August 4, 2021

Lenox House, the brick building at Stockton Street and Library Place, was the scene of a two-alarm fire early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Carolyne Murff)

By Anne Levin

An early morning fire on Tuesday, August 3 at Lenox House, a 19th century building that houses faculty offices at Princeton Theological Seminary, sent flames through the roof and closed surrounding streets for several hours while news helicopters whirled overhead.

No one was in the building at the time, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This was the second time in the past four days that a two-alarm fire has broken out in Princeton’s Western Section. Just after 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, a fire was reported in the garage of a residence on Armour Road. There were no injuries. The blaze is under investigation.

Princeton Theological Seminary Security contacted the Princeton Police Department at 5:11 a.m. on Tuesday to report the Lenox House fire. The Princeton Fire Department and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad were dispatched, and found flames shooting through the roof of the building and on the third floor.

Mutual aid came from Princeton Plasma Physics Lab’s fire department, and from fire departments of Plainsboro, Princeton Junction, Rocky Hill, Kingston, Lawrenceville, Hopewell, Montgomery #1 and #2, and Monmouth Junction, as well as a recall of the career firefighter staff. The blaze was put under control by 7:11 a.m. more

By Donald Gilpin

As new case numbers of COVID-19 continue to rise locally, statewide, and across the country, health department officials are struggling to gain perspective on the resurgent pandemic and to devise strategies to combat its frequently changing manifestations.

As of Monday, August 2, the Princeton Health Department reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases to 10 in the past seven days, 14 in the past 14 days in Princeton. On Tuesday, the state of New Jersey reported an additional 1,173 COVID-19 cases, with a seven-day average of 977 new cases, more than four times the average a month ago.

“We are beginning to witness how COVID-19 will affect our lives long-term,” wrote Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser in an August 3 email. “Variants are likely to continue to emerge, and with each new strain new precautions, or existing precautions, may be put back into place to curb new disease transmissions.”

Grosser pointed out that Princeton is dealing with problems similar to those throughout the state, with an uptick in infections and the Delta variant now accounting for about 86 percent of new infections in New Jersey.

He described some of the challenges facing his department. “A major role of epidemiology is to provide a clue to changes that take place over time in the health problems we are experiencing as a community,” he wrote. “With a novel virus it’s likely that what worked last month may or may not work this month. What works in one city for disease prevention may not work in another.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The future of the Witherspoon Street corridor and the future of the Witherspoon-Jackson community were in the spotlight as Joint Effort Witherspoon-Jackson Princeton Safe Streets 2021 moved into high gear on Monday, August 2 with a reception and community program.

“This is a work in progress for discussion and input, not a final design,” said architect and Studio Hillier Principal J. Robert (Bob) Hillier, a Town Topics shareholder, in presenting his plan with PowerPoint, photos, and design illustrations for the restoration of the neighborhood.

“There was a great community here,” he continued. “Shirley [Satterfield] tells the story better than anyone. It was a proud community. What we’re going to do architecturally is return it to being a proud community, where everybody can afford to live and live here nicely.”

In addition to Hillier’s presentation, the program, at Studio Hillier on Witherspoon Street, featured remarks by a number of local elected officials; tributes to Hillier and his wife, Studio Hillier Principal Barbara Hillier; and a mayoral proclamation of appreciation honoring Joint Effort Witherspoon-Jackson Princeton Safe Streets for its contributions to the community over the past 48 years.

In presenting his vision, Hillier emphasized six goals, which he noted were in accord with the goals of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society: to preserve the culture and character of the neighborhood; to retain existing residences (“We’re not going to be throwing people out,” he said.); to promote diversity in the population; to provide housing at a reasonable cost (“This is an anti-gentrification project,” he said, “because we’re going to be providing housing that people can afford.”); to create a sustainable and safe environment; and to increase the sense of community. more

“GRACIE”: Debra Lampert-Rudman’s portrait of a Boykin Spaniel named Gracie is among the many examples of her talent for dog portraiture. She’ll teach a special workshop August 21 at Morven.

