February 22, 2018

By Anne Levin

Rider University’s Board of Trustees has revealed the identity of the company with which they have been negotiating to buy Westminster Choir College, Westminster Conservatory of Music, and Westminster Continuing Education, for $40 million.

The board has signed a non-binding term sheet with Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co., Ltd, a Chinese firm that owns the Kaiwen Academies, two K-12 international schools in Beijing, for the transfer of ownership of the three entities. “This major step forward will ensure that the choir college and its entities remain open in Princeton, NJ,” reads a press release from Rider president Gregory Dell’Omo. more

February 21, 2018

EASTERN EXPRESS: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Ty Eastman skates up the ice in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior forward Eastman tallied a goal and an assist as second-seeded PDS defeated third-seeded LaSalle College High (Pa.) 4-2 in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) semis. The Panthers, now 17-7, host fourth-seeded Wyoming Seminary in the title game on February 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During his sophomore season with the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team, Ty Eastman played it close to the vest when he got the puck.

“Last year I was very hesitant,” said Eastman. “I wasn’t taking chances.”

Teaming up this winter with fellow junior Coby Auslander and senior Ryan Lisk on the team’s top line, Eastman has emerged as an offensive force. more

STICKING TOGETHER: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ben Drezner, No. 19, celebrates with his teammates after a goal last Friday in the Mercer County Tournament title game against Hun. Junior forward Drezner tallied two goals and an assist in a losing cause as second-seeded PHS fell 9-4 to top-seeded Hun. The Little Tigers, who moved to 16-8-2 with the loss, are headed to the state Public B tournament where they are seeded 11th and were slated to play at sixth-seeded Middletown North on February 20 in a first-round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High boys’ hockey team faced Hun in early December, the local rivals skated to a 3-3 tie.

Last Friday, when the foes met in the Mercer County Tournament championship game for the second straight year, it looked like they were headed to another nail-biter. more

DRIVE FOR FIVE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Matt Argentina controls the puck last Friday night in the Mercer County Tournament championship game. Freshman forward Argentina tallied two goals and two assists in the contest to help top-seeded Hun defeat second-seeded Princeton High 9-4 and win its fifth straight county crown. The Raiders finished the season with a 13-8-2 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Matthew Argentina relished the chance to hit the ice last Friday night to play in the Mercer County Tournament boys’ hockey title game.

“I knew it was going to be something special,” said Hun School freshman star forward Argentina.

“It was my first time and it was better than I expected. It was a great atmosphere and all.” more

Sylvia Elvin

July 21, 1933 — February 16, 2018

Sylvia Elvin of Needham, Mass., formerly of Princeton, February 16, 2018. Beloved mother of Professor Claire Fontijn of Wellesley, Mass., cherished mother-in-law of Professor John Arcaro of Dover, Mass., loving grandmother of Amica Fontijn-Harris of Wellesley, Mass., and ex-wife of Dr. Arthur Fontijn of Watervliet, N.Y., formerly of Princeton.

Sylvia was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on July 21, 1933 to Florrie Violet (Wroot) Elvin of Saskatoon and Lewis Vernon Elvin of London, England. She married Arthur Fontijn of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on January 5, 1957, and subsequently lived in Amsterdam and in Montreal, and Quebec, Canada until 1960 when Sylvia, Arthur, and Claire immigrated to Princeton. Sylvia lived in Princeton until 2007, when she moved to Needham to be near Claire and Amica.

Sylvia excelled as a mother, seamstress, editor, musician, artist, poet, actress, massage therapist, friend, and gardener. After completing her education at City Park High School, she was first employed by the Canadian Railroad in Saskatoon, then as an announcer with the Canadian Broadcasting Company in Montreal. In Princeton, she worked as an editor for Theology Today, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, and for the Journal of Brain and Behavioral Sciences. From 1980-2007, she worked as a massage therapist, making countless people happy with her loving touch.

Her funeral was held on Tuesday, February 20 at 10 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 1132 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA. Interment followed at Woodlawn Cemetery, Wellesley, Mass.

To the Editor:

The Princeton Board of Education Facilities Referendum is actually a vote on open plan buildings that drastically changes how students will be taught. The changes will especially affect students with learning issues, psychiatric problems, and with attention deficit disorder.

I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist and have done evaluations of children in the West Windsor/Plainsboro school district where they had a school with open classrooms. It was a disaster!! Even I could not concentrate to evaluate the children for their issues. Their newer high school has closed classrooms.

In the past week, I spoke to staff and students. They said that open classrooms were extremely unpopular. It was very difficult for most students and teachers to hear and focus. There was enough clamoring that they put up walls wherever they could. One example: A math teacher had a great deal of difficulty holding her students’ attention, especially while the health teacher nearby was teaching sex education.

