February 6, 2014

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This happened during the Witherspoon Street white-out following Monday’s big snow. Speaking of place and time, would it have changed the course of Beatles history if seven inches of the white stuff had been on the ground when the lads from Liverpool landed on American soil 50 years ago this week? (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

January 29, 2014

The way Robert Stack sees it, people with severe disabilities are like celebrities. “They’re both surrounded by people paid to be around them. They’re not really given objective friendships,” says Mr. Stack, the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Community Options, the Princeton-based agency that provides the disabled with residential and employment support.

Affording the disabled the dignity that comes with those normal, objective relationships is a big part of the mission of Community Options, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year. On February 8, the organization celebrates in Princeton and 23 other sites across the nation with the annual Cupid’s Chase 5K.

Mr. Stack runs the agency’s 150 chapters across the nation from his office on Farber Road. As the organization has grown, the mission has remained the same: to find housing and employment for people with disabilities. After studying to become a priest, Mr. Stack changed his career path and founded Community Options in 1989 with a check for $347.

“I remember going to Morven, when Kean was governor, and giving Jane Burgio [Secretary of State under Mr. Kean] the check, and filling out the articles of incorporation,” he says. Today, Community Options operates in nine states, with about 3,100 employees and a budget of over $81 million, according to its annual report. People with autism, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury are the usual clients.

Mr. Stack directed the United Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey before founding Community Options. “I looked at a lot of non-profit organizations, and I stole their best practice options,” he says. “I saw that operating as one entity instead of many was the best way to go. And by doing so, we have kept our administrative costs under 11 percent. That means roughly 89 cents of every dollar goes to the organization.”

Some 45 people work for Community Options in Princeton. The organization’s first three group homes were located in Lawrence, Robbinsville, and Ewing. The newest is in Princeton, on North Harrison Street.

“Through the Borough of Princeton and COAH (The Council on Affordable Housing), we were able to enlarge a small house that now has four people living there,” Mr. Stack says. “And we have one opening in Hopewell Township, which we built from the ground up. Hopewell donated the land. So now these people with disabilities have a place to go and to live. It’s very important. There are people who have lived with their parents, who need to have housing when the parents become elderly and can no longer take care of them.”

The agency has also been able to find jobs for the severely disabled. “We have five people working at the Toys ’R Us factory, making over $11.50 an hour and getting benefits. These are folks who traditionally had not been employed,” Mr. Stack says.

The Cupid’s Chase fundraiser on February 8 starts at Princeton Shopping Center and heads up and down Bunn Drive before hitting the North Harrison street bike path, past Princeton Healthcare Center, and back to the shopping center. This year’s chairman is architect and former Princeton Borough Councilman Kevin WIlkes. Mr. Stack expects between 300 and 400 participants.

“We build on the Cupid and Valentine’s Day theme. We give out red shirts people can wear if they’re available, and white shirts if they’re not,” Mr. Stack says, “with a sponsor on the back. It’s a big event — we’re hoping for 8,000 nationwide. Last year we raised about $100,000.”

Anyone can run or walk in the event. It costs $30 to register in advance, or $50 the day of the race, which begins at 10 a.m. (registration at 8 a.m.). Call (609) 514-9494 for information.

 

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HOMEGROWN SCHOLAR: Princeton High School graduate Olivia Rand sports her 101: Fund T-Shirt in front of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she is currently a freshman. Ms. Rand is a beneficiary of an award from the 101: Fund, which holds its annual fundraiser this Friday, January 31. Tickets for the event, an indoor “Tailgate Party” at the Cannon Club, are $125 each, and are available online from: http://fund101.org/dance.html.

The 101: Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to students at Princeton High School (PHS), is an example of the benefits of the “give local” philosophy and is among the non-profit organizations to which users of the One Princeton Card can donate a percentage of their purchases.

The 101: Fund helps bridge the gap between skyrocketing college costs and the resources of student family savings and financial aid packages. Its biggest fundraiser of the year will take place this Friday, January 31, at the Cannon Club on the Princeton University campus.

“It will be an indoor ‘tailgate’ party where people can bid for items such as a chance to name a sandwich at Hoagie Haven,” said education consultant Elizabeth Hamblet, the Fund’s volunteer publicity chair and the parent of a PHS sophomore. “Kids in their sophomore year at the high school are required to complete 50 hours of community service and some students are dedicating their time to the 101: Fund with a variety of activities, not least of which is the upcoming student-run talent show on February 28,” she said.

It is hoped that the Cannon Club event and talent show will not only raise support for the 101: Fund, but also contribute to the organization’s effort to recruit supporters for its cause. Over the past four decades, more than $1 million has been provided to PHS seniors through the organization, which was founded by a PHS secretary in 1970 as the Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation.

After acquiring a new logo and a new name in 2008, it has continued to help PHS graduates get their start in higher education with financial aid calculated, with the assistance of Princeton University, according to standard assessment formulas. In 2010 alone, initial awards were made to almost three dozen graduating seniors.

With no paid staff and minimal administrative costs, almost 100 percent of the donations goes to student education and is paid directly to the institutions they attend. The 101: Fund’s board is led by Riva Levy and its advisory board includes Robert K. Durkee, vice president and secretary of Princeton University, Rush Holt, and the actor John Lithgow a 1963 graduate of PHS.

The awards, which are given out each June, range from $1000 to $10,000 and are granted to students who apply in the spring through the PHS Guidance Office. Recipients have gone to Bowdoin University, Rutgers. the State University of New Jersey, the School of the Visual Arts in New York, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, and Mercer County Community College (MCCC), among other institutions. For those attending MCCC and qualifying for the $10,000 award, this covers a semester of full-time tuition.

“There are students who think post-secondary education is beyond their reach and the assistance from the 101: Fund gets them to college,” commented PHS Principal Gary Snyder. “As they grow and mature, they feel like they belong, and they have the confidence to reach further in life.”

“When students who have received gifts from 101: come back to visit, they are always appreciative of the opportunity,” said Mr. Snyder. One such student, whose story is shared on the 101: Fund website, graduated with distinction from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2006 and then earned a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at Ithaca College, where she held the teaching assistantship in cello. She then went on to study for a Master’s degree in Cello and Suzuki Pedagogy at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Recent PHS graduate, Olivia Rand, now a freshman at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, demonstrated her gratitude for the support of the organization by proudly sporting her 101: Fund T-shirt for a recent photograph.

Over the past few years, the 101: Fund has grown by means of an increasingly active Student Auxiliary at PHS and by recruiting dedicated volunteers like Ms. Hamblet. Among its plans for the future, said Ms. Hamblet, is a mentoring program that will assist students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend higher education, navigate and persevere in the college environment.

For more information on lending a hand with 101: Fund, email: info@fund101.org.

 

January 22, 2014
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FROM KILN TO KITCHEN: The artistry of potter John Shedd, left, and Mistral restaurant chef Ben Nerenhausen come together when dishes prepared by Mr. Nerenhausen are served on hand-crafted ceramics by Mr. Shedd, whose unique designs have been specially created for use in the Witherspoon Street restaurant. The full range of Mr. Shedd’s work can be viewed at www.johnshedddesigns.com. (Photo by Steven Haase, GrowthAgents, Hopewell)

Art potter John Shedd has found a perfect niche working in collaboration with restauranteurs and chefs specializing in locally sourced artisanal fare. It’s an arrangement that brings together hand-crafted ceramics with culinary creations.

Restaurants Mistral, elements, and Tre Piani are among those using Mr. Shedd’s unique serving pieces for their customers.

“Scott Anderson [who owns both Mistral and elements] came by my studio about three years ago and commissioned some sushi trays. We had known each other since Scott’s days at the Ryland Inn and when he opened elements in Princeton he commissioned work from me. It all developed from there,” said Mr. Shedd last week at Mistral.

