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A& E and EDUCATION
NEWS & EDITORIAL
For hundreds of years the people of Europe drank a tea made from the leaves of the meadowsweet tree. This brew was known to relieve the pain of arthritis and other ailments. Chemical analysis eventually revealed that the pain relieving component of meadowsweet was acetylsalicylic acid.
In 1893, the Bayer Company, a German firm, discovered a way to make this chemical ingredient synthetically. They sold the miracle drug under the name of aspirin. The word aspirin combined three elements: the a, from acetyl; stir, from the spirea tree (the Latin name for meadowsweet was soiree ulmaria); and in, which is a commonly used suffix for medications.
Aspirin was probably the first medicine to become the spoils of a war. In fact, because of conditions written into the reparation treaty after World War I, the German company lost its exclusive patent rights to this universally used pain reliever. Thereafter, aspirin became a generic term. The loss of patent and trademark rights must have given the Bayer Company a really big headache.
A teen writes:
I am 15 years old and my friends dared me to write to you. So I am writing, not because they challenged me, but because I have a real problem and I need some advice.
For as long as I can remember, my parents argued. At first it was about small things like where do we go on vacation or what furniture should we buy for the house. Later on they fought about who was bossy and who drank too much.
They disagreed about raising me too, like which school should I go to, private or public, was I studying hard enough, what time should I be home, etc. Two years ago they split. Even though they fought a lot, I did not want them to separate.
Here is the problem: I feel I am responsible for their arguing. Sometimes I think that if I had cooperated more, or became the nice, obedient child they wanted, they would still be together. Should I feel guilty, and how can I get rid of these feelings if I don’t need to have them?
Thank you for writing; let me see if I can clarify one point quickly. You are not responsible for their arguing or for separating or divorcing, if it comes to that. They argued because they were having trouble in their relationship. Their relationship seemed to be (partly) based on who is right and who is wrong; who should be the one to make the final decision on issues (which had an impact on both of them).
We, in the mental health field, call this power struggles and control issues. Then there is the issue of drinking, and the struggles over decisions and situations pertaining to you.
They had a choice to do what they did (separate) or seek marriage counseling and attempt to resolve their struggles. Please put the responsibility, of the marriage going bellyup, on them. And remember one important fact: a child does not a marriage nor divorce make; adults make or break a marriage.
A frustrated wife writes:
My husband and I have been married 10 years, ten difficult years. He rarely expresses himself verbally. He got this from his mother who kept her feelings in and tolerated few expressions of emotions. At the same time, he always “discreetly” attacked my family, particularly my mother, for being overbearing and critical.
Whenever he is angry at me, he says little, but loves to retreat to his room to write. He writes stuff in a magazine; but I never read what he writes after we argue. However, recently, I did discover several sentences on his computer which upset me. This is what I read:
“Mirror mirror on the wall, you are your mother afterall.” Need I say more! He feels I am like my mother. What do you do in a situation like this?
You are talking about a marriage that has been in trouble for 10 years.
By Milt Faith, Executive Director
Youth and Family Counseling Service
Teen Seeks Help With Mixed Feelings Over Breakup of Parents’ Marriage
Your husband keeps his feelings in, which I interpret as meaning that few issues were resolved in a healthy way to both your satisfactions. He seems to have built up resentments and the writing you found clarifies that he feels you are like your mother — overbearing and difficult.
I would address the issue immediately, tell him (if you want to preserve the marriage) that you need to know what his feelings are, you want him to express them and have dialogues about the relationship.
Encourage some marriage counseling so that you will have a better evaluation of the marriage and the potential for some resolution. This should help you get a better handle on the “mirror” — which is a reflection, in writing, of your husband’s feelings.
A reader writes:
Often, you cite a poem to clarify the meaning of finding inner happiness and strength. I find this rewarding because I do not like to listen to long lectures on selfimage. Could you print the poem?
I have used it many times. It was written by Veronica A. Shoffstall and was again printed several months ago in an Ann Landers column. It is called “After a While”:
After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security, And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises, And you begin to accept your defeats With your head up and your eyes open With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans.
And futures have a way of falling down in midflight.
After a while, you learn That even the sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
That you really are strong. And you really do have worth. And you learn and learn With every goodbye you learn.
