December 2, 2020

The Palmer Square Tree Lighting was virtual this year, but the 33,000 bulbs on the 70-foot Norway spruce tree will continue to light up the night and enchant visitors throughout the holiday season. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton, the state of New Jersey, and the whole country continue to battle the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as residents and health officials await news of possible  post-Thanksgiving outbreaks and brace for additional challenges in the upcoming holiday season.

The Princeton Health Department on Monday, November 30, reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 in Princeton in the past two weeks, surpassing the previous record 14-day total of 55 cases for November 11-24.  For the past week, 30 new cases were reported.

“We are going to see a jump in the number of cases this week through next week,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. “In fact we already are, and so is the rest of New Jersey. This is going to be a result of both the holiday and test reporting being delayed, but also a result of the increased travel and person-to-person exposure during Thanksgiving.”

Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams added, “The overall impact on our infection rate may not be fully apparent until mid-December,” but he went on to express optimism that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent tightening of restrictions on outdoor gatherings and suspension of high school ad club sports might mitigate the spread over the next month.

Grosser continued, “We are urging the public to continue to closely monitor the symptoms and avoid large gatherings, especially in the 10-14 days after the Thanksgiving holiday.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Jared Warren

Jared Warren, assistant principal at Princeton High School (PHS) for the last seven years, will be recommended at the December 15 Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) meeting to become PHS acting principal on January 15. Warren will take over from Jessica Baxter, who announced her resignation last month.

A special education teacher at Hunterdon Central Regional High School before coming to PHS, Warren has a B.A. in criminal justice from Widener University and a master’s degree in special education, as well as a certification in educational leadership, from The College of New Jersey.

“I am confident that Mr. Warren will do an excellent job with the support of his outstanding administrative team,” Galasso wrote in an email announcing his recommendation to PPS parents and staff on Monday. “I am confident he will be a strong advocate for students and will continue to develop relationships with the community.”

Emphasizing the goal of maintaining “the traditional, outstanding Princeton High School academic and social experience” during this transition period, Galasso continued, “Mr. Warren will make that a top priority and will continue the innovative and student-centered approach to learning that is a hallmark of Princeton High School education.” more

By Anne Levin

Those cozy little chalets that popped up on Black Friday at locations around downtown Princeton are part of the municipality’s efforts to encourage patronage of local stores during the holiday season. Shopping local is key to the future of a district that has been suffering during the pandemic. The Winter Village, and special Holiday Market Days this weekend, are designed to get shoppers into the businesses and onto the streets, away from the big box stores.

A committee of representatives from the municipality, the Princeton Merchants Association, the Arts Council of Princeton, and Princeton University has been collaborating on the project. While several popular businesses have closed during the pandemic, including Brooks Brothers on Palmer Square, Kitchen Kapers on Hulfish Street, and Bon Appetit in the Princeton Shopping Center, 27 are participating in this weekend’s Holiday Market Days. That’s up from 18 last year.

“I felt really good about the amount of traffic I saw in town last weekend – not just people, but bags,” said Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, who is on the committee. “The retailers seem to be cautiously optimistic. Members of the public I’ve talked to are curious, and really excited about the coming weekend.”

Shoppers who get cards stamped at 15 or more of the participating businesses on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, can enter a drawing to win prizes. No purchase is necessary to enter. Prize drawings will take place next week. Each business has contributed a prize. Among them: a $200 gift card from Hamilton Jewelers, a $75 gift card from Witherspoon Grill, a $200 gift certificate from Barbour, a scarf from Highbar Boutique, a Lindt basket of chocolates, a wrap from Lace Silhouettes, and gifts from Lillipies, Toobydoo, 4 Elements Wellness, Cyndi Shattuck Photography, H1912 Jewelers, Kristine’s restaurant, and the grand prize, a “staycation” at the Nassau Inn. more

KEEPING IT HEALTHY: Terri Block, left, and Lee Yonish keep foods nutritious and tasty when preparing meals for clients of The Simple Stove. The company has been operating out of the kitchen at the former Blawenburg Café, but is looking for a new location.

