October 21, 2020

The Polish Nannies performed Sunday afternoon on the green at Palmer Square in downtown Princeton. The free concert series continues with Duo: Kindred Spirit on October 24 and School of Rock on October 31. The concerts are from 12 to 2 p.m. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With case numbers on the rise, winter weather and the holiday season approaching, and more activities taking place indoors, the COVID-19 pandemic is entering its second phase, says Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser.

The Princeton Health Department reported 18 active positive cases in town on Monday, October 19, a favorable number compared to other parts of the state and the nation at large, but nonetheless a significant increase in the past two months.  There have been 11 cases reported in the past seven days in Princeton and 19 over the past two weeks.

New Jersey health officials reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday, October 20, with the largest number linked to private indoor gatherings. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declined to announce any expansion of the 25 percent capacity restriction for restaurant dining.

“Winter with COVID-19 was anticipated to be a difficult one,” wrote Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams in an October 20 email. “Our region and our county in particular have benefited from the low transmission rates achieved over the summer months, but winter will always be a time of year when infection rates for airborne viruses proliferate.”

Williams emphasized the importance of following established COVID-19 guidelines — mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and opting for the outdoors — as cooler temperatures and lower humidity combine with increased travel, indoor family gatherings, and holiday social events to raise risk levels.

Grosser noted that early in the pandemic the incidence was highest among older adults, but since June, 18- to 29-year-olds have been the most infected demographic. This is also the age group that is most likely to have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. “What is concerning about this age group is the fact that this group is more likely to continue to increase community transmission of COVID-19,” said Grosser. “We have seen these circumstances arise particularly with college/university students returning home and spreading COVID-19 through their household.” more

By Anne Levin

Presentations on initiatives related to transportation were the focus of a special Princeton Council meeting held Monday evening, October 19. Mayor Liz Lempert began the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Marvin Reed, a former mayor of Princeton Borough, who died on October 12 at age 89.

“One of Marvin’s major passions was transportation, so I think he’d be glad we’re continuing his legacy tonight,” she said. “Both of the FreeB buses are named after him because of his dedication and advocacy to public transit.”

Councilwoman Mia Sacks reported that the two existing FreeB vehicles have been retired due to wear and tear and excessive needs for maintenance. Going forward, the town is looking to a lease option instead of ownership, hopefully with a focus on hybrid and/or electric vehicles. “We’re also finalizing a proposal to the Transit Trust Fund to expand existing FreeB routes, to better connect the new Affordable Housing sites that will be coming on line,” she said.

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton told Council that the Engineering Department has been working with the Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Police Department to determine the best type of pavement markings and signage along the Bike Boulevard routes. The aim is to have consistent, clear markings that will be put in place in the spring once budgets have been approved.

Council President David Cohen updated Council on the Bike Map Project, reporting that a third printing of the map that was created about a decade ago shows not only bike routes but locations for bike parking. Copies are available at bike shops, and will be placed in the lower lobby of the police department headquarters in the municipal building. They are also available on the municipal website.

Council voted to introduce an ordinance on bike parking. Cohen said the ordinance was important because of residential developments that are planned in conjunction with the town’s Affordable Housing obligation. “It’s a topic that comes up at every single Planning meeting,” he said. “The Planning Board will be in a much better place, being able to point to actual requirements rather than asking [developers] to do us a favor.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Marvin Reed, who died on October 12 at age 89, had an immense variety of interests and accomplishments, and a lifelong commitment to public service during his careers in education, public relations, and local government.

The focal point of his energy and attention was the town of Princeton. He was Princeton Borough mayor from 1990 to 2003 and councilman for a total of 19 years, in addition to the many other positions he held.

“His most important legacy was his compassion and passion for making Princeton a better place,” said his daughter Liza O’Reilly in a phone conversation from Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. “He always wanted to make it better.”

She described his ability to work productively with others and to persevere in pursuit of what he believed in. She mentioned particularly the redevelopment of the Princeton Public Library and the surrounding downtown area. “He got a lot of opposition going into that,” she said, “but he just worked at things that he had a passion for and believed in making better.”

