July 3, 2012

LOTS OF LUGGAGE: “We have a very big inventory. Our selection is the largest around, and we also have an extensive website.” Adam Tieger, website customer service manager at the LuggageFactory in Ringoes, shows a customer the new “foldable” Spinner bag from Lipault.

Does anyone remember luggage without wheels? If you were born before 1987, no doubt you do. On the other hand, “wheels” have become such an integral part of the travel scene, that it seems they were always there.

In fact, says David Southard, CEO of the LuggageFactory in Ringoes, “A Northwest Airline 747 pilot, Bob Platt, came up with the idea in 1987. He invented the original Rollaboard R wheeled luggage, and he started the Travelpro company.”

Now, wheels are not only on the traditional “suitcase” but on carry-ons, duffles, backpacks, and even garment bags. There is also the 4-wheeled Spinner style, which can move in any direction, and the latest “foldable” wheeled luggage, which folds up when empty for easy storage.

And, whatever your luggage needs, the LuggageFactory at 76 Route 202/31 in Ringoes, can provide you with extensive choices at reasonable prices.

From A to Z

“We have the best selection in the area, and the best prices,” notes Mr. Southard. “Everything is good quality, and we have sales all the time. We do a lot of volume.”

All the major brands of luggage – from A to Z – are available, with Tumi, Briggs & Riley, Travelpro, Samsonite, and Vera Bradley among the most popular.

“We’ve only had Vera Bradley for a year, and it has become our second most popular seller,” Mr. Southard reports. “People like the entire line of Vera Bradley, including luggage, handbags, and accessories, with wristlets special favorites. “And it’s all ages — grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. And husbands come in to buy it for their wives.”

The LuggageFactory was founded in 1980 by Daniel Popkin, and remains a family business, says Mr. Southard, who has been with the company seven years. “At one time, the company even made luggage, but over the years, it evolved into selling all brands and accessories. We also now have a very big on-line business and an extensive website, which was established in 1997.”

Customers will find everything, including traditional luggage of all kinds, duffles, business cases, laptop bags, attache cases, and garment bags.

Even with the advent of wheels, people are opting for lightweight luggage. Gone are the days of heavy leather cases, although handsome leather products, including attaches, laptop and business cases, and messenger bags, as well as wallets, are still available.

Ballistic Nylon

“Most bags today are made of nylon and polyester, and ballistic nylon is the strongest and most durable,” points out Mr. Southard. “Another line that is very popular is the polycarbonate lightweight, durable, and hardside style from Rimowa, which is designed in Germany and made in Canada.”

Black is the number one selling color in luggage, but customers also like the very colorful luggage tags, including pom poms, to identify their bags easily. Also popular are “Margarita” tags and doggie tags.

Accessories include TSA locks, security bags, passport holders, lumbar supports, neck pillows, travel blankets, sunglasses “readers” and illuminators (eyeglasses with a light for reading), and travel underwear and socks. “This is very popular,” reports Mr. Southard. “You just wash it out when you’re in the shower, and it dries in two to three hours. We also have great crushable travel hats, and maps of many cities.

“Our staff is very knowledgeable, and we can advise customers on airline rules and security regulations. There have been big changes in checking luggage, and we recommend that people not buy the biggest bag. You have to pay extra to check any bag weighing 50 pounds or more.”

Great Selection

Many of the LuggageFactory employees have been with the company 20 years or more, points out Mr. Southard. Customers are equally loyal, he adds, and regulars come from Mercer, Hunterdon, and Bucks Counties.

“They count on us for a great selection, good quality, and reasonable prices, and really knowledgeable service. Also, many of the luggage lines we carry offer life-time warranties, even if there is airline damage.”

Luggage prices range from $100 to $600-$700, and an annual Tent Sale will be held July 20, 21, 22 with big savings in all categories.

“We have worked hard to build a great reputation, and we guarantee our luggage, our quality, and our prices,” says Mr. Southard. “We are also looking forward to renovating our space for even better customer service.”

The LuggageFactory is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5. (908) 788-4810. Website: www.luggagefactory.com.

To the Editor:

It is time to understand the role that affordable housing and rental housing are playing in the conflict over the development of the old hospital site.

I am a very strong supporter of affordable housing. I believe that Princeton should be a place where people of many different income levels can all afford to live. I think that Princeton’s 20 percent affordable housing rule, higher than the usual 15 percent, is commendable. My husband and I have for decades contributed considerable sums annually to an organization that creates affordable housing. I also recognize that Princeton needs more rental housing.

But not at any price.

It is an unfortunate fact that builders exploit New Jersey’s regulations on affordable housing to avoid complying with towns’ Master Plans and building codes. These Master Plans and building codes are very important.

AvalonBay, the probable buyer of the old hospital site, is using the legal situation and Borough Council members’ commendable support  for affordable housing and for rental housing (which AvalonBay would provide) to persuade Borough Council to accept a development that ignores the Princeton Master Plan and Borough Code. In order to obtain the zoning it wanted, the hospital agreed to a large park, a pedestrian zone, thoroughfares, and environmentally sound construction for the old hospital site. These items were written into the Princeton Master Plan and Borough Code. AvalonBay’s proposed development does not include these items.

Current secret negotiations with AvalonBay may restore a few of the agreed-upon items. But the negotiations are unlikely to result in the kind of development that was envisioned by the people who granted the hospital its desired zoning. It is likely that the AvalonBay development would be bad for the surrounding neighborhood, bad for Princeton, and bad for the environment.

Ultimately, it is the hospital’s responsibility to prevent AvalonBay from using affordable housing as a battering ram to avoid complying with the Master Plan and Borough Code. If AvalonBay will not accept the agreements that the hospital made with the neighborhood and the town, it is incumbent upon the hospital to cancel its arrangement with AvalonBay and to find a buyer who will respect the Master Plan and Borough Code.

Affordable housing? Yes. Rental housing? Yes. But not at any price.

