February 22, 2017

The Peddie community held a special Founders Day presentation in the Ayer Memorial Chapel Friday in honor of the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Peddie in February 1957. Guest speakers Morton Goldfein ’59, Dr. Arthur E. Brown ’63 and the Honorable David B. Mitchell ’63 each addressed the significance of that day and spoke about their own journeys since Peddie. Goldfein and Mitchell were in the Chapel on February 20, 1957, the day that Dr. King addressed the Peddie community on the topic of race relations in the United States. Mitchell was 11-years-old, and had only arrived at Peddie two weeks earlier. He was one of two African-American students on campus.

Shock waves continue to reverberate through academic, scholarly, and scientific communities, even though the White House executive order of January 27, 2017, banning entrance to the U.S. for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely, has been temporarily suspended by federal court order. more

FIVE DECADES OF DANCE: Twyla Tharp Dance visits McCarter Theatre as part of the choreographer’s 50th year of creating eclectic work. John Selya, offering his hand to the woman in blue, appears here with the company in “Preludes and Fugues.”

Since forming her own dance troupe after graduating from Barnard College more than five decades ago, Twyla Tharp has continued to challenge the way we think about dance. Starkly modern at first, her style has expanded over the decades to encompass classical ballet while weaving in elements of jazz, slapstick, even boxing. more

Princeton Animal Control Officer Saul Nathan Barson was arrested on February 20 by the Solebury (Pennsylvania) Police Department on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communication facility.

Mr. Barson has been suspended from his job without pay pending further investigation, according to Princeton Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield. more

Cherry Valley Cooperative (CVC), a group of young community-oriented farmers, will hold two Meet Your Farmer Tour & Talks on February 25 and March 25 from 3 to 4 p.m. followed by a community potluck. The farm is located at 619 Cherry Valley Road on 97 acres of land in Skillman. Formerly Sans Suocis Farm, the property contains preserved farmland, woodlands, classified wetlands, a freshwater pond, and residential space. For more information, visit www.cherryvalleycoop.org.

Performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be held at Stuart Country Day School’s Cor Unum Theatre on Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.stuartschool.org/beauty.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (RWJS) became the first hospital in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQIA community when the hospital opened PROUD Family Health at the RWJ Somerset Family Practice on January 30.

PROUD Family Health will provide services tailored to meet the unique health care needs of the LGBTQIA community in a safe, supportive environment. Services will include primary medical care for children and adults, hormone therapy and monitoring, HIV care, health education, counseling, support groups, and referrals for specialty services such as behavioral health services. more

On Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, the Princeton University Glee Club and Princeton University Orchestra come together to present one of the most renowned masterpieces in classical music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, K.626. This performance of the legendary work — the last penned by the great composer — will be conducted by Renata Berlin, and will feature soloists from the University’s Department of Music’s Vocal Performance Faculty: soprano Rochelle Ellis, mezzo-soprano Barbara Rearick, tenor David Kellett, and bass Kevin Deas. more

SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL JR: Travis Gawason as the Cat in the Hat and Jason Weiland as Jojo in the Downtown Performing Arts Center production of Seussical the Musical Jr.

Celebrate the 113th birthday of America’s favorite children’s author and see his fantastical world come to life in Seussical the Musical Jr. Presented by the Downtown Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and Curtain Up Productions, Seussical the Musical Jr. will be performed at the Little Theatre at Hunterdon Central Regional High School located at 84 Route 31 in Flemington, N.J. Performances are Friday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. more

The Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) is teaming up with the Row for the Cure and the Peddie School to host the nation’s only indoor Row for the Cure.  Athletes race each other on Concept 2 indoor rowing machines with all of the proceeds from the event benefiting breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Central and South New Jersey.  Racing begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, February 26, at Peddie’s Ian H. Graham ’50 Fieldhouse. more

Artist Maria G. Pisano will give a lecture presentation on L’Infiorata, a Show of Flowers at Dorothea’s House on Sunday, March 5 at 5 p.m.

