July 29, 2015

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Since neither Seurat nor Manet were on hand to paint the scene at Saturday’s Music Fest on Palmer Square, Town Topics’ Emily Reeves stopped by to capture this summer moment. Comments from some listeners are in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

FISHING THE FLATS: Adventurous traveler Melanie Tucker, shown here fishing the flats in Key West, will share her knowledge of off-the-beaten track destinations in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library, this Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. The travel designer will present a slide illustrated talk, “Short Sojourns: Rejuvenating Travel in Just Three Days,” as part of the Library’s summer series, “Escape the Ordinary,” which hosts writers, book groups, artists, and guest speakers. Ms. Tucker is the owner of Rare Finds Travel (www.rarefindstravel.com) and specializes in custom travel itineraries. For more information, call (609) 923.0304, or visit: http://rarefindstravel.com(Photo Courtesy of Rare Finds Travel)

FISHING THE FLATS: Adventurous traveler Melanie Tucker, shown here fishing the flats in Key West, will share her knowledge of off-the-beaten track destinations in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library, this Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. The travel designer will present a slide illustrated talk, “Short Sojourns: Rejuvenating Travel in Just Three Days,” as part of the Library’s summer series, “Escape the Ordinary,” which hosts writers, book groups, artists, and guest speakers. Ms. Tucker is the owner of Rare Finds Travel (www.rarefindstravel.com) and specializes in custom travel itineraries. For more information, call (609) 923.0304, or visit: http://rarefindstravel.com (Photo Courtesy of Rare Finds Travel)

According to a recent study from the U.S. Travel Association, America is becoming a nation of workaholics, with workers taking less and less vacation time than ever before.

Travel designer Melanie Tucker has the antidote for the time-pressed traveler. With a lifetime of adventurous, off-the-beaten track trips behind her, the former Princeton resident has a wealth of knowledge of three-day breaks that can deliver the feel of a much longer vacation.  more

After welcoming Princeton’s new Animal Control Officer Nate Barson to the municipality (see page one story), Health Officer Jeffrey C. Grosser and the rest of the Board got down to business at the Princeton Board of Health’s regular monthly meeting last week. more

Hofer Museum

Princeton resident Margaret “Margi” Hofer has been appointed as Vice President and Director of the Museum Division at the New-York Historical Society.

With more than two decades of service, Ms. Hofer has contributed to or overseen New-York Historical’s decorative arts collections and exhibitions. She spearheaded the groundbreaking 2007 exhibition and publication “A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls,” which revealed previously unrecognized achievements of Tiffany Studios’ women designers. more

Art Topic

That’s the title of the newest exhibition at Gallery 353, 353 Nassau Street, Princeton, which opens with a reception Saturday, August 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. The show features local artist Nancy Dawn Merrill whose 36 x 48 inch rendering of “Maeve, Warrior Queen” is shown above. Ms. Merrill’s evocative figures and lush compositions are descried as “bold and colorful, and gush from a spring of ‘pure imagination.’” more

Poppins Theater

Bella Lundquist as Mary Poppins, and the cast of Mary Poppins perform an impromptu flash performance during their fundraiser outside of Cream King on Monday night. Just one of the many high energy dance and song numbers from the show which will take place at The Hopewell Valley Central High School Performing Arts Center on July 30 at 7 p.m. and August 2 at 7 p.m.  more

July 22, 2015

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Last years cause célèbre seems almost lost in this view, with its geometric flash points and the European overtones of that battery of parked bicycles amid the makings of the University’s Arts and Transit work in progress, set for completion in 2017. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn) 

TOYS FOR SMILES: Twin brothers Logan (right) and Sam Leppo are adept woodworkers who combine their skills to create simple wooden toys for children. Earlier this month they donated 50 kid-friendly toys — 25 cars and 25 dogs — to children at HomeFront’s “Christmas in July” event. Taking their ingenuity a step further, the boys have formed their own non profit group to help the less fortunate. The Hun School students plan to partner with woodworking students across the country to create handmade toys for every homeless child in America. By distributing their original designs to students in participating schools, they hope to make and donate 5,000 toys over the next twelve months. For more information, visit: www.loganandsam.org (Photo Courtesy of the Hun School)

TOYS FOR SMILES: Twin brothers Logan (right) and Sam Leppo are adept woodworkers who combine their skills to create simple wooden toys for children. Earlier this month they donated 50 kid-friendly toys — 25 cars and 25 dogs — to children at HomeFront’s “Christmas in July” event. Taking their ingenuity a step further, the boys have formed their own non profit group to help the less fortunate. The Hun School students plan to partner with woodworking students across the country to create handmade toys for every homeless child in America. By distributing their original designs to students in participating schools, they hope to make and donate 5,000 toys over the next twelve months. For more information, visit: www.loganandsam.org (Photo Courtesy of the Hun School)

Hun students Logan and Sam Leppo are twins who hope that their shared passion for woodworking will inspire others.

