March 21, 2012

“My favorite part is the way you can help people and the environment.” —Ana Rodriguez, Lawrenceville

Sarah: “Going on the camping trips and getting badges.”
Anushka: “Having fun with friends at different events and how we earn badges.”
—Sarah Staggs (left) and Anushka Bhatia, Princeton

Ashley: “It’s really fun to get all types of new badges and go to all kinds of places.”
Raina: “Going to the amusement parks.”
—Ashley Charles (left) and Raina Williamson, Princeton

Hadley: “The activities that we do. And I also like that I’m with my friends from my old school and my new school.
Madeleine: “I like the activities.”
—Hadley Maltisch (left) and Madeleine Emeric, Princeton

Devon: “The challenges that Girl Scouts push you toward that you wouldn’t do on a daily basis.”
Ann: “Being with my friends that I have known since kindergarten.”
—Devon Kueny (left) and Ann Gaylord, Ewing

Odette: “We’re all like family together.”
Nevin: “Selling cookies and going to cool events like this today.” —Odette Biache (left) and Nevin Gammage, Ewing

Jada: “My friends, the activities, going to new places and learning things about history.”
Catherine: “Hanging out with friends, it’s like family to me.”
Mary Catherine: “You get to meet new people and get to do really fun things and go to really cool events.”
—Jada Morton–Salley (left), Catherine Strubel (middle), and Mary Catherine Shea, Ewing

March 14, 2012
NTU Karyn Bristol

FINDING THE WAY: “I see clients of all ages who are dealing with anxiety, depression, sexuality issues, family problems, etc. My goal is to help the person explore what it is they really want. It is not always easy to know that.” Karyn Bristol, LCSW, practices in Princeton.

It’s an intense world today.

Texting, tweeting, e-mailing — everyone is wired up, geared up, and constantly connected. The technology is so all-pervasive that one has to make a determined effort to turn off and “un-connect.”

The benefit of high tech notwithstanding, it is also a stress-producer. The sheer speed of life today does not allow for much reflective thought, let alone down-time or relaxation. The temptations of the smartphone, iPod, iPad (and whatever is coming next!) are often so addictive that many people feel uneasy without these “tools”.

Even the youngest among us are affected by the high tech world. In fact, it is really all they know, points out licensed social worker Karyn Bristol. “The kids can’t turn off the hallways of school when they come home,” she notes.

Difficult Times

Helping people navigate through difficult times, whether due to anxiety, depression, sexuality issues, or marital problems, is the focus of Ms. Bristol’s work.

While specializing in anxiety issues and adolescents, she does see clients of all ages, including children as young as five. As a licensed social worker, she helps clients deal with a range of issues from bullying in school, to marital problems, to the  loss of a job in today’s challenging economy.

In addition to her own practice, one day a week, she works with Princeton gynecologist, Dr. Maria Sophocles. “I will see clients who may be in emotional distress,” explains Ms. Bristol, who opened her practice at 20 Nassau Street in May 2011.

“It is very important to make the person feel comfortable and safe, whatever their age,” she points out. “I am a ‘comfortable stranger’, someone they can talk to in complete confidence.”

Ms. Bristol was always interested in helping people, she adds. A good listener, she was there to help friends with their problems, and this was true during her eight-year career in public relations in Manhattan.

“I enjoyed that time in New York,” she reports, “but then I felt I wanted something different, and I went back to school, to Boston College, and got a master’s degree in social work.”

She then spent one year in a community mental health clinic, working with all age groups. She also spent a year as a therapist in a school for troubled boys, and 10 years as a school counselor in a private boarding school.

Counseling Service

Ms. Bristol later worked two years in another community mental health clinic, which also served as the counseling service for Babson College near Boston. During this time, she opened a private practice, working with children as young as five, adolescents, adults, and couples.

“To become a licensed social worker, one must work in the field for a certain number of years, and then pass an exam,” she explains. Achieving that goal, Ms. Bristol was able to move forward in her practice.

“Being a good therapist is not just about listening,” she points out. “We’re working on a problem together through discussion and planning. Each session is completely tailored to the individual. My work is challenging and rewarding in so many ways. I find something new every time I sit with a client. I can gain a new perspective, and the client may also have an interesting and different way of dealing with their problems. Also, people are more resilient than they often realize.”

Ms. Bristol finds interest and satisfaction in treating all ages and offers approaches suitable to each age.

Worries and Feelings

“With a 10-year-old, I’ll begin by telling them about myself,” she explains. “That I’m a person who can help them with their worries and feelings, and that I want to help people feel better. We can also use very concrete strategies if a kid is stressed about school. For example, we may create our own board game as a strategy to determine how they feel and how they can come up with ways to handle the situation. I can also make a book with the child, or we’ll write a song together or use their iPod as a means to address the problem.

“If it’s a case of bullying — being bullied or doing the bullying — we’ll try to look at the reason. Why is someone doing the bullying? Has he or she been bullied themselves? If the child or teen is the object of bullying, we’ll try to find ways to work on their self-confidence and inner strength. Bullying is definitely an issue for kids today.

“In the case of an adolescent, I’ll usually start by asking what’s on their minds. They generally speak right out about it. ‘My parents are driving me crazy!,’ etc.

If some are more reticent, Ms. Bristol tries to find ways to draw them out. We may start by talking about their friends, interests, what they like. Safer subjects. Sometimes, I’ll also suggest that they keep a journal — it’s a good way to get their thoughts out and is very private.”

Self-Awareness

Helping clients discover new ways of dealing with situations can be an important part of the process, she adds. “I think with many problems, people are still trying to use solutions they used a long time ago, but are not helpful now. They need to find new ways to handle it. We tend to look at the ways we tried to solve something in the past, but that is not serving us now. We need more self-awareness.”

Ms. Bristol typically sees clients for 50 minutes (it can be less for children) once a week. How long the therapy continues can vary, depending on the individual situation. “If it’s an immediate problem, such as a divorce or lost job, or out-of-control child, we can work to address that particular issue and perhaps get to the bottom of it relatively quickly.

