November 30, 2016

A request to amend a developer’s agreement for The Waxwood building on Quarry Street, in the historic Witherspoon-Jackson district, was the topic of a work session at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night.

Architect/developer J. Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) has asked Council to modify an amendment to the original agreement, which dictated that the rental units would be sold after a period of five years. Mr. Hillier told Council that should the units be converted, he feared tenants would not be able to afford to buy them. more


HELP AND SUSTENANCE: During a recent visit to Matipwiri, the village in Malawi sponsored by Trinity Church, Ruth Thurmond Scott, center, delivered a supplemental food package to residents affected by HIV and AIDS.

Thursday, December 1 is World AIDS Day, an annual observance that promotes awareness of the AIDS pandemic. While AIDS-related morality rates have dropped dramatically in some parts of the globe, there are regions where the disease continues to claim victims at a devastating rate. more

Jeffrey C. Grosser, Princeton’s health officer since 2014, will become the town’s new assistant administrator starting in January. Mr. Grosser fills the vacancy left by the departure of longtime assistant administrator Kathy Monzo, who left earlier this year to take a position in North Brunswick.

“We did an extensive search and we had people apply from as far away as Chicago and Florida, but he rose to the top,” said Marc Dashield, Princeton’s administrator. “It’s really a credit to him.” more

November 27, 2016


THINGS ARE LOOKING UP: Preparing for two area holiday concerts and a busy touring schedule, the American Boychoir is on firm footing after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The boys sing in Princeton December 5 and 18.

Nineteen months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and nearly closing its doors, the American Boychoir is back on its feet. The famed private school and choir founded in 1937, locally based since 1950, has two upcoming holiday concerts in Princeton, gigs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a tour to China on its schedule.  more

November 23, 2016

Princeton has earned its share of awards and honors over the years. But local officials consider the latest designation, The American Planning Association’s naming of Nassau Street as winner of the 2016 “People’s Choice” award in the Great Places in America program, to be especially significant.

“Winning the People’s Choice Award for Great Places in America is an enormous honor for our town, and it’s an honor shared with our planning staff, Historic Preservation Commission, local merchants, Princeton University (which helps to ensure we have an independent bookstore and movie theater), residents, and visitors,” said Mayor Liz Lempert in an email. “Nassau Street’s lively mix is also a result of wise decisions by our predecessors, who helped to plan and shape the street over generations into a place with a sense of place that has withstood the test of time.” more

November 16, 2016

At a post-election gathering last Thursday evening at Princeton Public Library, an overflow crowd of anxious residents voiced their fears about the future and heard pledges of support from local officials and the heads of non-profit and religious groups. Organized by the town’s Human Services Department, Mayor Liz Lempert and library director Brett Bonfield, the “Post-Election Conversation with Community Leaders” brought an overflow crowd to the library’s Community Room. more

A public dialogue between Princeton Council and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber turned testy November 9 when a member of Council confronted Mr. Eisgruber about his response to the way local police handled the arrest of University Professor Imani Perry early this year. Also prominent in the discussion at Monument Hall was the fate of Springdale Golf Course. more

Princeton Council and Mayor Liz Lempert issued a statement Tuesday on the recent presidential election. Developed by Council member Heather Howard, the statement expresses support for local residents worried about intolerance as a result of the victory of Donald Trump, and provides information on how to get help.

“In the aftermath of one of the most divisive and fractious elections in our country’s history, it is important for us to come together as a town and recommit ourselves to the values of inclusion, diversity, and opportunity,” the declaration reads. “Much progress can happen at the local level, and we all have a role to play in continuing to shape our community as a place of welcome, and supporting our neighbors in need.” more

November 9, 2016


Liz Lempert

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert was elected to a second four-year term in Tuesday’s race over Republican challenger Peter Marks. Ms. Lempert, a Democrat, earned 7529 votes, while Mr. Marks got 2709, according to unofficial results at press time.

