March 3, 2021

Despite the cold, a few children recently enjoyed some time in Marquand Park. Residents and visitors share what they are looking forward to this spring in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday, March 1 that the state will be expanding vaccination eligibility later this month to include educators and staff in Pre-K through 12th grade settings, child care workers, and transportation workers, among others.

Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Barry Galasso applauded the news that teachers would soon be eligible for vaccination. “We’ve been advocating for them to get vaccines since vaccines became available,” he said. “I’ve written to the governor and told him specifically that schools are an integral part of getting the economy going, and the only way that can happen is if teachers feel comfortable coming into the buildings.”

He continued, “Vaccines are not a silver bullet, but they will give a number of teachers a level of comfort and safety. We sent out communications asking the Princeton community for support on this, and a number of people in the community have taken up that banner and advocated for this. We appreciate their support. Teachers being vaccinated is a great thing.”

New Jersey expects to receive an initial shipment of about 70,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved, one-dose vaccine this week to supplement the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in use.  And, on March 2, federal officials announced that Merck & Co. would be teaming up with Johnson & Johnson in helping to produce the vaccine.

In addition, CVS and Rite-Aid will be allotted 22,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this week through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Murphy added, though the supplies for subsequent weeks are not certain.

“As the federal government continues to make more vaccine doses available, we are confident in our ability to expand our vaccination program to reach more of our essential workers and vulnerable  populations,” Murphy said. more

By Donald Gilpin

On February 23, as they prepared to begin the 7:30 p.m. public session of their regular Tuesday evening meeting, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) was looking forward to a report from district administrators on a plan for moving forward in addressing pandemic-related issues and bringing more children safely back into the buildings.

Logged in on the Zoom session, however, were more than 800 participants — mostly high school students, but also a significant number of teachers and parents. They wanted to speak on a variety of different concerns, and most were not happy.

By 9:30 p.m. the BOE had taken care of preliminary business and heard the administrators’ reports, and the public forum portion of the meeting began, with individuals each allowed two minutes to speak. The Board decided to extend the public comment period from its usual 15 minutes to one hour, then another hour. Community members spoke up, voicing frustrations, stress, sometimes anger, often directed at administration or Board members, sometimes directed against the pandemic in general and its accompanying restrictions, unforeseen disruptions, and constantly changing variables necessitating frequent changes of plans.

The BOE members listened. Board members do not respond during the public forum session, though they did frequently reiterate their commitment to hearing everybody who wanted to speak. Finally, as midnight and the legally mandated end of the meeting approached, the Board and Superintendent Barry Galasso committed to carrying on the dialogue in future planning sessions with students, teachers, and parents in the following days.

Praising the work of the BOE and superintendent and their commitment to listening and working with the students, Yash Roy, Princeton High School (PHS) senior and one of two student representatives on the BOE, attributed last Tuesday’s contentious meeting to pandemic fatigue and communication lapses, “a confluence of bad factors.” He noted, “It was very high tension, but it cooled down very quickly.” more

By Anne Levin

The transformation of Princeton’s former post office building into the new location of Triumph Brewery is finally underway. Inside the Palmer Square landmark, Princeton Design Guild is demolishing the old vaults where money and stamps were kept, and everything in the basement, in preparation for the redesign.

If all goes according to plan, Triumph could move from its current location at 138 Nassau Street and re-open on Palmer Square by the last quarter of 2022, according to Kevin Wilkes of Princeton Design Guild, who is working as the owner’s representative on the project. “We are not the general contractor. We will make a selection in a month for a construction management company,” he said. “But I’m getting things started on the front end so we don’t lose time.”

Three architects are involved in the project. Gittings Associates of Forrestal Road is the architect of record, Richardson Smith of Witherspoon Street is design architect, and Historic Building Architects of Trenton are the historic preservation architects. “We aim to make this a high-quality project, so having a lot of architects involved will lead to a better result,” Wilkes said. “It also spreads the workload a bit.”