She added, “He listened to people, but he kept moving forward. And it turned out that many of the things that he focused on and believed in did turn out to be the right things despite opposition.” more

TO THE MOON AND BACK: The Lawrence Hopewell Trail’s annual moonlight ride has been transformed this year, thanks to the pandemic, into a virtual trip to the moon. Participants have multiple options that include more than biking.

By Anne Levin

Yet another organization has turned a casualty of the pandemic into a positive opportunity. Administrators of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) have transformed the annual Full Moon Bike Ride, a popular event since 2013, into something much bigger, longer, and more informal.

The 2020-2021 Journey to the Moon invites cyclists, runners, dog walkers, skaters, and even treadmill users to log as many of the 238,000 miles it would take to travel to the moon, on or off the trail. The initiative was launched on October 2, the first of this month’s two full moons, and the night the event would have been held if not for COVID-19. It runs through March 1, 2021.

Allowing that the 238,000-mile journey might be a big daunting to accomplish, distance will be recorded in “LHT miles” — equaling 22 miles each, or the actual length of the trail. That makes the virtual journey 10,818 LHT miles.

“We’re not sure you can cover 238,000 miles by walking your dog,” said Ruth Markoe, LHT board member. “So we’ve made this adjustment. But having said that, since we announced this a week ago on social media, people have already racked up 1,400 miles.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Alice Feng

Undaunted by the limitations of youth and inexperience or a seven-month pandemic lockdown, three Princeton High School students are looking to implement their original plans to make a difference in the local community — in health care, in youth engagement, and in the relationship between police and the young people of Princeton.

Participants in the Social Pioneers Program of the NJ Youth Civics Coalition (NJYCC), formerly the Princeton Youth Program for Civic Engagement — senior Alice Feng, junior Jimmy Weinstein, and sophomore Han Li — were ready to present their proposals to community and government leaders at a pitch event in April. The event was canceled because of the pandemic, however, and the students have had to find other ways to advance their ideas.

Weinstein, whose goal is to help build the relationship between the Police Department and the young people of Princeton, explained why he got involved in the Social Pioneers Program. “I have spent too many years complaining and listening to others complain, so I figured it is time to try and fix something that is terribly important in our community,” he wrote in an email. “I am opinionated, but I never act. This issue has always been important and a bit controversial, and I thought the least I could do was find a simple solution, even if it doesn’t create world peace.” more

VIRTUAL VIEWING: This year’s Lambertville House Tour takes participants inside historic properties not seen on previous tours, with a series of videos produced by documentarian and local resident Gary P. Cohen. Aerial views of the town are part of the video event.

By Anne Levin

It might seem that a house tour that can’t be viewed in person wouldn’t be worth taking. But the Lambertville Historical Society has come up with a virtual program for this weekend’s Lambertville House Tour, its biggest annual fundraiser, that actually offers more to see and experience than on the traditional tours the organization has held during the past 37 years.

Organizers knew months ago that, thanks to the pandemic, opening the Delaware River town’s distinctive homes to the public would not be possible this year. After some brainstorming, they came up with a set of nine video tours of historic properties, with interior footage and aerial cinematography, produced by resident talent. Also included in the $10 admission are four presentations, and a live Q&A session with local architects and a well known interior design professional.

“When we realized we wouldn’t be able to do it, our biggest question was, ‘How do we keep the tradition alive?’” said Michael Menche, president of the Historical Society. “That was the main thing. So we thought a lot about how to do it virtually. You can’t re-create walking into a house. It’s just not the same. And we wanted to make it enchanting and informative, at a variety of levels in a virtual format.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

I could get to where the massacre happened in 15 minutes on the bus when I was a kid.

—Director Mike Leigh, discussing Peterloo

I spent last Wednesday morning finishing The Plague and rereading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. With Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s birthday a week away, it made sense to go from Albert Camus and his apparent conclusion that the plague “opens men’s eyes and forces them to take thought” to Coleridge’s concluding reference to the Mariner’s captive audience, the Wedding Guest, as a “sadder and wiser man.” Both narratives appear to end on a positive note. For Camus, it’s “to state quite simply what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.” For Coleridge, it’s “He prayeth best, who loveth best / All things both great and small.”

