March 8, 2017

The 2017 Princeton Environmental Film Festival opens Monday, March 27, and runs through Sunday, April 2. Now in its 11th year, the award-winning festival features a lineup of 20 acclaimed films with filmmakers and other speakers presented over seven days. Films and additional programs are scheduled both during the day and in the evening at the library, on the Princeton University campus and at the Princeton Garden Theatre. more

EXPERT EYE CARE: “The advances in ophthalmology are amazing, The spread of inventions and the technology continue all the time. There are so many new ways we can treat eye diseases today and help people improve their vision.” Dr. Anita I. Miedziak is Director of Cornea and Contact Lens Services at the Princeton Eye Group.

If indeed, the eyes are the “window of the soul,” Dr. Anita I. Miedziak is doing all she can to keep that “window” as clear and unobstructed as possible. more

Feste the jester (Mort Paterson, right) entertains Sir Toby Belch (George Hartpence) in Twelfth Night, being presented by ActorsNET from March 10 through 26 at the Heritage Center Theatre, 635 N. Delmorr Avenue in Morrisville, Pa.  William Shakespeare’s popular comedy plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.  Admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (62+), $15 for students and WHYY card members, and $10 for children.  To reserve, phone (215) 295-3694 or email  The company’s website is

March 1, 2017

With spring in the air, a young man’s fancy turns to cavorting in the heart of Princeton in a Town Topics t-shirt. People who were there reveal their favorite spring songs and poems in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

HEADING HOME: James Perry, center, enjoys the moment with Bryant University Director of Athletics Bill Smith and Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley after he was named as the head coach of the school’s football program this January. Perry served as the offensive coordinator for the Princeton University football team for the last seven seasons. Employing a no-huddle, up-tempo style under Perry’s guidance, Princeton won Ivy League titles in 2013 and 2016. For Perry, a record-breaking quarterback at Brown University, taking the helm at Bryant amounts to a homecoming as the school is located about 10 miles from his alma mater. (Photo Courtesy of Bryant Athletic Communications)

As the offensive coordinator for the Princeton University football team over the last seven seasons, James Perry favored a fast and physical approach. more

A coalition of student groups will be hosting a “Day of Action” at Princeton University next Monday, March 6, in response to the Trump Administration and the current political climate. Staff and students will attend a series of teach-ins, workshops, and panel discussions at the Frist Campus Center, exploring issues of human rights, the environment, international peace, and security С all channeled toward the goal of organizing and taking action.  more

In a letter to Princeton officials this week, AvalonBay senior vice president Ron Ladell accused the town of failing to provide required information that would help settle a dispute over payments to a consultant overseeing construction of Avalon Princeton, the residential complex on Witherspoon Street. Because the documentation has not been received, Mr. Ladell wrote, he plans to request a formal hearing with the Mercer County Construction Board of Appeals (CBOA). more

Stuart Country Day School seniors Claire Bhalla of Princeton Junction (left) and Annie Liang of Hillsborough have been named finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The young women were chosen from over 1.5 million students in 22,000 high schools nationwide to receive this coveted recognition. Finalists represent less than 1% of United States high school seniors and include the highest-scoring entrants in each state. 

At a meeting on Monday, February 27, Princeton Council introduced a municipal budget for 2017 of $62.4 million. Among other business, the governing body also heard a report from representatives of the 12-member Youth Advisory Committee, which was formed last year and is made up of students from Princeton High School, The Hun School, Princeton Day School, and Stuart Country Day School. more

“DYNAMO OF ENERGY AND CARING SENSITIVITY:” Reverend Alexis Fuller-Wright, most recently from Farmington, Maine, has taken over the pulpit at Christ Congregation and looks forward to leading the church in new directions, with emphasis on the church as a relevant presence in the community and the world.

Reverend Alexis Fuller-Wright, Pastor Alexis as her congregation knows her, explained that “God is still speaking, continuing to point us in new and interesting directions, and our job is to listen.” more

In response to the Williams company’s choice of a site on the grounds of Trap Rock Quarry in Kingston for the addition of a compressor station along an existing natural gas pipeline, residents of the area near the site attended a forum Monday night, February 27, to express their opposition to the proposal and hear from local environmentalists and lawmakers.

The Williams firm, which installed a natural gas pipeline in 2015 along the Princeton Ridge, is recommending to the Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the site be used for the addition of 32 miles of extra pipeline with a 32,000 horsepower, gas-powered compressor station, at the quarry. The company plans to apply to FERC this month. more

In the wake of last week’s White House rejection of the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, the Princeton Public Schools have stated that the District’s transgender policy will remain in place.

The state of North Carolina became the focal point of the “bathroom debate” a year ago when it barred transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the sex on their birth certificates, and last week’s directive from the Trump Justice and Education Departments came only after a clash between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with Mr. Sessions finally prevailing. more

Every now and then the right movie comes along at the right time. If you’re writing a column celebrating Robert Lowell’s 100th birthday, March 1, 2017, the right movie is Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea. The minute I saw the view of the buildings and boats along the harbor, I thought of Lowell’s “bleak white frame houses/stuck like oyster shells/on a hill of rock,” and of the way “the sea lapped/the raw little match-stick mazes of a weir/where the fish for bait were trapped.” The poem “Water” draws on a 1948 encounter between Lowell and his soulmate poet Elizabeth Bishop in Stonington, a fishing town on the Massachusetts coast. The closing stanza, which refers to the bonding between two poets, also, as it happens, evokes the emotional ambiance of the film’s most talked-about scene: “We wished our two souls/might return like gulls/to the rock/In the end, the water was too cold for us.” more

Volunteers have been collecting books and getting ready for 12 months in preparation for March 17-21, the week of the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale. Held at Princeton Day School, 650 Great Road, Princeton, the sale raises money for college scholarships for local students.

