October 24, 2012

MUSICAL MAGIC: “The musical ability of the singers in Princeton Pro Musica is high. I’m not at all constrained in the choice of repertoire. We’ll continue with most of the well-loved pieces as well as new ones. We also look forward to some collaboration with other arts groups.” Ryan Brandau, new artistic director of Princeton Pro Musica, looks forward to the organization’s upcoming season.

Providing beautiful choral music to the Princeton community has been the goal of Princeton Pro Musica for 33 years.

As its mission statement points out: “Princeton Pro Musica exists to perform choral masterworks and other works of the choral literature with energy, passion, and uncompromising artistic excellence. We believe in the power of choral music to uplift and transform our audiences, performers, and communities.”

Begun in 1979, the organization was founded by singer and choral conductor Frances Fowler Slade. At that time, a small singing group was sponsored by the YWCA, recalls Princeton resident and long-time Princeton Pro Musica singer Simon (Sy) Marchand. “I was a member of the Y group, which was the genesis of Princeton Pro Musica.”

Once under way, with approximately 30 singers, all amateurs but serious, experienced musicians from the Princeton area, the group rehearsed at the Y, notes Princeton Pro Musica executive director Mary Trigg. “They quickly outgrew the space, however. The group expanded so quickly under Ms. Slade’s leadership. Soon, there were 80 singers — there have never been fewer than that, and this season, we have 105.”

High Standards

The singers, who range in age from 18 to 70-plus, are serious musicians, and many continue to study voice. They must audition every year, and the standards are very high. In addition to the amateur musicians, there is a core group of eight professional singers.

Many singers have been with the organization over time, including some for 20, even 30 years. Simon Marchand is an original member and continues to sing with the group. “The community did not have a real community chorus, and Princeton Pro Musica started off as a community creation and has retained that flavor. It is something Princeton can be proud of.

“Personally, I love the weekly rehearsals, when you can hear it all coming together, and hear the sounds that really transport you. The sound that is produced is like no musical instrument.”

The importance and enjoyment of the rehearsal to the musicians is emphasized again and again. Princeton resident Jan Johnson, former children’s librarian at the Princeton Public Library, has been a member of Princeton Pro Musica since its beginning, and she is also a member of the organization’s smaller Chamber Chorus.

“When I think of music, I can hear harmony, but I need to sing with other people because I can only sing one note at a time. I prefer choral singing because it’s like being on a team. One of the things that makes it so special is this group of people who have such a strong commitment, take the music very seriously, and work very hard. The rewards are commensurate with the effort.

“And, we provide high quality performances for the community. People don’t have to go to New York or Philadelphia to hear beautiful music.”

Original Instrument

After a career in music and business in New York, executive director Mary Trigg has been singing with Princeton Pro Musica since 1998 (as did her father before her). She is proud of the quality of the performances the chorus brings to the Princeton area.

“These performances are experienced singers and the scope of musical works that this group has presented is impressive. The voice is the original instrument. The combined choral music is a unique combination of words and music, supported by instruments, and is unlike any other form of music.”

Princeton Pro Musica plans four concerts for the 2012-13 season by the full chorus, as well as a series of performances by the Chamber Chorus, consisting of 24 members who sing a cappella.

The full chorus will perform Mozart’s Requiem, K 626 and Bach’s O Jesu Christ meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118 at Richardson Auditorium on Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m. Its 42nd performance of Handel’s Messiah — a holiday tradition — will be presented at Patriots’ Theater, Trenton War Memorial on December 16. Performances in 2013 will take place in March and May.

These and future performances will be under the leadership of the new artistic director Ryan Brandau, who recently joined the organization after Ms. Slade’s retirement.

“We had a national search for director, and considered  53 candidates,” says Ms. Trigg. “Ryan was an outstanding choice.”

Superior Musicianship

Previously the artistic director of the Santa Clara Chorale in California and director of choral activities at Santa Clara University, Brandau has also worked with choirs at colleges and churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut. A Princeton University graduate, he has received graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge and the Yale School of Music.

“Both our board and our chorus believe Brandau possesses just the right mix of superior musicianship, organizational and community relations skills, experience programming from a diverse yet compelling repertoire, and a personal/professional philosophy compatible with Princeton Pro Musica’s mission,” says Jacques Lebel, immediate past president of Princeton Pro Musica’s Board of Trustees. He is an outstanding choice to become our new artistic director.”

Brandau looks forward to continuing to bring the combined voices of Princeton Pro Musica to area audiences. “It’s the magic of taking something that is ink on a page and transforming it into sound. For me, it’s a process of getting 100 people together and making that magic happen. I love it!”

Carolyn Landis, president of Princeton Pro Musica’s board of trustees and a singer with the group, looks forward to seeing the orginization thrive with the continued help of private donations, and funding from the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Scheide Fund, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State.

“In my role as president, the most gratifying aspect is to see how well established and strong Princeton Pro Musica is. This is so important. Of course, the music is primary. The real essence for me is the weekly reshearsal, the opportunity to be transported to a higher level. Within the greater Princeton community, we hope to inspire hundreds, even thousands, of people with our performances of traditional and contemporary classical chord music.”

For further information, call (609) 683-5122, or contact www.princetonpromusica.org.

GREAT TASTES: “We are an informal but full-service restaurant. We have table-side service, and we have the freshest, highest quality 100 percent Angus beef — all-natural, vegetarian-fed with no antibiotics, hormones, or additives.” John Lim (second from left), owner of the new Cheeburger Cheeburger on Nassau Street, is shown with the staff, including from left: Vivian Lim, Matt Davis, Nick Collingwood, Jalyn Harden, and Tess Kazenoff.

How do you like your cheeseburger? You can “invent” your own at the new Cheeburger Cheeburger at 182 Nassau Street. Having just opened in mid-August, the eatery already has many fans, including a large number of regular customers, who love to customize their cheeseburgers with the myriad of toppings available.

“You can build your own burger, salad, or sandwich, with our huge variety of toppings,” says owner John Lim. “We have nine different cheeses, including blue, Swiss, feta, and parmesan, as well as cheddar and American. We also offer many, many more toppings, such as salsa, jalapeno peppers, honey mustard, horseradish, teriyaki, guacamole, curry, wasabi, and sriracha hot chili sauce. You can completely customize your burger to your own taste, and everything is made to order.”

The choices are truly unlimited, and customers are enjoying the opportunity to be creative, reports Mr. Lim, who opened the restaurant with his partner Adam Pasieka. Mr. Lim also owns two other Cheeburger Cheeburgers in the Mercer Mall in Lawrenceville and Hamilton.

An independently-owned franchise, the eatery is one of 70 across the country, says Mr. Lim, whose previous career was as an engineer in the corporate world. He decided to make a career change, after sampling one of the Cheeburger Cheeburger’s cheeseburgers (It was that good!). And, he has not regretted his decision.

John’s Place

“This is a franchise but a very exclusive franchise. We are known for the quality of our food and the fun that customers can have creating their special favorite. We are definitely not a fast food restaurant, which typically offers highly processed food, prepared elsewhere and delivered to the restaurant. Our beef, which is top-notch, is fresh, not salted or seasoned, and has great taste.

“I’m a foodie,” he adds. “(I love to cook — my spaghetti is second to none!), and I make certain that the food at our restaurant is the best it can be. What I want is for people to watch the Super Bowl, see a commercial for McDonald’s, and think, ‘On Monday, I’ll go to John’s Place for a burger.’”

