May 15, 2017

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III ’59, will be amongst the speakers at Princeton Day School’s Alumni Weekend on May 19 and 20. Mueller is widely credited with transforming the Bureau from a traditional law enforcement agency to a threat-based, intelligence-led national security organization. President Obama took the unprecedented step of asking that his 10-year term be extended for two years, a request Congress readily approved. After leaving his post at the FBI in 2013, Mueller became a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, DC, where his practice focuses on investigations, crisis management, privacy and cybersecurity work. Additional speakers include Dafna Tapiero ’87, Alexandra T. Warren ’02, and Elizabeth Hollister Burks Becker ’77. Learn more at

Democrats Leticia Fraga and David Cohen will run a united campaign for the two open seats of Princeton Council. Ms. Fraga, who ran for Council in the last election, chairs the town’s Civil Rights Commission and is active in the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Mr. Cohen is an architect focused on eco-friendly design and shaping livable communities. 

May 11, 2017

PULLING TOGETHER: The Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity 8 churns through the water in a race earlier this spring. After ending the regular season by taking a close third behind Harvard and Yale in the annual H-Y-P regatta, the Tigers will be looking to make up the gap as they compete in the Eastern Sprints on May 14 in Worcester, Mass. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Over the last half of April, the Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity 8 crew found itself under the gun every week. more

May 10, 2017

Although there was a chill in the air, last weekend’s Morven in May festival at the Morven Museum & Garden in Princeton proved once again to be one of New Jersey’s most popular spring rituals. The art, craft, and garden event featured contemporary, American-made fine art and craft items along with an heirloom plant sale including flowers, new varieties of annuals and perennials, and select plants propagated from Morven’s own garden. All proceeds from the event help fund the Museum’s exhibitions, historic gardens, and educational programs. (Photograph by Emily Reeves)

The emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation continues to spread in the Princeton area, and time is running out for government officials and local residents to take action.

First sighted here in August 2015, the invasive beetle is expected, within three to five years, to kill all of Princeton’s approximately 2,000 ash trees if untreated С almost 11 percent of the town’s tree population. more

PENNY POLL: Participants’ priorities on spending for military, education, health care, environment, and housing clashed with the actual federal budget in an informal poll conducted by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, which is urging taxpayers to contact their representatives in Washington.

Participants in a “penny poll” last week at Communiversity voted for 72 percent of their tax dollars to go into education, health care and the environment, with just 13 percent to the military. In fact 54 percent of the discretionary budget for Congress for FY 2016 was allocated for military spending, and President Trump recently proposed a $54 billion increase for the armed forces. more

ENCORE PERFORMANCE: Princeton University softball pitcher Claire Klausner delivers a pitch against Harvard in the Ivy League Championship Series (ILCS) last Saturday. Senior Klausner pitched a six-hit shutout as Princeton prevailed 1-0 in the opener. The Tigers won the nightcap 13-4 to sweep the best-of-three series and earn their second straight Ivy League crown. Princeton, now 25-18, will learn its NCAA assignment on May 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Claire Klausner is affectionately called the “ice woman” by her teammates on the Princeton University softball team and she has come to embrace that nickname. more

Faced with the prospect of Rider University’s sale of Westminster Choir College and other cost-cutting measures designed to offset a projected $13 million deficit, students, alumni, and faculty members held a rally Monday afternoon on the green at Westminster’s Walnut Lane campus.

“We have a president and a board who have imagined they are running a corporation,” Rider Professor Art Taylor, president of the University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), told the gathering. “It’s happening [in colleges] all over America, and it’s chilling. It comes down to, what is it you value? I know what they value С It’s the land you’re standing on,” he said, referring to Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo and Vice President for Finance Julie Karns. more

Thanks to an army of dedicated volunteers and the Princeton Recreation Department, the May 5 spring formal for adults and teenagers with special needs at the Suzanne Patterson Center was a big success. Princeton Special Sports sponsored the event. The last dance of the season will be the annual pool party and barbecue at Princeton Community Pool on June 2. Visit for more information.

