September 18, 2019

The annual community event, held Sunday afternoon at Princeton Airport, featured vendor fair, local food, live music, classic cars and planes, helicopter rides, children’s activities, and more. Participants share their favorite parts of FunFest in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

As the 2019-20 school year enters its third week, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) is wrestling with the challenges of maintaining top-flight schools in the face of steadily rising enrollments and limited financial resources.

All six schools are at or over capacity, with school buildings more than 50 years old, and, in the case of Princeton High School, more than 90 years old.

“We need more space,” BOE President Beth Behrend told a September 10 special meeting, “but are faced with budgetary constraints on our ability to staff and teach in these spaces.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration within the schools and with the larger community, Behrend noted, “What we do next requires big thinking. Solving the puzzle of ‘growth with great schools’ requires planning and action, not just by the Princeton Board of Education, but also by our municipal bodies, our local institutions, and by the entire community.” more

By Anne Levin

A group of Westminster Choir College students has joined the list of plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at preventing Rider University from relocating Westminster Choir College from its Princeton home to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. But while litigation to stop the move gathers strength, enrollment at the choir college is at a dangerously low level.

“Enrollment has dropped 60 percent in the last two freshman classes,” attorney Bruce Afran told a standing-room-only crowd gathered for a public forum on Westminster’s future last Tuesday evening, September 10, at Nassau Presbyterian Church. “I am fearful that the students who visit the Lawrenceville campus, which is the only campus where they are being given tours, will not attend, because they will see [Rider] does not have the facilities they need for their craft. We may end up with zero students, and that is a horrible waste.”

Some members of the audience, which included students as well as faculty and members of the community, expressed concern that the college could be decimated by the time litigation is complete. But Afran vowed to continue the suits, adding that efforts are still being made to sit down with Rider and come up with a financial solution. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Mercer County freeholders approved the purchase of an armored vehicle last Thursday, September 12, with Sheriff Jack Kemler emphasizing the need to keep officers safe and opponents warning against militarization of the police, erosion of public trust, and waste of funds needed elsewhere.

About 100 members of the public filled Room 211 of the McDade County Administration Building in Trenton at the meeting of the freeholder board, with more than 20 speakers voicing their opposition to the purchase.

The freeholders voted 4 to 2 in favor of the purchase for approximately $310,000, with Sam Frisby and Andrew Koontz casting the two negative votes. Frisby had declared earlier in the week that he would vote “yes,” but said that he had changed his mind after talking with many residents, especially from Trenton, who did not want the vehicle.  more

QUAKERS ON FILM: In this scene from the documentary “Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries,” the fog-shrouded Pendle Hill in northern England, where George Fox first had a vision of “a great people to be gathered,” served as a location.

By Anne Levin

Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries, a new documentary by the Gardner Group, will have its television premiere on Philadelphia’s WHYY-TV at 6 p.m., Sunday, October 6.  Princeton resident Janet Gardner is producer/director of the film, which illuminates the history, faith, contradictions, and enduring impact of the Religious Society of Friends, known as Quakers.

The broadcast date coincides with the sixth annual World Quaker Day, celebrated in prayer, hymns, and activities by Quakers around the globe. This year’s theme is sustainability of the Earth.

The one-hour film tells the story of a spiritual movement that has played a role in the religious, social, and political life of the nation, and has a significant place in the history and founding of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. Demonstrating an influence disproportionate to their numbers, Quakers have led anti-slavery, civil rights, and women’s rights movements and been strong advocates for world peace. more

By Anne Levin

Thirteen years ago, Princeton psychologist Toby Israel was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. That meant a six-week course of radiation, five days a week, at Capital Health Medical Center.

Israel knew she had to make the experience as positive as possible. “I thought about wearing those blah, hospital gowns, and I remembered I had a silky Chinese robe in the back of my closet,” she said. “I wore it to each radiation session. It turned out to be not only a positive distraction for other patients, and an ice-breaker. It was good for me. It was a way for me to imagine myself as a queen, kind of staring down cancer.”

