Why Name A Baseball Field?

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To the members of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District Board of Education:

Anthony Fleres (tonyfleres@gmail.com)
Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz (RFeldmanHurwitz@gmail.com)
Louisa Ho (louisawwp@gmail.com)
Rachel Juliana (rachelpjuliana@yahoo.com)
Michele Kaish (michelekaish@gmail.com)
Richard Kaye (kayeww3@verizon.net)
Dana Krug (danakrug@comcast.net)
Scott Powell (scott.powell-wwp@live.com)
Yu “Taylor” Zhong (yu.zhong.609@gmail.com)

The Babe Ruth baseball field at West Windsor Community Park is named after Christopher M. Ciuffani. Chris was a West Windsor boy who played through 12 years of age with the West Windsor Little League, and was tragically killed in a car accident in January 1994.

The Little League field at Cranbury Village Park is named after Peter Zanghi who organized the first Cranbury Plainsboro Little League and is still an active sponsor of Little League teams.

Thomas R. Grover Middle School is named after Thomas R. Grover who was killed in action at the age of 22 while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was a graduate of the school district.

J.V.B. Wicoff Elementary School is named after John Van Buren Wicoff who was a lifelong resident of Plainsboro, he was the chairman of the Plainsboro school board for 31 years and served on the Plainsboro Township Council.

Maurice Hawk Elementary School is named after Maurice H. Hawk of one of the oldest families in West Windsor.

As I worked with Google to try to compile this short list of named buildings and baseball fields in our area I was struck with how difficult it was to find information on the internet that describes the how/why of naming these locations as I progressed to the oldest named facility. I imagine there are plaques at each of the schools that provide more history on each school’s names. I’m surprised that we don’t have any history page on our school sites that provides information on why a school has a name. When the North Baseball Diamond is named the David J. Bachner Field I hope to be able to add an appropriate reference in Wikipedia so that anyone in the future can learn the how/why the field was named.

Naming brings humanity to a thing. Naming brings history to a thing. Naming provides a destination that can be remembered.

By naming the North Varsity Field the David J. Bachner Field we can connect the current marker outside the pitchers bullpen with a place. We provide visiting baseball teams with a location they can easily remember. As the visiting players walk into the area they’ll see the Bachner marker and if the players pause to read they’ll understand why the North varsity field was named for him.

I can imagine the decision to name the field is difficult and requires a great amount of thought and discussion as to the impact. I don’t know of any other naming situation that has taken place in this area in recent times. I hope you will consider the worthiness of this naming request on it’s own merits. I hope that choosing to name this field will not be dismissed in fear that a ‘flood’ of similar requests will appear in it’s wake. From my brief conversations and listening to board members at a previous meeting I’m feeling confident that you are weighing all arguments that have occurred over the last 5 years concerning this request. Thank you so much for your service.

From everything I’ve read and from all of the people I’ve talked to, David represented the ideals of the North baseball program both on and off the field. His marker at North doesn’t just describe his athletic accomplishments. It describes the type of person he was and the impact he had both on and off the field. Let’s complete his impact to North.

Please name the North Varsity Baseball Diamond the David J. Bachner Field.

Sincerely,

Tim Hitchings

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Name the North Baseball Diamond The David J. Bachner Field

To the members of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District Board of Education:

Anthony Fleres (tonyfleres@gmail.com)
Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz (RFeldmanHurwitz@gmail.com)
Louisa Ho (louisawwp@gmail.com)
Rachel Juliana (rachelpjuliana@yahoo.com)
Michele Kaish (michelekaish@gmail.com)
Richard Kaye (kayeww3@verizon.net)
Dana Krug (danakrug@comcast.net)
Scott Powell (scott.powell-wwp@live.com)
Yu “Taylor” Zhong (yu.zhong.609@gmail.com)

Thank you for listening to my letter at the 6/10 board meeting last night. I appreciate the additional time that you spent talking to me and the other individuals that came to the meeting to talk about David Bachner. It was indeed welcoming of you to speak to myself and others after the meeting. Your understanding and conversation was reassuring that you are engaged in my and the group’s request for the Bachner field.

I heard that the Administration & Facilities Committee will be taking up a task of creating a sub committee to address the request to name the North baseball diamond the David J. Bachner field. I understand that this will take some time and as much as I and others would like to see the request granted on David’s 5th Angelversary it appears more likely that an issue of this importance may not come before the board for a vote until September.

If there is anything that you require concerning this request to name the field that you think I may be able to assist with I do hope you will consider contacting me. If I can not help directly I can certainly work to reach out to the Bachner supporters for their assistance.

