September 19, 2012

To the Editor:

I will be voting for the Princeton Public Schools bond referendum on September 24. I am a parent of children at both the middle school and high school. I am also a former PTO President of the middle school and have seen the issues that the referendum is trying to solve. A majority of the monies being spent will be for things such as rotten windows, reconditioning of pavement and refurbishing of roofs that the community will not necessarily notice from the outside but are imperative for the safety of the students and the functioning of the building. However, part of the monies will also go towards improving areas that will directly be used by the students such as the media center which has needed updating for more than a couple of decades. Currently, the media center cannot accommodate the amount of children it should be attracting to this part of the school. The challenge of keeping a middle school age student engaged in reading and research is even more of a challenge when the school’s media center is not up to the task. The above are not all of the improvements that the District is planning. For more information, please go to: www.princeton1k2.org. It is crucial to do these projects now while the interest rates and construction costs are at a historical low as well as to halt the deterioration any further to the infrastructures. Please vote yes on September 24.

Tamera Matteo

Snowden Lane

Dear Editor:

I have had the privilege of working with Liz Lempert on Democratic Party matters and have seen first-hand the strong leadership skills she will bring as mayor of the new Princeton. Liz is an excellent choice to be our first mayor because she will listen to the concerns of ALL Princetonians and work hard for us.

Liz is a levelheaded, poised, and solution-oriented person who uses collaboration and good organization as the tools for success. As deputy mayor and township committeewoman she is well-versed in the issues facing our community and will bring a unique combination of fiscal discipline, commitment to diversity, and a focus on environmental sustainability to the job. I enthusiastically urge my fellow citizens to vote Liz Lempert for mayor on November 6.

Margaret Griffin

Battle Road

AUTOMOTIVE EXCELLENCE: “We sell safety. This is major. At Volvo of Princeton, it’s all about safety, customer service, energy-efficiency, reliability, and recyclability” Chris Long, general manager of Volvo of Princeton, is shown by a silver XC60, Volvo’s popular cross-over vehicle.

What is it about a Volvo? This automobile has almost unmatched customer loyalty. Once people have one, they keep it as long as possible, and then, only when necessity dictates, turn it in for — of course — another Volvo.

“Customer loyalty is incredible,” says Chris Long, general manager of Volvo of Princeton (Long Motor Company) at Route One South in Lawrenceville. “We have customers who come back for another Volvo, and refer friends here. Customer service is very important to us. If customers have questions or if there is ever a problem, we take care of it right away. If people bring their cars in for service, we make sure they understand what is going to be done.

“Also, the cars today are so amazing, with such high quality and so many features. We’ll go over a new car with the customer for 35 minutes to make sure they understand it before they drive it away.”

Volvo of Princeton is very much a family business, adds Mr. Long. “My dad, David Long, with his brothers Matt and Larry opened the business at 255 Nassau Street in 1982.”

It relocated to its current spacious quarters in 1991.

Family Focus

The family focus is strong. Chris Long’s Three brothers are also in the business, and founders David and Matt continue to oversee the operation. There is lways a member of the Long family in every location

In addition to Princeton, the Long Motor Company has Volvo dealerships in Edison and Bridgewater?, and last April, they branched farther afield with the purchase of a Porsche/Mercedes-Benz dealership in Atlantic City. “This was an opportunity to diversify, and there has been a great response,” says Mr. Long. “My dad is in charge of the operation there.”

Volvo, with its unique history and passionately-devoted owners has a story all its own, he adds. Safety, durability, and longevity are stressed again and again. This has been paramount since the company began producing cars in Sweden in the 1920s.

“The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is, and must remain, safety,” said Assar Gabrielson, a Volvo founder.

But how did this automotive company in Sweden (originally a ball-bearing manufacturer!) become such a big success in the car-conscious U.S.A.?

“The Swedes were very clever,” explains Mr. Long. “They had a contract to produce small delivery vehicles, and something happened to the contract, so in the early 1950s they added windows on the sides of the vehicles to resemble station wagons, and introduced them to the American audience.”

Love Affair

Thus began the American Volvo love affair, and it has only grown stronger over the years. The Longs felt Volvo would do well in Princeton, and it has been an excellent match.

“Our firm, an independent family-owned business, buys the most Volvos of any other small independent company in the world — outside of Sweden,” reports Mr. Long, who has worked full-time in the business since 1994. “Princeton people love their Volvos, and they keep coming back for more.”

Volvo cars are manufactured, assembled, and shipped out of Sweden, and the North American headquarters is in New Jersey, he adds.

Careful attention to every detail of the automobile’s production is key. “Steel is very important when the cars are made, and we use a very high grade of steel. It is also about the placement of the steel in the car. The air bags are another aspect. Many factors are involved to create the safest car,” points out Mr. Long.

“Another thing, Volvo is very environmentally-friendly. For example, Volvos are 85 percent recyclable.”

Also appealing to customers is the recent emphasis on design. Long known for its box-like shape, Volvo has added new lines with a more stylish look, a bit more flair. “We have a great range of styles,” says Mr. Long. “Our S-60 mid-size sedan is very popular, and we have a convertible, a sporty hatch-back, a wagon and various versatile SUVs.”

Exactly Right

Silver continues to be the best-selling color, he adds.

Mr. Long is enthusiastic about the upcoming years, with Volvo poised to make a breakthrough in a number of areas. “In the next 12 to 18 months, Volvo will be revamping; coming out with smaller engines, higher performance, and two or three hybrids will be available. The company has been very careful about hybrids because they want to get it exactly right. Also, three of our current cars get 30 miles per gallon.

“I am really looking forward to the next five years,” he says. “It will be out of sight — changes with engines, environmental awareness. It is so exciting!”

Mr. Long, who grew up in the business, and learned it all — “sales, service, parts” — has always loved cars, and is fascinated by the changes in the industry. “The whole business changed with the internet. It’s so much easier to obtain information, and customers are much more knowledgeable. And with all the technology today, our technicians have on-going training and education at computer school. Some cars now start with the press of a button — not a key. It’s amazing!”

“Tiger” Car

Customer satisfaction is a priority at Volvo of Princeton, and Mr. Long enjoys the interaction with all the clients. “We do all we can to make it a satisfying experience for them. We have a courtesy shuttle, our black and orange striped ‘Tiger’ car, to take people home or to the mall. We also have a complimentary loaner car, if their vehicle has to stay a longer time for service.

“And there are a lot of summer sales events now, with great leasing opportunities and payment plans available. For new Volvos, we offer free maintenance for five years or 50,000 miles.”

Volvo of Princeton has won many awards for sales and service over the years, and giving back to the community has always been an important part of the Long family’s philosophy.

“My dad received the Salute to Dealer Award from Ford Motor Company, when they owned Volvo,” notes Mr. Long. “This is based on commitment to service to the community, and he was one of nine recipients out of 62 nominations from 30 states.”

The company has donated a Volvo to the American Red Cross of central New Jersey’s annual raffle for more than 10 years, and Mr. Long is on the board. Volvo of Princeton regularly contributes to numerous charities and organizations in the area.

“The focus is about giving back,” says Mr. Long. “This has always been important to us. We want to make a difference to people.”

Volvo of Princeton is open Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday until 6, Saturday until 5. (609) 882-6000. Website: www.volvocountry.com


CREATIVE HARMONY: “We’re getting known for being the landscape “theme” experts. We do the landscape in keeping with the architecture and design of the client’s house.” Tom Rinehart, owner and founder of Princeton Lawn and Landscapes, emphasizes the importance of an overall landscaping theme in harmony with the house and environment.

Your home is your haven, and ideally, this should be reflected outdoors as well as indoors. A landscape design in keeping with the architecture of your home and the environment can go a long way both toward enhancing your personal pleasure as well as the property’s future value.

“We believe that the grounds of a home should be in balance with the design of a home,” says Tom Rinehart, founder and owner of Princeton Lawn and Landscapes. “We offer an unsurpassed visual aesthetic in landscape design and superior service at a fair price.”

