January 26, 2022

To the Editor:

In 1994, the CEOs of the leading tobacco companies testified to Congress on whether or not nicotine was addictive. The CEOs of Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, U.S. Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, Liggett Group, Brown and Williamson Tobacco, and American Tobacco were all unanimous in their declaration that “no, nicotine is not addictive.” Anyone watching the replay of this event today, 28 years later, would likely view it as one of the most stunning attempts at public deception with devastating consequences on future public health.

A more recent example of organized public deception was Purdue Pharma’s deliberate suppression of evidence of OxyContin’s powerful addictive properties which led to the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Friedman and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor “misbranding” charge and the executives paid a combined $634.5 million in fines.

Today, Princeton is facing its own glaring example of a breach of public trust with the potential for tragic consequences. more

To the Editor:

Congratulations, PCS [“Princeton Charter School Celebrates 25 Years of Educating Local Students,” January 19], and brava “Mme.” Toma for so beautifully describing what was — and is — uniquely wonderful about this school.

As the parent of a child that first year (and another who entered a year later), I have vivid memories of the energy and ingenuity that informed those early days, from the serious commitment to learning (giving standardized tests to students at the beginning of the year instead of at the end, to determine where gaps needed to be addressed during the coming months), to the sheer exuberance of sports events (boys handing over their sweaty pinnies to the girls for their turn at intramural basketball games because there weren’t enough to go around).

Of course, there’s the most compelling fact in last week’s article: admission to PCS is by a random lottery. Here’s to 25 more years of “high expectations and kindness.”

Ellen Gilbert Castellana
Stuart Road East

January 19, 2022

FUN AND FUNCTION: “As a modern lifestyle brand, Toobydoo is designed for babies, boys, and girls, from infants to age 14. We believe in beautiful designs that are always fun and functional. Come see us at Toobydoo!” Sonja Lips (right), co-owner, with her husband Paul, of Toobydoo on Palmer Square, is shown with her staff. They are enthusiastic and ready to help with a full range of imaginative shopping ideas.

By Jean Stratton

Creativity. Imagination. Personality.

With all due respect to the digital age, you will not find the import of these expressions and the images they evoke online. Words and pictures, perhaps, but they are, after all, one-dimensional. Online shopping and the convenience and quick click of the keyboard cannot duplicate the real thing, and seeing it firsthand. No touching, tasting, trying on!

Where you will find creativity, imagination, and personality vividly brought to life is within the walls of Toobydoo. The baby and children’s clothing and toy store at 59 Palmer Square West is filled with style and spirit, and a visit there will guarantee a fun shopping experience.

It begins with the windows. Filled with colorful, eye-catching displays, they invite you to come in. more

To the Editor:

It’s that time again to name our winners! Morven Museum & Garden is delighted to announce the winning 2021 Festival of Trees decorators:

First Place Tree Exhibitor: American Spaniel Club Foundation/Southern NJ Cocker Spaniel Club, “A Merry Cocker Spaniel Christmas!”; Second Place Tree Exhibitor: West Trenton Garden Club, “A Peacocks and Paisley Palette”; and Third Place Tree Exhibitor: Mount Laurel Garden Club, “Chinese New Year.”

First Place Mantel Exhibitor: Neshanic Garden Club, “Winter Wonderland”; Second Place Mantel Exhibitor: Princeton Public Library, “Winter Warmth: The Books of Jan Brett”; and Third Place Mantel Exhibitor: Nottingham Garden Club of Hamilton Township, “Nature’s Seasonal Gifts.”

In yet another season of uncertain times, we were thrilled to see a 50 percent increase over last year’s in-person attendance. Online visitors and voters were at a record number with 493 votes cast. The Festival of Trees party saw record breaking attendance with over 200 guests joining our winter fundraiser safely outside amid twinkling lights and firepits. This would not have been possible without the leadership of our event chairs Colleen Goggins, Carolyn and John Healey, Rachel Herr, and Eileen and Robert O’Neil.  more

To the Editor:

Princeton’s Cannabis Task Force has recommended that Princeton allow up to three shops to sell marijuana in our town in clear violation of federal law. While Princeton has no obligation to enforce federal law, it would be irresponsible to knowingly encourage federal crimes. Marijuana shops would attract more criminal activity, potentially including armed robberies, thefts, and burglaries, and increased sales of marijuana to minors.