Phyllis Teitelbaum

Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

On behalf of myself and the other 650 participants in the June 26 ETS Firecracker 5K Run/Walk, I would like to sincerely thank the YWCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Judith Hutton, and the Educational Testing Service President/CEO, Kurt Landgraf, for a superbly organized event. It is especially gratifying that the record proceeds from the event went to such a worthy cause as the YWCA Princeton’s Bilingual Nursery School. A special thanks to the YWCA’s Jenn Attridge for her courteous and efficient assistance in the registration process.

Linda Sipprelle

Nassau Street

To the Editor:

Did you know that the Green Bucket Curbside Food Waste Program that many Township residents have been using is available now to all Princeton residents, even before consolidation takes full effect?

I have recently signed up, even though I do have space in my yard in the Borough for a small compost pile into which I put leaves, grass clippings and selected kitchen waste, such as banana peels, apple cores, egg shells and certain vegetable trimmings that decompose quickly. But this leaves items such as meat, poultry and fish leftovers, including bones, potato peelings, tea bags, used napkins and paper towels, and pizza boxes that go in the garbage and from there to the landfill.

The beauty of the Green Bucket Curbside Food Waste Program is that all these items and many more — coffee grounds and filters, pizza boxes, garden trimmings and weeds, dead houseplants, small branches, and even biodegradable forks, knives, plates and spoons can be collected in the special Green Bucket provided by the hauler and picked up at the curb once a week for composting. Comprising a huge amount of what we throw away (or wish would be taken away), the material is piled together and covered with a special cover so that it gets very hot and becomes usable compost in a relatively short period of time.

Recycling of newspapers and other clean paper goods as well as plastic and glass items continues with pickup once every other week. One item that can be recycled but is not currently on the curbside pickup list is plastic bags, but they can be taken to McCaffrey’s any time for that purpose.

Items that are not recyclable or compostable include Styrofoam and packing peanuts, bulky metals, plastics marked #3-#7, diapers, pet waste and litter, lumber and fencing, aluminum foil, feminine hygiene products, baking and microwave trays, and garden nursery containers.

The cost for curbside recycling is currently $20 a month. Township residents pay an extra $10 a month for trash pickup (both collected weekly). Borough residents may balk at curbside recycling because traditionally they have not had to pay for garbage pick-up, the costs of which are absorbed in the Borough budget. But there is a strong possibility that if enough people sign up for it in the coming months that the costs could be reduced and absorbed by the new consolidated Princeton budget. Currently there are some 350 households enrolled, and the hope is to double this number in the coming weeks.

The savings in terms of landfill space and municipal trash disposal costs are considerable. In six months since the program began, some 60 tons of waste have been kept out of a landfill, which equals $7,500 in municipal trash disposal costs.

To make it easy to collect your compostable waste you are given a small container that can sit on a countertop or in a cupboard with biodegradable bags to go inside it, as well as the big green container marked “Organic Waste Only” that has wheels and a lid and which you put at the curb once a week. These items are free.

I remember how eagerly Princeton residents embraced recycling when it first became available. Now it is time for us to embrace curbside composting, particularly when it is so easy to do and saves cost as well as landfill space.

To sign up call Janet Pellichero in the Township Public Works Department, email jpellichero@princeton-township.nj.us or phone (609) 688-2566.

Barbara Johnson

Wilton Street

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the Mountain Lakes Association and Steve Hiltner, naturalist and editor of Princeton Nature Notes (www.princetonnaturenotes.blogspot.com) for making possible the entertaining and educational “tree identification and invasive species” walk through Mountain Lakes Preserve on June 24. Perfect weather set the stage!

This free two-hour tour, attended by more than 30 area residents, was one of a series of outreach activities of the Princeton Borough Shade Tree Commission (PBSTC) to raise awareness of and interest in the tree resources found in our soon-to-be-consolidated Princeton. Attendees encountered hazelnut trees, redbuds, black locusts, pignut hickories, sugar and red maples, witch hazels, red oaks, black walnuts, among others, and they identified many invasive grass and shrub species as well. Mr. Hiltner introduced hikers to the results of restoration work on dams and waterways in the Preserve. He described successful projects to plant native wildflower gardens and rain gardens on the Mountain Lakes property, and he explained future plans to prepare vernal pools, shallow habitats to protect frog and salamander eggs from hungry fish.

The Princeton Adult School will cosponsor the next PBSTC tree walk on October 6, a Fall Foliage trek through the Institute Woods, to be led by Dr. Henry and Betty Horn. Participants will register through the Adult School.

More about the recent walk, the mystery tree detective contest, and other tree-related events can be found at our website: www.pbshadetree.org.

Alexandra Radbil, chair

Pat Hyatt, vice-chair

Princeton Borough Shade Tree Commission

To the Editor:

I am pleased to report that my bill to create a pilot program to provide social, mental and health care services to communities with large senior populations recently passed the Assembly. I wanted to especially thank Linda Meisel and my friends at the Jewish Family and Children Services for drawing attention to the challenges of extending such services to seniors who wish to remain in their homes.

With the establishment of this pilot program, the State will be able to foster “Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities” or “NORCs.” Unlike housing built specifically for elderly residents, a NORC is a residential area with a high concentration of seniors who remain in their communities. This program would allow these residents to stay in their homes and have the type of services delivered to them that would otherwise come from assisted-living institutional settings. In essence, a NORC addresses the needs of elderly residents by proving a wide array of social, health care, mental health and other support services at a senior center, such as the Suzanne Patterson Center in the Borough or a community room in a senior high rise in Trenton.

The bill directs the Commissioner of Health to provide a grant to a lead agency to establish and coordinate a pilot NORC at a senior center in Mercer County, or at one or more moderate or low-income apartment buildings, in which at least 50 percent of the households are headed by a person who is 60 years of age or older. It is hoped that seniors who wish to remain in their homes will have essential services delivered nearby and save taxpayers health care dollars in the long haul. In this regard, it will help many seniors who are proactive and want to take a holistic, preventive approach to their health and well-being.