Whether the house is a stately Tudor, a charming cottage, or traditional colonial, Princeton Lawn and Landscapes can provide the appropriate landscape design.

“For example,” explains Mr. Rinehart, “if your home resembles a cottage in Provence, then your landscape design should incorporate elements such as rustic limestone, decorative planters, groomed boxwoods, and of course, loads of lavender. Unfortunately, a lot of landscapers recommend a contemporary American look regardless of the architecture of your house.”

Design and Color

Mr. Rinehart has a special interest in design and color. Formerly a vice president at Macy’s, he has had a successful career in the fashion industry, including establishing his own children’s wear company. After moving to Princeton 12 years ago, he became a strategic consultant to a number of companies in New York and Philadelphia, as well as focusing on executive searches for many other firms.

In time, he found he wanted to make a change. “My passion was always to get outdoors again,” he explains. “I am originally from Ohio, and I was the first male in the family in 200 years not born on a farm! But we loved to be outdoors, and our whole family gardened together on Saturdays.”

Also, the idea of his own business always appealed to Mr. Rinehart — from his earliest days. “From the time I was 12 or 13, I cut lawns and saved all my money for college. I loved the dignity of work, and was proud to have my own bank account.”

So, after careful research into the landscaping industry, he acquired an existing business, Blue Sky Landscapes in Manalapan.

Dave Guy, former president of Blue Sky, became Mr. Rinehart’s partner in Princeton Lawn and Landscapes last February.

“Dave has a pragmatic sense of design, and expertise in native species, creating hardscapes, lawn renovation, and superior customer service,” notes Mr. Rinehart. “We feel there was a niche for two things in landscaping: one, excellence can be affordable. You can establish a profitable business and not overcharge. And two, the importance of aesthetic sense and style. We are targeting Princeton, Pennington, Hopewell, Kingston, Montgomery, and Belle Mead. We are very focused.”

“Outdoor Living”

Providing planting design, installation, and maintenance, and “outdoor living”, including hardscapes, such as patios, walkways, courtyards, outdoor kitchens, and fireplaces, is a year-round job, says Mr. Rinehart.

“We had our first job in early March. It was a patio and big landscaping installation. We have had great word-of-mouth and referrals, and we are very busy. First, the challenge was getting jobs; now, it’s scheduling all the jobs. We are very encouraged.”

Customers generally focus on two issues, he adds: low maintenance and deer-resistant plants. In the latter case, Mr. Rinehart recommends a variety of deer-resistant plants, such as American holly, viburnum, barberry, juniper, spirea, lilac, dogwood, and butterfly bush.

“We also have organic deer-resistant products to apply that are our own recipes,” he adds. “We like to use plants that are native to the climate and environment, which generally require less maintenance. We also have very big potted containers that only need watering once a week. In addition, after we do a plant installation, we leave behind written instructions. If we are seeding and sodding a lawn, we come and water it for two to three weeks every day. We guarantee the lawn.”

If clients are simply not into maintenance themselves, Princeton Lawn and Landscapes will provide weeding, trimming, lawn cutting, and watering, as needed.

Mr. Rinehart and the staff will advise customers on appropriate plantings for sun and shade, and also the best materials for a hardscape. For example, he points out, “If you want a natural look that blends in well with the local environment, we highly recommend field stone or blue stone. If you want a more economical, easier to install option, synthetic materials are constantly improving aesthetically and look better than ever now.”

Residential Focus

Residential work is the company’s focus, and this is Mr. Rinehart’s special priority. “My passion is residential. I feel it is more creative. I love the idea that we can create a landscape design to go with the theme of the house. And this will also enhance the property value. If owners eventually decide to sell, they will get their money back.”

Small and large projects are all part of the job — everything from a day-long clean-up to a current hardscape, including three patios. Jobs typically take one day to three weeks or more.

Water gardens are another customer favorite, reports Mr. Rinehart. “We also do bird habitats, butterfly gardens, and bird baths.”

Mr. Rinehart is very proud of the company’s special technology feature, enabling clients to see “before and after” pictures of a landscape. “We have fabulous software that can show people how the new landscape or hardscape will look. I love showing this to them on the internet, and then having them see it in person.”

He also is planning to develop an on-line business, including selling self-contained water features and birdbaths. “I am really excited about building the on-line retail business, which will allow us to offer clients exceptional products.

“We look forward to doing beautiful things, to acquiring a phenomenal reputation, and then building on that reputation.”

Princeton Lawn and Landscapes can be reached at (609) 497-3206. Website: www.princetonlawn.com email: tom@princetonlawn.com.


September 12, 2012

CLASSIC CHOICES: “The staff has been here a long time, and we all enjoy being together. We feel this is a second home! We love being here for our customers, and many of them have become friends over the years.” Ellen Sabino, right, owner of Ashton-Whyte in Pennington, is shown with staff members, from left: Darby Van Heyst and Anna Moreno-Paz.

Ashton-Whyte in Pennington is certainly one of the most attractive stores around. Its quality items and charming displays invite customers both to browse and buy.

Known especially for a classic selection of fine furnishings for the home, including bed and bath items, furniture, and choices for babies and toddlers, the store recently added a line of tabletop products, including dinnerware, flatware, and stemware. In addition, a selection of clothing and jewelry is now available.

Opened in 1995 at 250 South Main Street, Ashton-Whyte (the name derives from 18th century London shop signs) has always attracted customers who appreciated its signature classic style and quality, notes owner Ellen Sabino. “We have always had a market that focused on a classic style. There was a real interest in the products we sell. I had always had an interest in decorative arts, including furniture and accessories. And, bed and bath was the original focus, and it is still our core.”

There is no question that customers, who come from all over the Princeton and Pennington area, enjoy Ashton-Whyte’s classic mode, which is reflected in the items throughout the store. “We’ve had a good fit with the lines we carry,” points out Ms. Sabino “All the lines are rooted in the classic style. They endure. Important lines in bedding include Down Right pillows and duvets; elegant bedding and great alternative down from Sferra; casual bedding from Pine Cone Hill; and great classic bedding from Matouk, and prints from Lulu DK.”

Table Linens

Bath items include towels from Matouk and Abyss, and wonderful plush bath rugs with super colors and designs from Habidecor.

Ashton-Whyte is noteworthy for its lovely table linens, including tablecloths and napkins from Le Jacquard Francais, and Calaisio’s rattan placemats, chargers, and baskets.

Ms. Sabino is enthusiastic about two new categories recently added to the Ashton-Whyte collection. “We have brought in tabletop items, such as dinnerware, flatware, and stemware. Juliska and Gien dinnerware, glassware from Reed & Barton and Sabre, and Iittala stemware are included.

“The newest thing is clothing and jewelry,” she continues. “We wanted to offer an environment for personal accessories, but we chose carefully because we are not a clothing store. We have some dresses and tops, also sweats, robes, pajamas, and handbags. Some of our items include tunics from Gretchen Scott; Before & Again’s colorful tunics, T-shirt dresses and T-shirts; jewelry and scarves from the Julie Collection; and Louen Hide handbags.

New Categories

“I have been so pleased at how the new categories have been received,” she continues. “When customers come in, they see things they don’t expect to see. That’s fun for them, and it creates interest. People say it’s fun to shop here. There is always something interesting.”

Many new customers, in addition to the loyal regulars, are discovering Ashton-Whyte, adds Ms. Sabino. “A woman came in recently and said, ‘I’ve never been in here before, and I love it!’”

They seem to like everything and appreciate the “One Stop Shop” aspect of the store. They will find an array of often irresistible items for the home. Colorful Melamine dishes from France, vintage furniture, including beds and dressers, lamps, indoor/outdoor area rugs, pewter picture frames, wooden trays and salad bowls, and framed artwork are all on display, as are cotton sheets, soap and candles, colorful cotton tunics, long cashmere cardigans in beautiful shades, and buttery soft fleece, to crisp cotton robes.