The large amounts of cash and drugs on hand at marijuana retailers make them attractive targets for violent criminals. Many credit card payment processors will not deal with marijuana retailers because their businesses are unlawful. So marijuana retailers accumulate large amounts of cash, creating far greater risk of armed robbery than other merchants. Recently, a man armed with a handgun threatened a Bethlehem, Pa., pot shop worker before fleeing with stolen marijuana. Robberies of dispensaries in Oregon and Oklahoma left two people shot dead. There have been strings of armed robberies in Portland, Denver, and San Francisco. Marijuana retailers across the country have suffered similar crimes. more

To the Editor:

While reading the recent Town Topics annual review of significant events in Princeton during 2021 [“Year Starts and Ends at COVID Peaks, as Town Moves Forward,” December 29, 2021], we were disappointed to discover that there was no mention of the June 17 rally addressing hate, anti-Semitism, and rising overt anti-Jewish incidents in Princeton and Mercer County. This peaceful and upbeat event was organized by the Jewish Federation and co-sponsored by a broad coalition of Jewish organizations and religious institutions. More than 300 people attended the rally, which featured local clergy of many faiths, local and statewide office holders, local Jewish teenagers, and Jewish and non-Jewish community leaders expressing their commitment to eradicating anti-Jewish bias and other manifestations of causeless hatred and endorsing tolerance.  more

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Mayor Freda, Emergency Manager Yeh, and Assistant Administrator Grosser for putting our local mask mandate in place. Princeton joins at least 15 other New Jersey municipalities — from small towns like Montclair to our largest city, Newark — with this move.

It’s hard to fathom how inconsiderate and selfish some people can be. I personally experienced this on Christmas Eve, with the Omicron variant already pushing Princeton’s daily COVID case numbers to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. I went to one of my favorite small local restaurants to pick up takeout food I had ordered. It was a cold evening and about 10-12 people were waiting in a very small area inside the store. All were masked, as were the employees — all of whom have been since March 2020. All that is except for one inconsiderate family of three who insisted on standing right in front of the pick-up table maskless, although their food was not yet ready. Shameful!

I know that many restaurant and store owners already have signs in their windows saying “mask suggested” or “please wear a mask.” I hope that they will change these signs to “Masks required by Princeton Emergency Order of January 10, 2022.”

John Heilner
Howe Circle

To the Editor:

By now many readers of Town Topics may have heard of the Princeton Cannabis Task Force, which includes three members out of the six on the town Council. There have been several articles about their initiatives, and many reactions from people in town surprised at the rapid and aggressive direction they have been taking. They have not been in alignment with the majority of town residents or the PPS Board of Education. 

For example, they have been sticking to a recommendation that we should open up to three cannabis dispensaries in town, and that they need only be 200 feet away from schools, with no setbacks required for child care centers, houses of worship, or drug treatment centers. This stands as the most aggressive position in the state of New Jersey.  more

January 12, 2022

To the Editor:

The morning of New Year’s Eve, I thought I would walk over to my new neighborhood bakery, Delizioso, and grab some goodies for our celebration that night. My guide dog stopped to point out the public garbage can and, while we were stopped, I reached into my pocket and put on my mask. When I reached into my pocket again to pay for my purchases, I discovered that the money was gone. The daughter of the owner of the bakery generously offered to quickly retrace my steps to find my money, but it wasn’t there.

They insisted that I take my treats and we headed home. About an hour later, I discovered my $20 bill had gotten tucked up in my sweater, and of course we headed back to the bakery.

Their generosity was such a special way to end a seriously stressful year. May we all find ways to do a mitzvah in this new year for someone we don’t really know. And did I say their baked goods are absolutely Delizioso? 

Sue Tillett
Moore Street

To the Editor:

The 3,799 students attending Princeton’s six public schools deserve the community’s support on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. This is the date of the special election to approve the $17.5 million Facilities Stewardship Referendum. In approving this referendum, Princeton’s citizens will be choosing to fund urgent repairs and replace aging roofs at our public schools.

The Board of Education is responding to critical needs by presenting this referendum, and has worked diligently to take advantage of time-sensitive state aid (approximately $7 million) to offset the cost to taxpayers. Leaky roofs, crumbling masonry, and mold issues must be fixed; these are not luxuries. Few adults would happily endure these problems in their homes or workplaces.  more

To the Editor:

Princeton residents will have the opportunity to vote on a Princeton Public Schools Facilities Stewardship Referendum on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. We are writing to encourage residents to inform themselves and to vote by mail or in person on January 25.   

