March 23, 2017

See below for the March 22, 2017 Princeton Zoning Board Meeting.

 Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

See below for the March 20, 2017 Princeton Council Meeting.

 Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

March 22, 2017

To the Editor:

As I join our community and my colleagues at the Princeton Public Library in preparing for the grand reopening of the library’s second floor on Saturday, March 25, I want to take a moment to thank the Princeton University Library for its generous partnership in serving our cardholders during our renovation. We were committed to remaining open throughout the renovation and to offering the easiest possible access to the collection while the second floor was closed to the public. Princeton University Library made that possible by offering us storage, at no charge, in their facilities and supporting our efforts to page books upon request. This was a significant service to our cardholders, making the 30,000 volumes in the library’s adult nonfiction collection available typically within just a day or two after we received a request.

Princeton University Library’s generosity also allowed my colleagues to spend the last several months completing an ambitious and innovative reorganization of the collection into “neighborhoods,” a new system that combines the best of bookstore organizational systems with the best of our tried and true Dewey Decimal System. We have invested a tremendous amount of time, attention, and our collection budget into ensuring that the books in the collection meet the needs of this community, and we are excited to share the reorganized adult nonfiction collection with everyone when we reopen the floor. We have never had a collection that was more likely to exceed everyone’s expectations and we have never before been able to make specific titles easier or more appealing to browse or find. The collection itself has never looked better, and we could not have completed this vital work without our friends and colleagues at the Princeton University Library.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, and during the day-long celebration that will follow.

Brett Bonfield

Executive Director, Princeton Public Library

To the Editor:

Why can’t some kind of jointly operated music school be developed with Princeton University? Why not a newly contoured school where students are chosen for admission based on their musical abilities, while the degrees they receive come from either Rider or Princeton Universities, depending on where they are matriculating? Westminster Choir College is too wonderful a place just to let it slip down the drain. It is the crown jewel of choral music schools and a crown jewel of our community.

There is at least one precedent for organizing a university institution so that it is shared, and so that the degrees given are granted specifically by the participating institutions. Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) has its own campus in Indianapolis, and is jointly operated by Indiana University and Purdue University. See website: My husband was once an adjunct professor there teaching classical studies.

IUPUI is led by a chancellor, currently Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar. With both Indiana U and Purdue operating in Indianapolis, UIPUI was formed in 1968, after then Mayor Richard Lugar called for establishing a single great state university in Indianapolis. From this premise Indiana U. and Purdue, each commanding their strengths, established a new, bifurcated institution.

When we were there, degrees granted in the humanities carried the name of Indiana University on its diplomas. Faculty in the humanities received paychecks from Indiana University. Conversely on the science side, diplomas and paychecks bore the name of Purdue. Twenty years ago at least, when we were there, this division of mutual respect, comfortably remained, as IUPUI continued to evolve.

So let’s look at Westminster Choir College with new eyes and a new creative solution that can enhance the choral offerings and prestige of several institutions.

Kip Cherry

Dempsey Avenue

To the Editor:

I am an elected member of the Princeton Board of Education, writing as an individual rather than in any official capacity as a member of the Board. I write to reiterate my support for the students, teachers, staff, and administration of our community’s public schools.

I also write to encourage honest dialogue. The Board needs your input, and that of all members of our community, as it looks to craft a difficult school budget for next year, as well as to decide on the best long-term path to make sure that it has the facilities in place to serve our students and families. I urge you to attend the Tuesday, March 28 Board meeting at 8 p.m. The Board will hear a presentation from its demographer on the projected growth in enrollment in the Princeton Public Schools over the course of the next ten years. The Board will then continue its discussion of how best to shape next year’s school budget in light of those growing enrollments, the Princeton Charter School expansion, and the many goals of its strategic plan.

My personal plea is for us to work together while acknowledging the hard work of those who teach and help our students. Let us also reject divisiveness — the misguided urge to tear down individual schools or question the worthiness of specific groups of our students. In any fair assessment, we know from years of official data that all our schools are ranked extremely high, due to the hard work of our children and the unflagging efforts of our teachers and staff, backed by the crucial support of this remarkable community.

Let us continue working together, as parents, residents, and Board members, to identify and fix areas that may need strengthening, but let us stay united to better protect our schools in the current troubled political and economic environment. With your help, the Board has pledged to do so in as efficient a manner as possible, mindful of the financial burden it is asking you to assume.

Most importantly, however, let us heed the words of our superintendent, and never lose sight of the fact that we are working on behalf of all our children. They include those living in every one of our many neighborhoods that together make up our diverse community; they are recently arrived as well as from long-standing Princeton families; they are high school students from Cranbury and from the Princeton Charter School; and they are students who need additional services and support. Our goal should be to continue to serve them all, in order to help each one of them fulfill his or her personal vision of a meaningful life. With your guidance and input, this is a goal that I hope the community will remain willing to support.

Gregory Stankiewicz

Jefferson Road

To The Editor:

As explained in the last Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) meeting, schools are not businesses; in other words, we simply can’t slash one area of the curriculum in order to limit expenses. However, let’s consider the thought for a moment. How would any business that is losing customers to a competitor handle this situation? The answer is obvious: In order to stay in the game, they would rapidly assess why they are losing clients and innovate accordingly. Similarly, since PPS is so clearly concerned by the Princeton Charter School (PCS) expansion, they should begin to ask the hard question: Why are families leaving for PCS?

