February 10, 2016

Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials detained two men outside a Wiggins Street home last Thursday at about 5 a.m. Further details are not available at this point, but the Princeton Department of Human Services reports, ”We have been working alongside the Police Department and community partners to get more information about this ICE activity.”

Human Services and the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) have been in touch with the other residents on Wiggins Street to offer assistance and support as needed. more

Did you pick the winners in the Iowa primaries? How about New Hampshire?

If not, you’re in good company. The renowned Gallup Poll didn’t either. In fact, according to Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport in a speech last Thursday at Princeton University’s Dodd’s Auditorium in Robertson Hall, Gallup is backing off from the predicting business — no more “horse-race polling.” more

In response to rising concerns over a drug epidemic throughout New Jersey and the nation, Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, Princeton Health Department, and Princeton Police Department will be offering a presentation at Princeton High School on March 2, 7-9 p.m., to educate parents, high school students, and community members.

“We want to make sure that we alert the community that heroin is around, and we want people to have the facts,” stated Alliance Coordinator Gary DeBlasio, “so that they know what they’re looking at when they see it.” more

February 3, 2016

“The evil that men do lives after them;” says Shakespeare’s devious Marc Antony in his famous funeral oration from the play Julius Caesar. “The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar.” And Woodrow Wilson too? Or not?

The Wilson Legacy Review Committee of the Princeton University Board of Trustees, in taking on the responsibility of assessing the record of Mr. Wilson, who was president of the University from 1902 to 1910 and president of the United States from 1913 to 1921, has gathered letters from nine distinguished Wilson scholars, from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and universities, providing dozens of pages of historical information and insight, but nothing likely to make the committee’s job easier.  more

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EXPLORING ISLAMIST EXTREMISM: (left to right) Playwright Emily Mann, scholars Dr. Stuart Gottlieb, and Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi and moderator Paula Alekson discuss with the audience the issues raised at Sunday’s performance of Ms. Mann’s new play “Hoodwinked.” (Photo Courtesy of McCarter Theatre Center)

“It’s about the 21st century’s responses to Islamist extremism,” Emily Mann explained in describing her documentary drama Hoodwinked, performed as a reading in the McCarter Theatre Center Lab last weekend, “but it’s also very much about asking questions and sharing information.” The drama was a springboard for a lively discussion.  more

Profile in Educ

“POSITIVE ENERGY”: Krysten Yee, assistant teacher at Eden Autism Services, works one-on-one with the Eden students, looking forward to helping them to develop the skills that will lead to increasing independence and self-fulfillment.

Krysten Yee started her career in education just last year as a teaching assistant at Eden Autism Services. The 23-year-old Westchester, New York native graduated from James Madison University in 2014 with a major in psychology, a minor in non-teaching special education, and a certificate in autism spectrum disorders. She joined Eden as a counselor at their Crossroads camp program in the summer of 2014, and signed on with the full-time staff at Eden Institute the following fall.

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January 27, 2016

As the sun finally emerged following one of the worst snow storms in the history of the Eastern seaboard, Sunday was a day of transition in Princeton, where 22 inches of snow were reported according to the National Weather Service.

Early in the day the snow and wind, which had reached blizzard conditions Saturday evening, subsided, The state of emergency was lifted, flood waters at the shore subsided, power outages were restored, and Governor Chris Christie returned to New Hampshire after a two-day interruption in his presidential primary campaigning.  more

Princeton Council decided Monday night to postpone until February 8 a decision on the $4.4 million purchase of a 20.4-acre parcel of vacant land between Mt. Lucas Road and Route 206.