“On the other hand, it may also be good to explore the underlying issues, and that can take longer. It’s self-exploration with the goal of self-knowledge and self-reliance.”

It may take a month, six months, a year or more, she says. “It varies so much from individual to individual. It depends on what the person is looking to do and to accomplish.”

Ms. Bristol also points out that, even in our stress-laden society, some stress is healthy. “It gets you moving. It’s bad when it starts to impact you negatively and interfere with your life. It can cause a number of physical problems, including loss of sleep.”

Exercise can be helpful, she notes. It’s good for one generally, of course, and a good way to control anxiety. “Even a 10-minute walk can be helpful. And it’s also important to take some time for yourself — to do something you enjoy, or just some quiet time.”

Ms. Bristol is very happy in her chosen profession. Helping to make a positive impact on someone’s life is greatly important to her. “I feel so lucky when I am sitting down with someone, and I think ‘I love what I’m doing!’ In my work, I look forward to helping people to grow, to change and to feel better. I feel people are amazingly interesting, and I love to learn about them.”

Ms. Bristol sees clients Monday, Thursday, and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday until 7 p.m. (508) 561-5536.


NTU Luxaby

KIDS’ CORNER: “This is a happy place. People love to come in — kids, moms, and grandmothers. They all find a fun atmosphere, and I also will soon be setting up a children’s reading corner.” Molly Vernon, owner of Luxaby Baby & Child, is shown with a copy of her newly published book, “Luxaby Lily”. (Photo by Thea Creative)

Luxaby Baby & Child is a Princeton success story. Opened in 2009, it has become a favorite of mothers looking for high quality, age-appropriate apparel for their children.

“My philosophy is that I want kids to be kids,” explains owner and Princeton native Molly Vernon. “All the clothes are age-appropriate. The kids don’t dress like little adults, and I think this sets us apart.”

Everyone is very happy about that, she adds. “The kids, parents, and grandparents — they all love the clothes.”

The idea for the store, which offers clothes for newborns to age 10, began with a series of trunk shows that Ms. Vernon held at her home. “Friends were interested, and I also had a website and an on-line business. I really felt there was a need for this type of children’s clothing — timeless, classic, and well-made.”

More Space

“I always had thought I would like to open a store, and this has been such a pleasure. I am so happy to get to do something that I love.”

And that is so successful! The popularity of the store continues to grow as more customers discover the appealing selection. In fact, Luxaby Baby just moved to larger quarters at 19 Hulfish Street to accommodate the need for more space.

“I have added the Isabella Oliver line of maternity clothes and a fitting room,” says Ms. Vernon. “People had been asking for maternity clothes, and we will have everything, from dressy to casual.

“In addition, with the added space, I am planning to have a children’s reading corner, so they will have something to do when they come in with their mom.”

Mothers love the store because of the high quality, often irresistible, clothes for boys and girls. Of course, the place is a treasure trove for grandmothers!

“Grandmothers are my favorite customers,” says Ms. Vernon, smiling.

Spring Line

The Luxaby spring line is now available, and navy is the hot color both for boys and girls, reports Ms. Vernon. “We have navy blazers for boys, and the nautical look is very popular, including tops with navy and white stripes. There are navy and white dresses with big ruffled bows at the shoulder for an accent. Girls love this.

“Pink is still the color girls love best,” she adds, “and we have pink raincoats for them, as well as many other items in pink. A big best seller for boys is the Petit Bateau yellow raincoat, with blue and white striped lining.”

Merchandise at the shop includes both American and imported lines. Baby CZ, Petit Bateau, and Rachel Riley, among many others, are very popular.

Natural fabrics, including cotton, are emphasized, and Ms. Vernon points out that “I do try to buy items that can be machine-washed.”

Adorable dresses for little girls are in assorted colors and styles, and prove irresistible to grandmothers! The one-piece shortalls for boys, ages three months to 24 months, are also very popular.

Sweaters, skirts, shorts, and jackets are all offered, as is the fun “Black Squirrel” line of T-shirts, and hats. Pajamas from Petit Bateau and the organic line of New Jammies are available for both boys and girls.

Custom Design

Items for newborns and babies include everything — layettes, receiving blankets, hooded towels, adorable onesies, bibs, booties, and burp cloths.

“We also have custom design blankets,” says Ms. Vernon. “I choose the fabrics, and then the blankets are made for us in Louisiana. In addition, everything in the store — clothes, gifts, layettes — can be monogrammed. It’s done locally by Toggle Home Monogramming & Design.”

Organic baby soaps and lotions are available from Noodle & Boo, and the same company also offers a line for mothers.

Piggy banks and selected toys are on hand, including the adorable line of Angel Dear “Blankies”. Buttery-soft tiny blankets with little animal accents are suitable for infants and up. A companion line of Angel Dear soft rattles is also on display.

Ms. Vernon attends shows in New York to see what is available and to keep track of trends. “I try to figure out the new trends, and I now have a sense of what my clientele likes, and the price range. It is very important that the clothes I offer are high quality and well-made, and that they will last. That way they can be passed on to other children in the family. This kind of recycling is very significant.

“I love everything about the store,” she adds. “My first favorite part is choosing the items, and the second is opening the packages when they arrive. It’s like Christmas!”

Luxaby Lily

The mother of two small daughters, Ms. Vernon is very busy balancing family and the store. “I think the challenge for moms who work is making sure you enjoy and make the most of every moment where you are.”

In addition to meeting this challenge, Ms. Vernon has found time to write a children’s book, which was recently published. “Luxaby Lily” is the story of a charming 5-year-old fairy, living in the fairy town of Luxaby. It is based on bedtime stories Ms. Vernon told to her oldest daughter, when the little girl was two.

“In the story, the fairy is shy and insecure, and afraid she can’t do things as well as others,” explains Ms. Vernon. “She learns that she is able to do whatever she wants, and that the magic is within her. The book is concerned about children’s self-esteem. I want children to feel good about themselves. It helped my little girl see that she could do things and not be afraid.”

