January 13, 2021

Princeton resident Emma Brigaud has created a brightly lit art installation in Dohm Alley off Nassau Street for passers-by to enjoy this winter. The 10-foot-wide space was transformed into an arts and performance venue several years ago. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With COVID-19 vaccine clinics proliferating throughout the state, the Princeton Health Department has ramped up its vaccination program, administering vaccines to 240 police officers, firefighters, health workers, medical office personnel, and others eligible on Monday, January 11 at the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) on Monument Drive, in phase 1A of the state’s vaccine rollout.

Also, all staff and residents at Acorn Glen and Princeton Care Center who wanted a vaccine have received their initial doses, the health department reported.

“As more mega clinics open and the state works through phase 1A, more than 300 additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be available statewide as phase 1B begins,” said Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams. “Preparation efforts by municipal and county health officials across the state as well as here in Princeton will ensure that people who request the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to receive it.”

Williams expressed the health department’s gratitude to scores of volunteers who have assisted in running the clinics. “Doctors, nurses, and many other health professionals, retired and actively working, are making a big difference,” he said.

As of Tuesday, January 12, New Jersey had administered 233,555 doses of the vaccine, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), out of 657,000 doses received so far. Mercer County reported 5,948 doses administered. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang has announced she will run for re-election in the June 8, 2021 Democratic primary. Leighton Newlin, co-chair of the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association and chair of the Princeton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners for the last 19 years, announced Tuesday that he will run for a Council seat.

There are two three-year terms on the ballot this year. Councilman Dwaine Williamson has announced that he will not run for a second term.

Now in her third year on the governing body, Niedergang has served as liaison to the Environmental Commission, the Board of Health, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Personnel Committee, Public Works Committee, Senior Resource Center, Shade Tree Commission, and Sewer Operating Committee.

“I am grateful for the trust and confidence that so many of you placed in me when I ran for election in 2018, and I am asking for your support in 2021,” she said in a press release. “I am here to listen to you and to work collaboratively with residents, colleagues, and staff to achieve the best outcomes for this community which I love and of which I am so proud to be a part.” more

By Donald Gilpin

As the Trump presidency draws to a close and the world reflects on the alarming January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, there are many different opinions and perspectives on what it all means and where the country goes from here. Some of the best informed and most helpful of those perspectives may come from historians and political scientists, and Princeton University’s professors of history and politics have not hesitated to weigh in on the national dialogue.

As Jamie Saxon of the Princeton University Office of Communications pointed out in a press release last week, a number of Princeton faculty “are using op-eds, television news programs, podcasts, online publications, and social media to speak to the moment, share their expertise, and help chart a path forward for the country.”

American History Professor Sean Wilentz, author of a January 7 article in Rolling Stone titled “Lock Him Up: What Donald Trump Did on January 6 was Sedition — and He Must Be Prosecuted For It,” emphasized what he sees as his dual role as a historian. “Some of us feel we have a civic function as well as an educational and intellectual one, that we serve our country in one way or another,” he said in a January 6 Daily Princetonian Podcast, stating that one of his roles is “to bring historical knowledge and wisdom to bear on issues of political difficulty.”

In providing historical context to the recent events, Wilentz compared last week’s violence to the start of the Civil War. “January 6th, 2021 marked the saddest day in the history of American democracy since April 12th, 1861, the day South Carolina secessionists fired on Fort Sumter and commenced the Civil War,” he wrote in Rolling Stone. more

VIRTUAL COMMEMORATIONS: Celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 18 is largely online this year. Several events are planned in the Princeton area. (Wikimedia Commons)

By Anne Levin

For the most part, gathering in person to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. is not an option in this time of pandemic. But that hasn’t prevented numerous organizations, locally and beyond, from planning virtual events on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday, January 18. King’s life and legacy are being celebrated with readings, lectures, sermons, panel discussions, art exhibits, and of course, community service. Many are listed here, and all are being held on January 18 unless otherwise indicated.