The land, slated to be preserved as open space, would be purchased with $2.2 million funding from the Mercer County Open Space Fund, $153,000 from the Williams Transco Pipeline project, $100,000 from Friends of Princeton Open Space, and additional funds from the NJ Green Acres Program, with little or no municipal funding required, according to municipal administrator Marc Dashield.  more

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KING OF THE MOUNTAIN: Winter Storm Jonas dumped about 22 inches of snow on Princeton over the weekend, but while the rest of the town continued to dig out and clean up, some young residents took advantage of a mountain of snow piled alongside Witherspoon Street. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

With record high temperatures and plentiful festivities around town, retail business was moderately brisk during the holiday season. “The Square performed well,” reported Palmer Square Management representative Anita Fresolone, “showing a slight increase compared both to December 2014 and 2014 overall.”  more

January 20, 2016

About 90 people attended a session sponsored by Princeton Human Services, Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), and Unidad Latina en Accion NJ (ULA) at St. Paul Catholic Church on Nassau Street last Thursday night. Seeking information and advice in the wake of recent immigration raids throughout the country, the mix of families and single men attending the meeting were primarily Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin America.

Through questions and answers and an interactive presentation, mostly in Spanish, participants acquired information about their rights, dos and don’ts, what to do during an ICE (US Immigration Customs Enforcement) raid, the importance of competent legal counseling, and what organizations can help.  more

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) last week notified the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) that, after additional inspections, they still found no wetlands on the site where the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) intends to build faculty housing and no need for IAS to acquire further permits.

At a December 21 State Senate Hearing, which resulted in a letter from three members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee requesting that the DEP issue a stay on the Institute’s construction project, and a follow-up meeting on January 4 with DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, the Battlefield Society questioned the accuracy of the DEP’s Letter of Interpretation (LOI), which stated that there were no wetlands on the site, and claimed that the Institute was dumping debris and preparing to build in freshwater wetlands. more

all in a days work

PARKING ENFORCEMENT FROM A TO Z: Greg Glassen is one of three Princeton meter officers, but he does a lot more than just give out parking tickets in his multiple roles with the Princeton Police Department.

Ever have trouble parking in downtown Princeton? You might have seen Greg Glassen around town in his role as parking enforcement officer or perhaps keeping the traffic moving and the kids crossing safely at the morning school crossings. Or maybe at Communiversity, or a parade, or a storm emergency, or any one of many other events and special occasions where he helps out his Princeton Police Department colleagues. Greg, age 55, retired from the West Windsor Police Department in 2009 after 21 years, joined Princeton Parking Enforcement temporarily in 2010, then in 2012 took on his current full-time position as one of three meter officers in town. He loves the job, enjoys the camaraderie with his PD colleagues and enjoys meeting all kinds of people in the course of a day’s work. “He’s outgoing,” says his boss, Sgt. Steven Riccitello. “He’s high-energy. He’s got a great personality, gets along with everybody. He’s an asset to the Police Department with his experience. He wears a lot of hats.” Recently married, Greg lives with his wife and seven-month-old daughter. Here, in his own words, Greg talks about the life of a parking enforcement officer. more

Photograph © T. Charles Erickson

HUMOR AND HUMANITY: (L to R) Lymon (David Pegram), Wining Boy (Cleavant Derricks), Doaker (John Earl Jelks), and Boy Willie (Stephen Tyrone Williams) share stories and memories of the past in McCarter Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Piano Lesson” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 7. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Twenty-eight years after its original creation, 90 years distant from its Depression-era setting in the Pittsburgh Hill District, August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson (1987) speaks powerfully, lyrically, and eloquently of an African-American family in conflict and of their past, which they must confront, embrace, and overcome in order to move forward. more

January 13, 2016

As the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) set forth its latest plan to halt the Institute for Advanced Study’s (IAS) faculty housing project last week, the Institute, claiming that “our right to build is not in doubt,” announced that it has received all necessary permits and addressed all reasonable concerns and that the project “is essential if [the Institute] is to be able to sustain its mission for future generations of scholars.”