“It’s tremendous working with Scott and with other local chefs,” said Mr. Shedd, who clearly relishes the challenge of fulfilling a demand for small editions of unique items designed to compliment rather than compete with a chef’s culinary
creations.

Sometimes a request will take the potter in new directions as when Mr. Anderson asked for a bowl that would look like a rock. “I had three weeks to come up with a design, carve a model from soapstone and then make about 120 pieces,” recalled Mr. Shedd. “It was for an event and each of the 80 dinner guests took a bowl home with them, that was a very nice touch.”

Mistral offers small plates using fresh local fare. Chef Ben Nerenhausen’s menu has been described as “varied and inventive.”

“I’ve been working with Mistral for some time now and I love working with Ben,” said the potter of the restaurant where the dishes are inspired by many cultures including Mediterranean, Asian and regional American. “Our style is organic and distinctive and as far from cookie cutter as you can get,” said Mr. Nerenhausen. “We prepare unique dishes and, since people eat first with their eyes, we recognize the importance of presentation. John is able to provide us with serving plates, platters, and bowls in the different shapes and sizes we need. The pieces he creates evoke dishes such as these red and yellow beets on this earthern plate that is perfectly rustic, almost torn from the earth,” he said, referencing a rectangular platter with a deep brown red glaze on which rested a selection of beets and spoonfuls of creme fraiche. The presentation made the humble root vegetable look ravishing as well as scrumptious.

“It’s fun to have someone with a definite idea of what they want,” said Mr. Shedd. “The reciprocal feedback forms a loop which is very satisfying and it’s wonderful to see an application for what I do.”

Working for chefs is not new to the potter who has, in the past, produced items for the then chef at Jasna Polana. In addition to dinnerware, he creates serving pieces and does decorative tile work (including Mistral’s signature design of a wind-blown tree). “I much prefer this to anything else that I do,” he said, adding that there is also “something special about working with a small enterprise, not too big, not too small, hands-on and personal. People who have eaten in the restaurants notice the way their food is served. They often ask about the plates and then come to the gallery to purchase items for their own tables.”

The potter’s wife Sloane Browning is a decorative painter who shares her husband’s interest in glazes. The couple live in Griggstown not far from the gallery/studio.

Born in Rockford, Illinois, Mr. Shedd came to New Jersey by way of New Mexico and South Carolina. He settled in the Princeton area in 1979 and opened his Rocky Hill studio that year in a 200-year-old converted mill near the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The building was once a gristmill and dates back to the early 1700s. It is now part of the Rocky Hill Historic Preservation District.

Having grown up on a farm, Mr. Shedd has always felt close to the earth. But he broke from family tradition and discovered a talent for working with the earth in a different way when he took a ceramics class as a student at Rockford College. After receiving a BFA in ceramics, he went onto graduate work at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, receiving an MFA in ceramics in 1977. Since then, his work has been featured in many individual and group shows and exhibited in shops and galleries nationwide

The potter/artist believes that art and culture should be accessible to all in everyday life. Exploring glazes and ceramic surface decoration has captivated his
interest for more than 30 years. It is work that rewards in terms of artistic honesty, or as Mr. Shedd puts it: “the honest embodiment of the beauty inherent in a natural material.”

John Shedd Designs, located at 200 Washington St Rocky Hill, showcases the range of Mr. Shedd’s creations, from platters pitchers, vases, backsplashes and candlesticks to lamps and tilework. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (609) 924-6394, or visit: www.johnshedddesigns.com. For more on Mistral at 66 Witherspoon Street, call (609) 688-8808, or visit: www.mistralprinceton.com; for more on elements at 163 Bayard Lane, call (609) 924.0078, or visit: www.elementsprinceton.com.

 

January 15, 2014
FIRST IN A SERIES: Merry White, noted cookbook author and anthropologist, kicks off this season of Princeton Public Library’s “Evenings With Friends” lineup on January 23.

FIRST IN A SERIES: Merry White, noted cookbook author and anthropologist, kicks off this season of Princeton Public Library’s “Evenings With Friends” lineup on January 23.

When the Friends of Princeton Public Library launched a new series called “Evenings With Friends” last year, they weren’t sure what to expect. But the program pairing author talks, drinks, and dinner was an immediate hit with patrons. The “Evenings” will resume Thursday, January 23, when Boston University anthropology professor Merry “Corky” White, author of the cookbook Cooking for Crowds, comes to the Library’s Community Room.

“The series has done so much better than we expected it to,” said Sherri Garber, president of Friends of the Princeton Public Library. “It’s a formula that seems to work, and it has brought a lot of new people into the library, which of course is good for fundraising.”

The Library’s Community Room is set up like a café for each event. Seated at tables set with tablecloths, patrons have drinks and a buffet dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Speakers begin their talks at 7:30, and the evenings are over by 9 p.m. These gatherings are designed to be intimate, allowing patrons to not only listen, but also join in discussions with the authors. Afterward, Labyrinth Books sells books that the authors sign.

“What’s nice is that we limit the events to about 50 people,” Ms. Garber said. “Everyone can feel like they are part of the conversation.”

Ms. Garber has had help choosing the authors for the program from the Library’s Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann. “Janie helps me decide. Then I just read, and write to people,” Ms. Garber said. “No one is paid. We basically run on a shoestring. The authors do it out of their love for public libraries. And if they happen to have a new book out, it’s good for publicity.”

Ms. White first published Cooking for Crowds in 1974. The book is back in print in a special 40th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Ms. White and illustrations by frequent New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren. The multi-faceted Ms. White has been a caterer and food journalist while teaching anthropology courses at Boston University, and is currently researching contemporary Japanese urban social spaces and focusing on the history of the cafe.

“She has some wonderful anecdotes she’ll be sharing with us,” Ms. Garber said. “Julia Child was her neighbor. Corky can tell us how she once catered a Roman orgy for Harvard professors. Her specialty is Japanese cultural anthropology, so there’s that, too.”

Booked for February 20 is Robert Wilson, author of Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation. This biography of the 19th century American photographer, famous for his graphic images of the American Civil War, captures Brady as a businessman, portrait artist, promoter, and historian whose images provided the first detailed photographic record of a war. Mr. Wilson teaches at Johns Hopkins, American, and George Mason universities, and has taught at the University of Virginia. He has been editor of The American Scholar since 2004 and previously edited Preservation magazine, among other publications.

Author William Helmreich comes to the Library March 26 to talk about his recent book The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. A Manhattan native, he has walked every block of all five boroughs — 6,000 miles — in an effort to get to know the city and its inhabitants. The journey took four years and included talks with everyday citizens as well as former mayors Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and Bloomberg. Mr. Helmreich is a professor of sociology at the City University Graduate Center and City College of New York. His previous books include What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them.

Princeton University professor Gary Bass, author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, comes to the “Conversations” series on April 29. The book details the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan and shaped the fate of Asia. Mr. Bass, who teaches politics and international affairs, is a former reporter for The Economist and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Republic. He is the author of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. 

Tickets to individual events are $50; the series of four costs $175. The series is first open to members of Friends of the Library, and then to all library cardholders.

“These are interesting evenings,” Ms. Garber said. “You learn things about these people you might not learn otherwise. And it’s all in a friendly, intimate setting that everyone seems to like.”

 

FOOD FOR FOOTBALL: D’Angelo’s Market on Spring Street, home of produce like this as well as prepared foods, has been chosen as one of the caterers for the VIP Tailgate party inside the Meadowlands Complex before the kickoff of the Superbowl next month.

FOOD FOR FOOTBALL: D’Angelo’s Market on Spring Street, home of produce like this as well as prepared foods, has been chosen as one of the caterers for the VIP Tailgate party inside the Meadowlands Complex before the kickoff of the Superbowl next month.

There will be no tailgate parties in the parking lot of East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium before Super Bowl XLVIII. on February 2. Much to the consternation of fans, the traditional celebrations have been banned for this event due to security concerns. 