The book, which is wonderfully illustrated by Rachel Styner (who is also manager of Luxaby Baby), is appropriate for ages K-5, and is available at the store and online.

Luxaby Baby has a very busy online business, and sends items all over, including California, Montreal, and London. The store itself is a flourishing operation, where customers rarely leave empty-handed.

“We have so many wonderful regular customers, who are amazingly loyal,” says Ms. Vernon. “I want everyone to know I look forward to the shop being here a long time. I am here to stay!”

Luxaby Baby is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday until 8:30; Sunday noon to 5. (609) 921-0065. Website: luxabybaby.com.

To the Editor:

I am running for Princeton Council because I am very concerned about this moment in our town’s history. It is essential that we seize the opportunity to set off on the right fiscal path and create effective government while preserving and enhancing services that Princeton residents have come to expect.

My recent experience as chair of the Township’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee combined with a successful background in corporate financial management make me uniquely qualified to understand the complexities and meet the challenges as we transition to one Princeton. I will promote robust financial management and transparency to enhance decision making, budgeting, and long-term capital planning.

As Princeton residents, we value our diverse community and unique resources. Our world-class library, human services, open spaces, and a vibrant downtown are at the heart of who we are and why we choose to live here. As Vice Chair of the Joint Borough/Township Transition Task Force, I have been working to achieve the contemplated savings identified in the Consolidation Commission’s report, and on the Council I will demand a balanced approach between fiscal discipline and preserving a high quality of community for our citizens.

I look forward to strengthening relations with Princeton University and our other world-class institutions. The lines of communication need to be open and frank as we wrestle with issues of development and growth.

I have lived in Princeton for 14 years, 9 years in the Borough and 5 in the Township, and look forward to a bright future as we transition to one Princeton.

Scott Sillars
Battle Road

To the Editor: 

As a parent, I have a responsibility to do all that I can to protect my children. When I sponsored the state’s first anti-bullying law in 2002, I did so for the same reason. It is the most basic duty that I share with parents across the state of New Jersey. And when the opportunity arose to act once again in 2010, I sponsored the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, a law that transcends party lines and brought Democrats and Republicans together for the sake of our children. The physical and emotional well-being of New Jersey’s young people depends on that sort of progress.

Ensuring the welfare of our kids is not a choice. When it comes to drugs and alcohol, obscenity, child abuse, and a whole host of other dangers to our young people, no one is looking the other way. Cases of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in our schools should be no different.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights is more than just words; it is a promise to every child in the state of New Jersey. It is a declaration that we will not condone harassment, nor will we be bystanders in the presence of intimidation. For so many school children across the state, it is a lifeline. The bipartisan enactment of this law was symbolic: right knows no party or ideology. The fact of the matter is that, for a student who fears going to class each day due to harassment or the possibility of physical harm, party labels have no significance.

The state of New Jersey has set an example for generations to come in its commitment to stand up for justice and equality for all people. And if there is any single legacy for which our Legislature may be remembered, I would hope it would be its adherence to these principles.

Educating our kids means giving them all the tools they need to succeed, from simple things like pens and notebooks to the more complicated peace of mind that comes with knowing that every adult in the state of New Jersey stands with them against bullying. We owe it to these children to deliver.

Barbara Buono
Senator 118th Legislative District

To the Editor:

The Princeton Borough Shade Tree Commission (PBSTC) would like to recognize and thank Polly Burlingham for her many years of service to this community through her involvement in the PBSTC. Many people may recognize Polly from her annual post at the Communiversity PBSTC Tent, where over the years she helped to hand out thousands of tree saplings to help celebrate Arbor Day, while also taking every opportunity to educate both the young and old on the proper care of Princeton trees. But behind the scenes is where Polly’s leadership as a commission member, and in recent years as the PBSTC chair, has impacted her fellow commission members and the community the most. Under Polly’s leadership the PBSTC has been awarded more than $10,000 in grants by the State Forestry Division, enabling this commission to write and act upon our state mandated second Five-year Forestry Plan. With her guidance we have met many of those initiatives, including the creation of the recently approved Borough tree ordinance and the development and inventorying of a tree database, which we use to monitor Princeton Borough tree diversity, condition, and plantings. Our new web-site www.pbshadetree.org has also been created under Polly’s watch, full of information on Borough trees, as well as information on educational programs for the public, such as the recent PBSTC tree walks. We wish Polly well as she steps down from her active role in this commission to pursue new and exciting interests with other very lucky local community organizations.

The Princeton Borough
Shade Tree Commission
Sharon Ainsworth, Welmoet Bok van Kammen,
Patricia Hyatt, Alexander Radbil, Marie Rickman,
Jenny Crumiller, Council Liaison

To the Editor:

The other afternoon, I was finishing up a rejuvenating walk in the tranquil and lovely Mountain Lakes Preserve and heading up the long driveway back to the parking lot. I stepped off the road to allow a delivery truck going to Mountain Lakes House to pass me and when I returned to the pavement, I slipped and crashed down onto the asphalt. Luckily, five fellow nature lovers heard my calls for help and responded swiftly.

Thank you very much to the jogger who reached me first. He supported me to the parking lot, called 911, and stayed on the phone with the police to completely assess my needs. Thank you, as well, to the woman in the parking lot who kindly proffered paper towels for my extremely bloody face, and to her husband, a doctor, who further evaluated my injuries (you were right: stitches and a broken nose). Thank you, especially, to Jamie Anderson and her husband who also helped escort me out of the woods, who phoned my husband, and who drove me to the emergency room. Thank you to the two dogs in this assemblage who were sweetly sympathetic, even though I was delaying their romp in the woods. I am extremely grateful that I had such concerned, capable help within moments of my fall, and I’m sorry that your afternoon idyll was interrupted.

I have additional thanks to all the people at Princeton Medical Center, whose kind, friendly, professional care was gentle, reassuring, and efficient. Thanks for still being right down the street from Mountain Lakes.

I also have a request to anyone driving a car or truck into Mountain Lakes Preserve: please drive slowly and cautiously. The driveway is narrow and the verges are slippery and uneven in many places. More and more walkers and runners will be in the woods as the weather improves, so please share the road.