By Anne Levin

During a recital streamed from the Nottingham, UK, living room of cellist/pianist sibling duo Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason last Sunday, some 60 local patrons of the Princeton University Concerts event indulged in a proper British afternoon tea. It had all the right components — scones, cream, cakes, and little triangular sandwiches.

But this mini-feast was provided by The Simple Stove, which meant there was no gluten, dairy, or sugar involved. Keeping food clean, healthy, nutrient-dense, and delicious is the idea behind the two-person company that has been operating since last spring out of the kitchen at the former Blawenburg Café. Founders Lee Yonish and Terri Block now count some 250 subscribers and 125 regulars among their customer base.

Both women are involved in the Suppers program, which was founded by the late Dorothy Mullen to encourage healthy cooking and eating. They started The Simple Stove after COVID-19 took hold.

“Suppers had been leasing the Blawenburg Café since last fall,” said Yonish. “In March, after everything shut down and there were no in-person meetings, Terri and I approached the executive committee and said this might be an opportunity to sell Suppers’ food. They were in the middle of some strategic visioning processes, and it would have been too much at that time. But they said, ‘Why don’t you use the kitchen and rent from us?’ ” more

HIKING THE TRAIL: Many walkers at the St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell Township are unaware that, if not for the efforts of D&R Greenway and generous donors, more than 1,000 houses and a shopping center could have been built on the site.

By Anne Levin

From 1896 until 1973, a brick Victorian orphanage sat on a large expanse of farm fields and forest at the edge of the town of Hopewell. The St. Michael’s Orphanage and Industrial School was demolished after it closed, but the land lay dormant for decades until the threat of development propelled D&R Greenway into action.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the ambitious preservation project, which prevented what could have been the construction of 1,050 houses and a 30,000-square-foot shopping center. An overlook with sweeping views of the town’s landscape; a meadow seeded with wildflowers; eight acres of victory gardens that source healthy food; the “raising” of a new, working barn; and six miles of trails are among the features that made the long, expensive effort worth doing. The D&R Greenway Land Trust bought the site from the Catholic Diocese of Trenton for $11 million, securing $8 million in public funds and $3 million in gifts from 900 individuals. Another $1 million was raised for maintenance and preservation.

The land trust was approached for this project because of previous successes in saving large regional properties such as The Institute for Advanced Study land, Coventry Farm, and Greenway Meadows.

“I always knew this was a really important piece of land for the community,” said Linda Mead, CEO and president of D&R Greenway. “But I’m always amazed by the things that grow out of the preservation of land, how that impacts people’s lives. I’ve seen it over and over again.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Allysa Dittmar

Allysa Dittmar, 23 years old and profoundly deaf since birth, was heading into surgery in 2015 when she was told that the sign language interpreter she’d requested was not available.  Her surgical team all wore face masks. Unable to see their facial expressions or read their lips, Dittmar could not understand any instructions they gave her or questions they asked her.

“It was quite a dehumanizing experience and an experience that I never want anyone else to go through,” she wrote in an email. “For someone who depends on facial expressions, visual cues, and lipreading daily, traditional surgical masks blocked my providers’ faces, impeding effective communication and safety.”

Dittmar decided to find a solution. The 2010 Stuart Country Day School graduate, who went on to earn her undergraduate degree and a master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins University, joined a team of Johns Hopkins fellow students and alumni to design and create a transparent mask, the first and only fully see-through mask approved by the FDA.

“Since facial expressions and visual communication are fundamental to how we communicate and connect as human beings, the ClearMask helps make connections more human and provides clearer communication for all,” Dittmar said.

She and her team founded ClearMask, based in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2016. Since April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, they have sold approximately 12.5 million protective masks. “See the person, not the mask,” states the ClearMask website. more

By Stuart Mitchner

On December 2, 1867, Charles Dickens gave the first of 80 public readings in America, a grueling tour undertaken in spite of pleas from friends and colleagues concerned about his health. Arriving in Boston, he was welcomed by adoring crowds and the mid-19th-century equivalent of paparazzi; in New York City people began lining up at three in the morning for tickets, waiting in two lines, each almost a mile long.