Thus far, the community debate has largely focused on discrediting PCS goals, shaming PCS parents, and even belittling PCS students. Instead we should move towards rational and data-driven thought. We should reach across the aisles and learn what PCS is doing to attract these families. While some parents are quite comfortable marching into the school to advocate for their child, others are not, and prefer to quietly pack up and move on without ever sharing their reasons.

The solution is not complex. A simple, and potentially anonymous, survey of elementary school PPS parents could tease out these issues. Important questions could be asked. Do you feel your child is appropriately challenged in school? Does homework seem suitable and relevant? Do you feel your child’s report card provides worthwhile feedback? How responsive do you feel teachers, administrators, and board members are to your concerns? Is the after-school program meeting your needs? Are you considering moving your child to another local school next year? Why?

But let’s not stop there. Let’s also try to survey all the current PCS parents and compare the results. With this information, we could move away from ineffective insults and toward thoughtful innovations. In doing so, not only can we make PPS truly strong, but we could even make PCS unnecessary.

Jenny Ludmer

Caldwell Drive

To the Editor:

In the publicity campaign being conducted by Princeton Charter School supporters, I am dismayed to see recurring tactics: discrediting of ample public data showing that PCS is segregated, saddling of taxpayers with a financially draining and inefficient burden; diverting public attention by manufacturing off-base or flatly false counter-accusations; and attacking those who support our public schools. These strategies are sadly similar to those employed by the current administration in Washington. Yet these offensive tactics were publicly lauded by the PCS trustees’ chairman at a recent, lavish PCS fundraising gala.

We are all friends with PCS parents. Surely these calculated conspiracy theories, personal attacks, and especially, reprehensible denigration of public school children aren’t something that our fair-minded PCS friends condone. Anyone can see that they only compound the damage to the Charter School’s reputation following the widely-opposed expansion. I hope that PCS parents and the other trustees of the Princeton Charter School will publicly disavow rather than encourage them. I also urge the PCS trustees to do the right thing for our entire community and unilaterally stay or significantly reduce the number of seats by which PCS will expand. The trustees can do this without state approval.

The only silver lining to this undemocratic, secretly-planned PCS expansion is that thousands of Princeton residents are now keenly aware that New Jersey’s charter school law is broken. As a founding member of Save Our Schools New Jersey (SOSNJ), I can attest that this always has been the position of our organization regarding charter schools. SOSNJ is not “anti-charter;” since its founding in 2010 in response to the Christie administration’s devastating school aid cuts, SOSNJ’s position on charter schools has been straightforward: the state law should be amended to require local, democratic approval of new charter schools or expansions, and greater transparency and public accountability for existing charter schools.

SOSNJ simply seeks basic democratic control for communities and transparency for charter schools. That certain Princeton Charter School leaders see these fundamentally fair tenets as an existential threat to their school is disturbing and very revealing.

Audrey Chen

Linwood Circle

To the Editor:

I want to register my complete dismay with Cara Carpenito’s comments [Mailbox, March 8] suggesting parents of Princeton Charter School examine their conscience for sending their children to a segregated school. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Carol Williams, an African American who resides in Princeton. All three of my children attend PCS.

Ms. Carpenito, I would love to better understand your intentions, but I found your remarks incendiary and representative of the unnecessary animus the topic of the Charter School expansion has led to in our community. Should you be so concerned about our experience, it might help for you to know the PCS school administrators, teachers, and community could not have been more welcoming and my children are thriving academically and socially.

I am completely aware of the history of de jure and de facto school segregation in this country and to suggest these conditions are true of PCS is completely uninformed and irresponsible.

Carol Williams

Crooked Tree Lane

To the Editor:

After attending two Princeton Public Schools Board of Education meetings regarding the district’s proposed 2017-18 budget, I’d like to commend the administrators and Board members for working to find ways to plug the gaping hole created by the expansion of Princeton Charter School, which will add $826,266 this year to PPS’s non-discretionary obligations.

Many hackneyed, misleading tropes are being tossed around attempting to minimize PCS’s effect on taxpayers. But the numbers reveal the significant impact of this new obligation forced on us by non-elected charter school trustees and a politically-motivated governor.

This year’s $800+K additional payment to PCS almost doubles the increase in the district’s total non-discretionary expenditures from the prior: the change in non-discretionary expenses overall is $1,721,520, of which the increased PCS payment is 47.8 percent.

Of the total $3,794,989 proposed increase in both non-discretionary and discretionary expenses for 2017-18, the additional payment to PCS accounts for 21 percent. Thus, 21 percent of the increase to taxpayers will pay charter school tuition for 1.4 percent of our total student population — all of whom could be well-served in the public schools.

The proposed budget also includes cuts — money taken from the remaining 98.6 percent of our community’s public school children. The proposed cuts will hit curriculum and instruction, maintenance, technology/security, staff, all spending categories essential to maintaining high-quality education and services to our diverse student population.

Listening to the in-depth discussions on what actions can be taken to meet the additional $826,266 burden caused by PCS’s expansion, it’s clear how limited the district’s options are, given that the budget is predominantly fixed-cost and non-discretionary, and given the tight time frame (state law requires approval of a final budget by April 25). Many good ideas were raised, but most require a longer horizon for implementation.