Mr. Lim definitely looks forward to Cheeburger Cheeburger becoming a neighborhood favorite for families with young kids, teens, University students, as well as adults of all ages. “I want to embrace Princeton. I want us to be a local hang-out place. I want people to think of us as ‘John’s Place’. I’m local myself, and live nearby.”

Customers are enjoying everything — from the burgers to the wide variety of salads and the popular wraps, as well as turkey burgers, veggie burgers, portobello mushroom sandwiches, and many more choices. They also love the special French fries (with the skins) and onion rings, both available with any sauce or topping.

In addition, in keeping with the eatery’s vintage fun ‘50s-style, there is an array of shakes, malteds, ice cream sodas, root beer floats, and even the unique “egg cream” (made with the authentic Fox U Bet syrup), so familiar to New Yorkers and Brooklynites.

The true claim to fame, of course, is the cheeseburger — in all its variations and sizes.

Wall of Fame

“Our famous ‘Pounder’ — actually 20 ounces — is special,” says Mr. Lim. “We offer the ‘Pounder Challenge’. If someone can eat it, we take their picture and put it up on the Wall of Fame. We also have the three-quarter, half-pounder, quarter-pounder, and smaller. There is one for everyone. Kids love the burgers (they are served in a special colorful cardboard ‘car’ carton), and this is a great place for families. Prices are very affordable, with burgers starting at $5.59.”

Mr. Lim expects to have a big business with high school and college students as well. “We hope to establish a tradition with them. And we have already established a relationship with Princeton University, and have had a big catering order for their football team.”

Building a strong staff is very important to Mr. Lim, and he is pleased with his employees. “I make a point of hiring young people, often 17- and 18-year-olds. It’s our way of giving kids their first job and an opportunity to earn real money. I try to instill three concepts: honesty, integrity, and pride in their work. This will help them in their lives in whatever they eventually do.”

Giving back to the community is another focus for Cheeburger Cheeburger. “We are known for our fund-raisers for various community organizations, and we will continue to do this.”

Fun and Inviting

Cheeburger Cheeburger has seating for 110, with a counter, booths, tables, and chairs available. The colorful vintage atmosphere is fun and inviting, and Mr. Lim reports that many adult customers are reminded of fun times when they were kids going to the neighborhood diner to hang out with friends.

“I want everyone to be welcome here. I enjoy meeting and talking with people. It makes my day, and I want you to know that when you come into my restaurant, it’s as if you are coming into my home. You’re my guest, and I treat you as my guest.

“I also want people to know that we will always keep up the quality and maintain our standards — the best food, cleanliness, hospitality, and customer service.”

Cheeburger Cheeburger is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9/10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 to/9/10/11, Sunday 11 to 8/9. Hours will be adjusted over the next months. (609) 921-0011. Website: www.cheeburger.com.


October 17, 2012

To the Editor:

We support the efforts of Mayor Goerner and Mayor Moore to oppose N.J. Assembly Bill A2586.

Over its long history, the town of Princeton has enjoyed a cordial and extremely constructive relationship with the gown institutions of higher education in its midst. Comity matters. Working together matters. Large scale, balanced planning matters to this host community. We agree with Peter Cantu, the long-time mayor of Plainsboro, when he wrote to the Trenton Times on September 28: “The fractured logic behind this legislation is that private institutions should be treated as public institutions because they also ‘contribute substantially to that important public mission.’ But the primary danger in extending this exemption is that private colleges and universities are also private developers.”

We must work to preserve the framework of municipal land use law for the common good.

The Council of Princeton Future

To the Editor:

Planning Board hearings on the AvalonBay application begin October 25 and continue into December. Please attend these momentous sessions. Speak out. The Planning Board’s decision will affect the Princeton community for generations.

AvalonBay’s site plan violates Borough Code on multiple counts. It is absolutely noncompliant with the 2006 Master Plan, upon which many people in Princeton worked for over two years (over 85 meetings) — with dedication, foresight, and a genuine commitment to endowing the old hospital site with a new neighborly viability, both social and economic. Please do not let our citizens’ work be trashed. (Contact me at dah43@comcast.net for unofficial transcripts of the 2005-2006 Planning Board hearings on the hospital site.)

A monolithic enclosed block of apartments is not what Princeton stands for. A private enclave without public open space, without ways for people to cross the site from one neighborhood to another, is not what Princeton stands for (a 2005 concept plan called for a minimum 50,000 square feet of public open space: green park, walkways, playgrounds). Walled streetscape frontages five stories high (from 238 to 485 feet long) should not become Princeton’s signature. Construction without adoption of best green practices (including provisions for composting) is not what Sustainable Princeton stands for. Ten percent of Princeton Borough’s housing, barred from civic life by “No Solicitation” signs — this is not the Princeton that’s been my home for 30 years.

Princeton’s officials, our overworked municipal staff, and the public know that AvalonBay, since March 2012, has threatened lawsuit after lawsuit if the Planning Board does not approve their application. We are tired of the bullying refrain.

We must sound another note.

Municipal governing bodies that fear lawsuits will never get the zoning — the buildings, the layout, the best conception of their community — that they want, need, and deserve. (So I was told, some years ago, by a professional, experienced environmentalist who is also an urban planner. I hear that person’s wisdom.)

The Planning Board must find its spine. The public must help our Planning Board face down the assault on Princeton’s commitment to recreating the hospital site in a creative manner that benefits all of us. Come to Planning Board meetings.

Please write to our Planning Board members. They must be held accountable.

In this time of nationwide political conflict and socio-economic distress for so many, with drastic financial cutbacks at all levels affecting all of the 99 percent, think what we all can do locally, now and here in Princeton, for these next few weeks of critical hearings, to help Princeton be the community our Master Plan rightly says we want to be. Help defeat AvalonBay.

Daniel A. Harris

Dodds Lane

“I was part of Princeton Future and what comes to mind is how poorly our infrastructure is currently. We really need to rebuild properly; all of our power could be underground. These storms are not going away with climate change and we need to prepare for future storms.” —Raoul Momo, Princeton

“I will remember the thankfulness of all of the Princeton Public Library patrons. We opened Tuesday at 11 a.m., two hours after our normal opening time. It has been a wonderful experience and also a trying one. We have gotten a very heartwarming reception from people donating food and volunteering.”
—Liz Selzam, Howell (Princeton Public Library employee)

“The Breezy Point disaster hit close to me. Over 100 homes burned to the ground or suffered flooding. Our market decided to collect for this huge disaster by posting on Facebook. The outpouring of people from here that want to help is really great.” —Danielle D’Angelo, Brooklyn, N.Y. (family owns D’Angelo’s Market)

Carlee: “This was our first hurricane. I was shocked about how the landscape was changed here. I can’t even imagine about how it must be for those at the shore. I was really affected.”

Brady: “Being without power. This is the longest we’ve been without electricity.”

—Brady and Carlee Beard, Princeton

“A week without power.”  —Ken Sloen, West Windsor

John: “The area near the Paul Robeson Building and the cemetery, the big oak tree that fell, wires down and the power was lost. The other thing is how caring and open everyone has been and how willing they are to help others.”

Clara: “The devastation of the storm and people losing everything they had.”