But inside the Meadowlands complex, a “VIP Tailgate” celebration will be in full swing for four hours leading up to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff. NFL professionals, their coaches, families, and guests will be in attendance, sampling delicacies from, among other caterers, Princeton’s D’Angelo’s Market.

“We’re super excited,” said Danielle D’Angelo, one of five family members who run the Spring Street market and another store in Ocean County. “We were shocked, because we really weren’t expecting it. It’s a big honor to be able to represent Princeton at this national event.”

Ms. D’Angelo said once the family knew the Super Bowl would be held in New Jersey, they made several attempts to reach the NFL Host Committee in California. Finally, they were able to schedule a sampling of their menu in October 2012.

“There was a selection process held by the host committee. We’re not the sole caterer, but we were one of the top chosen,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “We sent samples and they were interested in some of our menu items.”

As of last week, the family was asked not to disclose just what they’ll be sending until the menu was finalized. “But we have had a series of run-throughs,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “And I can tell you that they requested 2,500 servings of the menu items. We’ve never done anything of this magnitude.”

D’Angelo’s is no stranger to large-scale events. The market has catered for Princeton University Athletics, the FBI, and the New York Police Department. But the Super Bowl, where some 2,500 guests are expected, is in another category.

“The most we’ve served is about 1,000,” said Ms. D’Angelo. “And we’re only allowed to send six people. They have a very tight security system. We had to do background checks and screenings. We have special uniforms, photo ID’s and special passes. We had requested more staff members, but they said six is the maximum.”

D’Angelo’s opened its Spring Street location in 2011. The family’s other business, Tuscany Italian Specialty Foods, has been in Jackson since 2000. Ms. D’Angelo, one of five family members involved in the business, said that while her brother is a big football fan, she doesn’t know much about the sport.

“I’m not sure what to expect, but I know this is a really big deal and a big honor for us,” she said. “We’re ready to go.”

 

SMALL WORLD TEAMS WITH WALDORF SCHOOL: Students at the Waldorf School of Princeton created a series of artworks inspired by the connections between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Several pieces are based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance. “Sacred Works of Geometry” is on view at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street through February 4.

SMALL WORLD TEAMS WITH WALDORF SCHOOL: Students at the Waldorf School of Princeton created a series of artworks inspired by the connections between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Several pieces are based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance. “Sacred Works of Geometry” is on view at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street through February 4.

Rainbow-colored works of art created by students at the Waldorf School of Princeton are on display at Small World Coffee, located on Witherspoon Street, now through February 4. The exhibit entitled, “Sacred Works of Geometry” is inspired by the students’ interdisciplinary arts curriculum. 

The colorful geometric pieces illustrate the connection between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Included in the show are several pieces based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance and the mandala designs of various ancient cultures. The students used a variety of techniques to create these works including block printing, theories of shape and color balance, and even cross-stitching geometric patterns to create unique star patterns.

Through the arts, students at Waldorf are able to explore academic subjects that are not usually incorporated into such a curriculum. To learn more about “Sacred Works of Geometry,” visit www.princetonwaldorf.org.

 

FROM MAINE TO ALASKA: The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature,” from February 3 through February 28. The focus of the exhibit is on natural landscapes and seaport scenes from his time spent in Maine and Alaska. McVicker currently lives and works at his studio in Princeton.

FROM MAINE TO ALASKA: The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature,” from February 3 through February 28. The focus of the exhibit is on natural landscapes and seaport scenes from his time spent in Maine and Alaska. McVicker currently lives and works at his studio in Princeton.

From February 3 to February 28, The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature.” A reception for the artist will be held on Wednesday, February 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit can also be viewed during school hours by calling (609) 924-7206 and scheduling an appointment. 

Charles McVicker works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. He enjoys painting the complexities of nature in landscapes, which is the main focus of this exhibit. McVicker recently spent time in Alaska and Maine painting seaport scenes. He states, “I have searched for quiet moments of beauty or drama that might be overlooked by most to depict in my paintings; those scenes that hopefully can bring satisfaction or thoughtful stimulation to the viewer. Also, I am still concerned with the traditional values of form and light, particularly the excitement of light on natural and man-made forms …”

McVicker studied at the Art Center College of Design with Lorser Feitelson and others. He maintained a personal studio in New York for the past 25 years where he was active with the Society of Illustrators, being president for two years. He is a retired professor of art from The College of New Jersey, having taught there for 18 years. McVicker now works and lives in Princeton. His idea of a cooperative art group led to the founding of the Princeton Artists Alliance. He is in the Watercolor USA Hall of Fame and has received over 30 awards from local institutions such as the Zimmerli Museum of Rutgers University and Ellarslie at the Trenton City Museum.

Chapin School is located at 4101 Princeton Pike in Princeton.

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Until the news about another bridge and another town, the subject of this caption would be nothing more than an atmospheric picture of Trenton’s famously lettered span as a winter fog creeps in. But these days, with a cloud hanging over the governor’s office, it’s hard not to read other meanings into the image. For comments on the Fort Lee Gridlock Crisis, see this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

 

January 8, 2014

bookslocalsRichard D. Smith’s Legendary Locals of Princeton (LL/Arcadia $21.99), which goes on sale this week, contains pictures and stories of unique individuals and groups, past and present, who have had a lasting impact on the Princeton community throughout its history. 

Mr. Smith acknowledges the impossible task of including everyone worthy of admission in the book. ”Like a coach with a deep bench, the problem was not finding players, but deciding who to put on the field,” he said. Among the more illustrious omissions are diplomat, historian and longtime resident George F. Kennan and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The book’s range covers celebrities like Christopher Reeve, Peter Benchley, and George Gallup Sr., as well as lesser known individuals such as country store owner Mary Watts and Mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund. Shown on the cover along with Sigmund, Reeve, Benchley, and Gallup are Albert Einstein, George Washington, Paul Robeson, aviation pioneer Francis Callery, and students at Evelyn College.

Asked in an interview which of the legends he most enjoyed researching, Mr. Smith mentioned Einstein and Robeson, “giants respectively in science and the arts, who actually knew each other, were good friends, and worked together on a civil rights initiative. In fact, the very first photo in my book is a rare image of Einstein and Robeson. Where else but in Princeton could such a marvelous image have been made?”

Mr. Smith also mentioned the book’s account of the last time Paul Robeson sang in Princeton, “a true story that illustrates the great actor/vocalist’s abiding love for the community in which he had been born.”

An active member of the Historical Society of Princeton, Richard D. Smith, is a past contributor to New Jersey Network News, Princeton Packet, US 1, and The New York Times.

Since he grew up in neighboring Montgomery Township in the 1950s, going into Princeton was always “going into town.” He has chronicled the town in the previous Arcadia Publishing books, Images of America: Princeton, Princeton University, and Princeton Then & Now. He graduated from the Hun School of Princeton, and then attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and the New School for Social Research in New York City before graduating from Emerson College in Boston with a BA in Mass Communications in 1975. He became actively involved in bluegrass music during the folk revival of the 1960s and is today a featured staff writer and reviewer for Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. His award-winning book Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe Father of Bluegrass is currently in development as a major motion picture, with the working title Blue Moon of Kentucky.

The book will be available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online retailer, and through the publisher at www.legendarylocals.com or (888) 313-2665.

HEALTHY EATING: The Terra Learning Kitchen at the Princeton YMCA does double duty as a café and an instructional kitchen. Showing off a colander of kale and some gluten-free muffins and scones are Raoul Momo of Terra Momo Group, and kitchen staff Margo Allen and Tiffany Baldino.(Photo by A. Levine

HEALTHY EATING: The Terra Learning Kitchen at the Princeton YMCA does double duty as a café and an instructional kitchen. Showing off a colander of kale and some gluten-free muffins and scones are Raoul Momo of Terra Momo Group, and kitchen staff Margo Allen and Tiffany Baldino. (Photo by A. Levine

When Princeton’s Terra Momo Group of restaurants decided to take over the café at Princeton’s YMCA, the idea was to build upon the organization’s theme of healthy living. Instead of chicken nuggets and fries, current customers might find kale salads and gluten-free pastries in the light-filled eatery now known as Terra Learning Kitchen, where a roster of cooking classes for adults and children is available.

