January 17, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert is taking a close look at a plan to counteract the loss of state and local tax deductions due to the tax bill passed by Congress last month.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and new Governor Phil Murphy have offered a tax cut plan for New Jersey that has the potential to restore the value of state and local tax (SALT) deductions by providing a tax credit for taxpayers who make charitable contributions to their state or local governments. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9) and the mayors of Fair Lawn, Paramus, and Park Ridge have also expressed support for the plan and the desire to implement it, with state support, in their communities. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and Microsoft President Bradford L. Smith have teamed up to send letters to top leaders and other members of Congress urging them to act quickly to provide long-term protection, including a path to citizenship, for DREAMers.

“The time has come for immediate and urgent action by Congress,” wrote Eisgruber and Smith, as the future of DREAMers hangs in the balance against a backdrop of ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill and President Trump’s Sunday tweet that “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it.”  more

By Donald Gilpin

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) celebrated the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday with a day of live music, interactive workshops, and discussions culminating in an evening multifaith service at First Baptist Church at Paul Robeson Place and John Street.

Speakers at a community breakfast at ACP included Princess Hoagland of Not in Our Town: Princeton, an interfaith, interracial group dedicated to racial justice; Monique Jones, parent education and community outreach coordinator for Princeton Public Schools; and James Fields, director of undergraduate ministry for the Christian Union at Princeton University. more

January 10, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) continues to call for a clean DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) from Congress, a bill that is not attached to increased funding for border security and expanded detention facilities, as President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers continue to argue for a border wall and more money for immigration enforcement. more

By Donald Gilpin

As Princeton Public Schools prepare building plans to submit to the State Department of Education (DOE) in April, leading up to an October 2 facilities referendum vote, Superintendent Steve Cochrane is urging families, staff, and community members to attend one of two information sessions to be held at John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) Wednesday, January 10 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, January 11 at 9:30 a.m.  more

“I LOVED TEACHING”: Princeton University PhD candidate Merle Eisenberg (right) put teaching theories into practice in his interactive history class on Western civilization at Mercer County Community College this past fall. The PU-MCCC partnership will continue this spring and next fall, with five more PU doctoral students teaching at MCCC.

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University (PU) and Mercer County Community College (MCCC) have launched a collaborative program for PU graduate students to gain teaching experience in the community college classroom, and the reviews are positive on both sides. more

January 3, 2018

POETRY AND POLITICS: Paul Muldoon, Princeton University professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the Princeton Atelier, has been approved by Queen Elizabeth II for the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2017. Muldoon said his award was an acknowledgment of both “the impact of a few of my poems” and of the current positive relations between Ireland and England. (Photo by Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite 2017)

By Donald Gilpin

Paul Muldoon, Princeton University creative writing professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the Princeton Atelier, will be awarded Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2017 by Queen Elizabeth II in an upcoming ceremony.  more

PREPAYING TAXES: Hundreds of Princeton homeowners waited in line at the Municipal Building last week to prepay their 2018 taxes before the new tax plan goes into effect, limiting the amount of money you can deduct for state income, sales, and property taxes to $10,000.

By Donald Gilpin

There were long lines last week outside the tax collection office, filling the hallway of Princeton’s Municipal Building. But even after waiting for almost an hour, the early taxpayers were patient and mostly upbeat, no doubt buoyed by the prospect of saving maybe a few hundred, maybe thousands on their taxes.  more

December 27, 2017

By Anne Levin and Donald Gilpin

Much of the news in Princeton in 2017 arose in response to actions and initiatives emanating from Washington. It was a year full of political activity, with rallies and demonstrations taking place in Princeton almost weekly.

Immediately following the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20, a number of Princeton residents, including at least three Council members, joined more than 6,000 marching in Trenton for women’s rights, civil rights, and other issues. Many in Princeton also expressed concern for arts and education, with cuts threatened for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. more

December 20, 2017

By Donald Gilpin

A recent study, co-authored by Princeton University Economics Professor Janet Currie, reveals significant increases of health risks for infants born to mothers living within two miles of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site.