John Wilson and Clara Mun with dog Pokey, Branchburg

To the Editor:

The Historic Preservation Review Committee has recommended that a 5th historic district be created, and Borough Council voted 4-0 to pass a draft ordinance onto the Planning Board. The HPRC found that the proposed district meets all national and state evaluation criteria for historic designation. In fact, the Morven Tract historic district was envisioned in Princeton’s master plan in 1996.

The purpose of the district is to preserve for future generations the architecture, context, history, streetscapes, and texture of a unique small part of the western section that was built out between 1890-1917, as the University rapidly expanded. This area is a tremendous asset to the Princeton community as a whole, not only as a living reminder of our history, but for the economic benefits it brings in terms of tour groups, restaurant, and shop revenue.

Another benefit is that by Princeton ordinance, historic districts deter teardowns and guide what can be built in their place. Little by little teardowns are changing Princeton’s face. Just a block or two from the proposed district, homes have been torn down and replaced with structures that are not visually compatible with their surroundings.

The architectural experts of the HPRC have administered four historic districts with flexibility and helpful advice since 1985. It is simply untrue that this will unduly burden homeowners. Many economic studies have shown that historic districts do not depress property values but in most cases enhance them, and local realtors are now advertising homes “located in the Princeton historic district.”

Residents of the district are about evenly split on whether the Morven Tract should be created, but it is up to our elected officials to make zoning decisions based on what is best for Princeton and its community values as a whole — not the “property rights trump all” ideology of a small group of homeowners, many of whom do not live in the affected area, who loudly protest this designation.

John Heilner

Library Place

To the Editor:

As a long time Princeton resident and former member of the Regional Planning Board, I urge the Planning Board to bifurcate its deliberations on the University’s “Arts & Transit” Site Plan into one focused on the “Arts” portion of the Plan and the other focused on the “Transit” portion. The plan filed by the University naturally divides into these two elements and can readily be reviewed and voted on separately. This is a massive development that will affect anyone in Princeton who ever drives on Alexander or uses the Dinky. It deserves careful and reasoned scrutiny.

The “Arts” portion of the Plan focuses on aspects that directly relate to the University’s educational mission and are located largely on lands for which the University owns clear development rights. The elements contained in this portion of the plan are well thought out, contribute imaginative architecture to the community, and will enhance the University’s Arts programs.

The “Transit” portion of the plan, however, is unrelated to the University’s academic mission. Worse, the ”Transit” plan proposes development on lands that are restricted to public transportation uses through an easement held by NJ Transit, a fiduciary for taxpayers and for users of the Princeton Branch. Princeton University is not and should not be in the business of public transportation. The “Transit” plan elements involve the creation of a fast food joint, convenience store, high-end restaurant without parking, stucco-enhanced bus shelter, and an access road to an ill-placed parking garage that diverts traffic from University owned roads to public roads. The negative community and environmental impacts of this portion of the plan completely negate the positive impacts of the “Arts” portion while making no positive contribution to the University’s educational mission.

Consequently, the best way for the Planning Board to allow the University to advance its educational mission is for it to bifurcate its review of the plan, vote yes on the “Arts” portion, and table its deliberation of the community impacts of the “Transit” portion until the time, if ever, the University owns free and clear development rights.

Alain L. Kornhauser

Montadale Circle

To the Editor:

Can Princeton afford AvalonBay’s refusals? In 2006 Planning Board discussions leading to the new Master Plan for the hospital zone, virtually everyone agreed that local retail is necessary and desirable for the economic and social viability of any development on the hospital site — and for the surrounding neighborhood as well. Yet Avalon refuses to allow space for local mixed retail stores, specifically permitted in Borough Code that caps local retail space at 6 percent and provides no minimum. Why? 550 people who do not have access to local shops will have to drive to get what they need, adding to pollution in an already congested downtown. (Unofficial transcripts of Planning Board hearings are now in the public domain: contact Daniel A. Harris, dah43@comcast.net, to receive a copy.)

Avalon refuses to provide for composting of food waste: “We’re not in the composting business,” stated Ron Ladell at the SPRAG meeting on 10/10/12. Food waste for 550 people will have to go to already overflowing landfills or shipped off to Indiana or Ohio, with out-of-state fees for dumping.

Avalon has refused to use green building materials, from local sources, that will not deplete or endanger our environment. Avalon has not even committed to using materials with recycled content or water-efficient appliances (as requested by the Princeton Environmental Commission in their memorandum dated 10/4/12). Avalon’s own investors have demanded that their company be as green as their glossy website page on “Sustainability” says they are. The economic and environmental impact of these refusals on the Princeton community is unconscionable.

Suzanne Nash

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

I have been enrolled in the Curbside Food Waste Program since it’s inception almost 18 months ago and am a huge proponent. The program is a great asset to the community and the swelling landfills. It has cut down my family’s trash production significantly to say the least. We cannot even fill our outside trash bin one time a month. This saves money and landfill space and is so easy. Since you can compost so many more things (soiled paper, pizza boxes, meats, bones) using this curbside collection than in your backyard, the program greatly expands your composting abilities. Of course you can also still make your own compost at home with extra fruit, vegetable, and plant scraps if you like!

It is very easy for me to envision the whole town — residents, schools, and businesses, all participating in this program. I urge the leaders of this town to continue being role models in the state by having curbside food waste collection in the trash contract for the consolidated Princeton!

Stephanie Chorney

Race Street

To the Editor:

I was delighted when I found out that my long time friend, fellow volunteer and associate Dick Woodbridge is seeking election as the first mayor of the consolidated Princeton.

I got to know Dick Woodbridge very well when he was mayor of Princeton Township. As the founder of the Spirit of Princeton, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, I know of Dick’s and his wife Karen’s dedication to his motto, “One Princeton, One Spirit.” They have devoted time and great effort to this organization which works to preserve the history and carry on the legacy of our beloved town.

I am proud to support Dick Woodbridge for mayor. He will provide strong leadership and team building within our diverse town to achieve the promise of a bright future envisioned by the voters in approving consolidation.

Ray Wadsworth

Past Member, Borough Council, Spruce Street

 

To the Editor:

Dick Woodbridge grew up in Princeton and therefore fully understands the importance of making Princeton a great place to live and work. Since Dick was elected to office in both municipalities, he knows how important it is to reduce taxes and improve municipal services. Dick will work to create a vibrant local economy by streamlining regulations and the permit process, and by attracting businesses that serve the economic and social needs of the community.

Dick Woodbridge as mayor will lead United Princeton to prosperity.

Antonio D. Pirone

Ewing Street

 

To the Editor:

Anyone who knows Dick Woodbridge is impressed with his enormous dedication to the Princeton community personified by his numerous volunteer activities, including his membership in the volunteer fire department for 20 years. His professional accomplishments as a registered patent attorney are also well-known. Dick sincerely believes in inclusiveness and nonpartisan cooperation, qualities that were amply manifested in his years as mayor of Princeton Township and as a member of the Township Committee and the Princeton Borough Council.

Dick Woodbridge is the right person for a new Princeton.

Roland and Ireen Miller

Hawthorne Avenue

 

To the Editor:

We support Dick Woodbridge for Mayor and Geoff Aton for Committeeman of the newly consolidated Princeton government.