Although Princeton’s new 16th District legislators voted against the measure, nonetheless, the concept has been well received in the community and I appreciate the Jewish Family and Children Services for the groundwork they provided on this bill. It is hoped that through delivering elder-care services directly into the community, seniors who are often shut in will have greater access to preventive health screenings, a social network at the community centers, and hence a longer quality of life to come.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora

District 15

To the Editor:

If Roger Martindell wants to save himself the time and expense of responding to a legitimate request for documents under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, he is directing his attention to the wrong party in the lawsuit that gives rise to this request (Mailbox June 20, “University’s “Unconstitutional” Demand for Dinky Communications “A Chilling Exercise of Legal Power”). The only reason this request was made is because a group of plaintiffs has challenged a 1984 contract between Princeton University and New Jersey Transit that has already been reviewed and found valid by the state Attorney General’s office, the Township attorney, attorneys hired by the Borough, and attorneys for both parties to the contract. The Plaintiffs have challenged this agreement in a baseless lawsuit, clearly as a tactic to try and block the University’s proposed Arts and Transit project. This is an important project to the community and the University, and we intend to defend the lawsuit thoroughly.

If Mr. Martindell prefers not to reveal his communications as a public official, he should be trying to persuade the plaintiffs (who are not parties to the contract they now challenge) to withdraw their nuisance lawsuit, rather than trying to persuade the University not to defend itself in a legal action. Mr. Martindell knows the importance of discovery in any litigation.

As was pointed out at a recent Borough Council meeting, in a different but related matter, one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit admitted publicly that in that matter she was following the instructions of a member of Borough Council. The University has a right to learn whether she or other plaintiffs in this case were similarly receiving direction from elected officials, or whether there were other communications that are germane to this case if and when it goes to trial.

Finally, our law is clear — there is no constitutional first amendment right for elected officials to maintain confidential communications with constituents. New Jersey has recognized the preeminent importance of transparency in government, even when it makes participants in the process uncomfortable.

Richard S. Goldman

Attorney for Princeton University

June 27, 2012

To the Editor:

Sometimes it takes an entire community to keep our young people safe. On May 23, the day before the Princeton High School prom, junior and senior students witnessed a graphic and frighteningly realistic simulated drunk-driving car crash. From the first words of the amplified 911 call to the reading of the “obituary” of the “fatality,” the event sent a powerful message to its audience — drinking and driving can be lethal.

The re-enactment has been staged every two years since 2006 so that every 11th and 12th grader at PHS has the opportunity to witness how life can change in a matter of seconds. Putting together such a major event takes a great deal of energy, cooperation, and coordination, and many members of our Princeton community gave their time, their talents, and their support to the effort.

The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad created, ran, and narrated an elaborate scenario in which two cars (provided by Stewart Towing) were involved in a head-on crash. Princeton Township and Borough police were on the scene in minutes, just as they would be in a real accident, and they performed a field sobriety test and subsequently “arrested” the “drunk driver.” The Princeton Fire Department and The Capital Health System also played important roles, as did Mather Hodge Funeral Home, which provided a hearse to remove the body of the “deceased.” As the PHS students watched the event unfold, their faces reflected horror, shock, and disbelief.

Crash Committee members from the community who must be thanked in person include Director Frank Setnicky; Greg Paulson, and Shannon Koch, of PFARS; Kim Hodges and Michael Cifelli, Princeton Township Police; Robert Currier and Steven Riccitello, Princeton Borough Police; and Robert Gregory from the Princeton Fire Department. Thank you to Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder; Kurt Zimmerman, Media Department; PTO Presidents Cheryl McCormick and Bonnie Itkoff; Substance Awareness Coordinator, Gwen Kimsal; Diana Lygas; Jessica Baxter; the PHS guidance counselors who assisted at the debriefing; and Tony Diaforli, grounds crew at Valley Road. Coordinated by their English teachers, John Witherspoon Middle School sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students wrote persuasive essays to every PHS junior and senior, asking that they not drink and drive. These letters were heartfelt and passionate, and showed a wisdom beyond the students’ years.

Corner House and the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance have been involved in and committed to this effort from the very beginning. The actors were all members of the Corner House Student Board, a group of seniors from Princeton High, Princeton Day School, Stuart Academy of the Sacred Heart, and The Hun School. They did a remarkable job. They, and their peers, are the reason why so many people come together to work on this project every other year. It is hoped that every student who saw the simulation will remember the message and stay safe and sober. May we never experience this tragedy in real life.

Wendy Jolley

Crash Simulation Committee

To the Editor:

Just last week I read with great interest an article about ParaTerra, a company which advises developers, architects, home owners, etc. about the many new, sustainable, money-saving products available across the country. This is in response to a need and desire by many to build for the 21st century to lessen environmental impact, including energy and water conservation and also benefit financially by doing the right thing socially.

Unfortunately, AvalonBay Communities, which proposes to build a 280 apartment monolithic structure on the old hospital site, lacks sufficient social conscience to go beyond a very limited sustainability effort and has outright rejected using LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Development) the certified standard which would leave a legacy of which Princeton could be proud. AvalonBay’s failure to adhere to its “Green Living…Sustainable Commitment” articulated on its website is yet another example of AvalonBay’s disregard of Princeton values, especially so since Princeton was pronounced by the state of New Jersey as a sustainable municipality because of its continuing efforts in this area. One wonders why the residents of three AvalonBay Communities developments — two in California and one in Washington — have benefited from LEED certification and Princeton will not and why Princeton will not even benefit from LEED standards.

