Letters to the Editor, April 26


Different township, same mentality
To the editor:
   The Packet is surprisingly out of touch with what is happening with deer management in New Jersey. I am a longtime resident of Bernards Township and a spokesperson for citizens opposing the deer kill in our town. Loss of democracy is a large part of the story behind community-based deer management.
   Our township committee has no mandate for killing deer. A winter lawn sign campaign was only the most visible demonstration of how widespread the opposition is. Yet a referendum on the issue is denied.
   Residents get nothing but anecdotal evidence and misinformation. Petitions are dismissed. Public comment is curtailed. The task force works behind closed doors. Last year, one committee member stated that town government is not a democracy. Promoting special interests and targeting animals as villains substitutes for rational public discourse.
   The contractor the task force recommended to shoot the deer lists a task force member as an employee. This apparent conflict of interest is ignored as the township committee applauds his involvement.
   Residents created a documented 87-page counterproposal for nonlethal deer management, including an opportunity to field trial a multi-year immunocontraceptive. The committee responded, "Let’s try it [killing] and see what happens. There are no other options."
   The results in Bernards Township this year are consistent with deer numbers much lower than what the task force had calculated, based on unreliable aerial surveys and population models. Shooters expecting to kill 500 deer saw only 253. Forty of the 93 animals killed were fawns, and about 70 percent of those fawns were male. None of the fawns was pregnant except one, and no does were pregnant with triplets.
   These results do not suggest a population spiraling out of control. The deer kill in Bernards Township confirms that there is no substitute for good science and common sense.
   But that’s not all. Residents have lost the right to feel safe in our town. The hired shooters are merely licensed hunters. The state did not license or qualify them as sharpshooters.
   On any given day, no one knew exactly when or where these unsupervised shooters were using lethal weapons. People lived, worked and played near bait sites located all over town — behind homes, across from a school, behind a bus stop, beside a ball field, near jogging trails, in town parks and on private property in residential neighborhoods. It will only be a matter of time before someone is injured or killed if this program continues.
   The false promise of a quick fix sacrifices democracy, public safety and the quality of life in our town. Effective nonlethal methods do exist to manage human/wildlife conflicts. In a time of budgetary constraints, what we don’t need is a township committee catering to special interests and acting out personal grievances against animals at public expense.
   Democracy offers recourse when public officials ignore the people’s right to be heard and to be safe in their community. You should know that residents of Bernards Township are determined to be heard and to reclaim their rights on this issue.
Jane Books
North Maple Avenue
Basking Ridge
Serving on board was a privilege
To the editor:
   Now that the school board election is finally over (this does seem to be the era of extended elections!), I want to thank all those who supported me and worked in my behalf as well as to congratulate my successful opponent, Michael Mostoller.
   I’m eager to express my thanks, as well, to my board colleagues for the collaborative spirit to which they have given themselves and for their single-minded and selfless dedication to Princeton’s children. I know the current board will continue to build on recent achievements and am confident that Michael, along with the board’s other new member, Walter Bliss, will carry on with commitment, intelligence and integrity.
   Finally, let me thank the remarkable people who administer and teach in our schools. Working with you has been an honor, and you have taught me much. The Princeton Regional Schools may not be perfect — are any schools? — but I continue to be very glad my children are in your care.
   It’s always tempting to Monday-morning-quarterback things that don’t go the way you thought they would. The truth, I think, is reasonably simple and worth an apology to my supporters. Holy Week and a trip out of the country prevented me from campaigning to the extent I should have, while Michael was well-organized and worked hard. For my own part, any disappointment is offset by my gratitude for the honor and privilege of serving these last three years. My one regret for Michael is that, owing to a vote-counter’s human error, he was denied the clean victory he actually won.
Frank C. Strasburger
Lafayette Road
PU is big enough to absorb all kinds
To the editor:
   So Princeton wins a round with Harvard.
   Cornel West is back, a very selective protester against a number of things. Recently, he insisted that his scathing criticism of Israeli incursion into the West Bank wasn’t anti-Semitic. Then he called Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers "the Ariel Sharon of American higher education." I wonder if Dr. Summers may also be Jewish, or else why the comparison?
   I am a Jew, and I disagree with Sharon and his right-wing extremists. Because I am a Jew, I find their continuing occupation and planting of settlements on Palestinian lands an affront to Jewish heritage, humanity and sense of justice. I deplore and condemn the killing of civilians on either side of their divide.
   But until Dr. West’s attacks on Israel are accompanied with a condemnation of Arafat’s human-bomb murderers of Israeli civilians, I will have to consider his own incursions into the Middle East and Harvard politics tainted by anti-Semitism.
