February 22, 2017

FIVE DECADES OF DANCE: Twyla Tharp Dance visits McCarter Theatre as part of the choreographer’s 50th year of creating eclectic work. John Selya, offering his hand to the woman in blue, appears here with the company in “Preludes and Fugues.”

Since forming her own dance troupe after graduating from Barnard College more than five decades ago, Twyla Tharp has continued to challenge the way we think about dance. Starkly modern at first, her style has expanded over the decades to encompass classical ballet while weaving in elements of jazz, slapstick, even boxing. more

February 15, 2017

An overflow crowd attending a gubernatorial candidate forum at the Suzanne Patterson Center, held by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) Sunday evening, February 12, officially endorsed Assemblyman John Wisniewski for New Jersey governor in the next election.

After a first round of voting by PCDO members, Mr. Wisniewski and fellow candidate Phil Murphy, a financier and former U.S. ambassador, competed in a run-off. Mr. Wisniewski won with just over 60 percent of the vote, which is the amount required for the PCDO’s endorsement. Also appearing at the forum were State Senator Raymond Lesniak and former Treasury official and federal prosecutor Jim Johnson. more

Ever since a fire leveled the AvalonBay apartment complex in Edgewater two years ago, local residents concerned about safety at the company’s development on Witherspoon Street, which opened last fall but still has sections under construction, have been pushing for upgrades in New Jersey’s building and fire codes. They have stepped up their efforts since February 4, when another blaze destroyed part of an AvalonBay complex under construction in Maplewood.

“There are so many people working to change the codes,” said Princeton resident Alexi Assmus, one of several involved in the effort. “We have been doing an amazing amount of work. There are also citizens in Teaneck and Wayne who are trying to do this. It’s a big effort.”  more

February 8, 2017

A fire last Saturday that ripped through an AvalonBay Communities apartment complex in Maplewood, under construction and scheduled to open in March, destroyed many of its units. While this is the second major blaze in two years at a property owned by AvalonBay, which opened Avalon Princeton last fall, a company official said the Witherspoon Street development is more than up to code. more

Efforts continue by those who support keeping Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton rather than relocating the school to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. A town hall forum on the topic was held Tuesday evening at the Arts Council of Princeton, and pressure on financially strapped Rider is sure to continue as the administration works toward a decision on the fate of the Princeton music school. more

THREE CENTURIES OF BLACK SOLDIERS: That’s the title of a program at Trenton’s Old Barracks, taking place later this month. One of several area commemorations of Black History Month, the presentation is by re-enactors who represent African American soldiers who have fought in American wars, from the Revolution onward.

Al Ward and his colleagues from the Sixth Regiment United States Colored Troops Re-enactors Inc. often get the same comment from onlookers when they deliver presentations about African American involvement in American wars.

“People are surprised to hear of the many contributions blacks have made, in everything from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam and beyond,” said Mr. Ward, a retired research scientist at the New Jersey Department of Health. “But black soldiers have been participating in the American military experience from the beginning of our country through the present. It’s a story that needs to be told — and to all Americans, not just blacks.” more

February 1, 2017

GOING OR STAYING: That’s the question on the minds of students at Westminster Choir College, which could be relocated to Lawrenceville if Rider University, which owns the school, decides to put the Princeton campus up for sale. A 24-hour musical performance marathon by Westminster students, faculty and alumni this week was mounted as a protest by those who want the campus to stay where it is. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Jody Doktor Velloso’s warm, melodious soprano filled the sanctuary of Nassau Presbyterian Church Tuesday afternoon, thrilling those seated in the pews. It was a sparse crowd. But Ms. Velloso’s recital was only the beginning of a 24-hour marathon held by The Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College. It was in protest of a proposal by Rider University, which owns Westminster, to sell the Princeton campus and relocate the music school to Rider’s Lawrenceville location. more

November is a long way off, but the race for the two Princeton Council seats that will become available is already underway. Bernie Miller and Jo Butler have announced they will not run again. Leticia Fraga recently declared her candidacy, and architect David Cohen sent out a press release Monday saying he is joining the race. more

On day one of his presidency, Donald Trump asked Congress to repeal The Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the issue has taken a back seat to his more recent immigration ban, and no definitive action has been taken on removing and replacing the health care legislation, the new administration’s request has caused considerable controversy, alarm, and protest in many quarters.