It has been nearly eight years since California businessman David Eichler won the bidding for the property, which was home to the post office for 78 years. Plans for Triumph to relocate to the site were announced in 2016. But several issues, involving easements encroaching on municipal property and protected state park land, were among the factors that stalled final approval of the deal. more

YOUNG WOMEN EMPOWERED: Students participate in a February 2020 workshop as part of the Young Women’s Leadership Cohort, a selective leadership development program at The Hun School of Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Poller)

By Donald Gilpin

In September 1971, The Hun School of Princeton welcomed its first 45 young women students on campus, and almost 50 years later the Young Women’s Leadership Cohort (YWLC) is making sure that women’s leadership is a high priority at Hun in this Women’s History Month and throughout the year.

Founded three years ago, the YWLC is a group of 20 junior and senior girls plus a new cohort of 20 ninth and tenth grade girls, all nominated by the faculty for their strong leadership potential. The students in the program undergo extensive leadership training, including skill development, networking, and breaking barriers. 

The program has carried on throughout the pandemic, with many students tuning in via Zoom and at least three different time zones represented. The program’s positive results are apparent.

“It’s definitely making a big impact,” said Dayna Gash, YWLC faculty advisor and ninth grade dean. “All the students, especially in the junior-senior cohort, are occupying leadership roles both internally within the school and in the greater community. We have a female student body president and vice president. With the 50th anniversary of women at Hun School coming up, the campus continues to build on the work we’re doing. This is one of many programs that looks to do that.”

Hun School Junior Bella Gomez, who joined the cohort two years ago as a freshman, feels that being a member of the group has taught her not only how to be a strong leader, but also how to be an advocate for herself and her mental health.

“For a long time, I thought to be a good leader I had to show up every day and be this perfect version of myself, but through this cohort I learned that is simply not the case,” she said. “The best leaders I know are raw, honest, and the first ones to admit when they are having a bad day. I’ve really learned about the power of honesty and integrity and how important it is to be honest about where I am mentally and understanding that one bad day doesn’t make me a bad leader.” more

By Anne Levin

Does Princeton need an Albert Einstein museum?

The idea of creating a center dedicated to the famed physicist’s years in Princeton was posed at a recent meeting of the town’s Economic Development Committee. Elizabeth Romanaux, who grew up in Princeton, has worked for Liberty Science Center, and was president of the New Jersey Association of Museums, presented the early stages of a concept she has been considering for some time.

“As a museum professional, I think this is an enormous piece of ripe fruit hanging over everyone’s head that hasn’t been picked,” she said. “In the overall scheme of things, I think it would do very well.”

Romanaux, who is a friend of Mayor Mark Freda’s wife Beth, said she sent him a note a few weeks after he was sworn in this past January, asking why Princeton didn’t have a museum focused on Einstein, who was associated with the Institute for Advanced Study and lived in a house on Mercer Street until his death in 1955. “I told him I’ve always wondered about this, and he said, ‘Great, look into it.’ That was a month ago,” she said during an interview last week. “So I brought it to the Economic Development Committee meeting.”

There are no Einstein museums in the United States, Romanaux said. Two are located in Europe. Hebrew University in Israel owns the trademarks to his name. The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) does have an extensive collection of Einstein memorabilia at its location at Updike Farm on Quaker Road. more

By Anne Levin

A memo that aims to clarify the conditions surrounding the terms of Princeton’s Third Round Affordable Housing Settlement has been posted on the municipal website (princetonnj.gov).

The 13-page memo by municipal attorney Kevin Van Hise, which was posted on Tuesday, details reasons why the 20 percent set-aside for affordable housing that was in place in the former Princeton Borough now applies only to properties that have five units or more, are rezoned, or are in zones designated for redevelopment. An ordinance passed by Princeton Council last April eliminates that set-aside for all new developments, a fact that became evident during a meeting of the town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board last month.

The board was reviewing a proposal to build eight apartments at the parking lot on Witherspoon Street, across from Princeton Public Library, known as Griggs Corner. Officials, unaware that the set-aside had not been extended to consolidated Princeton, were surprised when representatives from Palmer Square, the developer of the property, said they did not plan to include any affordable units because they were not required to do so. The issue has generated much discussion.