By Anne Levin

When she isn’t overseeing exhibits at Morven, Debra Lampert-Rudman, the museum’s curator of education and public programs, is breeding, showing, and painting dogs — her own, mostly, but also on commission.

Canines and the art they inspire are more than just a hobby for Lampert-Rudman.  She is a breeder of cocker spaniels, and currently owns four. One of her dogs came in second in the Grand Champion category at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last year.

Lampert-Rudman has shown her artwork at a Manhattan gallery, and has taught for several years at the Arts Council of Princeton. Last winter, she led a virtual workshop at Morven inspired by the animal portraiture in the museum’s exhibition, “In Nature’s Realm: The Art of Gerard Rugers Hardenbergh.”

She’ll offer the three-hour workshop again on August 21. This time, it will be in person at Morven’s Stockton Education Center. “This will be the first event we’ve had up close [since the pandemic],” Lampert-Rudman said last week. “We’ll be super spaced out in the gathering space.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) has sent to the New Jersey Department of Education an application for a  $17.5 million referendum to repair and replace leaking roofs at all six district schools, as well as to replace aging skylights, gutters, siding, deteriorating masonry, and rooftop HVAC equipment.

“These needs are urgent,” said PPS Board Administrator Matt Bouldin. “Delays can only lead to ongoing, costly repairs and building damage and would impede the installation of solar panels.” The application was approved by the Princeton BOE by an 8-1 vote at their meeting last week.

If the proposed projects are approved by the state on schedule, Princeton residents will vote on the “health and safety referendum for urgent capital needs” at a special election on January 25, 2022.  If the referendum passes, the work will start in the summer of 2022, with projects spread out over the next several years.

The last PPS referendum, $27 million for improvements to all six schools, was passed in December 2018. The debt from prior referendums is scheduled to mature on February 1, 2022, and 2023, and the proposed future maintenance projects can be completed without increasing debt service above the current levels. more

RE-EMERGING: The spotted lanternfly is making itself known in Princeton once again.

By Anne Levin

They don’t sting. They don’t bite. But the spotted lanternfly, which has begun spreading its red-flecked wings on local trees again, can be a big nuisance.

“They’re more of a pain,” said Princeton Arborist Taylor Sapudar, who saw his first adults of the year a few weeks ago. “They are a major concern for vineyards. But in the ornamental landscape, what we need to be concerned about is that they excrete a black, sticky substance that attracts bees and wasps. It’s messy. If you have a car parked under a tree where they are, that can be a problem.”

According to information on the municipal website (princetonnj.gov), the spotted lanterfly is a plant hopper that belongs to the family “Fulgoridae in the order Hempitera.” It feeds on plant sap, and then produces what is known as honeydew, “which facilitates the growth of sooty mold and can make decks, cars, patios, and walkways a sticky mess if they are located beneath a tree with a high population of lantern flies,” reads the website. more

Pennington Girls in STEM Win Contest

The Pennington School Girls in STEM club recently won the grand prize in the Lemonade Stand Contest, a competition designed to kickstart projects and small businesses.

Their winning entry was a proposal for their hybrid sanitary napkin project, which brought them the $20,000 cash grand prize, a $40,000 marketing package on Whalebone websites and social media, and three mentoring sessions with Alex Faherty, the founder and CEO of Faherty Brand, which, along with Whalebone, co-sponsored the competition.

Over the past several years Pennington students have used their STEM skills to refurbish and donate iPads and to teach introductory STEM lessons to students in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Africa.

One of their projects over the past two years has been development of a hybrid sanitary napkin, a project addressing a key problem faced by girls in Dzaleka. Due to shortages of water and quality menstrual products, girls living in the camp frequently miss school during their periods, which often leads them to drop out of school altogether. 

During the past school year the Pennington School Girls in STEM designed, sewed, and tested several versions of a hybrid sanitary napkin and mailed prototypes to the girls in Dzaleka, who gave them feedback on their design over Zoom. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s 120th birthday a week before August 4, 2021, I get in the car, put “West End Blues” on the stereo, and drive downtown to the library. For the first time in a locked-down year and a half, I’m returning to my favorite source with a mission. And as usual, I find what I’m looking for, driving off with three biographies: Terry Teachout’s Pops (2009), Ricki Riccardi’s What a Wonderful World (2011), and Thomas Brothers’s Master of Modernism (2014).

