April 18, 2018

By Anne Levin

Brendan Byrne’s family wanted an event held in his honor at Princeton University last Friday to be focused on the work he did before, during, and after his two terms in state office.

The “Symposium on the Legacy of Brendan Byrne, New Jersey Governor 1974-1982,” at Alexander Hall, was “not a memorial, but a useful and candid discussion,” said his son Tom Byrne, at the start of the program in which politicians and public servants recalled Byrne’s achievements, personality, and influence. He died at age 93 on January 4. more

James Collins “Jimmy” Johnson was a fugitive slave from Maryland who worked on the Princeton campus for more than 60 years, first as a janitor and then as a vendor of fruits, candies, and other snacks that he sold from a wheelbarrow. He died in 1902. (Photo Courtesy University Archives, Princeton University Library)

By Princeton University Office of Communications, Anne Levin

The Princeton University trustees have accepted recommendations to name a publicly accessible garden between Firestone Library and Nassau Street for Elizabeth “Betsey” Stockton, and to name the easternmost arch in East Pyne Hall for James Collins “Jimmy” Johnson. more

By Anne Levin

Back in 2011, the clergy and congregation of Trinity Church on Mercer Street were looking to address the problem of hunger in the community. But they wanted to approach the issue in an innovative way, different from programs that already existed in town. more

April 11, 2018

By Anne Levin

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office released footage Monday related to the March 20 shooting incident at the Panera Bread restaurant on Nassau Street. The surveillance video shows state troopers firing the shots that killed Scott L. Mielentz, the 56-year-old Lawrenceville man who entered the eatery that morning, wielding a BB pistol. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council voted to adopt the $65 million budget for 2018 at its meeting on Monday night, April 9, first approving an amendment that would increase the use of surplus funds by $1 million.

Of that $1 million, $626,000 is to pay down debt that was authorized in 2018. The remaining $372,000 reduces the tax levy, with no increase from last year to this year. more

BACK IN THE DAY: The Dinky train stop used to be closer to town, near Blair Arch on the Princeton University campus, as this archival photo from the Historical Society of Princeton’s program at Princeton Public Library shows. (Collection of Historical Society of Princeton)

By Anne Levin

Back in 1910, you could end up paying a fine if you got caught spitting while riding the trolley between Trenton and Princeton.

“Any person who shall expectorate or spit on the floor, seat, or platform of any trolley passenger car in this state shall be deemed and adjudged to be a disorderly person, and upon conviction shall be subjected to a fine of not more than Ten Dollars for each offense,” reads a yellowed dispatch from the Trenton and Mercer County Traction Corporation. The warning notice is just one of the curious artifacts in a special exhibit going on display the evening of Tuesday, April 17, at Princeton Public Library’s Discovery Center. more

April 4, 2018

By Anne Levin

Last week’s announcement that the transfer of ownership of Westminster Choir College from Rider University to Beijing Kaiwen Educational Technology Company is taking longer than expected came as no surprise to those who have been opposed to the move. University President Gregory G. Dell’Omo’s letter to the school community said that the $40 million deal is behind schedule, meaning Rider will continue to run Westminster for the next school year. more

By Anne Levin

Not so many decades ago, the town of Princeton was surrounded by farmland. While much of that rural acreage is now home to housing developments and office parks, some open space still remains. And Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) wants to keep it that way.

At the organization’s annual meeting on Sunday, April 15, Mark Brownlee of ArcheWild will address the topic with “Investing in our Land: Deriving Real Economic Value for Ourselves and our Community.” Brownlee, principal and head ecologist of the ecological restoration company and native plant nursery, will outline the options for maintaining the parcels that remain, while possibly realizing some financial benefit. more

By Anne Levin

The four authors who will speak at the Salon on Stockon literary festival on April 13-14 have one major thing in common: war.

