June 21, 2017

MAKING THE ROUNDS: A black bear recently seen on Campbelton Road is believed to be the same bear that has also been spotted in several other Princeton and Lawrence neighborhoods. Anyone who sees a bear should report it to the police department. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Police Department)

A black bear has been showing up on local streets during the past few days. A five-second video of the bear romping down Campbelton Road is posted on the Facebook page of the Princeton Police Department, as is information about what to do, and what not to do, in the event of an encounter.

“He’s a little guy, but bears are deceptively strong,” said Sergeant Frederick R. Williams, spokesman for the Princeton Police Department. “He’s just been running around in the open as opposed to staying in the woods. It’s probably the same bear that was taking a dip in a Lawrenceville swimming pool.” more

Plans for Triumph Brewery to move from Nassau Street into the former U.S. Post Office branch on Palmer Square are inching closer to reality. Last week, Princeton’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB) met to review LCOR Ventures’ proposal for Triumph to operate a 300-seat restaurant at the site. The main entrance would be on Palmer Square East, where the former loading dock was located.

SPRAB approved the plan, with certain reservations, and referred it to the Planning Board, which will consider the issue next month. In the meantime, the Princeton Environmental Commission is scheduled to review the proposal on June 26, and the town’s Historical Commission will discuss the plan on June 29. more

At a meeting on June 12, Princeton Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance to better address the growing problem of stormwater runoff. This was welcome news to members of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the Princeton Environmental Commission, Sustainable Princeton, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and others concerned with the increasing threat of major storms and the rise in developments that turn the ground into hard surfaces that don’t absorb water.

But the ordinance is only the first phase of action that environmentalists say must be taken in order to tackle the issue. “The passing of Princeton’s stormwater ordinance is a significant step forward to begin addressing these stormwater challenges,” said Molly Jones, executive director of Sustainable Princeton, this week.  more

June 14, 2017

During his tenure as New Jersey governor from 1982 to 1990, Tom Kean made funding of the arts a priority. So it makes sense that Mr. Kean has signed on as honorary chairman of the Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College, an organization of alumni, students, and others intent on keeping the famed choral academy intact at its longtime Princeton location.

Mr. Kean spoke at a press conference Friday, June 9 about Rider University’s plans to sell the school it merged with 26 years ago. Rider, which is in Lawrenceville, announced earlier this year that it would sell the Westminster campus as a way to stem a growing gap in [Rider’s] finances. While the University has said its priority was to find an academic institution that would keep Westminster, which is financially stable, in place, there is concern that the school will be sold to a developer who could turn the tree-lined campus into a housing complex, and the school would be broken up. more

HELPING HANDS: Talia Fiester, left, and May Kotsen recently joined fellow Princeton High School Democrats in Action to raise funds for girls in the Oaks Integrated Care Foster Home Program. The club, which was formed in the spring, is focused on taking action to make a difference.

For several years, the Princeton High School Democrats club has served as an outlet for students with liberal opinions who want to share their opinions with like-minded individuals. Recently, a second club has emerged, and it takes the concept a step further.

Princeton High School Democrats in Action was founded this spring by four sophomores who wanted to do more than talk. Talia Fiester, May Kotsen, Kahdeeja Qurieshi, and Ella Kotsen put the club together in April, organizing a voter registration drive. More recently, the club organized a local canning drive at McCaffrey’s Market, gathering feminine hygiene products for girls in the Foster Home Program at Oaks Integrated Care, a non-profit that provides social services to New Jersey residents in need. more

BACK TO THE BARRE: Princeton Ballet School Director Pamela Levy, shown here teaching at the school (above) and during her days as a student appearing as a soldier in “The Nutcracker,” (below) has instituted some changes in the curriculum.

There are changes afoot at the Princeton Ballet School.

The 63-year-old dance academy headquartered in Princeton Shopping Center now offers free tuition for boys. There is a new Conservatory Program for serious students interested in more focused training. Another, the FLEX Program, offers similarly rigorous classes, but without the same intensity or time commitment. Class names have been simplified to more clearly reflect their progression. more

June 11, 2017

FULL OF ENERGY: The parklet that opens to the public on Saturday, in front of jaZams toy store on Palmer Square, is structured along a theme of energy and play. Each of its five rooms has a different function.

Two summers ago, a set of artfully designed, covered benches in front of Small World Coffee became a popular resting spot for those shopping and strolling along Witherspoon Street. This temporary “parklet,” a project of the municipality and the Arts Council of Princeton, was a first for Princeton, following the lead of such cities as San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Seattle. more

June 7, 2017

For years, Hawthorne Lane residents Phyllis Teitelbaum and Anthony Lunn were bothered by the roar of leaf blowers — even those grooming lawns at the other end of the street. It wasn’t just the din that they found troubling. The smell from the gas-powered engines was equally concerning.

