August 12, 2020

This tree on the Westminster Choir College campus was among the many casualties of Tropical Storm Isaias, which slammed Princeton with heavy rain and winds on Tuesday, August 4. By Monday night, all power had been restored. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

At a meeting of Princeton Council Monday evening, Deanna Stockton, the town’s municipal engineer, got word that power was back on at the last remaining location where it had been knocked out by Tropical Storm Isaias nearly a week earlier.

“I’m very happy to report that all of the PSE&G outages have been restored so we have full electrical operation,” she said. “When we started the  meeting, we still had one outage on the map, but now that’s fixed.”

Most locations had power restored by Friday. But just after the storm on Tuesday, August 4, multiple roads were closed as a result of fallen trees and wires. Power and cell service outages were widespread. Among the roads blocked were Pheasant Hill Road near Province Line Road, Laurel Road, Cleveland Lane, Herrontown Road, North Harrison Street, Walker Drive, and Drakes Corner Road. Trees were suspended on wires at several locations.

Traffic signals were out on North Harrison Street at Terhune, Valley, and Mt. Lucas roads. The municipal building was open for people who sought relief from the heat or needed to charge devices.

More than one million New Jersey homes and businesses were left in the dark by the storm’s rain and winds. New Jersey was part of Isaias’ path up the East Coast, battering Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania before hitting New York and New England. One person in Maryland, one in New York, and two others in North Carolina died as a result of the storm. More than 20 tornadoes were reported from North Carolina to New Jersey. Surf City on Long Beach Island reported a wind gust of 109 miles per hour. more

By Anne Levin

The appointment of Michael Yeh as Princeton’s new director of emergency and safety services was announced at Princeton Council’s virtual meeting on Monday, August 10.

Since the passing of former Emergency Services Director Robert Gregory last January, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter has been acting as the town’s director of emergency management.

Yeh, who was Rider University’s Commander of Emergency Management and Special Operations since 2013, will be coordinating Princeton’s emergency management while overseeing the Fire Prevention, Housing Inspection offices, and the Fire Department. The director also serves as the liaison to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

“He comes with a wealth of knowledge,” Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield said before introducing Yeh, via Zoom, at the meeting. In a press release, Dashield added, “Michael’s experience and expertise in emergency services will be critical as we continue to manage our current public health emergency.”

Yeh’s appointment will become effective on August 24, which is the date of Council’s next meeting. “I’m very excited about this step, and engaging with the Princeton community to refine our preparedness,” he said, “and working with the community to identify any areas of concern they have.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The movement to rename John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) seemed to gain momentum at Princeton Public Schools‘ (PPS) second scheduled session of community input on Monday night, as more than 50 people participated on the Zoom call.

Support for a name change appeared almost universal, among Board of Education (BOE) members as well as community participants, though there was  a range of opinions about when and how that change should take place.

“We appreciate the community comment and we want to move forward with the process,” said PPS Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, pointing out that the BOE policy committee must first change the district policy on naming, and then the process of choosing a new name could go forward.

“That could happen quickly,” Galasso said, and he noted that JWMS could have a temporary generic name – Princeton Unified Middle School was suggested – during the “teachable” interim period as the community considered a new permanent name.

Suggestions for permanent names have included Betsey Stockton, who founded the first school to teach Black children in Princeton; Toni Morrison, who lived in Princeton and taught at Princeton University; Princeton actor and activist Paul Robeson; recently deceased Congressman John Lewis; local Princeton historian Shirley Satterfield; and former first lady and Princeton University graduate Michelle Obama.  more

BEAUTIFUL PEST:  The spotted lanternfly, first seen in New Jersey in 2018, has arrived in Princeton, and its numbers are expected to increase rapidly. The destructive plant-hopper infests a variety of different trees and vines, and excretes a sticky fluid similar to honeydew that creates a sooty, moldy mess.

By Donald Gilpin

Just when you were enjoying spending time outside, socializing with social distancing guidelines in the open air during the pandemic, there’s another threat that might drive you indoors in the coming weeks.

The spotted lanternfly, a moth-like Asian plant hopper with bright red coloring and black spots, has recently been identified in at least six sightings in Princeton as part of Princeton’s BioBlitz. Though it has two pairs of wings, it jumps more than it flies. 

