May 15, 2013

To the Editor:

We want to thank everyone who made the 2013 Princeton Special Needs Prom so much fun. Since 2008, Princeton Special Sports and the Princeton Recreation Department have partnered to host monthly dances for our teenaged and young adult neighbors with special needs. Through these dances and other events, our friends have had more opportunities to socialize in a comfortable environment.

We could not do it without a long list of exceptional people.

Thank you to everyone at the Recreation Department, and especially Program Supervisor Joe Marrolli. You rock, Joe!

Thank you to Jaime Escarpeta, our talented photographer who again donated his time and provided every participant with a professional formal photograph right on site. Thank you, too, to McCaffrey’s, George’s Roasters & Ribs, Radha Iyer, and Ann Diver for supplying our delicious theme-inspired dinner. And, of course, thank you to our terrific DJ, Drew Zimmerman.

Thank you also to the group of professional women who took time over many months from their already packed schedules to put everything together: Katerina Bubnovsky, Ann Diver, Jackie Mckelvie, Hana Oresky, and Evelyn Rutledge.

Our student volunteers are the ones who really make the prom a standout event. Thank you to this year’s volunteers: Scott Bechler, Ben Danis, Talia Fiester, Maddy Gostomski, Holly Greaver, Maria Kaminska, Sara Leeper, Peter Luther, Lauren Magid, Alexus Mckelvie, Lauren Morelli, Isaac Rosenthal, Adam Straus-Goldfarb, Sarah Trigg, Charlotte Walker, Sydney Watts, Erica West, and Alina Zhao.

Thank you to PHS Principal Gary Snyder, PHS staff Renee Szporn, and Kate Anderson, Recreation Commission representatives Dick Nosker and Andrew Koontz, and Laurie Koontz. It means a lot when our community leaders participate in our population’s activities.

And finally, thank you to my fellow PSS Trustees. This steadfast group has been making sports and social programming available to our special needs friends for more than 13 years: Carmine Conti, Ann Diver, Hana Oresky, John Pecora, John Rutledge, and Barb Young.

The next and last dance of the season is our pool party, dance, and BBQ at the Princeton Community Pool on May 31. Swimming will be from 6:30 to 7:30, followed by dancing and BBQ from 7:30 to 9:30. Registration is required. For more information, go to www.princetonrecreation.com or www.princetonspecialsports.com.

Deborah Martin Norcross

Co-President, Princeton Special Sports

To the Editor:

On behalf of the board, staff, members, and volunteers of the Arts Council of Princeton, I would like to thank everyone — including over 40,000 visitors, 200 vendors, and close to 40 performance groups — who helped make the 43rd annual Communiversity Festival of the Arts such a spectacular event on a gorgeous spring day. As a nonprofit, community-based organization that relies on community support, we are very grateful for the collaboration and support that allowed us to produce another hugely successful event — this year on a Sunday for the first time.

When the Arts Council plans Communiversity Festival of the Arts, we envision a town-meets-gown celebration with something for everyone: diverse music and dance performances, outstanding artistry and crafts, creative children’s activities, delicious food, and participation from numerous local merchants, nonprofits, and campus groups. I would like to thank all of the Arts Council staff and volunteers who gave their time and energy to make the overall event a success. We also are appreciative to all the extremely talented artists and performers who participated in the Paint Out, hands-on art activities, chalk painting, and all the many forms of creative expression that make the event unique and memorable.

I would like to express my gratitude to our major sponsors: The MINI Delaware Valley Dealer Group, AT&T, Whole Foods, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Palmer Square Management. (A complete list of over 35 sponsors and media partners is available on our new Communiversity website: communiversity.artscouncilofprinceton.org). I would like to thank several major event partners including the students of Princeton University and the Office of Community and Regional Affairs; Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert; Princeton Administrator Bob Bruschi and his staff; the Princeton Police Department; Princeton Fire Department; Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad; Princeton Regional Health Department; Princeton Public Works Department. Finally, I would like to applaud our talented and hard working event planners, Harper McArthur and Stacy Ducharme.

Jeff Nathanson

Executive Director, Arts Council of Princeton

May 8, 2013

TT Pam Ruch 5-8-13

“One plant that I specifically got for this sale, which I have been trying to find for years, is a Leonotis, also called a Lion’s Tale.”

—Pam Ruch, Morven Horticulturalist, Emmaus, Pa.

TT Barbara Webb 5-8-13

“Well, no unusual plants have brought me here, I’m here for everything, but I’m a little more focused on the art. We have many great artists.”

—Barbara Webb, Director of Development, 

Morven Museum and Garden, Princeton

TT Gil Edelstein 5-8-13

“Basically, it was the Crafts Show; the plants are on the side. We’re just beginning to scope the market for plants, because the temperatures at night are still a little bit low.

—Gil Edelstein, West Windsor

 TT Milly King 5-8-13

“I’ve been working here at the plant sale for Morven and on Morven in May for the last ten years, and the plants are definitely my favorite part. Pam [Ruch] works very hard to get very unique plants, rare plants that we don’t find anywhere else. I was just eyeing the Plumbago over on the other side. I see that in the South a lot. That’s a great plant to use in heat and in dry conditions.” —Milly King, Princeton

 TT Jeane Biehler 5-8-13

“I was curious to see that there’s a native ginger here.”

—Geane Biehler, Randolph, N.J.

 TT Leo & Jack-(son) Stinson 5-8-13

“Actually I didn’t come for the plants. I’m here for the artwork.” —Leo Stinson, Princeton

 

To the Editor:

The image of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand came to mind when reading your article [District Criticizes State Reports, Rankings, Town Topics, page 1, May 1] regarding Superintendent Wilson’s and the Princeton School Board’s responses to the demotion of Princeton High School’s ranking among other state high schools in recent evaluations from the NJDOE and the US News and World Report. Defensive official statements by the Board president and Superintendent Wilson aside, many in the local community have been aware of decreasing quality in the educational standards at Princeton High School for quite some time. While Princeton High School has some notable strengths, especially its music and jazz band programs, it remains seriously lacking in other institutional learning opportunities, such as science research programs, which are present in many other competitive high schools. Although Princeton High School certainly has many talented teachers, my experience as a high school parent has been that complaints about the questionable teaching methods of some of the faculty are handled in a superficial manner, if at all. Where is the accountability, on the part of the local educational leadership? If these reports were issued about a health care system, administrators would be scrambling to make changes, not responding in the manner used by this school administration. While health is not at issue here, is the education of our children of less importance? Great hopes are invested in true leadership from the next superintendent, for a demand for accountability and a system for improvement, in addition to the recommendations made by the DOE, and parents should be able to participate more fully in this process.

The US News and World Report’s status change was not a call to defensiveness but a true wake-up call for change in a school system that has become increasingly inert and unprogressive, and is not acting in the best interests of its excellent students.

Nina Belfor

Kimberly Court

To the Editor:

What is our community hospital’s role in the redevelopment of its old facility in the heart of Princeton?

Harris Road’s long-term residents put down roots close to a small hospital built on donated land. As the hospital transformed itself from a local institution into a regional medical center, it had to confront the physical reality of not being able to fulfill its aspirations in the available space in town. We should recall that our hospital came to this conclusion only after its proposal to tear down the houses on the west side of Harris was rejected.

Despite many years of flexibility and accommodation by Princeton, the hospital continues to opt for financial return at the cost of the community’s well-being. Harris Road residents challenge the hospital to hold its current or future developer to a substantially higher set of standards than those accepted when selecting AvalonBay, which led to last year’s ill-fated and time-consuming submission.

Let us recall some recent history. Beginning in 2004, the hospital and the town’s stakeholders engaged in a public series of meetings facilitated by Princeton Future. In May 2005, six distinct concepts for new construction were presented to the Planning Board in easy-to-understand 3-D drawings. Only one of these concepts permitted continued office use at the northwest corner. None kept the garage.