There are local implications. Some 800,000 New Jersey residents have purchased health insurance under the act. In Princeton’s two zip codes, 1,696 people signed up. more

January 25, 2017

Among the Trump administration’s planned budget cuts are the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. While this isn’t the first time these two agencies have been targeted, the current threats have culturally-minded citizens concerned.

The NEA and NEH, which at 0.02 percent represent only a small slice of the Federal budget, help fund locally-based arts and cultural organizations. The Princeton Public Library; People & Stories, Gente y Cuentos; McCarter Theatre; and Trenton’s Passage Theatre Company are among those that have received support. But landing a grant from the NEA or NEH isn’t only about finances. more

Among the millions taking part in the women’s marches Saturday, January 21 in several corners of the globe were members of Princeton’s governing body.

Council members Lance Liverman, Heather Howard, and Tim Quinn joined marchers in Trenton. Jo Butler was in Los Angeles and participated in that city’s event. While Mayor Liz Lempert was under the weather and could not attend, and Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller was not able to take part, both professed to be with the marchers in spirit. Bernie Miller did not take part, but his wife rode one of the two buses from Princeton to Washington to march there. more

January 18, 2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY: Princeton Councilman Lance Liverman delivered a positive message at a prayer breakfast held in memory of Martin Luther King, at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. Bob Durkee, the University’s vice president and secretary, looks on at far left. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Courtesy of Princeton University)

This year for the first time, Princeton University designated Martin Luther King Day a school holiday. That gave students and faculty the day off on Monday, January 16, and many of them joined members of the local community to remember the late civil rights activist at a special prayer breakfast in the University’s Carl A. Fields Center. more

Advocating the benefits of recycling to residents of Princeton can be like preaching to the choir. But there is more to creating a truly sustainable community than even the most dedicated recyclers may be aware. more

MOVING ON: Potter John Shedd, a fixture in Rocky Hill for decades, is relocating his shop and studio to Hopewell. The stalled bridge repair work on Route 518 has kept customers away for too long, making a major dent in his important holiday sales season. Look for John Shedd Designs this spring in Hopewell’s Tomato Factory. 

For John Shedd, the idea of moving his pottery studio from Rocky Hill to Hopewell is nothing new. He has mulled it over for years. more

January 11, 2017

At Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, January 4, returning member Jenny Crumiller and newcomer Tim Quinn were sworn in. New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker administered the oath of office to Mayor Liz Lempert, who was elected to a second term.

No official actions were taken at a meeting the following Monday, January 9, but the governing body heard a presentation about storm water management, was updated on 2017 budget goals, and was asked by a member of the public to consider creating a resolution opposing the proposed expansion of Princeton Charter School. That issue will likely be on the agenda for the Council meeting on January 23. A third gathering being held Tuesday, January 10 (after press time) is dedicated to setting goals and priorities for the coming year. more

Williamson Hall overlooking the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College.

At a packed meeting of Princeton’s Historic Preservation Commission last week, a group of students, alumni, and friends of Westminster Choir College of Rider University asked that the Westminster campus on Walnut Avenue be registered as a historic district. The request is part of an effort to keep the music school’s operations in Princeton, instead of relocating to Rider’s Lawrenceville location, a move the financially strapped University is considering. more

January 4, 2017

Mayor Liz Lempert has named nine appointees to Princeton’s new Civil Rights Commission, which is designed to provide informal conflict resolution and mediation. Princeton Council is expected to approve the list at its annual reorganization meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 4.