   Princeton University is big enough to absorb all kinds, even another dubious acquisition.
Jasha M. Levi
Marion Drive
Earth in good hands of youthful stewards
To the editor:
   I wish to publicly thank the passionate student volunteers of EnAct, the Environmental Action Club of Princeton Day School, for their wonderful dedication and hard work in creating, organizing and leading the Walk for Open Space, and uniting people and their passion for the environment last Saturday.
   Impressively, hundreds of students, their families and their friends, Mercer County residents of all ages and backgrounds, jointly walked the 3 miles at Mercer County Park despite the inclement weather. Appreciative of the natural beauty of the open fields, hidden woods and silent brooks remaining in our local environment, I and other residents of the Rosedale Lane Association were proud to join their ranks to realize our common goal to preserve the open space we have.
   Thanks to their hard work and the generosity of their sponsors, the students raised more than $30,000 of donations to preserve our rapidly disappearing open space. Thanks to these youthful students who are quickly evolving into responsible stewards of our surroundings — and thanks to their dreams, energy and action, our earth’s future is in safer hands
   Our collective gratitude extends beyond these students to their wonderful mentors at school, home and community and forward towards the successors they inspire. While not exhaustive, I wish to single out as exemplary the PDS faculty advisers, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, the Delaware Raritan Greenway, Friends of Princeton Open Space, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and The Sierra Club for their continuous safeguarding of our open space and their constant mentoring of our environment’s future stewards.
   Following EnAct’s lead once again, let me conclude with a quote from Henry David Thoreau: "In wilderness is the preservation of the World." Thank you, youthful stewards, for the hope you share.
Tim Patrick-Miller
Vice President
The Rosedale Lane Association
Rosedale Lane
Concern, generosity pay off for the Y
To the editor:
   The YWCA Princeton and the YWCA Child Care Center at Valley Road would like to thank all its most generous contributors to an Evening at McCarter Theatre and the Mikado performance, on April 18.
   Our corporate partner, Berlitz International, Inc., Bobby Trigg and The Ferry House, Shawn and Robbie Ellsworth of Ellsworth’s Wines & Liquors, Starbucks Coffee, McCarter Theatre, Celebration Party Rentals, Sanders Maxwell and MSM Graphics all helped enormously to make the event successful. Because of their generosity, and that of many who attended, the YWCA Child Care Center was able to raise just over $50,000 for its operating budget.
   It was a pleasure to work with so many who care about the quality of child care in our community and whose concern and generosity make the mission work of the YWCA Princeton possible.
Judy Klitgaard and Margee Harper
YWCA Princeton
Paul Robeson Place
Many contribute to D&R Canal cleanup
To the editor:
   On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I would like to thank everyone who participated and helped with our cleanup along the Delaware & Raritan Canal in Princeton on April 13. Dozens of volunteers in canoes and on foot removed trash along a 4-mile stretch of the canal starting at Port Mercer. More than 50 large garbage bags of trash were collected, as well as several car tires, wheel rims, a propane tank, a rusty bike and other items of debris.
   Participants included members of the Rotary Club, the marine biology club of Princeton High School, Boy Scout Troop 88, the Tenacre Foundation and Friends of Princeton Open Space. At the end of the event, significant stretches were left looking pristine. We will return to work again on other sections that could not be cleaned up in one day’s work, and to extend our efforts further north.
   Special thanks are due to a number of people and entities — to Princeton Canoe Rental, for renting canoes at half price and providing wash-up facilities; to Princeton Township traffic and public works officials, who helped with access issues and otherwise; to Princeton Theological Seminary, for help with access; to D&R Canal Park personnel; The Nickel, Mail Boxes Etc. and the Princeton Public Library for displaying our flyer; and to board members Andrew Love and Pat Palmer, without whom this would never have come about.
   Everyone who devoted his or her time and effort to this project can be proud of making a contribution to the community and the Canal Park, particularly when there is so little funding available for park maintenance. Thanks again to all.
Wendy L. Mager
Friends of Princeton Open Space
Mountain Avenue
Great Strides Walk was enormous success
To the editor:
   A great thanks to the generous people of Princeton, Cranbury, West Windsor, Hamilton, Montgomery and Pennington for the success of the April 21 Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis at the Princeton Battlefield. The generosity of our community is demonstrated by the prayers, concern and the more than $115,000 raised by the participants. The entire amount will be used to fund research efforts to treat and cure this fatal disease. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
   The newspaper is not large enough to list everyone who contributed but we will try — New Jersey 101.5 FM, Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand, Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed, Battlefield curator John Mills, the Distler family, the Caricato family, A&E Products, the Costello family, the McQuaid family, Merrill Lynch, Fleet Bank, Dow Jones and Futures and Options for Kids.