But the focus on freshness and nutrition doesn’t mean a restrictive menu of sprouts, nuts, and berries. “We’re trying to bridge the gap,” said kitchen manager Tiffany Baldino one morning this week. A group of women chatted and sipped coffee at one table, while another customer nibbled a gluten-free muffin at another. “We want to serve people who have special dietary concerns but who still want a burger now and then,” Ms. Baldino continued. “It’s that middle ground. I think our small victory is that in this café that used to do pizza and nuggets and French fries, people are open to trying kale salad. You have to make healthy food taste good, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Terra Learning Kitchen, or TLK, is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ms. Baldino and the Momo brothers are hoping that members of the local community, as well as patrons of the Y’s classes and programs, will be stopping by for meals or picking up take-out dinners after work.

“No pun intended, but why not?,” Raoul Momo said of the café in the Y facility. “What a great resource this kitchen is. And since the town allowed us to put a walk-in cooler outside, signing off on it quickly, that gave us the opportunity to bring in the concept of fresh food.”

Mr. Momo noted that none of the kitchens in the other Terra Momo Group restaurants — Eno Terra, Teresa Kaffe and Mediterra — have windows. “Just to have this light coming in is wonderful, he said. “With the cooking classes, the concept is interactive. We’re getting people from the community to understand what a resource we have here. We want to welcome everyone.”

The small café has been open for years, in various guises such as the Orchard Café and Da’s Thai. “The Momos wanted to do something different,” said Ms. Baldino. “They wanted to create more business in this location, and they wanted to make people learn to eat better. The idea was to do a lot of classes as well as run the café, and this fit in with the Y’s mission.”

Educational offerings at TLK include a Mini Chef School for children, a Parent/Child Chef School, and sessions led by Dorothy Mullen’s Suppers Program on seasonings from throughout the world. As part of a week-long Open House, Ms. Mullen will give a free short version of her classes tomorrow (January 9) at 2 p.m. On Friday, Tracy Sipprelle will lead a workshop on healthy eating.

Ms. Baldino has been testing various recipes during recent weeks, using Y staff members as tasters. Before taking the job at TLK, she owned a small meal delivery service, preparing healthy dinners in conjunction with Griggstown Farm. She heard about the concept of TLK from Carlo Momo, whom she knew from the gym.

Ms. Baldino is interested in partnering with a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which would allow fresh fruits and vegetables to be delivered to TLK, to be picked up by members. The kitchen is already preparing take-out dinners, including recipes of Ms. Mullen’s. “There’s a lot going on,” Ms. Baldino said. “For the price of a pizza and a bottle of soda, people can get a roast chicken and side dishes that have been freshly prepared.”

A grand opening celebration for TLK is Friday, January 17 in conjunction with a salsa dance party in the studio next door. Hors d’oeuvres with a salsa theme will be served starting at 7 p.m., followed by dancing and instruction by Hot Salsa Hot at 8 p.m. Visit www.princetonymca.org for more information.

 

“Mindfulness Meditation Goes To School — A Natural Intervention for ADHD” is the topic of a lecture sponsored by Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) on Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the gym of Riverside School, 58 Riverside Drive.

The speaker is Trish Miele, former West Windsor Plainsboro teacher, who is now an educator on Mindfulness Meditation. A bonus topic, “Indigo Kids — What Parents can do to promote their children’s unique gifts and help them deal with rigid systems,” will be addressed by Roberto Schiraldi.

Mr. Schiraldi is a counselor in private practice who recently retired from the Princeton University Counseling and Psychological Services, where he was a Staff Counselor and Coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Team.

For more information, call (609) 683-8787 or email adhdcoachjane@gmail.com.

 

DEXTERITY AND ATHLETIC PROWESS: New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will stage a special performance at McCarter Theatre on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

DEXTERITY AND ATHLETIC PROWESS: New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will stage a special performance at McCarter Theatre on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

McCarter Theatre welcomes New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet to Princeton on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. Through their daring athletic movement and integration of ballet into contemporary and popular forms, the dancers of Cedar Lake take audiences on a choreographic journey that explores the varied possibilities of movement and multimedia. Since its founding in 2003, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has been recognized internationally for its collaborations with diverse choreographers including Alexander Ekman, Crystal Pite, Hofesh Shechter, Jo Strømgren, Andonis Foniadakis, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ohad Naharin and Jirí Kylián. The performance on January 17 will include a dance and multimedia program with performances of Jirí Kylian’s Indigo Rose and Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue. The 16-member troupe celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year with performances of Rain Dogs by Johan Inger and a new work by Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat. 

To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

 

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is actively seeking volunteers in Mercer County. The non-profit organization speaks up in court for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

These children live in foster homes, group homes or residential facilities. CASA trains community volunteers who ensure that these children receive needed services and help in moving into safe and permanent homes. CASA Advocates receive 32 hours of comprehensive training and ongoing supervision.

Volunteers, who come from all walks of life and need no special background, must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, a desire to help these at risk children and commit at least 18 months to a child’s case. One hour information sessions are offered on a regular basis.

Information sessions will be held at 1450 Parkside Avenue, Suite 22, Ewing, on January 14 at 5:30 p.m., January 23 at 9:30 a.m., February 12 at 5:30 p.m., February 13 at 9:30 a.m., March 11 at 9:30 a.m. and March 13 at 5:30 p.m. Call (609) 434-0050 or email Anne Callahan, Volunteer Coordinator, at acallahan@casamercer.org for more information or to register. To find out more about CASA for Children or register on-line, visit www.casamercer.org.

 

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With the Graduate College’s Cleveland Tower in the background, the snowy scene of kids and sleds might be taking place in England. In fact, it’s happening on the Springdale Golf Course. See this week’s Town Talk for some first-hand reports. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

January 2, 2014
BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

Princeton Charter School (PCS) starts the New Year with a Day of Service project that will culminate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day later this month. Students, parents, and faculty are “paying it forward” with a unique project that aims to build independent reading libraries for classrooms in need.

Starting the week of January 13, the school will be collecting new and used books from its students. The donated books will be sorted by reading level, labeled by genre, and then packed into boxes for delivery to eligible faculty for use in their classrooms. When opened, the boxes will provide mini classroom libraries and instant access to “kid-read and approved” books.

This unique approach to sharing is the brainchild of PCS English teacher Laurie Ludgin who realized that there was a need for in-classroom libraries while attending a professional development conference offered by The Reading and Writing Project of Teachers College, Columbia University.

During one conference session, recalled Ms. Ludgin, a fellow participant asked Presenter Lucy Calkins, director of The Reading and Writing Project, “What do I do if I don’t have a classroom library?”

Ms. Calkins’s response was simple, bold and to the point. She said: “You change schools. You can’t teach students to read, if you don’t have books in your classroom.” The effect of Ms. Calkins’s words on the PCS teacher was immediate. Ms. Ludgin was inspired to begin the work of getting independent reading libraries into the hands of dedicated teachers so that they can open the world of reading for their students.

“Not every school has a library and this is a way for children to share books that they love with others,” said Ms. Ludgin. “I know from my own classroom that students love to pass along books to younger students. They will often write notes in the front of the book for future readers. This effort is a way to build a community of readers and we are collecting books from pre-K through 6th grade.” According to Ms. Ludgin, now in her fourth year at PCS, favorite authors include Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House series), Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Dan Gutman (My Weird School series) and Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah Plain and Tall).”

