September 27, 2023

To the Editor:

Princeton needs a contiguous sidewalk on at least one side of Terhune Road. Terhune between Route 206 and Snowden will soon have a large increase in traffic which, by my very modest estimate, will be several hundred more vehicles coming from the new housing on Terhune near Ewing.

There’s already a bus that runs on Terhune, and we currently have more truck traffic due to nearby construction, all of which makes it difficult for school children, caregivers pushing strollers, and even the occasional senior citizen (like me) trying to navigate Terhune without getting hit by a car, bus, or truck. How has this escaped the attention of our mayor (who was recently selected for membership in the Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety) or our Princeton Town Council (one of whom lives on Terhune, and cannot help but be aware of the necessity of a decent sidewalk along Terhune)? more

To the Editor:

I write to support Eleanor Hubbard’s candidacy to join the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.

You want Eleanor Hubbard on your team. No matter the task at hand, Eleanor will be an asset. I’ve become familiar with the limitless talents of Eleanor Hubbard as a fellow parent raising children in the Riverside neighborhood. 

For several years, I’ve served on the executive board of the Riverside School PTO. In this role, I have witnessed Eleanor in action. She shows up. She works hard. She gets things done.  more

To the Editor:

As members of the Board of Trustees of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC), we want to thank all those who helped to make the PSRC gala on the evening of September 14 a spectacular success. The 250 attendees at the sold-out event had a wonderful time thanks to the PSRC leadership — especially CEO Drew Dyson, COO Donna Cosgrove, and CDO Lisa Adler — the entire staff, and our many amazing volunteers. The event included a celebration of PSRC’s social services — a core feature of PSRC’s work in the community since its inception in 1974 as “Tenant Services” at Spruce Circle. It was also an opportunity to celebrate our honorees, Hazel Stix, Bryn Mawr Trust, and the mayor and Council of Princeton.

Hazel Stix, our individual honoree, has been an active leader at PSRC since the beginning, working alongside and supporting Jocelyn Helm in creating this organization 49 years ago. Hazel has been a generous supporter, engaged leader, and avid participant in the work of PSRC.  more

To the Editor:

I read the recent letters from Mike Head [“Wondering if Recent Court Ruling Means End of Tax Breaks for Developers in Town,” Mailbox, September 13] and Carlos Rodrigues [“Group Should Stop Peddling Misinformation About Redevelopment Plans in Princeton,” Mailbox, September 20] concerning development in our community, and I was surprised at the level of personal attack in Mr. Rodrigues’ letter. 

If he wishes to defend his role in the developments in our town, can’t he do so with facts and logic instead of criticizing residents whose opinions differ from his?

Maryann Witalec Keyes
Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our enthusiastic endorsement and support for Beth Behrend, a dedicated and highly qualified candidate running for reelection on the Princeton Board of Education. Having closely followed her commitment to data-driven education and student-centered decisions, we believe she is the right choice to help lead our schools forward providing valuable experience and continuity.

Beth’s extensive experience in educational leadership, as well as her advocacy for quality education for all students, showcase her dedication to ensuring that each child receives the support and opportunities they need to succeed academically and personally. more

To the Editor:

Last Wednesday and Thursday, both perfect fall weather, there was a terrible back-up of cars going in all directions between 8 and 8:15 a.m. at my crossing guard post. Worse, on Thursday, motorists were honking their horns in impatience at having to wait their turn. While there were some road closures, I don’t think that accounts for the delays — the closures were no worse than the previous week, but the traffic was.

I think part of the problem is that it is early in the school year, and students and parents are eager to get to school to live up to personal resolutions to “be the early bird” and “catch the worm.” An admirable goal, but I have a suggestion for an equally admirable approach which doesn’t involve waiting in line. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge fellow Princeton parents and taxpayers to vote for Eleanor Hubbard for Board of Education (BOE) on November 7.

There is a real need for new and competent leadership on the BOE, which is the elected body that oversees the Princeton Public Schools system. In recent years there has been a marked decline in the academic achievement of Princeton Public Schools students as compared with surrounding school systems such as West Windsor-Plainsboro and Montgomery, which now surpass Princeton on standardized test scores. In particular, the quality of the math program in Princeton schools has been degraded, for example through incoherent reforms in the Princeton Middle School that have dramatically weakened students’ understanding of algebra, reducing opportunity for advancement in math for Princeton High School students. At the same time, Princeton Public Schools’ spending, which accounts for over half of residents’ property tax bill, has increased significantly.