But right now, even with cuts, a tax increase of 4.7 percent may be required to balance the budget. More than a quarter of that increase is due to PCS’s expansion, one that the local taxpayers subsidizing it overwhelmingly opposed.

The next school board meeting about the budget is Tuesday, March 28. I encourage the public to attend.

Anne Desmond

Tee-Ar Place

Durant Robertson III

Durant Robertson III, 74, of Medford died Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Virtua-West Jersey Hospital Marlton of Evesham Township, NJ.

Durant was born September 24, 1942 in Maryland. Starting at the age of eleven, he studied classical guitar and composition. His teachers have included such noted composers as Kenneth Gaburo, Alexander Bellow, William Syderman, and Vladimir Ussachevsky. He taught guitar and had written several pieces exploiting some unusual resources of the instrument. His compositions include: Summer (for guitar and two track tape); Addison Street Rag; Velocity II (for trumpet and electronic sounds) which was performed at Carnegie Recital Hall; Queen of the Morning (for guitar and tape); and Dance Music for Peggy Cicierska and her Dance Troup.

Mr. Robertson has performed at Carl Fischer Hall and Mannes College in New York. He formerly appeared in recitals at the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society, Columbus Boychoir School in Princeton, and the Painted Bride Gallery in Philadelphia. In addition to formal concerts, he has given a number of informal presentations. He appeared on the Channel 12 television program “Take Twelve,” and has had excerpts from his compositions (Vision for Two Guitars and Dance Music For Peggy Cicierska) broadcast on WHYY FM, Philadelphia. He performed at Lincoln Center (Fordham University), the WILKA Theatre Project (Philadelphia), and with the Friends of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Robertson’s repertoire ranged from classical works to contemporary compositions.

He is the son of the late Durant and Elizabeth (Hansen) Robertson Jr. He is survived by his sister Susan and brother-in-law Lawrence Howley and brother Douglas Robertson.

Burial will be private.

Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.


Joan Mary McKeon 

Joan Mary McKeon passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, March 12, 2017.

Joan is survived by her husband Edward and children Margaret and Jonathan.

She will be remembered as a kind and loving wife, mother and teacher. She will remain in our hearts.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Joan’s name to Trinity Church.


David C. Scott 

David C. Scott died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 76 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a third generation Princetonian: the son of Anne Clark Martindell, and the grandson of William Clark.

David began school in Montreal, Canada. Later, he attended Miss Chapin’s School and Princeton Country Day School in Princeton, and Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. He completed his bachelor’s degree in political science at Trinity College in Connecticut in 1962 where he was an enthusiastic rower on the crew team.

David was a knowledgeable historian and patient teacher, and a master carpenter as demonstrated in the houses he renovated in Kristiansand, Norway and Princeton. He was a savvy trip planner and delightful travel companion, an avid reader of The New York Times and The Atlantic, and a generous benefactor to friends and family alike. He was a member of the Yale Club in New York City and Springdale Golf Club in Princeton.

David began his career in the printing and publishing industry at Connecticut Printers in Hartford, Connecticut. He then worked in NYC for the next thirty five years at McGraw Hill, Rand McNally, Western Publishing Company where he was the Vice President of Sales, and Lanman Engraving Company. He particularly loved his work in the creative department of Lanman, producing the film that was used in the publications of the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Time-Life Books.

David’s greatest pride lay in the homes and gardens he created in Princeton and Norway and in his children, Christopher and Katharine. He would tell anyone who would listen about their accomplishments—that Christopher was following his lifelong passion as an animator in Canada, and Katharine was pursuing her Ph.D. in psychology with a focus on prejudice reduction starting in childhood at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

David is survived by “the love of his life” of 50 years, Randi Burlingham Scott, his son, Christopher, his daughter, Katharine, his sisters, Marjory Luther of Ann Arbor Michigan and Kippy Maitland-Smith of Alberta, Canada, and his brothers, George C. Scott of Richmond, Virginia and Roger Martindell of Princeton.

In lieu of flowers, David asked that donations be made to the TCNJ Foundation, designated to the Music Department ( Select “other” and write in “Music Dept, in memory of David Scott”).


Jane P. Poole

Jane P. Poole, 89, wife, mother, grandmother and devoted friend, died peacefully in Scottsdale, AZ on January 12, 2017 with family members at her side.

Jane lived a life filled with laughter, love and smiles. Indeed, her smile was her trademark, something she never lost even during her decade long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

A proud third generation Californian, Jane was born October 7, 1927 in Oxnard, CA to Abby Lyman and Howard Fay Pressey, a citrus rancher. Growing up on a ranch instilled in Jane a lifelong love for animals and nature. She graduated from Fillmore H.S. and attended Pomona College before leaving her beloved California to earn a Bachelor of Science in Retailing from Webber College in Florida.

She returned to Los Angeles for a retail career, but soon was compelled by her adventurous spirit to move across the country with two friends to experience life in New York City. It was there she met her husband-to-be, Tom Poole. She loved to tell the story of how they met on a double-date, each set up with the other person, and how she was not initially impressed. But Tom soon won her heart with his quick wit and love of poetry.