When we moved to Princeton 22 years ago, Dick Woodbridge was a Princeton Township Committeeman and became mayor shortly after that. Under Mr. Woodbridge’s skilled leadership, the municipal portion of our property taxes was only 30 percent of what it is today while the quality and effectiveness of municipal services, in general, were much higher than they are today. Municipal agencies were much more responsive to the problems of residents at a fraction of the cost. Stated in other terms, the amount of the municipal portion of our local property taxes has increased by over three times the amount that it was since Dick Woodbridge was mayor. This staggering increase is much, much higher than either the Consumer Price Index increase or the rate of inflation for this period of time. We have 22 years of tax bills to prove this.

While we do not expect our property taxes to return to the levels of the early 1990’s, we are confident that Mr. Woodbridge will draw upon his extensive and varied experience in municipal leadership so that our local services will improve at a much more reasonable cost. It is unacceptable that long-time residents of Princeton should be forced to sell their homes because they can no longer afford to pay these crippling and outrageous property taxes.

Princeton needs change now and only Dick Woodbridge and Geoff Aton can deliver this necessary change. Please vote for Woodbridge and Aton on November 6.

Frank and Virginia Wiener

Loomis Court

To the Editor:

We are residents of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, soon to be consolidated into one unified Princeton and are writing to support the candidacy of Liz Lempert for mayor of the new Princeton. Since the consolidation referendum was passed in November, we’ve all become much more aware of our similarities across the borders of our two towns, and we’re getting accustomed to thinking together. We know that our plan captures economies of scale, and eliminates many duplicative efforts to achieve cost savings. We look to Liz Lempert, now Princeton Township deputy mayor, to carry consolidation to a successful conclusion by maximizing available resources, rounding out fiscally responsible measures of smarter government.

Liz Lempert knows how to build consensus across different opinion groups and individuals; this is her signature skill and perhaps is the most vital, as we move into a consolidated government. She was instrumental in the initial process of launching “Unite Princeton” and has taken an active leadership role in the transition process. From the beginning she had her eye on the prize of consolidation and helped to carefully select thought leaders to serve on the Transition Task Force of the Township. She again exercised her leadership skills by serving on the joint committee that selected an administrator for the consolidated Princeton, a police chief, and several department heads. What could have been a very contentious process was civil, reasonable, and productive under Liz’s guidance. Her service on the joint finance committee ensured that borough and township representatives would together look at the tax impact of consolidation, and any related costs — as well as savings — all of which are genuine questions on the minds of many voters.

Most local governments in New Jersey are experiencing fiscal stress from declining or static tax bases, stagnant levels of state aid, and escalating employee benefit costs. We’ve put our trust in consolidation as an option for achieving long-term structural fiscal relief and we will vote for Liz Lempert to work with all of us to make that happen. We hope you’ll vote for her, too.

Doreen Blanc Rockstrom

Maidenhead Road

Yan Bennett

Markham Road

Donald Dowd

Mershon Drive

Barbara Essig

Trewbridge Court

Helen Heintz

Spruce Street

 

To the Editor:

I am writing because I feel strongly that Liz Lempert should be the first mayor of the newly consolidated Princeton. Many agree that one of Princeton’s most valuable assets, which has been consolidated for a long time, is our stellar school system. And, as a mother of two children who attend Princeton public schools (freshman at PHS, 5th grader at Littlebrook), Liz understands first hand the powerful role our schools play in making Princeton special. This understanding is vitally important for the mayor of Princeton.

Liz has given her time and talent to Save our Schools New Jersey (SOS-NJ). As a founding member, she helped SOS draft legislation to give taxpayers a say in whether we open additional charter schools in town. She has also cultivated partnerships with school board members and administration, understanding the need for communication and cooperation regarding many issues.

She has always supported our schools and as mayor will continue to make this crucial support a priority. That is one of the many reasons that I support Liz Lempert for mayor.

Carol Golden

Snowden Lane

 

To the Editor:

Liz Lempert has the intellect, experience, and vision Princeton expects of its leaders. She also has a special talent our community counts on, the ability to get things done. She knows how to rally support, form a coalition, lead a team, and tackle the toughest issues.

In the years I’ve worked closely with Liz on Princeton Township Committee, she’s impressed me with her grasp of the issues, collaborative style, and commitment to serving the greater public good. Liz’s accomplishments range from helping to preserve the Princeton Ridge and rebuilding our Community Pool complex, to passing zero increase budgets and implementing an historic municipal consolidation.

Liz is a leader we can trust to represent the new Princeton because she didn’t wring her hands and hope for the best for our community. She took decisive action to provide tax relief and preserve services by fighting for consolidation and working tirelessly throughout the transition to deliver results. She’s our best choice to represent the interests of the entire Princeton community and my choice for mayor.

Sue Nemeth

Bayard Lane

 

To the Editor:

It’s nice to have two good candidates for the mayor of Princeton. Our new mayor has a big job ahead. It’s a job that will and has already required a lot of planning, preparation, logistics, and a deep understanding of the issues, the departments, the combination of departments, and the careful management of the most precious resource, human capital.

One of these issues alone would require quite a bit of quality time … time to study the people, their strengths their weaknesses, the budgets; comparing one budget with the other, selecting the best in each budget, to make the operations use the best practices, to revise the logistics for the new geography and to make it all run as efficiently as possible.

There has been a long learning curve for those intimately involved. It has come from two distinct areas: one, from the daily, current activities of the town; and, two, from the planning, decision making and developing the consolidation plan.

So who is best qualified, today, to lead this effort. All things being equal, it is the person closest to the ground, with sleeves rolled up, understanding of what’s to come and with a demonstrated ability to work well with people with divergent opinions. Only one of the candidates has those qualifications. Only one has the shortest learning curve to successfully overseeing this critical time. And only one candidate is best prepared now. It is for these reasons, we support Liz Lempert for mayor.

Ross Wishnick, Iona Harding

Edgerstoune Road

To the Editor:

Assembly Bill 2586 has been fast tracked through the legislative process to allow for an exemption for private colleges and universities from local land-use regulations. Proponents of the measure stress they only seek “parity” with public colleges that were granted such exemptions by a state Supreme Court decision, which recognized the “vital public mission served by those [public] institutions in educating the citizens of the State.” No such bill has been introduced, however, to give parity for the local property taxpayers.

In fact, by granting private colleges the green light to build anything they desire within the confines of a given municipality without local land use scrutiny would increase local taxes over the long haul. For instance, if a private college were to build a new dorm along main street without the need to meet local zoning restrictions, local taxpayers would be stuck with paying for the increased demand for parking, traffic improvements, police protection, and the like. This would certainly exacerbate things for property taxpayers.

Moreover, while one can make the argument that by granting land-use exemptions for public institutions, there is at least the check by state government that ultimately approves decisions for these public institutions. This is not the case for the private colleges, which see little if any, oversight from the state. Imagine if Princeton University, with its $17-plus billion endowment, decided to buy up land in the downtown community of Princeton. Arguably, they could build whatever they like without any intervention from local planning or zoning boards. No local input would be required.

The lack of public oversight would unnecessarily upset the partnerships developed between private colleges and their host communities. It would be more likely that close relationships would now be forged with commercial developers eager to build. Local taxpayers, who would now solely bear the burden of increased development without compensation, would be witness to the erosion of harmony that now exists in many town-gown communities.

