November 25, 2015

library-directorFollowing a vote by the Princeton Public Library’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening, Brett Bonfield was named to succeed Leslie Burger as the library’s executive director. Mr. Bonfield, who is currently the director of the Collingswood Public Library, will take over on January 19, 2016. Ms. Burger is retiring in January after 16 years at the library.

“Brett is a committed and experienced community builder,” said Kiki Jamieson, president of the Board. “He is an advocate for public libraries and all who use them, and I have been impressed with his deep commitment to nurturing libraries as the heart and hearth of diverse communities. I think he will build on the excellence to which we as a community have become accustomed.”

Mr. Bonfield was selected from a field of 25 candidates during a national search, which also included Canada. Assisting Library Strategies International LLC were search committee members John Anagbo, supervisor for language arts and social studies at Princeton High School; Jan Johnson, retired librarian and former head of the library’s Youth Service Department; and Jane Silverman, president of Jane Silverman and Associates and former chairperson of the Princeton Public Library Foundation. more

The company that owns the Agricola restaurant has been chosen by Princeton University to run a bar and bistro in the former Dinky train station buildings across from McCarter Theatre. The buildings are part of the Arts and Transit project currently under construction on the campus.

Fenwick Hospitality Group, founded by local resident Jim Nawn, has proposed a bar for the smaller, north building, with 60 indoor seats and 30 seasonal seats outside. Drinks, including cocktails, wine, and beer, would be served, as well as small bites for lunch and dinner. In the south building, formerly where baggage was handled, there would be a bistro serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu would be French-influenced. Seating for 125 inside and 50 outside, counter seating, and a private dining room are also part of the plan. more


A HOME FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS: At a recent ribbon-cutting, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, left, and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, right, officially opened the University’s Entrepreneurial Hub. Flanking them on the portico were Provost David Lee, left, and Mung Chiang, right, who directs the University’s Keller Center and chairs its Princeton Entrepreneurial Center. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

Like most contemporary educational institutions, Princeton University considers entrepreneurship a priority — so much so that it has dedicated a 10,000-square-foot building in downtown Princeton for just that purpose. The Entrepreneurial Hub officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on November 11, confirming the school’s commitment to innovation among its students and partnerships with the local community.

The red brick building at 34 Chambers Street has served throughout its history as offices for the telephone company, the Gallup company, William Sword & Company, and Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty. The University is renting it from owner Kinsale Properties, of which Jud and Matt Henderson are principal partners. more

November 18, 2015

Since announcing last Thursday that she will run for a second term in the general election next year, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert has begun putting her new campaign into place. On her team are Leticia Fraga, chair; Dan Preston, vice-chair; Helen Heintz, treasurer; and former Princeton Borough Mayor Mildred Trotman, honorary co-chair.

“It’s an intense job, but like a lot of things that are intense, it’s highly rewarding,” Ms. Lempert, a Democrat, said Monday of her decision to run again. “There aren’t that many jobs where you can have an impact on people’s lives and make things better and actually see that impact. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together with Council, staff, volunteers, and boards and commissions. But there is so much to do and still a lot of activity on the plate that I’d like to have the opportunity to work on.” more

At a meeting of Princeton Council on November 9, a proposal to extend sick leave pay to all municipal workers, including part-time and seasonal employees, was outlined by administrator Marc Dashield. Providing extra sick pay would not have a significant financial impact on the budget, Mr. Dashield estimated.

Currently, all full time and part time municipal employees who work more than 20 hours a week are entitled to sick pay. Under an ordinance proposed earlier this year that would affect not only municipal workers but also those who are employed by local businesses, seasonal workers like lifeguards and part-timers such as garage workers and crossing guards would also be covered. Mr. Dashield went through each department to show how much estimated additional sick leave would be taken if the ordinance passed. A part time worker would be able to get one hour of sick leave for 30 hours worked, but would not be eligible to use the sick leave until they had worked 90 days. more

(Photo by MS AKR)

(Photo by MS AKR)

Thanks to a $175,000 gift from the Synod of the Northeast, Witherspoon Presbyterian Church now owns outright the Robeson House, the birthplace of actor and civil rights leader Paul Robeson and the parsonage occupied by Mr. Robeson’s father, the Rev. William Drew Robeson, when he was pastor of the historic church.