After a comprehensive review of building systems, the Board is proposing a multi-year schedule of significant repairs and improvements to the six district school buildings, funded by a $17.5 million bond issue that will be paid for in part by approximately $7 million in debt service aid from the state of New Jersey.  Bonds are the most cost-effective way of paying for these repairs because state debt service aid is available. It is anticipated that the net school capital tax levy will decrease next year, even with the issue of new bonds, due to retiring debt from past facilities investments.

The largest part of the proposed project involves roof replacements at all six schools, including replacement of outdated rooftop HVAC equipment. After many years of patchwork and emergency repairs, a majority of the roofing is past or near the end of its useful life. As part of the proposed improvements, at no extra cost, roofs would be made “solar ready,” facilitating the installation of solar panels at a future date, reducing energy costs and aligning with community sustainability goals.  more

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) would like to thank the Witherspoon-Jackson Development Corporation (WJDC) for their recent contribution of $5,500. This donation has allowed HIP to assist 20 households in Princeton’s W-J neighborhood to pay rent. WJCD’s generosity is an uplifting example of community partners pooling resources and working together during difficult times.

For those unfamiliar with our work, HIP helps low-income working families in our community avoid homelessness by providing transitional housing and emergency rental assistance. Our transitional housing program provides families with an affordable, temporary safe place to live coupled with emotional and mental health support, career counseling, financial planning, access to education, and additional wraparound services. HIP’s support system has empowered dozens of families in our community to move from the brink of homelessness to the security of permanent housing, employment, and hope. more

January 5, 2022

“ARTIST’S LIFE”: “Art needs to be out in the world, interacting with people. When you bring a work of art into your home, you are allowing a new spirit to become part of your life,” says artist Jessie Krause, a member of Princeton Makes Artist Cooperative. Shown is one of her acrylic paintings, a cyclist in front of East Pyne Hall on the Princeton University campus.

By Jean Stratton

We are a community of artists from all over the world, all of whom have an artistic vision, and work in varying styles. There is a group dynamic here that enhances the creative process.

“You hear the sound of creativity, the sound of community, the sound of making things together. You’ll hear a sewing machine, a potter’s wheel, and all in a workshop environment. We’re like an art market. We are very accessible with a whole range of art and a wide range of prices. Art is affordable here. And the public can come in and see real people making real things in their studio. We’re part of the real world.”

Artist Jessie Krause is very proud of Princeton Makes, the Artist Cooperative in the Princeton Shopping Center. An organization of 30 artists, the cooperative offers them the opportunity both to showcase and sell their artwork and also to have studio space for their creative endeavors.

Opened in September, it was founded by stained glass artist Jim Levine, former interim director of the Arts Council of Princeton. more

To the Editor:

I’d again like to make some comments regarding the Permit Parking Task Force and the odyssey that we, the community, have all been swept up in during this past year due to their efforts and actions.

I’d like to preface this by stating that I can only imagine how crushing it must be at times to be dead set on something — put in the time and work on it — and then have it met with mass criticism, opposition, and unpopularity. On this, the PPTF members have my sincere empathy. I’ve been there in my own endeavors.

With that said, it is vital, for the PPTF to actually listen to their constituency and not simply dismiss their concerns; confident their own opinions are 100 percent correct — thus medicine that must just be accepted. I would ask them to consider the tremendous strain their efforts have put upon many in the community, who have felt under siege throughout this past year. One would think that, with so many residents making their views and concerns known — directly at meetings, as well as in public forums and letters — that some heed would be paid, and that the PPTF would’ve taken these strongly expressed concerns into account. Instead, it appeared that they were exceedingly dismissive, stubbornly entrenched in their ideas, and determined to do what they pleased. They have demonstrated this repeatedly, through a lack of transparency and with a seeming vested interest in favoring the desires of businesses over residents — all culminating in a decided disinterest in these expressed concerns. Their efforts to push through with their plans during times when people were generally away — distracted in the summertime, and recently during the holidays — optically appear exceedingly disingenuous. more

To the Editor:

The Permit Parking Task Force has issued a press release with recommendations that it intends to propose to Princeton Council. These include an extremely controversial recommendation that employees of Princeton businesses receive permits to park on residential streets. If you live on a residential street in Princeton that is within 1/2 mile of Princeton businesses, your street is at risk. Many people also object to the Task Force’s town-wide overnight parking recommendation.

Fortunately, there will be a virtual public meeting, with mayor and Council in attendance, to hear residents’ opinions. Be sure to attend and to speak in opposition to the Task Force’s recommendations.

