March 21, 2012
NTU Cake it up 2-29-12

STANDS IN DEMAND: “A beautiful cake needs a beautiful stand to display it. The cake is showcased and enhanced by the stand.” Beth Carnevale, founder of Cake It Up, LLC, is shown by a grouping of her custom couture cake stands.

“Everyone is saying this is such a great idea, and thank goodness it’s here!”

Beth Carnevale, founder of Cake It Up, LLC, is delighted by the response to her new custom couture cake stand business.

“It all started with my daughter Nicolina’s wedding last August,” she explains. “I have always been very visual and have enjoyed decorating since I was a girl. For the wedding, we coordinated everything, and it was custom throughout — from table numbers and place cards for the reception to flowers to monograms for the ring bearer pillow.

“Then, I realized that there was no really nice cake stand for the wedding cake. It was a beautiful cake, and should be really beautifully displayed. I asked my husband Nick (Princeton architect Nicholas Carnevale) to build a box, and I bought couture ribbon and bridal satin, which I cut and ironed, to cover it. The box was made to architect’s specifications, and was very strong and solid. Everyone was so impressed with it — it blended beautifully with the cake.”

Creative Vision

Clearly, an idea whose time had come!

Ms. Carnevale’s creative vision and innovation has launched a new career for her. After the wedding, requests came in for boxes — one is displayed in the Chez Alice window in Palmer Square and another in Cramer’s Bakery in Yardley, Pa. — and she decided to explore this uncharted territory.

“I told Nick that I had to do this, and he has been very supportive. I launched it in FaceBook in January, and now have a website. We have already had responses from around the world, including Belgium and Italy, as well as close to home. I think this is really filling a need. The presentation of the cake is so important, and I don’t know of anyone else doing custom cake stands here.

“My design consultant, Laura Bair, is my right hand, and we are very busy going to bridal shows and other events. In fact, I am so busy, I am looking for an intern to help out!”

The boxes, which can become keepsakes, vary in size and style, with most, typically 18 inches by 18 inches. They are covered with different fabrics, such as satin, raw silk, moiré, and basket-weave cotton/linen. Grosgrain ribbon, rosettes, bows, and jewelry, especially brooches, are all used for trim and accent. All the high quality materials can be monogrammed, including the exquisite embroidery, for further customizing.

“Gray and taupe are very popular colors for weddings now, and also blush and ivory,” points out Ms. Carnevale. “We can do whatever color the bride wants. I always ask if she has a special theme, and then, we can carry that theme and style through with the cake stand.”

Elegant Bow

She has a series of sample stands available for customers to view in her studio and on FaceBook and her website. They vary considerably in style, including the sophisticated black and white “High Society”; the signature “Aisle Collection” in ivory moiré or bridal blush with rosettes; “Sweetheart” in pale pink with rhinestone heart accent; and “Chanelesque” in ivory with creamy ribbon and elegant bow, among many other choices.

Ms. Carnevale points out that the cake stands are not limited to wedding cakes. “They are very versatile, and can be for special anniversaries, birthdays, showers, bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations, Mother’s Day, etc. The stands can also become keepsake and memory boxes, and I have made presentation boxes for the place cards and table numbers at wedding receptions.”

Another example of her design skill includes a series of charmingly customized wedding ring/cake plate keepsakes, which she does in collaboration with ceramic artist Nancy Pirone-Tamasi.

“Icing It Up”

In addition to the variety of brooches and other jewelry used as trim for the boxes, Ms. Carnevale is offering “Icing It Up”, a line of jewelry, including bracelets, pins, earrings, necklaces, and accessories. She has also designed her own collection of one-of-a-kind large simulated gemstone and rhinestone rings, very reasonably priced at $25.

Cake stands begin at $125 for a 12-inch by 12-inch model, and Ms. Carnevale suggests three weeks notice for a custom design. A 10 percent discount is available for stands already in stock. A large bridal satin box, encrusted with rhinestones, is available to rent.

“This is such a happy thing,” she says, with a smile. “I love working with the brides, and it’s another way for them to express their own style. I feel I have taken everything I have done in my life, including so much of the design sense I’ve gotten from Nick, and it has all come together.

“It has really all come out of love. My daughter Nicolina was the inspiration, and now, it is my passion!”

Ms. Carnevale is available by appointment. (609) 216-7677. Website:www.cakeit

To the Editor:

The Princeton Borough Council’s decision at its February 28 meeting approving the request by the developer AvalonBay to increase the density of the Hospital site was given in spite of the strong opposition to the developer’s petition expressed by several Princeton community organizations and individual residents and, before receiving impact reports on traffic, waste disposal, water usage and various other municipality services from the developer.