The announcement of the gift at a banquet last Sunday celebrating the church’s 175th anniversary wasn’t the only good news for the more than 200 people attending the event at The Nassau Inn. The congregation also received a formal apology from the Presbytery of New Brunswick for asking blacks to leave Nassau Presbyterian Church in 1836.

The monetary gift means the church can cover the two mortgages on the Robeson House. “This gift is just wonderful for us,” said Denyce Leslie, a ruling elder who chairs the church’s buildings and grounds committee. “Now we clearly outright own four properties within town — the church, the Paul Robeson House on Witherspoon Street, the church office next door, and the manse on Walnut Street.”

The apology from the Presbytery of New Brunswick for removal of Rev. Robeson from his post in 1900, after 21 years of service, is equally significant, Ms. Leslie said. “We had worked on this for several years starting with David Prince many years ago,” she said, referring to an interim pastor of the church, who died last year. The Rev. Prince and his wife Nancy, who was present at the anniversary celebration, researched the history of the church and learned that Rev. Robeson was forced out when some white people thought he was too outspoken about the rights of black people. more

November 11, 2015

An accident involving five vehicles early Thursday morning resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to two people and extensive damage to two of the vehicles. A 17-year-old male was driving a 2003 Honda Accord south on Bayard Lane, just south of Boudinot Street, at 7:33 a.m., when it crossed over the center lines and struck two cars traveling north.

One of the cars was a 2005 Nissan Ultima operated by Michael Kovacs of Mercerville, and the other a 2005 Audi A6 driven by Daphine Corbin of Belle Mead. A 2008 Honda Accord driven by Ann Monaghan of Princeton traveling behind the Audi braked to avoid the accident and was struck in the rear by a Ford pickup truck operated by Felipe Lopez of Lawrenceville. more

On the night of the general election November 3, Democratic State Assembly candidate Andrew Zwicker made a speech in which he conceded to incumbent Republican Donna Simon in the 16th District race. But a week makes a difference. At press time Tuesday, Mr. Zwicker’s lead over Ms. Simon had risen to 78 votes after the provisional ballots in Mercer County were counted.

While the election has yet to be certified and Ms. Simon has neither conceded nor challenged the results, Mr. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, appears to be the winner in the race. The Republican party has until next Wednesday to file for a recount. more

A New Jersey Tax Court judge last week rejected a claim made by Princeton University that the burden of proof in a case regarding its tax-exempt status should be with the four residents challenging the exemption.

Judge Vito Bianco ruled that the burden of proof for granting a tax exemption rests on the organization seeking the exemption, and would only be the responsibility of the residents if they were taking issue with the assessments for properties owned by the University. Challenging the University’s tax exemptions is a different issue, meaning the same burden of proof would not apply. more


SHE LOVES TO WORK: Princeton native Angeline Cifelli, center, shown with her son Anthony Cifelli and granddaughter Kim Lucas, says work is the key to her longevity. At Valley Road School, Princeton University, and a deli that was located where Hoagie Haven is today, she turned out thousands of lunches for generations of Princeton students and residents. She is celebrating her 100th birthday this weekend with family and friends.

Even as she closes in on 100, Angeline Cifelli can’t sit still. Seated in the solarium at Morris Hall on a recent morning, she used one foot to rock her wheelchair back and forth while reviewing her life, nearly all ten decades of which has been spent in Princeton.

She was born Angeline Pinelli on November 16, 1915. Her mother, who was from the Nini family, had come to Princeton in 1912. The Pinellis had 11 children, and Mrs. Cifelli is the only survivor of all her siblings. Five generations of her family will gather this Sunday to celebrate her centennial at a special brunch/breakfast in the Hilton Garden Inn. On the actual birthday, Mrs. Cifelli will entertain friends with a pizza party at Morris Hall in Lawrenceville, where she has lived for the past three years. more

November 4, 2015

Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, both Democrats, were re-elected to Princeton Council in the general election on Tuesday. Ms. Howard received 2665 votes, while Mr. Liverman earned 2517. These are unofficial results.