The jewelry selection features pieces from delicate to dramatic. Striking gold chains and beaded bracelets in aqua, black, and natural are among the choices. The latter are priced at an affordable $14.

Beautiful Blankets

Babies and toddlers are not forgotten at the store either, notes Ms. Sabino, “We have layettes and beautiful blankets, and keepsakes items, including music boxes.”

There are also little ceramic dishes featuring two miniature boxes for “First Lock” and “First Tooth”, piggy banks, bibs, and an array of adorable apparel for tiny tots.

“We also now have a Wish List for special occasions, including weddings, and we are working with an event planner,” reports Ms. Sabino. “We always listen to our clientele, and customer service and personal attention are very important, but it’s low key. We don’t hover. We want customers to enjoy the store and the shopping experience.”

Ashton-Whyte offers a wide range of prices, seasonal sales, complimentary gift wrapping, and gift certificates. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (609) 737-7171. Website: www.ashtonwhyte.com.


GREAT TASTES: “I wanted to make food for people so they can eat well; my meals are diet and palate-specific. I feel I am helping to bring the family back to the dinner table!” Personal chef Dan Vogt, owner of food by dan, is enthusiastic about his new business venture.

What’s for dinner? It’s been a long day; you get home late, you’re tired; there’s not a lot of time to prepare dinner, give the kids their bath and read to them, let alone relax after your own demanding work day.

Options are available, of course. TV dinners, fast food take-out, eating at a restaurant. None of these work out for tonight, however. What you really need is food by dan!

Dan Vogt is a personal chef, who loves to cook nutritious meals for people. Headquartered in Hamilton, food by dan offers weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly meals, including five entrees (four servings each) with a vegetable side.

“I will do it all for you,” says Dan. “I do the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, and I stock the fridge. You have more time to enjoy!”

After School

From the time he was a young boy, Dan loved to cook. “I always had a passion for cooking,” he recalls, with a smile. “I started to love it when my nose could reach the countertop. My mom was my inspiration. I learned so much from her. She is the foundation of this project and of what I do.”

And he learned fast. “When I was 10, I made dinner for the family. At 15, I started cooking professionally at a nursing home for priests, where I was responsible for preparing meals for 80 people. I did this after school and in the summer.”

Dan especially loved to make “golumpki” (stuffed cabbage) and homemade pasta.

After college, he worked in restaurants and hotels, as a chef and also as concierge in the hospitality industry in northern New Jersey. When he later moved to Hamilton, he decided to go into business for himself. Looking for a way to demonstrate his unique creativity and love for cooking, he researched personal chef opportunities.

A personal chef, he explains, “serves several clients, and provides multiple meals that are custom-designed for the clients’ particular requests and requirements. These meals are packaged and stored so that clients may enjoy them at their leisure in the future.”

Dan began with a few clients, and very quickly, the business grew to encompass people in Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties, providing him with a thriving operation.

Perfect Match

“I started with a Thanksgiving dinner for a friend of my sister,” he explains. “It was so successful that I put an ad in FaceBook, and before I knew it, I did 10 more Thanksgiving dinners! One of the clients said, ‘I wish I could have you every week.’”

Why not? This fit in perfectly with his love of cooking and desire to offer healthy food to clients. A perfect match, indeed.

Helping his customers to enjoy nutritious meals, while relieving them of the shopping, preparation, cooking, and clean-up is Dan’s focus. Everything is completely customized to the client’s taste and needs, he points out. “I have an initial interview with people about their likes and dislikes, possible allergies or special dietary considerations. Do they need gluten-free? Are they lactose-intolerant? Vegetarians? Trying to lose weight?”

The entree can include meat, fish, or pasta, with a vegetable side. Dan enjoys preparing many of his own recipes for people. “I love to take classic American food and put a new twist on it. For example, meat loaf, with a balsamic glaze. I love to cook with vinegar. It adds great flavor and a whole new dimension.”

Summer Choices

Dan’s menu changes seasonally, he adds. Currently, summer choices include summer roasted chicken with pistachio sauce; Tuscan-style salmon; schnitzel (pork cutlet); tomato and watermelon salad; filet mignon with mustard whiskey sauce, and pasta dishes. Gazpacho is a popular summer soup, and chili is always a winter favorite.

Dan emphasizes that all the dishes are tailored to the individual. Roast chicken is a big favorite with many customers, as is Spanish chicken and rice.

He points out that fresh, quality ingredients are a must, and “I try to get produce and other items locally whenever possible. It is important that people know where their food comes from. I am also a member of the Slow Food Association and the American Personal and Private Chef Association.”

Dan shops for groceries the morning of the day he cooks (which can be in his commercial kitchen or at the clients’ home, if they wish).

Heating Instructions

After the meals are cooked, he then packages (vacuum-seals), labels, and delivers them to the customers freezer, with heating instructions.

Desserts can also be provided for an additional cost. “I love to make pies,” he notes.

Catering for parties and events is another service, as are cooking demonstrations and lessons.

“On Tax Day, I did a corporate event — a ‘Thank You’ for the company’s clients, with omelet stations for 25. I have also done picnics, barbecues, and romantic dinners.”

Dan couldn’t be happier that he has so many regular customers who are eager to sample even more of his cooking. “For me, this is being able to follow my passion. It’s edible art. It’s so creative — I’m creating something from my own hands that people can enjoy. Food is much more than what we eat. It is our culture, our company, our comfort, and our inspiration.”

food by dan is also a wonderful gift for a new mom, newlyweds, anniversary, birthday, housewarming, or a get well remembrance.

(609) 649-8238; email: dan@foodbydan.com; website: www.foodbydan.com.

To The Editor:

I am writing to ask you to vote on Monday, September 24, in favor of the bond referendum to repair and restore the Princeton Public Schools and playing fields. The referendum is necessary because the life expectancy has been exceeded for many of the systems and components in buildings that were mostly built in the 1950s. This is an opportune time to tackle such necessary projects because of low construction costs and very low interest rates.

The district has spent more than a year carefully considering a list of needed projects for the town’s schools with an eye toward making the most conservative request possible. The projects include exterior and interior repairs and refurbishments, field reconditioning and the repurposing of an old middle school gym into a media center.

The referendum will pay for exterior repairs or replacements for select windows, doors, roofs, playgrounds, brickwork and parking lots. Inside the schools, repairs and rehabilitation will take place for some air ventilation systems, climate controls, lockers, select classrooms and class storage, and safer gym flooring at elementary schools.

The referendum also will pay for the replacement of the artificial turf and track at the high school. Heavily used by the school, weekend clubs, and residents, the turf is disintegrating into black particles and the track surface is coming loose in chunks. Both are on the verge of becoming unusable.

Refreshing those surfaces calls for the simultaneous replacement of the aluminum spectator bleachers and press box because heavy equipment cannot cross the artificial surfaces unless they are under construction. In case you haven’t been to a game recently, the narrow (and uncomfortable) bleachers have no stairs, and no ramps for the disabled.

The referendum also includes the repurposing of the old gym at John Witherspoon Middle School into a media center that better reflects the current needs of the students, with more technology, resources, and instructional space. The existing library and its tiny book collection haven’t really changed since I went there as a student in the 1970s — even though the school population is much larger.

For more details about the projects, go to www.PrincetonK12.org.

Every vote counts!

Rebecca Cox

Madison Street, PHS Class of 1982

To the Editor:

Once again, the caring and generosity of our community has been immediate and impressive. This year, through HomeFront’s Back to School drive, 1,200 homeless or very low-income children are going back to school with their heads held high, thanks to the concerted efforts of area businesses, organizations, congregations, and individuals. In these opening days of the school year, these children will proudly open their backpacks, filled with all the school supplies they could possibly want or need. They are confident — and, most importantly, they are ready to learn.