The Arts Council of Princeton commemorates King with a community story hour, a public art installation, and coloring books celebrating Black Princetonians. In collaboration with the Historical Society of Princeton and local historian Shirley Satterfield, the Arts Council has issued a limited-edition coloring book featuring the history of prominent Black residents of Princeton, including business owners, politicians, educators, and influential women. The book also covers King’s visits to the Princeton University campus in the 1960s. The coloring books are free but supplies are limited. Pick them up at 102 Witherspoon Street between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on January 18. The books are limited to two per household.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the organization is sponsoring a free, virtual community story hour, via Zoom. Jeff and Dean of jaZams will present some new books celebrating stories of social justice, civil rights, and equality for all people, accompanied by ukulele tunes. To reserve a spot, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org. more

By Donald Gilpin

In response to the January 8, “Zoom bombing” of an online sixth grade meeting at Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS), Princeton Public School (PPS) officials are working with the PPS technology office, the Princeton Police Department, and Mercer County law enforcement to identify any unauthorized participants in the meeting.

The Zoom bombers, thought to be people from outside the district, according to PUMS Principal Jason Burr’s January 8 email to parents, used a racial slur and posted lewd drawings.

“This was an unacceptable intrusion into the students’ learning and exposed them wrongly to hateful language and images,” Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso wrote in an email to parents and staff on Tuesday, January 12.  “Ironically, the lesson that was disrupted concerned the need for empathy and kindness in the context of community citizenship.”

Galasso noted that officials have since learned that the link to the PUMS Zoom meeting was published externally via Twitter. The PPS staff, Galasso added, is being instructed on how to avoid outside interruptions in the future. 

“We are taking the appropriate steps to safeguard our Zoom meetings to reduce the possibility of outsiders gaining entry,” Burr wrote.

“We apologize to our students and their families for last week’s breach of our community standards,” Galasso said. “Be assured that persons responsible and identified will be held accountable.”

By Anne Levin

Not long after moving to Princeton from Washington state, Leticia Fraga learned that the only Spanish-speaking staffer in the town’s Human Services department had been laid off due to budgetary reasons. Spanish is Fraga’s native language, and she called the department to volunteer her services. It wasn’t long before a position opened and she joined the staff.

Since that introduction to one of Princeton’s numerous boards, commissions, and committees, or “BCCs,” Fraga has become an influential member of Princeton Council, and was elected its president January 4. “It was when I joined Human Services that I felt like I was part of the community,” she said this week. “Being on a BCC is a way to get to know the community hands-on, and get a feel for how it runs. And it’s a way to help.”

There are 26 boards, commissions, and committees listed on Princeton’s municipal website. From Affordable Housing to Zoning, with Public Transit, Public Art Selection, Planning Board and others in between, these groups count numerous residents of Princeton in their ranks.

“The primary mission of Princeton’s boards, commissions, committees, and task forces is to advise the Princeton Council, the elected policy-making body of the municipality, through direct citizen participation,” reads a BCC handbook that was revised last year. “Although the specific duties and authority of each board, commission, committee, and task force vary widely, there are certain responsibilities common to all board, commission, committee, and task force members.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) has reduced its membership dues to $0 in seeking to attract new members and promote inclusivity.

“In short, we are stronger when we are inclusive, diverse, and unified,” wrote PCDO President Jo Butler in an email. In this unprecedented year, offering $0 dues is one way to invite you to come on in through our wide-open front door.”

In a phone call Monday, Butler highlighted the PCDO’s extensive programming over the past year and the push to get more people involved. “With Zoom or YouTube online we have the opportunity to expand the number of our participants, people who can appreciate our program,” she said. “We want to invite more people into the tent.”

The PCDO going forward is planning to cover expenses through contributions rather than dues. With virtual rather than in-person meetings for most of the year, the organization, which has a membership of more than 500, has been able to save money, and a number of people have made generous voluntary contributions. “I was nervous about this,” Butler said. “The numbers people were a little skeptical, but I think it’s going to work out. I’m happy for the organization.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

—Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

When I skimmed It Can’t Happen Here (1935) at the time of the 2016 election, I thought it might make an interesting column. But since the dystopian fantasy by Sinclair Lewis, who died 70 years ago this week, had already been reprinted to high sales and serious notice with Trump’s ascension to the nation’s highest office, I put the piece on hold.