British journalists Sally Magnusson, Neal Ascherson, Lynne Olson, and Christopher Dickey — prominent authors all — have each covered wars, and lots of them. So it made sense for the organizers of the third annual festival to present them together, in an event that begins Friday evening, April 13 and continues throughout the following day, at the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) on Stockton Street. more

March 28, 2018

By Anne Levin

With the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in charge of investigating the shooting at the Panera Bread restaurant on Nassau Street last week, Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter is limited in how much he can share about the incident until the investigation is completed. But Sutter wants to keep the public as informed as he can about the events surrounding the death of 56-year-old Scott Mielentz, who was fatally shot after an armed standoff involving local, county, and state police; the FBI; and Princeton University police. more

FENDING OFF GENTRIFICATION: The owners of auto repair shops in Willets Point, Queens, just across from Citi Field, were followed by a film crew as they fought the city of New York over plans to close them down and build a mall. “The Iron Triangle” is among the features to be screened at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival starting Sunday.

By Anne Levin

At this year’s Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF) presented by Princeton Public Library, expect to see features on such topics as the destruction of forests, the changing climate, saving the Great Swamp, and what happens to plastics when we throw them away. But this year’s festival, which opens Sunday, April 8 and runs through April 15, goes a step further. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council introduced the 2018 municipal budget at its Monday, March 26 meeting, calling for no tax increase.

Originally proposed to charge the average household an increase of $41.86, the budget was amended following a unanimous vote by the governing body. Mayor Liz Lempert and Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield credited the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee (CFAC) for their work on the issue, which involved using surplus funds to bring the increase down to zero. A public hearing on the budget will be held on April 9. more

March 21, 2018

By Donald Gilpin and Anne Levin

A four and a half-hour standoff between police and an armed gunman at Panera Bread on Nassau Street ended shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday when the man was fatally shot by police.

The man entered Panera Bread on Nassau Street with a handgun around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and made threats as customers and employees fled. Police secured the perimeter of the restaurant.  more

By Anne Levin

In Monday night’s ballot placement vote by the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee (PDMC), Dwaine Williamson and Eve Niedergang were the highest ranked candidates for the two open seats on Princeton Council. This means that Scotia MacRae, chairman of the PDMC, will recommend to the chair of the Mercer County Democratic Organization that they be ranked in that order С first and second С on the June 5 primary election ballot. more

HONORED FOR YEARS OF SERVICE: After being named Employee of the Year by the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association at their annual conference, Anthony Simone picked up a second honor at the Princeton Council meeting on March 12 for his work on Princeton’s seasonal maintenance team. Shown here with Mayor Liz Lempert, Simone was given an award of recognition for his work during the past 11 years — helping with snow removal, cutting grass, working in garden plots, and more. Simone grew up in Princeton and graduated from St. Paul’s School. “I love this town,” he said when accepting the award. “I work all summer, and I’m working this summer, too.”

By Anne Levin

At a closed session meeting this Friday morning, Princeton Council is scheduled to discuss the affordable housing requirement that was decided March 8 by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson. Princeton’s requirement was set at 753 units, while West Windsor received a requirement of 1,500. These numbers cover a span from 1999 to 2025. more

March 14, 2018

By Anne Levin

The future of parking in Princeton took up a large portion of Princeton Council’s meeting on Monday, March 12. Julie Dixon of Dixon Resources Unlimited gave an overview of a recently completed study on how the town should approach ongoing problems associated with parking.

Keeping up with technology and remaining transparent are key elements of the process, said Dixon, whose company has advised towns and cities all over the country. “We look for realistic implementations and solutions that will last,” she said at the beginning of her presentation. “There is a lot of technology out there, and we don’t want to put you into a closed system.” more

THE SURVIVOR AND THE LIBERATOR: Holocaust survivor Ernie Gross, left, and World War II veteran Don Greenbaum, will speak about their unique connection at a program at Adath Israel in Lawrence on March 18. Greenbaum was among the U.S. Army soldiers to liberate Dachau, where Gross was a prisoner, but the two didn’t meet until 2012.