Not only did community members provide clothing, backpacks, and supplies, they also contributed to HomeFront’s Children’s Fund, which will be used throughout the school year to help parents of our client families provide those items that mean so much to their children: school pictures, the fees for a class trip, and even athletic shoes and equipment.

HomeFront knows the critical role that education plays in an independent, positive life and we do our very best to encourage and support academic success for adults and the children we serve. We provide tutoring four evenings a week during the school year, and our summer camps have a strong educational component. If a child has a learning disability, we work to have it remediated. Throughout all of our work, the community plays a vital role; as just one example, we have an amazing corps of volunteers who work one-on-one with the children.

In these difficult economic times, community support is even more meaningful. I only wish everyone who helped with our Back to School drive could have seen the children’s faces when they came to HomeFront last week. All of their excitement as they saw their new clothing, backpacks, and supplies was possible because they lived in a community that cares. For all of you who made this happen, I thank you.

Connie Mercer

HomeFront President & CEO

To the Editor:

As deputy mayor of the Township, Liz Lempert has been closely involved in our town’s road to consolidation. But that’s not the best reason for her to become mayor of a united Princeton. The best reason is her record.

As Liz’s fellow member on the Princeton Environmental Commission, I can say that her commitment to the environment and sustainability has been unsurpassed by any other municipal official who has served on the PEC. One of her greatest achievements was helping preserve 66 acres of open space, including the Princeton Ridge Preserve. With Liz as mayor, our town will become greener faster.

As a fellow public school mother, I am grateful for Liz founding Save Our Schools, which has waged a tough and ongoing fight with the state legislature to give local voters — not the state — power over charter schools that usurp local funds to create boutique schools within a system ranked among the best in the nation. In my two decades in Princeton, I’ve not seen this kind of activism and commitment to public education by any other municipal official. Liz will keep working hard to keep our schools strong.

Liz also has been a local hero for the less fortunate in our town by leading the effort to save Princeton’s Human Service Commission. There are many individuals in Princeton with low-paying jobs and no health insurance who have difficulty paying rent and putting food on the table. The commission exists to help these people when they are in need or in crisis, yet it was nearly abolished.

Lastly, I am grateful for Liz’s successful efforts in working with officials and staff to keep the property tax rate flat, and for her intent to keep it flat once she’s elected mayor.

Liz is short on rhetoric and long on action. She is open-minded, fair, pragmatic, and gets things done, thanks in large part to her collaborative style of leadership. She’s not in the race for the limelight. She loves this town as much as her Princeton born and bred contender, and she’s in it to keep Princeton a great, neighborhood-oriented and progressive place to live.

Wendy Kaczerski

Chestnut Street

To the Editor:

I am a mother of a preschooler that folks in the linguistics and child development world call a dual language learner. Most of these children, if not all, go through a phase the American Language-Speech-Hearing Association call a “period of silence,” which is often mistaken for developmental or speech delay. The period of silence usually comes during the time most monolingual children are speaking and answering questions. My child was no exception to this rule and has been placed in a learning disability program here in Princeton. Through some research, I discovered that many dual language learners are in similar situations. The administration has agreed to meet with me to discuss my request to have my bilingual child be assessed with tests and standards appropriate for dual language learners.

While I am happy for the opportunity to discuss assessments with the administration, I fear that at the end of the day, financial considerations will prohibit my child and other bilingual children from getting an assessment that is appropriate for them. I had chatted with the president of one of the PTOs in Princeton about my child. She declared to me “The school doesn’t have money. The school should not pay for any special assessments. I don’t want to spend money on any other assessment.” I worry that the administration will reflect the same attitude as the PTO president.

Her financial concerns for the school are warranted. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which administers an international test called PISA to 15-year-olds worldwide, noted that the top performing nations had very cost effective educational systems. The U.S. was not one of the top ranking nations in PISA. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Governor Chris Christie hope to build educational systems that can run smarter on less money. Today, we can see some of the results of education reform. Recent rankings published in New Jersey Monthly, which had Princeton High School at number 59, reflects how well schools do during times of budget cutting.

While Princeton figures out how to make smarter decisions, I worry that because there are parents in Princeton who do not care about all the different children with different needs, the administration possesses the same ideas as the PTO president. If that is the case my children, other dual language learners in Princeton, the limited English proficiency students who are still trying to learn English, and a host of other children, will never get a fair shot at education.

Aggie Sung Tang

Herrontown Road

To the Editor:

These days one can’t underestimate the element of sustainability when building maintenance issues come to the fore. The Board of Education takes this responsibility very seriously. Both energy efficiency and sustainability have been a major focus in prioritizing the list of capital maintenance projects included in the September 24 bond referendum.

As many taxpayers will appreciate, the Board has been striving to minimize tax increases and striving to come in under every cap set at the state level. However, large maintenance/replacement projects now need attention and funding. Window and door replacement; new roofs; lighting and lighting controls’ and other building systems are by far the largest portion of the proposed work, representing nearly a third of the dollar value of the referendum. Leaking roofs, windows, and doors put expensive equipment and fixtures of all kinds at risk. Attending to these projects allows the Board to protect district assets while taking steps to minimize our buildings’ carbon footprint and reduce operating expenses.

Some may ask why the Board isn’t going further, why not install solar? Ironically, our joint purchase consortium for energy has seen such a dramatic decline (down nearly 25 percent for the next two years) that a solar project we analyzed for JWMS and PHS would have had a 40-year payback. No tax-funded organization could seriously consider such a project. However, by the time the proposed work is completed, all compatible preliminary roof work will have been done to take advantage of market inducements, such as the NJ SHEQ program, as opportunities present themselves in the future.

Please take the time to vote on September 24, or apply for your absentee ballot now.

Dorothy Bedford

Prospect Avenue,Chair, Facilities Committee, PPS

To the Editor:

At long last the Princeton Township Committee is building a sidewalk on the west side of Ewing Street between Valley Road and Harrison Street North. This sidewalk was recommended to the Township Committee in the early 1960’s by the Princeton Township Traffic Safety Committee, of which I was then chairman. Such a sidewalk would connect the then-existing sidewalk on the west side of Ewing Street at the Harrison Street North intersection to the then-existing sidewalk on the north side of Valley Road. In those days there were two school districts: Princeton Township residents attended Princeton Township schools, Princeton Borough residents attended Princeton Borough Schools.

The Township Committee at that time opined that such a sidewalk could not and would not be built until certain engineering feats were accomplished: some cutting and filling and some resetting of sanitary sewer lines, storm sewer drains, and some other underground lines. Mr. Kiser, currently Princeton Township Engineer, assured the committee that such items either had been, or would be, accomplished before the sidewalk was installed.

In the intervening half-century Princeton Township built many sidewalks, some needed, most not necessary. Whether or not the sidewalks were necessary, a New Jersey law passed in 1915 went into effect; once sidewalks are installed, pedestrians (walkers, joggers, runners) must use them. To quote NJSA 39:4-4, “Where sidewalks are provided it shall bc unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway”.

Henry J. Frank

Valley Road

To the Editor:

A little over a year ago, on August 28, 2011, the Princeton community lost a hero. During hurricane Irene, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) EMT and rescue technician Michael Kenwood was swept into floodwaters and drowned while attempting a swiftwater rescue. Michael died in service to his community, trying to help those in need.

PFARS marked the anniversary of Michael’s passing with a memorial service at Greenway Meadows Park off of Rosedale Road. We are grateful to the special guests who spoke at the service of Michael’s altruism and legacy, including Reverend Richard White, Princeton Township Deputy Mayor Liz Lempert, Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz, United States Congressman Rush Holt, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

The service concluded with the dedication of a bench in Michael’s memory. Situated on a hilltop that overlooks the location of Michael’s ultimate sacrifice, the location provides a serene place for reflection, not only for his family and fellow emergency services colleagues, but for the community as a whole. For indeed, the heroic actions of Michael and countless other emergency services personnel are what make our community a stronger, more ideal place to live. It is our hope that visitors to the park can reflect on Michael’s devotion to public service and consider how they can help make their community better.