The problem now is not just that I’m distracted by last week’s real-life invasion of the Capitol, but that I’m finding it hard to believe in a despotic president and former U.S. senator from Vermont named Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, who, the day after being inaugurated, demands the instant passage of a bill giving him complete control of “legislation and execution.” When Congress rejects the bill a day later, he declares martial law and orders the arrest of over a hundred “irresponsible and seditious” congressmen for “inciting to riot.” During the ensuing nationwide riots that the president has, in effect, incited himself, protestors are attacked by the bayonet-wielding troops of his vast private army, the Minute Men (a term with a certain ring in the era of the Tea Party).

Lewis portrays Windrip as grotesque, “almost a dwarf, yet with an enormous head, a bloodhound head, of huge ears, pendulous cheeks, mournful eyes,” and “a luminous, ungrudging smile” that “he turned on and off deliberately, like an electric light, but which could make his ugliness more attractive than the simpers of any pretty man.” His hair was “so coarse and black and straight, and worn so long in the back, that it hinted of Indian blood.” During his years in the Senate, Windrip “preferred clothes that suggested the competent insurance salesman, but when farmer constituents were in Washington,” he “appeared in a ten-gallon hat.” Comparing him to “a sawed-off museum model of a medicine-show ‘doctor,’” who had “played the banjo and done card tricks and handed down medicine bottles and managed the shell game,” Lewis details the offerings of “Old Dr. Alagash’s Traveling Laboratory, which specialized in the Choctaw Cancer Cure, the Chinook Consumption Soother, and the Oriental Remedy for Piles and Rheumatism Prepared from a … Secret Formula by the Gipsy Princess, Queen Peshawara.” Windrip had eventually ascended “from the vulgar fraud of selling bogus medicine, standing in front of a megaphone, to the dignity of selling bogus economics, standing on an indoor platform under mercury-vapor lights in front of a microphone.”

If you find it hard to take such a character seriously, you’re in agreement with the novel’s hero, a small-town newspaper editor named Doremus Jessup, who at first considers Windrip little more than a bad joke and plays down criticism of the government in his paper, the Informer. “The hysteria can’t last; be patient, and wait and see,” he tells his readers, so hard is it for him to believe “that this comic tyranny could endure.” What most perplexes him is “that there could be a dictator seemingly so different from the fervent Hitlers and gesticulating Fascists …. a dictator with something of the earthy American sense of humor of a Mark Twain, a George Ade, a Will Rogers, an Artemus Ward.” Did that, Doremus wonders, “make him less or more dangerous?”

As someone who, among many others, failed to take the current president seriously when he announced his candidacy, I should mention, as I did at the time, the front page of the June 17, 2015 New York Daily News (“CLOWN RUNS FOR PREZ”) showing the candidate with a red clown nose and mouth under the line: “Trump throws rubber nose in GOP ring.” While the star of The Apprentice has nothing in common with the likes of Twain and Ade (not to mention Will Rogers), it’s fair to say that he’s shared the metaphorical stage with a road show con man of vulgar frauds, shell games, and bogus medicine. more

“ETTA AND ELLA ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE:” Round House Theatre, in association with McCarter Theatre Center, is presenting the world premiere of Adrienne Kennedy’s “Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side.” Directed by Timothy Douglas, the prerecorded video will be available online through February 28. Above: Ella (Caroline Clay) describes a contentious relationship between two sisters, both of whom are authors. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence.

Kennedy’s many awards include an Obie for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2018 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. A press release notes that her plays are “taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa.”

This series, which has been a fitting tribute to an underperformed playwright, consists of prerecorded performances produced by the Round House. All four productions have been conceived with a theatrical sensibility, while taking advantage of the visual — even cinematic — possibilities offered by video.

The festival opened with He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, which depicted young lovers, separated by physical space as well as their racial backgrounds. Their letters to each other illuminate America’s history of racial injustice. The excruciatingly relevant second installment, Sleep Deprivation Chamber, is inspired by the treatment Kennedy’s own son (and co-author) experienced at the hands of police officers. Ohio State Murders was the third play presented. While not as overtly autobiographical, it examines the racial prejudice Kennedy experienced on a mid-20th century campus.

