January 15, 2020

More than 200 protestors gathered at Hinds Plaza on Saturday afternoon for a “No War with Iran” rally. The event featured 10 speakers from political, academic, religious, and military communities, along with a musician. Participants share what brought them to the rally in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

More than 200 protestors gathered for a “No War with Iran” rally at Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library on Saturday afternoon, January 11.

Under sunny skies with spring-like temperatures, 10 different speakers from political, academic, religious, and military communities addressed the crowd, many of whom carried signs or posters expressing anti-war sentiments.

Sponsored by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), along with the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRC), Muslims for Peace, and Indivisible Cranbury, the rally was a response to the January 3 drone killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani ordered by President Trump.

Protestors carried signs bearing such messages as “Diplomacy Not War,” “Trump Lies and People Die,” “Remove Trump,” Prevent WW III,” “No Imperial Presidency,” and more. more

By Anne Levin

A resolution related to the welfare of migrant families was the focus of a meeting of Princeton Council on Monday, January 13. The governing body voted unanimously to approve the measure, “calling upon the White House and Congress and the state of New Jersey to reunify migrant families, release them from detention, and afford them due process in immigration proceedings.”

Several members of the public spoke in favor of the measure, as did Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, who thanked resident Afsheen Shamsi for crafting the resolution. “It truly reflects our values and who we are when it comes to protecting our neighbors,” Fraga said.

One local resident who has accompanied migrants without legal representation to hearings — including an 8-year-old girl — said that while passage of the resolution is a positive step, a legal representation program is sorely needed. Shamsi commented that Princeton was among the first three towns to pass the resolution. She is delivering a “tool kit” to expand it on a national basis. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s Planning Board heard a concept presentation on January 9 about the projects that are part of Princeton University’s East Campus development. A new parking garage, soccer stadium, soccer practice field, and a geo-exchange utility facility known as  “T.I.G.E.R.” are the key elements of the plan.

The concept review was for an area of the University covered in its 2026 Campus Plan, which was unveiled in June 2017. The area is at the eastern end of the campus, bordered by Western Way, Princeton University Stadium, Faculty Road, and Broadmead. It affects the athletic fields and parking lots, FitzRandolph Observatory, and academic support buildings. New athletic fields and a structured parking garage are proposed.

Prior to the presentation, the University held two open house meetings with residents who live near the area. Several of those neighbors attended the Planning Board meeting to offer their comments and concerns, with the flow of traffic and the height of storage tanks chief among them.

University Architect Ronald McCoy said that sustainability is a guiding principle of the plan. He also stressed that nothing is set in stone. “This is a primary step forward,” he said. “It is a planning framework, but it is not a master plan.” more

A POIGNANT STORY: The open space of St. Michaels Farm Preserve was once the site of an orphanage where Josephine Allen lived as a small child. Now a volunteer with D&R Greenway, which preserved the land, Allen will speak on January 22 about how she finds solace spending time at the site. (Photo by Carl Geisler)

By Anne Levin

A few decades ago, Josephine Allen was riding her motorcycle through Hopewell Borough when she was overcome with a strange sense of nostalgia. Stopping at a gas station in town, she asked the attendant if there was an orphanage nearby named St. Michael’s — the place she had lived as a small child.

There had been, the attendant told her, but it was no longer standing. He pointed her in the direction of the former St. Michael’s Orphanage and Industrial School, which had been operated by the Catholic Diocese of Trenton from 1896 to 1973. Allen was a resident from age 5 to 8.

She followed the directions and found the place where, despite the obvious trauma of being separated from her family, she had many good memories. Since that day she rediscovered St. Michaels, Allen has repeatedly returned to the site to recall its setting on an expanse of farm fields and forests, and the peace that it brought her. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University has filed suit for $10.7M against Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) and sub-consultants Jacobs Architects/Engineers, Inc. and Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. due to “extensive changes and delays those companies caused in the construction of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment,” according to Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss.

Describing the action as “unusual but necessary,” Hotchkiss pointed out that “as detailed in the complaint, TWBTA and Jacobs failed to meet their obligations in the construction of the Center, and the University is asserting claims for breach of contract and negligence, among others.”

New York-based TWBTA and Jacobs, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, have not responded to requests for comment on the suit and the University’s claims against them.