“Laurie Ludgin is such an inspiration, a fantastic English teacher and someone who models the ideal qualities one wants in a teacher: commitment to her discipline, compassion for students, and the organizational skills to put a project like this in motion,” commented Assistant Head of School Lisa Eckstrom.

“We hope that [this] will become an annual event and that it will grow and grow,” she said. “We’ll be collecting, sorting, and then donating books for young readers to a school with very few resources. The idea is to sort books by categories and reading level to make it very simple for our sister school to put the books to use.”

“Princeton is such a book loving town and this project says a lot about who we are. It involves a direct teacher to teacher transfer so that nothing is going to get lost or sit in a warehouse. We’re very excited about it,” said Ms. Eckstrom.

The Princeton Charter School is located at 100 Bunn Drive in Princeton. Registration for the entrance lottery ends on Monday, January 6, at noon.

For more information, call (609) 924-0575, or visit: www.princetoncharter.org.

 

Between Small World Coffee, Rojo’s Roasters, Chez Alice, Infini T, and Starbucks, Princeton has its share of convivial coffee and tea houses. But a café preparing to join the lineup by early next month will add a new dimension to the coffee shop experience, according to its proprietor.

Café Vienna, under construction at the Nassau Street storefront previously occupied by The Piccadilly, is being designed to fill a previously untapped niche. “This will be a totally different experience, a European café,” said Anita Waldenberger, who has spent four years preparing to open the coffee house based on those in her native Austria. “The products we will offer are unique. I want to bring the best quality and consistency to town. That is very important to me.”

Most anyone who has visited Vienna knows about the rich Sacher tortes, marzipan cakes, apple strudels and other authentic Viennese desserts served in the city’s cafés. Those delicacies will be on the menu, Ms. Waldenberger said, and some of them will be lower in calories than customers might expect. “We are very calorie conscious,” she said. “We worked with a pastry chef for more than six months to make lower calorie cakes that are good.”

Also planned are organic teas, breakfast sandwiches, and other items. “We’re still working on the menu,” Ms. Waldenberger said.

The concept of a Viennese café occurred to Ms. Waldenberger after moving to Princeton with her husband in 2004. She had first visited a few years earlier. “I fell in love with the town,” she said. “The coziness, the atmosphere — it reminded me so much of home.”

The idea began to take shape during a visit from her family. “My brother said to me, ‘You need to open a Viennese café in Princeton,” she recalled. “And that has been my goal since then, about four years ago.”

After going to school in Vienna, Ms. Waldenberger worked in a five-star hotel called Warmbad Villach, learning several aspects of the business. She moved to the United States in 1978 to learn English, and decided to stay. Work with a German bank followed before Ms. Waldenberger switched to commercial real estate, which she still practices on a limited basis.

The hotel business has stuck with her. “I always enjoyed helping the guests,” she said. “And I want to bring that level of service to the café.”

Ms. Waldenberger credits the retired professionals at Princeton SCORE, especially Bill Lichtman, with helping her get the business on track. The town was also open to the idea. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity they have given me,” she said. “The idea was very well received.”

Construction on the café began in October. Ms. Waldenberger’s concept is for a modern, yet cozy, interior. At 870 square feet, the café will accommodate seating for 15 inside, and more outside during the warmer months. There will be an exposed brick chimney and mirrors.

Most crucial is the coffee, which will be “world class, served using a state of the art coffee machine,” Ms. Waldenberger said. “It will be totally different from every other coffee in town. I won’t tell you how; that’s our secret.”

Ms. Waldenberger will be the café’s manager. She is anxious to put her experience in the service industry to work. “I know I have something very different,” she said. “I’ll be serving the community and their guests at a higher level, while also appealing to the young in a style that’s modern and hip. This is an international community and I look forward to serving, bringing the uptown and downtown together.”

 

Want to try your hand at writing a play? A short story? Or learn how to re-upholster that vintage armchair? How about taking a turn on the dance floor — ballroom style? Or if you prefer, get your exercise belly dancing!

What about that yoga class you always wanted to try? Got the travel bug? Try Tough Love Travel for adventurous journeys. Or, rock climbing, ice skating — and whatever your age, it’s never too late to learn to ride a bike!

Watch the birds, hike the trails, learn to cook Italian, plan your retirement, learn to converse in Turkish, enhance your social media skills, discover the intricacies of all those apps, or explore the nuances of film noir.

All of the above — and so much, much more — is available at the Princeton Adult School (PAS), a true treasure of the community, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Idea In Motion

Established in 1939, the school was the result of the efforts of a number of Princeton residents, who wished to offer the community an opportunity for continued learning. In particular, Ruth Schleifer and Laura Peskin whose husbands owned Princeton News Delivery Service, and Mrs. W. R. Brearley, principal of the Nassau Street Elementary School, were instrumental in setting the idea in motion in 1938. After Ms. Schleifer visited the Trenton Adult School, she remarked, “Why don’t we have such a school here? If Mrs. Brearley will do the curriculum, I’ll do the registration.”

Out of that visit and those remarks emerged what was then called the Princeton Leisure Hour School, with a system of registration that involved spreading out index cards on tables in the Schleifer living room.

Support for the school was immediate and widespread, with the Presidents of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary and B. Woodhull Davis, Acting Principal of Princeton’s public schools all enthusiastic supporters.

500 people signed up for the initial 50 courses at $2 per class, the most popular being world politics, followed by ballroom dancing, photography, bridge, and “typewriting”. Other courses included music appreciation, public speaking, sewing, dress making, modern homemaking, craft and metal shop work, English and American literature, poetry, and sketching.

“This was toward the end of the Depression, and in some cases, people were looking for skills that they could use to help them get a job,” points out Nancy Beck, former PAS executive director, current board member, and curriculum coordinator.

Classes were held at Princeton High School, and people of all ages, backgrounds, and races attended. As Anne Brener, PAS current executive director, explains, “The goal of the Adult School was to make its classes available to everyone. As its mission stated from the beginning, it was ‘to offer to the adult residents of the Princeton area — regardless of race, color, creed, place of national origin, or sex — a variety of courses for their benefit and enjoyment.’”

$3 Per Class

This was a time, in 1939, when some public schools in Princeton were segregated, adds Ms. Brener.

Classes were discontinued during World War II, and then in 1948, the school reopened as the Princeton Adult School. The cost of a class had risen to $3, and more courses were added, including jewelry design, furniture repair, family life, languages, great religions of the world, “Behind the Headlines” (A look at the world in 1948; Democratizing Japan; Rebuilding Germany; Tension in the Near East), among others.

Class instructors included Princeton and Rutgers University professors, and other authorities in their fields of expertise.

Over the years, PAS and its classes have continued to increase in popularity. When it turned 50 in 1989, student enrollment had grown six times during the course of the five decades. Now at age 75, PAS, during the 2012-13 fall/spring term, enrolled more than 3500 students in 320 courses, which is seven times the student enrollment and 11 times the course offerings available at the Princeton Leisure Hour School in 1939.

The variety of the course offerings is the result of the dedication of the Adult School staff and board members and the resources of the community, notes Ms. Beck.

Adds Ms. Brener: “We’ve become a family. It’s a part-time office but full-time job keeping on top of everything. Debbie Washington, the business manager, always has a new vision of how to improve what we are doing. With the support of our part-time accountant Jacquie Seelig, we enjoy working as a team and with the board to bring over 200 classes to life.”

40 Members

The board consists of 40 members, and each individual serves on two committees, and helps to set the curriculum. “This is really a hands-on board,” points out curriculum coordinator Nancy Beck, who also focuses on the lecture committee. “We are very busy. The biggest challenge is continuing to find classes that people are interested in and keeping the prices as affordable as possible.”

Involvement in the Princeton community, including the University and public libraries, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Princeton Symphony, is also a focus of PAS. Classes, lectures, and events are often in conjunction with these organizations.