Whether the robe was a factor in keeping her healthy, Israel can’t say for sure. “I do know that I didn’t get the traditional radiation burn that most people get,” she said. “And having had this experience, I began to think about other women.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Collaborative economic development efforts between Mercer County and the city of Trenton were in the spotlight at the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) meeting on Sunday, September 15, as Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, County Freeholder Andrew Koontz, and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora reported on a range of initiatives taking place in the capital city.

“We do not have a strong Mercer County without a strong capital city,” Hughes told the group of more than 50 gathered in the Suzanne Patterson Center next to Monument Hall in Princeton.

The “burning issue” of the moment, according to Hughes, seemed to be the County’s recent controversial decision to purchase an armored vehicle, about which both Hughes and Koontz expressed concerns and commitment to make sure the use of the vehicle is carefully monitored.  more

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing kicks off a year-long celebration of its 80th anniversary Wednesday, September 25, with a reading by National Book Award-winning writer Maxine Hong Kingston, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and Ojibwe novelist and non-fiction writer David Treuer, a Princeton alumnus, Class of 1992. The reading, which will be introduced by poet and faculty member Paul Muldoon, opens the 2019-20 Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series and begins at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. Free and open to the public, the reading will be followed by a book sale and signing with the writers.

Maxine Hong Kingston is the  author of, among others, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, and I Love a Broad Margin to My Life. In 1997 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton, and the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2013. She is emerita senior lecturer for Creative Writing at the University of California, Berkeley. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The Wednesday after the Tuesday from Hell I’m in the Community Room at the old library setting up what will be the last Friends Book Sale before the move to a temporary location in the Princeton Shopping Center. Like most people in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I’m still trying to deal with yesterday’s nightmare. So it’s good to have the distraction of a tiring, totally absorbing task. Although volunteers helped in the moving and unloading of donations, ultimately it’s up to me to get everything ready for the Friday morning opening, and I still have at least a hundred boxes to unpack and price. By the time I arrange stand-up signs on the tables for History, Religion, Biography, Science, and Literature, I’m getting punchy, thinking these aren’t books, they’re the broken pieces of western civilization I’m putting in place, one man’s deranged response to what happened yesterday in lower Manhattan against a pure blue sky, a perfect morning, absolute clarity, then out of nowhere absolute apocalyptic carnage.

Gazing out over the vista of tables piled high with books not yet arranged in rows, I see the towering stacks as buildings, or so it seems in the hour of supreme, up-after-my-bedtime mindlessness. Acutely aware of the relevance of the titles to Tuesday’s madness, I begin the first row of Literature with the Modern Library editions of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Balzac’s Lost Illusions. I’m wondering which would cast the longest shadow in a skyline made of classics, a tower of Balzac or a tower of Tolstoy? On any other day, measured in terms of sheer quantity, it would be the many-storied work of the author of the Human Comedy soaring skyward above all others, but War and Peace is the novel I’ve been absorbed by for months, finally, thankfully, for the first time since I was 20 and unable to love it as much as Anna Karenina. What I’m especially grateful for is knowing that on the night before the catastrophe I was reading and rereading Tolstoy’s account of young Petya Rostov’s enchanted final hours. It was something to cherish forever, to have felt the euphoria all readers should know at least once in their lives, to have spent that night of all nights under Tolstoy’s spell.

Now, after a day of non-stop beyond-belief television, I can’t stop seeing terrified New Yorkers in flight from the monstrous mass of debris risen in Satanic splendor from the smoking ruin, headed full-force up Broadway, as if the mad genius terrorists had designs on midtown, even Central Park. That’s when it dawns on me that the Balzac and Tolstoy buildings should be equal in height, like the Twin Towers.     more

LOVE, HORROR, AND MORE: Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” comes to McCarter Theatre’s Matthews Stage October 15-November 3.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a visceral adaptation that brings together inventive staging, acrobatics, and a unique in-the-round experience to  McCarter Theatre’s Matthews Stage October 15-November 3.