Members come from different sectors of the community, including four affiliated with Princeton University. “I’m excited about the launch of this important commission, and I’m especially thrilled with the diversity of residents who have volunteered to serve, and the expertise they bring to the table,” Ms. Lempert wrote in an email on Tuesday. more

A proposal by The Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College in Princeton is on the agenda of the Princeton Historical Commission’s meeting scheduled for Thursday evening, January 5.

Constance Fee, president of the school’s Alumni Council, plans to read a brief introduction to the proposal, which asks that the 28-acre campus be designated a historical landmark. Financially strapped Rider University, which has owned Westminster since 1992, is studying the idea of selling the Walnut Avenue site and relocating Westminster to Rider’s main campus in Lawrenceville. The request to the Historical Commission is part of an effort by students, alumni, and friends of Westminster to protect the campus and keep it where it has been since 1932.

“It’s not just the people. It’s the environment,” said Ms. Fee, an alumna whose mother also graduated from the school. On the music faculty at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, Ms. Fee has sent three of her former students to Westminster. “This is a Greek Revival style campus that was built specifically for educating a choir, with rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, teaching studios, and organs,” she continued. “To replicate that would be a staggering task.” more

MUCH NEEDED ADDITION: The new addition to be built on the grounds of Morven has been designed by GWWO Architects as a support structure that augments the historic mansion rather than stealing the architectural spotlight. Groundbreaking is Thursday. (Watercolor renderings by artist Mark Schreiber)

It has taken more than a decade, but Morven Museum and Garden is finally ready to break ground on a new building that will house an area for programming, a classroom, offices, and much needed storage space. On Thursday morning, January 5 at 10:30 a.m., shovels will officially hit the dirt. more

December 28, 2016

AS IT HAPPENS: This is how the site of Princeton University’s Arts & Transit complex looked last January. Much progress has been made on the buildings designed by architect Steven Holl, and the project is still scheduled to be completed in 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The rapid pace of teardowns and the often out-of-scale houses that replace them was an issue that dominated discussions in Princeton throughout 2016. The town’s changing character was the theme in the platforms of nearly every candidate who ran for local office in 2016. Midway through the year, moved to take action by the presence of bulldozers all over town, Princeton Council formed a Neighborhood Character and Zoning Initiative. more

December 21, 2016

To the relief of several residents and the consternation of some local architects, Princeton Council voted Monday evening to approve an ordinance that revises the town’s land use code regarding single family residential development. The ordinance adjusts or creates new parameters for porches, prevailing front yard setback, and the measurement of cathedral ceilings. more

Among the topics of a closed session that preceded Monday night’s meeting of Princeton Council was potential litigation by AvalonBay Communities, developer of the rental complex on the former site of Princeton Hospital.

A letter mailed to Princeton’s administrator Marc Dashield by AvalonBay senior vice president Ronald S. Ladell advised Mr. Dashield that the development company wants to be reimbursed the $100,233 paid to consultants from the escrow accounts created by AvalonBay for work during construction. Mr. Ladell claims that invoices from the Whitman company, the environmental consultants hired to oversee the construction, are incomplete. more

TREASURES FROM THE MINOR WHITE ARCHIVE: This picture of two women, taken in 1949 in San Francisco, is among the thousands of images in the archive available on Princeton University Art Museum’s website.

The recent announcement that more than 5,000 images and related material by American modernist photographer Minor White are now available through the Princeton University Art Museum’s website was welcome news, and not just for those already familiar with Mr. White’s groundbreaking work. more

December 14, 2016

Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College

News that Westminster Choir College (WCC) of Rider University may be moved to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus is not sitting well with students and alumni of the prestigious music school, who want to keep it in downtown Princeton. more

YUM: Wildflour Bakery is among the vendors at this season’s Winter Market, which opens Thursday, December 15 in the Community Room of Princeton Public Library. What started as a small offshoot of the April-November market is now bustling with vendors who vie for a spot to sell their wares. (Photo by Megan McKeever)

Not long after he debuted the Princeton Farmers Market in two parking lots of the old Wild Oats market on Nassau Street, Jack Morrison got a phone call from Leslie Burger, former director of the Princeton Public Library. She had a suggestion. more