The Route 518 bridge over the D&R Canal finally reopened last Thursday night, easing traffic woes for commuters and safety concerns for residents of Rocky Hill. The project that was supposed to take four weeks extended to 10 months, frustrating motorists with backups and delays.

Work to replace the bridge began last July. The span was closed less than a week later, when Gov. Chris Christie ordered work suspended on all “non-essential” road projects because the transportation trust fund of the New Jersey Department of Transportation had run out of money. more

As nuclear crises heat up with North Korea and the Iran Nuclear Agreement being threatened, a forum addressing ways to reduce the danger of nuclear war happening from miscalculation, accident, or diplomatic failure will be held Tuesday, May 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The Nukes and Democracy Forum takes place in Bowl 16 downstairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, at Prospect Street and Washington Road.  more

On Saturday, May 20, the Mount Rose Preserve off Carter Road is the site for a free series of guided hikes to look for plants and animals and other creatures like this Coral hairstreak butterfly. A special children’s program on how to catch insects in sweep nets is part of the event, held from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. rain or shine. Call (908) 997-0725 for more information. 

Last week’s incident of racial bias involving John Witherspoon Middle School students brought a rapid, forceful response from school authorities.

“One student falsely accused another student because he was black,” Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane wrote in a letter to parents, students, and staff. “An investigation immediately ensued. The black student was quickly exonerated. The student making the accusation received appropriate consequences.” more

A Celebration of Companion Animals featuring Patrick McDonnell, creator of the Mutts comic strip and member of the board of trustees of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) takes place at Princeton Public Library Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. in the Community Room. more

HAPPY 25TH GFS: Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) has welcomed more than 2.05 million guests since it opened to the public in 1992. GFS celebrates its anniversary this year through a host of activities, including a festive summer gala in June, plus special programs, themed tours, and pop-up events. One of the new exhibitions for the spring/summer season is “Elyn Zimmerman: Sensitive Chaos,” an exploration of space and sky with photographic collages and pastels like the image pictured here titled, “Heavens Breath.”

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) opened its Spring/Summer Exhibition Season on May 7 with five new exhibitions, including a site-specific installation of glass by Daniel Clayman and an exploration of space and sky with photographic collages and pastels by Elyn Zimmerman. GFS continues the celebration with Grounds For Sculpture: 25 Years, an exhibition curated by GFS Director of Exhibitions & Collections, Faith McClellan and GFS Director of Education & Engagement, Heather Brady.  more

LESS IS MORE: “A Wonderfully Difficult Journey,” based on The ARC Mercer, is among the short films being presented May 20 and 21 at the third annual Nassau Film Festival.

It didn’t take long for word to get out about the Nassau Film Festival. In just three years, the annual spring celebration of short films has blossomed from 35 submissions in 2015 to 336 for this year’s event, which returns to the Princeton Garden Theatre May 20 and 21. more

After describing Franz Kafka’s “sharp and skeletal face” as it appears in a photograph from 1924, Philip Roth observes that “chiseled skulls like this one were shoveled by the thousands from the ovens” and that had he lived, Kafka’s “would have been among them.” He then adds, “Of course it is no more horrifying to think of Franz Kafka in Auschwitz than to think of anyone at Auschwitz — it is just horrifying in its own way.” In fact, Kafka died the year the photograph was taken, “too soon for the holocaust.” Had such a monumental literary figure actually perished in Nazi ovens it would become a horror of the horror, a legend, an historic abomination.

“Content That I Can Breathe”

According to Kafka: The Early Years (Princeton Univ. Press $35), the third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s landmark biography, Franz Kafka was “newly confronted with the problems of Jewish identity” four years before he died.

In one of the first entries in Diaries 1914-1923, January 8, 1914, however, Kafka is already asking, “What have I in common with Jews? I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.” Content to live, a stranger in the strange land of the self, Kafka, a Jew, asks what he has in common with Jews. Ten years later, upon asking his doctor for a lethal dose of morphine, he says, “Kill me or else you are a murderer.” more

CLASSICAL DISCOVERIES: Marvin Rosen, host of the “Classical Discoveries” program, in the WPRB studios at Princeton University.