Contesting them were Republicans Kelly Di Tosto, who got 1067 votes, and Lynn Lu Irving, who earned 968. Both Ms. Di Tosto and Ms. Irving were new to the local political scene. Mr. Liverman served on Township Committee and Ms. Howard on Borough Council prior to consolidation in 2013, when both became members of the merged Princeton Council. more

A study rating hospitals on safety has kept University Medical Center of Princeton in the “B” category, while Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell has retained its “C.” Capital Health’s Regional Medical Center in Trenton, however, dropped from an “A” grade to a “B.”

Results of the bi-annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey are based on information submitted by hospitals across the country. The survey takes three areas into consideration: how patients fare, resources used in caring for patients, and leadership and structures that promote patient safety. more


HARNESSING THE POWER OF LITERATURE: Last month, a group of select librarians from around the country came together at Princeton Public Library to learn the techniques of People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos, which shares literature with those who might otherwise not have access. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the participants were led by Pat Andres and Alma Concepcion, fourth and fifth from left, of People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos.

It wasn’t exactly quiet in the Quiet Room at Princeton Public Library. Seated around a table one day last month, nine librarians from around the country were reviewing a short story and how it can be used to get the people they serve excited about literature. While tones were muted — these were librarians, after all — the discussion was animated.

Josie Andrews, from Nevada City, California, counts a large homeless population among her library clients. Cindy Welsh, from Greeley, Colorado, works with refugees and immigrants with low literacy. Aida Quinones, from Athens, Georgia, manages a bilingual library that attracts a lot of migrants. more

November 2, 2015


To mark the centennial of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, there are events taking place from Berlin to Bozeman, Montana. Prominent among them is a two-day conference November 5-6 at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, where the physicist was a faculty member from 1933 to 1955.

“General Relativity at 100” is aimed, mostly, at an invited audience. But it opens on Wednesday, November 4 with a performance of a play at Princeton University’s Richardson Hall, Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein, that is open to the public. And for those who want to witness international experts trading ideas on diverse aspects of general relativity from cosmology to quantum gravity and from black holes to neutron stars, the entire conference can be live-streamed by logging on to the IAS website. more

October 28, 2015

In the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 3, Democrats Lance Liverman and Heather Howard, both Democrats, will be up for re-election to Princeton Council. Contesting them are Republicans Lynn Lu Irving and Kelly Di Tosto, both newcomers to the Princeton political arena.

The incumbents cite improvements and accomplishments during their time on Council, particularly during the adjustment period to a consolidated community, as reasons for re-election to the all-Democrat governing body. Ms. Irving and Ms. Di Tosto count party diversity and keeping Princeton affordable among the reasons to cast votes their way. more

At a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, several residents of the neighborhood surrounding the construction site where the developer AvalonBay is building an apartment complex voiced strong concerns about chemical smells. Citing migraine headaches, sore throats and other unsettling effects, they urged the governing body to take action to make the Witherspoon Street site safer as construction continues.

Municipal staff members said they have been monitoring the site since strong odors were first reported on Wednesday, October 21. The smells were identified by the town’s health and engineering departments as coming from painting primer and top coat polyurethanes on the Henry Avenue parking garage, adjacent to the site. The Mercer County Division of Public Health was called in to help investigate the matter, and a Materials Safety Data Sheet was posted on the town’s website. more

The Princeton Battlefield Society will appeal a Mercer County judge’s rejection of its most recent attempt to keep the Institute for Advanced Study from building faculty housing on land owned by the Institute that the Battlefield Society says is historic and should not be disturbed.

Attorney Bruce Afran, representing the Battlefield Society, said Judge Mary Jacobson’s ruling last Friday was not unexpected. “These cases are really resolved in appellate court, so everybody expected this to have to go to a higher level,” he said on Monday. more

October 21, 2015

The ongoing construction of a residential community for Princeton University faculty and staff at the corner of Bayard and Cleveland lanes is not quite in the home stretch. But the complex, on the former site of the Merwick rehabilitation center and the Stanworth apartments, is well along the way toward its projected goal of fall 2016 completion.

The newly constructed, multi-story apartments that make up the Merwick side are finished and occupied. The second phase is focused on the neighboring Stanworth units, which have housed University families for more than 60 years. The compact houses are currently in the process of being taken down and rebuilt, where possible, on their original foundations. The buildings are being stripped of their bricks before being demolished, and they look a bit forlorn in their naked state. more

HIP Page 1When Jane Okoth was promoted 14 years ago from her job at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Lewisburg, Pa. to a position with the regional office in Philadelphia, she knew her children were not going to be happy about leaving their schools. So she told them they could select the school system they wanted to attend and the community in which they wanted to live, within reasonable distance of Philadelphia.

