October 18, 2017

By Anne Levin

Westminster Choir College is set to be sold by Rider University to an as yet unnamed buyer, said to be from China. But faculty at the famed music institution, which was merged with Rider in 1992, feels they have been denied a voice in the process. To demonstrate their distress, faculty members staged a “teach-in” Monday on the Princeton campus.

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A COMMUNITY FOCUS: Arts Council of Princeton Executive Director Taneshia Nash Laird, left, and American Repertory Ballet II dancers Julia Lloyd and Greta Battistin at the announcement of the Council’s new Community Stage Series on Monday. The dancers are among several groups collaborating with the Council on the new initiative.

By Anne Levin

Since taking over as executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton last January, Taneshia Nash Laird has noticed that its Solley Theater was not being used to its full potential. Different organizations would rent the space for various functions, but there was no process in place for making it available on a non-rental basis.

“We started thinking,” said Laird after a presentation on Monday morning, “What could we do to open up our theater to the community, and bring free or nearly free events to the public in partnership with other groups? That’s how the idea for Community Stage got started.” more

BRINGING THE MUSIC HOME: Buddy Miller, son of Councilman Bernie Miller, performs with his band at an October 26 fundraiser for Princeton Community Housing. The award-winning musician was the executive music producer of the TV show “Nashville,” which is where he has lived for many years. (Photo by CJ Hicks)

By Anne Levin

It isn’t often that Princeton Councilman Bernie Miller asks his son, Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and producer Buddy Miller, to volunteer his services for a hometown cause. But the elder Miller recently broke with tradition, asking his son to perform at an upcoming fundraiser for Princeton Community Housing.

“My Dad has never asked me to do anything that I can think of,” said Miller in a phone interview last week from his Nashville home. “So when he does, it gets my attention.” more

October 11, 2017

By Anne Levin

Soon after moving to Princeton eight years ago and becoming a history professor at Princeton University, Martha A. Sandweiss began thinking about a project examining the town’s relationship to slavery. She was aware that other universities were involved in similar endeavors, and thought there might be a relationship worth investigating in Princeton. more

By Anne Levin

Six years after it was first proposed, a 3-megawatt solar array is about to open at the closed municipal landfill on River Road. Officials will gather Thursday morning, October 12 at 11 a.m., for the ribbon cutting.

The project is a partnership between Princeton, Stony Brook Regional Sewage Authority, and New Jersey Resources Clean Energy Ventures. It will supply up to 25 percent of the energy needs of the Stony Brook sewage facility on River Road. The municipality will receive a lease payment of $25,000 a year for the use of the site. more

October 4, 2017

By Anne Levin

In two separate incidents that occurred two days apart, two people were struck and killed by Amtrak trains near the Princeton Junction station.

The first, on Thursday afternoon, September 28, involved a Princeton High School sophomore and is believed to have been a suicide. The Crescent train 20 was on its way from New Orleans to New York when it struck the student at about 2:45 p.m., according to an Amtrak spokesman. The second incident took place Saturday evening, September 30, when Amtrak train 92 hit an individual at about 8:30 p.m. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s Planning Board last week voted unanimously in favor of an application to turn the former U.S. Post Office branch on Palmer Square into a restaurant. Triumph Brewing Company is expected to move from its current location on Nassau Street to the historic Palmer Square building. No official target date for the move has been mentioned.

“My client closed with the post office and is the owner of this building,” attorney Richard Goldman assured the planners, referring to California developer David Eichler, before the vote was taken. “He is committed to this project, and in a big financial way.” more

PRINCETON MEMORIES: The Facebook Group “I Grew Up in Princeton” is nearly 3,000-strong, and is particularly popular with those who recall the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. The group was honored by Princeton Council last month.

By Anne Levin

At a meeting of Princeton Council last month, the Facebook group I Grew Up in Princeton was honored by the governing body with a special Certificate of Appreciation. Administrators of the group were on hand to accept the certificate, which praises them “for their outstanding contributions to the Princeton community.” more

September 27, 2017

By Anne Levin

After a decade of planning and four years of construction, the studios, rehearsal rooms, and theaters at Princeton University’s ambitious Lewis Center for the Arts have opened on schedule. Music, dance, and drama classes are underway in the three buildings along Alexander Street and University Place, part of the University’s $330 million Arts and Transit development.

“It’s rare to have a project to work on that is transformative on a performance level and on the programs housed within,” said Noah Yaffe of Steven Holl Architects, during a press tour of the complex on Monday. “What is so fascinating is that we’re maximizing the visibility of the arts while maximizing the porosity of the place.” more

By Anne Levin

The project to replace the bridges that span the historic Stony Brook will be completed on schedule by November 3. Deanna Stockton, Princeton’s municipal engineer, reported the news to Princeton Council at the governing body’s meeting Monday, September 25.

The completion of the project, which began on July 5, is “perfect timing for the half marathon on the fifth,” said Stockton, referring to the annual Princeton HiTOPS Half Marathon, which draws crowds to the area. more

September 20, 2017

By Anne Levin

During the public comment period at Princeton Council’s meeting on September 11, the issue of fire safety was raised by two residents of the town. Paul Driscoll and Alexi Assmus asked Council to consider making round-the-clock fire watches a requirement during construction of large-scale, wood housing.

Their request was motivated by the recent announcement that Sunrise Senior Living wants to construct a 76-unit development on North Harrison Street, near Princeton Shopping Center. The plans call for a two-story building with 52 units, and a one-story building with 25. more

SHARING HIS STORY: Chef Jeff Henderson, left, shown with the Trenton Rescue Mission’s chef David Jawidzik, paid a visit to the Mission last week and gave an inspirational talk to clients about his road from prison to celebrity chef, author, and motivational speaker.