Thank you all for your time and commitment. I look forward to speaking to you all at the next board meeting in July.

Tim Hitchings
8 Burr Court
Plainsboro

Name The West Windsor High School North Baseball Diamond The David Bachner Field

To the members of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District Board of Education:

Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz (RFeldmanHurwitz@gmail.com)
Anthony Fleres (tonyfleres@gmail.com)
Louisa Ho (louisawwp@gmail.com)
Rachel Juliana (rachelpjuliana@yahoo.com)
Michele Kaish (michelekaish@gmail.com)
Richard Kaye (kayeww3@verizon.net)
Dana Krug (danakrug@comcast.net)
Scott Powell (scott.powell-wwp@live.com)
Yu “Taylor” Zhong (yu.zhong.609@gmail.com)

On August 11, 2014 David Bachner will have been deceased five years. As per your naming requirements he will meet the criteria which you imposed in October 2012 with regards to naming a facility. Please consider this e-mail a formal request to name the North High School varsity baseball diamond The David Bachner Field.

My son T.J. was in six grade when David passed in 2009.  We talked about David’s funeral and the number of people that attended.  My son was fortunate to be able to play Freshman and J.V. baseball at North.  He proudly wore his North baseball uniform hat with it’s embroidered 16.  These days as a Junior at North while he’s not on the baseball team he continues to wear his “Unhittable” t-shirt and sweat-shirt all the time.  He and I visit David’s marker out by the bullpen at North every year on David’s “Angelversary”.

I never met David nor had an opportunity to watch him play.  My son T.J. never met David and never had the opportunity to watch him play.  We have been fortunate to be part of the baseball community and meet and talked to baseball players like P.J. Silva and Scott Feryus and others who have talked to other players that knew David.  His legacy lives on because he was able to touch so many people in and outside of baseball.

I have been fortunate to meet and get to know Rhonda Bachner and Steve Bachner, David’s parents.  They are of course deeply invested in continuing David’s legacy.  They provide scholarships as part of their foundation, The David J. Bachner Memorial Fund.  They raise money by holding a yearly North South hockey game that grows in popularly every year.  They sell “Unhittable” wear at the North South baseball games every year.  Their Facebook site is vibrant with friends posting pictures of “Unhittable” around the world and continuing to reminiscence and tell stories about David.

So after all this information you may ask why am I so personally invested in supporting the Bachner’s and asking you to name a baseball field after their son David?  Because I love the sport and community of baseball.  Because I have a son who loves baseball and if anything ever happened to him I don’t know if I would have the strength of Rhonda and Steve to continue.  Because baseball doesn’t always seem to get the attention and support as much as other sports.  Because from CPLL T-ball to WWP Senior Babe Ruth and both North and South High school baseball teams I have made a life time of friends in the sport of baseball.  Because in the sport of North baseball there may never be another athlete with the talent and potential of David Bachner and ensuring that North field bears his name alongside his marker is a fitting tribute.

Because it’s the right thing to do.  For baseball.  For David.

Sincerely,

Tim Hitchings
Plainsboro

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It’s Spring and Time for Baseball and the CPLL Friday Night Lights.

Spring is a time for the start of the baseball season. As an avid fan of the sport I look forward to watching my favorite teams the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yes that’s correct, I follow both teams. I grew up in Massachusetts during the years of the great Carl Yastrzemski. And my son is a die-hard Yankees fan having grown up in the days of Derek Jeter. I enjoy rooting for both teams and the game of baseball in general. T.J. really only roots only for the Yankees but I haven’t disowned him for it.

One of the highlights of the start of the baseball season for me is the local Cranbury Plainsboro Little League Friday Night Lights. This year for three consecutive Fridays (May 2nd, May 9th, & May 16) the Little League baseball and softball teams play under the lights at Plainsboro Park at 7 PM. This is a great night of community and fun with the kids and their games as the center of attention.

The highlight for me will be the Friday the 16th game when the Little League baseball Majors Yankees take on the Phillies. The Phillies is coached by my son’s former coaches Ray Cella and Jim Caracappa. The team is sponsored by Peter Zanghi who is well known as the person responsible for the start of Little League baseball in our area. The three of them have been generously donating their time for more years than I’ve had the pleasure of living in Plainsboro. And every year I look forward to an email from Coach Ray inviting my son T.J. who is now 17 to come to the event and help coach the team for the evening. Ray invites his former players to take over his team for the night. I know I certainly look on in delight as these giant boys who used to play for Ray and Jim tower in height over the current little league team and often over Ray and Jim.