“Given the growing evidence that pollution affects babies in utero, it should not be surprising that fracking, which is a heavy industrial activity, has negative effects on infants,” said Currie, who directs the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) held a Candlelight Vigil for Diplomacy, Not War in Palmer Square last Thursday, followed by a Peace Potluck and a Peace Program at the Nassau Presbyterian Church. About 20 people braved the cold weather for the vigil, and more than 50 overall participated in the evening’s events.

CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Bob Moore, who for 40 years has been organizing for peace full-time, expressed mixed feelings of hope and apprehension in the face of recent events. In particular, he emphasized “momentum toward this war with North Korea,” citing experts who claim that the prospects of a nuclear war are “chillingly realistic.” more

SWIMMING INITIATIVE: Emily Becker, left, founder and lead instructor of the Princeton Youth Swimming Initiative, encourages her students, Euphemia and Jordan Tejeda, in the Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center pool.

By Donald Gilpin

Working as a lifeguard and teaching swimming lessons to campers at Community Park (CP) pool in the summer of 2016, Emily Becker, now a Princeton High School (PHS) junior, observed several children in the pool who could not swim. She spoke with the children and learned that typical swim instruction was too expensive for them to participate. more

December 13, 2017

By Donald Gilpin

Three different speakers at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University last week warned of the precarious state of our democracy.

On Monday, Charlie Sykes, MSNBC contributor, former host of WNYC’s Indivisible and author of 2017 How the Right Lost Its Mind, described how he “was excommunicated from conservative circles for not supporting Donald Trump.” He also claimed that “the damage to the culture is going to be long-lasting,” and called for “a coalition of the decent from both parties” to come together in opposition to the current status quo in Washington. more

CHANGING HUNGER: John Witherspoon Middle School students visited the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank in Ewing the day before Thanksgiving as part of the school’s Students Change Hunger food drive that collected 11,464 pounds of food. (Photo Courtesy of John Witherspoon Middle School)

By Donald Gilpin

John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) students, their families, teachers, and staff have come together with community partners to collect almost 12,000 pounds of food for the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank.

Kelly Riely, faculty advisor to the Do Something Club, which organized the drive, expressed her appreciation “for the awesome outpouring of food and money donations,” pushing JWMS to easily surpass its original goal of 10,000 pounds.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Trixie Sabundayo, English teacher, department chair, and a senior administrator at Marin Academy (MA) in San Rafael, Calif., for the past 13 years, will be taking charge as upper school head at Princeton Day School (PDS), effective July 1.

“I believe that good leadership is about building trusting partnerships and being a clear, transparent communicator,” she said. “Both of these have been the backbone of my philosophy as an educator, and have served me well as a teacher and leader.” more

December 6, 2017

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University yesterday announced plans С or at least “a planning framework” С for several anticipated campus development projects in the coming years, including a new residential college or colleges to permit the University to expand its undergraduate student body by 10 percent, new and improved facilities for engineering and environmental studies, and a new Lake Campus on lands south of Lake Carnegie. more

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Architecture and Design Professor Keisuke Kitagawa (right) and John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) Social Studies and Global Education Supervisor Tim Charleston show off the inflatable Instant House erected at JWMS on Friday as a prototype for a seventh-grade collaborative project on Puerto Rico and disaster relief. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

By Donald Gilpin

Seventh-graders at John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) witnessed the power of collaboration last Friday morning as they gathered on the front lawn to participate in the creation of an Instant House, a 60-square-foot inflatable structure with the potential to be used for disaster and humanitarian relief all over the world. more

ON THE BORDER: Hun School students and their teachers experienced the complexities of immigration first-hand in the border town of Nogales, Arizona-Mexico, for four days in October. They visited an immigration court, a shelter for deported immigrants, and a Border Patrol station, and met with officials, immigrants, ranchers, and others as part of their Global Immersion experience. (Photo Courtesy of The Hun School)

By Donald Gilpin

Seven Hun School students and three teachers recently went to a United States-Mexico border town to examine first-hand the thorny issues of immigration.

