February 14, 2018

Ice artists showed off their skills at Saturday’s Hearts on Fire — Palmer Square on Ice event, as giant ice blocks were sculpted into 3-D figures, with many themed for Valentine’s Day. Hot chocolate was also served to all those who came to enjoy the festivities. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) are crowded, but the challenge for the community, its educators, and architects as they look ahead to an October 2 facilities referendum is not just to provide more room for students and staff, but to create the kinds of spaces that will help to transform the learning endeavor from a traditional industrial-age process to a 21st-century model.

In describing the town hall meetings held last Thursday with architect Prakash Nair and education expert Heidi Hayes Jacobs and attended by a total of about 150 community members, PPS Superintendent Steve Cochrane said, “There was an excitement about how the transformation of space in our schools could also transform learning district-wide.” more

By Donald Gilpin

More than three years after its pipeline project was first announced, PennEast last month received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to build the 120-mile pipeline in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The 120-mile pipeline would bring natural gas from Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania across the Delaware River near Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, across Hunterdon County to the edge of Mercer County near Pennington.  more

By Anne Levin

The continuing efforts to aid victims of the December 27, 2017 fire at Griggs Farm were the subject of some discussion at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, February 12.

The governing body also held a brief work session on the 2018 budget, and passed a resolution regarding the renovation of the Mary Moss Playground. A public hearing and Council vote regarding McCaffrey’s Supermarket’s plan to purchase the liquor license owned by the now-closed CoolVines store was postponed until March 12. more

TURNING HEADS: The distinctive graphics on the windows of what will become the Mexican eatery Tacoria this spring are among the signs of a growing restaurant culture in town. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Anne Levin

None of them claim culinary backgrounds. But the quartet of ambitious restauranteurs behind Tacoria Mexican Street Kitchen, currently under construction at 110 Nassau Street, immersed themselves in the art of food preparation before opening their first eatery in New Brunswick two years ago.

“We’re all making tacos now,” said Sean Patel, of the partners and best friends. “We went to a kind of cooking camp for 30 days, 10 to 12 hours a day. And we’re now on our third location.” more

More than 40 demonstrators holding signs and candles gathered in Palmer Square Friday evening to support an Olympic Truce vigil in conjunction with the opening of the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games.  Sponsored by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, the vigil was part of an internationally-coordinated effort to urge diplomacy to peacefully resolve the North Korea issue. (Photo by John Lien)

Experience the sights, smells, and sounds of two kitchens from circa 1785 and 1900 at Howell Farm on Saturday, February 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Winter Kitchens program. Cooking activities, recipe sampling, and hands-on helping are all part of the event, which is free. During the morning, meals that farmers would have had for their noontime dinner will be prepared. Howell Farm is on Woodens Lane, just off Route 29. For more information, visit www.howellfarm.org. (Photo by Jeff Kelley)

LIBERATING TEACHERS AND STUDENTS: Joel Hammon, seen here with his student Sam Allen, left his high school teaching job eight years ago and co-founded the Princeton Learning Cooperative, not a school but a self-directed learning community where kids and teachers are “in charge of their learning and their lives.”

By Donald Gilpin

What do you do if you’re a teacher who doesn’t like school?

Nine years ago, Joel Hammon was an unhappy high school history teacher. He’d started out with great idealism and “a tremendous sense of optimism about how to make the world a better place,” as he explained in his recent Ted Talk on YouTube. more

By Anne Levin

John Bailey usually waits until August to hold the Joint Effort Safe Streets Program, his annual week of community-focused activities in Princeton’s Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, where he grew up. But this year, the Denver-based political consultant is making two pilgrimages to his hometown. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The phrase “labor of love” has been haunting me ever since I saw Anne Elliott’s drawings of her husband, Peter Gruen, who died in August. I’ve been an admirer of my former Town Topics colleague’s work for almost 15 years. Last week admiration gave way to awe. You know when you’re in the presence of what Henry James, among others, calls “the real thing.” The gallery attitude — you stop, you look, you move on, you go home, you think of other things — no longer pertains. Not this time, not when you’ve witnessed what happens when love and art become one. more

By Kam Williams

The Shape of Water is clearly a favorite in this year’s Oscar sweepstakes. The science fiction fantasy about love across species lines was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, in six major categories: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins).

