June 12, 2019

Not in Our Town Princeton honored students with Unity Awards on June 6 in a ceremony held at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton. From left, lower row, are Khalil Benjamin, Alex Leonard, Hamza Nishtar, Raisa Rubin-Stankiewicz, Vera Ebong, Bells Almodovar. Stephanie Ramirez, Salma Hashem, Kat Martin, and Daphne Lau. Top row, Akshay Adaikalavan, Mike Hollomon, Stephanie Huang, Grace Chung, and Claire Jiang. Not present, Yani Ince and Alex Zhang. Not in Our Town Princeton is a multi-racial, multi-faith group of individuals who stand together for racial justice and inclusive communities.

By Anne Levin

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Princeton Police Department are continuing to investigate allegations of misuse of municipal property in Princeton, specifically within the town’s Sewer Operating Division.

“This is an active criminal investigation. We are, as we speak, gathering information on a number of allegations,” Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said Tuesday morning. “In our experience, this is probably the first time we’ve dealt with any allegations like this, certainly at this site.”

First reported online by Planet Princeton, it is alleged that private contractors have paid municipal employees to use the town’s River Road sewer department site to dump dirt and asphalt. Among other allegations under investigation is a charge that a $300,000 jet truck, and municipal workers, have been used to help a contractor install new sewer pipes at a residence.

One municipal employee was terminated last week as a result of the initial investigation. On Monday, Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield declined to release that individual’s name because of his involvement in the investigation.


By Donald Gilpin

Elm Road and Rosedale Road, for starters, will soon be seeing improvements that will make those routes safer and more comfortable for bicycles, and for pedestrians and motorists too.

Elm from Stockton Street to Rosedale is scheduled to be resurfaced this summer, with the addition of a bike lane, according to David Cohen, Council liaison to the Princeton Bicycling Advisory Committee and Planning Board member.

At their Monday, June 12 meeting, Princeton Council discussed plans for the Elm Road refurbishing with a representative from the Mercer County Engineering Department. Cohen requested consideration of bike lanes on both sides of the road, but the narrowness of Elm is problematic.


By Donald Gilpin

National and international events and policy decisions may be happening far away in Washington, D.C., or Central America, but those happenings and that news can reverberate strongly in Princeton, particularly on the issue of immigration and the lives of immigrants.

“Immigration in Princeton: Community Needs and Current Policy Issues,” a panel discussion presented last Sunday by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), provided an overview of the needs of immigrants in Princeton, along with some personal stories and local, state, and federal policy solutions. The speakers offered a number of ways for volunteers to help.


RACIAL LITERACY CRUSADERS: Priya Vulchi, left, and Winona Guo, Princeton High School graduates now at Princeton University and Harvard University, respectively, held a standing-room-only book launch last week at Labyrinth Books for “Tell Me Who You Are,” their new collection of stories and interviews from across the country. (Photo by Brenna Kennedy-Moore)

By Donald Gilpin

Last Wednesday night’s book launch at Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street was not your typical literary event.

This should not be surprising since the authors, Princeton High School (PHS) graduates Winona Guo, now at Harvard University, and Priya Vulchi, now at Princeton University, are not your typical college students, and, as they point out, their new book, Tell Me Who You Are, is much more than a book.

They wrote on social media last week, “As teens we spent one year traveling to all 50 states interviewing strangers about race for this racial literacy movement. This isn’t just a book, it’s an essential guide to bridging our racially divided world. So, are you with us?”


By Anne Levin

In a status report to Princeton Council Monday night, June 10, Council member David Cohen addressed ongoing efforts by Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) to redevelop its Tennent-Roberts campus to create 105 two-bedroom apartments for student housing. The proposal has been the subject of concern among some residents, who want Council to deny the Seminary’s request.

An ad hoc committee of the town’s Planning Board has been studying the request and holding public meetings with residents of the neighborhood for the past nine months, hoping to develop a concept plan. The main question is whether the Tennent campus should be declared an area in need of redevelopment.

Cohen reported that the Seminary has proposed a hiatus in the ad hoc committee process, allowing for time to come up with “creative solutions which will satisfy the broadest cross-section of Princeton residents,” he said in his report. “We applaud their desire to continue working with the community for our mutual benefit.”


SHOWING HOW THEIR GARDENS GROW: Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County maintaining the Cottage Garden at Mercer Educational Gardens are, from left, Kathleen Yurwit, Hightstown; Sheryl Fuller, Trenton; Mary Wagner, Pennington; and Ann Vaurio and Marge Steinberg, Princeton.