Rather than follow any of these concepts, the hospital hired Robert Hillier [a Town Topics shareholder] to develop a scheme for the “adaptive reuse” of the hulking buildings that included residential and retail elements. The town’s officials, with the Hillier scheme in mind, then enshrined a new set of density standards into an ordinance that raised the allowable density up to four times more than previously allowed in the John Witherspoon neighborhood and 10 times more than the adjacent neighborhood to the northeast. And although these higher density standards were written into the 2006 MRRO Zone Ordinance with only the “adaptive reuse” of the existing structures intended, the ordinance’s density standards were applied to new construction.

The hospital’s success in reverse-engineering from reuse of large towers to new construction yielded a very different and highly undesirable scheme last year. Having benefited from our community’s longstanding support, isn’t it time for the hospital to give priority to humane and environmentally-friendly design with community engagement rather than profit?

Time magazine’s cover story of March 14, 2013, entitled “Bitter Pill”, describes the reality we are now living in Princeton: “[t]he American health care market has transformed tax-exempt ‘nonprofit’ hospitals into the towns’ most profitable businesses and largest employers, often presided over by the regions’ most richly compensated executives.” Our hospital is a nonprofit that “ranks among the top 5 percent in New Jersey in excess revenue” as advertised when CEO Barry Rabner addressed the Princeton Chamber of Commerce last month.

Last week brought news of a future unveiling of revisions to AvalonBay’s rejected 2012 scheme. The hospital still owns this land. How engaged is it in improving the scheme? Or is it only interested in the site’s price-tag?

Janet and Gareth Williams, Eric and Sue Ellen Johnson, Xiao and Jaipeng Hua, John J. Pesce, Umberto Perna, Dan Shea, Kate Norton, Marilyn Besner, Fred Appel,

Areta Pawlynsky, Yaron Inbar

Harris Road

To the Editor:

Upon reading the article on page 5 of the May 1 Town Topics [“With District Resolution, Princeton Gets Closer to Sustainable Jersey’s Silver Certification”], I felt a diatribe coming on. Precluding the good works of Princeton’s sustainable supporters, what about a certain brick building on the corner of Valley Road and Witherspoon Street directly across from the sustained new Community Park Pool?

Yes, I am talking about the almost 100-year-old Valley Road School Building being held hostage by Princeton Public Schools (PPS), whose indifference is stopping the Valley Road Committee from turning the building into low cost non-profit office space and a conveniently located community center, at no cost to the taxpayer.

PPS claims the cost is too high to make the building sustainable. As Mark Twain says, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

The building has become a storage place that is deteriorating. PPS says it has not been kept up as it has not been used as a school; however, if the property is left to rot, it will become something that belongs in a war torn village, leaving all of us, taxpayers, to dig into our sustainable and unsustainable wallets to pay for the mess.

With this vivid example in front of our faces, PPS should not have dared to issue a Sustainability Resolution. I found it contradictory though what I actually want to say is hypocritical. How could they endorse the “Principles of Sustainability” and present it to Sustainable Princeton’s Green Schools Coalition? How could they?

I want to believe that Sustainable Princeton and the group of concerned parents and residents that form its Green Schools Coalition are not fully informed of the way that PPS picks and chooses, at their convenience, what the model of Sustainable Jersey emphasizes as the school district’s role.

I don’t see any integration of ecological, economic, and social goals that improve the quality of life in this equation. And, should I be somehow wrong in my comments, I eagerly await a public response to this letter from any concerned member of PPS, Sustainable Princeton, or Sustainable Princeton’s Green Schools Coalition.

Sandra Jordan

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

In response to the article “Town Releases Documents on Transco Pipeline, Citizen Group Is Formed,” (Town Topics, May 1, page 1), the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is pleased that Princeton has responded affirmatively to disclosing the maps and other information on the proposed pipeline expansion. The maps were disclosed as a direct result of the Watershed Association filing a formal request under the Open Public Records Act.

Now that we and other like-minded organizations have copies of the proposed plans, we can better evaluate the proposal’s environmental and community impact. We have concerns about a proposed expansion that would dissect streams in nine different locations and would have a major impact on water quality and habitats. We are committed to working with concerned citizens and other organizations to address the effect on the community and environment. In our evaluations of the plans, we will be developing recommendations for alternative solutions that would minimize the effects, and restoration proposals where impact cannot be avoided.

The time for concerned citizens to review the proposed plans and make comments is now. Once Transco finalizes their applications to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), there will be minimal opportunities for public input. FERC is expected to hold a hearing within approximately a month to ‘scope out’ potential issues with regard to Transco’s proposal. It is essential that citizens attend and voice their concerns. The Watershed Association will publicize the hearing information when it becomes available. We will continue to work hard to be your voice for your water and environment, but we also need public engagement.

Jennifer M. Coffey

Policy Director,

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area thanks the organizers of Communiversity for a well-run festival that allowed the League to publicize its mission to a wide audience. Over 120 youngsters voted at the League’s booth for their favorite color, flavor, pet, and activity. The winners were blue, chocolate, dog, and art respectively, but the fact that vanilla and sports were close seconds in their categories proves that it’s important to vote and that every vote counts. The League commends everyone who voted and those who posed as Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam, and thanks parents for their support.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. The League is well known for its active role in protecting the right of every citizen to vote and in enhancing access to voting as well as for publishing the positions of candidates on a variety of issues so that each voter can make a decision based on non-partisan information. Less well known is the League’s involvement in the areas of justice, education, fiscal policy, government, natural resources, and social policy/women and family issues. The League studies issues in these areas, develops positions on these issues, and then (often in collaboration with other organizations) advocates for its positions. To read more about the League’s positions and to join, please visit www.lwvprinceton.org.

Thanks again to Communiversity for providing fun along with a public service.

Sandra Smith

LWV-Princeton Area

To the Editor:

So far Princeton residents have been able to glean little of AvalonBay’s new plans for the former hospital site — we have heard a few words: multiple buildings, smaller interior courtyards, and townhouses along Franklin — but no concept plans have been shown. Meeting with a few elected officials and staff, AvalonBay has followed its standard strategy of ignoring neighbors and citizens groups while working up site plans and using litigation as a negotiating tool to scare municipal officials.

Municipal officials, staff, and residents must resist this approach to creating homes in a community. To begin with, AvalonBay needs to present a concept plan for public review. Such a presentation must include 3-D modeling of masses for not only the MRRO site but for the surrounding neighborhood. Internet communication can be used to gain further, thoughtful public comment (e.g. an email address to field comments and a public meeting to explain how AvalonBay will incorporate community responses into plans). Presenting fully engineered plans as the first glimpse residents have of the proposed redevelopment is a way to preclude dialogue rather than work toward a resolution of differences.

To date, AvalonBay has been severely faulted for failing to provide adequate site plans. In 2012, Attorney Gerald Muller, writing the Resolution that memorialized the Planning Board 7-3 vote against AvalonBay, argued that AvalonBay’s presentation of massing, facade materials, and heights of various segments was inadequate and insufficient. The Planning Board’s legal brief now submitted to Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson (5/1/13) repeats that argument: “The fact is that the quality of the visual materials presented by AvalonBay was so poor, as well as self-contradictory and misleading, that the Board was not given a reasonable opportunity to even see what AvalonBay was proposing and to determine if AvalonBay had met the pertinent standards” (brief, page 22). “AvalonBay basically chose … to present so few visuals of such poor quality that the Board was not given a fair opportunity to review the details of the proposal on the critical matter of how it related to the surrounding neighborhood” (brief, page 28).

Attorneys for Mayor and Council, the Planning Board, and Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods submitted three strong briefs to the court last week on behalf of the town in the case of AvalonBay against Princeton. Negotiations with the developer should proceed from a position of strength; the town should be confident that they will prevail in the case if necessary.