“For the Adult School’s 75th anniversary, we are holding several ‘Conversations’, each one focused on a different topic of special interest to our audience,” says Ms. Brener. “The intent of these ‘Conversations’ is to have an informal exchange among interesting, thoughtful leaders who will share their insights and experiences with an engaged and informed moderator — and, on these Sunday afternoons, we can be part of the discussion. A reception for all attendees follows each ‘Conversation’.”

Held in the Friend Center (the Computer Science building on the Princeton University campus at the corner of Olden and William Streets), the “Conversations” are open to the public, and tickets are $25 per event.

Two upcoming “Conversations” include “The Ambassadors” on Sunday, February 2 and “Focus on the Arts” on Sunday, March 2, both at 4 p.m. The first will include former U.S. Ambassadors Barbara Bodine, Robert Finn, and Daniel Kurtzer, who will talk with Evan Thomas, award-winning Newsweek editor and author of a recent book on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency.

The second will focus on changes in the arts over the past 75 years, and the participants will discuss the challenges and rewards of maintaining a community commitment to the arts, and speculate about the future. Moderator Michael Cadden, chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton, will be joined by Emily Mann, artistic director of McCarter Theater, William Lockwood, director of special programs at McCarter, James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum, composer Derek Bermel, and Tony award-winning playwright Christopher Durang.

Smart and Innovative

Board member Pam Wakefield, whose speciality is the lecture series, is enthusiastic about the opportunities an Adult School in Princeton can offer. As she points out, “We understand and enjoy the challenge of connecting to this community in just about every conceivable area. In a busy university town like Princeton, people have the chance to be really selective about where and how they spend their spare hours. The Princeton Adult School staff and board members know we have to be smart and innovative about offering ways to fill those hours, and we are. If you want to see behind The New York Times headlines, or master fusion cuisine, or figure out what is bothering your pet, or understand sound investing, the Adult School is there to make that happen.

“Planning the Anne B. Shepard Lecture Series is a pretty amazing process,” continues Ms. Wakefield. “Drawing from Princeton University, Rutgers, and other academic neighbors, each semester, this committee puts together a who’s who in just about any direction they plan to address. On a personal level, about five years ago, I thought I would check out one of our yoga classes. I chose anti-aging, and I am still at it!”

Princeton resident Everett Kline, who has served on the board for five years, is directly involved with members of the community, including chefs and owners of local restaurants and eateries.

“Most of the courses I have developed have been in the area of food and drink — preparing fish with the wonderful chefs of the JM Group, including executive chef Jose Lopez of Nassau Street Seafood and executive chef Edgar ‘pollos’ Urias of Blue Point Grill; cooking the duck and all its parts with Scott Anderson of elements and Mistral; small plates of the Mediterranean with Chris Albrecht of eno terra; ice cream for all seasons with Gaby Carbonne of the Bent Spoon; brewing the perfect cup of coffee with Brant Cosaboom of Small World Coffee; spices with Jon Hauge of the Savory Spice Shop — the list goes on. One of the best parts of this work is experiencing the sense of community shared with our local businesses.”

Both Roles

Many of the board members not only help create the classes, they also become students. Princeton resident and board member, Ingrid Reed has enjoyed both roles. “I am both an admirer of the Adult School and a ‘customer’ at the same time that I am a board member. We create what is so amazing about the school — its diverse programs across many areas. Lectures and discussions, languages, arts and crafts, cooking, practical courses such as finance and exercise, and maybe most important, our many English as a Second Language courses.

“I first met the Adult School, when as a bride, I came to Princeton 50 years ago, and found the courses at the School — literature with Professor Sonnenfeld and bridge — to be a marvelous way to interact with others, and open my mind to books I had not read in college.

“Subsequently, I dipped into some other courses, but basically I simply was in awe of the brochure that I received every fall and spring that offered the opportunity for life-long learning in more than 200 courses,” continues Ms. Reed. “I joined the board more than 10 years ago, and have participated in developing the lecture programs, since working at Princeton University and Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics has connected me with faculty members who have taught in the Adult School. And I am pleased to be the liaison with the Princeton Symphony for the course based on the symphony’s current season offered by the Adult School.

“The energy and creativity of the active board members is a learning experience in itself, and I marvel to think that for 75 years, this community-based institution has responded to the needs and interests of the times, and remained faithful to the core mission of serving adult learners in practical and pleasurable ways.”

Princeton resident Shirley Satterfield has served on the board since 1990, specializing in the areas of creative arts, personal enrichment, and personal finance. She has also been a student in many of the classes, and her interests are widespread and varied — to say the least!

“Through the years, I have taken many courses including chair caning, Stand Up and Speak Out, two genealogy classes, cataloging, researching and evaluating your antiques and family treasures, Let’s Get Organized, Health food cooking, Lose Weight with hypnosis, exercise, quilting (from T-shirts to treasured quilt), learn to sing, learn to play the piano, preserving books (taken at Princeton University Library), the tea lovers club, making greeting cards, and introduction to power point.”

Important Benefit

“I enjoyed all the courses, and the ones that brought lasting enjoyment are chair caning and quilting,” said Ms. Satterfield. “The antique chair I caned and the stool that I rushed are proudly displayed in my home, and the rocking chair I caned is in my friend’s home. I am now making a large quilt with T-shirts that have meaning in my life.

“The most important benefit that students get out of taking courses at the Princeton Adult School is the instruction and knowledge from qualified and learned instructors, lecturers, and the fun, skills, and academic advancement each student receives.”

Finding qualified and engaging instructors is a challenge for the board, and members often discover the teachers in unusual ways, reports Ms. Brener. “Sometimes, someone calls us wanting to teach, and sometimes it can be unexpected. I may sit next to someone at an event — that is how I met David Greene, who taught the Cole Porter evening. We were at the Princeton Symphony Orchestra benefit, and sat next to each other at dinner. A conversation ensued, and now he has regaled the Adult School with a night of Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, and Cole Porter.

“Or I can run into someone at McCaffrey’s, and great things can happen. Twice, last spring, I was checking out, and met women who had taught for us years ago. Now, one has returned to teach decorative wall painting, and the other is teaching ceramics.”

“We want teachers who do it and know how to do it,” adds Ms. Beck. “For us, the criterion is not that they are the most renowned person in their field, but that they must know how to teach. It helps that we know people who know people!

“For example, we have met with Shirley Tilghman (former President of Princeton University), and she is a great supporter of the Adult School. We’ll say to her ‘we need someone for a science course’, and she is very helpful in suggesting young scientists who are interested in teaching a class.”

Civil War Battlefields

There are such great opportunities, continues Ms. Beck. For example, “Pulitzer Prize winning author, James McPherson, former Princeton University history professor, takes a class on weekend trips to Civil War battlefields each spring. He has done this for several years, and it is a wonderful opportunity to see the battlefields with his guidance and expertise.”

The teachers also enjoy the classes, often as much as their students, and many have taught at the School for years. Singing instructor Alta Malberg, who also teaches privately in New York City and Princeton, has taught at the School for 12 years. As she notes, the students, who come from Princeton and the surrounding area, create an interesting dynamic.

“They have diverse backgrounds, talents, and knowledge, which gives to the classes as much as the instructors give to them. In my class, lasting friendships have formed, continuing outside of the classroom. Princeton Adult School does our community a great service because it reaches out, bringing students in, and they leave with a better sense of Princeton and the world around them.

“I teach singing with a lot extra,” points out Ms. Malberg. “One cannot be a successful singer without learning the ‘joy of the song.’ We learn to appreciate the lyrics and what our interpretation is through feelings, which leads to acting exercises. That leads to breathing and other physical exercises, such as placement of the voice, which leads to more freedom and enjoyment of your instrument, your voice.

“We do work as a group because of the time constraints, but if a student wants it, we do have a short time to work one-on-one. The students who attend my class are sometimes professionals who want a review, amateurs, who always wanted to do this but never had the opportunity or the time, and singers who just want to come out of the shower and enjoy the thing they love best — singing!”

