November 25, 2015

In the aftermath of a 32-hour sit-in at Nassau Hall, culminating last Thursday in an agreement, a follow-up letter Sunday from University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, and much ensuing controversy, Princeton University will be examining its past, present, and future in order to “make Princeton a more welcoming and supportive community for all its members.”

At the center of the controversy are two Princeton University presidents: Woodrow Wilson, University president from 1902 to 1910 and U.S. president from 1913-21, whom Princeton has honored with the establishment of its prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and its Wilson residential college, but whose record on race is disturbing; and Mr. Eisgruber, currently in his third year as Princeton president, who, after acknowledging that Woodrow Wilson was racist, met last Wednesday and Thursday with the protesting members of the Black Justice League (BJL) student organization, and agreed to follow up on their concerns in a series of discussions with trustees and various groups of students, staff and alumni. more

Six new police officers, sworn in two weeks ago, are preparing to take on the ever-increasing challenges of police work in Princeton 2016.

From a pool of more than 800 applicants, the officers passed a written exam, a physical exam, two panel reviews, an intensive background investigation, and two additional interviews.

Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter described the search for “a diverse pool of candidates who possess intelligence, integrity, empathy, strong communication skills, and physical fitness.”

The number of officers in the Princeton Police Department (PPD) will remain at 52, with the new recruits taking the place of retirees over the past few years.  more

November 18, 2015

Input, input, and more input is the mantra of the Bike Master Planners as they gather information from all varieties of bicycle riders, non-riders, homeowners, merchants, and other community members in the ongoing creation of a Bike Master Plan to serve all stakeholders and advance Princeton’s Complete Streets Policy.

At stake, they claim, is nothing less than the quality of life in the community С its environment and its health, as well as a solution for traffic congestion and parking problems.

Hundreds of citizens have responded so far to an online survey, a wiki mapping tool and comment forms, and about 80 concerned residents gathered last Thursday in the Community Room at 400 Witherspoon Street to find out what’s going on and to make sure their voices were heard by engineers, local officials, and other members of the planning group. more

As of January 5, according to Frontier Airlines, commercial planes from Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN) will fly to just four destinations, all in Florida. Frontier, the only commercial carrier serving TTN, plans to resume service to six other destinations in the spring.

“The changes are being made based on supply and demand,” stated Frontier Corporate Communications Representative Jim Faulkner. “There’s a greater demand to travel to warm destinations in the winter so that’s where Frontier’s focus is.” more

Theater rev 11-18-15 Bengal

GO, TIGER!: The Tiger (Victoria Davidjohn, center), who serves as narrator, aggressor, victim, and philosopher; is guarded by two U.S. Marines, Kev (Max Feldman, left) and Tom (Matt Chuckran) in war-torn Baghdad in Theatre Intime’s production of Rajiv Joseph’s dark surrealistic comedy “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” (2009), playing at the Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus through November 21.

The legacy of Saddam Hussein and the repercussions of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq continue to haunt us. Playwright Rajiv Joseph, who understands the power of ghosts and the inexorable reverberations of violence and corruption, would not be surprised.

Mr. Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (2009) is a war story, a dark comedy, with much more darkness than humor. Set in Baghdad in 2003, the first days of the Iraq War, the play is strikingly, shockingly realistic in its depictions of the brutalities of war and its effects on all parties involved. But it is also disturbingly surrealistic, with ghosts gradually taking over the stage from live characters, and an eloquent, acerbic, philosophical tiger presiding over the proceedings.  more

November 11, 2015

An educator, a businessman (and boy scout leader), and a lawyer with extensive experience in regulatory and compliance law and finance won election to three-year-terms on the Princeton School Board last week.

Optimism, deep experience, and commitment to excellence for the district and its students characterize the three elected leaders, but their particular areas of expertise and their priorities reveal both contrasts and similarities.

Elected to office on November 3 were Elizabeth (Betsy) Kalber Baglio, former public school teacher and educational consultant, who won 2428 votes; incumbent Patrick Sullivan, private investor, former corporate lawyer and investment banker, who gained 2306 votes; and Dafna Kendal, a lawyer, who received 2032 votes. Robert Dodge, a research scientist working in a bio-pharmaceutical company, fell short in his bid, with 1780 votes. Each candidate has two children enrolled in the district.  more

Where are the Steve Jobs, the Bill Gates and the Mark Zuckerbergs of the next generation? You might want to check out the giant hackathon at Princeton University’s Friend Center this weekend.