Princeton officials now negotiating with AvalonBay must insist that AvalonBay produce 3-D concept plans and allow a real dialogue between residents and AvalonBay to occur. Residents are concerned that the staff review of AvalonBay Plan B and the hearings scheduled for July (!), with shortened timelines, reduced submission requirements, and the cutting down of testimony required of the applicant, will simply become a rubber stamp for a plan that was negotiated by a very few.

Robin Reed

Leigh Avenue

TIME TO TRAVEL: “The best thing for me, what I enjoy most, is when I custom-plan and get to deliver a trip, and make it happen for the clients. They can have a life-changing travel adventure that is unforgettable.” Melanie Tucker, owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design service, is seated by a display of items from her travels. “My everyday life is informed with touchstones from my travels, which help me to take little ‘virtual visits’ each day to these remote and beloved places.”

TIME TO TRAVEL: “The best thing for me, what I enjoy most, is when I custom-plan and get to deliver a trip, and make it happen for the clients. They can have a life-changing travel adventure that is unforgettable.” Melanie Tucker, owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design service, is seated by a display of items from her travels. “My everyday life is informed with touchstones from my travels, which help me to take little ‘virtual visits’ each day to these remote and beloved places.”

Melanie Tucker was born with a wanderlust! Now, after having traveled to every state in the U.S. and 32 different countries, she is owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design travel service, which specializes in creating custom travel itineraries for individuals, couples, families, and social groups.

The former Princeton resident, now headquartered in Lambertville, is enthusiastic about her unique approach to travel planning.

“I offer extraordinary, life-changing trips to more than three dozen destinations, including South Africa, Alaska, Belize, Turkey, Italy, Key West, Costa Rica, Peru, Paris, Thailand, and more — and I research new places all the time.

“The idea is to get travelers out of their comfort zone, while still focusing on their interests, and providing them with a unique trip that they will always remember.”

On The Road

Ms. Tucker remembers her own first “unique” trip very well. “When I was seven, my dad got a camper, hooked it up to the family car, and we took a road trip out west. I was so full of memories from that trip! We got close as a family, and I loved it. I have a huge wanderlust and a huge curiosity.”

These characteristics have continued through her adult life, and have taken her around the world. As she notes, “I raised four sons, partly in our home in Princeton and partly in my Ford van, as we road-tripped to four corners of the U.S., as well as Mexico and Canada.

“My love of travel eventually took me around the globe. I witnessed martial law in Tiananmen Square in 1989, side-stepped cobra charmers in the souk of Marrakech, hiked up Arenal Volcano, saw my first mummy in Pompeii, and rode the Orient Express into Budapest! Through all these experiences, I was touched by the magic of travel, and inspired to build Tough Love Travel, creating completely custom travel intineraries. My mission is to share my passion of off-the-beaten-track travel with my clients.”

Tough Love Travel actually evolved from her experiences with friends and family, who sought out her expertise for their own travels.

“Friends would often ask me what I had done with the kids on a trip, and I started planning travels for them and their relatives. It just grew. So often, people don’t really know how or have time to plan this, and travel time is so precious. You really only have 18 summers to travel with your own kids. I realized this could be a business, and it all came together in 2007.”

Over the years, Ms. Tucker has developed an extensive network of contacts, including interpreters and guides, all over the world. She can guarantee that her clients will enjoy high quality experiences in the setting of their choice. As she notes, “I have traveled so much for three decades, and I have made it my mission to research places. I go off the beaten path, and seek out unique places and experiences.”

Dream Trip

The first thing she does when meeting a client is establish their interests, life-style, and budget. “When planning a trip, I need to know how experienced a traveler someone is, how much do they want to learn, and how much they can spend. Most people really like to splurge on a couple of things and save on others.

“What is their dream trip? What are their interests? Are they literary people, art aficionados, do they like to go fishing? Are they foodies?”

Whatever trip the client envisions, Ms. Tucker can make it happen. For example, foodies take note: “Ever gone truffle-hunting with a farmer and his dog in Umbria? Or how about a day of lobster-diving in Belize, after which your guide takes you to a remote shore and builds you a fire of coconut husks and grills lobsters for lunch!

“There’s a cooking class in Fez, learning the art of tagine cooking right in the kitchen of a Berber woman … a tour of Paris, one chocolate shop at a time … ceviche wars in South America? … a wine route called the Vinehopper in South Africa … private cooks in villas in Barbados, dinner parties in the home of a Cesarine in Italy … and more.”

For the intrepid traveler bent on seeing and experiencing off-beat and challenging adventures, Ms. Tucker offers the following, among other journeys.

“Wonder what it’s like to sleep in a Quechuan family’s home, 11,000 feet high up in the Andes? Or sleep with grizzly bears out on Katmai? Want to swim with 25-foot manta rays off the big island of Hawaii, or in the sardine run off South Africa?

Soup-to-Nuts

“How about bidding at a rug auction, deep in the Atlas mountains of Morocco? Or spending a few magical days with the Moai statues of Easter Island? You can hike the Chilkoot or the Incan trail, jam in the home of a local musician in Cape Town, or stay overnight in a longhouse in one of north Borneo’s tribal villages. Sleeping in treehouses? On boats or trains? It’s all available.”

The point is that Ms. Tucker will arrange everything. As she says, “It is a full service soup-to-nuts travel plan. I will do all the research, coordinate a plan, refine the itinerary based on your feedback, make and confirm reservations, and deliver your travel packet — a detailed, well-orchestrated game plan, including your daily itinerary with local lodging and regional cuisine, all your activities and guides, trains/boats/buses and transfers, travel tips, and even a packing list if you desire.

“You will enjoy an inspired adventure itinerary, 100 percent customized to your physical, intellectual, and financial activities. It will fire your imagination, open your eyes, bond your group or family, and provide stories and memories for years to come.”

The customized travel plan is 10 percent of the cost of the trip starting at $499. Ms. Tucker is so convinced that her clients will have the trip of a life time that she guarantees a refund of the travel fee if they are not fully satisfied.

For those who might want to venture out on their own, but still need the expertise of an experienced traveler, Ms. Tucker has also launched a new travel plan for do-it-yourselfers. “This is a 12-page bulleted document with everything you need to plan a trip to a specific place. It is $99 for an un-customized plan, in which you basically make up your own plan and reservations, but with the benefit of valuable recommendations from an expert.”

Ms. Tucker attends a number of travel shows throughout the country, from Washington, D.C. to California. She has a booth with exhibits, brochures, and slide shows of favorite excursions, and she is particularly looking forward to the upcoming National Geographic show in Dallas in November. “I have created a “foodie” travel show that people find inspiring, fun, and educational. I am excited to present this in front of National Geographic’s audience of 18,000!”

Something New

In addition, Ms. Tucker has created slide shows which she presents locally at the Princeton Public Library and in similar settings. She also recently taught three classes at the Princeton Adult School, including “Trips to Savour — Novel Foodie Experiences”, “Thorny Travel Problems (money, packing, safety)”, and “Off the Beaten Track Travel.” She has been asked to schedule additional classes next fall.

For Ms. Tucker, travel is both nurturing and inspirational. As she says, “It’s seeing and smelling something new. Meeting folks who are at once altogether different, but also just like me at their core. I often ‘friend’ these people on Facebook after my trip, and stay connected as world events and our lives unfold.

“I think from a personal perspective, the biggest benefit of travel is what one discovers about oneself. From a larger perspective, the biggest benefit is to serve as a wandering ambassador for our country. As I tell my own grown kids, every time they go out into the world and show kindness and respect, they are creating a positive face for the U.S. in foreign countries. Everyday people need to experience Americans like this, and by doing so, we will create more acceptance between cultures.

“When you travel, you must trust enough to open yourself up to this incredible experience. You also need to keep your head and be alert and aware. And you must always show respect for the people and the culture.”

Ms. Tucker can be reached at 609-923-0304. Website: www.toughlovetravel.com.