Could it be that AvalonBay Communities and its chief spokesman, Ronald Ladell, have chosen to use a State loophole that lets them avoid LEED because of an affordable housing component in their proposed building, despite the fact that Princeton’s Master Plan requires LEED? If one watches Mr. Ladell closely during public meetings wherein LEED is discussed, you will see him mouth the words “cost generative” to Borough Attorney Chou. Yet to date Mr. Ladell has failed to demonstrate why AvalonBay should be exempted from Princeton’s Master Plan requirement for LEED. There have been no cost analysis or comparisons and no projection of savings in the long term that would mitigate ‘cost generative’ measures during the construction phase.

What is at stake is that people of lesser means will not have the environmental benefits of sustainable building because AvalonBay has a short-term view to sustainability and environmental protection. On average they retain their developments for 16 years and then sell leaving the residents of towns like Princeton with a less than sustainable monolith structure. This is unconscionable. We all lose while AvalonBay ups their profit margin.

Kate Warren

Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

A deal is a deal. The hospital, the Borough, and the neighborhood that surrounds the hospital’s old site on Witherspoon Street, agreed to a deal in 2006. Re-zoning was done specifically for the hospital’s benefit, in a way that would allow it to receive a good price for the site. In exchange, the hospital agreed to requirements that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.

The new zoning is still in place. The Borough and the neighborhood are not challenging it. The hospital has a tentative buyer for the site and has received the benefit of that part of the deal. But AvalonBay, the hospital’s tentative buyer, is not adhering in any significant way to the agreements the hospital made that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.

I was interested to read a recent letter to the editor from the hospital’s CEO. I expected him to deny that the agreements exist. Interestingly, he did not deny them. Instead, he did not mention them. He ignored their existence.

Ignoring the agreements will not make them go away. Community members will continue to remind everyone of them. The Planning Board is fully aware of them. Everyone knows that a deal was made in good faith.

The hospital needs to uphold its part of the deal. It needs to require the buyer of the site — whether AvalonBay or some future buyer — to fulfill all the requirements in the agreements. A deal is a deal.

Anthony C. Lunn

Hawthorne Avenue

Madeline: “Rapunzel because I like to read it always at night time.”
Alexandra: “Elephant and Piggie because I like to read the series.”
—Madeline (left) and Alexandra Mandzij, Princeton

“All the Clifford books. I like them because they are funny.”
—Idun Bevold, Princeton

Ari: “Monster Trucks because they have a lot of pictures and the trucks are cool.”
Elijah: “Green Eggs and Ham. It’s one of my favorites because it’s fun to look at and the author wants you to learn.”
Joshua: “My favorite book is The Cat in the Hat because he is funny and silly and has rhyming words.”
—Ari Bothe, Princeton (left to right),
with Elijah and Joshua Augustine, Secaucus

Maggie: “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket. I really like it. It’s funny.”
Liana: “Cat Crimes Takes a Vacation.”
Ella: “One of my favorite books is from my mother’s childhood, Ali and the Magic Carpet;
it has an old lady and magical house with animals from different countries.”
—Maggie Cleveland, Hopewell (left to right),
with Liana and Ella Quinlan, Hopewell

Davin: “Ultraman, a Japanese super hero that was made a long, long time ago.
It shows a lot of toys and pictures from the movies.”
Siage: “Princess books because I like princesses.”
—Davin and Siage Komoda, East Windsor

Eleanor: “Sahara Special — it’s a book about a girl whose parents are split up and she has a weird teacher, Miss Pointy, in school.”
Cole: “Lego books because you look at the pages and everything is made out of legos.”
—Eleanor and Cole Bloch, Princeton

June 20, 2012

“Barbecue brisket but up here in the northeast, I would say a nice rib eye with a nice red wine or a beer goes nicely.” – Fred Wass with daughter Maddy, Princeton

Kathryn: “Barbecue brisket on a sandwich with an Arnold Palmer.”

Dan: “Barbecue chicken and an Arnold Palmer.”

Tiger: “Anything that falls off the table.”

– Dan and Kathryn Beilke with Tiger, Titusville


Perry: “Barbecue brisket cooled for about 6 hours at 225 degrees and a watermelon aqua fresca.”

Cameron: “Hamburger.”

– Perry Herst with daughter Cameron, Princeton


Brian: “BBQ ribs with an iced tea.”

Shannon: “Hot dogs and lemonade.”

Marie: “Cheesburger with iced tea.”

– Brian Conway with Joseph (left to right). Shannon and Marie, East Windsor


“Chicken and pork with a beer.”- Shaji George, Princeton


“Burger, hot dog and a coke.” – Kirsten Sharett and Stirling Dean, Princeton

To The Editor:

I was disappointed to learn that Princeton’s Curbside Food Waste Recycling Program is in jeopardy for lack of adequate participation in the pilot program.

Instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, where it produces methane (a greenhouse gas with a warming effect more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide), Princeton residents can now send it to an organic waste recycling facility designed to speedily turn it into compost.

As participants for the past year, we separate our organic waste into a green compost cart collected by the hauler as part of our weekly trash pick–up. I use biodegradable bags or a sheet of newspaper and deposit our waste in the green can daily, a simple procedure since we throw this stuff in our trash anyway, don’t we? We have never had bugs or any other undesirable consequences.

To my surprise, I found that curbside pickup accepts many items that cannot be composted in my backyard, including meat, fish, dairy and cheeses, bones, fat, sauces, greasy pizza boxes, paper food wraps, paper cups plates and napkins, paper towel and tissues, hair, orange rinds, vacuum cleaner and dryer lint, and every other organic item, even natural fiber clothing!

Princeton is reportedly the first town in New Jersey and one of the first on the east coast to offer this program. Full participation would bring a reduction of 30 percent in the trash Princeton generates, which would mean a large reduction in municipal trash disposal costs as well.

The program needs 500 participants to ensure its continued operation. Princeton residents, contact Janet Pellichero at (609) 688-2566 ext. 1478 to become part of an important Princeton initiative.

Barbara Cuneo, Alan Kesselhaut

Herrontown Road

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township — soon to be the Town of Princeton — have reasonable zoning laws to protect the character and quality of this community. Those laws must be honored. Do not let Avalon Bay build a monstrosity in our midst.