It’s an invasive species, destructive to crops and trees, especially maples, willows, and other smooth bark trees — at least 70 host species.  And spotted lanternflies are extremely annoying pests, according to Bob Dolan, mid-Atlantic territory manager of Rainbow Tree Care Scientific Advancement in Montgomery County, Pa. 

Not yet as pervasive in Princeton as it is in Pennsylvania, the spotted lanternfly was accidentally introduced and confirmed in September 2014 in Berks County before it spread throughout Pennsylvania and into neighboring states.  more

By Donald Gilpin

A virtual forum of more than 20 area elected officials and candidates highlighted Joint Effort (JE) Princeton Safe Streets’  Saturday, August 8 gathering, with speakers sharing their vision of the future as they called for dramatic change with less than three months to go before the critical November elections.

“Our existence, our future, our dreams, and our hopes for generations to come are on the line,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, as she rallied some hundred participants to support Joe Biden and Democrats at all levels on November 3.

Hosted by JE and the Capital City Area Black Caucus (CCABC), the forum, titled “Why the 2020 Election is so Important,” was the penultimate event of more than a week of Joint Effort Safe Streets 2020 events celebrating Black history and culture and the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. 

JE 2020 concluded on  Sunday evening, August 9 with a Cynthia “Chip” Fisher and Romus Broadway Memorial Virtual Art Exhibit-Collage Slideshow and community reception, a  tribute to Romus Broadway, the presentation of awards, the Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture, and a gospel music hour.

In her speech, Watson Coleman emphasized how much — including access to health care, education, housing, jobs, economic equality, and racial justice — is at stake in the upcoming election. 

“This is a time when we’re going to encounter such impediments to getting the vote out that we have to be smart and strategic. We have to be working with one another and we have to be communicating and connecting,” she said. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton University’s announcement last Friday that no undergraduates will be on campus for the fall term marked a reversal of an earlier plan that would have brought students back in shifts. Other area universities have also revealed details about the fall semester, some of which are revisions of previous plans. Rider University announced Tuesday afternoon that it will move to entirely remote instruction for the fall semester.

“With deep regret and sadness, I write to update you about our plans for the fall, and, in particular, to explain why Princeton has decided that its undergraduate program must be fully remote in the coming semester,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a letter to the campus community. “In brief, the pandemic’s impact in New Jersey has led us to conclude that we cannot provide a genuinely meaningful on-campus experience for our undergraduate students this fall in a manner that is respectful of public health concerns and consistent with state regulations and guidance.”

The University had previously planned to host sophomores and seniors starting late this month, while the classes of 2021 and 2023 would be on campus starting in January of 2021. But with infection rates soaring around the country and nearly two million cases reported over the last month, things changed.

“First, the health risks to the campus and surrounding populations appear greater now than they did just a month ago,” Eisgruber wrote. “Reopening efforts in New Jersey and elsewhere have demonstrated how difficult it is to contain the disease.  Where schools and universities have started to bring back students, COVID cases have rapidly followed.” more

By Anne Levin

Investigation is continuing into the death of a 20-year-old man who jumped to his death Sunday afternoon, August 9, from the roof of the Spring Street Garage.

“The police department is investigating what we believe to be a suicide,” Princeton Police Captain Chris Morgan said at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night.

Out of respect for the family of the man, who is from West Windsor, no further details have been released, Morgan said. “It raises the question, is there anything more we can do as a town to prevent this? This was the second suicide [from the garage roof] in the past six years, and there have been two other attempts which the police department was able to prevent. So hopefully, in the near future, we can talk about a physical barrier or some type of deterrent that may prevent this in the future.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

When Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out our power last Tuesday morning, I already had Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Herman Melville’s Journal of a Visit to London and the Continent close at hand, along with flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, and a portable CD player. Besides the fact that both writers have sailed similarly stormy seas of thought, I knew we’d be printing on August 12, three days before De Quincey’s August 15th birthday and two weeks after the 201st birthday of Herman Melville, who discovered the Opium Eater on his way to writing Moby-Dick.