SWEET SEDUCTION: “We enjoy getting to know the customers and seeing a smile on their face when they have a cupcake. Everyone has a favorite.” Amy DeSanto (left) and Corina Dumitru-Fritz, owners of Dessert Boutique in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, are encouraged by the success of their “sweet” enterprise.

SWEET SEDUCTION: “We enjoy getting to know the customers and seeing a smile on their face when they have a cupcake. Everyone has a favorite.” Amy DeSanto (left) and Corina Dumitru-Fritz, owners of Dessert Boutique in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, are encouraged by the success of their “sweet” enterprise.

Honey lavender, red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, tiramisu, pink champagne, French toast with bacon, chocolate merlot, lemon and orange, canoli, black forest, peanut butter and jelly — sound good?

These are just some of the specialty cupcakes at the new Dessert Boutique located in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery at 1378 Route 206 South in Skillman.

Cupcakes are a very “in” treat these days, report owners Amy DeSanto and Corina Dumitru-Fritz. Everyone seems to like them. They are no longer just the traditional treat to share with the class at school for a birthday — although, of course, they are still a big hit with children.

“Cupcakes have grown up,” notes Ms. DeSanto. “People will come in to get a cupcake for themselves, or for a hostess gift, and also for office gatherings. They can be appropriate for many occasions.”

Bio-Chemists

After working as bio-chemists in the pharmaceutical industry, Ms. DeSanto and Ms. Dumitru-Fritz decided to pursue their true passion and create their own line of gourmet baked goods. It is not such a departure as one might think. “Baking is chemistry,” points out Ms. DeSanto.

“We had both enjoyed baking as girls, and Corina had actually had a bakery in Allentown, Pa. We had kept in touch, and I, too, had always liked the idea of having my own business.”

The space was available in the new section of the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, and Dessert Boutique opened its doors right before Christmas 2012. It was a hit from the start!

“People found out about us right away,” report the owners. “We were very warmly welcomed — both by customers and our neighboring businesses. We already have regular customers who come in all the time, and they stop in all times of the day. Some come in the morning for one of our muffins, croissants, or scones; others stop in at lunchtime for a savory, such as a mini mushroom quiche or spanakopita. Then, after school, a lot of kids come in for a cupcake, and in the evening people stop in for dessert and coffee, perhaps after a movie.”

Customers are coming from all around the area, including Princeton, Montgomery, Rocky Hill, and Hillsborough.

In addition to the wide array of cupcakes — 20 different flavors available each day — a selection of pastries, such as cream puffs, Napoleons, mini fruit tarts, mini cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies are offered. Also, muffins, scones, turnovers, donuts (weekends only), and sticky buns are popular in the morning.

Sculpted Cakes

Fresh squeezed orange juice will be available soon, and currently, coffee (at 79¢ and 99¢), hot chocolate, and a variety of specialty soft drinks, such as Aloe juice, Zico coconut water, Honest Tea, Illy iced coffee, and Coke in glass bottles, with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, are offered.

Ms. Dumitru-Fritz is particularly known for her special occasion sculpted cakes — from wedding to birthday to novelty creations for kids (including with cake pops). She is an expert cake designer, and her creations are beautiful to behold — true works of art.

They can be seen in full array on Dessert Boutique’s website. They must be ordered well ahead of the event: three to four weeks for birthday and anniversary, two months for weddings. The wedding cakes can also include cupcakes. Ms. Dumitru-Fritz made one containing 350 cupcakes!

“For a wedding cake, the bride will come in, and we will discuss in detail what she wants — flavor, style, etc.,” she explains.

The establishment’s primary business is take-out, but it also offers charming ice cream parlor-style tables and chairs and a sofa for on-site sampling. The store’s attractive “confectionery” pink decor (along with pink gift boxes) is a perfect match for the cupcakes. “Little girls absolutely love it here, with all the pink,” says Ms. DeSanto.

And all ages enjoy the friendly, relaxed atmosphere — including the irresistible aroma of fresh baked cupcakes (which are baked throughout the day) that greets customers as they step inside.

Super Bowl

The store was an especially popular spot for Valentine’s Day, as one could imagine, but it also had a very busy Super Bowl Sunday. “People really wanted to have cupcakes for the event,” note the owners. “We weren’t expecting such a big turnout that day, and we were very pleased!”

Prices include $3 for a cupcake and $1 for a cream puff. A dozen cupcakes at $33 offer a savings, and there is also a Cupcake Club, with a punch card format. After four purchases, the card is punched; when 10 punches are reached, a free dessert is available. Gift certificates are also offered.

The owners plan to provide new amenities for customers while continuing to offer their signature specialties. “We look forward to adding new tables and chairs, and in the spring, we will also have tables outside. We are so happy to have our dream come true, and we are very encouraged. We look forward to becoming a real part of the community.”

Dessert Boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 to 4. (609) 580-1192. Website: www.dessertboutiquenj.com.

May 1, 2013

 TT Evan Leichter & Andrew Stella

Evan: “I like how all the shops and all of the organizations on Nassau Street are represented and there’s tons of different food you can eat. You really get a slice of Princeton.”

Andrew: “I love seeing all the different student groups and all the different organizations, all the different causes, and you can learn about them.”

—Evan Leichter (left) and Andrew Stella, members, Princeton University Marching Band, both Class of 2013.

 TT Caroline Smith Madi Norman  Sydney Reynolds

Caroline: “My favorite part of Communiversity is all the junk food, which my parents would never let me eat.”

Madi: “My favorite part is just the whole community coming together, and being with my friends, and there’s great food.” Sydney: “My favorite part is just being able to walk around town and have fun with all of my friends.”

—(from left) Caroline Smith, Madi Norman, and Sydney Reynolds, Princeton

TT Brooke Battle Morgan Bettle Anne Battle with Newborn Twins Palmer Battle and Harrison Battle

Morgan: “My favorite part is being able to walk from my home with my newly-born twins and seeing all of my friends.”

Anne: “Being with my daughter-in-law and my son, and my newborn grandchildren and showing them the town.”

—(from left) Brooke, Morgan, and Anne Battle, and twins, Princeton

TT Deborah Westbrook Princeton EMS

“I love the vibrancy, the energy, the community coming together, and the fact that non-profits and volunteers can show what they’re doing for the community at-large.”

—Deborah Westbrook, Princeton EMS Squad, Rocky Hill

 
TT Lauri King

“My favorite part of Communiversity is walking around and seeing all of the people, the festivities, all the great food. It’s just nice knowing that you’re part of this great community.”

—Lauri King, Princeton

 
TT Pat & Maggie Schmeirer

Patrick: “I just love seeing the University and the town come together. There’s always this invisible line drawn between them, and it’s great to see them come together. It’s just a great tradition.”

Maggie: “The food!”

—Patrick and Maggie Schmeirer, Princeton

 

To the Editor:

When the Mayor and Council of Princeton hear, they do not heed what they hear; when they listen, they do not hear what is said; when citizens speak, they rarely listen; and when they make decisions or pronouncements they do not adequately explain (if they completely understand) the consequences of their words and actions.

1. Despite Council members indicating that most, if not all of their neighbors, like the Nassau Street kiosks the way they are, they vote to lease (give) the kiosks to the Chamber of Commerce.

2. Serious issues about the mayor and Council’s forced resignation of Chief Dudeck were raised by serious people with years of experience far in excess of the current mayor and Council (former Council members Martindell, Wilkes, and Trelstead, and former Mayor Trotman). Lifelong residents of Princeton also raised questions about the treatment of Chief Dudeck and the problems with our police department. The Council and mayor (with one exception) accepted the resignation. By way of explanation they simply read statements prepared in advance of the meeting without dealing with the significant issues raised by the many people who spoke on behalf of the Chief and his previously unblemished, exemplary career. No one will ever know the bona fides of the complaints made nor the motivations of those who made the complaints. This is now a zero tolerance town. If we applied the same standard to the mayor’s and Council’s performance, would any of them still be in office? Who would willingly agree to work for such a harsh and “supportive” supervisor?