The word “infiorata” literally means “decorated with flowers.” For the Infiorata, carpets of flowers are created for the feast of Corpus Domini throughout Italy. These ephemeral creations are experienced for only one day of the year. In her presentation, Pisano will showcase the participants’ preparation of the design and flowers, and talk about the devotion of the participating communities. more

England is known for things green — spacious meadows, rolling hills — all part of “England’s green and pleasant land.” On a February Sunday afternoon, warm enough to make any gardener’s heart race with anticipation, the Richardson Chamber Players presented an instrumental and vocal concert devoted to England’s lush and opulent early 20th-century musical tradition. With an expanded ensemble including talented students, the Chamber Players musically reminded the audience at Richardson Auditorium that spring may not be that far off. more

As Black History Month winds down, Sam Cooke’s singing “Don’t know much about history” while the video for “Wonderful World” shows a checkerboard montage of familiar faces, Einstein, Churchill, Castro, Krushchev, the Kennedy brothers, and Martin Luther King. But you can’t dance to history, and right now Sam Cooke’s voice matters more to me than the issues and events suggested by the theme of the month. It was black music, not black history, that energized landlocked high school seniors like myself as we drove through the night listening to WLAC in Nashville, Tennessee. Our texts were by Bo Diddley (“I’m a Man”), Chuck Berry (“Sexy Ways”), the Cadets (“Stranded in the Jungle” of southern Indiana), and Little Walter teaching us how to “mellow down easy.” The other day, a friend who shared those night rides Shazamed me Little Walter’s “I Hate to See You Go,” from a coffee house in Oaxaca.  more

GOING THE DISTANCE: Princeton High boys’ track distance stars, from left, junior Alex Ackerman, junior Will Hare, and senior Alex Roth celebrate after helping PHS place first at the Central Group 4 indoor sectional meet earlier this month. Last Friday in the state Group 4 indoor championship meet at the Bennett Center in Toms River, Roth and Hare scored all 26 points as the Little Tigers finished in a tie for third with Egg Harbor behind champion East Orange (41 points) and runner-up Trenton (36 points). Roth and Hare will be competing in the Meet of Champions on February 25.

It turned into a two-man show for the Princeton High boys’ track team as it found itself in title contention at the state Group 4 indoor championship meet last Friday. more

February 15, 2017

All ages are off and running in Saturday’s Cupid’s Chase 5K Run in support of people with disabilities. Based at the Princeton Shopping Center, the event was sponsored by Community Options. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

HANDLING HIS BUSINESS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Steven Cook handles the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, Cook scored 19 points and had eight rebounds to help Princeton edge Columbia 61-59. A day earlier, Cook passed the 1,000-point mark in his Princeton career when he tallied nine points in a 69-60 win over Cornell. Princeton, which has posted 11 straight wins and is now 15-6 overall and 8-0 Ivy League, plays at Yale on February 17 and at Brown on February 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As Columbia’s Jake Killingsworth lofted a three-pointer with seconds remaining in regulation and the Princeton University men’s basketball team clinging to a 61-59 lead over the Lions, the crowd at Jadwin Gym held its breath as the ball flew to the hoop. more

Princeton and 16 other universities filed an amicus curiae brief on Monday in a civil action which the attorney general of New York and others are pursuing in federal district court in New York City. The brief follows up on a February 2 letter to President Trump signed by Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and 47 other college and university presidents urging Mr. Trump “to rectify or rescind the recent executive order” on immigration. more

An overflow crowd attending a gubernatorial candidate forum at the Suzanne Patterson Center, held by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) Sunday evening, February 12, officially endorsed Assemblyman John Wisniewski for New Jersey governor in the next election.