The complaint was filed on December 10 by the Board of Trustees of Princeton University, and, according to The Daily Princetonian student newspaper, Judge Brian Martinotti and Magistrate Judge Lois Goodman will preside over the case at the New Jersey District Court in Trenton. more

“PUTTING PEOPLE TOGETHER:” Patty Thel leads the combined choral groups from Trenton Children’s Chorus and Princeton Day School Middle School at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event at Princeton University. (Photo courtesy of Patty Thel)

By Donald Gilpin

Patty Thel’s roots in choral music go back to her childhood in the Southern Baptist church.

The Westminster Conservatory Children’s Choir program director and founder and Trenton Children’s Chorus director grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where her parents took her to church three times a week, and at home the whole family improvised at the piano and organ. “Mostly hymns — that’s where their heart was,” she said.

Thel has come a long way from the Fayetteville Baptist Church, but through many years of teaching music, she has remained devoted to choral work and literature, along with an experience that goes far beyond the words and the music.

“The thing for me with choral music over the years is about being truthful and devoted to the work as much as possible and also conveying to the students the message brought to them through the literature,” she said. “In teaching you’re trying to teach music, but also teaching young people how to be well rounded human beings and how to be sensitive to other people. more

“WHISKEY & WINE”: That’s the title of a new album by the Americana band Edna’s Kin, appearing at the 1867 Sanctuary in Ewing on February 14 at 8 p.m.

The Americana band Edna’s Kin will appear at the 1867 Sanctuary in Ewing on February 14 at 8 p.m., performing old favorites and many new songs from their recently released CD of all original music, Whiskey & Wine.

A diverse blend of folk, country, bluegrass, and blues music, Whiskey & Wine is the band’s first studio effort since their 2009 debut Same Old Lines, and is available for digital download on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and CD Baby. The album has also received airplay worldwide.

Edna’s Kin is a family band featuring brothers Dan and Andrew Koontz and their father, Warren Koontz. Dan is the songwriter of the group, and can be heard singing and playing guitar, piano, banjo, and accordion. Andrew is mostly on fiddle, but can sometimes be heard on bass, while Warren is mostly on bass, but can sometimes be heard singing and playing guitar. While the family members are present on every track, on Whiskey & Wine they’ve been joined by a number of guest musicians to create a much fuller instrumentation than can be found on their earlier recordings. more

FROM PAGE TO STAGE: The cast of “Midwives,” premiering January 21 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. David Saint directs the play, adapted by Chris Bohjalian from his best-selling novel of the same name.

George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick will present a stage adaptation of author Chris Bohjalian’s Midwives January 21-February 16 at the Arthur Laurents Theater in the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The world premiere play was adapted by the author from his novel of the same name.

The novel, which has sold more than 2 million copies, was also an early selection of Oprah’s Book Club.

A severe snowstorm breaks out during a routine at-home birth. With no way to contact the outside world, midwife Sibyl Danforth makes an impossible decision to save the life of a baby. But when the sun rises and the blizzard clears, questions arise about what really occurred that icy Vermont night. more

“SEED TO SEED”: This 1970-72 painting by Franz Jozef Ponstingl is featured in “Ponstingl: Dreams of Past Futures,” on view January 25 through June 20 at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. Born in Allentown, Pa., Ponstingl painted fantastical visions of surreal landscapes, future civilizations, and abstract networks.

Beginning January 25, the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., will present “Ponstingl: Dreams of Past Futures,” its first solo exhibition featuring the work of Franz Jozef Ponstingl (1927-2004).

An artist with no formal training who achieved very little recognition during his lifetime, Ponstingl painted fantastical visions of surreal landscapes, future civilizations, and abstract networks. His body of work represented in this exhibition spans two decades from the 1960s until the late 1970s.

Inspired by dreams, his work in the 1960s recalls the work of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and other Surrealist painters. In the 1970s, Ponstingl began exploring otherworldly landscapes inhabited by biomorphic, alien-looking forms. He also experimented with abstract patterning, creating a series of works that resemble circuit boards and interconnected networks. A recurring theme in his paintings are visions of abandoned, future civilizations, appearing as if discovered by intact, but uninhabited, by archaeologists. more

“LIGHT, STILLNESS & BEAUTY”: An exhibition of art by the late Leslie Vought Kuenne is on view in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery at D&R Greenway Land Trust through February 6. Kuenne’s wide-ranging work features unexpected nature subjects. (Photo by Lisa Granozio)

D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery now features an exhibition of nature paintings and photographs by the late Leslie Vought Kuenne, on view through February 6.