“That public discussion has understandably caused significant consternation because of fears that the former Borough’s set-aside ordinance was eliminated, that the municipality does not actually have a set-aside ordinance, and that there are ‘loopholes’ in the ordinance,” Van Hise wrote in the memo. “Rumors and conspiracy theories have been exacerbated in news reports and on social media based upon incomplete facts and inaccuracies that continue to be spread.” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra continued its musical partnership with the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble of South Africa this past week with a concert entitled Soulful and Scintillating Solos, launched Friday and running through the weekend. The Buskaid concert included works of classical composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ernest Bloch, and Camille Saint-Saëns, along with American popular music and traditional South African selections. As with the first Soweto String Ensemble broadcast earlier this winter, the performance featured members of the Ensemble as instrumental and vocal soloists.

It is difficult to imagine that one of Mozart’s most iconic chamber works was composed as “background” music to an 18th-century social event, but that may well be the case with the popular Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Composed in 1787, this four-movement work was likely intended by the composer as a notturno, a chamber piece played late at night at a social gathering. Mozart appears to have given the piece its famous subtitle to differentiate it from a serenade, played earlier in the evening. Regardless of the work’s genesis, the musical themes of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik have remained among Mozart’s most recognizable.

Led by conductor Rosemary Nalden and playing from memory, the string players of the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble played the first movement of Mozart’s Nachtmusik crisply and decisively, leaning into appoggiaturas and demonstrating graceful dynamic swells. Nalden provided effectively supple conducting gestures when required, and the players communicated well among themselves, showing that they had been playing together for a long time. This performance was taken from a 2019 archive, recorded (as were all the works on this program) in the Linder Auditorium of the Wits Education Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa.   more

By Stuart Mitchner

Imagine this scene from a gone world: a live event is underway at San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore. The owner is reciting a passage from Americus: Book 1 (New Directions 2004). It’s the summer of 2004, you can hear fog horns and there’s a North Beach mist steaming the windows. Projected on the wall next to Lawrence Ferlinghetti as he reads is the final moment of the silent film that gave the store its name.

Make this an audience for the ages, a gathering worthy of the poet publisher of City Lights whose subject is the “eternal dialogue echoing through the centuries of all the voices that ever sang or wrote.” Everyone’s feeling the “maze and amaze of life” when Chaplin gazes into the astonished eyes of the once-blind flower girl the moment she realizes that the rich handsome benefactor she’s imagined is a pathetic little tramp. He’s gone to great and hilariously exhausting lengths raising money to help pay for the operation that restored her sight and all he’s got to show for it is the flower she has just gently, sweetly, patronizingly bestowed on him, and yet he’s smiling as he holds the flower to his face, using it to hide the wretched, Chaplinesque wonder of a smile that made Einstein weep, a smile in synch with the words the white-bearded 84-year-old poet is reciting, “a sound of weeping beyond reason, a pianist playing in the ruins of Prague, a London fog.”

In his brief preface to the 60th anniversary edition of Pictures of the Gone World (City Lights 1955), Ferlinghetti remembers “the unique San Francisco consciousness of the 1950s” and the “freshness of perception that only young eyes have in the dandelion bloom of youth.” At the moment I’m thinking of 1958 when the then-39-year-old clean-shaven Ferlinghetti was a few blocks away reading from A Coney Island of the Mind (New Directions 1958), with the Cellar Jazz Quintet. I’m realizing that I never felt as close to the man or his poetry as I do now that he’s “no longer with us.”

“A State of Change”

In his brief preface to “Oral Messages,” Part 2 of Coney Island of the Mind, Ferlinghetti advises the reader that the poems “were conceived specifically for jazz accompaniment … rather than written for the printed page. As a result of continued experimental live readings, they are still in a state of change.” Going to Ferlinghetti after last week’s bicentenary celebration of Keats is like moving from one live performance to another.  more

ROMANCE GONE WRONG: Andrea Burns, shown here with cinematographer Hudson Flynn, who happens to be her son, stars in “Bad Dates,” the first show of George Street Playhouse’s streamed season.

Broadway actor Andréa Burns stars in the first show of George Street Playhouse’s 2021 streaming season with the premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Bad Dates, running through March 14. The full-length, filmed production features direction by Peter Flynn, husband of Burns, and cinematography and editing by their son, Hudson Flynn.

