June 21, 2017

Saturday, June 24 is wheat harvest day at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., farmers will “cut and shock” this year’s crop. Wheat harvested that day will be threshed on Saturday, July 29, the first day of the annual 4-H Fair. A reaper-binder will be used to cut and bundle the wheat. The farm is at 79 Woodens Lane. Admission is free. Visit www.howellfarm.org.

With forecasters predicting a busy 2017 hurricane and tropical storm season, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is urging County residents to prepare and plan for potential storms this summer and fall. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

Although it’s impossible to predict how the season might affect Mercer County residents, the county executive advises residents that it’s better to be over prepared. Mr. Hughes suggests taking the following readiness steps in preparation for hurricane season: more

At a meeting on June 12, Princeton Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance to better address the growing problem of stormwater runoff. This was welcome news to members of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the Princeton Environmental Commission, Sustainable Princeton, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and others concerned with the increasing threat of major storms and the rise in developments that turn the ground into hard surfaces that don’t absorb water.

But the ordinance is only the first phase of action that environmentalists say must be taken in order to tackle the issue. “The passing of Princeton’s stormwater ordinance is a significant step forward to begin addressing these stormwater challenges,” said Molly Jones, executive director of Sustainable Princeton, this week.  more

ROCK BROOK CONNECTIONS: The Rock Brook School in Skillman recently held its Third Annual Family Night/Community Open House. Shown at the event, from left, are Lauren, Rock Brook student; Mary Caterson, executive director, Rock Brook School; Mark Caliguire, Somerset County freeholder and former mayor of Montgomery; and Henry, a RBS staff member’s son. The group is holding a chain link Connections Project, which the students worked on to celebrate the conclusion of Special Education Week. (Photo Courtesy of Rock Brook School)

On May 19, the Rock Brook School (RBS) in Skillman hosted its Third Annual Family Night/Community Open House. This event offered an opportunity for the community to visit the school and meet the students, staff, and families who make Rock Brook such a special place.  more

Rutgers University–New Brunswick faculty member Azzan Yadin-Israel will speak about his book The Grace of God and the Grace of Man: The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen (Lingua Press, 2016) from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at Alexander Library, 169 College Avenue, New Brunswick. The event is free and open to the public.

The Grace of God and the Grace of Man is divided into three parts. The first section traces the evolution of theological ideas in Springsteen’s early albums with a focus on critiques of traditional religious institutions and the possibility of redemption on the open road, a notion that Springsteen ultimately rejects in Darkness on the Edge of Town. The second section looks at records after Darkness and Springsteen’s refashioning of three common religious concepts: sin, grace, and the struggle within. The book’s final section — named “Springsteen’s Midrash” after the ancient commentaries on Hebrew scriptures — looks at songs with explicitly biblical source material, such as “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Jesus Was an Only Son,” to examine how Springsteen recasts traditional biblical stories to grapple with his own uncertain faith. more

It’s only fitting that signed editions of several of Princeton native John McPhee’s acclaimed works — part of what the New York Times called “a grand pointillist mural of our time and place” — are among the items of special interest at the upcoming Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Sale. During a library ceremony honoring him some years ago, McPhee confessed that when he was a boy he’d borrowed a book and failed to return it (“Well I lost it”). In donating signed editions of all his works to the library’s Princeton Collection on that occasion he was in effect repaying his debt. He then gave the idea of repayment another turn by claiming that he’d written all those books to make up for the one he’d lost.  more

AWARD WINNER: Recent TCNJ graduate Piper Torsilieri is the winner of Princeton Area Community Foundation’s 2017 Thomas George Artist Fund Award. Graduating art majors from Mercer County colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the annual award of $5,000. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Area Community Foundation)

The Princeton Area Community Foundation has named Piper Torsilieri as the winner of the 2017 Thomas George Artist Fund Award.

Ms. Torsilieri, 23, who grew up in Flemington, graduated from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in May. more

“THE SON AND THE HOUSE”: This glitch art painting by Phillip McConnell is part of the “Digital Alchemy” exhibit at The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury from July 9-28. A reception will be held at the gallery on July 9 from 1-4 p.m

The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury presents “Digital Alchemy” by Trenton artist Phillip McConnell from July 9-28. A free reception will be held at the gallery on July 9 from 1-4 p.m.

Mr. McConnell describes himself as a glitch artist with a focus on abstract, surrealist digital art.

