October 12, 2022

To the Editor:

Whatever would Princeton University do if it weren’t able to virtue signal its commitment to all things progressive. Unfortunately, sometimes virtue signaling translates into actions and actions have consequences. In this case I specifically refer to the front page story in last week’s [October 5] Town Topics about PU’s decision to “divest and dissociate” from fossil fuel companies.

Let me play this out a bit — for a variety of reasons our U.S. energy costs are increasing rapidly (which also drives overall inflation), with those less able to afford it being hurt the most. Our president in trying to lower energy costs (you think there might be a political angle here, with an election four weeks away?), instead of increasing U.S. drilling and energy production, goes hat in hand to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela and of course, the benefits of these high prices benefit Russia. Saudi Arabia’s answer was a less-than-polite, thanks but no thanks. We are also seeing our European friends and allies about to endure a winter of high energy prices and potential supply shortfall as they have “outsourced” their energy supply to Russia — we all can see how that is working. Perhaps they will start burning wood or maybe even coal. What would Princeton recommend?

So now PU, oblivious to the economic, political, and strategic factors which the West faces, decides now is the right time to divest and dissociate. I wonder if the Princeton dons will be warm enough in their solar heated living rooms. All I can say is, timing is everything.

Michael Eckstut
Valencia Court, Skillman

To the Editor:

I am writing to support the candidacies of Dafna Kendal, Debbie Bronfeld, and Susan Kanter for Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. I have known and worked with each of them for more than a decade through the various volunteer roles I have had in the district. Dafna, Debbie, and Susan are intelligent, diligent, and transparent in their efforts to support our public schools.

Our public schools continue to be highly ranked in the state and the county.  Niche.com recently released its 2023 Best Schools and Districts rankings. Princeton High School was ranked seventh for college prep public high schools in the state, and is the No. 1 public high school in Mercer County. Princeton High School was ranked the 12th best public high school in the state. As a community, we should be proud that we have excellent public schools, while still being a welcoming community for all.

Dafna, Debbie, and Susan are on the Board for the right reasons — for the students, for the educators, and for the community.

Please join me in voting for Dafna, Debbie, and Susan for re-election to the Board of Education on November 8.

Dina Shaw
Clover Lane

October 5, 2022

PERFORMING ARTS: “At the Hopewell Theater, we provide a place for emerging and established talent to perform in a world-class theater right in the heart of Hopewell, a place where our patrons and artists feel welcome and well taken care of by our staff who provide real hospitality.” Hopewell Theater Executive Director Sara Scully is shown in front of the theater. Its upcoming season offers a variety of eclectic entertainment. (Photo by Kendra Thatcher)

By Jean Stratton

“Another opening; Another show!”

This refrain highlights the varied entertainment agenda at the Hopewell Theater at 5 South Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell.

The storied theater has a long and intriguing history, dating to 1880. Originally known as Columbia Hall, it served as a community center with a lyceum-style theater, and hosted lectures, performers, and films on its second floor until 1939. The first floor was used for community groups, the fire department, and Borough council meetings.

In the 1940s and ’50s it became known as the Colonial Playhouse, and underwent an extensive renovation. Throughout the 1950s, it was a movie theater.

A complete change in operation occurred in 1960, when the building was purchased by George Gallup, CEO of the locally-based Gallup Poll Group. It was used to conduct public polling until 1984. At that time, it reverted to its original theatrical purpose. Bob and Julie Thick purchased the building, and further modified the interior to support the Off-Broadstreet Theatre, a dessert theater featuring live stage productions and children’s shows. more

To the Editor:

We wish to send a sincere thank you to everyone who helped to make the Friends & Foundation of the Princeton Public Library’s 2022 Annual Book Sale a huge success! This event takes months of planning, and relies on the commitment and skills of a small army of people.

We are thankful for our dedicated volunteers who work throughout the year sorting and pricing thousands of book donations, and for the volunteers who prepared the room and worked at the sale.

We are thankful for our colleagues at the library whose hard work and helpful assistance ensured the event ran smoothly.

We are thankful for our faithful customers who return each year, and for the many new customers who visited us for the first time this year.

