April 18, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Community policing, including many outreach programs, positive police-citizen interaction, and improved communication through direct contacts and use of technology — along with successful recruitment and training — are the key themes that emerge in the Princeton Police Department’s 2017 Annual Report, and in subsequent reflections offered by PPD Chief Nick Sutter. more

By Donald Gilpin

Two expert panelists in favor of legalization of marijuana in New Jersey and two opposed presented “The Dope on Marijuana Legalization,” an information and discussion session hosted by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) on Sunday, April 15 at the Suzanne Patterson Center.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, sponsor of a current bill in the State Assembly for legalization; and David Nathan, Princeton psychiatrist, educator and founder and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, spoke first, presenting their perspectives and cases for legalization of recreational marijuana. more

PATTERNS IN SCIENCE AND LIFE: Freeman Dyson (on left), renowned as mathematician, physicist, and original thinker on multiple topics, talked with Institute for Advanced Study Director Robbert Dijkgraaf last Friday, April 13 at a celebration of Dyson’s new book, “Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters.” (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

By Donald Gilpin

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) celebrated Freeman Dyson, the longest-serving professor in the Institute’s history, and his new book, Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters, with a public reading and interview on Friday, April 13 in Wolfensohn Hall on the IAS campus. more

April 11, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Inequity in school punishment and persistently high rates of suspension and expulsion for students of color and students with special needs have been a problem at many schools across the country and a controversial issue locally, including a complaint filed with the Princeton Civil Rights Commission just last January.

Rutgers University Psychology Professor Anne Gregory, a national expert on the subject of restorative justice, equity in school discipline, and community-building will speak to a gathering Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) auditorium. more

By Donald Gilpin

Engineering and the arts will interweave in a variety of venues and manifestations April 12-13 on the Princeton University campus in a series of performances, panel sessions, and a keynote address by American sculptor and fiber artist Janet Echelman. The event is presented by Princeton University’s Council on Science and Technology (CST) and is co-hosted by Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and by the Lewis Center for the Arts. more

April 4, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Andrew Weber, former assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs, and two student leaders for gun safety, Princeton High School senior Dziyana Zubialevich and Princeton University freshman Ben Bollinger, will be featured at a Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) gathering on Sunday afternoon, April 8, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton on Cherry Hill Road.  more

BOG TURTLE BILL: From left, Riverside fifth grader Vita Moss-Wang, John Witherspoon sixth grader Avi Weiss, Senator Kip Bateman, and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker prepare to testify in support of making the endangered bog turtle New Jersey’s official state reptile. (Photo Courtesy of SenateNJ.com)

By Donald Gilpin

The bog turtle (glyptemis muhlenbergii), one of the smallest and rarest turtles in North America, is on its way to becoming the first state reptile, if a bill promoted by Princeton Public School students and their teachers and sponsored by State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman becomes law. more

DOING REAL SCIENCE: The seven students in PDS’s new REx science research experience program have all been accepted into summer internships at some of the top university science labs in the country. From left, the students are Angela Talusan, Jacob Tharayil, Walter Emann, Lydia Wu, Eleanor Myers, Raina Kasera, and Elsie Wang, with their teacher Carrie Norin.

By Donald Gilpin

Researching climate change pressure on marine ecosystems, or lung function in 9/11 first responders, or protein design and antibiotic resistance, or memory and learning and Alzheimer’s disease, or liver cancer and cancer immunotherapy in the setting of some of the top university science laboratories in the country do not sound like typical high school science class experiences.

They’re not, but they are among the internship experiences that the seven Princeton Day School (PDS) juniors in Carrie Norin’s new REx Program are looking forward to this summer.  more

March 28, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Optimistic organizers anticipated hundreds, but thousands of people showed up in Hinds Plaza Saturday to join Princeton’s March for Our Lives rally, one of more than 800 across the country in support of the national march in Washington, D.C., demanding that lawmakers take action against gun violence.

Estimated at more than 4,000, the crowd overflowed the Plaza. Witherspoon and Hulfish streets were closed to traffic.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) have projected a cost of just over $137 million for an October 2 facilities referendum that would include a new 5/6 school at Valley Road, major renovations to Princeton High School, infrastructure and security improvements for all school buildings, and relocation of central office administration.