In Charles Dickens, A Critical Study, novelist George Gissing refers to the “disastrous later years” that show Dickens as a “public entertainer … shortening his life that he might be able to live without pecuniary anxiety.” The American readings ended in late April 1868, earning him $250,000. He died of a stroke in early June 1870. He was only 58.

“A Dreadful Locomotive”

After attending one of the Boston readings, Ralph Waldo Emerson told the wife of Dickens’s American publisher, James T. Fields: “He has too much talent for his genius; it is a dreadful locomotive to which he is bound and can never be free from nor set at rest. You would persuade me that he is a genial creature, full of sweetness and amenities and superior to his talents, but I fear he is harnessed to them. He is too consummate an artist to have a thread of nature left. He daunts me! I have not the key.”  more

“SLEEP DEPRIVATION CHAMBER”: Round House Theatre and McCarter Theatre Center are presenting “Sleep Deprivation Chamber.” Produced in partnership with the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University, and directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, the video will be available online through February 28, 2021. Suzanne Alexander (Kim James Bey, left) and her son Teddy (Deimoni Brewington) discuss Suzanne’s efforts to ensure justice for Teddy. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (based in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence. The four-part series continues with a Round House video of Sleep Deprivation Chamber, which became available to view as of November 22.

The edgy production is directed by Raymond O. Caldwell. Maboud Ebrahimzadeh is the director of photography, returning from the festival’s production of He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box.

In a press release, McCarter’s Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen praises Kennedy — an African American playwright whose accolades include Obie Awards and an induction into the Theater Hall of Fame — for breaking “convention in the face of traditional barriers that prevented a much-deserved spotlight.” Round House Theatre’s Artistic Director Ryan Rilette adds that Kennedy’s plays are “beautiful, poetic conversations on race and power that are just as necessary now as they were 50 years ago.”

Sleep Deprivation Chamber premiered in 1996, presented by the Signature Theatre Company at the Public Theater. That year it won an Obie Award for Best New American Play (which it shared with another Adrienne Kennedy play, June and Jean in Concert). more

POPS IN PALMER SQUARE: As part of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s holiday season, presented virtually on weekends in December, the orchestra’s brass ensemble, shown here in Palmer Square, will play Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will present multiple free weekend broadcasts December 5-20 of its family-friendly Holiday POPS! concert. The event features holiday favorites performed by pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, dancers of the American Repertory Ballet, and PSO musicians led by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov. As in previous years, members of the Princeton High School Choir, under the direction of Vincent Metallo, will lead the annual carol sing-along.

“We are thrilled to present this exceptional holiday showcase featuring top artists and local arts partners as an uplifting gift of thanks to all for continuing to support the arts in our community this season,” said PSO Executive Director Marc Uys.

The program includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker performed by Christina and Michelle Naughton, arrangements of holiday favorites played by the PSO woodwind quintet, and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride recorded by the PSO brass ensemble in Princeton’s Palmer Square. The Princeton High School Choir performs Eric Whitacre’s “Sing Gently,” and a piano trio including PSO concertmaster Basia Danilow accompanies American Repertory Ballet dancers Nanako Yamamoto and Jonathan Montepara, as they perform The Nutcracker’s Grand Pas De Deux. more

From December 2-31, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present a free holiday virtual season of performances, including a celebration of six decades of the choreographer’s “Revelations,” which the dancers are pictured performing at Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center. The month-long run will also feature world premieres by Matthew Rushing, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, and Jamar Roberts. Special family programs, a series of “BattleTalk” conversations with artistic director Robert Battle, and a farewell tribute performance by longtime company members Glenn Allen Sims and Linda Celeste Sims, are planned. Visit alvinailey.org/virtualseason for information. (Photo by Nicole Tintle)

“A CLEAR LIGHT”: “Walkway in Fall” by Claudia Fouse Fountaine, above, and “Open House” by Gail Bracegirdle, below, will be featured in a dual exhibition of their paintings, running January 7 to 31 at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

The Artists’ Gallery of Lambertville will be showing work by Gail Bracegirdle and Claudia Fouse Fountaine from January 7 to 31 in the exhibition “A Clear Light.”