And finally, we are grateful to the local community for their generous donations of new and gently used books and media throughout the year.

Please go to our website at princetonlibrary.org/booksale for more information about donating books, our bookstore, and any upcoming sales. We look forward to another successful Book Sale in 2023!

Claire Bertrand
Jane Nieman 
Co-Chairs, 2022 Annual Book Sale
Friends & Foundation of the Princeton Public Library
Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

Candidates for the Princeton Board of Education will meet in a virtual forum on Wednesday, October 12 at 7 p.m. Send questions for the candidates to lwvprinceton@gmail.com by October 10.

The forum will be broadcast live on Central New Jersey Network or CNJN Comcast Channel 30 and Verizon Channel 45 and on Facebook.com/cnjntv and its YouTube page. It will be streamed on CNJN.org and on its streaming platforms: Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV.

Video of the forum will be posted on the League of Women Voters’ website, lwvprinceton.org, and at VOTE411.org. The forum will be rebroadcast on CNJN.

To read about the platforms of these candidates as well as others, visit VOTE411.org. Go to VOTE411 or the NJ Voter Info Portal to find specific information about early voting, vote-by-mail, polling and drop box locations, as well as hours and deadlines. The deadline to register is October 18. more

To the Editor:

My name is Debbie Bronfeld and I am running for my third term as a Princeton Public Schools Board member. I have had the honor of being on the School Board for the last six years, representing you and making decisions on behalf of you and the students in Princeton. I want to continue to improve the Princeton school district that educated my children, is educating your children, and is serving the Princeton community.

Three years of COVID created new challenges for the district. As Board members, we had to navigate uncharted waters — balancing education with the health and safety of our children, teachers, staff, and community — in a public health crisis that changed weekly and guidance that changed even faster.

The 2022-23 school year has been a return to normalcy, as students return to in-person learning with even fewer constraints and will have the opportunity to participate in all extra-curricular activities. The pandemic has had an impact on our children’s education, social development, and mental well-being. I have pushed for more guidance counselors and social workers, and this year the district will be partnering with a social service group that will include bilingual services. I understand the impact of a student’s mental well-being on their school performance, and I will continue to support making time and services available for all our students’ needs.  more

To the Editor:
Creating a municipal Master Plan is a data-informed process by which a community outlines its goals for growth. For the Planning Board, its Master Plan Subcommittee, and the resident-led Master Plan Steering Committee, a very important data point is Princeton’s vision for its future as articulated by those of us who live here.

As work continues on the update to the Master Plan, we write to encourage all Princeton residents to complete the Community Visioning Survey launched earlier this month at engage.princetonmasterplan.org.

A previous survey conducted over the summer focused on consumer preferences. We were delighted that more than 4,000 people took that survey and were also pleased that about three quarters of the responses came from Princeton residents. Its findings, to be finalized after University student responses are gathered, will inform a new “element” of the Master Plan focused on economic development.

The current (second) survey aims to identify broader community priorities, values, concerns, and hopes for Princeton. What we learn from this survey will influence the focus and format of upcoming community-wide open houses, as well as the drafting of overarching Master Plan goals and principles for Princeton’s growth, housing, conservation, and preservation in the coming years and decades.  more

To the Editor:

We are writing in support of Susan Kanter, who is running for re-election to the Board of Education. Having served alongside Susan on several local boards, we know her to be a deeply conscientious and community-oriented team player. Susan is a great asset to the school district and greater Princeton community because she is willing to listen to divergent viewpoints, and she strives to foster communication between and amongst different groups.

She has long prioritized student health in all of her volunteer work, and on the BOE she has worked tirelessly to support and improve students’ mental health. As co-chair of the BOE’s Operations Committee, Susan has also focused on the challenge of fixing and maintaining Princeton Public Schools’ aging facilities while being a good steward of taxpayers’ money. She is, in sum, an exemplary public official, who has much more good work to do on the BOE.

