July 29, 2015

GaragePatrons of the Spring Street Garage will have some changes to adjust to in coming months. Parking fees at the municipal lot will be raised to prices yet to be determined and go into effect at the beginning of next year. In addition, the two hours of free parking traditionally given to users of Princeton Public Library will be done away with.

There is a silver lining: The half-hour of free parking in the lot will be upgraded to a full hour, for everyone. And during the week of September 14, when new equipment is to be installed at the two entrances to the garage, parking will be free, it was announced at Monday night’s meeting of Princeton Council. more

Now that construction of the Lakeside Apartments is completed and graduate students and their families are moving into the new complex on Faculty Road, Princeton University is preparing to demolish the Butler Tract apartments on Harrison Street. The barracks-like development, which was built as temporary housing after World War II but served for almost 70 years as a home for graduate students, will finally meet the wrecking ball in early fall. more

July 22, 2015

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Princeton is creating a new Bicycle Master Plan, and the town wants members of the public to participate in the process.

The study will begin in September with a public presentation, likely at a meeting of the Planning Board. This will be followed by a community outreach campaign. In the meantime, residents can get a preliminary look at information about the project at Community Night Out on Tuesday August 4, at the Community Pool. more

Page 1 AA little over 12 years ago, Princeton Public Library’s Youth Services librarian Susan Conlon was approached by a Princeton High School student about hosting a series showing the first efforts of famous film directors. That effort morphed into a festival featuring the works of aspiring filmmakers from the local area, which has since been transformed into an annual event that draws entries from all over the world.

“There were almost 200 original films submitted this year,” said Youth Services Librarian Martha Liu, of the festival taking place Wednesday and Thursday, July 22 and 23, at 7 p.m. in the library’s Community Room. “We have films from Spain, Iran, Ireland, and the Philippines, along with quite a few from New Jersey including one by Princeton High School student Talia Zinder. It has definitely become a big event that many people look forward to.” more

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Each summer, serious ballet students across the country take advantage of their time off from academics to shift their training schedules into high gear. Instead of a few classes a week, they take a few classes a day — six days a week. more

July 15, 2015

Once Princeton University’s spring term ended last month, the annual exodus of students left the dormitories, dining halls, and classroom buildings empty – but not for long. Starting in early June, a different crop of pupils began arriving for a slew of summer programs that have kept the campus humming with activity. more

Reports on plans to renovate part of the Princeton Public Library and monitor tour buses on Nassau Street were the focus of a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night. The governing body also heard from Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter and a member of the consulting firm The Rodgers Group about a recently completed strategic plan that will serve as “a roadmap for us to the future,” Mr. Sutter told Council. more

Is climate change funny? According to Joshua Halpern, it can be. Finding humor in our environmental crisis is perfectly acceptable, the Princeton native believes, especially if it helps people process the magnitude of the situation and take action for positive change. more

July 14, 2015

Ballet

Attention, ballet fans: On Saturday, July 18 at 3 p.m., Intensio, a group of stellar dancers from American Ballet Theatre, will hold an invitation-only working rehearsal at McCarter Theatre. Intensio is the project of Daniil Simkin, a soloist with ABT.

He describes it as “an art project and series of performances created and curated by me and my family. Our intention is to merge the highest level of ballet and choreography with the new possibilities of media in order to create a unique and special experience for the audience.”

The troupe is using McCarter to rehearse for an upcoming appearance at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Massachusetts July 22-26. Members of the company along with Mr. Simkin include ABT’s Isabella Boylston, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Calvin Royal III, Hee Seo, Cassandra Trenary, and James Whiteside, as well as Céline Cassone, a special guest artist from Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.

They will perform new works by choreographers Alexander Ekman, Gregory Dolbashian, Jorma Elo, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

The rehearsal will be held in the Matthews Theatre at McCarter, which is located at 91 University Place.

July 13, 2015

The pool at Mary Moss Park, in the Witherspoon/Jackson neighborhood, was reopened Monday after a brief shutdown due to cracks in its plaster bottom.

The town closed it for repairs last Wednesday after a municipal employee cut her foot while walking in the pool. Its very old, dating back at least to the fifties,said Ben Stentz, Princetons Recreation Director. Why it started to peel more rapidly in the last few weeks, we dont know. But it brought to our attention the fact that the deterioration was getting worse.

Temporary repairs have been made to the pool to keep it safe through the summer. The small, shallow pool is used regularly by children from Princeton Nursery School and others from the neighborhood. Its concrete, so it has been replastered and repainted many times,Mr. Stentz said. It shows its age, but still serves a nice function.

The future of the Mary Moss Park, and the pool, is being reevaluated by the town and will be the subject of feedback from the neighborhood and the community. Its up in the air. Were not sure right now what the renovation will look like,said Mr. Stentz. Well see what 2016 brings.

July 8, 2015
RECOGNITION FROM THE TOP: Sixteen-year-old Princeton resident Ziad Ahmed, far right, was among a group of young social activists invited to the White House last month to dine with President Obama at the Iftar, which marks the end of the traditional Muslim fast during Ramadan. Ziad was praised in a speech by the president for his work educating teens to combat racism.(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

RECOGNITION FROM THE TOP: Sixteen-year-old Princeton resident Ziad Ahmed, far right, was among a group of young social activists invited to the White House last month to dine with President Obama at the Iftar, which marks the end of the traditional Muslim fast during Ramadan. Ziad was praised in a speech by the president for his work educating teens to combat racism. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

When Ziad Ahmed founded the organization Redefy to help teenagers recognize and remove cultural stereotypes, he never imagined that just two years later he would be dining with President Obama at the White House. But on June 22, that is exactly where the 16-year-old Princeton Day School (PDS) student found himself — and not just at any table. At the annual White House Iftar, which marks the traditional breaking of the fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan, the president chose to sit with Ziad and seven other young people and engage them in conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Obama singled Ziad out in his speech.

“They’re Muslim Americans like Ziad Ahmed,” he said. “As a Bangladeshi-American growing up in New Jersey, he saw early on that there was not enough understanding in the world. So two years ago, he founded Redefy, a website to push back against harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him — he’s only 16; I think our youngest guest tonight — to share their stories. Because, in Ziad’s words, ‘ignorance can be defeated through education.’ He wants to do his part to make sure that ‘Muslims can be equal members of society and still hold onto their faith and identity.’ So we’re very proud of you, Ziad.”