Mary Shelley herself (played by Cordelia Dewdney) rests at the core of the theatrical adaptation. Ahead of her time in more ways than one, the author was only 18 when she conceived of Frankenstein. Shelley experiences a lifetime of love and passion, of tragedy and loss, all of which unfolds as her characters navigate a new age of science and unintended consequences. Two hundred years later, this cautionary tale is relevant as we grapple with the ramifications of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and algorithms.  more

MORE THAN JUST CONCERTS: This Live Music Meditation from last season is one way Princeton University Concerts strives to bring audiences closer to music and musicians. Several events are planned for this season.

In addition to its lineup of chamber music performances, Princeton University Concerts (PUC) also offers supplemental programs, many of which are free, designed to bring audiences closer to the season’s music and musicians.

These non-concert events, all of which fall under PUC’s “Beyond the Music” programming umbrella, include Live Music Meditations, the annual Late Night Chamber Jam, an At the Movies series at the Princeton Garden Theatre and the Princeton Public Library, and half-hour Warm Ups prior to performances on the Concert Classics series. more

“EASY CHAIRS ON A HOT, SUMMER DAY”: This photograph by Carl LaVO was named the public winner of the 2019 Summer Delaware River Basin Photo Contest. The image will be featured on the commission’s website, social media sites, and annual report.

At the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) third-quarter Business Meeting last week, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (NJ-7) presented Joint Legislative Resolutions from the State of New Jersey for the winners of the commission’s 2019 Summer Delaware River Basin Photo Contest. Murphy, a hobbyist photographer, was the guest judge for this season, which included a public contest and one run concurrently for DRBC staff.

The photo contest judging team, in addition to the assemblywoman, included DRBC staff. They chose Carl LaVO’s photograph, titled Easy Chairs on a Hot, Summer Day, as the winner of the public contest, and chose DRBC Water Quality intern Scott Jedrusiak’s The Light Within as the winner of the staff contest. more

“BLUE-SPOTTED SALAMANDER”:  Oishee Sinharay, a student at a student at Stony Brook Elementary School in Pennington, won first place for Mercer County in Conserve Wildlife New Jersey Foundation’s 16th annual “Species on the Edge” art and essay contest. The works of county winners are on display at D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery through October 31.

D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents the works of the county winners of Conserve Wildlife New Jersey Foundation’s 16th annual “Species on the Edge” contest through October 31.

The annual juried exhibition features art and essays on New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species. Spirited versions of creatures — from Gloucester County’s bog turtle to Passaic County’s Kennedy’s emerald dragon (dragonfly) to Mercer County’s blue-spotted salamander — are on display from 9:30 a.m.  to 5 p.m. each weekday.

The students became virtual wildlife biologists through research and unique art for this statewide educational contest. Open to all fifth-graders, this display of winners launches the fall season of D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery. more

“OCTAGON”: This mixed media work by Mircea Popescu is featured in the “2019 MCCC Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit” on view at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor through October 10. The community is invited to a reception on Wednesday, September 25 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

The focus is on the faculty at the first art show of the season at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC), where the college’s own visual arts faculty members have put their personal works on display.

The “2019 MCCC Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit” runs through Thursday, October 10. The community is invited to a reception on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The MCCC Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. more

STARTING POINT: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace makes a point to reporters at the program’s recently-held media day. Coming off a 10-0 season in 2018, the program’s first perfect campaign since 1964, Surace will be looking for the program to make more history this fall in conjunction with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the sport which started when Princeton played Rutgers in November, 1869. The Tigers kick off their 2019 season by hosting Butler University (1-2) on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University football players file into their locker room tucked in the bowels of Princeton Stadium, they pass by a sign that reads “Where Football Began.”

With college football celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport, which started when Princeton played a game at Rutgers on November 6, 1869, the milestone holds special meaning for the Tigers.

“Players need to understand how important it is to Princeton as a university; those early years really started what we now have in this game,” said Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’91, a star offensive lineman for the Tigers during his college days. more

READY TO BALL: Princeton University football senior tight end Graham Adomitis, center, poses with classmates and fellow team captains, defensive lineman Jake Strain, left, and linebacker John Orr at the program’s recently-held media day. Returning first-team All-Ivy League performer Adomitis will looking to help the Tigers make history this fall as the program celebrates its 150th season. The Tigers kick off their 2019 season by hosting Butler (1-2) on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Graham Adomitis was a member of the supporting cast last fall as the Princeton University football team rolled to a 10-0 record, achieving the program’s first perfect season since 1964.