I would like to thank the PFARS members that coordinated all aspects of the service, Shannon Koch, Director Frank Setnicky, Robert Gregory, Jay Padulchick, Matthew Stiff, and Shawn Gallagher, and the PFARS Ladies Auxiliary for the reception. In addition, we greatly appreciate the work of Acting Township Administrator Kathy Monzo and Ben Stentz and the field maintenance staff from the Princeton Township Recreation Department for helping obtain and prepare space in the park for the bench. Thank you also to the Princeton Township Police Department Color Guard members Lieutenant Robert Toole and Sergeant Michael Cifelli. Further, we would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Michael’s family who joined us to recognize their son, brother, husband, uncle, and cousin. We thank you for raising Michael with the character to be an excellent role model, a trusted friend, and a devoted public servant.

Finally, for those in the community that were unable to attend the memorial service but would like the opportunity to honor Michael, PFARS is presenting a Tribute Concert celebrating his life and legacy on Sunday September 23, 2012 at 7 p.m. Broadway Sings, a professional concert production company featuring stars of Broadway musicals and National Touring productions, is donating its talents to provide an evening of joyful music in tribute to Michael. The event, to be held at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, will also feature a silent auction; bidding begins at 6 p.m. Tickets for the one-night event are reserved seating and can be ordered online at michaelkenwood.brownpapertickets.com. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, visit the PFARS website, www.pfars.org or email info@pfars.org.

Peter J. Simon

President, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad

To the Editor:

In recent speeches and news articles Superintendent Judy Wilson has commented that “the Valley Road Building does not need any attention; it’s been well-maintained and renovated in recent years.”

She seems to have forgotten the older portion of the building, which the School System still owns and is still responsible for as a community asset.

Valley Road School Community Center, Inc. (VRSCCI), a not-for-profit organization, would like to buy this portion of the building and convert it to affordable office space for nonprofit organizations that serve the Princeton community, need space, and would benefit from the reduced rent and the synergies of being with other nonprofit organizations. Currently Corner House and Princeton Community TV remain in this portion of the building, although they are slated to move to Borough Hall. Besides replacing them with new tenants, VRSCCI wants to install two new black box theaters and badly needed public meeting spaces.

Historic Valley Road School has been suffering from neglect for decades. In 2002, the School System wanted to renovate the newer portion of the building and discovered that the property had been given in 1918 to the people of the Township of Princeton. To make sure they had clear title, the School System purchased Valley Road School from Princeton Township for $1.

Over the past year the School System reroofed the newer portion of the building, but ignored the older portion and has demonized it as being either unrepairable or not worth repairing. Recently a small roof leak has become worse, bringing rainwater into both Corner House’s and Princeton TV’s offices. Officials have been notified and have been out to look. Why wasn’t this roof repaired previously? Will it get repaired now before we get more storms? Why isn’t this asset included in the proposed bond issue?

VRSCCI has developed a plan to separate the two portions of the building. This plan involves constructing a firewall and installing a new boiler and a new fire alarm. What we need now is a commitment by the School System to allow us to move forward. What we want to do now is put a new roof on the building, repoint the parapet wall, replace the lintels over the windows and install new window systems.

Valley Road School played a huge role in the development of Princeton Township. Valley Road School was the First Regional and the First Integrated School in the Princeton Area. During the 40’s and 50’s it became known around the country for its high performance and innovative curriculum.

Let‘s go green, recycle this wonderful asset, and work together to repair historical Valley Road School. Do we want a boarded up building right across the street from what will be our newly reconfigured municipal center? Clearly the School Board has no interest in maintaining the building and has not provided for it in its upcoming bond issue. Assuming the bond issue passes, the School Board will be busy over the coming year with its implementation, while the roof on the older part of Valley Road School continues to leak and the building becomes vacant. Will the School Board do the right thing, sell it for $1 and let others in the community take on this project??

Kip Cherry

President, VRSCCI, Dempsey Ave

“Classic books that I read as a child still inspire me to this day to write new books.”
—Denis Markell (Hush Little Monster)

“I like stories that are compelling, that tell you something about the world and life. And in this case, my first book is a true story, based on a dog rescued in the Baltic Sea. It is a story about courage, compassion, and empathy. I love to write and illustrate.” —Monica Carnesi (Little Dog Lost)

“A source of inspiration for me is something based on deadlines that Duke Ellington said that inspired him. There is something about a deadline that forces you to focus and create. Things happen in a certain order on a deadline. You are forced to create.” —Stephen Savage (Where’s Walrus?)

“I write historical fiction. I’m inspired to show history in a unique way to children and help them to remember the period. The first book I wrote was about my great grandmother, who was accused of witchcraft.”
—Kathleen Benner Dubble (The Sacrifice)

Eileen: “Writing for children. Reading is one of the best things you can do for a child.”
Marc: “My cat has a lot to do with giving me ideas.”
—Eileen and Marc Rosenthal (I Must Have Bobo!)

“I like to follow the characters to where they go, I start to write and suddenly a story comes out that you want to share with the whole world.”
—Lauri Jacobs (Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie)

September 5, 2012

Maia: “I’m looking forward to new teachers and learning new different things. I’m excited for a whole new experience.”
Lily: “I’m going to a new school that has woods and we can play outside. I’m excited to meet new friends.”
—Maia (left) and Lily Salmon, Princeton

Patrick: “School sports starting up, homework, studying, and everything. It will be good to be getting back to a routine.”
Grace: “Winter break.” —Patrick McCormick, Cranbury and Grace DiSimoni, Princeton

Angela: “The D.C. Trip that we take in 8th grade.”
Jocelyn: “I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and learning a lot of new things.”
—Angela Kim (left) and Jocelyn Furniss, Princeton

Sophia: “I’m looking forward to my classes, especially art class. I am looking forward to meeting new friends.”
Jasmine: “I am looking forward to meeting my new teacher.”
—Sophia (left) and Jasmine Maggio, Princeton Junction

Jahan: “To go back and see my friends.”
Barack: “To be with my friends.”
—Jahan (left) and Barack Scott, Princeton

Anya: “Meeting my new teacher.”
Kaya: “Math class.” —Anya (left) and Kaya Smith, Kingston

McCaffrey’s is a favorite of Princeton shoppers. In fact, when you stop in at this popular market in the Princeton Shopping Center, you are almost certain to run into someone you know.

On the other hand, it attracts many out-of-towners.

“If I had McCaffrey’s where I live, I’d never cook!” said a visitor from Michigan. She was captivated by the variety and quality of McCaffrey’s prepared foods. Just heat and eat — a boon for those getting home late after a long day.

But there is much, much more. Take note of the quality produce (including a large organic section); gourmet cheese; the outstanding meat, poultry, and fish departments, featuring special cuts and made-to-order platters; the bakery with its custom cakes and crusty bread, (“best donuts in town,” says a customer); the deli, the floral department, gift baskets, the center aisles with the crackers, cookies, cereal, condiments, and staples of every kind; and the busy catering department.

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, McCaffrey’s has grown and evolved since it opened in August 1992. At that time, manager Steve Carney was working in the store’s highly regarded meat department.

Great Match

“I was here two days before we opened, and it was phenomenal,” he reports. “People liked it right away, and it was a great match with Princeton.”

Princeton was the second McCaffrey’s store to open under the guidance of president and owner Jim McCaffrey. The first is in Yardley, Pa., a third is in West Windsor, and a fourth opened in Newtown, Pa. in July.

“Jim McCaffrey is a great owner,” says Mr. Carney. “He is very hands-on, and he is very respectful of the staff and the customers. He always has an open door policy. He is also very community-minded, and supports many charities and organizations.

“And, very important, we now have 160 employees at the Princeton store, and 80 percent of them are full-time with benefits. People can build careers here with opportunities for advancement. We’re giving them a living wage, and when customers shop here, they are not only purchasing the value of the product, they are helping the staff.”