Proponents however argue that there is a safeguard in the law. They argue even with the exemption, a private university’s exemption from local land-use laws is not unlimited and must be “exercised in a reasonable fashion as to not arbitrarily override legitimate local interests.” What does that mean? you may ask. It means that litigation would likely result to decide whether a given project does “override legitimate local interests,” thereby giving a boon to land-use attorneys. Local taxpayers would be left to foot the legal bill.

Finally, with New Jersey at an inexcusable ranking for high property taxes, local zoning boards and municipal regulations are the check to keep costs at a bearable burden. Without this check on public colleges, these institutions can swallow up the municipalities, and local property taxpayers will be left with crumbs at the next ground breaking. Again, it begs the question, where is the parity in all of this for local property taxpayers?

Reed Gusciora

Assemblyman 15th District.

To the Editor;

The recent unanimous vote by Borough Council to recommend the formation of an Historic District in the “western Section” is a stark contrast to their unanimous vote some months ago to recommend zoning changes that facilitated AvalonBay’s (AB) proposed development of the former hospital site and in some cases the outright advocacy by Council members for the AvalonBay project against the will of almost every citizen who expressed an opinion at the Council meetings when those amendments were being considered.

In last Wednesday’s, October 10, Town Topics (“Borough Council Introduces Historic District Ordinance”) “Barbara Trelstad, a former resident of the western section, said she is concerned about preserving its character. ‘A house was torn down on Hodge Road five years ago, and replaced by a new, modern house’, she said. ‘There are a couple of others on Library Place.’”

What about the eastern side of town? Is the “character” of that section totally expendable? And I am not talking about one McMansion. We are talking about a housing development of 280 apartment units; five stories tall; an overall building size that is roughly the size of Princeton’s football stadium; a building facade that is 485 feet long — probably the longest street frontage in all of Princeton; and a design that completely walls off an entire town block. This building is proposed on a site that sits in the middle of two distinct yet vibrant neighborhoods consisting of: one and two family two story homes. By any measure the proposed AB development is completely out of scale with the adjoining neighborhoods. It is larger than the entire new Palmer Square residences and even out of scale relative to the entire town of Princeton.

So my question to Borough Council: Why are you advocating to preserve the character of one neighborhood at the same time that you are advocating the utter destruction of another? The hypocrisy is stunning.

Joseph H. Weiss

Leigh Avenue

FABULOUS FLORALS: “The flowers are very personalized and customized. This is what I enjoy most — to fit all the pieces together, so that everything suits the personality of the celebration and the site.” Antonietta Branham, owner of The Cottage Garden, provides flowers for a variety of events. She is shown near a display of orange Free Spirit roses, blue hydrangeas, and green Bells of Ireland.

“This is my passion! The joy that flowers can give a client is wonderful.”

Antonietta Branham, owner of The Cottage Garden, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to provide flowers for events of all kinds and sizes. She has recently opened a shop at 6 Chambers Street, where customers will find a variety of flowers charmingly displayed.

“I always wanted to have a little spot for people to come in and see me,” says Ms. Branham, who has been furnishing flowers for events for the past 10 years.

A long-time Princeton resident — since 1955! — she has had a wide-ranging career, including in real estate. “No matter what I was doing professionally, I always had flowers and plants in my home and office. As a girl, I loved flowers and art, including bringing textiles home to sew a dress. And it was always in the back of my mind to provide flowers for events. I didn’t really want to have a florist shop. I felt I could be more creative doing event work.”

Natural Way

Starting by finding flowers for family and friends’ events, Ms. Branham became more and more involved in the process, and soon established her own business. “When Martha Stewart began to be popular, and a more natural way of arranging flowers was coming into focus, I felt it was the right time.”

Opportunities for events, such as weddings, corporate fund-raisers, campus events at Princeton University, as well as family birthday and anniversary parties, graduations, Mother’s Day, memorial services, etc., began to increase, and she found herself busy year-round.

“It kept growing, and I just love it! My mission is always about the clients. I like to meet them in their surroundings, and I listen carefully to what they want to achieve. Sometimes, they may have a theme in mind. The first thing you must do is to see that the flowers are appropriate for the site. This is a must.”

Color is major, she adds. “This is the biggest issue for me. It’s all about color! If the client loves red, then it’s red!”

Ms. Branham tries to obtain seasonal flowers when possible, she notes. “It can be very seasonal. Spring is the best time for flowers. There are more collections available then. I also like to keep it local when I can. Farmers in the area are growing a variety of flowers, including dahlias.”

Other popular flowers for Ms. Branham’s events include roses, of course — and in all colors — hydrangeas, tulips, calla lilies, lily of the valley, and forget-me-nots.

Flower Markets

She gets selections from all over the world, including Holland, South America, France, Italy, and Israel as well as parts of the United States, and even her own garden!

Ms. Branham goes to the flower markets in New York City and northern New Jersey weekly to find exactly what she wants. “I have a long-standing relationship with people at the flower markets. They know the quality of the flowers I need.”

The type of event determines the choice of flowers, and Ms. Branham enjoys the diversity. For fund-raisers, I usually concentrate on centerpieces, and often something for the entry way. Sometimes, it can include little lights, which adds interest.”

In the case of weddings, she will provide the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets, and flowers for the church and reception. “Some brides like something very simple, architectural,” she notes. “Others like a more traditional look, but with a modern take. Some tend toward vibrant color.”

Ms. Branham especially enjoys the challenge of finding something different. “I enjoy clients who come to me for something that seems so unusual and so impossible to find that I can’t wait to get started!”

The fragrance of flowers often evokes memories, she continues. “I remind a bride to choose a flower with a scent she loves, so she will always remember the day when she encounters that scent.”

Unusual Situations

Three months notice is typical for a wedding, but if her schedule permits, Ms. Branham can be flexible. “There can be unusual situations. In one case, I met a bride by chance on Monday, and the wedding was the next Sunday! We did 15 centerpieces and bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, and it turned out fine.”

Clients are from Princeton and the area, and also from northern New Jersey, Connecticut, and Manhattan. Cost is determined by the choice of flowers and how many are needed.

I first ask the client to establish a budget,” explains Ms. Branham. “Then, we’ll go on from there. Usually, I’ll get a deposit in the beginning and then payment right before the event.”

“There is no question that Ms. Branham loves what she does. The shop is filled with roses, hydrangeas, gardenias, and in the window is a display of beautiful peonies in a most gorgeous shade of pink, with white orchids intermingled.

Whether you are planning a small gathering at home, a larger happening in a hotel, “high tea” in a tent or a picnic on the patio, Ms. Branham will find just the right accompaniment of flowers.

“This is truly my mission; I will find exactly what the client wants, and then see that the flowers arrive on time for the event, are the right color, and in perfect condition.”

She also provides flowers for home decor for private residences, and reminds people that many times, less is more. “Flowers are a luxury, after all. I recommend to people that a few lovely flowers are better than a bushel of typical, ordinary ones.

“I am so pleased and encouraged about my new location,” she says, with a smile. “I have great hope for it, and I look forward to being here a long time. I love to meet people who share the same passion for flowers, and I love to share information with them.”

The Cottage Garden is open Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment Sunday and Monday. Call for specific hours. (609) 924-3446.


FALL FASHION: “I want women to find fashion that they love at prices they can afford,” says Linda Martin, owner of Flutter Boutique in Pennington. Ms. Martin is shown with a fashion-forward black dress featuring a sheer fitted Swiss bodice and sleeve from the fall Darling line, exclusive to Flutter.