Except that The Plague’s Doctor Rieux realizes at the close of the novel, as he listens to “the cries of joy rising from the town, that such joy is always imperiled … that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years … that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves, and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”

And despite the freedom the bright-eyed Mariner feels after unloading the burden of his “ghastly tale” on the terrified Wedding Guest, he knows the “woeful agony” will return, when his heart within him “burns” and he must pass, “like night, from land to land,” with “strange power of speech” until he finds the man who must hear him (“To him my tale I teach”). more

“PANTHER HOLLOW”: Passage Theatre presented, to ticketed YouTube viewers, a prerecorded video of “Panther Hollow.” Written and performed by David Lee White (above), and directed by John Augustine, this candid and wry monologue describes the artist’s struggles with clinical depression at age 25. (Photo by Michael Goldstein)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre has presented a prerecorded video of Panther Hollow. Writer and performer David Lee White’s candid, darkly humorous monologue was originally presented in March 2016, as part of Passage’s Solo Flights Festival. John Augustine was the stage director; the video was produced and directed by Susan Ryan.

In an introduction, Managing Director Damion Parran acknowledges that the video was donated by White to Passage, for use as a fundraiser for the company’s upcoming season. Although the video was distributed via YouTube, its presentation was treated as a theatrical event; ticket buyers were emailed a link that entitled them to view the performance from October 17-20.

White’s work with Passage has included serving as its managing director, and subsequently, its associate artistic director and resident playwright. Previously the company has presented his plays Blood: A Comedy, If I Could, In My Hood, I Would… and Slippery as Sin. Currently White is collaborating (with Richard Bradford and the members of The OK Trenton Ensemble) on The Ok Trenton Project, which is “scheduled to premiere as a full production in October of 2021,” according to Passage’s website.

In a video interview for Passage, White was asked about the process of writing Panther Hollow. He credits previous Solo Flights productions with its inspiration. “A lot of people would come on and do these shows, and over the years I got really fascinated with them,” White says. “I thought, ‘I wonder if this is something I can do.’” Offering a taste of the humor that pervades his monologue, White adds, “I had always wanted to tell the story of my battle with clinical depression … because first of all, I thought, ‘that’s going to be a laugh riot!’” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton University Concerts opened its 127th season last Thursday night with an old musical friend presenting a free live digital performance launched over YouTube. The Takács Quartet, which has appeared on the PU Concerts series 20 times in the past, broadcast a live performance from Chautauqua Auditorium on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where the string quartet is based. In Thursday night’s program, violinists Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist András Fejér presented an unusual concert spanning 250 years and including individual movements of some of the ensemble’s favorite works.

The Takács Quartet began the concert with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose string quartets are popular staples of chamber repertory. Mozart’s 1783 String Quartet No. 15 in D minor showed a strong influence of the composer’s mentor, Franz Josef Haydn, while allowing the four instrumentalists to explore their own musical personalities. The second of six string quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn, this work moved away from Mozart’s chipper major keys to the key of D minor — a harmonic center Mozart reserved for such dark and ominous drama as Don Giovanni and the deathbed Requiem. The Takács players, performing the opening “allegro moderato,” began with a fierce dark character, as cellist Fejér led the ensemble through the opening passages. O’Neill’s viola playing spoke well in the all-wood Chautauqua Auditorium and the Quartet built musical intensity uniformly with dynamic swells well executed throughout the movement.

Like Mozart, the late 19th-century English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died prematurely in his mid-30s but was also prolific as a young composer. While a student at the Royal College of Music, Coleridge-Taylor composed five “character pieces” for string quartet — unusual in that most repertoire for the genre is comprised of larger works. Five Fantasiestücke for String Quartet showed the influence of the Romantic Robert Schumann, with a folk element also heard in the music of Dvorák and Bartók.   more

“SAME DAY NEW MESSAGE”: This work by Phillip McConnell is part of the “Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement” virtual exhibit, which kicks off with a Livestream Launch on Saturday, October 24 at 8 p.m. at artagainstracism.org.

“Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement,” the nationwide virtual exhibition created to document the Black Lives Matter art movement, will kick off with a Livestream Launch on Saturday, October 24 at 8 p.m. ET. The 90-minute program, moderated by Art Against Racism founder Rhinold Ponder, will feature live and pre-recorded video of music, poetry, performance, and interviews on the themes of racial and social justice, as well as a virtual video gallery of artwork. The artists behind the artwork will talk about what motivated them and what this moment in time means, and why it is so important to vote.

To tune in to the free virtual event, visit artagainstracism.org.

Featured guests will include poet and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who will give a spoken word performance; artist, writer, and scholar Nell Painter; Philadelphia Mural Arts founder Jane Golden; emerging rapper Echezona, whose music is a rallying cry for social change and racial justice; poets Michelle Black Smith-Tompkins, Gail Mitchell, and David Herrstrom; folk artist David Brahinsky; Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia; and Kansas City mural artist and Black Summer 2020 curator Harold Smith. There will be live video of public art from muralists in Milwaukee, Trenton, Kansas City, San Diego, Bridgeport, and Newark. more

TELL ME A STORY: Joanie Leeds is one of two storytellers booked for the popular Milk & Cookies series presented online by State Theatre NJ.

State Theatre New Jersey announces the return of the storytelling series Milk & Cookies for fall 2020. A popular State Theatre program for more than 10 years, the series will be available online.

Two programs are geared to children ages 3-10 and their families. The series begins Saturday, October 24, with storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston; followed by musician Joanie Leeds on November 14.

Alston has shared her African and African American tales with audiences from Cape Town to Carnegie Hall, at events ranging from concerts in Japan to the U.S. Presidential Inaugural festivities. For her original kids music, singer-songwriter Leeds has won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, the Independent Music Award, Gold Parents’ Choice Award, NAPPA Gold Award, and Family Choice Award. One of the top nationally-touring kindie rock singers today, Leeds recently released her ninth studio album, All the Ladies. 

Patrons who donate will receive an email the day of the event at 10 a.m. with a link to watch the performance. The video can be viewed at any time and will be active from October 24 through December 23, 2020.  To participate, a minimum donation of $10 per event is required and gives an entire household access to a Milk & Cookies show. To donate or for more information, visit STNJ.org.

HELP AND HEALING: “My services give my patients the best chance of not only healing, but achieving and maintaining optimal health so that they are not just ‘getting along,’  they are truly thriving.” Steven Hoffman, owner of Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, treats patients with a variety of medical conditions.

By Jean Stratton

Some people go to law school or business school; others learn on the job; still others go from career to career, seeking the right fit.

But not many find their occupation unexpectedly in a serendipitous moment, as Steven Hoffman did.

“I came to acupuncture through martial arts,” he explains. “I had jammed my thumb, and it was wrapped in a bandage when I came to my martial arts class. The instructor, also a trained acupuncturist, looked at it and said, ‘I’ll fix that!’

“He did, and it was instant relief. That was my introduction to acupuncture.” more

MISSING THE GAME: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace shows his game face during the 2018 campaign. With the Ivy League having canceled the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns, Surace is dealing without having football for the first time in his memory. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace struggled to keep his emotions in check this July as he spoke virtually to members of the Princeton University football program in the wake of the Ivy League announcing it was canceling the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“When we found out that we weren’t playing, I got on a call with the parents, players, and coaches and I started breaking up, I was in tears,” said Princeton head coach Surace ’90, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the program.

“My dad was a coach. I haven’t had a fall without football since I can literally remember. I have been on a sideline with my dad. I have been a player. I have been a coach. You are talking almost 50 years.”

In dealing with the crazy year that is 2020, Surace has developed a daily routine to keep him on track.