With such heralded stars as quarterback John Lovett along with receivers Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson sparking a high-powered offense that set a slew of school and league records, tight end Adomitis quietly went about his business, earning All-Ivy League honors mainly due to his stellar blocking.

Looking back to 2018, Adomitis credited the squad’s seniors with setting a winning tone.

“It was an extremely special group; we just had so much buy in and a lot of great senior leadership that just trickled town all the way to the freshman class,” said Adomitis. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton University field hockey player Clara Roth hits the ball against Penn State last Sunday. Junior star striker Roth scored both goals for fifth-ranked Princeton as it rallied for a 2-1 win over the Nittany Lions. The Tigers, now 3-1, host No. 21 Rutgers on September 20 and No. 3 UConn on September 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Clara Roth emerged as a force last fall for the Princeton University field hockey team, scoring 13 goals on the way to being named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.

As junior striker Roth started the 2019 season, she had a quiet first weekend, picking up one assist as Princeton fell 4-3 to North Carolina on September 6 before edging Wake Forest 2-1 in double overtime two days later.

With Princeton hosting Albany last Friday and Penn State on Sunday, Roth displayed the form that earned her accolades last year. She had three assists in a 4-3 win over Albany and then scored both goals as Princeton rallied from a 1-0 deficit to edge Penn State 2-1. more

FEELING AT HOME: Princeton University men’s soccer player Walker Gillespie heads the ball last Wednesday evening against Rider University. Freshman forward Gillespie enjoyed a memorable home debut, tallying a goal and an assist to help Princeton edge Rider 2-1. Princeton, which dropped to 1-2 with a 2-0 loss at Loyola last Friday, plays at Monmouth on September 18 and at FDU on September 21 before hosting Drexel on September 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Walker Gillespie didn’t see himself being an impact player as he made his home debut for the Princeton University men’s soccer team last Wednesday evening when it hosted Rider.

“I really wasn’t thinking I was going to play that much today,” said freshman forward Gillespie, a 6’3, 185-pound native of Charlotte, N.C. “Once I got in there I just wanted to give 100 percent.”

Gillespie got on the pitch at Roberts Stadium in the first half but didn’t get to play many balls as the Tigers were stymied by the Broncs for much of the first half as the local rivals played to a scoreless draw heading into intermission. more

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Princeton High football player Matt Perello, center, races up the field last Friday night at Hightstown in the season opener. Senior receiver/defensive back Perello, who is also a star sprinter for the PHS track team, used his speed to provide a highlight for the Tigers, returning a kickoff for a touchdown in the first quarter during a 49-8 loss to the Rams. PHS hosts Pemberton on September 21. (Photo by Joseph Perello)

By Bill Alden

Matt Perello displayed flashes of brilliance for the Princeton High football team as a freshman in 2016, going long for a 40-yard touchdown reception against Pemberton in the season opener.

But sustaining a concussion that fall in a JV game, Perello opted not to play football after that and turned his attention to track, developing into a brilliant sprinter.

In the spring of 2018, Perello starred as the PHS boys’ track team placed first in the Mercer County championship meet, the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional, and the state Group 4 meet. He placed first in the 100 (11.07) and fourth in the 200 (22.60) at the county meet and took third in the 200 in the sectional meet and helped the 4×100 relay to victory, and then ended up third in the 200 at the group meet. more

By Bill Alden

Youth is being served this fall for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

With sophomore Robyn Karchere-Sun playing at first singles and a pair of freshmen, Amy Zhou and Neha Khandkar, competing at second and third singles, respectively, PDS boasts some young talent in key spots.

With PDS head coach Will Asch returning from a sabbatical last spring, he is stepping into a good situation.