Town Resident Frustrated With Way Permit Parking Handled in Westfield
Letters to the Editor Letters to
I am a lifetime resident of Westfield. For the past seven years I have had a parking permit. Over those years I can count on one hand (which is too many times) the number of times I have had to pay a parking penalty because my permit was not in view. This can happen for a number of reasons, some of which include that the adhesive on the permit loses its grip in hot weather and the adhesive doesn’t adhere to certain surfaces found on car mirrors.
Even when I presented my permit to the office in Westfield’s town hall, I was required to pay a fine. Why should it be my responsibility to pay for the mistakes of the printers of these labels? Did I develop the adhesive? Instead I have to use a rubber band to adhere it to my mirror, clearly something I shouldn’t have to do.
There have been times when the permit was resting on my dashboard, and I still received a ticket and still had to pay, despite my ability to produce my permit. Better yet, there have been complaints from other permit holders that they, for whatever reason, had to drive a different car to the lot and were ticketed with the permit clearly visible through the windshield on the mirror where it belongs.
In addition, in the afternoon the spaces are taken up by cars, 50 percent approximately without permits. This inconveniences permit holders. They either don’t read the signs that prohibit them from parking there during the week, don’t think they will be ticketed or feel that they have immunity. They rarely get ticketed. The meter maid needs to be there more often.
This town needs to install a gate that allows us to park with smartcards. We need a parking garage regardless of what politicians or historical activists say. If you want this town to prosper, you need to retain the store chains. If you want to retain the store chains and prosper, you had better have places for people to park. Summit has done an extraordinary job on its new parking garage. It compliments the town very well.
Westfield could include parking for permit holders in a garage where as the only access is a smartcard. The garage belongs next to Trader Joe’s, next to the Civil War Cemetery (as long as we can preserve our historical landmark) or across from the Congregational Church. If we put it on the south side, shoppers will have to hoof it to the other side of town; where will they shop on the south side of town?
If they had built it over the train station they would have solved the commuter
problems, handicapped access and the parking problem.
This town needs to revise its policy and start ticketing people for parking in permit spaces without permits. It inconveniences those of us who pay for those permits. Further, they need to eliminate the penalty that we have to pay should we not have our permits displayed somewhere in the front of the car.
David Wright Westfield
Haddon Heights Resident Applauds Westfield for Sportsmanship Former Mayor, Councilman Questions
Proposed Year 2000 Municipal Budget
I am concerned by reports in your newspaper regarding the Year 2000 Municipal Budget. I cannot believe that a town that is probably 98 percent developed needs a “Department of Planning and Community Development.”
For 30 years I have observed volunteers, be they Republican, Democrat or Independent, represent the town in exemplary fashion when it came to obtaining funds from outside sources for “community development.”
On the few occasions when specialized “planning expertise” was needed, we outsourced that need with funds that were usually obtained previously from community development grants. So what do we need a separate department and a town employee with extraordinary pay and benefits for? Sounds like a patronage job, to me.
Next, the nonsense about the town running its own bus service for seniors. I remember some years ago when nearly every town in the Union County Community Development program (18 out of 21 municipalities in Union County) wanted to buy its own minibuses so that it could have its own bus service for seniors and anyone else without private transportation. The idea of 18 towns having their own fleets of minibuses was absurd then, as it is now.
As a result of opposition to this nonsense, Union County formed the ParaTransit service which, to the best of my knowledge, still exists and is a service Westfield participates in. And this was long before sharing of services was in vogue.
The town’s budget for starting its own bus service is proposed at $175,000. For what? Drivers? (You can’t get by with just one) At what kind of salary and benefits? When you get done with that expense, how much to lease how many buses from the county (incidentally, our tax dollars were used to buy the minibuses the county now offers to lease to us). Who pays for tires, repairs and GASOLINE at everescalating prices? Is this another patronage situation or is the county just trying to get its money back?
I see in your report that the administration proposes to spend $40,000 for repair work at Gregory’s Pond. I do not oppose the work but someone should explain to area residents that if they are prepared to accept townwide tax dollars to repair the pond they cannot restrict the use of the pond (ice skating, for example) to area residents only!
I saw a reference in your report to a parking deck, but no mention of money
allocated to this project. Obviously, a parking deck will be a capital budget item. Capital budgets are usually forecasted for at least five years ahead... does the administration have anything planned by way of funding for construction of a deck?