More than $24 million of the referendum costs will be funded by grants from the state. Starting in 2020, taxpayers will see an additional $678 for the average assessed home valued at $837,074, as old and new debt overlap for four years, rising to $823 in 2021. By 2023 the additional cost will be $319 for the average assessed home.  more

WILLIAMS PRESIDENT-ELECT: Maud Mandel, dean and history professor at Brown University, has been appointed as the 18th president of Williams College. Mandel grew up in Princeton, attending Littlebrook, John Witherspoon, and Princeton High Schools. (Photo by Webb Chappell)

By Donald Gilpin

The Williams College Board of Trustees on March 11 appointed Maud S. Mandel as the college’s 18th president. However she began developing her leadership skills and intellectual attributes long ago, as a child growing up in Princeton. 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 Donald Gilpin

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has announced that it will donate $500,000 to the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) over the next five years, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

“The Institute for Advanced Study is proud to be an engaged partner in the Princeton community and greatly values its superb public schools,” said Institute Director Robbert Dijkgraaf. “The Institute and the Princeton Public School District share a common commitment to education and pursuit of knowledge. Our gift will support the Princeton Public Schools as they educate our children to lead lives of joy and purpose in a global society.” more

HONORING THE HISTORY: Shirley Satterfield (at podium), president of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, unveiled the first four Heritage Tour Plaques and recognized the Society’s board of trustees (surrounding her) at a reception Friday afternoon at Studio Hillier on Witherspoon Street. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The Joint Effort Safe Streets Program, which presents an array of Witherspoon-Jackson Community (W-J) activities each August, added a spring celebration this year with three memorable events taking place last week. more

March 14, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

In more than 20 different events held last Saturday and also scheduled for today, Princeton is celebrating the 139th birthday of one of its most famous residents. Albert Einstein, who came here from Germany in 1933 and joined the Institute for Advanced Study, with which he was affiliated until his death in 1955, was born on March 14, 3.14, the numeric equivalent of Pi.

The annual celebration, founded and organized for the past 10 years by Princeton Tour Company CEO Mimi Omiecinski, honors Pi, mathematics, science, famous Princeton geniuses, local merchants, and, of course, Albert Einstein, who lived at 33 Mercer Street.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Architects from Fielding Nair International and Spiezle Architectural Group presented their preliminary designs for a 5/6 school and the transformation of the Princeton High School (PHS) building at a special meeting of the Princeton Board of Education at the Valley Road administrative building last night.

The plans will continue to be adjusted based on feedback from the Board, staff, students, and the community, as Princeton Public Schools (PPS) prepares to submit its tentative design plans to the State Board of Education in April in preparation for a facilities referendum on October 2.  more

PIED PIPER OF THE ART ROOM: Tanya Vail collaborates with her students in a working studio environment in the Chapin School art room. About 20 years ago she decided to give up her job as a graphic designer to become a full-time teacher, and has never looked back. “I figured that the universe had pointed me in this direction for some reason,” she said. (Photo Courtesy of Tanya Vail)

By Donald Gilpin

The start of Tanya Vail’s teaching career was less than auspicious.

She was working as a graphic designer at a publishing house in Nashville, Tennessee, when she saw an ad for someone to teach freshman graphic design classes at a local design college.

“I started out teaching one class,” she recalled. “My first class was terrible — a complete crash and burn. I had never done it from that point of view before. I had been in the student’s seat but not the one lecturing from the front. It was so bad. If I could have, I would have walked out.” more

March 7, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

“It could’ve been us,” reads the Facebook announcement of the PHS Walkout to Protest Gun Violence. “Join us on Wednesday, March 14th. Front lawn.”

In conjunction with thousands of schools across the country, the Princeton High School (PHS) student-led demonstration, seeking stricter gun laws, will protest “the government’s mishandling and lack of change over gun violence in America.”  more

By Donald Gilpin

A psychiatrist, an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer, and a retired New Jersey state trooper presented the case for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana to end the negative effects caused by current laws, in “Beyond the Bias,” a forum sponsored by New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform (NJUMR) at the Princeton Public Library last Thursday evening.