More than 600 students from over 80 universities will descend on the Princeton campus this Friday through Sunday to experiment with cutting edge technology and participate in HackPrinceton, a collaborative and competitive software and hardware creation marathon.

“Student hackers are the CTOs, founders, and innovators of tomorrow,” stated Mike Swift, co-founder of Major League Hacking, the official student hackathon league, which supports this event and more than 150 others in North America and Europe every year. “These students are already making amazing projects now. Imagine what they will be doing in a few years.” more

Everything you always wanted to know about animals — and probably a lot of interesting information you didn’t even know you wanted to know — is coming over the air in Pets and Their People on 920AM The Voice.

Broadcast every Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., the show, sponsored by Dogs and Cats Rule pet stores, just celebrated its 100th episode, discussing everything animal-related from puppy mills to therapy dogs to a mountain lion that climbed a telephone pole, a zoo visitor who decided to pet a polar bear, and a dog who suffered predictable consequences when he chose to confront a porcupine (last three incidents did not actually take place in the studio).

Of all the many visitors to the show, Bocker the Labradoodle (combination Labrador and poodle), a celebrity therapy dog, boasted the most impressive resume. Featured in many different TV commercials and movies, he’s listed as the author of a book and a coloring book, and he’s been on the cover of the Tommy Hilfiger Magazine, and appeared in Target Magazine and Animal Planets Dogs 101.  more

November 4, 2015

Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, both Democrats, were re-elected to Princeton Council in the general election on Tuesday. Ms. Howard received 2665 votes, while Mr. Liverman earned 2517. These are unofficial results.

Contesting them were Republicans Kelly Di Tosto, who got 1067 votes, and Lynn Lu Irving, who earned 968. Both Ms. Di Tosto and Ms. Irving were new to the local political scene. Mr. Liverman served on Township Committee and Ms. Howard on Borough Council prior to consolidation in 2013, when both became members of the merged Princeton Council. more

Investigations continue, as local school and police officials work with the FBI and other state and federal authorities to confront the fraudulent bomb threats at area schools.

About 50 parents of Princeton school children joined Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter and Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane in the John Witherspoon School Auditorium last Thursday evening for a Community Forum on Swatting, a discussion of the ongoing investigations of swatting threats and the evolving responses implemented to help mitigate these “acts of terrorism,” as Mr. Sutter described them.  more

You see them blowing in the street or beside the road. You’ll see them if you wander into the woods. You’ll see them in streams, rivers, and the ocean. You probably have a few in your car, maybe a bag full in your garage or under the sink or in the kitchen closet.

Each of us brings home hundreds of plastic bags every year — more than 100 billion total in the United States, according to the United States International Trade Commission. There’s widespread agreement that this is a problem for our environment, and widespread disagreement over the best thing to do about it. Can we break our addiction to plastic bags, which didn’t appear in grocery stores until the late 1970s, and embrace reusable non-plastic bags?  more

November 2, 2015


“BEAUTIFUL MINDS”: John and Alicia Nash, who died in a car crash on May 23, were celebrated last Saturday in a full day of lectures on Nash’s work followed by a Remembrance Service in the Princeton University Chapel. (Courtesy of Princeton University)

“His life story is something out of a fairy tale, a Greek myth or a Shakespeare play,” said biographer Sylvia Nasar, at last Saturday’s celebration of the life and work of John F. Nash, Jr. at Princeton University.

Hundreds of admirers of Professor Nash and his wife Alicia, who died in a car crash on May 23 on the New Jersey Turnpike on their return home from Norway where he had received the coveted Abel Prize, gathered for a day of lectures, culminating in an early evening Service of Remembrance in the University Chapel.  more

October 28, 2015

Thomas John Muza, 57, of Hightstown, was sentenced to state prison Friday for embezzling $240,000 from the Princeton University Triangle Club over a period of five years, 2008-2013. He was the Triangle Club’s accountant from 1993 to 2013.