After a first round of voting by PCDO members, Mr. Wisniewski and fellow candidate Phil Murphy, a financier and former U.S. ambassador, competed in a run-off. Mr. Wisniewski won with just over 60 percent of the vote, which is the amount required for the PCDO’s endorsement. Also appearing at the forum were State Senator Raymond Lesniak and former Treasury official and federal prosecutor Jim Johnson. more

As Princeton Charter School (PCS) awaits a decision from the State on its application to expand, both PCS and the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) face law suits in the state courts over violations of the open public meeting act (OPMA, the sunshine law).

The Charter School applied to the State Department of Education on December 1, 2016, requesting to add 76 students and to institute a weighted lottery to increase enrollment of economically disadvantaged students. The proposal set off immediate resistance from the PPS, which warned of severe financial consequences for the District. Controversy between the schools and within the community continues to seethe. more

QUALITY OF LIFE: Bike Planners look forward to finalizing their Princeton Bike Plan, winning Planning Board approval, and seeing their proposals put in place to enhance biking opportunities and the quality of life for the whole town. (Photo courtesy of Bicycle Master Plan)

There are the intrepid cyclists who are happy to ride in almost all conditions. There are the community members who wouldn’t ride under any circumstances, and then there are the 60 percent of people in Princeton who would like to bike, but find conditions a bit scary, with narrow roads, traffic, or other problems.  more

Lawrence Green Team and Sustainable Lawrence presented the Sustainable Jersey Silver Certification for 2016 at a Lawrence Township town council meeting on January 17.

Sustainable Jersey has 441 registered towns. Lawrence Township is one of 44 New Jersey municipalities that have attained certification at the silver level. The township was honored at the Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon in November in Atlantic City. Members of the board attended the event. more

Priya Vulchi (pictured left) and Winona Guo, Chapin ’13 (pictured right), co-founders and co-presidents of Choose present to the Chapin School Princeton Faculty. 

Artists from McCarter Theatre visited Littlebrook Elementary School on February 7, performing scenes from plays by black American playwrights. Among them were August Wilson’s “Fences” and Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” The students posed with artists Jade King Carroll, Toccarra Cash, Nathan James, and Joshua Campbell following the presentation.

Ever since a fire leveled the AvalonBay apartment complex in Edgewater two years ago, local residents concerned about safety at the company’s development on Witherspoon Street, which opened last fall but still has sections under construction, have been pushing for upgrades in New Jersey’s building and fire codes. They have stepped up their efforts since February 4, when another blaze destroyed part of an AvalonBay complex under construction in Maplewood.

“There are so many people working to change the codes,” said Princeton resident Alexi Assmus, one of several involved in the effort. “We have been doing an amazing amount of work. There are also citizens in Teaneck and Wayne who are trying to do this. It’s a big effort.”  more

“Gimme Some Truth” was never one of my favorite John Lennon songs, certainly not compared to “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which the Beatles released on a single with “Penny Lane” 50 years ago this month. But in February 2017 when truth is being blitzed by the unhinged president and his toxic handlers while the Republican Congress looks the other way, it’s time to listen to a song from the Nixon era that nails “neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians” and “uptight short-sighted narrow-minded hypocrites.”

Without knowing the numbers, my guess is that the same people who are making a surprise bestseller of George Orwell’s 1984 may soon be searching out this song, with its searing George Harrison guitar break and the passionate singing of a man who might have become a world-class rapper had he lived through the 1980s.

If you want truth with the dimensions of Keats’s “Truth is beauty beauty truth,” however, it can be found in Rectify, the Sundance show that helped my wife and me survive the post-election blues. Having seen all four seasons of Ray McKinnon’s courageous series in the span of a week, as if it were a single work of cinematic art, I’d nominate it for Best Picture and Best Actor of 2016 and throw in a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Given the crowded field, the best Rectify has done so far is a 2015 Peabody Award recognizing it as “a powerful, subtle dramatic series.” Besides some Critics Choice nominations and appearances on numerous Top Ten lists, Rectify is the only television drama to score a rating of 100 percent on Metacritic. more