In celebration of 25 years of service to the home gardeners of Mercer County, the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County are presenting a summer series of Saturday morning talks and demonstrations, Hands-on in the Garden, at Mercer Educational Gardens (MEG), located at 431 A Federal City Road in Pennington, adjacent to the Mercer County Stables. The series, which begins June 15, is free and open to the public.

Each program in the series will begin at 10:30 a.m., run 60-90 minutes, and feature one of the display gardens, with a focus on improving soil, proper siting and watering practices, and maintenance. These programs are all outside and some walking may be involved. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own water, sun protection, insect repellant, and seating, if needed.


Garden Club and Nursery School Collaborate

The Princeton Nursery School (PNS) and the Stony Brook Garden Club are working together to renovate the school’s outdoor play space, replacing concrete, metal, and rubber materials with grass, wood, shade trees, and vegetable beds.

The plan, which will create simple play stations using natural materials such as tree stumps, smooth stones, and sand, is designed to “provide a foundation for a lifetime relationship with the natural environment, foster imaginative play, and engender a love of gardening and its healthy benefits,” according to a press release. The area will be a safe outdoor learning environment and an extension of the school’s educational space.

Since 1929 PNS has provided a comprehensive preschool education with support services and child care for underserved families in downtown Princeton. PNS offers working families support with hunger prevention, health, wellness, and bilingual assistance.


Littlebrook Students Visit IAS

Littlebrook Elementary School second-grade students recently traveled to the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and received a lesson on black holes from IAS Director and Theoretical Physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf.

During their introduction to the Institute they also saw Einstein’s globe and the building where he worked for more than 20 years, and they visited the Mathematics-Natural Sciences Library and the Historical Studies-Social Science Library.

Chief Human Resource Officer Michael Klompus discussed with the students what their favorite subjects were, and asked, “What if you could study your favorite subject with no interruptions or expectations … with the most brilliant minds from all over the world … with guidance from the greatest mentors from all over the world? That’s exactly what happens here!”


Chicks Hatch at Princeton Montessori

This spring Princeton Montessori School (PMS) students culminated their study of the life cycle of an embryo by watching chicken eggs hatch in a classroom incubator, then holding and feeding the baby chicks.

Primary, elementary, and middle school students all participated in the project for several weeks, studying embryo development while using age-appropriate materials and closely viewing the eggs.

The egg project built upon the students’ recent study of the bald eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, as the students viewed the eagle webcam on a regular basis and worked with lesson materials provided by Duke Farms, including a life-size replica of a bald eagle’s wing span.

“You can see pictures and videos, but nothing beats the real thing,” said PMS biology teacher Eliza Hammer. “Whenever you can make a lesson absolutely real, do it. If you’re teaching about fish, go buy a real fish so the children can actually feel the skin. The awe and wonder that comes from that is just priceless.”


Johnson Park Offering Personalized Bricks for New Amphitheater

As noted in last week’s School Matters, the Johnson Park School (JP) Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) is funding the construction of an amphitheater on the school’s grounds, and would like to offer the community and all JP alumni an opportunity to be a permanent part of JP history.

While the names of all current students and faculty will be engraved on PTO-sponsored stones, the PTO thought it would be meaningful to give the greater JP community an opportunity to leave its mark via personalized bricks.

Donors can have their bricks engraved to convey a message to current, past, or future JP students, honor a loved one, or commemorate the donor’s connection to JP.

To purchase a brick, visit http://4everbricks.com/donors/JPES by June 16.

Construction will begin at the end of the school year, and should be completed before school starts in September.

By Anne Levin

With former McCarter Theatre Producing Director Mara Isaacs the winner at Sunday’s 2019 Tony Awards for the Broadway musical Hadestown, and several other alumni of the Princeton theater honored in various categories, Artistic Director Emily Mann is a proud mama of sorts.

“We’re so thrilled for everyone. It’s really exciting,” Mann said Tuesday, two days after the annual awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Hadestown, which Isaacs co-produced, won eight awards including Best Musical. “Mara — what an amazing grand slam home run she’s made,” Mann continued. “She’s been working on it for years, and what a job she’s done.”


By Stuart Mitchner

Anne Frank was born 90 years ago today. When she turned 13 on June 12, 1942, she was given a diary. A week later, after a long entry about her birthday and her friends and before she and her family began life in the “secret annex,” she imagines “that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.”

Writing about the schoolgirl’s musings in Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife (2009), Francine Prose meditates on the fact that “the most widely read and enduring masterpiece about that brutal era [1942-1945] was written by a girl between the ages of 13 and 15.”