PBS last Thursday filed notice to sue IAS and its partnering construction and engineering firms in federal court under the Clean Water Act, unless, within 60 days, federal (Environmental Protection Agency) or state (Department of Environmental Protection) authorities stop the 15-unit housing project.  more

In response to recent U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across the nation, an information session will take place in the Community Room at St. Paul’s Church at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Sponsored by Princeton Human Services, Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), and Unidad Latina en Accion NJ (ULA), the workshop will cover the following topics: who is at risk of being deported? what to do during a raid? your rights in this country, and organizations that can assist you in the event of a raid.

An immigration lawyer will be present to answer general questions, and Human Services will provide additional helpful information and resources to residents who may be fearful about how to respond if ICE agents come to their home. For example, ICE agents must show a court order signed by a judge to enter someone’s home. Otherwise the resident is not obligated to open the door.  more

Aurora, Newtown, Fort Hood, Charleston, San Bernardino, and so many other place names resonate with the shock waves of gun violence in America.

“We are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency,” President Barack Obama stated last week from his podium in the East Room of the White House. “It doesn’t happen in other countries. It’s not even close.”

As Mr. Obama pressed new executive actions to reduce gun violence, and presidential candidates debated gun control issues, Princeton Council member Heather Howard, director of the State Health Assistance Network and lecturer in public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, saw the epidemic of gun violence as a public health issue, with the “need for a multifaceted response.” more

After the mass shooting at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. last June, a group of parishioners from Trinity Church began to meet regularly to explore the history and meaning of white supremacy. Those discussions led to another eight weeks of study, this time on the roots of white supremacy in the history and theology of Christianity.

Now, those parishioners, led by Associate Rector Nancy J. Hagner, have decided it is time to do more than talk. Beginning Saturday, January 16, in commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, a weekend-long prayer vigil will be held. The focus is on the issue of mass incarceration and solitary confinement. To bring that reality home, a replica of a solitary confinement cell will be on display, courtesy of the Trenton/Princeton chapters of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow “Out the Box” initiative. more

January 6, 2016

Vasen PicClose to 300 family members, friends, colleagues, and members of the Princeton community gathered Sunday in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street on the Princeton University campus to remember and celebrate the life of Timothy Vasen.

Mr. Vasen, 51, lecturer in theater and director of the Program in Theater at Princeton, died on December 28 following an accident at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

The gathering also included current and past colleagues from the Yale School of Drama and Baltimore’s Center Stage. More than a dozen speakers shared memories of Mr. Vasen as a dedicated family man, an avid outdoorsman, a food aficionado and cook, a world traveler, a talented theater director, and a generous colleague, teacher, and mentor.

“Some of us have lost a very dear friend, one of the finest human beings we have known,” said Michael Cadden, chair of the Lewis Center last week. “All of us have lost one of the world’s finest teachers of theater — an intellectually voracious, physically vital, and imaginatively daring practitioner of the art form he cherished above all others.”

Mr. Vasen directed plays and taught classes at Princeton part-time starting in 1993. He went on to direct plays in New York, Philadelphia, and at theaters throughout the country. From 1997 to 2003 he was resident director at Center Stage in Baltimore, then joined the Princeton faculty in 2003 and in 2012 became director of the Program in Theater.  more

Simon Levin, Princeton University professor of biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, will receive a National Medal of Science, the country’s highest honor in science, at a White House ceremony in early 2016.

“It was a delightful surprise,” Mr. Levin said. ”For me, there is no more meaningful recognition than the National Medal of Science, and I am grateful to so many for their support С family, mentors, colleagues, and students. Princeton University has been a wonderful place to pursue the interdisciplinary work that is essential for dealing with the challenges of managing our environment sustainably.” more

December 30, 2015

All Lives Yr in RevAs town and University plans and projects progressed, protests helped define the year 2015. A sit-in by Princeton University students citing Woodrow Wilson’s racist beliefs drew national attention to the campus and the town. There were additional demonstrations in reaction to national events such as the murders at a church in Charleston, South Carolina and the more recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. On the University campus, at Hinds Plaza, and at marches through town, there were silent and not-so-silent demonstrations in support of gun control and related issues.