“‘Digital Alchemy’ is a project where I blend different aspects of photography (landscape, portrait, urban, nature and macro) with different concepts of glitch art (VHS, aesthetic, vapor wave) to create something new out of something broken,” said Mr. McConnell. “With almost everything in photography being digital, it leads the mind to wonder what can really be done when pushed a step further. more

WORK AND RIGHTS: As the opera “Fidelio” opens with the Overture, we see how the nobleman Florestan (Noah Baetge, second from left holding the banner) was imprisoned for demonstrating with the workers for “trabajo y derechos.” (Photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC, Courtesy of The Princeton Festival)

The last two times Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera Fidelio was performed in Princeton, the productions were plagued with blizzards. In the early 1980s, Princeton University mounted a production, only to have a performance besieged by a monster snowstorm. In January 2016, a visiting opera company came to Richardson Auditorium to present the same work, with blizzard conditions predicted for most of the performance weekend and the schedule adjusted accordingly. Hopefully, Princeton Festival had no thoughts about the “Princeton Fidelio snow curse” in opening its production of Beethoven’s only opera this past weekend at McCarter Theatre Center. Festival Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk led the cast members of Sunday afternoon’s performance at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre on a moving journey through the work Beethoven himself described as “the one most dear to him” of all his compositional “children.” more

QUALITY AND SERVICE: “We are the only ones in the area who sell high-end previously-owned cars and also service them.” Tom Foster (right), owner of Hopewell Motors, and service manager Dave Leary are proud of their outstanding selection of high-quality automobiles and their expert service. They are shown next to a top quality Mercedes-Benz, one of their specialties.

Tom Foster loves his job!

“I like this so much that it’s easy to come to work every day. I enjoy every aspect of the business. I’m proud of our cars, and I like getting to know the customers. Many have become good friends.”

When the boss enjoys coming to work this much, it sets the tone for all the employees and the customers as well.

This is an important reason why so many people are certain that Hopewell Motors will provide them with the best car for their needs, along with the proper maintenance service. In addition, the friendly atmosphere is a big attraction for many customers. more

June 19, 2017

Every year, in observance of Independence Day, Morven Museum and Garden at 55 Stockton Street in Princeton hosts a FREE event celebrating America’s heritage at the home-turned-museum of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The festivities take place on Tuesday, July 4, from noon to 3 p.m. No registration is necessary. more

June 16, 2017

IN SYNCH: Members of the Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 compete in a race earlier this spring. Earlier this month, the varsity 8 placed fourth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

As his Princeton University men’s heavyweight squad prepared for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championships, Greg Hughes decided to shake things up.

“There is a lot of parity within the group, and as the season goes on people make some great adjustments,” said Princeton head coach Hughes. more

June 15, 2017

Lots of people took advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday and enjoyed the day outdoors at Terhune Orchards in Princeton. Fresh strawberries are now featured, and guests can pick their own daily in the field at the farm. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

June 14, 2017

Tracy K. Smith, the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Princeton University Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2017-18.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment today. Ms. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library of Congress’s annual literary season with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium. more

ENJOYING THE MOMENT: Princeton High throwing star Paul Brennan grins during a meet this year. Sophomore Brennan culminated a big spring by taking seventh in the discus at the Meet of Champions last Saturday at Northern Burlington High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Tim Brennan took up throwing events as a sixth grader at the Cranbury School and went on the enjoy a brilliant career for the Princeton High boys’ track team.

Brennan set a PHS record in the discus at 180’9 and competed at the next level, throwing for Dartmouth College over the last four years, recently getting named as a recipient of the program’s Herb Chase Track Award given to athletes who have made the greatest improvement in his or her event through hard work, self-discipline, and enthusiasm for the sport. more

In a five-page letter delivered Monday, Acting State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington denied the Princeton Board of Education’s request to stay, pending resolution of an appeal, her February 28 decision approving Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) proposal to expand enrollment and implement a weighted admissions lottery.

The School Board appealed the acting commissioner’s decision to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court on March 10, and on March 17 the Board requested a stay to enjoin PCS from implementing the weighted lottery and expansion pending resolution of the appeal. more

It was announced on Monday that Robert K. Durkee will be stepping down as Princeton University’s vice president for public affairs, a role he has held since 1978, but he will remain in the position of vice president and secretary of the University.

In sharing a few reflections on his career so far, Mr. Durkee, who arrived at Princeton as a student in 1965, graduated in 1969, and began working in the University president’s office as assistant to the president in 1972, chose to focus “on my engagement on behalf of the university with the communities in which it is located.” more

During his tenure as New Jersey governor from 1982 to 1990, Tom Kean made funding of the arts a priority. So it makes sense that Mr. Kean has signed on as honorary chairman of the Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College, an organization of alumni, students, and others intent on keeping the famed choral academy intact at its longtime Princeton location.

Mr. Kean spoke at a press conference Friday, June 9 about Rider University’s plans to sell the school it merged with 26 years ago. Rider, which is in Lawrenceville, announced earlier this year that it would sell the Westminster campus as a way to stem a growing gap in [Rider’s] finances. While the University has said its priority was to find an academic institution that would keep Westminster, which is financially stable, in place, there is concern that the school will be sold to a developer who could turn the tree-lined campus into a housing complex, and the school would be broken up. more

HELPING HANDS: Talia Fiester, left, and May Kotsen recently joined fellow Princeton High School Democrats in Action to raise funds for girls in the Oaks Integrated Care Foster Home Program. The club, which was formed in the spring, is focused on taking action to make a difference.