In the Phillipe Halsman photo on the cover of Pops, Armstrong stands facing forward, his trumpet tucked under one arm; he’s wearing a red bow tie, and he’s not smiling. If anything, he looks to be on the verge of tears, as if a lifetime of emotion were welling up inside him. The photograph was taken in 1966, when LIFE put him on the cover. Teachout calls it “the climax of his eminence.” Inside is a 14-page interview in which he says, “I don’t sigh for nothing. Sixty years is a long time and there ain’t going to be no more cats in the game that long.” He died 50 years ago, July 6, 1971.

Armstrong in the Sixties

When I get home, the first book I open is Pops, which begins with an epigraph from Brancusi: “Don’t look for obscure formulas, nor for le mystère. It is pure joy I’m giving you.”

“Pure joy” is something I instinctively associate with the music of the Beatles. In the sixties, I had no interest in Armstrong songs like “What a Wonderful World,” which I listened to just now on YouTube; it’s a version for cynics with a warm and fuzzy introduction from Louis addressed to “all you young folks asking how about all the walls, and the hunger, and pollution, how ‘wonderful’ is that?” And he tells them, “It ain’t the world that’s so bad, but what we’re doing to it.” When he sings of “trees of green” and “skies of blue” in his Times Square-on-New-Year’s-Eve voice, I’m smiling; when he gets to “the bright blessed day,” and friends shaking hands and saying “How do you do” when they’re really saying “I love you,” I’m thinking of the mob storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the Delta variant, and the massive cloud rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  more

BACK ON STAGE: McCarter Theatre’s upcoming season will include, from left, top row: Lake Street Dive, The  Hot Sardines, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Bottom row: Zakir Hussain, Dorrance Dance, and Rosanne Cash.

On Friday, September 24 at 8 p.m., McCarter Theatre Center gets back to presenting live performance with an appearance by Bela Fleck, in his first bluegrass tour in 24 years.

On Sunday afternoon, September 26, McCarter invites the community to GARBA 360, a free outdoor event at Princeton Shopping Center celebrating the traditional Gujarati Social Folk Dance experience. There will be dance lessons, performance, and live music. more

“PATTERSON FARM AUTUMN”: This oil painting by Ilene Rubin is featured in “Pieces and Places of Bucks County,” on view August 28 through September 26 at the Stover Mill Gallery in Erwinna, Pa. 

Two Bucks County artists — Ilene Rubin, a painter of places and things related to the bucolic surrounding environs, and Kathleen McSherry, a sculptor who utilizes unique and locally found elements — will present “Pieces and Places of Bucks County” at the Stover Mill Gallery on weekends beginning August 28 and running through September 26.

Rubin is a self-taught artist who has lived in Elkins Park, Pa.; Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; and now calls Doylestown, Pa. home. She has received numerous awards, including the Ty Hodanish award for oil painting in the Artsbridge 2021 Member Show in March 2021, and is also a published author of two novels. She is a participating artist in the 2021 Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Virtual Studio Artist Tour and was the featured artist in Bucks County Magazine in June 2021. She is a member of most Bucks County Art organizations and previously served as vice president of the New Hope Art League. She is currently the artist of Bristol chair of the Art Show at the Lower Bucks Hospital.  more

For 14 years, the Hopewell Tour Des Arts has connected artists with the local community. At this year’s tour — on Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, September 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — visitors can meet local artists (such as Ric Stang, shown here in his studio), visit their studios, and purchase one-of-a-kind artwork. The event also includes music, poetry, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, and more. Free admission. For more information, visit hopewelltourdesarts.com.