Both school curriculum and school spending are overseen by the BOE. Your vote for Eleanor Hubbard, as a candidate who was not on BOE previously and did not support these decisions, could help get the Princeton Public Schools system back on the track of excellence that our students and taxpayers deserve. more

September 20, 2023

FINANCIAL FOCUS: “We work with clients to help them make sound financial decisions. We are advocates for them, and we have long-term relationships. Underlying everything is our desire to help people meet their financial goals.” Shown, from left, are financial advisors Michael G. Petrone, CFP, JD; Thomas M. Petrone, CLU; and Andrew Petrone of Petrone Associates Financial Advisors, the longtime family business founded by President Thomas M. Petrone.

By Jean Stratton

For 53 years, Petrone Associates Financial Advisors has been helping clients navigate their finances and guiding them to a successful outcome and future.

Such important work has become even more necessary today as people are dealing with challenges on many levels. Recovering from the aftermath of a worldwide pandemic, coping with inflation, uncertainty over taxes, worries over technology, and climate change are all foremost.

On a more personal level, it can include anxiety over the next paycheck, protecting income, funding college costs, long-term health care planning, or anticipating retirement needs.

Whatever one’s financial status, these are all concerns that require careful attention. more

To the Editor:

Before the final screening of Oppenheimer at the Garden Theatre last week, the Princeton Einstein Museum of Science was invited to address the audience and explain our plans for a hands-on science education museum based on the work of Albert Einstein. 

The museum will tap into the public’s apparently unquenchable interest in Albert Einstein to highlight his humanitarianism, explore his time as a town resident, and get visitors ages 8 and up excited about physics, cosmology, and mathematics. People will learn about his contributions to our world and how his influence continues to be felt today in GPS systems, solar panels, and more.

Support for our nascent museum from other organizations such as the nonprofit Princeton Garden Theatre and its parent company, Renew Theaters, helps all of us grow as we add to the exciting venues and educational opportunities in town. Thank you!

Elizabeth Romanaux
Founder and Board Chair
Princeton Einstein Museum of Science
Sycamore Place

To the Editor:

As the municipality of Princeton considers improvements to Hinds Plaza, it is fitting that Marvin Reed be honored there. One of Princeton’s most dedicated citizens, Marvin died in October of 2020, and it is now time to officially remember him with gratitude.

Marvin Reed, who served as Borough mayor from 1990 to 2003 and was a longtime councilman, was the primary force in guiding the redevelopment of the Princeton Public Library and the surrounding downtown area. The development of the plaza in particular faced passionate opposition from some citizens and merchants, who feared the loss of a surface parking lot. But as those who knew him remember, Marvin persevered with a calm determination and much wisdom on the subject of public spaces. He was committed to making Princeton a better place and worked tirelessly to bring this vision to fruition, always answering the doubters and critics with civil discourse.  more

To the Editor:

We are writing to share our enthusiastic support of Beth Behrend for reelection to the Princeton School Board. As former elected officials, we see in Beth the qualities necessary for effective leadership and good governance — an analytical mind, a compassionate heart, a calm and steady demeanor, and a collaborative approach to problem solving.

Beth has skillfully led the district through especially challenging and unprecedented times. As Board president, she helped steer the district through uncharted territory during the sudden shift to remote schooling due to COVID, ensuring equal access to learning through a revenue neutral 1:1 device initiative. She also helped convene a group of community partners to figure out, literally overnight, how to safely deliver nourishing meals to over 500 food-insecure students and their families.   more

To the Editor:

In a recent letter [“Wondering if Recent Court Ruling Means End of Tax Breaks for Developers in Town,” Mailbox, September 13], Mr. Mike Head of Hibben Road — who has no professional credentials in either city planning or the law — claims that the N.J. Supreme Court’s decision in the Malanga v. West Orange case implies that the applications of the 1992 N.J. Redevelopment and Housing Law to various properties in Princeton — the Seminary lands, the defunct Thanet Drive office park, and the visibly ailing Princeton Shopping Center — have been inappropriate and should be struck down.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Thanet Drive and the shopping center have rock solid redevelopment designations. I will not opine as to the validity of the designation of the Seminary lands, but in any event Mr. Head and friends missed the statutory deadline long ago for challenging the designation and are now playing rear guard interference. And the particulars of the Malanga case — which I would urge Mr. Head to read, before he misquotes from it — have no bearing whatsoever on any of the three properties in question. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Eleanor Hubbard’s candidacy to join the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE).