In addition, voters elected Democratic Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller and newcomer Tim Quinn, also a Democrat, to two Council seats. Ms. Crumiller and Mr. Quinn, who were unopposed, will serve three-year terms. more


CHANGING HANDS: It will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner when Main Street Cafe becomes a branch of PJ’s Pancake House, scheduled to open early next year. It’s the end of an era at the popular cafe, but some elements of the menu will be kept on, say its new operators.

Main Street Cafe, a fixture at Kingston’s main intersection on Route 27 since 1984, is closing at the end of this month to make room for a branch of PJ’s Pancake House. The new restaurant/bakery, run by the Gretalia Hospitality Group, is scheduled to open in February 2017 after an extensive renovation. more


STRING SECTION: Students at Grace A. Dunn Middle School in Trenton are learning the violin from José Gregorio Sanchez Rodriguez, who is a product of the highly successful El Sistema program in Venezuela. Rodriguez also teaches at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton.

In a cluttered classroom at Trenton’s Grace A. Dunn Middle School, seven girls and one boy stand in a circle, violins in hand. It has been barely a month since they began learning the basics of the instrument. But “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which they are playing along with their teacher, is sounding pretty good. more

November 2, 2016


A driving rain didn’t keep residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Patton Avenue home of late architect Michael Graves from attending a meeting last Thursday evening about the future of the property. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University, told neighbors that the three buildings, which Kean University purchased for $20 from the Graves estate, will remain much as they are. more


A 77-YEAR STREAK: At 95, an age when most people are taking it easy, Laura Wooten is still working the polls. She’s been at it since just after graduating from Princeton High School in 1939, and she is raring to go on November 8.

Last June 7, Laura Wooten was waiting for a ride from her Lawrenceville home to the polling station at the local firehouse. It was the day of the New Jersey primary, and her driver was a few minutes behind schedule. So Ms. Wooten, who is 95, decided to walk. It was 4:30 in the morning. more


Growing up in Princeton, Brian Sanders was captivated by two things: ballet and gymnastics. The 1984 graduate of Princeton High School divided his time between Princeton Ballet School and Alt’s Gym.

Initially, ballet won out. Mr. Sanders spent several years studying at Princeton Ballet with the late Alexei Yudenich, who was a principal dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet. So there is something gratifying about the fact that a piece by Mr. Sanders, now a choreographer with his own company, is being performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet next weekend. Chicken Bone Brain shares a program with works by George Balanchine and British choreographer David Dawson at Philadelphia’s Merriam Theatre November 10-13. more

October 26, 2016

Princeton Council passed an ordinance Monday night to re-establish a Civil Rights Commission. The proposal to form the Commission, which previously existed from 1968 to 1998, was officially introduced last month.

Before the vote was taken, there was considerable discussion among Council and members of a subcommittee of the town’s Human Services department about the intake process for those registering complaints of discrimination, and the setting up of outside mediation should an issue not be internally resolved. The subcommittee has worked on the issue for the past two years. more


FUN WITH DONALD AND HILLARY: The Second City comedy troupe pokes fun at the presidential campaign with a show at NJPAC on October 29. Princeton-bred Carley Moseley, fourth from left, is a member of the cast.

The current presidential campaign is a gold mine for Carley Moseley and her fellow performers from the Chicago-based comedy troupe, Second City. Please Don’t Feed the Candidates, the title of their touring show at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center this Saturday night, October 29, says it all.