“Creating this production was a true family affair,” said Artistic Director David Saint. “Thanks to a generous GSP board member granting us use of her home as a filming location, our star, director, and cinematographer were able to form a safe familial ‘bubble’ and film this one-of-a-kind production from the ground up. We hope patrons will join us as subscribers this year as we work to create high-quality theatre in exciting new ways.” more

The Arts Council of Princeton celebrates International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8 with a dance workshop led by Bollywood dancer and choreographer Uma Kapoor. In this hour-long, virtual event, participants will learn new moves to favorite songs about girl power including “Single Ladies” and “I Will Survive.” Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit the Arts Council to help close the gap created by COVID-19. Visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.

ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION: Princeton alumni Tessa Albertson, Class of 2020 (foreground), and Jake Austin Robertson, Class of 2015, are featured in The Wild Project’s production of Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days,” produced in association with Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies. (Photo courtesy of The Wild Project)

A filmed production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, produced by The Wild Project of New York’s East Village in association with Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies, is being shown via free Zoom webinar on Friday, March 5 at 4:30 p.m., in recognition of this modernist masterpiece’s 60th anniversary. more

TIME TO ENROLL: Westrick Music Academy is getting ready to begin Term 4 virtual music classes for groups and individuals of all ages.

Westrick Music Academy (WMA), home of Princeton Girlchoir and Princeton Boychoir, is currently enrolling students of all ages in a variety of music education classes, exploring new and engaging ways to build and strengthen musicianship skills.

For musicians in grades 3-12, a variety of classes are offered for all levels. Students can learn how to relax and strengthen muscles while focusing on the slow, deep breathing used in singing with Yoga for Singers. In Musical Theater Fun, young artists will engage in activities focused on singing techniques, character development, acting skills, and dance/choreography in preparation for a final showcase performance. In the Ukulele group class, students will build their musicianship while learning to play traditional songs on one of the most delightful instruments.

In a group setting, students enjoy social interaction and regular informal performance opportunities as their skills grow. Students can also take individual voice lessons to grow their singing and performance skills. WMA’s teachers create a fun, engaging environment that facilitates learning and encourages musical growth.

In Group Ukelele for Adults, basic chords and strumming techniques are the focus. WMA also looks forward to hosting a Comedy Improv Workshop this term. This highly interactive, one-day class is open to anyone of any experience level.

For more information, visit WestrickMusic.org/education.

Arts Festival Volunteer Director Paul Boger has announced that applications for the 2021 Doylestown Arts Festival, scheduled for September 11-12, are now open. Discover Doylestown (Pa.) and the Arts Festival team will be “taking special precautions and initiatives to ensure the safety of everyone involved but remain committed to holding a physical event of some scale, to best support our community and all of you.” For more information, visit dtownartsfestival.com/apply.

An exhibit of photographic images by Joseph DeFay will be showcased at Bell’s Tavern Dining Room, 183 North Union Street, Lambertville, from March 10 through the end of April. The images, which focus on unique color and textures often overlooked, present the simpler aspects of everyday life seen with renewed beauty in a new perspective. DeFay is an exhibiting member of Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

LEGAL EXPERTISE: “Since 1929, Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman (PR&A) attorneys have worked hard to build a track record of honest, smart, and responsible legal representation. We have earned the respect of family law courts, judges, and other New Jersey family law attorneys. We offer one of the largest family law departments in central New Jersey, and have established a statewide reputation of excellence.” Shown are attorneys in the PR&A family law department. Top row: Managing partner and department chair John A. Hartmann III, partner Lydia Fabbro Keephart, and partner Nicole Huckerby. Bottom row: Associate Jennifer Haythorn and associate Jillian Frost Kalyan.

By Jean Stratton

If the future of a marriage or domestic relationship is in doubt, or clearly headed for disruption, the parties most often seek the help of an attorney.

The lawyers who assist clients in divorce cases are specialists in family law. This is difficult work, but it is also satisfying in a very important way. The cases these attorneys deal with are very human, complex, and often emotionally disturbing. Helping clients navigate these severely stressful experiences and move on to a new future makes a difficult job worthwhile.

Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman (PR&A) has been providing this kind of expert legal representation since 1929. Founded by George Pellettieri, it began as a general law firm in Trenton. In 1934, Pellettieri was joined by attorney Ruth Rabstein, who later became his wife. They were a potent team, and the firm gained a reputation for helping individuals in the community, and not institutions.