Bracegirdle said she enjoys working in watercolors because of the environmentally sensitive nature of the medium. She likes to experiment with various textures and types of watercolor papers and pigments to create specific effects. The subjects vary, depending on each day’s distractions.  

Fouse Fountaine is an award-winning Bucks County artist known for her colorful depictions of animals, interiors, and local landscapes. This show features all new work from her, done during the pandemic. Smaller in scale than usual, these paintings reflect a somewhat distilled vision, or a “clearer light.”

The Artists’ Gallery is located at 18 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Gallery hours are Thursday through
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no opening reception.

For more information, call (609) 397-4588 or visit lambertvillearts.com.

“2020 MEMBER EXHIBITION”: More than 115 pieces created by members of the Arts Council of Princeton are now on view in the Taplin Gallery at 102 Witherspoon Street, through December 19.

Each year, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) welcomes its community of member artists to submit work to its annual “Member Exhibition.” This year, the Taplin Gallery is filled with the most art ever submitted in the history of this tradition: more than 115 pieces created by ACP’s members are currently on view for the community to enjoy, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, textile art, and more.

The ACP also invites the community to join Adam Welch, executive director, and Maria Evans, artistic director, for a Virtual Opening Reception and gallery tour on Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m.

The “2020 Member Exhibit” runs through December 19.

For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.

SHOPPING SPECIALTIES : “We wanted to expand the space, and we want to be a destination place, where customers can come to find a great selection of furniture, including our signature barnwood tables, as well as a variety of gifts of all kinds.” Kristin and Ron Menapace, owners of Homestead Princeton, are delighted to offer customers an intriguing selection of holiday shopping opportunities.

By Jean Stratton

As the song says, “We need a little Christmas…,” and perhaps now more than ever during this year of our discontent.

And indeed, Christmas has come to Homestead Princeton at 300 Witherspoon Street.

Decorated trees, holiday displays, Santas and snowmen, angels and elves, fragrant candles and musical snow globes — and more — all capture the season at this very inviting store.

“I think people are starting to decorate earlier this year,” says co-owner Kristin Menapace. “They want their house to be special and festive, especially now with the virus.” more

TAKING OFF: Claire Donovan gets ready to hit the ball in a 2019 game during her sophomore season for the Princeton University field hockey team. Deciding to take the year off from school and defer her junior year at Princeton, Donovan has served as an assistant coach for the Princeton Day School field hockey team and taken on a side gig as a delivery driver for DoorDash. (Photo provided by Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

This fall, Claire Donovan got an early taste of life outside the Princeton University bubble and the family feeling surrounding the Tiger field hockey program.

Deciding to take the year off from school and defer her junior year at Princeton, Donovan, a back/midfielder for the Tigers, has served as an assistant coach for the Princeton Day School field hockey team and taken on a side gig as a delivery driver for DoorDash.

“In the beginning it was difficult, I was not ready to be thrown into the real world,” said Donovan, one of six Tiger field hockey players who decided to not enroll in school for the 2020-21 session.

“I am definitely learning a lot of lessons, it is a good little tease into the real world.”

Donavan’s decision to delay her junior year at Princeton came down to academics as much as athletics.

“Towards the end of the summer, we started realizing that field hockey wasn’t looking too good,” said Donovan.