“I’m sitting here watching part of the speech Trump gave laying out his first 100 days in office,” said Ms. Moseley, who grew up in Princeton. She spoke last weekend from a hotel in Michigan, where the troupe was appearing as part of its current tour.  more


STAR OF THE SHOWPLACES: Part of the original Moses Taylor Pyne estate, this house at 505 Mercer Road has a dairy barn with floor-to-ceiling tilework by Rafael Guastavino, whose work is in some New York City subway stations. The 1901 home is among five on this year’s Historical Society of Princeton House Tour. (Photo by Izzy Kasdin)

Every fall for the past 15 years, The Historical Society of Princeton has searched out eye-catching residences to feature on its annual fundraiser, the House Tour. This year’s crop of five, the first since Izzy Kasdin took over as executive director last May, combines the historically significant with the adaptively re-used. The tour is Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. more

October 23, 2016


MAKING IT EASIER TO TALK ABOUT RACE: Princeton High School seniors Priya Vulchi, left, and Winona Guo, right, have spent the past two years creating a teacher-tool textbook to help encourage dialogue in the classroom about race and ethnicity. The second edition, recently released, is 224 pages and a third is in the works.

Between them, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo have grown up in seven different countries. Priya, who is Indian American; and Winona, whose first language is Chinese, know first-hand about feeling like an outsider because of race and ethnicity. more

October 19, 2016


Just a few days before it was headed to trial, a case in which 27 Princeton residents were suing Princeton University over property tax exemptions was settled last Friday. The school will pay out $18.2 million over the next six years to help lower-income residents of the town pay their property tax bills.

The plaintiffs had claimed the school was profiting from research and development in certain campus buildings and should therefore be taxed. The University maintained that educational purposes were the focus. The suit has been dropped. more

October 12, 2016

Princeton High School was evacuated Tuesday morning after Princeton Police received a call threatening that there was a bomb inside the school. The threat, which came from an unknown male, was called in about 10:15 a.m., and officials immediately emptied out the building and brought in bomb-sniffing K-9 dogs. No device was found. more


HONORED FOR VOLUNTEERING: Set to receive awards October 25 for their work helping area non-profits through VolunteerConnect are, left to right: recipients Mika and Pat Ryan, Jane Latini, Kathy Lo Bue, and Aquatia Owens. The honorees gathered recently at a special event launch held at CoolVines in Princeton.

Back when Amy Klein was a stay-at-home Mom, she was asked to join a local non-profit’s board of trustees. She gave it some serious thought. But ultimately, she declined. more

October 5, 2016

The Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS), in a statement released last week, continued to accuse the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of “flagrant disregard” for the “widespread and longstanding public opposition” to its plans to build 15 faculty housing units on a seven-acre tract at the edge of the battlefield.

Institute Director of Communications Christine Ferrara stated, “the project continues to move ahead, as we have all the necessary regulatory approvals to proceed. As we have stated previously, the plan as configured addresses the concerns raised by the opposition, and will be adding 14 acres of open space adjacent to the current Battlefield State Park.” more


EXONERATED: This father-and-son photo of Kerry Max Cook, who spent 22 years on Texas death row before his innocence was finally revealed, is among the images by Diane Bladecki in a show opening Friday at the Arts Council of Princeton. Mr. Cook, who went to prison at 17 and was freed at 50, ended up using Ms. Bladecki’s photograph on the cover of a book about his journey. (Photo by Diane Bladecki)

At a performance in New York of the play The Exonerated about wrongfully committed prisoners, Diane Bladecki noticed that the photographs lining the lobby made their subjects look exactly like what they were not: criminals. more

Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber is expected to be the first witness in a property tax case scheduled to go to court in Trenton this week. The University is being sued by Princeton residents who are challenging the tax exempt status of several of its properties.

The issue is being watched closely by educational institutions and non-profits. The lawsuit, which dates back four years, says the University should pay taxes on the buildings it rents out for private functions. The suit also maintains that the school shares profits with professors on some of the patents they receive and the research they conduct. Lawyers for the school have argued that the buildings serve its educational mission and should therefore be exempt. more

The recent news that Governor Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Vincent Prieto have reached an agreement on funding for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund means that work may finally resume on stalled road projects across the state.

But completing one of those projects, the reconstruction of Valley Road, remains on hold while the 23-cent increase in the gasoline tax awaits approval. more