Painting in the Dark

When Confessions first appeared in the September 1821 issue of London Magazine, elegantly addressed to the “Courteous Reader,” Melville was 2 years old, a reader in the making who would bond with the book in London shortly before Christmas 1849. A hop, skip, and a virtual jump later, it’s August 2020 and De Quincey’s lighting this grateful reader’s way through the after-midnight darkness of a power outage. Taking occasional breaks from the book, I become an impromptu cinematographer, moving the flashlight beam around the living room, poking holes in the darkness and zooming in on details: the densely shadowed corner of a print from Goya’s Disasters of War; a fragment of winding road on a large Art Nouveau vase; flowered fireplace tiles; the bronze glimmer of the andirons; and above the mantle an oil painting of a night scene by an unknown artist, a firelit shoreline, a boat being unloaded by spectral figures, the scene becoming gloomier, more sinister as the flashlight sweeps over it.

Picking up where I left off in the book, it’s as if De Quincey’s been reading my mind, setting the scene, asking if “the reader is aware” that children have the power of painting phantoms “upon the darkness,” a power that in some is “simply a mechanical affection of the eye” while “others have a voluntary or semi-voluntary power to dismiss or to summon them” (my italics because we were told the power would be restored by now, c’mon PSE&G, give us back our power, power, power!), and after a child informs De Quincey that when he tells the phantoms to go, they go, but that sometimes they come when doesn’t want them to come, the Opium Eater assures him that he has “as unlimited a command over apparitions as a Roman centurion over his soldiers.” Picturing the confused and by now perhaps terrified child, I’m reminded this is the same man who was found by one of his daughters one evening sitting at his desk with his hair on fire.

Night Music

Meanwhile as De Quincey’s describing how a theater suddenly “lighted up” within his brain, presenting “nightly spectacles of more than earthly splendour,” I’m busy putting together a phantasmal music hall of my own with some headphones and an Insignia CD-player from Best Buy.

Wishfully thinking that history might repeat itself, I’m tempted to begin my program of night music with Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny, who was singing when the living room lights came suddenly gloriously on during the Superstorm Sandy power outage of 2012. I go with Moby’s Wait for Me instead, a more fitting choice anyway since Richard Melville Hall was named Moby at birth as a gesture to his great-great-great-great uncle’s signature work. Listening to the choral orchestral majesty of “A Seated Night” with headphones is the musical equivalent of a De Quincey ecstasy, or, more to the point, a Ralph Vaughan Williams fantasia created on equipment in a Lower East Side apartment by a former club DJ who wrote the background music for the first year of the 21st century. By 2009, Moby wanted to focus on making something that he loved, “without really being concerned about how it might be received by the marketplace.” The result, according to his online diary, is “a quieter and more melodic and more mournful and more personal record” not to mention that “some of the songs sound pretty amazing in headphones.”

It’s all the more amazing to have heard “A Seated Night” for the first time 33,000 feet above the Atlantic on a flight to England. Never mind the superlatives, everything’s richer, deeper, darker with music of “more than earthly splendour” in your ears while you paint flashlight phantoms on the walls of a pitch-dark living room.

“The Fun of Life”

Thanks to Melville’s oldest grandchild (presumably Moby’s great-great aunt) Eleanor Melville Metcalf, I’ve been reading around in Cycle and Epicycle (Harvard 1953), her collection of Melville’s correspondence, along with the aforementioned Journal of a Visit to London and the Continent (Harvard 1948), which she edited and annotated with a nicely balanced mixture of familial pride and sweetly earnest scholarly diligence. Toward the end of Cycle and Epicycle, she offers a “more personal” view of her grandfather in her account of childhood outings to Central Park, where “the joy of all existence was best expressed by running down the hills, head back, skirts flying in the wind” while he followed “more slowly” behind her, calling, “Look out, or the cop may catch you!” Four decades later, “Tittery-Eye” (his nickname for her) expresses her sense of “the man who moves through these pages” with an epigraph from the British writer, H.M. Tomlinson: “Our peering curiosity is the measure of his mastership. His contribution to the fun of life, and his deepening of its mystery, only quicken interest in his person, and desire to examine his relics for traces of his secrets.”

