July 26, 2017

A fairy fashion show was just one of the fun activities at Saturday’s Fairy Festival at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Reserve in Pennington.  Children, who were encouraged to dress in fairy and gnome costumes, also created magical crafts, danced around a maypole, walked along the fairy trail, and played in the stream with water sprites. Participants share their favorite fairy stories and characters in this week’s Town Talk, and more photos are featured on page 16. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

July 24, 2017

DOING WELL: Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball player Zach Dudeck takes a cut in recent action. Last Wednesday, center fielder and lead-off batter Dudeck contributed a double and a walk in a losing cause as Post 218 fell 19-2 to South Brunswick. The defeat left Princeton with a final record of 2-20 this summer. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For Zach Dudeck, changing his priorities helped him enjoy a breakout year this spring in his senior campaign for the Princeton Day School baseball team.

The center fielder starred as PDS posted a 10-10 record, hitting .322 with 16 runs and 17 RBIs.

“I started focusing mainly on baseball; before I was trying to do soccer and baseball,” said Dudeck, reflecting on his final high school campaign. more

July 21, 2017

XIYUE WANG AND FAMILY: Shown here with his wife Hua Qu and their son, Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University graduate student in the history department, was arrested in Iran last summer while doing research for his doctoral dissertation and has been sentenced by Iranian authorities to 10 years in prison for espionage. (Family Photo Via Princeton University)

An Iranian court announced Sunday that it has sentenced Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University graduate student in the history department, to 10 years in prison for spying. A Chinese-born U.S. citizen, Mr. Wang, 37, was arrested last summer in Iran while conducting research on the administrative and cultural history of the late Qajar dynasty for his PhD dissertation. more

July 19, 2017

Rider University’s announcement last week that a new dance studio will open on its campus in Lawrenceville does not sit well with those working to keep the University from closing Westminster Choir College (WCC) in Princeton, which Rider owns and wants to sell.

Members of The Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College in Princeton have used words like “infuriating” and “insulting” on social media, one likening the opening of a $700,000 studio at Rider while the future of Westminster remains uncertain to “a punch in the face.” more

Don’t miss the biggest pool party of the summer!

For souvenir giveaways, ice cream, Zumba dancing, and free hot dogs and water bottles provided by McCaffrey’s Food Markets; displays of emergency tools and equipment by the Princeton Police Department (PPD), Fire Department, and First Aid Squad; and a host of other activities; the Community Park Pool at 380 Witherspoon Street is the place to be on Tuesday, August 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. for Princeton Community Night Out. more

THE FAMILY THAT RUNS TOGETHER: Susan Hrabchak’s husband and four children have joined her on occasion as part of her 50 States Marathon Project. Pictured here at the finish line in Anchorage, Alaska are son Thomas; daughter Allie; Ms. Hrabchak and her husband, Rick; and sons Jimmy and Robert.

Comparing notes a few years ago about their experiences running marathons, Princeton residents Susan Hrabchak and Isabella de la Houssaye realized they could each claim credit to races in about 20 of the United States. From that calculation, the two friends came up with a challenge. more

Trattoria Procaccini, an Italian kitchen at 354 Nassau Street next to Whole Earth, recently unveiled a new bambino-friendly cost-effective offering for parents and those with little loved ones.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, one free plate for children under 10 is given for each adult entrée. Kids can eat baked chicken nuggets, handcrafted pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, or cheese tortellini. Little ones also get treated to gelato for dessert with their meal.  more

What’s your favorite area restaurant? Do you have a landscaper that you love? What about your top auto shop? Town Topics Newspaper is pleased to announce its Readers’ Choice Awards competition. Let us know which area businesses and services deserve to be recognized as outstanding in our community.

The voting starts now. See the ballot in today’s newspaper, which you can fill in and mail to: Town Topics Readers’ Choice Awards, 4438 Route 27, P.O. Box 125, Kingston, NJ 08528. You can also share your favorites online at towntopics.com, send an email with your responses to editor@towntopics.com, or call (609) 924-2200. The ballot will also be in the July 26 and August 2 editions of the Town Topics newspaper. more

The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the biggest of its kind in the country. On the weekend of July 28-30, Solberg Airport in Readington hosts the annual event, which sends 100 balloons from around the world into the air at once, twice each day. Then there is the music part of the festival, headlined by Pat Benatar. For information, prices, and directions, visit www.balloonfestival.com or call (973) 882-5464.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are still on the agenda at Princeton High School (PHS), but students, faculty, and administration are demanding more in response to these troubled times and will be introducing new courses for 2017-18 in racial literacy and harmony, as well as world religions and current events.