Each store has its own personality (“Of course, Princeton is the best!”), he notes, with different items more popular with different customers and locations.

“One of the important things at Princeton, too, is that our staff have all built relationships with clientele. Many times, they know their names. Also, many of our customers are ‘European-style’ customers. They come in every day for fresh produce, meat, and bread.”

Colorful Display

“The food at McCaffrey’s represents quality,” says a longtime Princeton shopper. “They always stand behind everything they sell, and you can count on it.”

And, adds another: “I especially like the wonderful selection in the flower department and the helpful staff there. I also like the colorful display of the produce. It is pleasing to the eye, and makes shopping a pleasant experience.”

Produce is a very important department at McCaffrey’s, representing 19 percent of sales. The store focuses on local and regionally grown produce, including more than 100 fresh organic produce items.

“Organic has become very popular,” says Mr. Carney. “Our customers want this. We have dedicated and aware consumers, who want to eat healthier. This is an educated community, with educated consumers.”

In addition, customers can find unusual items such as fiddle head ferns, ramps (baby wild leeks), French wild asparagus, pluots (hybrid plum and apricot), Charantais melons, as well as the best-tasting heirloom tomatoes.

McCaffrey’s emphasis on offering the healthiest products is evident in the meat and fish departments too. “We have meat from Simply Grazin’, where the cattle are grass-fed. And we now have certified Angus all-natural beef, raised without biotics or growth hormones, on a 100 percent vegetarian diet.

Trust Factor

“Also,” he continues, “Our staff will do special cuts of meat if customers request them, and they will help customers make a selection out of the case. We don’t pre-cut meat as other stores do. Everything is cut and packaged here, and we grind our own meat on the premises. I believe we have the best meat in any store. The meat staff has a real relationship with customers. The trust factor is very high.

“We also have chicken and pot pies from Griggstown  Farm, and we work on bringing in sustainable fish. We are very conscious of the over-fishing problem and what is happening in the oceans.”

The deli is another popular spot at the store, with the cold cuts and McCaffrey’s homemade salads (without preservatives) always in demand. “We offer Boars Head, and this is a big item. Many customers want it.”

A variety of platters is also available from the deli.

“Our prepared food section has grown tremendously over the years, and the salad bar and hot bar are extremely popular, especially Monday through Friday. Interestingly, that drops by two-thirds on weekends, when more people are cooking at home.”

McCaffrey’s also has a very busy catering department, which prepares full dinners for events, especially during the holidays, when orders come in full-force, says Mr. Carney. “We do them for everything — Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’, Easter, Passover, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur. People can place an order on-line or in the store.”

The bakery department is also in demand. “Our specialty cakes are enormously popular,” he says. “We have our own decorators. I’ve said to the bakery, ‘cake to me is the centerpiece of a gathering. If that is wrong, it spoils the party.’ People always say ‘who did the cake?’ It’s so important for it to be right. During May and June, with all the graduations, celebrations, and other events, we had our biggest cake sales ever.”

Java Jim

Because Jim McCaffrey and his staff want everything to be “right”, they have been remodeling the Princeton store during the past two years. It is expected to be completed this month.

“One of the things I really like about McCaffrey’s is its manageable size,” says a Princeton customer. “It’s not too big — just the right size to get around and see everything easily.”

“We are remodeling to enhance the shopping experience and make it more comfortable, convenient, and inviting,” explains Mr. Carney. “We are rearranging sections and departments to make them more accessible. We have a new coffee bar, too, with McCaffreys own coffee — Java Jim!”

“In addition, we are replacing all the light bulbs with energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly lighting. We’ve updated the refrigerator with high-efficiency evaporators and fans. We are always trying to be aware of protecting the environment.”

Changes and challenges are a part of any business, and the food industry is no exception, points out Mr. Carney. McCaffrey’s is not only faced with competition from the traditional food stores and supermarkets but also from such companies as Target, WalMart, and Sam’s Club.

“Some of these stores, including Wegman’s, have private label products now, offered at lower prices. We are a national brand store. We try to do our best for our customers. We have always been very conscious of our price structure, especially since the problems began in the economy in 2008.

“We are also involved in environmental programs to eliminate waste, and we donate many products to food banks. We are a big supporter of Crisis Ministry and other organizations helping people in need. Jim McCaffrey has always supported many charities in the area and beyond.”

Capable Staff

Last year, two major storms disrupted power in the area, leaving McCaffrey’s without electricity for three days during one storm, resulting in a $150,000 loss in perishables.

“During the storm, it was rewarding to see what a capable staff we have, and the customers were so supportive. They were overwhelmingly happy to see us reopen,” says Mr. Carney. “The staff spends a lot of time together, and we’re really like a family here. When there’s a problem to be solved, we solve it!

“The most challenging episode we had was at the same time as the storms, when a person drove a car through the front door, right up to Register 6. Two people were hurt, but we were so lucky that no one was killed. It was very frightening.”

Now, McCaffrey’s looks forward to the 20th Anniversary Celebration, including the Food Fair, September 29th and 30th. “We’ll have all kinds of food, a band, door prizes, and lots of surprises. It will be a great event,” reports Mr. Carney.

“We love the Princeton Shopping Center. It’s a village community center, just right for us. And, we want our customers to know how much we appreciate their business and how important they are to us. We have an unlimited customer base, which continues to grow. And we have this great hometown store in Princeton. We’re the only real ‘super’ market in Princeton, and we have to take care of it.”

MCaffrey’s is open seven days 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. (609) 683-1600. Website: www.mccaffreys.com.


A romantic dinner for two, an elegant cocktail party for 50, a wedding for 200, a backyard picnic for 20 — whatever the number of guests or the style of event, Joss & Jules Catering and Event Design can provide everything from soup to nuts!

In addition, the firm can also coordinate all the arrangements, including table settings, servers, flowers, bar needs, and tent set-up.

“Give us your theme and vision for the event, and we will work closely with you from start to finish to ensure that your event is a stunning success,” says founder and owner Julia Flesch.

“Cooking is very creative, and it’s a real art to present it. We have a talented team of chefs, designers, and coordinators, who make the world of food design come to life. We also reach out to seasoned florists and servers to complete the package. When you are planning an event, you are building that show, and you have to take care of every detail.”

Quality and Presentation

“I also want to point out that we work within someone’s budget. We never sacrifice quality or presentation, but you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you can make an event within a small budget.”

Ms. Flesch, who opened Joss & Jules in 2006, has had an extensive history in many areas of the culinary arts. “Cooking was easy for me,” she explains. “I had a mom who cooked a lot — we were a family of 10 children! — and I watched her and was her helper. Also, as a young girl, I really liked to rearrange the design and presentation of the food.

“My mom had a commitment to cooking and for healthy food. She said if you learn to make a pot of sauce and a pot of soup, you’ll be okay. She was a professional cake decorator, and my grandfather was a chef.”

A native of Trenton, Ms. Flesch moved to Princeton 18 years ago. A single mother, she focused on what she knew best and was comfortable with — food. She was advised to contact Jack Morrison, owner of Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Company, and got a job in the catering department there.

“Princeton has been such a wonderful place for me,” says Ms. Flesch. “It has been a series of stepping stones. I ran Jack’s catering business, and was also involved with Blue Point Grill and the Witherspoon Grill for many years. I give Jack great credit for where I am today.”

Ms. Flesch has also served as a personal chef, including for Mr. and Mrs. William Scheide for four years. “This was another stepping stone for me, and it has been a wonderful experience.”

Extensive Catering

Her work for the Scheides has included extensive catering and entertainment planning, she adds. “For example, for his 70th Princeton University reunion, Mr. Scheide invited the entire Old Guard (alumni celebrating 66 years or more) to his house. They had a huge tent, and the Scheides continue to do this every year.”