Sally K. Chrisman
Stanley Avenue

To the Editor:

In the past few weeks I have given much thought to running for the new Princeton Council in the primary election in June. After talking through the prospect of a campaign with many of my family, friends, and colleagues, I have decided that I will enter the campaign and seek the endorsement of PCDO for the primary election.

I have arrived at this decision because I believe that the successful campaign to unite Princeton was not a culmination but a beginning. Much remains to be done during the next few years to carry forth the work of the Consolidation Commission in order to ensure that our community can realize the benefits of consolidation. In addition, during the last few years we have built a vastly improved working relationship with Princeton University. It is important to make certain that the new Princeton Council continues to build on that relationship for the betterment of the community.

For the past ten years I have been honored to serve the people of Princeton Township as a committeeman, deputy mayor and mayor. I was a member of the Consolidation Study Commission and worked for consolidation. I am a member of the Transition Task Force that is working with the professional staffs of the Borough and Township to merge our two communities into a new town of Princeton.

I ask for your support to help move our new Princeton forward and to implement what we as a community voted to do on November 8, 2011.

Bernie Miller
Governors Lane

To the Editor:

In this era of fiscal recklessness and mismanagement, I wonder how many Princetonians are aware that tens of thousands of their hard-earned tax dollars are being squandered yet again this year in ex-mayor Marchand’s barbaric deer slaughter program. In this, the eleventh year of the township’s war on wildlife, White Buffalo once again came to town to visit carnage and cruelty on Princeton’s surviving deer population. The few stragglers that remain are relentlessly persecuted in our parks and preserves because a few well-heeled snobs value their bushes more than they do living creatures.

The invalid link between deer and Lyme Disease is still promoted by an intolerant and ignorant few as a reason to continue the cull ad infinitum. If Princetonians were as concerned about this subject as they are about the Institute development debacle, the deer killing would end now.

Hopefully, once the two communities are joined, a sane policy regarding deer/human coexistence can be implemented that does not include killing.

Bill Laznovsky
Mandon Court

Brian: “I think Einstein would have liked it and he would have won all the contests. My favorite pie is blueberry.”
Allan: “He would think that it is ridiculous. I think he would be thinking of other metaphysical things. I’m having fun, my son participated in the Pi recitation. My favorite pie is apple.”
Jay: “I think that he would think that the people that memorize Pi are a little off. My favorite pie is apple pie.”
—Allan Westreich with sons Brian (left) and Jay, Hillsborough

Julia: “I think he would think it was cool. Apple pie is my favorite.”
Gabriel: “I think he would like it. My favorite pie is pumpkin pie.”
—Julia and Gabriel Oscar, Princeton

Mimi: “My hope is that Albert would be excited and that people would learn more about his social consciousness and all he did for civil rights. My favorite pie is the piña colada pie that was in today’s competition.”
Joy: “I have to second that about his social consciousness. I think that this day raises the appreciation of math and science as a part of our everyday lives. My favorite pie is apple pie.”
—Joy Chen (left) and Mimi Omiecinski, Princeton

“He would think that his birthday celebration was early because he was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. I like a good strudel but I like apple pie now that I am American.” —Bill Agress, Lawrenceville

“About today, I think it’s good to have diversity of thought, people trying to solve problems, but I find you can’t solve problems with the same thinking as those that created them. My favorite pie is homemade sour cherry pie from the tree in my yard.” —Joe Lepis, Sea Bright

March 7, 2012

SAY CHEESE! “We love to see the way people react to the pictures. We’re creating happy moments and happy memories.” Leslie Marrazzo and Jeff Ficarro, owners of All Stars Photobooth in Hamilton, are shown next to the open air photo booth.

No one is camera shy when they see the All Stars Photobooth. It reminds everyone of the photo booth at beach arcades and in movie complexes, where you and your friends posed for a few minutes, were captured on film, and got a strip of pictures to put in your scrapbook.

These photo booths were a guaranteed source of fun, and that is what Leslie and Anthony Marrazzo and Jeff and Maria Ficarro, owners of All Stars Photobooth, want to offer, but with a portable, more flexible booth and the most advanced, state-of-the-art photographic technology.

It all began last August, when Ms. Marrazzo, whose career had been as a physical therapy assistant, saw a photo booth at a wedding reception. “Everyone was having such a good time with it that I began to think it was something that could work for us.”

Discussing it with her husband and friends, Jeff and Maria Ficarro, who had also been interested in photography, Ms. Marrazzo began to realize that an opportunity had come along.

A Lot of Fun

Jeff Ficarro, who had been a police officer for 25 years (and will retire in May), and who had taken photography courses, researched portable photo booths, and found they had been available in the U.S. approximately five years.

The team decided to move forward, and as Mr. Ficarro recalls, “The equipment, including two trunks, with camera, flash, and computer, arrived last August, and we started going to functions to let people see us in action. In October, we did a school event and a ‘Sweet Sixteen’ party. The kids all had a lot of fun.”

These events were followed by a Halloween Hay Ride, a “Quinceanera” — 15th birthday party, and a 30th anniversary party in November.

“People especially enjoy the funny and silly pictures,” says Ms. Marrazzo. “All ages can have fun with this — from kids to retired people. We can even go to the retirement homes. Our system is very versatile and could be great for residents in a wheel chair, and we have special backdrops.

Indoor and Outdoor

“We also have props they can use, including hats, wigs, boas, and over-sized sun glasses. The crazier they are, the better the party will be!”

“It’s great when they can all relax in front of the camera and just have fun,” adds Mr. Ficarro. “When they first see the booth at a party, they say ‘Look! A photo booth! It sets the mood. Also, the booth is so versatile, and we can accommodate both indoor and outdoor settings — for example, poolside — with various types of booth enclosures; full, partial, or open air. If it is open, then the other people can have fun watching as the pictures are taken.”

All Stars Photobooth provides customers with two high resolution photo strips (three or four poses) in color or black and white. Another option is a four by six photo with up to four poses. Album and flash-drive/DVD copies are also available.