Borough Council members chose to ignore the arguments presented against approving the petition to rezone the site. With the notable exception of Jenny Crumiller, the Council was more interested in facilitating the implementation of AvalonBay’s business plan than in the passing of legislation for the benefit the neighbors and the town.

As elected officials, Council members should examine the arguments of the people they represent, while ensuring that existing legislation, such as the amendments introduced to the Master Plan in 2007 requiring that all new and remodeled buildings use sustainable building designs, are upheld.

Antonio Reinero
Carnahan Place

To the Editor:

I am dismayed that the Borough Council decided to introduce an ordinance:

(1) permitting additional density on the hospital site without understanding the impacts to a consolidated Princeton

(2) while simultaneously considering reducing the percentage of affordable housing and

(3) failing to incorporate requirements for green building.

The 280 units on five acres (56 units/acre) permitted by the current MRRO zoning, is denser than any residential site in Princeton. By way of comparison, the adjacent neighborhood bordered by Valley Road, Witherspoon, Wiggins and Moore Streets currently has approximately the same number of units but is nearly 80 acres larger resulting in 3.5 units/acre. One of the goals of The Land Use Element of the master plan is to “preserve and protect the character of established neighborhoods”. While I believe that compact development reduces costs and environmental impact over spread out development, this must be balanced with an abrupt change in character. It seems to me to be a backward way of doing things to introduce such an ordinance change before reviewing impact reports on traffic, sewage, water use, landfill garbage, human services, recreational services, police and fire services, and schools.

A roof over your head is basic for survival. It is typically the largest household expense and the single most important for determining cost of living, yet it continues to be out of reach for many in Princeton where the median cost of a home is $619,700 in comparison to $359,800 in New Jersey and $185,400 nationally. Homes that a variety of people can afford bring diversity to our town. It is essential that the requirement for 20 percent affordable units not be diluted.

Like the rest of the world, we in Princeton are faced with climate change due to non sustainable development practices. It is therefore imperative that we evaluate all new development through this lens. The Princeton Environmental Commission issued a memorandum calling for the hospital site to be “redeveloped in accordance with a standardized green building rating system resulting in certification.” In 2005, the master plan was amended to recommend that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system should be used as a design and measurement tool to determine what constitutes sustainable building principles and practices. Furthermore, in 2007 the master plan was revised to “include a goal that all new and remodeled buildings and facilities use sustainable building designs”. I call on the Planning Board and members of Borough Council to uphold the goals of our master plan.

At its February 28 meeting Borough Council members seemed not to hear the citizens of Princeton who ardently voiced opposition to this proposed ordinance change. This site has yet to be developed under the MRRO zoning even once. Other individuals or developers that purchase a property knowing the zoning are not given the opportunity to change the ordinance. I cannot see affording the hospital site differential treatment unless there is an overwhelming benefit to the neighborhood and town.

Heidi Fichtenbaum
Carnahan Place

To the Editor:

With gratitude, the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale salutes the Princeton Community. When Hurricane Irene did serious water damage to our book supply, we put out a plea for more volumes — and you responded with, well, a flood. Great books, beautiful books, amazing books — 1,844 boxes of books. They are waiting for you at the Princeton Day School beginning Wednesday, March 21 through Sunday March 25. Please come, buy, and accept our thanks in person for your generosity. The proceeds from the sale go to support scholarship funds at our colleges, which means that your donations literally change lives.

Bryn Mawr-Wellesley 
Book Sale Committee

To the Editor:

We, the co-founders of Pi Day Princeton and Geek Freak Weekend, wish to express our sincerest gratitude to everyone who helped make this year’s festivities a huge success. Our goal from the beginning was to create a community-wide celebration that would bring together Princeton residents, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and businesses to celebrate math, science, and Einstein. And we are happy to report that the success of the weekend has gone beyond our wildest, hopes, dreams, and expectations. To everyone who volunteered their time, and to everyone who participated in the weekend — we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming together to make Princeton a one-of-a-kind place to live, work, and play!

The 2012 Geek Freak weekend saw the largest crowd to date with over 6,000 people who packed into the Princeton Public Library for the Pi Day events. Each event was standing room only and we were thrilled to have more contestants participate than ever. Pi Day Princeton is indeed here to stay, and we are thrilled that our 2012 underwriters MacLean Agency, Princeton Regional Chamber, and Coordinated Wealth Management all renewed for next year so we will be able to promote even more for 2013.

Again, thanks to everyone who came to downtown Princeton on Saturday either as an observer or a participant, a sponsor or a volunteer. You helped make 2012 Pi Day Princeton and Geek Freak Weekend one to remember.