Jane and Tom raised their two daughters in Princeton, NJ, where for 54 years they created a loving, welcoming, home before retiring to Scottsdale in 2014. Jane’s real and abiding passions were her family and friends. She was the neighborhood mom; quick to offer a smile, a helping hand with a coat zipper, or even breakfast to the many kids who were always at their home. She worked in Financial Aid at Princeton University for ten years; was President of Chapter AE of PEO, an international sisterhood dedicated to women’s education. She was particularly proud of her work with the adult literacy program at the Princeton Public Library.

Jane is survived by her husband of 61 years, Thomas of Scottsdale, AZ; two daughters, Joanne Reese (Steve) of Scottsdale, Grace Ellen Benn (Alex) of Los Angeles; two granddaughters Abby Meredith Benn and Caroline Jane “CJ” Benn; two step-grandsons Steven Reese, Jr (Leah), and Matthew Reese (Sara) all of Tennessee; her brother Lyman Pressey (Carolyn), of Clovis, CA; and many family and friends.

The family welcomes contributions in Jane’s memory to a charity of your choosing. Gifts may acknowledge Jane’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, her commitment to adult literacy, her love of animals, or simply pass along the gift of a smile. Her family gratefully thanks you for any remembrance.


Marjorie Freeman

Marjorie Kler Freeman, age 87, of Princeton died Friday, March 17, 2017 at University Medical Center of Princeton. Born in Philadelphia, PA she resided in Belle Mead before moving to Plainsboro. She received her BA from Pratt University and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. Marjorie was the owner of Marjorie Kler Interiors in Princeton. She was also co-owner of the Jewelry Box. Marjorie was the founder of the Raritan Millstone Alliance, Past Regent of the Jersey Blue Chapter DAR, president of East Jersey Olde Town Restoration Village, board member of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University. Marjorie was also a member of the Travel Club of New Brunswick, traveling to over 100 countries, a member of the New Jersey State and National Garden Club, she wrote, edited, illustrated, and published a number of cookbooks. Marjorie was described by those who loved her as a strong person and leader.

Daughter of the late, Dr. Joseph H. and Elizabeth Kler, she is survived by her husband of 34 years Bruce G. Freeman, two sons and a daughter in law John and Laurie Hale, David Hale, two stepsons David Freeman, Mark Freeman, stepdaughter Judith Rafallo, sister Mary Heisinger, three grandchildren Maura Chadwick, Dana and Sarah Freeman.

A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday March 21, 2017 at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton. Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather Hodge Funeral Home

The word derives from the Greek “ephemeros,” meaning “lasting only one day, short-lived,” which includes papers, curiosities, and collectible odds and ends of the sort found on a table in the Collector’s Corner during this year’s Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale, which lasted five days and will come back to life again next year. Special finds are mentioned in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

David Dye and Tom Cunningham will discuss the early part of Bruce Springsteen’s career and the role that radio played in it in “Bruce Springsteen on the Radio: 1973-21st Century,” at the Present Day Club, located at 72 Stockton Street on April 6 at 7 p.m. Special guest, photographer Frank Stefanko, will join the conversation and talk about his experiences working with Springsteen early in both of their careers. The cover photo on Springsteen’s memoir, “Born to Run,” was shot by Stefanko in 1978. The event is presented in partnership with the Princeton Public Library and Morven Museum and Garden in conjunction with Morven’s current exhibition, Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, curated by The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition is on view through May 21. Reservations are required. Tickets at $12 ($10 Friends of Morven) are available online at or by calling (609) 924-8144, ext. 113.

Princeton Fitness & Wellness at Plainsboro will host a free community health fair on Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The facility is located at 7 Plainsboro Road on the campus of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. more

Good Grief, which provides help and comfort to grieving children and families, has been selected by 100+ Women Who Care of Mercer County as their winter 2017 donor recipient. Pictured from left to right are Ellen Fahey, Courtney Hodock, and Debbie Blakely and her two daughters, who have participated in the organization’s programs. For more information visit

Described by the late Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney as “one of the era’s true originals,” Paul Muldoon will be reading from Selected Poems 1968-2014 (Farrar Straus and Giroux $27) at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, March 28, at 6 p.m.

Fellow poet and Lewis Center faculty member Michael Dickman will introduce his colleague.  more

“UNTITLED”: This photograph is from Ricardo Barros’s exhibit “Figuring Space.” He will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton on Monday April 3. The event is free and open to the public.

In his most recent work, noted photographer Ricardo Barros tackles the inexpressible — the abstraction that is space itself. Barros will be giving a lecture on his portfolio “Figuring Space” on Monday, April 3 for the Princeton Photography Club at the D&R Greenway. more

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: Performances are underway for McCarter Theatre Center’s world premiere production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Adapted by Ken Ludwig and directed by Emily Mann, the play runs through April 2 on McCarter’s Matthews Stage. Hercule Poirot (Allan Corduner) is shown in the top photo and the play’s company appears in the bottom photo. (Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson) 

Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express received its world premiere at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre March 17. As expected, the story keeps the audience guessing about the solution to the murder until near the end. Early on, however, it is no mystery that playgoers will find much to entertain them in this first-class production. more

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is currently accepting instrument donations to benefit the Trenton Community Music School. Families whose children have outgrown small instruments or whose interests have shifted away are welcome to drop-off their used instruments at PSO’s administrative offices, located at 575 Ewing Street in Princeton and Studio B Bakery & Bistro at 439 Broad Street in Trenton. Donations will be accepted through March 24. The mission of Trenton Community Music School is to bring children together in teams of music learners and makers, to build their minds, imagination, and community.  For more information, visit

The Bulgarian State Women’s Chorus will perform at Princeton University Chapel on Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $15 ($5 for students) and are available at or at the Frist Center Box Office at (609) 258-9220. 

