September 6, 2017

RELIEF PITCHER: Princeton High quarterback Jake Renda passes the ball last Saturday as PHS opened its season by hosting Hamilton. Freshman Renda came off the bench after senior quarter Vince Doran was injured in the first quarter and played well, completing 11-of-24 passes for 133 yards in a losing cause as the Little Tigers fell 39-0 to the Hornets. PHS plays at Pemberton (1-0) on September 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting Hamilton past Saturday in its season opener, the Princeton High football team came out roaring.

After kicking off to the Hornets, the PHS defense gave its guests a rude welcome, sacking the Hamilton quarterback on first down and then picking up a turnover two plays later when Isaac Webb leaped up for an interception. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School field hockey player Sasha Sindhwani, right, goes after the ball in a recent scrimmage. Defending state Prep B champion PDS is counting on junior star Sindhwani to provide production again on the front line this fall. The Panthers open their 2017 season when the play at Stuart Country Day School on September 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, the Princeton Day School field hockey came out of nowhere to emerge as a powerhouse.

After going 6-13-1 in 2015, PDS produced a brilliant 16-4 campaign a year ago, winning the state Prep B title and advancing to the Mercer County Tournament final. more

August 30, 2017

Gardening teacher Suzanne Cunningham shows a flourishing array of poppies to first-grade students at the Waldorf School of Princeton. The school features a gardening program as part of its curriculum. This week’s Back-to-School section begins on page 22. (Photo courtesy of Waldorf School of Princeton)

During the service this past Sunday at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Pastor David A. Davis urged worshippers to contribute funds for victims of the disastrous, record-breaking flooding in Texas. At the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, an e-blast asking for contributions this week got an immediate response. At SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals in Skillman, discussions were ongoing Tuesday about how best to assist the rescue of dogs, cats, and other animals left to fend for themselves in the ongoing storm. more

A middle school oceanography course and a Diverse Educators Recruitment Day are just two of the many ways that Princeton Public Schools (PPS) have been working this summer to fulfill PPS’s strategic goal to “promote equity and access in ways that effectively eliminate the ‘achievement’ or opportunity gap.”

Designed to engage and excite students who are under-represented in more advanced science courses, the oceanography class ran from August 7-18 for four hours each day. Fifteen John Witherspoon Middle School students attended the course, which was sponsored by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. more

A lawsuit filed by AvalonBay against the town of Princeton has been settled with the municipality agreeing to pay the developer $50,000. Princeton Council passed a resolution at its meeting last week to end the dispute, which was over charges to the escrow account created by AvalonBay during construction of the rental complex on Witherspoon Street where Princeton Hospital once stood. more

PASSION FOR PETS: Heather L. Achenbach has joined SAVE, a Friend to Homeless Animals, as its new executive director. “It is truly an honor to be offered the opportunity to carry on the great work that SAVE does in support of our community and the plight of homeless pets,” she said. (Photo Courtesy of SAVE)

The resemblance is striking. Heather L. Achenbach, the director of SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals since June, looks so much like former director Piper Burrows that people frequently mistake her for her predecessor.

“Piper and I did spend a little time together after I started here,” said Ms. Achenbach, who worked for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. “We didn’t know each other but had spoken on the phone. When we met, she said, ‘Oh, this is weird.’ People say our personalities are similar, too.” more

Volunteering is second nature to Jeremy Perlman. The 28-year-old grew up watching his father and grandfather serve on the boards of local nonprofit organizations. He recalls, as a child, going with his sister to interact with residents at the Greenwood House senior living facility in Ewing, and helping out at other places as well.

So it makes sense that Mr. Perlman, who grew up in Lawrenceville and Princeton, wants to make a difference in his community. Focusing on fellow millennials, he recently organized the NextGen Giving Circle at the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF), an organization he knows well through his family’s participation over the years. more

Elle and Seleh Ross of Montclair enjoyed pick-your-own flowers at Terhune Orchards in Princeton on Sunday. Pick-your-own apple season begins at Terhune Orchards’ Van Kirk Road Orchard this Saturday. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Toast to Tourism Awards on Tuesday, September 19 at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake in Mercer County Park, West Windsor, from 8 to 10 a.m. more

Singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt will perform at McCarter Theatre on November 18 at 8 p.m. This is a rare opportunity to hear them together. Both artists have broadened the definition of American music incorporating elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, and gospel. Master lyricists and storytellers, Lovett and Hiatt’s songs range in topics from redemption and relationships to growing old and surrendering (on their terms). To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at (609) 258-2787 or visit

On the age-old problem of how to begin, what better guide than John McPhee? In his new book Draft No. 4: John McPhee on the Writing Process (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux $25), he says “a lead should not be cheap, flashy, meretricious, blaring. After a tremendous fanfare of verbal trumpets, a mouse comes out of a hole blinking.” He goes on: “The lead — like the title — should be a flashlight that shines down into the story.” And then: “A lead is good not because it dances, fires cannons, or whistles like a train but because it is absolute to what follows.” more

PLAINSBORO ARTS FESTIVAL: Local artist Nelly Kouzmina, center, demonstrated the art of felt making at last year’s Arts Festival at the Plainsboro Public Library. Ms. Kouzmina and many other artists will be on hand for this year’s festival, to be held on Saturday, September 16 from noon-4 p.m.