Carrie Elwood
Poe Road

Jennifer Jang
Russell Road

Christina Walden
Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

As a Princeton resident for over 20 years, I have been involved at various times in the successes and challenges of the Princeton Public Schools as a community volunteer and advocate.
I write in strong support of Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for re-election to the Board of Education (BOE). Dafna has skillfully steered the BOE through one of its most critical periods. Among the many milestones that have been accomplished during her tenure, I’d like to highlight the favorable and frictionless union contract negotiations, a widely supported facilities referendum, and a smooth transition in key administration roles.

In addition, she has been able to build and keep open communication channels with the diverse sectors of the Princeton community. Dafna makes herself accessible and is eager to get community input and to promptly respond and seek answers to the many unprecedented challenges faced by our children and their families during these difficult years.

Fortunately, Dafna is willing to continue this arduous task, building on the experience she has accumulated in her successful six-year track record. On November 8, I will join other Princeton residents grateful for the opportunity to endorse the re-election of Dafna Kendal for another term on the Board of Education.

Maria Juega
Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

My family moved to Princeton because of the town’s outstanding schools. While other districts, like the one we’d moved from, are seeing upwards trends, over the past six years Princeton school rankings and scores took a downward trajectory.

Rita Rafalovsky’s family and mine share the same background. Diversity, inclusion, transparency, and quality of education are near and dear to our hearts. Rita doesn’t throw these words into the air to get our votes. She truly means what she says, and she acts on her promises. Most importantly, Rita listens and learns from others. As parents we want the best for our children. As residents we don’t want increases in our property taxes. I’ve been privileged to attend some of Rita’s mastermind meetings, such as how to make major improvements with zero impact on our property taxes. Even prior to taking the office, Rita has been actively communicating with other school districts to understand what worked for them and use that information for our district’s benefit.

I’m confident that Rita is the leader Princeton needs to bring democracy back to the Board of Education by introducing a dialog between parents and educators. She will be a leader in raising the bar, setting specific goals, and measuring the district’s performance. Let’s give Rita our vote and watch her lead our district in the right direction.

Julia Rotenberg
Kingston Road

September 28, 2022

BEST TRACTORS: This 4610 M 4×4 Hi Crop model, suitable for tillage and planting, is one of many tractors available at Belle Mead Garage. Also known for pre-owned automobiles, rentals, and car service, the company expanded into tractors several years ago. “We are always ready to help customers with advice about the best tractor for their needs and purposes,” point out owners Kip Higgins and Chris Carnevale.

By Jean Stratton 

That familiar adage “When one window closes, another opens” has certainly proved true at Belle Mead Garage. The longtime and highly respected automobile dealership is celebrating its 95th anniversary, and with a new and very successful component to its business — tractors!

Some businesses and organizations — like people — stand the test of time. Some don’t. In recent times, it seems that the business and commercial landscape changes almost in the blink of an eye.

It is all the more remarkable when a business continues to grow and evolve, despite setbacks and new challenges. Such an enterprise is the aforementioned Belle Mead Garage, located at Route 206 and Station Square in Belle Mead. It has been at that location since 1927, when Leroy Higgins opened it as a service station and car dealership, and lived in the attic of the original building.

Three generations of the Higgins family have seen to it that their reputation has remained intact through all the ups and downs of the automobile industry. Paramount is their love of the business, and a willingness to address unforeseen issues that come along. more

To the Editor:

On Friday, September 16, Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) held its seventh annual Links to Youth Golf Outing at the Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg. This event drew 88 golfers and raised more than $82,500, which will support PBC’s award-winning Summer Bridge Program. Each year, Summer Bridge offers hundreds of students from Trenton, Newark, and Camden a high-quality summer enrichment experience focused on social emotional learning, literacy, and STEM completely free of charge.

At the dinner celebration following the outing, PBC presented the Ev Pinneo Award to Christina Bailey of Princeton. Established in 2018 as part of the 110th Anniversary of the Center, the Ev Pinneo Award is given to a volunteer or staff member who has gone above and beyond in their dedication and commitment to the mission of the Princeton-Blairstown Center, in much the same way that Ev has throughout his seven-decade association with PBC.