“The whole thing was just mind-blowing,” Ziad said this week. “It’s the most prestigious event Muslim Americans get invited to. I just thought I’d be at some table, but Obama sat with us for an hour. And I was with the most amazing people, who had incredible stories to tell.”

The invitation to the White House came after MTV News profiled Ziad’s work with Redefy, as well as later efforts to inspire teen forums on racial profiling. Last April, the organization launched #PrincetonAgainstRacism, a social media campaign in which 125 portraits of people were taken at PDS and the Communiversity street fair, asking them to finish the prompt “I stand against racism because …” The goal was to use social media platforms to inspire teens everywhere to take a stand against racism. Redefy led the initiative in partnership with Princeton CHOOSE and Not in Our Town in recognition of the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism campaign.

The son of a hedge fund manager and a stay-at-home mom who does property management, Ziad was first inspired to take action the summer before ninth grade. “That summer, when I was 14, I noticed that in the community, people needed a platform by which they could be educated about minority experience,” he said. “I found a lot of ignorance — not malicious hate, just innocent ignorance. I wanted to initiate positive change at school, so I decided to create Redefy.”

The organization was officially launched that September. Today the leadership team has six people and representatives as far as Brazil and Pakistan, whom Ziad met through summer programs he has attended. “But due to recent publicity, now we have people I don’t know,” he said. “So that’s new.”

The idea is to produce “measurable change,” Ziad said. “Our mission in 2014 was to promote integration. For this year, it is to reduce racial prejudice and hate.” A blog posted every three days includes personal stories that anyone can submit. “When you read these intimate stories of issues people deal with, you get a soft spot in your heart,” he said “You make more educated, thoughtful decisions. It’s hard to hate somebody you know.”

Key to Redefy’s mission is equality for everyone. “All any of us want is a world that’s safe and accepting for our children,” Ziad said. “The only way that’s possible is if we’re willing to advocate for everyone, not just for our own minorities. You can’t just believe in selective equality. So on our stories page, we try to encompass that.”

Ziad and his team do workshops at local schools and hold bi-monthly conversations about current events. Media coverage led to the story by MTV News, “the most exciting thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “To get that coverage on national news was mind-blowing.” The invitation to The White House came just before Ziad was leaving for a service trip to Morocco. While he was on the trip, he got an email from one of Mr. Obama’s speechwriters saying the president wanted to include his story.

“The next day I got an email saying I was at the president’s table,” Ziad recalled. “I was with all of these really impressive people. I couldn’t believe it. I’m just some kid from New Jersey sitting with these people who have done so much.”

Among Ziad’s table-mates were Samantha Elauf, who won a Supreme Court case against the Abercrombie company after she was denied employment because she wore a traditional head scarf; Munir Khalif, the child of Somali immigrants who was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and created an organization to help children in East Africa get an education; and Wai Wai Nu, a former political prisoner and the co-founder of Justice for Women.

Mr. Obama spoke with all of them. “I answered some of his questions and I asked him some, to which he responded eloquently and respectfully,” Ziad said. “He had read about me, and he told me to keep doing the work I’m doing. I was thrilled. A lot of people wanted to speak with him about different things, and he was so articulate, kind, and witty.”

Not surprisingly, the experience was an inspiration for Ziad to expand his work with Redefy. His mission is to include teens who might not feel as committed to the issues that are the organization’s focus, but might have skills and interests through which they can contribute.

“I was up till 4 a.m. thinking about this,” he said. “I want all kids in Princeton to get involved. Because one of my biggest obstacles has been trying to engage kids who aren’t particularly passionate about social justice. I’m super motivated now to engage people of all interests, not just the ones interested in social justice. Anyone can get involved, and use their particular skills. If we engage people in that way, we can get a wide variety and become a better organization.”

Thanks to an acquisition announced last week by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Princeton Battlefield State Park is 4.6 acres larger. The added land fronts Stockton Street and directly abuts the main battlefield site. Its addition raises the size of the park to 80 acres.

Purchased from the D’Ambrisi family last April, the property is said to have been key to tactical maneuvers during the Battle of Princeton, fought on January 3, 1777 a week after George Washington’s victory over Hessian troops in Trenton. It consists of slightly rolling land and a series of connected ponds and streams that drain to the Stony Brook.

According to Kip Cherry, first vice president of the non-profit Princeton Battlefield Society, the property was critical to the famous battle. Just prior to the first phase, two British units stood on the ridge of the property, behind the colonnade that now stands at the site. “Understanding these stories creates important insight into the battle and into the spirit and principles on which the nation was founded,” Ms. Cherry said in a statement from the DEP.

Partners involved in preserving the parcel include the DEP’s Green Acres Program, the New Jersey State Park Service, Mercer County, the municipality of Princeton, the Princeton Battlefield Society, and the Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS). The total purchase was $850,000. The Green Acres Program contributed $450,000 and the county gave $200,000, also providing FOPOS a $100,000 matching grant available to non-profit groups.

The municipality of Princeton agreed to take on the cost of repairing the dam on the property and demolishing the house as its contribution to the preservation effort.

“Figuring out the details about demolition responsibilities and other issues such as an existing driveway easement was not easy,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. “Thanks to the cooperation of all the partners, and the great work done by our engineering department, we were able to work these things out. In fact, the dam repairs and house demolition were already complete as of the transfer of the property to the State to add to the park.”

The Battlefield Society plans to use National Park Service grants to do an archaeological survey in cooperation with the State Park Service. It has been suggested that American and British soldiers are buried at the site.

“We feel a deep sense of honor in being able to add this land to one of the most important historic sites in the United States, especially as we get ready to celebrate Independence Day weekend,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said when announcing the purchase on July 1. “This acquisition shows the true power of innovative partnerships and the spirit of teamwork protecting places that are special to the people of New Jersey.”

Future plans for recreational use of the park include extending the bike path that starts at Mercer Street to Stockton Street, and possibly connecting the larger system of trails along the Stony Brook and elsewhere in Princeton.

“We always like to help add to existing parks, and this purchase will increase the public’s abilities to access and use one of the most important and beloved parks in Mercer County,” said County Executive Brian Hughes.

July 1, 2015
ART OF THE BARN: What was once a 19th-century barn has been renovated to become a 21st-century home. A project of Princeton’s FORD3 Architects, the home is one of seven stops on the Bucks County Audubon Society’s 16th annual Art of the Barn Tour and Show. Architect Moira McClintock, a partner in FORD3, will deliver the opening talk.

