to improve our public schools for every child.

This commitment to equity is reflected in the experiences of our students of color and low income. We work with many of these students in our organization Committed and Faithful Princetonians, and we believe they are graduating high school and going to college much better prepared and likely to succeed than in the past.

We have to make sure that Princeton Public Schools are not just for some, but FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN. To accomplish that, we need School Board members who will battle for our kids and work as a team to problem solve. That is why we so strongly support the election of Greg and Susan.

Fern and Larry Spruill
Oak Lane

To the Editor:

This is an important time for our public schools and for our community. Our public schools have an annual budget that exceeds $100 million. This spending represents 48 percent of our overall property tax bill. We must spend our money thoughtfully and wisely to maintain great schools and to keep Princeton affordable.

I am pleased to support Debbie Bronfeld and Dafna Kendal for election to the Princeton Board of Education. Independent oversight of our schools is vital for students, families and the community at large. Board members must strike a delicate balance with decisions on curriculum, personnel, class size, facilities, and affordability.

I have been working collaboratively with BoE member Debbie Bronfeld since my term began in January, 2019. She cares deeply about our students, teachers, and community. She works exceptionally hard on multiple committees. She asks probing questions and is focused on academic excellence, equity, and fiscal sustainability. Debbie is an independent thinker and votes no on wasteful spending. She wants to keep Princeton affordable and she prioritizes teachers over expensive new facilities. more

To the Editor:

We the undersigned want to congratulate Mayor Lempert and the Princeton Town Council on their leadership in approving Resolution 19-278: “Declaring that the Second Monday in October shall be known as Indigenous Peoples Day in the Municipality of Princeton; Encouraging other Institutions to Recognize the Day; and Reaffirming the Municipality’s Commitment to Promote the Well-Being and Growth of Indigenous Communities.”

We thank the Town Council as a body for having the vision and courage to approve this resolution, which recognizes the oft-ignored history of the thriving indigenous peoples on this land prior to European colonization, their survival against the odds of racism and forced removals, and the value of their continuing presence in our community. We thank Mayor Liz Lempert for her immediate positive response after listening to proposals for such a day made by Princeton citizens at the Princeton Council meeting on October 8, 2018. We thank the Civil Rights Commission and its ad hoc Committee members for their work in bringing this resolution to fruition. Our sincere gratitude to the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape and Ramapough Lenape Nations for their support for this resolution. more

To the Editor:

You think the 2020 election is important to our country? How about the November 5 election right here in our town!  Leadership in Princeton is about to take a journey into the future … our shared future. In three weeks, we must decide who will be navigating the good ship Princeton on this all-important voyage.

This should not be a popularity contest. What Princeton desperately needs are the best, the brightest, and the most competent leaders at the helm. At the top of that list is Mia Sacks. Her lengthy track record of leadership speaks for itself. From her exhaustive background in this nation’s leading social justice organizations, to her efforts on behalf of our children in Princeton Public Schools, to her work on smart planning and sustainability in Princeton, Mia is someone others go to when they want or see a need for action. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of myself and probably most of the overflow crowd at Labyrinth Books on October 11, I would like to sincerely thank Dorothea von Molkte for introducing us to her remarkable grandfather, Helmuth James von Molkte and his efforts to counter Nazi human rights abuses in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. Helmuth was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle, whose members discussed the prospects for Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Adolf Hitler. Helmuth was against the assassination of Hitler, believing that if one succeeded, Hitler would become a martyr. For his activities in the Kreisau Circle, Helmuth was imprisoned in Tegel prison in Berlin in late September 1944 and executed on January 23, 1945. more

October 9, 2019

COOKIE CRAVINGS: “Everything is made from scratch, with fresh ingredients, and special recipes. We also have many gluten-free cookies, and we are nut-free.” Lauren Ariev Gellman, owner of Milk & Cookies, the popular Princeton cookie shop, center, is shown with daughters, Rose, left, and Audrey.