Based partly on “the need and desire expressed by students and parents to have rich conversations about issues that really matter to kids today,” the new course offerings will enable students and teachers “to focus more on the modern world” and “to make connections to lives in the contemporary world,” according to Humanities Supervisor Mark Shelley. more

HomeFront’s Stop Hunger Now campaign launched last week with the announcement of a $75,000 match from two generous donors. This means that every dollar will have twice the impact.

“The need is dire,” said Connie Mercer, HomeFront executive director. “Children are hungry in our own backyard, and yet it is hard to recognize. Summertime is especially dreadful when 37 percent of Mercer County children who depend on subsidized school meals no longer have access to this life-sustaining program.  more

Princeton HealthCare System’s 22nd annual Golf Outing, held last month at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson, raised more than $290,000 to benefit the Center for Pelvic Wellness at University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP). From left: James Demetriades, Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) vice president, operations, and co-chair of the golf outing committee; Howard Weinstein, regional vice president, Morrison Healthcare; Barry S. Rabner, PHCS president and CEO; Tom Sevcik, regional vice president, Crothall Healthcare Plant Operations & Maintenance; Gene Hood, regional director, Morrison; Dave Rufo, regional director, Crothall Environmental Services; and Glenn Mekles of Conner Strong & Buckelew, golf outing committee co-chair and Metedeconk sponsoring member.

For Princeton Councilman Tim Quinn, the 2017 Anchor House Ride for Runaways marked his 25th year of participation in the annual fundraiser. But last week’s 500-mile bike trek, in which 146 people cycled from Maryland to Trenton, turned out to be a bit more eventful than he had planned.

Last Wednesday, Mr. Quinn was thrown from his bike near Lewisburg, Pa., after his wheel got stuck in the groove of a milled surface of the road. He suffered a broken collarbone, four broken ribs, and a concussion, spending Wednesday night in one hospital and Thursday in another, for observation. By Friday evening he was back on his feet, well enough to attend the annual banquet in Bethlehem, Pa. He spent Saturday, the final day of the ride, in one of the support vehicles. more

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has awarded Millhill Child and Family Development Corporation an $11,000 grant in support of its Health Literacy Program. The grant will help provide health literacy education, access to developmental and behavioral health care screenings, as well as public health interventions.

“Millhill is excited to continue our partnership with The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to bring health and wellness education to our children and families. We especially look forward to collaborating again this year for our 4th Annual Health Fair in September to provide health information to the Trenton community,” said Nicole Cowan, Millhill’s health literacy coordinator.

The grant will help provide youth, families, and caregivers with health literacy training and tools necessary to lead healthy lives. Millhill’s Health Literacy Program aims to promote and build a culture of health among our families while working to eliminate barriers to education and care.  more

Poet Solmaz Sharif has been selected as the latest recipient of the Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes National Poetry Prize awarded by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University.

The Holmes National Poetry Prize was established in memory of Princeton 1951 alumnus Theodore H. Holmes and is presented each year to a poet of special merit as nominated and selected by the faculty of the Creative Writing Program, which includes writers Jeffrey Eugenides, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, Kirstin Valdez Quade, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, and Susan Wheeler. The award currently carries a prize of $5,000, and was first made to Mark Doty in 2011 and has since also been awarded to Evie Shockley, Natalie Diaz, Matt Rasmussen, and Eduardo Corral. more

If I am a wild Beast, I cannot help it. — Jane Austen, from a letter

“Every time I read Pride and Prejudice,” Mark Twain once wrote to a friend, “I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” The sheltered drawing-room stereotype of Jane Austen that Twain is ridiculing only redounds to the power of her art. If anything, his vehemence suggests a kind of backhanded recognition of the “wild beast” of a writer she spontaneously and perhaps inadvertently reveals in a May 24, 1813, letter to her elder sister Cassandra. more