The art space is maintained in perpetuity, honoring Leslie and Chris Kuenne’s late daughter, Olivia Michelle. The exhibit, “Light, Stillness & Beauty,” — named by co-curator Lisa Granozio — evokes the variety of this display of unexpected nature subjects.

D&R Greenway Land Trust notes that it is deeply appreciative to Leslie’s husband, Christopher, and their sons, Peter, William, and Matthew; as well as Leslie’s sister, Victoria; for the privilege of remembering Leslie through this sample of her work. more

CELEBRATING DR. KING:  The Arts Council of Princeton invites the community to a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through hands-on art, music, and history activities on Monday, January 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street.

The Arts Council of Princeton invites the community to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 20, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. The event will feature hands-on art and history activities, music, and discussions as they relate to Dr. King’s life, teachings, and civic engagement.

Activities include a free community breakfast from 9 to 10 a.m., with speakers Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Ruha Benjamin, author and associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University. more

BACK IN THE GAME: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers drives to the basket during her freshman season in 2017-18. Meyers missed all of last season because of an academic violation and her return this season wasdelayed by a knee injury. Last Saturday, sophomore guard Meyers contributed 14 points off the bench as Princeton defeated Penn 75-55 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The 25th-ranked Tigers, now 13-1 overall and 1-0 Ivy, are on exam break and return to action when they play at Dartmouth on January 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Abby Meyers isn’t back where she wants to be yet, but just being back at Princeton University and contributing again to the women’s basketball team is significant.

“It’s going to be a process,” said Meyers. “I’m not going to be the best I can be tomorrow or the week after. It’s a gradual process.”

The process took a big step forward last Saturday when the sophomore guard scored 14 points off the bench — 10 in the fourth quarter — to help the Tigers open Ivy League play with a 75-55 win at Penn. In a season-high 18 minutes, she shot 6-for-10, had four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and no turnovers.

“I haven’t reached my best yet,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md.

“I haven’t reached a good consistent feel when I play. That could be reading the defense, knowing what to do. I’m still getting there. In the Penn game, I had a role, and hopefully it’s going to grow as the coaches trust me more, the players trust me more.”

Meyers missed all of last season because of an academic violation, then her return to the court was delayed further after she reinjured a meniscus in her knee that had been partially torn a year ago while working out in her year away. more

FLYING HIGH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn flies to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Friday evening at Jadwin Gym, sophomore guard Llewellyn contributed 14 points and four rebounds to help Princeton defeat Penn 63-58 and complete a season sweep of the Quakers. The Tigers, now 6-8 overall and 2-0 Ivy League, are on exam break and will resume action when they host Division III foe Rutgers-Camden on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mitch Henderson knows from hard experience that the heated rivalry between the Princeton University men’s basketball team and Penn involves a unique ferocity.

“I was a freshman at the Palestra and I got the taunting chant,” said Princeton head coach Henderson, a star guard for the Tigers in the late 1990s.

“I like playing Penn, we like playing Penn. They bring out the best in us and that is what rivals should be. I think that is the best thing about sports.”

Last Friday evening as Princeton hosted Penn at Jadwin Gym just six days after beating the Quakers 78-64 in the Ivy League opener for both teams, it was the visitors who brought it in the early going, jumping out to a 10-2 lead. more

TAKING HOLD: Princeton High wrestler Chloe Ayres, top, controls a foe in a match last year. Junior Ayres, who placed first at 105 pounds last winter in the first-ever NJSIAA girls’ championships, has emerged as a leader on the mat for the Tigers under new head coach Jess Monzo. PHS, which started 1-8 in dual match competition, has meets at Nottingham on January 15 and at Ewing on January 17 before hosting a quad meet on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Jess Monzo, coaching wrestling is a labor of love.

“There is always something that drives you and you want to give back and you want to do exactly what your coaches did for you,” said Monzo, who wrestled for Clifton High and Montclair State before getting into high school coaching with stints at Jefferson Township, David Brearley, Matawan, Freehold, and East Brunswick.

“You want to do that and more for the next crop of kids. Wrestling is in my blood, it is going to be in my blood until I can’t do it any more.”