When she decided to open Joss & Jules, Ms. Flesch needed a large kitchen, and in another positive series of circumstances, she found exactly what she needed,

“I had been church-hunting, and then I found the Assembly of God Nassau Christian Center on the corner of Chambers and Nassau Street. I didn’t have to look any further. The people seemed so happy there. They also had a campus outreach program, and I began cooking for the University students on Sunday evenings.

“This was another stepping stone. The church had a spacious basement kitchen, and I was able to use this as my headquarters. This has been so important. Jack Morrison, the Scheides, and my church have all empowered me.”

Joss & Jules has evolved over the years, and continues to grow, she adds. Every kind of event — weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, corporate fund-raisers, cocktail parties, and picnics; and every kind of food, including Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian, French, and American gourmet — are part of Ms. Flesch’s expertise. The emphasis is always on quality, healthy eating, and simplicity, she points out.

“The specialty of the business for me is the simplicity. We don’t do a lot of salty and heavy sauces. We have a real farm to table focus and feel. We want to teach people to eat healthy. Within a 20 mile radius of Princeton, you can get fresh food. The sustainable food movement is very big, and we have tapped into that. We want people to eat right. We also have a tent at the West Windsor Farmers Market.”

Artistic Design

Ms. Flesch enjoys both the cooking and the artistic design of the food. “It’s a way of expressing myself and the theme of the event. I’m always changing and tweaking the recipes, so they’re even better.

“Another thing,” she says, “we always want the best quality and choices for the client. We have a nice interaction with the other caterers, and we always utilize the catering community. If we know someone makes the best cake or pie, we’ll get it from them. For example, we always have Sweet Mama’s key lime pie for the Princeton reunions.”

Ms. Flesch recommends contacting Joss & Jules two weeks before a small event and four to six weeks for a large event. She is delighted to have many repeat clients.

“I think people see how happy we are and that we have such energy about what we do. I am so pleased about the popularity of our business. I want to share this. I wake up every day, and it just gets better and better. I love what I do, and l’m having fun.

“Cooking very healthy food is empowering. The sense of empowerment and the happiness that it brings is wonderful. We take our own talents and abilities and make it happen. Take one step at a time, work with what you have, and do that 100 percent.”

And never forget those who have helped, she emphasizes. “I love having my business in Princeton. There is such a great support system here. The resources, passion, and people here are special. They have been there for me every step of the way — stepping stone after stepping stone.”

Joss & Jules can be reached at (609) 954-2372. Website: www.jossandjules.com. facebook.com/jossandjules.


To the Editor:

People who choose to drive through neighborhoods must obey local speed limit signs. I live on Terhune Road between Thanet Circle and Meadowbrook Drive in Princeton and I see many motorists driving very fast past my house.

Terhune Road is a solidly residential street with children and pets. It is located in close proximity to the Princeton Shopping Center, near Thanet Road and North Harrison Street. This area has experienced explosive business growth and this brings heavy traffic. Terhune Road is densely populated and is used by many pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists. Motorists should not exceed the speed limit. Increased speeds can cause great harm.

According to traffic data in the New York Times (“City Expands 20 M.P.H. Zones Across More Neighborhoods,” July 11, 2012), a pedestrian hit by a car going 40 m.p.h. has only a 30 percent chance to survive. Those struck by a car at 30 m.p.h. survive 80 percent of the time. Those struck by a car at 20 m.p.h. survive about 95 percent of the time.

The No. 1 traffic killer is speed. Slow down. It will save lives.

Carolyn Barnhaw

Terhune Road,

To the Editor:

I’ve read the letter recently written by attorney Aaron Kleinbaum on the Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods website, and I find it concerning that, although the hospital site is listed as a contaminated site in the Environmental Resource Inventory for the Township and Borough of Princeton (DVRPC 2010), the undated report that AvalonBay cites to claim that the site is really uncontaminated is not available to public officials or the general public.

The hospital is indeed a “known contaminated site,” according to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report submitted by Maser Consulting on behalf of AvalonBay. Yet Maser “has performed no exploratory or testing services”—and doesn’t plan to do so unless “environmental contamination or waste [is] discovered” (EIS, p. 10). The Maser EIS bases its conclusions on “Site specific investigations performed for the property by EcolSciences” that “revealed that no underground tanks or contamination were found in the property” (EIS, p. 10).

But here’s the catch: the EcolSciences report is not documented in the EIS “References” section. Maser won’t release it; the University Medical Center at Princeton — our health provider — has not responded to requests for the EcolSciences report; an Open Public Records Act request for the EcolSciences report yielded nothing. The public can’t see the report. If it’s not made public, who can verify the science of its conclusions? Contamination is a matter of public health; the public has a vested right to know the truth, now, not later.

The problems are stated in a letter sent by environmentalist attorney Aaron Kleinbaum (Eastern Environmental Law Center, Newark) to Jack West and Robert Kiser, Engineers of Princeton Borough and Township, and to all Princeton Regional Planning Board members (22 August 2012). Mr. Kleinbaum insists that AvalonBay’s application be deemed “Incomplete” until “a full site investigation according to State or federal standards” has been performed by an independent party. This is right: clearly, Maser works for AvalonBay; the unavailability of the EcolSciences report gives no one grounds to trust the methods of the report. According to Maser, AvalonBay understands that if “issues related to the presence of contamination … arise,” “a licensed site remediation professional will be hired to see that the issue is properly remedied” (EIS, p. 10). Who will evaluate “the issues”? Hired by whom?

Mr. Kleinbaum cites a New Jersey Superior Court judgment (2001): “a planning board has authority to deny a site plan application if it lacks sufficient specificity … to assess the adequacy of a plan because the plan may have a pervasive impact on the public health and welfare” (p. 3). The Planning Board should heed this legal judgment: AvalonBay proposes that hundreds of people should rent apartments over ground that may be contaminated. Mr. Kleinbaum advises the Planning Board to deny the application “until a thorough [Phase II] Site environmental investigation is conducted” and made public (p. 4).

The letter is posted on our website (facebook.com/PrincetonCitizensFor) or contact PCSN for a copy of the letter at princetoncitzensfor@gmail.com.

Dr. Vojislava Pophristic

Tee Ar Place

Editor’s note: The writer is associate professor and chair, department of chemistry & biochemistry, University of the Sciences, in Philadelphia.

To the Editor:

I read with interest Nancy Green’s letter in the recent Town Topics (“Faulting Hospital for the U.S. Route 1 Closures,” Mailbox, Aug. 28) in which she floats the idea that the closures put into effect on Route 1 might have more to do with accommodating ambulance traffic headed to the new medical center than with easing traffic through the corridor. In fact, it is more than curious that these closures coincided with the opening of the new hospital. I’ve lived in this area for most of the last 30 years. While I have certainly seen the traffic circle at Washington Road back up traffic because of it’s archaic configuration, I have rarely, if ever, seen traffic heading north on Route 1 attempting to make a left at Harrison Road cause any sort of delay. The jughandle there is very long and can accommodate many vehicles. In fact, if there really was an issue, there is no reason, as many have pointed out, that a turn lane can’t be constructed on Route 1 north entering that jughandle. If DOT won’t be open to that idea, I think it is quite clear what the motivating forces are for the closures — at least at Harrison Road.

Gary Maltz

Braeburn Drive

August 29, 2012

To the Editor:

I am writing because I have seen no media reports of problems with the US Route 1 left turn closings at Washington Road. I have been crossing at Washington Road for decades and I have never seen anything like the dangerous situation that now exists. Each time I cross I see cars on both sides attempting u-turns on Washington in the face of onrushing traffic. On Sunday (August 19) when I crossed US Route 1, there were the usual u-turns being attempted on both sides. At the same time, there was an accident in the middle of US Route 1, a northbound car having hit the center median wall while behind them another vehicle was turned sideways blocking the northbound lanes. I am not a traffic engineer but it looks to me as if some adjustment or cancellation of this experiment needs to be made immediately.