“I try to keep a really strict schedule,” said Surace. “I think it takes time to figure that out but literally, starting in May or so, I got into that routine. We are only allowed eight hours in the office during the week but almost everything I am doing, I can do from home.” more

IYER LEVEL PLAY: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Shaila Iyer hits a backhand in a recent match. Freshman Iyer has starred at first singles, helping PHS produce a 10-0 start. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Shaila Iyer is ahead of schedule when it comes to her role on the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

Ascending to the first singles spot in the PHS lineup this fall as a freshman, Iyer has even surprised herself.

“I didn’t even think I would be on varsity this year, let alone be No. 1,” said Iyer.

“For me and my mom, when we started tennis, our goal was to get to varsity as a junior.”

Last Saturday against visiting Hightstown, Iyer showed how she can be a force at the varsity level, posting a 6-3, 6-0 win over Diana Kalajdzic to help the Tigers defeat the Rams 5-0 in a battle of teams that brought 8-0 records into the match.

“They beat us for the past four years and last year was the first time we won,” said Iyer. “We are really excited.” more

LATE SALVO: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal kicks the ball up the field in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Beal scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation as PDS edged Bishop Eustace 3-2. The Panthers, who defeated Moorestown Friends 3-0 last Monday in improving to 4-1, host Montgomery on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal struggled to get herself free around goal as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team hosted Bishop Eustace last Thursday.

For much of the contest, speedy PDS senior forward Beal got stymied on runs from the flank.

“It was kind of difficult to get me the ball this game but it is just how it happened,” said Beal.

It came as no surprise to Beal and her teammates that they got a difficult game as they faced Bishop Eustace.

“Coming into the game we knew that they were going to be tough competitors,” said Beal.

“Maybe that rattled us a little bit coming in because this whole season matters so much to us because we never know when it is going to end.”

PDS jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by junior Ali Surace with 33:39 left in the first half but the Crusaders answered back with a tally four minutes later to knot the game at 1-1. The Panthers went ahead 2-1 on a goal by freshman Adriana Salzano late in the first half.

Just after halftime, Bishop Eustace found the back of the net to make to 2-2, putting the Panthers on their heels. But in the waning moments of the contest the Panthers started to find a rhythm. more

BACK IN THE FLOW: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis controls the ball last Wednesday against Notre Dame. Junior star Lis tallied two goals to help PHS rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win overtime. Returning to action from missing all of 2019 due to a knee injury, Lis tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season. PHS, which fell 3-0 to Hopewell Valley last Saturday to move to 3-1-1, plays at Allentown on October 21 before hosting Nottingham on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During the 2019 season, Sophia Lis’ role on the Princeton High girls’ soccer squad was confined to cheering on her teammates and occasionally serving as a ball girl while she was recovering from a knee injury.

Returning to action this fall, junior forward Lis has assumed a starring role, emerging as the go-to finisher for PHS.

Last Thursday, Lis displayed her scoring touch against Notre Dame, tallying two goals to help the Tigers rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win in overtime.

Lis is thrilled to be contributing again for PHS. “It is such a great feeling; I rehabbed all of last year during the season and I was ready this summer for my season and unfortunately due to corona we didn’t have the games,” said Lis, who tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season for the Tigers.

“So this is me getting back into games and getting my stamina back. I was nervous coming back. It is always that thing are you as good as you were before. I think I am finally getting back into my groove and feeling the same way.” more

TOUGH TO BEAR: Ian Franzoni sprints upfield in 2019 action during his senior season with the Hun School football team. Star running back Franzoni rushed for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns and made 12 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns in his final campaign for the Raiders. He committed to attend Brown University and play for its football program. With COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its fall sports schedule, Franzoni is waiting to make his debut for the Bears. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Under normal circumstances, Ian Franzoni would have been looking forward to enjoying a homecoming last Saturday as the Brown University football team had been slated to play at Princeton.

But with COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its 2020 fall sports schedule, former Hun School star running back and Brown freshman football commit Franzoni never left home in Robbinsville.

While Franzoni may have to wait a while to play for Brown, deciding to attend the school and join its football program didn’t take long.