“You want to look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside,” says Linda Martin, owner of Flutter Boutique in Pennington. Opened last March at 20 South Main Street, the boutique has become a favorite of customers from all over the area.

“We don’t target any particular age group,” points out Ms. Martin, who has had a long career in the fashion industry, “Our customers can be mothers and daughters who have come in together, have fun shopping, and each one leaves with something. It is everyone, 16 to 60-plus and everyone in between. It’s really about attitude. It’s your attitude toward fashion that matters, not your age.”

Formerly head of human resources for all the Macy’s Department stores and also for The Children’s Place, Ms. Martin had always dreamed of having her own store. “I knew I wanted to do this and have a boutique. This is where my heart was leading me.”

Even as a toddler, Ms. Martin knew what she wanted to wear. “I kept changing my clothes all day,” she recalls, with a smile. “And when I was six, my godmother gave me an Easter outfit, and nothing went together. I didn’t want to wear it! Clothes always mattered to me. I had a subscription to Vogue when I was 13.”

Right Place

When the Pennington space became available, Ms. Martin knew it was the right place to be.

“People started coming in right away, and there has been great word-of-mouth. I’ve really been surprised at how quickly people have embraced the store. We have lots of regulars, and many customers have become friends. It’s so nice when I see a customer and know their name. I think people really wanted a store like this.”

You don’t have to be a “fashionista” to enjoy yourself at Flutter. Ms. Martin and the friendly, knowledgeable staff are there to be fashion advisers for customers who are looking for advice. Others may know exactly what they want, and find it right away.

“We take what is ‘in fashion’ and interpret it for you, the individual client, and focus on your style,” explains Ms. Martin. “Style is not defined by your size, your age, or your budget. Style is personal and unique to you. I want women to find fashion they love at prices they can afford. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look great.”

It is also important to Ms. Martin that the selection at Flutter is unique, with items not found in other shops in the area. “My goal is to carry a great selection of quality sportswear, dresses, and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else. Every week, we have new things coming in, so there is a fresh look in the shop. And many items are exclusive to us in the area. When they go to a party, clients can be confident that others will not be wearing the same dress.”

In fact, dresses of all kinds — from informal to party glam to Mother-of-the-Bride and Mother-of-the-Groom styles — are all on display.

Wearable Fashion

“Our customers like dresses,” notes Ms. Martin. “We’re really a destination place for dresses. What makes dresses so appealing is a no-brainer. With women so busy, it’s a relief to get up in the morning, and just put on a dress. You don’t have to worry about what top will go with the pants or skirt. It’s a time-saver.”

Indeed, Ms. Martin does not want customers to be stressed about getting dressed at all. Helping them to look their best is a priority
at Flutter. Versatility is key, she adds. Clients want items that can be worn for more than one occasion or purpose. “We focus on wearable fashion that customers are comfortable in.

“Customers can go high/low,” she adds. “That is, you can put a great outfit together, perhaps incorporating one expensive piece and one less expensive. It’s very individualized today.”

Fall is always a highlight of the fashion scene, with new energy and excitement in the air. “Fall is all about leather,” says Ms. Martin. “Pants, skirts, tops. It’s also about leather accents, trim, shoulder detail, etc. And lace is still very important. Lace has really moved from fashion to a basic. You can wear lace with a leather skirt. Again, it’s so individualized.”

Another popular fashion piece is the peplum, she continues. “It’s very feminine, and you see it with dresses, jackets, and tops. It’s great with a narrow pencil skirt, and with embellishment.”

Sequins and beading also lend a bit of glitter to a variety of the items, including tops and dresses, at Flutter. And fashion is nothing without color! Important fall colors are burgundy, cobalt blue, and black “with a shot of color”, reports Ms. Martin. “A black dress with black suede shoes will look great with opaque panty hose in cobalt or teal. Navy and black together are a great combination. A navy dress with black leather shoulder treatment is a terrific look.”

Many Choices

Skirt lengths are up to the individual, she points out. Adapting the length to what the customer wants is the trend today. “They can be everywhere — what looks best on you. Below the knee, mid-calf, even longer, and if age appropriate, above the knee.”

In addition to dresses, an appealing selection of pants and tops is available. Tunics with tapered slim-cut pants are very popular, and there are many choices in color, style, texture, and pattern.

Accessories, such as a wonderful piece of jewelry or an intriguing scarf, complete the fashion statement. The display at Flutter offers many options.

“Statement necklaces, such as large dramatic pieces, or pendants with tassels, are popular right now, and dangle and drop earrings as well as more tailored basic jewelry are all in demand,” says Ms. Martin. “People are also stacking lots of colorful, vivid bangle bracelets together. This is a popular look.

“Our scarf selection offers a variety of textures, patterns, and colors for every season, and we also have outstanding handbags. Studding and embellishment are popular now, and we have all styles — shoulder, across the body, and clutches. Portfolio clutches are big favorites. They are thin, but larger, and you can fit more in them.”

Ms. Martin is often asked about the origin of her boutique’s name, Flutter, and the explanation is intriguing. I had heard the expression: ‘Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.’ That is exactly how I feel. I had retired from one aspect of the fashion industry, and now could do what I had always wanted.”

Beauty and Grace

It so inspired her that she wrote a poem to express her feelings.

“The wings of a butterfly are delicate but strong, its power deceiving.

It is said that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can turn the tides of an ocean.

And while the life-span of a butterfly is brief, it savors every moment as it moves from flower to flower, enchanting us with its beauty and grace.

What we learn from the butterfly is this: Live every day creating beauty, never underestimate your power and when you can ….. Take flight!”

“I love everything about what I’m doing now,” says Ms. Martin. “I know that every day I get to go exactly where I want to go and do exactly what I want to do. I can’t wait to get here in the morning. What I absolutely love is this: I love fashion; I love selecting merchandise; and I love interacting with customers.

“I also believe in giving back to the community. We support a variety of organizations and charities, including Christine’s Hope for Kids. We sell Christine’s bracelets, and all the proceeds go to the foundation.”

Flutter offers complimentary gift wrapping in addition to very pretty gift bags. Special end of the season sales and shopping nights are other also available. “We always emphasize attention to detail,” notes Ms. Martin. “It says to customers that we care about them.”

Flutter Boutique is open Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 10 to 9, Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 737-2236. Website: facebook.com/flutterstyle.