   The public and private school students set the course, kept us warm with hot jazz, sold cookies, had dress-down days and contributed time and effort — Princeton High School girls’ lacrosse teams, Stuart Country Day School, St. Paul’s School, St. Ann’s School, Lawrenceville School, John Witherspoon Middle School, Stage 88 Jazz, Princeton University and Caldwell College.
   The area businesses sold "sneakers," advertised the event and provided prizes — McCaffrey’s Markets in Princeton and West Windsor, Burger King restaurants in Princeton, Halo Farm, Wegman’s Market.
   The course was marked in yellow signs sponsored by Air Control, Natalie Caricato photographer, James Irish Tree Experts, Lawrence Lexus, Coleman’s Hamilton Supply, The Pediatric Group, Joanne Reiffe Fishbane DMD, Kenneth Goldblatt MD, The Medical Center at Princeton, Witherspoon Bread Co., Nassau Street Seafood, Mark’s Trackside Auto Repair, Donna Grainger’s Hair Co., Plainsboro senior citizens, Omni Environmental Corp., Crown Chimney Sweeps, A&L Pool Service, Cranbury Design Group, Braun Market Research and M.T. Caporusso plumber.
   The sandwiches were donated by Richard’s Market and Catering.
   Roses for the "65 Roses" promotion are supplied by Kale’s Nursery.
   The athletic teams raised money and awareness of this fatal disease — Princeton Soccer Association, Princeton Youth Baseball Teams, Princeton Cranbury Babe Ruth Baseball Teams.
   We are hopeful that the awareness and money raised by this event nationwide will change the meaning of the initials CF from Cystic Fibrosis to Cure Found. When this occurs, you will all be invited to a celebration sponsored by our family and all the families of children with CF in Mercer County to celebrate with us as you have worked with us. Thank you, again!
Mary, Paul, John, Meghan, Matthew and David Gerard
Talbot Lane
A ray of hope in Middle East
To the editor:
   In the midst of all the Middle East brutality and desolation, there exists a ray of hope, a community, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (Hebrew and Arabic for "Oasis of Peace"), located halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with an unusual genesis — it was founded in 1972 by Father Bruno Hussar, born of Jewish parents and a convert to Catholicism; the name comes from Isaiah 18:32, "My people shall dwell in an oasis of peace." Continued and enlarged, it now houses some 50 families, half Jewish-Israeli and half Palestinian-Israeli, in an environment of trust, understanding and respect.
   Recently, I attended a small gathering run by one of the founders, Neva Sonnenschein. About 25 people attended, coming from all over New Jersey, some, like me, who had never heard of this school and community before, but who wanted to find out. A young Palestinian woman made an eloquent plea for rationality and continued dialogue, to restore, as she said, "her sanity."
   Neva described the present state of the community and the activities taking place there. The schools are thriving, with Arabic and Hebrew taught to all children; the elementary schools now have 300 pupils, not only from the village but from many surrounding communities, as word has spread that the bilingual education there is quite good. They run workshops and encounter projects to bring together young people from many high schools in the country. In some cases, this would be the first time that a Jewish boy or girl has met a Palestinian face to face, and vice versa, and these learning experiences are illuminating for both sides. So far, they have brought together over 25,000 students over the past 30 years. They also hold university courses and women’s courses directed at teachers, newspaper people and other facilitators.
   Their Web site, Oasisofpeace.org, describes all this more fully; a small organization in the United States — the American Friends of Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam — helps them out with visits and gatherings, and of course they can use all kinds of help. Apparently, the peace groups in the Middle East have been rarely reported in the news and I, for one, did not know about them. It is really heartwarming to know that such groups exist, who take the long view and refuse to be bogged down in the endless recriminations of the elders. I wish them well and hope others will join me in this endeavor.
Julia Bernheim
Harriet Drive
Forrester is a man of complete integrity
To the editor:
   As a strong follower of New Jersey politics, I have paid close attention to the events that have unfolded for the upcoming Republican Senate primary.
   I am glad that in the interest of his party, James Treffinger bowed out, and left the June race to Douglas Forrester, Diane Allen and James Matheussen. In the same breath, I am saddened by the lack of integrity that Sen. Robert Torricelli has shown his New Jersey constituents by dodging questions about his own campaign fund-raising methods. Yes, there hasn’t been an indictment, and yes, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, but Sen. Torricelli owes the public explanations. We as a state collectively elected him to office, and the least he can do in return is explain why his name is even affiliated with this mess.