“The spring online classes were not great, I was not a fan of them. Once I realized that we might be having Zoom classes again in the fall, my family thought that it might not be worth it to pay tuition to do online classes. That played a large part in my decision.” more

RAISING ARIZONA: Princeton University men’s basketball player Richmond Aririguzoh, right, battles in the paint against Lafayette in a 72-65 loss to the Leopards on November 13, 2019. Two weeks later, Aririguzoh grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds as the Tigers fell 67-65 to Arizona State. While the defeat left the Tigers at 0-5, they built on their performance that night to go 10-4 in their next 14 games on the way to a 14-13 campaign and a spot in the Ivy League postseason tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Remy Martin is a fine French cognac, known worldwide for its smoothness.

But two nights before last Thanksgiving, another Remy Martin, the star guard for the Arizona State University men’s basketball team, produced a vintage performance at Jadwin Gym as the Sun Devils battled Princeton.

The 6’0, 175-pound Martin put on a dazzling display in the November 26 contest, electrifying a Jadwin throng of 2,727 that included Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr., the father of Bobby Hurley, the ASU head coach.

Slashing to the basket, draining pull-up jumpers, and hitting from long distance, Martin poured in 33 points, including a 23-point outburst in the second half.

Despite Martin’s heroics, Princeton, which brought a 0-4 record into the evening, was undeterred. With senior center Richmond Aririguzoh dominating in the paint with 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, the Tigers overcame a 46-39 second half deficit to lead 60-54 with 6:19 remaining in regulation. more

HOLY MOSES: Princeton High running back/linebacker Moses Santizo looks for an opening in recent action. Senior co-captain Santizo provided leadership and production as PHS went 1-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High football team lost 30-6 at Haddon Township in its season finale on November 21, Charlie Gallagher saw reasons to be encouraged.

“The effort was like it has been in every other game, it was outstanding,” said PHS head coach Gallagher, whose team’s lone score in the finale came on a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jaxon Petrone to classmate Jaiden Johnson as the Tigers finished the fall with a 1-5 record.

“We played a few new guys because we had some guys banged up. We were able to get a good look at some of our younger guys and they just did an outstanding job. These are good program guys who have been at practice every single day on time. When you do that, you deserve a hand in the pot, so to speak. This was a great opportunity.”

Junior running back Lahehmoo Pwee took advantage of his opportunity to play against Haddon, rushing for 55 yards.

“Lahehmoo played halfback for us and did an outstanding job,” said Gallagher.

“When he turned in his equipment, I told him how proud I was of him. We were a little nervous about Lehehmoo, he played the first game and things didn’t go well. He thinks he could have played a better game and we all do. He has grown so much over the past several weeks. In the back of my mind on the bus ride down, it is like this is his audition. Do I leave this game saying do we need a tailback or did Lehehmoo step up and he surely did. He did an outstanding job.”

In Gallagher’s view, the team grew as it persevered through the ups and downs of the season. more

BRINGING HER A-GAME: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Adriana Salzano controls the ball in a game this fall. Freshman Salzano made an immediate impact in her debut campaign for PDS, tallying nine goals and six assists. The Panthers ended the season in a 10-game winning streak, posting a final record of 10-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team didn’t get to play for any titles this fall with the state Prep B and Mercer County tournaments canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the squad displayed championship form.

After dropping its season opener 3-2 to Monroe on October 1, PDS reeled off 10 straight victories to post a final record of 10-1.

The highlight of that winning streak came on November 7 when the Panthers played at defending state Group 4 champion and powerhouse Hunterdon Central on short notice and pulled  out a thrilling 2-1 triumph.

With a matchup against local rival Pennington having been canceled due to COVID protocols, PDS was looking for a challenge.

“We wanted to find a top-20 team, we found Bridgewater-Raritan, I think they were No. 19 at the time so we were all set to play Bridgewater on Saturday,” said PDS head coach Pat Trombetta.

“Then we get a call Thursday night saying that they are going under quarantine for a second time. On Friday morning, Hunterdon Central reaches out and says how about a game. They gave me 24 hours’ notice and, by the way, it is at their place.”