The meeting is on Tuesday, January 11, at 7 p.m. To obtain the link, on Monday, January 10, go to princetonnj.gov, click on Calendar, go to January 11 and click on Special Council Meeting — Work Session on Permit Parking, click on More Details, then click on the link.

Why should you oppose the “employee permit parking” recommendation? more

To the Editor:

After reading the Town Topics article entitled “Permit Parking Task Force Revising Recommendations in Response to Feedback” (December 8, page 1), we were dismayed to read that off-street parking for employees of businesses was still being considered as a part of the proposal for the Tree Streets and Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhoods. This was a surprise particularly since the article described the exclusion of the Western Section (without any explanation for the reversal).

We very much agree with the authors of “Revised Parking Proposal Should Not Single Out Residential Neighborhood for Employee Parking” featured in the December 22 Town Topics Mailbox. Particularly when it comes to the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, off-street parking is a significant challenge since many houses have shared or no driveways. We similarly question why off-street parking for business employees is being considered over identifying alternative surface lot options.

In addition to the successful negotiation of securing 240 spaces within the Westminster Choir College and MacLean lots, perhaps discussions could also be initiated with Princeton University to use spaces within the new garage near Jadwin Gym. We applaud the efforts to secure off-street parking for Princeton residents (via permit parking), but believe further discussions need to continue to exhaust the surface lot options for employees of businesses.

Lance and Latonya Liverman
Witherspoon Street

To the Editor:

Regarding residential street parking, we are recommending no business employee permits, one permit per house without a driveway, and no second car permit. The cost of a permit for houses without a driveway should relate to property tax paid on houses with a driveway.

Business parking on the Tree Streets: Businesses need employees and customers to thrive. A parking spot can be used by one all-day employee, or say six short-term customers. A parking spot used by one employee means six customers driving away, annoyed — or 42 a week or perhaps 160 per month. The multi effect is staggering. Shoppers give up, change their habits, and don’t return. Businesses fail.

Twenty years ago I ran a business in Lambertville. Employees were allowed to “feed the parking meter,” i.e., an “all-day permit.” It was a disaster.

Residential Parking on the Tree Streets: Selling all-day employee parking space eliminates perhaps eight short-term customers per day. It also eliminates the ebb and flow of residential parking which allows for services, vital caregivers, deliveries, and family and friends, as you would expect in a residential neighborhood. Depriving residents and customers of parking on the residential streets in favor of all-day business employees is a poor choice. more

To the Editor:

“I want to remind everybody that the roads are public property, they are not the property of the residents who live on the streets. To say that nobody else can use the parking because you want the occasional luxury of being able to park on the street in front of your house doesn’t make sense to me.” These are the comments of Councilman David Cohen, the Permit Parking Task Force’s chief architect, talking to the Princeton High School neighborhood last Spring (https://vimeo.com/623580557/f383ea1737).

For the past several years, Mr. Cohen has been tallying up the residential parking spots which the Council could appropriate then lease to for-profit enterprises as a “low cost solution” to subsidizing business parking expenses. Couple that with maps Mr. Cohen recently presented of mile-wide circles showing neighborhoods across Princeton that could be used as commercial parking lots, and there is no ambiguity as to the long-term intent: all of Princeton’s residential streets are at risk of being appropriated for business parking.

The Task Force’s final proposal, to be presented at a meeting on January 11, includes the first step towards that goal. It includes the establishment of a business parking subsidy program in which the municipality appropriates up to 50 percent of street parking in Jackson-Witherspoon and Tree Streets and leases them to businesses. Voters from across Princeton are uncomfortable with the conflicts of interest of the Task Force that drafted the proposal. For one, its members include the very merchants who would profit from the policy they had a hand in writing. Jack Morrison, its most vocal merchant, is both the former president of the Merchants Association and also a political donor to Councilmembers leading the Task Force. The mayor and Council have failed to respond to inquiries about what, if any, ethics standards are in place to prevent self-dealing and conflicts of interest in Princeton’s policy-making process, a question voters see as extending beyond the issue of just parking.  more

To the Editor:

We want to thank Jonathan Hopkins for accurately quoting David Cohen’s statement regarding Princeton’s public rights-of-way. A fundamental postulate of the work of the Permit Parking Task Force (PPTF) over the past three years has been that these roadways, which are public property, are an asset that must be managed to benefit all members of the public, not just a select few who happen to live nearby.