   Though being a registered Democrat, I have a tough time voting and/or working to re-elect a man who fails to be accountable to those who placed him in office. Additionally, it is even harder when our senator responds to his constituents boasting his past accomplishments versus responding with helpful and necessary information to help the New Jersey public. We need to elect officials who will truly represent the great people of this great state, and more and more each day Douglas Forrester shows how he is a man of complete integrity.
   Although I know his son, I have never gotten the chance to meet with Douglas Forrester, yet following him through the newspapers and on his Web site, I see a perfect politician for New Jersey. He is strong on instilling values and morality back into our education system, making prescription drugs a right and additionally he is an advocate against empty rhetoric in campaigns, something the other candidates continue to distastefully use. I hope that all New Jersey voters — Democrat, Republican, Green or whatever — realize that if we all are truly looking for integrity and a true representative of our ideals, Douglas Forrester is our man.
Asher Ailey
Hampshire Drive
Library book sale sets a new record
To the editor:
   It’s amazing, but the Friends of the West Windsor Library raised a record $15,000 in this year’s annual book sale. With most books selling for only $1 and 50 cents, the number of books sold was outstanding!
   So many factors contributed to the record-breaking sale, such as the donation of so many wonderful, pristine books by members of our community, the organization of the sale books by an army of volunteers, additional bright, yellow wood sale signs (look for them next year), publicity and excellent advertising placement in area newspapers and, most important, the number of buyers who came in droves to patiently glean the books for special buys. In addition to the money raised, hundreds of the donated books, CDs, videos and audio books were placed into circulation.
   A round of applause and my personal thanks to the annual book sale co-chairpersons, Sylvia Russo and Nancy Henderson, for their boundless enthusiasm and creative organizational skills. Also, my personal thanks go to the entire board of directors: Kaija Greenberg, Hema Ramamurthy, Margaret Pei, Lorraine Fisch and Rosalind Gracey, because without these dedicated individuals the annual book sale would not occur.
   We all extend a big thank you to the many volunteers who sorted and sold books, made signs and baked cookies and brownies because it is truly you who made the sale fun and rewarding. Finally, thanks go to the West Windsor Fire Department for lending us their banquet tables, and Glendale Wines and Liquors for collecting flats that we use to display our books.
   All moneys raised by and donated to the Friends are used solely for the benefit of the West Windsor Library. Next time you visit the library, please notice the new information collection signs, designed and purchased by the Friends with funds from previous book sales. These signs are unique and complement the rainforest mural and the library color scheme. The new modular couches in the children’s area were purchased with Friends’ funds. Some of the proceeds will be used to underwrite all the special children’s programs, particularly the Summer Reading Program; the library’s new 37 Sundays program, a series of Sunday family-oriented "hands-on" events planned around a monthly theme planned for September 2002 through May 2003; as well as to purchase numerous subscriptions, books, audio and computer peripherals and supplies, DVDs and audio books.
   We welcome all donations for next year’s book sale, as well as the ongoing book sale inside the library, at any time the library is open. Please leave your donations with the circulation desk. If you have any questions or need help with your donations, please call the West Windsor Library (609) 799-0462.
Irene Hoyt
Friends of the West Windsor Library
North Post Road
West Windsor
United Way faces a difficult year
To the editor:
   When we celebrated our 2001/2002 campaign kick-off on Sept. 10, we had no idea that this would be one of the most difficult years we would ever have to face.
   As you may know, we’re in the midst of a very critical situation. Because of the $500,000 campaign shortfall, United Way of Greater Mercer County’s Board of Trustees has been forced to make difficult decisions. The board has voted to utilize moneys from the reserve fund to keep current grants whole until the end of June. Some program funding has already been reduced.
   These decisions were not made lightly. We needed to act in the best interest of the community as a whole and make certain that United Way continues to be here in order to help support our community’s most vulnerable populations. We must prevent further erosions of our community’s safety net.
   That’s why we’re rallying the support of the community to help prevent further reductions.
   To those of you who have responded so generously with your gifts of support, we would like to say thank you. We can’t even begin to express our appreciation for your investment in our community.
   To those of you who have not yet made a contribution, we still need your help. Please consider partnering with us to provide support to those in our community who struggle every day to raise healthy children, meet basic needs and build self-sufficiency. Thank you.
Israel A. Maldonado
Chair, Board of Trustees
United Way of Greater Mercer County
Princeton Pike