March 15, 2017

To the Editor:

As a parent of two John Witherspoon Middle Schoolers, I am writing to share why I love this wonderful school! JW is run by a dedicated principal, Jason Burr, who works closely with the faculty and staff in order to offer an impressive array of academic and extracurricular opportunities and a warm, nurturing environment to all who attend the school. This is no small task with about 760 preteens and teenagers. Mr. Burr clearly loves this age group, greeting them with a big smile every day and at the many school events that he attends.

JW offers academics rivaled by none. But more importantly, the teachers and staff members strive to build well-rounded, happy kids. Middle school is a time of enormous growth — socially, physically, and academically. JW offers kids a way to spread their wings academically, but also to try different sports (15 to choose from), music, drama, musical theater, science bowl (going to the middle school national finals), poetry, journalism, art, engineering, and more. The teachers are there early, available to meet with our children and to help them reach their goals, whatever those goals may be.

As a parent of three students who have graduated from or are currently at JW, I can say unequivocally that we raise really good humans at JW! I am proud to be a JW parent and I thank Mr. Burr and the rest of the JW team for creating a wonderful learning and growing environment for our children.

Dina Shaw

Clover Lane

To the Editor:

I read Cara Carpenito’s letter last week asking other parents to examine their conscience [“PCS Parents Should Examine Their Conscience: Can They Continue to ‘Choose’ a Segregated School,” March 8 Mailbox]. Princeton is a town of unmistakable wealth, with average incomes triple that of our neighbor Trenton. Adding to our schools’ economic and racial segregation, we additionally bus in mostly Caucasian students from wealthy, suburban Cranbury, which is almost as far away as Trenton. Princeton and Cranbury students attend schools that afford privileges out of reach for most Trenton children. To address this issue, I implore the Board of Education to implement a voluntary program where Princeton parents who want to demonstrate their commitment to equality can offer to swap their children’s spots in Princeton schools with children from Trenton. Then, instead of having parents chastise others about segregation, and generating ill will, they can instead lead by example and serve as an inspiration to everyone.

I also read Lori Weir’s letter about eliminating sibling preference at PCS [“N.J. Commissioner of Education Decision a Case of Taxation Without Representation,” March 8 Mailbox], which even PPS uses in their lottery-based dual-language immersion program. To get some facts about who would be most impacted if siblings were split across schools, I examined the Pew Research Center report on Parenting in America. Across the United States, 33 percent of Caucasian mothers had 3 or more children, and the numbers for other racial groups were Asian (27 percent), African-American (40 percent), and Hispanic (50 percent). If Princeton has similar demographic patterns, eliminating sibling preference would impact African-Americans and Hispanics more than other racial groups. In comparison, the weighted lottery approved for PCS will increase the chances for economically disadvantaged groups. Numerically, the calls to dismantle sibling preference seem counterproductive. In the longer term, neither sibling preference nor a lottery would be needed if PCS were allowed to expand to meet all of the demand for it.

Vivek Pai

Bertrand Drive

To the Editor:

In the March 8 issue of Town Topics, three anti-PCS letters were published. I’d like to respond to each letter.

Cara Carpenito asked PCS parents to “examine their conscience [sic].” When the author’s fundamental assumption is that the parents of 348 children (plus waitlist) are bad people, how does a community even begin to discuss collaboration? Would the author say that to our faces at a sports competition, piano recital, etc.? As I have two children at PCS and one at PPS, does that make me merely two-thirds evil?

Further to Ms. Carpenito’s letter, PCS’s “segregation,” particularly of African American students, was not a statistical issue until 2009-2010, when two notable things happened: 1) the financial crisis, which may have led to many private school children returning to public and entering the PCS lottery, and 2) the formation of the de facto anti-charter advocacy group Save Our Schools-N.J., (“SOS-NJ, co-founded by Julia Sass Rubin, who has done work on PPS’s behalf against PCS, outgoing BoE President Andrea Spalla, and Mayor Liz Lempert).

As for Ms. Weir’s assertion that charters are required to mirror the sending district’s population; they actually must attempt to do so. PCS does a large amount of outreach to this end, and is planning more. With the weighted lottery and sibling preference (lottery and sibling preference, incidentally, are also used by PPS’s dual-language immersion program) working in concert, I expect PCS to succeed in short order — if only special interest groups stop using scare tactics and trust parents to decide based on schools’ offerings, not scurrilous moral allegations.

Last, Professor Rubin’s letter. Space is limited, so I’ll focus on these facts: 1) She cited Bruce Baker as a supporting voice, but one should note that Bruce Baker supplied the vanished slide from her 12/13/16 presentation to the BoE — invited by above-mentioned Andrea Spalla — that stated PCS ranked 622nd in the state (hard to believe even if anti-PCS), and 2) that while 22 percent of kids at JWMS did opt out of PARCC, of those who did take it, 37 percent did indeed fail, and that’s not nothing.