With no time to waste, Trombetta put together a game plan overnight. more

November 25, 2020

HOLIDAYS AT MORVEN: Morven Museum & Garden on Stockton Street now presents its annual Festival of Trees, a juried collection of trees and mantels displayed throughout the museum’s galleries, on view through January 10. Visit morven.org for timed admission tickets. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

A ruling in New Jersey Superior Court last week completed the final step in the realization of Princeton’s affordable housing plan. On Thursday, November 19, Judge Mary Jacobson issued a Judgement of Compliance and Repose, meaning the municipality has met several conditions in order to fully comply with its affordable housing obligation.

The compliance hearing culminated a process that began in July 2015, after COAH (the Council on Affordable Housing) failed to formulate rules for the third round of municipal housing obligations, which are for the years 1999 to 2025. “This officially brings to conclusion the court’s part of the affordable housing process,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. “It’s a significant milestone.”

Last February, Jacobson approved the town’s settlement agreement with Fair Share Housing Center, ending almost five years of litigation. But certain compliance requirements had to be met. Council members Mia Sacks, David Cohen, and Michelle Pirone Lambros formed a negotiating team that met with property owners, developers, objectors, residents, and others to address various ideas and concerns. They were able to meet several compliance requirements involving zoning changes, agreements, updates, a spending plan, and other actions.

“This is a really complex process,” said Sacks. “We have literally been working around the clock for months now. Everything has to go through the Planning Board and Council. There is so much work in setting up the legal and financial framework. Our submission to the court was more than 2,000 pages.”

“In the end, Princeton was able to formulate, and actually begin to implement, an innovative plan to meet and exceed Princeton’s affordable housing obligation,” reads a press release from the negotiating team. “The plan incorporates a mix of product types dispersed throughout the municipality, and achieves critical planning goals set forth in the municipal master plan. The plan offers a carefully balanced mix of inclusionary developments, 100 percent affordable housing development, senior units, family units, as well fully mixed income projects.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton COVID-19 case numbers reached a new high Monday, November 23, with a seven-day total of 36 new cases, the Princeton Health Department reported. The 14-day total of 54 new cases is just slightly less than the highest 14-day count in Princeton since the pandemic began in March.

Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser noted the current resurgence in cases that resembles the situation six or seven months ago, but noted several differences.  “In the first wave, we saw long-term care centers contributing to the majority of cases, not only in Princeton but throughout New Jersey,” he wrote in an email. “Many non-essential businesses were closed, youth and professional sports were canceled or suspended, and schools were primarily remote. And from our vantage point at the health department, there was more concern over the virus because of its infancy.”

He continued, “What we have now is a combination of that infancy maturing and some communities not adhering to strict physical distancing and mask guidance, and of course, essential and non-essential businesses are open. Also youth sports and professional sports are once again operating, and schools are in-person (or at least working through in-person instruction while adhering to NJDOH COVID criteria).”

The load on contact tracers has been intense, according to health department reports, because of the numbers of infections and the multiple contacts of each. As of Monday’s report, there was a total of 337 cases over the past nine months with 280 recovered after completing isolation. More than 1,600 individuals have been contact traced by the Princeton Health Department.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University has invited all its students back to campus for the spring semester beginning in February. Between 3,000 and 4,000 students, about 75 percent of the undergraduate population, are expected to accept the invitation, with the others choosing to continue remote learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

In an announcement yesterday, Tuesday, November 24, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber emphasized that the Princeton campus in February will be far different than it was a year ago before the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of restrictions and public health measures. The creation of an on-campus testing laboratory and a rigorous testing protocol are also important parts of the University’s plan.

Most teaching will be virtual and online, Eisgruber added. Some classes may be offered in a hybrid format, but no courses are expected to be purely in-person.

Noting the need to serve both the educational interests of the students and public health issues, Eisgruber emphasized that numerous health procedures would be in place and that the University would be “fully in compliance” with state protocols and guidance from local health officials.