As part of the school’s Global Immersion program, focused on experiential learning and designed “to humanize the immigration issue, recognize its complexities, and encourage critical thinking,” the group visited the town of Nogales on the Arizona-Mexico border. more

November 29, 2017

By Donald Gilpin

About 200 people rallied in Hinds Plaza outside the Princeton Public Library at noon yesterday, loudly voicing support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and calling on Congress to pass the DREAM Act by December 8.

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests earlier in the morning on Witherspoon and John Streets provided a certain urgency and sobering context to the proceedings, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Hundreds of members of the Princeton University community have been gathering this week in town hall meetings organized by the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct and the Title IX Office, responding with widespread frustration and criticism to the University’s handling of a sexual harassment case involving a distinguished electrical engineering professor.

Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering Sergio Verdu was found guilty in June, after a Title IX investigation, of sexually harassing one of his graduate students, Yeohee Im. A November 9 Huffington Post article (“Grad Student Says Princeton Prof who Sexually Harassed Her Was Given Slap On the Wrist”) reported that Verdu’s only punishment was an eight-hour training session.  more

POWER OF TECHNOLOGY: Princeton Academy eighth-grader Chase Quijano, holding two prosthetic limbs he built, took the lead in organizing a Build-A-Thon that will take place at Princeton Academy on Sunday, December 3 from noon to 3 p.m. to use 3D printers to help create prosthetic limbs.

By Donald Gilpin

Chase Quijano, Princeton Academy eighth-grader and member of Boy Scout Troop 43, has organized a student-led project in partnership with the e-NABLE Community to use 3D printers to help create hands and arms for those in need all over the world.  more

November 22, 2017

By Donald Gilpin

Former Borough Mayor Yina Moore and president of Save the Dinky Anita Garoniak are seeking to promote public awareness of the history of the old Dinky Station through more prominent and accessible displays, but they have so far made little headway in their appeals to the Princeton Council and New Jersey Transit.

Claiming that New Jersey Transit has not complied with “the interpretative display condition” related to the moving of the Princeton Railroad Station, Moore and Garoniak’s November 12 letter to the mayor and Council contends that “Council should act to see that the story of a beloved station and the history of the Princeton Branch are told in displays that are meaningful and accessible to the public.” more

By Donald Gilpin

“We are issuing a joint call to all community leaders, institutions, and organizations to speak up and speak out against hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and all acts of hate in our community,” read the statement from local municipal and religious leaders. “We all must be very clear that hate has no home here in Princeton С in our conversations, in our offices and schools, and in our social media.”

Mayor Liz Lempert, Police Chief Nick Sutter, the Rev. David Davis of the Nassau Presbyterian Church, and Rabbi Adam Feldman of The Jewish Center were writing in support of an earlier statement from the Princeton Public Schools in response to an incident of vandalism С with racist, anti-Semitic, and sexual messages С of a Google spreadsheet from a John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) science lab.  more

Photo Courtesy of Princeton University

By Donald Gilpin

Uwe Reinhardt, Princeton University economics professor for almost 50 years and one of the most influential health policy experts in the country, died Monday, November 13 in Princeton. He was 80.

As Congress, the states, and the White House carry on their disputes over health care, Reinhardt’s ideas and arguments continue to help shape the national health policy debate, as they have for decades. more

November 15, 2017

PLEAS FOR PEACE: Religious scholar and bestselling author Reza Aslan speaks on “The Challenges of Peace in the Trump Era” to a gathering of about 175 conference participants at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton on Sunday. (Photo by John Lien)

By Donald Gilpin

About 400 gathered at the Princeton University Chapel for a Multifaith Service for Peace on Sunday, followed by an afternoon conference at Nassau Presbyterian Church, where participants considered “The Challenges of Peace in the Trump Era.” The event was sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and 40 other area religious and civic groups.  more