“A Most Wondrous Book”

The traces of Melville’s secrets I found in the Journal date to his last weekend in London before the return voyage to America. While he’s not averse to the use of superlatives, as when referring to a “glorious dinner” now and then, there’s nothing remotely comparable to his enthusiasm for De Quincey’s Confessions. On December 21, 1849, while waiting in someone’s office, where he’d gone “to see about my money,” he “ran out, & at last got hold of ‘The Opium Eater’ & began it in the office. A wonderful thing, that book.” On the afternoon of Sunday December 23, he’s so wrapped up “reading the ‘Opium Eater’ by the fire,” that he’s forced to “employ a fashionable … evasion of visitors.” The next entry is at 3:30 p.m.: “Have just this moment finished the ‘Opium Eater.’ A most wondrous book.” The next, penultimate entry begins “After finishing the marvelous book yesterday, sallied out for a walk about dusk.”

“The Counterpane”

Considering that Melville binged on The Opium Eater the last week of the year before he began writing Moby-Dick, a reader can find immediate evidence of De Quincey’s presence in introductory material like the “Etymology” supplied by the pale Usher who “loved to dust the old grammars” that “somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality” and in the prose of the introductory “Extract” supplied by a Sub-Sub Librarian, “who appears to have gone  through the long Vaticans and street-stalls of the earth, picking up whatever random allusions to whales he could anyways find in any book whatsoever, sacred or profane.”

The symbiotic electricity is most evident in the passage from the fourth chapter, “The Counterpane,” where Ishmael awakens with Queequeg’s arm thrown over him and recalls a childhood moment that seems haunted by De Quincey’s passage about painting phantoms on the darkness:

“At last I must have fallen into a troubled nightmare of a doze; and slowly waking from it — half steeped in dreams

— I opened my eyes, and the before sunlit room was now wrapped in outer darkness. Instantly I felt a shock running through all my frame; nothing was to be seen, and nothing was to be heard; but a supernatural hand seemed placed in mine. My arm hung over the counterpane, and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bed-side.”

Backyard Theatrics

We have several outdoor variations on the phantom theatre that suddenly “lighted up” within DeQuincey’s brain, presenting us with daily spectacles of “more than earthly splendour.” We’re down to two avian venues after a raccoon nicknamed Hurricane Rocky for the Beatles song toppled the original Edwardian music hall and a skinny replacement billed as the “squirrel buster.” As for the suet feeder, which still has to be brought in overnight to prevent nocturnal raids, the theater analogy doesn’t quite hold; you might as well try staging a play in a knight’s visored helmet.

Deprived for three nights of cable access to the current addiction (The Bureau), we sit for hours on the deck gazing at our bird feeder combination of Paris Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Circus tent, the so-called “Absolute Squirrel Proof Feeder” with its adjustable counterweight around the back, and feed platters guaranteed to shut tight when large birds or squirrels arrive. Advertised for use year round, it’s said to be the cardinals’ favorite, with the balance adjusted against access to “greedy squirrels, blue jays, and grackles.”

The catch is if you shut out the squirrels and grackles, it’s like staging King Lear without the Fool, Richard the Third without Richard, the Tempest without Ariel and Caliban, and the Symphonie Fantastique without Berlioz. Above all, you need the squirrels, one in particular, though I’m not sure which anthropomorphic hero does justice to such skill and tenacity. Whether it lands on the green roof of the feeder from some adjoining precipice, or after ascending the nearest tree, this display of power and energy that needs no PSE&G draws cheers from the audience on the deck, especially when Super Squirrel hangs   there pounding the “shut-tight” trays until they rain sunflower seeds. Such moments defy hyperbole. When a chipmunk comes on the scene, it’s pure Walt Disney, but add some croaking grackles and a goldfinch flashing, darting, and swooping overhead and it’s Paradise Lost — or Paradise Regained.

CELEBRATING CULTURE: Christina and Andrés of 123 Andrés are among the performers at the upcoming online festival that gives an in-depth look at the arts in New Brunswick. (Photo by David Rugeles)

On Saturday, August 15 from 3-7 p.m. the inaugural, virtual New Brunswick HEART Festival will be presented by State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick Cultural Center, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), and Above Art Studios. Hosted by New Jersey Radio Hall of Famer Bert Baron and co-founder of CPR Live, Sharon Gordon, the event was created to celebrate the vibrant arts and history that New Brunswick and the County of Middlesex has to offer.