This winter, Monzo, 39, has brought his passion for the sport to Princeton High where he has taken the helm of the wrestling program, succeeding longtime coach Rashone Johnson, now an assistant principal at the school. more

OH BROTHER: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Colm Trainor, right, goes after the puck last Monday as PHS defeated Jackson Memorial 5-3. Junior forward Trainor, the youngest of four Trainor brothers to play for the PHS program, had two assists in the win as the Tigers improved to 10-0-1. PHS faces Lakeland Regional on January 17 at the Ice Vault in Wayne and then plays Hunterdon Central on January 21 at the Flemington Ice Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Colm Trainor is savoring his last chance to play with one of his brothers on the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

The junior forward is the fourth Trainor to play for the program, having been preceded by older siblings Anthony ’17, Robby ’19, and current senior Aidan.

“I have always played with some sort of sibling, first Robby and now Aidan,” said Trainor. “Next year is going to be interesting, I am the last one.”

Last Wednesday against Nottingham, the Trainor connection resulted in a second period goal as PHS prevailed 5-0.

“Whenever Aidan is on the ice, we have the same playing style and we know where each other are going to be,” said Trainor. more

ON POINT: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Dameon Samuels drives to the basket against Princeton High last Monday. Junior guard Samuels scored 13 points to help PDS pull away to a 57-43 win over PHS. The Panthers, now 7-4, hosts Hopewell Valley on January 16 before playing at Doane Academy on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his first two seasons with the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, Dameon Samuels took a backseat as David “Diggy” Coit ran the team’s offense.

But with Coit having graduated, junior point guard Samuels is now triggering the PDS attack.

“I learned a lot from Diggy, handling the ball and knowing when to get to the basket and knowing when to pass the ball,” said Samuels.

“Now as a junior, it is my turn to run the offense. I have to keep up my scrappiness like I have always been.” more

FINAL ACT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Charlotte Haggerty, left, goes after the puck in a recent game. Senior Haggerty starred as PDS swept Holton Arms (Md.) last weekend, scoring a goal as the Panthers won 2-1 on Saturday and then adding a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory on Sunday. PDS, now 6-3, hosts Morristown Beard on January 16, plays at Upland Country Day (Pa.) on January 17 and at Pingry on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Charlotte Haggerty has been giving new meaning this winter to the famous Shakespeare line from Hamlet, which proclaims “the play’s the thing.”

The Princeton Day School senior is excelling again on the stage in a school production and has made time to play for the Panther girls’ hockey team.

“I am in the musical so when I have rehearsals that always has to take priority over practice,” said Haggerty. “It is really tough balancing that. Yesterday I had rehearsal and then right after that I ran up to make hockey practice.”

In order to be sharp for the PDS hockey team, Haggerty doesn’t waste a moment on or off the ice.

“When I am here, I make the most of it,” said Haggerty. “I do a lot of off ice training, working on speed and stuff, just the details that nobody really sees.”

Last Saturday morning against visiting Holton Arms (Md.), Haggerty made the most of her time on the ice, tallying a goal as PDS pulled out a 2-1 win. more

STANDING TALL: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey goalie Tim Miller guards the crease in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, sophomore goalie Miller made 24 saves to help PDS edge Delbarton 2-1. PDS, which fell 1-0 to the Portledge School (N.Y.) last Monday to move 4-7-1, hosts Don Bosco on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Trailing powerful Delbarton 1-0 heading into the third period last Thursday, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team was due for some breaks to go its way.

“We needed to find a way to score and get a lucky bounce,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, whose team had gone 0-5-1 in its last six games coming into Thursday with each of those games having been against boarding schools

“In seven straight games we have given up a goal on a shot where Timmy [Miller] is screened or it gets redirected. One of these days we have to score a goal like that for ourselves and put bodies in front of the net.”

After squandering a power play opportunity early in the third, PDS rebounded to get a goal from freshman Oliver Hall on an assist by sophomore Michael Sullo to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:17 left in regulation. more

IN CHARGE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Catherine Martin dribbles the ball in recent action. Junior guard/forward Martin has emerged as a leader for the Tartans, getting named as a team captain earlier this season. Last week Martin tallied 16 points to help Stuart defeat Pennington 70-24. The Tartans, who topped Hopewell Valley 63-21 last Saturday to improve to 9-6, face Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) on January 18 in the Elite Prep Nationals Yes to Success and then play at Princeton Day School on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catherine Martin earned a battlefield promotion earlier this season for the Stuart Country Day School basketball team.

“My coaches named me captain, I love supporting my team,” said junior guard/forward Martin.

“This year, I am a leader on the team, I want to help out my teammates as much as I can. It is nice to have the chance to step up.”