Over the past year, the brothers designed, cut, sanded, and assembled their own designs for hand-made wooden toys that earlier this month, they distributed to children at HomeFront during the non-profit group’s “Christmas in July” celebration. They gave away 50 kid-friendly toys: 25 cars and 25 dogs.  more

 

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The public is invited to view activities at an encampment at Princeton Battlefield State Park July 25 and 26. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Re-enactors of 18th century artillerymen of the Rhode Island Train of Artillery and Lamb’s Artillery Company and Mott’s Artillery Company, both of the 2nd Continental Artillery, will be going through their training in the handling of 18th century field cannons.  more

Tracy K Smith

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts named Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith as the new director of the University’s Program in Creative Writing. A professor of Creative Writing on the Princeton faculty since 2005, she succeeds National Book Award finalist and poet Susan Wheeler, who has led the program since 2011. more

shutterstock_130343024Community Options’ President and CEO Robert Stack will be the keynote speaker at the University of Oxford Childhood Education and Issues Program on July 22. Mr. Stack will speak on the subject of “Inclusion for students with disabilities into the workplace.”

He will discuss the successful Princeton School to Employment Program based out of the non-profit organization’s office at 305 Witherspoon Street and the ramifications of implementing a similar program in the United Kingdom. The Princeton program has served as a template for replication in South Carolina. more

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Each summer, serious ballet students across the country take advantage of their time off from academics to shift their training schedules into high gear. Instead of a few classes a week, they take a few classes a day — six days a week. more

July 21, 2015

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The Delaware & Raritan Canal Watch will hold the next in a series free walking tours of the D&R Canal on Sunday, July 26.

The walk will explore the part of the canal park between Carnegie Road in Lawrence Township and Alexander Road in Princeton, a distance of 5.6 miles. A shorter walk of 2.9 miles to Port Mercer is an option. more

July 15, 2015

The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold the annual Mid-Summer Marketing Showcase on Tuesday, July 21, from 4-7 p.m. on the green at Palmer Square. The showcase is free and open to the public, with the rain date set for the following day. more

On July 7, at 2:04 p.m., a 28-year-old male from Hillsborough was charged with one count of theft by deception after an investigation revealed that as an employee of the Princeton University Store, he stole cash from the store register at various times during a 16 month period, totaling $26,000. Bail was set at $5,000.

 

CREATIVITY AT REST: Landscape artist and ideas man Peter Soderman (left) and wood and metal artist Greg Napolitan take time out to enjoy Princeton’s first Parklet in front of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street. Mr. Napolitan carved the two huge wooden benches in the parklet after being contacted by Mr. Soderman to participate in the tiny park that takes up two parking spots in front of the coffee shop. The project was a the result of a joint effort by the municipality, the Arts Council of Princeton, and several members of Princeton’s creative community.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

CREATIVITY AT REST: Landscape artist and ideas man Peter Soderman (left) and wood and metal artist Greg Napolitan take time out to enjoy Princeton’s first Parklet in front of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street. Mr. Napolitan carved the two huge wooden benches in the parklet after being contacted by Mr. Soderman to participate in the tiny park that takes up two parking spots in front of the coffee shop. The project was a the result of a joint effort by the municipality, the Arts Council of Princeton, and several members of Princeton’s creative community. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Visitors to Princeton’s first “Parklet” located across two parking spots in front of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street are not only delighted by the concept and design of the space. They are intrigued by the hand behind two enormous wood benches, each of which has been carved from a single block of wood.  more

New Hope

The 2015 Sixth Annual New Hope Film Festival will take place from July 24 through August 2. The Festival is proud to be honoring Susan Seidelman with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday, August 2 for her outstanding contributions to film. Seidelman is a writer, producer, director, and actor. Her best-known film is “Desperately Seeking Susan,” starring Madonna, which Seidelman directed. For more information, visit www.newhopefilmfestival.com.