Committed to assisting working men and women who might be without means to pay, especially during the Great Depression, PR&A was often reimbursed with chickens, homemade pies, and other goods and services. more

THUNDERSTRUCK: Former Princeton Day School boys’ hockey star Ross Colton enjoys the moment after scoring a goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning last Wednesday in his NHL debut. Forward Colton tallied 6:43 into the contest on a feed from Victor Hedman to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead as they went on to a 3-0 win. (Photo provided courtesy of Ross Colton)

By Bill Alden

It took place in Tampa Bay last Wednesday evening, but it left Ross Colton thinking of a Hollywood script.

Making his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning, former Princeton Day School standout Colton scored a goal on his second shift of the night, helping the Lightning to a 3-0 win.

“Two days afterwards, it still hadn’t really sunk in,” said Colton, 24, in a phone interview last Sunday.

“It felt like a movie or something. It was like ‘wow, that was awesome.’ That is what I kept telling myself, ‘that was awesome.’”

Colton’s awesome moment drew the attention of friends, former teammates, and coaches in the area as texts and tweets were buzzing around Central Jersey last Wednesday night.

“The thing that really sticks out is how many people reached out and were so supportive of me,” recalled Colton, a 6’0, 191-pound forward.

“After the game, my phone was pretty crazy. I had 200 or so texts and a bunch of Instagram posts and snap chats. It was almost overwhelming. I am doing my best to thank everyone. It is so awesome to see that many people follow me and support me. It was pretty cool, for sure.” more

MAKING HIS POINT: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Tim Evidente, left, goes in for a lay-up against Ewing last Friday. Senior point guard Evidente tallied 11 points to help PHS pull away to a 56-32 win over the Blue Devils. The Tigers, who dropped to 2-6 with an 82-47 loss at Nottingham last Saturday, are scheduled to play at Princeton Day School on March 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There may have only been a handful of people in the gym last Friday as the Princeton High boys’ basketball team held its annual Senior Day celebration, but it was still an emotional moment for Tim Evidente.

“I never thought I would be here, time actually flew by; it is crazy,” said Evidente.

“Even though there was no crowd, it was just amazing for the team to be here with everyone.”

Having suffered a leg injury in the season opener that sidelined him for several games, Evidente was particularly appreciative to be on the court last Friday.

“When I initially rolled my ankle, I thought I was not going to play for the rest of the season because it was pretty bad,” recalled Evidente, who played with a brace on his left ankle. more

RUNAWAY TRAIN: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Colm Trainor, left, races up the ice last week against the Hamilton hockey co-op. Senior star forward and team captain Trainor tallied three goals and two assists to help PHS skate to an 11-1 win in the February 23 contest. The Tigers, who fell 8-2 to Princeton Day School last Wednesday to move to 3-1, face St. John Vianney on March 4 at the Jersey Shore Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having not played a game since February 3, Colm Trainor and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ hockey team were chomping at the bit as they faced the Hamilton hockey co-op last week at the Mercer County Park rink.

“As soon as we got on the ice, everybody got ready,” said senior forward and team captain Trainor.

“They had all of their stuff on, we came in here in the right mind. We were mentally prepared.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the February 23 contest as two forwards on the team’s second line, sophomore Ethan Garlock and junior John O’Donnell, each found the back of the net early in the first period.

“They are a great group; when I am gone, I know they are going to help out everybody,” said Trainor.

“They are going to be part of the first and the second lines; they are already putting up points. When they are seniors, they are going to be doing great.”

In the second period, Trainor scored the third goal of the game. Combining with his colleagues on the team’s top line, junior John Zammit and sophomore Cooper Zullo, PHS kept rolling from there, increasing its advantage to 5-0 on the way to an 11-1 triumph. more

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Annie Zhao displays her breaststroke form in a recent meet. Sophomore Zhao has helped PHS get off to a 3-0 start in virtual meet competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High girls’ swimming team won’t have the chance to compete in the county championship meet or the state sectionals, Carly Misiewicz believes that her squad can still do some big things in 2021.

“The girls look pretty good this year,” said PHS head coach Misiewicz, whose squad defeated WW/P-North 121-49 in a virtual meet last week to improve to 3-0.