I have known Eleanor for almost eight years, mostly as a fellow member of the UNOW Board.  UNOW is the day care/preschool on the University Campus. I have come to know Eleanor while observing her as a parent of young children and as a colleague. I mostly write from my perspective as a 37-year veteran educator, both as an elementary and middle school teacher and then as a principal in public and independent schools.

A successful school district depends on collaboration, cooperation, and trust amongst administrators, teachers, and parents, all overseen by the BOE. Together, these groups must work to meet the complicated challenge of providing a rich and varied program that responds to children’s developmental needs while it simultaneously stimulates children to think critically and creatively and ensures mastery of basic skills. A successful school develops students who are independent, confident, and intellectually curious learners, and of equal importance are also kind, honest, compassionate, and respectful individuals. The sense of community in a school is essential for children and their teachers  to do their best, with support of parents.  more

September 13, 2023

PLANT-BASED: “The vegan diet is plant-based with no meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products. Interest is growing, and I thought there was a need for it in Princeton. There is really nothing like our restaurant, a full-scale vegan restaurant, in the area.” Chef Omer Basetemur, owner of Planted Plate, is shown in front of the restaurant’s colorful full-size mural, featuring a rain forest/jungle background and the Princeton tiger looking on.

By Jean Stratton

If dining out is on your menu, and you are ready to experience a variety of new tastes, the Planted Plate restaurant can become your new “go to” eatery.

Located at 15 Spring Street, this vegan restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and takeout with wide-ranging culinary choices. it was opened in 2021 by owner/chef Omer Basetemur, and it has consistently increased its customer base as more and more people are enjoying its intriguing variety of plant-based options.

Basetemur is especially happy to have opened Planted Plate in his hometown. “I grew up in Princeton, and I really liked the idea of having a restaurant here. Princeton is a good match for a vegan restaurant,” he says.

Bastemur’s culinary history has an interesting origin and evolution. After graduating from Princeton High School, he headed to the Jersey Shore, where he worked in a vegetarian restaurant. Not a practicing vegetarian at the time, he began to appreciate its benefits. “I saw its healthy aspects, and it became part of my diet,” he explains. more

To the Editor:

The Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC), in partnership with Sustainable Princeton (SP), has been busy as bees (pun intended) in preparing for the Green House Tour (GHT) on Saturday, September 30. This event will provide the community with the opportunity to observe what their neighbors (GHT hosts) have done to support the environment through energy efficiency, native vegetation, and various other green property improvement methods. more

To the Editor:

I write in support of Beth Behrend for reelection to the Princeton Public Schools Board and to urge Princeton voters to join me in voting for Beth. 

We have been favored by Beth’s leadership on the Board for the past six years and fortunate that she is offering to continue serving for another three. Her experience and proven capability are very much needed as the Princeton Public Schools navigate this challenging time of increasing student population, heightened cultural awareness, and the increasing variety of educational needs from an increasingly diverse student body. more

To the Editor:

As one who knew the Oppenheimer family when I was young and living in Princeton, it turns out that I am one of many people for whom the recent Christopher Nolan film has stirred up a host of memories [“’Oppenheimer’ Film Sparks Remembrance of His Secretary, Verna Hobson,” August 23, page 7].

For some years, I lived on Mercer Street, a few doors down from where Einstein lived, and not at all far from Olden Manor. When I was very young, I got to know Robert Oppenheimer’s daughter Toni, a lovely, brilliant girl, with the most entertainingly lively imagination. My mother was a very close friend of Kitty Oppenheimer, and we were at their home many times. Even when I was quite young, it was immediately apparent to me that these people were amazingly unusual. more

To the Editor:

To the Beemer driver who tailgated me and flipped me the bird when I had the nerve to drive the speed limit and stop at stop signs in the tree streets area of town; get a grip. Spruce Street isn’t the place to demonstrate your driving prowess and your vehicle’s clearly awesome power.

There are kids on these narrow streets, bicycle riders (both in the street and on the sidewalks), lots of pedestrians crisscrossing the streets to get to their cars, and, of course those damnable electric scooter/skate board riders who blithely drive at top speed as if the laws of physics won’t govern their ability to stop. Twenty miles per hour is more than fast enough to get you to where you are going in the five short blocks that make up the tree streets area. The intersection of Spruce and Chestnut is particularly dangerous given the poor sight lines and the need to pull forward over the pedestrian crossings at Spruce Street to see if there are cars or trucks making their way up and down Chestnut Street. There are plenty of blind driveways too. more

To the Editor:

Princeton is blessed with an impressive pool of talented, committed individuals and I want to thank every one of my Princeton neighbors who is a candidate for the Board of Education (BOE) and is willing to step up for public service.