To extend Mr. Hopkins’ helpful analogy comparing our roads to our public parks, we couldn’t agree more — just as Princeton’s public parks are open to all members of the community, and indeed members of the public from outside the community who choose to visit Princeton, so should our roads be open to all. Just as we take care to ensure that use of our public parks does not negatively impact neighbors who live nearby, so should we manage our roadways to protect nearby residents. Our parks are not open for midnight soccer games, or for drunken carousing, but we would never dream of requiring proof of residency to bring an afternoon picnic to Community Park or Herrontown Woods, or even worse, to restrict access to only those residents whose property happens to abut the parks. Similarly, we are looking to put in place rules that preserve parking access for the convenience of residents while also allowing non-residents to park.

Regarding Mr. Hopkins’ allegation that the work of the PPTF somehow is tainted by a conflict of interest, we vigorously defend the composition and conclusions of the Task Force. Residents of every affected neighborhood have been represented on the Task Force. It would have been an unpardonable tilting of the playing field if members of the business community had not also been included in the deliberative process. The give and take has been feisty, and in the final recommendations, the business owners have gotten much less than they would have wished.  more

To the Editor:

Recently, the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education issued a position statement listing their concerns regarding the Princeton Cannabis Task Force’s (CTF) rapidly developed plans to allow up to three cannabis dispensaries in Princeton. The CTF’s recommendations are aggressive, and do not include any setbacks for playgrounds, child care facilities, bus stops, houses of worship, drug treatment centers, public pools or public libraries. Further, the CTF recommends an astounding minimum setback of only 200 feet from schools.

The CTF’s recommended setbacks (or lack thereof) stand out as the most aggressive (and most favorable to the cannabis industry) in New Jersey and also in the country. For example, Bordentown, New Jersey, requires a 1,000-foot setback from schools. Dispensaries in Denver (with among the highest density of dispensaries in the country) have to be 1,000 feet away from schools, child care facilities, and drug treatment facilities. Of the New Jersey towns which have opted in, they typically require 1,000 feet setbacks. Despite protests from townspeople and the BOE, the CTF has strongly resisted changing their recommendation for 200 feet from schools and zero feet from other sensitive locations. This shows the CTF’s lack of collaboration with townspeople and the BOE. 

Here are some facts to consider: the CTF includes three of the six Princeton Council members. It also includes several Cannabis Industry consultants, and two employees of Princeton University. The CTF has indicated their recommendations for these minimal setbacks have been “unanimous” among their 21 members.  more

To the Editor:

Our elected officials often point to various task forces and committees as vehicles for community members to shape town policies and as evidence of collaborative decision-making. The relentless push for retail cannabis dispensaries in Princeton while our neighboring towns have opted out calls into question the exact purposes of the Cannabis Task Force (CTF).

The 23-member CTF, according to its mission statement, serves in an advisory capacity to provide input to the mayor and Council on the major areas of concerns regarding legal cannabis. It was noted [Town Topics, June 2, 2021, page 9] to include local representatives from, among other areas, law enforcement, public schools, and social services. Clearly, public safety, underage use, and drug abuse aren’t “major areas of concerns” for the CTF as representatives from these areas had no presence in any of the CTF public meetings. Neither are there any meeting minutes or voting records that can prove representatives from these areas have ever meaningfully participated in the deliberation. It was no coincidence that the 90-minute CTF presentation on November 30 made little mention of public safety and the underage use portion of the presentation lasted less than 90 seconds.

According to Councilwoman and CTF Chair Eve Niedergang, one third of the CTF members were absent when the official CTF recommendations were voted on. Yet, that didn’t stop the CTF from calling their recommendations to allow up to three recreational cannabis dispensaries “unanimously supported.” This fixation over consensus is probably best explained by one CTF member who described one of the main objectives of the CTF as “manag(ing) the narratives.” more

December 29, 2021

By Jean Stratton

If you are moving, you want to seal the deal as soon as possible, and under the most auspicious and least stressful circumstances.

No mistake about it, buying or selling a house requires fortitude!

Why not have the very best help available as you navigate this daunting procedure?

Help is at hand!

The Mercer County Association of Top Producers is an organization consisting of high level real estate agents and brokers from many area firms.

To qualify, an agent must have received the prestigious New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) Circle of Excellence Award, Bronze level; and have produced $2.5 million in sales for the year, or 17 units (sales or rentals). There are currently 66 members, and only 5 percent of all members of the Mercer County Board of Realtors have achieved membership.

Elite Group

Since the organization’s establishment more than 30 years ago, it has completed over 1,754 transactions totaling $726 million.