CHICKEN DELIGHT: “We cook to order, and everything is fresh. Nothing is frozen. Everything is prepared daily on-site.” Benny Umbra (left) and Chef Lazzaro Merone, owners of La Rosa Chicken & Grill in the Princeton Shopping Center, are about to enjoy a sampling of the eatery’s specialties: (top left) crispy chicken sandwich, with macaroni and cheese, and French fries; roasted chicken meal featuring garlic broccoli, string beans, and corn muffin; chicken sandwich with creamed spinach and fries; and chicken gorgonzola salad. All are customer favorites.

By Jean Stratton

No doubt about it! Chicken is an all-time favorite. Chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken tenders, fried chicken, roast chicken — there is something for everyone!

And with some people cutting back on red meat, and others who don’t love fish, chicken is a favorite choice of those looking for healthy eating.

Enter La Rosa Chicken & Grill, just opened last May in the Princeton Shopping Center.

“Chicken is our specialty,” says Benny Umbra, partner and co-owner, with Chef Lazzaro Merone, of the new eatery

One of 15 franchises in New Jersey and New York, La Rosa Chicken & Grill has quickly become a favorite at its new Shopping Center location. more

JERSEY’S FINEST: Holly McGarvie Reilly, right, takes the ball upfield for the U.S. women’s national lacrosse team. Reilly, a 2009 Princeton alum who starred in lacrosse and field hockey for the Tigers, helped the U.S. win the gold medal at the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women’s World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario. Last month, Reilly was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame. (Photo by John Strohsacker, provided courtesy of USA Lacrosse)

By Justin Feil

When Holly McGarvie Reilly started playing lacrosse on the very first team at Medford Memorial Middle School, she did not have Hall of Fame aspirations but she approached it as she has everything in her life.

“I’m a competitor,” said Reilly. “My parents really impressed on me the importance of a strong education and doing your best in whatever you’re doing.”

Reilly got hooked early on the new sport and excelled at it along with field hockey and winter track and field at Shawnee High School. The valedictorian at Shawnee, she won 10 varsity letters in a career that included a state track championship, All-State recognition in field hockey, and All-American acclaim in lacrosse before continuing with field hockey and lacrosse at nearby Princeton University.

At Princeton, she helped the Tigers win four Ivy League championships in field hockey as a star back in her fall seasons and during the spring won one Ivy title in lacrosse as a standout midfielder while earning Ivy Rookie of the Year and two-time All-American accolades. She helped the U.S. women’s national team win a pair of World Cup lacrosse gold medals in 2009 and 2013. Her achievements were recognized last month when she was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster.

“It was really cool,” said Reilly. “I was very honored and surprised. I honestly didn’t know the process was ongoing. I was called by Peter O’Donnell and the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the foundation board and it was pretty awesome.” more

MAKING THEIR MARK: Former Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing star Fred Vystavel ’16, coach Jens Vilhelmsen, and Joachim Sutton have plenty to smile about as Vystavel and Sutton earned bronze for the Denmark men’s pair last Wednesday (Eastern Time) at the Tokyo Olympics. The Danish duo clocked a time of 6:19.88 over the 2,000-meter course at the Sea Forest Waterway in taking third, with Croatia earning gold in 6:15.29 and Romania getting the silver at 6:16.58. (Photo by Copenhagenloadstar Photography, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Fred Vystavel became the first Princeton University athlete to earn a medal at the Tokyo Olympics as he combined with Joachim Sutton to earn bronze last Wednesday (Eastern Time) in the men’s pair for Denmark.

Vystavel ’16 and Sutton clocked a time of 6:19.88 over the 2,000-meter course at the Sea Forest Waterway in taking third with Croatia earning gold in 6:15.29 and Romania getting the silver at 6:16.58.

“Watching Fred on the awards dock receiving his bronze medal brought me to tears,” said Princeton men’s heavyweight crew head coach Greg Hughes, reflecting on Vystavel’s achievement.

“It has been such a long, hard stretch of training over these last four years for him to arrive at this point. Through it all, he stayed true to his goals and never faltered. And, in typical Fred fashion, he’s done it with such an incredible attitude and grace. He’s been an inspiration to all of us and I am so proud to see him win that medal.”