“You know, in our world today, all over our world, there is just so much incredible talent,” Marvin Rosen says as he leans back in his seat contentedly, wire-rimmed glasses on his nose, a nest of curly brown hair atop his head. “I could never air everything that I would want to air.”  more

Programmatic coincidences do not happen often in Princeton; there is so much music out there that local ensembles usually do not program the same works for the same season. Such a coincidence occurred this past weekend when Princeton Symphony Orchestra performed the same Paul Hindemith piece as the Princeton University Orchestra did last weekend. Audiences rarely have the opportunity to hear the same work twice, compare performances, and perhaps hear something new the second time around. Princeton Symphony Orchestra closed its classical series this past Sunday afternoon at Richardson Auditorium with a concert entitled “Metamorphosis,” that not only could refer to the Hindemith work performed, but also the orchestra’s journey from the beginning of the 2016-17 season until now — a season jam-packed with concerts, educational programs, and community outreach activities. PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov led the ensemble in a performance that was both rooted in impressionistic musical style and full of precision and elegance of playing. more

For the 12th consecutive year, Chapin School Princeton music ensembles participated in the annual Music in the Parks Festival, held this year in Middletown, N.J. Chapin’s Chamber Choir, Show Choir, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band, totaling 83 students, were among the 19 ensembles participating on Friday, May 5. Ensembles performed before a panel of judges who assessed each performance, provided written and verbal feedback, and rated each ensemble based on a set of criteria. Chapin took home several awards, including the Overall Middle/Junior High School Vocalist Award for Gillian Bartels-Quansah. Congratulations to Chapin faculty members Bridget MacDonald, Missy McCormick, and Desi Melegrito who stewarded the choir through hours of rehearsal. 

RENEWAL AND RESTORATION: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 16 Bayard Lane in Princeton, is working with the Bregenzer Brothers, a family-owned, local contracting firm known for artisan skills and attention to detail, to replace the current slate roof and steeple. Clearly pleased to play an important role in historical preservation, Mike Bregenzer states, “We have been working with the church for many years and feel privileged to be included in this significant restoration project.”

Located at 16 Bayard Lane, just a short walk from the Einstein statue and the Battle Monument, the First Church of Christ, Scientist is undergoing some architectural restoration thanks to the help of the Bregenzer Brothers, a family-owned, local contracting firm known for artisan skills and attention to detail. Clearly pleased to play an important role in historical preservation, Mike Bregenzer states, “We have been working with the church for many years and feel privileged to be included in this significant restoration project.” more

Children of all ages are invited to enjoy Rockingham’s annual Children’s Day, held this year on Sunday, May 21, from noon to 5 p.m. The site, which served as General George Washington’s final wartime headquarters in late 1783, will offer activities and demonstrations of 18th-century life with support from the Montgomery High School Live Historians Club and the Rockingham Association.  more

The English-Speaking Union presents John Burkhalter and Sheldon Eldridge in “Unheard Musick and Eighteenth Century British Literature” at The Kirby Arts Center at The Lawrenceville School on May 21 at 3 p.m. Mr. Burkhalter is a lecturer and recorder player and Eldridge specializes in the harpsichord.  more

As a prelude to its May in Montgomery: Touring the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway event scheduled for May 21, the Van Harlingen Historical Society will present a lecture by John D.S. Hatch titled “Historic Preservation, Urban Redevelopment, and the Rural Landscape: How New Jersey Makes the Connection.” Mr. Hatch is an architect who specializes in historic preservation design and adaptive re-use of historic structures. He holds degrees in both architecture and historic preservation. His projects include the restoration of historic Morven in Princeton, the restoration of the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, and the Roebling complex redevelopment in Trenton. more

The “gold standard” of cover bands, the Dark Star Orchestra recreates Grateful Dead set lists with compelling and uncanny accuracy. Each night, this Chicago-based band decides on performing one show from the over 2,500 that the Dead performed during their 30-year tenure as the fathers of improvisational rock. Dark Star Orchestra will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton on Monday, May 15 at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit or call (609) 258-2787.