Local artists will take center stage at the Plainsboro Public Library on Saturday, September 16, when the library holds its annual Arts Festival from noon — 4 p.m. The festival will feature resident artists and members of the Plainsboro Library Artists’ Group. In addition to showing their work in a variety of media, they will also demonstrate their techniques and will help visitors develop their own artwork to take home.  more

“PRECIOUS”: This photograph by Andrew Wilkinson won Best in Show, Mercer County Photography 2015. This year’s juried competition will take place October 26 through December 8 at the Silva Gallery of Art at The Pennington School.

Attention, photographers! “Mercer County Photography 2017,” a juried competition, will take place October 26 through December 8 at the Silva Gallery of Art at The Pennington School. more

The Center for Contemporary Art’s fall schedule of art classes and workshops begins September 11 and runs through December. There are over 45 classes and workshops for adults and over 15 classes for children ages 5 through teens. Classes are offered for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, watercolor, drawing, photography, and ceramics.  more

FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL: “Seuls en Scène” French Theater Festival begins with Nicolas Truong’s “Interview,” featuring Judith Henry and Nicolas Bouchaud, on September 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. at the Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. (Photo by Mathilde Priolet)

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène will present the sixth annual Seuls en Scène French Theater Festival, which will take place from September 15 to 30 at venues across the University’s campus. Some performances will be in English, while others will be in French with English subtitles; all are free and open to the public. more

HUB HOLLOW: Daniella Fischetti and Tim Ryan of Hub Hollow will lead the Bluegrass Jam at Hunterdon County World Music Day in Flemington at Deer Path Park from noon to 6 p.m. on October 1. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. Food trucks will begin serving at noon. This festival is free. Learn more at

The second annual World Music Day in Hunterdon County will take place from noon to 6 p.m. at Flemington’s Deer Path Park on October 1. The free music festival is organized by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission in partnership with the Hunterdon County Division of Parks and Recreation.  more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton University field hockey player Ryan McCarthy follows through on a shot in a 2016 game. Senior striker McCarthy, who scored 14 goals last year on the way to earning first-team All-Ivy League honors, should be the go-to finisher for the Tigers this year. Princeton opens its 2017 season by hosting North Carolina on September 1 before playing at Delaware on September 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although it fell just short of winning its 12th straight Ivy League title, the Princeton University field hockey team didn’t let that disappointment keep it from turning 2016 into a season to remember, producing a stunning run in the NCAA tournament.

Getting into the tourney through an at-large bid, Princeton proceeded to advance to the Final 4 where it lost a 3-2 nail-biter in the semifinal to eventual national champion Delaware. more

CATCHING ON: Princeton High star receiver Isaac Webb looks to break loose from a foe in 2016 action. Junior Webb figures to be a key weapon for the PHS offense this fall after emerging as a standout last fall. The Little Tigers kick off their 2017 season by hosting Hamilton on September 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Entering the 2014 season, the Princeton High football team had a chip on its shoulder.

Coming off a 0-10 season the year before, the players were hungry to prove that they could get back in the win column. Beginning with a 28-7 opening day win over Hamilton, the Little Tigers made their point, getting off to a 5-0 start on the way to an 8-2 record and a trip to the state playoffs. more

LION-HEARTED: Haley Bodden dribbles the ball upfield in action last fall during her freshman season for The College of New Jersey women’s soccer team. Former Princeton High standout Bodden, who tallied four goals during her debut campaign in 17 appearances, is currently in preseason camp at TCNJ in preparation for her sophomore season with the Lions. (Photo Courtesy of TCNJ Athletic Communications)

As Haley Bodden developed into a star for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, she set her sights on playing for a Division I program at the next level. more

August 23, 2017

More than 2,000 spectators came together in Palmer Square on Monday afternoon for a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party sponsored by the Princeton Public Library and Princeton University’s Department of Astrophysical Sciences. In Princeton, about three-quarters of the sun was blocked by the eclipse. See page 18 for more photos. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

The announcement last week that Rider University is negotiating with an “international partner” to purchase Westminster Choir College and keep it in Princeton has students, faculty, alumni, and supporters of the music school hopeful that its future is secure. But they are not taking the news for granted. more

The fate of the Waxwood development on Quarry Street will not be determined for at least another month, as Princeton Council has deferred action to its September 25 meeting in order to seek more input and information before making any decision.

If a 2002 agreement with architect and developer J. Robert Hillier, a Town Topics shareholder, is allowed to take effect, with subsequent amendments allowed to lapse, Mr. Hillier would sell the units. If Mr. Hillier’s preferred alternate proposal, presented August 10, 2017, is accepted, then the Waxwood would continue as a rental property. Under a third alternative, Mr. Hillier would set up a fund that would help residents with down payments or foreclosures.  more

Iranian authorities have denied the appeal of Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang, who had been convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the University announced last Thursday.

Mr. Wang was in Iran in 2016 conducting research for his doctoral dissertation in history when he was arrested and
accused by Iran authorities of ”spying under the cover of research.” Princeton University issued a statement last Thursday expressing support for Mr. Wang and reaffirming that he is innocent of all charges.  more

END OF AN ERA: The American Boychoir, a Princeton institution with a national reputation, will close after 80 years. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The announcement last week that the American Boychoir School (ABS) was closing after 80 years — 67 of them in Princeton — came as no surprise to those familiar with its recent financial difficulties and struggles to stay alive. But the decision has prompted sadness and nostalgia among alumni, former board members, and members of the national musical community. more