Writer/director Guillermo del Toro was apparently inspired by Creature from the Black Lagoon, a classic horror film from the 50s. This variation on the theme portrays the merman as being misunderstood instead of evil. more

RECORD PACE: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Michael Sowers heads to goal in a game last year during a record-breaking freshman campaign which saw him score a program single-season record of 82 points on 41 goals and 41 assists. Star attackman Sowers will look to pick up where he left off as Princeton opens its 2018 season by hosting Monmouth on February 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last spring, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team showed marked progress in Matt Madalon’s first full season at the helm of the program.

The Tigers went 9-6 and reached the Ivy League tournament semifinals in 2017 after going 5-8 the year before with no postseason appearance. more

GIFT OF GAB: Princeton University women’s basketball player Gabrielle Rush puts up a shot in recent action. Last Friday, junior guard Rush scored a career-high 19 points to help Princeton defeat Harvard 80-47. The Tigers, who topped Dartmouth 82-63 a night later to improve to 16-4 overall and 6-1 Ivy, were slated to host Penn on February 13 before playing at Cornell on February 16 and at Columbia on February 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gabrielle Rush relishes her role as a key substitute for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

“I think of myself as the spark off the bench, whether things are going bad or not or if we are losing or winning,” said Rush.

“Coming in off the bench, I have had a chance to watch for a few minutes, which I think is a real advantage. I can see how they are playing on defense and how they might be guarding me. On offense, I see what I need to do that is not being done or what I continue to be doing that is being done.” more

MIDDLE OF THE ACTION: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Camille Sullivan looks to unload the ball in a game last spring. The Tigers are relying on senior co-captain Sullivan to provide production and leadership in the midfield this season. The Tigers open their 2018 season when they play at Temple on February 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With Olivia Hompe triggering the attack and Ellie DeGarmo anchoring the defense, the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team has been a dominant force in the Ivy League over the last four years.

The Tigers won or shared the Ivy crown every season over that span with attacker Hompe ending up as the program’s all-time scoring leader with 282 points and a two-time All-American and netminder DeGarmo emerging as a two-time All-American and the national goalie of the year in 2016. more

FINAL SHOT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Tyler Washington puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior star Washington hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give sixth-seeded Hun a 72-70 overtime win against third-seeded Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in the opening round of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament. A day later, Washington tallied 18 points as the Raiders fell 74-43 to second-seeded Hill School (Pa.) in the semis. Hun, which dropped to 4-17 with the setback, will be competing in the state Prep A tourney where it is seeded fifth and slated to play at fourth-seeded Peddie on February 13 in a quarterfinal contest with the victor advancing to the semifinals in February 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tyler Washington started his final home weekend for the Hun School boys’ basketball team with a bang.

With sixth-seeded Hun trailing third-seeded Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 70-69 in the waning seconds of overtime last Friday evening in the opening round of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament, senior guard Washington drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Raiders a 72-70 victory. more

February 7, 2018

JM Group’s recent Holiday Meal Drive resulted in more than 173,350 donated meals for those in need. The staff of Witherspoon Grill, Blue Point Grill, Princeton Farmers’ Market, and Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Company thank all those who sponsored “Under the Harvest Moon,” a cocktail party fundraiser, which provided the meals for the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank. (Photo Courtesy of JM Group)

By Donald Gilpin

Michelle Lambros, Adam Bierman, and Myrtha Jasmin have joined the field for the Democratic nomination for Princeton Council, along with Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson as announced in last week’s Town Topics. They are vying for seats currently held by Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, who will be stepping down when their current terms end at the end of December. more