Rev. Carol S. Haag

Unitarian Universalist Minister, retired

Ridgeview Circle

To the Editor:

In the June 6 edition of Town Topics, the new owner of the Princeton Shopping Center refused to commit to having a contract Post Office in the Shopping Center (Topics of the Town, p. 5). Jodie McLean says in the article that “our role is to enhance community”. With the upcoming loss of the Palmer Square Post Office, allowing one of the Shopping Center’s businesses to include a contract Post Office would be a great way to serve the Princeton community. The Shopping Center has the benefit of ample parking. If the Shopping Center’s popular Ace Hardware store is still willing to commit space to a Post Office as a way to serve the community, it would be a win-win situation for both merchants and customers at the Shopping Center.

Joyce Howe,

Walnut Lane

To the Editor:

On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I urge that the governing bodies of the Borough and Township vote on June 26 to submit a blended open space tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to the voters this November. This will enable a united Princeton to continue good stewardship of its recreation and passive open space and make key acquisitions contemplated by our joint Master Plan. Studies of the finances behind this number show that it is more than justified.

In the past, voters in the Township have voted twice to support an open space tax (2 cents/$100), and one was also passed separately by Borough voters (1 cent/$100). Because those entities will cease to exist on December 31, it is necessary to have a new ballot question to re-authorize the “joint” tax. The Joint Consolidation Commission included a 1.7-cent tax in its calculation of the tax savings of consolidation, and it was recommended by the Finance Subcommittee of the Transition Task Force. Without an open space tax, the unified Princeton will lose its access to Green Acres Planning Incentive Grants and much of its ability to leverage purchases and recreation projects.

Beyond the aesthetic and health benefits we enjoy from preserved lands, open space helps decrease costs caused by flooding, heat-sink effects and loss of species diversity, and dampens the need for expensive infrastructure. By protecting open space at the same time we proceed with various contemplated developments, we can achieve a balance that will keep our united community a financially viable and environmentally desirable place to live.

We encourage all Princetonians to urge your representatives to support this measure on June 26. The voters will have their say in November; they should not be deprived of that opportunity.

Wendy L. Mager

President, Friends of Princeton Open Space

To the Editor:

Do AvalonBay’s revisions to their plans for a 280-apartment complex on Princeton’s hospital site comply with Borough Code or Master Plan? Not yet. I write to inform residents about AvalonBay Communities’ revisions, presented at Borough Council, June 6.

Other than the reduction in height of the complex to four stories, the revisions were fairly minor. The height reduction was not a concession, according to the SPRAB chair, but was required because a six-story wood-framed complex violates international building codes. Wood-framed buildings can be dangerous — a wooden apartment complex that AvalonBay built (and subsequently sold) burned to the ground in Quincy, Massachusetts. A state-ordered investigation called because similar fires had occurred in other large-wooden apartment complexes determined that in Avalon’s building “draft stopping was not built in accordance with the State Building Code and the sprinkler systems were not installed according to the accepted standard” (Department of Fire Services, Mass., Nov 1 2011).

Other revisions to AvalonBay’s plans:

The driveway from Witherspoon into the complex has been moved slightly north to create a green area of about 15,000 square feet. This is less than half the size of the 34,000 sq. ft. park that was part of the concept plan resulting from two-years of meetings between the community, town officials, and the hospital. Also resulting were a Master Plan for the site and new Borough Code to which AvalonBay is in non-compliance — and is bullying the town by threat of lawsuit so that officials will not enforce the code. In the concept plan (as opposed to Avalon’s current plan), there is no driveway interfering with the park along the Witherspoon side of the block, which is meant to be a pedestrian zone; the other two entrances to the garage were deemed sufficient.

A 25-foot-wide arch has been added into the smaller of two interior courtyards (the other private courtyard has a swimming pool). This arch was described by Avalon’s architect as the “main entrance” to the complex. This one passage into the complex does not change AvalonBay’s “community” from a closed one to an open one. Still missing is the open space that provides “linkages between and through the development,” and the “public walkway system” “crossing the site” — required by Borough Code. Nor can the front lawn between the apartments and the sidewalk, with walks up to individual units and Avalon’s signage, be considered usable public space.

Asked about green building construction, so necessary to the public well-being, the AvalonBay Senior Vice President Ladell said that he would comply with “zero” LEED standards.

Towards the meeting’s end, the citizen’s representative and the chair of SPRAB, both on the ad hoc subcommittee which has been negotiating with the developer out of sight of the public, tried to speak about the revisions to MRRO-zone Code that the Planning Board had requested (vote of 9-1) and were shut down by Mr. Ladell and his lawyer, with the acquiescence of Council.

Please join Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods and help us achieve a better solution: princetoncitizensfor@gmail.com.

Alexi Assmus

Maple Street

To the Editor:

In its lawsuit with Save the Dinky, Inc., Princeton University has demanded copies of all written communications between all representatives of Save the Dinky, Inc. and all Princeton Borough employees, including elected office holders, since January 2006, regarding the proposed movement of the Dinky terminus 460 feet south.

The University’s legal counsel admitted that the demand is a litigation strategy to discover potentially embarrassing communications between Borough residents and their elected representatives. While that strategy may possibly advance the University’s private litigation goals, it imposes substantial cost on taxpayers and infringes on the constitutional right of the public to petition its elected representatives. This letter is to publicly request that the University withdraw its demand.

Aside from its unconstitutional dimension, the University’s demand over-reaches: it will require potentially dozens of persons employed by the Borough to search their records for communications for more than six years, comprising thousands of emails and other documents. Such a broad request will adversely impact the functioning of Borough government and cost thousands of dollars, simply to advance the University’s private litigation interest.

But the University’s demand also violates the federal and state constitutional guarantees of the right-of-petition government. If every communication between a Borough resident and an elected representative is subject to University inspection and attack simply because it references the Dinky, will Borough residents have confidence that they can freely communicate (petition) their elected representatives?