Mimi Omiecinski
Nassau Street
Joy Chen
Chambers Street

To the Editor:

Do you believe, as I do, that ever-increasing Princeton property taxes and elected officials pursuing their own agendas are negatively impacting the quality of life in Princeton? Have you concluded that one-party municipal government is unlikely to result in outcomes to the benefit of all Princeton residents? If so, please join local Republicans and make your voice heard. A dose of political diversity would be an effective antidote to what ails Princeton. Silence is acquiescence and a guarantee that things will never change here.

A primary election on June 5 and the general election in November will choose a mayor and six Council members who will govern the newly consolidated Princeton municipality. The Princeton Republican Committee welcomes expressions of interest from potential candidates for mayor and council as well as membership in the new Princeton Republican Committee which will be chosen from each of the 22 new voting districts in Princeton in the June primary. The primary election filing deadline is April 2. We also welcome volunteers who want to help in getting out the vote and supporting local Republican candidates.

For more information or an explanation of the process, please feel free to contact Dudley Sipprelle, Chairman, Princeton Republican Committee, tel. 609-497-0740, email:

Dudley Sipprelle 
Chairman, Princeton Republican Committee

To the Editor:

The Democratic Party has ten people who have expressed interest in serving on the new council in 2013. Of those that are running some have previously served on one of the governing bodies and would bring important continuity and institutional knowledge to the new council.

However, I believe that the governing body will also benefit from having some new yet highly qualified members who would offer a fresh perspective for our new community and would not be encumbered in their decision making by having served on one governing body or the other in the past.

To that end, I urge Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) members and Democrats to consider the candidacies from the three new faces that we will see on March 25 at the PCDO endorsement meeting and March 26 at the municipal democratic committee meeting:

Tamera Matteo – Tamera is a 15-year resident who brings the unique perspective of having been a local, downtown business owner. She’s been the PTO President for the John Witherspoon Middle School and also serves on the Corner House Foundation board among others. Tamera understands the needs of the downtown and what it takes to provide a thriving ‘buy-local’ experience for our residents.

Scott Sillars – Scott is a 14-year resident who has served as the chair of the Township’s Citizens’ Finance Advisory Commission (CFAC). He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Transition Task Force. His work on the CFAC has contributed to the Township’s ability to have two consecutive zero-increase budgets and his active role during the transition this year will prepare him well for the new council.

Patrick Simon – A management consultant, Pat is an 11-year resident who has demonstrated strong financial acumen while serving for the last 18 months on the Joint Shared Services and Consolidation Commission (JSSCC). While on the JSCCC, Pat also served on the Finance subcommittee. His clear thinking and analytical abilities will be critical for the new council and his ability to clearly explain complex financial data will be an asset for the community.

Please consider supporting these highly qualified new candidates for the new Princeton Council. It is my hope that we have some new faces on the council and Tamera, Scott and Pat will bring strong and complementary skills to the Princeton governing body. They have my support.

Chad Goerner
Princeton Township

To the Editor:

In Princeton, we have the opportunity to select the individual who will best lead our entire community toward a new, unified Princeton. We have the opportunity to choose a leader who will work tirelessly with the new Council and who has a vision and a plan to address the many challenges facing our community.

As an architect and a builder, a community planner and activist, a business owner and a professional, an artist and organizer, a team leader and a team player, and as someone who has lived in both the Borough and Township, I have demonstrated the skills, dedication, perseverance, and aptitude necessary for this new leadership position in Princeton.

I have a plan for New Princeton and if elected, these are ten points that I will make fundamental to my efforts as Mayor:

Control Spending: No tax increases, as Borough has done for the past 4 years.

Public Safety: Merge police departments while improving street patrols and safety.

Preserve the Fire Department: Maintain an all-volunteer force.

A Strong Downtown: Promote economic development and improve our streetscapes.

Community Planning: Planning by the people, instead of for the people.

Academic Institutions: Engage our academic partners early and often with candor and transparency.

Affordable Housing: Develop housing at multiple levels of income distribution.

Aging in Place: Promote a transportation infrastructure for senior mobility.

Parks and Open Space: Improve open space management and create Princeton Parks Department.

Youth Services: Provide high-quality programs for our community’s youth.

I have the experience to work with both existing municipal staffs to effectively accomplish our merger. Working as the Princeton Township building inspector for three years in the early 1990s I developed strong positive relationships with Township staff. Working with Borough staff as an elected official since 2008, I constantly strive to improve the delivery of our services to our constituents and business interests.

I am qualified and committed to be your mayor. I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail this spring – please visit my website to find a calendar of events.

Kevin Wilkes
Prospect Avenue

“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.”


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:

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 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:

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:

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 or (732) 997-7212.

Liz Lempert 
Deputy Mayor Princeton Township