ART OF THE BARN: What was once a 19th-century barn has been renovated to become a 21st-century home. A project of Princeton’s FORD3 Architects, the home is one of seven stops on the Bucks County Audubon Society’s 16th annual Art of the Barn Tour and Show. Architect Moira McClintock, a partner in FORD3, will deliver the opening talk.

With their stone walls and timber frames, Bucks County barns are prized for their architecture as well as their link to the area’s agricultural heritage. Increasingly, barns that are structurally sound are being converted into unique living or working spaces for those with the resources to take on these often daunting projects.

Seven of them in New Hope, Solebury, and Buckingham, Pennsylvania will be open to the public the weekend of July 10-12 as part of the 16th Annual Art of the Barn Tour & Show. This popular event showcases the work of accomplished local artists and sculptors. But for some, it is the barns themselves that are the stars of the show.

Architect Moira McClintock, a partner with the Princeton firm FORD3, is familiar with the challenges of converting a barn to other uses through her work on the barn at Princeton’s Johnson Education Center as well as one for members of her family. On July 10, she will officially open the tour with a talk about her experiences converting barns into living and working spaces.

“Every barn is unique,” she said last week. “What’s fascinating to me as an architect is the differences within them, and how those shape what you ultimately do with the space.”

Depending on when a barn was built, these differences can be considerable. Bucks County barns range from those built in the 1700s to some from the 1930s. “The older ones tend to be built much better than those from the twenties and thirties, when people started moving away from heavy timber construction,” Ms. McClintock said. “In a 1930s dairy barn, the upper level was a hayloft, and that’s different from earlier ones.”

Most of the large spaces in former barns are located on the upper levels. Animals were kept in smaller areas on the lower levels. “When you think about most residential design, you think about the big spaces being downstairs,” Ms. McClintock said. “When you’re working with an agricultural structure, you have to be open to the larger spaces being upstairs, rather than forcing it to be something it is not.”

Ms. McClintock was especially fond of the work FORD3 did on the barn that became the D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center. “It’s a great fit of program and space,” she said. “I also loved a project we did that is on the tour, because it was done for part of my family. We were able to re-use a lot of materials we’d saved over the years. Part of the barn had collapsed in a big snowstorm in 1996, but we were able to use the siding for interior finishes.”

That oldest part of the barn dates from 1800. Like others in Bucks County, some of its walls are stone, which presented a challenge. “A big stone wall has very little insulate value,” Ms. McClintock said. “We wanted it to be energy efficient, so we had to cover up the stone on the inside and use spray foam insulation and radiant heat. Those were the trade-offs we had to make. That’s one of the biggest challenges — deciding how to approach insulation. Do you do it from the outside, or the inside? Especially if you have post and beam structure, you don’t want to hide that. So it’s a big decision.”

At her talk, Ms. McClintock will focus on those kinds of details and experiences. “There are different things you need to think about when you’re approaching this kind of project,” she said. “There are different ways to give historic buildings, and particularly agricultural structures, viable life in today’s society. I’ll be looking at living history barns, residential conversions, and a number of case studies. Not every barn can become a living history structure. But we don’t want to lose the ones that are left.”

Discovering that a barn cannot be converted to a living space can be discouraging. “There was a couple looking to buy properties, and they had the idea of living in a converted barn,” Ms. McClintock recalled. “They found one in a beautiful setting in Bucks County. It looked fabulous from the outside. But on the inside, people had taken out the timber and built a conventional house. It was the saddest thing.”

Despite such scenarios, Ms. McClintock sees an increase in the number of barns being converted to other uses. “People are looking for ways to keep these buildings viable,” she said. “The most important thing people can do is keep the roof sound. Because once the water comes in, it’s amazing how quickly damage can occur.”

The Art of the Barn Tour and Show begins with Ms. McClintock’s talk on Friday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Audubon Visitor Center, 2877 Creamery Road in New Hope. Admission is $5 for members of the Bucks County Audubon Society; $10 for non-members.

Docents will be on hand at each location to reveal facts about the barns’ history and renovations. The tour and show is Saturday, July 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 12 from 12-4:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for members; $30 for non-members. Combination tickets for the talk and show are $25 for members; $35 for non-members. Visit  www.bcas.org for more information and barn locations.

For those who rely on NJ Transit’s 655 bus for transportation between Princeton and the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, prospects are dim for the future of the route. The line is among those that NJ Transit is proposing to discontinue as a way to cut costs as the agency’s federal grant runs out.

With a decision expected in a few weeks, efforts are being made by the municipality, the hospital and Princeton University to come up with an alternative. But it turns out that there is already a way for those without access to cars to get to and from the hospital.

“It’s important to let people know that there currently is a free and open-to-the-public way to get there, which is Tiger Transit,” said Kristin Appelget, the University’s director of Community and Regional Affairs. “It’s our Forrestal/Princeton Plasma Physics Lab route, which stops at Princeton [Dinky] station.”

Ms. Appelget said the University reviews the route of its Tiger Transit bus each year. “Given the change in the 655, we’re looking at how we may be able to modify the PPPL route. We’re considering two locations: Nassau Street or Merwick/Stanworth, and we will probably know by midsummer.”

NJ Transit introduced its proposal to cut routes and raise fares last April. The agency maintains that the changes are necessary to keep up with rising costs including employee healthcare and other benefits. The proposed state contribution to NJ Transit for fiscal year 2016 is currently $33 million, trimmed from $40.3 million. That subsidy was $73 million during each of the prior two fiscal years. It was as high as $278 million in 2005. It includes money taken from the Clean Energy Fund and $295 million from the Turnpike Authority, which was supposed to be for the cancelled ARC tunnel under the Hudson River.

Members of the New Jersey Fund for Transit, a coalition of public transportation advocates, have said that the service cuts and fare hikes are a result of the state’s failing system for funding public transportation. The Transportation Trust Fund, which is for transportation capital projects, is bankrupt.

Mayor Liz Lempert has been involved in the discussions to make sure Princeton residents without cars can continue to travel between downtown and the hospital. “We’ve been told the 655 bus could be terminated as soon as September, but there are no firm dates,” she said. “Right now, it’s still running.”

At its meeting June 22, Princeton Council heard the results of a transportation survey  administered by the health and human services departments. Some 50 people polled at a community meeting answered questions about transportation options they would consider using should the 655 disappear. The survey determined that 80 percent of those polled use public transportation as their primary means of getting around. Sixty-five percent of those people do not have cars, and 63 percent currently use the 655 bus. Sixty-two percent have used the hospital clinic during the past year.