To watch, go to

The online festivities will include music, dance, and spoken word performances; a behind-the-scenes look inside the local theater and visual arts scene; a close-up of Middlesex County’s history; interviews with artists and arts and community leaders; a craft-making session; yoga; and more.

“We are so proud and honored to bring together so many amazing arts and community partners for the first ever New Brunswick HEART festival,” said festival organizers Tracey O’Reggio-Clark from New Brunswick Cultural Center and the Arts Institute of Middlesex County; Kelly Blithe from State Theatre New Jersey; and Dontae Muse from Above Art Studios. “As many arts institutions are struggling during this global pandemic, it is more important than ever to showcase the arts and the profound impact that they have on our lives and our community.” more

BASH FOR DASH: A “Sarah Dash Birthday Bash” will be live-streamed Sunday, August 16 by the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series.

On August 16 at 8 p.m., the vocalist known as Trenton’s “music ambassador” will give a concert online to celebrate her birthday. Sarah Dash, a Trenton native, was one-third of the group LaBelle, known for the hit single “Lady Marmalade.” In addition to her musical career, she is a motivational speaker, educator, and humanitarian.

As a solo artist, the Grammy Hall of Fame inductee once topped the international dance charts with the song “Sinner Man” and has collaborated with such artists as Nile Rodgers, Sylvester, and The Rolling Stones (appearing on the Stones’ 1989 album Steel Wheels). Dash was also the only female member of Keith Richards’ super group, The X-Pensive Winos. more

BRUSH UP ON YOUR TRIVIA: Drag comedian Pissi Myles is the host for a special Online Trivia Night, sponsored by State Theatre New Jersey, to be held on Wednesday, August 19 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Proceeds raised will support State Theatre’s Community Engagement programs.

On Wednesday, August 19 at 7 p.m., State Theatre New Jersey is hosting 2000s Online Trivia Night via Zoom, with hostess Pissi Myles. Proceeds raised will support State Theatre’s Community Engagement programs. A minimum donation of $5 allows patrons to participate in the trivia challenge.

Hosted by drag comedian Myles, the trivia challenge covers the music, movies, musicals, and pop culture of the early 2000s. The trivia will be composed of 60 multiple-choice questions. The first-place winner gets a $150 State Theatre gift certificate and the second-place winner gets a State Theatre swag bag. more

“THIS TOO SHALL PASS”: This painting by Sarah Bernotas is featured in an exhibition of artwork by Hopewell Valley Arts Council members. “This Too Shall Pass” is on view at the Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn, 15 East Broad Street, through October 29.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council now presents “This Too Shall Pass,” its annual members show featuring 40+ pieces created during the health crisis. “This Too Shall Pass” highlights local artists’ dive into creativity and reflection during these difficult times.

The artwork will be on display through October 29 at the Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn at 15 East Broad Street, Hopewell. Social distancing and state-mandated safety practices will be in place. For hours and dining inquiries go to

For more information about the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, visit

ARTSBRIDGE OUTDOOR ART SALE: The annual sale returns on Sunday, August 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Prallsville Mills, 33 Risler Street, in Stockton. The event will be held rain or shine. (Photo by Gary David Fournier)

In this year of cancelations, the annual Artsbridge Outdoor Art Sale returns! Art collectors and art lovers are invited Sunday, August 30, to the Prallsville Mills at 33 Risler Street in Stockton from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., rain or shine. If it rains, the exhibit will be held inside the mill. There is no entry fee. more

This painting by Alayne Sahar is featured in the Garden State Watercolor Society’s 50th Anniversary Juried Exhibition, “Out of the Wild,” which can be viewed online through September 30. The exhibit, in partnership with D&R Greenway Land Trust, is being held in conjunction with a virtual artists’ talk and a family-friendly scavenger hunt. For more information, visit or

SEEING RED: Doug Davis shouts out instructions in a 2019 game during his tenure as the head coach of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team. Davis, a former Princeton University men’s hoops star who guided PDS to its first state Prep B title this past winter, is heading down Route 206 to take the helm of the Lawrenceville School boys’ hoops program. He will be succeeding longtime Big Red coach Ron Kane. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Doug Davis knows something about winning titles.