By Anne Levin

It would be an understatement to say that Jeff Henderson had a challenging childhood in South Central Los Angeles. Raised in poverty by a single mother, he learned to make money — eventually, some $35,000 a week — selling cocaine and crack. It all caught up with him when, at the age of 23, he was arrested and sent to federal prison for drug trafficking.  more

WELCOME VISITORS: Margaret Vanmarke, left, a volunteer with HomeFriends, makes weekly visits to Eileen Behrens, right, to help keep her from becoming socially isolated. The Princeton Senior Resource Center program is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

By Anne Levin

When Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) sends a volunteer to help a homebound elderly or disabled member of the community, they don’t choose just anybody. Participants in PSRC’s HomeFriends program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, are matched with clients for similar interests, personalities, and needs. more

September 13, 2017

By Anne Levin

With President Trump’s recent announcement ordering the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Princeton’s second annual Welcoming Week could hardly be celebrated at a more appropriate time. Starting this Friday, the town’s Human Services Department is collaborating with Princeton Public Library, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Historical Society of Princeton, and other community partners on this series of events designed to promote contributions made by those who come from other places. more

By Anne Levin

If all goes according to plan, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) could be installed in roomy, new headquarters by September, 2019. Mark Freda, president of the 77-year-old nonprofit, gave an update on the long-awaited project at a meeting of Princeton Council on Monday evening. more

By Anne Levin

Artist Maya Lin has been commissioned by Princeton University to create an installation for a section of the landscape at the new Lewis Center for the Arts. Details have yet to emerge about the substance, size, and scale of the work, which will “provide a landmark for visitors to campus and an invigorated outdoor setting for students to stage ad hoc performances and enjoy plein air classes,” according to a release from the University. more

September 6, 2017

OLMSTED’S VISION: This Tudor Revival home with Craftsman influences is in Trenton’s Cadwalader Heights, the only residential neighborhood in New Jersey to have been designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The famed landscape architect is the focus of a lecture on September 10 and a tour of neighborhood homes on September 16.

By Anne Levin

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s biggest claim to fame was New York’s Central Park. But the Olmsted legacy reaches beyond the masterfully-designed oasis in the middle of Manhattan.   more

By Anne Levin

When Linda Caldwell Epps lectures about the Underground Railroad in New Jersey, she often encounters a certain level of incredulity.

“The actual institution of the Underground Railroad and how active it was in this state is always surprising to people,” said Ms. Epps, who will deliver a talk on just that subject this Saturday, September 9 at the Trent House in Trenton. “But it wasn’t a happenstance,” she continued. “It was a fairly well coordinated and regulated system.” more

By Anne Levin

When the news broke last month that the American Boychoir School (ABS) was closing its doors after eight decades, an idea that had been percolating among administrators of the Princeton Girlchoir suddenly began to take shape. It wasn’t long before an announcement was made that a Boychoir division was being formed for the Girlchoir’s 2017-2018 season. more

August 30, 2017

During the service this past Sunday at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Pastor David A. Davis urged worshippers to contribute funds for victims of the disastrous, record-breaking flooding in Texas. At the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, an e-blast asking for contributions this week got an immediate response. At SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals in Skillman, discussions were ongoing Tuesday about how best to assist the rescue of dogs, cats, and other animals left to fend for themselves in the ongoing storm. more

A lawsuit filed by AvalonBay against the town of Princeton has been settled with the municipality agreeing to pay the developer $50,000. Princeton Council passed a resolution at its meeting last week to end the dispute, which was over charges to the escrow account created by AvalonBay during construction of the rental complex on Witherspoon Street where Princeton Hospital once stood. more

PASSION FOR PETS: Heather L. Achenbach has joined SAVE, a Friend to Homeless Animals, as its new executive director. “It is truly an honor to be offered the opportunity to carry on the great work that SAVE does in support of our community and the plight of homeless pets,” she said. (Photo Courtesy of SAVE)

The resemblance is striking. Heather L. Achenbach, the director of SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals since June, looks so much like former director Piper Burrows that people frequently mistake her for her predecessor.

“Piper and I did spend a little time together after I started here,” said Ms. Achenbach, who worked for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. “We didn’t know each other but had spoken on the phone. When we met, she said, ‘Oh, this is weird.’ People say our personalities are similar, too.” more

Volunteering is second nature to Jeremy Perlman. The 28-year-old grew up watching his father and grandfather serve on the boards of local nonprofit organizations. He recalls, as a child, going with his sister to interact with residents at the Greenwood House senior living facility in Ewing, and helping out at other places as well.

So it makes sense that Mr. Perlman, who grew up in Lawrenceville and Princeton, wants to make a difference in his community. Focusing on fellow millennials, he recently organized the NextGen Giving Circle at the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF), an organization he knows well through his family’s participation over the years. more

August 23, 2017

The announcement last week that Rider University is negotiating with an “international partner” to purchase Westminster Choir College and keep it in Princeton has students, faculty, alumni, and supporters of the music school hopeful that its future is secure. But they are not taking the news for granted. more

END OF AN ERA: The American Boychoir, a Princeton institution with a national reputation, will close after 80 years. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The announcement last week that the American Boychoir School (ABS) was closing after 80 years — 67 of them in Princeton — came as no surprise to those familiar with its recent financial difficulties and struggles to stay alive. But the decision has prompted sadness and nostalgia among alumni, former board members, and members of the national musical community. more