“One of us is always attending the booth,” notes Mr. Ficarro, “and we can accommodate up to 15 people in the booth. We focus on quality photos, and we have the best quality machine and film.”

All Stars Photobooth offers pictures for a variety of events, from birthdays, showers and weddings, to school and corporate events, to bar/bat mitzvahs, and graduation parties. Mercer County, including Princeton and Hamilton, and the surrounding area are covered.

Cost is by the hour, with a minimum of two hours required, although events can be longer.

Positive and Fun

Both Mr. Ficarro and Ms. Marrazzo have had challenging and demanding careers, respectively in law enforcement and health care. At times, focusing on people who have broken the law or others facing serious illness, although important work, can be mentally and physically taxing.

“I think we were both looking for something positive and fun to do, something that would bring pleasure to others and ourselves,” points out Ms. Marrazzo. “We are so pleased that we already have great word-of-mouth, lots of referrals, and even repeat customers. I want to continue to spread joy to people and create happy memories for them and for us.”

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to work with photography and give people pleasure,” adds Mr. Ficarro. “It’s fun to hear them laugh about the photos.”

“It’s guaranteed that if they’re not smiling when they come in, they will be smiling when they leave!” says Maria Ficarro — with a smile.

“So, call to book a date and check out our website. You can come as elegant or as silly as you want.”

All Stars Photobooth can be reached at (609) 306-6399 or (609) 516-9485. Website: allstarsphotoboothnj.com.


PLUS FOR PATIENTS: “It can be a long way to get to New Brunswick. This is more convenient for patients and referring doctors.” Dr. Alan M. Graham, Chief of Vascular Surgery and Chairman of Surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Medical Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group, points out the importance of having the multi-specialty off-site center at 800 Bunn Drive, so that patients can be seen by specialists from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group (RWJMG), the faculty practice of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is one of the largest multi-specialty groups in New Jersey. It is comprised of 500-plus physicians with expertise in more than 200 sub-specialty clinical programs.

The group is committed to providing quality healthcare throughout the state in partnership with community physicians. It now furnishes the specialty care found only at the top academic health centers at off-site practices, including at 800 Bunn Drive in Princeton.

This is a tremendous convenience for patients, notes Dr. Alan M. Graham, Chief of Vascular Surgery and Chairman of Surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Medical Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group.

“The patients love this. They appreciate the ease of parking at Bunn Drive and that they get more one-on-one personal attention. Especially with the recession, patients can be reluctant to drive long distances. Some are older, and may need to get a family member to take them.”

Six Specialties

Opened in April, 2011, the Bunn Drive center offers six specialties, including cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, pulmonary, dermatology,? infectious disease, and travel medicine. Specialists from these fields are available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Each specialist is typically at the site once or twice a week.

There are four examination rooms, and a Registered Nurse and front desk medical services assistant are also in attendance.

“Our physicians are in the forefront of medicine,” says Damaris Battaglia, Department Administrator of Off-Site Practices, UMDNJ, RWJMG, RWJMG. “The patients are excited about seeing these specialists in their neighborhood. We are providing specialty services where they are needed.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group has another off-site practice in Monroe Township, and plans to open another in Somerset, reports Dr. Graham. “Everyone is doing this now. The outreach is really keeping the business going. You have to have off-site center practices now. It really has to happen. An academic medical center has to have an off-site center to survive today, and referring doctors don’t want to be far away.”

Perfect Location

The Bunn Drive facility offers services both for new and follow-up patients, he notes, and some treatments, including vein procedures, can be performed on-site.

Both Dr. Graham and Ms. Battaglia are enthusiastic about the benefits of the Bunn Drive center and multi-discipline off-site practices generally. “I enjoy being able to work with the physicians in their various specialties,” says Ms. Battaglia. “This is such a convenience for Princeton patients and others in the area, and we are continuing to grow. Bunn Drive is a perfect location, and everything is new, modern, and up-to-date.”

Dr. Graham looks forward to continuing in his role in helping to build the off-site practices. “I’ve been chief of vascular surgery for 20 years and operating for 27 years. Being involved with the off-site practice was something new. It is rewarding and a nice addition for me.”

He is particularly pleased to offer area residents a complimentary vein evaluation at the Bunn Drive facility on Thursday, March 8. Call for information (609) 688-6859. Patients can also call this number to make appointments with individual specialists. Website: www.RWDMG.com.


To the Editor:

This week, the Princeton Borough Council undertook an important reform that will promote greater public engagement in local government — we will move our meetings to an earlier time (7 p.m.) and hold our public meeting before our closed session.

Why the change? For many years, the Council has held closed session meetings before its open public meeting. As a result, the public meetings have often gone late into the night, frustrating the public and creating suboptimal conditions for good decision making. Switching the order will prioritize open government over deliberations behind closed doors, thereby promoting transparency and greater community participation. I want to thank my colleagues for supporting my motion to make this change, and hope the public will find that this new schedule makes our meetings more accessible.

Heather Howard
Aiken Avenue 

To the Editor:

There is a current movement toward declaring historic districts that would cover much of Princeton. Over 50 percent of neighborhoods could be declared historic based on recent proposals by the HPRC. We are very happy that our work to restore our beautiful old home has been recognized by The Princeton Historical Society. However, we firmly oppose the current effort to declare our area an historic district.

We are opposed to this designation in spite of the fact that our home has been recognized for its historical restoration. Over the 60 years that Bill has made this a home, he has done what many people do: remodel to accommodate a growing family. This is something that homeowners would no longer be able to do without lengthy and costly committee approval in an historic district. There are a number of historic sites in Princeton already covered by historic designation, but the current wholesale declaration that most of the town needs a committee to tell homeowners what they can and cannot do with their property seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Historic designation may sound like a harmless “merit badge” but it is also a very restrictive legal designation that dictates what a homeowner can and cannot do and how much it will cost.

It seems both short-sighted and self-interested to systematically attempt to call a halt, or create a substantial disincentive to remodel or build in neighborhoods across Princeton.