“There is noise pollution and air pollution, and it is hundreds of times more than what is put out by cars,” Ms. Teitelbaum said. “We knew we had to do something.”

From reading letters to the editor in local publications, the couple knew that others in Princeton shared similar sentiments. They contacted each of the letter-writers, and gathered for a first meeting in January 2016. That marked the birth of Quiet Princeton, the goal of which is “to improve the quality of life in our town and to restore and enhance its peaceful and harmonious character, by removing and controlling sources of noise in the environment,” according to quietprinceton.org. more

May 31, 2017

The November election of Donald Trump did not sit well with Lindsay Castro, Ashley Henderson, and Anna Westrick.

The three friends, who live with their families in Princeton, went to the Women’s March in Washington the day after the Trump inauguration. Energized by the momentum, they were inspired to form a group of like-minded people, motivated to support officials reflecting their views. That marked the beginning of Princeton Marching Forward, a locally-based, grass roots organization which now numbers some 230 on its current mailing list.

The three friends were taken aback by the quick response to their idea.

 more

DANGEROUS INVADER: Hydrilla, a fast-spreading invasive weed currently clogging sections of the D&R Canal, can grow an entirely new plant from a tiny stem fragment. Those using the canal for boating are advised to wash off their vessel after leaving the water to help stop the plant’s spread.

As if the emerald ash borer plaguing Princeton’s tree canopy wasn’t enough, there is another dangerous invader on the move. It’s Hydrilla, a fast-spreading invasive weed currently clogging sections of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

 more

May 26, 2017

PEACE CORPS MEMORIES: Pam and Gary Mount of Terhune Orchards volunteered in Micronesia for the Peace Corps back in the late 1960s. Gary, above and below, helped build an outrigger canoe in the time-honored tradition of the islands. (Photos Courtesy of Pam and Gary Mount)

Pam and Gary Mount spent the first three years of their marriage in the Peace Corps. Married only a month, the couple, who dated all through Princeton High School, set off in 1967 for a remote island in Micronesia. There, and on smaller islands in the western Pacific Ocean chain, they did agricultural work, taught, and helped build a water tank, among other tasks. more

May 24, 2017

TAKING SHAPE: Construction continues at Princeton University’s Arts and Transit Project as the Lewis Center for the Arts nears completion. The building that will be used as rehearsal and teaching space for the Music Department is in the foreground. (Image Courtesy of Princeton University)

Under construction since 2013, Princeton University’s Arts and Transit Project is starting to look more like a complex of modernist buildings and pedestrian plazas than a construction site. The $330 million project is nearing completion right on schedule, with buildings targeted to open for the coming academic year. A weekend of events celebrating the new facilities is planned for October 5-8. more

Kyra Nichols and David Gray, shown here in the ballet studio of the Princeton home they are about to leave, are moving to Bloomington, Ind., where Ms. Nichols has joined the faculty of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music. (Photo by Andrew Wilkinson)

Princeton resident Kyra Nichols, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, has been named to the faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Ind. Ms. Nichols and her husband David Gray, who is the executive director of Pennsylvania Ballet, have lived in Princeton with their two sons for 18 years. Ms. Nichols was most recently a ballet mistress at Pennsylvania Ballet. more

May 18, 2017

At a community meeting Monday evening, Princeton University officials expanded upon details released last month about its 2026 Campus Plan. Potential sites on the existing campus for a new undergraduate residential college, the University’s engineering school, and its environmental studies program were among the topics discussed. more

May 17, 2017

Parents: If you think the marijuana your teenagers might be using bears a close resemblance to the stuff you smoked back in college a few decades ago, the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance wants you to think again.

The organization’s upcoming “Marijuana Awareness Forum: Weeding Out the Myths,” tackles that and other related misconceptions in a program targeted to middle and high school students, their parents, and the community. The free event will be held in the auditorium of John Witherspoon Middle School on Wednesday, May 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. more

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Dress for Success Mercer County (DFSMC), started in 2007 with seed money from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), is approaching its 10th anniversary. At the Second Annual Women’s Empowerment Breakfast held recently at Trenton Country Club, DFSMC Executive Director Melissa Tenzer met with representatives from BMS. Pictured, from left, are BMS’s Andrea Gladman and Robert Voldase, DFSMC’s Melissa Tenzer, and Kathy Matriello of BMS.

