Letters to the Editor, Feb. 16, 2006

Fight busing changes
   The following was written to schools Superintendent Judith Ferguson and members of the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education and submitted to the HVN for publication:
The proposed consolidation of school bus routes has shocked our neighborhood. It’s all we speak of now. For, you see, we live on a "cul-de-sac." And according to the new consolidation guidelines, buses will no longer stop on "cul-de-sacs." Our cul-de-sac, however is 1.5 miles long. It is a winding road without sidewalks or closely spaced streetlights. The average speed is 35 mph. And there have been, in the last four years, two traffic incidents involving school children. After this dangerous walk the children will then wait on the side of the heavily traveled Route 546. The mothers of the 34 school-aged neighborhood children are outraged.
   But, Dr. Ferguson, it is not really outrage or anger. It is, quite simply, fear. We are terrified for the safety of our children. In Hopewell Valley, the place many people move to because of the excellent school system, suddenly we are worried that our children won’t even make it safely to school.
   Currently, my kindergartener’s bus stop is a reasonable 120 yards from our house. It is doable, even with her younger sister in tow. This reasonable situation is about to be turned into one that is downright ludicrous.
   Meanwhile, my daughter’s school friend who lives in a quiet neighborhood without a cul-de-sac may continue to enjoy her bus stop one house over. In addition, large full-sized school buses regularly pick up less than five kindergartner children. Let’s save money by reasonable bus stop consolidation and not using inappropriately-sized gas guzzling buses for light pick-ups.
   We’re scared, Dr. Ferguson, really really scared. The mothers in our neighborhood will do everything to fight this proposed dangerous bus stop.
   However, if, Dr. Ferguson, for some reason, in spite of our fight, this neighborhood is not able to keep our current bus stop, I am sending you an open invitation. I invite you to my house at 7 a.m. for a cup of coffee before you walk my 5-year-old daughter to her new bus stop. Leave early because it will take you 41 minutes. Bring a flashlight and reflectors for those dark winter mornings. You’re walking in the street, so stay clear of the oncoming traffic.
   And while you and my daughter wait patiently on the side of Washington Crossing-Pennington Road with the heavy rush of morning drivers zipping by at 50 mph, drinking their coffee and talking on their cell phones only feet from you, hold fast to her small hand. Her safety lies in yours.
   Parents: Voice your opposition to the superintendent: 737-4002 (ext. 2101). Sign the petition to stop hazardous busing: www.njsba.org/govrel/petition-s1701-a.pdf. Or attend a school board meeting on the third Monday of the month.
Rhona K. Wulf
Attention: township

To the editor:
All Hopewell Township taxpayers should have received their updated property tax valuations by now. Revaluation contractor Certified Valuations reports that it mailed the last of the notices on Feb. 2.
   Any taxpayer who has not yet received a notice should contact Certified Valuations directly at 818-0058 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
   Taxpayers may arrange a hearing with Certified to understand, validate, or dispute their new valuations. Representatives of Certified Valuations will be available in the township during the day, evenings and on weekends for these hearings. The last day to schedule a hearing is Feb. 23. Please call 818-0058 to schedule a hearing.
   For other questions about the revaluation, local taxes, or to begin the formal process of a tax appeal, Hopewell Township taxpayers should contact the township Assessor’s Office at 737-0607 (this is a corrected number from the one that appeared in HVN last week).
David Sandahl,
deputy mayor
Hopewell Township
House, dogs saved
To the editor:
We are the Eldridge family of Pennington. This past week our clothing dryer caught on fire while we were at work. If it had not been for Morris Fabian, Billy Loveman and Jeff Wittkop — all three of these men work for our Department of Public Works — we would not have a home and we would have lost two dogs.
   We would like to give our greatest thanks to these men, my neighbor, Michael Stepanoff, the Pennington Fire Company and anyone else who was involved in saving our dogs and our home.
   With our greatest thanks,
Kevin, Melissa,
Emma, Andrew and
Fox Eldridge and Baxter Sinclair
Asks for vote Saturday
To the editor:
I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the Fire Commissioners of the Hopewell Township Fire District No. 1 for having the confidence to allow me to serve as an interim commissioner on the board. The time that I have served on the board has only strengthened my desire to serve the citizens of Hopewell Township. I turn to the voters to ask for your support, to allow me the privilege to continue to serve you, as I seek election to an unexpired two-year term on the Board of Fire Commissioners at the fire district election on Saturday, Feb. 18.
   I bring a lifelong passion for and 30 years of experience in the fire service to the citizens of Hopewell Township. I feel I am up to the challenges that present themselves and to continue the work to provide the very best fire and emergency service protection to the citizens of Hopewell Township. I ask you to join with me to meet those challenges and respectfully ask for your support and vote on Feb. 18.
Joseph M. Lenarski
Hopewell Township