3. Any member of the public who has faced most of the stone faced or distracted elected members of our community knows that the message is hurry up and finish so that we can do what we want to do. The major (almost the sole) reaction to public comment is “can you sum up” or “your three minutes are up.” Even when a fellow member of the Council (trying to understand one of the complex issues to be dealt with) seeks to ask a question, his or her colleagues try to hurry the proceeding along rather than learn from their colleague’s intelligent question and its answer.

4. Had they chosen to explain the import and content of the consent order in the AvalonBay matter, they may have faced many fewer angry comments about it. Had they not proclaimed a savings of 2 to 3 million dollars from consolidation before their own commission said it was only $750,000, the citizens would have had more confidence in their financial stewardship.

The mayor and Council have many important issues to deal with. Because they choose not to heed, hear, listen, or explain to even the wise experienced people who once sat in their shoes, I, a mere citizen, wonder if it is worthwhile to address them. They know it all.

Joseph C. Small

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

It is extremely encouraging that Sustainable Princeton (“In Honor of Earth Day, Sustainable Princeton Offers Advice on Best Sources of Green Energy,” mailbox. April 24), is urging everyone to consider choosing a renewable electricity supplier. About 35 percent of all U. S. carbon emissions are generated by burning fossil fuels for electricity generation, so that if we are to minimize climate change this source must be reduced substantially. Our local utility, according to PSE&G 2011 data, obtains about 31 percent of its electricity from coal, 17 percent from natural gas, 42 percent from nuclear reactors, and 10 percent from renewables. Thus, choosing all renewable electricity also avoids participation in numerous other environmental insults such as mountaintop removal (coal), nuclear reactor risk and nuclear waste storage (nuclear reactors), and hydraulic fracturing (natural gas).

Selecting a renewable electricity supplier is not as straightforward as it should be, but it’s possible, for example, through New Jersey’s Clean Power Choice Program (www.njcleanenergy.com). We buy wind energy from a company listed on this site; this adds about $6 per month to our utility bill which we find completely affordable. Our electricity bill is exceptionally large (about $100/month) since we installed a heat pump to heat and cool our house and provide some hot water, but this means our home is virtually carbon-emission free.

It is somewhat disturbing but understandable that one should be forced to pay more for clean energy, but unfortunately dirty energy is almost always dirt cheap energy: that’s why it’s cheap. As fossil fuel prices have increased over the past ten years, the differential has narrowed considerably but still exists.

Thanks to deregulation and temporarily low U.S. natural gas prices, many independent power companies are bombarding New Jersey residents through bulk mailings, robot and cold telephone calls with offers of exceptionally low “teaser rates” for electricity. You should not be tempted by these offers, which say nothing at all about where or how power is generated. These companies buy the lowest cost power available, which will most likely be from coal-fired generators in the near future.

Climate change is such an overwhelming problem that there seems to be very little an individual can do. This is actually not the case, and every homeowner or apartment dweller has the possibility of substantially reducing their carbon emissions for just a few dollars per month by buying renewable electricity from the grid.

I hope Sustainable Princeton becomes a forceful advocate for this approach to reducing carbon emissions. As they note in their letter, widespread participation will send a powerful and unmistakable message that climate change is being taken seriously.

Al Cavallo

Western Way

To The Editor:

I would urge the Princeton Town Council to drop the current kiosk plan. Yes, the current kiosks are a bit messy, but so is democracy. In both cases, the alternatives are worse. The kiosks are a free venue that allows all Princeton residents to post flyers. They should not be replaced or diminished by a plan to allow for-profit private businesses to post advertising. A private business has many advertising alternatives. Princeton citizens only have these kiosks.

I am particularly concerned by the plan’s details. Under it, the Council will be leasing the kiosks to a private group for $1 a year. While the Chamber of Commerce will be able to sell advertising (or equivalently, provide advertising to its members who pay their membership fee), the town of Princeton will not receive any financial benefit. Why would the Council allow a private group, and not the taxpayers of Princeton, to financially benefit from using public space? If the goal is to raise revenue, there should be a formal Request for Proposals that would be open to all groups to ensure the town receives the greatest financial benefit. If the goal is to support Princeton’s local downtown businesses, the plan should restrict the advertising to locally owned businesses located in the downtown. Companies such as Verizon, PSE&G, and Bank of America (all members of the Chamber of Commerce) should not be allowed to advertise, as the current plan would allow.

I am also concerned by the relationship between the plan’s supporters and consolidation. While we were told that consolidation would not affect the character of either the Borough or Township, this plan would change the downtown’s character. I am troubled that the Council’s vote to introduce the kiosk was approved by a 3-2 vote, with the three votes in favor coming from former representatives of the Township, and the two votes against coming from former representatives of the Borough. Also, Mayor Lempert, former Township deputy mayor, broke a tie on a previous kiosk proposal by voting in favor of the plan. While I think all the Council members are working for the best interests of Princeton, I would ask those from the former Township to listen more carefully to the concerns of their Borough colleagues.

Tom Hagedorn

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

I am quite dismayed about our Princeton leadership’s settlement position in the AvalonBay matter. In the consent agreement signed by counsel for Princeton Mayor and Council, and the Princeton Planning Board; our Princeton leaders have agreed to the following:

“If the Planning Board denies the application or imposes conditions on its approval of the application that AvalonBay opposes, AvalonBay, at its option, may continue with the current litigation while, if it so chooses, filing litigation challenging the Planning Board’s denial of the Application or conditions imposed on an approval of the Application ….”

This is a remarkable solution that essentially abdicates Princeton’s right to review and object to AvalonBay’s new application. If Princeton objects to the “yet to be submitted application” and AvalonBay does not agree with the objections raised, then AvalonBay has the right to bring two legal actions against Princeton. This is a double-barreled legal shotgun pointed directly at the application review process. What had been a considered review process which addressed Princeton’s regulations and community concerns, is now a rubber-stamping exercise. Through this settlement condition, AvalonBay has now established itself as both the applicant and Planning Board. Our leadership also agreed to other conditions which salt the wound. Princeton has agreed to an expedited process with limitations on public testimony. Perhaps once you have given the Planning Board seats to AvalonBay, you might as well let them control the complete process.

Vincent Giordano

Maple Street

Editor’s note: The writer is a corporate attorney for General Electric who focuses on environmental issues.

ONE WISH AT A TIME: “One Simple Wish allows anyone in the general public help children in foster care fulfill their wishes. Our goal is for every single foster child in the U.S to know that we are here and a resource for them. We want them to know that we care and that they can come to us.” Danielle Gletow, founder and executive director of One Simple Wish, headquarted in Trenton, is proud of the organization she began in 2008.

ONE WISH AT A TIME: “One Simple Wish allows anyone in the general public help children in foster care fulfill their wishes. Our goal is for every single foster child in the U.S to know that we are here and a resource for them. We want them to know that we care and that they can come to us.” Danielle Gletow, founder and executive director of One Simple Wish, headquarted in Trenton, is proud of the organization she began in 2008.

“The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they sometimes happen.”

—G.K. Chesterton

One Simple Wish is a non-profit organization that has been making small miracles happen for foster children and vulnerable families since December of 2008.

As its mission statement points out: “We offer everyone a glimpse into the life of a child in foster care and connect people to create rewarding, meaningful relationships between those who want to give and those who need help. One Simple Wish believes in working together with a vast network of Community Partners throughout the United States. We positively impact the lives of thousands of children and families in need every year.”

One Simple Wish is the result of the vision, determination, and dedication of one woman: Danielle Gletow. She saw a need, and found a way to fill it.

“My husband and I had wanted to adopt a child in 2006, and we looked into all the options,” she explains. “We became foster parents with the hope of adopting. Over time, we had three foster children, aged two, 18 months, and six weeks.”