“It is an honor to be part of the Association,” says vice president of the Association Board Lisa LeRay. A broker sales agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors, headquartered in Pennington, she has been a member of Top Producers for 12 years.

“We meet once a month, and it is very beneficial for the agents to network with the other top producers. We discuss and share information about the market, new listings, and we can learn from each other. For example, one agent’s client may be looking for a specific kind of house, with certain details, and another agent may know of one and can make suggestions. I have become a better agent by being a member of this organization.

“Knowing that you are in an elite group with people who you can learn from, but also that motivate you to be an excellent real estate agent, is invaluable.” more

To the Editor:

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank all those whose participation and support have made 2021 a special year at Herrontown Woods, the nature preserve perched on the ridge in northeastern Princeton. At our weekly Sunday morning volunteer sessions and through the week, those who give freely of their time and talents are continuing a tradition that began with the original gift of the land by mathematician Oswald Veblen and his wife Elizabeth. That gift, 64 years ago, ushered in an extraordinary era of natural lands preservation in Princeton that continues to this day.

The year 2021 saw the expansion of the Botanical ARt garDEN, nicknamed the Barden, where diverse native plantings mix with art and whimsy. Whether it be turning fallen trees into bridges, or the rescuing of a gazebo otherwise headed for the landfill, the project at Herrontown Woods exemplifies the role of creative repair and reuse in smuggling joy and utility into a shared future. Lending inspiration is, of course, nature, which has been in the business of creative repurposing since life began.

Having repaired and improved trails since 2013, the Friends of Herrontown Woods was this year fortunate to find a highly skilled carpenter to begin repairing Veblen House and Cottage. These two structures, each with a fascinating history, had been patiently waiting for some positive action since they were boarded up in 1998. more

To the Editor:

Lovers of the performing arts in Princeton, central Jersey, and beyond owe a debt of gratitude to Richard Tang Yuk, general and artistic director of the Princeton Festival, for the quality and variety of programs he brought to us every June for 16 consecutive years. As many people know, he stepped aside from his position in 2020, but continued to maintain a home in our community.

When he recently decided to relocate to his native Trinidad, a group including former Festival board chairs Laney Kulsrud, David Brown, and Costa Papastephanou and longtime board members Pamela Bristol and Tom Lento, all who have worked with him over the years to make the Festival a joyous and successful enterprise, got together to express their gratitude for his formative leadership of this Princeton institution. We are sure many in the community share our sentiments.

We would like to share the following Resolution, which was presented to him on November 17 on the occasion of his departure:

On the occasion of Richard Tang Yuk’s resigning as general and artistic director of The Princeton Festival and relocating far from the Princeton area.

Whereas in the winter of 2004 Richard Tang Yuk proposed to a small group gathered for coffee at The Princeton Diner to lament the demise of Opera Festival of New Jersey that they should found a festival for the performing arts in Princeton; more

December 22, 2021

By Donald Gilpin

Liz Dyevich (“Nurse Liz”)

The students’ physical and mental well-being is the top priority of the Princeton Public Schools (PPS), and in the forefront of that endeavor are the seven nurses at the district schools. The past two years have presented them with situations beyond what they could possibly have imagined or trained for, but they have stepped up to lead the schools in confronting the challenges of COVID-19.

“Throughout the pandemic, our nurses have embodied the best of PPS as they assist our students, families, and staff with compassion, understanding, and patience,” said PPS Human Services Director Micki Crisafulli. “They make sure everyone is cared for and informed. They complete contact tracing at all times, including instances when they work nights and weekends. Our entire community is healthier and safer as a result of their dedication.”

The team of PPS nurses includes Magarida Cruz and Gail Cipolloni at Princeton High School, Kathleen Bihuniak at Princeton Middle School, Liz Dyevich at Johnson Park, Sarah Gooen-Chen at Riverside, Holly Javick at Littlebrook, and Vera Maynard at Community Park.

In an email exchange earlier this week, Dyevich, “Nurse Liz,” discussed the world of school nursing and how that world has been transformed since the pandemic arrived in early 2020.

“Over the past two years my job has changed drastically,” she said. “The only constant has been the amazing students and their love for being in school with friends and teachers. I have added the extra responsibilities of contact tracing, keeping up on all the COVID guidelines and policies, and being a part of the school district’s COVID committee.”

She continued, “I had to learn how to do virtual health lessons, monitor close contacts and quarantines, and navigate helping students with the mental and physical effects of COVID.” more