“The schools that I were big on were the service academies; I had cousins who played at Navy so I was big on them,” said Franzoni, noting that Brown freshmen are currently scheduled to arrive on campus in January. more

October 14, 2020

The Princeton Shopping Center, Sustainable Princeton, and NRG Energy hosted an electric vehicle and e-bike ride and drive event at the shopping center on Friday evening. Attendees share if they would consider getting an electric vehicle in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Phase-in plans for bringing students from remote learning back into the classrooms met with some obstacles last weekend, necessitating a delayed re-entry for a number of students, as three students at Princeton Day School reported positive COVID-19 tests and students at Princeton High School and Johnson Park were exposed to the virus.

A Johnson Park (JP) student and a Princeton High School (PHS) student, who live in a household where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, will quarantine at home, and school officials are working with the Princeton Health Department in following up with contact tracing, quarantine measures, and disinfecting procedures as called for by state and local health departments.    

Students in the one potentially affected class at JP and their siblings will remain on remote learning for the entire week, allowing time for the classroom to be deep cleaned again and to ensure students are symptom-free.

The PHS phase-in to on-site learning is scheduled for next Monday October 19, but the PHS student exposed to COVID-19 is a soccer player, and the district has suspended soccer practices and games for a week, according to Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, who said he anticipated that the boys on the team would be able to return to school with other PHS students on October 19. more

By Donald Gilpin

Eight candidates are vying for three positions on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) on the election 2020 ballot that, in addition to races for president, House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate, includes several local contests.

Mark Freda, a Democrat, is running unopposed for mayor of Princeton, while incumbents David Cohen and Leticia Fraga, also Democrats, are running for two uncontested positions on Princeton Council.

In Mercer County elections, Democrats Lucylle R.S. Walter and John A. Cimino are running unopposed for two spots on the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, while incumbent Democrat Paula Sollami Covello is the sole candidate on the ballot for Mercer County Clerk.

In a contested Mercer County race, Republican Bryan “Bucky” Boccanfuso is challenging incumbent Democratic Sheriff John A. “Jack” Kemler.

With three weeks to go until Election Day in this predominantly vote-by-mail election, many have already voted. Voters have the option of mailing in their ballots, returning their completed ballots to their polling place on Election Day, or placing their ballots in one of 15 secure drop boxes throughout Mercer County. Princeton’s is located at the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon Street. There will be five polling places in Princeton.

Registered voters can also vote by provisional ballot in person on Election Day, but only disabled voters will be allowed to use a voting machine. The Princeton League of Women Voters is offering, at lwvprinceton.org/voter-information, a video showing how to correctly fill out, enclose, and seal a mail-in ballot. “To avoid problems, vote promptly and sign carefully and clearly; your ballot is accepted only if signatures match,” said Chrystal Schivell of the League of Women Voters. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by November 3 and received within seven days. Dropped-off ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on November 3.

In the Princeton BOE election, incumbents Beth Behrend, current Board president, and Michele Tuck-Ponder, current vice president, face challenges from Adam Bierman, Hendricks Davis, Jean
Durbin, and a slate including Bill Hare, Paul Johnson, and Karen Lemon. The three highest vote-getters will win election to three-year terms on the Board.   

The BOE candidates were asked by Town Topics to answer, in 150 words, the question “Why should the people of Princeton vote for you?” Their responses follow: more

By Donald Gilpin

In promoting cycling as the best way to get around town, Democratic mayoral candidate Mark Freda hosted Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) Chair Lisa Serieyssol on October 8 on Facebook Live.  The discussion focused on the Princeton Bike Boulevards, a network of roads and paths that connects the community and creates a greenway with a variety of cycling loops around town.

Freda noted that he had taken part in a tour on the bike boulevards a few weeks ago. “It was a ten-mile ride,” he said. “I was a little worried whether I’d do OK, but I did and it was a very pleasant experience.”