Piano teacher and Princeton resident Jean Parsons has taught at PAS for more than 10 years, and her students are beginners. “I have taught people who have never played anything,” she reports. “In the fall, there is one beginning class. In spring, those people who wish to continue can do so the hour before the new beginning class is held.”

Full of Wonders

“Learning all our lives keeps us alive and growing,” adds Ms. Parsons. “The world is so full of wonders to discover, and we are in a position in our town to have them explained by some of the foremost people in their fields. I appreciate their generosity in sharing their knowledge with all of us who sign up at the Princeton Adult School and feed our curiosity.”

PAS has also paid special tribute during this 75th anniversary year to the late James Diamond, who was killed in an automobile accident last March. Rabbi Diamond had taught a very popular short story class at PAS for several years.

A series of lectures and events are planned to celebrate the School’s birthday throughout the coming year. Several other non-profit organizations will be hosting events in honor of its anniversary. These include the Princeton Public Library, Princeton Arts Council, McCarter Theater, Princeton University Art Museum, Pro Musica, Rider University/Westminster Choir College, Princeton Festival, Princeton University Concerts, Historical Society of Princeton, Morven, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Dorothea’s House, and Princeton Healthcare System.

A champagne gala and live auction will be held May 4 at Jasna Polana. This special party is being underwritten by William and Judith Scheide, who with Betty Wold Johnson and Vivian and Harold Shapiro, are honorary co-chairs. Among the items to be auctioned are a trip to the Today Show with NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman; a day with award-winning chef Scott Anderson of elements; and a cocktail party for 20 with two “mystery” servers.

Behind the Scenes

Additional auction selections include a day behind the scenes at McCarter Theater with artistic director Emily Mann; an after-hours children’s birthday party at JaZams toy store; a day with Princeton University Art Museum director James Steward in a behind the scenes tour at the Frick Collection and other art galleries on the Upper East Side of New York City; and a walk-on role at the Princeton Festival production of Diamonds Are Forever.

Not only has the Adult School offered people the opportunity to continue learning, it has often resulted in unexpected “side effects,” including lifelong friendships, romance and marriage, and gainful employment!

In years past, after a brief romance, a language teacher and one of his students were married, and have lived happily ever after. In another case, two students met at a class in September, and were married by Thanksgiving!

As Nancy Beck has noted, PAS has offered so many benefits (planned and unplanned!) and continues to do so. “There is a social aspect to the School. I have made life-long friendships here, and met such interesting people. And the School allows me to contribute to my community in a way I would not have done otherwise.

“Learning never ends. Human beings want to learn. That is the important thing, whether it is cooking, language, art, science, or discovering a new book. Whatever your motivation, PAS offers an opportunity to learn and exercise your brain. It’s been said that if you can’t find something to do at PAS, you’re not really trying!”

Most classes at Princeton Adult School are held Tuesday evenings. PAS receives no public funding, and must pay the teachers and the pubic schools for use of the classrooms. Class costs generally range from $15 to $200, depending on the length of the course schedule. Senior discounts are available for some courses. Registration for spring classes begins on January 3, 2014. For more information, call (609) 683-1101. Website: princetonadultschool.org.

 

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Members of the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and other enthusiasts will be touring the Princeton Battlefield this New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1, from 7:30-9:30 a.m., when PBS trustee and British army historian William P. Tatum III, traces the steps of the American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle that took place on January 3, 1777, the first battle won against the British and a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. To attend, meet at the Thomas Clarke House, Princeton Battlefield State Park, wearing warm clothes and stout shoes or boots. There is a suggested donation of $5. The event kicks off the Battlefield’s celebration of New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. For more information, visit www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.

 

December 26, 2013

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University announces spring art classes for all ages, beginning in late January. Professional educators address the needs of both beginners and advanced students, with opportunities to draw from both live models and the museum’s collection. 

Classes include: Drawing Club for Children (6 to 8 years old) and Young People (9 to 14 years old) and meet Wednesdays after school, beginning January 29 and March 5, respectively; ZAM Session for Teens and Young Adults and the Zimmerli Drawing Society for Adults meet on select Saturday afternoons, beginning February 22. To register, contact the Education Department at education@zimmerli.rutgers.edu or (848) 932.7237.

Zimmerli’s popular Drawing Club for Children and Young People meets five Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. Sessions for 6-to 8-year-olds run January 29 through February 26. Youngsters from 9 to 14 years in age meet March 5 through April 2. The fee is $50 for Zimmerli members and $75 for nonmembers. Children discover the secrets of drawing, learning various techniques — including pencil and charcoal — and such genres as still life and portraiture.

ZAM Session for Teens and Young Adults meets six Saturdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.: February 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19, and May 3. The fee is $60 for Zimmerli members and $80 for nonmembers. ZAM Session is a dynamic art program that offers young artists the opportunity to develop their skills in a museum setting, an inspiring environment for college-bound students.

Drawing Society for Adults (18 and older) meets six Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: February 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19, and May 3. The fee is $100 for Zimmerli members and $135 for nonmembers. Each session is overseen by a master artist. The museum provides drawing boards, and select sessions include live models; participants are asked to bring their own drawing pads, portable easels, and other suggested materials.

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Wednesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays, major holidays, and the month of August. For advanced registration (required), visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu. For more information, call 848.932.7237 or visit the museum’s website: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.

Graves

New Jersey Hall of Fame (NJHOF) inductee and renowned Princeton architect Michael Graves visited the Hun School of Princeton when it hosted the NJHOF Mobile Museum on Wednesday, December 11. Mr. Graves provided tours of the museum, a multimedia exhibition created around the theme, “Make a Difference” and celebrating the contributions by New Jersey citizens, to students and faculty and answered questions. Mr. Graves designed the museum space, along with museum exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum Associates. In February, the mobile museum will be stationed within Super Bowl Village at Met Life Stadium during Super Bowl XLVIII. From left, Mr. Graves and Thomas Byrne, son of New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne.

 

BookMugEconomist Mariana Mazzucato, who has been named by the New Republic as one of “the ‘most important innovation thinkers today,” will be in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library on December 30 at 7 p.m. to discuss her new best-seller, The Entrepreneurial State — Debunking Public vs. Private Myths in Risk and Innovation

According to Andrew Jackson of The Toronto Globe and Mail, “Ms. Mazzucato provides a refreshing new take on rather stale debates on the economic role of
government. […] The Entrepreneurial State is a forceful reminder that governments have a major role to play in building a highly productive, innovative and sustainable economy.”

Named one of the ‘2013 Books of the Year’ by the Financial Times, The Entrepreneurial State was recommended by Forbes in its 2013 “creative leaders” list.

Ms. Mazzucato received her BA from Tufts University in History and International Relations, and a PhD in Economics at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. She is a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, where she holds the RM Phillips Chair in Science and Technology Policy (in SPRU). Her current research work is funded also by the Ford Foundation and by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Her research focuses on the theoretical and empirical relationship between innovation, growth, and finance. More information on her projects, media involvement, and publications can be found on marianamazzucato.com.

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

The year 2014 marks the 350th Anniversary of the State of New Jersey and the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) will kick off the celebration with a New Year’s Day “real-time” Tour of the Battle of Princeton at Princeton Battlefield State Park. 

Re-enactor and British army historian Will Tatum III will lead the tour from the Thomas Clarke House at 500 Mercer Street, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., tracing the steps of American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle on January 3, 1777, a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. Admission is free. A suggested donation of $5 per person will be used for the renovation of the Thomas Clarke House. Warm clothes and stout shoes or boots are advised. To take part, email: princetonbattlefieldtours@gmail.com. For more information, visit: www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.

The PBS tour is part of this year’s Patriots Week activities from December 26 through December 31 that begin right after the reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day.