October 10, 2012

James: “A bowling alley; there used to be one where Triumph is now. It would be really fantastic if they could bring one back.”
Aileen: “A specialty shoe store like an Intermix or a Shoes ’N‘ More. It would also be nice to have a watch store like Tourneau.” —Aileen Brody Schiro and James Schiro, Jr.
(James formerly of Princeton), New York City

Erin: “Urban Outfitters, I’m really excited that it’s coming to town.”
Andre: “I wish there were more places to go for tea like infini-T Café and Small World Coffee. Like a lounge café.”
—Erin Purdie and Andre Belarmino, Princeton University students

“A Game Stop and a Lego store for kids. I was thinking an Italian diner would be nice. I’ve been to one before and it was very good.” —Matteo Constantine, Princeton 

“I don’t want to see Princeton bring in so many stores that it becomes too homogenized. It’s great to have Hoagie Haven, Iano’s, and Witherspoon Grill.”
— Bruce Ellerstein, born and raised in Princeton, now living in New York City

Carrie: ”I’d like to see Au Bon Pain or another little café for sandwiches.”
Carinna: “Red Lobster, it’s my favorite.”
—Carrie Floyd with daughter, Carinna, Lawrenceville

Stefanie: “A small grocery store. I have a young baby and it’s hard to just find milk or other things downtown.
Christof: “A fresh foods restaurant, not so much with panini’s but offering healthy salads.”
—Christof and Stefanie Budnik, Lawrenceville

To the Editor:

I would like to know what Joe Dee and the NJDOT consider “something severe enough to stop this pilot program” if 9-plus accidents in Penn’s Neck since the pilot program started is not enough? Is a negligible increase in traffic flow worth a child’s life when there are more viable, cost effective solutions available to us? These solutions will eliminate traffic lights on Route 1 as opposed to shifting the problem to residential neighborhoods, east-west commuters/travelers, and visitors. These solutions include: 1. Harrison Street overpass, 2.Vaughn Road Connector and 3. widening Alexander Road Bridge over the canal. The solutions are already in line with the preferred alternative that NJDOT and others have developed.

Further, Joe Dee from the NJDOT never mentions the fact there WAS funding for these projects in place less than 10 years ago but since the project was delayed so long the funding had to be returned. That funding has since been redistributed to other towns in New Jersey. Joe Dee mentioned it will cost the state approximately $1 MILLION to close the jug handles.

$1,000,000 to place a few barriers, signs, counters, and make it more pleasing to the eye if deemed permanent. Am I the only one that thinks that’s outrageous? In my estimation that’s $20,000 per orange barrier. No wonder they “don’t have funding.” If you would like to see more viable solutions put into place visit Change.org then “find” NJDOT and sign the petition.

Please join Smart Traffic Solutions in our demonstration at the corner of Washington Road and Wilder Ave in Penn’s Neck Saturday October 13. Questions? Email SmartTrafficSolutions@gmail.com Together we can substantially improve traffic flow for everyone and remove traffic lights on Route 1, not shift the problem.

Eric Payne

Washington Road

To the Editor:

I’m writing to urge the election of Liz Lempert as our united Princeton’s first mayor. I support Liz for many reasons, but I want to note especially her key role in finding agreement for the design and financing of our spectacular new Community Pool.

Liz worked tirelessly, quietly, and effectively for over two years to bring together Borough Council and Township Committee members, supporters of different design options, and the Recreation Board and Recreation Department. She focused on the importance of a modern facility that would meet the needs of our whole community for decades and still be affordable for all, as part of a recreation infrastructure that will serve all of Princeton’s residents and families. As she will as mayor, Liz brought our varied community together to produce a result that works for all of us.

As a member of the Princeton Parks and Recreation Fund, I saw first-hand how important Liz Lempert’s leadership was to the Pool. I know she will provide that same kind of inclusive leadership in moving a consolidated Princeton forward in every way.

Jeff Orleans

Meadowbrook Drive

To the Editor:

Princeton citizens, caring about the health of our community, should know the Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC), in an October 4 memo to the Planning Board and the Site Plan Review Advisory Board, has asked for “proof of remediation,” or an explanation as to their invalidity, of “recognized environmental conditions” listed in a Phase I environmental study by Avalon’s consultant EcolSciences. This study recommends further investigations at the old hospital site (September 2011).

Prompted by research conducted by Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, the PEC concluded at its meeting of October 1 that AvalonBay should provide the Phase II environmental investigations recommended by Ecolscience. Attorneys for AvalonBay and Princeton HealthCare said at the meeting that they did not know whether these investigations had been performed. PEC Commissioner Victoria Hamilton remarked that it would be weird if Avalon had not followed the recommendations of its consultant Ecolsciences to investigate further, and said if these investigations have not been done, the Planning Board should follow up on them because it could be a problem. An independent environmental investigation, paid for by the applicant, was proposed by PCSN attorney Aaron Kleinbaum, due to the conflicting nature of three environmental reports that are known to exist on the old hospital site.

The EcolSciences Report was only released by Avalon after attorney Kleinbaum wrote a letter to municipal authorities. EcolSciences recommends soil boring near the four active underground tank systems on the property, soil and groundwater investigations for possible releases of laboratory solvents and other chemicals from the sewer lines and the former septic system, a geophysical survey for unknown buried tanks, and other remedial measures to close out former spills. It also recommends all hazardous materials should be transferred offsite or disposed of under prior manifest. Nuclear Regulatory Commission clearance of proper decommissioning of X-ray equipment and linear acceleration radiation therapy unit within the cancer ward should be documented. Lead-lined doors must be properly disposed of during demolition.

AvalonBay initially did not submit the EcolSciences to the Planning Board and instead submitted an Environmental Impact Statement by another firm it hired, Maser (June 6, 2012), which summarized EcolSciences in one sentence: “Site specific investigations performed for the property by EcolSciences regarding the presence of underground tanks and possible contamination revealed that no underground tanks or contamination were found in the property” (p. 10). Borough Engineer Jack West stated at the PEC meeting that the AvalonBay/Maser EIS was “inadequate” and would need to be “updated.”

The EcolSciences Report was issued without access to “at least eight of the Medical Center’s environmental documents,” according to Mr. Kleinbaum, who cited from his letter to PEC (October 1, 2012, online at www.Facebook.PrincetonCitizensFor). According to Mr. Kleinbaum, “An independent investigator would not tolerate the absence of this information before making any conclusions.” The PEC consequently asked also for a report on these documents in their memo.

“The Princeton Environmental Commission must recommend that the [AvalonBay] application not move forward until further independent environmental due diligence is conducted,” concluded Attorney Kleinbaum.

Robert Dodge, PhD

Maple Street

To the Editor:

The closing of left turns at Washington Road and Harrison Street on Route One has created gridlock in Princeton. The town already had a traffic problem, given that about a decade ago traffic measurements indicated that it had worse congestion than major Midwestern cities. The recent closings have significantly increased the volume of cars using Alexander Road, a narrow, twisting road not designed to handle even a fraction of the traffic that now crawls along it during the morning and evening rush hours. Hapless commuters to New York City and Philadelphia, people who form a large segment of the Princeton population that has been long abused by New Jersey Transit, are now forced to experience the “service interruptions”, “signal delays,” and “congestion” of the train commute on their way to and from Princeton Junction, before they even board a train. Frustrated and, in some cases, enraged drivers are engaging in dangerous practices such as illegal U-turns and lane crossings and running red lights.

Princeton — its elected officials and its residents — needs to fight back. Concerned citizens can register their displeasure on the township’s website: www.princetontwp.org There is a quick survey that can be accessed by clicking on a link on the front page of the website. Let’s not let fly-by drivers on Route One ruin our quality of life by snarling our roads. After all, residents and would-be residents might decide to put the pedal to the metal and leave Princeton behind. What would happen to tax rates then?