When our three children attended schools in Princeton, I attended school board meetings regularly. I was often upset by the process by which decisions were made without appropriate professional oversight. Too often, the taxpayers paid for projects poorly planned and administered.

I recommend that the Princeton Board of Education reconsider their plan to create a new classroom environment for our students, which is likely to have negative results.

I am also concerned that more people will move out of Princeton as our property taxes increase yet again.

Dr. Naomi Vilko

White Oak Drive

To the Editor:

Is it true that Princeton is going to experiment with open classrooms again? Good! More students will have the same opportunity that I was given, when open classrooms were first implemented in the early 70s. I was in fifth grade then at Witherspoon School, and my parents were alarmed at the prospect of my entering middle school where sixth, seventh, and eighth grades were going to be taught as a group, with no age divisions. With six kids at home, my parents relied on the public school system, and for the most part it served us well. However, I remember clearly the day my parents sat me down and told me they were going to take me out of public school and enroll me at Stuart. They explained that I would be there for three years, after which I would return to the public school system for high school. I distinctly remember them saying that they didn’t want me to lose three years of my education, and this was the only way they could ensure that my education would continue on track.

Those three years at Stuart were the best three years of my young life, and I am grateful that my parents had the wisdom and foresight to send me there. Of course they would never have done it if the Princeton School Board had not attempted this (failed) experiment with open classrooms, so ultimately I owe my Stuart experience to the School Board at that time.

Yes, I did complete three years at Stuart, and when I entered Princeton High I was academically advanced — so much so that they ran out of classes for me in my favorite subject and had to enroll me at Princeton University as a non-matriculated student. I was a good student before Stuart, and an excellent student afterwards. Not only did Stuart catapult me academically beyond my peers, but also it taught me that I could achieve anything I wanted in life, and that being a girl was irrelevant to my life choices. That was a pretty bold message in 1970, just one year after Princeton University first accepted female students. Stuart was way ahead of its time then, and continues to educate and inspire girls from pre-K through 12 to catapult past their peers. Registration for their Lead Like A Girl conference “sold out” within 24 hours, with 1,100 attendees and a waiting list of 400 more.

I’m all in favor of open classrooms in the Princeton Public Schools. It was the reason why I had the great privilege of attending Stuart for those three years, and that experience transformed me as a person, as a girl, and as a woman. I have no doubt that implementing the open classroom experiment again will give many more young girls the opportunity to experience the finest education that this town has to offer — at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.

Barbara J. Clarke

Balcort Drive

To the Editor:

This is embarrassing.

The February 7 Police Blotter informed us that local police, while responding to a panhandling and shoplifting call, then arrested the 64-year-old for having outstanding warrants for several hundred dollars. Is there no compassion in this town?

1. There should be a fund to reimburse our town stores for food shoplifted by anyone who is obviously hungry and unable to make ends meet. We’ll make the first challenge grant contribution.

2. Our town’s police should not be directed to arrest people with non-local warrants for what obviously must be some who-knows-what minor offense(s). Law enforcement agents should focus on the well-being of our town and not spend time collecting trifling amounts of some other city’s budget from those who struggle to put food on the table.

Adding arrests onto warrants that were already overly burdensome just exacerbates what was not a pretty situation into something desperate. Families living in poverty can’t get out from under all the stuff that keeps piling on, and it seems like opportunistic profiteering to prey on those individuals who are already in such a tight spot.

That’s not what the Princeton community should be about.

Elizabeth Monroe, Alain Kornhauser

Cleveland Lane

To the Editor:

Most of us were raised to be good people, but we live in an era when it is impossible to be good. Sure, we do all the things that good people would do: drive loved ones to where they need to go, keep the house comfortable, cook dinner, navigate the workaday world, travel to fascinating places. But each one of those life-affirming gestures, try as some might to deny it, is haunted by the collateral damage it causes. It is combustion that enables every one of those actions, and the kind of combustion we do leaves behind a chemical curse, all the more potent for being invisible.

Cars going by, planes flying overhead, steam rising from a chimney — the positive associations of each in the present is polluted in our minds by the dreaded portent for the future, as each person’s seemingly insignificant legacy of combustion mixes with tens of billions of others past and present in the atmosphere and oceans, creating a vast chemical and thermal imbalance over time. This is the power of collective action.