No. And that’s why the University’s demand is unconstitutional; it cannot but chill Borough residents’ First Amendment rights.

The University’s demand for documents is disguised as a request under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, a progressive statutory program that protects openness in government. But the demand is not for disclosure of documents pertaining to any governmental action; instead, it is for the disclosure of private communication between elected office holders and their constituents. Thus, the OPRA policy of open government is not advanced by the University’s demand. The only goal advanced by the demand is the University’s own private interest in defeating Save the Dinky in litigation.

If every constituent private communication with his or her elected representative is subject to inspection by private litigants simply because the communication may touch on a public issue, constituents would be reluctant to be free and frank in their communications with their elected representatives. Thus, the University’s demand is an unconstitutional exercise of its OPRA rights and a chilling exercise of legal power that the community should resist.

Roger Martindell,

Member, Princeton Borough Council

Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

Many thanks to the Princeton Athletic Club (PAC) for Wednesday night’s wonderfully run — in every sense of the word — Community Mile at Princeton High School. On a glorious June evening dozens of runners, ranging in age from grade-schoolers to senior citizens, turned out to test themselves with a four-lap effort around the PHS track. There were fast times, close finishes, plenty of cheering from friends, family, and fellow runners, and — when everyone had caught their breath — smiles on a lot of faces.

The meet was accessible, affordable, and very smoothly run. At a time when the promotion of healthy physical activity is more important than ever, events like this are an inspiration and a huge boon to the community. We should all — runners and spectators alike — salute the PAC. And turn out for their next event with running shoes laced tight!

Richard O’Brien

Linden Lane

To the Editor:

I want to say “thank you” to the registered Democrats in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township who voted to endorse my candidacy for the new Princeton Council in the primary election on June 8.

To Tamera Matteo and Scott Sillars, the two new candidates for municipal office who were not successful, I offer my thanks for making this a most interesting primary race. As the campaign showed, you have much to offer our community and I hope that you will continue to remain involved in both the political and municipal life of Princeton.

I have been an advocate for consolidation since I first worked on the consolidation study commission in the 1970s, and I firmly believe that the new Princeton can be better than the sum of its two individual parts. With your continued support in the general election in November, I pledge to work to make the merger of our two Princetons a success and to bring the benefits of consolidation to all of the residents of our community.

Bernie Miller

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Liz Lempert for winning a hard fought primary. Congratulations also to Heather, Lance, Patrick, Bernie, Jenny and Jo for their strong finishes. Scott and Tamera are to be thanked for their spirited campaign. For relative newcomers, they ran good races and we sincerely hope they run again.

Special thanks to Kevin Wilkes and Roger Martindell. Kevin did a yeoman’s job as Council president. It isn’t widely known but we appointed Kevin assistant building inspector in the Township when Phyllis Marchand and I were members of the Township Committee in the early 1990s. Kevin was hugely helpful to Betty Jablonski, our late building inspector.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Roger for an incredible 23 years of unbroken and unblemished service on the Borough Council. I had the pleasure of overlapping with Roger, and his institutional knowledge and willingness to speak up – even when it was unpopular to do so – will be sorely missed.

Potholes don’t belong to any known political party. National and state political agendas should have no place in local government. For that reason, our campaign this year will be a complete departure from the past — a strictly nonpartisan campaign, a tent big enough to comfortably hold all Princetonians who want real change, Democrats, Independents, Republicans and every party in between. The campaign will emphasize that we are one Princeton moving forward with one spirit in mind – a brighter future.

January 1, 2013, marks the beginning of a challenging and important era in Princeton’s history. If we don’t deliver on the ambitious promises of the Consolidation Study Commission it will be at least another 50 years before a New Jersey town seriously considers merging with a neighboring municipality. We cannot afford to let the voters down. There is a lot more riding on consolidation than the reputations of the governor and the Consolidation Study Commission.

In that spirit, I encourage all candidates and their supporters to keep the rhetoric cool and focus on the only things that really matter, namely, cooperation and getting dedicated, competent and experienced leaders elected for what promises to be a tough couple of years.

Geoff Aton and I look forward to a vigorous campaign this fall filled with debates, passion and maybe a little humor and excitement — “One Princeton – One Spirit”

Richard C. Woodbridge

Candidate for Mayor, Prospect Avenue

Family businesses, especially those that have stood the test of time, are rare today. Princeton has provided a congenial setting for a number of such firms over the years, but not many remain today. An exception is Hamilton Jewelers, located at 92 Nassau Street.

And not only has it marked 24 years in the Princeton location, it has a centennial celebration this year — 100 years since its 1912 beginnings in Trenton.

Irving Siegel purchased the business in 1925 for $15,000, and Hamilton Chairman Martin Siegel takes time to reflect on what it has meant to the family. “I started to help my dad in the business when I was 12 years old. I never thought of doing anything else. I came into the business formally in 1955, and now my son Hank is President and CEO. It has meant more than I ever expected to have the family business continue. It’s the dream of a father, passed on to a son and grandson.”

Excellent Quality

The business thrived over the years, and today, there are five stores; one each in Lawrenceville, Red Bank, two in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Princeton location.

Hamilton is known for its extensive selection of fine jewelry, estate and antique jewelry, watches, and giftware. Its own “Hamilton Collection” has become a signature part of the store’s inventory, and it is known for excellent quality at reasonable prices. Many of the pieces can be customized for additional personalizing.

Finding the latest and finest examples of quality jewelry often requires traveling to far away place, notes Vice President Donna Bouchard. “We bring in things from all over the world. We had a collection from India, and Hank was just in China. He finds the most amazing items.”

Having an eye out for inventive designs and the latest techniques is important in a fast-changing world. “We have tried to adapt our business model to best suit the needs of our clients, and we will continually embrace new technology and ideas to always improve our service and offerings,” points out Hank Siegel.