There is an existing and working system to protect our historic sites, but trying to put most of Princeton in a bureaucratic bell jar to protect it from any and all change is not the answer. While we place tremendous value on the importance of history, at the same time, we believe that homeowners should be allowed to make decisions about how their homes might evolve to adjust to the needs of growing or aging families; just as we have been permitted to do since 1952.

Bill and Judith Scheide
Library Place

To the Editor:

A record-breaking more than 450 enthusiastic participants attended the 14th annual Princeton Community Works at the Frist Center on the Princeton University campus on January 30. Participants from more than 200 non-profit organizations across the state, networked and gained insight and information by attending workshops. Our deep gratitude goes to Princeton University for its generosity as our host, to the Princeton Rotary for their significant administrative help, and to the 27 workshop presenters who donated their time and talents. A special thank you to our keynote presenter Robert Loughran for conducting the wonderful Princeton High School Orchestra, and to the 50 very talented students who performed. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to our dedicated, hard-working Community Works volunteers and to the on-going support of the media.

Marge Smith
Founder and Chair Princeton Community Works
Montadale Drive

To the Editor:

I was happy to read that the NJDOT has agreed to postpone its experimental closing of the Harrison Street and Washington Road jug-handles on Route 1. It was refreshing to see what can be accomplished when our merchants, University, and elected officials present a united front. My only concern is that this experiment will lead to biased results (in favor of permanent closure) if it is conducted in August. Many employees and customers who would typically enter Princeton using one of these jug-handles will be away on vacation in August. Since many of the folks who will be most impacted by the proposed closures will not be around to voice their concerns, the cost of the closure will be underestimated. Furthermore, the benefits of the experiment will be overestimated since NJDOT will observe reduced congestion at these intersections and attribute it to the jug-handle closures (and not to the fact that fewer cars are on the road). Thus, I propose that the experiment be conducted in September or October, not August.

Smita Brunnermeier
Maclean Circle

To the Editor:

I am running for mayor because I am excited to lead our newly united town into an era of financial savings, improved services, and more responsive government. The new government must deliver on the savings promised by consolidation and reduce the burden on our taxpayers. Achieving that goal will involve examining and improving nearly everything we do. Last year I was part of the team that put together a zero-increase Township budget — the first in decades — while preserving our valuable AAA-bond rating and high level of services. I will continue to make it a priority to deliver services more effectively and efficiently and make our community an even better place in which to live.

As deputy mayor and as a member of Township Committee, I’ve learned how to make tough decisions. I listen with respect, tackle problems thoughtfully and honestly, and work to bring people together. This approach has garnered me support from residents throughout our community, including members of both Township Committee and Borough Council. As mayor, I would strive to be a unifying figure to lead Princeton through this time of tremendous challenge and opportunity.

I will work to find ways to preserve and enhance the character of the downtown, and insist that any redevelopment projects reflect our values by incorporating green building principles and fulfilling our affordable housing obligations. Redevelopment should fit within the context of the surrounding neighborhoods. I would encourage Advisory Planning Districts to participate in the planning process so that local neighborhood voices will help us make better decisions.

This past year the Princetons received Bronze-level certification from Sustainable Jersey. It was a significant first step, but I believe we need to do more, and I will make it a priority to earn Silver certification and realize the associated environmental and financial benefits.

The consolidation study and transition have inspired many bright people to volunteer their time and skills. The next few years promise to bring positive changes to our community, and we need continued citizen involvement in order to be successful. I’m always interested in hearing your ideas as we move together toward a united community. You can reach me at lizlemp@gmail.com or (732) 997-7212.

Liz Lempert 
Deputy Mayor Princeton Township

“Yes, I missed the winter but I still decorated the exterior of my home for winter anyway. And for spring, I’m looking forward to the return of birds.”
—Todd Reichart, Princeton

Sara: “I kind of missed snow, but I liked not having as much snow as last year. I’m looking forward to wearing short sleeves and having nice, warm weather.”
Lily: “I didn’t really miss the winter, I look forward to being able to walk around Princeton in shorts and tee shirts this spring.”
—Sara Vigiaso (left) and Lily Leonard, Princeton

Matt: “I missed having some big snow storms but didn’t miss the cold weather. I’m looking forward to spending time outside and flowers blooming.”
Hadley: “I wished we’d had at least some snow, this winter. I’m looking forward to Easter, flowers, warm weather, and my birthday.”
—Matt, Poppy Lee, and Hadley Malatish, Princeton

“I absolutely did miss the winter weather. I’m looking forward to a March snow storm.”
—Steve Carson, Princeton

Desta: “I enjoyed the winter but, I’m really looking forward to the spring. I love the warm weather.”
Emma: “I missed the winter weather because I love snow. I’m looking forward to the birds and leaves coming back.”
—Desta Harrison (left) and Emma Cosaboom, Princeton

Sophy: “I wish it wouldn’t be spring. I really want snow. I missed skiing this winter. I love to ski, I really missed the winter.”
Amara: “It seems like we never had any proper snow. We missed out on snow days, sledding, and snow angels. Looking forward to warm weather, wearing shorts, and not having to wear jackets.”
Natasha: “I definitely missed winter because snow is pretty much the best precipitation. In the spring, I’m looking forward to some good thunderstorms.”
—Sophy Warner, Clinton, Amara Leonard, Princeton and Natasha Shatzkin, Princeton

February 29, 2012

Camille: “Johnny Depp because he is the best actor ever!”
Sophie: “The Big Year, a really funny movie about three men that take a sabbatical to go look at birds.”
—Camille Lefebbre, Hillsborough (left) and Sophie Guenin, Pennington

“The film Amigo by John Sales about the Philippine-American War. And, the dog in The Artist deserved a nomination because he was really great in the film.” —Anne Desmond, Princeton

In Time with Justin Timberlake.”
—Charlie Vinch, Philadelphia

Courageous, about four police officers, with Alex Kendrick, who also directed it.”
—Lauren and John Velarde, Burlington

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for Best Picture and Daniel Radcliffe for leading actor in the same film. We are big Harry Potter fans.”
—Mausam Shah and Bob Miller, West Windsor

“Patton Oswalt. He was great comic relief as supporting actor in Young Adult with Charlize Theron.”
—Glenn McDorment, Princeton University student and Valerie Hoagland, NYU student

To the Editor:

This year Princeton will hold historic elections to elect the new consolidated Princeton Council and a new mayor. As the president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) and as the municipal chairs of the Democratic Committees in the Borough and the Township, we are writing to encourage all genuinely interested Democrats to step forward as candidates for these offices, and to briefly outline the endorsement process. Potential candidates should feel free to contact us to learn more about endorsement and election process. We will also host an open reception on Sunday, March 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 210 Moore Street, for those interested in running to ask questions and get advice.

