Letters to the editor

April 25, 2002

Candidate says thanks
To the editor:
   To the voters of the Hopewell Valley:
   I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the voters of Hopewell Valley who supported me at the polls during the recent school board election. I would especially like to thank the very special people who helped me throughout the campaign. So many of you took the time out of your busy schedules to write letters of support and encouragement and to meet with me to discuss the issues that concern you. And one very special thank you to my campaign manager, my husband and my two sons who guided me and supported me over these past few weeks. I would also like to congratulate Lisa Marin Main on her win and wish her luck on the board. I have a lot of faith in the district and I look forward to staying involved.
Stacey Simon
Voters thanked
To the editor:
   I would like to thank the voters of Hopewell Township for their support in the school board election on April 16. Thank you not only for the faith that you showed in me by electing me to the school board but also for the support you showed the current board by passing the school budget.
   In the coming months the school board will undoubtedly face many crucial issues as we open Stony Brook Elementary School. I am looking forward to beginning my work as a school board member and facing those issues and many others. Please remember that my door is always open to listen to your concerns and ideas. I look forward to meeting and speaking with many of you in the coming months.
   Thank you again for your support.
Lisa Marin Main

Hopewell Township
Keep it short
To the editor:
    At the April 18 meeting of the Hopewell Township Committee the "Public Session" at the beginning of the meeting lasted almost two hours. As a result, the meeting ran well past 11 p.m. At the end, when discussing future agenda items, Mr. Higgins suggested limiting the speakers at the early "Public Session" to five minutes each. I wholeheartedly agree and argued for this at past meetings. If fact, I suggest that, except for required public hearings and the "Public Session" at the end of the meeting all discussions be limited to five minutes per person each.
   This, hopefully, will move the meetings faster and result in earlier endings. Since this "Public Session" was initiated by the Mayor (John Hart), the mayor can limit the length by his order. No action by the committee should be required.
William Schoelwer

Hopewell Township
Treasurer laments school closing
To the editor:
   As treasurer of the Hopewell Presbyterian Nursery School, I feel I must respond to the comments contained in the article of the Hopewell Valley News of April 18, 2002 announcing the closing of the Hopewell Presbyterian Nursery School.
   The article states, "significantly lower registration for next year’s projected program would not have allowed the school to operate at a fiscally responsible level." While it is true that our enrollment for the 2002-2003 school year dropped 16 percent, the nursery school board of directors made responsible decisions to ensure that the school would be financially stable. We had eliminated the 2½ year-old program that had low enrollment and combined the 4 year-old classes into a well received, extended day program. The budget for the 2002-2003 school year, approved at the April 2, 2002 board meeting, showed a $3,300 surplus for the year before fundraising proceeds and donations. The nursery school maintains a savings account with funds that would cover approximately 2.5 months of expenses. I believe the surplus budget and ample savings would have allowed the school "to operate at a fiscally responsible level." I have never been asked to provide any financial projections or budgets of the nursery school to the church’s Christian Education Ministry or Session to aid them in their decision. The decision to close the school was made without the knowledge or input of the nursery school board of directors.
   The article also states that the timing of closing the school was "carefully evaluated and the Session agreed that announcing the decision this month would best meet the needs of those affected." Those affected are the students and families enrolled for next school year. These families have made a commitment to the Hopewell Presbyterian Nursery School at February’s registration. By waiting until April to make the decision to close the school for the fall, 43 families must now search for openings at other area nursery schools that have little or no room. Furthermore, the nursery school has unnecessarily spent over $500 in advertising for the new school year, not to mention the many hours spent in recruiting students. This decision should have been made before the registration process.
   I do not support the Presbyterian Church in their decision to close the nursery school based on the "financial hardship" reasoning they state. As the treasurer, I find the financial condition of the school to be secure. As a parent of two children who have attended the school, I find the school to be a wonderful place in which my children have grown intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually. I thank the warm and caring teachers for their dedication and commitment to the school. I also thank the nursery school’s volunteer board of directors for their many hours of service for the school. The Hopewell community has sadly lost a valued and much needed nursery school for our children.
Dawn D. Gordon

ATVs defended
To the editor:
   I am writing this letter in response to an article written about increased ATV use in Hopewell Township. The letter was published on April 18. I am 17 years old and attend Hopewell Valley Central High School. I own and ride an ATV regularly, and I would like to speak about the arrogance and narrow-mindedness displayed in that letter.
   First of all, ATVs are not purely recreational. They are used on farms and in landscaping businesses. They are extremely versatile and geared toward work, but often used for recreation. Second, ATVs do not produce excessive noise pollution. ATVs are made to meet emissions and noise pollution standards that were originally established for motor vehicles. These vehicles do not in any way "waste precious fuel." In fact, ATVs are some of the more fuel-efficient vehicles being used today. My ATV only has a 5-gallon fuel tank and has an engine that is at most a quarter of the size of most cars. This means that it can reach 20 miles per gallon, which is an excellent efficiency rating according to modern standards. We could all only wish that all vehicles could be as fuel-efficient. ATVs do not disturb wildlife by themselves. It is the drivers that choose to drive recklessly and chase animals or tear up turf. The author of the original letter also called all ATV riders immature and said all riders use frequent, loud profanity. I am 17 and am mature enough to operate a vehicle on the road. I would hope that I am mature enough to operate an ATV, which is much easier to drive than a car. I also pride myself in not having to use profanity or false accusations to prove my points to others.
   Next, passing new legislation as listed in the original letter would not be of any help. For many, ATVs are a necessity to complete work. In the original letter it was said "there are no laws to protect us from the use of these vehicles on private property." This is a contradiction in terms. If the ATV is being used on private land, what "protection" is needed? It seems that the author of the original letter may have an annoying neighbor who could give the rest of ATV enthusiasts bad reputations. My advice would be to talk to him and express your concerns to him and not to the newspaper. After all, because of how you described him, he must not ever read a newspaper. By those standards, anyone who rides an ATV is an uneducated, foul-mouthed, immature, disrespectful and wasteful human being.
   In conclusion, you cannot compare the construction of a Wendy’s to a ride on an ATV. What are the similarities? That you don’t like either of them? Have you ever operated an ATV? When used respectfully, ATVs do not harm our environment any more than an automobile. I will stop riding when the rest of our society stops buying automobiles and driving them. It is evident that the author was annoyed at ATV use, but was never fair enough to consider the respectful and mature ATV operators, or research her facts. Instead, she placed a stereotype on ATV riders because of her own arrogance and ignorance. The answer would be to punish those who disrespect nature or other humans with their ATV, and not to punish all riders by restricting their riding privileges. It is similar to every problem in our society where the problem is the people and not the machine. It is obvious, yet so hard for some to see.
John Marryott

Hopewell Township