“It’s a civil liberties issue,” ACLU Policy Counsel Dianna Houenou said. “We’re in the midst of a civil rights crisis.” Citing nearly 25,000 arrests for marijauna possession in New Jersey each year, with African Americans arrested at a rate three times higher than whites, Houenou argued for “reform with racial and social justice at the heart of it.” more

RAPID RESPONSE: Joel Wattacheril, representing the Reformed Church of Highland Park’s Project DIRE (Deportation and Immigration Response), and Adriana Abizadeh, executive director of LALDEF, spoke to a gathering at St. Paul’s Church last Thursday about preparation for ICE raids. (Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Mann)

By Donald Gilpin

The six-month deadline for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program passed on Monday, but court rulings have blocked President Trump from terminating the program for now, and the DREAMers remain in limbo.

Trump passed the problem to Congress to resolve disagreements over the DACA program, which protected people brought to the country illegally as children from deportation, but negotiations in Congress have made little progress. There are currently more than 17,600 DACA recipients in New Jersey, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. more

February 28, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

As Princeton Public Schools prepare to submit preliminary designs to the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) in preparation for the October 2 Facilities Referendum, the need for more space is clear, but the question of what sort of space is still under discussion.

PPS Superintendent Steve Cochrane emphasized widespread participation in the planning process. “We are particularly pleased with the level of involvement from our students, our staff, and our community in helping shape the plans for the referendum. We have established a direction С from designing classrooms that will allow for more flexible learning to enhancing facilities for athletics to incorporating commitment to sustainability С that will support the skills our students need to flourish now and in the future.” more

“WEEDING OUT THE TRUTH”: A panel of experts at Rider University last week discussed the impact of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. From left, Grace Hanlon, director of New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (RAMP); Cathleen Lewis, former mayor of Lawrenceville; Diane Litterer, CEO and executive director of New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN); Stephen D. Reid, mayor of Point Pleasant Beach; and Robert Czepiel, supervising New Jersey deputy attorney general.

By Donald Gilpin

Bills to legalize the recreational use of marijuana have been introduced in the state Assembly and the state Senate. Legalizing marijuana was part of Governor Phil Murphy’s campaign platform, and he continues to support the cause, citing social justice concerns and a racial disparity in marijuana arrests and prison sentences. But the heated debate over cannabis legalization in New Jersey continues. more

FOREIGN POLICY CHALLENGES: Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns spoke to a capacity crowd in Princeton University’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium on Monday, warning of difficulties and dangers ahead in U.S. international relations. He focused his remarks on Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

By Donald Gilpin

With both deep worries and occasional doses of optimism as he focused on daunting challenges in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns offered a rich overview of “American Foreign Policy in an Era of Turbulence and Trump,” to a packed audience of about 200 in Princeton University’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium on Monday afternoon.

A career ambassador with 33 years in diplomacy and currently “a recovering diplomat” serving as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Burns described a turbulent global landscape “against the backdrop of the Trump administration, which has its own turbulence.” more

February 21, 2018

JOURNEY OF HOPE: Thirty individuals, including 11 undocumented youth and allies, demanding a clean DREAM Act and the right to stay home, stopped in Princeton on Saturday on their 15-day walk from New York to Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the hospitality of volunteers and the Princeton Nassau Presbyterian Church for dinner and shelter. (Photo by Veronica Olivares-Weber and Shelby Guzman)

By Donald Gilpin

With immigration proposals failing in Congress last week and two separate federal courts having blocked President Trump from ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), federal efforts to resolve immigration issues may remain bogged down, but local organizations and individuals are taking action. more

By Donald Gilpin

A new installation by Walter Hood has been commissioned by Princeton University to be placed on the plaza beside the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS) С a step forward in the University’s ongoing struggles with the tarnished legacy of Woodrow Wilson.

The work will be one of the results of the recommendations of a Princeton University trustee committee that proposed a permanent marker at WWS “to educate the campus community and others about the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson’s legacy.” more