The endorsement process will involve two steps. First, the PCDO will hold its annual endorsement meeting for local candidates on Sunday, March 25beginning at 6 p.m. in the Suzanne Patterson Center (behind Borough Hall). After what we expect will be a lively debate, PCDO members will vote to endorse Democratic candidates for six members of the new Council and for mayor. The PCDO endorsement is an important step for Democrats who wish to compete for the nomination for these offices.

Second, the joint Democratic Committees from the Borough and Township will hold their endorsement meeting the following evening on March 26, where candidates will each appear for a “Q & A” with the Democratic Committee members. The results of this two-step endorsement process will decide which candidates will receive the Democratic Party endorsements for the June Primary. Candidates will have until April 2 to file nominating petitions in order to actually appear on the primary ballot. The Democrats selected in the June Primary will then appear on the November ballot.

Candidates seeking the PCDO endorsement must notify PCDO President Dan Preston by March 11 (14 days prior to the meeting) by email at dan@princetondems.org or at 609-252-0011. Similarly, Princeton Democrats should join the PCDO or renew their membership by March 11 to be eligible to vote at the March 25 meeting (dues are annual per calendar year, $15 suggested and $5 minimum). Membership information and a downloadable form are available at www.princetondems.org/join.

Running for local office and joining the PCDO are just two ways to get involved. The Princeton Democratic Party also needs committee women and men to represent each of the 22 new voting districts comprising the new consolidated town. This committee, to be elected in the June Primary, serves as the “official” (i.e. established by state law) representative body of the party, and has important statutory duties, such as endorsing candidates, as well as a key role in campaigns. For more information, please contact Jon Durbin, Municipal Chair of Princeton Township (jonwdurbin@gmail.com) and/or Peter Wolanin, Municipal Chair of Princeton Borough (pwolanin@princetondems.org).

Dan Preston,

President, PCDO

Jon Durbin,

Municipal Chair, Princeton Township Democratic Committee

Peter Wolanin,

Municipal Chair, Princeton Borough Democratic Committee

To the Editor:

The Princeton Regional Schools needs to “do the right thing” and let the http://savevalleyroadschool.org/Home.html rehab the old Valley Road School.

Picture this, Princeton and Central New Jersey. Affordable non-profit office space in the heart of Princeton, with convenient parking. A community center with a gym, theater, rooms for rent for toddler birthday parties. Close to the Princeton Shopping Center if you need some office supplies or food. This can all be done with out costing a dime to the beleaguered taxpayer. No bond referendum needs to be fussed over. This seems to be an inspirational future. But the PRS is too busy with other issues and will not let “Save Valley Road” do the job.

Picture this, Princetonians, a dilapidated Valley Road School with a hurricane fence around it. Just sitting there unused, while some commission is looking for a consensus, having endless meetings on how to raise money to be able to tear the building down. As time marches on.

The Save Valley Road School non profit already has donors lined up. Tenants who want to occupy the building. I ask the PRS to have the courage to lead. Make the right choice and let Valley Road Reuse Committee get on with the business of recycling Valley Road for future generations.

Right now, at least let the VRC fund spot repairs to the Valley Road roof with no cost to you and no obligation.

The future is NOW.

Adam Bierman

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

As mayor, I have received numerous letters for and against the proposed housing development for the Institute for Advanced Study. As many may know, the Battle of Princeton was not just a battle at what is today’s Princeton Battlefield park. It was a battle that moved through a number of sites all the way to Nassau Hall. It is clear to me that the most value in interpreting many revolutionary era battles, as they typically spanned large areas of ground and consisted of various skirmishes, is to do so through interpretive signage, archaeology, historical tours, and of course, preserved land.

To that end, I agree with the two esteemed historians, Jim McPherson and David Hackett Fischer, in their proposed compromise regarding this development. They have put forth a compromise that would allow for the housing project to move forward with the ability to preserve a large area of the overall site from development through a permanent conservation easement. The size of the land preserved would be about double the footprint of the Institute’s housing project.

In addition, the Institute will provide for archeological work on site before and during construction, access to a path through the preserved land and public interpretive signage upon completion of the project, and potential coordination with historical agencies for historical tours, thereby enabling the public to learn more about the Battle of Princeton.

Compromises inevitably leave both sides with perceived gains and losses. However, in this case I believe the right balance presents itself. We will enable many generations to more fully understand the Battle of Princeton and its importance through interpretive signage, historical tours, archaeology, and preserved land. We will also see to the housing needs met for the talented and creative faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Chad Goerner

Mayor, Princeton Township

To the Editor:

Recently several people claiming to be “independent observers” have said that the Princeton Battlefield Society has been unfair in challenging the Institute for Advanced Study’s proposed faculty housing project. Please note that the Battlefield Society was founded as the Princeton Battlefield AREA PRESERVATION Society, with the express mission of preserving and protecting the battlefield, much of which lies outside the park.

A number of people are under the impression that the Institute had a major role in founding the park. Untrue. Governor Edge approached the Institute about contributing to the park in 1944, and he provided a map showing his plan. The IAS indicated to the governor that they were “interested,” but they did nothing to contribute to the park until 1973, almost 30 years later. At that time they finally sold two pieces of property to the State, many years after the park was founded. Further, it could easily be argued that the IAS undermined formation of the park by purchasing property that Governor Edge was expressly seeking for the park, much of which, to this day, is still not a part of the park. This includes the site of the winning counterattack, the very property where the IAS wants to build its housing project.