I am giving my vote to Adam Bierman — a candidate pledged to maintain Princeton public school education excellence and who also has the courage, honesty, and credentials in equal measures to do so. more

To the Editor:

In a recent N.J. Supreme Court ruling, Malanga v. Township of West Orange, it was ruled that the town improperly designated the site of its public library as an area in need of redevelopment (ANR) under the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law. The court reaffirmed that the standard for declaring a property or building in need of redevelopment must be that the property is “blighted” and must prove that the area is detrimental to the community and that there is a public purpose to redeveloping buildings. They also emphasized that the fact that a property is old or requires modernizing is not confirmation of “blight.” more

September 6, 2023

KITTY RESCUE: Saving kittens in the wild, or sometimes even pursuing them into a dumpster, is just one of many different jobs that Princeton Animal Control Officer Jim Ferry performs in a day’s work of caring for Princeton’s residents and its domestic and wild animals. (Photo courtesy of Jim Ferry)

By Donald Gilpin

Jim Ferry, Princeton animal control officer (PAC) since 2018, has been training for this job since he was a young boy growing up with his family in the Ozark Mountains in north central Arkansas, where he interacted closely with nature and wildlife almost every day.

His family lived in a wooded area at the end of a three-quarter-mile-long driveway. “Growing up in the Ozarks, I believed in being one with nature,” he said. “There is no animal control out in Arkansas, so if you had an issue with an animal on your property or nearby, you had to handle it by yourself.” more

To the Editor:

This past Friday, September 1, Princeton Care Center on Bunn Drive, the only long-term care facility in Princeton, notified residents and their families and the facility’s staff that the Center was closing that very night, the Friday of a holiday weekend. The 72 residents and their families had a period of hours in which to make other living arrangements; the Center could not make payroll and all employees were being terminated.  more

To the Editor:

We wholeheartedly endorse Beth Behrend for reelection to the Board of Education. For many years, we have known Beth to be an effective and tireless community servant as a leader in the Riverside PTO, the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative, the Unitarian Congregation, and the Watershed Institute. In her first two terms on the Board of Education (including three years as board chair, as well as chair of the Long-Term Planning Committee and representative to the Executive Board of the Garden State Coalition of Schools) she has continued to prove her extraordinary abilities. She sees the big picture, listens with an open mind, makes decisions objectively, and above all stays focused on serving our community’s children. more

August 23, 2023

NATIVE AND NATURAL: “I design and regenerate garden habitats for native pollinators and wildlife that are an essential part of the natural foundation that stabilizes the structure of the earth’s environmental system. Nature thrives in interactive systems, and that is how I create gardens,” explains Judith K. Robinson. The owner of Our World Our Choices, she is shown laying out a garden design with native plantings

By Jean Stratton

A garden is a gift from nature.

We can embrace and enhance it by our own effort and enthusiasm. Even more important, we can make essential choices that will ultimately benefit our environment and the pollinators necessary to keep it healthy.

This is Judith K. Robinson’s mission. Owner of Our World Our Choices, headquartered in Hopewell, she has set out on a journey to educate homeowners about the importance of native plantings — including trees, bushes, and flowering plants — in their gardens.

Some have called this development in gardens “re-wilding” and “untamed lawns”. more

To the Editor:

Last week, it was a pleasure to read about James Steward and Adam Welch’s proposal to create a newly-formed committee for the town of Princeton which would be funded by levying a 1 percent fee on the cost of commercial and commercial residential capital projects, to be paid into a public art fund [“Council Gives Go-Ahead to Pursue Establishment of Public Art Master Plan, page 1, August 16].

I had the pleasure of working with James Steward on the Princeton Public Art Selection Committee, which was created by Liz Lempert in 2018. I also worked with Adam Welch on an exhibition of his sculpture in 2013 while he was teaching at Princeton University. For these two visionary men to collaborate and offer their time to create a public art program is an exceptional gift for our town. With the 2025 opening of the Princeton University Art Museum, the dynamic Arts Council of Princeton, and a new committee to purchase public art, we will all benefit and the town will be on a higher cultural plane for decades to come. 

Jody Erdman
Mountain Avenue