According to the Attorney General’s office, Mr. Muza pleaded guilty on March 27 to a charge of second degree theft by unlawful taking. In addition to his sentence, he must pay a restitution of $240,000. At the sentencing hearing he had already paid $200,000 of that sum. more

October 21, 2015

Page 1 PU Safety

In the change of a longstanding policy, Princeton University Department of Public Safety (PUDPS) Executive Director Paul Ominsky last week announced that sworn department officers will have access to rifles in the event of “two specific situations С an active shooter or someone brandishing a firearm on campus.”

Mr. Ominsky emphasized the importance of rapid response time in cases of threats of a violent nature and the current thinking that getting an armed officer to the scene as quickly as possible is the safest, most effective response to the presence of an active shooter. Under the current policy, the PUDPS would have to call on the Princeton Police Department (PPD) to provide an armed response to an active shooter on campus.  more


MARS, HERE I COME!: James Wray, Princeton Junction native, now Georgia Tech Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, led a research team that confirmed the presence of water and the possibility of life on Mars. He’s eager to follow up on that discovery. (Photo Courtesy of James Wray)

When James Wray was a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, he had ambitious dreams. According to a May 2002 Star Ledger article, “James hopes some day to become an astronaut. ‘I’ve always dreamed of walking on Mars,’ he says.”

Well, not yet, but it looks like he’s on his way.

Flash back to a TV news conference on Monday three weeks ago, where NASA scientists were preparing to announce that liquid water is flowing on the surface of Mars, providing a crucial clue that life might exist on the red planet.  more

Photo By Roger Mastroianni

At dinner Saturday night before the show, with some old friends I hadn’t seen for a few months, the conversation was not unexpected. With a pleasant balance of seriousness and humor, we caught up on the latest news in our middle age (late middle age?) lives: our children and their challenges in school and in starting out in the world after college; other friends and family, and how difficult it can be for adults to get along with each other; politics and our worries about the dysfunctions in our government; the state of our environment, and what sort of world we’re leaving for our children; mortality, aging, and and how fast the decades have sped by. more

October 14, 2015

FrontierWith Frontier Airlines promoting low fares and less stress than a trip to airports in Philadelphia or Newark, Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN) is becoming a busy spot.

A report from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covering the 12-month period ending March 31, 2015, shows Trenton-Mercer serving 394,815 passengers, a 105 percent increase over the previous year. The FAA also reports that Frontier made over $33 million at TTN last year, a 98 percent increase over the previous year.

TNN ranks fourth in New Jersey and 19th among the Eastern Region’s 59 commercial service airports in terms of the number of passengers using the facility.  more

pg 3 pic flamencoThe Festival Cultural Latino was getting off to a slow start two weekends ago on Hinds Plaza. A handful of patrons browsed through tempting foods and crafts from a variety of Latino cultures, provided by local artisans and restaurants.

Suddenly, everyone’s attention turned toward the north end of the plaza, where a crowd had gathered. What had looked like only a smattering of participants moments before soon became a crowd of 100 or more clapping to the rhythms, punctuated by castanets and rapid-fire clacking of shoes on the pavement. All were enjoying the lively, colorful performance — proud dancers in swirling bright dresses, with sweeping scarves and capes — of Lisa Botalico and her Spanish dance students.

Grabbing the spectators’ attention and exciting her students and audiences, in Princeton, throughout the area and beyond, has been a passionate priority for Ms. Botalico for most of her life.

The busy choreographer-dancer-teacher described some of the sources of her inspiration and success, all based on her “unwavering belief that Spanish Dance, especially flamenco, is a celebration of life, and everyone is welcome to celebrate their lives with me! Since flamenco is traditionally a familial and communal dance, my classes are open. Students get used to being watched and are therefore ready to perform for the public. Flamenco can be performed just about anywhere, so we are able to reach out to the public in many forums such as senior centers, outdoor festivals, and private functions. Flamenco simply delights the public!”

The 20 minute demonstration at Festival Cultural Latino epitomized Ms. Botalico’s dynamic dual roles as performer and teacher. A contingent of five young dancers performed the Tanguillo and a dramatic Paso Doble with capes and fans. Dressed in bright red and black with a red rose atop her head, Ms. Botalico, accompanied by adults and children, performed Sevillanas and then a Rumba Flamenca, with Ms. Botalico providing a dramatic climactic solo. more

police-patchAmid nationwide controversy over relationships between police and the communities they serve, many police departments are beginning to adopt officer-worn cameras, as a means of improving those relationships. The Princeton Police Department is currently applying for a state grant and meeting with vendors to evaluate cameras on the market, but many questions and concerns remain about their use.

Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter is moving ahead on this initiative. “I am completely in favor of body cameras as is the PBA [Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association],” he said. “The cameras will increase confidence in the Police Department and clear officers of false complaints, while documenting police-civilian encounters.” more

Theater review

Fifth grade teacher Heather Clark (Hope Kean) is about to get a visit from a parent she doesn’t expect. Eleven-year-old Gidion has committed suicide after bringing home notice of his suspension from school, but his mother Corryn Fell (Ugonna Nwabueze) is determined to keep her scheduled appointment with his teacher.

Filled with feelings of anger, confusion, guilt, sadness, and frustration, Corryn arrives at Heather’s classroom. She wants to know why Gidion was suspended. She wants to understand why he killed himself. She wants an outlet for her anger and emotions. She wants a target for her revenge. The play takes place in real time as the two women square off over the next 75 minutes. more

October 12, 2015


Still have those old vinyl records and the turntable you used until CDs took over in the late 1980s? You may be well positioned to take advantage of a wave of “vinyl frenzy,” as reported in a recent New York Times, article about a new vinyl factory in New Jersey.

Using equipment from the 1970s, Independent Record Pressing in Bordentown is struggling to keep up with the booming demand, which has led to a six-month delay in processing orders for new vinyl, according to Princeton Record Exchange owner Jon Lambert. more

October 7, 2015

Princeton Po Page 1“How do we stop this?” asked Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane.

That is the big question for the schools and the Police Department after a series of bomb threats over the past two weeks that have disrupted classes at Littlebrook Elementary, Princeton High School, and, most recently, John Witherspoon Middle School.

Students, teachers, parents, administrators, and police officials share feelings of frustration and anxiety in the face of what Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter calls “acts of terrorism.” “The motivation is to disrupt,” Mr. Sutter explained, “to cause fear and anxiety, to scare people and disrupt our lives. These incidents are random and widespread across the entire country.”

PHS drama teacher Pat Wray voiced the consternation felt by many, inside and outside the schools. “The swatting actually started last spring and was scary for the students and staff,” she recalled. “Now that it’s happening again and regularly, it is a huge disruption to educational instruction and there is the danger that lockdown and evacuation procedures may become mundane.” more

Homework Help Page 9

Princeton public school students are looking forward to a recently announced homework-free schedule during winter and spring breaks and other designated weekends throughout the year.

At its September 29 meeting, the School Board passed a resolution designating no-homework days for the long weekend of the NJEA Convention in November, Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break, and Mother’s Day weekend. Additionally, no projects will be due or tests given immediately upon return from these holidays.

Since the days of Socrates and Plato, the question of homework has been a controversial one. What to assign? How much to assign? How to make it worthwhile?  more

October 4, 2015

Ivan Web“May I have your attention, please? May I have your attention, please?” Anyone at the Community Park Pool Complex between 1967 and 2014 remembers that voice booming out over the public address system.

Larry Ivan, owner of that voice, has had the community’s attention for almost 60 years — as phys ed and social studies teacher for 42 years at Princeton High, John Witherspoon, and Community Park Schools, as renowned coach and referee of basketball and track, as an official for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), and as “the man at the pool” since its inception in 1967 and manager there for 41 years.

A bronze bas-relief portrait, to be created by Princeton sculptor Stephanie Magdziak, and permanently installed at the Community Park Pool, ensures that Mr. Ivan will have our attention far into the future. ”I’m glad to know that Mr. Ivan will be as much of a fixture for future generations as he was for mine,” reflected CP Pool member Lauren Bender.

The project is being funded by donations from community members and CP Pool supporters — about 140 so far, many of whom were also Mr. Ivan’s students or parents of students. An unveiling ceremony will take place next spring. more

September 30, 2015


The Princeton Police Department continues to investigate bomb threats that occurred at Riverside School last Thursday and Princeton High School last Friday. Riverside was placed on “shelter-in-place” watch and PHS was evacuated for approximately two and one-half hours, on successive days last week, as K-9 explosive-sniffing dogs and their handlers searched the schools.  more