Waiters Race

DON’T SPILL IT! The walkways at Princeton Shopping Center transformed into a race course last Thursday for the fifth annual Waiters’ Race, sponsored by the Princeton Merchants Association. After Mayor Liz Lempert kicked off the event, 70 men and women from 15 local restaurants balanced glasses of water and BAI beverage bottles minus their caps on trays as they raced around the courtyard.  more

Art 1This year is the 174th Anniversary of the John A. Roebling’s Sons company, once the largest employer in Trenton and a world leader in the construction of suspension bridges. To mark the occasion, The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie will present an exhibition centered on the business that was owned by four generations of the Roebling family over 112 years.

The exhibition, which opens with a reception Friday, July 17, from 6 to 8 p.m., will be on view through December 6.

Clifford W. Zink, author of The Roebling Legacy, will speak and conduct a tour of the remaining buildings of the Roebling complex in Trenton at dates and times yet to be announced. For details, check the museum’s website, http://ellarslie.org.

John A, Roebling started making wire rope in 1841 in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, and moved his factory to Trenton in 1848. His sons built the steel and wire mill and town of Roebling, in 1905. In 1953, the family sold the Trenton and Roebling plants to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I). CF&I closed the Trenton plants in 1973 and the Roebling plant in 1974.

Mr. Roebling was the world’s foremost builder of suspension bridges in the 19th century and his bridges spanned major rivers when people said it couldn’t be done. His son Washington A. Roebling completed the most famous Roebling bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1883, and today it is an iconic national landmark. more

July 14, 2015

Floral TT

D&R Greenway presents a spring-inspired poetry reading at the Johnson Education Center in Princeton on Wednesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a light reception. Carolyn Foote Edelmann, Vida Chu, Sharon Olson, Betty Lies, and Linda Arntzenius will read poetry featured in the April 2015 edition of Princeton MagazineThe readings will be accompanied by a slideshow of floral arrangements styled by Diana Moore and photographed by Andrew Wilkinson.

The reading will also include a special introduction by Princeton Magazine Publisher and Architect Robert Hillier.

All of the evening’s poets are members of the U.S. 1 Poets Cooperative and appear in U.S . 1 Worksheets. This literary journal showcases writers from across the globe.

For more information, visit www.drgreenway.org.

Ballet

Attention, ballet fans: On Saturday, July 18 at 3 p.m., Intensio, a group of stellar dancers from American Ballet Theatre, will hold an invitation-only working rehearsal at McCarter Theatre. Intensio is the project of Daniil Simkin, a soloist with ABT.

He describes it as “an art project and series of performances created and curated by me and my family. Our intention is to merge the highest level of ballet and choreography with the new possibilities of media in order to create a unique and special experience for the audience.”

The troupe is using McCarter to rehearse for an upcoming appearance at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Massachusetts July 22-26. Members of the company along with Mr. Simkin include ABT’s Isabella Boylston, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Calvin Royal III, Hee Seo, Cassandra Trenary, and James Whiteside, as well as Céline Cassone, a special guest artist from Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.

They will perform new works by choreographers Alexander Ekman, Gregory Dolbashian, Jorma Elo, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

The rehearsal will be held in the Matthews Theatre at McCarter, which is located at 91 University Place.

July 13, 2015

The pool at Mary Moss Park, in the Witherspoon/Jackson neighborhood, was reopened Monday after a brief shutdown due to cracks in its plaster bottom.

The town closed it for repairs last Wednesday after a municipal employee cut her foot while walking in the pool. Its very old, dating back at least to the fifties,said Ben Stentz, Princetons Recreation Director. Why it started to peel more rapidly in the last few weeks, we dont know. But it brought to our attention the fact that the deterioration was getting worse.

Temporary repairs have been made to the pool to keep it safe through the summer. The small, shallow pool is used regularly by children from Princeton Nursery School and others from the neighborhood. Its concrete, so it has been replastered and repainted many times,Mr. Stentz said. It shows its age, but still serves a nice function.

The future of the Mary Moss Park, and the pool, is being reevaluated by the town and will be the subject of feedback from the neighborhood and the community. Its up in the air. Were not sure right now what the renovation will look like,said Mr. Stentz. Well see what 2016 brings.