By Jean Stratton

The word is out. Milk & Cookies is a happy place!

Located at 14 Chambers Street, this delightful cookie shop offers an array of delicious cookies, brownies, and other treats guaranteed to tempt the taste buds.

Owner and baker Lauren Ariev Gellman is busy every day baking 200 to 300 cookies, all with fresh ingredients, and often incorporating her own special recipes.

“I’m always creating new cookies and flavors,” she reports. “Many of the cookies have crisp edges and soft middles. It’s personal taste as to the preferred texture — whether people like soft or crispy cookies. Tastes can be generational too.” more

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse the re-election of Greg Stankiewicz to the Princeton Board of Education. We’ve known Greg for 30 and 15 years, respectively, and can attest to his integrity, his commitment to building social equity, his belief in consensus and coalition building, and his public policy expertise — not to mention his very likeable and levelheaded personality. During Greg’s first term, we saw these qualities at work, and we believe they are indispensable. The board is facing the daunting challenge of managing a growing student population under strict fiscal constraints in a town with tremendous concern about steadily rising property taxes. Greg has the fiscal, planning, and policy experience — and the right temperament — to tackle the complexities of this job. more

To the Editor:

In one month, on November 5, we will have an important election in Princeton. Our two Democratic candidates for Princeton Council — Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros — are thoughtful problem solvers who would bring distinct and complementary talents to the job. They share a commitment to Democratic values in Princeton, as evidenced by their focus on promoting affordability; maintaining a welcoming town that finds strength in our economic and cultural diversity; and elevating community engagement, transparency, and accountability in local government. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Princeton Board of Education. Dafna and I served on the Board together for two years, and when I look back at her service on the Board, I am struck by two characteristics of her service: students and finances. 

Dafna was always focused on the students and always considered their needs first by asking the right questions — will this spending be the best use of the money for the students, how does this purchase help the students? She is concerned for the students who need more — the students with special education needs, the students who don’t have the financial means to take part in the activities our schools offer, the students who don’t have the support at home to keep up in school. Dafna put her money and energy where her heart was by mentoring students in need and helping to found a nonprofit organization to support students in our community needing financial support. more

To the Editor:

The Princeton task force on permit parking will be holding an open forum to introduce and invite feedback on its efforts to develop a comprehensive permit parking plan for neighborhoods within walking distance of the central business district and high school, including the Tree Streets, Witherspoon-Jackson, Jugtown, and portions of the Western Section. All Princeton residents, business owners, and employees are invited to the forum, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 at 400 Witherspoon Road. Participants will hear short presentations and then break into rotating smaller groups where they can raise questions and offer ideas to members of the task force. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Adam Bierman for a seat on the Princeton Town Council.

For the past few years, I have worked with Adam on numerous film and TV projects around Princeton. While filming him on the campaign trail, it is easy to see his intelligent and engaging interpersonal skills at work. He talks with, and really listens to, his fellow Princetonians. He is an activist, and a creative problem solver who thrives on challenges, displays grace under pressure, and can get the job done. As a member of the Princeton Town Council he will bring truth and transparency, and work diligently to provide solutions to the many important issues that confront Princeton now: our schools, safety in the community and working towards more affordable taxes.

Please consider voting for Adam Bierman for Princeton Council on November 5.

Patrick McDonald
Cranbury
Director, Princetonia NOW, Princeton Community Television

To the Editor:

It has been just a year since the Princeton Period Project started its work to help provide an affordable, reliable supply of feminine hygiene products, addressing what’s called “period poverty” that exists in the Princeton area and around the world. We’ve distributed more than 60,000 period products in the Princeton public schools, at our parent organization Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen, and at agencies such as Womanspace, Arm in Arm, HomeFront, LifeTies, Rescue Mission of Trenton, and more.