It’s no secret that many of today’s high school students are overworked, overstressed, and severely sleep-deprived. A recently released study conducted by Stanford University researchers confirmed that Princeton teenagers fall right into this category. more

May 10, 2017

Faced with the prospect of Rider University’s sale of Westminster Choir College and other cost-cutting measures designed to offset a projected $13 million deficit, students, alumni, and faculty members held a rally Monday afternoon on the green at Westminster’s Walnut Lane campus.

“We have a president and a board who have imagined they are running a corporation,” Rider Professor Art Taylor, president of the University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), told the gathering. “It’s happening [in colleges] all over America, and it’s chilling. It comes down to, what is it you value? I know what they value С It’s the land you’re standing on,” he said, referring to Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo and Vice President for Finance Julie Karns. more

The Route 518 bridge over the D&R Canal finally reopened last Thursday night, easing traffic woes for commuters and safety concerns for residents of Rocky Hill. The project that was supposed to take four weeks extended to 10 months, frustrating motorists with backups and delays.

Work to replace the bridge began last July. The span was closed less than a week later, when Gov. Chris Christie ordered work suspended on all “non-essential” road projects because the transportation trust fund of the New Jersey Department of Transportation had run out of money. more

LESS IS MORE: “A Wonderfully Difficult Journey,” based on The ARC Mercer, is among the short films being presented May 20 and 21 at the third annual Nassau Film Festival.

It didn’t take long for word to get out about the Nassau Film Festival. In just three years, the annual spring celebration of short films has blossomed from 35 submissions in 2015 to 336 for this year’s event, which returns to the Princeton Garden Theatre May 20 and 21. more

May 3, 2017

NATURE MEETS TECHNOLOGY: D&R Greenway Land Trust’s new TravelStorys app enhances the experience of paddling through the Abbott Marshlands. Boaters and paddlers can go back in time as they listen to tales of the area and learn how it looked and sounded in centuries past.

The idea of using a cell phone while on a nature trek seems almost sacrilegious. But technology is the focus of a new program designed to enhance trips through the historic Abbott Marshlands and Crosswicks Creek, the scenes of early English settlements, Lenape Indian life, and even French royalty.  more

A NATIONAL HONOR: Ikon.5’s design for the Newark Training Recreation Education Center reflected the Newark Housing Authority’s goal of making it a gathering place for the fractured South Ward neighborhood. The project was among 79 awarded as part of a national program.

The Princeton-based architecture firm Ikon.5 is among the designers of 79 buildings and urban spaces to win the 2017 American Architecture Award. The national honor, which went to “Leading Edge Design for New Buildings in the U.S.,” was given to Ikon.5 for its design of the Newark Training Recreation Education Center (TREC), which opened last November. more

Two years ago, Princeton University music professor Simon Morrison was working on an article in the archives of Yale University when he noticed the original score for a ballet by none other than Cole Porter. Within the Quota, which had libretto, scenery, and costumes by wealthy expatriate artist Gerald Murphy, premiered in Paris in 1923 and was Porter’s only commission for a ballet. more

April 26, 2017

Following a no-confidence vote against Rider University President Gregory Dell’Omo and his financial team, the University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has sent a letter to the Board of Trustees stating its opposition to Rider’s March 28 decision to sell Westminster Choir College.

“We urge the Board of Trustees to rescind this decision and to begin the long, hard task of rebuilding trust with all of Rider’s stakeholders,” said Professor Jeffrey Halpern, Rider AAUP’s chief negotiator, in the letter. “Its de-acquisition will not alter Rider’s financial position or improve its long term viability. Instead, it will surely lead to a loss of both reputation and endowment.” more

Following repeated protests voiced by residents of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, the governing body agreed to hold off on an ordinance concerning overnight parking and permits.

The ordinance is part of an effort to harmonize regulations of the former Borough and Township. Residents of areas in the old Township section С on Birch Avenue, Leigh Avenue, Race, and John Streets С would be required to begin paying $120 a year for overnight on-street parking permits (a concession would be made for low income residents who qualify for certain programs). They would also follow the former Borough’s regulations regarding the number of permits available to households. more

Princeton has reached a “settlement in principle” with Fair Share House Center regarding the town’s fair share affordable housing obligation. The municipality has been involved in a court case with Fair Share over just how many units of affordable housing will be zoned through 2025.

“It means we’re in broad agreement on a settlement, but the details need to be worked out. We’re not ready to release them yet,” Mayor Liz Lempert said Monday. more