Peter Smith

Princeton Junction

To the Editor

Princetonians should not necessarily believe that the lack of access into Princeton is based on easing “rush” hour traffic. Remember DOT already explored the rush hour traffic dilemma by making the green lights three minutes longer on US Route 1 and the outcome was a disaster since the traffic on the feeder roads was not taken into consideration. I have heard that the reason for changing the access into Princeton is to keep the lanes at the turn-a-rounds empty so that ambulance drivers are able to get to the UMCPP without having to be concerned about other vehicles’ turning on to US Route 1 since the drivers will be able to control the traffic lights.

In addition to inconveniencing most Princetonians, the UMCPP has been irresponsible with regard to promises and agreements with the Borough for disposing of the old hospital buildings. How can anyone think that a gated community in the middle of the Witherspoon-Jackson street neighborhood makes sense? AvalonBay has no intention of considering anyone else’s plans but their own and seem to have bullied the Council. The UMCPP no longer considers the old buildings their responsibility or concern. Does anyone know what restrictions, rules, regulations, etc. are being enforced to safeguard our neighborhood from being covered with dust, dirt, grit, etc. when the buildings are knocked down?

Nancy Green

Lytle Street

Dave: “The Odyssey was really creative. I would like to see some new music come to McCarter.”
Lynne: “We have seen so many wonderful performances. Amos Lee was great. I would like to see some opera.”
—Dave and Lynne Bush, Princeton

Tom: “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years was excellent. It went on to Broadway.  It would be good to see Kelsey Grammer in the future at McCarter.
Peggy: “One of the best shows I saw was several years ago, Romeo and Juliet directed by Emily Mann. It was superb. We would love to see Bebe Neuwirth in a dramatic role because she is as equally as good in drama as she is in singing.”
—Tom and Peggy Fulmer, Princeton

Zaynab: “The Odyssey — it was a one man show and it was intense. I would like to see more gymnastic and acrobatic shows in the future.”
Harmony: “I have seen and also been in A Christmas Carol. It is a really nice production and tradition for McCarter. I would like to see more shows like the Peking Acrobats in the future.”
—Zaynab Zaman (left) and Harmony Kingsley, Princeton

Will: “A Christmas Carol.”
Alex: “A Christmas Carol.
Ned: ”Peking Acrobats.”
—Will, Alex, and Ned Erickson, Princeton

Barbara: “The Convert — Emily Mann steps out and takes a chance on new playwrights. In the future, I would like to hear jazz vocals.”
David: “The Convert was excellent. I would like to see more young, aspiring playwrights. We went to one in the Berlind Theater by Sarah McKnight with high school students. I would like to see more plays like this for aspiring playwrights and actors.”
—Barbara Flythe, Lawrenceville (left) and David Byers, Ewing

“There are many that I enjoyed; the more memorable play was Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. I would like to see good comedy with a little heft. Things that will make us laugh. There is enough heaviness in the news and in life right now.  We need things that will lighten and enlighten us.”
—Naomi Drew, Lambertville

CREATIVE CATERING: “We are a 2-fold business. We can do catering alone or combined with designing the event. We can also design the event without doing the catering. Of course, we like to do both!” Julia Flesch, founder and owner of of Joss & Jules Catering and Event Design, is an experienced chef and event designer and coordinator.

A romantic dinner for two, an elegant cocktail party for 50, a wedding for 200, a backyard picnic for 20 — whatever the number of guests or the style of event, Joss & Jules Catering and Event Design can provide everything from soup to nuts!

In addition, the firm can also coordinate all the arrangements, including table settings, servers, flowers, bar needs, and tent set-up.

“Give us your theme and vision for the event, and we will work closely with you from start to finish to ensure that your event is a stunning success,” says founder and owner Julia Flesch.

“Cooking is very creative, and it’s a real art to present it. We have a talented team of chefs, designers, and coordinators, who make the world of food design come to life. We also reach out to seasoned florists and servers to complete the package. When you are planning an event, you are building that show, and you have to take care of every detail.”

Quality and Presentation

“I also want to point out that we work within someone’s budget. We never sacrifice quality or presentation, but you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you can make an event within a small budget.”

Ms. Flesch, who opened Joss & Jules in 2006, has had an extensive history in many areas of the culinary arts. “Cooking was easy for me,” she explains. “I had a mom who cooked a lot — we were a family of 10 children! — and I watched her and was her helper. Also, as a young girl, I really liked to rearrange the design and presentation of the food.

“My mom had a commitment to cooking and for healthy food. She said if you learn to make a pot of sauce and a pot of soup, you’ll be okay. She was a professional cake decorator, and my grandfather was a chef.”

A native of Trenton, Ms. Flesch moved to Princeton 18 years ago. A single mother, she focused on what she knew best and was comfortable with — food. She was advised to contact Jack Morrison, owner of Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Company, and got a job in the catering department there.

“Princeton has been such a wonderful place for me,” says Ms. Flesch. “It has been a series of stepping stones. I ran Jack’s catering business, and was also involved with Blue Point Grill and the Witherspoon Grill for many years. I give Jack great credit for where I am today.”

Ms. Flesch has also served as a personal chef, including for Mr. and Mrs. William Scheide for four years. “This was another stepping stone for me, and it has been a wonderful experience.”

Extensive Catering

Her work for the Scheides has included extensive catering and entertainment planning, she adds. “For example, for his 70th Princeton University reunion, Mr. Scheide invited the entire Old Guard (alumni celebrating 66 years or more) to his house. They had a huge tent, and the Scheides continue to do this every year.”

When she decided to open Joss & Jules, Ms. Flesch needed a large kitchen, and in another positive series of circumstances, she found exactly what she needed,

“I had been church-hunting, and then I found the Assembly of God Nassau Christian Center on the corner of Chambers and Nassau Street. I didn’t have to look any further. The people seemed so happy there. They also had a campus outreach program, and I began cooking for the University students on Sunday evenings.

“This was another stepping stone. The church had a spacious basement kitchen, and I was able to use this as my headquarters. This has been so important. Jack Morrison, the Scheides, and my church have all empowered me.”

Joss & Jules has evolved over the years, and continues to grow, she adds. Every kind of event — weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, corporate fund-raisers, cocktail parties, and picnics; and every kind of food, including Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian, French, and American gourmet — are part of Ms. Flesch’s expertise. The emphasis is always on quality, healthy eating, and simplicity, she points out.

“The specialty of the business for me is the simplicity. We don’t do a lot of salty and heavy sauces. We have a real farm to table focus and feel. We want to teach people to eat healthy. Within a 20 mile radius of Princeton, you can get fresh food. The sustainable food movement is very big, and we have tapped into that. We want people to eat right. We also have a tent at the West Windsor Farmers Market.”

Artistic Design

Ms. Flesch enjoys both the cooking and the artistic design of the food. “It’s a way of expressing myself and the theme of the event. I’m always changing and tweaking the recipes, so they’re even better.

“Another thing,” she says, “we always want the best quality and choices for the client. We have a nice interaction with the other caterers, and we always utilize the catering community. If we know someone makes the best cake or pie, we’ll get it from them. For example, we always have Sweet Mama’s key lime pie for the Princeton reunions.”

Ms. Flesch recommends contacting Joss & Jules two weeks before a small event and four to six weeks for a large event. She is delighted to have many repeat clients.

“I think people see how happy we are and that we have such energy about what we do. I am so pleased about the popularity of our business. I want to share this. I wake up every day, and it just gets better and better. I love what I do, and l’m having fun.

“Cooking very healthy food is empowering. The sense of empowerment and the happiness that it brings is wonderful. We take our own talents and abilities and make it happen. Take one step at a time, work with what you have, and do that 100 percent.”

And never forget those who have helped, she emphasizes. “I love having my business in Princeton. There is such a great support system here. The resources, passion, and people here are special. They have been there for me every step of the way — stepping stone after stepping stone.”

Joss & Jules can be reached at (609) 954-2372. Website: www.jossandjules.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/jossandjules.