“It is nice to be back and coaching the girls,” said Asch, whose team topped Stuart Country Day 5-0 last Monday to improve to 4-1. “It is nice weather, a nice season, and nice girls.” more

BALL CONTROL: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Nas Amer controls the ball in recent action. Last week, senior midfielder Amer scored two goals to help PDS defeat the George School (Pa.) 4-0. The Panthers, who moved to 2-2 with a 3-0 loss to Hillsborough last Thursday, host Germantown Academy (Pa.) on September 19 before playing at the Blair Academy ion September 21 and at Peddie on September 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With prolific scorer Wesley Leggett having graduated and now playing at the University of Connecticut, the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team will have to spread the wealth offensively this fall.

“We lost a big player in our striker Wesley so we have to make up for it somewhere, said PDS senior midfielder Nas Amer. “I think this year we are more rounded as a team, more balanced.”

Last week as PDS hosted George School (Pa.), Amer helped make up for the loss of Leggett, scoring two first half goals to help the Panthers jump out to a 3-0 halftime. more

IN THE ZONE: Hun School football star Ian Franzoni races up the field last Saturday as Hun defeated Canada Prep 50-8. Senior running back Franzoni rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns on  nine carries in the victory as Hun improved to 2-0. The Raiders head south next weekend to play at Life Christian Academy (Va.) on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last three years, Ian Franzoni paid his dues for the Hun School football team as a back-up running back.

Playing behind Josh Henderson, Franzoni didn’t get a lot of carries but he was productive when he did get his chance, steadily increasing his workload.

With Henderson graduating and joining the University of North Carolina football program, senior Franzoni was primed to make the most of his final high school campaign.

“Last year Josh was here but when I got my carries, I felt like I did a lot of good running,” said Franzoni. “This year, I knew it was my time and I had to step up when I could.” more

September 11, 2019

The Arts Council of Princeton hosted its annual Fall Open House on Saturday afternoon, which featured hands-on artmaking, artist demos, live performances, and an opening reception for its fall exhibition, “Wonder.” Participants share why art is important to them in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

MERCER COUNTY PURCHASE?: The freeholders are meeting Thursday to vote on the purchase of this $309,000 armored vehicle for the County, but many local groups and individuals are voicing opposition and urging citizens to attend the meeting and contact freeholders to express their disapproval.

By Donald Gilpin

The Mercer County freeholders are scheduled to vote Thursday, September 12 on the $309,000 purchase of an armored vehicle for the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, but many local residents and organizations have voiced opposition to the proposed acquisition as an unwise use of taxpayer funds and a troubling militarization of law enforcement.

Andrew Koontz, the only one of the seven freeholders who has publicly expressed opposition to the purchase, described his “strong visceral reaction to a military-style vehicle that the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office would own and operate. It brings to mind militarization of local police departments that we saw in Baton Rouge (2016) and Ferguson (2014).”

He continued, recalling the TV footage of the disturbances in Ferguson and Baton Rouge, “I saw the equipment they were using, and I had a reaction as an elected official. Someone voted for that. I had a strong reaction that this is not the kind of policing I like to see at the local level.” more

MEXICAN BINGO: Councilwoman Leticia Fraga presides over “Loteria” Mexican Bingo as Mayor Liz Lempert looks on during last year’s Welcoming Week. More than a dozen events to promote inclusiveness, unity, and diversity are planned for this year’s Welcoming Week, which runs September 13-22 at various locations throughout Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Human Services)

By Donald Gilpin

Promoting inclusiveness, unity, and diversity, Princeton’s fourth annual Welcoming Week will kick off this Friday, September 13.

Sponsored by Princeton Human Services, Princeton Public Library (PPL), and a number of other local organizations, Welcoming Week will feature more than a dozen different events from September 13-22 and is “a time to celebrate and amplify the values that unite us as neighbors, parents, and colleagues, and that make our town more welcoming to newcomers and everyone who calls our community home,” according to the Welcoming Week flyer on the Human Services Department’s website at  princetonnj.gov.

Last year there were more than 2,000 events in 400 communities across the globe during Welcoming Week, with more than 80,000 people participating.

A naturalization ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., September 18 in the PPL, where 23 Princeton immigrants will be taking the Oath of Allegiance to become United States citizens, in a ceremony presided over by the Department of Homeland Security United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. more