June 28, 2017

Last week’s announcement of a two-year extension of the contract between the Princeton School Board and the teachers’ union marks “a real game changer,” according to Board President Patrick Sullivan, in the relationship between the board and teachers that has in the past seen significant conflict over contract negotiations.

The original contract was scheduled to conclude in June of 2018. The new agreement, ratified by teachers on June 19 and approved by the board at a special meeting on June 20, extends the contract through 2020.  more

NASH PARK: A sculpture of Nobel Laureate John Nash and his wife Alicia Nash will be created by Gyuri Hollosy of Grounds For Sculpture and erected in West Windsor’s Nash Park on Alexander Road.

“A beautiful place for a beautiful mind and a loving heart” reads the plaque in West Windsor’s Nash Park, dedicated in honor of Nobel Laureate John Nash and his wife Alicia Nash. And soon a sculpture of the mathematician and his wife will be added as an enhancement to the Alexander Road park.

West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh announced last week that either busts or full figures of John and Alicia Nash,
created by the artist Gyuri Hollosy of Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, assisted by Joseph W. Acquah, will become a permanent part of the park, which was named after the two West Windsor residents after they died in an automobile accident on the New Jersey Turnpike in 2015. more

TALK SHOW TALENT: From left, Jenny Yaros, Misha Meyer, and Rachel Bierman, three local teenagers who have developed a successful talk show on Princeton Community Television, look forward to continuing “Cue the Lights” for at least two more years as they polish their interviewing and performance skills.

If you want to find out what’s on the minds of some of the most interesting people and what goes on in some of the most interesting places in the Princeton area, you might want to tune in to Cue the Lights, a Princeton Community Television (PCT) show on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m.  more

June 26, 2017

ADOPTING AN ASH: Jason Bond, plant health care specialist at Bartlett Tree Experts, injects the white ash behind the War Memorial bench at Nassau and Mercer Streets with pesticides to attack the emerald ash borer. It is Princeton’s first street tree to be injected in the selective chemical resistance effort funded by Princeton’s ongoing Adopt-an-Ash program. (Photo Courtesy of Patricia Frawley and Alexandra Radbil)

A 50-year-old white ash behind the War Memorial bench at Nassau and Mercer Streets last Wednesday became Princeton’s first street tree to receive the chemical resistance necessary to attack the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB). more

June 21, 2017

In the wake of the June 6 primary contests, both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for the November general elections, with the New Jersey governor’s race in the spotlight and state Senate and Assembly seats also up for grabs.

Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) President Owen O’Donnell urged Democrats to rally behind nominee Phil Murphy, who won Princeton only narrowly over PCDO-endorsed John Wisniewski in the primary, but triumphed handily in the statewide vote. more

Artifacts found recently on the Princeton Battlefield, including rifle balls and buckshot, period buttons, brass buckles, and an iron axe head, are helping to shed light on the events of January 3, 1777.

An archeological and historical study just completed by the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and its consultants, archeologist Wade Catts of Commonwealth Heritage Associates and historian Robert Selig, did not yet find an anticipated mass burial site, but they will be carrying out additional investigations in the coming months.  more

June 14, 2017

In a five-page letter delivered Monday, Acting State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington denied the Princeton Board of Education’s request to stay, pending resolution of an appeal, her February 28 decision approving Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) proposal to expand enrollment and implement a weighted admissions lottery.

The School Board appealed the acting commissioner’s decision to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court on March 10, and on March 17 the Board requested a stay to enjoin PCS from implementing the weighted lottery and expansion pending resolution of the appeal. more

It was announced on Monday that Robert K. Durkee will be stepping down as Princeton University’s vice president for public affairs, a role he has held since 1978, but he will remain in the position of vice president and secretary of the University.

In sharing a few reflections on his career so far, Mr. Durkee, who arrived at Princeton as a student in 1965, graduated in 1969, and began working in the University president’s office as assistant to the president in 1972, chose to focus “on my engagement on behalf of the university with the communities in which it is located.” more

Princeton High School (PHS) Senior Jamaica Ponder was suspended for one day Monday in what her father, Rhinold Ponder, claims was “arbitrary and retaliatory” punitive action, “an attempt to silence some of those who would speak up about racism.” Ms. Ponder and her parents are African Americans.

In a letter sent to the school community last week, PHS Principal Gary Snyder reported that several students had submitted PHS yearbook collages including “insensitive, offensive, and provocative words and symbols of racial bias, bigotry, and anti-Semitism. Those students who submitted the inappropriate collages are responsible for their actions, and those actions are being addressed within the parameters of school discipline.”  more

June 7, 2017

The Princeton School Board and the teachers’ union are ironing out the final details of a two-year extension to the current contract that would carry through to the end of the 2020 school year.

Seeking to avoid the kind of conflict and public demonstrations that characterized the contentious negotiations over the current contract, which were finally resolved two years ago, the board and the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) have laid the groundwork to reach an agreement at least a year before the contract expires on June 30, 2018.  more

In the primary races for governor, the only contested clashes on the ballot in Princeton, Phil Murphy, former Goldman Sachs executive and ambassador to Germany, easily defeated his Democratic opponents, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno eked out a close victory over Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli to gain the Republican nomination.