During his career with The Hun School boys’ basketball program, sharpshooting guard Davis helped the Raiders win state Prep A and Mid-Atlantic Prep League championships in 2007.

Going across town to Princeton for college, Davis started from day one with the Tigers and provided one of the greatest highlights in program history, draining a buzzer-beater to beat Harvard an Ivy League championship playoff game in 2011 during his junior season.

Getting into coaching, Davis started at the Berkshire School (Mass.) and then returned to the area to take the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball program in 2018 and guided the Panthers to the state Prep B title this past winter.

Now, Davis is bringing his championship touch down Route 206 as he recently became the new head coach of the Lawrenceville School boys’ hoops program, succeeding longtime coach Ron Kane.

“I want to be at the top of this league again, that is definitely going to require some buy-in from the players but it is definitely doable with all of the resources that Lawrenceville has,” said Davis, reflecting on his vision for the program that posted a 6-19 record in the 2019-20 campaign.

“It is an amazing place to be. I truly believe that if we set our goals and sights on winning again, we can do it.” more

LION-HEARTED: Ben Amon fires a pitch this spring in his freshman season for The College of New Jersey baseball team. Amon, a former Princeton High standout, posted a 0-1 record in two starts for the Lions, piling up 16 strikeouts in 14 innings with a 3.21 ERA before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo provided courtesy of TCNJ Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Ben Amon experienced a baptism of fire in his first start on the mound for The College of New Jersey baseball team.

Former Princeton High star Amon gave up five runs in the first inning at Ursinus as he made his college debut on March 4.

“That was 100 percent a great learning experience; I went out in the first inning having the same mindset as in high school ball,” said Amon, reflecting on the rocky start.

“I thought I could just throw my stuff and it will be good enough to get them out. I quickly learned in that first inning that wasn’t going to be the case.”

Settling down after that early barrage which saw Ursinus bang out five hits, including a two-run homer, Amon yielded only two hits and picked up six strikeouts over the next six innings as TCNJ fell 5-3. more

IN THE SWING: Jackson Durbin of the West Windsor Plainsboro Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-star team follows through on a swing last weekend at the Southern New Jersey State tourney. After falling 5-0 to host Hamilton/Northern Burlington last Saturday in its opening game of the double-elimination competition, WWP topped Lawrence 6-0 on Monday. The squad is slated to get a rematch with Hamilton/NB on August 11 with the winner advancing to the championship round against Atlantic Shore on Wednesday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Andrew Liggio realized that his West Windsor Plainsboro Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-star team was in for a challenge as it faced host Hamilton/Northern Burlington at Switlik Park in the Southern New Jersey State tourney.

“Hamilton is a great team, it is well coached and they have been together for three years,” said WWP manager Liggio.

“They have gone through the states back-to-back years and have played in the Mid-Atlantic tournament. They have everyone back.”

While WWP fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Liggio wasn’t discouraged.

“I liked how the boys came out and played defense,” said Liggio, whose squad includes Princeton residents Jude Blaser, Jackson Durbin, Daniel Harlan, Leyton Shroff, Jonathan Tao, and Jake Zuckerman. “I think our bats were a little sleepy to start.”

In the top of the third, the bats woke up a bit as Durbin reached first base on a throwing error and Jack Liggio followed with a single. But WWP couldn’t push across a run and never threatened after that on the way to a 5-0 loss.

The team’s trio of pitchers, John Pacifico, Tao, and Blaser,
helped keep the contest tight.

“I liked our pitching and what I saw from all three kids,” said Liggio.

“Pacifico had a little bit of butterflies. It was his first time in the state tournament, but then he geared down in the meat of their order and in the second inning he came back stronger. He had a little fatigue when he got to 60 pitches. Jude was fantastic, seven batters faced and a first strike on all but one. He really sets the table for himself, he is very efficient.”

Although WWP was disappointed to come away with a defeat in its opener, Liggio saw plenty of positives.

“We gave them a 5-0 game on their field; I would have loved to win but it was our first game and their second of the tournament,” said Liggio.

“For a first game, I will take it. We will look to improve on that for the second game. The outfield played fantastic in my opinion. There were a couple of bad hops in the infield. It is a double elimination tournament so now our backs are against the wall. I am confident that we can play Monday and play on Tuesday. We are looking to strike first, take the lead, and build on from there.”