The town lost prominent personalities John and Alicia Nash, and Michael Graves this year. The fight continues over whether the Institute for Advanced Study can build faculty housing on land the Princeton Battlefield Society considers sacred. And a campaign to make the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood a historic district picked up steam toward the end of the year.

Three years since consolidating the former Borough and Township, Princeton has made major progress in harmonizing policies and ordinances. But some issues are still on the town’s “to do” list. According to state law, the town has until the end of 2017 to get the job done.

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert announced in November that she will run for a second term in the next election. Council President Bernie Miller said he will relinquish that post, but will continue to serve on the governing body. Tim Quinn, former school board president, announced that he will enter the Council race. The terms of Council members Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon will be up for renewal. While Ms. Crumiller has said she will run for another term, Mr. Simon has not yet decided whether to run for Council or mayor. more

December 23, 2015

The State Senate Environment and Energy Committee at a hearing in the State House in Trenton yesterday listened to more than two hours of testimony from the Princeton Battlefield Society and its allies, and proceeded to call for the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a stay, pending a meeting with the committee, on all activity at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) proposed building site, “to prevent irreparable harm to the historic site where the Battle of Princeton occurred as well as damage to the existing wetlands.

Neither the IAS nor the DEP was represented at the hearing.

The IAS project, construction of eight townhouses and seven single-family houses for Institute faculty on a parcel of approximately seven acres, has moved forward in the ground clearing process and many truckloads of sand have been delivered to the property, but no construction has yet commenced.  more

Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. have risen in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the anti-Muslim political rhetoric has persisted.

The nationwide conflict has reverberated in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie called on the state to turn away Syrian refugees, including children, and a Rutgers-Eagleton poll early this month said that 45 percent of New Jersey residents do not want New Jersey open to refugees from Syria. Princeton University has not been immune to concerns about Islamophobia and offensive political rhetoric.  more

PPS Team

GREEN TEAM ON THEIR WAY: (L to R) Facilities Director Gary Weisman, Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Lehet, Athletics Director John Miranda, PPS parent Jennifer Jang, and Social Studies K-8 Supervisor Tim Charleston participate in the opening meeting of Princeton Schools’ program to achieve Sustainability Certification.

In partnership with the community to “reduce our collective carbon footprint,” Princeton Public Schools (PPS) has formed a Green Team and embarked on an initiative to achieve certification from Sustainable Jersey for Schools.

Co-chaired by Superintendent Steve Cochrane and science supervisor Edward Cohen, the PPS Green Team of approximately 20 staff, administrators, parents, community, and board members will advise and support the district’s efforts to study and adopt practices that integrate sustainability education into the curriculum, professional training, and use of resources.  more

December 16, 2015

Princeton University, as promised in response to last month’s demands of Black Justice League (BJL) students, has formed a special trustee committee to consider the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, and has created a website to collect information and opinions about Wilson and his legacy (http://wilsonlegacy.princeton.edu/).

The committee has also invited scholars and biographers to share their understanding of Wilson and his legacy for posting on the website, and it hopes to begin publishing some of these scholarly opinions in January.

Trustees vice-chair Brett Henry, a Princeton 1969 graduate and vice president and general counsel of Partners Healthcare System, will chair the 10-member committee. more

It’s the same battlefield, but 238 years later another Battle of Princeton is heating up. The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) announced last week that it is moving ahead with its 15-unit faculty housing project on approximately seven acres of a 21-acre site, while the Princeton Battlefield Society and other opposition forces marshal resistance on political, historical, and environmental grounds.

State Senator Bob Smith (D-17), chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, announced Tuesday that hearings on the IAS construction project and the Princeton Battlefield will be held on December 21 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Environmental Committee Room of the statehouse in Trenton. Representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Princeton Battlefield Society and the IAS have been invited to attend, according to Mr. Smith. Others are welcome to participate. “Hopefully,” Mr. Smith said, ”we’ll get a little more information on the issue.” more