October 27, 2015


Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, a pillar of modern physics formulated 100 years ago, will be celebrated by the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University in a two-day conference, General Relativity at 100. The conference, which will feature ten colloquium-style talks by international experts on diverse aspects of general relativity and its fascinating history—from cosmology to quantum gravity, from black holes to neutron stars—will take place in Wolfensohn Hall on the Institute’s campus on November 5–6. The conference will also celebrate the seminal role of Princeton physicists, particularly John Wheeler and Bob Dicke and their students, in advancing an examination of general relativity.  more

See below for the October 26, 2015 Princeton Council Meeting.

Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

October 23, 2015


BROWN OUT: Princeton University receiver Trevor Osborne heads up the field in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior Osborne made three receptions for 74 yards in a losing cause as Princeton fell 38-31 at Brown. The Tigers, now 4-1 overall and 1-1 Ivy League, play at No. 15 Harvard (5-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) on October 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It didn’t take long for the Princeton University football team to find itself in an uphill battle as it played at Brown last Saturday. more

Odors reported by residents near the construction site of the AvalonBay rental complex have been addressed by the municipalitys Health and Engineering departments. In an update on the towns website, it is reported that the odors are originating from the parking garage on Henry Avenue, which is being resurfaced with a polyurethane waterproofing material.

The Mercer County Division of Public Health who has the authority to enforce New Jersey odor and air pollution regulations has been contacted and is working alongside Municipal Officials during this investigation,the update reads.The application of the material on the parking garage surface is expected to be completed by Friday, October 23rd. more

Oct Cover Small

October 22, 2015


GETTING DEFENSIVE: Princeton High field hockey player Julia Snyder heads up the field on a penalty corner in recent action. Senior defender and co-captain Snyder has helped solidify things on the back line for PHS as it has enjoyed another winning season. The Little Tigers improved to 11-4-2 and posted their fifth straight shutout with a 5-0 win over Ewing last Saturday in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament. Fifth-seeded PHS was slated to play at No. 4 Pennington in the MCT quarterfinals on October 20 with winner advancing to the semifinals on October 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For Julia Snyder, the Senior Day ceremony for the Princeton High field hockey team last Wednesday helped put in perspective how far she has come during her career. more

At 9:49 a.m. on Thursday, October 22, Princeton’s police and fire departments and Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad responded to a reported gas main leak on Hardy Drive. PSE&G also responded to the scene.

A two-inch gas main had been struck by a backhoe operator with Hillis Group of Easton, Pa., while digging to plant trees in a cul de sac area at the end of Hardy Road. The backhoe operator was not injured and there were no additional injuries at the scene. There was no property damage to any surrounding residences and no one was home at those houses. more

October 21, 2015


Siblings Linden (left) and Rowan O’Byrne of Princeton doing what comes naturally Saturday at the Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Sale. In this week’s Town Talk, their father Sean talks about the books he found, including one about ballerinas for his daughter. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Page 1 PU Safety

In the change of a longstanding policy, Princeton University Department of Public Safety (PUDPS) Executive Director Paul Ominsky last week announced that sworn department officers will have access to rifles in the event of “two specific situations С an active shooter or someone brandishing a firearm on campus.”

Mr. Ominsky emphasized the importance of rapid response time in cases of threats of a violent nature and the current thinking that getting an armed officer to the scene as quickly as possible is the safest, most effective response to the presence of an active shooter. Under the current policy, the PUDPS would have to call on the Princeton Police Department (PPD) to provide an armed response to an active shooter on campus.  more

The ongoing construction of a residential community for Princeton University faculty and staff at the corner of Bayard and Cleveland lanes is not quite in the home stretch. But the complex, on the former site of the Merwick rehabilitation center and the Stanworth apartments, is well along the way toward its projected goal of fall 2016 completion.

The newly constructed, multi-story apartments that make up the Merwick side are finished and occupied. The second phase is focused on the neighboring Stanworth units, which have housed University families for more than 60 years. The compact houses are currently in the process of being taken down and rebuilt, where possible, on their original foundations. The buildings are being stripped of their bricks before being demolished, and they look a bit forlorn in their naked state. more

On Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m., the Princeton Police Department and the Princeton Public Schools will hold a community forum at John Witherspoon Middle School about the phone threats known as swattingthat continue to plague local schools.

Four threats have been called in since the start of the school year, with the latest occurring Tuesday at Johnson Park Elementary School. In each case, no bomb was found. Last year, schools received several calls.