WWP did just that on Monday evening, posting an impressive 6-0 win over Lawrence, earning a rematch with Hamilton/NB on August 11 with the victor advancing to the championship round against Atlantic Shore on Wednesday. In the victory, Robert Rossi allowed just three hits over 4 and 1/3 innings with Harlan coming on in relief to finish off the shutout. Tao sparked the offense, blasting a three-run homer that cleared the left field wall and traveled about 330 feet with Aiden Castillo knocking in two runs.

But no matter what happens over the rest of the tournament, Liggio’s players are thrilled to on the diamond.

“As much of a hot mess that 2020 is, I am so glad that Jon Durbin, our league president, was able to put together a season quickly,” said Liggio.

“We had a nice five-week, 10-game season. For the kids who want to play all-star like these, especially for the 15s in my group, it is their last year on Babe Ruth so to get together for a competitive tournament is great. I know only five leagues came to the state tournament but to get this level of play for them is a good treat for the boys in a tough year.”

AL FRESCO:  “Everyone appreciates the way pedestrian traffic has opened up on Witherspoon Street. People are really enjoying coming together and eating outside. As owners of Olives, we are thankful and grateful for the way the town has allowed us to adapt to these changing times.”  Adam and Nick Angelakis, co-owners of Olives Gourmet Bakery & Deli, along with the Verganelakis family of Colonial Farm in Washington Crossing, look forward to more customers enjoying Olives’ outdoor dining opportunities. Tables are set up outside Olives’ entrance.

By Jean Stratton

The Witherspoon streetscape is now filled with intriguing scenes and scenarios as people enjoy the many outdoor dining opportunities now available. The street’s new traffic pattern has made it possible for more outdoor tables and attractive settings to line the thoroughfare.

Since state rules have prohibited indoor dining because of COVID-19, restaurants have had to adapt and meet the moment with new possibilities.

Olives, the popular Gourmet Bakery & Deli at 22 Witherspoon Street, is one of those that now offers dining al fresco, and co-owners and brothers Adam and Nick Angelakis are pleased with the result, and also that Princeton officials have stepped up to make it happen.

“I want to give credit to Mayor Lempert and the Princeton Council,” says Adam Angelakis. “They worked hard to make outside dining possible, and they have worked closely with the business community.” more

August 8, 2020

Friday, August 7, 2020

Dear Princetonians,

With deep regret and sadness, I write to update you about our plans for the fall, and, in particular, to explain why Princeton has decided that its undergraduate program must be fully remote in the coming semester.  In brief, the pandemic’s impact in New Jersey has led us to conclude that we cannot provide a genuinely meaningful on-campus experience for our undergraduate students this fall in a manner that is respectful of public health concerns and consistent with state regulations and guidance.


August 5, 2020

Despite the heat, children enjoyed some play time and the shade of the tall trees at Marquand Park. People share their favorite summertime memories in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika R. Plohn)

New Jersey was pounded on Tuesday, August 4, by Tropical Storm Isaias, bringing fierce winds, heavy downpours, and two small tornadoes to the Garden State. Here in Princeton, the police department reported that, in the three hours between 11:01 a.m. and 2:01 p.m., there were over 50 trees or limbs down, 22 reports of wires down, and multiple traffic signals out. About 36,000 PSE&G customers were without power by mid-afternoon. This included thousands of local residences and businesses, including the town’s central business district. There was debris on many roadways, and people were urged to stay home, even after the storm subsided in late afternoon.

By Donald Gilpin

“We are not going to be safe against COVID-19 until a vaccine or suitable treatment is available for our population,” warned Princeton Public Health Officer Jeff Grosser earlier this week. With case numbers increasing, Grosser criticized breaches of rules on social gatherings, along with inadequate support for public health systems and failures of many other states to apply lessons learned from the early outbreaks and epidemiological evidence.

Though Grosser noted the progress made locally, he remained less than optimistic. “Princeton has done a tremendous job of moving restaurant dining outside, preparing workplaces for safe business, masking up while outside, preparing our public employees for work amidst a pandemic, etc.,” he said. “The unfortunate certainty of this virus is that it is not just going to go away. All members of our town must act like a cohesive team to root out this virus, which includes holding everyone accountable for the negative and positive effects of our actions.”