Most respondents indicated they would be open to using Tiger Transit to get to and from the hospital. “The good news is that a high percentage showed interest,” said Ms. Lempert. “The survey also found that most residents never knew where to go to get vouchers for the 655. So communication about the alternatives is going to need to be much better.”

Vouchers are currently available in the medical building next to the former hospital site on Witherspoon Street, and at the clinic at the University Medical Center at Plainsboro.

While the 655 NJ Transit bus costs $1.50 for adults and 70 cents for children and seniors, Tiger Transit is free. But the latter route does not and will not extend as far as Princeton Shopping Center, which is a stop on the 655 line.

Another option being explored is an on-demand taxi service. “The hospital is looking into this. The details of who is qualified are still being worked out, as well as how it would be administered,” said Ms. Lempert. “It would be in addition to Tiger Transit and would probably be a sort of subsidized taxi service.”

Since announcing its proposal to cut lines including the 655 and raise fares by nine percent, NJ Transit has held several public hearings throughout the state. Ms. Lempert said she was planning to attend a press conference on Wednesday, July 1, at the Trenton Transit Station, to object to the proposed fare increases, which would raise a one-way trip between Princeton Junction and New York’s Penn Station from $16.50 to $17.75. The last fare hike, made five years ago, was 22 percent.

NJ Transit’s board is scheduled to meet on July 15. In the meantime, local efforts continue to ensure that public transportation of some sort will be available for those without access to a car. “There are still a lot of moving parts, but we’re planning to have a plan in place by the end of July so that we can start advertising and getting the word out,” Ms. Lempert said. “We’ve been in discussions with the University and the hospital. We’ll definitely be reaching out when there is firm information. NJ Transit and the hospital have said they’ll help get information out, and we will hold community meetings.”

June 24, 2015
A MOM WITH A MISSION: Princeton resident Barbara Majeski, shown here with her husband Jim and three children, from left, Max, Milena, and Gabe, has become a star fundraiser for Operation Smile, which honored her with its Founders Circle Award in May. The non-profit helps children and young adults born with cleft palate and other facial deformities get the surgery they need.

A MOM WITH A MISSION: Princeton resident Barbara Majeski, shown here with her husband Jim and three children, from left, Max, Milena, and Gabe, has become a star fundraiser for Operation Smile, which honored her with its Founders Circle Award in May. The non-profit helps children and young adults born with cleft palate and other facial deformities get the surgery they need.

Barbara Majeski will never forget the day her parents told her and her siblings that their brother Steven was never going to develop like other children. She was only six years old. But it was a day that would shape her life.

Steven had Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic inherited neurological disorder that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges. He had just come home from a long stay at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I was just so grateful at that moment to know he was home,” Ms. Majeski recalled. “I was there when he had seizures. I knew he was sick. But as long as he came home, I knew I would always take care of him. I didn’t care that he couldn’t speak. I just remember being so grateful that he was home and I could protect him from the world.”

Several decades later, Ms. Majeski, a Princeton resident and West Windsor native, is still protecting children with special needs. Last month, she was honored with Operation Smile’s Founder’s Circle Award for her philanthropic efforts. Since joining the charity on a medical mission to the Dominican Republic in 2010, she has raised more than half a million dollars and plans to up that figure to $1 million by the end of this year. The non-profit provides surgical procedures to children and young adults in more than 60 countries.

“I saw that in 45 minutes you can change the trajectory of a child’s life,” she said, recalling that mission. “What’s heartbreaking is that some families can’t qualify (for the assistance). I realized that this is happening globally. You feel like, ‘I’ll write the check right now.’ On the flight back, I talked to people and brainstormed about how to raise more money.”

A few years before, Ms. Majeski had retired from a lucrative career in sales to be a stay-at-home mother to her three children and continue caring for her brother, with whom she is very close. Philanthropic work she had been doing all along brought her to the attention of Operation Smile, and she was invited to meet the charity’s founders. Soon, she was joining the mission to the Dominican Republic. The trip gave her a renewed
focus on protecting children in need.

“I was looking for a way to continue to look out for the most vulnerable members of the community,” she said, “to make sure they have a voice. I would think about families other than mine, about children who don’t have access to people and resources. I think it’s easy to look away and hope that somebody else does the work. But I always assume that maybe they need a voice, and maybe that’s my purpose. I’m not a big person, but I turn into a linebacker when I hear about this stuff. I’m bigger than anyone in the room. It’s like an out of body experience when I feel like somebody is not being taken care of.”

With her philanthropic efforts in high gear, Ms. Majeski began to attract notice. The fact that she is pretty and blonde didn’t hurt, and she was soon approached by the Bravo TV network about joining the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, which she turned down.

“I was very flattered,” Ms. Majeski said. “I don’t know what they were thinking. Maybe it was about rethinking the cast, since one of them (Teresa Guidice) is now in jail. I was having fun with it, but when the rubber hit the road and they were down to the final eight, I realized this just wasn’t the trajectory of our family. But I did see the value in elevating my profile, which would give me more opportunity to talk about bringing philanthropy into the workplace and into the home. I just think it’s so important to look for ways to help, even if you don’t have a penny to spare. It’s a matter of not looking away, of raising kids with that way of thinking. So I did like that purpose of celebrity.”

Much of Ms. Majeski’s fundraising work has been centered on her husband’s company, Cydcor Inc., which has 400 independently owned sales offices. In 2011, she launched a national fundraising campaign for Operation Smile within the company, raising more than a million dollars toward three medical missions.

On June 6, Ms. Majeski led Princeton’s participation in a national fundraising day called “Day of Smiles,” for Operation Smile. The numbers were still being counted as of last week, but she estimated that the effort will bring about $200,000 to help children with special needs. Future plans include creating more alliances with Cydcor, inspiring employees to do more and give more for those less fortunate.

When she was honored by Operation Smile in May, Ms. Majeski was surrounded by celebrities including Eli Manning, Kate Walsh, and Wendy Williams. “Getting that award was amazing,” she said. “And it was fun to meet those celebrities. But I feel that it will be most rewarding when someone I’ve introduced to this work is using their voice and leveraging resources to give back. I don’t get any more time in a day than anyone else. But we all have the heart. We use it, we go for it. That’s what I hope to do — inspire and influence.”

For the past 10 weeks, members of an ad hoc committee have been trying to come up with a solution to the problem of tour buses on Nassau Street. The vehicles have caused concern chiefly because they hog valuable parking spaces while waiting for their passengers to shoot quick photographs of Princeton University and maybe grab a coffee at Starbucks before reboarding and leaving town.