For several years, the Princeton High School Democrats club has served as an outlet for students with liberal opinions who want to share their opinions with like-minded individuals. Recently, a second club has emerged, and it takes the concept a step further.

Princeton High School Democrats in Action was founded this spring by four sophomores who wanted to do more than talk. Talia Fiester, May Kotsen, Kahdeeja Qurieshi, and Ella Kotsen put the club together in April, organizing a voter registration drive. More recently, the club organized a local canning drive at McCaffrey’s Market, gathering feminine hygiene products for girls in the Foster Home Program at Oaks Integrated Care, a non-profit that provides social services to New Jersey residents in need. more

Princeton High School (PHS) Senior Jamaica Ponder was suspended for one day Monday in what her father, Rhinold Ponder, claims was “arbitrary and retaliatory” punitive action, “an attempt to silence some of those who would speak up about racism.” Ms. Ponder and her parents are African Americans.

In a letter sent to the school community last week, PHS Principal Gary Snyder reported that several students had submitted PHS yearbook collages including “insensitive, offensive, and provocative words and symbols of racial bias, bigotry, and anti-Semitism. Those students who submitted the inappropriate collages are responsible for their actions, and those actions are being addressed within the parameters of school discipline.”  more

The city of such women, I am mad to be with them! I will return after death to be with them!

—Walt Whitman, from “Mannahatta”

The beautiful women on view in the James A. Michener Museum’s vision of Jazz Age Manhattan in “Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography and Sculptural Formrange from elegant ladies in “dragonfly-stitched ermine coats” to Ziegfield dancers like the exhibit’s cover girl Bobbe Arnst and little (4’10) Ann Pennington, who can be seen in a series of Sheeler photographs performing Black Bottom moves like “Bon Bon Buddy,” “Down Baby,” “Step Out,” “Raggedy Trot,” and “Clap Hands.” more

BACK TO THE BARRE: Princeton Ballet School Director Pamela Levy, shown here teaching at the school (above) and during her days as a student appearing as a soldier in “The Nutcracker,” (below) has instituted some changes in the curriculum.

There are changes afoot at the Princeton Ballet School.

The 63-year-old dance academy headquartered in Princeton Shopping Center now offers free tuition for boys. There is a new Conservatory Program for serious students interested in more focused training. Another, the FLEX Program, offers similarly rigorous classes, but without the same intensity or time commitment. Class names have been simplified to more clearly reflect their progression. more

The Princeton Festival is presenting Man of La Mancha in the Matthews Acting Studio at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. The auditorium becomes a dungeon in which Cervantes awaits trial by the Spanish Inquisition. A playwright and actor, he entertains the other prisoners — and the audience — by becoming Don Quixote, his creation. There is nothing quixotic about this beautiful production, which makes effective use of the intimate space.

The musical’s book is by Dale Wasserman, who based it on his television play I, Don Quixote. The Flamenco-infused music is by Mitch Leigh, and the lyrics are by Joe Darion.

Man of La Mancha is presented without an intermission, because Mr. Wasserman wished to avoid interrupting the narrative. Except for an opening guitar solo performed by one of the prisoners, there is no music during the dungeon scenes. Only the Don Quixote vignettes, which are set “various places in the imagination of Miguel de Cervantes,” contain songs.

Cervantes is brought with his manservant to a dungeon in Seville, to await trial by the Spanish Inquisition. The other prisoners, led by a “governor,” also place them on trial. If Cervantes is found guilty, he will surrender his possessions — costumes, makeup, and a mysterious manuscript — and the manuscript will be burned. Cervantes begs the prisoners to permit his defense to be in the form of a play.  more

Like many performing organizations in Princeton involving students, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra (GPYO) has spent this past year honing their orchestral sound to make the most of their young players, only to bid farewell to graduating seniors at the end of the concert season. This past Saturday night, GPYO sent its “senior class” off with a well-performed concert of challenging orchestral music featuring a prodigious multi-talented young pianist in a movement of a concerto which challenges even the most experienced soloists. GPYO has several instrumental ensembles under its organizational umbrella, and Saturday night’s concert in Richardson Auditorium showcased the older and more experienced players in the Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra. more

A FOND FAREWELL: At its final meeting of the 2016-17 season, McCarter Theatre Center’s Board of Trustees bid farewell to four outgoing board members. Pictured (l-r) is Departing Board Member Shawn Ellsworth, McCarter Board Chair Leslie Kuenne, Departing Board Member Carolyn P. Sanderson, McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann, and McCarter Managing Director Timothy J. Shields. (Photo credit Matt Pilsner)

At its final meeting of the 2016-17 season, McCarter Theatre Center’s Board of Trustees said farewell to four outgoing board members. Departing the board are: Shawn Ellsworth – president, Ellsworth Realty Associates; Carolyn P. Sanderson – managing director, JPMorgan Chase and Co.; Jesse Treu, PhD – partner, Domain Associates; Danilo Verge, MD, MBA – vice president CVMD Global Medical Affairs, AstraZeneca.  more