By Anne Levin

A century ago, a flu pandemic took the lives of an estimated 50 to 100 million people around the world, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. While the current flu epidemic is not as dangerous, it is serious and considered one of the worst on record.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 50 children have died of the flu this season. The virus has sent scores of otherwise healthy individuals to the hospital. At Princeton Medical Center, 412 patients have tested positive for influenza this season, compared to nearly half that a year ago. That includes outpatients, emergency department visits, and in-patients at the hospital. more

By Donald Gilpin

As the Winter Olympics open in South Korea, an Olympic Truce vigil, sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), will take place on Friday in Palmer Square from 5-6 p.m.

“This vigil is building on a long history of Olympic Truces and peacemaking, a tradition of worldwide truce at the time of the Olympics,” said CFPA executive director the Rev. Bob Moore.  more

MAKING MEMORIES: Crafted from clothing that might otherwise have been relegated to the attic, this quilt is among the products that won the Princeton company, The Patchwork Bear, a spot on the 2017 Oprah’s Favorite Things list.

By Anne Levin

When a small business becomes one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, life gets complicated — in a good way. Just ask Jennifer Cura, whose company The Patchwork Bear operates out of headquarters above Green Street Consignment on Nassau Street.

Since making the coveted list last November, Cura and her staff have been busier than ever creating bears, quilts, tote bags, duffel bags, and wedding keepsakes out of old clothes that have sentimental value, but might otherwise be stuffed into a box in the attic. So a vintage T-shirt collection could have a second life as a quilt. Baby clothes a parent can’t bear to part with could be crafted into a cuddly bear. more

The board of Not in Our Town Princeton (NIOT Princeton) has elected officers and adopted a new mission statement. Simona L. Brickers and Princess G. Hoagland are the new co-chairs, replacing Larry Spruill and Linda Oppenheim, who is now the secretary. Elizabeth Peck is treasurer.

Founded in 1998, NIOT Princeton presents a monthly discussion series in partnership with the Princeton Public Library. It curates racial justice articles at its website, www.NIOTPrinceton.org, makes annual Unity Awards, and sponsors book readings, workshops, film series, panels, and anti-racism demonstrations.  more

By Anne Levin

Last Friday, a federal judge declined a request by Rider University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to temporarily halt the sale of Westminster Choir College to an as-yet unnamed buyer from China.

The injunction, if granted, would have prevented Rider’s administration from entering into any binding agreement over the sale of the music school, affiliated with Rider since 1992, until the resolution of arbitration over layoff notices that Rider issued in November to Westminster professors and librarians. more

The Princeton Senior Resource Center is celebrating its GrandPals program with a photo exhibit of GrandPals and children at the Suzanne Patterson Building, located at 45 Stockton Street (behind Old Borough Hall). more

Atmosphere is radiance, glamour, warmth, mystery. It is what gives beauty a soul and makes it alive. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Stuart Mitchner

As the current news cycle has made clear, Dreamers is a word to be reckoned with, creating instant sympathy for the cause it represents. That’s why the State of the Union speechwriters made a feeble attempt to undermine the cause by having the president say “Dreamers are Americans, too” when it’s generally understood that the true heroes of the narrative of the American dream are the immigrants who came to this country looking for a new life.

There’s an echo of that narrative in the closing paragraphs of The Great Gatsby when F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of “the last and greatest of all human dreams,” and of “the enchanted moment” when “man held his breath in the presence of this continent … face to face with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.” The narrator then thinks of “Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him. somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”  more

By Jean Stratton

The opportunity to look one’s best at any age is becoming increasingly available. Today, there is no need to go “undercover” or “retire into the shadows” at a “certain age” when so many facial treatments offer very positive rejuvenating results. Whether one opts for a minimum “nip and tuck,” a full makeover lift, or one of the non-invasive treatments, a new look is waiting for you! more