Led by Bob Altman, who chairs Princeton’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, the 11-member ad hoc committee has settled on a simple solution: Have the buses unload and reload passengers at NJ Transit stops on Nassau Street in front of Palmer Square. “The simplicity of this is really terrific,” Mayor Liz Lempert said Monday night at a meeting of Princeton Council, where Mr. Altman presented the plan.

At a press conference earlier in the day, Council President Bernie Miller said the committee had attorney Lisa Maddox of Mason, Griffin & Pierson do some legal research, which determined that any omnibus can stop at the designated NJ Transit locations. After unloading passengers downtown, the buses would be askedКto park at a location on Alexander Street near the Dinky station and Springdale Golf Club before returning to Nassau Street to pick up passengers.

The buses would not be charged a fee for parking on Alexander Street, according to the plan. Councilwoman Jo Butler asked how the buses would be regulated, and town administrator Marc Dashield said that there is already a strong police presence on Nassau Street but details on enforcement still need to be worked out. A trial period starting around July 15 and ending September 30 is recommended, with any related parking fees and fines to be figured out after that time.

Ms. Lempert said there is a list online of tour buses that visit Princeton, and suggested that those companies be sent information about where to drop passengers off and pick
them up, and where to park while waiting.

The issue has been a thorny one among downtown merchants and members of the public. Chief among complaints, in addition to the parking problem, was the short visits passengers were making to Princeton. Instead of taking time to dine in downtown restaurants and visit local shops, tourists were tending to disembark from buses only to take pictures before moving on.

It was local merchant Henry Landau who suggested at a May Council meeting that the buses use NJ Transit stops instead of having the town take away eight metered parking spaces to create loading zones on Nassau Street, which was considered. That suggestion led to the legal research and the committee came up with the current plan.

Mr. Dashield will report at the July 13 Council meeting on whether there is a need for any new ordinances to be passed to enforce the program. In addition, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter will do an administrative review to determine whether there are items on which Council needs to take action.

Affordable Housing

Council members heard a report from Affordable Housing Coordinator Christy Peacock on the Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Program. “We think we have a better program than what we had before,” Ms. Peacock said of the initiative, which would offer interest-free loans of up to $20,000 for repairs or rehabilitation to plumbing, roof, structural, weatherization, and other major systems.

Also discussed were interest-free grants of up to $15,000 for senior citizens for work on roofs, siding, windows, heating and plumbing systems. If more work is needed, the Basic Home Improvement Program could be utilized, Ms. Peacock said. The grants will be reduced at one tenth per year and forgiven after ten years.

 A letter will go out to all residents explaining the programs, Ms. Peacock said. Residents who earn between $27,784 and $74,091 could qualify. “A lot of residents probably don’t know they are eligible,” Ms. Lempert said, adding that funds can be used for the rehabilitation of homes that are not designated affordable housing.

Mr. Miller presented a report from the Affordable Housing Task Force, identifying 13 possible sites for affordable housing. The properties range in size from .15 acres to 46 acres, including the Chestnut Street firehouse, the Harrison Street firehouse, the Maclean Street parking lot, the public works facility at 303 John Street, and sites on Herrontown and River roads, among others. Some of the parcels such as Princeton Community Housing, Princeton Housing Authority, the Princeton Fire Department sites and others, are currently being used for other purposes.

As part of its conclusions, the committee recommended that Council consider relocating the Fire Department and other municipal functions currently using the fire stations at Chestnut and Harrison Street to other locations to make the sites available for the development of affordable housing.

Describing a series of phone threats to Princeton schools and other local institutions as “terrorism,” Police Chief Nick Sutter told concerned parents and members of the public last week that the situation, known as “swatting” because it mobilizes members of police SWAT teams, is being taken very seriously. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies are assisting local police in trying to determine who is behind the actions.

Mr. Sutter was joined by Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane, town administrator Marc Dashield, Councilwoman Heather Howard, and Lieutenant Robert Toole at a public meeting Thursday at John Witherspoon Middle School. “I understand the stress you feel,” Ms. Lempert said to the the assembled parents, “not just as mayor, but as a parent.”

Mr. Sutter, the father of three boys in a neighboring district that has also been receiving the threats, said that resources on the state and national level are being utilized in efforts to combat the ongoing incidents. There have been approximately 14 threats to Princeton since January, six of which have been directed at public schools. Recently, Mr. Sutter said, there were 19 threats made in New Jersey on the same day.

“We’re taking a heavy hit here in Princeton,” Mr. Sutter said. “But these are happening all over the country, from private homes to The White House.”

Calls have come in either pre-recorded or via computer synthesizers, through Internet-based phones that do not have phone numbers that can be traced. While all of the threats so far have been considered hoaxes, every one is treated as if it were real. The trend started among the video game community, Mr. Sutter said. Users would seek revenge against other gamers by calling in threats and then watching police response live from the video camera in their home computers.

“Then, they’d get recognition for doing it,” Mr. Sutter said. “But now, they’ve gone to a different level.”

When calls come in, they threaten “a horrible act,” Mr. Sutter said. “It may be repeated, or it disconnects.” Police “get in and get out and make it as safe as possible” in response to the calls, which
have threatened not only schools but stores, malls, and private residences. The FBI is helping to coordinate the investigation under one umbrella, which is helpful, he added, and regular intelligence briefings are held.

Mr. Cochrane said that since April 28, threats have come in to Riverside and Johnson Park elementary schools, John Witherspoon Middle School, and Princeton High School.

Two of the threats to schools have resulted in lockdowns, including one which indicated that a person was in the building.

The mother of two high school students, one of whom is especially rattled by the calls, asked how to get her son some help. Mr. Cochrane responded that counselors, social workers, and psychologists are all available. Another parent said while she appreciates the work the police have been doing, she feels the response to the incidents is reactive rather than proactive.

Mr. Sutter assured her that the approach is proactive. “We have officers at the schools every single day,” he said. “I’m very confident that the way we’re responding is the most effective way.”

Officials told parents that a plan is in place at Community Pool, and one was also developed for Princeton High School’s graduation exercises, which took place Tuesday. Private and charter schools in the area are also being considered by police in plans for responding to threats. The week before the meeting, some 100 representatives from different law enforcement agencies gathered in Princeton to talk about the investigations and map out next steps.