July 8, 2015

Breaking News TT

Shoppers at Quaker Bridge Mall are now able to recharge their electric cars, in 30 minutes or less, at new charging stations. At an opening ceremony Tuesday morning, David Crane, the CEO of NRG, charged his personal electric vehicle (EV). Also in attendance were congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

The sites, known as Freedom Stations, are equipped with DC Fast Chargers, which can deliver 40 miles of range in as little as 15 minutes, allowing EV drivers to quickly charge their vehicles. The station also has a Level 2 charger that can charge all EVs.

Simon (owner of the mall) is committed to providing sustainable amenities for our customers and the opening of an EV charging station in a market where there is a lot of interest in electric vehicles is a great example of that,said Mona Benisi, Senior Director of Sustainability for Simon. The locations of our shopping centers across the U.S. mean that Simon is ideally positioned to contribute to the development of a a national infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations, and also advances the companys sustainability efforts.

The charging stations will occupy two parking spots located on the Grovers Mill side of the property, near the lower level mall entrance between Sears and Lord & Taylor.

For additional information, visit www.quakerbridgemall.com.

RECOGNITION FROM THE TOP: Sixteen-year-old Princeton resident Ziad Ahmed, far right, was among a group of young social activists invited to the White House last month to dine with President Obama at the Iftar, which marks the end of the traditional Muslim fast during Ramadan. Ziad was praised in a speech by the president for his work educating teens to combat racism.(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

RECOGNITION FROM THE TOP: Sixteen-year-old Princeton resident Ziad Ahmed, far right, was among a group of young social activists invited to the White House last month to dine with President Obama at the Iftar, which marks the end of the traditional Muslim fast during Ramadan. Ziad was praised in a speech by the president for his work educating teens to combat racism. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

When Ziad Ahmed founded the organization Redefy to help teenagers recognize and remove cultural stereotypes, he never imagined that just two years later he would be dining with President Obama at the White House. But on June 22, that is exactly where the 16-year-old Princeton Day School (PDS) student found himself — and not just at any table. At the annual White House Iftar, which marks the traditional breaking of the fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan, the president chose to sit with Ziad and seven other young people and engage them in conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Obama singled Ziad out in his speech.

“They’re Muslim Americans like Ziad Ahmed,” he said. “As a Bangladeshi-American growing up in New Jersey, he saw early on that there was not enough understanding in the world. So two years ago, he founded Redefy, a website to push back against harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him — he’s only 16; I think our youngest guest tonight — to share their stories. Because, in Ziad’s words, ‘ignorance can be defeated through education.’ He wants to do his part to make sure that ‘Muslims can be equal members of society and still hold onto their faith and identity.’ So we’re very proud of you, Ziad.”

“The whole thing was just mind-blowing,” Ziad said this week. “It’s the most prestigious event Muslim Americans get invited to. I just thought I’d be at some table, but Obama sat with us for an hour. And I was with the most amazing people, who had incredible stories to tell.”

The invitation to the White House came after MTV News profiled Ziad’s work with Redefy, as well as later efforts to inspire teen forums on racial profiling. Last April, the organization launched #PrincetonAgainstRacism, a social media campaign in which 125 portraits of people were taken at PDS and the Communiversity street fair, asking them to finish the prompt “I stand against racism because …” The goal was to use social media platforms to inspire teens everywhere to take a stand against racism. Redefy led the initiative in partnership with Princeton CHOOSE and Not in Our Town in recognition of the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism campaign.

The son of a hedge fund manager and a stay-at-home mom who does property management, Ziad was first inspired to take action the summer before ninth grade. “That summer, when I was 14, I noticed that in the community, people needed a platform by which they could be educated about minority experience,” he said. “I found a lot of ignorance — not malicious hate, just innocent ignorance. I wanted to initiate positive change at school, so I decided to create Redefy.”

The organization was officially launched that September. Today the leadership team has six people and representatives as far as Brazil and Pakistan, whom Ziad met through summer programs he has attended. “But due to recent publicity, now we have people I don’t know,” he said. “So that’s new.”

The idea is to produce “measurable change,” Ziad said. “Our mission in 2014 was to promote integration. For this year, it is to reduce racial prejudice and hate.” A blog posted every three days includes personal stories that anyone can submit. “When you read these intimate stories of issues people deal with, you get a soft spot in your heart,” he said “You make more educated, thoughtful decisions. It’s hard to hate somebody you know.”

Key to Redefy’s mission is equality for everyone. “All any of us want is a world that’s safe and accepting for our children,” Ziad said. “The only way that’s possible is if we’re willing to advocate for everyone, not just for our own minorities. You can’t just believe in selective equality. So on our stories page, we try to encompass that.”