Martin stepped up last week, scoring 16 points to help Stuart cruise to a 70-24 win over Pennington, snapping a losing streak in the rivalry. more

January 8, 2020

Lively flamenco dancing was a highlight of Sunday’s Fiesta del Dia de Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, festivities at the Arts Council of Princeton. Marking the end of the holiday season, Three Kings Day is celebrated throughout the world by several different cultures. Participants share what they learned at the event in this week’s Town Talk on page 6.  (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Anne Levin

Toward the end of her remarks at Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Thursday, January 2, Mayor Liz Lempert announced that she will not seek a third term. “I believe it is healthy for governments to change hands and for officials to pass the baton,” she said, adding, “This isn’t goodbye yet for me — a year is a long time and I look forward to a supercharged year with this energetic Council.”

The meeting, which Lempert began by observing a moment of silence for recently deceased Rabbi Adam Feldman and prominent Princeton residents Daniel Harris, Eric Craig, and Irving Newlin, marked the swearing in of new Council members Michelle Pirone Lambros and Mia Sacks. Councilman David Cohen was sworn in as Council president.

A few days after the meeting, Lempert reflected on her decision to step down when her term ends at the end of this year. She is ready to think about exploring other avenues, but would not say which. “There are a lot of issues I am passionate about, and I can see myself working on any one of those,” she said. “But I have no specific plans.”

Lempert has been mayor since the 2013 consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. Previous to that, she served for four years as a member of the Township Committee. She began her career as a journalist, but segued into politics after working on the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Politics is in her blood — her mother was mayor of San Mateo, California, and one of her brothers was also an elected official. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) elected Beth Behrend to her second year as president and Michele Tuck-Ponder as its new vice president at its annual reorganization meeting on Monday night.

Susan Kanter, Dafna Kendal, and Debbie Bronfeld took the oath of office to begin new terms as BOE members. Kanter is new to the BOE. Kendal, who served from 2015 to 2018, and Bronfeld, who has been on the BOE since 2016, begin their second three-year terms.

Behrend and Tuck-Ponder both were elected by 7-3 margins. Behrend was the only nominee for president but received three “no” votes, while Tuck-Ponder defeated Bronfeld for the vice president position.

“Beth has worked tirelessly to make the Board a more collegial, collaborative, and effective governing body, and she has evidenced a great commitment to ensuring that every voice is heard,” said Board member Brian McDonald. “She has fundamentally changed our relationship with the community, she has fostered for more openness and transparency, and has actively worked to strengthen important relationships.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) announced Tuesday that a Rally for No War with Iran will take place from 12-1 p.m. this Saturday, January 11, at Hinds Plaza adjacent to the Princeton Public Library.

Confirmed speakers so far include Zia Mian, physicist and co-director of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security; former fighter pilot Richard Moody; and CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore.

The CFPA has started the new year in high gear with a campaign to prevent war with Iran, its ongoing 2020 Peace Voter Campaign, and plans in place for a January 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Multifaith Service at Nassau Presbyterian Church.

“When Donald Trump was first elected, my biggest fear was that his impulsive, ignorant, and reckless approach to world affairs would get the U.S. into another war,” Moore wrote Monday in a letter urging CFPA members and others to call and email their congresspersons. “That moment may have arrived. War with Iran would be far, far worse than the disastrous one with Iraq.” more

WEEK OF HOPE: HomeFront art classes in ArtSpace, HomeFront’s art therapy room at the Family Campus, are just one of the many activities planned for the January 20-24 Week of Hope, when visitors can learn about HomeFront’s programs and volunteer opportunities that seek to impact the lives of local people who are trying to break the cycle of poverty. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

From Martin Luther King Day on January 20 through January 24, HomeFront, with its headquarters in Lawrenceville and its Family Campus in Ewing, is presenting its annual Week of Hope. Local residents are invited to “come, learn, act, and impact the lives of local people who are trying to break the cycle of poverty.”

The 28-year-old social service agency, which has become a national model for helping families who are experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient, is urging visitors to attend at least one of the week’s events that are designed to give the public insight into issues related to poverty in the region, the organization’s mission and programs, and a range of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and skills.

“We’ve found that Martin Luther King Day is a time when many community members are looking for ways to come together to discuss new ways to create a brighter future,” said HomeFront Family Campus Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Cozzi, who is in charge of the Week of Hope. more