It’s as if every gallon of gas we buy, and every cubic foot of natural gas delivered silently to our homes, comes with an automatic donation to the End-of-the-World-As-We-Know-It Fund, dedicated to flooding coastal cities, promoting ecological collapse, and destabilizing weather patterns worldwide. Any intentional plot to do such damage would be considered Public Enemy No.1. How, then, are we supposed to think ourselves good people without building a wall through our brains to prevent this unintentional harm from invading our awareness?

The inevitable guilt may cause some to trim their personal impact, but it seems paralyzing for most people. Better to feel outrage, at the powerful ideologues, pessimists, and political cowards who keep us trapped in a dependency on fuels that power the present by sacrificing the future. This is not freedom, when we are cheated of any positive collective response commensurate with the threat, when we remain little more than conscripts, prodded by car commercials, cultural norms, and enforced economic necessity to collectively sabotage a beloved planet and our children’s prospects.

People think of climate change as an external threat, largely distant in place and time, but I feel it just as much on the inside, aware of the devil’s bargain that pollutes any good I might do day to day.

There was a time when nations were free to collectively counter global threats. We should be even more willing now, proud of sacrifice, challenged to be resourceful rather than extractive, because this time around, no lives need be lost, no war fought — only a rapid disarmament in the insidious chemical war against nature, a shift in habit and technology that squeezes fossil fuels out of our lives.

Stephen K. Hiltner

North Harrison Street

Photos by Charles R. Plohn
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Last Thursday, Youth Services reopened on the third floor of Princeton Public Library after a six-week renovation. Serving the needs of the community’s children, teens, and families, the floor now features distinct spaces based on age and activity. Young children and families came to enjoy the Lego table in the Early Literacy Space. There is also an Independent Reader Area, a Collab Space, STEAM Studio, and Living Room.

By Anne Levin

Since the tragic murder of 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week, area public and private schools have had to reconsider how to best provide a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Based on security audits last month, several changes had already been put in place throughout the Princeton Public Schools (PPS). But the Parkland shootings, and a recent incident in which a former student entered and later left the Princeton High School building, prompted more changes be made.  more

JOURNEY OF HOPE: Thirty individuals, including 11 undocumented youth and allies, demanding a clean DREAM Act and the right to stay home, stopped in Princeton on Saturday on their 15-day walk from New York to Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the hospitality of volunteers and the Princeton Nassau Presbyterian Church for dinner and shelter. (Photo by Veronica Olivares-Weber and Shelby Guzman)

By Donald Gilpin

With immigration proposals failing in Congress last week and two separate federal courts having blocked President Trump from ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), federal efforts to resolve immigration issues may remain bogged down, but local organizations and individuals are taking action. more

By Donald Gilpin

A new installation by Walter Hood has been commissioned by Princeton University to be placed on the plaza beside the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS) С a step forward in the University’s ongoing struggles with the tarnished legacy of Woodrow Wilson.

The work will be one of the results of the recommendations of a Princeton University trustee committee that proposed a permanent marker at WWS “to educate the campus community and others about the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson’s legacy.” more

LION DANCE: Princeton Friends School students celebrated Chinese New Year with an array of entertainments and cultural presentations by PFS students and visiting artists and organizations. The Chinese language program at PFS has thrived over the past 20 years. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Friends School)

By Donald Gilpin

Skits and other presentations by students in pre-K through eighth grade, traditional music performed by the school’s string ensemble, a master craftsman demonstrating the traditional art of Chinese paper cutting, a Kung Fu martial artist, and representatives from Peace Ever International TV, affiliated with the United Nations community, were all part of Princeton Friends School’s (PFS) annual Chinese New Year celebrations, held Tuesday, the fifth day of the 16 days of traditional New Year festivities. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court against Rider University, regarding Rider’s ongoing attempt to sell Westminster Choir College. The suit says that Rider “appears to have disregarded its obligations to the Seminary and the conditions set by the original donor of the land.”

That donor was Sophia Strong Taylor, who in the 1930s donated property in Princeton to Westminster Choir College. She named PTS as a steward of the gift, stipulating that the ownership of the land would shift to the Seminary “if Westminster ever ceased to operate as a choir college,” according to a press release from PTS. more

Meals on Wheels of Mercer County is participating in the 16th annual March for Meals, a month-long celebration of Meals on Wheels and those who rely on the program in order to remain independent at home.

By dining at local restaurants including Eno Terra, Two Sevens, Chambers Walk, Teresa Caffe, Mediterra, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, Trenton Social, and Amalfi’s, among others, patrons can help support the program since 10 percent of bills or more are donated to Meals on Wheels. The schedule runs March 4-31, with different restaurants participating in different weeks. more

Three members of the Princeton community will gather for a panel discussion on February 28, 1 p.m., at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, Princeton University. The panelists include Dr. Robert Rivers ’53, the first African American member elected to Princeton University’s Board of Trustees; Robert Durkee ’69, Princeton University vice president; and Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McKiernan, Princeton University director of the Army Officer Education Program.