Elements from all three of these plays appear, to varying degrees, in the final installment: Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side, which is receiving its world premiere via this festival. The multilayered, deceptively stream-of-consciousness piece — which runs a little over a half an hour — is a monologue, though multiple characters speak.  more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra continued its virtual concert series with a broadcast performance this past weekend of Classical-era chamber works and solo piano music. Led by Music Director Rossen Milanov, Sunday afternoon’s concert provided cozy music for a winter afternoon.

18th-century French composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was almost as famous for his background as for his music. A contemporary of Mozart, Saint-Georges was born in the West Indies an illegitimate son of a wealthy French nobleman and his slave. Contrary to the customs of the time, Saint-Georges’ father took Joseph and his mother to Paris, where he was well educated in music and athletics. Saint-Georges simultaneously pursued careers in music and fencing, eventually serving in the court of Louis XV and becoming a music teacher of Marie Antoinette. Despite his support from the monarchy, Saint-Georges sided with the revolutionaries in the French Revolution and was later arrested as an enemy of the people. And like Mozart, despite his fame in music circles, Saint-Georges died poor and in obscurity.  

Although much of Saint-Georges’ music was lost in the French Revolution, orchestras have recently turned their attention to his symphonic works. Rooted in the compositional style of Haydn, Saint-Georges’ 1779 Symphony No. 1 in G Major captured the light and playful musical atmosphere of late 18th-century France. In a performance recorded earlier this year in the education center of Princeton’s Morven Museum and Garden, eleven members of Princeton Symphony Orchestra, led by Milanov, played the three-movement Symphony emphasizing the music’s simplicity and charm. In the first movement, subtle winds accompanied string sections busy with motivic melodic material and musical teasing. First violinists Basia Danilow, Margaret Banks and Ruotao Mao led a graceful dialog among the instruments in the second movement andante. Saint-Georges may have been a violin virtuoso, but he composed the violin parts of this Symphony with delicacy and elegance in mind.   more

STRINGS ONLINE: Virtual music lessons have become familiar to the young artists of Trenton Music Makers. A new set of viola, violin, and cello classes will now be offered.

A grant from the New Jersey Arts and Culture Relief Fund will allow Trenton children and teens to try a new musical instrument from the safety of home. Trenton Music Makers is opening four new string classes for beginners. more

PANDEMIC PLAYHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT: From left, Dino Curia, Jeffrey Marc Alkins, and Ellie Gossage star in George Bernard Shaw’s“Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction or The Fatal Gazogene.” The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will screen the play as part of a special virtual program. (Photo by Avery Brunkus)

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) will screen several plays filmed on the company’s stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theater, with minimal scenic elements and full costumes. The only thing missing will be a live audience. more

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC: Westminster Conservatory offers discounted lessons for all ages through April. Musicians of every stage of ability can enroll.

Westminster Conservatory of Music is offering discounted lessons from now through April 2021, for musicians of all ages and stages of ability. Introductory packages of four lessons for the price of three are being offered.

The offer is valid for both new students and current students who wish to pursue a new instrument. All lessons will be delivered virtually for safety and convenience. more

GREENHOUSES AT FREDERICKS FLOWERS: The work of Harry Boardman will be the subject of the first event in Artsbridge’s 2021 Distinguished Artist Series. The virtual event will be held via Zoom on Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m.

Artsbridge’s 2021 Distinguished Artist Series begins with “Harry Boardman: So Much to Paint, So Little Time,” on Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m. The event will feature a virtual visit to Boardman’s studio, gallery, and home, all housed in a former cigar factory in Souderton, PA.  more

“HEALTHCARE HEROES”: New Jersey artist Joe LaMattina’s homage to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been donated to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton was recently presented with the donation of a piece of multimedia artwork, Healthcare Angels, by its creator, New Jersey-based artist Joe LaMattina. This original piece, an homage to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be placed on display throughout the hospital units for all staff and patients to enjoy before it finds its permanent home in a place of honor in the hospital’s main building.  more

CELEBRATING BLACK PRINCETONIANS: A free, limited-edition coloring book featuring prominent Black residents of Princeton from history will be available for pick up, while supplies last, at the Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, on Monday, January 18.