By Anne Levin

The first time Ernie Gross and Don Greenbaum crossed paths was on April 29, 1945. Gross, then 16, was standing in line to be exterminated at Dachau.

The notorious concentration camp was where thousands of Jews were killed during World War II. Greenbaum, then 20, was a corporal in the United States Army, which had arrived to liberate the prisoners at the camp. more

ETHICAL TEA ESTATES: Mary Fritschie, familiar to Princeton patrons of the former Infini-T Cafe, volunteered in Uganda and Rwanda while searching out tea for Tea Leaf Market. She is shown here with Vanessa, a student at Kasiisi School in Uganda.

By Anne Levin

Back when she ran Infini-T Cafe & Spice Souk on Hulfish Street, Mary Fritschie used to love her morning routine of grinding up spices to brew chai teas. The aromas would permeate the roomy cafe, which opened in 2011 and attracted a loyal following.

That was before damage from a vicious storm flooded the premises, causing it to close for good in June, 2017. more

March 7, 2018

By Anne Levin

Last weekend, representatives from the Chinese company to which Rider University has proposed transferring ownership of Westminster Choir College visited Westminster for meetings with faculty, staff, and students. Live-streamed sessions were also held for parents and alumni about Kaiwen Education Technology Company, which recently signed a non-binding, $40 million agreement with Rider for the Choir College, Westminster Conservatory of Music, and Westminster Continuing Education. more

BUILDING UP: JZA+D’s design for the Nelson Glass building on Spring Street stacks six terraced apartments atop the original structure. The rental units will include one designated affordable. Construction could start this summer. (Rendering courtesy of JZA+D Architects)

By Anne Levin

Robbie Nelson has watched many of her contemporaries and fellow Princeton High School graduates sell their families’ properties on Witherspoon Street to people from out of town. She wasn’t about to do that with Nelson Glass, the Spring Street business founded by her late father in 1949. more

By Anne Levin

At press time on Tuesday, this month’s run of nasty storms was predicted to continue with a second nor’easter, and a third round of bad weather predicted for next week. Last Friday’s mix of snow and rain had police, utility, and rescue workers busy dealing with power outages, roads blocked by fallen trees, and downed power lines.

At various points, Friday’s storm left more than 130,000 New Jersey residents without power. As of Tuesday morning, power had been restored to all Mercer County customers who had lost it, according to PSE&G’s communications office. But the utility was gearing up for round two. more

February 28, 2018

By Anne Levin

Last week, Rider University revealed the identity of the company that is the prospective buyer for Westminster Choir College, with which Rider merged in 1991. Kaiwen Education Technology Company of China signed a non-binding term sheet for the $40 million purchase of Westminster’s Princeton campus, facilities, and programs.  more

By Anne Levin

The municipal budget for 2018 was officially introduced Monday at a meeting of Princeton Council. Also on the agenda was a visit from Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber, who took questions from the governing body but not from members of the public.

This is the fifth year that Council has invited Eisgruber to engage in a dialogue. Questioning him has always been limited at these events to the governing body, Mayor Liz Lempert told a member of the public who was loudly critical of the proceedings. The woman became so unruly that the Princeton Police Department was summoned. Three officers stood at the rear of the room throughout much of the meeting, but she did not have to be removed and eventually left on her own. more

Lance Liverman

By Anne Levin

On Thursday, March 15, the Joint Effort Safe Streets Program of Princeton is scheduled to salute long-standing public servant Lance Liverman. A fixture of Princeton’s governing body for the past 15 years, Liverman will be honored with music, dance, presentations, and remarks from family, friends, and a long list of local officials.

All of this is a bit overwhelming to Liverman, who recently announced that he won’t make another run for a seat on Princeton Council. He still has another 10 months before stepping down. more

February 22, 2018

By Anne Levin

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

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