“They went online and picked Princeton, which reminded them of the schools they were in because Lewisburg is home to Bucknell University, another university town. I told them they’d have to do without a lot if we moved to Princeton, but they were willing,” Ms. Okoth said.

The family made the move and the children enrolled in Princeton’s public schools. But Ms. Okoth’s husband had trouble finding work. “It was a shock, because the cost of living was much higher than what we were used to,” she said. “It got to a point where things were really difficult.” more

October 14, 2015

Nobel PrizePrinceton University economics professor Angus Deaton has won the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics, it was announced on Monday. Mr. Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs and a professor of economics and international affairs at the University’s Woodrow Wilson School, was informed of the honor with a 6:10 a.m. telephone call from Stockholm, home to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

“People keep congratulating me today, and I keep thinking, for what?,” Mr. Deaton joked at a press conference Monday afternoon. “I’m slowly getting used to it.”

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to Mr. Deaton for his work in “consumption, poverty, and welfare,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy. Well known for his contributions to understanding consumption at the individual level and in aggregate, he is the author of several books on economics including The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press 2013), which was recommended by Bill Gates, “if you want to learn about why human welfare overall has gone up so much over time.”

“The consumption of goods and services is a fundamental part of people’s welfare. The Laureate, Angus Deaton, has deepened our understanding of different aspects of consumption,” the Nobel committee said. “His research concerns issues of immense importance for human welfare, not least in poor countries. Deaton’s research has greatly influenced both practical policymaking and the scientific community. By emphasizing the links between individual consumption decisions and outcomes for the whole economy, his work has helped transform modern microeconomics, macroeconomics and development economics.” more

Avalon Bay

On Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., trucks began hauling away crushed concrete from the AvalonBay construction site on Witherspoon Street, where rental units are being built at the former site of the University Medical Center at Princeton. The town’s engineering director Bob Kiser reported at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night that he had met with the developer that morning and plans for site remediation were put into place. more

October 7, 2015

Princeton Page 1

Princeton University’s endowment earned a 12.7 percent investment gain for the most recent fiscal year, it was announced this week. The University has a $22.7 billion endowment, an increase of about $1.7 billion from the previous year.

Major schools began reporting their annual return figures during the past few weeks. Harvard said it had earned 5.8 percent, while Yale reported an 11.5 percent return. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s figure was 13.2 percent, and Bowdoin College reported 14.2 percent earned for the year. more

PSRC Page 1Princeton Senior Resource Center is about to embark on a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million for a much-needed expansion of its facility in the Suzanne Paterson Center on Stockton Street. That figure would augment $250,000 already in Princeton’s capital budget and another $250,000 that would come from Mercer County for the project.

When PSRC’s director Susan Hoskins presented Princeton Council with the organization’s expansion plan at a meeting late last month, Council members had some questions not only about the scope of the project, but about just who it will serve. Heather Howard asked how many users of the senior center are actual residents of Princeton. Ms. Hoskins put that figure at about half, though all social service programs are restricted to town residents.

Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller commented, “So in a way, we’re building a bigger building for residents in other towns.”  more


DANCING FOR DOLLARS: Staffers and breast cancer survivors from the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro celebrated their second place win in the Pink Glove Dance competition last week. A total of $12,000 resulted from the competition, and all of it will go to the Breast Cancer Resource Center at YWCA Princeton.

When Barbara Christiano was asked last May if she had heard of The Pink Glove Dance, she had to plead ignorance. But since then, this five-year-old national dance video competition has become a priority — not only for Ms. Christiano, who is vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro — but for hospital staff members, physicians, service workers, volunteers, and their family members as well. more

September 30, 2015

Avalon Page 1 Web

Work on the apartment complex being built by AvalonBay Communities could resume as early as next week, according to information provided at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday evening. The Witherspoon Street construction site, formerly home to University Medical Center at Princeton, has been quiet since the presence of harmful chemicals was detected earlier this month. It was originally shut down in August after a worker was injured in a fall from an elevator shaft. more