The items we distribute come from collections done by local businesses and employers such as Princeton University Press, Gloria Nilson & Co., YogaStream, Princeton Alumni Corps, University League Nursery School, Gratitude Yoga, FitBody Boot Camp, and others, as well as from “period parties” hosted by individuals for their friends and neighbors. more

To the Editor:

We are writing to encourage Princeton residents to vote for Susan Kanter as one of their three school board choices on November 5. In Susan’s five years as PHS PTO co-president, five years as JWMS treasurer, and the treasurer of the 101 Fund, and Princeton Children’s Fund, Susan consistently has put students first, used evidence to guide her decisions, built strong relationships with school leadership and stakeholders, and repeatedly found intelligent, actionable solutions. Her 23 years of experience as VP of Operations of a $250 million division of a multi-national company honed her ability to manage a significant budget in a fiscally responsible manner. more

To the Editor:

We want to thank the approximately 4,600 community members who contributed to the creation of Princeton’s Climate Action Plan. We greatly value the input you provided through in-person discussions and online comments, as well as the participation in educational events such as Princeton’s GreenFest. Thank you!

In particular, we want to express our gratitude to the more than 50 community members who served on the Steering Committee and five Working Groups that vetted and finalized the plan’s 84 specific strategies. These individuals gave detailed thought, and careful consideration, to the review of each strategy to ensure the plan articulates Princeton’s best path forward. more

To the Editor:

Thank you to all who came and enjoyed a delightful afternoon with Trinity Church members, guests, and choir. The Afternoon Tea, given to support the Trinity Church Choir’s upcoming 2021 tour of the U.K., was a happy and wonderful event on Sunday, October 6. Our guests enjoyed a delicious traditional English tea of savories and sweets followed by the choir singing Evensong in the beautiful church, rounding out a special and unique event. Thank you for your support for this exceptional choir.

The Trinity Choir Tea Committee

October 2, 2019

To the Editor:

Climate demonstrations like the Hinds Plaza gathering in Princeton may help prod our government to take action against global warming, but it’s going to take concerted follow up by all citizens to ensure that the U.S. moves away from fossil fuels in time to prevent irreparable harm to our Earth.

We have no time to wait before we pick up our phones, pens, and computers and remind our elected representatives that 70 percent of their constituents want action now.  We can even suggest a great place to begin — placing a steadily increasing fee on all oil and gas extracted from ground in the U.S. or imported into the country. Rising costs of fossil fuels will impel all sectors of the economy to develop new and cheaper sources of energy, and the fee revenues can be returned to consumers to make up for short-term price increases. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of The Petey Greene Program, we would like to thank all the many sponsors and ticketholders who helped to make our first public fundraiser on September 26 a success!

The evening’s guest speakers were Princeton native and Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and Roger Durling, ED of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Peddie School trustee. Both speakers praised Princeton as a community that allowed for ‘big ideas’ and then supported those ideas with philanthropic support. The Petey Greene Program is one such ‘big idea,’ a nonprofit established by Princeton alumni in 2008 that trains university students to tutor incarcerated students in weekly one-on-one sessions. This academic enrichment greatly improves the odds for incarcerated students and at the same time awakens university students to the injustices of mass incarceration in America.  more

To the Editor:

Vote-by-mail ballots arrived in Princeton mailboxes last week.  In Column A of the ballot, voters will find highly competent and concerned Democratic candidates, including Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros for Princeton Council.

Mia and Michelle, who are ready to take on the responsibilities of Council members, have made public service a priority. Each has a vision for Princeton that includes sustainability, affordability, and socioeconomic diversity, as well as a robust and thriving local business community.