The Princeton Health Department on Monday reported four new cases in the past seven days, nine in the past two weeks, with 16 active cases, 207 total positive cases, 160 recovered with isolation completed, 18 COVID-related deaths, and 12 additional probable COVID-related deaths.

Acknowledging that more cases of COVID-19 will appear as state restrictions are lifted, Grosser  expressed growing concern with the high percentage of new Princeton infections, which have been attributed, through contact tracing, to social gatherings. “Through spot checks on portions of town, we know that residents are abiding by public health executive directives, but it’s far too common to find out that new infections are the result of a lack of compliance,” he said.

Grosser pointed out that failure to follow social distancing guidelines and lack of facial coverings, particularly at social gatherings, have sparked a number of recent cases.  The Health Department continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing and masks.

The Princeton Health Department’s “mask ambassador” was on the job on Nassau Street on Saturday afternoon, August 1, handing out about 200 free face masks. Of the 246 people who passed in front of the Princeton Garden Theatre between 3 and 3:30 p.m., 211 (85.77 percent) were wearing a mask. Between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, 229 people passed with 149 (65.07 percent) wearing a mask. 

Princeton Press and Media Communications Officer Fred Williams noted that many of the people not wearing masks were in groups of people, family, or friends, and others had taken their masks off while consuming a recently-purchased drink.  The next mask distribution date will be August 11, possibly in Palmer Square. more

By Donald Gilpin

Joint Effort Safe Streets 2020, dedicated to the memory of Romus Broadway, continues into its second week with a virtual forum on Wednesday, August 5 at 6:15 p.m. on “The Future of Princeton and Community Development Hot Topics.”

Featured presenters will include Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter on police-community relations; Chris Foglio Palmer on affordable housing in New Jersey and Princeton; Bob Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) on the Witherspoon Street corridor; Josh Zinder on Maclean Street, Griggs Corner, and John Street projects; Leighton Newlin on Franklin Avenue and Maple Terrace; and Michelle Pirone Lambros on redevelopment in the shopping center area.

Mayor Liz Lempert, Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz, Princeton Mayoral Candidate Mark Freda, Princeton Council President David Cohen, Councilman Dwaine Williamson, architect and Princeton Future President Kevin Wilkes, Princeton Civil Rights Commission (CRC) member and community nonprofit leader Fern Spruill, Princeton YMCA CEO Kate Bech, Arts Council of Princeton Interim Director Jim Levine, Princeton CRC Chair Thomas Parker, and Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) candidates Jean Durbin and Hendricks Davis will participate as panelists.

“I’m excited about this event because we’re talking about the future of this town,” said Joint Effort Program Coordinator John Bailey. “What will the town look like 20, 30, 40 years from now? I thought it would be important to have a clarifying and therapeutic conversation about affordable housing with people who are considered experts in the field to try to get us all on the same page. All of these issues are about history, the hindsight, what it used to be; the insight, what is the current dynamic; and foresight, what will the town look like going forward?” more

By Anne Levin

It isn’t just that he wants to spend time with his family, which now includes four grandchildren. Barry Rabner, president and CEO of Penn Medicine Princeton Health for the past 18 years — since it was known as Princeton Hospital — is ready for a change.

The medical center announced last week that Rabner, 68, will retire as of January 1, 2021. “It was a combination of things,” he said Monday when asked what steered him toward the decision. “Having the grandchildren was reason enough, because that’s a big part of our life now. But I think it’s just the right time.”

The press release announcing Rabner’s retirement lists the changes, expansions, and accolades that the medical center received during his tenure — recognitions for nursing excellence, designation as a leader in health care equality for those who identify as LGBTQ, the doubling in outpatient capacity at Princeton House Behavioral Health, a five-fold increase in medical staff, partnerships in fitness and wellness, ambulatory surgery, gastroenterology, and a partnership with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, among other achievements.

Perhaps most significant are the design and construction of the new hospital in Plainsboro, which the small hospital on Witherspoon Street moved to in 2012, and the decision to join the University of Pennsylvania Health System in 2018. more