In The Ghost Writer (1976), Philip Roth calls Anne Frank “a marvelous young writer,” comparing her to “some impassioned little sister of Kafka’s.” C.K. Williams says “I thought of you at that age, Little Sister” in his poem “A Day for Anne Frank,” which begins with children running back and forth in a filthy alley, “the girls’ screams suspended behind them with their hair … their feet pounding wildly on the pavement.”


By Nancy Plum

For close to six decades, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra has been offering a comprehensive range of orchestral training programs to young musicians in the area. This past Saturday night, GPYO presented its Senior Division Spring Concert, showcasing the winner of the Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition. This year the competition was won by oboist Michael Chau, a senior at South Brunswick High School, who demonstrated musical talent and composure well beyond a student just graduating from high school. Chau easily mesmerized the Richardson Auditorium audience with his versatility and technical skill, performing one movement from a Mozart oboe concerto with GPYO’s flagship ensemble, the Symphonic Orchestra.


“SHE LOVES ME”: Performances are underway for “She Loves Me.” Directed by David Kellett, the Princeton Festival’s production of the musical runs through June 30 in the Matthews Acting Studio at Princeton University. Coworkers Georg (Tommy MacDonell, left) and Amalia (Amy Weintraub) have a contentious relationship, but they unknowingly have exchanged love letters. (Photo by Jessi Oliano)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The 15th anniversary Princeton Festival includes the Broadway musical She Loves Me. Directed by David Kellett, this presentation of the charming romantic comedy boasts exquisite musical performances, as well as elegant choreography and production design.


SUMMER CHAMBER MUSIC: The Horszowski Piano Trio returns to Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts at Richardson Auditorium Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

On Thursday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m., the Horszowski Piano Trio performs at Richardson Auditorium as part of Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts. Selections by Haydn, Schumann, and Shostakovich are on the program in this free concert.


Sarah Stryker

Shakespeare ’70 returns to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre for its annual tribute to The Bard. This year the celebrated company presents Macbeth Fridays, June 21 and 28 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, June 22 and June 29 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, June 23 and June 30 at 2 p.m.


SWING, MARCHES, AND MORE: At the Mercer County Symphonic Band’s concert at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre on Wednesday, June 12, the program will range from Stravinsky to swing music from the 1940s. The annual spring concert ends with the traditional Sousa march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Admission is free. Visit mercerband.org.


Art All Night Trenton will return to the Roebling Wire Works June 15 and 16, following months of hard work by the event’s staff and volunteers, and lots of community support. Art All Night 2019 will be the same free and open-to-all event, full of art, music, food trucks, live mural painting and more, but the full event footprint will be fenced off, with many important new security measures in place to ensure the event is safe and trouble free.

Art All Night will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and end at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16, but no new entries will be allowed after midnight Saturday, with the event fully closed to the public between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday, when public entry resumes.


TOP PRIZE: Jerry Cable of Stockton was awarded the top prize for his painting “Time Out” at Hamilton Jewelers’ “The Art of Time Exhibition,” presented in conjunction with its 20th annual Watch Fair event on June 1. Cable is shown with Hamilton Vice President Donna Bouchard.


“TULIPES `A FRENCHTOWN”: This photograph by Laura Orbine of Frenchtown was chosen as the winner of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s Spring 2019 Photo Contest. The contest’s purpose is to highlight photography representing the beauty, diversity, function, and significance of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has announced that Laura Orbine’s photograph, titled Tulipes `a Frenchtown, was chosen as the winner of the commission’s Spring 2019 Photo Contest. Thirty-five photographs were submitted by 11 individuals for the contest.


“FIRST STONE”: This color lithograph by Helen Frankenthaler is featured in “Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity,” on view June 29 through October 20 at the Princeton University Art Museum. The exhibit will feature more than 50 prints by the artist, spanning five decades and more than a dozen printmaking processes, including lithography, woodcut, etching, and engraving.

One of the most influential artists to emerge from the mid-20th century, Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) may be best known for her innovative abstract paintings in which she poured washes of color over great expanses of raw canvas. She was also the most prolific printmaker of her generation. Frankenthaler’s print works are remarkable for the diversity of techniques she employed, the number of studios with which she collaborated, and the ways in which her engagement with printmaking could parallel — simultaneously independent and in sync with — her practice as a painter.