The winning foursome for the day, who scored an impressive 11 under par on the Fox Hollow course, included Don Seitz, Michael Seitz, Tom Heffernan, and Jon Heffernan. more

To the Editor:

Last week, on a beautiful afternoon, my husband, an elderly cellist, was walking along Levitt Lane. He tripped on a piece of uneven sidewalk and fell onto his shoulder, which broke.

Five minutes later, I happened to drive by, en route home from an errand, and stopped to see if I could help. Here was my own husband lying on the sidewalk, bleeding. Three neighbors, whose names I do not know, were talking to him and had called 911. When the ambulance arrived, a policeman asked me where he had fallen. I saw the piece of sidewalk block that was sticking up and showed it to him. He said he would take care of it.

Today, less than one week later, I walked past that spot and, indeed, that sidewalk block and several others nearby had been repaired.

Thank you to that policeman, to the EMT crew, and to the three neighbors whose names I do not know. We have good neighbors in Princeton.

Leslie Vieland
Snowden Lane

To the Editor:

It was such a treat to have Dodds Lane newly paved and void of potholes this summer. There has been a lot of construction on the street in the past three years, so I thought the paving signaled an end to all the noise, trucks, industrial smells, and uneven pavement that accompany progress. Those of us in the Littlebrook neighborhood very much enjoyed the clean, smooth paved street.

To my surprise, two weeks ago, long tubes were stacked up in 100-meter intervals and the entire newly paved street was marked with arrows and letters indicating where these tubes will be placed. Sure enough, this morning the street is being torn up by jackhammers. There are police cars indicating that the street is closed, and school children are having to cover their ears as they navigate the crazy and noisy work site. I am sure many Princeton residents have had the same experience in their streets.

How difficult would it be to require vendors that supply and maintain services to the town to coordinate their efforts so that this constant paving, digging up, and drilling could be reduced? Could the installing of cables, tubes, or any necessary work be done simultaneously every few years rather than piecemeal?

Our town prides itself for its efforts in sustainability. Shouldn’t the coordination of work undertaken in our streets by services providers be part of this effort? It would minimize the waste, noise pollution, air pollution and inconvenience of a constant digging up and repaving of our streets.

Gabriella C. Milley
Wittmer Court

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Dafna Kendal’s candidacy for the Board of Education. I’ve known Dafna since our children, who are now both sophomores at Princeton High School, started kindergarten together at Littlebrook Elementary School in the fall of 2012. I was thrilled when Dafna joined the Board in 2016, and throughout her two terms I’ve been continually impressed by Dafna’s commitment to the education and well-being of all of Princeton’s students; by her ingenuity in devising creative solutions to budgetary challenges; by her deep respect for our district’s teachers; and by her dedication to open, transparent communications with all town residents.

Dafna’s many achievements during her time on the Board demonstrate the tenacity and vigor with which she approaches her role. Over her six years on the Board, she has, among many other achievements, secured over a million dollars in voluntary payments to the school district from Princeton’s multiple institutions of higher learning. As someone both deeply aware of the extraordinary contributions of the district’s teachers and committed to safeguarding the district’s financial resources, Dafna has led multiple negotiations with all three labor unions, each time reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome without costly and time-consuming acrimony. Today, thanks to Dafna’s efforts, all unionized staff are under contract through 2024 and all teachers are under contract through 2027. Earlier this year, Dafna was part of the leadership team that successfully steered through an essential referendum to repair our schools’ leaky roofs, taking advantage of state aid to cover approximately 30 percent of the total cost, and saving Princeton taxpayers millions of dollars in the process.  more

To the Editor:

I was shocked to read earlier this year that 29 pedestrians were struck on Princeton streets in the past year — 24 (83 percent!) in marked intersections. Since we have had a successful trial of the “pedestrian priority” system at the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer streets it now seems logical and urgent to implement that system at other busy intersections in Princeton, whether controlled by the state or the town. This can definitely reduce the conflict between pedestrians crossing and drivers turning at these intersections.

The busy intersection of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets would be a prime location for the “pedestrian priority” system, particularly now as Princeton school and University students, and tourists, are on the streets in increased numbers. With the library on one corner and the Arts Council on another, this has become a busy intersection even during the summer, with lots of foot traffic and, unfortunately, frequent jaywalking. Hopefully, this change can be made without requiring state approval to slow its implementation.