A recent letter to the press claimed that the State assured the Institute that it could build on the location it now proposes. This statement only represented the perspective of a single individual at the time. Further the State of New Jersey does not have authority over determinations of local land use.

Hopefully the IAS isn’t saying that it doesn’t have to meet the requirements of local land-use laws and environmental regulations. To qualify for Cluster Zoning, the developer must show that its project meets the standard 1-acre zoning required for this property. The Institute has not done this. In addition, there are wetlands that were identified on the property in 1990 and again in 2011 that were somehow not included on maps submitted by the IAS to DEP.

The “compromise” that was offered to the Battlefield Society was essentially what the IAS was proposing all along as a cluster development. Furthermore, Professor McPherson clearly confirmed at the Planning Board meeting that the counterattack that won the battle occurred on the site the Institute wants to develop. This is something the Institute has always denied.

The Planning Board should decide that this project with its multiple violations of land use and environmental regulations does not meet the requirements of the town’s ordinances and master plan.

Daniel Thompson

Dempsey Avenue

Member, Princeton Battlefield Society

To the Editor:

It was good to see a creative and thoughtful discussion regarding affordable housing at the hospital site during the February 14 Council meeting. This discussion should be part of a larger conversation on Princeton’s housing policy. Future policy decisions must be informed by good data and should ultimately be driven by identified needs.

The rezoning of the UMCP site has always called for a 20 percent set-aside for those making less than 80 percent of the area median income. Avalon Bay has requested that they be allowed to both build more units and reduce the percentage of affordable units. If Princeton wishes to grant the developer a density bonus, it should only be done in exchange for a commensurate benefit to the town. One possibility worth considering is that they be required to provide additional units for a slightly higher income range — so-called ‘workforce housing’.

Princeton has been losing its middle class residents since the 1970s. According to the 2010 census, households earning between $75,000 and $100,000 now make up only 7 percent of the population of the Borough and Township while a quarter of our households have incomes over $200,000. This imbalance is neither healthy nor sustainable.

The affordable range (paying no more than 30 percent of earnings) of housing costs for area median-income households is between $1,714 (for a one bedroom) and $2,376 (for a three bedroom). According to Avalon Bay, rents in the development will range from $1,600 for a studio to $3,200 for a three-bedroom unit. This indicates an affordability gap — the three bedroom units will be affordable only to those making 135 percent of the median.

The 2010 census also shows us that existing gaps in housing affordability range widely. 100 percent of owner-occupied households in the Borough earning less than $20,000 are paying more than 30 percent of their income. Significantly, an average of 69 percent of all households making below $75,000 are paying more than 30 percent of income towards their housing costs.

Because the biggest need for affordable homes exists in low-income families, it makes sense that we continue to provide units for that population, even in the absence of state mandates. We should also be encouraging a greater diversity in our town by making units affordable to residents whose incomes fall outside of the range that typically benefits from housing subsidies.

For the developer to request both a density bonus and a reduction in the required affordable percentage is audacious, to say the least. Avalon Bay should be compelled to provide 20 percent of the total number of units as set-aside for traditional affordable units and 20 percent of the bonus units should be designated as affordable to households earning between 80-120 percent of the area median.

I hope that the current negotiations with Avalon Bay will lead to a discussion about overall goals for affordability and diversity in our housing stock and what can be done, on a policy level, to reach those goals.

David Schrayer

Spruce Street

To the Editor:

When Princeton Hospital moves to its new site in May 2012, it is widely anticipated that AvalonBay, the nationwide developer of residential rental housing, will sign on to develop the present site: Princeton surely needs rental units.

But it’s critical that AvalonBay (www.avalonbay.com) generate designs that represent to the fullest extent possible the real future needs of the new consolidated Princeton. This site is possibly the last large tract to be developed in our downtown: its effect upon Witherspoon Street and surrounding neighborhoods will be dramatic. Princetonians are entitled to know what AvalonBay plans to do; we are equally entitled to have our voices heard as plans evolve.

Important issues include the following:

First, the site plan itself should be compatible to the fullest extent with present neighborhoods and their future needs; this matter includes both the height and the appearance of the buildings that will have frontages on Witherspoon Street and Franklin Avenue.

Second: AvalonBay must commit to a full complement of units (20 percent) to be marketed to/for low- and lower-middle income housing. It is essential that Princeton be able to draw into the community a truly diverse population that includes the young, the non-affluent, seniors, and others who contribute to our local workforce. Present zoning calls for 20 percent affordable housing on 280 units; I understand that AvalonBay will seek a variance to build 40 additional units WITHOUT affordable-housing constraints. AvalonBay’s likely request for such a variance should be scrutinized carefully.

Third: AvalonBay must “build green” to the fullest extent possible. AvalonBay’s website advertises that its headquarters is LEED-certified at the Silver level — no mean achievement. The developer should feel equally responsible for making comparable commitments to meeting these or similar standards (e.g., Energy Star) in the development project itself. Building green includes managing storm water, developing an integrated approach to optimizing energy and water use, installing renewable energy sources including solar panels, using non-toxic materials, and installing the most advanced infrastructure for managing construction waste and the waste produced by occupants. (AvalonBay will then of course be able to advertise itself as a “green developer” when it seeks to develop projects elsewhere: Princeton can be their first exemplar of the green intelligence in city planning that we all need.)

Finally, AvalonBay should be invited to present one or more public information sessions for all proposals, and the Princeton community should be welcomed by AvalonBay to provide feedback. While the public may provide input at Borough Council and Planning Board meetings when AvalonBay’s proposal is on the agenda, less formal information sessions would be a more community-friendly way for Avalon to learn about and address community and neighborhood concerns. Such sessions might be sponsored and organized by either Sustainable Princeton or Princeton Future (as both bodies are non-partisan). Mayoral candidates should also be asked publicly to state their views of the AvalonBay proposals.

Daniel A. Harris

Dodds Lane