“The big change has been in the technology,” adds Ms. Bouchard. “A lot of people now shop on-line. We started our website 15 years ago, and it’s a thriving part of the business.”

“We try to be on the cutting edge of what is going on,” notes Martin Siegel. “We offer new and innovative ideas to our customers.”

Range of Styles

In addition to its signature Hamilton Collection, the store has always offered the creations of the finest jewelry designers, some exclusive to Hamilton.

Timepieces from internationally renowned watchmakers are a highlight at the store and available in a wide range of styles, all featuring the finest craftsmanship combined with modern technology. Hamilton’s in-house workshop features several certified Swiss watchmakers and master jewelers to provide high quality service for jewelry and watches.

Antique and estate jewelry and watches are another important feature at Hamilton. This distinctive selection is of special interest to those who appreciate pieces which carry the added dimension of untold stories of times past.

Giftware includes china, crystal, sterling silver, home accessories, and more. In addition, a Business Gift and Insignia Division is available for corporate gifting, and a VIP e-mail program delivers timely event announcements and exclusive product offerings.

With Father’s Day and graduations ahead, watches are always a welcome gift and can be engraved, notes Ms. Bouchard. “For girls, a first strand of pearls, gold hoop earrings, or diamond stud earrings are all good gifts.”

Even with all the fashion changes over the years, certain items can be counted on — diamonds, gold, and pearls, she adds. That string of pearls remains the jewelry of choice for many women. Pearls continue to endure and fascinate.

Happy Business

“This is a happy business. People are often celebrating special times in their lives,” points out Ms. Bouchard. “And they love jewelry! There is so much history to it. It was once used as currency in trading, and for some people, it serves as an amulet to bring good fortune or prevent bad times. It’s something you wear. It says a lot about your personal style and what you want to express.”

“Jewelry has been worn over the centuries as an adornment and as a symbol of love and caring,” adds Martin Siegel. “It is also a lasting gift that can be passed on as an heirloom from one generation to another.”

Hamilton offers items at a wide price range, to suit just about any pocketbook. Pearl bracelets start at $25, and the Hamilton Collection offers pieces, including silver, under $50. Then, there are those exceptional items in the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The Siegels have always emphasized the importance of service, adds Ms. Bouchard. “We are set apart by our service and our attention to detail. Every one of our associates thinks about the relationship, not the immediate transaction. It’s the development of a long-term relationship that is important.”

Personal Greeting

As Mr. Siegel notes, “When my father took over this company in 1925, he started a custom of personally greeting each visitor. This warm gesture established the spirit of friendliness you find today at every Hamilton store.”

Ms. Bouchard has also been impressed with the Siegels’ employee involvement. “The business is very personal to the Siegel family. They pay attention to every detail. There are 125 employees, and Hank knows each one and has a personal relationship with every employee.”

Giving back to their communities has also been important to the Siegels, and Hamilton has supported numerous charities and organizations over the years. Currently, they have initiated “100 Days of Giving” in commemoration of their 100th anniversary. The program encourages all Hamilton associates to volunteer their time to an organization of their choice in their community. They volunteer one work day of service to the charity, and receive a full day’s compensation from Hamilton.

Hamilton is hoping to yield 100 full days of commitment to a wide range of organizations.

“For 100 years, we have enjoyed the support and loyalty of our communities,” says Hank Siegel. “We are proud to offer a way for our company and associates to give back. It was important for us to construct a program that could be relevant for each associate, while supporting the overall needs of our neighborhoods.”

Hamilton is also planning a series of other events to commemorate their anniversary.

The store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 8, and Saturday 12 to 5. (609) 683-4200. Website: www.hamiltonjewelers.com.

SENIOR SERVICES: “We are trying to create an atmosphere of home and an opportunity for residents to age in place,” says the staff at Brandywine Senior Living Center at Princeton. Shown (left to right) are residents Gloria Pyne, Theresa Farkas, and Doris Bishop, taking part in the “Roots of Love” horticulture class.

Princeton is fortunate to have many choices of living arrangements for older adults. From independent to assisted living to long-term or continuing care, the options are abundant.

Choices can diminish for older people generally, notes Ellen Reid, Director of Community Relations at Brandywine Senior Living at Princeton. “We offer our residents a variety of opportunities and flexibility at Brandywine, and they appreciate these choices.”

Brandywine Senior Living at Princeton opened in October 2011 at the former site of Buckingham Place, 155 Raymond Road. Brandywine, which operates 24 senior living communities in five states in the mid-Atlantic and northeast U.S., purchased Buckingham Place’s assisted living and memory facility. The Buckingham Place adult daycare program is still in operation at the Raymond Road location.

As a leading provider of quality care for older adults, Brandywine offers assisted living, including nurses on-site 24 hours every day, as well as a special “Reflections” program for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s-type conditions. It also provides short-term respite care and rehabilitation care.

Life-style Choices

The entire Buckingham facility was renovated, with new decor, featuring the Brandywine signature green and gold colors, as well as new artwork. 124 residents can be accommodated in comfortable studio or one-bedroom apartments, with a number featuring kitchenette including refrigerator/freezer, and microwave.

The attractive outdoor landscaping offers colorful gardens and plantings, and walkways for residents.

Life-style choices, including activities, trips, flexible dining times, abound at Brandywine. “We have all-day restaurant dining, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” points out Ms. Reid. “This is a program unique to Brandywine and enables residents to select whatever time they wish to eat.”

In addition, there is a private dining room in which residents can entertain friends and family for special dinners or parties.

These opportunities for choices help to validate the residents as individuals, adds executive director Holly Minnis. “They decide what they want to do. It’s up to them.”

And, indeed, there is much to do! A library stocked with best sellers, game room with pool table and slot machine, activity room with arts, crafts and cards available, book club, exercise, computer, cooking and art classes, gardening areas, daily on-site movies, as well as outings to museums and theaters are all available.