Curtis A. Glovier

Drake’s Corner Road

To the Editor:

On November 11, Westerly Road Church will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the new construction of a church in Princeton. For a long time our thriving church has exceeded capacity in our current location and after years of discussion, deliberation, and input from the community, we have an approved design that is a credit to Princeton. The church (on Bunn Drive and Herrontown Road) is an applicant for the SmartGrowth designation and has been designed for sustainability, efficiency, practicality, and beauty. With an efficient design that will be LEED certified and a tight footprint that allows for the preservation of the remaining 7.5 acres as a protected environmental easement, it’s a project that honors the land, the values of the community, and our faith convictions.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to the Princeton community, public officials, and the Township staff for your support and hard work on this project. We extend an invitation to the community to join us for the ground-breaking ceremony on Sunday, November 11 at 2 p.m. (at the Bunn Drive site), and to join us for worship in our new facility in late 2013 — until then, you will always be warmly welcomed at our current location on Westerly Road.

John Beeson

Associate Pastor, Westerly Road Church

To the Editor:

It is with great conviction that I enthusiastically support Dick Woodbridge as candidate for the first mayor of united Princeton.

At this crucial time in Princeton’s history, it is imperative that we choose the best candidate to help us smoothly transition through the merging of the two Princetons. This process will help to determine the success of the new government, and will be highly visible on a State level.

Dick’s highly-regarded experience as a former mayor of Princeton Township and on Township Committee, as well as his membership on Borough Council qualify him as the only candidate with experience in governance in both Princetons. Dick’s deep roots in our community, dating back from grade school through college at Princeton University, along with his lifelong professional career in Princeton as an attorney, make him highly qualified to lead us at this time. Dick’s long-time devotion to local volunteerism and community activism allows him an insight which will be most beneficial in bringing the two communities together.

Never before has it been more important for Princeton to choose its leadership. We are fortunate to have an ideal candidate to move us forward into the first chapter of our future as a united Princeton. I endorse Dick Woodbridge for mayor and I urge all Princeton voters to do the same.

Susan D. Carril

Westcott Road

To the Editor:

A couple months back, a house near ours was looking deserted. A dumpster finally appeared and I noticed among the discards some wood that would be perfect for a backyard project. I knocked on the door and got permission to take anything I wanted. Days later, I stopped by again and noticed some old science books, mostly physics. I took one about Einstein, intending to return later for a closer look. The next morning, the dumpster was gone. Again I knocked, and learned that this unassuming house I walk by every day had been the home of no less than Julian Bigelow, chief engineer at the Institute for Advanced Study for von Neumann’s 1940s project to build one of the world’s first computers.

Though Bigelow’s papers and a few books will end up in various archives and a Bryn Mawr sale, thousands of books were thrown out for lack of a home. I’ll always wonder what books slipped away just out of reach. The loss had particular poignancy for me because I know a bookshelf where they might have been perfect, in the former house of the great mathematician Oswald Veblen out in Herrontown Woods.

Though Veblen’s uncle Thorstein is better known, Oswald may have left the greater mark. His vision and influence were instrumental in building the Princeton U. math department into a powerhouse, designing Old Fine Hall, and bringing the Institute, and Albert Einstein, to town. We also owe him gratitude for hundreds of acres of greenspace in town. The Institute Woods and Herrontown Woods would likely not have been preserved if not for Veblen’s influence, generosity, and love of nature.

But Veblen’s contributions to the world we now inhabit extend beyond Princeton. Though most of Bigelow’s books were lost, they led me to recent writings by George Dyson (Turing’s Cathedral) and Jon Edwards. Therein lie descriptions of Veblen’s role in helping get German math and physics scholars out of Germany before World War II, “undoubtedly delaying the development of Hitler’s bomb.” His work on ballistics during the world wars increased the accuracy of Allied artillery and stirred early interest in developing machines to expedite the necessary trajectory computations. Dyson devotes a chapter of his book to Veblen’s role in spurring and facilitating development of the computers we use today.

All of which brings us back to those empty bookshelves in a boarded up house in Herrontown Woods. When Veblen died in 1960, after a life of transformative service to University, Institute, town, nation and world, he left behind one wish for that house–that it be made into a library and museum. That wish remains ungranted, as the neglected county-owned house and nearby farmstead move toward demolition. A citizens group has submitted a proposal to restore the buildings and put them to public uses, but like the dam restorations at Mountain Lakes, all depends on funding.

Lest more books slip needlessly into the abyss, I encourage anyone seeking a good home for books related to the Veblens and other Institute luminaries to contact me (609.252.0724, veblenhouse.org). If individuals and local institutions come forward to grant the Veblens’ dying wish, we’ll have some fine bookshelves to put them on.

Stephen Hiltner

North Harrison Street

To the Editor:

The Princeton Borough Shade Tree Commission is pleased to announce its inventory of approximately 2300 street trees (102 species) is now officially on line and accessible to the general public. The tree survey and data collection took three years. The Commission thanks all in the Borough who volunteered so many hours to make the new data system possible.

Starting October 1, 2012, anyone can access the street survey by going to the Shade Tree Commission’s website, address www.pbshadetree.org, clicking the green word DATABASE in the left side column, and following the instructions provided on the website. Users will be guided through steps to choose any address in the Borough and obtain the species names and sizes of curbside street trees at that address.

In addition to satisfying the tree curious, this inventory will enable municipal employees to maintain the database, identify aging trees requiring removal, schedule the removal of diseased or damaged trees, and plan for replacement trees. They can also record citizen reports about trees in distress or requests for trees to be planted in vacant sites. Database reports will assist Public Works staff in diversifying tree species along a street (a means to forestall the spread of some diseases), and in selecting replacement trees with proven salt resistance or with mature heights appropriate to a particular street’s features, considering signage, utility wires, sidewalks etc.

A look at the new database reveals that pin oaks are at present the most populous street trees in the Borough, followed by sugar maples. London plane trees are in third place, then red maples, thornless honey locusts, Norway maples, and Japanese zelkova, with 95 other species following in decreasing numbers.

Princeton Borough has earned “Tree City” status for 17 years. Maintenance of the database will help consolidated Princeton track growth of its diverse urban forest and keep a healthy tree canopy going forward. A similar survey to cover roadside trees in the Township is underway, and results will be added to the Borough’s on-line data in 2013, post-consolidation.

Princeton Borough Shade Tree Commission

Alexandra Radbil, Chair,

Pat Hyatt, Vice-Chair,

Sharon Ainsworth, member, Marie Rickman, member,

Welmoet von Kammen, member, database master,

Jenny Crumiller, Borough Council liaison

To the Editor:

I meant to write much earlier than this to thank Jane Buttars, Dr. Vojislava Pohristic, and Alexi Assumus for providing the much needed information on the status of the environmental impact on the neighborhoods surrounding the old hospital site. I am surprised by the lack of response or concern shown by local residents when there is a strong possibility that the site is contaminated and that there is not only the actual demolishing of the buildings (lead paint, lead doors, asbestos, medical waste, X ray equipment, etc.), but the removal of hospital also poses threats to the surrounding water systems.

Do residents realize the amount of dust particles which will spread over the area? I remember the amount of dust/dirt that settled on our front porch and window ledges and came in through the window screens when the new sewer lines were put in a few years ago and all that debris came from just digging up part of the street and sidewalks.

In May of 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted in Oregon “Over the course of the day, prevailing winds blew 520 million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, 250 miles from the volcano.” I am certainly not comparing the volcanic eruption to the demolition of the old hospital site, I am simply pointing out that the debris from the hospital will cover quite a bit of Princeton and the debris will not only be concrete and glass dust but, unless the contaminated items in the hospital are not disposed of in an environmentally safe way, residents have some major health issues to deal with.

Nancy Green

Lytle Street