Emphasizing the increased need for bike and pedestrian infrastructure in town, particularly in the seven months since the start of the pandemic, Serieyssol noted that the boulevards were designed to go around the whole town, connecting different neighborhoods without the necessity of traveling on main streets. “These are low stress, low speed, low volume roads for the most part,” she said, “mostly going through residential areas with trails or side paths in some places.”

There are many different loops ranging from a 16-mile fitness loop around the perimeter of town to the 4.5-mile town and gown loop in the center of town.  Maps are available at Kopp’s and Jay’s bike shops and online at the municipal website at princetonnj.gov.

Serieyssol added that the boulevards are still a work in progress, with more signs and pavement markings coming soon to help guide cyclists. more

HOLDING ON: The Princeton Garden Theatre, shown in pre-pandemic times, is hoping to eventually reopen. Like Montgomery Cinemas in Skillman and others that specialize in offbeat as well as some standard features, the Nassau Street movie house is suffering the economic effects of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Renew Theaters)

By Anne Levin

September 20, 2020 was supposed to be the culmination of the Princeton Garden Theatre’s 100th birthday celebration. But instead of marking the milestone, the Nassau Street movie house was quiet that day.

Suffering the effects of the pandemic, the Garden was closed to the public, as it has been since mid-March. COVID-19 has hit the movie industry especially hard. Though permitted to open as of last month, the Garden and the Montgomery Cinemas in Skillman, both of which offer offbeat, art-house films along with some carefully chosen mainstream fare, are hanging on and hoping to resume once the pandemic eases.

“We are planning to reopen. We are holding on, although money is tight,” said Chris Collier, executive director of Renew Theaters, which owns the Garden along with three others in Doylestown, Jenkintown, and Ambler, Pa. “We’ll be doing an end-of-year campaign. We’re a nonprofit, so we have loyal donors and supporters. I don’t know how for-profit theaters are handling it.”

Not well. Regal Cinemas, the huge commercial chain, recently announced plans to temporarily close all its theaters across the nation, including 11 in New Jersey, following a $1.6 billion loss due to the shutdown. With permission to be only 25 percent occupied and many production companies going straight to streaming services, the situation had become dire. more

By Anne Levin

At its virtual meeting Monday night, October 12, Princeton Council voted to introduce an ordinance that would authorize the hiring of an outreach coordinator for the town’s Human Services Department. A public hearing on the issue will be held October 26.

Several members of the community including Maria Fuega, Fern Spruill, Larry Spruill, and Tom Parker commented in favor of the ordinance, which creates a framework for the new position. Earlier in the day, Mayor Liz Lempert said the issue is one that Council has been talking about for a while. “This is one of our smallest departments, but it serves a critical function,” she said. “We’ve been leaning on them and counting on them during this [pandemic] crisis.”

The full-time position is for someone who can help with the growing volume of cases handled by the department. Councilwoman Leticia Fraga said that even before the pandemic, Human Services was over-stressed.

“Post-pandemic, there were many community partners coming together to meet the needs,” she said. “But it became evident that while we had all of these great resources, not everybody was aware of them. So all of those who needed them weren’t able to access them. We need another staff person to help work with the director and identify where those gaps are, and ensure we are doing a good job of getting whatever resources are available to everybody in the community who needs them.” more

A LOSS TO SO MANY: Admired in the community as a friend and activist, Stephanie Chorney was honored a few months ago with a special celebration outside her home.

By Anne Levin

To her family, friends, and many colleagues on countless community projects, Stephanie Chorney was a born nurturer whose devotion to helping others defined her life. A  pediatrician who worked at Princeton Medicine Princeton Health until retiring five years ago, Chorney died of breast cancer on September 29 at the age of 50.

Admiration for her was such that Princeton Public Schools and the municipality issued a special proclamation in her honor, naming May 26, 2020 “Dr. Stephanie Chorney Day.” A list of causes to which she devoted time and energy, even when she was sick, includes the Princeton Green  Schools Coalition, the Princeton Environmental Commission, Not in Our Town, the Arts Council of Princeton, Corner House, the Breast Cancer Research Center, Arm in Arm, and numerous others. more