It would also seem logical to implement this system at the corner of Witherspoon and Nassau streets given the conflict of traffic turning north onto Witherspoon Street while pedestrians are crossing simultaneously. Of course, this is more difficult since, as I understand it, the state may have the final say on changes at this location. more

September 21, 2022

THEATRE MAGIC: “We are proud of what we do, which is to offer you and your family a high quality convenient alternative to Broadway theater in New York City, and other theaters in New Jersey and Philadelphia,” says M. Kitty Getlik, artistic director of Kelsey Theatre, located at Mercer County Community College. “Our semi-professional theatre center offers musicals, plays, comedies, drama, children’s theater, dance programs, and music concerts year-round. And we try very hard to keep it all affordable for your budget.”

By Jean Stratton

The play’s the thing” at the Kelsey Theatre!

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the 399-seat theatre, located at Mercer County Community College (MCCC), 1200 Old Trenton Road, has a proud history of offering high quality productions.

Much of the theatre’s success is due to the longtime involvement of artistic director M. Kitty Getlik, who joined Kelsey’s operation a few years after its establishment in 1972-73.

Starting as stage manager, she has seen it grow into an important resource for theater-goers. more

To the Editor:

I agree with Brenda Battat’s request in last week’s Town Topics Mailbox [September 14] that there should be a marked crosswalk at the corner of Jefferson Road and Wiggins Street.

It is a busy road and extends several miles to what used to be the Township.

I see young people, especially, crossing there. I myself cross there occasionally, if there is no traffic at the moment on Wiggins.

I remember many years ago, before the old house was torn down and the big duplex was built, there was a fatal accident right at that spot.

Since this seems to be a legal request, better to play it safe. Let’s get out the white paint and do it.

Doris Richards
Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

On behalf of the board of trustees, many thanks to the leadership, staff, board, and volunteers of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) for the absolutely amazing event on September 15 to celebrate PSRC and to honor Norman Klath and Stark and Stark Attorneys at Law. Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you for your generosity — PSRC could not accomplish all it does and could not plan for even more and greater programming and services in the future without you!

This event was an opportunity to gather together for the first time since the onset of COVID and to showcase the amazing new PSRC facility, the Nancy S. Klath Center for Lifelong Learning on Poor Farm Road, Princeton.

Congratulations to the Individual and Corporate Honorees, Norman Klath and Stark and Stark Attorneys at Law, two most deserving honorees. Norm has been an active PSRC board member and leader, generous supporter, and avid participant with PSRC for many years. Norm’s generosity allowed PSRC to jump-start its capital campaign for the Lifelong Learning Center. Norm’s late wife, Nancy, was a strong advocate of lifelong learning, and our new building is fittingly named on her behalf.  more

To the Editor:

This year, on March 6, we lost a wonderful and special person. Honey Rosenberg was beloved by generations of people in this community. After a career as a teacher and director of a nursery school in New York City, Honey joined the Henry Street Settlement where she supported immigrant families while they learned language and coping skills. She lived on Princeton’s Bank Street for 30 years. When it was time to work closer to home, Honey walked to Talbots where she worked for 15 years.

Through the auspices of the Princeton Senior Resource Center “GrandPals” program, Honey read to kindergarten through second graders, four days a week, for 12 years (until age 93!). The children adored Honey and her stories. With her laughter and that of the children, Honey brought the books to life. Honey was also a dedicated volunteer at PSRC, assisting people in the front office, assembling brunch baskets for the annual Brunch at Home fundraiser, and helping to organize annual holiday events. She defined herself through work and service.

Honey also taught us how to face life’s challenges. She taught us fidelity. As a young widow with five children, she remained true to her husband’s memory. Honey was both self-effacing and fiercely independent. Her faith was strong and her belief in everyone else’s faith was just as strong. She would walk the three miles to synagogue, but if she became fatigued, she might stop into the Methodist church to pray. more

To the Editor:

I agree completely with my Jefferson Road neighbor, Brenda Battat, who pointed out the need for crosswalk markings at the busy intersection of Jefferson Road and Wiggins Street in the September 14 Town Topics Mailbox.