The Mayor has announced his decision to run for a third term in office so that he can ensure the construction of a parking deck. Based on this administration’s track record with the scandalous debacle at Sycamore Field, it should not even think about tackling a parking deck. The Mayor should concentrate his administration’s effort in rectifying what can only be described as the worse public works project in the history of Westfield.
Finally, I saw in a separate report in your paper under the topic of the Memorial Pool, that our new Business Administrator chastised the Town Council for “bickering” over $25,000 needed to fund a contract with an outside consulting group hired last year to and grant money for the town.
Apparently, the Administrator told the Council “he would find the money.” If that is true, then the municipal budget is becoming sloppy. Maybe $25,000 is chump change where Mr. Shannon worked before, but it is not here, where Westfield governing bodies and administrators have had a record of being fiscally conservative. My, how attitudes change when a strong economy takes the heat off elected officials and bureaucrats!
Raymond W. Stone Former President, Manor Park
Association Former Third Ward Councilman
Former Mayor Correction
In last week’s announcement of Burgdorff ERA’s Salesperson of the Month, Carol Tener’s name was misspelled. I hope this letter is read and circulated
to many people in Westfield, because it speaks well of your community and, in particular, your high school swimming programs.
Allow me to introduce myself by saying that I was a member of the Cherry Hill West Boys swim team from 196364. At that time my team had visions of a state championship dancing in our heads after we broke Moorestown’s 67 dual meet win sneak. The format was different than it is now, but to make a long story shorter, Westfield High School ruled the pool and Cherry Hill had to be satisfied with a South Jersey Championship. Fast forward some 27 years...
I attended the NJSIAA Championship Meet on Sunday, February 27 at The College Of New Jersey and what great meets I saw! I say “great” because they were, in every way. The kids, boys and girls, Westfield and Cherry Hill both, were outstanding. So were their coaches and, I understand, the Westfield Athletic Director when a rule infraction occurred during the girls’ meet which could have determined the final outcome.
I am genuinely impressed with the fact that the Westfield Girls Coach and the Athletic Director had guts enough not to press the issue. While it may seem like partisanship on my part to say so, their decision to let the results stand because “they beat us in the water,” demonstrates a degree of sportsmanship that is sadly lacking too often today.
I cornered and applaud your athletes, your coaches and your athletic director.
Your swimmers are magnificent, your coaches are class acts and your AD is the model for all his peers. All this speaks well of the parents and administration, indeed, the entire community of Westfield.
I have participated in sports as a player, coach and sports official for more than 40 years. I know all the good that sports can teach, given the right factors. I know, too, of the other elements which can work their way into sports which sometimes produce outcomes we would rather not see. It takes people with their heads screwed on right to make the good happen, and clearly Westfield has those people.
David W. Thompson Haddon Heights
Scotch Plains Resident Questions Motives of School Superintendent
After attending the meeting on February 28 at Evergreen School concerning the “Facility Move” (in the Scotch PlainsFanwood school district), I am thoroughly convinced that certain Board of Education members are swayed on how to vote by Dr. Carol Choye, the Superintendent, and not for the interest of the Community!
This “Facility Move” plan will be implemented in the year 2002, coincidentally at the same time that Dr. Choye’s contract expires with the Board of Education, leaving us, the taxpayers, with this proposed $16 million costly mistake!
The taxpayers include the 27 percent of the people who have children in school and the remaining 73 percent, which is made up of senior citizens and homeowners without children to foot this bill!
Ellen Freitag Scotch Plains
Student Surveys Undermine Role Of Parents and Family, Reader Says
Kudos to the Ridgewood mothers who challenged their administration’s authority to survey the children of their school district recently.
I feel the need to respond because Westfield’s recent student survey was mentioned in the February 20 article in the The Bergen Record regarding the Ridgewood survey.
As a result of my experiences with similar issues while my children were students in Westfield High School, it appears evident to me that our children are being lead to progressively undermine parental leadership rather than focusing on academics.
One of the ways this is being done is through peer mentoring groups. Although it is important for young people to enjoy peer socialization, they do not have life’s experience to assume the role of parents. How can our youth serve as role models when what they really need is a mature and loving guide to adulthood?
Why do education funds continue to be transferred from the teaching of academics to conducting the same survey which the Search Institute has already administered to over 100,000 students in this country?