“SING”: This work by Beatrice Bork will be featured in “Breathing In,” a joint exhibition with Laura Rutherford Renner. It will be on view at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville July 4 through August 4, with an opening reception on July 6 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

“Breathing In,” on view July 4 through August 4 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, will feature the work of artists Beatrice Bork and Laura Rutherford Renner. It is a visual ode to the everyday inspirations that life continually gifts us. Working in their respective mediums of watercolor and oil, the fine art displayed will include, according to the Gallery, “the “canine and feline friends who entwine themselves into our hearts and make every day a little better” — along with birds, animals, and contemporary life that both artists are well known for.


VISUAL SPLENDOR: “Gardening can be a stress release. It provides exercise, fresh air, and you are creating something beautiful now and beautiful over time. Even if it’s on a small scale — just a terrace or window box, it will enhance the space. It’s therapeutic, it’s fun, and you’re creating beauty.” Carol Thomas, owner of Green Haven Garden Center in Hamilton, is shown amid a colorful display of knockout roses.

By Jean Stratton

A gorgeous display of floral splendor awaits visitors to Green Haven Garden Center.

Located at 1181 Hughes Drive in Hamilton, Green Haven is a complete gardening resource. Not only does it offer a full range of plants, shrubs, and selected trees, including unusual varieties, it also provides workshops to help customers learn how to make the most of their gardens.

As owner Carol Thomas points out, “We don’t necessarily focus on the product, but on the person. We ask what the customers want, where they will plant it, etc. If they are new to the area or from another country, they may not know what grows well here. We help guide the customer with help and advice.”

Like the garden center, Thomas’ background is filled with fascinating variety. Not only does she have a background in horticulture and landscape architecture, having studied at Rutgers, she also has a master’s degree in language arts, and taught at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.


HEAVY LIFTING: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity eight shows its form in a race this spring. Earlier this month, the top boat placed sixth in the Grand Final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Having coached in the Princeton University rowing program since the late 1990s, Greg Hughes boasts a reservoir of experience in bringing boats together.

But Hughes knew he had to be innovative this spring as he guided the Princeton men’s heavyweight crew, with the Tigers having graduated a number of key seniors and thereby breaking new faces into the lineup.

“It was an interesting year for me,” said Hughes, a former Princeton lightweight star rower who started as the coach for the Tiger freshman heavyweight crew before guiding the men’s lightweight program from 2006-09 and then taking the helm of the heavyweights in 2010.

“It was my 22nd year of coaching and what is so cool for me is to realize that you are still seeing new things and still learning. This was definitely one of those years.”


CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT: Princeton High boys’ track star Paul Brennan heaves the shot put in a meet this spring. Last Saturday, senior and Princeton University-bound Brennan placed first in the discus and 10th in the shot put at the New Jersey outdoor Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

A goal, a season, a dream, and a career all came together for Paul Brennan at the New Jersey outdoor Meet of Champions (MOC) last Saturday at Northern Burlington High.

The Princeton High senior won the discus with a throw of 186’ 8 to become the first outdoor champion for the Tiger boys since Stephen Fletcher repeated in the 110-meter hurdles in 1983. (PHS senior Nils Wildberg won the long jump at the indoor MOC this winter.)

“It feels awesome,” said Brennan, who is headed to Princeton University where he will compete for its men’s track program.


EYE ON THE BALL: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse goalie Sam Brandt tracks the ball in a game this season as he prepares to make a save. Junior Brandt produced a solid campaign in the cage as PHS posted a 6-9 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although having some key veterans sidelined this spring kept the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team from reaching its potential, that misfortune allowed some new faces to get valuable playing time.

“We took a step forward because unfortunately we had three seniors getting injured,” said PHS head coach Chip Casto, who lost seniors Ben Drezner and Evan Filion to leg injuries before the season due to injury and then had tri-captain Alex Park sidelined early in the season.

“All of the young guys had to play. Out of this difficult year, going 6-9, came tremendous opportunity for the young guys. A lot of them took advantage of it and got better.”

PHS showed its progress in the season finale, putting together one of its better efforts as it posted a 12-9 win over Allentown.


ELLE ON WHEELS: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Elle Anhut races up the field in a game this spring. Freshman midfielder Anhut enjoyed a big debut season for PDS, tallying 24 goals and 32 assists. The Panthers finished with an 8-7 record, advancing to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and state Prep B semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With a roster including five freshmen and eight sophomores, the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team was bound to take some lumps this spring as its young players got up to speed.

But with its senior captains providing leadership and the new faces coming of age quickly, PDS produced a winning campaign as it went 8-7, advancing to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and making the final four in the state Prep B tourney.