I know that I am far from the only parent at PCS who moved to Princeton for PPS, but there my kids are at PCS. Perhaps if PPS took some steps to understand the reasons each family left PPS after having tried it (survey?), PPS might improve for all kids. If PPS did this instead of engaging in lawfare, nobody would want to go to PCS, and it would die. As it is, absent that level of interest, engagement, and self-reflection by PPS, I am glad that more district families will have the same choice ours did.

Liz Winslow

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

My wife and I are unabashed fans of Princeton’s Curbside Organic Program, and so proud that our city was first in New Jersey to have one! We knew about the obvious benefit — 25 percent of an average house’s waste can be composted. But we were surprised by other things: How easy it was to find compostable bags at Ace or McCaffrey’s (we use small ones under our sink which we put into larger ones in the garage every few days — no smell, no mess); that wheeling the bin to the curb once a week is effortless (and we’re not youngsters); and that determining what goes in is brainless — “if it was once ‘alive,’ it’s compostable.” We even put in pizza boxes and coffee filters. And our trash bin is lighter, with all that organic water weight now in small bags. But the best of it is the rich compost that the program returns to us each spring. We cover our garden with black gold.

People need to renew by April 1, so we did it on the municipal website

If you haven’t joined already, do it soon so you can get your black gold this spring.

Chris Coucill and Liz Fillo

Constitution Hill West

Joanne Richmond

Joanne Mae (Amici) Richmond, 83, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Saturday, March 4th 2017, at Brandywine Living in Princeton. Born in Barre, Vermont in 1934, Joanne grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. Joanne married the late Albert Richmond at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas in 1963 and they settled in Teaneck, New Jersey to raise their two children, Allison and Fredrick. They were married for 29 years until Al’s death in 1992. Joanne relocated to the Princeton area in 2002.

Joanne received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees in piano from The Juilliard School of Music in 1957 and was an accomplished concert pianist. Shortly after receiving her degree, Joanne performed nationwide with a classical music group and worked summers performing for guests at the Green Mansions Resort in the Adirondacks. Joanne made her piano debut at the Steinway Concert Hall before age 10 and later performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She was the first female pianist hired to perform with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, where she met her husband, Al, who was also a member of the orchestra. Shortly after graduation she was employed by Columbia Records for a short period of time prior to starting her family. Joanne and her husband Al also performed with a small, local musicale group in Teaneck. Joanne had the privilege of knowing many famous artists including Van Cliburn, Charles Strouse, and Jerome Robbins. Joanne also had the privilege of working with conductor Eugene Ormandy and many other famous music artists. She was a lifelong union member of the Local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater New York having joined in 1954, and was also a retired piano teacher.

Joanne was the daughter of the late Alfred and Iole (Lotti) Amici and twin sister of the late Lucille Amici, who died shortly after childbirth. She is survived by her daughter Allison J. Richmond (of Belle Mead) and her husband William A. Beschner, and her son Fredrick J. Richmond (of Skillman) and his wife Mary A. Richmond. In addition, Joanne leaves behind five beautiful grandchildren including Christopher Beschner (18), Caroline Beschner (15), Sean Richmond (14), Scott Richmond (12), and Alexis Beschner (12), as well as her furry grandchildren Bailey and Henry.

Joanne’s family was the single most important thing in her life and she always put others needs ahead of her own. She treasured her children and grandchildren and was immensely proud of them. As a classically trained pianist, she shared her love of music with them and often frequented their school concerts, shows, and recitals. Joanne could also be found cheering for her grandchildren at the baseball fields, hockey arena, basketball court, softball fields, football games (marching band and cheerleading) and other school related events. She was their biggest supporter. Joanne was an avid tennis fan and followed the pro circuit on television and enjoyed watching her son Fred and her grandchildren on the courts. She was the consummate homemaker and loved to cook and bake, especially during the Christmas holidays. Joanne also wrote the most wonderful notes. Every card she sent did not just contain the obligatory salutation and signature. She personalized each card with an often lengthy, well-thought out, newsy letter. And no Christmas holiday would be complete without Joanne playing traditional Christmas carols while her family sang joyfully around the piano.

Joanne and her family have wonderful memories from their travels with her husband Al during his musical tours with Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Pablo Casals, Philip Glass, the New York City Ballet, and the Composers Conference.

Joanne and her family spent many wonderful vacations together. During the summer, visits to Long Beach Island and Atlantic City took place. Summer vacations were also spent in the Barre/Montpelier area of Vermont with her extended family. Joanne and her family cruised the Caribbean several times and for her 75th birthday, her family surprised her with a week-long trip to Orlando to celebrate at Sea World and Disneyworld.

Joanne was a loving, kind and compassionate individual. She will be remembered for her creativity and generosity and her spirit will live on in her children and grandchildren. She would often say she would go to the ends of the earth for her family and she loved them to the moon and back.

Funeral Service was held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 11th 2017, at MJ Murphy Funeral Home, 616 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction. Friends may call from 2 p.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Juilliard Scholarship Fund in memory of Joanne Richmond, The Juilliard School of Music, Office of Development and Public Affairs, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023.


John Frederick Hagaman

After a long illness, cardiologist Dr. John Frederick Hagaman, MD died at his home in Princeton on March 6, 2017, at the age of 69. The cause of death was due to complications from a degenerative brain disease.

Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on December 15, 1947, he was the only child of Frederick Homer Hagaman and Virginia Gerding. He grew up in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and graduated from the Episcopal Academy in Merion in 1966. From there he went on to earn a BS degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an MD degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He met his future wife, Andrea T. Hyde, while an undergraduate and they were married in Newtown, Connecticut, on May 25, 1974.

Further training took John to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Moving back east, he spent a year working as an emergency room physician at the Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, before moving south, where he completed a fellowship in noninvasive cardiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

In 1980 John came to Princeton, where he joined the medical practice of William F. Haynes, MD. Their partnership marked the beginning of Cardiology Associates of Princeton which in later years grew to include additional partners. He loved the practice of medicine and over the ensuing 32 years, his practice grew and he gained a reputation for his skills as a diagnostician, attentive listener, and compassionate healer with a deep seated interest in his patients, not just as cases, but as people with a wide range of interests and backgrounds. He also delighted in his professional relationships with medical colleagues and in teaching medical students rotating through the University Hospital of Princeton.

The hallmarks of John’s temperament were his boundless enthusiasm, energy, and cheerfulness. He embraced not only medicine but many other interests as well. He loved music; playing the guitar and banjo and singing in a cappella groups in school and college, in student produced musicals in medical school and, later in life, with the barbershop chorus, The Brothers in Harmony. As a sportsman, he was a competitive swimmer in high school, loved bike riding, downhill skiing, and especially, golf. He was a long time member of the Springdale Golf Club. He also had a passion for photography, and for American and European history and traced his genealogical roots back to Holland to the 1630s. He served for many years on the board of directors of the YMCA in Princeton and was the Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 88 in the 1990s. And, throughout all his years in Princeton, he and his family were devoted members of Trinity Church.

John is survived by his wife of 42 years, Andrea T. Hyde; his sons Charles and William Hagaman and William’s wife, Ursula Bailey. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540 on Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m, to be followed by a reception. Those wishing to make memorial contributions in John’s name are encouraged to donate to either Trinity Church, or to the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University Medical Center, ATTN: Matt Reals, 516 West 168th Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10032. The email contact is

Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.


Melanie Lucia Anatole

Melanie Lucia Anatole, a longtime resident of Trenton, passed away suddenly on Friday, March 9, 2017.

Born in Castries, Saint Lucia on March 13, 1961, she was the daughter of Joseph and Agneta Anatole.

Melanie relocated to the United States in 1988 in search of a better way of life for herself and her son, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. Melanie was a devoted daughter, mother, and grandmother. She traveled every year to visit and care for her mother in St. Lucia. A deeply spiritual person, she was a dedicated and active member of Higher Ground Interdenominational Church under the leadership of Bishop Roosevelt Butler. Melanie was happiest when caring for her two young grandchildren, Dilan M. Anatole Jr. and Madison Denys Anatole, attending church and providing community service.

Melanie was the much-loved caregiver to several local families and their children whom she loved dearly. She is known by all for her kind heart, sense of humor, dedication, industriousness, and thoughtfulness. Simply, she was a special person and wonderful human being.

Melanie is survived by her mother, Agneta Anatole; son, Dilan Mario Anatole; daughter in law, Latrice Anatole; four grandchildren, Dilan Mario Anatole Jr., Madison Denys Anatole, Brandon Pannell and Shyler Smith; and her 10 siblings. She will be greatly missed by her family, her congregation, her many friends and the families she cared for.

Melanie will be buried in St. Lucia where her family will hold a private service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name may be made to Higher Ground Interdenominational Church at 1009 Whitehead Road, Ewing NJ 08638.


Lindsey Christiansen

This is it, chaps. Take me home./I believe, my son, I am going. That’s it./Good-bye—drive on. Cut her loose, Doc.

I’m going, I’m going. At a gallop!/Clear the way. Good-bye. God bless you!/Good-bye, everybody. A general good-night.

The words of Annie Dillard’s poem Deathbeds, set to music by James Primosch, were the last words sung at the 2017 Westminster Art Song Festival at Westminster Choir College on February 25, 2017. Four days later, on March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday, Lindsey Christiansen, a long-time leader of the Festival and one of Art Song’s most ardent performers and teachers, died peacefully at home after a five-month journey with brain cancer at the age of 70.

Just weeks before she knew she was sick, Lindsey collaborated with her colleague, pianist J. J. Penna, to plan a program of American song literature for the Festival that wed music to some of her favorite poems with spiritual themes: Jane Kenyon’s Otherwise and Briefly It Enters, and Briefly It Speaks, Denise Levertov’s “… That Passeth All Understanding.” For those at the Westminster Art Song Festival who knew her, the songs spoke of her living and her dying.

Lindsey Christiansen was professor of voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University for 40 years, from 1977 to 2017, and chair of the voice and piano department for 18 years. She specialized in German lieder and was a life-long student and lover of the music of Franz Schubert. She was an exceptional voice teacher and a demanding professor of song literature classes, where she instilled in countless students a love for song. She taught thousands of young singers over her more than 45-year teaching career to find their voice, believe in their potential and flourish as musicians, teachers, performers and human beings. Her example has shaped a generation of voice teachers who are now inspiring the lives and voices of their students, Professor Christiansen’s musical grandchildren.