A similar forum was held last spring. The idea is to provide information and answer questions, for all members of the community. Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane and Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter will be on hand to talk about actions being taken and to answer questions from the public.

The forum will take place in the school auditorium. John Witherspoon Middle School is located at 217 Walnut Lane.

HIP Page 1When Jane Okoth was promoted 14 years ago from her job at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Lewisburg, Pa. to a position with the regional office in Philadelphia, she knew her children were not going to be happy about leaving their schools. So she told them they could select the school system they wanted to attend and the community in which they wanted to live, within reasonable distance of Philadelphia.

“They went online and picked Princeton, which reminded them of the schools they were in because Lewisburg is home to Bucknell University, another university town. I told them they’d have to do without a lot if we moved to Princeton, but they were willing,” Ms. Okoth said.

The family made the move and the children enrolled in Princeton’s public schools. But Ms. Okoth’s husband had trouble finding work. “It was a shock, because the cost of living was much higher than what we were used to,” she said. “It got to a point where things were really difficult.” more


MARS, HERE I COME!: James Wray, Princeton Junction native, now Georgia Tech Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, led a research team that confirmed the presence of water and the possibility of life on Mars. He’s eager to follow up on that discovery. (Photo Courtesy of James Wray)

When James Wray was a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, he had ambitious dreams. According to a May 2002 Star Ledger article, “James hopes some day to become an astronaut. ‘I’ve always dreamed of walking on Mars,’ he says.”

Well, not yet, but it looks like he’s on his way.

Flash back to a TV news conference on Monday three weeks ago, where NASA scientists were preparing to announce that liquid water is flowing on the surface of Mars, providing a crucial clue that life might exist on the red planet.  more

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates will be reading from The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age (Ecco $27.99) on Tuesday, October 27 at 6 p.m. at Labyrinth Books of Princeton.

“Oates perfectly captures the unique confusion of childhood, brought on by the unsatisfying explanations of adults,” according to Elle magazine. The San Francisco Chronicle calls The Lost Landscape an “intriguing new memoir … Oates mines literary gold.” Says The Philadelphia Inquirer: “This captivating account of the growth of a writer’s mind puts the new collection of essays firmly in the tradition of similar autobiographical works by writers such as Goethe, Wordsworth, and Joyce.”  more

Marie HoweAward-winning poet Marie Howe will present a lecture entitled “No Not Nothing Never: Interruption, Contradiction, and Negation as a Way To Push Open the Door You Didn’t Know Was There” on Tuesday, October 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. This 2015-16 Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes Lecture presented by Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing, is free and open to the public.

Marie Howe is the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of New York State. Her most recent book, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her other collections of poetry include What the Living Do (1998), which was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of the year, and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988), which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. She was also awarded the 2015 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Bunting Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at Tufts University and Dartmouth College and is currently teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Columbia University. more


Back in the late 1970s when video games were still a novelty, visual art was prominent in packaging and marketing but had yet to transfer to the screen. Fast forward a decade or so. Video game designers, some of whom are traditional painters and artists, are now able to experiment and express themselves in ways they may have imagined but didn’t think were possible.

It is this progression, and beyond, that an ambitious exhibit at The College of New Jersey Art Gallery is exploring through December 13. “A Palette of Pixels: The Evolving Art of Video Games” looks at the last three decades of the medium with concept art, sketches, and sculptures from video games, as well as interactive game stations. Curator Chris Ault, associate professor of interactive multimedia and the former chair of the department at TCNJ, said the question of whether video games are art has been a hot topic in recent years. more


KICKING INTO GEAR: Princeton University women’s soccer player Mikaela Symanovich kicks the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore defender Symanovich contributed two assists to help Princeton defeat Columbia 3-1 and win its ninth straight game. The Tigers, now 11-3 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, head to New England this Saturday for a pivotal clash at defending league champion Harvard (7-6-1 overall, 4-0 Ivy). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Despite moving to defense from midfield this fall in her sophomore season on the Princeton University women’s soccer team, Mikaela Symanovich has emerged as an offensive catalyst for the Tigers. more

Art Review 2

Cézanne…was the greatest. The greatest for always. — Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s love of Cézanne is expressed more guardedly in his posthumous Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast (1964). Even there, after saying he was learning “very much” from Cézanne, he admits he was “not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret.” Here’s a world-famous writer entering his 60s and he’s still celebrating his enthusiasm as if he were a boy with a secret. Writing as his youthful alter ego in The Nick Adams Stories (1972) he lets his feelings show (Cezanne “was the greatest”) in a short hitherto unpublished piece titled “On Writing.”  more

Art Leon

“HEAR, SEE, SPEAK”: Leon Rainbow’s “Hear, See, Speak” is among 32 works by 22 artists in “Art Served Up Trenton Style,” at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College until October 29. More information is available at www.mccc.edu/gallery.