Join the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) on Monday, January 18 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The ACP, in collaboration with the Historical Society of Princeton and neighborhood historian Shirley Satterfield, invites families to learn about the impact and influence of Black Princetonians by picking up a free, limited-edition coloring book featuring prominent Black residents of Princeton from history including accomplished business owners, politicians, educators, and influential women, in addition to Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to campus in the 1960s.

Coloring books are free and available for pick up while supplies last at the Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18. The coloring books are limited to two per household. more

HANDSOME HOMES: This splendid townhouse is one of the 45 homes available at The Townhomes at Riverwalk, a 55 + active adult community in Plainsboro.

By Jean Stratton

Every detail has been carefully thought about. Every amenity is provided, and everything can be customized to personal taste.

The Townhomes at Riverwalk, a group of 45 homes located at One Riverwalk in Plainsboro, are now ready for occupancy. An active adult community for those 55 and older, this is a unique opportunity featuring a club membership program, which offers shared amenities and services with the neighboring rental community, Ovation at Riverwalk.

“Sharing the clubhouse amenities is a new concept in New Jersey,” explains Anna Shulkina, realtor at Re/Max of Princeton, who is the listing agent for the Riverwalk Townhomes, “This is really a special benefit of living here. As club members, residents can enjoy the restaurants, gym, swimming pool, library, game room, etc. The monthly maintenance fee includes access to all these club amenities.”

Owned by MVB Riverwalk Urban Renewal LLC, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, The Townhomes is a grouping of eight buildings, including four different home models. They offer owners opportunities for customized materials, a variety of cabinet and countertop colors, and floor plans. more

YOUNG LEADER: Chris Young fires a pitch in a 2005 game for the Texas Rangers. Young, a 2002 Princeton University alum who starred at basketball and baseball during his college career, was recently named as the executive vice president and general manager of the Rangers. After a 13-year playing career in the big leagues, Young had been working in the Major League Baseball front office for the last three years, most recently as senior vice president of on-field operations. (Photo provided by Texas Rangers)

By Justin Feil

One-tenth of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) general managers are Princeton University graduates after Chris Young was named the executive vice president and general manager of the Texas Rangers in early December.

The former Ivy League Rookie of the Year in baseball as well as basketball joined the ranks of Princeton alums turned general managers along with Mike Hazen (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Mike Chernoff (Cleveland Indians).

“I think it’s a tribute to one, the University, and two, Scott Bradley,” said Young, 41, a 2002 Princeton alum, referring to the longtime Tiger baseball head coach.

“What he has done over the years with his program, the influence that his players and thereby him have had on Major League Baseball is pretty significant. It really is a tribute to what a special person he is and I certainly would not be here without him.”

Young took a different path to his post than did Hazen and Chernoff, who headed into administration quickly after graduating from Princeton. The 6’10 right-hander Young spent 13 years in MLB before jumping right into the league’s front office for the last three years, most recently as senior vice president of on-field operations.  more

CALL TO ACTION: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Austin Micale looks to move the puck in a game last winter. Senior defenseman and assistant captain Micale is primed for a big final season. PHS, which is welcoming a new head coach in Dave Hansen, starts its 2021 campaign on January 18 by playing Paul VI at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While new Princeton High boys’ hockey head coach Dave Hansen has only had a week of on-ice practice with his squad after weeks of dry-land training, he believes things are already coming together.

“I am really happy with the boys right now, they work hard,” said Hansen, the longtime head coach at Madison High and successor to Joe Bensky, who guided the Tigers to an 18-4-2 record and the Mercer County Tournament title last winter.

“In the first one or two practices, I wanted to have some fun with them. I am just trying to have a good time with them and get to know them and they are trying to do the same thing with me. We are off to a good start.”

In Hansen’s view, he and his new players are quickly getting on the same page. 

“We are doing our forechecks, we are doing our d-zones, we are doing our power plays and penalty kills,” said Hansen.

“I try to do a lot of skills drills the first 20-25 minutes and then focus on systems for the last 45 minutes to an hour. We got on the ice last week and we started doing a few drills. When we started repeating them, they knew where to go right away. They know what they need to do and they are doing that at a high caliber.” more

By Bill Alden

Dave Hansen has been around the game of hockey since he was a preschooler in Morris County.