“These perpetrators are aimed at doing one thing: disrupting our lives and creating fear and terror,” said Mr. Sutter. “It is being treated as the most serious of acts.”

June 19, 2015

A group of 36 environmental, labor, religious, community and citizen groups met Friday morning to work to reduce climate impacts and greenhouse gases. On June 25, they will hold a Lobby Day and Rally at the State House in Trenton.

“We are in a battle for the future of our state, our nation, and our planet. This battle has come together in New Jersey in a fight for clean energy over dirty fossil fuels. People from all over the state are fighting one project after another. The enemy is not just dangerous trains or pipelines destroying open space, but frackers and drillers, dirty fuels. That is why we need to push to make New Jersey a leader again in clean, renewable energy. That is why we must end this addiction to carbon and transition to a clean economy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Referring to the proliferation of pipelines, fracking, and other projects, the Coalitions calls for action by the Governor and Legislature “against this onslaught of dirty, dangerous, unneeded fossil fuel projects as they threaten our drinking water, open space, ocean, property values, communities, and neighborhoods; exacerbate the climate crisis; and block our transition to a green economy that creates more jobs at less cost.

At the rally June 25, members will be in Trenton urging policymakers to pass a suite of bills that will be up in the Senate session. SR106 (Codey/Kean) opposes the Pilgrim Pipeline, a proposal to install two brand new pipelines across New Jersey to carry crude oil and refined petroleum products. The Senate will also consider two bills and a resolution (S2858, S2979, SCR165) improving safety standards for railcars carrying explosive Bakken crude oil, produced by fracking.

The coalition unifies organizations across the state working to oppose various fossil fuel threats and to promote renewable energy alternatives that will reduce carbon pollution and will create more green jobs and promote a clean energy economy. They are focused on six important goals, for which they will advocate at the State House: Accelerate New Jersey’s transition to a safe, clean energy future, increase economic security and resiliency, and reduce carbon pollution; stop new pipeline projects from cutting through New Jersey communities and environments to service more fracked gas and oil; ban fracking and the dumping of frack waste in New Jersey; prohibit Bakken Shale crude oil and Alberta Tar Sand products from barreling through New Jersey on explosive oil trains; and prohibit offshore drilling and exploration of fossil fuel in and around New Jersey’s waters.

Clean Energy Rally & Lobby Day is Thursday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Morning briefings will be held in Committee Room 9, on the third floor of the State House Annex. The Rally for Clean Energy is at noon on the Statehouse Annex Front Steps.

June 17, 2015
LAKESIDE LIVING: The new housing development for Princeton University graduate students and their families is designed with sustainability, community, and maintainability in mind. The complex is a mix of townhouses and apartments that will be home to more than 700 residents.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton University)

LAKESIDE LIVING: The new housing development for Princeton University graduate students and their families is designed with sustainability, community, and maintainability in mind. The complex is a mix of townhouses and apartments that will be home to more than 700 residents. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton University)

With its brick and wood-frame buildings linked by landscaped pathways sloping down toward Lake Carnegie, Princeton University’s Lakeside Graduate Student Community is worlds away from the stark, concrete Hibben and Magie apartment buildings that previously housed graduate students and their families on the same site. Tenants began moving into the complex, which is located on Faculty Road near Alexander Street, early this month. By the end of the summer, all 329 units — townhouses and apartments of varying configurations — are expected to be filled.

The newly constructed 13-acre development designed by the Arizona-based architects Studio Ma consolidates the graduate students who were living in the Butler and Stanworth locations into one that is closer to the campus, and is designed for a multi-generational population ranging from single residents to families and pets. It is big on sustainability and making the most of its naturalistic setting.

The community’s predecessor, the eight-story Hibben and Magie apartments, were built in the 1960s and “were not meeting today’s goals,” said John Ziegler, the University’s Director of Real Estate Development, during a recent tour. “So it was not so difficult a decision to take the buildings down. Hibben and Magie were somewhat isolated. There was no visual connection to the campus.”

Hibben and Magie had 192 units with a capacity for 512 residents. Its systems were outmoded and its interior layouts were not exactly user-friendly. Even though Lakeside will house more people, its geothermal heating and cooling systems are expected to make the complex about 40 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor. The complex will be LEED Silver Certified, Mr. Ziegler said.

Tenants at Lakeside will be spread out among 74 townhouses and 255 apartments, ranging from one to four bedrooms and one to three bathrooms and costing between $1,217 to $2,512 a month. All of the units, some of which are furnished, have dishwashers and full-size washers and dryers — none of which was offered at Hibben and Magie. Kitchens have more storage and counter space, and units with doors to the outside are open to residents with pets.

Chief among the attractions is a 6,000-square-foot center that includes lounges, study rooms, a fitness room, a playroom for children, a communal kitchen, and a large patio with a grill area. Called The Commons, the center is designed to encourage social interactions. Wooden stools made from trees that were taken down at the site are part of the contemporary design in the main seating area, which also boasts a large gas fireplace.

“We wanted opportunities for students to encounter and react with each other,” said Andrew Kane, assistant vice president of University Services. Biking trails, a basketball court open on all sides, and community gardens are also part of the site.

While completely different in its style and materials, the new complex is built, for the most part, on the footprint of the old. “The massing of apartment buildings is shifted, affording more vignettes rather than just two large buildings,” Mr. Ziegler said. “It’s nestled into the woods. The others were icons.”

Efforts were made to preserve the natural features of the site. “Most of the buildings and roads were built on what were prior impervious surfaces,” Mr. Ziegler said. “We only took down a little bit of the trees. Almost everything was preserved, and we planted many, many additional trees and shrubs around the site.”

University administrators sought input from the student community before deciding how to proceed with the new complex. Student government, surveys, and focus groups provided ideas, while the analysis of years of applications were helpful in deciding how space should be assigned, Mr. Kane said.

It will take all summer for Lakeside to be filled, but the few who have moved in appear to be enthusiastic. “It’s anecdotal, but I’ve heard of some high-fives on moving day,” Mr. Ziegler said.

Efforts to get the state to nix plans for a NJ Transit fare hike and a cut in some bus routes, including one that ferries passengers between Princeton and the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, are focused on state legislators as the June 30 budget deadline nears.

New Jersey For Transit, a coalition of 18 members, testified last week at a meeting of NJ Transit’s Board of Directors urging the agency and the government to come up with an alternative to the nine percent fare hike and the discontinuing of some routes. NJ Transit has proposed the changes to make up for a funding shortfall of approximately $60 million. If approved, the service cuts would go into effect in September and fares would rise October 1.