The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) presents “Art Served Up Trenton Style,” an exhibition of works from the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) and the SAGE Coalition. The show runs now until Thursday, October 29 with an opening reception today, Wednesday, October 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. The MCCC Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the College’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Directions and a campus map can be found at www.mccc.edu. more

Photo By Roger Mastroianni

At dinner Saturday night before the show, with some old friends I hadn’t seen for a few months, the conversation was not unexpected. With a pleasant balance of seriousness and humor, we caught up on the latest news in our middle age (late middle age?) lives: our children and their challenges in school and in starting out in the world after college; other friends and family, and how difficult it can be for adults to get along with each other; politics and our worries about the dysfunctions in our government; the state of our environment, and what sort of world we’re leaving for our children; mortality, aging, and and how fast the decades have sped by. more


Petter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary will perform at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville on Saturday, November 7 at 4 p.m. All proceeds from the concert will benefit programs at Every Child Valued (ECV) and the Susan Bachus Scholarship Fund at the Lawrenceville Presbyterian School (LPP). Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 for children.

To purchase, call LPP at (609) 844-0022 or visit www.lppreschool.com.

Peter Yarrow is best known for his renditions of the classic songs, “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” and “This Land is Your Land.” He also performed at the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-Montgomery March in 1965.  more

Music RevA great deal of music came out of World War II, including patriotic songs and battle-inspired orchestral works from leading composers of the time, but none was more poignant than the music composed in Theresienstadt, the ghetto established in the city of Terezin, outside of Prague, in which 140,000 individuals were imprisoned by the Nazis between June 1940 and the end of the war. This European wartime center of music-making was one of its most productive but also one of its most horrific locales — a walled “Main Fortress” used both as a transport center and artistic “model settlement” for German propaganda.

Theresienstadt was a city unto itself, with a cultural life rivaling any European major city. The collective art and music of Terezin has been the subject of books and films, and pieces by imprisoned composers are heard on concert programs, sandwiched among secure and comforting war horses. It is a brave ensemble that presents an entire program on the works originating from such a devastating creative environment. The Richardson Chamber Players became one such ensemble this past Sunday afternoon in Richardson Auditorium, with “Voices out of the Storm,” a program of five rarely-heard chamber pieces composed by composers of Theresienstadt. More poignant than the music itself was the fact that four of the composers died in 1944, with the fifth in early 1945, characterizing the program as a concert of talent unrealized. more

October 19, 2015

See below for the October 16, 2015 Planning Board Meeting. 

Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings. 

October 14, 2015

Nobel PrizePrinceton University economics professor Angus Deaton has won the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics, it was announced on Monday. Mr. Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs and a professor of economics and international affairs at the University’s Woodrow Wilson School, was informed of the honor with a 6:10 a.m. telephone call from Stockholm, home to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

“People keep congratulating me today, and I keep thinking, for what?,” Mr. Deaton joked at a press conference Monday afternoon. “I’m slowly getting used to it.”

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to Mr. Deaton for his work in “consumption, poverty, and welfare,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy. Well known for his contributions to understanding consumption at the individual level and in aggregate, he is the author of several books on economics including The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press 2013), which was recommended by Bill Gates, “if you want to learn about why human welfare overall has gone up so much over time.”

“The consumption of goods and services is a fundamental part of people’s welfare. The Laureate, Angus Deaton, has deepened our understanding of different aspects of consumption,” the Nobel committee said. “His research concerns issues of immense importance for human welfare, not least in poor countries. Deaton’s research has greatly influenced both practical policymaking and the scientific community. By emphasizing the links between individual consumption decisions and outcomes for the whole economy, his work has helped transform modern microeconomics, macroeconomics and development economics.” more


At a press conference Monday at Hinds Plaza, government officials and members of the clergy were joined by citizens concerned about the rise of gun violence in this country. The group is pressuring New Jersey senators to override Governor Chris Christie’s recent veto of a bill that would have required anyone seeking a gun permit to notify local law enforcement if they are attempting to have their mental health records expunged. Mayor Liz Lempert, shown here at the microphone, introduced State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, who is pictured between Senator Linda Greenstein and the Reverend Bob Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action. more