According to unofficial results, Mr. Murphy and Ms. Guadagno will be the candidates in the November 7 election for the four-year term to succeed Governor Chris Christie.  According to the Mercer County Clerk’s Office, with 94 percent (228 of 243) of districts reporting, Mr. Murphy received 10,488 votes or 45 percent of the vote, while John Wisniewski got 5,784 or 25 percent in the Democratic primary. Jim Johnson earned 5,396 votes, Raymond J. Lesniak 746, Bill Brennan 482, and Mark Zinna 158.  more

SAVE HER A SEAT: Gita Varadarajan, second grade teacher at Riverside School, has co-authored a book, “Save Me a Seat,” that Rhode island selected for this year’s Kids Reading Across Rhode Island initiative. She looks forward to her ongoing career as an author and educator.

Rhode Island celebrated “Save Me a Seat Day” on May 13, 2017 in honor of a recently published book co-authored by Riverside School second grade teacher Gita Varadarajan.

As part of the One State, One Book initiative and Kids Reading Across Rhode Island 2017 for students in grades three to six, the special day included an event at the state house with the authors, writing workshops, book signings, family activities, and even Indian dance and cricket demonstrations related to the cross-cultural theme of the book. more

May 31, 2017

“Immigrants Are Welcome Here” read the sign at the Nassau Street Presbyterian Church, as last Wednesday’s meeting on immigration issues echoed that sentiment and a range of related themes.

In the current climate of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids and arrests in several states and widespread fears and rumors, the meeting at Nassau Presbyterian Church last week included about 130 local leaders, business owners, academics, and other supporters of the work of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF).

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Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, will present the keynote address at the Coalition for Peace Action’s (CFPA) 37th Anniversary Membership Dinner and Gathering on Sunday, June 4 in the Mackay Campus Center of Princeton Theological Seminary.

At the program the CFPA will also honor the Muslims4Peace organization and three state legislators who have championed the prevention of gun violence.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: Dr. Aly Cohen, a local internist specializing in comprehensive rheumatology, integrative medicine, and environmental health, will present two more lectures in her Environmental Health Lecture Series at Princeton High School this Wednesday and next Wednesday.

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May 24, 2017

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS: Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, recently appointed as special counsel to investigate President Trump’s campaign ties with Russia, was presented with the 2017 Princeton Day School Alumni Achievement Award in April in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mueller is an alumnus of Princeton Country Day School, one of the founding schools of PDS. (Photo Courtesy of PDS)

Last week was an eventful one for former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. On Wednesday, Mr. Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to investigate ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, and on Saturday he was honored (in absentia) with Princeton Day School’s (PDS) Alumni Achievement Award as a member of the class of 1959 at Princeton Country Day School (PCDS), one of the founding schools of PDS. more

The Veblen house and cottage in the Herrontown Woods nature preserve remain on the Mercer County agenda for demolition despite a positive meeting last week between Princeton officials and the Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) preservation group, which is seeking to take over the property and make needed repairs.

“Everybody on Council is looking for some sort of way forward that makes sense and that helps enhance the park,” said Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. “I think we’re getting closer. I’m optimistic we can find a way forward.” more

QUAKER-MUSLIM BOND: Eighth-graders from Princeton Friends and Noor-Ul-Iman Schools visited the United Nations in New York together last week, continuing a long-term relationship between the two schools. (Photo by Jane Fremon)

The teachers were having difficulty getting their eighth-graders to quiet down and listen to instructions as they worked on an art project. The conversations were animated among the approximately 50 excited children sitting together at round tables. more

May 17, 2017

Where will Princeton be in 20 years? What sorts of personal transportation will be used? How should Princeton balance future change and plan its redevelopment?

These and many more questions will be the focus of a forum on the future of Princeton to be held in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. more

CHASING GEORGE: Following George Washington’s route to Princeton Battlefield, “Chasing George” and Ciclovia on Quaker Road this Sunday are just two of the many bicycling events taking place in Princeton during National Bike Month. (Sketch Courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton)

May is National Bike Month, and Princeton is celebrating with an array of biking events.

Mayor Liz Lempert has proclaimed this Friday, May 19, as Bike to Work Day in Princeton, during National Bike to Work Week. Bike to School Days are scheduled on different dates throughout the month.  more

FORTY-SIX YEARS OF SAFE CROSSING: Andy Tamasi, honored last week with an award of recognition from the Princeton Council, has served as a school crossing guard at various locations in Princeton since 1971.

More than 200,000 Princeton school children over the past 46 years have crossed the street under the watchful eye of crossing guard Costantino “Andy” Tamasi. There have been no injuries and no accidents.  more

May 10, 2017

The emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation continues to spread in the Princeton area, and time is running out for government officials and local residents to take action.

First sighted here in August 2015, the invasive beetle is expected, within three to five years, to kill all of Princeton’s approximately 2,000 ash trees if untreated С almost 11 percent of the town’s tree population. more

PENNY POLL: Participants’ priorities on spending for military, education, health care, environment, and housing clashed with the actual federal budget in an informal poll conducted by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, which is urging taxpayers to contact their representatives in Washington.

Participants in a “penny poll” last week at Communiversity voted for 72 percent of their tax dollars to go into education, health care and the environment, with just 13 percent to the military. In fact 54 percent of the discretionary budget for Congress for FY 2016 was allocated for military spending, and President Trump recently proposed a $54 billion increase for the armed forces. more

Last week’s incident of racial bias involving John Witherspoon Middle School students brought a rapid, forceful response from school authorities.

“One student falsely accused another student because he was black,” Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane wrote in a letter to parents, students, and staff. “An investigation immediately ensued. The black student was quickly exonerated. The student making the accusation received appropriate consequences.” more

May 3, 2017

The future of the Veblen house and cottage in the Herrontown Woods nature preserve remains in doubt, as the Mercer County Recreation Commission prepares for demolition and the Princeton-based Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) continues to seek support from the Town Council and others to take over the property and make needed repairs. more