“I started playing hockey when I was 4 or 5 years old, it was a big sport in Chatham,” said Hansen.

“My cousins played and I was intrigued by it. My dad took me to a public session at a rink and I loved it. I had a chair in front of me, I would fall and he would pick me up to help me learn how to skate.”

Picking up things quickly on the ice, Hansen played club hockey for the Colonials, Rockets, and Devils programs and then went on to star for Chatham High. After graduating from Chatham, Hansen played at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Returning to New Jersey, Hansen got into coaching, starting as an assistant at Montclair High in 1995 and then becoming a head coach at Mt. Olive High and later Madison High.

In his 17-season tenure at Madison from 2004-20, Hansen led the program to unprecedented success, earning over 200 wins.

“I started the program with nine players; I had a lot of fun with it, they definitely listened to me and the systems I wanted to install,” said Hansen, 48, who runs a landscaping business when he is not on the ice. more

LOW RIDER: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Michael Sullo goes after the puck in a game last winter. After emerging as a star for PDS last winter, junior forward Sullo figures to be a go-to scorer for the Panthers this season. PDS opens its 2021 campaign when it plays at Don Bosco on January 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While there is normally a buzz in the air when the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hits the ice to start preseason training, Scott Bertoli saw a heightened intensity when his players arrived at McGraw Rink last week to prepare for the 2021 campaign.

“It was good to be on the ice,” said PDS head coach Bertoli, who guided the Panthers to a 7-11-1 record last winter in a season highlighted by wins over Lawrenceville, Delbarton, and Hun.

“They were excited to be out there. That was even furthered by the fact that for many of them it was the first time being on our ice or being in the new athletic center so there was a lot of excitement surrounding the start of the season.”

The PDS players are excited to be furthering the program’s proud tradition.

“I know that a lot of these kids are playing club hockey outside of here but there is definitely something different to playing for your high school, especially at a school like this,” added Bertoli. more

January 6, 2021

Members of the Color Guard were in attendance on Sunday afternoon at a wreath laying ceremony at the Mercer Oak in Battlefield State Park. The event, presented by the Princeton Battlefield Society, commemorated the January 3, 1777 Battle of Princeton. (Photo by Weronkia A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With 101,417 people in New Jersey having so far received the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Monday, January 4 report, state health officials were looking to speed up the process in hopes of meeting their goal of 4.7 million vaccinations, 70 percent of the state’s population, in the next six months.

The Princeton Health Department continues to lead the local effort to combat the virus, with their current focus on delivering the vaccine effectively to protect as many local residents as possible.

“The vaccine distribution is front and center right now,” Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams wrote in a January 5 email. He noted that a local Princeton web portal would be up and running by the evening of January 5 in English and Spanish for COVID-19 vaccine registration for Princeton residents in the Phase 1B category, which includes frontline essential workers and individuals over 75.

“The rollout, on a national scale, has encountered some supply chain and other logistical issues, but locally, on our smaller scale, things are progressing well,” Williams said. more

By Anne Levin

Mark Freda officially began his term as Princeton’s mayor Monday evening after being sworn in by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman at Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting.

Council members Leticia Fraga and David Cohen took the oath of office for their second terms, and Fraga was named new Council president for 2021. Several professional contracts, boards, and commissions were approved at the meeting.

Familiar in local politics from his years serving on the former Borough Council, Freda focused in his remarks on creating opportunities for people at all economic levels, improving listening skills, sharing information, and treating each other with respect and decency.

“There are many issues for us ahead including COVID-19 and all of its impacts on the community,” he said. “These impacts will most likely persist for years. During those years, new challenges and new issues will arise, and they will require resilience, agility, and effort from all of us to address them.”

Freda spoke of making efforts to improve speed and efficiency in digesting information and making decisions. “This past year has amplified the need for a consistent and ongoing effort to support everyone in our community to the best of our abilities, to create partnerships, and to question the way things are done as we look to improve services and how they are delivered,” he said.

He also touched on growing the tax base, creating job opportunities, providing services within a reasonable municipal budget, and working with the public school system and Mercer County on shared services. Praising those who have worked during the past year to address the challenges of the pandemic, Freda said those efforts will continue. more