“We’re about to deliver a letter to Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, on Monday. “Because the final decision will be made in the next few weeks in Trenton on whether the government will fund NJ Transit in a way that doesn’t lead to hikes and cuts.”

But according to information from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which is one of the groups in the coalition, the official request to move forward with the fare hikes and service cuts was sent to NJ Transit’s Board Administration Committee for consideration at the committee meeting scheduled for yesterday afternoon (June 16). If approved, it will then be sent to the full NJ Transit Board of Directors for final approval at the agency’s July 15 board meeting.

NJ Transit introduced the proposal in April. The agency maintains that the service cuts and fare hikes are necessary to keep up with rising costs including employee healthcare and other benefits. The proposed state contribution to NJ Transit for fiscal year 2016 is currently $33 million, trimmed from $40.3 million. That subsidy was $73 million during each of the prior two fiscal years. It was as high as $278 million in 2005.

The budget includes money taken from the Clean Energy Fund and $295 million from the Turnpike Authority, which was supposed to be for the cancelled ARC tunnel under the Hudson River. Coalition members say the service cuts and fare hikes are a result of the state’s failing system for funding public transportation. The Transportation Trust Fund, which is for transportation capital projects, is bankrupt.

Following nine hearings throughout the state, the public comment period on the plan closed May 21. At a hearing at the Trenton Transit Center on that day, local lawmakers including Mayor Liz Lempert urged NJ Transit officials not to cut the 655 bus route between Princeton and the hospital in Plainsboro because it would eliminate access to healthcare services for low income residents without other transportation.

Others protesting the proposal say the elimination of the 655 and other lines will cause unnecessary hardship while saving NJ Transit an insignificant amount. “The thing that’s absolutely mind-blowing about the proposed service cuts is that these cuts, including the 655, are the definition of being pound foolish and penny wise,” Mr. O’Malley said. “They will only result in savings of $2.5 million. But the affected communities desperately need those lines. The 655 is still relatively new, and we’ve seen a transit route increase ridership over the years. Give it a chance.”

The proposed fare hike would make a trip between Princeton Junction and Penn Station New York rise from $16.50 to $17.75. The last rise in fares, made five years ago, was 22 percent.

The coalition of mass transit advocates has organized a petition campaign aimed at state legislators. Mr. O’Malley hopes the public outcry over the plan will get government representatives to take action. “The public uproar has really resonated with the legislators, so I do think there is a chance they will listen to the public and roll back these fare hikes and services without raising dedicated funds,” he said.

June 15, 2015

A meeting to update the public on the swattingphone threats that have plagued schools, hospitals, malls and private residences in Princeton and other parts of New Jersey in recent weeks will be held Wednesday evening at John Witherspoon Middle School. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Mayor Liz Lempert, School Superintendent Steve Cochrane and Police Chief Nick Sutter are scheduled to be on hand to answer questions and provide an update on recent efforts to determine who is behind the phone threats, none of which have led to the discovery of bombs or other dangerous situations.

Mr. Sutter has met with members of the FBIs cyber crime unit to help figure out who is making the threats, most of which have been called in by computer. They are called swattingbecause they draw a heightened response from a SWAT team. At the meeting, the status of the investigations will be discussed. All are welcome.

June 12, 2015

The American Boychoir School has raised enough money to plan the coming school year, but students will board with local families instead of on campus. And the famed choral academy, which filed for bankruptcy in April, is pursuing a lease for a day school campus in the Princeton area instead of remaining at its current location in Plainsboro.

“Our traditional boarding model would be converted to a homestay model for this school year, with boys living in local homes — at least two ABS boys in each homestay home,” Rob D’Avanzo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, wrote in an update to supporters of the school on Thursday. “We have engaged a homestay consultant and have been working with him to learn about and implement this new feature of our School. He will work with us throughout the coming school year to coordinate and supervise the entire program. We have also been in touch with various families that have offered to serve the School as homestay hosts.”

Mr. D’Avanzo said he is confident that a day school location will be secured in the coming weeks. But the change is not anticipated to be permanent.

 “The Board believes that the best operating model to achieve ABS’s mission is one in which we include boys from around the world on one fully-integrated boarding campus,” he wrote. “At this time, however, we do not have an integrated campus option readily available to us, and we simply do not have the funds to acquire or operate one. Over the next year, we intend to work to raise those funds and to find a long-term boarding home, but in the interim we plan to operate ABS on a day school campus suing a homestay model.”

The Board voted unanimously earlier this week to pursue the day school option. The past school year was finished early, but the school fulfilled the touring and performance commitments it had made. Founded in 1937 in Columbus, Ohio and relocated to Princeton in 1950, the School’s choirs have performed with major orchestras and conductors across the globe.

An emergency fundraising campaign with a $350,000 goal was launched to save the school after bankruptcy filing was announced this spring, and the figure was exceeded, providing “a bit of a cushion,” Mr. D’Avanzo wrote. “I have told you that we need to raise a very substantial amount of money in advance of the school year in order to be on a sound footing when school opens, and that remains the case.”

 More than $235,000 in pledges has been received for next year’s Annual Fund, representing more than 26 percent of the school’s budgeted Annual Fund income. “This is a great head start, and the more pledges of operating support we receive now, the better-positioned we will be to achieve our reorganization,” he wrote.

ABS is going forward with plans for its annual “American Boychoir Experience” summer camp, with 23 boys signed up as well as some current students. They are scheduled to perform in August at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires, with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

“We think an exciting future is within reach,” Mr. D’Avanzo wrote. “I must caution you, however, that we are still operating under the supervision of the Federal Bankruptcy Court, and we will be subject to court oversight until ABS completes a reorganization under Chapter 11. We will be working throughout the summer on myriad tasks necessary to prepare for a new year in a new place with a new model, including seeking court approval for our reorganization based on a solid long-term financial plan.”

June 11, 2015

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of protesters gathered on Nassau Street to call for the resignation of Princeton University bioethics professor Peter Singer, whose controversial views about infants born with disabilities were aired in a radio interview this spring

The remarks were made on the radio show “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on April 16. Mr. Singer, who is known as an animal rights advocate, said it is not unreasonable for infants with disabilities to be denied treatment by private insurance companies or the government. Those babies with “zero quality of life” should not be afforded costly care, he said.

Baby dolls were placed in an open coffin in front of the campus. Protesters in wheelchairs stopped traffic on Nassau Street for about 20 minutes, but no arrests were made or summonses issued.