Multiple Homes

Eventually, they were able to adopt a baby girl through the foster care system, at about the same time that they had their biological daughter.

Their experience gave Ms. Gletow an insight into the world of foster care, providing her with information she had been unaware of previously. For example, she reports: “500,000 children are in foster care in the U.S. in the child welfare system. Of these, 100,000 children are legally available for adoption, but many are eight, nine and older, or special needs children. Foster care often includes multiple homes and institution placements, sometimes within the same year or even month. Nearly 58 percent of children in foster care are children of color.”

In addition, notes Ms. Gletow, more than 20,000 children age out of foster care every year, with little or no support. These young people are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs, or incarcerated. It is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the U.S. were once foster children.

Her own experience and the information she had gathered prompted Ms. Gletow to try to find a way to brighten the lives of foster children in some way.

“We had met so many children through case workers and friends in foster care that we wanted to do something,” she explains. “We wanted them to have the experiences a child with his or her own parents has.”

Ms. Gletow began with the idea of fulfilling wishes — small and large. “For example, a case worker knows if a child’s birthday is coming up, or if they have mentioned something they’d like to have.”

Children’s Wishes

She came up with the plan to match the children’s wishes with donors who could fulfill them. “People can go on-line to our website to see what wishes the children have made, and then they can donate specifically for a wish request or give an unrestricted donation of any amount. A typical wish is $100. We then purchase the item, which can be shoes, clothing, games, scooters, skates, gymnastic lessons, movie tickets, visits to an amusement park, etc. We have also outfitted more than 1000 girls with prom dresses, shoes, and handbags. The wish candidates are aged from birth to 25.”

The program started in New Jersey, and then branched out. Ms. Gletow established a network of community partners, such as social service agencies, group homes, churches, schools, and other organizations that support children and families in need throughout the U.S. One Simple Wish is now in 36 states with 350 partners.

“We work with non-profit groups and agencies; there is no government funding for One Simple Wish. It’s all through individuals and corporations. We don’t feel the state welfare system is as well-structured as it could be. We continue to try our best to work closely with the Department of Children and Families as often as possible.”

One Simple Wish has grown in all ways since its beginning. In particular, donations, community partners, and its recognition factor have all expanded dramatically.

As Ms. Gletow reports. “We have grown from receiving $24,000 in donations the first year to more than $500,000 this year. And if you count the in-kind donations of toys, clothing, and personal care products, it is close to $1 million. We have received donations and grants from Walmart, PNC Bank, Staples, Janssen, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and PSE&G.”

Ms. Gletow has appeared on the “Making A Difference” segment of NBC Nightly New, and she was chosen as a CNN Hero — one of 24 selected from 10,000 nominees worldwide. Such recognition has been invaluable.

Successful Lives

“Between NBC and CNN, One Simple Wish has continued to grow and grow. We now have five employees, and will open a branch office in Colorado. 5000 wishes have been granted to date — 95 percent of all the wishes requested. We have annual dinners to raise money and also to honor the kids. We award three $1000 scholarships to young people who have exemplified successful lives within a foster care environment.

“Last year, One Simple Wish had a tour of 30 cities around the country to grant wishes. It was 30 wishes in 30 cities in 30 days! We look forward to more of these, and this year, we will go to five states with seven stops in 10 days, and deliver 3000 gifts!”

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and One Simple Wish will have a team running the Long Branch Marathon on May 5. Each team member is committed to raising $1000, which will be donated to the organization.

Ms. Gletow is rightfully proud of what she has achieved. With the support of her staff, concerned community groups, and individuals, she has put a remarkable program in place. “I am very proud to have created something that has gone on to create a life of its own. I have always believed in the innate goodness of people, and I haven’t been surprised that people are stepping up. If you give someone a way to make a real, meaningful difference, they want to be part of the solution.

“I love the fact that we have a truly immediate impact,” she continues. “It is memorable, an opportunity to make a child smile. We focus on those smiles. It also makes me proud and happy that I can leave a legacy, and one that is important for my children. My kids can see that you can find success and happiness that has nothing to do with making a lot of money.”

For more information on One Simple Wish, call (609) 883-8484. Website: www.onesimplewish.org.

PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

It’s soccer here, but in the rest of the world, it’s football — not to be confused with our own American football. By whatever name, it is growing in popularity, and players of all ages and every skill level, are eagerly participating. Tibor Teleky, owner of the new Princeton Soccer Experience, which opened at 190 Witherspoon Street in early February, is himself a player, coach, and long-time soccer enthusiast.

“I have been involved in soccer a long time,” he explains. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and I have been and am coaching club teams, including the Princeton Football Club, among others. The Princeton Club has 24 teams, with all different age groups, starting at under 10.

“There was really a need for this kind of store,” he continues. “There is nothing like it in Princeton, and the interest in soccer is very strong now. Kids start playing in middle school and even earlier.”

Repeat Customers

Mr. Teleky, a graduate of Rutgers University and recipient of an MBA degree from Central European University in Budapest, has also worked in the corporate world with Merrill Lynch. He decided to pursue his dream to open a soccer shop, however, and he definitely wanted it to be in Princeton.

“I like the international aspect of Princeton, and I wanted to have the shop here and in the downtown, where there is a lot going on. People here are really interested in soccer, and I’ve already had a lot of customers in the short time I’ve been open, including many repeat customers.”

The shop features a wide range of soccer equipment, clothing, and accessories in a light and bright setting, which also features a large TV screen, showing soccer matches.

Items are available for men, women, and children, and include balls, warm-up clothing, soccer shirts, T-shirts, team jerseys, shorts, and shoes.

Light and Dry

Adidas is the main line available, but Mr. Teleky notes that he is developing the Princeton Soccer Experience’s own brand of dry-fit soccer shirts. “These are light and dry, and wick moisture away,” he explains. “They are very comfortable and cool.”

A variety of balls in different colors and designs, weights, and sizes, including the small “skill” balls, and size 4 for kids, are all available. Prices of balls range from $11.99 for skill balls, $17.99 for regular size, all the way up to $150 for a top-of-the line hand-stitched model.

Shoes, including the Adidas Predator F 50 and the Samba for kids, are among those available, at different price ranges, with a good quality shoe starting at $50. They are all in bright, contemporary styles.

“Most people have more than one pair of soccer shoes,” points out Mr. Teleky, “and we can definitely accommodate them.”

Shin Guards

Colorful fan scarves representing different teams are available, along with assorted accessories, including gym bags, shoe laces, shin guards, ankle protectors, pre-wrap, and ball pumps.

Mr. Teleky is also proud of the large number of trophies on display, won by teams he has coached.

“I had been thinking about doing this for more than two years, and I am so happy to see it materialize. I’ve met so many people since I’ve been here. I enjoy meeting all the customers and talking about soccer. I also look forward to expanding my selection as time goes on.

“In addition, my long-term goal is team sales. There are a lot of different clubs throughout New Jersey, and I’d like to become a soccer supply and service store.”

Princeton Soccer Experience is open Monday through Saturday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 4. (609) 580-1924.

April 24, 2013
POWER WORK-OUT: "We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out," says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

POWER WORK-OUT: “We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out,” says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

Spring is here — officially — even if the weather is still chilly. Nevertheless, bathing suit season is right around the corner, and it’s not too late to get those abs, upper arms, and thighs toned — and of course, the extra “avoir du pois” around the middle!

Help is at hand. Title Boxing Club Princeton has recently arrived on the scene, and it can provide just the workout you need.

“This is a full body work-out in one hour, and it can burn 1000 calories,” says owner and general manager Tiffany Perkins-Munn. “It’s group fitness, but with a trainer, so it has personal training appeal. Typically, there are 30 people in a group with one instructor. We use a 15/30/15 model. fifteen minutes of warm-up, including cardio, with jumping, running, and calisthenics. Then, 30 minutes of work on the heavy bags — jabbing, punching, kicking, and kneeing, with various routines under the guidance of the instructor. It’s important that everyone execute the moves properly, and people are more motivated with an instructor.