“We have got a pretty full team. We have got 21 or 22 girls so that is good.”

The Tigers have got two very good sophomores in Beatrice Cai and Annie Zhao.

“Beatrice is one who can do a variety of events, whether it is the individual medley or the 200 freestyle or the 100 butterfly or the 500 free,” said Misiewicz.

“At our first meet, she swam the 200 free and 100 fly for us. She mentioned possibly wanting to do the backstroke and she may be in fly a little more. Annie is an IMer and breaststroker. She came in and impressed us as she always does, clocking 1:11 or 1:12 in the first meet in the breaststroke.”

A trio of impressive juniors, Abby Walden, Tracey Liu, and Laura Liu, also give the Tigers good versatility. more


STEPPING UP: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Aleah James brings the ball up court in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior guard James scored 14 points in a losing cause as Stuart fell 55-51 to visiting Manasquan. Two days later, James posted a triple-double in a 75-61 loss to Saddle River Day, tallying 22 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Tartans, who moved to 6-5 with that defeat, have a rematch at Saddle River on March 4 and will then host St. Dominic Academy on March 5 and Ewing on March 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Aleah James shouldered extra responsibility as the Stuart Country Day School basketball team hosted powerhouse Manasquan High last Wednesday.

With fellow senior guard Nia Melvin unavailable to play, James had the Stuart offense in her hands.

“I feel like I really had to pull through when it came to ball-handling because they were double-teaming me a lot,” said James.

“I just had to get through for my team and try to get to the other side of the court and make a play.”

With an athletic and aggressive Manasquan putting a full-court press on James, she battled to get the ball up the court, keeping Stuart in the game as the teams were knotted in a 24-24 tie at halftime.

After trailing the Big Blue Warriors 40-30 late in the third quarter, Stuart rallied down the stretch, narrowing the gap to one twice in the last three minutes of regulation before succumbing 55-51. more

February 24, 2021

Passers-by searched for new titles outside Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street on Sunday. Book lovers share what they have read during the pandemic in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

In an effort to emend a situation that leaves open the possibility of new housing projects being built without setting aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing, Princeton Council is looking for a way to close the loophole and ensure that affordable units are included in new developments.

The set-aside requirement was part of an agreement last year in which the municipality settled a five-year lawsuit with the advocacy group Fair Share Housing. But during a recent meeting of the town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board, it was revealed that the requirement, which was in place in what was formerly Princeton Borough before consolidation with the former Township, was no longer in effect.

Council members first believed that the requirement was inadvertently left out. But they have since determined that it was omitted on purpose. “The change was made intentionally by the consultants who were helping us reach the agreement and draft the new ordinances,” Councilman David Cohen said on Tuesday. “It was not clear to the members of Council that the Borough requirement was being eliminated. It was done because apparently there is more recent legislation, which we’re still trying to nail down exactly, that made the old Borough rule no longer in conformance with state law. The rule had been that any property that was developed with more than five units had to provide 20 percent affordable. Apparently, there were changes in state law instituted after that was passed. We’re still waiting for details from our attorney.”

As it now stands, the 20 percent set-aside applies only to development applications that require variances. So if a project application conforms to zoning regulations, it is not required to include affordable units. “As soon as you ask for a density variance you lose the exemption,” Cohen said. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department reported on Monday, February 22, only two new  cases of COVID-19 in the previous seven days and 15 new cases in the previous 14 days. The highest totals in Princeton were 39 for seven days and 66 for 14 days, both recorded in mid-December.

“The Princeton Health Department began seeing a decline in the number of new cases in December, where we were seeing an average of more than 50 new cases every two weeks at the height of the second wave,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. “We are now closing in on fewer than 10 new cases every two weeks. There is discussion of increased vaccinations and seasonality of the virus being two main factors in these declines.”

Grosser emphasized the importance of continued mask wearing, physical distancing, and staying home when feeling unwell. “We stand at a period in the pandemic where declining case counts, increasing vaccinations, and continued responsible prevention behaviors are showcasing hope in the face of what has been nearly a year of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Also on February 22, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, citing positive trends in infection rates and continuing improvement in the pace of vaccinations statewide, announced an easing of restrictions on capacity limits for churches and houses of worship and on attendance at professional and college sports.     more