Residents also have the opportunity to act in the monthly plays held at the center, notes Stephanie Gaber, Director of Activities/Escapades Producer. “Curtain Calls is our once-a-month drama program. The residents audition to be in the play, and then they perform it for the other residents, family and friends. They love this!

“There is so much for people to do here. They love our ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ wheel game held twice a month, and there are real ‘card sharks’ for bridge, poker, and 21. We also have intergenerational programs with children from area schools and organizations. These are very popular, and the residents enjoy being with the kids.”

Special Events

Special events, such as residents’ birthday parties, theme parties, and Valentine’s Day parties for couples (a number of married couples live at Brandywine) are other amenities, she adds. “We had champagne, a strolling violinist, and the couples renewed their vows on Valentine’s Day.”

Entertainers, including “Seniors Entertaining Seniors” come to the center, and trips and outings are also available. “We go to museums, concerts, movies, theater, and to area places, such as Drumthwacket, Bainbridge House, Grounds for Sculpture, Terhune Orchards, Morven Museum and Gift Shop, and restaurants.”

In addition, amenities and services include basic cable TV, complimentary transportation to medical appointments in the area, weekly housekeeping (towel and bed linen service), full service beauty salon and barber shop, personal mail boxes, and a bistro with beverages and snacks available 24/7.

Residents are typically in their seventies up to 100-plus, with a median age of 82 to 83, notes Ms. Minnis. Brandywine gives them the opportunity to remain in their apartment, even as their health needs may change.

“Doctors, including primary care physicians, podiatrists, dentists, and wound care specialists, visit weekly, and we also have a psychiatrist and psychologist on-site. If someone needs a home health aide or ultimately, hospice care, this can be arranged. There are different levels of care available, and our team puts a health plan together for the residents, and continues to monitor their situation.

“Everything is as convenient as possible,” she emphasizes. “If they have an appointment with their doctor here, they don’t have to wait or drive to an office. It’s so much easier for them and their extended family. There is also a wellness center with portable X-ray and lab work service. Physical therapy is available. All our residents’ needs are met. Their apartments are checked every day to make sure everything is all right.”

Motivated and Engaged

“We offer an opportunity for people to be independent, and at the same time not to have to worry about cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and housekeeping, etc.,” points out Ms. Reid.

The Brandywine staff makes it all possible, and sets the tone, note the administrators. Most staff members have been with Brandywine or Buckingham Place for many years. “We are set apart by our staff,” notes Ms. Minnis. “The staff here is the best clinical staff I have ever seen. They are highly motivated and engaged. They really care about the residents. It takes a certain kind of person, and our staff members are patient, caring, and capable.

“In addition, prior to anyone being hired, they are subject to a complete and thorough screening and background check. This is extremely important for the welfare of our residents. We want them to have the best care possible, and they do.”

Deb Shane, Brandywine Senior Creative Director, stresses the importance of continuing training and education for the staff. “We have ongoing education, emphasizing new ways to learn and grow, and there is always something new happening. We want to keep things fresh, as we strive to make a difference in the residents’ lives.”

“I feel we are making a difference in their lives,” says Ms. Reid, and that difference can extend to the entire family, she notes. “When families come in to talk with me, they can be in crisis. It’s amazing what people are juggling today. I am so pleased we are able to help and share these moments in their lives.”

“I originally worked in long-term care,” adds Ms. Gaber. “There was very little assisted living then. This has been a big change, and also, the opportunity for activities has really changed. There are so many options and kinds of stimulation offered now. This is so important.

“I love coming to work,” she continues. “Older people have stories to tell and a history to share. We have fun together. It’s wonderful when someone says they had such a good time at an event or outing. I walk away with a really good feeling.”

For further information about Brandywine, call (732) 329-8888. Website: www.brandycare.com.

June 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Thank you to everyone in the Princeton community who supported me in the primary campaign. Whenever I asked for your help or came to your door, you encouraged me and you made me feel welcome in your homes, regardless of whether we agreed on all of the issues.

Thank you also to my fellow candidates. I recognize the contributions that each of you has made and continue to make to the Princeton community. Together we shared a common goal to work for the betterment of our community, and that shared sense of purpose surpassed the competitive aspect of the campaign.

This was an unprecedented and historic vote, the first time we voted as one Princeton, and I am proud to be part of that. I am honored to have been chosen as a Democratic candidate for Council, and I remain committed to delivering on the promise of consolidation for our community, focusing on the safety and security of Princeton during weather and other emergencies, and nurturing more collaborative and productive relationships between our town and its key institutional stakeholders.

Finally, thank you to all who voted in the primary on Tuesday June 5. Through our collective participation, we recognized and expressed our differences while at the same time helping to set Princeton more firmly on its path to a promising future as one united town.

Patrick Simon

Harriet Drive

To the Editor:

The Nearly New Shop (located above Redding’s, at the corner of Nassau and Chestnut Streets, and open since 1947) is scheduled to close at the end of July, by directive of the Head of Princeton Day School, which oversees the second-hand clothing shop. We and our friends deeply value the Nearly New Shop, and are distressed about the announced closing. We appreciate the shop as a way to recycle goods within the local community and often come there for economical clothing for both ourselves and our children. We love the cheerful ladies who manage the shop so wonderfully and have kept it going all these years. We especially appreciate the store as a pleasant and convenient center-of-town donation location for both clothing and other household goods — in fact, this is the only such donation location in central Princeton that is an actual store rather than a faceless “drop-box” for charity operations. Most important of all, we appreciate all the good the shop does in the community by providing truly affordable quality clothing and other goods to local people in need.

We ask the Princeton Day School to reconsider their decision to close the store. If it is simply no longer possible for the Princeton Day School to support the Nearly New Shop, then we hope this letter might inspire another institution, perhaps another local private school, to take over the shop and keep it going, rather than close it altogether.

Julie Landweber, Tom Hagedorn

Chestnut Street