Moderated by Sara Logue, assistant University archivist for public services, the panelists will offer first-hand insight into the impact of war on education and college campuses, specifically Princeton University. The event is free and open to the public.  more

D&R Greenway Land Trust, in partnership with Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County, presents a lecture, “Water, Water Everywhere and not a Drop to Waste: Water Features in the Home Landscape,” on Thursday, February 22, 7 p.m. at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. The guest speaker will be John Black, president of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey.

Admission is free, but pre-registration is urged. RSVP at (609) 924-4646 or rsvp@drgreenway.org. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

“There is nothing more calming and soothing than the sound of running water,” says John Black, president of the New Jersey Native Plant Society and Master Naturalist, as well as a Certified Interpretive Guide. “Whether from babbling brook or gentle waterfall, our brains are hardwired to be drawn to the sound. From birdbaths to focal point of your yard, a water feature can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. In my presentation, I will go through the different types of ponds/water features and why you should consider installing one in your garden/yard.” more

Dress for Success Central New Jersey (DFSCNJ) has received a $44,409 Community Impact Grant from Princeton Area Community Foundation to fund its Customer Service Excellence, Designing Your Future and Youth Empowerment Programs.

“This grant means the world to us,” says Melissa Tenzer, executive director, DFSCNJ. “The Community Foundation’s generous support will allow us to provide critical education and development programs to hundreds of disadvantaged women and girls in Central New Jersey.” more

By Anne Levin

At the most recent meeting of Princeton Council on February 12, the town’s new animal control officer was introduced. James Ferry, who started the job early this month, is just one of the people newly hired to join the municipal staff in recent months.

Change is also afoot in the town’s offices of engineering, planning, and public works. Longtime Planning Director Lee Solow announced early this month that he will retire in April. Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton has a new assistant. And the town’s arborist Lorraine Konopka has left her post. A replacement is scheduled to be announced this week. more

New Jersey State Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher will announce that now is a good time to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) on National CSA Sign Up Day with a visit to Appelget Farm in West Windsor on Friday, February 23.

A CSA allows for customers to pay for a season’s worth of produce, meat, eggs, or other specialty products in advance. That provides farmers with working capital so they can to prepare for the growing season and the CSA member receives locally produced goods throughout the harvest season. more

PATTERN OF LEAVES: This 1923 oil on canvas by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), from The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, was acquired in 1926. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters …. –W.H. Auden (1907-1973)

There are four artist’s statements writ large on the walls of the Princeton University Art Museum’s exhibit “The Artist Sees Differently: Modern Still Lifes from The Phillips Collection.” The first and catchiest is Cézanne’s “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” The most technical is Braque’s “The goal is not to be concerned with the reconstruction of an anecdotal fact, but with the constitution of a pictorial fact.” More generally philosophical is Giorgio Morandi’s “To achieve understanding, it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see.” more

“STOP KISS”: Performances are underway for “Stop Kiss.” Presented by Theatre Intime and directed by Princeton University senior Regina Zeng, the play runs through February 24 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Sara (Rebecca Senatore, left) and Callie (Jessica Li) begin a friendship that develops into a relationship. (Photo by Erica Dugué)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Theatre Intime, whose talented cast and production team consist entirely of Princeton University students, is presenting Stop Kiss. In this drama by Korean-American playwright and screenwriter Diana Son, whose credits include episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, two 20-something women in 1990s New York gradually allow their platonic friendship to become a romantic relationship. more

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. Photo by Denis Applewhite.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will present a reading from his recent poetry collections joined by acclaimed singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and composer Dan Trueman, in celebration of Muldoon’s latest volume Lamenations and the three artists’ collaboration with Eighth Blackbird, Olagón: A Cantata in Doublespeak. The reading, presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies, will take on place on Friday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wallace Theater located at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. This event is free and open to the public. Performances of Olagón are being presented on February 22 through 24. more

By Kam Williams 

Chadwick Boseman has made a successful career by portraying a variety of prominent African Americans, such as football star Floyd Little (The Express), baseball great Jackie Robinson (42), Godfather of Soul James Brown (Get on Up), and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). The versatile actor’s efforts have been recognized by the NAACP, which has nominated him for five Image Awards.

Although Black Panther is a fictional character, the role is no less significant than the historical figures Chadwick has played in the past. That’s because black kids have rarely had a superhero that looks like them to root for, even in Africa, where the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan, was white. more