Ziad and his team do workshops at local schools and hold bi-monthly conversations about current events. Media coverage led to the story by MTV News, “the most exciting thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “To get that coverage on national news was mind-blowing.” The invitation to The White House came just before Ziad was leaving for a service trip to Morocco. While he was on the trip, he got an email from one of Mr. Obama’s speechwriters saying the president wanted to include his story.

“The next day I got an email saying I was at the president’s table,” Ziad recalled. “I was with all of these really impressive people. I couldn’t believe it. I’m just some kid from New Jersey sitting with these people who have done so much.”

Among Ziad’s table-mates were Samantha Elauf, who won a Supreme Court case against the Abercrombie company after she was denied employment because she wore a traditional head scarf; Munir Khalif, the child of Somali immigrants who was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and created an organization to help children in East Africa get an education; and Wai Wai Nu, a former political prisoner and the co-founder of Justice for Women.

Mr. Obama spoke with all of them. “I answered some of his questions and I asked him some, to which he responded eloquently and respectfully,” Ziad said. “He had read about me, and he told me to keep doing the work I’m doing. I was thrilled. A lot of people wanted to speak with him about different things, and he was so articulate, kind, and witty.”

Not surprisingly, the experience was an inspiration for Ziad to expand his work with Redefy. His mission is to include teens who might not feel as committed to the issues that are the organization’s focus, but might have skills and interests through which they can contribute.

“I was up till 4 a.m. thinking about this,” he said. “I want all kids in Princeton to get involved. Because one of my biggest obstacles has been trying to engage kids who aren’t particularly passionate about social justice. I’m super motivated now to engage people of all interests, not just the ones interested in social justice. Anyone can get involved, and use their particular skills. If we engage people in that way, we can get a wide variety and become a better organization.”

The Princeton-Blairstown Center has named two new officers to the Board of Trustees and appointed a new Advisory Council member. PBC offers a wide variety of youth development experiential educational programs to students in the Mid-Atlantic States, including Rivera Middle School and Trenton Central High in Trenton.

The current board unanimously voted Kevin C. Hudson and Romy Riddick, both from Princeton University, to three-year terms as Trustees and appointed Sari Chang to the Advisory Council.  Both Mr. Hudson and Ms. Riddick bring extensive experience in increasing diversity.

Mr. Hudson, Assistant Director for College Opportunity in the Office of the Provost at Princeton University, brings to PBC a track record of success in helping young people access an undergraduate degree.  He also continues his work as a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Education Access Granted, which assists schools, districts and families in navigating the college admissions process successfully. He is a graduate of Princeton University with an AB in Sociology and certificates in African American Studies and American Studies. He also holds a M.S.Ed in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education.

Ms. Riddick, Assistant Vice President of the Client Services Team in Human Resources at Princeton University, originally joined the University in 2012 as Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and she continues to manage that function in her current role.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BA in Political Science. Her history of successful diversity strategy development and implementation coupled with human resource expertise at TD Bank, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Merrill Lynch & Company.

Pam Gregory, PBC President & CEO commented, “Over the past year and a half we have strategically worked to build our Board to be a highly effective force for outstanding governance.  Kevin and Romy fill gaps in our expertise we’ve looked to address and I look forward to their active participation in molding the future of the organization.”

Sari Chang, new to the Advisory Council, is a Registered Architect and Principal at Mike Jacobs Architecture in New York City.  She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Yale School of Architecture. As a Princeton undergraduate, she had an inspiring Freshman Outdoor Action experience which led her to additional leadership roles in Outdoor Action activities.  Her focus on sustainability in architecture and her enthusiasm for skiing and other outdoor endeavors makes her a natural fit for the PBC team.

PBC’s program at Rivera Middle School addresses the need to improve Trenton graduation rates by identifying students at high risk of dropping out and engaging them in an innovative combination of programming emphasizing social emotional learning, academic counseling, leadership development, environmental awareness, and practical applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

PBC seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable young people through integrated experiential and adventure-based programming in schools and at their outdoor campus. What began in 1908 as a summer camp run by Princeton University students to give inner-city boys an opportunity to have a character-building fresh air experience has evolved into a wide variety of year-round youth development experiential educational programs serving over 5,200 students from the Mid-Atlantic States.  For more information on PBC’s services or to donate, visit www.princetonblairstowncenter.org.