Vystavel’s bronze gave Princeton athletes 60 medals at the Olympics with Ashleigh Johnson ’17 being the last Tiger to earn a medal when she helped the U.S women’s water polo team take gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

A day later, Princeton added a 61st medal to its storied Olympic history as former Tiger men’s heavyweight rowing star Tom George ’18 collected a bronze medal for Great Britain in the men’s 8. more

REMAINING LOYAL: Davon Black passes the ball for LoyalTees during the playoffs in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High star Black helped LoyalTees defeat Majeski Foundation 57-45 last Wednesday in the second game of the league’s best-of-three championship series to earn a sweep and win its third straight crown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lior Levy and Davon Black developed a connection on the basketball court years ago playing for the Princeton High boys’ hoops program.

The two formed an inside-out punch for PHS with the 6’8 Levy starring in the paint and the 5’11 Black getting it done on the perimeter.

“It is the best playing with Davon,” said Levy, a 2013 PHS alum who went on to play at Franklin and Marshall, serving as a team captain in his senior season in 2016-17.

“Ever since high school we know exactly where each other are going to be on the court. We have always found each other.”

Black, a 2012 PHS grad, reached out to Levy, who was teaching English in southern Israel and playing in the country’s Third Division pro hoops league, to ask him to play the LoyalTees squad this season in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

“Lior is one of my favorite teammates,” said Black, in reflecting on getting Levy to join the squad. more

FROM A TO Z: Zahrion Blue of LoyalTees drives to the hoop during the playoffs in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High and current Lincoln University hoops star Blue was named as the Foreal Wooten Playoff MVP after leading LoyalTees to a sweep of the Majeski Foundation in the league’s best-of-three championship series. Blue scored 21 points and had six rebounds and two assists in the title clincher last Wednesday at the Community Park courts as LoyalTees won 57-45 in game two to earn its third straight league title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Zahrion Blue joined the LoyalTees team in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League a few years ago, he was one of the young guns for the battle-tested squad.

This summer, though, the former Princeton High and current Lincoln University hoops star Blue has emerged as the top gun for LoyalTees. The 6’4, 200-pound guard was the league’s leading scorer this summer, tallying 24.2 points a game, and was named as a first-team All-League performer and regular season MVP.

Last Wednesday evening before an overflow crowd at the Community Park courts, Blue helped trigger LoyalTees to a third straight league title as it defeated the Majeski Foundation 57-45 to earn a sweep of the league’s best-of-three championship series and the team’s third straight title.

“We just wanted to win, we wanted a three-peat,” said Blue, who scored 21 points and had six rebounds and two assists in the victory and was later named the Foreal Wooten Playoff MVP as LoyalTees went 10-1 this summer.

“We came out here and you can’t take them lightly. We got up a little lead and we wanted to keep pushing it and making it greater.”

With star forward Nick Davidson sidelined for game two due to a leg injury, Blue assumed more responsibility.

“I don’t even know Nick was hurt,” said Blue. “When they said we didn’t have Nick, I knew I had to do more on the rebounding and score more because he is a rebounding type of guy and a scoring type of guy.”

With Blue scoring 14 points in the first half, LoyalTees built a 31-25 lead at intermission. more

July 28, 2021

Participants of all ages helped feed and water the animals, bring in sheep from the pasture, collect eggs, grind corn, clean stalls, and more at the Evening Livestock Chores event on Saturday at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township. Attendees share their favorite chores in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Laura Wooten

Former Princeton and Lawrence Township resident Laura Wooten, a poll worker for 79 years up to her death in 2019, was honored on July 23 when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed “Laura Wooten’s Law,” requiring civics instruction at the middle school level throughout the state. Wooten was known as the longest continuously serving poll worker in the history of the United States.

“Laura Wooten’s life is a study in civics,” said Murphy. “She set a tremendous legacy of service. Even more importantly, in her life, born in the segregated South, she persevered through sexism and racism, including right here in New Jersey. Her life stands as evidence that change in a democracy comes not from those who hold elective office, but through the work of ordinary citizens.”