“SPIDER’S WEB”: Performances are underway for Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Spider’s Web.” Directed by C. Luke Soucy, the play runs through July 23 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. From left: Jeremy (Peter Giovine), Hugo (Pablo Milla), Sir Rowland (Christopher Damen, seated), Clarissa (Abby Melick), and Miss Peake (Alex Yogelsang) examine a mysterious piece of paper. (Photo by Michelle Navis)

Princeton Summer Theater is presenting Spider’s Web at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. Audiences will find much to enjoy in this polished production of Agatha Christie’s comic mystery, which — like Murder on the Orient Express — artfully undercuts thrilling suspense with lively characterization and witty dialogue. more

Julie Diana Hench

American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School announced that, after an international search, Julie Diana Hench has been selected as the organization’s executive director starting September 1, 2017.

“On behalf of the Board and the entire organization, I am very pleased to extend a warm welcome to Julie Diana Hench,” says Chuck Metcalf, chair of the organization’s Board of Trustees. “American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School are recognized as leaders in their respective fields throughout the tri-state area, as well as on the national landscape, and it is imperative we have an experienced leader to maintain and build on the excellent reputation of the entire organization.” more

James Moyer will conduct a community sing-in of Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” on Tuesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton. Mr. Moyer is the artistic director of the Pennsbury Community Chorus and director of choral activities at Pennsbury High School. Soloists will be his wife and son: Katherine Moyer and James Moyer, Jr. The event is free and open to the public. Scores will be provided.

The Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps of Plymouth, Mich. will visit the Washington Crossing Historic Park in Washington Crossing, Pa. on Monday, July 31, 2017. During their visit they will perform their 2017 concert at 4 p.m.

The Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps’ annual summer concert tour has taken the Corps to many historical sites in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. The 2017 concert tour will also take the Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps to Fort Ticonderoga in Ticonderoga, N.Y., Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., National Night Out at Fort Meade near Baltimore, Md., and to Annapolis Md. for performances at the Maryland State House and the U.S. Naval Academy Museum.  more

Some cast members are shown from Princeton Day School’s production of “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, that will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. From left: Danielle Hirsch ’17 (Newtown, Pa.), Hope Ammidon ’18 (Princeton), Liv Sheridan ’18 (Lawrenceville), Emily Trend ’18 (Pennington), and Nate Jones ’18 (Princeton). (Photo Credit: Matt Pilsner)

In its ongoing commitment to contemporary music, every summer for the past four years New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has created a “laboratory experience” for four emerging composers to develop their craft and produce a unique work of music, subsequently presented to the public in Richardson Auditorium. Guided by Institute Director and Princeton University Professor of Music Steven Mackey, the four composers who participated in this year’s NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute created pieces reflecting diverse backgrounds and talents. Led by conductor JoAnn Falletta, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presented a more casual concert atmosphere last Saturday night than during the regular season, but were no less serious about the music, executing well the sophisticated scores of these promising composers.  more

COMING THROUGH: Jordan Glover bulls through two defenders in playoff action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. On Monday, Glover scored 12 points to help top-seeded and defending champion Majestic Foundation top eighth-seeded King’s Pizzarama 59-38 in a quarterfinal clash. In other quarterfinal action on Monday, seventh-seeded Packer Hall All-Stars upset second-seeded LoyalTees 58-51. The two other quarterfinal games take place on Wednesday at the Community Park courts with third-seeded Princeton Special Sports facing sixth-seeded NJAC and fourth-seeded PEAC Performance playing fifth-seeded PA Blue Devils. The semifinals are slated for Friday with the best-of-three championship series starting on July 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although the Majestic Foundation posted an 8-0 record in regular season play in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League and is the defending champion, the squad wasn’t overconfident as it opened its title defense last Monday.  more

July 12, 2017

The annual summer picnic in the Cuyler/Dempsey Avenue section of Princeton is just one of the regular events that have been bringing neighbors together for decades. This year’s party, held last month, was an unofficial sendoff for Judy Koubek and Luke Hilgendorff, longtime residents who are moving to Chicago. See page 7 for more about the neighborhood and its residents. (Photo Courtesy of Rekha Arapurakal)