This T intersection is heavily utilized by pedestrians. Many are students wearing earphones and using phones. These devices may prevent pedestrians from hearing approaching automobiles. In 2019, Science News suggested an association between distraction by phone usage while walking and a recent tripling of pedestrian injuries.

Pedestrian distraction by technology, in an area heavily traveled by young people, should make the case for creating a highly visible, marked pedestrian crosswalk at Jefferson and Wiggins.

Elizabeth Nicholas
Jefferson Road

September 14, 2022

FAMILY TRADITION:  “We are so happy that we could raise our children here, and that we could have a business in which all our family could be involved. It has been wonderful to do something with our lives to make the community better and that people enjoy and appreciate. It’s very special.” Pam and Gary Mount, owners of Terhune Orchards, are shown with the family’s second and third generations, all doing their part at the farm.

By Jean Stratton

Terhune Orchards is a favorite place not only for Princetonians but for many other loyal customers from farther away. People come from all over to enjoy this special haven at 330 Cold Soil Road. As many as 500,000 a year actually visit, and return again and again.

Emphasizing the unique bounty of each season, this country farm is a local treasure year round. Community and families gather to enjoy great food, fresh fruits and vegetables, friendly farm animals, and wine tastings in the wine barn from the farm’s own vineyard winery.

The evolution of Terhune Orchards into a major example of modern farming began 47 years ago, when Pam and Gary Mount purchased Terhune’s, which had been established in the early 1920s. Just home after three years in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, the Mounts saw a “For Sale” sign at the orchard, and decided to buy it. more

To the Editor:

Sponsored by the Princeton Housing Authority (PHA), the Block Party honoring Clay Street residents on August 27 featured face painting, contests, prizes, and books for kids, along with music, dancing, awards and a plentiful and wide variety of food and drinks. Clay Street residents and their neighbors enjoyed spending time with friends, both old and new.

The event›s large turnout and success would not have been possible without the contributions and hard work of many individuals and entities to include PHA Chairman Joseph Weiss, PHA Executive Director John Clarke, PHA Housing and Operations Manager Reginald Wright Jr., Councilman Leighton Newlin, Patty Ann Yates, Joanne Parker, and Lynn Hightower.

Special thanks go to the community groups who contributed generously to the event, including the Princeton Public Library, Princeton Municipal AID, YMCA, Princeton Arts Council, Corner House, Princeton Parents of Black Children, Princeton Recreation Department, Municipal Aid of Princeton, Princeton Police Department/Princeton Fire Department, Delizioso Bakery and Kitchen, Tera Momo Bread Company, Mt. Pisgah AME Church, jaZams, McCaffrey’s Market, Rita’s Water Ice, Halo Farms, Local Greek, Chuck’s Cafe, and Lupita Grocery.

Linda Sipprelle
Commissioner, Princeton Housing Authority
Victoria Mews

To the Editor:

On behalf of the staff, board, and members of the Sourland Conservancy, I would like to sincerely thank the Sourland Spectacular cyclists, runners, hikers, volunteers, and businesses who helped make this year’s event a big success!

Participants in Saturday’s kick-off event enjoyed Bagel Barn bagels, Small World Coffee, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, New World Pizza and hoagies, and bent spoon ice cream.

Proceeds from the event will support the Conservancy’s education, advocacy, and stewardship efforts. Last year, our staff and volunteers hosted several educational seminars and webinars, created educational videos and signage, and planted over 11,500 native trees in public parks and preserves in the region! more

To the Editor:

We are gradually settling in to Princeton, our new home of three weeks.

The house location we chose was deliberate to enable us to walk to town, campus, library, restaurants, and family on sidewalks. Walkability is a top priority for us.

So it’s ironic that where our street, Jefferson Road, intersects with Wiggins Street there is no marked pedestrian crossing.

Both Wiggins and Jefferson are busy streets for traffic and Jefferson for kids walking and biking back and forth to school.

To the right Madison has a marked crossing and to the left so does Moore. Jefferson in the middle does not.  more