Also speaking at the online signing ceremony, Wooten’s daughter, Yvonne Hill, noted, “She walked off 14 Witherspoon Lane and into history by working the election polls for 79 years. She was just doing what she thought was her duty.”

Hill continued, ”My mother would be so honored to know that a bill would be passed recognizing her legacy of civic responsibility. She always felt that youth should be involved in exercising the hard-fought right to vote and help make change. Her famous words were ‘Don’t say you can’t make a difference. How can you make a difference if you don’t vote?’”

 more

By Anne Levin

At its meeting Monday night, July 26, Princeton Council passed an ordinance that provides for parking improvements, and voted in favor of resolutions allowing a contract for interim free transit service in town, and a grant funding body-worn cameras for police, among other actions.

But most of the meeting was taken up with discussions and presentations on topics including whether to remove the kiosk at Witherspoon and Nassau streets, what to do with federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, and racism as a public health crisis.

The kiosk, and another at Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue, were  the focus of debate in 2013, when some wanted them replaced by electronic billboards. Others argued, at the time, that they are a community service allowing anyone to post notices, and the idea was dropped.

This time, the reason for possible removal of the kiosks is tied to the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) plan to improve the traffic signal at Nassau and Witherspoon streets, making the intersection safer for pedestrians. Replacement of the traffic signal requires a larger controller box that is too big to fit inside the kiosk, and would not be properly ventilated, according to municipal staff and representatives of the NJDOT. more

By Donald Gilpin

Coming out of the pandemic with themes of reconnection and “a new vision for Princeton,” the Joint Effort Witherspoon-Jackson Princeton Safe Streets celebration begins this weekend with a fish fry and reunion gathering at the Elks Lodge on Saturday afternoon and a gospel festival at the First Baptist Church of Princeton at 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 1.

“The highlight of this nine-day celebration is reconnecting with people,” said Joint Effort founder and event coordinator John Bailey, “with an emphasis on cultural expression, intellectual dialogue, and conversation on the future of Princeton.”

He continued, “We will hear from people who have a message, and I hope these events will be meaningful and purposeful. Folks have been isolated for 18 months, and it’s good to come out, cautiously, and resume the historical and cultural experience.”

Bailey pointed out that masks will be available for voluntary use. “With the COVID upsurge we have to be mindful in accordance with state and CDC guidelines,” he added.

The kick-off reception and first “new vision for  Princeton” discussion will take place on Monday, August 2 at Studio Hillier on Witherspoon Street. Bob Hillier, architect, Studio Hillier principal and a Town Topics shareholder, will present a “Vision for the Witherspoon Street Corridor,” with Mayor Mark Freda, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Mercer County Commissioners Sam Frisby and Andrew Koontz, and Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society President Shirley Satterfield participating. Princeton Councilwomen Michelle Pirone Lambros and Mia Sacks and Princeton Council candidate Leighton Newlin will contribute follow-up remarks.  more

READY TO RIDE: More than 230 Bristol Myers Squibb employees will cycle in sections of Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer, a cross-country trip to raise money for cancer research.

By Anne Levin

Dr. Shalabh Singhal has another six weeks to get ready to ride his bike the 72 miles from Billings, Montana to Sioux Falls, S.D. As part of an effort to raise $1 million for cancer research, the Princeton cardiologist, who is 45, is in intensive training mode, rising at 4 a.m. every third day to put in four hours on the bike.

Like most of the more than 230 employees of Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) who are taking part in the annual fundraiser Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer, Singhal has a personal connection to the disease. His 34-year-old cousin died of acute myeloid leukemia, leaving behind his wife, a 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

Singhal and his wife, oncologist Shivani Srivstava, were living and practicing in Indianapolis at the time. They were among those treating his cousin as he fought and ultimately lost his battle with the disease.

“It was just a few days after his son was born that he was diagnosed,” Singhal said. “He had a fever that wouldn’t get done. We were part of a health care team — a support group by night and bearer of bad news by day. We did all that we could, but he passed away within a year of diagnosis. I don’t think he was able to hold his son, properly like a father should, because he had all kinds of immune reactions. It really left a mark.” more

By Anne Levin

A furniture retailer and a lobster restaurant are among the new tenants that Palmer Square Management has lined up to fill some of the empty storefronts on and around the square.