Masking and social distancing requirements will apply throughout the campus. All students living on campus or in the Princeton area will be required to participate in the University’s coronavirus testing program. Parties and most other social gatherings will be prohibited. Students will be prohibited from hosting visitors and will be restricted from traveling. All returning students will be required to quarantine upon arrival on campus. Students will be housed in single bedrooms, one-to-a bedroom. High infection rates may require all or part of the campus to be locked down for extended periods. more

MUSIC HISTORY: Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which he led from 1937 until 1954. The orchestra was the idea of David Sarnoff, president of RCA.

By Anne Levin

The great conductor Arturo Toscanini had resigned from the New York Philharmonic and retired to his native Italy when RCA president David Sarnoff proposed creating a symphony orchestra, led by Toscanini, for radio concerts. The maestro was initially uninterested in the proposal, but Sarnoff prevailed, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra debuted, with Toscanini on the podium, on Christmas Day, 1937.

The relationship of Toscanini and Sarnoff, and the 17-year history of the orchestra, are the focus of a “Sundays at the Sarnoff” Zoom event being presented Sunday, November 29 at 1:30 p.m. by the Sarnoff Collection at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The talk will trace the history of Toscanini’s time with the orchestra, relaying anecdotes and showing some of the collection’s artifacts and photographs.

“Toscanini and David Sarnoff were friends,” said Florencia Pierri, curator of the collection. “They sent each other gifts over the years, some of which are very strange. I love that we have Toscanini’s house keys. We have a conductor’s baton that he used, some of his records, and photographs, autographed portraits, and coins. We did a pop-up exhibit a while ago which told the story of how he was convinced by Sarnoff to come out of retirement to lead the orchestra, as well as how his career transitioned from radio to television. We played some of his old records. We won’t be able to play them this time around. This talk is just a fun little music history lesson.” more

PLANNING A TRANSFORMATION: The Moores Station Quarry off Route 29 in Hopewell Township is ceasing operations and will eventually be turned into a park. The public can comment on how a master plan should be developed at an open meeting early next month.

By Anne Levin

In spring of 2023, Moores Station Quarry off Route 29 in Hopewell Township will cease operations after more than a century. The site, which is more than 200 feet deep and 2,000 feet across, has been designated for transformation into a park.

Just how that park should be created is the subject of a public meeting being held via Zoom on Wednesday, December 2 at 7 p.m. Additional meetings will be held in February, May, and October, 2021.

“This will probably be the most exciting project we’ve ever undertaken,” said Aaron Watson, executive director of the Mercer County Park Commission. “We want to figure out how to do it right, which is why we’re having a master plan. We want to hear public input.”

Back in the 1800s, materials from the quarry were moved by barge on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and then later, via railroad. Today, trucks transport materials from the Titusville site. A 25-year agreement with Trap Rock Industries, which has been operating the quarry, will expire in 2023. At that point, the Park Commission will take possession and begin the multi-year process of turning the open-pit quarry into a park. Creating a master plan is the first step. A multi-disciplinary team of landscape architects, geologists, engineers, ecologists, wildlife biologists, architects, sustainability experts, and real estate market analysts have been put together to assist in the process.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Anna Leader

A live, masked, physically distanced audience was in attendance as the lights dimmed at the Grand Theatre de Luxembourg on the evening of October 2 for the debut performance  of Deliver Us, a play about the coronavirus specially commissioned by Luxembourg’s national theater.

The 24-year-old playwright, Anna Leader, was not present, however. She was in her dormitory apartment at The Pennington School in the midst of her first full semester of teaching English and French, and overseeing the young women boarders.

Born in the United States and raised in Luxembourg, Leader has been a writer since childhood, author of a number of award-winning poems, plays, and novels, and an aspiring teacher since her high school years.

Settling at Pennington this fall was Leader’s third move to New Jersey. She came to Princeton University from Luxembourg in 2014 and graduated in 2018. She then worked for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., for a year before returning to Princeton to earn her New Jersey teacher certification through the University’s Teacher Preparation Program in January 2020, after which she went back to her job in D.C. She returned again to New Jersey in August this year to begin her teaching career at Pennington.

Leader realizes that her life in Luxembourg and the United States, and in the worlds of teaching and writing, offers many options as she contemplates her future.  more