In 1776, the tide-turning battles of the American Revolution were waged on the streets and surrounding fields of downtown Trenton. Patriots Week, celebrates the history of New Jersey’s capital city with concerts, walking and bus tours, music, lectures, exhibitions, and hands-on activities for families, history buffs, re-enactors and culture seekers alike.

According to Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) organizer Amy Brummer, Patriots Week began in 2004 as a way to bring more people into the capital city. It is produced by TDA in partnership with the Old Barracks Museum, which has been staging Battle of Trenton re-enactments for more than 20 years.

Ms. Brummer managed Patriots Week in its second year and has long been a fan of activities that follow the annual Washington reenactment on Christmas Day.

Revolutionary War historian David McCullough wrote: “Trenton was the first great cause of hope, a brave and truly brilliant stroke …. With the victory at Trenton came the realization that Americans had bested the enemy, bested the fearsome Hessians, the King’s detested hirelings, outsmarted them, and outfought them, and so might well again …”

Each year sees the addition of new Patriots Week events that, in addition to battle re-enactments, include music, art, dancing, dining, poetry, history presentations, book signings, exhibits, and tours. In recent years, there has been an effort to make the program more inclusive, bringing in cultural events that focus on the role of women and of African Americans. “Many people are surprised to learn just how multicultural colonial society in Trenton was. It was not a homogeneous society by any means and there were many different religious groups, such as Quakers, Episcopalians and Presbyterians,” said Ms. Brummer.

New this year is a reading of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley by Dr. Amanda Kemp, with violin accompaniment, at the Trenton Friends Meeting House. “We are also partnering with ArtWorks for a drop-in session where visitors write letters and make cards to send to active soldiers serving overseas. They will be delivered around Valentines Day and this is a way to connect history with current events,” said Ms. Brummer, whose favorite activity is the New Citizen Swearing-In ceremony at 11 a.m. on December 26, in the City Hall Council Chambers, 319 E. State Street.

Also new are “Martha Washington’s Kitchen Garden” at 3 p.m. on December 27 at the New Jersey State Museum and a New Year’s Eve Celebration: Capital Philharmonic at 8 p.m. in the Patriots Theater. Romanian-born pianist Gabriela Imreh will perform the Spellbound Concerto from Hitchcock’s film and the orchestra, under the baton of Daniel Spalding, will perform music from around the world including works by Franz Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Johann Strauss, Jr.

Besides the battle re-
enactments and the Colonial Dinner, held this year at the First Presbyterian Church, Ms. Brummer recommends the Colonial Ball in which a lot of re-enactors participate. “People come from all over and wear period clothing and long dresses. It’s like a Revolutionary War Prom,” she said.

Most of the events are free, but tickets are required for the Colonial Ball, and food events, such as Tea at the restored 1719 William Trent House at 15 Market Street, Trenton’s oldest building and a National Historic Landmark.

William Trent House

The New Year will be celebrated in Scottish fashion at the restored 1719 William Trent House, 15 Market Street, Trenton with a
traditional Hogmanay, Friday, December 27, at 12:30 p.m. Bagpiper Patty Downey will celebrate William Trent’s Scottish heritage with a program of winter and Scottish music. Trenton Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson will host and there will be complimentary hot mulled cider and cookies. No reservations are needed.

On Sunday, December 29, at 2 p.m., Susan McLellan Plaisted of Heart to Hearth Cookery, will offer an 18th century tea and explore the etiquette and meaning of tea in colonial times. The tearoom will be set with linens and the famous pink china that was custom-made for the Trent House. Period dress is welcome but not required. Tickets are $15, $10 for supporters. Reservations required, pre-payment appreciated. Seating is limited, make your reservation today at 609-989-0087 or trenthouseassociation@verizon.net. For more information, visit: www.williamtrenthouse.org.

Space is limited for many activities, so call beforehand. For a full schedule of Patriots Week events, program descriptions, and to purchase tickets, visit: www.patriotsweek.com.

 

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After beginning its 20th anniversary celebration Sunday morning with music from the Princeton High School String Quartet, Small World Coffee threw a party that evening, shown in progress here, featuring a visit from the Nomad pizza truck, lots of mementos to mark the occasion, and live music from Chris Harford and the Band of Changes. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

December 18, 2013
VINTAGE FINDS: This 1957 Havana travel brochure was found in a study carrel during recent demolition work at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Along with other items ranging from an 1850s Oxford, England visitor’s guide to an old smoking pipe, the brochure is on display in a glass case in the Library lobby.

VINTAGE FINDS: This 1957 Havana travel brochure was found in a study carrel during recent demolition work at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Along with other items ranging from an 1850s Oxford, England visitor’s guide to an old smoking pipe, the brochure is on display in a glass case in the Library lobby.

At Princeton University’s Firestone Library, a 10-year renovation project currently underway has produced some unexpected clues to the past. Workers knocking down walls and dismantling old study carrels have come across evidence that students in the early days of the library, which was built in 1948, had more on their minds than the exams they were cramming for or the papers they were writing.

There is the copy of the magazine Foto-rama that was found in one carrel. “Wedding Nights are Not Important!” screams one headline. “Anita, Iceberg or Sexberg?” reads another, referring to the sultry 1960s actress Anita Ekberg. A brochure advertising trips to pre-revolutionary Havana has penciled-in additions to the copy. Arrows point to “my room” and “my girl’s room.” Next to one of the advertised offerings, another notation reads “not included: sexual diversions, female camaraderie.”

But the findings at Firestone are not limited to the mildly pornographic. On display in a large glass case in the library’s lobby are numerous items workers have discovered during the renovation. There is a color copy of a visitor’s guide to Oxford, England, circa 1850s. A seed packet from Farr Hardware Company of Nassau Street, which closed its doors in 1970, is included, along with vintage beer cans, an old smoking pipe, and an exam from 1959 with the handwritten promise: “I pledge my honor as a gentleman that during this examination I have neither given nor received assistance.”

Hanging behind the case is a drapery panel that was found inside a locked closet on the third floor, believed to be one of several that hung in Firestone’s original faculty lounge. Along with the draperies, workers came upon a couple of empty pickle jars, not surprising since the faculty lounge had some kitchen facilities.

Ted Munz is project superintendent for Massimino Building Corporation, and has worked on the Princeton campus since 1989. It was one of his workers who found the Oxford visitors’ guide, now in the Library’s Rare Books Collection. “When it went up on the website, they actually got a response from Oxford,” he says. “It’s pretty exciting. I’m a history buff, so I’m always looking for things.”

One of Mr. Munz’s most interesting discoveries was in another campus building, Brown Hall. “I found a wedding invitation from 1918,” he says. “When I started doing some research I found out that the son of the couple on the invitation had died just two weeks before I found it. Amazing.”

The Firestone renovation is targeted for completion in 2018. In six sections, it is currently in phase “2B,” according to Peggy Kehrer, Library Construction and Communications Coordinator. “When the guys started finding all these things, our idea was to do an exhibit that we can add to all the time,” she says. “John Walako of Rare Books and Special Collections arranged the exhibit and designed the cards identifying everything. We’ve made sure that all the names are blocked out.”

While her work at the Library takes place away from the lobby where the display case is located, Ms. Kehrer hears from colleagues that it has become a popular stop for people visiting the building. Recently, actor/director Woody Allen and his family took in the exhibit when he was on campus to speak at a Friends of the Library event.

According to Mr. Munz, it isn’t unusual to find relics of the past during this kind of renovation project. “The carrels are metal units and things can slip down the back,” he says. “And there are always things left in the walls and in unexpected places.”

Among the most recent discoveries is a postcard from Hawaii sent to one of the students. “I won’t tell you what it says,” Ms. Kehrer said, with a laugh. “It’s not exactly PC.”

The public is welcome to view the exhibit in the Library’s lobby. For more information, visit http://libblogs.princeton.edu/renovations/fun-finds/.