Currently a member of the Princeton Planning Board and its Master Plan subcommittee, Mia has served on the Princeton Environmental Commission, on Princeton’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, and on the Complete Streets Traffic Calming Committee. In addition, she serves on the board of Sustainable Princeton, the Resiliency Working Group for Princeton’s Climate Action Plan, and Princeton’s Municipal Green Team.  more

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone who supported Send Hunger Packing Princeton’s (SHUPP’s) Fall Fest.  Our September 15th “Friendraiser” food packing event was an opportunity for the community to learn more about our program, which has provided over 140,000 supplemental meals to food insecure children in Princeton.  The event was well attended and our eager participants packed over 400 weekend meals for our elementary school children. We greatly appreciate the support of those who attended. Please visit www.SHUPPrinceton.org to find out more or make a donation.

Martha Land, Molly Chrein
SHUPP Board Members and Fall Fest Organizers

To the Editor:

One of the issues that Princeton residents in all parts of the municipality have voiced concerns about is speeding. Based on citizen complaints and their own observations, our police department deploys mobile signs that remind drivers of the speed limit and tracks how fast they are actually going. Through this citizen-driven process, we have collected a lot of data about the speed of traffic on different streets in the town. Speeding can be somewhat subjective; a large bus or truck on a narrow street can appear to be going substantially faster than it is actually going. And not every street that we collect data about appears to have, objectively, a major problem with speeding. But the collected data does reveal that there are definitely roads on which cars consistently go well over the posted speed limit. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Board of Education. I’ve known Dafna since our children started kindergarten together at Littlebrook Elementary School in the fall of 2012. I’ve long been impressed by Dafna’s commitment to the education and wellbeing of all of Princeton’s students; by her ingenuity in devising creative solutions to budgetary challenges; by her deep respect for our district’s teachers; and by her dedication to open, transparent communications with all town residents.

Dafna’s many achievements since she was first elected to the Board demonstrate the tenacity and vigor with which she approaches her role as a steward of our schools. Aware of the fiscal constraints facing our district, for instance, she established in 2018 an ad hoc Board committee on alternative revenue sources that secured approximately $800,000 in voluntary payments from the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Theological Seminary, among others. A lawyer by training, Dafna discovered last year that the Cranbury Board of Education was not meeting its contractual obligation to fully compensate Princeton for special education services; as a result, our district will bill for the additional $150,000 for the 2019-20 school year. As an advocate of equity for all students, Dafna ensured that special education issues were added to teachers’ professional development topics; revised the district’s dress code to remove a prohibition on head scarves; and lobbied for aggressive recruitment efforts at HBCU [historically black colleges and universities], resulting in a marked increase in the hiring of teachers of color. Alert to the importance of Board transparency and community engagement, Dafna added opportunities for public comment at Board meetings and introduced the practice of emailing summaries of monthly Board meetings to all district parents and staff. And as someone both deeply aware of the extraordinary contributions of the district’s teachers and committed to safeguarding the district’s financial resources, Dafna skillfully led negotiations to extend all three labor union contracts through 2020, turning what could have been an acrimonious, costly, and time-consuming ordeal into a mutually satisfactory process. more

To the Editor:

The Choir College is missing its most promising option for continuing its programs: creating a contemporary/popular voice program.

There’s a huge demand for popular voice programs — we saw that in touring colleges with our son, who’s now a senior at Belmont University in Nashville, studying commercial voice with an arranging focus. (He was also accepted at Berklee College for a similar program.) Voice is the top major of Belmont Music students and was certainly the most common interest of those who toured Berklee when we did. There’s no comparable contemporary voice program in our area — so why doesn’t Westminster create one? It already has classical voice staff and can draw other staff from New York City and Philadelphia to teach pop, jazz, rock, and other styles. Offering a cappella performance, arranging, choreography, and teaching — a natural fit. Additional income can also come from workshops, camps, and performances, partnering with local universities and lower schools, and offering songwriting classes as well.

A popular voice program could fund keeping Westminster where it is. Why not have Westminster remain a unique and prosperous center for voice teaching of all kinds?

Ruth Greenwood
Grover Avenue

The writer is co-coordinator of the Princeton Songwriters group.