Warby Parker, the prescription glasses and sunglasses retailer, opened July 17 at 46 Nassau Street.

Arhaus, a furniture retailer with more than 70 stores around the country including outlets in Freehold, Marlton, and New York City, is moving into 17 Palmer Square East, the space formerly occupied by Brooks Brothers. The store is scheduled to open in the fall.

Arhaus was founded in 1986. The retail chain designs and sells home furnishings in its retail stores, online, and through catalogs. According to its website, most of the furniture it sells is made in North Carolina.

The dine-in and takeout restaurant La La Lobster, which has locations in Cape May and Yardley, Pa., has been signed for 63 Palmer Square West. The Princeton location is “coming soon,” according to the store’s website. more

By Donald Gilpin

Adam Bierman, Mara Franceschi, and Jeffrey Liao will be competing with incumbents Betsy Baglio and Brian McDonald in this November’s election for three available seats on the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE). Current Board member Daniel Dart has chosen not to run for re-election and will be stepping down at the end of 2021.

Monday, July 26 at 4 p.m. was the deadline for candidates to file with the Mercer County Clerk for the November 2 election, where the five candidates will be running for three-year terms on the BOE, starting on January 1, 2022.

Bierman, a lifelong Princeton resident and a product of the PPS, emphasized his goal of excellent, affordable schools. Priorities he noted include “returning all students to school full-time and in-person with sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities; developing affordable and cost-effective solutions for projected enrollment growth due to COAH (New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing); development and support for educational programs to offset learning loss due to COVID-19; and supporting our diverse student body and community through anti-racism, equity, and inclusion.”

Bierman, who has made unsuccessful bids for BOE (2020) and Princeton Council (2018 and 2019) in the past, teaches at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, working with at-risk students in Trenton.

Franceschi is a mother of three PPS students, as well as a community leader and frequent volunteer. She worked in the financial services and asset management industries for a number of years then turned her focus to her children and community service. She has served as treasurer and president of the Johnson Park PTO and has worked with district leadership as a member of the PTO Council over the past two years. She has also worked as a volunteer with numerous community nonprofits. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Here in the summer of 2021, when misinformation pollutes the Net and truth is a shadow of its former, undernourished self, I’m reading “The Art of Little Ruses” in Billy Wilder On Assignment (Princeton Univ. Press 24.95), a collection of Wilder’s salty, spirited writings from 1925-1930, edited by Noah Isenberg and spiritedly delivered into English by Shelley Frisch.

Writing in the May 1, 1927, Berliner Börsen Courier, the not-quite-21-year-old Wilder admits that as much as he appreciates and honors “the so-called truth,” he “can easily imagine that in two or three decades lies will be regarded as an indispensable and hence utterly unobjectionable implement in our daily lives.” So why not teach “the art of lying” as “a mandatory school subject, accessible to everyone and anyone,” making it “no longer the privilege of the few who have a natural predisposition in this arena” but  “the consummate moral and social justification of this hitherto maligned resource.”

Cynicism Rules

The cat-who-swallowed-the-canary wise guy on the cover of On Assignment already looks the part of the multiple-Oscar-winning Hollywood director Andrew Sarris deemed “too cynical to believe even his own cynicism.” If anything, based on the features and opinion pieces in this lively book, he believed in his own cynicism 40 years before Sarris downgraded him to the “Less Than Meets the Eye” category in The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968.

Labeling A Foreign Affair (1948) and One, Two, Three (1961) Wilder’s “irresponsible Berlin films” (“a series of tasteless gags, half anti-Left and half anti-Right”), Sarris singles out the “penchant for gross caricature” he says “marred” classics like Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Some Like It Hot (1959). When he pompously concludes that Wilder “is hardly likely to make a coherent film on the human condition,” I can almost hear Berlin Billie saying, and Hollywood Billy chiming in, “When was the last time coherence had anything to do with the human condition?” more