It’s a fun night for me to catch up on how Mr. ‘Z’, Ray and Jims’ current team is doing and what the players will do in district all-stars. I run into old friends like Bill and Euna Brossman and we trade stories on what our son’s are up to today and reminisce on the good ‘old’ days of Little League with Ray, Jim, and Mr. ‘Z’. Hopefully we’ll have three beautiful nights of weather in the coming Friday’s. I hope everyone in the community will stop by. Say hello if you see me. I think I’ve still got an old CPLL hat from my coaching days somewhere. I’ll be around the backstop cheering on all the boys and girls to make the play, hit the ball, and run to the next base.

Springtime is baseball.

 

Published here:  http://www.wwpinfo.com/index.php/component/us1more/?Itemid=6&key=5-2-14hitchings

follow-up to june jury duty – five year sentence

On July 3rd, according to the online NJ courts public access the judge passed sentence on the defendant.  The jury that I was on,  out of the 8 counts, convicted the defendant of 2 counts.  One count of 2nd degree aggravated assault and one count of 2nd degree eluding.   Very difficult to read the online system but it looks like the defendant had 216 jail days as a result of not making bail and was sentenced to 5 years by the judge.  Don’t see anything about the jail time going towards time served or parole or probation…

I believe for what we learned that the defendant appeared to have done, I’m satisfied that justice was served.  I feel bad for the two women that didn’t want to convict the defendant of anything as I’m sure if they learn of the sentence they are going to be devastated.

I’ll probably check the records in another month to see if there are any updates.

 

signage in the plainsboro shopping plazas

Have signs at plazas gotten out of hand in Plainsboro?  Below you will find a few images of signs photographed on a recent weekday.  These signs aren’t up just for the day or just for the week or just for a sales period.  These signs are up 24 x 7.  Look how the signs have taken over the lovely bed of flowers in the plaza.  Are two twenty foot vertical banners in addition to nine or ten other signs in front of a store appropriate for the look our town is trying to maintain?

I understand in these challenging times that businesses need to attract customers but are a dozen Dunkin Donuts signs really necessary?  Should a business be able to erect a twenty foot vertical banner in front of their store for multiple years?  Do we really need to have multiple wire signs advertising the same topic within ten feet of each other?  Imagine if all the businesses in these plaza’s added their own signs…

There was a time when the only signage allowed was in a business establishment’s windows.  Let’s consider returning to those days and improve the attractiveness of our plaza’s and surrounding areas.

Dunkin Donuts at Plainsboro PlazaIMAG0163IMAG0164IMAG0165IMAG0166 

Note the upside down sign thrown behind the other standing signs.

Note the upside down sign thrown behind the other standing signs.

   

Signs at Princeton Meadows Shopping Plaza in Plainsboro

The twenty foot Vonage sign has been at this location for several years.

The twenty foot Vonage sign has been at this location for several years.

The signs below the Vonage sign are not for any business in the plaza and are repeated twenty feet away.

The signs below the Vonage sign are not for any business in the plaza and are repeated twenty feet away.

The signs are repeated twenty feet away below the Vonage sign.

The signs are repeated twenty feet away below the Vonage sign.

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The sign is in front of Bagel Street fifty feet away, not in front of the Wine Valley store.

The sign is in front of Bagel Street fifty feet away, not in front of the Wine Valley store.

The entrance to the plaza is a popular location to advertise events outside of town.  There are two signs in two locations less than ten feet apart.

The entrance to the plaza is a popular location to advertise events outside of town. There are two signs in two locations less than ten feet apart.

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jury duty

Recently I had the ‘pleasure’ of being selected for jury duty.  A couple of years ago I got the same invite but postponed due to work commitments.  This time I entered into the process with an initial enthusiasm.  The first day consisted of being packed into a large room with 400 people where we were spoken to by a court clerk,  watched a video describing the process in brief, and thanked and sworn in by a judge.

Thereafter a select group of 90 was called into the court room on one of the upper floors of the court house.  We were greeted by judge, given a sheet of paper with a calendar of expected dates would be needed, and then given the opportunity to speak at the side with the judge, defense, and prosecutor as  to why we couldn’t be a juror for the length of time in the calendar which happened to span over Memorial day.  Out of the 90 I’d estimate that close to 60 lined up, told there stories and were dismissed.  I’m sure most had legitimate excuses but I wonder how many said anything possible  to be excused.  From my observations over the course of my eight day stay, a large number of people are called because so many have reasons why they can’t serve.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard “but I thought it was just for one day”.