With over 80,000 volumes to choose from, the sale brings buyers from Maine to West Virginia and beyond. In past years book lovers have found first editions by Jack London, Henry James, Edith Wharton, J.D. Salinger, A.A. Milne, E.B. White, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.  more

DECOR AND DESIGN: “The major focus is consignment, but I always have new retail pieces to add a fresh, updated look.” Cynthia (CJ) Johnson, owner of the Elephant in the Room Design Showroom, is shown by a lattice-work desk/potting table by Mecox Gardens, two new lamps from Port 68, and above, a large Wendover Art Group print, featuring a colorful butterfly wings motif. Ms. Johnson is holding a sample of her own fabric design.

The Elephant in the Room is ready and waiting! A new and unique fine consignment, retail furniture, and home decor emporium, it invites customers to share a delightful experience — starting with the store’s intriguing name! more

YOUTH ART: This drawing by Shannon Boyle is among the works selected for the upcoming art show at the Gourgaud Gallery. The exhibit showcases artwork from Cranbury School students of various ages in celebration of National Youth Art Month.

In celebration of National Youth Art Month, Cranbury School student artists will be featured at the Gourgaud Gallery at Town Hall in Cranbury. The show will run from March 7 — March 30.  more

“A LENS ON THE SEASONS”: The upcoming exhibition of Frank Sauer’s photographs of The Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve show our town’s beauty in all four seasons. Pictured here is a photo by Sauer entitled “Dogwood.”

Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) is sponsoring an exhibit of photos taken in the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve by long-time Princeton resident Frank Sauer. The exhibition, titled “Mountain Lakes: A Lens on the Seasons,” includes both color and black-and-white photographs and will be shown at the Arts Council of Princeton. more

For a number of years, Princeton Singers has enjoyed a successful collaborative relationship with the Princeton University Art Museum, performing a cappella sacred choral music surrounded by the iconic paintings and statues of the Museum’s Medieval chapel. This past Saturday night, the 16 voice professional vocal ensemble presented a double-header — a concert of unaccompanied works centered on the theme “As the Lily Among the Thorns,” performed twice during the evening to two different audiences. Artistic Director and Conductor Steven Sametz well researched the eight pieces from five centuries to find the “Lily” in the music, composers, or circumstances in which the work was written. more

MATTHEW SCHULER SET TO PERFORM FIRST HOMETOWN SHOW IN 3 YEARS: Bucks County native Matthew Schuler will be holding his first full-length concert since competing on NBC’s “The Voice” on March 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. at Acting Naturally Theatre in Langhorne, Pa. Ticket prices range from $12-$15. To purchase tickets, call (267) 798-9165 or visit

Bucks County native Matthew Schuler will be holding his first full-length concert since competing on NBC’s The Voice on March 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. He will appear at Acting Naturally Theatre in Langhorne, Pa. The show is thoughtfully named, “The Neighborhood Show.”  more

A CLASSIC FAIRY TALE: Roxey Ballet performs “Cinderella” on May 6 and 7 at The College of New Jersey’s Kendall Main Stage Theater. The cast includes Roxey Ballet’s professional performers, along with 60 young artists from local communities. Tickets are available at

Roxey Ballet performs Cinderella on May 6 and 7 at The College of New Jersey’s Kendall Main Stage Theater. Cinderella is directed and choreographed by Mark Roxey, co-founder of Roxey Ballet. Also featured are costumes designed by Alicia Worden and Nilda Roxey-Jones, and lighting designed by Jeffrey Goldstein. The cast includes Roxey Ballet’s professional performers, along with 60 young artists from local communities. more

On Thursday, March 2, and Friday, March 3, Rider University will host film scholars and student presenters at its annual film symposium, this year devoted to the gangster genre.

The subject of the symposium, “‘Sure Deals’ and ‘Offers You Can’t Refuse’: American and Global Gangster/Crime Films,” was chosen by Rider students last April.  more

LAST STAND: Princeton University women’s basketball player Vanessa Smith looks to pass the ball in a game earlier this season. Senior star Smith played well last weekend in her final games at Jadwin Gym, scoring 15 points as Princeton defeated Columbia 78-45 on Friday to clinch a spot in the upcoming Ivy League tournament and then chipping in 10 a night later as the Tigers fell 55-44 to Cornell. Princeton, now 14-10 overall and 8-3 Ivy, plays at Harvard on March 3, at Dartmouth on March 4, and at Penn on March 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After losing its first two Ivy League games this winter, the Princeton University women’s basketball team did some soul searching. more

February 22, 2017

Members of the Hun School boys’ hockey team celebrate with their student cheering section after Hun edged Princeton High 4-3 in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Friday evening at the Mercer County Park rink. It marked the fourth straight county crown for the Raiders. See page 34 for more details on Hun’s win. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Acting State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington is scheduled to render a decision by early March on the Princeton Charter School (PCS) request to add 76 students.

Both PCS and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) face related law suits in the state courts over violations of the open public meeting act (OPMA, the sunshine law); both PCS and PPS have filed opposition statements, responses, and additional statements with the commissioner in making their cases, some before and some after the January 31 deadline for public comment; the conflict has raged in the media, with many letters to the editor and paid ads on both sides of the argument; and the commissioner has received petitions and thousands of letters from both sides, as well as a resolution from Princeton Town Council opposing expansion.  more

The beleaguered PARCC test suffered another blow last week when the State Assembly Education Committee voted С 10 yes, one abstention С to support a resolution that would strike down regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in August 2016 that made PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) a graduation requirement.

The standardized assessment has been the target of much criticism from local educators, teachers’ unions, and community members, with many parents in Princeton choosing for their children, particularly at the high school level, to opt out of taking the tests. more