According to the results of the Westfield survey, our Superintendent stated that 84 percent of our students feel
good about themselves. I question the accuracy of these results, especially in light of the fact that many students did not take this seriously and had difficulty answering some of the questions. Furthermore, many of the survey questions were psychological in nature and pertain to issues that are best left to the parents, clergy/ churches and independent psychologists and counselors.
I believe the time has come to stop profiling all of our young people as being potential emotional misfits. The psychological manipulation must stop — this is the height of child abuse and an infringement on parental rights.
Parents have been discouraged from asserting claims about right and wrong for fear of being labeled and having to sacrifice their right of privacy. Doesn’t that send a strong message that there is a growing bureaucracy that wants to raise our children?
A newly published book “Reclaiming Our Children,” authored by Peter Breggin, M. D., focuses on encouraging parents to come out of the closet and reclaim their children. Peter Breggin was trained at Harvard University, taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University and is a fulltime consultant for the National Institutes of Health.
Again, I commend the brave mothers who have come to the defense of their children in Ridgewood and I also encourage fathers to take a more active role in their children’s lives.
Finally, I urge parents to support New Jersey Resolution 45, sponsored by New Jersey Senator Gerald Cardinale and New Jersey Senator James S. Cafiero, which proposes an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to support the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Kathleen Hintze Westfield
More Letters on Page 18 Time is Now for Local Leaders to Change
Handling of Housing Development Requests
Even before new homeowners in Westfield sign on the dotted line, they hear stories about how tough it is to get the town permits needed to work on their abodes. But it doesn’t take long for residents to realize that the same microscopic investigation that seems to go on when a personal home project is planned seems negligible when it comes to large developments and subdivisions that, ultimately, impact many more individuals and the community at large.
Why do individuals who are trying to improve their own homes seem to have to jump through hoops to get a variance to extend their backyard deck six inches, while a developer sails through the process with nary a ripple to get six variances to shoehorn another house on a lot? The very taxpayers who sometimes stretch to afford this community and to improve their own personal properties — often to the benefit of the entire town by making it an attractive and inviting place to live — just don’t seem to have the same clout that developers, from both inside Westfield and from out of town, do. It appears that these developers have the upper hand when it comes to controlling the nature and character of the towns that we live in.
In the past nine months, a number of projects have been approved by the Westfield Planning Board, despite heavy opposition from neighbors over what seems to be legitimate concerns — drainage, possible flooding, tree removal, encroachment on privacy and changing the character of a neighborhood. Although the public often presented heartfelt cases, many with detailed pictures and “hired gun” attorneys, it often seems that they are talking to a group that already has made its decision.
We know part of the answer is that the building industry has worked long and hard, and spent vast sums of money, to get state laws passed that take control of these matters out of the hands of our local leaders.
These local leaders also say there is nothing they can do when trying to decide the fate of some of these projects, and even recently expressed apology for not
turning down a new subdivision on Karen Terrace off of East Broad Street, saying their hands were tied by the laws. But that is only part of the answer. The “canned” answers and finger pointing we get from many of our local leaders just doesn’t add up.
Explain to us why the small Borough of Fanwood can find a way to dissuade a builder from developing an inappropriate apartment complex while the affluent and powerful Town of Westfield speaks in hushed tones for fear a developer will sue them? Why can Scotch Plains fend off the national builder K. Hovnanian, while Westfield grapples with local builder Michael Mahoney? Why do many of our public officials “wish” they could do something to help, but are unable to come up with a plan to actually help? Why is it that the players on both sides — the attorneys, the developers, the builders — are always the same people? How can our public officials make reasonable and impartial decisions when the town profits, in the form of building permit fees, from approvals, but suffers costs, in the form of law suits and expenses, from denials? Fees and expenses that, incidentally, increase with the size of the project.
While we don’t know the answers to these questions, we do know that there are answers to these questions, and perhaps someone can help the town residents and leaders find the answers.
We are seeing some evidence recently that local officials feel pressure to make some changes. Planning Board members met just a week ago to discuss how local historic preservation ordinances can be rewritten to strengthen the town’s ability to turn down projects that potentially tear apart the character of Westfield. And, Mayor Thomas C. Jardim is encouraging the unhappy public to come to Town Council meetings and voice their concerns. As he says, the Town Council can legislate the changes that the local boards see are necessary.
It seems the time is right for citizens to stand up for their property rights, demand accountability from our local law makers and demand the state return to us control of what is, after all, our town.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)