“The last 15 minutes are a cool-down period, doing exercises that strengthen the core, such as plank and others.”

Fitness Concept

Title Boxing Club Princeton is one of 102 franchises in 33 states across the country. With corporate headquarters in Kansas, it was established five years ago as a unique fitness concept by the Title Boxing manufacturing Company and former professional boxer Danny Campbell.

“Title Boxing is the largest manufacturer of boxing equipment,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn, who has a corporate background. Having earned a PhD in statistics and psychology, she had worked for Morgan Stanley on Wall Street for several years. Ready for a change, Ms. Perkins-Munn looked into franchise opportunities, and was impressed with Title Boxing Club.

“I like new challenges and opportunities, and I like them to be diverse. I’ve always had an affinity for working out, and my husband owned Grand Slam, a family recreation center in South Brunswick. I’m a statistician, and I ran the numbers for Title Boxing Club. I did a financial model, and then I went to the corporate office in Kansas. The corporation had a good working model. I liked it that it was organic, and they had a franchise development group and ideas of how to market it.”

After administrative training at the Kansas office, as well as hands-on boxing instruction, Ms. Perkins-Munn decided to open the facility in Nassau Park Pavilion at 485 Nassau Park Boulevard.

“I wanted to be in Nassau Park Pavilion,” she explains. “It’s a regional mall, and everything is here. People don’t mind driving a distance, and there is lots of parking, which is important.”

As the franchisor, Title Boxing Manufacturing Company requires 4500 square feet, and also oversees the look of the space, which is workmanlike and practical. “I call the look ‘industrial chic’”, says Ms. Perkins-Munn. “It’s spacious with gray walls and an open ceiling. This is a place where you can get something done.”

Row After Row

One is struck immediately upon entering by the sight of row after row of 54 100-pound punching bags (“Our hanging heavy bags,” says Ms. Perkins-Munn). This is a floor-bolted system, with the bags suspended on steel bars above. The franchisor provides each franchise with the large heavy bags, also small speed bags, gloves, and wraps, cardio equipment, including tread mill, AMT 3-in-1, and glide, as well as weights, balls, etc.

There is also a ring in which a member can work out one-one-one with a trainer, who wears special mitts.

The hour work-out is intensive, energetic, and focused. Ms. Perkins-Munn notes that the client target age is teens to late ’50s, but older clients are also welcome, as are people at all levels of fitness and boxing ability.

“We guarantee that if someone comes in three times a week for three months, they will reach their reasonable fitness goal. This is our 90-day challenge. They can lose weight and inches, tone up, strengthen their core, increase stamina and energy, improve coordination, and feel better, all the while having fun. Don’t forget that exercise is a great stress-reliever.

“Clients don’t have to know how to box,” she continues. “We will teach them. The structure of the class is the same, with clients of different levels all together. Beginners wear different color gloves, so the trainer is aware of their level, and can modify the exercise accordingly.”

Even if people have particular issues, such as knee or shoulder problems, they can still participate, she adds. “They can do modified exercises, but still get the benefit of the work-out.”

Membership Packages

Title Boxing Club Princeton will have 14 trainers, all of whom are certified. “They must be certified to work here, and then they receive further specialized Title Boxing training here,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn.

The Club offers membership packages on a monthly or yearly basis: at $59 a month, if the amount is fully paid for a year in advance, which also entitles clients to special discounts. $69 and $79 monthly payment plans are also available. The first class is always complimentary.

A special offer is available for those who sign up before the end of April. They will receive a free special starter kit, including gym bag, gloves, wraps, wrap bag, and T-shirt.

“We are very encouraged,” reports Ms. Perkins-Munn. “People are signing up, and we expect to have 31 classes a week, five classes every weekday, and three on Saturday and Sunday. Hours will vary day to day, but we will start early — 5:15 a.m. and the latest class will be at 7:30 p.m.

“This is an exciting new adventure,” she adds. “There are always surprises. You have to deal with a lot of moving pieces concurrently, but I always like challenges. I am enjoying meeting all the people and hearing their stories. I look forward to having lots of people join the club and get great exercise!”

(609) 759-1627. Visit the website for specific hours and further information. www.titleboxingclub.com.

 
ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

When they step inside, shoppers are reluctant to leave Artemis Boutique in Princeton Forrestal Village. As one customer said recently, “This is a hidden gem! Artemis Boutique is truly unique. You could spend hours here and find treasures in every nook and cranny, and in such a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.”

That is what artist and proprietor Jennifer J. Shortess has hoped to achieve. When she opened the boutique in November 2011, it was with the intention of offering an inviting showcase both for her own creations and the work of many area artists.

“Nearly everything is one-of-a-kind and made in America,” says Ms. Shortess. “This is an opportunity to exhibit the work of so many talented area artists and still create my own work. I love working with the artists, and I love giving them the venue to show their work.”

Ms. Shortess, who grew up in the arts and crafts community of Sugar Loaf, New York and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a multi-talented artist. She has worked in video and film, creates fused glass pieces in many designs, as well as jewelry, and is an accomplished photographer.

Open A Store

Opening Artemis Boutique actually came out of necessity, she reports. “I had taken a course in stained glass, and then I began making jewelry. I started in the basement, then the kitchen, and I actually took over the house with my artwork. Finally, my husband said ‘Open a store!’

“I liked the idea of being in Forrestal. It’s a good location, with convenient parking.”

An intriguing array of artwork, jewelry, decorative items, and accessories is on display. Jewelry choices include sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and crystals. Fused glass lamps, fused glass sculptures, suncatchers, and Tiffany reproduction lamps are the work of Ms. Shortess. Also available are handmade, handpainted silk and crocheted scarves, paintings, and photography. Woodstock wind chimes, Murano glass from Italy, and fragrant soap “rocks” are other special offerings.

Among the artists represented is painter Mary Endico, who specializes in water colors. “I’ve known Mary all my life, and I am proud and grateful that she has consented to allow me to sell a few hand-picked pieces,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her water colors have the bluest blues I have ever seen.”

A number of the artists whose creations are on display work in more than one medium, she adds. “The multi-talented Deborah Bowen offers handmade jewelry, fused glass, stained glass, and crocheted scarves. Ruth Hunt is unique in her creations of handbags made of duct tape — really! — and faux decorative cakes that really do look good enough to eat. The purses in black are Chanel-like, and no one can believe they are made of duct tape.”

Limited edition evening bags from Harrison Morgan Accessories and turquoise necklaces made by Mr. Guy for Harrison Morgan Accessories are all originals. A pink stole made of the softest alpaca fur is another statement piece by Harrison Morgan.

Private Collection

“Natalie Sarabella is known as the Rock and Roll Star of Christmas ornaments, and sells at Bergdorf Goodman, Frontgate Catalogue, and soon the Franklin Mint,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her work is stunning and also includes private collection paintings, jewelry, pillows, perfume bottles, and much more.

“And Michelle Sauber makes wonderfully pretty earrings, as well as her totally original ‘stemware’ wine charms to identify your wine glass, made out of antique and new buttons. Gina DiEnna creates all sorts of beautiful, stunning, and fun jewelry. We are now carrying her ‘Bling It On’ line of jewelry: Swarovski crystals in clay and beautiful big Swarovksi crystals in rings.”

These are just a sampling of the fascinating collection at Artemis Boutique. Ms. Shortess notes that the selection changes frequently, with new items arriving all the time. “We also carry men’s jewelry, such as cufflinks, bracelets, and tie tacs.

“Some of the items here are art for art’s sake, such as many of my glass sculpted pieces” she continues. “I was thinking of of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — when I created these.”

“I also like things to have multiple uses.” For example, her illuminated glass sculptures are electrified as lamps. They can also be inverted to have an entirely different look. In gorgeous colors, gracefully combining form and function, they are a real collector’s item.