In the words of Matthew Shaftel, dean of Westminster Choir College, and Margaret Cusack, chair of the piano and voice department: “With an unrelenting commitment to musical excellence, intellectual rigor and the personal and musical growth of her students she enriched our community in countless ways …. She has been a fierce champion of students in every aspect of their education, both in nurturing and encouraging those with difficulties, and insisting upon and maintaining the high standards that she and the art of singing demand.”

Born Alice Lindsey Peters on October 3, 1946 in Roanoke, Va. to Alice and Howard Peters, she was the eldest of four children. As a young girl, she played piano and sang in churches served by her father, a Methodist minister in Virginia. It was these early experiences of music in the church that led her to devote her life to the study, teaching and making of music.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Richmond, and completed her master’s degree in voice and organ from the University of Illinois. She then taught as a part of the voice faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and studied at the Hochschulle für Musik in Hamburg, Germany for a year as a part of an International Rotary Foundation Fellowship. She was twice an artist-in-residence for voice study at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria.

She met her husband, Knud Christiansen, in 1975 during the year she was in Germany. They were married the next year in Williamsburg, Va., and then moved to Princeton, where they raised their two children, Molly and Andreas. A voracious reader of theology, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics to Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward, she was an elder at Nassau Presbyterian Church and, in her last year, a member of the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church. As her own grandmother had been a guiding light throughout her life, so she became an extraordinary grandmother to her three granddaughters, singing regularly to Maya, Anna, and Hazel.

Lindsey Christiansen was a brilliant teacher and extraordinary musician, but she will be most remembered for her infectious energy, grace, strength, intellect, wit, joy for life, and generosity. Her strong, loving, vibrant spirit will continue to resound for years and years to come in the lives of those she taught and the lives of those she touched.

In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, she is also survived by her brother John Peters, her sisters Mary Lee Peters and Liza Peters, her son-in-law John Gearen, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service in celebration of Lindsey Christiansen’s life will be held at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey, on Saturday, March 25th at 11 a.m.

To honor her life and legacy, memorial contributions can be made to the Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival Endowed Fund, which has been established in her honor to sustain the study and performance of art song at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Contributions may be made online at or sent to Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Attn: Art Song Festival, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton NJ 08540. For assistance in making a gift, please contact Kate Wadley ‘02 at 609-921-7100 ext. 8213 or


Florence L. Dawes

Florence L. Dawes, 94, of Princeton passed away on March 7, 2017 at Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center. She was born in Princeton and spent most of her life there until she moved to Florida when she was 85. She was a graduate of Princeton High School and attended Blackstone College in Virginia, majoring in journalism. In the late 1940s, Florence established Woodcroft Nursery School and Summer Day Camp, which she owned and operated for 15 years. In the early 1960s, she began selling real estate, working part time with George Sands soon after he established Hilton Realty.

The 1980s were Florence’s peak years selling real estate. She joined John T. Henderson Inc. Realtors, and in 1983 she won the Relocation Prize. In 1986, she sold over $10,000,000 of real estate, which broke the 30-year record for sales at Henderson Realtors. She later was associated for many years with N. T. Callaway Real Estate until she turned 80 and retired.

For many years, Florence was a volunteer at the Hospital Aide Shop at Princeton Hospital, where her chocolate milkshakes were legendary. She also was a past member of the Present Day Club.

Florence’s pride and joy over the years were the standard poodles she cherished. The last one died in 2016 shortly before she returned to Princeton.

Florence was predeceased by two sons, John Coffee and Janney Dawes and her sister Marjorie Weiland. She is survived by two children, Joseph Coffee (and his wife Laurie) and Colleen Hall (and her husband Bob), five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SAVE.


Edward Levine

Edward L. (Ted) Levine of Skillman, died on February 25, at the age of 89. He was predeceased by Rosalie, his wife of 62 years. He is survived by his three brothers and their familie; his children Carol Lovseth (Tim) of Denver, Colo.; his sons, Alex (Joyce) and Jim (Lisa), of Princeton; seven adoring grandchildren, Matt, John, Nathalie, Zeke, Jade, Freddie, and Elijah; five great-grandchildren; and friends and relatives around the country. Ted was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, served in the Army Air Corps, and received his BS and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He practiced law with one firm in New York for 41 years, helping to build and lead Cole and Deitz, which became the New York Office of Winston and Strawn. He was one of the city’s ablest and most knowledgeable banking attorneys, and worked frequently with government agencies in addition to representing his clients. A career capstone came in 1980, when he was tapped by the U.N. to create the private banking system of the soon-to-be-independent Federated States of Micronesia. Upon moving to Princeton in 2001, he became a regular at 55 Plus, McCarter Theatre, Richardson Auditorium, and in the classrooms of Princeton University, auditing a variety of classes with great curiosity. In 2012, he and Rosalie moved to Stonebridge at Montgomery, where he became an active member of the community and made many new friends. Ted will be remembered for his sense of humor, his fierce sense of justice and of right and wrong, his generosity, and his love for his family, which misses him greatly and will hold him in our hearts forever. May his memory be a blessing.

Here sit some contestants in the Einstein look-a-like contest, a ritual part of Princeton’s Pi Day celebration of the town’s most renowned citizen, born March 14, 1879. In this week’s Town Talk, people ponder what he might think of Princeton in March 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)