After the initial bulk of people in my court room were let go we proceeded to reviewing a questionnaire and being called to set one of fourteen jury box chairs.  As the people were called they were again asked to come to the side and whisper why they answered a question yes on the questionnaire.  Again many were dismissed. Finally the fourteen chairs were filled.  Next the judge asked a series of questions which appeared to provide the lawyers more information which allowed them to determine if they needed to exclude any jurors.  Any exclusions caused another round of reviewing the questionnaire and the verbal questions.   Soon there were only ten of us left that weren’t sitting in the jury box.  It looked like for sure that I wasn’t going to get a chance to be a juror.   But with a few more exclusions my name was finally called.  The lawyers all said they were satisfied and we took a break before opening statements.

The same day as jury selection completed the opening statements were also completed.  It was obvious from the opening statements that the prosecutor was cool, collected and professional and that the defense was ill-prepared, nervous, inexperienced, and a bit of an actor.  They both summarized the case as they would like you to perceive it.  In this criminal case the burden of proof is on the prosecution and the defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The prosecution would be presenting first and the defense would follow.

After the opening statements there was four days of testimony from both sides.  Most of the testimony and evidence was interesting and easy to follow.  I and the rest of the jurors were attentive during the process so that we could understand the case.  As we were not allowed to take notes of any kind, we had to rely mostly on our memories of what we heard and saw in the court room for a our later deliberations.  Lawyers are technically challenged.  One couldn’t find a volume control on their computer in order to mute some video testimony.  Anther couldn’t see that their presentation on a projector was horribly out of focus for 4 days.

Finally the testimony concluded and closing statements were given.  Defense went first and Prosecution went second.  The inexperience of the defense was again apparent in some of the theatrics on display.  Thankfully the closing statements concluded and were were verbally read the charges.  Up to this point the process of jury duty had been interesting and I was looking forward to reaching a fair verdict on the charges.

First half day of deliberations was a disaster. To many people talking at once, cross conversations, and nothing being accomplished. Thankfully on the next day we all agreed to a single person talking with everyone raising hands.  We went around the table and talked  about each charge.  We voted openly with people raising hands. Unfortunately it became quickly apparent that a few jurors felt strongly that no charges should be applied.  On juror went so far to say on several occasions that the defendant had already been in jail for six months (couldn’t make bail?) and we should be punishing him with any more time.  She simply wouldn’t listen to reason that it was not our job to worry how much time the person would get but be fair and focus on the charges.  Another juror kept focusing on a single word in the charges as to why she didn’t want to convict of any charges.  There was a willingness to believe any testimony by the defendant and dismiss every piece of evidence and all the testimony from the prosecution.

After a total of two and a half days, with even viewing and hearing some testimony a second time it looked for sure that the jury would be deadlocked.  So how did we finally reach a conclusion?  Wiggle room.  More than on juror would say “I may have some wiggle room on this charge if we vote this way on another charge”  This was out and out vote trading. I feel horrible that was the only way we could conclude the process.  One of the two hold outs finally said I’ll vote which ever way you want cause I don’t want you all to gang up on me.

We ended up with a total of two convictions out of the fourteen charges.  While it may be true that the prosecution had more charges listed than necessary but I felt strongly that on at least one charge we did not find guilty and should have.  We presented our charges to the court room where there was absolutely no readable reaction from either the prosecution or the defense.  We went back to the deliberation room for a few minutes and the judge came and and thanked us for our service, answered a couple of questions and we were dismissed.  We quickly left the building and with barely a goodbye went our separate ways as quickly as possible.

Now I’m left with concern that I didn’t convict on more charges.  So every day for the next six weeks because that’s what the judge said it would take for sentencing, I’m daily checking the Middlesex courts convictions page for information on the defendant as to what sentencing was given.  If there is one thing that I wish the court system would improve it would be letting jurors know the results of their actions.  I’m sure I’m not the only juror who is torn with thoughts as to if they did the right thing.  I’m especially sure that the two jurors that didn’t want to convict the defendant of any crime are suffering the most right now.

Wish more would try to serve instead of being so proud of some of the excuses they’ve used to get out of jury duty.  And I wish more business could be considerate of people who serve and could somehow support the system better.

Yes, I’ll participate in jury duty again in a heart beat.  Focusing on testimony over many days without any note taking and recalling that information to make decisions is an interesting challenge.

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