Her collection of fused glass also includes soap dishes, coasters, and key rings.

Ms. Shortess’ photography is equally interesting and eclectic, and features many scenes of the southwest, as well as urban settings focusing on doors and windows, and unique glimpses into ballet.

Payment Plan

Artemis Boutique also offers a bridal selection including a range of items, from champagne flutes and hand-decorated wine goblets to custom-jewelry and keepsakes to registers/guest/gift books and photo albums. A lovely personalized gift is the wedding invitation presented in a custom-painted frame.

Prices cover an extremely wide range, from $5 to $5000, and everything in between. “I have glass drop ornaments from chandeliers for $5, which can serve as wonderful prisms,” notes Ms. Shortess. “There is really a piece for everyone’s budget. I am very competitively-priced, and we also offer a payment plan.”

Ms. Shortess’ emphasis on everything from the whimsical to elegant to dramatic reflects her own creative vision and the varying forms it can take. It was also a factor in her choice of Artemis as the name of the boutique.

“Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, and was an early feminist, a protector of women and children, and also of arts and crafts,” explains Ms. Shortess. “She was independent, and wanted to do her own thing.”

Ms. Shortess looks forward to introducing more customers to the intriguing selection at Artemis. “This is a new adventure for me, and I am thrilled with how it’s going. We have regular customers and great word-of-mouth. Now, I look forward to being able to continue to showcase the work of all the artists as well as my own. I very much like being able to support the area artists and offer customers an opportunity to see their work. And I certainly love being surrounded by beautiful things. The items here are handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind.”

Ms. Shortess notes that a special exhibition and reception will be held for area painter Kelly E. Reilly on Friday, April 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 12 to 7.

The boutique’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday noon to 3 and by appointment. (609) 454-5908. Website: www.artemisboutique.com.

 

 

To the Editor:

After attending the special council meeting that was to decide the fate of Police Chief David Dudeck, I came away more concerned, more confused. I do not understand how accusations such as were given to the public and residents could bring the perception to prejudge a man without a real trial. You would think an investigation would do, and Chief Dudeck would deserve that much. It’s obvious that the Chief’s accusations were born out of department infighting and disgruntled former officers. It is a well known fact, that the two former police departments did not like each other. And nothing has changed to this very day. Consolidation might be good for Princeton as a whole. But the two police departments are a story yet to be told.

Many people saw this dysfunction within the departments coming. Those that did not see it were the former Borough Council and Township Committee. At the meeting, I heard nothing except praise for Chief Dudeck, and higher praise from Council. Yet, Council chose to accept his retirement. I’ve seen bad officers in my life in the Princetons, but Dave Dudeck was not one. Chief Campbell. Chief Porter, Robert “Big Mac” Avenia, or, Harry Carney, Howard Sweeny, Anthony Pinnelli, Walter Eman — these were top-of-the-line officers and top-of–the-line men. Chief Dudeck is such a man as well. And I hope that his family realizes accusations such as the ones presented to them are just that, accusations. And in fact, they should be proud, and hold their heads up high.

Princeton has changed for the better in many ways. However, the present situation within the police union and department needs to be addressed. Appointing a new chief from within in today’s department is a bad idea. There is no way the residents of Princeton will see this other than promoting from within. This total situation is currently shameful and sad. Good luck Chief Dudeck.

Jerome McGowan

Redding Circle

To the Editor:

Every so often there is a flurry of letters to Town Topics deploring the use of leaf blowers. Other than allowing writers to vent their frustration, no result has ever come from these letters.

I tried to work with Sustainable Princeton, believing that they were concerned with quality of life and controlling pollution in our town. But nothing resulted from that either.

Yes, other towns have dealt with this issue. It would be wonderful if Princeton could do the same.

Peggy Skemer

Robert Road

To the Editor:

The fact that some find our kiosks too exuberantly democratic is no excuse for Council to accept the ‘partnership” proposed by the Chamber of Commerce and recently promoted by some of its corporate members. In this deal, which deprives the Community of a long standing forum open freely to all, the Chamber sells access to business directories that replace the kiosks. Local taxpaying merchants then buy advertising for inclusion, while Chamber members, some of whom pay no Princeton taxes, are included automatically. Merchants unable to afford the rates set at the Chamber’s discretion would be unrepresented in the directory.

Were the new directories on private property with the Chamber as owner or concessionaire, this economic discrimination would represent business as usual: one must pay to play. But they are not on private property; they are on the town’s major public thoroughfare at the busiest corners. There, they would inevitably be perceived by visitors, for whom they are primarily designed, as “official.” And those businesses, only, who had the means to buy their way in would be perceived as endorsed by local government, thus violating the strict neutrality government should observe in the marketplace.

Council needs to reexamine this issue. If the time has come to tame the kiosks somewhat, there are surely ways to do it that preserve their accessibility. The Chamber of Commerce ought still to have a way to advertise itself and its members. All it should need is a pushpin.

Leo Arons

Chambers Street

To the Editor

During the week of April 7-13 I was able to participate in what for me was a new kind of civic project — a “Read-Out”. A Read-Out is a public educational program centered on the examination of a particularly stimulating book. In this instance the book was The New Jim Crow by the legal scholar Michelle Alexander. Professor Alexander’s subtitle identifies her principal subject: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her book draws out some of the human realities behind the mind-numbing statistics of American penology, particularly as they relate to race. I never dreamed that America, with a twentieth of the world’s population, has a quarter of the world’s prisoners. I was startled and shamed to learn that a young American black has about a one-in-three chance of doing prison time at some point.

The venue for the event, which took place for an hour each evening between 5 and 6 p.m., was the Hinds Plaza on Witherspoon Street. The Read-Out had no official connection with Princeton’s remarkable public library, but it was highly appropriate that such a public education program should take place on the library’s doorstep. The Read-Out harmoniously shared the space with the plaza’s regular coffee-sippers and hangers-out. Each hour-long segment included a selected reading from The New Jim Crow, brief and informative talks by people familiar with issues raised by Prof. Alexander, and some thematically appropriate music and poetry. On the week’s one rainy evening, the program enjoyed the hospitality of Labyrinth Books’ basement reading room. To all my civic-minded fellow Princetonians who planned and executed this excellent Read-Out I want to express my warm thanks.

John V. Fleming

Hartley Avenue

To the Editor:

Why not honor earth day and choose an electric or gas company that offers renewable energy?

If you are like us, you may be wondering if it makes economic and environmental sense to sign up for green energy. At Sustainable Princeton’s April monthly meeting, we decided to try to answer that question. We invited representatives from several energy supply companies to speak. And, the bottom line is: yes, choosing renewable energy can help you cut your energy costs and/or live more sustainably.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

Many suppliers offer clean, renewable energy options in place of using fossil fuels. Depending on the company, you may have the option to purchase the actual energy or you may purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) which offset purchases of traditional fuels by funding investment in renewable energy. You may also be able to decide how much of the energy you buy is renewable — from 25 percent energy up to 100 percent energy. In our region, wind power from Ohio or western Pennsylvania is the most readily available source of renewable energy.

You may be able to save money with a green energy supplier. However, you should decide if you prefer a variable rate (which will fluctuate with the market) or fixed rate contract. Some companies offer both.

Your energy supplier may also benefit a non-profit organization, or help you or a friend earn money. Many companies will donate money each month to a charity of your choice as a thank you for your business. Others pay customers for client referrals.

Whatever you do, recognize that you do have a choice. If you do nothing, your current supplier will choose for you and the default is fossil fuels.

We urge you to look at the options and consider aligning your values with your wallet. It will certainly send a message that consumers want clean energy.

Happy Earth Day, everyone.

Alexandra Bar-Cohen

Snowden Lane

Annarie Lyles

Jefferson Road

Co-Chairs of Sustainable Princeton’s

Residence Committee