In a letter published on the Trenton Times website Thursday, Alan Holdsworth, a community organizer for the advocacy group ADAPT, requested that the University call for Mr. Singer’s resignation, publicly denounce his comments, hire a bioethicist from the disability community “in a comparable position to provide a platform for views that contrast with Mr. Singer’s views,” and create a disability policy program “to educate future leaders about inclusive communities.”

University spokesman Martin Mbugua issued this statement: “Princeton is strongly committed to ensuring the academic freedom of members of its community and to ensuring that the campus is open to a wide variety of views.”

June 10, 2015

Garden Tour Mill Hill

The urban gardens of Trentons historic Mill Hill neighborhood will be open to visitors Saturday, June 13, from noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine. This is the 24th consecutive year for the annual event, which draws visitors from all over the area to view some of the regions best examples of urban and small space gardening.

This years tour is themed The City Soirees: Behind the Garden Gates.Mill Hill is known for its unique collection of 19th century row homes, and many have distinctive gardens that are carefully tended by residents. Gardens are as varied as the houses they border, ranging from tidy and traditional to modern and naturalistic.

Proceeds from the tour help fund the Old Mill Hill Society Neighborhood Restoration Grant program, which aids homeowners in restoring and maintaining the areas landmarks and historically significant sites.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 the day of the tour, and can be purchased by cash, check, or credit card. Register and begin the tour at Artworks, 19 Everett Alley at South Stockton Street. Ample free parking is available.The maps distributed double as admission tickets. For more information, visit trentonmillhill.org.

After 16 years as executive director of the Princeton Public Library, Leslie Burger will step down in January 2016. Echoing Ms. Burger’s favorite term for the library under her tenure, particularly during crisis situations like Hurricane Sandy, former Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand credits her with making it “the living room of our community.” (Photo by Mark Czjakowski for Princeton Public Library)

After 16 years as executive director of the Princeton Public Library, Leslie Burger will step down in January 2016. Echoing Ms. Burger’s favorite term for the library under her tenure, particularly during crisis situations like Hurricane Sandy, former Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand credits her with making it “the living room of our community.” (Photo by Mark Czjakowski for Princeton Public Library)

Leslie Burger, the woman credited with turning the Princeton Public Library into “the community’s living room” while bringing it national recognition for services and innovation, is retiring after 16 years as executive director. According to the library’s Board of Trustees, Ms. Burger has decided to step down in January 2016. A national search will be launched by an executive search firm to hire her successor.

“This is a bittersweet moment for the Princeton community,” said Kiki Jamieson, president of the library’s Board of Trustees. “We’re very happy for Leslie as she starts a new chapter of her life, but we will sorely miss her leadership, vision, hard work, and dedication to the Princeton community and public libraries in general.”

Ms. Burger, who co-founded the private consulting firm Library Development Solutions with her husband Alan in 1991, will turn her full attention to that company once she retires. It was as temporary library director that she first came to Princeton in 1999 when former director Jacqueline Thresher had left for another position.

“Leslie took us by complete surprise,” recalled Marvin Reed, who was mayor at the time of what was then Princeton Borough. “We had this big plan to expand and double the capacity of the library. We weren’t sure what direction to take, or what we’d do about parking. Our director had gotten a wonderful job out on Long Island and here we were having to at least temporary fill her shoes. Leslie came on, and we told her we wouldn’t bother her too much about all our planning for our expansion, but she said, ‘That’s alright, I’m interested in that. We’ll fit it into the schedule.’ Eventually, she asked if we’d mind if she submitted her application for the directorship. Of course we said, ‘Fine.’”

Ms. Burger changed the way municipal leaders viewed the library’s future. “She introduced us to the fact that we weren’t just physically remaking a building,” Mr. Reed said. “We explored the whole concept as to what it means to be a library in this day and age. We were still on the edge with respect to technology and how far to go. She said, ‘Go for it.’ And she’s continued to press us to be as up to date as possible.”

As executive director, Ms. Burger led the library through an unprecedented period of growth highlighted by the design, construction, and opening of the Sands Library Building in 2004 and a successful campaign to build a $10 million endowment to support innovation. According to information from the library, she led development efforts resulting in more than $25 million in all in private funding for the institution.

During Ms. Burger’s tenure, all library usage statistics, including overall attendance, circulation of materials, growth of technology and digital collections, and public programming attendance either doubled or increased dramatically. She strengthened ties between the library and public, private, nonprofit, and educational institutions in the local community.

“Being executive director of a library in a town that places a premium on reading, learning, and community engagement has been the highlight of my career,” Ms. Burger said. “In 42 years as a librarian, I’ve seen the profession evolve from one marked by slow, deliberate planning to one driven by technology to rapidly meet the ever-changing and growing demands of library customers.”

Phyllis Marchand was mayor of Princeton Township when Ms. Burger arrived at the library. “I can’t imagine anyone who has accomplished so much in her job,” she said. “She literally stuck with this building and the garage and all the other issues she had to deal with, like the move from Princeton Shopping Center (the library’s temporary location during the renovation project). That library has become the living room of our community, as Leslie says.”

While working as the library’s executive director, Ms. Burger served as president of the American Library Association from July 2006 through June 2007. She is also a former president of the New Jersey Library Association.

“She had national contacts,” Mr. Reed said. “She was well known in the field. She brought national attention to what we had done here in Princeton.” Ms. Marchand added, “She really put the Princeton library on the national and international map when she was president of the AIA, which is a feather in our cap.”

Before joining the Princeton Library, Ms. Burger served as a development consultant at the New Jersey State Library where she focused on developing leadership and marketing initiatives within the state’s libraries. She served as executive director of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative, which served Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. She also worked at the Connecticut State Library as the LSTA coordinator, director of Planning and Research, and director of Network Services. Her library career began at the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Public Library when she was hired to develop a community information and referral service.

The announcement of Ms. Burger’s retirement comes as the library is in the midst of a campaign to raise $3 million in private funding for the planned renovation of its second floor. She hopes to have all funds secured and for the project to be underway when she leaves.

“I cannot think of a better way for Leslie to complete her legacy as executive director of the Princeton Public Library than by her overseeing the funding and launch of this planned renovation,” said Ms. Jamieson. “Her vision and inspiration will forever be part of our community and a reimagined second floor is a wonderful and enduring gift from Leslie to all of us.”

“I’m so happy for her,” said Ms. Marchand. “I think she’s leaving at the top of her game.”